My First Cub Game & Much Much More! (IL) “DAY 43” – 8/16/10

August 16, 2010 - 9:41 am - (IL) “DAY 43”


Today was my last day in the best city I have ever been to so... I did as much as I could fit into one day, on no money (or very little)!

Let’s begin.  My day started at 10 am when Toby’s roommate (Dave, who moved out but still has stuff there) stopped by the place and woke me up.  He was moving the rest of his things.

Anyway,  Dave is a real chill dude and we talked on the balcony over looking Lake Michigan for a while before both of us started our day.  Thanks for everything Dave!

Charity Work

"The Hallmark"

The first thing I did was hit the phones to try and find some charity work for me to do today.  I still hadn’t heard back from any of the homeless shelters ( I called at least 5), so I tried calling retirement homes to see if there was anything I could do there.

I searched the internet and found a retirement community called “The Hallmark”.  After being bounced from voicemail to voicemail I finally got a live person.  Her name was Erica Cohen.

She was very sweet and helpful but couldn’t arrange anything for me to do at her facility.  There is mountains of paperwork and tests that need to be taken before a volunteer can help out.

She could tell I wanted to help just for the good and was sincerely upset she couldn’t provide me with anything to do so she gave a few other places (3 of them) I could try.  Thanks for your help Erica.

The first place was a home for the mentally challenged.  Perfect, I’ll fit right in and might even get a room! 🙂  I called but... no answer.  I left a message (no response).

Then, I called another organization where they take care of all kinds of people with many different problems.  They fund there organization by serving lunch to the people of Chicago, the proceeds go toward the running o the facility.

They didn’t have a volunteer spot available for me, so I thought I would just go down and eat lunch.  The proceeds go to the cause, at least I’d be helping somehow.  Then the lady me... I can’t even do that... they are closed on Mondays!  Come on!

Temple Shalom

The last place Erica suggested, was my ace in the hole or at least I thought... Temple Shalom!  A Jewish synagog... my last name is Bierstein... this is a no brainer!

I called and nobody answered, so I walked down there (1/2 mile away).  When I got there, I couldn’t even find a way in.  I called again and left message this time.  (nobody has called back.)

F.Y.I - The is ridiculous!  Somebody wants to help and there is nowhere to help!  There has to be an easier to get this done each week!

I eventually found some charity work to do on my own, but it happens later in the day.  I’ll tell ya in a few paragraphs.

After wasting a hour of my time, I wrote “DAY 42” at the coffee shop.

Now my day was really to begin.  It was almost 1pm and I had a decision to make... Do I drive everywhere and lose my parking spot or keep the spot and walk my fat ass all over the city?  It was a tough call...

Then, I remembered how miserable I was driving around the other night looking for a parking spot as well as the parking ticket I got last week.  Not to mention, there is a Cubs game later on and where we are staying is just blocks from the stadium.  There are even signs on the our street restricting where you can park on days when there are games.

I weighed my chances at finding a spot later on and decided I should houff it.  I would also be getting a work out, which I need anyway. 🙂 ( I wound up walking/jogging over 8 miles today.)  Nice!

Lake Michigan
As I’ve told you, Toby lives right on the lake but the beach area of the lake is about 4 miles directly south  (It is really cool looking, they beach, city, and lake are one after another.)

Anyway, I packed a bag and headed off on my journey to the beach.  On my walk down there, the first interesting thing I saw a Totem Pole.  It was huge and well crafted, I don’t know the significance of it but it was a cool sight.

I kept walking down the path until I finally got to some boats.  Ahh... I must be close.  I wasn’t.... actually, I had just walked myself into a dead end.  F&%K!  Now I had to re-walk everything I had just walked to get back on the right path.  Thirty minutes later (more than a mile), I was back on track to the beach.

Charity Work Revisited
As I was walking to the beach along Lake Michigan I spotted a homeless man sleeping in the grass.  Mind you, it’s 2 pm and 85 degrees out, if you sleeping outside right now... you have nowhere else to go.

I stood there for minute and thought about what I could do???  As I was deciding, the man woke up and looked at me.  I asked him if he was hungry and wanted to get lunch with me.  He didn’t respond at first, heck he just woke up to some Rooster dude standing over him. 🙂

He sheepishly accepted as if to say, “You don’t have to.”  He had so much stuff with him, I told him I would get it and come back to him.  I walked over to a food stand and realized it was beach prices (not cheap).

Only one of us eating lunch today and it wasn’t me.  I bought him chicken tenders, fries, and cold drink ($8 bucks-ish).  He was more than thankful but didn’t want his picture taken or name used.  I did take one while he was sleeping, it doesn’t show his face, he should be OK with that.

Lake Michigan
I know it’s selfish, but after... I felt really good about myself and had a bounce in my step.  I needed it, my gigantic love handles were getting tired :)!


I was finally at the beach area that I wanted to get to, right next to the heart of Chicago!  Also, this was the deepest area of the lake you could swim in (with lifeguards present).

I spoke with the lifeguard (Alex) before I jumped in to make sure he was alert.  If the water is as cold as everybody says it is... I want to make sure I’ll be saved if I go into shock when I hit the water ;).

It's cold!

I didn’t drown and swam around the lake for a few minutes.  But, it was so cold in there that when I got out... I was a woman! 🙂

The Drake

After that, I walked all the way to the end of the beach area (where the city meets the sand).  It was now around 4 pm and I was going to the Cubs game (7 pm), so it was time to start walking back.

Giordano’s Pizzeria
It was now that I had realized how far I had walked (5 or 6 miles) and was getting hungry (I hadn’t eaten all day).  Then, I remembered that Nick (manager) from Giordano’s said that if I came back, he’d pay for my meal.  Perfect!  A charity meal for me (karma does go around :)).

I couldn’t make it there by walking (not enough time or energy), so I took the bus ($2.25).  The bus didn’t take me right there but I was within a mile of the restaurant.  Nice!  I needed a little rest.

Thanks Nick!

When I walked in, Nick greeted me right away.  He definitely remembered me, nice!  He sat me at table as we talked about my week in Chicago.   He then told me to order what I wanted as well as giving me advice in my next city (Milwaukee).  

Thanks for everything Nick!  It is good people like you that make this trip possible!

The pizza was great!  It’s still not NJ/NY, but it’s definitely the next best thing.  I ordered enough pizza to bring Toby home some dinner as well.  It’s the least I can do for Toby after how good he has been to me this week.  I wish I could do more.

I got back home (Toby’s) around 5:30 pm.  The last thing I was gonna do in Chicago, was the only thing I wanted to do before I got here... GO TO A CUBS GAME!

Cubs vs. Padres
Toby and I didn’t have tickets so we decided, we would head down around game time and scalp some.  (If we showed up in the 1st inning or later the tickets would be cheaper.)

Harry Caray

Wrigley Field is a awesome sight.  It’s feels like a NY atmosphere but it’s Chicago.  What I mean is, the fans are everywhere and passionate.  It’s blue and red as far as the eye can see.

Before we eve got tickets, I had to take a picture with Harry Caray, a legend in broadcasting.  Then, we walked around looking for scalpers.  There were many but decided to go to a ticket scalper booth.

After some negotiations, we agreed on $35 for 2 tickets ($70 face and $60 face).  They were 2 single tickets in different sections but that wont be a problem... I’ve sat in a luxury box on this trip with a $6 ticket! 😉

We entered the ballpark and it was as traditional as there is, very old school.  They don’t even have a big electronic scoreboard, it is still done by hand.  And of course... there is the famous ivy that covers the whole outfield wall.

I'm in the band!

Before we decided where we gonna sit, I saw a group of men with instruments in a walkway.  I couldn’t resist and jumped in the middle of them and took a picture.  Thanks guys!  Next time... I’m playing the sax!

Anyway, the better ticket was 8 rows behind the cubs dugout... that’s where we’re sitting :).  So, I held both tickets and put the better one on top as I walked our way to

Me "Rooster" and Toby

our seats.  As we approached, a older ticket lady (wouldn’t take a pic), checked our tickets and realized what I was doing.

I pleaded my story with her (traveling the country), she paused... then smiled and walked us to 2 open seats.  She told us we could sit there and not to cause any trouble.  Thank you anonymous ticket lady!

The fans were great but the Cubs aren’t.  They are a bad team right but the ballpark was still filled with people (great sports city).   The couple sitting next to us was really nice and ordered anything that came in a cubs helmet.  To bad for them they don’t serve beer in one! 🙂

One of the highlights of any Cub game is the 7th inning stretch where they sing “Take me out to the Ball Game”.   They always have a guest singer and the whole stadium really gets into it.

The game was never really close after the 5th inning, although the Cubs did try to make it interesting late.  The rally fell short and the Cubs lost to the Padres 9-5.

We waited around after game, so I could take a picture as close to the ivy as I could get.  There really is no other field like this in all of sports, very cool!

Afterwards, we walked around Wrigleyville (area around stadium with tons of bars).  We didn’t stop anywhere to get a drink because Toby had work in the morning and I was exhausted from a long day but it was still cool to see.

Toby and Keith (Chicago Homes)


I have already told both of you this in person, none-the-less I will write for all to read.

Keith: Thank you so much for opening up your home to me on such short notice.  The two days I spent with you were awesome and set me up for a great a week.  Not to mention, you gave me the funniest story of trip!  (I have laughed everyday since thinking about it. :))

Me "Rooster" and Toby

Toby: For the whole week, you treated me as roommate and friend (not as a free-loading hobo).  Your generosity and genuine concern for my well being is overwhelming considering before this week we were just casual friends.

Know this Toby... for as long as I live, you will always have a friend in the Rooster and if there is ever anything I can do for you... just let me know and I’ll do my best!

Moving On
As soon as I post this entry, I’m off to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Week 7... here I come!

Thanks for reading!


Comments (3)

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  1. bennervous says:

    This whole trip couldnt’ have happened to a more appropriate person — with your outgoing and friendly personality, it is great to see that everyone has been treating you like a long-time friend. That’s the type of guy you are, so it makes sense. I hope the good times keep rolling…oh…and that you get to play some poker!

  2. Mike says:

    If you are in Wisconsin you have to see the Packers Hall of Fame in Lambeau. I guess its too early to see any frozen tundra…I was out there once and Green Bay was closed. That’s not a typo. Clark is bigger than Green Bay. I think there was a pothole and the city locked up. I’ll never get back there, so I’m hoping to actually see it through your eyes!

    I’m having a great time following your trip Dave. Good luck!

  3. dave says:

    I’ll try Mike but the funds are getting low. If it’s not on the way to Minnesota… I may have to pass. But I do live day by day so we’ll see.


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