Monday, June 30, 2008
We bumped UK1 up into a great-big-girl twin bed, thus freeing up the toddler bed for UK2, who had outgrown the smaller-than-standard crib due to her picking up some Tall Genes from somewhere.
When I returned from dropping off the UK's, Urban Dad and I walked the crib and its bedding across the street to the family-run daycare, who was thrilled to have it. I walked away nearly in tears. U-Dad assured me that it was a thing, so there was no need for tears.
Me: But my babies slept in that crib!
Him: But we still have the babies!!! What difference does the crib make?
And so it went....
But the same thing happened when I took the first round of baby clothes to the Salvation Army. The nice man came to the car and took the bags. Except that for a moment, I didn't let go. There was a weird beat and a half when he and I just paused, each of us holding the bags of baby clothes. I finally smiled and let go, but it was a bit more forced that I expected it would have to be.
But I digress...............
Next, the new bed was delivered. We opted for a loft system that would allow UK1 to sleep up top while allowing us to tuck the toddler bed underneath it. I didn't see what U-Dad had selected, but it was a modular system, thus allowing for a bottom bunk in the future. He saw it assembled at a Bedding Experts store and was assured by Nick the Salesguy that 1.) the delivery team would assemble it and 2.) that it was easy to do because he had done it himself.
Friday, the bed was delivered. Minus one stabilizing bar. So the delivery team left.
Nick the Salesguy assured us that he had found a stabilizing bar in another store, and it would be delivered on Monday. So U-Dad and I spent the weekend twiddling our thumbs on this project.
Monday, the stabilizing bar was delivered. The delivery team and U-Dad proceeded to build the bed but ran into two problems:
1.) it was GIGANTIC and ate up the entire room. U-Dad was freaked with himself for making such a GIGANTIC mistake. Seriously, seriously freaked. He usually measures and re-measures and re-re-measures when doing anything around the house. Guess what he didn't do? Seems that he saw the contraption built and thought, "ok, cool." Seems that the room it was in was, well, larger than the kids' bedroom. Poor guy -- he was so ridiculously hard on himself. I felt terrible for him.
2.) the stabilizing bars did not stabilize anything. They rattled around and would not hold firm. So the whole contraption swayed.
After the delivery guys left, U-Dad was on the phone to Nick the Salesguy -- we're four blocks from the store, so could HE come over and tell us what the heck was so wrong? And we don't like it, so would he take it back????????
He was so not keen on taking it back. Neither was Dan the Regional Director. Our only out was if the merchandise was defective. We would see Nick the Salesguy at 8:30pm after he closed the store.
As these calls were going back and forth, we set off to the outer reaches of the solar system (aka: Schaumburg), where we made the trip to IKEA that we should have made before buying anything, anywhere, but were too damn lazy to do, assuming that it would be cheap and unappealing.
We found a bunk bed that was cheap and quite perfectly appealing -- shame on our snobbery! But we couldn't do anything about it until we were rid of the albatross that was already consuming the room. We drove home as U-Dad continued his verbal self-flagellation throughout all of this, thus seriously harshing the vacation mellow.
That night, Nick the Salesguy and his lovely girlfriend Rachel came by. Nick and U-Dad tried every which way to fix the stabilizing bars, while I chatted with Rachel and prayed that nothing could be done.
Finally, Nick the Saleguy said those beautiful words, "This bed is no good. I'll come by tomorrow to get the pieces and carry them back to the store. And I'm taking this company's catalog out of my store. You want a free frame and box spring for your trouble?"
Before taking him up on the offer, U-Dad and I spent the rest of the night arranging and re-arranging the room. Could we get away with two beds without bunking them? At least, not yet? We could alway ADD a bigger piece of furniture. Getting rid of it was not what we wanted to go through again. Perhaps the simplest solution was the best one.
Oh, and shouldn't someone go get the kids??????
So this is how I ended up driving back to St. Louis to collect UK's. But I shouldn't complain. U-Dad got stuck with putting all of the furniture back, making the beds, cleaning the kitchen where all of this stuff had been stacked for a week -- and when he cleans, he mops, vacuums, etc etc.
The room now looks......small. But it's working.
Now we just need UK2 to fall sleep in her bed. But that hurdle can be jumped when we get back. We leave Wednesday for the Annual Urban Family Road Trip.
Wait a minute..... how much is gas???
Friday, June 27, 2008
Well, here I am!
Didja miss me? 'Cause I missed you.
Last week, I drove the Urban Kids down to St. Louis and dropped them off at Best Namma Ever! Camp. It was a weird feeling to drive away while the two of them and BNE! stood waving on the front lawn. It was a weird feeling to look in the kiddie rear-view and see two empty car seats. It was a weird feeling to not listen to any kiddie music for the entire drive. It was an especially weird feeling to stop at a rest stop, run in to use the rest room, run back out to the car and be back on the highway in under ten minutes!
While the UK's were gone, Urban Dad took everything down from the walls of the UK's room, took everything out of their room and into our kitchen (their room is just off of it), spackled cracks and holes in the walls and put on a fresh coat of neutral, landlord-friendly paint. We then walked UK2's crib across the street to the family-run daycare. Didja get that part? The crib is now gone. It was not a standard-sized crib, but a smaller one. And UK2 is tall for her age, so she was going corner-to-corner to stretch out. But the important part is that the crib is gone. That will come up over the next few days as I fill you in on the doings here.
So yeah, getting UK1's new bed so that UK2 could take the toddler bed was a bit....um.... dramatic. I still need to get the bed salesguy a treat from our neighborhood candy store.
But as that unfolded, U-Dad and I did other stuff. We went out to a bar to eat pizza and watch baseball. That night, I was up sick to my stomach. The next day, my buddy Lucy and I walked all the way downtown, talking and catching up the whole way, then ate lunch at a favorite Streeterville Thai food place. She was running out of steam, so we bussed it back, then I went to get my nails done.
That night was the swank-a-licious birthday dinner. And it deserves a post all its own. Seriously, I did not realize all of the (enormously well-deserved) buzz about this place when I made the reservation. I do not have the vocabulary for how amazing it was!!!
That night, I was up sick to my stomach. After the best meal of my life, it was especially heartbreaking -- as well as mildly confusing and concerning. Not that it's ever, y'know, fun.
In the words of Stephen Colbert -- MOVING ON!!!
The next several days involved more new-bed-drama, long late-night walks around the city that included tasty cupcakes, a trip to Evanston to see a movie (a movie, I tell you! we went out to see a movie!), followed by an effort to find parking that took about as long as the movie, volunteering at a local neighborhood festival, catching up to a girlfriend who is another teacher, so I mainly see her during breaks, going through toys and coloring books, a Target run, a charity drop-off run, a half-frantic IKEA run, etc etc etc etc.
There was a stretch when we even planned to have the U-Dad drive to St. Louis to collect the UK's from BNE! Camp, thus allowing me a weekend alone for the first time since before U-Dad and I got married, but the bed-drama bitterly nixed that idea. Oh well. Maybe once UK2 goes off to college?
Oh, and the return trip with the UK's.... alone, the drive is about 5 hours. With kids, it's about 6 hours. Yesterday's hit just about SEVEN hours due to all kinds of mishaps, some of them my own fault. But seriously, has anyone really cut back on driving? Really? 'Cause the traffic that I'm encountering suggests otherwise in a big, big way. Yet I have to tell you, the UK's rocked it out and did amazingly well. Me? I was hanging on by my fingernails for the last 45 minutes. But the two of them remained serene and patient. They must get it from the U-Dad.
Looking forward to catching up to everyone's blogs. Especially since we're hitting the road again soon for the Annual Psychologically Scar Ourselves For Another Year Trip To The In-Laws.
Now those posts could get interesting.....
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
You know who you are. You're the one sending seven e-mails every. flipping. day. to your entirely-too-long "to:" list. Allow me to point out what should really be obvious:
1. Unless you are Mark Wahlberg, there are not that many e-mails that I want from anyone. Ever.
2. I want to get in my inbox and get out. So I delete most of the things that you send. Besides, I've probably seen several of them already anyway.
3. Get a blog. It's a wonderful way to allow people to pop by at their own leisure to check out what jokes and videos you think are amusing or interesting. And it keeps you out of my inbox. Especially when I'm on vacation.
4. Finally, if you do indeed have time to send seven or more jokes/videos every day, may I suggest a little less time in front of the computer? Perhaps step outside and take in a bit of sunshine and fresh air? See a few real-life people? Seriously, sometimes I actually worry about you a little.
(on a lighter note: swank-a-licius dinner is tonight... room re-do is coming along.... details on both soon!)
Monday, June 16, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
That's when we figured out that Urban Kid 2 loves to close doors. Ok, the fact that she goes into the upstair bathroom and closes the door added to that. And then we hear this cry from inside the bathroom and wonder, "what the...?" to find that she can't figure out how to get herself out of this pickle. Little does she know how much her mom loves to go into that bathroom alone and close the door, how much she relishes actually going into the bathroom without an audience. Oh wait, I digress. Really, I'm going somewhere with this. I'm back on track now. Honest.
This is a story from a week or so ago. It was a Saturday morning. U-Dad needed to go to a local Caribou Coffee to grade one last round of essays, so off he went. I had the two U-Kids, plus a bunch of laundry to start, so I hustled the U-Kids downstairs so that they could play and I could get started.
Important part of the story here...I'm in a robe. Under the robe, a tank top and skivvies. Yeah, it's oversharing, but you'll get where I'm going with this. Honest.
So the layout of it all...
Here's a view from our downstairs playroom/schoolroom/guestroom/computer room to the door to the laundry room:
When that door is open so that Mommy, in her robe with her not-much underneath can go back and forth between doing laundry and tending to her darling angels:
Come further into the laundry room with me, won't you? What the heck. You've come this far. Have a look around (by the way, the shirts are Mike The Landlord's).
When all is well and perfect for my robe-clad self and my two adorable darlings, you would turn around from here and see this:
And bless her little heart if my perfect eldest cherub didn't want to join me in the laundry room to see if she could help. She kinda digs sitting on the dryer and watching things fall into the washing machine. So in she comes.
You'll never guess what we heard next. Oh, you did guess. Then go ahead and say it with me now...
We turned around to see this:
Huh. Well that's no big deal, we'll just open this and, oh wait, U-Kid 1 and saw this:
Urban Kid 2 had closed the door. And it is (ok, was) always locked.
Remember the details here... a 17-month-old is by herself on the other side. (isthebabygateup??) So is my cell phone. (isthebabygateup??) My 4 1/2 year old and I are on this side. I'm in a robe because what I'm wearing under it is utterly inappropriate for anywhere but the laundry room on a Saturday morning. And Thank God it was a little chilly that morning, so that I actually put on the robe. The U-Dad left half an hour ago. And Mike The Landlord is a real estate agent, so let's see, what are the odds of him being around on a Saturday? (isthebabygateup?)
I attempt to not show my panic to UK1 as I contemplate where the hell I'm going to go for help if, indeed, Mike is not home.
UK1 and I head this way:
And then this way, up to the top floor to see if Mike is home:
I think I hear noise from upstairs, and as I share my hopes with UK1, we're half-way up to Mike's door when...
our back door to our kitchen opens!!!!
Urban Dad is standing there...on the phone....
You guys locked out???
I am not sure if I have ever in all of my life been so glad that he was there. Ok, the time that I was in full-blown labor and the nurse at the hospital announced that it would be a 40-minute wait for anesthesiology and he went all caveman, thus getting me drugs about 5 minutes later -- that ranks high too. But yeah, wow, was I glad to see him!
The phone had rung as he was about to leave. He feels a need that I do not to answer all ringing phones. And this particular call went on much, much longer than he ever thought possible. (thank you former student with the crazy life!)
I showed my infinite gratitude by rushing past him, through the kitchen, down the hall, through the living room and down the stairs to:
1. find that the baby-gate was indeed up and
2. that UK2 was happily playing and was perfectly safe
3. unlock that *&%#-ing door.
U-Dad and I continue to contemplate the best hiding place for a spare key.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
1. Re: what happened with Story #2... I'm told that Urban Kid 2 closed the bathroom door, but that everyone was outside of the bathroom when it happened. I'm still not clear on exactly how the door got locked. I asked Urban Dad if he was sure that this was how it went down, and he swears it was. I'm pretty sure that Urban Kid 1 would have ratted him out, er, come up with an honest answer by now if it was not the case. But it did have me wondering for a few hours that day!!
2. Urban Dad was voted Teacher of the Year at Great Big Urban High School...again! This is a school of 4,000+ students, and they're the ones who get to vote for this. And it's his second year in a row of getting the title! So if U-Kid 2 wakes up from her nap in time, we may go over to our neighborhood candy store and see if we can find a treat for him. Of course, U-Dad was not the one to tell me this. A friend and colleague at GBUHS sent me a text message at around 11:30am. I've already called his mom to remind her of how fantastic her son is (sadly, she needs this reminder occasionally). I also called Best Namma Ever! to tell her how great her grandkids' daddy is.
Ok, off and running again.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
The backstory: Urban Kid 1 is friends with Little Molly. They played together a lot at the gym. Molly's Mommy and I figured this out and began hanging out, eventually becoming friends. Then Molly's Mommy met Las Vegas Guy and went head over heels. They moved out there in November to "spend the winter" and are still there. UK1 misses her terribly.
Me: (while looking at a text message) Molly's Mommy is engaged! Las Vegas Guy proposed last night!
U-Dad: That's great! Good for them.
UK1: (slowly, with wide eyes and a very quiet voice filled with worry) Will she still be Molly's Mommy??
Much reassuring followed that yes, indeed, she would still be Molly's Mommy. And that before she is anything for the rest of her life, that she would be Molly's Mommy. That Molly was going to come out just fine in all of this.
Short Story #2:
Backstory: I'm on my way into the eye doctor's office building downtown when my cell phone rings. Also, "Mike" is our wonderful landlord.
U-Dad: Hi! So are you downtown yet?
Me: Yes, just about to go into the building.
U-Dad: Uh-huh, that's great. Soooo, um, where's that key that Mike gave you that unlocks the downstairs bathroom from outside? (he sounds entirely too bright and cheery)
Me: Hanging on the kitchen bulletin board. Why?
U-Dad: Wha'? Oh, um, no reason. So where on the bulletin board? Top half? Lower half?
Me: I don't know. I just pinned it up there when he gave it to me a couple of years ago. It's a skinny piece of metal wound into a loop on one end. You just put it into the hole in the doorknob and why are you asking me this?
U-Dad: No reason, just wondered. (sounding hurried) Ok, good luck at the doctor's office. Let me know how it goes!
Eye Update: Vision is now 20/40, so I'm legal to drive without correction! Doc expects that it will continue to improve over the next month.
Hope everyone's week is going well!
Monday, June 9, 2008
So what are our first plans? To re-do the UK’s bedroom.
How best to do that? Ship them to Best Namma Ever!’s.
UK 1 will get to attend her first soccer class of the summer a week from tomorrow. Then I take her and UK2 to St. Louis. I stay for one big night, then I drive back the next day.
In the meantime, U-Dad will start taking everything out of their room and start spackling holes. We’ll paint the walls (we’ve been hard on this room, God love our landlord for keeping us!), then work out a new bed situation.
UK2 has always been long for her age. Ok, now that she’s fully mobile, perhaps “tall” is the word to use. I don’t know where she got it – I’m 5’6”, U-Dad is 5’9”. Ok, I know where… we’re both the shortest in our families, so she grabbed some tall genes from somewhere up one of the trees.
Anywhooooo, UK2 is now as long as her crib. It isn’t a standard-sized crib, but UK1 definitely lasted longer in it. If UK2 wants to stretch to full-length, she now goes corner to corner, poor thing.
So she’ll graduate to UK1’s toddler bed that UK1 really needs to get out of. UK1 will go on to a great-big-girl twin bed. And she wants purple bedding, thank-you-very-much.
U-Dad was a bit surprised by this: “There’s nothing between a toddler bed and a twin? Really? A twin bed?
She’s almost five, dude. It’s TIME. It’s been time!
Space is an issue, so we’re opting for this route:
It's been forever since we've been without either UK. Alone. (UK1 arrived 11 months after our little living-room wedding.) What to do?
We’ll do the U-Dad’s 50th birthday dinner from yesterdays’ post. We’ll shop for a few things. We’ll go see some movies or rent a few that we’ve missed. We’ll open a few bottles ofwine. We’ll take long, meandering evening walks around the city. And what else? Gee, what else could we possibly do all alone just the two of us? How could two happily married adults spend a summer afternoon in the middle of the week with no kids around?
Huh. I’m stumped for ideas………
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Well, we're now going to the six-hour place. However, we are not getting the six-hour menu (aka: the "tour" menu). We're doing the "tasting" menu. They want to know which one you want when you make the reservation. (is an eyeroll appropriate here?)
And where was I when I made this reservation? Go ahead. Guess.
Yes folks, while walking on a treadmill at the gym while squinting at the restaurant section of Chicago magazine in one hand and holding my cell phone in the other. (if it helps, there were only about five of us scattered throughout a rather large cardio room, and everyone else had on headphones -- and an eyeroll is definitely appropriate here.)
Commence cyber-smacking. But what the heck -- if you're going to do the experience, you may as well embrace it from the very first moment. Perhaps I'll even send something back to the kitchen. (ok, no)
On lighter notes:
Mommy Brag Moment: Urban Kid 1 took Little House in the Big Woods off of the shelf and started reading it out loud virtually perfectly while U-Dad and I stared slack-jawed. I was so not doing that before five.
Wife Brag Moment: Great Big Urban High School had its graduation on Friday night. Urban Dad was mentioned in the valedictorian's speech -- again! -- who was a former student of his -- again!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
So... wanna hear about the operation?? Squeamish folks, leave a kind comment now and head to your next blog.... it's ok. I'll understand.
About 1 1/2 hours before my appt, I had to take a pain killer. And it makes you feel weird. I don't know how else to explain it. It isn't punchy or dopey or anything. Just weird. Like you took something. Best Namma Ever! returned for more punishment -- er, came back to help out -- and we all headed to Urban Kid 1's soccer class. She felt like she would be ok bringing the UKs back home (city driving scares her a bit), so I left to grab some transit to Northwestern. Feeling all weird and full of nervous energy, I walked more than I rode. I was making good time and don't often get the chance to take in the Mag Mile area anymore.
Once I arrived, they had me sign my life away (I understand that the power may fail and my procedure may not be completed????? wha'?). Then they gave me 5mg of Vaaaaaliuummmm. Then the good doctor took me into an exam room and gave me numbing drops -- seriously, they rank right up there with the laser for making this all possible -- ok, that and Valium. Then he touched each of my eyes with a pen...TWICE. As he did this, I sat silently, exhaled slowly and screamed inside of my head. I figured that if I screamed out loud, I might not get my vision fixed after all.
After donning a fashionable shower cap, we were off to the procedure room. Once flat on my back and noticing "hey, look at the neat little flashing orange light," they gave me a sweet teddy bear to hold. Awwwwww........
Somebody then covered my left eye with a patch, scrunched a headrest around my ears and asked if I was comfortable. Hunky dorey, dude!
Someone then proceeded to tape my eyelashes open! The first image that came to mind was Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory -- if you don't know what I mean, be glad -- and my knees and sneakers started to move up towards my torso. There was a chorus of, "are you okay?????" But either my zen started grooving or the Valium started working or (probably) both. But I managed to relax and stare obediently at the flashing orange light.
Next came a gallon of numbing drops. Keep 'em coming doc, keep 'em coming.
I think I saw the scraping next. Didn't feel a thing. But I saw some sort of instrument going back and forth. And a film of some kind going with it.
My left eye was blinking like mad, but I kept that right one staring straight at the flashing orange light. Which sometimes looked a little stripey, like it was moving.
I think some more fluid was dumped in. I can't quite remember. Then came yet another reminder to keep staring at the orange light. And the doctor's fingertips on my forehead with a gentle reminder of "don't move." (eeeeyuh. no worries, dude) Then, "zap zap zap zap zap" while a woman counted in the background. The whole world went away in a darkening circle of black, but guess what was in the middle of it? That's right -- a flashing orange light!!
Then more fluid.
Still that damn light. And I think the teddy bear's arm was about to get wrenched off. But I was not. going. to. move.
Then some nice cool fluid. And it kept coming. Then more of it. And it was feeling cold. And colder. (remember the flashing orange light is still there) And then really cold. And then came a bit more silent screaming in my head because I was getting a blaring headache from the ice-cold s*** being dumped in my eye could you please knock it off already!!!!
I focused my way through it with thoughts like: "Remember labor with UK1...and you've run a marathon...and you've taught high school...and for god's sake you've worked in advertising... you can certainly do this."
Then a contact lens. "Aaaaand gently close your eye, Valerie."
Same thing on the other side, of course.
As I was there with both eyes closed, the ever-so-nice assistant helped me sit up, then asked me to slowly open them. And I had a really emotional moment where I said profound and deep things like:
"Dude, I can see your face! I can see that clock! I can see this entire room!"
He reminded me that this wasn't going to last, that things would deteriorate and then improve. We then went back to the exam room, where he talked me through how to use about 15 different drops (ok, three). I listened politely and reminded myself to check the written instructions later. (i mentioned the valium, right?)
My girlfriend Sandra picked me up downstairs and drove me home. I was having a really hard time keeping my eyes open. The surgery? The valium? Dunno. But she saw me to my door, where Best Namma Ever! saw me to bed. I went into the bedroom at 2pm and emerged at 7pm. At some point, Urban Dad popped in to say hi and ask how I was. I looked at the clock on his side of the bed and said, "It's 5:17." He smiled and let me go back to sleep.
The next few days varied. One morning, I could not open my eyes. They just refused to listen to my commands from the brain. One night, I sat in a dark room wearing sunglasses and still complained about light sensitivity. But the worst seems to be in the past now. I'm down to one set of drops. I can see well enough to drive short, familiar trips (*ahem* says me). Now we wait. Those who I have spoken to say that it will happen. It's just hard to be patient.
Ok, I'm off to bed. I get to put in a set of drops and don an attractive mask so that I don't rub my eyes in my sleep. New baby cells forming there -- don't want to smush them away. That, plus my mouthguard are making me really, really shexshee.
Thanks for checking in. Looking forward to catching up to your blogs tomorrow and over the weekend!
Oh, and I have no idea how that poor teddy bear did by the end of things.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Today is better. Left eye is pretty darn good, actually. Right eye is still pretty fuzzy. So the world is lopsided. And it makes me headachy and a bit queasy after too long.
The Urban Dad is going into finals now too. Being rather slow on the computer, he relies on me for grade entry. Again with the headachy and a bit queasy, but what takes me 45 minutes takes him about three days. And at finals time, he just doesn't have three days.
In the meantime, Best Namma Ever! was selected for jury duty. Apparently, being the mother of the Pink Power Ranger did not get her booted. And if it's the case that I think that it is, it's a murder case. Ugh. Think a happy thought for the BNE!
More soon, really! But right now I'm a bit, well, headachy. And queasy.