I offer you this autographed hat signed by Salt, Spinderella, but not Pepa.

Oh snap! It’s a new month. That means five truths and a lie time!

1. Yesterday I attempted to make a pinterest-like Valentine for EK’s classmates and failed. Then I gave up on life and went to bed.

2. My elbows, knees and ankles won’t stop bleeding. I would provide photographic evidence but then you won’t be able to eat. For a week.

3. Even though the room underneath EK’s bedroom isn’t heated (don’t ask), his floor is super warm and cozy. It’s even more comfortable when I don’t have a pillow and use a barbie-sized blanket to “keep warm” from 1-4 AM (also don’t ask).

4. I have almost convinced myself to buy a new camera except for the fact that we need to paint our house, get a new roof, eat, you know – luxuries. Perhaps slamming the old camera against my palm in an effort to loosen granules of sand out of it wasn’t the best idea. Pish posh.

5. I f’ing love winter. It’s the best.

6. I have no loyalty when it comes to TinyURL vs. bitly. Does this make me a communist?

These all might be lies. I don’t know. I am going back to bed. That my friends, is the honest to god truth.

Tinker away, Tinkerbell, straight to Never-Never Win Land.


This morning I woke up and asked Ellis how he felt. He said “sick” and then asked if we could stretch together. I asked him again after we went downstairs and he replied indignantly: “I already told you mama. I … Continue reading

This dog is real. Your baby is hypothetical and, I think, a mistake.

I have spent approximately 12 million dollars in the last seven days. What do I have to show for it? Pretty much nothing fun.

– Old, leaky house. See below.

– Hazelnut colored honeycomb shades (they aren’t called blinds, they are shades!). How many colors of white exist in the world of blinds? An f’in bazillion.
A sampling?  Linen, Hazelnut, Soapstone, Parchment, Shell, Putty, Snowflake, Blush and Stucco. They all look the same to me and, as I am too impatient to order a sample to ensure I like the color, I just winged it and ordered custom blinds sight unseen? Stupid, you ask? Undoubtedly. I did, however, get three “free” pillows from their partner company with my $60 in gift certificates so there.

– New TV. Again, how many TVs exist? I won’t even joke about the number because it’s insane. So I picked one out and ordered it from Amazon. Then I had it delivered to our old address because that is how I roll. Seems like it works fine. We are too cheap for cable and I don’t even know how to turn the lights off in our house so I am not going to get involved in fine tuning the HDMIHAGGSJKEG settings. It’s a TV, it plays that stupid show the Backyardigans and Nemo over and over and over again if I push one button. Done.

– An energy assessment. I found a rebate underwritten by DOE for up to 1750 if you have your house insulation upgraded. So I am doing it. Now it looks like we live in the ET house while the depressurize the the place (I just made that up). My head might also explode. Then they will give me an estimate for the cost of sealing and insulating the house and my head will explode again.

– Rugs. We now reside in a 100+ year old house that, according to the dude doing the work above, and my body that is constantly shivering, leaks a lot of heat. So we bought some rugs. But since we are poor, we went to this crazy Polish remnant place not too far from our house and scored two 12X10 rugs for a pretty good deal. Well, it would be a good deal if I didn’t buy everything listed above.

– Blinds repair. Apparently it costs a lot of money to restring blinds. And extra to have them taken down for you. This means that Mr. Swirley and I are going to attempt to take them down ourselves which will likely lead to broken blinds and more expenses.

– General stupid purchases like biodegradable leaf bags, Serbian coffee, new lampshades, locks, mail slots, food.

So if you are expecting a  Christmas gift from us, my present to you will be the end of my incessant complaining about our condo and the beginning of the same level or more aggravation with regard to our house. And maybe some burnt peanut brittle. Is burnt even a word? Whatever.

The cat is enjoying the yuletide lights

I am flying through the city of brotherly love on yet another trip to DC. I have to say that if Philadelphians are going to stick with that slogan, they should really reevaluate how they treat people. Take this plane ride, for example. The overhead compartments filled up almost immediately so we were left with a line of people trying to figure out what to do with their bags. Add some non-native English speakers to the mix and we have a bit of a delay. Apparently that was a signal to the two jokers in my aisle to start yelling things like, “they aren’t giving out idiot awards today” and “sit down…what is wrong with these people? How could they have gotten on the plane with bags that don’t fit?” at the standing passengers. They then moved on to cruder insults delivered in a more hushed (but still very audible tone.) Wow, such comedians. They are, however, giving out dick awards today, and these guys won by a g-d landslide.
Why am I going to DC (really rural VA)? With a layover each way no less? Because we organized a staff retreat and had to use up our credit at a meeting center by the end of the year. Nothing spurs brainstorming about the future of your company and/or good morale like scheduling a meeting smack in the middle of the holidays. I guess no one else really cares since it’s a regular work day for them, but for us Swirleys (who have to travel) it cut into our celebration of baby Jesus’ birthday with the Ds and G. Oh well. At least I have a jobby-job and we will be enjoying a southern-style buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We did have a great time in St. Charles. Ellis was once again the star of the show and continued to receive rounds of applause throughout the weekend. The G drove up from Missouri and we finally figured out a way for all of us to coexist on the same floor and watch a movie – wireless headphones! Yes! No longer does the volume have to be turned up to 10 million decibels because the G refuses to replace his hearing aide. Now he can wear headphones that adjust the volume and the rest of us can enjoy our eardrums not being ripped to shreds. It’s a Christmas miracle!
And that moose was my friend…
EK loves is Auntie Tory

Ellis also peed on the floor while at Mrs. D’s. I reassured Uncle Scott that urine is sterile, but I am not sure if that made splashing around in a puddle of urine with your hand any less gross.

Santa was on the schedule for a weekend visit but the snow and my general lack of enthusiasm for standing in line with a 1.25 year old in the cold won out. Instead we took a few pictures of Ellis and Mr. Swirley running around the backyard in a hand-crafted sled.

EK and Hannah take a stroll in the fresh snow

Papi in EK in the ole’ handmade sled

“Taxi, oh taxi!”

Swingen xmas photo 2011

We of course had a few good quotes over the weekend. Maybe you had to be there to really appreciate them, but I thought I would share:
Scott: I think I am going through “the change”.  I am so hot all of the time.
Mr. Swirley: Britney Spears in engaged ?!?
The G: (immediately responds) Well that dashes my hopes.(then turns a page of the newspaper)
The G: Tory, your number is associated with XXX-XXX-XXXX in my phone
Mrs. D: That’s not my number.
Ho-Ho: One of my old nurses was named Tory. She left though. Maybe that is her number. I know lots of people named Tory
Ho-Ho: (re: Bandit the cat in a box under the tree) Leave him alone. He is enjoying the Yuletide spirit.
Me: Mom, what are you looking for? (as she poked around the pantry)
Ho-Ho: I’m hungry!
Mrs. D: No carbs, Ardie. They won’t fill you up.
Ho-Ho: I don’t want carbs! How about a pop-tart?
We enjoyed a very nice Christmas dinner, a round of gift opening and legally blonde. I think the last event was the G’s favorite. I got him a crockpot and slow cooker cookbook because he doesn’t cook much for himself (with the exception of soup). We’ll see if he breaks it out. What do they say about old dogs?
Tuesday I return to Chicago from our Nation’s Capital and hit the ground running. EK and I head up to Lake Geneva (our first time) for the night to visit KJY and the Dashos. Back Thursday and have just enough time to destroy the house before we head to Wisconsin on Friday for round two of Christmas celebrations (Madison and La Crosse). It should be and exhausting, fun and eventful few weeks.

Ew gross.

That is what everyone is going to think when they see Ellis from now until May.The poor little guy is just coughing in his sleep and as a result I am lamenting the fact that no one will volunteer to hold him for the next 12 years because he is a huge, walking germ. Oh well. He is my baby and I have to love him.

Point of clarification on my last entry. We in no way can afford a nearly $300 particle board storage cube thing. I don’t know if I was high off the of freedom of shopping sans family (“I’ll take that and that and that” while wildly pointing) or panicking because I realized my phone clock was 15 minutes off and Ellis was about to be the last kid at daycare, but the moment I got home I realized what a terrible idea these cubes were. Oh, I still made Mr. Swirley assemble three of the six – returning them in flat, sealed boxes would be too obvious a case of buyer’s remorse. Plus I was still pretending I could buy whatever I wanted. Once I trade in my avocado and God knows what else-covered receipt for a credit to my MasterCard it will be like I made money! Really Mr. Swirley should be thanking me for this entire time-wasting effort.

In other savings news, we collected all the scrap metal from this little gutter project and cashed it in for a whopping $50.00 ($25.00 of which went to the guy who loaded it into his truck and took it to the scrap yard). And I reviewed my Dominick’s grocery receipt and found that they didn’t give me all of my discounts and got my $6.00 back. Boo-ya! I refuse to leave that place without seeing a 30% savings on my receipt (note the spelling Ms. Davis – you second grade teacher, you). I know they could just lower all of the prices instead of  making me hunt around the store for card prices and “personalized deals”, but they know me too well. If it’s not on sale I am not getting a deal. What is wrong with me?

It’s 3:30 AM my neighbors in the unit directly and two units above are awake. I guess I should ask what is wrong with all of us?

Tick Tock

I haven’t showered in two days.

It is 46 degrees outside.

There is dog poop EVERYWHERE.

People are still calling dibs. How is this possible?

Ellis decided to roll from his stomach to his back last night. Then he practiced from 2-5 AM and would break-up the roll over party with intermittent screaming. Especially when he rolled on to his stomach. You would think he would figure out that rolling would lead to, um, rolling. But no.

Nubs and stuff

Last night it was -20 F with the windchill. My hands fell off. I wanted to document my no-handedness, but I couldn’t because I was unable to hold the camera due to my lack of fingers.

Ho-Ho called yesterday and told me someone stole her shoe. It is somewhere out there with her missing tooth. I would like to meet this thief someday and see what he/she has done with all of the “stolen” items. I imagine a modern art mobile rotating in some museum somewhere…showing off Ho Ho’s shoes, teeth, earrings, cell phones, letters, hair gel, perfume, make up, buttons, lipstick cases, various creams etc. It is obviously a very large mobile. Maybe it has even won some awards. They would have to go unclaimed though; after all, he/she is a thief.

That’s all.

You root for the Packers in this Super Bowl because being a Steelers fan is a sickness but being a Packers fan is incurable

It’s snowing. Again.

Reason #1207 why I am a bad mom. After another rough night and me giving in to Ellis’ demand that I sleep next to him, I put him down for a nap on his stomach. This is the first time that I have done this and yes, I know “back is best”. I am just hoping that he realizes how awesome it is to sleep on his belly and he will start doing this on his own to give the back of his head a little time to pop out. I rubbed his back for 15 minutes and he finally nodded off. Don’t worry, I am sitting in his room making sure he doesn’t die of SIDS.

We are heading to Uncle Austin’s to watch the game with other Wisconsinites. Let’s hope the Packers pull through so Mr. Swirley won’t riot and destroy Austin’s condo. You think I am joking but I can pretty much guarantee a loss will ruin his week.

That’s all.


I almost died this week.OK, that might be stretching it,  but I wanted to die. Saturday night Mr. Swirley woke up with a wicked bellyache and was sick all Sunday. Same thing happened to me Sunday and went all the way to last (Wed night). It was the worst. We thought we had food poisoning from dirty theater popcorn but it turns out we had some sort of virus. I lost three pounds, couldn’t keep water down and had to watch Mr. Swirley eat lasagna and Three Musketeers while I finally was able to eat some (very) dry toast. I made the lasagna for him, but still.

If you were watching/reading the news you probably know the world almost ended yesterday so it probably would have been alright if I died. Upside was that Mr. Swirley was able to stay home with EK and me to help out. He got up at 5 AM and shoveled snow that was about two Ellis’ deep. Then we stayed inside and watched it come down for another few hours.  It was a thundersnow situation which made me really want a fireplace and a glass of wine. Alas, no fireplace and though we had wine, my physical condition and the time of day both made drinking a no go. Let’s be honest, time of day really played very little into the equation. Regardless, it was beautiful and maybe a once or twice in a lifetime type of event.

our front door

5:30 AM – Feb 2, 2011

Bosworth Flats – we are the big windows on the bottom.

Mr. Swirley, Ellis, and the Hancock Building

Teaching Ellis to play in the street

Luckily I evaded the reaper this time around and am on a lasagna, Ensure and Slimfast diet to get my weight (and morale) back up. Mr. Swirley is home tomorrow so I might even brave the streets and get out to Ho-Ho’s to deliver a laundry list of items.

Speaking of Ho-Ho, today my friend at OPA sent me Ardie’s emergency contact list that she recently filled out. It listed both Mr. Swirley and me as her contacts. OK. Sharing a phone number. Not so OK in the case of an emergency. Hopefully it never comes to that.