Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2nd Birthday, Urban Kid 2!

One Day Old, still tired from all the commotion. You just know she's thinking, "Woah! I had the weirdest dream!"
Sigh.... even when nursing, your mother has no chest... Hey, maybe that dessert cart will come around one more time before we leave the hospital!
One week old and in the arms of Best Namma Ever!. Yep, you're a smart baby -- you know what side your bread is buttered on.
Now you have a head full of blonde curls, are working on your alphabet, love the words "no!" and "mine!", hide behind the Christmas tree when you need to poop, love to brush your teeth, love-love-looooove to go "buh-BYE!" and can kick off your shoes and socks in the car on a sub-zero day.
I love you forever!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm Here! Really!

It's been a while. But I haven't had too much time to myself lately. Just enough to bang out a comment here and there on Crackbook, but not enough to collect my thoughts and put together a real blog post. Which I want to do!

But here are the highlights:

Urban Dad had his knee surgery last Thursday. He's been nothing but sunshine and love ever since (that's a big dripping heap of sarcasm right there...). But he's off of the oxycontin and took the last antibiotic and Celebrex today. Maybe he'll lighten the hell up soon. But really, he's hanging in there. I wouldn't trade places with him. Then again, he hasn't been able to change a diaper since his surgery........

We made the drive to the Mothership of Best Namma Ever!'s house last night. Our 5-6 hour drive turned into seven as we went through snow and ice until Bloomington-Normal, which is about the halfway point. After that, things cleared. But we didn't get in until almost midnight. Urban Kid 1 saw her first midnight ever and was over the moon about it. Urban Kid 2 was excited too, but I'm not sure that she really knew why. Urban Dad was nothing but sunshine and love for the entire trip. (see above)

But we're here and did it before temps dropped into the sub-zero range across Illinois. And we're in Best Namma Ever!'s ever-lovin' arms. And if the Pink Power Ranger ever gets her tookus over here, we'll make a gingerbread house. She's en route, and it's not like anyone is going to give her a speeding ticket, so she should be here soon.

In case I don't get another moment alone, Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Babysitter!!! A REAL Babysitter!

Ok, I am waaaayyyy too excited about this. It's just dinner with another couple this evening. And I'll explain later why we're having dinner with these good friends tonight, a school night.

But here's the important thing: we're getting a babysitter! Oh no, not Best Namma Ever!, although she is the Best Babysitter Ever! as well. But no working around her schedule and waiting for her to arrive in town. We are paying for one. Paying for a college kid to come to our house. So that we can have a dinner with two adults. Think of it -- dinner companions that don't whine or pout or chew with their mouths open or drop their food on the floor or announce a need for personal biological functions. Oh no. Those dinner companions will be at home. With a babysitter!

Can you tell that we rarely do this?

It's snowing like gangbusters, but that's ok. The babysitter (!!!!!) is taking the el. And Urban Dad & I are meeting our friends at a favorite neighborhood restaurant. Which means that it's within walking distance.

Ok, I have to scoot. I want to wipe down the kitchen again and clean the bathroom for the babysitter. I want her to like it here. I want her to want to come back again someday. Someday soon.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Now THAT'S A Playdate!

A while back, I shared with you how the Urban Kids' Godmother takes U-Kid 1 out on the town for a "playdate." Today, U-Kid 1 and The Godmother went out for their Christmas playdate (last year at Christmas was when they started this new tradition... oxymoron though that is).

So here's how today went:

The Godmother arrived at about 9:45am, bearing gifts for Urban Kid 2. She had picked up this little number, which looks just adorable on her. The less adorable part was her running around screaming and trying to tear it off, but, um, I chalked that up to her needing a nap. (yeah, i know that it was only 9:45)

Then she and U-Kid 1 took off to the theater, where they went to see Hansel & Gretel, put on by a company that exclusively puts on children's programming. Seems that they softened the "child abandonment" part of the story, going instead with the idea that H&G broke the "don't go into the woods alone" rule instead. But the rest was pretty true to the story -- a creepy witch, a kid in a cage, the witch kicked into the oven. The Godmother said that U-Kid 1 wanted to leave at on point, but that she decided to muster up her courage and stay. And after the show, she raved about what a great time that she had. Oh, and did I mention that they were in the first row right in the center?
After the show, the ladies went shopping at a fun children's boutique nearby called LMNOP.

And U-Kid 1 scored this deliriously fun hat:

Get it? It's a tea pot! The Godmother said it best: "She looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book!"

After the show, they went to the Salt & Pepper diner for lunch. Where U-Kid 1 got crazy -- just ask her -- and ordered breakfast for lunch. (It was crazy, Mom!) The Godmother must think that these kids don't get fed at home. U-Kid 1 snarfed down pancakes, bacon, bananas -- everything that was put in front of her.
Then they went for manicures. U-Kid 1's current favorite color is Essie's Bermuda Shorts. (yes, my 5-year-old fashionista has a favorite nail polish color...)
And the manicurits even added little bits of silver glitter on some nails and little white flowers on others.

Okay, Godmother, when do I get to have a playdate with you?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Grass Is Always Greener......

Stolen from "The Soup Blog" post of December 5th.

In a move that has shocked and saddened film fans worldwide, actress Gwyneth Paltrow has removed herself from movie star status. The Shakespeare in Love star will be devoting her time to motherhood and the attention of her two children and musician husband Chris Martin. “I haven't starred in a film since my kids were born, and I don't think I will,” stated Paltrow. “I'll never get these days back. They're so delicious and precious, and hilarious, I don't want to miss them.”

Paltrow’s exit from stardom has opened up a vacancy in the ranks of Hollywood, a slot that Rochester, New York, housewife and mother of three Shirley Gibbons is determined to fill.
“I’ll never get these days back,” said a weary, bedraggled Gibbons to Soup Blog reporters as she clutched screaming infant son Rory in one hand and a Doral Light in the other. “My kids have pretty much stolen the last eight years of my life. The crying, the yelling, the nagging…it’s a 24-hour-a-day living hell. I’m totally ready to be a movie star. The huge paychecks, the glamorous lifestyle, the public adoration. These things are so delicious and precious, and hilarious, I don't want to miss them.”

I admire her for this decision. No, I think she's nuts. No, I admire her. No I think she's NUTS. No, I ADMIRE her. No, I..... ok, it depends on the day I'm having.

But seriously, nice options, huh? Home with my adorable babies, or starring with Robert Downey, Jr. in IronMan 2.
Decisions, decisions......

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Say Cheeeeese? Ok, say whatever you want. You will anyway.

Gimp-O-Rama Urban Dad is so upset. He got the MRI results, and they show an ACL tear. So it's off to the orthopedic surgeon on Monday afternoon to find out if some sort of surgery is required. And when. Poor thing.

But Now, The Real Post

Can I brag now? Really? 'Cause you can't always want to come here to hear me whine about how much I can't stand winter and how crazy my MIL is (oooo boy, that story is developing lately too!). So since it's my little corner of the blogoverse, I'm gonna brag today.

Our Christmas cards are totally bitchin'.

We took the U-Kids to The Picture People at Old Orchard Mall last night (any locals here? call them and ask for Trinity...she's wonderful!). U-Kid 1 knows this drill. Sit, smile, say something cute, smile some more, allow everyone to oooo and ahhhh, soak in U-Dad's dopey adoring smiles from behind the camera.....

U-Kid 2 is a different story. She's wonderful and affectionate, don't get me wrong. But wow, can she muster up an attitude! She can look you straight in the eye and, without blinking, pitch a wad of food across the room. She knows she's going to get in trouble. She doesn't care. She wants you to go in a particular direction? She will grab you at the thighs, turn you around and push you along -- the only way you can avoid tripping is to go along. You don't want her to stand on the kitchen chair? She'll climb up there, stand as tall as she can muster and call out in a sing-song voice her own little version of "nah nah!" U-Kid 1 is annoying her? U-Kid 2 has a hell of a wind-up before putting the smack-down on her.

(On the up-side, when U-Kid 1 is upset and crying about something, U-Kid 2 promptly and directly brings her a blanket. 'Cause that's what makes you feel better when you cry, right?)

And so while I don't condone her behavior, as I'm scolding her, I secretly kind of like it. I like that she has a certain amount of independence from authority, that she has her own mind, and that -- with a little honing -- she'll learn when to apologize later rather than ask permission first. My biggest prayer is that she will be like the Pink Power Ranger (all of these personality traits are bizarrely similar to her anyway) and use her powers for The Forces of Good.

Even U-Kid 2 came around and posed for some excellent shots.

Yes, she did it on her own terms. She didn't sit nicely on the stool. She grabbed it, put it where she wanted it, turned it upside-down and sat in it. But it worked out beautifully. She looks exactly and perfectly natural. And beautiful.

We opted for a version that has three pictures on the card. One of U-Kid 1 looking all cute and adorable. One of U-Kid 2 sitting in her upside-down stool. And one in the middle of the two of them together. It's a perfect, sweet embrace with them both smiling. And U-Kid 2 has stuck out her tongue.

I'm actually looking forward to addressing them all!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hum-Drum Updates

I Knee'd You, Part Two

Sir Gimps-a Lot Urban Dad is icing faithfully. And sleeping with a heating pad around his knee. You know you've been married a while when you find your husband asleep on the bed in sweats wearing half-eyes and with a heating pad around his sprained knee and you think he's the cutest thing ever.

The Gimpinator Urban Dad went for an MRI yesterday, limping out to the bus in the snow/rain combo that we had last night. He came back with a stack of films and an appointment to chat about them on Monday.

Win One For The Gimper Urban Dad then heroically handled getting Urban Kid 1's bath wrapped up. She'd been waiting patiently for him to return, turning ridiculously prunish in the meantime.

And he still insists on taking out the trash. God love 'im. You can imagine my protests.... ("you sure? ok, have fun!")

She's out of the hospital. She's now home, and BIL #1 is staying with her in order to help care for her. They can now drive each other batsh*t-crazy without taking the medical staff with them.

While BIL #2 was up there, they discovered a few things:

MIL can't figure out her remote on her TV... which she watches all day... so she calls someone to help her with it. At something like $160 a pop.

She can't figure out how to open her chimney for her fireplace, so she calls someone. Another $150 a pop.

She lives across the street from a ritzy hotel and has recruited a couple of the kids there to walk her dog and do some shopping for her. While BIL #2 was there, one of these kids came in with the dog at 3am, drunk. And boy was he surprised to find BIL #2 standing there!

BIL#1 went across the street to find out which kids were helping her out.... and to collect her credit card that she had given them.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. It's time to get MIL some assistance. But God help the poor soul actually hired to do it. She's already alienated BIL #1's wife, who does this kind of thing and went up there a few weeks ago to give it a crack.

City Living
Urban Dad & I have actually breathed the words....... said them out loud....... and it's entirely possible that we meant them. We have floated the idea of leaving Chicago someday. Nothing urgent yet -- maybe five years from now? But it's getting easier to consider the idea. We're just getting nickel-and-dime'd like crazy. We're getting our brains taxed out, but the city remains at least $200 million in the red. So bit by little bit, we start to wonder about diminishing returns and wonder what our next step might be someday down the road. I love Chicago. It's a great place for kids, even! But like any love, you have to separate the emotions from the facts and weigh your options.

That's it in our world! How's yours?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Inmates Are Running The Asylum

Yeah, you want the story about the library.

And for the record, I request what I want on-line, go get it at the circulation desk and get out.

And I don't even use this particular library that they've featured!

Our tax dollars at work.......

P.S.: Not for little eyes/ears, if they happen to be in the room.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I Knee'd You

Thanksgiving here was really lovely! It started out that way, anyway.....

We were invited over to the home of some very good friends. In fact, they are the Urban Kids' godparents. And they finished a year-long renovation of their house, so they had upwards of 40 people over in order to finally have everyone under one roof for the holiday. (and who are we kidding.... to show off the new project a bit.... wouldn't you??)
We ate, we drank, we socialized, we ooooo'd and ahhhhh'd. All good fun!

Part of this renovation was the installation of a half-basketball court behind the house.

And Godfather told Urban Dad that a bunch of guys were going outside to play this:

It was going to be 5 on 5, and they needed another guy. So off U-Dad went to play with the boys. Urban Kid 1 was downstairs being introduced to a Wii system, and I had Urban Kid 2 with me watching the game from the lovely picture window in the kitchen.

I looked away. And then back. And I saw someone on the ground doing this:You'll never guess who it was! Oh wait.... you did, didn't you? Yep, it was U-Dad. He wasn't wearing sneakers. And the shoes that he had on were lacking in traction. He says that he felt and heard a loud "POP" before he went down.

When we got home, the knee was swelling, so he used lots of this:
And called his doctor's office. An on-call doc called him back and suggested he head to the ER for X-rays, just to be thorough. And to call on Monday to c'mon into the office. Turns out that nothing is broken, including the ACL, which is tremendously good news. And it turns out he has lots of space between his knee bones (yeah, it's late & i'm spacing on what those bones are actually called). In fact, the doc said that he has the knee cartiledge of a 30-year-old. So yay U-Dad.

They sent him home with crutches and a prescription for ibuprofen that comes in pills about this size:

But U-Dad feels really terrible. He was supposed to fly to Colorado first thing this a.m. to go out to his mom's. She's in the hospital, having taken a few nasty falls lately. His older brother has been out there for a few days, and his younger brother arrived today. U-Dad feels like he's shirking some kind of responsibility.

He's also apologizing to me! He feels like he's supposed to not create more work for his wife. And that now I have not only two little ones to look after, but a gimpy husband too. He's very irritated with himself. I keep reminding him that it was an accident, that accidents happen. And the whole "in sickness and in health" thing. And if I can do "for richer or for poorer," I can certainly do a gimpy knee for a while.

In the meantime, he's on the phone with his brothers several times a day, and we're kicking around getting him out to her place for a stint between Christmas and New Year's.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ok. Yo soy confudida.

I am confused.
Today was the first day to register Urban Kid 1 for Piano class for the session that starts in January. Before I went to the computer, I asked her, "ok if we stay with the same day and the same teachers?"

Her response? "We can try a different class if you want, Mom. It might be nice to meet some new friends."

Wha' huh?

"I could try different teachers too."

Errrrummmm. Ok. Let me go check the website. Remind me, who are you again?

As things would work out, the only day that we can really do is the same day. And at the same time. With the same teachers (it's a team-taught class). So I re-upped her for the same Bat Time, same Bat Channel.

Her response?

"Oh. Well, I guess that's ok. Will there be some new kids this time? Or all of the same? Maybe there will be some new kids to meet."

Based on yesterday's post...... I am completely confused.
And I have to confess -- a touch impressed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Hola, me llamo la madre mal!

Hola! Quieres hablar conmigo? No? (do you want to talk with me?)

That's ok. Neither does Urban Kid 1.

For a few years now, U-Kid 1 has been taking Spanish over at Language Stars,. Once a week, she goes into a class that allows only a maximum of eight students per class and is full-immersion for 75 minutes. Several families sign up for more -- you could do twice a week, or three hours once a week or even three hours twice a week. But LS is our big-ticket extra-curricular item, so we stick with once a week and supplement in whatever way her gringo mother can find. ( has Dora videos that allow you to switch languages -- which I can't find anywhere else!)

Now that we're past the Mommy & Me phase, I drop her off. And since she doesn't go to school, I've made it a point to not jack around her schedule so that she can get to know her classmates.

Ok.... a bit more backstory..... I posted once that I did some work for LS, and earned 50% of U-Kid 1's tuition for the Fall session. It was fun to do anyway, and I was loving the savings. But here's the deal -- if your kid's class is full, and a full-tuition-paying family wants into that class, the Parent Volunteer's kid gets bumped. The friend who turned me onto the PV program had been doing it for a few years and had never had it happen. Thus my confidence back in the summer.

And U-Kid 1 has a New Best Friend in Spanish class. NBF lives in the South Loop, which is not near where we live. Yet another reason to not switch classes.

Then... you saw this coming, right?... it happened. A full-tuition-paying family wanted into U-Kid's class. And to LS's credit, they made it clear to this family that there were other smaller classes available. But noooooo, OUR day was the only one they could do. And so U-Kid 1 was bumped.

I tried to explain to U-Kid 1 how this played out, why we had to go to a different day. And her only response was, "but I want to be with NBF! Why can't I be with NBF? I don't want a new class! I want MY class!"

My response was to channel Jack Bauer inside my head (dammitdammitdammit).

Me: I know, honey. Mommy is the one that got us into this. I'm so sorry. But you'll meet some new friends. Won't that be fun? (my voice slips way too high at the end there, thus fully alerting her BS detectors. it's all i can do to not say, "i know, honey. mommy tried to save a few bucks and now you're s-o-l. mommy totally bites!")

Her: I want NBF! Will I at least have my same teacher?

Me: Errrrr, ummmm, I don't, uh, really know. (grrrrrrrrrrr....dammit!)

Her: I'm not going!!!

Me: Put on your shoes, sweetie. We have to go now.

Her. NO! I'm. Not! GOING!!!!

THUNK! (sound of me putting my head through the wall)

But there's hope. We had two make-ups from a couple of visits to Best Namma Ever! sitting in our back pocket. There was room in her old class (they hold spots for make-ups), so we used one last week. And it was perfect, because it was the day after her new class, so it looked kind of like a "reward" for going to the new one. And the second make-up is scheduled for her old class next week. I guess it's really kind of semantics at this point, since we're so close to the Fall session ending just before Christmas.

And I confirmed with NBF's model-nanny that NBF is indeed in the same class for the Winter/Spring session. And model-nanny said that NBF gushes about seeing U-Kid 1 at Spanish class. So it's a two-way love-fest and not just U-Kid 1 stalking some poor child. (whew) I gave her my info in the hopes of arranging a play-date for the month that the girls won't see each other in class.

And we are paid in full for the Winter/Spring session for her original class.

It's only dinero, si?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Why I'm Eternally Grateful For Urban Dad

I never, ever want to go back out there! BTW, I'm trying to get my hairdresser to start a blog. Her dating stories are hysterical!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Open Mouth. Switch Feet.

Over at Messages from the Mothership, she confessed recently to a social gaffe. We all make them, right?

So here's my spin-off from her post. My own gaffe.

Halloween Night.

After the kids had looted the neighborhood, we all met back at the house of our very good friends. The Urban Kids' godparents. They were excited to have new next-door neighbors over. A lovely young woman and an attractive middle-aged (dare I say it -- late middle-aged???) couple. The couple lived in the upstairs apartment. The lovely young woman in the downstairs apartment. But both women happen to be blonde.

And I said...... I swear to God........

Oh, I would love it if my mom lived in the same building!

(awkward pause, but the older lady is French and admirably gracious as she says) Oh, I'm nawt heyr muthair.

Oh, I mean.... well, I'm going to my mom's next week with the kids..... so I have Mom On The Brain.... so often since the kids came along, I miss having family nearby...... just can't wait to see mom...... SO! What brings you from Paris to Chicago?

Ok, 'fess up. What's your gaffe?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Code Violation... Chicago Style?

The Poe-Poe on the left is Kate, a wonderful person who I've known for a long time. Our paths have crossed twice over the years in completely different circumstances each time. So I figure that I'm supposed to know her.
And this is a violation of Code 9-64-130... blocking an alley. 'Cause I know you were wondering.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Big C

Ok, let me just preface this post with a warning:

Information presented will appear to be heavy stuff. To better people than me, it is.

So here goes:

I am one of five of my father's kids. The first three -- all boys -- came from his first marriage. The Pink Power Ranger and I are from the second. He left the first wife. My mom left him.

He wasn't man enough to leave the house when his wife wanted him to, so she left with two kids and no college degree. She has since conquered the world. He lives in an apartment over a coffee shop in the Central West End of St. Louis.

Every time he appeared in our lives, it was a venonomous, vicious emotional experience. And forget child support. He was too busy taking cruises, remodeling the house and dating women who had a creepy resemblance to my mother.

There's more (e.g., stealing our savings accounts, leaving weird p*rn where it could be easily found, getting fired from jobs for harrassing women and stealing), but it's probably nothing original. You get the idea.

At 17, I dropped him out of my life. No big emotional explosion, I just stopped making calls and disappeared. I left town for college and went on to Chicago after that. If I saw him at a family gathering, I stayed the hell away from him. I occasionally cross paths with him at my grandmother's nursing home. That kind of thing. He's smart enough to make polite conversation and stop at that.

My birth certificate shows a female version of his name as my middle name. I changed my middle name when I changed my last name. And my children have absolutely no idea who he is.

PPR has remained close to him. She's fully aware of what and who he is, but has made that decision. I'll never understand it, but we've agreed to disagree and leave it at that.

The brother to whom I am closest has about the same kind of relationship with our father as I do. He caused too many problems with the sister-in-law. Big Bro finally told him that he'd wrecked two of his own marriages, but he wasn't wrecking this one.

The other two maintain friendly relations. Close? I don't know. None of my business. Call it our very own "don't-ask-don't-tell" policy.

But the important thing is that everyone has respected my stance and my decision. They have never, ever questioned it.

Ok, so what the hell, Val?

He's dying of cancer and has one year to live.

PPR is very emotionally involved in this, so my concern is for her. I've encouraged her to get in touch with both of our SIL's, both of whom have dealt with this with their mothers. I've also told her that I'll do whatever she needs me to do.

So here's the question: Am I supposed to do something? I honestly don't feel motivated. I mourned him a long time ago and have been a healthier, happier person without him. I don't feel an obligation to him due to a biological connection. I figure that he blew it. And blew it. And blew it again. And seriously, he's not a normal person.

I talked with U-Dad about this. He said that if I wanted to write some kind of letter assuring him that I was fine, that my life was good and the future looked bright for me and my children, that I'm no longer angry, etc, that that might be fine if I wanted to do some human kindness to a person in his situation. U-Dad agrees with me that he's a stranger at this point, so a Lifetime Channel movie ending is ridiculous.

PPR says that he has a great many regrets in his life, and that I'm one of them.

Being aware that we're talking about a permanent change in our circumstances here, I've removed him from the "block" list on my Yahoo account. I figure that if he wants to reach out, that he's the one on the clock.

Several of you are regular readers with your own pasts and circumstances. And I get to take advantage of being "cyber-friends" while still maintaining anonymity. So if you have an opinion, feel free to share in that poll thing over there. You can choose more than one answer, if you like.

In the meantime, I need to put a little one down for a nap and cajole the older one to practice her piano sometime before her lesson today.

Neither are happy about it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Quick Check In From The Mother Ship

Hi All,

Just popping in for a quick hello from St. Louis. As you may know, Best Namma Ever! doesn't know of this humble blog. And Her Husband is always hovering around the office where the computer is. So I'm finally getting a moment alone. And it's late, so I'll be brief.

I have......

gone to Wal-Mart (aka: Wally-World). I love Wal-Mart. Tons of everything and at stunning prices. I forgot my makeup (the shock! the horror!), so I had to grab some things.

gotten the oil changed and had a scratch in the car fixed. Luckily, Urban Dad hadn't noticed it before we left. I've never been so grateful for the sun going down early and for owning a black car. I told the service guy at the dealership that if I couldn't get perfection, that I at least needed "plausible deniability." I got plausible deniability. And for free, even. It looks only like a door ding from another car, and not like I made the dumb-ass move of trying to get around a tight corner and hoping that the dumpster there would somehow magically scootch over an inch or two. (hey, if it's the biggest secret in our marriage, i'm doing okay.......)

went back to the dealership to get about five more things done. But U-Dad knew they were coming and approved. And they were actually a few hundred dollars cheaper here than in Chicago. But that scratch-fix was kinda paid for really.

gone to the mall...... where we got U-Kid 1 outfitted for winter. She now has Lands End's warmest coat, snow pants, boots, mittens and hat. All purple, per her request. I figure that I can rationalize that we've only really spent half of what it cost, assuming that we can eventually put Urban Kid 2 into all of it too. also........ let U-Kid 1 jumped on the trampoline thing where she gets the bungee cords strapped around her hips and jumps herself up to the second floor of the mall. She thinks it's heaven.

gone to Sam's Club with Best Namma Ever!. Got a portable DVD player. Put the portable DVD player back on the shelf after starting to add up how much money we're spending.

talked with Urban Dad, whose mom is in the hospital of the swanky resort town where she resides. She fell and broke three ribs. Then came home. Then fell again, this time breaking her arm. And needing fluid drained from the lung near the three broken ribs. Seems that vodka doesn't have much calcium in it. Who knew? (except everyone) He's debating a trip out there the day after Thanksgiving. In the meantime, he's on the phone with his two brothers. A lot.

talked with Urban Dad, who told me to relax about the money. We don't blow all that much on stuff we don't need. And we need teeth (we're each getting a tooth fixed), winter clothes, and brakes and transmission on the car. "You're alone in the car with two kids for six hours -- go get the portable DVD player!"

sent U-Kid 1 off to Sunday School with BNE!. She loves it. And we don't belong to a church in Chicago. U-Kid 1 gets to BNE!'s church about a half dozen times a year, so I'm hoping that some of it sticks. I didn't tag along because BNE! wasn't going to the service, due to her own logistics.

told off Her Husband at the dinner table. In front of the kids. It needed doing. BNE! and Pink Power Ranger approved.

had wine with BNE! and the PPR.

played Uno with BNE!, the PPR and U-Kid 1.

learned that U-Kid 2 can lock the bedroom doors.

been beaten at Uno by U-Kid 1.

had chocolate martinis with BNE! and the PPR.

visited a few blogs.

taken a few naps.

visited Not the Best Namma Ever! at her nursing home, about a 30-40 minute drive from BNE!'s.

visited my long-time good friend Julie and her family, a quick five minutes from the nursing home, but always about fifteen for me because of one simple turn that I. always. miss.

And that's about it. We'll run around wrapping up a few of the "oh, and I meant to do this and that" kind of stuff tomorrow (e.g.: go back to Sam's for that DVD player), then return to Chicago on Wednesday.

Hope all is well in your world!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We Interrupt This Blog to Bring You This Long-Winded Message

It's not my goal to make this a terribly political blog. I doubt that I'll re-visit this topic after today. So if I piss you off, give me a bit of slack and come back again sometime. It's supposed to be kind of fun here.

Ok, so what's on your mind today, Urban Mom? Well, let's put it this way. I live in Chicago. But I didn't vote for the Chicagoan. In fact, there's not one single Chicago politician that I would vote into national office. But there ya go, America. Welcome to the Chicago machine. May it be more productive for you than it has been for us.

Anywhoooooo, I'm not in the habit of talking politics too much except with those that are the very closest people to me. There are a few reasons for this:

One: I am polite. Politics. Religion. It's personal. And don't assume that you actually know someone's thoughts on a topic, no matter how much "surface chatter" you've had with them. (And I'd really appreciate it if presumptive people who are utterly clueless about my core beliefs would quit sending me inane e-mails.)

Two: I live in Chicago. My political views put me square in the minority on this topic. I don't need the hassle. I know who I am and what I believe. And I don't need to put it on a bumper sticker or button (i mentioned not needing hassle, right?) You want to go in a different direction? Vaya con Dios. That's the beautiful thing about this country. But have the decency to stay the hell off my back. I've learned that the people who can do that, plus actually express respect for my different point of view and still find me endlessly adorable, to be a rare and wonderful gift. That's you, Sara M. and Lucy.

While on The Mommy Circuit, I have been literally right next to people as they have called me "narrow-minded" and "uneducated." I sit politely as they gush over who went to the rally and who didn't. And when I'm outed? I'm no longer a dynamic person with charming, intelligent daughters who is married to the twice-elected Teacher of the Year at Great Big Urban High School. They no longer see that person. They see a drooling mouth-breather. And if a few people aren't careful, I'll be a drooling mouth-breather who quietly takes my business elsewhere.

Did I mention that I once stood behind a fellow voter took a bunch of hassle from a neighbor? She point-blank asked him, "why do you even live here?" Geez, why not just say, "we don't like your kind around here?" On the ballot that day -- Jack Ryan vs Barack Obama for the Senate seat. As she went up to vote, I leaned forward to my fellow voter and quietly said, "it's refreshing to encounter a kindred spirit." This allowed us to exchange a few kind words. Given another minute, I think we might have developed a secret handshake.

And then a few days ago, somone who thinks she knows me joked, "if you're voting for the right guy, then go for it. If you're not, then just don't bother voting." Yeah. You're hilarious.

And so this is my world. I'm surrounded by buttons, t-shirts, hats and bumper stickers with The New Guy's name. I drive past entire brick walls of buildings with his countenance painted on them, like some leader of a third world country. I simper quietly as people gush. It's cool, though. The Urbans know who we are and don't need absolution from anybody to know that we're a good bunch. An educated, open-minded bunch, thankyouverymuch.

And y'know what? I hope that The New Guy is all that, plus that bag of chips too. I mean that out of concern for our country, which I believe to be an amazing place. I truly hope that something good comes out of this, because if it doesn't, then we're all in a pile of trouble.

And why do we live here? Because Chicago is a wonderful place. Yeah, you don't want to look too closely at who's running it, and the weather is crap, but the history, architecture, diversity, distractions... it's all here. The world is quite literally at our doorstep. And we're excited about showing it to our kids.

In the meantime, the U-Kids and I are off to St. Louis tomorrow for a visit with the folks. One raised two kids as a single mom getting no child support from her psycho ex -- she can now afford to write a check for the house she left penniless thirty years ago. Another is an engineer who designed both fighter jets and medical technology and who was Special Forces in Vietnam. Another runs his own business and thirty years ago snuck his toddler daughter out of Germany to get her away from her unstable mother. Another also runs his own business, has been married for twenty years and is raising his son in an environment much different (aka: better) than what he grew up with. Another straps on Kevlar and stays up all night so that you don't have to. You know, the "uneducated" and "narrow-minded" folks that produced the Urban Mom.

NOW. Back to your regularly scheduled blog entry.
What do you suppose the new First Daughters will name their puppy?
Checkers, anyone?
By the way, I smell bacon. And who took my lipstick?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Car Ride With Urban Kid 1

Hey Mom.....

why do church bells ring?
what's the opposite of Montana?
how far is the sun?
how big is the sun?
how are crackers made?
can you count to a million gazillion?
will you take me to Russia someday?
tell me again how your brain knows when something hurts?
is Aunt Pink Power Ranger awake or asleep right now?
do you think Daddy wrote any bathroom passes yet today?
tell me something about when you were little.
tell me something else about when you were little.
what's an anniversary?
why are reptiles called reptiles?
how many roads are there in China?
how do you build a car?
how many cars are there in the world?
why is a person called a person?
how many days until Halloween again?
why isn't every day Halloween?
why do we have Halloween?
how do we get babies?
how does the baby get out?
who was the first president?
who was the best president?
who was the worst president?
what was the first state?
what was the last state?
why was it the last state?
what was the middle state?
yeah, the 25th state. which one was that?
why is it called the united states of america?
why are there twelve months in a year?

Now. Extrapolate that out to six hours. Which we will be doing next Thursday, as we return to the Mother Ship of St. Louis in order to hang out at Best Namma Ever!'s house. Pray for me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Paging Urban Mom...

Ok, wow. Where have I been? Busy busy busy with the usual life stuff, I guess. Just like you, no doubt.

The overlapping visits of Pink Power Ranger and Best Namma Ever! were fantastic. That said, I had to go get a bit of dental work while just PPR was here. I left her to get the Urban Kids started with their day and even left a few bits of school work for U-Kid 1 to do, assuring PPR that I would likely be about two hours.

But did you know that most people only require one shot of novacaine? And would you like to guess how many it took little me? FOUR. And that takes TIME. Although, once it all finally kicked in, I was convinced that the corner of my mouth was melting into my ear, leaving me looking like Two-Face from the Batman movie.

And U-Kid 1 gave PPR a hard time. Thank God PPR is a cop who deals with maniacal lunatics on a regular basis, so this seemed like nothing to her. But still, she was doing me a huge favor! So U-Kid 1 got a gigantic, endless earful about that. Then U-Dad came home, and she heard about it from him. That's the part that always gets her, of course.

BNE! arrived on Wednesday evening, thus allowing her and her two daughters to drink a bottle of wine and play Death Uno. I've described Death Uno before.... feel free to catch up, if you like. And U-Kid 1 is getting into Uno now, too. And is just as deadly! Sweet little grasshopper...... I sense that someday the student shall become the master.....

Having two babysitters allowed me to slip out for a blowout at the Aveda Institute, where a student did my hair for half of the price of a pro.

Then U-Dad & I attended a wedding. It was the first time that we'd attended a cocktail party with a wedding in the middle of it, and it was fantastic! They rented out a place called A New Leaf. And the bar was open before the ceremony. When everyone was called to the wedding, folks brought their drinks (would it be relevant now to mention that many of the guests were from Vegas? i don't know if that's relevant.....). The ceremony was heartfelt and beautiful, but light too because the bride & groom were having so much fun. And it was the first wedding I'd attended where I could hear ice clinking in glasses during the ceremony!

Also, this friend has a daughter from her previous marriage. Can I divert here for a minute? This marriage didn't last until the end of the pregnancy. My friend.... living in Texas.... pretty much figured out that her husband had a girlfriend. And they had plans to move to Atlanta. And the girlfriend did too. So my friend -- five months pregnant -- ordered her own moving truck and went back to Chicago. And the pregnancy was a hard one. Imagine having kidney stones, but not being able to do the treatment to break them up because you could lose the baby. And then early labor. While on a business trip. It was one thing after another, and this friend was unimaginably strong.

And I love that it paid off. She met a fantastic man... who happens to live in Vegas. She and her daughter moved out there. And during the ring exchange of the ceremony, they brought the daughter up to the front and gave her a necklace with three rings on it, designed especially for her, to symbolize the new family that they'd created.

I went over the edge and started crying. The whole thing just had me so pulled in!

Then it was off to the bar area again, where waiters brought around wine and munchies.

To be honest, U-Dad and I talked to each other more than anyone else. Maybe that's bad, but we don't get a lot of time alone to just talk. And catch up. And kick around ideas.

On Saturday night, we still had BNE! as a sitter, so we went to Les Nomades for our anniversary dinner. Every year we go here. And I love it. And if you have followed this blog for very long, you know that any opportunity to not eat my cooking is to be jumped upon with enthusiasm.

Since then, it's been running around, running around and running around. I have a list of things to dish about, but have had a bit of trouble getting three thoughts together and sitting down to do it. I'll try to get it together soon!

In the meantime, have a great weekend! And Happy Halloween!
U-Kid 1 is going the fairy route. U-Kid 2 will be a black cat. Unless she contines to refuse to wear the ears. Then she'll be a cat burglar.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dear Urban Kid 2

To my dearest Urban Kid 2,

You are much cuter at 7:30am than at 5:30 am.

All my love,

Monday, October 20, 2008

All Quiet on the BlogFront

Just a quick note to let you know that I may be out of commission for about a week. The Pink Power Ranger arrives this morning until Thursday morning, and Best Namma Ever! arrives on Wednesday and stays until Sunday. And neither knows about this blog. And the computer is in the same room as where they will be staying. So unless I get a quick moment, I'll be blog-less for a while. Hopefully, withdrawl won't be too bad. Don't forget me!It'll be good to have my sister and mom around. Say a prayer for Urban Dad -- a house full of in-laws... all women! (hee hee hee)

If you need a smile while I'm gone......

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Want..... spend the weekend in a swanky hotel room. With a swanky bathroom with a deep and long whirlpool tub. And a fluffy white robe. And toe separators and a bottle of Essie's "East Hampton Cottage." And room service. And a bottle of champagne. And a DVD player, plus a stack of James McAvoy DVD's. And a laptop computer with internet access. And if I'm feeling ambitious, maybe, just maybe, a long, meandering walk around the city.

Oh, did I mention that I want all of this alone?

Feeling a bit Greta Garbo tonight. Momma needs to get away from the "office." No matter how much someone loves her job -- and truly, I wouldn't trade mine -- we all need to leave the office now and then.

And I think I'm thinking this way tonight because long ago in a galaxy far, far away, I went on a shoot to L.A. and stayed at the Four Seasons. And after a long, sweaty day of shooting outside during a heat wave, everyone else came back all excited to celebrity watch in the bar (James Woods gave me a once-over... whoopee). I took a different route. I had already spent all day with this group of people. So I put on my suit and went to the pool. Which late in the evening is completely empty. I had the entire pool to myself and just floated on my back staring up at the night sky. The others likely thought that I was stand-off-ish. But I thought it was a perfect way to get out of the "office" that I'd been in all day. And besides, I hadn't heard of James McAvoy yet.

So I guess that's where this post is coming from. Getting out of the office. Coming up for air. A little sensory deprivation, maybe. But when your "office" is your home and your kids, feelings of guilt come with that desire.

But things are looking up. A friend's wedding is next week, so that's an excuse to get out of the office. And next weekend, Urban Dad & I will go out for our anniversary to a favorite restaurant for a leisurely dinner (future post right there, huh?). So again, an excuse to get out of here a quick two nights later. And thank God for Best Namma Ever! coming to visit, 'cause that saves us having to just hand over a cable tv payment to a babysitter (mr. mcavoy has three movies going on HBO just now...).

These are the things that excite me right now. Anyone else go through this? Anyone else feel all "bad mom"-ish when you do?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chicago Marathon

The Chicago Marathon was this past Sunday. It's the only Sunday morning each year that I actually hop out of bed bright and early and scurry down to the end of my block. You see, we're at about the 8-mile mark, and 45,000 people run by at the end of the street. It's a sight to behold.

I imagine it is for the runners, too. You see, the runners get a taste of each of the neighborhoods that the race take them through, as locals proudly show off their cultures. For example, in Chinatown, they get something like this:

In Pilsen, they'll see something like this:

Of course, when downtown, they might see this:

At the end of my block in my neck of the woods known as "Boys' Town?" Ummm. Well, this guy:

And this guy:

As well as........

And let's not forget....

(bless their hearts for actually posing for me!)

And these guys are R.O.T.C. -- Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps. They entertain the runners by dressing in semi-military garb and twirling their rifles to disco music. I think this one was taken to "It's Raining Men."
Here are a few shots of the street before the runners came through. It's bizarre to see it so empty!

There were tons of lead vehicles, but I only managed to pop off a shot of one. (U-Kid 1 has been charged with informing U-Dad that I need a new camera for Christmas.....)

These guys were next, and they are a truly amazing and inspiring sight!

And then came all of the people! Any shots that I tried to get of the lead runners were too blurry. They're pretty speedy, those guys. And did I mention what I want for Christmas?
But the droves and droves of runners came next. And that's always such a fun scene!

This pooch always has the coolest view of these kinds of events, don't cha think? On warm nights, he hangs out there and "chats" with passers-by.

So every year in mid-October, I head out and do some serious people-watching for an hour or so. It never fails to both entertain and inspire!

Now ask me when was the last time I went to the gym (ahem, guilty look, ahem)...........

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bad News & Good News

The Bad News:

Urban Kid 1 has been sick with viral croup. The fever came and went a few days ago, but her energy level is down. And she can barely speak above a whisper. We went to see a Children's theater thing today, but she wasn't much into it. She was so tired. We came home, she crabbed for a bit, then she went down for a two-hour nap. But her breathing isn't nearly as raspy as it was a few days ago, and I think she's on the upswing.

We barely have a grocery in the house. Guess how I might be planning another glamorous Saturday night?

The Good News:

Urban Kid 1 is going to get her first manicure tomorrow (such my little fashionista.....).

The Chicago Marathon is tomorrow and comes through our neighborhood. This is always a hugely festive thing in every neighborhood the marathon comes through as each one gets to show off its own personality to tens of thousands of folks.

While Urban Kid 1 sacked out this afternoon, Urban Kid 2 got some one-on-one time with U-Dad. They went to the park, to Jamba Juice, all around the neighborhood. Good fun!

It's absolutely beautiful here in Chicago! It's in the 70s and wonderful! And we need to enjoy it because this is likely it until Spring! Posts after this weekend will often include "someone get me out of this frozen hell!"

For reasons of our own, starting several months ago, we mostly started liquidating a lot of our stocks. So we've mainly stuffed our mattresses (aka: money markets) with cash and are sitting tight. Our next decision is when to go shopping for cheap stocks.

So there ya go. Another day of wall-to-wall excitement!!

Hope all is well in your worlds. ;-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's better than Shopping, Caffeine & Chocolate?

Aaaahhhhhh, I'm feeling much better now (eye twitch, eye twitch, dab at drool at corner of mouth).

No really, that crabby day was kind of the peak of a few days of feeling out of sorts. But it's run it course. Emotionally, I feel like a wet dog who just had a very thorough shake. Ok, it made sense in my head. It looks a little weirder in print. But I feel bad that while my mood has improved dramatically, I had this bad-mood-cyber-mojo still floating around out there. So here I am to blow some fresh air into my little cyber-corner of the world here!

Hey, remember my friend who ended up with a Really Famous Political Candidate's eldest child in her kitchen out of the blue one day? She's also the Urban Kids' Godmother. And despite my crabbiness a few days ago, I really do dig her!

And now that Urban Kid 1 is old enough to take places and do things with people who are not her parents, she's started going on "playdates" with her Godmother. But they're the kind of "playdates" that her Godmother can afford. And being the mom of only boys, she thinks going out on the town with a little girl is the neatest possible way to spend an afternoon. (she might be right, actually.....)

For example, at Christmas, she took U-Kid 1 to lunch at The Peninsula Hotel downtown.
And then shopping here (which is more than I was going to do -- the whole Disney Princess thing kinda chaps my ass -- but that's a different post):

Ok, I haven't had lunch at The Peninsula Hotel!

As a belated birthday present, a few days ago the Urban Kids' Godmother took Urban Kid 1 here

for a quick bite of this

and some shopping. U-Kid 1 scored this:Plus a pair of glamorous and very bright pink sunglasses that are so large that Bono himself would say, "Wow, those are big sunglasses." And I'll give U-Kid 1 credit -- she carries them off!

And bless her heart if The Godmother didn't pick up U-Kid 1 just as U-Kid 2 was due to have this:

Which meant that I became so incredibly productive with my newly found free time! Oh, who am I kidding? I did this:
(you know you're jealous....)

Of course, U-Kid 1's handwriting lesson today was a thank-you note to The Godmother. 'Cause, y'know, it's all about the teachable moments, right?
And speaking of stuff that you can do with your kids as they get older, U-Kid 1 and I are going to see this on Saturday. It's very reasonably priced and put on by the only theater company in Chicago totally devoted to kids' productions. If we like their stuff, maybe we'll get crazy and subscribe!

Oh, and Momma found some new medicine!

If you can't read the banner on the left, it says -- and with a sigh of true, deep love, I'm sure -- "as much caffeine as a cup of coffee." Care to guess how fast this beautiful gift from heaven ended up in the cart the moment I laid my eyes on it? I can't tell you how I just ZZZZZZZZIIIIIPPPPPPPPPPPPP through the afternoons now!!!! And in the cheeriest of moods!!!! Honestly, it's the simplest things that are just genius, isn't it? Thank you, Swiss Miss Product Development! Thank you!!!!!
So there ya go... shopping, caffeine and chocolate. What could be better?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Feelin' Funky.....

Ok, I haven't posted in a bit. Y'know why? First, Best Namma Ever! returned with Urban Kid 1 and stayed a few wonderful days. And she doesn't know about this blog. And the computer is in the same room as where she stays. So that explains the first few days.

Then lately, I've been in a funk. And who wants to hear about that? Seriously, why are you still reading?

Because who wants to hear me whine about nothing? And so I haven't posted.

Maybe it's the cooler weather.

Or the shorter days.

Or that I'm so premenstrual that I want to scream.

Oh wait. I have.

Or that I'm currently reading "The Kindergarten Wars." Good Gawd, are these people tedious.Or that I had a boatload of things reserved at the library, only to finally wonder why I hadn't heard anything. And then I found that half of the boatload had arrived, sat there and then was scattered back across the city to the far-flung various branches from which they came because I never received any notice that they had arrived!

Or there was the friend of mine whose children attend the same school as a great, big, famous political candidate. And one day GBFPC's eldest child unexpectedly ended up in our friend's kitchen. And the breathlessness with which she told the story made me want to reach over and shake her and say, "get over this celebrity worship bullsh*t already!" Instead, I widened my eyes and asked what the Secret Service guys were wearing.

Jeans, by the way.

Or attending a dinner at this same friend's house and sitting next to someone who has an otherwise lovely South Carolina accent, but who is completely bombed. And who says to the group in a strange mixture of drawl and slur: "So is anyone here a fan of (political candidate who U-Dad & I happen to like)? 'Cause I think I should ask before I go on!" And U-Dad & I sat quietly because 1.) it's not our house, 2.) we're outnumbered and 3.) we're polite enough to not get drunk and talk politics with people we've only just met.

{Clearly, this particular friend also does not know of this blog. =-) }

Geez, I am in a mood!

So today, I indulged myself. I haven't left the house all day, thus taking an Initiative Vacation Day. The Urban Kids and I hung out and played a bit while I got some laundry accomplished. Then U-Dad took U-Kid 1 for a bike ride and ice cream and miniature golf while U-Kid 2 napped. Then he collected U-Kid 2 and dropped off U-Kid 1. And U-Kid 1 watched Dora while I took a refreshing shower.

I think it's running its course here. And some of it is just that being this cranky is flat out boring!

'Cause you know what? I have nothing to complain about. Absolutely freakin' nothing. And instead of being a self-involved mope here, I need to get my arms and brain complely around that fact and thank God every flippin' day for it.

I'm starting to annoy myself here. Which means things will be on the upswing once again very soon.

Oh, and it looks like O.J. will get at least 15 years, so that brightened my day a bit too.

Are you still here? My, you are a generous soul. Tell you what... go give some love to a dear friend who actually deserves it!

I'll be back soon and back to my old self! In the meantime, I'm having a lovely time catching up on all of your blogs! Frankly, dishing to all of you has been strangely therapeutic..... thanks for listening!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

What is a "G?"

(before reading, please hit "play" over there on your left for the appropriate mood music. thanks.)

Awww, you guys left such nice comments.... But yes, like Jenni and Debbie, I too had to ask what a "G" is. So I sent a text message to my manicurist's daughter, a senior at Great Big Urban High School. She sent back to me "he's gangsta, as in he's really cool."

Well now, that's a relief! Right????

Before writing today, however, I checked with Urban Dictionary. And found 22 pages of definitions! Which came to 148 definitions. I stopped reading after about 100, but did check the last one. Many of them were not flattering, but here are the ones that I think my senior "translator" and the young man on Facebook meant:

#19: something very stylish, cool or badass

#26: a term for a cool style of living or just a cool type of person

#33: something that is positive, cool, neat or sweet, as they say (um, who's "they?")

#83: someone who keeps it real, thug.

#86: a friggin' awesome (ok, being a lady, i can't print the term here, but it begins with "m" and ends with "-er," and i usually only use it when alone with the Pink Power Ranger. you figure it out.....)

#148: an individual who is NOT of limited intelligence but rather an individual who is able to gain respect in areas where you need to fight your way to the top. Does not necessarily mean inner city men, or rappers. Also does not need to break laws to be a gangsta.

My. This has been educational. Must be all those "gangsta" ties that the Urban Dad wears to school every day. (he has a weakness for the Italian ones)

I might go buy him this t-shirt.

Like oh my gawd and tooootally gag me if he isn't like the most totally bitchin' dude! Fer shuuuure!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Urban Dad's Facebook Page

There's a page on Facebook called the Mr. (Urban Dad) Appreciation Society. It was started by one of his former students, apparently back in January, and has 154 members so far. He refuses to look at the page, feeling that it's for the students and not really meant for him to look at. He gets quite the reviews at too, but won't look at those either.

I, however, feel no such self-imposed restrictions!

Below are quotes from the Facebook page. See if you can guess which ones are posted by girls.

1. Definitely the best group ever! Mr. (Urban Dad's) class is my favorite of the day. =)

2. this group is great, he was my favorite teacher last year and i still go in there to talk to him occasionally. i loved his stories, especially the one when he biked through europe and had a gun put to his head. (Urban Mom readers....I'll tell this story sometime in the future)

3. I once considered failing all of my classes so I could be in (Urban Dad's) class one more time.

4. mr. (urban dad) is a G!


6. I had him freshman year, then got him AGAIN this year! I was so excited when I got my schedule. walking into his class was like the best kind of dejavu ever =D-

7. I'M IN LOVE!!!

8. best teacher @ (great big urban high school). you simply haven't gone to (gbuhs) unless you have had him at least once. and if ur a girl and havent been in love with him at least a little... whats wrong with you? =P

So why am I looking at this tonight? Because it's 7:15, and he's just left to go to a coffee shop to do more work. And looking at this stuff reminds me of the bigger picture when we have a week like this one.

PS: Did I mention that Urban Kid 1 is currently at Grandma Camp in St. Louis until Tuesday night? Boy, it's quiet around here................

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hubba Hubba ....... Dammit! (get it? get it? oh, never mind)

I don't know why I get excited about this. I just record all of them and don't start watching until about the 20th hour. I have to do it this way. I can not wait a week between episodes. So they all stack up on the DVR until Urban Dad has to ask, "so are you ever going to watch these or what?" Once I get going, I can burn through them in about 2 1/2 weeks. But alas, eventually the kids think they should get be spoken to. Even fed. And U-Kid 2 wants out of the yucky diaper now and then.

And what's any woman's fascination with Jack anyway? Seriously, anyone within a 10-mile radius of him seems to have a miserable life. A short one, too! But c'mon ladies.... while he isn't Mr. Right, he's one hell of a Mr. Right Now, isn't he? Isn't he, dammit!? (get it? oh, never mind......)

Urban Dad is infinitely patient. In. fin. it. ly.

I know at least a few of you will enjoy this.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Proof That God Loves My Neighbors & Me

Oh Sweet Mary Mother of God, do I have exciting news to share toooodaaaay!

No. I'm not pregnant. Bite your tongue.

First, the backstory:

Our next-door neighbor is a jerk. The building immediately to our east is a fairly new condo building (1999). And the condo just across the gangway from us -- as in, we can kinda see into his dining area from our living room, so I leave the blinds closed when U-Dad isn't home -- is a lovely, duplex-down place. And it was once occupied by a quiet old man.

Then the quiet old man disappeared. And a younger guy, Mystery Jerk, showed up.

Along with his three yappy little barking rats dogs. That he would put out on his front deck. Where they could yap-yap-yap at people all the live-long day. And there's nowhere in our place to escape the sound of those little mongrels dogs.

Our landlord, Mike, who is a real-estate agent and general Man About Town, told me that the old man went into a nursing home. And he wasn't sure who the new guy was. A nephew? A young thing that the old gentleman took to?

But Urban Dad had finally had it with the dogs one day and went outside, where he yelled at the guy to "take the damn dogs inside already! They're all we've heard all day since 8:00 this morning!" There were a few more choice words for the entire block to hear, and he then summed up his oration with "and sober up already!" 'Cause Mystery Jerk was stumbling around a bit outside and slurring.

Then the awning over the entry door to the building that's closest to his deck was all beat to hell.

Then one of his French glass doors to his front deck was boarded up.

And after awhile, Urban Mom started channeling Mrs. Kravitz from "Bewitched."

First, it was the Mom Across The Street who has two kids who like to play with U-Kid 1. She dished that the dustmops without sticks dogs drive her utterly batsh*t too. And that she'd seen the police there before. And one day, while sitting on her stoop, she saw some dirtbag come to Mystery Jerk's side of the gate, where they quickly exchanged things between bars of the gate. Nice. Drug deals next door. Just. freakin'. beautiful.

Then we chatted with the family that lives across the hall from Mystery Jerk. They have four kids, and they were gentler in their description... a credit to their classiness, really... but their point was made. The ankle biters dogs bugged them -- seems that they've tried to nip at other residents of the building. And Mystery Jerk once had the nerve to call the cops on this family! Seems that the cops quickly assessed the reality of the situation and left.

But then things started changing. Mystery Jerk had a bunch of furniture delivered. Then the awning got fixed. You could see a new flat-screen TV on the wall. Then the door was replaced.'s the shocker... he started walking the dogs! Nobody could remember ever seeing him do this (imagine how that place must smell). The Mom Across The Street and I started to wonder if perhaps he had sobered up and was pulling it together. And (*sigh*) figured that he was settling in and staying for good.

Now for what happened today!

As the U-Kids & I returned home from the playground, I saw this outside of his place:

And his front deck doors were open. And the lights were one. And it all looked so neat and tidy.

And I looked closely at the description posted outside and realized, "oh Sweet Jesus thank you, Christmas is early this year!"

As I herded the U-Kids up our front steps, I saw the realtor come out and futz with the sign. I asked if, indeed, it was the condo right next to us that was for sale. She confirmed that it was and asked if we lived here. I pointed to our front window and said, "yes, but we rent." She brightly told me that she was there until 1:00 and that we should certainly stop by.

And then Mystery Jerk came out with Satan's lapwarmers the dogs. They always seem nervous when out on the sidewalk in the big world.......

I hustled the girls inside. And before their shoes were off, I was texting Best Namma Ever! and the Pink Power Ranger with my joyful news.

And there was no way I was going to go over there, sign my name and go through Mystery Jerk's place. Ugh. Creepy. I had too much decorum for that.

So I threw on the computer and looked it up on-line instead!! This guy thinks he'll get $759,000 for this place. Apparently, he does not watch the news on that shiny new TV?

A little later, once U-Kid 2 was down for a nap and U-Kid 1 was in her room chilling with some books, I saw The Mom Across The Street outside with her kids. I threw on my flip-flops, grabbed my keys and went over there. As soon as our eyes met, she beamed a smile and pointed excitedly back across the street to the sign. I started dancing outside of her gate. She said that she'd been so excited when she saw the sign that she phoned her parents (who also live on the street). And we both wondered aloud if the realtor might start to wonder why the neighbors keep dancing outside of her client's place.

Best Namma Ever! always says, "God provides." Can I get an A-men, people????

(see that place on the lower left... if you have $759,000 lying around and want to be my neighbor, it's now available! and the place on the lower right? that's where the nice family with four kids lives. also, notice the shiny, new, no-longer-beat-to-hell-on-Mystery-Jerk's-side awning over the front door)
(see that window? it faces our living room. very often, you'll only see a set of tightly closed blinds.)