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.

No, he’s not a sly fox. He’s at the bar trying to cut his own hair with a knife.

We are buying a house today. Finally, after 4000 years of scanning and emailing paperwork, screwing up appointments and sleeping on our terribly uncomfortable guest bed (sorry guests, I had no idea!), we are closing the deal.

This is my most favorite thing about the entire house. A yard. In the city. Imagine bistro lights and an outdoor fireplace. And leaves to rake.

In other news, I told Mr. Swirley that he can listen to all of the Harry Potter books on his Ipod while he paints. He informed me that he will only do so if John Lithgow is reading it. Damn you Lithgow and your impeccible voice. Don’t believe me? Check it out:

p.s. I am pulling my headlines from a different show and they will likely be much more offensive. Enjoy!

I wouldn’t go to this toilet with my big sister’s toe.

We still haven’t moved. I know. However, despite my best efforts, I think we landed renters. I told Mr. Swirley that I morph into another person when I show the place. I start to speak very quickly in a high- pitched and tend to bargain with myself. The most awkward showing was last Friday. Ready? Here we go.

Ellis refused to nap which clearly really pissed me off. I opened his door to find this.

If you can’t tell, EK dumped the contents of his bureau on the floor. This is better than the time I opened the door to find him naked from the waist down and stomping in his pee (two weeks ago),but worse than the time he was a total angel and slept for three hours. The latter never happened.

Anyway, I packed him up in a hurry and rushed out the door to neighbor Kosy’s house for fear I was going to yell at him so loudly the neighbors would worry. As we stepped outside, I saw four people standing on our corner just sort of looking around. They creeped me out by talking about Ellis to me in that weird stranger way and just loitered there as we snaked through their group. We walked/ran four houses down, called Kosy and told her we were coming over – like it or not. At precisely the same moment that the group walked up to me, my neighbor opened her door. It quickly became apparent that they were looking to rent our condo and instead of responding like a normal person (i.e., “Come back in an hour”), I threw Ellis at Kosy and showed them in while profusely apologizing for the state of my house.

Imagine your place messy, multiply that by five, throw it in a tornado and add a few dirty diapers. That is a clean day. They walked in to the first bedroom (our room) which is filled with boxes, and started to laugh. That made me feel really good about myself; cue high-pitched, fast-paced voice.  “Umm, we can take the bike holder things down or leave them up, uhhhh, it’s pretty quiet, uhhhhh.” [SHUT UP ANNIE! STOP TALKING! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? WHY ARE YOU SWEATING? WHY IS YOUR PIE HOLE SO DRY AND WHY DO YOU CONTINUE TO SLAP YOUR TONGUE AROUND IN THAT GIANT BLACK HOLE IN A DESPERATE ATTEMPT TO IMPROVE THE SITUATION?] To make matters worse, after conversing with each other in Chinese (no doubt admiring our dust bunnies), the main dude asked if the boxes “were all ours” followed up with a big, fat wry grin. My response? Similar to the Qtip incident, I quickly said, “Pshhh, NO! That’s crazy!” I mean, why would all of these boxes in my own house from which I am moving be ours? Why did I feel the need to lie to these strangers? They continued to snicker at whatever they were snickering at (I don’t speak Mandarin) and never called me to follow up. I can’t really blame them as I have been cast in that incredibly sought after role of “crazy cat lady landlord”. Yessss!


Today Ellis and I visited the Farm in the Zoo (because I didn’t know his gymnastics class was cancelled…I never read anything they send me), the recycling plant, a play date with our man, Tate, a painless (!!?!) haircut and Clybourn Park (aka the El Park because its proximity to the El train is pretty much its only redeeming quality).

A man and his ladies.

I’m smelting.
He sort of reminds me of Braveheart in this little montage or whatever you call it.
All in all I am back to liking him. I can’t tell if he feels the same but I am sure a few more Halloween treats will do the trick. Pun wholeheartedly intended.

If you have anything else do say, say it in a high-pitched voice while walking backwards.

A few days ago I texted my friend that I was “excited to spend some alone time with EK” while Mr. Swirley is on a two week business trip. I made it exactly 12 hours before I stuffed those eight words back into into my big, fat mouth. It’s not that I don’t love being with Ellis, I just don’t always like it. I feel semi-guilty about this fact, however, I can pretty much bet that anyone reading this would be 100% annoyed if they woke to a shrill scream circa 4 AM  followed with by demands for ham and puzzles.

 He is bonkers. Examples include:
– EK: I want milk. I WANT MILK!!.
   ME: How do you ask?
   EK: May I please I WANT MILK!
   ME: Here you go.
   EK: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! (throws milk and himself on
   the ground). I WANT WATER! (repeat scene with water)

– EK: (pointing to pictures on door:  MAMA!! Look, Gus.
  ME: Yep.
  EK: Actually mama, it’s Ellis.
  ME: Actually, you are a jerk. (inaudibly muttered)

  (like it’s a shot or something)
  ME: Fine, let’s go.
  EK: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO POTTY. Mommy, sit there. Ellis go to potty. NO POTTY. I don’t like
  this. Treat? Flush? I want diaper. NO NO NO DIAPER MAMA. I WANT MAMA. MAMA!!! NO! I
  want DADA….HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMER. Where is Homie? Meow. NO DIAPER! and I open the next bottle of wine.

He also repeatedly attempted to kick and eight month old in the face while executing a bizarre gymnastics routine.

Nine days left, friends! And I have yet to start cleaning and prepping our house to rent.


Who taught you therapy, Michael Jackson’s dad?

Nine truths and a lie.

1. Something in my fridge smells like death. I know what death smells like because there was a guy that lived in the entrance/vestibulewhathaveyou at St. Vitus cathedral (Czech Republic) who suffered from gangrene. That is as close to the smell of death as you want to get and now his little brother lives somewhere in the bowels of our fridge.

2.  I am back in my spending $200/day mode.

3. I am supposed to give a speech this weekend and am pretty sure I am going to soil myself. But at least I get to wear this dress with a big fat belt. 

3.a. I still have no dress for the actual wedding itself and I almost don’t care. Not that I don’t love the couple and am ambivalent about what I wear. I am just REALLY REALLY lazy.

4. I think I might hate my cats. And by think I mean I don’t even see them anymore.

5. We are in the process of purchasing a house. Like a house, house with big utility bills and peeling paint.

6. Mr. Swirley is leaving for yet another ten day work trip and I will be uncharacteristically  positive until the day he leaves. I will then take on a large project such as painting our entire house or driving my mom and son to Canada or something because I seem to make stellar decisions when I am on my own.

7. My stomach hangs over my keyboard a little less this week. I credit my strict watermelon diet for this tiny tiny coup. Or the fact that I am leaning back at a 110 degree angle. Either way, I’ll take it.

8. I love playing with Thomas the train.

9. I have spent the majority of the afternoon patting myself on the back for not getting into a fight with my mortal enemy at the post office – “Overbearing scarf lady”.

10. Today I sat on baby that is 7.5 months old and it was infinitely easier than hanging out with my own kid.

Shirley I’m gonna be perfectly blunt with you, the few times you’ve been a little bad are when I liked you the most.

Our friends Meghan and Sung, and their two sweet little men, are departing God’s country (aka the Midwest) to Washington state. It’s one of those bittersweet situations where you are so incredibly proud and happy for someone, but so sad that their achievements are taking them away from you. Meghan is a GP and Sung just finished up his ENT residency…and, they just had a baby! They like to do things in quick succession – like graduate med school, get married, move into a new condo and start their residencies within only a few weeks. This time around they finished their residencies, had a baby, sold their condo, did some traveling, stood in her sister’s wedding and are setting off for the great Hispsterville known as the pacific Northwest. I suppose a move was inevitable and am grateful for the time they did live in the Midwest, but it still kind of blows.

Anyway, I wouldn’t be a friend if I didn’t take a little bit of credit for their success as doctors. I know, it’s hard to believe that someone with no formal medical training could help shape a doctor’s outlook on dealing with patients, but Meghan has even told me so. How? We’ll make Tuesday confession-day and I will tell you.

Let’s walk back in time, shall we? To 2002. I was at Mr. Swirley’s house and punctured my ear drum with a q-tip during a routine ear jamming session. Yep, super suave. I sat at my desk while my ear bled for much of the day with a Kleenex sticking out of my earhole. Finally, bossman Sherman took me to the Georgetown ER where I proclaimed that my ear started to spontaneously bleed in the morning and hadn’t stopped since. Those silly doctors with their raised eyebrows TOTALLY bought it. They passed me around from specialist to specialist, examined my stubby finger nails and asked me if I stuck a pencil in there. I continued to deny putting anything into my ear because that totally makes sense. Finally, an ENT stopped pretending to be baffled and moved the conversation to cosmetic surgery by suggesting to pin back my ears…”you know, for when you are working out in the gym.” I told Meghan this story and she asked me why I lied, to which I responded, “I have no idea.” Seriously, I don’t. Who lies about something like that? An insane person, that’s who. Since then, she has informed me that my story has stuck with her when she is dealing with patients and I like to think that because her bullshit meter is set on high, she is that much a better doctor. You are welcome! As repayment, I think you should stay.

Thanks but I’ll have to get a second opinion from someone in my basket weaving class.

A brilliant plan has been hatched in the Swirley household by one Mr. Swirley. It goes something like this.

– Pack everything for our trip “up North”. Like the entire house into our RAV-4, in 12 minutes at 4 AM.
– Mr. Swirley drives to work and loves his life.
Then the fun begins.
– EK and I take the bus to school. I take the bus home and make it to my desk by 8 AM…and hate my life.
–  Fast forward four hours and I am on the Ashland bus again – by this point, probably full of rage.
– Wake EK up from his nap and walk in 1200 degree heat to the Metra.
– Take a double decker (read staircases EVERYWHERE) train 45 minutes with a cranky toddler and get picked up by Mr. Swirley.
– Drive one hour and fifty-nine minutes with EK falling asleep at 1:58.
– Arrive at the Swingens’ door two hours into the trip.
– Play with cousins until Ellis’ eyes fall out. Go to bed.
– Get up early and drive four years to get to the cabin.

This is how I predict things will go:
– Pack the entire house minus the essentials in 20 minutes.
– Mr. Swirley takes the train to work.
– EK and I drive to school and back
– I pack the car so no one can see out any window and passengers must use their body as leverage to open and/or close any door.
– We drive, like the civilized middle class family that we are, to pick up Mr. Swirley.
– Mr. Swirley sucks it up and take two hours off of work instead of getting to work at 4 AM.
and the rest of the night will go on as laid out above.

Will I criticize Mr. Swirley’s plan to his face? No. I have agreed to this hair brained scheme. BUT, I did lay a little egg of doubt in his baby head when I inquired about the status of food left in a cooler in the car (on blacktop) for 12 hours. Passive aggressive much? Or merely rational? I know, it’s rare I am the rational half of our little duo, but this just may meet my quota of one decision per year.

With all that being said, I am really pumped for the holiday weekend. Happy America day!

If you can visualize a rabbit riding a dragon it increases the chance of winning lotteries.

Get your clucking tongues ready, people! We have now reached a new low parenting – we lock our child in his bedroom (collective dramatic intake of breath). It’s not as bad as it sounds. Well, it sort of is. You can’t really exaggerate when you say you lock your kid in his room. But look, it’s only during the allotted sleeping periods AND we tried to be civilized. We put up his little kid gate, on which he would hang and talk to for 1.5 hours at nap time, and up to two hours at night. After a week of sleep deprivation for the three of us, something had to give. And by something, I mean we created a brightly colored jail cell in which we lock our child for up to 12 hours at night and two during the day. But guess what – he now takes five minutes to fall asleep (in his bed no less!) and the same at night. It’s a Bad Parenting magazine miracle!

In other news, the Swingens visited over the weekend – just in time to see Ellis behave like a sleepy beast. We went to the Children’s Museum, on a riverboat tour, visited the Green City market, danced a little and enjoyed some amazing weather. I was 100% sure EK was going to fall off the boat and kept shrieking and jumping around like a maimed bird every time I saw him move. It was tremendous. In an effort to take my mind off of the possibility of my son slipping through the three inch gap between the bars on the boat and into the murky Chicago river, I took ten thousand pictures.

Three sets of legs.
Walking with grammy.
A blinding hello

And although our neighborhood pool has yet to open, we enjoyed some fun in the sprinklers until Mr. Swirley (accidently?) goaded EK into sticking his face into the sprinkler. Nice.

Wicker Park fun. Seriously, he was having fun. He is just embracing the apathetic hipster n’hood vibe.
Neighborhood mural and Mr. Swirley’s characteristic clenched teeth smile.
Thanks for being a big fat jerk, dad. I still love you more than mom. Not that she notices.
Pulaski Park loving. The smile is likely due to the fruit snacks and donut fed to him mere seconds before the picture was taken.

Then we had breakfast for dinner, did some arts and crafts and finished off our water table cover thing.

God bless ‘merica.

I can’t believe our assignment is to make a diorama of us making our nineteenth diorama.

1. I like day-old coffee more than fresh coffee. A lot more. However, I do not enjoy two day old coffee.

2. Last week I accidentally brushed my teeth with Desitin ointment. It’s like brushing your teeth with Vaseline that tastes like a baby’s butt.
   2.a The tube of Desitin is still next to the tube of toothpaste.

3. Our car was ransacked over night. It took me five minutes to realize this because our car is normally, um, sort of a disaster. No damage since it was left open – see, my airhead behavior can actually pay off!
   3.a. The thief(ves) stole less than $1 in change but left an expensive car seat AND a permanently disabled placard. Weird and stupid.

4. Today is the recall election in WI. I think my dad’s head will explode if Walker wins.
   4.a. If Walker does lose, it will be the third time in U.S. history that a Governor was recalled (thanks to B.W. for the factoid)

5. I can’t believe Tim Riggins isn’t throwing his name into the ring for the second installment of the Hunger Games. It’s physically painful to imagine him playing Finnick and then realizing it will never be a reality. Why does he hate me?

6.  This is what 33.5 looks like.

…Fool me 40,000 times, shame on my parents for bringing me into this world.

Sit back and close your eyes. Relax. Imagine sitting outside with your dog, or your kid and drinking a nice cup of coffee in your pajamas – him in his diaper (not the dog. Though I have seen some dogs in diapers) playing with his empty water table. The front door closes and BAM, you are locked out, again. No, it can’t be. You aren’t that stupid. But yes! Yes you are. You continue to drink your coffee, sure that your neighbors’ door is open so you can retrieve your set of keys, or your other neighbors are home. Your kid is starting to get a little restless; he is, after all, clad only in a diaper, barefoot like little Jayden Spears. So you scale your six foot high wrought iron fence, leaving your child to fend for himself inside his little porch prison while a neighbor looks on. “Buzzzzzzzzzzzz” – but your neighbor doesn’t answer. OH RIGHT! They left for California at 4AM today. Well, your other neighbor’s door is likely open. You get in to the shared hallway, hopeful that this situation will be quickly remedied, but no. Fools! Locking their door while they are away? Absurd. And, on a side note, you aren’t wearing a bra, are so greasy your hair appears to be wet, and your baby soiled his one and only diaper. Lovely.

What next? Sit outside all day in the sun with a naked kid and no water? Although an option, perhaps not the best. How about scream another neighbor’s name as he gets into his car and ask him to call someone with a ladder. A few minutes later, our hero emerges with a 20 foot ladder and like the three bears, the third window was just right (open. Which is so safe since you live in a city). Soon, this wonderful man has jimmied the window open and all 1XX lbs of him are shimmying through a very narrow space into your bedroom. You still are not wearing a bra but on the upside, you have yet to impale yourself while repeatedly climbing over the fence and even managed (with the help of a stranger) to lift your child over said fence.

So now you are back in the house, ashamed of your incredible idiocy and grateful to have such good neighbors. Then your phone rings four times in a row (on your day off), each time your boss wants to discuss something in the sort of distant future (far enough away to wait until next week to chat) while your kid manages to pour peach yogurt all over himself, the floor and then front porch.

Time for music class! Your get the car with Scabby McScabberson and are on your way. After stalking someone in order to get a parking spot, you successfully make it to class on time. You then must tell everyone that your kid had hand foot and mouth, but is no longer contagious…he is just covered in scabs. They all  laugh uncomfortably and say “it’s ok” but you catch them staring at his legs the entire class as he sneezes and coughs on their children.

The day is only half over – next stop is an Oak Park psychiatrist’s office with Ho-Ho.

What is wrong with me?