Monday, January 25, 2010

Humor in Urban Mom's Family

My cop sister, Pink Power Ranger, is great at practical jokes.  She's also a great friend.  Her practical jokes tend to be what one might call a "cost of doing business."  Here's an example:

While we Urbans were in St. Louis at Best Namma Ever!'s house, PPR and her fiance (I haven't quite come up with a name for him yet... I am growing up and beginning to like him, hence weenie boyfriend is no longer an option) came over for pizza and chit-chat with us and some other friends.  PPR came in and swooped directly back to BNE!'s bedroom, the last door on the left of the hallway.  I happened to be coming out of BNE!'s room when I ran into PPR.

Me:  You're late again.

PPR:  HeywhichpurseisMom's?

Me:  The muti-colored thing there.  Why?

PPR:  Standlookoutkay?

Me:  Uh, ok, she's in the kitchen with everyone, why?

PPR: (coming out of the bedroom and into the hallway with me)  I got one of those security tabs from a friend in inventory control, and it's activated.  I buried it into the bottom of her purse, so when she walks in and out of any store, she'll set off the alarms!

Me & PPR:  (uproarious laughter at the very thought)

A few days later, I needed to get out of the house already go to Mid-Rivers Mall to take care of some errands.  I was going to take the two Urban Kids with me anyway, and so I could not resist:

Me:  Hey BNE!, want to come with us and hang out a bit?

And so off we went.

With the exception of JC Penney, which we had to cut through in order to get to and from out car, BNE! proceeded to set off alarms everywhere.  The first few times, it was "huh, that's weird."  The next few times it was, "ok, what's the deal?"

At one point, I was with Urban Kid 1 at one of those giant bungee trampolie set-ups where they charge you a ridiculous $7 for three minutes of jumping for a kid who refuses to try a flip.  But she loves it and can't easily do it at home, plus it acts as bribery for good behavior, so what the heck. 

Anywhooooo, the overpriced bungee thing is set up right next to Macy's.  BNE! had to go to the bathroom, so she magnanimously took UK-2 with her.  I watched her go in and kept a straight face as the WOOP WOOP WOOP went off as she crossed Macy's threshold.  I could tell that puzzlement was giving way to aggravation.  This, of course, only made it funnier.  (i know, i'm going straight to hell, aren't i???)  I then watched as the pair came out a few minutes later.  And you know what happened:


BNE! was starting to figure out that it was something about her.

Oh hey, did I mention that whenever BNE! turned her back that I was frantically texting PPR?

After the overpriced bungee thing, we made our way to one of those little plastic indoor playgrounds where cabin-fevered small children can run off some adrenalin.  As we settled in to watch the Urban Kids, I offered to go into the adjacent Border's and pick up a few hot beverages.  My treat.  (see, i am nice!)  But BNE! -- God bless her wonderful heart -- said, "oh no, I'd like to go in anyway, so I'll pick up something for us while you watch the kids." 

She is a gift, isn't she?

As she walked off, I immediately phoned PPR and told her all that was happening.  Whoever may have seen PPR in her patrol car at that moment might have worried about the armed woman unable to breathe due to fits of laughter.

Of course, as we talked, BNE! finished browsing the sale books outside of the store and wandered inside.


I thought PPR would wet herself.

From where I was sitting, I could watch the Urban Kids and the entrance to Borders, so I waited in blissful anticipation, still chatting with PPR.

PPR:  I can't believe I'm missing this!  It was MY joke!

As BNE! came back out, two lovely hot drinks with her, once again came WOOP WOOP WOOP.

Aggravation gave way to exasperation.  I hurriedly ditched PPR.

BNE!:  That's IT.  No more!  I am not going into one more store today!  This is just crazy!

May I just say that I deserve an Academy Award for Best Actress for my ability to look genuinely puzzled?  For my ability to look genuinely weirded out?  For my ability to ask if perhaps there was a problem that she wanted to share with me... with a completely straight face?

By the way, PPR only 'fessed up a few days ago.  Her fiance made her.  (to their credit, both Urban Dad and PPR's fiance were absolutely appalled at us) 

Oh, and BNE! was not stopped at all by any kind of security during all of this.  Not once!

Friday, January 22, 2010


(Hey JS, if you come across this post, please know that you are welcome here anytime!!!)

Ok, folks, once again, I have gone cyber-psycho.....

As many of you know, precious few people IRL know of my secret cyber-life.  "Urban Mom" gets to go through life with slighly fewer social filters than "Valerie" has to.  It's the fun of the blog.  I mean, it's not like I blatantly try to be offensive or anything.  I try to (mostly) be at least respectful.  But I refer to people in the Urbans' lives as I see fit here.  It's why I call Best Namma Ever!'s husband Her Husband.  It's why I call my paternal grandmother Not The Best Namma Ever!.  And whenever I tell someone IRL about this blog, I do it with the idea of "I have to see this person; do I have to adjust what and how I write to accomodate that?"  Those people IRL are then sworn to keep my deep, dark secret.  You folks out in cyber-space can tell anyone you like about the goofy mom from Chicago who essentially uses her computer to open her window and yell at whomever passes by.

So I was over on Facebook.......

FB leads you to believe that you can tinker with sublists within your list of friends.  Keep in mind that my FB list is all of about 47 people, about 1/4 to 1/3 people that I have never even met IRL.  And so I played with the sublist of ideas.  For example, I don't figure that everyone I've ever met wants to hear my thoughts on politics, so I created a list called "Politics."  I then did a "Comment if you can see this" post.  Only a few actually responded, but they were on the list.

And you know what I did next.....

I created a "blog" list.  Y'see, my FB friend Dy posts on FB whenever she does a new blog post.  I thought that this was a very nifty idea!  So I created my "blog" list -- people who do not include my immediate family or perhaps who are friends with folks who I may not want knowing my details -- and checked and double-checked it.  I then did the "come see my new blog entry" post on FB.


a family remember responded that he was confused about how to find it.

and a nice fellow mom down the block from me sent me an e-mail -- a very lovely e-mail -- responding to my blog post. (again, JS, you're welcome to the party here!)

I immediately took down the FB post.  I then kicked the blog into "private" mode as I pondered what to do next.  I've had to think carefully about what I want to do with the Urban Mom blog.  Go private permanently?  Go back through my entries and figure out what to delete or alter?  Keep going as I have been, but check carefully and more often?

I'm going with option #3.

For now.

Maybe few people had a chance to see the FB post.  Maybe if they've tried the link and couldn't get in, they've gone on to the next thing in their lives. Maybe I can stop ridiculously overestimating my importance in anyone's life but my own.

So that's where I've been for a few days.

And know that if you're reading this right now, that I'm very likely flattered, grateful and giddy with joy that you find me worth your time and energy.

Unless, of course, I'm related to you.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

MLK here at the CDA

What to do with MLK Day here at the {Urban} Country Day Academy?

I have to be honest with you... we're not tackling it this year.

Lest you be aghast at my perceived insensitivity, allow me to explain:  Urban Kid 1 lives in a neighborhood often referred to as "Boys' Town."  She takes part in classes all over Chicago at various businesses, encountering kids from all walks of life.  Her father teaches at Great Big Urban High School, which is known for being pretty much a living, breathing Bennetton ad.  Without any intentional social engineering on our part, the Urban Kids have a pretty diverse population in their day-to-day experiences.

Today, as we Skyped with Best Namma Ever!, BNE! told us about how she was involved in committee at her church that would be getting together tomorrow with other folks of similar committees from other churches to commemorate the day.  And Urban Kid 1 asked, "what's 'black' mean?"  So BNE!, concerned that she had to correct herself, said, "oh, I mean African-American."  UK1 still didn't get it. 

I then went about naming people that we know who are African-American.  And she started to understand, but not really.  And it occurred to BNE! and me at that moment that she doesn't get the concept of race.  At six years old, she's not seeing people's skin color.  She doesn't peg people by how they look or where they live or where they go to school.  As much as she can exasperate me some days, the fact is that she has such an open heart and soul for everybody that it is going to break my heart to explain some aspects of the world.  We'll do it, of course.  But not quite yet.

So tomorrow, we enjoy her innocence and naivete for the moment.  We'll go about our regular day, unless we hear back from her buddy Maya's nanny.  At that point, we'll drop everything and go do something fun (lest my homeschool miss a "socialization opportunity" -- aka: playdate).

In the meantime, I'm grateful.  I'm grateful that her first instinct is love, and that she lives in a place and time where that's encouraged and welcomed.

I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream -- a dream yet unfulfilled... a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man's skin determines the content of his character...  Martin Luther King, Jr.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Out There On The Googly-Net

I SHOULD do a real post.  I HAVE things on my mind.  IMPORTANT things.  Ok, NOT so important things, but THINGS nonetheless that bang around inside my head.  But do I sit down and type it out?  NO.  Instead, I goof around watching and doing THIS kind of stuff.


BTW, have you ever Google'd yourself?  Be honest now.......

More soon.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Urban Mom Strikes Again!

A few days ago, we all piled into the car here at Best Namma Ever!'s house and toodled over to the local library.  This is a fantastic library!  It's all cushy and cozy.  There are invitingly soft armchairs and ottomans scattered about, a fireplace and a psueo-cafe area where  you can drop a few coins into a machine and get a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  The cafe has comfy booths if you don't want to sit at one of the tables with the Frank Lloyd Wright-looking chairs.  We dropped Urban Dad in the cafe area to do some work (he always has work to do, poor thing) and took the Urban Kids into the Children's Section to see what we could tear up.

As I checked in on Urban Dad in the cafe later, I noticed a Suburban Dad sitting at a booth with his two young daughters, each of whom had their own cute little netbook.  They also each had a cool little carrying case, which I've yet to procure for my own new little netbook friend.  Now let me preface the rest of this by saying that his two young daughters were both older than Urban Kid 1.  And Urban Kid 1 is six.  And she's figured out the Santa thing already.  I'm not judging or anything... I'm just saying that this is my humble micro-cosm...

So I ask Suburban Dad, "where did you get the cases for their netbooks? I just got one, but don't have a case for it yet."

Youngest Surburban Kid -- who is at least a couple of years older than Urban Kid 1 -- says brightly, "Santa brought them!"

Suburban Dad tells me without blinking an eye that they got them at American, which is where they got the computers.  He is friendly throughout the whole chat as I explain that I saw only computer sleeves at Best Buy, but that I liked that his Suburban Kids' cases had two pockets for power cords, etc.

We end our chat on a friendly note, and as I walk away I cringe as I hear a disheartened and confused little voice inquire, "I thought you said that Santa brought them......"

Yes, my work here is done.  On to create another awkward moment elsewhere. 

Because you know I will.  (*sigh*)