Your daddy’s your hero? You should aim higher.. like a low-end bookie or a spare tire.

I am happy to inform you that the holiday spirit has invaded Warwick Avenue. This evening we overheard Ellis singing, “dingleberry, dingleberry, jingle all the way”. And scene.

Mr. Swirley claims we live in a clown house. I disagree?

Apparently he thinks we aren’t classy. Whaaaa? Maybe it’s the fake garland I found and put up EVERYWHERE instead of making dinner, or the beads hanging down from the chandelier? Call me a bleeding heart but I think if some tiny kid in China was forced made these terrible decorations, we are going display them for all to admire I don’t know how my mom amassed such an incredible collection of Christmas crap but I love it….all 100000000000 of Ho-Hos shatterproof sparkly plastic ornaments.

We found the most amazing children’s book at the library today, A, B, C in Chicago. Need to learn the alphabet? Look no further.
– A is for airport shuttle
– D is for dumpster
– H is for hotdog (pictured w/o ketchup)
– T is for trashcan

Ellis then freaked out and started cross-referencing this book with 1, 2, 3 Chicago making me go through it four times before bed with his flying back and forth between the books… “Lion? Lion! Tiboooon Tower? Tibooon Tower!!!!” Pretty exciting stuff going on over here.

Mr. Swirley has spent a good portion of the evening wearing a headlamp. Our lights work, so I am not really sure what is going on with that but I support it.

The news just told me to not carry my birth certificate with me in my purse if I go shopping downtown. The producer of that segment should be shot.

I’m a good driver. Red means stop. Green means go. And yellow is the other one.

Well well well, I hate to say I told you so, but it looks like the rest of the Interwebs appreciates both Overboard and Labyrinth based on searches that landed those poor souls onto my blog page. A sampling? Don’t mind if I do –

– Jeffrey Wiseman (lots of these. Lots and Lots of these.)
– Jeffrey Wiseman Overboard
– Jeffrey Wiseman actor
– Carol Williard (aka Mrs. Rose Budd the intrepid news reporter)
– Turkey Wattle – this search is unintentional but brings people to a picture of Mona working on her gullet (is gullet a word? If not, I call it). You will also see this picture if you google “what happens when you take off neck rings” and search through God knows how many pages to find this piddly blog.)

– Jamie Wild (again, lots of these)
– Jamie Wild from Overboard
– Jarod Rushton Overboard
– Garbage lady from Laybrinth
– Rubbish lady from Laybrinth (clearly these users are NOT american but know a good USA flick when they see it).
YOU ARE WELCOME! See, don’t you feel good knowing that you have received a proper primer on the current status of all of the Overboard actors? I just might have saved your life by providing such a crucial public service.

Other random keyword activity includes:
– sunglasses that go over your glasses (surprisingly popular)
– adventurexxx (yikes, pervymagoos!) Nice thing about this search is it brings the porn seeker to an entry that includes me complaining about: traffic, the high cost of daycare, sick kids and a trip to see family. Talk about MEOW-worthy viewing.
– sametova revola
– Nebraska Jones Chicago

In other news I lost the keys to our new hours three times. Well, I lost them twice and then threw them away once. Since I can’t figure out how to lock the front door it doesn’t really matter if we have keys, but Mr. Swirley seems to think it is a problem that needs to be addressed. This does not mean we hide keys everywhere (my idea, clearly), but instead invest in a keypad entry. Fine, whatever. I still like those fake rocks that everyone knows house keys.

If I go to Home Depot one more time I am going to spray concentrated Green Clean in my eyeballs. Speaking of cleaning, I finally broke down and scheduled someone to come in and clean our condo because I am pretty sure my fingers will fall off if I clean one more toilet (long story but our house wasn’t cleaned when we signed and I couldn’t get anyone in to clean it before we moved in…so we cleaned and I have pretty much hated my life ever since.) Anyway, it took her seven hours. SEVEN! Can you believe CPS didn’t come take my kid away because we were clearly living in squalor. I mean, the place was empty and she spent an entire work day there cleaning; I can’t even spend an entire work day working! Good thing three dudes are moving in who probably could give an f about whether or not the floor area behind the dryer is clean but I am happy about it.

I also order a TV from Amazon based solely on reviews and four pictures – I didn’t even see it in action. I mean, it’s a TV…do I really care if I can see someone’s pores? Notsomuch. After ordering said TV (and having to reprocess the order 400 times because I am an idiot), I realized I accidentally had it sent to our old address. Since we were down to one set of keys (which were in my possession), I lightly suggested to Mr. Swirley that we meet up at his old train stop and stalk the UPS guy. The three of us drove around the neighborhood (side note: Mr. Swirley has become quite the backseat driver as of late…) searching for driver Billy and eventually ended up at the Kam family digs in our “old” Bosworth building. It’s basically impossible for us to actually leave. And yes, the TV eventually showed up.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I will have a lot to report. Or a little, I don’t really know. My plan is to hand my kid off to his cousins upon arrival, leave him there Saturday and avoid picking him until as late as possible on Sunday. I guess that means I am thankful for family who will endure us (help us move/unpack/take our kid) and that I can endure family (namely Ho-Ho). I am also thankful for grass. It’s amazing how much our little patch of grass can instantly change my outlook. I am not thankful for the ceiling fans in every room of the new house – they just really piss me off. Or the challenges posed by repairing plaster walls. But, at least we have walls to repair. Taking everything into account, we are incredibly fortunate people with good friends and family. Still, no one really likes ceiling fans, do they?

Happy Turkey Day!

I am also thankful for the Interwebs and how I can “borrow” and share fun stuff like this,

Is there a How to Hide Your Glaring Lack of Knowledge From Your Friends for Dummies, cause that’s one you should’ve bought.

I am finally coming up for air. Sort of. We moved on Saturday and I am pretty sure everyone who helped us isn’t talking to me anymore. Apparently the straw that broke the group’s back was the emptying of the storage unit on the THIRD van trip whereby a cork bulletin board was produced. A.J. Burke literally called bullsh!t and headed out. Whoops. I used it once and feel bad pitching stuff. Sue me. Then there were the stacks and stacks of boxes labeled “not important”; apparently that is a morale breaker. In my defense, those were labeled in 2008 when we first moved to Chicago and had to decide which boxes had to go to temporary housing vs. storage. Still…

Mrs. and Mr. D unpacked the kitchen and made a lot of repairs. Once they left I stopped unpacking and mourned moving away from Bosworth. I know, I know – grill thief, flower thief, neighbor feuds and other shenanigans aside, I finally felt like I fit in somewhere. It’s pretty much DC all over again…settling down to uproot. This time it’s only three miles, but I am so used to waving hi to folks as they walk their dogs, or watching Ellis run towards freighbors as they make their way home from work. It just felt right and yet we decided to move. Do you have any idea what it takes to maintain a house? Because I don’t and am now absolutely TERRIFIED. I have to put my garbage out on garbage day? Wha…?????

Last night I realized that this is the first time I have lived in a home without constant company since I was a tiny person. From as far back as I can remember, we have always had live-in friends…or almost live in. It started with a home daycare that ran from 7 AM to 5:30 PM. One positive take away is that is I was primed to endure children/adults screaming to the point I can still sleep right through it. Once my mom moved out we had a string of roommates include Dauin (sp?) who slurped his food like no other I have ever witnessed, John K. who got me into the Onion and recently sold out (cough cough) to drive fancy cars or something, and a bunch of others I should remember but don’t because I was a cool high school girl (again, cough cough). Then came college with roommates who clinked their bowls with every spoonful of cereal, spent years sleeping in and tried to convince me that fake meat tastes as good as the real stuff. Post-graduation included a cross country move and another roommate followed up by cohabiting with my usually-better half…all in apartment buildings. While I complained about the constant noises of people living above us, threatened to sue other condo owners in DC and listened to the video gaming, opera/band rehearsals and folks going up and down stairs, I now miss hearing other lives go on around us. It’s just so quiet here. I often imagined our life at home set in a musical where the scene was an architectural section of a building …each family living their lives while simultaneously interconnected with those around them; as an infant, Ellis used to fall asleep to my neighbor Ryan practicing his musical scales. It was somehow perfect.

When I try to communicate this odd sense of loss (I know, we are only three miles away…but in a city, two blocks is different community), people are quick to remind me that we will likely make friends with our new neighbors. While I am sure that is true, I am not anxious to replace my old friends (you know, silver and gold and all of that) and am scared that corner chats will turn to polite waves. I know I am being dramatic here – I am just not one for change…especially when I am happy.

That said, Ellis seems pleased (for the most part…he has been asking for everyone) and Mr. Swirley and I are doing are best to get back to normal (errrr…). How the crap do you hang pictures in plaster without the house crumbling around you? And we warmed up Ellis’ room by stuffing blankets in the window. Classy!

Today I moved all of the downstairs furniture and rugs around (think profuse sweating, straining and swearing…alliteration intended) and unpacked 120000 boxes. Let me suggest that you DO NOT try to drag a 10×14 rug and accompanying pad around your house before rolling it up. If you opt to ignore my advice, at least lift from the knees. Or you can be like my gimpy ass tonight and feel like your legs and back are going to fall off. Mr. Swirley came home and, after looking around the house, told me, “I guess that will do.” Oh, and he thinks the giant rug that I lugged around should go back to it’s original home in the living room. Then I poisoned his dinner. Not really, but I didn’t argue when he offered to go to the condo to clean. I am sure that once I review his cleaning job, I will respond with the same apathetic tone because that is how we do in the dirty Midwest. That’l do.

I need help reacting to something.

I just *accidentally locked Mr. Swirley in EK’s room (with EK). You gotta break a few eggs…

We are currently residing in four square feet of living space. You think I am kidding. I am not. NOT at all. To add twelve pounds of salt to the wound, our closing date was delayed from today to October 31st to November never .Well, not never, but the mortgage company threatened to pull the loan because they assumed that a credit for sealing the basement meant that we were buying sieve. Obviously. I got this news while waiting at the DMV for a duplicate ID, which, by the way doesn’t require a new pictures so I flat-ironed my hair for nothing. Honestly, that was the most irritating part of the day. That sh!t singes the crap out of what’s left of my brown hair.

This morning Ellis woke up at 5AM and did his best impression of a chicken with his head cut off. It was awesome except for the the fact that it wasn’t. Then I pushed a chair, a box and filing cabinet up against the door (taking up three out of our four square feet) and hunkered down for a terrible scream storm. Three hours later we woke up with 15 minutes to spare before a 9 AM meeting at our soon to be new house. We made it, bitches. Ellis might have been wearing raspberry-stained pajamas sans shoes, but we made it to our on time and for that I am very proud. However, I am not proud of our unbrushed teeth, greasy hair (again, both of us), the insane look in my eyes as a I barreled down I-90, and chaos created by EK’s incessant questioning while the perma-seal guy earnestly tried to explain the process of doing something or other to the basement.

I wish I could do a voice over for a cartoon. I am not saying I have a good voice for such a venture, but it would be fun to wear those headphones in a sound booth.

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.

Do you know how long someone who is as sarcastic as I am would last in prison? Suuuuuuch a long time.

This morning, after cursing Mr. Swirley for finishing off the skim milk, I considered mixing water with whole milk so I could eat my crappy cereal. I went as far as filling up a glass with water and decided to scrap the idea and ingest 45 million calories for breakfast. Followed up by a diet coke. This, my friends, is how the next ten days will likely continue.

Our awesome ride started last Thursday with a late night hospital trip with Ho-Ho. Mr. Swirley and I were able to convince to her to go in with us by gifting not one but TWO tubes of lipstick and an economy size bottle of hair gel. We are still iffy as to the duration of her stay, but the nurse said the average patient stays 30 days to ensure the med cocktail is up to snuff. I received no less than FIVE calls yesterday from Ardie; it’s going to be a long month. Plus it’s $12.00 to park at RUSH’s parking lot every time I visit. Doesn’t that seem a little insane? Although Mr. Swirley asked  me while I was between contractions if it was ok to pay to park in the Swedish Covenant hospital lot while on our way to the delivery unit, so I am probably not one to ask about reasonable prices for parking since I am pretty much willing to pay zero.

Friday we packed up the house and drove to Madison for our 15 year high school reunion. I was actually pretty proud of the fact that KML and I only had to stop once to give the kids some reprieve from the drive…and we didn’t lose either one!  The reunion went well, though the morning started out poorly with the car packed up the keys nowhere to be found. I know, you are are super surprised. Family fun picnic, followed up by a happy hour and then a very welcome night of rest sans kid thanks to Tommy D. We headed back home early Sunday morning and spent the day running errands for Ho-Ho and avoiding cleaning. When I visited her later that night with an armful of new clothes, she demanded I return the capris because she is too embarrassed to wear them due to the spider veins on her ankles, but that, according to her, is not vanity trumping comfort. Meanwhile, she has no problem sporting a soaking wet poncho around everywhere to keep cool. She also informed me that my grandfather will happily pay $2000 for saline injections to collapse the veins although my grandpa hasn’t bought new pants since 2007.

Today EK woke up at 4:30 AM and Mr. Swirley left at 6 for a seven to ten day business trip. If you are looking for a time to visit Chicago and spend time in a cat hair-ridden condo, this is your lucky weekend. Please.


p.s. In case you were wondering, swim diapers DO NOT hold liquid. So don’t run out of diapers and try to use them because you will fail miserably.

Clean up on aisle busted.

I am terribly behind in posting banal details about our life. Apologies.

Here is some news, Ellis now only responds to the name, “Charlie”. You can attempt to get his attention by calling, cooing, yelling, etc. “Ellis” and you get nothing. You say, “Charlie!” and he responds immediately. It works at stores AND at home. He also told me he is going to be 16 in August.

We spent July 4 up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. We had a great time except for the fact that Charlie has learned how to escape from his pack and play which means he tried to kill himself pretty much every night. Cabins are a little more difficult to childproof, so we spent one to two hours each night trying to get him to sleep AND bid farewell to naps for the holiday weekend. I suppose it was fitting given it was Independence Day, but let me tell you, we ripped that freedom right out from under his feet the second we returned home.

Our favorite Finnish cousins spent the weekend with us asking millions of questions including: “Why do you live in Chicago?” – “Why is your hair so soft?” – “Is that your bathing suit?”(it’s a tankini and apparently the most foreign thing they had ever seen) – “Why is he crying?” (this was a common one) – “Why won’t he let me hold him?” – “Have you heard of this Britney Spears?” – “How do you change Ellis’ diapers?” Unfortunately they didn’t volunteer to help out with the diaper changing but were continually fascinated with the process. And, they did try to squeeze the ever living life out of him for 72 hours straight…much like Looney Tunes’ Elmyra Duff

It was hilarious. Plus they were incredibly helpful with keeping him occupied.  As with any other event post- August 2010, I neglected to take into account the work involved with transporting and entertaining a child while constantly trying to prevent his demise. I was semi-successful with regard to my duties as a parent; EK got a swift smack in the face with a regulation weight horseshoe. I was worried about the post-shoe release and completely forgot about the windup. Yikes.I felt pretty great about myself after that.
G.U.S. and the rest of the kids basically lived in the pier. I tried to stay away because, as indicated above, I was SURE that something terrible would take place. I never thought I would be one of those moms, but I totally am. So I lived in my bubble of ignorance and freaked out every other minute or so. Everyone survived and I looked like a jackass. What’s new?
Night fishing. I can tell you that life could not get any better for these children that this moment right here. A dirt cake came in a close second, but couldn’t beat this.
This is what happens when you give a kid a smartphone. You are welcome, Lady Jayne.
You know you are up north when…
Cabin reading
Grandpa’s escape vehicle
Twin 1 tries to push twin 2 into lake. Twin 2 retaliates. Uncle Bob laughs.
Safety first.
Johnson ladies!


Cousins and probably some ticks.
Do you ever watch Storage Wars? It’s the best show ever.