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by James Kemper

Days, nights, weekdays, and weekends spent without regard to rest and order. Saturated chaos is the lifestyle my fiancé and I choose. Coming from Chicago I was favorably surprised that P-town makes this possible:

This Peoria summer has ‘flooded’ our senses. Sight, taste, sound, touch, and smell have all retrieved experience from this world that richens the mind, body and soul (at least five pounds richer).

Last Wednesday seems like a lifetime from today, Monday. As I recall my day was spent in preparation for an all-day master planning presentation to be held the next day at Metamora High School. Parallel to the creation of presentation, Christine (my fiancé who, by the way, has a contagious sparkling personality) and I were researching another home for purchase, since the home we agreed to purchase weeks earlier was being damaged to the point of no return having a bad roof; bad thing in the spring months of 2013. As we walked through the alternative home, which has a fairly good roof, we worked out the return of money to my credit card from the Chinese company that screwed up a wedding dress order, Christine’s wedding dress. Yeah! The Chinese company gave us our money back and the home was charming. Note to self: “Never make big purchases on-line while drinking at 2am!” Now it is time to schedule tours through the new house for the five kids and politic their interests; lego room, ‘Saw’ movie feel, privacy, and closeness to mom. Certainly their opinions matter; hmmmm. Having celebrated two consecutive nights prior to Wednesday for the new job Christine started we felt quite energized since we did not entertain other people.


Finalizing the presentation Paul and Ricky (architects at Demonica Kemper Architects) stay late while I run with the funniest person that Christine knows (Christine), to a Rotary event at Eastport Marina. Funny thing is that we actually arrived on time! Margaritas and good company! Although we needed to get back to Christine’s house to work on court documents for a frivolous law suit that wastes time, money, life, focus, energy, oh and more money. Why is this allowed? Screwing up lives so that lawyers can make money and taxpayers can pay for court time. I am intrigued by the lack of efficiency and purpose when I view it through the lens of a television, but now that it is in my pocketbook; not so fascinated. Anyway, in lieu of choosing responsibility, we choose the Oyster Bar!

I believe Wednesday ended with an argument between mom and the 12 year old about the location of a phone. Probably the most serious conversation I witnessed all day. Sleep finally at 1am.

Thursday started with the alarm, yuck! First a presentation to the MTHS Advisory Committee from 9am – noon, then a presentation to the Steering Committee from noon thirty until almost 4pm. Talking on my feet for almost 8 hours straight, took the wind out of me for a few days. I purposefully stopped my yapper for a whole 5 minutes. Didn’t last long until, yep, we were out doing it again. After a quick stop to say “hi” to the gaggle of kids, we ran over to ICC’s culinary institute to enjoy a four course Russian cuisine with our friends Stefan and Michelle, where we decided it would be a great idea to get married in Stefan’s dad’s backyard on the next Sunny day. A very quick drive (Stefan has a new Porsche, and I have an MX5), took us to Highpoint Drive, where in fact we planned a wedding to include bacon and potato salad. Being so happy with our flippant decision, we stopped by Tavern (Christine’s Cheers) to celebrate. The sun set as we imbibed a few mojitos and Guinness on their outdoor patio.

Joining our celebration a few new friends joined us briefly. In the small of Peoria we soon found out that my architectural firm is in ‘friendly’ competition with our new friend’s firm and that our other new friend works in the same small building where my business is located on Water Street. The funny world becomes hilarious when another of Christine’s friends walks by, sees me and decides that I should come to his photography studio the next day to model sunglasses for a Maui Jim test shoot. Once home, dishes, court papers, and children’s desires were attended to and finally dismissed for the joy of sleep. Oh, and I almost forgot, the other dress, also ordered online, was delivered. Not the right color, damn. 1:30am creeps up so quickly when you bounce all day.

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I hate alarm clocks! Hate. Driving home Friday morning to my current house from Christine’s current house was later than usual, maybe 7am versus the usual 2 or 4am. The lazy day did not last long. Thankfully we were able to carve out enough time to strategize an offer on the White House (new house), but not until the kids all see the home. Noon was spent with my two teenage children and then again at 4:30pm with Christine’s three children and mother. In between it all I stopped by Keith Cotton Studios to sport a pair of Maui Jim’s for a test shoot; fun! The three older kids did not like the new one as well, but we soon reminded ourselves that we were not really asking for input, rather we were giving them the opportunity to share in the experience.

After writing an offer, we then rushed off to meet some friends visiting from California at June. A glass of bubbly and one of Josh’s eggs hit the spot. Although our next appointment was only feet away at Salt, we both had to go home to get ready for dinner.  20 minutes later I introduced Christine to my friends Kert and Doreen Huber. Following a great dining experience and running into many more friends we actually went home! Sleep alas, and before 1pm!


Happy Birthday Christine! Saturday Christine woke up to a gift certificate for a 60 minute deep tissue massage at Senara. Soon after we received word that the offer on the White House was not going to happen since they had a pending offer. No problem! We enjoyed coffee and a Bloody Mary at the Weaver Ridge clubhouse with the daughter of a friend who is interested in moving to Chicago. We reviewed her portfolio and gave her the contact information of people we know who would help direct her for employment, or possibly give her employment. A quick stop to let out the Corgie then off to Christine’s brother’s birthday party held at a very large Chinese buffet in East Peoria. Her brother is not her twin, just born on a date relatively close, so held on the same date as hers. The remainder of Saturday afternoon was spent looking for and finding a wedding dress! I doubt that it would surprise anyone to find out that it is the boutique right next to Christine’s Cheers in Junction City. I do remember getting contacted by our Realtor (who is also a good friend with a great hot tub) while looking for dresses and being informed that the White House is in fact on the table again, so we set up a strategy and completed the offer. By 7:30 we were seated at 2chez with 10 of Christine’s friends enjoying a fantastic dinner. While at diner I discretely replied to counter offers on the house. Dinner turned into more Cheers time, then back home with one of our friends for “creative therapy”. So from 1am until 4am we talked drew with oil pastels and drank a little vino.

9am came too early. Father’s Day morning was not pleasant for this father. No coffee until 12:45 and guests arrived at 1:15. Just enough time to straighten up my shitty no coffee, no cigar attitude (Sunday is usually spent at my Cheers, Kouri’s, sitting by the fire pit smoking cigars with friends). By 1:30 the 3rd counter offer on the house was received. We spent 2 quite enjoyable hours with Christine’s mom, dad, and my kids cooking kaboobs and drinking wine. Another quick trip to take out the dog at Christine’s and we discovered that they had accepted our latest offer! So to cap-off a wonderful Father’s Day we picked up my daughter, to watch Christine’s kids from 7 until 9 while we went to see Hangover 3. I never thought I would laugh about the decapitation of a Giraffe!