We created the best family holiday card ever this year. Plus our friends are still living with us which, in my book, is a very happy thing! Check out the card and such in my newest ChicagoNow post!
Today our friends the GM and Johnny Mic moved into their new digs. It was pretty much the best move ever because:
1. Little Miss Krissa hung out with EK all day with her daughter and his future wife, Ingyboo.
|Apparently he shared and played nicely with Ingyboo. And he took a nap without much prompting. Why does he hate me so much?|
2. The GM aka your friendly librarian, can pack like no other. You know I didn’t even try to unpack her boxes of books.
3. This happened. And no, it isn’t ironic since he wore pretty much the SAME outfit in 1999 during our move from the East Gilman street mansion apartment to the TINIEST apartment on the face of the earth (which stayed in the FWC family for years).
4. Their new house is dope. D.O.P.E.and they have a little room under the stairs (Harry’s place) for us to hide our kids.
Following the move I showed our place to another group of potential renters and managed to make a fool of myself yet again. Imagine your mom, add a twist of intense spazziness and maybe some meth…and you get me…the newest landlord on the block. People are clamoring to sign on with us.
Last night I dreamt that Ho-Ho left a message apologizing for spending $1000 on catheters. That’s 1694 catheters based on my Interweb search.
Today she called me to say she swallowed her crown and needs another one … to the tune of $1K. I would like to say I am psychic, but really, dropping a grand on her is a pretty common occurrence.
Tonight my friend Anand is coming over. He lives two miles away and I have seen him twice in two years. Let me know if you are in the market for an awesome friend that talks about how she is so psyched to see you all the time when you move here and then she totally sucks at life and turns out to be a terrible, worthless friend.
A stretch limo just drove by; they are so tacky.
Two weekends ago we traveled to Florida to celebrate the marriage of our two good friends, Siobhan and Dave. I spent the last six months or so stressing about my speech to be delivered at the rehearsal dinner. I talked to more people than I should have about my insecurities and wrote and re-wrote the silly thing. It all worked out in the end…mostly due to the 80s hair-metal band that hopefully drowned out my stupid jokes. Overall, the weekend was awesome;Tons of old friends, lots of sun, mixed drinks and pool time sans kids. Oh, and a wedding.
I spent much of the weekend stalking two of Siobhan’s friends who are supposed to be Apple “geniuses” (such bunk) in the hopes they would fix my Ipod. I was that person who casually said, “Oh, you work at Apple. Well I have this issue and…” – commence “the look” between the two of them and a growing shared hatred of yours truly. Apparently they were too busy vacationing to help me out. Bitches. And…I lost my wallet – CRAZY!!! I know. Good think I had the foresight to hand Mr. Swirley my ID at O’hare on our way out of town, otherwise I would be writing this poolside right now.
In case you are wondering, my blinds are still filthy and our car is still smashed in from last weekend’s bumpercar game on I-90. Spec-goddamn-tacular.
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.
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.
I don’t know what to write about so here is our April video two days early. Two days early you lucky sons of bs!. If you can make it through the entire video you will see Ellis performing his rendition of the “ABCs” while holding the camera.
Have you ever driven out to a rummage sale the night before, stayed a hotel and shown up bright and early Saturday morning willing to elbow whoever got in your way? Sort of a “spend money to make money” mentality? I haven’t. But we almost did and it was almost amazing. Little Miss Krissa and I still watched Overboard Friday night and drank some delicious beers, but it wasn’t in a dingy motel room. In six months we will do it for real – this was just a practice run and g-d dammit, we were amazing.
Last weekend Johnny Mic and Uncle Dave watched EK while Mr. Swirley played his hippie sports and I went wedding dress shopping with the GM and Sio. Everyone survived their respective activities and Ellis even picked up a few new tricks like calling people “simple” and pulling his pants up.
I am currently eating potato salad out of a pyrex storage bowl and loving every minute of it. I am also resting my feet on a cooler filled with beer bottles and juice boxes. Class-ay. Why do I have all of this goodness, you ask? Because this weekend we celebrated Ellis’ birthday for the second time. AJBurke and JWaller were kind enough to open their house (and roof-top) up to us, and helped feed all of the guests. We had a great time making sliders, eating various summer salads and making babies cry. Well, just one baby. Ellis didn’t really enjoy his dinner or 30 people singing “Happy Birthday”, but the other kids fared much better on a diet of apple juice, burgers and sugary goodness.
|Pre-half marathon feast.|
|Norm and I. She is a real snugglebug. Just not with me.|
|Skyline views. And a pony keg.|
|“Show me your tongue.” Seriously, that is what was going on.|
|Banner still in tact.|
Ellis finally got to meet his Uncle Andy and Aunt Andrea – who traveled all the way from Dayton to watch him cry, throw his cake on the ground and go to bed without presents. We also had guests who came from Madison, Milwaukee and Oak Park. As for presents, this kid is spoiled. Books, bonds, stuffed animals and trucks to name a few. We are so lucky to have such wonderful people in our lives and I hope they know how much we appreciate them – even if I leave parties without saying goodbye (cough cough.)
Sunday wasn’t as fun of a day for obvious and not so obvious reasons. After saying goodbye to JDold et al (much too short of a visit), we picked up a house full of wrapping paper and were stoked about having a free day to roam about the city. It was also the fourth anniversary of my grandma’s passing and surprisingly enough, for the first time in years, I was able to cope. I don’t know if it’s the existence of Ellis, the time/distance from her death, or perhaps a combination of the two, but for whatever reason September didn’t bring on the darkness and anxiety as it had in previous years. I think she would be happy about that. I also think she was messing with me as I received a call at around 10 AM that Ho-Ho’s flipper (tooth) had been stolen again. If you are keeping track, this is the third time this has happened (though we weren’t charged for the second flipper) in one year. This most recent appliance was picked up LAST WEEK. At $300 a pop, this clearly isn’t working. Brimming with a level of frustration that I cannot even begin to articulate, I asked Mr. Swirley if we could go about our day as planned before we go to Oak Park to ransack her place in search of finding a tooth. So to the hipster craft fair we went.
|It wouldn’t be a Wicker Park event without: 1) mustaches, 2) photo booths and 3) photo booths with mustaches.|
|On the way to Wicker Park.|
Ellis lived it up at the park and I am sure we were judged by many of the parents present for EK’s lack of shoes. We are still learning, people. Cut us some slack.
|I hate you blogger…. Ellis climbed the mini climbing wall solo. Crazy.|
Don’t get me wrong. We had a great time looking at crafty things (I’m not entirely sure I could identify a purpose for many of the items being sold) and the park was awesome. But Ho-Ho’s gap-tooth smile was weighing on me the entire time we were trying to relax and take in a lovely late summer afternoon.
Mr. Swirley was kind enough to accompany me and Ellis to Oak Park in the hopes that he could temper my reaction to the situation. It sort of worked except when I found out Ho-Ho has used the money I gave her for a haircut to instead buy perfume. Is this what it is like to have a teenager? If so, it’s time to start saving for one of those great East Coast boarding schools I hear so much about.
In tearing the place apart we found: 1) an earring, 2 ) hair roller and 3) pill box – all of which were also stolen at one point or another. After unmaking her bed, searching under furniture and going through her garbage coffee grind by coffee grind, I came up with nothing. Maybe she is right; somehow someone broke into her room while she was napping with the deadbolt and lower lock locked and chain across the door and removed the flipper from her mouth or the bedside table (she can’t remember if she took it out). BLARGH!!!
We also came across soda, french fries and an empty bag of chips her garbage – but she insists her weight gain is due to medication. And just now she called me saying that someone stole all of her batteries (I bought Costco packs and foolishly left them at her house). I try so hard to remain centered when I visit, and when I find myself snapping at her, I know that it won’t help but I can’t stop myself. This results in me not only being frustrated by the loss of material items, the general decline of her mental state, and the added work/cost any given situation will create, but I am disappointed in myself for letting it affect me to such a degree that I cannot bite my tongue. Would I yell at Ellis in the same manner when he is older? Probably not. How do you hold someone accountable while not making them feel bad about themselves? How do you accept that things will only get worse? This is by no means a pity party – just real questions that I can’t seem to answer. And at 32 would think I would be mature enough to figure some of this out.
She obviously doesn’t mean to lose these things, and has created a frightening world where she is a victim of a conspiracy that I can’t even begin to understand, but we have to coexist and it is getting more and more challenging to do so. A new flipper is out of the question, a bridge (which includes 3 teeth) is $2400 and an implant is over $3000. What do I do? The gap is so visible and it clearly will affect her self-esteem…but $2400 is a lot right now. And on top of that I resent her for bad choices stemming from a disease she can’t control. There are clearly a lot of decisions that will have be made regarding her long-term care and I suppose it is good to at least accept that fact now, when the issues aren’t as dire as needing 24/7 care, etc. It’s just a lot to take in.
I suppose it’s stuff like this that makes makes me miss my grandma the most – so perhaps it is appropriate that this happened on the anniversary of her passing. Maybe that sign I saw in Wicker Park with no attribution is some divine message from her. Or from someone who knows everyone has a crappy day once in a while.
Luckily we had a little comic relief at home when young Ellis decided he was ready to eat some cake. So after my lengthy rant, I will leave you with a few pictures of a happy baby because everyone loves babies and puppies. Unless you are dead inside. Then I have nothing to offer you.
|“They’ve got Mississippi Mud and they’ve got Chocolate Eruption!”|
|Dad is on bath duty tonight. Sucker.|
|His elephun attacked earlier in the day, leaving a tiny red dot on his face. He clearly was traumatized.|
Everything was a little better this AM…especially after a 30 minute snugglefest with the stinkpot pictured above.
The windows are open, Ellis is in bed, Mr. Swirley is bowling with co-workers (next think you know he will be sporting a mustache) and I am listening to electro-pop remixes of hipster bands.
Summer is coming to an end; you can already smell it in the air. Too bad that is about as much insight as forecasters can offer when it comes to weather. Take hurricane Irene for example. I heeded warnings, canceled tickets and stayed in Chicago while the Goose got married in NYC. I was imagining a wedding album full of rain boots and yellow umbrellas. Here is where it gets complicated. I didn’t actually want the hurricane to hit NYC (or anywhere for that matter), but the fact that it didn’t pissed me off because I canceled my ticket in vain. Chew on that one. I feel like a terrible person for 1) missing the Goose’ s wedding, and, 2) being disappointed that it didn’t rain like they said it would. What is wrong with me?She is currently smoking long cigarettes and wearing a scarf in Paris so I don’t feel too bad. Haugh haugh haugh.
So instead of New York I spent the weekend with the family in Chicago. Tommy D came to the city on Friday and took Ellis out for some quality pappy time. Mr. Swirley and I bonded over day drinking and first birthday party planning. Everybody won! Dad even got to walk down memory lane with EK and took him past our old digs on Sedgewick and Webster across from the pastel painted mansion. Oh you know the one….they give out full candy bars on Halloween. At least they did 25 years ago.
|EK likes long walks on the lake shore path, pinto beans and blocks.|
|For some reason he looks like a giant baby in this photo|
Saturday was a hang around the n’hood day and Sunday marked the Chicago triathlon. Johnny Mic and Jenner were two of the approximately one bazillion people participating. Not only did they do an amazing job, but were even enthusiastic both during and after the race. I sat and ate crackers the entire time they were racing so that made me feel pretty good about myself.
|proof that Ellis is a super urban baby.|
|I contemplated not posting this photo because it will likely embarrass Jenner, but I don’t think he reads this so whatever.|
|Yes, he is wearing a Schlitz biking jersey under his wetsuit.|
|Ellis owns exactly one more piece of Georgetown regalia than yours truly. And by one more I mean a total of one. Oh, and he plays peek-a-boo now. Suck on that.|
Last weekend we went to Ukraine fest where they didn’t have one piece of literature in English and I am pretty sure we were eating kielbasa and borscht during a Sunday morning blessing. Regardless it was g-d delicious.
|Uncle Austin did indeed share his platter with young Ellis. As far as I am concerned, you can’t start a kid on Slavic food young enough.|
|Er, I mean tak.|
|The menu really helped me know what I was ordering. I just pointed at the $14.00 option and figured I would get a little bit of everything.|
I was a little sad we missed the Ukrainian group that covers Katy Perry, but since I couldn’t read the schedule I figured it was a crap shoot as to what time they played. We did, however, say a prayer for our friends in Ukraine while Ellis stuck his hand in our amazing food platter and squeezed a cabbage roll…so I feel pretty good about that.
Ellis gets his one year old shots on Thursday and then we prepare for his first birthday party ever. It’s going to be sick!
Do I have to change Ellis’ blog tag from baby Swirley to toddler Swirley? This is all so confusing.
p.s. I am an aunt!! I can’s post photos but know that 1) her mama (KML) is a bad ass and, 2) you are jealous. Ms. Mary is awesome, and chubby and really excited to meet Ellis and Homer T. Cat.
I lost my wallet again. AGAIN! This makes, God, I don’t even know how many times I have done this. There was that one time I left it on a Metro bench in DC, the time I lost it on our first day on our honeymoon and the zillions of times in between. In college it got so bad that my Madison bank started charging me for replacement cards. I really don’t mean to be irresponsible but it just happens. And things have just gotten worse since I have had Ellis. What is most stressful is that my wallet held my mom’s prescriptions for August and September. Prescriptions that have to be picked up in person. Prescriptions that have to be reported as lost to the State.So I am pretty much blacklisted in her doctor’s office. I guess the silver lining is that I haven’t lost Ellis as of yet (knock on wood). And no, that time in Kohls’ doesn’t count because he was only gone for maybe 45 seconds.
Bad news aside, last weekend was awesome. First, Ellis spent all Friday shopping with me. Like the entire day. It was 75 and sunny out and he slept in his stroller. This is a rarity. Like a shooting star or Michelle Bachmann making sense. There were a few questionable decisions made by yours truly (e.g., letting Ellis crawl around the changing area while I was essentially nude), but overall it was a great day that didn’t end in me throwing the baby at Lee and fleeing to the basement with a jug of wine. Not like that ever happens. Oh, and we almost got hit by a car that drove up onto the sidewalk. Almost.
Then on Saturday we met BUCKY!! Yes, people Bucky Badger was once again in Chicago. Last year was his first time visiting Will’s Northwoods Inn and now it is an August tradition.
|August 2011 – bump is now a baby!|
Mr. Swirley spent Saturday celebrating the last days of BPugh’s bachelorhood which included a roof-top bbq, a limo ride (?) and whirleyball. The old men made a pit stop to celebrate with the badger band and we totally ruined their “macho man vibe” ( note the tiny child in the photo below).
|I realize this is a crappy photo but I wasn’t about to ask Bucky to move.|
I was really happy that Ellis got to meet a lot of his other FWC uncles and can’t wait to hit them up for jobs for EK when he is a bit older.
|I love this shot. Just two guys hanging out. I wish Ellis had feet.|
The rest of Saturday was spent with the ladies over at Susie Q’s digs. Ellis kicked it with his new friend, Scarlet, and I am she praying didn’t get sick from the germs that just emanate from his general person. Susie Q made us an amazing meal and we talked about girl things like how our significant others don’t clean the bathroom. Dude, we got karazy. It was really fun, especially after Ellis spilled my drink all over me and then finally decided to go to bed.
Sunday was yet another beautiful day and we just hung out and took pictures of Ellis. Before we had a baby I took a lot of photos. They aren’t great, but I like to document things. I now take the same number of photos, but all of Ellis. It is not because I am obsessed with him – well, I sort of am. I more obsessed with the idea of stopping time – I am desperate to be able to remember what he is like at this age – so small and cuddly and crazy. I also have a lot of photos of him because the free time that I do have is spent with him and he is such a baby about letting me do anything else.
|We often threaten to put Ellis in the smokestack when he is naughty. If we don’t have time for a smokestack time-out we can throw him in baby jail out front.|
|Work release from baby jail|
Swingens are in town this weekend and the Air and Water show is gearing up to destroy my eardrums.
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.
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.
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.|
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.|