Saturday, May 31, 2008

Quick Update

Hi Everyone,

First, thank you so much for all of your kind replies to my last post. I tried to check e-mail, etc yesterday and really enjoyed them. I couldn't see well enough to do much else. But it made my day to read at least that much!

Second, I'm still a bit fuzzy on reading things. Most things are quite clear, deleriously, joyfully, wonderfully clear. I definitely turned a corner today and am seeing where this is all going to end up. But the newspaper and computer give me a headache still.

Lucky me, I can catch up on a bit of TV viewing, at least. I recorded last week's LOST, plus this week's finale. So once I get these Urban Kids to bed, it's a stack of Thin Mints, some milk and some overdosing on LOST.

Details on the eye thing in a few more days. But wanted to check in and say that I miss looking at all of your blogs! Hope to catch up soon!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Ok, remember, when this was supposed to happen?

But it didn't because of this?

We're scheduled for a do-over tomorrow at 12:30CT. So say a prayer or think a happy vibe for me?

See you once things are healed!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Day In Pictures

Wow! Yesterday was busy. But a fun busy. A productive busy. A run-this-kid-til-she-drops busy.

Urban Kid 1 has been asking to hang out with Urban Dad (like she never sees him?). Urban Kid 2 has been a touch cranky, recovering from ear infections like she is (perhaps her taking a turn with the antibiotic route will FINALLY defeat the Super Snot Bug of 2008!). So U-Dad took UK1 to travel around the city doing errands.

First, they drove up to Evanston. U-Dad needed one more thing from the lumber yard up there for his it's-a-perfectly-good-outdoor-table-it-just-needs-a-new-top project.

After that, it was off to two different locations of this:

U-Dad noticed that some of his students who were also taking Ceramics were making some very cool teapots and teacups. He e-mailed pictures to the Regional Director and asked if perhaps they would like to sell some artwork from Great Big Urban High School students. And she agreed! So he and UK1 went to the two stores that will have the goods on sale so that he could introduce himself. He'll drive the students and their wares there on Tuesday after school.

One of these locations was down in the Loop. So they got to ride this:

And what kid doesn't love that?

And as long as you're in the Loop and have a kid with you, you have to stop here:

Kids use the bottom slant as a slide. If you sit on your jacket, you go faster!

They stopped in at home for a quick visit, then they were off to here:

There's one across the street from Great Big Urban High School. Usually, it's just a treat for road trips. But tonight fell into the "special" category. (yeah, there's a marketing guy doing a backflip somewhere. and i used to work at Great Big Ad Agency that had them as a client, so i may even know the backflipping guy)

But I digress...

After a lovely dinner, they were off to one of these in the parking lot of Great Big Urban High School this weekend:

I don't think UK1 quite got on that particular ride. But she did a bunch and came back past her bedtime and wound up TIGHT! I got the honor of putting her to bed..... You knew there would be a payback, right?

So what did UK2 and I do? We took a long, leisurely walk here:

The store in my neighborhood is closing. Apparently, MY business alone was not enough to keep it going. Now I have to hike here to shop at Lucy:

'Cause THAT'S so easy to drop in on......

But UK2 napped and was otherwise cooperative while I got $200 worth of stuff for $70. And this was round two. I was there last weekend working that closing sale too. So yeah, I think I'm set on that and can stop the madness now.

So a fun day all around, I think. Today was more laid-back. Tomorrow, I might catch up to my friend who started me on this blogging thing.

Hope you're all having a wonderful long weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

6 hours and counting....

I was tempted to post these thoughts over at the homeschool message board that I occasionally scan through. But there's a rule about not "husband-bashing" there. And I don't know if this could be misconstrued as that. Or develop into it in a regular thread. I hope not, but am trying it out here just to be safe.

Now there does NOT seem to be a rule on this board against searching for personal information on a poster with whom you do not agree and to whom you have lobbed various unkind names and then posting tidbits of that info on the board in a bogus attempt at an "internet safety lesson." But I'm letting go of that. Really.

Ok, Val, so get on with it then! We're all clear on your feelings for the Urban Dad. Plus other things.

Urban Dad's 50th birthday is next week. Poor thing, it's the day after my PRK is scheduled, so we'll have to celebrate not-quite-on-his-day. That's the down side. Now the UP side is that the MIL -- who has opted to not come into town afterall -- has offered to send us to dinner anywhere in Chicago that we want as his present.

Oooooo, the possibilities!

As we pondered our options, we were reminded of one particularly beyond-swanky-and-straight-to-pretentious place where dinner takes SIX HOURS. And the Urban Dad cavalierly asked, "Could we even talk over dinner for six hours????"

Now I agreed that it was silly, of course. Heck, I get a serious case of car-butt when doing the 5-6 hour drive to St. Louis to visit my fam. And at $12/hour for a babysitter... But why let him off the hook so easily?

I responded with harmonious things like: "But our first date was 12 hours." And "are we already out of things to talk about?"

But it has me wondering now. Could you make dinner conversation with your spouse for six straight hours? Keep in mind, we're not talking Chinese takeout while getting the taxes done. And no Monopoly or Scrabble or even a deck of cards to play War. No sunset to watch. No quickie in the coat-room. And assume that everyone around you is also in the haul for six hours, too -- so people-watching could be limited.

Just you. And him.

Could you do it?

(By the way, we're kicking around here for dinner.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Show and Tell Tuesday

We're behind on the Show and Tell Tuesdays, what with the Super Snot Bug of 2008 visiting, etc. But here's to getting back in "the swim" of things! (ok, bad pun)

Urban Kid 1's art class at The Paintbrush discussed Matisse's Goldfish.

Then they made this:

UK1 is lamenting the missing eye on one side. We're hoping to snag an extra during our next visit and glue it back on....

Hope all is well in your world!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Love me, love my rear-end

U-Mom: (grumble grumble mutter mutter)

U-Dad: What's wrong?

U-Mom: I went to the gym, and while I was there, I weighed myself. I gained a few pounds. (grumble grumble mutter mutter)

U-Dad: Good! You stood to gain a few. You've been too skinny lately.

Ask me again why I love this man?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Parking Gods

The Parking Gods Smiled on Urban Dad today....

First, Urban Dad woke up today and said, "I can't do it... I'm calling in sick." He then proceeded to sleep until almost 9:30. He's the last of the four of us to fall to the Spring Snot Bug of 2008 and worked that much-deserved sleep-in.

Second, once he was up, he collected Urban Kid 1 (boy, was SHE surprised to see him shuffle into the kitchen) and took off to Evanston. He needed something from a lumberyard there and missed their hours during the weekend.

So there's the set-up. But you see, it's a street cleaning day today.
AND an afternoon Cubs game. I carefully parked the car on the "legal" side of the street yesterday. I figured that he was so seriously out of luck when he got home. I pictured him driving for hours looking for a space that would not cost us a $50 love-note from Mayor Daley. I pictured him unable to even stash the car at a meter for a few hours until the street cleaning hours were up.

Nope. He scored rock star parking right in front of the house!!!

Now, you realize of course, that we cannot move the car again this weekend. Afternoon Cubs games all weekend long.

Anyone wanna swap an Urban Kid for a parking space?
(you know I'm kidding.....mostly......)

We seem to be on the mend here. UK2 and I have white in the whites of our eyes again. UK1 isn't hacking as much. U-Dad is even feeling better than he did this morning. Best Namma Ever! decided that her work here is done and is likely home in St. Louis by now.

And it's warm enough to walk UK1 to Art class today, which is good. (did I mention not moving the car?)

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Seeing Red

Well, the surgery did NOT happen yesterday. *SIGH*

What DID happen is that I caught a case of CONJUNCTIVITIS!!! Thank you, Urban Kid 2!

As you know from the past few posts, we are currently living in a biological hot zone. As Urban Dad so eloquently put it, "The wheel turned and our name came's our turn for the snot to fly in the Urban household."

While Urban Kid 1 is recovering nicely from her bit of pneumonia, over the weekend Urban Kid 2 was waking up with crusty eyes. Her eyes were not bloodshot, just crusty. And they would need to be wiped off now and then during the day. The pediatrician said that it might be viral conjuncitivitis, which means no drops would help, just let it run its course.

And did I mention the constantly running nose?????

Then I woke up with a bloodshot right eye on Saturday. No yuck coming from it. Just bloodshot. On Sunday, the left eye joined the party.

So I called the opthamologist's office on Monday morning to give them a head's-up. They said to come in early so that they could check on it before proceeding.

I gave the doc the backstory of our weekend, who then looked at my eyes through something with a bright light. "Yep, you have conjunctivitis. Come back when the whites of your eyes are white again."

As long as we have Best Namma Ever! here for a few days, Urban Dad and I went to see Iron Man last night. And I have to confess that it was soooooo goooooood to get away from the house and the UK's for a few hours. With all of this sickness going on, the three of us have been spending nothing but time together, with no breaks for the gym, Spanish class, Art class, etc. Oh, and the movie was pretty good too! Go see it, if you get a chance!

As the movie progressed, I could feel the rest of the cold hitting. I think that now that I know that BNE! is here, my body knew that it could just give in and be sick.

And by the end of the movie, Urban Dad's eyes were getting red.........

Say a prayer for Best Namma Ever!. I'm going to feel really awful if she gets any of this. But man, is it good to have her right now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"See" You Soon!

Alright my lovely cyber-friends, wish me luck!

Think a happy thought and say a prayer for me at around 3pm Central Time on Monday. I'll be in what I hope will be a Valium-induced Happy-Zone while listening to my doc say, "now, look at the red light." Then ZAP! I will have purposely put abrasions on my own corneas in a procedure called PRK, which stands for... SomethingSomethingSomething.

Unlike LASIK, which lets you leave the hospital that day and have nearly X-ray vision that night, the recovery with PRK is longer and a bit less predictable. I've connected with three different victims, er, patients who have been through this. Their stories have been both similar and unique, if that makes a lick of sense. One was back to work in three days. Another could barely open her eyes for two. Pain levels varied. But two of the three are seeing perfectly now. The third had hers too recently to nail it down yet.

The difference between LASIK and PRK? With LASIK, you get a flap cut in the cornea, then zappage to the layer underneath. Voila. Perfect vision. My OB had it and was at the theater that night and doing two surgeries the next day. The downside can be dry eyes for a looooong time, maybe greater light sensitivity (esp. for us blue-eyed folks), and there's always a flap there. So don't get any infections underneath there and hope your little ones don't poke you in the eye.

With PRK, the doc just zaps the cornea, effectivly banging it flat with the laser, essentially intentionally putting abrasions on the corneas. As the abrasions heal -- which takes time -- the vision corrects. He thinks he can get me to 20/40, which would allow me to pass the driving test without correction. Considering that I cannot leave the bathroom without correction, that's hunky-dorey with me.

I asked the doc, "so what is my current vision? 20/200? what?" His response? "You're not even on the chart. You can't tell me which way the E at the top of the chart is facing."

So really, anything is an improvement. It'll take about a week to be up and running again. Several weeks to really see the results that I want. And things may even evolve from there over the next several months.

Best Namma Ever! is flying up tomorrow morning to take care of us all while I'm out of commission. God love her, she's still coming even after all of my ravings this morning about how the two Urban Kids have effectively become Human Snot Factories this weekend (I'll spare you the details...but UK2 is trying to join UK1's party...)

So if things are quiet here for a while, that's why.

Hope all of you had a beautiful Mother's Day -- I got a wonderful gift -- a 2-hour nap!!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Groggy Blogging

Oh my gawd, it has been a biological gross zone here.

I scored a doctor's appointment for Urban Kid 1 yesterday at 11:15. This was after another night of hacking, hocking, spitting, wiping, and so on. Urban Dad finally said, "Please call the doctor in the morning. This just isn't right." So the next day, the UK's and I all tumbled into the car and headed over.

Turns out that UK1 has a touch of pneumonia in her right lung. Six months ago, she had a case of it in her left lung. So the doc suggested a chest x-ray just to make sure that things were cool. Seeing as how we had waited for forever in the waiting room, were all sleep-deprived, hungry for lunch and cranky for a nap (yes, ALL of us!), I asked if it was ok to get this tomorrow. Thank God he said yes. Then it was off to CVS to pick up an antibiotic.

I will spare you the scene of two small children in CVS. Rest assured that the most beautiful words I heard that day were "Prescription ready for the Urbans."

Last night, it was more coughing and hacking. I went back to check on UK1 and found that she wasn't even waking up for it anymore. So I woke her up and gave her some cough medicine (seriously, does that stuff even work???), then some honey (how about that?). Then I sat on the kitchen floor with my back against the cabinets while she curled up on my lap, hacked and hacked, spit into the little garbage can by us and rested until the next round of it. Urban Dad brought me a pillow for my back and said that he had to get some sleep. I understood -- his alarm goes off at 5:25, and his day doesn't usually end until 9pm. So off he went to the futon downstairs.

UK1 and I sat like that for a long while. I told myself that when she went 10 minutes between hacking fits that we'd go to bed. In the meantime, I held her and stroked her hair and back, something that I never get to do anymore. And thought about when she was a baby and I'd walk up and down the length of the apartment with her at night, and how she'd wake up at 2:30am every night hungry. It got to where I'd automatically wake up about two minutes before her.

And then I'd cringe when she'd start hacking and spitting after 8 minutes.

Finally, at about 3:30am, she started getting to 10 minutes. She refused to go back to her own bed, so I brought her in with me. All was peaceful until about 6am, when another coughing jag hit her.

I managed to still get up before the UK's. I also managed to have some breakfast, get a shower and get a few loads of laundry done before 7:30am. Everything of mine or the UK's seemed to have something crusty on it...

When UK2 woke up, it was instantly evident that she too has a cold. Her face was so grossly crusty! So were her eyes. And her hands. And pajamas. And sheet. And she was soooo delighted to see me coming at her with a warm washcloth! (that's sarcasm right there...)

Her diaper also didn't stand up to its job, so she smelled like she'd never had a bath the night before. We had a 10:30am appointment at Children's for UK1's chest x-ray. I wasn't able to find a sitter the night before. It was time for a speed bath.

In the meantime, UK1 woke up crabby and refusing to do even the simplest thing. She didn't want any breakfast options, refused to get dressed, whined about brushing her teeth. Everything that I said was worth fighting about. We were both sleep-deprived and cranky. And with U-Dad already gone for the day, there was no referee.

After UK2's speed bath, I put her in a fresh onesie and outfit. There. One down.

Then she hurled on us both.

I resisted the urge to hide in a closet, open a bottle of wine and put a long straw in it. I then peeled UK2 out of her nasty clothes, threw her into another onesie and a sleeper, changed out of my cool-mom pants and into a pair of jeans that don't quite fit but mostly do, and managed to continue throwing orders and threats at UK1 to get ready already since this was her chest x-ray appointment so that we could find out why she was sick.

Thank God, she was all love and sunshine at Children's. And I started to feel a little self-conscious when the receptionist asked, "Still with United HealthCare? Still on XXXXX Street?" Er, yes...and are we here that often? (BTW, UK1 recognized the Urgent Care area as we passed it on our way to Radiology -- that's where I got my staple!

The x-ray was normal. So there's that. And she seems to be coughing less today, even after only two doses of the antibiotic (yes, I know, use it all 10 days). But her nose and upper lip are all chapped and red. And UK2's are getting there too. My pair of jeans that don't quite fit but mostly do are crusty.

And it's an hour until their bedtime. One short wonderful hour until their glorious bedtime!

I think I'll be out about 15 minutes after them.....

Hope the last few days have been smoother in your world!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Hack Job, etc.

Sorry to be out of touch for a few days... Urban Kid 1 is fighting a nasty cough/cold. For the past 3-4 nights, she's been hacking like a 30-year smoker, has to come into the bathroom to hock loogies ( gross...) and inevitably ends up in bed with us, since our bedroom is right across the hall from the bathroom. So the three of us end up nuzzled together in our queen-size bed while Typhoid Mary hacks, coughs, spits, asks for tissues to wipe her nose, etc. I have no idea how Urban Dad is getting himself going at 5:25am and charging through his day!

So we're a little off our game here... But we're seeing the doctor today to find out why she is either getting worse or holding steady rather than improving. I'm hoping that very soon I can stop saying, "DON'T lick your upper lip!! GET A TISSUE!"

In other news, I'm getting my eyes lasered on Monday to fix my atrocious eyesight. My corneas are too thin for LASIK, so I'm getting PRK instead. Yesterday, Urban Dad took the day off so that I could go for my pre-op appointment. This turned out to be the most thorough eye exam of my life! What I didn't realize was that the doc would dilate my pupils. When I arrived at the office (Northwestern Hospital downtown), it was overcast and raining. Of course, when I was time to leave, the skies cleared and the sun had come out. And I realized with striking clarity how everything downtown is so shiny and reflective! Would it have killed me to put my prescription sunglasses in my purse, even if it was raining when I left??? Thank goodness I had sense enough to take the bus rather than drive. This way, I barely had to look up from the sidewalk while waiting and could close my eyes once settled in a seat.

Hoping to be my cheery old self in the next post! Hang in there with me!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

For Anne

And maybe for Best Namma Ever! too. But she doesn't read this, so maybe not. Ok, whatever. But you ladies out there -- single, happily married, not and/or somewhere in-between -- might like this. It's only Urban Dad's fabulousness that keeps me from reading this to the Urban Kids every night at bedtime......


Once upon a time, a guy asked a girl "Will you marry me?" The girl said: "NO!" And the girl lived happily ever-after and went shopping, dancing, drank martinis, always had a clean house, never had to cook, did whatever the hell she wanted, never argued, didn't get fat, traveled more, had many lovers, and had all the hot water and closet space to herself. She went to the theater, never watched sports, never wore friggin' lacy lingerie that went up her butt, had high self esteem, never cried or yelled, felt and looked fabulous in sweat pants and was pleasant all the time.

The End

Friday, May 2, 2008

Skule Daze

When Urban Dad was addressing a birthday card for his niece......

How do you spell "Michaela?"

Michael plus an "a."


How do you spell "Michael?"

(stunned pause)

Dude, it's your middle name!

So yeah, spelling is NOT a strong point for the U-Dad. Ironic, considering that he's a high school English teacher, and a damn good one, at that. And he can finish the crossword puzzle in the newspaper. And figure out the blasted Jumble that always drives me bat-sh**-crazy.

And where am I going with this? I'm noticing on my homeschool-mommy-message board that people are planning for their next year of schooling. And now I'm wondering what to do with Urban Kid 1. Start 1st grade work? Cruise like we are and let her hang out and enjoy being little? Would I be challenging her enough? Or if we start 1st-grade work, will I be laying too much on her? Will any of this help in the probably inevitable therapy that she will need as a result of being my child?

The column over there on the left of her Academics/Activities will dwindle over the next several weeks. U-Dad will be around for the summer, so we're doing lots of Family Time. Which should set us up nicely for a countdown to Labor Day.... (no, I'm kidding... mostly...)

Once it builds up again in the Fall, it will include The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading, Saxon Math 1, Spanish class, Art class, Piano class, plus Soccer and/or Swimming as the mood strikes us. She'll turn 5yo in September, and is currently reading at a 1st-grade level.

And there's Urban Kid 2 to consider. SHE should be allowed a bit of therapy-inducing time with Mom and some fun, right???? She's a member of the Urban Family, with full rights and privileges!

Ok, seriously Val, what does that have to do with U-Dad's spelling?

After perusing my trusty copy of The Well-Trained Mind, the only book that convinced me that we could actually do this homeschool thing, I think that we'll just add Spelling in the Fall.

Once we are in a comfortable groove, and once the weather goes to hell -- which is only about 5-6 months of the year in Chicago, then we'll re-visit what we're doing and fold in another layer -- perhaps Grammar. Then perhaps another and another, eventually including History, Science, etc. In other words, instead of doing a "ready, set, GO" approach, I'm opting for more on an "on-ramp to the Educational Superhighway" approach.

If that makes sense to anyone but me. And her future therapist.

But she HAS to spell better than her Daddy!