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.

I recently invested in some shirts at a garage sale. Left those at a Wendy’s, on the way home, so… the economy.

Well, I finally did it. After years of close calls, climbing through windows and the like, I locked myself out of the house and had to pay a locksmith to let me in. You might say, “Hey, at least Ellis wasn’t inside”. And then I might yell in your face, “WRONG! Because if he were, he could have opened the door after being promised Jello-O and I wouldn’t be two hundred dollars poorer.” Yes, you read that correctly, two hundred dollars. Oh, and that EK will only eat Jell-O.

This isn’t like the time that I locked us out while we were moving into our new condo in DC – Big Bill and Little Bill literally holding our couch as we attempted to use a credit card to jimmy our way in. Or when I spent the day at the Bucktown library pre-Ellis reentering my password every 20 minutes since their computers there are programmed to stop people from monopolizing them; I pay my taxes, g-dammit! Or when I locked myself out while I was barefoot, seven months pregnant and wearing Mr. Swirley’s clothes. No, this was a locked out with no cell phone, wallet and a boss who was already irritated with me before being told that I am dumb. Again.

The day started bright and early at one AM with EK screaming for no apparent reason. Since he was sick yesterday, I took pity and caved in to the “mama, hug, couch?” request. An hour and a half later, he was back in his crib and I was in bed – sore from trying to support my weight on one arm since our couch is approximately two inches deep by three wide and he took up the entire space because he is a fatso. Fast forward four hours – alarm beeping, snooze button hit, late, yikes. I shove a bagel in Ellis’ face, head out the door with toddler in one arm and a big pack of diapers in the other (I stole his diapers from school last week when I ran out.) Click. Locked out. Sweet mother of pearl.

I dropped EK off at school and figured I could jimmy my way in because things always work out in the end. You might wonder why I don’t have our house and car keys sharing a ring, and let me tell you, I wonder that same thing every day. Yet nothing changes. To add salt to the wound, I have no idea what purpose four of the six keys on the car ring serve. So that is super helpful.

The entire time I was attempting to break into my home (AGAIN) I was thinking about 1) work and more importantly, 2) denying Mr. Swirley his bowling banquet tonight where he will get lots of bowling alley food and some of the $20/week spent for the past year on bowling refunded in some sort of whacked out awards ceremony. I imagine an MC is sporting a nice mustache and wears his bowling glove to add a little flair to the event. Wouldn’t it be perfect if Mr. Swirley got $200? He won the $200 back! Really I just felt guilty about making him walk a mile to the train stop in the rain at nine AM because I am a complete and utter moron. I don’t even want to hear it, Neil.

So I call a locksmith and dude shows up and told me it will cost me $250. Say what? I offered to pay him his rate in cash and we don’t have to tell his boss –  but it was a no go. What? Aren’t we in Chicago? Is he a red-blooded American or one of those communists I hear about? Freaking May Day. Then he took 12 hours to open the door with me just inches from his face offering sage advice as he jabbed random sharp tools into now busted door knob. Although visibly frustrated, he did complement Mr. Swirley’s installation of our extra security bar thingamajigs which made it virtually impossible to get in. I have to admit that it was somewhat validating he took so long to pop the lock since we paid him what is equivalent to one fiftieth of the cost of  Ellis’ 2038 college algebra book. Maybe I am aiming too low -a pre-Calc book.

While my new frenemy was busy installing our new latch , which in no way matches the existing hardware, I called the contracting company and complained about the price. He got on the phone and pretended to hem and haw when really he had already hung up. I have seen a zillion cop shoes, dude, I know the game. Don’t underestimate me you Hyundai driving locksmith – if I am willing to pay you  under the table, I am certainly going to confirm prices and called his company back. So not only was he angry with me about refusing to allow him re-key all of our locks for $45 a pop – what? I don’t mind having nineteen different keys to get into my house – he then whined about the new price since it he spent a whole 20 minute working on the lock and cracked his phone in the process. If my math is correct, he got paid $10/minute – that is what you pay to talk with Michael Lohan and he is a mega star, right? And regarding the phone, I almost offered to kiss it and make it all better.This city is turning me into a terrible person.

Then I called the cops on lazy ass movers who were parked in the 15 minute loading zone in front of EK’s daycare. I offered them a chance but they did everything but give me the middle finger, so screw them. I really am a terrible person.

I can’t wait to see what $200 mistake I make next week – as of now I am two for two.

I just heard from the Guiness rep. He’s not coming. He’s been fired in what he described as the world’s biggest mistake.

Remember that time that I booked a hotel in Norfolk for April when we were supposed to go in May? On Priceline? $90 well spent. A super deal for a fancy hotel, right? Except for when a room goes unused. Then it’s sort of a rip.

How about that time I took the MARC (local train) from DC to Baltimore and shuttle to BWI only to find out my flight was scheduled to depart from Reagan National? And it was leaving in 40 minutes? Add $100 cab fare to my tab.

And what about that Monday in March 2012 when I looked up previously purchased tickets for a May trip to LA and realized my flight left last Friday. LAST FRIDAY! United Airlines gave me the middle finger when I inquired about a credit (rightly so), but Virgin America was much more accommodating and credited me 75% of our one-way tickets. $bitch and moan later we are back on track for our LA trip and Virgin has added another loyal customer to their roster (they have mood lighting on their planes!). And then I punched myself in the face.

Seriously, I have no idea how I have managed to to survive up until now. A lifetime of lost glasses, keys, debit cards, wallets, bags, camera batteries, tickets (I am that person frantically searching through her pockets and as a result, holding up the boarding/event/bathroom, whatever, line). Even today, I simultaneously called both airlines – and representatives picked up 20 minutes later, within 15 seconds of one another. As I pushed a zillion buttons in an effort to answer one of the calls, I ended up hanging up on both agents. Then I cried a little bit and hit redial. I am starting to think Darwin might have gotten it a little wrong with his theory of natural selection.

On to bigger and better things. Like visiting Navy Pier on a Friday in spring. It’s a million times worse than Union Station any day of the year. Plus, I can’t yell at people to get out of my way like I used to in DC because they just stand around in huge groups and I can technically get by them, but it still pisses me off. Side note – Why is it that tourists seems to congregate at the bottom/top of escalators?

Anyway, we visited the Children’s Museum and ran around the Pier. EK invited himself onto a dinner boat, climbed their ridiculously cheesy spiral staircase and checked out the starlit dance floor. It was pretty awesome. We also met some teens who didn’t heed my unsolicited advice to pool their money to buy bulk tickets for the rides. Aren’t their parents teaching them basic math skills? Jesus. Perhaps they are too busy telling their children to avoid talking to frazzled, unnecessarily pushy strangers.

Big top announcer

Peanut butter man

Papi and EK

First carousel ride EVER.

The Pier.

Saturday was consignment sale day which meant Little Miss Krissa and I got up early and drove to Evanston to beat up some moms for some choice Elmo books and two piece pajama sets with the knees still in tact. You have to spend money to  make it – and I made, um, well Ellis got a sick guitar so that has to be worth something, right?

Sunday brought the extra exciting adventure of cleaning Ho-Ho’s apartment. In case you are wondering, she has 10,000 cans of soup, 100 sleeves of saltines and Ziploc bags upon bags of jewelry and other random items. I have yet to figure out why these bags seems to be the crux of her organization system, but she apparently thinks its the best option out there. Honestly, given my track record, who am I to judge?

Then this happened. Ho-Ho is holding her own while Mrs. D carries the chorus. Note the pant-less groupie (good call uncle Rich!) in the background – dude got nuts when they opened up their encore set.

Ardie set up a little Easter egg hunt for Ellis. He searched the ballroom for tiny goodies wrapped in Christmas paper. Loot collected include: sunflower seeds (planted yesterday), Ziploc full of nilla wafers, Ziploc full of saltines since she has a few to spare, Ziploc full of cheerios, individually bagged bubble accouterments and bubble “juice”, three circus peanuts (where did the rest go?) and some other stuff I can’t remember. She unwrapped the Peeps three weeks ago and was surprised that they went stale. It was a pretty cute scene.

So yea. General takeaways from the past few days:
– Don’t trust me with ANYTHING valuable. Really, anything. But come on, you already knew this.
– Ellis is a stowaway
– Ho-Ho likes circus peanuts.