In my spare time, I like writing obituaries.

It’s three AM. Three. Do you want to know what caused me to sit up in bed? Monday’s catered working lunch might damage the finish on our conference table as we have yet to purchase a 1000 foot long piece of glass.

What else is preventing me from nodding off?

– Painting. We need to paint everything everywhere. Mr. Swirley finished Ellis’ room last night. God bless him.
– How do we properly hang pictures in plaster. My current method of accurately pin pointing a spot and slamming a tiny nail into the wall to hold a very heavy object will likely no longer work.
– I have no pants on and am very cold. This will not motivate me to find pants, only to complain.
– As a follow up, will I actually live up to my commitment to writing a post for the awesome Families in the Loop blog if I can’t even put pants on? I certainly hope I can pull my $h!t together once we are through this move.
– The usual “Ho-Ho” questions. We finally got her into a new counseling center and I am very hopeful that this will lead to some progress/quality of life improvements for everyone. That said, she told her friend that the mafia is threatening her doctor so she won’t prescribe a ridiculous dose of prednisone. Mom also doesn’t have enough pants.
– Organic food. I am back on this kick. I try to not be insane, but wanting organic food combined with my, um frugality, is not very effective when it comes to grocery shopping. Basically we have four things in our fridge and Mr. Swirley, again, bless his soul, has said nothing. I think he knows I am tottering on the precipice of insanity and a simple, “can we get some cereal?” might send me in a downward spiral filled with tears and hiccup-crying (the WORST!)
– Ellis. Recently he has been suffering from night terrors and it makes me very sad. We are on night three (knock on wood) where he has slept through the night…which is great. Otherwise he acts like Looney Tunes’ Tasmanian Devil and just spins round and round screaming his semi-round little head off.
– Auntie FaFa – She just had a baby (Anna Louise) and I am sending good juju to their little family and Fafa’s tatas. I hope they are well (this isn’t a passive aggressive comment to elicit a phone call…just a general thought since Sweet Annie Lou entered the world.)
– Moving. Will Comcast show up today? My guess is those bitches will string me along like the desperate consumer that I am. Will the neighbors judge us based on the number of booze boxes we have used for packing? Will they follow through on the promised jello mold? (I kid you not).
– My haircut. Every year I cut my hair and every year I hate it. I tell Mr. Swirley to stop me before it’s too late, but he is right in saying I get the idea in my head and sneak off to do it without even telling him. Still, he should stop me.
– Our new neighborhood. It’s pretty awesome. Especially because of this:

Nothing reported within a half mile radius. Granted, this is is only for a two week period of time, but I checked a few and it’s so nice to not worry as much.

In my current neighborhood’s defense, I just ran the same search for our address and nothing popped up. Really I am just stoked about having a garage and not cursing the guy who scraped my bumper every morning.
– In addition to the garage, I like the sound people’s feet make on the steps. I know it sounds strange, but it reminds me of my childhood home on Madison street. Even the feeling of the wood stairs beneath my own feet is incredibly comforting.
– Saying goodbye to the neighborhood kids. I love them. Lately they have been playing games of tag at dusk…such a nice sound. I also don’t know how to explain to EK that we won’t be seeing them as often. Same for our freighbors. It’s going to cause mass confusion and heartache for all three of us.
– Weight. Specifically, will I gain a whole other person if I continue eating out using the excuse that we are moving. I realize that this is the opposite of what I said about re: organic food, but trust me, these situations are occurring simultaneously.

It is now 4AM. What an exceptionally good use of my time since I have nothing but everything to do today to prepare for Saturday’s move. Oh well.

I love this song.

Some flies are too awesome for the wall.

If my computer moves any slower I am going to punch it square in the screen. Good G-d, you would think I am trying to back up ten million gigs of data while removing programs, running ITunes and penning a blog entry. Shut your hole.

I don’t know if you heard about it, but members of NATO are meeting in Chicago and according to every news outlet in existance, the city might be wiped off the face of the planet. If that happens, I take back being mad at Ellis for possibly misplacing my tiny external hard drive that contains our ENTIRE music collection. I would also like to take back actually storing all of our music on a tiny hard drive that a toddler can so easily hide.

Oh, so this week’s misspending adventure- $XXX on daycare services that went unused. I am not sure if that really counts as the “getting locked out, losing the car keys, buying a security camera that costs as much as the grill you are guarding” type of situation, but it’s still spending money on “services” not utilized. Why is EK not at daycare, you ask? Because he is one giant scab. Seriously. It is probably the most pathetic thing I have seen in a while (yes, I know children are starving, puppies are drowning, etc. etc.) I would post a picture of EK vs hand, foot mouth round 2 – but it might make you cry (unless you are empty inside). We have spent the past few days consuming a diet comprised solely of ice cream/Popsicles whilst whimpering, snuggling and pretending to work (I am speaking for all three of us). And of course, we have also sequestered ourselves to the house for fear of turning every kid in Chicago into a crusty, drooling babe. It’s great. Has your kid ever told you “mama, I sad?” or “mama, mouth hurt”? If they have, you know it is pretty much the worst thing you can hear next to, ” Mom, I don’t know why my answers on my 12th grade math test look like my boyfriend’s handwriting” (cough cough). So instead of grossing you out, I will instead let you judge me on being an excellent parent by melting my son’s brain on day three of lock down (i.e., allowing him to watching Sesame Street ALL DAY LONG.) I am pretty sure his eyeballs fell out since he stopped blinking around 10 AM.

I think it is fair to say Mr. Swirley is the better parent of the two of us. And I am OK with that fact.

Luckily for everyone involved, EK was healthy this past weekend while he hung out with the Ds and we spent time with family in LA. It was the first trip since last summer that Mr. Swirley and I ditched our child and although quick (and sadly, for the purpose of saying farewell to a beloved family member), it was beyond a blessing to spend some time with family…and participate in/bear witness to conversations like the ones below.

Here is a video of me getting in trouble but I can’t tell you why.

ABCs from the sweetest Italian cousins ever! 

How many Earleys does it take to fill a bathtub? And more importantly, how often did they bathe? Really.

Facts learned/reinforced while in CA:

1. Santa doesn’t exist (whispered to me by a little pixie of a girl who shares Ellis’ name)
2. Public bathrooms are so out in LA. Having to go to the bathroom while in a public place is so in  for me.
3. My family is the best. Insane, but the best. It is actually pretty amazing how eight siblings can differ so much in terms personality yet remain incredibly loyal to one another and their respective families. Touching, actually. So many (crazy) stories that never seem to get old (e.g., tying each other to trees + firecrackers, beans up noses, driving cars from the passenger side seat, etc. etc.), and enough rolled eyes to power a small town.
3.a I need to be more active in maintaining relationships with said family members…a confusing game of dice and talking until late at night (well – 11 is late for us) is much more fulfilling than “liking” a status or a quick email.
3.b. Annual visits to Cali are in the works. Suckers.
4. My uncle Rich is rock-solid. The rest of his family isn’t too shabby either.
5. I am so very grateful to be a part of all of this.

Ms.  Shierra. I drove her crazy the entire weekend.
Uncle Pat, Aunt Donna and Uncle Henry
The entertainment.
Cooking cousins is way better (and more socially acceptable) than kissing cousins.
Hardy hargh hargh. And Dad’s sorta, kinda twin.
Cousins, uncles and “special friends”
Trouble with a capital “T” and they’re minus three.

And three more Earleys will be added to the mix when they move from Italy to LA next month. I would send prayers their way, but I have a feeling they will do just fine.

Taco Tuesday.

Tonight we are having chili.

I am back from another trip to DC. This time we hosted a delegation of Russians and everything that could go wrong, did. Like what? Oh I don’t know…
– more receivers than headphones for the interpretation equipment
– interp. equip. left on the bus during a State Dept. meeting
– wrong schedule given to bus driver
– flags that didn’t fit into their base so I had to use a butter knife to scrape enough plastic off to jam those suckers into their little crappy holder
– night construction on 66
– phone STOLEN FROM MY BAG etc etc etc.

You get the idea. And on the last point, I didn’t even have time to react. I just marched to the closest T-Mobile, did my best impression of Ellis wah-wah-wahing and got a new phone at the regular upgrade price. Bam! However, in my rush I told the counter-guy I could figure out how to use it and still can’t turn off the voice that announces that I have an email and/or call at 20dBs. I also had the head of the DoD’s la-dee-da try to help me figure out how to turn it off. No luck. So that is reassuring.

Good news is that the Russian and American delegates were happy and I kept my job. I also got to wear some nice trampy clothes (finger-tips almost reached my skirt hem) because I could. So there.

While I was gone Ellis learned to run, albeit on the slower side, and aged about 15 years. These guys were sitting around a table talking about political mumbo-jumbo and I was doing everything possible to stop myself from crying after seeing this photo. I mean, doesn’t he look like he is 18?

I hope you guys are excited about his Halloween costume. It is as much as awesome as it is ridiculous. He will hate us forever once he realizes what we have done. I love being el jefe.

The House that Sherman Built

I am on my way  back from a five day trip to DC…capped off by a two-hour delay due to an “accident” in the plane bathroom. Part of me wants details, the other part is already running wild with possible scenarios. All I know is that it took an hour to clean the economy section of the plane and they will not be serving beverages.


It was a successful trip to DC. Except for that part about me leaving my cell phone in IL and almost missing my flight home. I know you are super surprised. However, I did find out that if you are running late for a flight, you can completely skip the security line which is pretty sweet. I have probably written about this before, but I have a pretty zen approach when it come to flights; everything just works out. Mr. Swirley, on the other hand, likes to get to the airport about a day early and it annoys the crap out of me.

Every time I return to our nation’s capital  I am sad we moved, though I wouldn’t trade our Chicago friends for the Capitol Hill gardens I love so much. Saturday we spent the day moving furniture and preparing our new building for the Open House scheduled for Tuesday. I will say it again, the building is glorious; a “stealth office” according to Sherman as it’s face connotes a humble storefront, while it actually boasts over 6000 square feet with  four stories of (finally!) filled bookshelves (and ladders on rails to boot.) In the world of tiny DC non-profits, it’s a nice space.


After a “deep cleaning” by our amazing cleaning staff and time spent moving furniture, it really was a sight to see. Well, as much as an office space can be visually appealing. Sunday we spent at Costco and I wanted to die. i mean seriously. It took ever ounce of me to not keel over and poke my eyes out with a used sample toothpick. But we got all of the shopping done so we could feed and properly inebriate the 150 expected vultures, er, I mean guests. 10,000 lbs of shrimp? Check. An ocean of wine, coke, sprite and water? Donezo.

Don’t worry – this is only 1/100th of the food.
Monday was full of the chaos that precedes a party plus the usual games delegations play that include changing meeting dates at the last minute, frantically calling American participants and praying they are available and not too pissed off to join the discussion and of course pleading with the venue to change our contract. This time we JUST skated by…the alternative was owing the venue nearly 18K and hosting the group in our office. You know I don’t love my office enough to manage the delegation logistics while trying to prevent people from leaving the conference. Our primary strategy in hosting groups is holding them hostage for meetings – we are promoting democracy here people, but not when it comes to participants.

Even with all of the stress, (I think) we had a good time prepping the space. I spent part of my days in Herman’s office where he would say endearing things like, “Oh? That Justin Beaver kid?” while pointing out obvious tasks (like putting table skirts on tables.) This party was so exciting and important to him that he just couldn’t risk us being idiots. And honestly, redundancy is always best in situations like this. Especially when I am involved.


Party day was absolutely bonkers – but kind of exciting. Sherman was nervous about the outcome, but I think thrilled to show off the space to all of his old friends and colleagues. What started out of his house in Great Falls, VA in 1982, has become a fully-operational, bad-ass think tank rolling deep in sweet spot. And that is pretty much the reaction we received from folks over the course of the party. People started to arrive promptly at 6 PM and I can confirm that yes, we were working until the last minute putting up plaques, pictures and paintings, running out for approximately one ton of ice  and throwing on our dress clothes. The self-catered spread was fairly out of control and the bars were busy all night. I saw old friends, interns and donors – and for the first time in my ten years at AFPC, honestly felt 100% comfortable in my surroundings. I am not sure if it was the company, the generally jovial atmosphere or that I am an old lady who has been with the company for a longtime, but it was such a fulfilling night.

Rick looks crazy and Jeff is smiling. You will never see a photo of these two like this again.
Whoever said DC women are conservative dressers didn’t meet this lady. Four flights of stairs people, four.

I told JLee I loved his tie and Mr. Swirley had one just like it. Then he reminded me that I bought that tie for him as an intern gift. I was obviously on point Tuesday night. Yikes. 

Lots of laughs, inappropriate comments (which are expected), calf-building tours of the building (up and down four stories of stairs) and too short of conversations with people I could talk to all night…and it was already 10 PM. The bossman left happy and everyone else seemed pretty pleased with the building, free food and of course, booze. Just an average night in DC, I suppose.



All fun aside, this is the longest I have been away from Ellis since he was born and I am not going to lie when I say that I was ready for a break when I left Saturday morning. However, by Sunday I really missed him and found myself looking at pictures and annoying my coworkers with stupid stories about professor giggles. I finally understand what people talk about when they complain about traveling while you have kids at home and am so grateful I don’t have to do it very often. With that said, a night away watching Jersey Shore with your coworker and no baby is always welcome. Always. 

тойдың мезгілі

For a second time in five weeks, I decided to ditch my family for some fun times on the east coast. After only a few days at home following our Memorial Day weekend adventure, the Swingens rolled into the Second City and I rolled out to our nation’s capital. Of course, while I was gone, baby Swirley decided to hit another milestone and started to climb stairs (with a lot of encouragement and can only go up.) Still, what? It’s absurd. He also now (indiscriminately) waves. I missed both of these first, but did get to sleep in until 7 AM three days in a row. Jealous much?  Yea, me too. Of Mr. Swirley. However, I would like to state for the record that I left Capitol Hill. Can you believe it? I am maturing before your eyeballs.

Anywhoo, did I tell you our new office building is amazing? I did? Well I am telling you again. It is just that unbelievable. I almost want to stop working at home and set up shop in a second floor office with a private balcony. Almost. I do like eating cereal out of a box in my pajamajams a little too much to give it up (I will give you one guess as to what I am doing right now).

Blogger still sucks so I can only post vertical pictures.

Third floor walkway and rear offices

Atrium – looking up from the second floor
Atrium – looking down from the third floor
What could have been my 9-5 home.

I also visited with my friends Tim and Karin who reside just across from Barrack’s Row. Tim is a marine and slightly bonkers, but in a good way. He told me that although you can legally purchase a gun in DC, there is no longer anyone that can register it for you. Luckily Artem snuck in before the gun guy quit and purchased himself a fancy firearm to set next to him while he watches PTI. For reals. On a side note, he and his wife are heading to Kazakhstan later this summer and I could not be any more jealous.

Psycho.

On to Friday where I hit up Olney, MD to live the dream. I went to a green belt ceremony; hung out at Baskin-Robbins with a bunch of hooligan kids who refused to purchase anything from BR and were subsequently harassed by a rent-a-cop; and, got my ass kicked in a Cage Fitness class. I loved every damn second spent in the People’s Republic of Maryland except for that part where I couldn’t walk for TWO days after the fitness class. Holy hell people. Have you danced your ass off after a particularly arduous work-out? I mean, I know I am (severely) out of shape, but I imagine I felt like Barbie does when you twist her legs round and round 360 degrees at a time.

I love my co-worker’s kids. A lot. Like I would totally call them up to hang out on any given weekday. I hope EK is that cool or else we might have to start all over.

Baller Berman.

Saturday also marked an important day for my colleague and friend, big Rick (aka Richard M. H.) Dude got married to the Cat in lovely church ceremony and now they can have Jamerican babies who will likely be giant engineers with a passion for the Big Ten. Wedding summary – they went through with it and crab cakes were served at the reception. They also misspelled Rick’s name at the reception site which, combined with the crab cakes, helped me enjoy the event from soup to nuts. I can’t decide if I will continue to call Rich – Rick or Richy – I love both names so very much. I also love the couple.People shouldn’t be this nice.

Bliss. If this were a video you would see them posing for the photo, then Rick hugging me and accidentally pulling my already too short dress up a little higher…in front of Sherman (bossman). Yikes.

Richy.

The years of working with our Russian friends has rubbed off on one of the three guys pictured below. Hint, it’s not the actual Russian.

Berman, Ortiz and Sherman Flirchner

And to document the event for our newsletter – Voila! P.S. That is indeed a dress I am sporting. I wanted to clarify that fact for you, since at first glance you may think it’s a handkerchief. On a scale of zero to tramp I think it’s about a four. Fine, six. 

Apparently I cannot get enough canapes…wedding #2 was scheduled for Sunday. After the crabcake wedding, I took an hour-long metro ride back to DC and had the honor of sitting next to a girl who was telling her friends that she relies on Facebook for all of her news because the regular news is “too depressing.” Although I didn’t drink much at the wedding, I found myself wanting to vomit all over her. I didn’t because, as you might know, that would be grounds for arrest by the Metro police. Fascists. Though I have to say it is an exceptionally clean public transit system. I then took a cab ride with a driver who was texting while driving and I gave him the old one-two. Oh yea, I dropped the “I have a baby at home and don’t want to die line.” Five hours later I was high-fiving team Turner for my DCA drop-off and head to ‘sconsin for some FWC nuptials.

The wedding was perfect. Everyone says that, but it really was. WI countryside + beautiful weather + wonderful friends + super cover band = best night in ages. Plus the Hometown Sweethearts promised to learn “Pony” for the next FWC event. I love me some Ginuwine.

Could she be any lovelier?
some of the Family We Choose
Yes, we match. How ’bout it?
The Andersons roll with their handmade quilts.
What’s on tap for our anniversary weekend? Car repairs and cleaning. Oh yea, we are gabballers. Look it up.

Our office is full of ninjas

Mother’s Day was an exciting  time filled with last minute packing and a two hour wait on the tarmac. I eventually arrived to DC just in time to change into my dress in the airport bathroom, put my make up on in the cab and show up with 15 minutes to spare for our semi-annual board dinner. After we got over the shock of booking a private room that offered knee walls instead of full walls (I know, very dramatic) we went ahead and gorged on delicious pastas and tasty wine. Such activities made my first time away from Ellis tolerable. Well, more than tolerable. You should try the pasta and what I like to call “dessert” steak at Acqua Al 2 on Capitol Hill. You might just keel over and die it’s so good. I didn’t tell Mr. Swirley about this fabulous meal because while I was eating a five course meal filled with carbs and deliciousness, he was up and down with Ellis all night. Too bad.

I once again stayed at team Turner’s place in the Car Barn (our old condo building) and was instantly transported back to 2008. It didn’t hurt that I only listened to my old mixes (e.g.,  Cold War Kids, Ting Tings, Tegan & Sara, Scissor Sisters) and walked the same route to work as I used to from 2005-2008. Even our garden gnome hasn’t moved. 
And our garden is still doing its thing. Unfortunately I missed the tulips and hyacinths but I trust they were lovely a few weeks ago.
I have a few self-imposed requirements when I visit DC. Call it my AFPC rider. 1) I must be able to walk to work. Thus, I stay at friends’ houses that are located on the Hill. There is absolutely no other option. 2) I must restrict my “visiting radius” to 1.5 square miles from the office. This means I will venture into SE but the world of NW DC might as well be Tokyo. 3) I must break my dark soda fast. Just because. 4) I need to eat at La Loma. I would eat at La Lomita but apparently it burned down. There are numerous other musts, but you get the idea. They are fairly banal yet incredibly critical to me dubbing each DC visit a success.
It was 75 degrees and sunny the entire time I was in our nation’s capital. It’ s like God wants to rub in my face the fact that we moved back to a cold and dirty city filled with potholes and enormously high tax rates. I also spent much of my time topless in my boss’ office. No no, he wasn’t there (though in DC you should probably assume that kind of stuff happens more often than not.) Since I am still nursing I decided to pump while in DC. This meant pumping on the plane, in restaurants and in my boss’ office. Sherman was very considerate and let me use his office since everyone is crammed into a space the size of Ellis’ nursery. I kept the bottles in the mini-fridge with everyone’s lunch and folks kept their comments to a minimum. Very impressive.
On to the new office. OH MY GOD. We have been working in some way or another on our office expansion plans since, I don’t know, I was 12? In 2005, my organization moved from DuPont Circle into a humble row house on Capitol Hill (Mass Ave. and C Streets, NE to be exact). We then spent THREE years working on plans to expand an historic building in a generally residential area. Thank God for the Massachusetts Avenue commercial corridor and a reasonable Historic Preservation Review liaison. Then came the fun act of actually doing the work. By the time they broke ground we sadly had already moved to Chicago so my colleague Rick was tasked with everything from dealing with the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (imagine a zoo run by aliens) to making sure the contractors install opaque glass in the second floor atrium. Yes ladies, the contractors were going to install clear glass blocks. He deserves a plaque, vacation and a high-five from our little company. Oh, and a fat raise. Let’s all give a here-here to Rick. 
My colleagues are such team players that they have been working on a former yoga studio for over one year. One room and one additional office that is so small my boss has to shimmy past his desk in order to get to his seat. They have most definitely earned their beautiful, light-filled office. Can you tell I am jealous? I was also informed that they were or are all ninjas and keep bayonets in the office. The things I forget about now that we have moved away.
Below are some pictures for you to enjoy. I know you are envious too.
The newly landscaped front. Bay windows restored to their pre- crappy Home Depot renovation days.
None of this existed 12 months ago. It’s awesome.
View from first floor looking down into atrium. Custom bookshelves nearing completion and cinder block wall to be covered with tiles.
Looking up from cellar. Glass floor is opaque – currently covered with paper while the contractors paint the second floor. Light streams down from the skylights into the basement making it a very workable space.
Capitol Hill office. Garden view. Private balcony. Sick.

Sorry about the dust.Contractors finishing up the roof-top deck. Sherman wants to put a kegerator up here.

Skylights and atrium. Remind me again why we moved
After a few days in DC, it was definitely nice to come home to my little man and in-laws. Apparently, in the four days I was gone Ellis learned to pull himself up onto any and everything. Oh, and get really angry.
Then I remembered how to make him happy: Feed him and cuddle. Private balconies are overrated anyway.
 
Yes, he is wearing plaid shorts with a belt. What of it?

This weekend starts the Summer of Crazy; we will be home for approximately one hour of one weekend until the end of July. Here we come 90th birthday party! Aunt Margaret is going to get down and dirty on the North Shore. Holla.

Everything needs to be perfect!

Another exciting weekend in our nation’s second city. It started with a call from Ho-Ho requesting a trip to Wicker Park fest. If you aren’t familiar with Wicker Park (our neighborhood) – think tight pants, mustaches and single speed bikes. Kind of like this guy… who also happens to be our friend and escort to the festival. In fact he is so “Wicker Park” that he was mistaken for Ira Glass, photographed for a Chicago style blog and with other random people attending the fest. Although I told him he looked ridiculous, it is a pretty sweet ensemble.

Before we could go to the festival we had to pick Ho-Ho up in Oak Park. Upon arriving, we learned that she has disobeyed directions given to her by three different doctors. You can imagine my surprise. You can also imagine my excitement when we had to make a side-trip to the hospital to drop off certain samples that were not labeled. Guess who got hold the pen and the vials. Gross.

Finally, after our little detour, we arrived at the festival. All I can say is that it was very hip; indie tees, sunglasses and free trade goodies filled Milwaukee Avenue. Mr. Swirley was keen on the kid’s area and already has plans to bring baby there next year. Very sweet – though I am not sure how accurate baby Swirley’s aim will be at 11 mos. old unless his pops is sitting on the dunk tank platform.
Ho-Ho seemed to enjoy herself and took in the sights (and give aways). Some of my favorite memories from childhood revolve around going to Chicago street festivals with her. With the exception of a perm (thank God)  and large beaded necklaces, she seemed to be the same lady ogling jewelry and sipping wine samples as her 1987 version. We did lose her once, but that is to be expected. Luckily we nabbed her by the indie tshirt stand (you know, the ONE)  and continued the fun – which included Mr. Swirley being a gentleman.

After three hours at the festival, we headed back to Oak Park, then down to UIC where I dropped Mr. Swirley off to watch a roller derby. He told me the ladies were rough and tumble but he survived. I spent the night doing some very important chores which included the reorganization of our bathroom drawers. I know, a critical duty that needed to be completed pre-baby’s arrival. Also, in case you are wondering, the refrigerator has been scrubbed top to bottom.

Sunday started bright and early at 6 AM with a trip downtown to see the GM run in the half-marathon. I can tell you that watching 25,000 people run past you while looking for a friend makes you want to vomit. That’s fifty thousand legs buzzing past your eyes. Ridiculous. But we found her (white shirt) – so I was pretty thrilled. She probably was pretty happy too – finishing the race and all.

Then off to Schaumberg for some girls high school soccer (they won), Ikea, and a break down that included me saying “you have to let me be a mom! Everything needs to be perfect!” when Mr. Swirley questioned why I needed to sit in the backseat  and assemble the canopy on the car seat while he drove. Sounds about right for a Sunday afternoon. I was of course forgiven and can only assume eyes were rolled (since I was in the back I couldn’t actually see his eyeballs). Four more weeks and crazy will have a friend in Mr. Swirley – though his will be due to lack of sleep and mine is just due to, well, me.

Game on.

“Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge” – Patton.           
I have always been fairly competitive with Mr. Swirley when it comes to the mundane. Whether it’s stuffing smarties into my mouth (how we first met – attractive, I know) or the speed at which I can exit the restroom post-movie, I am always hoping to be one to five step(s) ahead. However, he is usually either 1) unwittingly taking part in such competition or, 2)lets me win. Most recently, I have been acutely aware of the time Mr. Swirley takes to brush his teeth. First the flossing (I mean, we are over 30), then brushing then rinsing have become quite the nightly ritual. Yes, I time him and yes, I win (usually).
Unaware of this newly identified household Olympic sport, Mr. Swirley’s overarching concern as of late is the distinct possibility that I will transfer my domestic competition streak on to the little one, and thus engage in ridiculous antics with a two year old. I think this is about 99% possible. It’s better than screaming on the side-lines of a t-ball game.