Monday, March 30, 2009

A Long Walk For A Short Beer

Can I just preface this post with mad props to Darcy at LWM3B? She read about my Netflix snafu and kindly and generously offered me a 24-hour movie rental from This allowed me to 1.) see Twilight for free 2.) see it sooner than I would have otherwise and 3.) bump Charlotte's Web up to the top spot in my queue (the 1970's version with Paul Lynde as Templeton, 'cause I roll in the old skule way). So a million thank-you's to Darcy!!

Now, let's get to work.

In no particular order:

Wow. I need to move to Hollywood. I cannot act. I cannot direct. I cannot write. There seems to be plenty of work!! A few suggestions for New Moon? A few extra bucks in the budget for acting lessons, please? Pretty, pretty please? Honestly, Robert... were you that bad in Harry Potter? I have to go back and check now. And I hear-tell that it's a different director for New Moon, so perhaps we can lose the high-school-production awkwardness?

If you watch this on the computer, turn off the sound. Put the window with the movie in it up into the corner of the screen. It's a much better movie that way. Very pretty to look at without all of that painful talking coming out of these characters.

You know how sometimes your kids do an art project with glitter? And that bits of glitter can show up in weird places after that? If I see any bit of glitter on Urban Dad, I will scream, race to him, jump on him and smack it off of him.

Cool music. When can I buy one track at a time from iTunes instead of the whole freakin' album?

Also, the scene when Edward & Bella are going up the stairs of the house... what is that painting on the wall? That is what I want to know after seeing this movie. And yes, I am showing my age here by wanting to know this so badly. And no Google search gives me an answer. Someone? Anyone? I loved that painting......

Now let's look at a few characters in particular, shall we?

Chief Swan. My favorite! I think I know why... he hates Edward! And I love to hate Edward. Or hate to love him. Or hate myself for having the hots for him and realizing that I could be his, errrrr, Godmother. Yeah, Godmother. Or maybe it's because Billy Burke was one of the few people in this movie not shooting for the William Shatner Over-Acting Award. Pink Power Ranger wasn't crazy about him -- she seems to think that the Cop Dad Cleaning His Gun As The Suitor Arrives thing is a bit old. But I loved it. Take note Robert and Kristen -- Less Is More.

And besides, look at him in real-life.

He could clean his gun in my kitchen anytime. Extra bonus? He's been (legally) buying his own alcohol for a while now. Longer than me, even.

Jasper. What? Are you going to see The Wizard in the hopes of receiving a brain? Who approved this look for you? Frankly, you weird me out a bit. You look less like a white-knuckling-it vampire than someone who's just, well, kinda nuts.
Alice & Emmett:

Just as I pictured them. Needless to say, strokes of genius on the parts of the casting and makeup people.

Stephenie Meyer: Nice cameo! Very Fenoglio in Inkspell (which I am currently reading). Yep, you get it all here at Urban Mom -- movie reviews, comparative literature. I'm a woman of many talents. (and of many Google searches)

OMG, wait! Is she at a computer? As in writing?! Quick! Someone take it from her! Take away that computer before she strikes again! Honestly, that's the scariest thing in this movie.

You kept reminding me of someone. Someone I had seen in another movie. Where else had I heard such badly written sage reminders so badly delivered? Then it hit me!Gary Cole as Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch Movies! Except, I think that he was doing it intentionally. Yeah, he meant to be funny. Is that what you were going for too, Carlisle???

I don't know why, but I kept expecting Jack Bauer to pop out of nowhere and shoot her.


Again, just as I imagined Rosalie. I like her. Yeah, she's a beeeyotch and a half, but you know exactly where you stand with her. No fakey fake to your face and then talking smack about you when you leave the room. She'll talk smack about you right there. No need for Edward to read her mind. She'll speak it for you and for anyone else in the room. I find that weirdly refreshing and hope that she gets more lines in the future.

'Cause you know that I'll just end up going to see this.

In the theater this time. Tagging along behind a bunch of middle-school girls so that it looks like I'm chaperoning them. When really, the reverse could just as easily be true.

Until then, closing the book on this topic for a while!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Graffiti + A Secret!

Written on the wall in the Girls' Bathroom on the third floor of Great Big Urban High School:


Source: one of the female teachers in GBUHS's English Dept. Yes, I hope to see it for myself before it gets cleaned off. And no, I was not the one who wrote it!
Also, can you keep a secret? I went downtown today and bought two tickets for this:
Urban Kid 1 loves the movie. She rides around on the back of the grocery cart, arms hooked over the edge and facing out like the front of a ship, singing MP songs throughout the store. She's reading the original MP with the help of audiobook CD's.

Best Namma Ever! is treating us to this adventure. We're in the balcony towards the back, but we're there. Seriously, I can't bring myself to pay more than $50 per ticket to take a 5yo to the theater! So yeah, we're considered to be in the "cheap" seats. But you know U-Kid 1 will love it!

And it has to stay a secret, because the tickets are for the matinee show on Saturday, June 13. If she finds out sooner, the waiting will just torment her!

(PS: Finally watched Twilight. Collecting my thoughts. And pictures from Google. Check back here soon.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

This Is A Test... It Is Only A Test

Had it been real life, you would not be given any instructions whatsoever.

Isn't that how the saying goes???

Here's the scoop: Chicago Public Schools has a series of Gifted Schools, places where you have to test to get accepted. Urban Dad & I are settled on the idea of starting out the U-Kids with homeschooling for as long as it best serves them. And as long as I feel no compulsion to walk them down to the Caribou Coffee at the corner of our street and trade them for a large non-fat chai.

But the test is free. My favorite four-letter-F-word.

So I went through the application process. You can apply for as many as six schools. They encourage you to do that so that you hopefully end up with something. I applied for two -- the #1 and #2 schools in the city. (the #1 place is supposed to be the best public elementary school in illinois -- la dee freakin' dah, as chris farley would say)

I took Urban Kid 1 to take the test. She came out less than 20 minutes later.

We got the results on Saturday. There are two scores. One is the SAI -- School Ability Index. It measures stuff like verbal & nonverbal reasoning, logical classification skills, sequencing skills, visual attention to detail, defining words and completing analogies. The highest possible score is 150. 112-150 is considered above average. 130 is considered "significantly above average."

She scored 145.

Then there was the percentile rank so that you can see how your kid did compared to the rest of the comparison group who took the same test.

She scored in the 99.7th percentile.

So, eeeeyuh, I guess this homeschooling thing is going ok for now. And I sat looking at these results for a long while thinking, "wait, am I reading this right?" Clearly, she got this from her father. Or there was a switch-up at the hospital. Or those Dora vitamins pack quite a punch. Or maybe those Orange Dream Machines with a VitaBoost from Jamba Juice that I lived on during the third trimester have some magic in them.

I'm also careful about with whom I share this news, lest I come off as a preening snot. (you, dear reader, choose to come to my little corner of cyber-space here, so i figure that gives me permission to be yammer on a bit about stuff going on in our little corner of life)

And finally, I'm not losing sight of the fact that testing well once does not mean a sure-fire ticket to a happy life. That setting her up with the skills to pursue that part of life will not automatically come with academic success. That testing well is not the same as being a kind, thoughtful, considerate, contributing soul. And that she better pick up her damn room already!

Urban Dad was over the moon, of course. And gives me all of the credit. And I let him, naturally (wink, wink). He quietly shared the news with the biggest gossip in the English Department at Great Big Urban High School. This way, everyone will know, but U-Dad can let someone else do the work. Yes, he can be a preening snot too. It's rare in him, so when it does happen, it's strangely cute.

Oh, and she was not selected for either school. Oh well. So much for the satisfaction of US turning down THEM. It's just as well. That would have been more snottiness than any decent soul deserves.

Now, how to convince her that Handwriting is fun???

Monday, March 23, 2009

Free Case of Froot Loops With Home Purchase!

Wanna see something funny? My sister, the Pink Power Ranger, has put her house up for sale. Yeah, it's not the greatest time, but there's a story behind her reasons. More on that in another post. But this is a picture on her on-line ad. Notice anything?

For the record, that's a plastic plant. She bought it about 15 years ago and put it into the corner of her living room, just to watch people's reactions when they came over. Of course, being a Poe-Poe for the last 11 years just adds to the fun.

She's now assuming that her local sherriff's department will be getting a warrant to break down her door.

I'm assuming that her Open House will be quite popular!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

La Dora Nueva

Huh. I'm not as p*ssed off as I thought I would be. Let's see what else there is to learn, of course. But I almost take back my Regular? Or Extra-Trampy? post. Almost. It takes a lot for me to do a Full-On Take-Back. Besides, I still need to see what else this new Dora is about, as in what she has to say.

Many thanks to Darcy over at LWM3B for the news and the picture!

(Oh, and eight days left... Cuz I know you were wondering.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

June Cleaver, Can I Come Over & Watch With You?

Good God, my left leg for a laptop computer!

We've had guests. And the (stupid desktop) computer is in the guest "suite." So my computer time is limited to running down when no one is around, popping on the computer, waiting 90 minutes for everything to load up or boot up or throw up or whatever, checking Facebook, e-mail and the library websites, then shutting it all up or down or whatever. First it was Best Namma Ever!; now it's BIL #2 and his two kids. But they and Urban Dad and U-Kid 1 are at a family wedding now. U-Kid 2 and I are at home -- I wouldn't take a 2yo to my best friend's wedding, let alone some poor soul I've yet to meet. The littlest angel is napping just now, so finally, computer time!

Here's the news:
We had some of this:

This changed names from the Sears Tower to The Willis Tower. Yes, as in WhatYouTalkin'About. U-Kid 1 refuses to accept it. My daddy told me that it's the Sears Tower, so it's The Sears Tower!!! Ok, kid. Go chat with Daddy about that, then.

And Netflix messed me up. You see, I got six months from Pink Power Ranger for Christmas. All I wanted was the cheapie subscription -- $4.99 a month for two discs a month, one disc at a time. I watch too much tv as it is, so I figured that was reasonable. And what I really wanted was to catch up with my TV Boyfriend, who had disappeared from American television.

And you know what released today, right? Because you do not live under a rock.
So I had it at the top of my queue. With the words "Releases on March 21st" next to it. And I, being new to Netflix, sent back my previous disc. And I was getting grumpy with my TV Boyfriend, anyway. Turns out that his series disappearing from American tv was no great loss for this particular season.

I assumed, being new to Netflix, that I would wait a week or two for my "Releases on March 21st" disc to arrive at my doorstep in its pretty, red envelope.

Guess what? That is not how Netflix works! Those Banshees of Efficiency send you the next disc on your queue, as in the one listed just underneath the Not-Yet-Released Disc! In my case, it was another round of my About-To-Be-Kicked-To-The-Curb-TV Boyfriend. Being new to Netflix, I did not know this. Being new to Netflix, if I did know this, I would have waited until March 20th to send back my now-grumble-inducing TV Boyfriend. Because he is who ended up on my doorstep in a pretty, red envelope rather than my Way-Too-Young-For-Me-In-Real-Life Eye Candy. Now all I have staring at me at the top of my Netflix queue is the phrase, "You have no more movie rentals remaining for this period. Your next period begins on 03/29/2009."


That means I wait until 03/30/2009. Nine days. Yes, I know that I could walk into my local Blockbuster and get it. But that would require that I hire a 12yo girl to go in with me as my front. If I can hold out nine more days, I'll get him the movie for free.
So in the meantime, I will continue to check in with my Cyber-Enabler, June Cleaver A6P. I will use my birthday present from her to tide me over. Which would you rather be -- the gunk under his thumbnail or whomever is getting that look? I go back and forth.
Plus this, which she posted today. (i'm giving you props, June! not just stealing it! keep loving me??)

I call this the "Urban Mom, can you give me just a minute to lie here and rest? June has exhausted me for the moment. I promise, I'll be with you in just a minute or two."
Or nine days.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Paging Urban Dad

Poor Urban Dad.

Let me give you yesterday as an example. He gets up and out of the house before 6am. Teaches all day. Urban Kid 2 & I pick him up from school (sans U-Kid 1 since we had just dropped her off at Spanish class). We drive him to physical therapy for his (stupid) knee. I collect U-Kid 1 and head home.

U-Dad gets out of PT and can't find a bus, so he walks home (seems that the knee is improving, huh?). Hits the door to find messages from both of his brothers to call them. Seems that his mother is once again in rare form, and he needs to be pulled into the loop.

Phone call from BIL #1. U-Dad then calls MIL. Then BIL #2. Then travel agent friend to finally make arrangements to head out there for Spring Break. (no need to take the wife & kids for this trip... it's going to be no vacation)

In the meantime, I have fed both kids and myself, cleaned up, put one into the tub and prepped the other for bed. I'm thinking that now would be a good time to brush U-Kid 2's teeth and put her to bed. U-Dad decides to call his best friend. I'm thinking that waiting 20 minutes would not be out of the question, but whatever.

I brush U-Kid 2's teeth and shoo him away so that I can put her to bed. She protests the whole time that she wants Daddy.

He spends about 20 minutes with U-Kid 1 before she heads to bed.

He hates days like this. I'm not crazy about them myself.

On the upside, Best Namma Ever! flies in today to hang with us for the weekend. She & I are going out -- sans kids, just us -- for a bite to eat. Maybe we'll get really crazy and catch a movie? And God Love 'Im, it was U-Dad's idea. He suggested it on Monday night after a similar series of events -- "I'll take care of the kids and you and your mom go out."

I won't let the doorknob hit me where the Good Lord split me!

Keep in mind that BNE! does not know of this blog, so I'm out of commission for a few days.

Happy Weekend!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Regular? Or Extra-Trampy?

Ooooo boy, that oughta bring in the pervs from their lonely, late-night Google searches.....

But I'm not talking about that (so move on PervBoys!, nothing to see here!).

I'm talking about Dora the Explorer.

For those of you wondering a giant "what the.....?," check out this article. Seems that the geniuses over at Mattel and Nickelodeon are re-vamping Dora. Here's the Before:
Here's the silhouette of the After:
Here's the thing. Dora is a third child in this house. I know that some parents find her insanely annoying. Lord knows that I have my days, too. But in an era that makes it impossible to block out The Massive Marketing Machine, it's the lesser of many evils. Best Namma Ever! and the Pink Power Ranger think I'm nuts, but I can't stand the Disney Princess crap (it leaks through though -- UK1 is grateful for the other adult women in her life). I'll take Dora over those I-Need-A-Man-To-Save-My-Sorry-Butt chicks anyday. Here are some of my rationalizations reasons: Dora dresses like a regular kid; she's always upbeat and positive, never snarky or precocious; she's procedural and self-reliant (huge plusses for me); and the Spanish part strokes me too. In fact, I went to and spent a few extra bucks for DVD's that allow for an all-Spanish option.

As a result, we have plenty of Dora stuff here. Urban Dad & I drew the line at bedding and clothing, but even then, a few things leaked through. But we have a doll, videos and tons of well-worn books. At one point, Urban Kid 1 was obsessed with all things Dora. And it made a trip through Target a minefield (Band-Aids, vitamins, you-name-it). And for a while, Best Namma Ever's! office assistant was named Dora. So after all day of "Dora! Dora! Dora!," I would call BNE!'s office and get, "BNE!'s office, Dora speaking." I grew suspicious if it was a giant plot of some kind with my sanity as its bullseye. One year, thanks to BNE!'s and PPR's coordinated senses of humor, it was The Dora Christmas (UK1 was sure that she'd been the best kid on the planet to deserve the honor).

Urban Kid 1 is growing up now and fading away from Dora, but U-Kid 2 is picking up where she is leaving off. And to be honest, it doesn't bother me much this time. I can see the bigger picture and shrug off this round. If she's into Dora, then she's not into a lot of other flat-out garbage that's out there. For that reason, I can ride the Dora train again.

So, of course, Nick Jr has put Dora into the "capable" hands of Mattel, the geniuses who brought us Bratz dolls.

See, here's the thing. Dora is a kid thing. A little kid thing. She's not meant to grow up. She's meant to stay as she is for the next round of little kids. As we grow up, we're supposed to leave behind our little-kid stuff and find big-kid stuff. That's the point of growing up. What next in the name of keeping up with a demographic that is growing up? Elmo becomes a sullen teenager? Bob the Builder gets laid off? Diego finds his dad's magazines? The Wonderpets experiment with grass?

I hear-tell that the plan is to keep the original Dora alongside her new doppelganger. I hope so.
Despite the dangerous trips to Target that this will still provide.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Devil Made Me Do It, 3rd & Final Installment

I finished this book about a week ago, but am only getting around to admitting it writing about it now. From the mouth of one of Stephenie Meyer's own characters:

"Where is this psycho crap coming from? Are you making this up as you go?" (Jacob Black, Breaking Dawn, p182)

I want to be dismissive. I want to be callous and haughty and condescending and above-it-all. But the fact is that I came this far, so that position is wearing thin, don'tcha think? And secondly, well, I had fun.

Edward, the "tortured soul" routine is wearing a groove, ok? I. Get. It. Already.
But what the heck. You can be counted on to man-up when the occasion calls for it.

Oh, and I guess that you are not gay afterall (notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththat!). By the way, my headboard and pillows are entirely too much intact. Help a girl out with that?

I mean, ummmm, good for you for making the phrase "bite me" a delicious invitation rather than an insult.

Bella, finally! Finally! Finally! You contribute something to the party! I hate you for having the island vacation that no woman will ever have. But at least you ultimately were finally able to do a few things for your Vampiric Brady Bunch of friends, rather than always being the clutzy snack-bait who can be counted on for little more than causing everyone a whole pile of extra work. That got old. And fast.

Jacob... I can't decide what you are. Totally whipped? Glutton for punishment? Another obsessed stalker sort? Or loyal as a -- oh, nevermind -- too obvious. Also, well, errrrr, congratulations????

Stephenie, nice ending. It's all wrapped up with a pretty bow. I didn't feel the need to toss the book across the room and swear curses on you like I feared that I would. And if the spirit moves you, you even have the option to re-visit these characters, shake out the cobwebs, air them out and then find more trouble for them.

Ffffft. Like anyone would race out and buy books like that. (please don't, stephenie, please don't, i want my life back!!!!)

So while there were moments of "What? WHAT? Are you JOKING?," and more than a few instances of "i hate these people -- but-oh-my-god-what-happens-next?" the fact is that I had fun. Heaps and gobs of ridiculous, gooey, could-i be-a-more-of-a-chick, re-visiting-my-inner-12-year-old fun.

You would think that it would all be over now. On to the next time-suck! But no, guess what drops to DVD on March 21?

(I plan on using the portable DVD player with headphones, lest Urban Dad know what I'm watching.)

And then guess what comes along in November?
Hey Smook -- my friend, but really also my Twilight Enabler -- plan on carving out a few hours in November. You made getting into this all too easy. Now you have to go with me to see this thing!

And all of this said, I have to firmly and proudly stand my ground on one important point:

Long Live Buffy! (boy have i missed you these last few months!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Surprises from the U-Kids

The kids do keep us on our toes, huh?

Urban Kid 1 surprised me the other day. You see, U-Kid 1 likes to play Dress-Up lately. I never really got into that as a kid, so I'm not too sure about where she got it. I even try my best to minimize the Disney Princess thing. But still, stuff leaks through. And I have me a girly-girl now!

She now gets out of bed and immediately throws on a dress. Oh, and a tiara and toy high-heels too. 'Cause you know that it is all about the accessories, right? I have to shoo her into regular clothes before we leave the house. Later in the afternoon for "quiet time," the minute she's alone, it's back into the dressy gear.

A few days ago, she came out, clicking her little heels along the floor, tiara on her head and declared:

"Mom, maybe Daddy can watch {Urban Kid 2} on Saturday and we can go to Macy's, 'cause I need a new dress."

What? When do I ever say that? I was brought up in more than modest circumstances, so shopping never became much of a habit for me. And today, our net worth is sinking farther than whale poo... the last thing I discuss is shopping.

I told Urban Dad about this, who thought it was hilarious. Then we recalled a rather generous gift card to Nordstrom that his mom gave us at Christmas that was only about half used. So it looks like U-Kid 1 and I have a little shopping playdate on Saturday. What the heck... she and U-Dad are attending a wedding in a few weeks anyway. She's growing fast. A new frock might actually be in order.

Now for U-Kid 2:

She & I had dropped off U-Kid 1 at Spanish and U-Dad at physical therapy for his (stupid) knee and had some time to kill. I happened onto the Wrightwood Park playlot and thought, "Perfect place to kill some time!" before we had to pick up each of them.

So we played. She went into Repeat Mode on a particular slide and kept going 'round and 'round on it. After a while, it was, of course, time to go. U-Kid's class was ending soon, plus I was freezing.

U-Kid 2 disagreed.

So I did what just about every parent has done. I said, "ok, bye-bye!" and started to walk away. She watched me.

I waved some more. "Byyyyyyee!" Kept walking. Kept waving.

Still nothing. Keep in mind that this still works with U-Kid 1!

Walked some more. Waved some more. Thought, "c'mon already! you are 27 pounds of love and are killing my back and neck lately!" I start to approach the gate that leaves the playlot. I reached for the gate.

Finally, a response! Except wait......

She blew kisses at me, waved back and proceeded up her slide!

WHAT THE....?????

She called my bluff and WON! What did she expect? For me to go pick up U-Kid 1 first? To pick up a few Happy Meals on the way? Give her bus fare?

So, yep, I had to walk back over to the slide, pick her up and carry her back across the playlot, through the gate, across the street and into the car.

Based on previous behaviors, I guess I shouldn't really be surprised!

The next twenty years could be very interesting......

Monday, March 2, 2009

An Open Letter To The Freaky Locker Room Lady:

Wow. Anger issues, much?

See, here's the thing. If you have such issues with personal space, may I suggest that Sunday morning may not be the best time to go to the gym?

Yeah, I know that there were already two other ladies near you as you were getting yourself put back together to leave. But you see, I rent that little locker right in the middle of the mix. As in, I pay extra money to keep my stuff there.

Seeing that it was already busy in that little stretch of valuable real estate, I tried to be quick about stuffing my coat and bag into a daily locker. I then opened my rental locker in order to show you and the other ladies why I chose to insert myself into an already busy place. I grabbed my workout clothes and went to the end of the bench in an effort to allow a bit more elbow room.

Boy, you got huffy! Muttering, "every single time... every. single. time." Yeah, whatever, that's the joke in the locker room, Princess Sourpuss. No matter where you stash your stuff, the entire locker room will be empty and fifteen people will cluster around your locker. It happens to all of us. Every Single Time.

So while I thought your self-important muttering was weird, I didn't take it personally. Hell, I didn't really take much notice of it at all. I thought it was odd that, while wearing just jeans and a bra with your hair still wrapped in a towel, that you angrily grabbed the rest of your gear and coat from your locker and slammed the door shut. I even shrugged off your venomous, "excuse me" and said a pleasant "sure" as I leaned out of your way. But your reasons were clarified when you put everything down on the next bench over and used that vanity.

And after that, I didn't give you a single thought at all. And I really didn't imagine that you would give me a single thought either. After all, it was Sunday morning. I was meeting my close buddy Lucy for a workout and chat. What could go wrong?

Except your sanity.

You see, I stashed my clunky hiking shoes and thick wooly socks under the bench because they were wet. You did notice that people do that, right? Stash their boots and mucky shoes under the benches? We do that so that the daily lockers don't get all slushy and gross.

So imagine how I scratched my head when I came back from a lovely workout and chat to find my outdoor shoes and socks tossed on top of the locker unit. I mean, seriously, is this a joke? Or does your medication just need an adjustment?

I pushed the bench over to the lockers and easily plucked out my shoes. However, I couldn't see over the ledge into the well where the lights are to see if my socks were there. So I showered and got dressed, looking carefully through my stuff to see if perhaps I didn't remember putting them in either locker.

Nope. Not there. So out I went... in my barefeet... to the front desk. Where I told them about your brain spasm. Congratulations -- they think you're a freak-job, too! A nice gal brought one of the tall bar-chairs from the lobby into the locker room, climbed up, peeked over the ledge and kindly retrieved my nice warm socks.

Every other woman in the locker room pretty much said, "are you kidding me? seriously? what is she? nine years old?"

I informed them that no, you are not nine years old. In fact, you are tall and skinny with big boobs and long blonde hair. So clearly, anyone can see the problem you would have with me.


(in fact, based on your detailed description, a few ladies in the locker room wondered if perhaps the tips were low at your pole the previous night, thus leading to your crabbiness)

And so I leave you, Sister Skanks-A-Lot, with these thoughts:

1. If you have such problems with personal space: a.) use one of the private dressing rooms b.) do not work out on Sunday mornings or c.) work out in one of the many soybean fields in Illinois.

2. I have described you. So I have to think that any real problems that the world has thrown at your skinny, self-important, self-righteous ass are at least somewhat likely the result of your own doing. You think you have problems? Go rent a documentary on the Lost Boys of Sudan. Then tell me what problems you have in one of the nicer gyms in Chicago on a Sunday morning.

3. Be grateful that my friends and I are bigger people that you are. We have had a delerious couple of days laughing hysterically at your pettiness. And then the people sitting next to us and overhearing our laughter couldn't help but wonder at how small your world must be, too. I have, however, enjoyed hearing various ideas about how to reciprocate:
a. take your shoes, soak them in a sink, then put them back under the bench
b. take your shoes, throw them into a shower, turn on the shower, leave the door open, walk away
c. peel the backs off of a few pantiliners and stuff them into your shoes before soaking them. let you figure out if they are new or not.
d. take your shoes out of the locker room completely, put them into the lost and found box in the kids' care facility until they are dontated to charity. the likeliness of a charitable donation would refrain me from slipping any surprises into them.

4. If I still feel like it, if I haven't fully let go of my matronly need to smack the manners into you that your mother did not, I may actually print off a much shorter, more business-like version of this letter. I may get up bright and early next Sunday morning -- after all, you were leaving as I was arriving -- and tape up a few copies onto each and every mirror.

5. Finally, maybe I won't do anything. Maybe you having to be you is punishment enough for one lifetime.

Either way, do not touch my stuff ever again.