Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend In My Corner Of Chi-Town

It's Memorial Day Weekend, and things are looking up.

Ok, so the Cubs are in town.  And it's four straight days of afternoon games to add to the weekend traffic (honestly, what is it about a beautiful weekend afternoon that makes people want to get into their cars and drive around Lakeview and Lincoln Park?).  And the fact that it's the Cubs-Cardinals series adds to the mayhem.


I scored my favorite parking spot.  It's right across the street and between two driveways, hence none of the unwashed masses of other cars can park either in front of or behind my precious freedom machine.  This is especially satisfying since we will do everything in our power to not move the car during this busy weekend.  Yep, I get to enjoy seeing my car actually directly across the street from my home, with no other cars around it for at least three straight days.  (those of you familiar with city living will understand my joy about this)

It's actually nice this weekend!  Usually, Chicago weather does not understand the concept of Memorial Day Weekend.  It prefers to stick to the concept of Halloween weather.  Or St. Patrick's Day weather.  It takes until about July 4th for Chicago to fully embrace Memorial Day weather.  But not this weekend -- this is going to be an outstandingly gorgeous weekend!

Having grown up in St. Louis -- a fantastic baseball town, especially coming of age in the 80's like I did -- plus that all of my family is still there, well, I take special satisfaction in the fact that my Redbirds opened up a good ol' fashioned can o' whoop-ass today on those pitiful Cubs.  I may be 300 miles from home, but I'm seeing a lot of drunken festive Cardinal fans around the 'hood this weekend, and let's face it -- Cardinal fans are happier people in general because, well, they have reason to be!

It's Urban Dad's 52nd birthday tomorrow.  And let's just say that he copes with birthdays far better than yours-truly does.

We're down to just Writing, Grammar and History to wrap up for school.  And Urban Kid 1 is enthusiastic about going you-know-what's-out with me in order to finish things up.  (i think i have a better handle on scheduling/planning now, but that's another post)

My sister, the Pink Power Ranger, is now an honest woman!  Well, at least I think she is.  I haven't exactly heard from anyone yet!  But she and her man (i still need a nickname for him) took their moms on an Alaskan cruise and got married on Tuesday.  Yes, they took their moms on their honeymoon!  Aren't they sweet kids?  That said, they made sure that their room was on the other end of the boat, 'cause, well, (whispering) they want babies right away.

And BIL #1 hasn't called once tonight.  (knocking on the wooden desk under my keyboard)  Perhaps having spent a few days "indisposed," legally speaking and at taxpayer expense has helped?  He's now forbidden to indulge in the Demon Alcohol for a while, and has people popping by for social visits that involve one of those cups manufactured for a certain specific medical purpose.  This, has slowed down the drunken-dialing, perhaps?  It won't last, of course, but let's all just take in the quiet while we can, shall we?

Yep, looking like a great weekend!

Many thanks to everyone in our military, past, present and future, that make weekends like this possible!!!  We Urbans, truly and with all our hearts, are grateful beyond measure!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Swear I'm Gonna Grab The Next Soldier I See And Kiss Him!

On the cheek, of course, although I think that Urban Dad would give me a pass on this one.  But you get what I mean.  I can't figure out how embed the video properly, so just click on the linkety-link here.  You may want to have a hanky nearby.  Thanks Outlaw13 at!  For the video and everything else that you do!

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Random Thoughts To Catch Up

Oh my, but we've been busy here!
First, and most importantly:  Urban Kid 1 finished her reading primer!

I started this with her a few months after she turned three and just worked through bit by bit, a nibble at a time.  She's now blowing us away with her reading skills.  Urban Dad is sweet and wonderful and says that I'm a fantastic teacher.  But honestly, I know what I'm working with here, and I attribute it to two things: 1.) she has her father's wiring and 2.) it's a totally bitchin' reading primer!

D'ya suppose I should write the lovely Mrs. Jessie Wise and tell her that her OPG book is "totally bitchin'?"  I would, of course, mean it as only the highest possible praise!

Ok, what else......

MIL has been hospitalized for the foreseeable future with dementia.  New Doctor is trying to gently suggest that it's degenerative, that this is just the beginning of the end.  Everyone else is maintaining an appropriate "wait-and-see" attitude.  Urban Dad is the go-to guy on several things, as he is now Medical Power of Attorney.  MIL's lawyer is Financial Power of Attorney.  Between the two of them, they've managed to carve BIL#1 out of the financial picture as much as possible -- checking account is on lockdown except for MIL's bookkeeper, credit cards are cancelled, mail is forwarded, etc.  And BIL #1 made a great big freak of himself at MIL's care facility, so they've banned his presence, both in person and over the phone.  And they're sharp enough to know that the guy claiming to be Urban Dad as he tries to call his mom 6x/day is not actually Urban Dad.

After the week that led to MIL's hospitalization, the phone calls, legalities, questions, details, and finally, the running out of our 500 monthly cell minutes (we never come even close to that before!), I quietly told Urban Dad one night, "y'know what? I'm proud of how you've handled everyone and everything. You've been absolutely amazing though all of this."  This got me a look in the eyes and the response, "You know that this ride is only getting started, right? That this is only the beginning of a long, crazy time, right?"  I know he's right, but it's what you get when the world at large recognizes you as the 180-degree polar opposite of your lunatic brother who attempts to jack-up every single movement that the normal, hard-working people around MI try to do.  (yeah, it was a long sentence. i waved my hands around and yelled a lot in my head while writing it, too!)

And BTW, Urban Dad has been right.  Oh-so-freakin'-freak-show-right.

Urban Kid 2 is starting to read.  And she's reading her first sentences.  And she wants to do it.  And wow, she is SO freakin' proud of herself.  Care to guess what she's using?

After months of pleading, Urban Kid 1 "taught" Urban Dad's AP Juniors on Tuesday.  I forgot my camera and am waiting anxiously for s smattering of 17-yo's to e-mail me pictures.  But it's Wednesday night, and still nothing.....  But OMG, that kid was confident and brave and had so much fun.  Checking this off under "Public Speaking" at the Urban CDA.

Oh, and I bought a wireless router!  Then I returned it.  Stupid weak router that's strong enough to cover Best Namma Ever!'s entire ranch-style house, but is not strong enough to get a signal out of the concrete bunker that our downstairs level seems to be.  I'm at the gym right now on my little netbook friend, but will soon be back on figuring out just how much I want to spend on a router.  Luckily, Urban Dad has a birthday approaching.  And while he has never actually touched the netbook, he has kindly suggested that he would like a router for his birthday.  Is he the sweetest thing ever???

Ok, gotta run.  I think the Urban Kids are asleep at home by now, so it's safe to return home!  That's the news for now!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Puttin' The "Fun" in Dysfunctional

I won't go toooooo far into the details, but here are the Cliff Notes.

Urban Dad is not one to let anyone lord false loyalties over him.  His family is utterly bizarre, with major events that have echoed for generations. 

Couple that with moving as often as any military brat (e.g.: three high schools in four years), and you can start to understand that he's able to chat easily with strangers, but is immensely private all at the same time.  He seems to have found a healthy disconnection from the madness -- and I swear he did it at the uncanny age of about ten years old.

I used to hesitate to tell him the weirdnesses of my family, but he always reassured me with, "what are you going to do?  SHOCK me??"  And then I think of the long, multi-generational craziness and come to the conclusion that my side of the family is now at the point where we can best be described as putting the FUN in dysFUNctional.

But not his.  In fact, I joke that U-Dad is like the blonde gal in The Munsters... the only normal one of a really freaky bunch.

Recently, BIL#1 has been caring for MIL.  It's too long to ever get into here, and not exactly appropriate to air too much stuff, but let's just say that the two of them have been running their own private insane asylum up in the mountains of Colorado.

Even more recently, a doctor has come on the scene.  Doctors have been on the scene before, but usually get fed up and leave.  This one is new, so we'll see how long he lasts.  But he seems quite nice.  He also seems to know bullsh*t when he sees it, and he's even managed to remove MIL from BIL#1's care and into a professional care facility.  And he seems to want to get a holistic view of his patient (MIL), to understand her history and the people around her.

I would also bet the rent check that after the short time that he's been involved on this scene, that he is no longer taking BIL#1's phone calls.  But that's ok.  Neither is anyone else, really.

Anywhoooo, I've been having the occasional chat with New Doctor.  Urban Dad can't be reached until after 3p, especially to discuss anything personal, so I get an idea of the latest news while maintaining my own radio silence with BIL#1 and MIL.  U-Dad then has an idea of what's coming when he talks to New Doctor or if he needs to place any calls to MIL's lawyer or bookkeeper, etc before returning ND's call.

Well, ND has dealt with a lot of families before this one.  And he did much of his training in Las Vegas, including psychiatric care.

And he told me -- in the kindest way possible -- that he has never in his career seen a more dysfunctional family.
 Later that night, when it was just U-Dad and me, we brought that up.  And y'know why I love U-Dad?  'Cause he didn't deny it or get defensive.  He just gave a small smile and confessed, "y'know, i'm maybe a bit proud of that one." I laughed and said something about, "in for a pint, in for a pound?"  This then had him laughing and saying, "go big or go home!"  Peals of stress-relieving laughter soon followed.

He's also decided that the dysfunction stops here.  The Urban Kids' exposure to his family is kept to a bare minimum.  Sense of humor and smart.  Such an amazing combination, right?