Thank you for not being shellfish…I said that just for the halibut.

Does your bathroom counter look like this? Ceramic Santa? Empty bottle of Listerine? Chalk? No? Huh.

Today marks the last day of Mr. Swirley’s early-30s. It’s a pretty big deal. I helped him cope with this realization by taking a two hour nap and dragging him to Patagonia, REI and back to Patagonia. I know, I am the best wife. Good thing we have equally good friends who celebrate Lee’s birth with a make-your-own burger bonanza and cake! I don’t know how I can trump tonight’s dinner on Mr. Swirley’s actual birthday – the only thing better than burgers, milkshakes and cake is Cocoa Krispies. Shhhh, don’t spoil the surprise.

Snort snort.

Uncle J, sweet Katelyn and Ms. Olive and her fuzzy legs.

Uncle J made Mr. Swirley this fancy homemade red velvet cake. Tomorrow night? A pudding cup from yours truly.
Just stop.

Friday we went to the park and visited Grandma Arden to drop off meds and dance around Oak Park Arms. She was in a super mood and only mentioned how miserable she was four times. Ellis banged on the piano and unsuccessfully tried to smash my fingers with the key cover thing.


Ho Ho and her jam band.

And on Saturday the GM and I headed up to the Good Land to celebrate the impending birth of baby Arthurs and visit with lovely Maux and her family. As expected, she raked in some sweet goods including a favorite childhood story book of hers she thought had been thrown away years ago. It’s so wonderful to see an entire (huge) family so thrilled about a new baby – but how can you not be happy when it comes to Maux and Patrick? I mean, any pregnant woman that can walk in those heels must be a bad ass.

Baby blanket courtesy of Mama Finley.

Tomorrow is Mr. Swirley’s birthday and the poor guy has to work. Don’t feel too badly for him; in two weeks he is heading to the exclusive Wisconsin Dells to hang out with his high school buddies and almost remember what it was like in their heyday wearing denim, denim and high-topped black sneakers.

Meow. Mr. Swirley circa 1996.

I ride rough and tough with my gerber puffs

Our flowers in our window box are dying. I usually depend on rain to water them but might cave and throw a few extra drops their way. Last year our flowers died in mid-June and we left the boxes there, full of dead plants and dry dirt, for um, 12 months. During the holiday season I pulled out my Martha Stewart and dropped a few disproportionally small ornaments on the dirt and voila! Even if they didn’t say anything, the neighbors were so jealous. This year I planted petunias (much to neighbor and friend J’s chagrin – “they are so tacky”) and they have survived if only because we have had a very wet summer. Oh well, at least they brightened someone’s day and more importantly, successfully pissed off another person for an entire summer.

Yesterday I yelled at two separate people. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. First, I pulled over in front of our house and opened my door without looking. Brilliant. A car stopped short next to me and I apologized with a brisk “sorry”. He shook his head and scowled to which I defensively responded, “What? You’re fine. I wouldn’t have hit your car anyway!” Then, Ellis and I made our way down to the Toyota dealership to cash in on our first warranty visit free oil change magic four hour adventure (really two) and decided to walk around and window shop. Well, I obviously decided to walk around and Ellis had to follow because he still has very little say in his life. Anyway, there was a lot of digging going on in the street and all of a sudden all of the lights at a pretty major intersection go out. I notice it right away and point it out to one of the guys wearing a bright orange vest. He confusingly looks around and does nothing. I wait, since I am terrified to cross the street with a baby because apparently when people see no light, they feel it appropriate to actually speed up through the intersection. Tick tock, nothing. So what do I do? Yell at him to call his supervisor and help people cross the street.

On Tuesday I yelled at a moving truck parked in the “loading zone” at daycare because they were taking up a spot at pick-up time. I mean, seriously? How old am I in crotchety years?

I have to say Grossinger Toyota is probably the nicest dealership I have ever visited. Ellis and I really learned that place inside and out as it took the mechanics approximately three years to change our car’s oil. Not only do they have a kids’ playroom, but  I found out that Chevy Silverados make the perfect playpen for a one year old! Yes, they are filled with dust (even in a showroom) but he wasn’t going anywhere. Toyota Sienna’s are a close second.

What up ladies? Wanna go for a ride? I have a 50,000 HP hemi.Whatever that means.

 When I showed up at the dealership the guy helping asked if I was Mrs. X or Mrs. Y. I immediately panicked because I thought I came on the wrong day. My response? Complete and utter chaos is the only way I can describe it.
“What day is it? Is it Thursday? Friday? Wait, is it September? What time is it? My last name is Swirley. Crap? Do I have an appointment? Can you fit me in? I have a weird light on my dashboard. Do you have a bathroom?”…all the while beads of sweat were forming on my forehead and palms and Ellis was writhing around in my arms? The guy clearly thought I was an idiot, took my keys and shrugged me off. Oh well.

Later on, EK and I headed over to his doctor’s office for his one-year shots. I, of course, screwed up the appointment time and we were late. We ended up spending over an hour in an exam room where Ellis proceeded to pull out the urine specimen cups and stack them up into little clear (possibly no longer sterile) castles, push the MD stool around and around…in the buff, and get THREE shots and blood drawn. As you can imagine, it was not pretty. He did walk out with four band-aids, which is baby world equivalent to looking like a grade-A, prison yard badass. But he was still pretty pissed. And oddly enough I left my phone in the office.

Then we visited EK’s fiance, Ms. Ingrid, who is preparing for her first week with her nanny. I think Little Miss Krissa is doing her best to hold it together and maybe even contemplating stuffing I. into her shirt and smuggling her into work. That baby is so freaking cute.

Earlier this week Ellis also got to see his Auntie Mo-Mo again (KJY’s mama), who smothered him with kisses and spoiled us with dinner out.

 I love this woman. I essentially lived at her house from grades 3-12, where KJY and I guzzled Ruby Red squirt, wrestled on the futon  (yea, i gave her a black eye), played role-playing games (I still don’t get them but I pretended to), watched Unsolved Mysteries (banned in my house) and drank from fancy colored metallic cups. It was one of the most stable places in my life (second to the G’s) and it’s always so nice to see her and remember getting yelled at by Dan for staying up way past our bedtime on Erin street. I can still hear the sound of him coming up the stairs, scolding us while probably not even moving his teeth. Man, I loved that house. And the fact that they never made me pay for everything that I broke (glasses, windows, screen doors, you name it.) I call the statute of limitations is 20 years.

Happy Labor Day!

I’m As Cool As A Cucumber In A Bowl Of Hot Sauce

I just drank a cup of water mixed with a tsp. of baking soda in an effort to fight a wicked case of heartburn. At least that is what my new friend Lisa suggested as a remedy. She might have been playing a cruel prank on me since nothing has changed except for the fact that I now have a tsp. of baking soda bubbling in my belleh. I feel bad complaining about heartburn because I am pretty sure it is really common based on the number of daytime ads I saw for GIRD drugs while on maternity leave. And because I am reading We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed – which is about the Rwandan genocide. I think bellyaching about a bellyache ranks pretty low in comparison.

Last Thursday Ellis and I took a trip out to Oak Park. Ho-Ho decided her drugs had been tampered with and I needed to take her to her pain specialist to get a new prescription. Never mind that Medicare won’t cover another 30 day supply when we just got the script filled. Whatever. So off we went. And sat. And sat. I have to say that I have met some pretty interesting people in the pain specialist’s waiting room. Everyone wants to share their story and most of them make you feel like a pretty big sissy for complaining about your problems. See above. And yes, I recognize the irony of stating that and then continuing on with my rant. Anyway, after a few too many personal tid bits from our waiting room friends, we headed into an exam room. Only to sit for another 45 minutes. When I say “we sat”, I mean Ho-Ho sat and I flew Ellis around like a plane and played with the x-ray light-box screen thing in order to keep him under control. I assume the light box cost about one million dollars but it was a risk I was willing to take. Finally in walks the resident. I let mom launch into her theory of why she was falling asleep in the morning. It couldn’t be the drug cocktail she takes at 6 AM or the fact that she stays up late to watch TV. So after much circuitous logic, the resident leaves and our doctor decides to take a stab at the situation. Round two.

Doctor: So, is this new sleeping pattern stopping you from engaging in every day activities?
Ho-Ho: No.
Doctor: You are able to do things you were doing before?
Ho-Ho: Yes. I walk two miles every day. (editorial note: this is a blatant lie)
Doctor: So what is the problem?
Ho-Ho: I am falling asleep all the G-D time! I can’t do anything.

And scene.I had to step out because Ellis, fed-up with the ridiculousness of the situation, was aggravating the poor resident with his writhing and incessant whining. A few minutes later, out walks the doctor. As we talked about the situation, he literally started banging his head on the wall and for some reason that made me feel better. Like if she can get to him, then maybe my fuse isn’t so short. So we got a new prescription and off we went. Well, off we would have went if she hadn’t lost my car keys. All in all, we spent three hours at the doctor’s office and I still haven’t filled her prescription because I know it will be denied. The strange things is that after Thursday she stopped complaining of falling asleep at odd times; it’s like the visit to the doctor’s office was all she needed to cure her.

Today she told Mrs. D. that someone came in and vandalized her toilet seat.

After that adventure we decided to have some family fun and went to the Museum of Science and Industry with LMK, Ingrid and Sr. Norm on Saturday morning. In addition to supporting ” our warfighters”, Mr. Swirley’s employer also supports its staff and subsidized our tickets. The museum must have recently undergone some major renovations because the last time we visited (c. 2007) it was exactly like it was in 1988. No lie. I feel a little guilty that I was a bit disappointed when I saw the new exhibits, fresh paint and sparkling John Deere tractor. Don’t worry – they still have the Mold-a-Rama machines that singe your nostrils with that strangely nostalgic, yet somewhat poisonous odor of wax melting at a very high temperature.

Ellis particularly enjoyed the kid area and managed to topple anything resembling a tower. My little Godzilla, how I love him. See how his shirt is a darker shade of blue around his neck? That is because he poured water all over himself. Like he does whenever we are around water. First try to drink it, then pour it all over. I guess that is sort of a given with babies.

Baby version of a padded cell. Much better than the “smokestack time out” behind our house that I often tell Ellis about.

Future Globetrotter

Ingrid spent most of her time eating and sleeping – both activities that are pretty legit for an eight week old baby girl. In case you were wondering, yes, she has the most perfect nose ever placed on a baby’s face.

Sr. Norm and Ellis’ future boo – Isn’t she slimming? If you could see his hands then you would know he is holding tight to a sweet, sweet churro.

 Tomorrow EK and I are heading out into the sweltering heat to pick up some gifts for Sweet Lou who is celebrating his second birthday this weekend. Good ole’ Tom Skilling is predicting another day of record breaking temps. Hopefully our faces don’t melt off.