I wish my mouth was farther away from my brain. I wish my brain had its own brain.

I hate the band Train. Like A LOT. More than I hate Kesha (no, I will not let her use a $ as an “S”. She is useless) or green peppers (since getting pregnant with EK). Why do they keep making music?  I apologize if you are one of the 14 people who downloaded their most recent CD, but seriously? I hope Virginia ran far far away.

Today we were informed that EK is the resident pervo at FYC. Examples? How about trying to smooch his buddy Lily during lunch while she was donning only a diaper. Another one? Yelling “It’s showtime!” while another girlfriend was getting her diaper changed. Thankfully neither Lee nor I can take credit for that one.

I just spent an hour trying to get Ellis to fall asleep in his bed. The one-sided conversation went something like this (and it’s pretty likely that you would have understood four words total)…

Mama big boy bed? Dada big boy bed? Elmo big boy bed? Tuck old friends in. Night night Elmo. Night night Abby. Night  night. Awake! Night night. Awake! Blanket? Pillow? Cozy. Mama nice to Ellis? Family hug? (putting me in a headlock). Milk. I like milk. Moo Cow. Cool bed. Eye. Count eyes. One (poke), two (poke), three (poke), four (poke), five, six, seven, (poke) … NOSE! Mama soft hair (pull). Play mama’s hair? Family hug? Dada sleep? Read book? FAMILY HUG! Close door? Ellis close door (gets up and pushes door close). Ellis big boy. Lulu big boy. Gus big boy. HOMER! Meow. WILLIE! Willie cat. Mama nice [to] Ellis? Rub back. Peanut song? No. Papi no know peanut song. How ’bout twinkle twinkle. TWINKLE TWINKLE. Yea!

and repeat.

Last week I called a guy working at a camera store “Mr. Fancypants cameraman” after he told me that I needed to upgrade my camera because it doesn’t have an HD camcorder. How many pieces of equipment does one person need? And why should we pitch/trade in a perfectly good camera (before we got sand in it) just because it’s eight years old? Weirdo.

So what you call insanity, we call solidarity!

May movie madness

And a little conversation where Ellis reveals he is a Republican and I once again prove just how terrible my Midwestern accent truly is (focus on my pronunciation of the words “both” and “pony” – Hell, it all sounds ridiculous.)

If I keep my body moving, and my mind occupied at all times, I will avoid falling into a bottomless pit of despair.

Look, I am not going to beat around the bush. I am pissed. Not pissed like “I locked myself out the house then later realized our bedroom window was open” pissed. No, I am seriously pissed. We just received our appraisal and it came in below the amount required to refi w/o PMI. What does that mean? It means I found another way to waste $250 this week…and you thought I couldn’t go three for three. Fools! You might also think I am above drinking a bottle, er, I mean glass of wine out of a coffee cup. Well, it hasn’t gotten that bad but I certainly considered it. It’s better than straight from the bottle.

In other money-spending news, we bought ourselves a little security camera for the front porch. It cost about as much as the grill, but apparently it’s the the principle of the matter. Last week I found that we didn’t calibrate it quite correctly when I adeptly (yea, I said it) climbed over the fence and tried to break in. Not one picture was taken! But I did find this one and wrongly assumed Mr. Swirley was checking out a fine little Bosworth boo at 6 AM. Instead he was examining a stain on the sidewalk caused by our recently planted (badass) planters.

Chocolate Chex are the most amazing treats ever. Three of the fourteen boxes of cereal purchased yesterday are of the Chocolaty Chex variety. Go buy some and tell me I am wrong.

When you ask EK his name he says “Ellis Svingen” which is probably how those giant Norwegians pronounce it. Always trying to show us up, that kid. Well, I know my name too, buddy. So there.

I don’t know who possessed EK when he was telling us his name, but I am certainly happy he snapped out of it when we got to the animals.

I downloaded some new apps…can you tell?

Snack time with mom aka popcorn in a sieve.

The ole’ pants off game. Players: 1.


And am hellbent on taking the worst pictures ever whenever I am near EK. Nostrils flared? Check. Weird grimace? Oh yea. Eyebrows raised? Why not? Errant wiry, grey hair? Look for yourself

Look over there Ellis! See the mom and son taking a perfectly nice picture together?

And then my heart fell out when he almost busted through the chicken wire and plunged ten million feet below into the monkey pit. They were totally monkeys, so don’t give me that crap about confusing apes for monkeys and calling me ignorant.

Chicken wire? What? Thanks Brookfield Zoo. All I could think about (aside from Ellis’ possible perilous plunge and my love for alliteration) was our faces on the 6 o’clock news and the newscasters shaking their head at our level of stone-cold irresponsibility. It’s chicken wire – completed inadequate to hold anyone over the age of fetus! This is a very long caption. Perhaps it doesn’t really count as a caption but I am not going to cut and paste it into text.

As a complete non sequitur, once I was the handler for an Iraqi delegation and they asked me, at nine o’clock in the evening, to get their clothing dry cleaned…due nine hours later. I took it home, washed, dried (in pay machines no less!) and ironed their duds, put each article of clothing on a hanger, placed them into used dry cleaning bags and delivered everything to their hotel in the morning.

I am relieved to know that chins, unlike noses and ears, don’t continue to grow throughout your lifetime. That would be terrible.

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 always go the extra mile to avoid doing things.

My hands won’t stop sweating. Gross. It could be due to the fact that I am wearing 12 layers of clothing and sitting 1/2 inch away from a space heater that is set to 85.

Taco, taco, taco. I am not sure why that word keeps flashing in front of my eyes. Any ideas?

Ellis has been a bit of a tyrant lately. Two nights ago he woke up at 2:30 AM screaming his face off. We let him cry until 3 AM and then went into his room to check on the little man. What did he want? Yogurt. Yes, sweet, delicious early morning yogurt..served up to him by dad and only dad. Then a little tour around his room to say g’night to his friends and back down. Weirdo.

Last night I turned on his fancy, new butterfly light thing from his great grandpa and EK ran around the house yelling “buhfly, flap! flap!” and wildly waved his arms up and down.

In case you are wondering the lyrics to the traditional nursery rhyme, “Ba, Ba, Black Sheep”- it goes a little something like this.
Mom: Ba Ba black sheep have you any wool?
EK: Bobbing his head around and throwing in a baabaa
Mom: Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full. On for my…
EK: Dada!
Mom: and for my…
EK: Dada!!
Mom: and for the little…
EK: Dada! Baabaaa
Mom: Black sheep…

My house is so messy. I wish I could take a giant eraser and start over again. I also haven’t checked the mail in three days because I am too lazy to walk outside. The box is three feet from my door.

Ooh! Ellis has a new friend in the building. Ms. Katelyn Rae was born a few days ago and is the sweetest peanut ever. We are besties (she peed on me, so I think that makes us friends).

In preparing for our upcoming trip to CA, I am working to stop using the term “terrorist” in reference to EK. Honestly, it’s not going too well.

We are on week two of menu planning. On Sunday, I made a curry dish that offered up enough saturated fat in one serving to max out your weekly allowance. I start to gag even thinking about it. Ellis seemed to enjoy the curried chicken until Mr. Swirley gave him a piece that appeared to singe his little mouth and thus discourage him from eating for the rest of the night (hence the early AM yogurt debacle). Oh well.



Merry 2012! It’s been a lively few weeks here in the Swirley household. Well, here and in ‘sconsin where we celebrated St. Nick’s visit with lots of fanfare, children shaving their faces and gluttony. Unfortunately, Mr. Swirley got sick on Christmas night and we had to forgo our annual Christmas trip to La Crosse to head home to fight a cold and wallow in self-pity. I knew he was sick when he was ok with me driving home; those yellow lines are just general guides, no?

We did have fun prior to the bout of death Mr. Swirley contracted somewhere between the eve and day of baby J’s birth. Below is just a taste of the controlled Xmas chaos.

When I first saw these two, I assumed they asked NVS to paint their faces to look like Mr. Swirley and/or Chuck Norris. However, I was wrong. They wanted to look like pirates
Family portrait!
Excitement. EK was more interested in the slide outside of the pool rather than than the pool itself.
This photo will be taken one zillion more times over the next 20 years.

Ellis lurves Guhhhh.

Lou getting rid of his noon o’clock shadow.

Swingens keep the fondue tradition going strong.

KJY arrived a day later and did her first of 10,000 loads of dishes while staying at our house. I cannot express how appreciative I am of people who do our dishes. Seriously, if you are looking for a best friend, come over and do one load and I will help you move or whatever you need. We also went shopping for sparkly New Year’s outfits and mocked each other until we were hoarse.

Ellis learned how to kiss and say “katie” just in the nick of time!

Our very generous (and preggo) neighbor volunteered to watch EK New Year’s Eve so we could celebrate with friends at a “fire and ice” party. Ice luge? Outdoor heaters (that didn’t work)? Check and check. Dance party? Oh hell yes.

Neck beard anyone?


Fun times.

Weirdest picture of the night.
Second weirdest picture of the night.

We were out until 3 AM. 3!!!! I know you are seriously impressed by our stamina. I certainly am. The last time I was up at 3 was two weeks ago when EK was screaming in my face and refused to sleep anywhere but on top of me.

And now on to the main news of the day. We are scheduled to go to a parent-teacher conference on Saturday. For a second I considered joining FWC members for a day of “shooting guns and drinking beer” in Michigan, but realized that would be irresponsible. Plus, you don’t have to leave Chicago to do that. When I first heard about the conference, I assumed it was like an “all the parents are invited to come  listen to a speaker tell you how to be a better parent” conference. I even asked the school director if it was BYOB. I then realized they meant a one-on-one conference and was just a little bit embarrassed.

To prepare for said conference, today I received an evaluation of Ellis. Why did I panic? He is 16 months. It’s not like they can say he is disruptive or dumb or something. But 18 years of formal education has primed me to be simultaneously excited and terrified when I hear the word “evaluation”. I can say that the evaluation indicated that his teachers are working on helping Ellis transform from a feral animal (eating with his hands, speaking in gibberish, etc.) to a functional member of society – Thank God someone is on his side. So I will report back post-conference as to whether or not this kid has a shot in life

From David Bowie’s “Kooks”

We bought a lot of things to keep you warm and dry
And a funny old crib on which the paint won’t dry
I bought you a pair of shoes
A trumpet you can blow
And a book of rules
On what to say to people when they pick on you
‘Cause if you stay with us you’re gonna be pretty Kookie

Bloody Marys, two for tea, Bubble bath and TV

A few weeks ago Mr. Swirley turned the AC on and told me we didn’t have to close the windows near the ceiling because the heat rises and needs to escape. So I complied…for the entire week. Turns out he was just too lazy to pull a chair over to close them and I took his words at face value.
While at Walgreen’s last week, Ellis started to play with the Chris the Pharmacist’s daughter, Ellie. She is 19 months old and pretty awesome. Not only did she share her O’s with him, but when I commented on her heart sticker, she peeled it off, ripped it in half and gave it to Ellis. He then threw it on the floor. 
Recently we figured out that Ellis pretty much only likes cold food. So now we have to cook whatever meal is on the menu for the day, then stick it in the freezer to lessen the likelihood of it ending up on the ground. I love that it took six months for us to identify his food preference.

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!

Stock quotes and market updates

If you lose a prescription for a narcotic you have to report it to the police. You then have to take the police report to the doctor to get a new prescription. Funny thing is the Chicago Police won’t give you a report to take to the doctor. So you can’t get the script. All types of awesome.

In other news, I just checked the status of my $100 parking ticket and it has been dismissed.To all you naysayers out there who told me I had to lug my baby downtown to fight a ticket (I am looking directly at you Mr. Swirley) – nyah nyah. 

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.