Saturday, September 23, 2017

Neighborhood Watch

Things have heated up a bit in the ole condo association lately. We had some renters move in across the courtyard from us, and immediately start having loud parties at 3 AM on Tuesdays including people toking up in front of the building and people jumping over the railings on the roof deck to sprint directly across the roof itself.

Now, I'm generally inclined to live and let live in this regard, at least when it's not right underneath me causing my floor to throb in time to Euortrash trance music. But my neighbors are not. These people save up their entire lives to buy townhouses so they can make rules about noise to enforce against people. And so the fines started rolling in.

My nosy neighbor, though, of course decided that she loved these guys and that they were being unfairly victimized. "They seem like good kids," she said. "Two of them have jobs, and one of them is in law school." Of course, my personal experience has taught me that admission in a law school should not be seen as a mark of character.

And then there was the home invasion. Apparently, one of these fine gentlemen was tripping balls earlier this week and returned home, except to the wrong home. Instead of apologizing and walking away, he decided to force his way into the wrong townhouse and, I am told, punch a woman in the face. He was subdued by several of my neighbors and escorted away by the police.

Clearly this was not well received. Except by my nosy neighbor, of course, who declared that she "thought they could have done a better job of de-escalating the situation" and that "if an attractive, affluent-looking young man came to my front door by mistake, I would just help him find the right place." This is the same woman who has spent weeks agitating against a new homeless shelter in my neighborhood, claiming it would attract drug dealers. So apparently actually using drugs and assaulting someone is fine, it's just dealing drugs in her imagination that's a problem. And by the way, if a drug dealer is homeless, he's clearly not doing it right.

Anyway, needless to say, there shall be a rigorous debate. And I shall attempt to be as uninvolved as possible.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pop Star

My assistant has a lot of interesting qualities. She decorates her cubicle feverishly for every holiday from Presidents' Day to Arbor Day, and she follows my movements like the only Soviet spy not currently employed by the Trump administration. She eats her lunch in a corner conference room, where she takes off her shoes, puts her feet up on the desk, and tucks into a romance novel whilst spooning pasta salad from Tupperware. She changes screensavers frequently. But perhaps her most deep and abiding quality is that she loves popcorn. And she loves to make other people eat it.

The tin of Garrett's had barely arrived on Tuesday before she sent me an email urging me to come have some. I didn't even have time to respond before she knocked on my door holding a bowl of it. My protestations that I wasn't hungry fell on deaf ears. And I had no sooner finished than she stopped by to offer me seconds. "It's gotta go," she said. "And it'll be best while it's fresh." I tried to put her off by promising to come by for some in the afternoon, but she was not deterred. "Just take it now," she said. "You can eat it whenever."

Which is how I ended up with two bowls of popcorn hidden in my desk drawer. I'd throw it away, but I'm too afraid that she might go through my trash. Perhaps I can use it in some sort of craft project? I realize this is an odd problem to have, but so is she.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Privacy Please

I generally think of myself as a pretty friendly person. I smile at babies and dogs I see on the street, and try to keep bitchface to a minimum, even when random strangers stop me on the corner for directions to Navy Pier. (Two blocks straight ahead, then step directly in front of a passing truck.) My only enemies are Maureen Dowd and that guy from the Sprint commercials. I even make small talk with my secretary when she barges into my office unannounced to stare at some minor weather phenomenon. See? Nice.

But I do sometimes find my neighbors trying my patience. They were literally ringing the doorbell five minutes after I stopped at the house after the closing, when we hadn't even moved in yet. And they seem to monitor our behavior, making comments like "I haven't seen Ian taking the dog out as much lately" and "don't worry about changing in front of the windows, it doesn't bother us at all." Plus, they are in everybody's business -- I just passed them giving the mail carrier the third degree about her life. I mean, I'm all for being pleasant, but I don't need a close personal relationship with the person who drops of fifteen pounds of Restoration Hardware catalogs I don't want, ok? Is that so wrong?

It probably is. I need to try harder. But for now, I'm just going to eat some crackers and watch some Naked Gun movies on cable. Why did OJ ever give up on that acting career?

Sunday, September 03, 2017

The Weekend

I can't tell you how exciting it is to have a long weekend, especially after all of the excitement of the last few weeks. Our original plan was to do nothing at all this weekend, but obviously that completely fell through. Yesterday I went with my sister and my nephew to a children's bowling party, which went about as could be expected. Jack didn't want to do anything except run up and down the length of the building rubbing a piece of pizza on things and then eating it. He "bowled" a total of one and a half frames, which consisted of my sister putting a bowling ball on the ground in front of him and trying fruitlessly to get him to push it. On our second try, he took off running down the actual bowling lane towards the pins and my sister screamed for me to catch him, which resulted in both of us landing face first on the floor. And in a stern reprimand from a bowling alley employee. At least that makes me feel young again.

Today I have a massage and then we're going to my friend's roof party. I have promised myself that I will only drink in moderation, so I don't wake up to a world of half-understood regrets tomorrow morning, but we'll see how that lasts. This is America, after all, and self abuse is our number one form of entertainment.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hitching Post

Some of our friends threw us a little party in honor of our (March) marriage last night. It was really great! People came in from all over and we had heavy appetizers and a full bar. I love when my friends meet my other friends, so it was sort of my platonic ideal. Here are some pictures!

Me and the hubs, during the awkward fifteen minutes after we were supposed to get there but before the party actually started.

College friends! We look exactly the same, except exhausted.

Law school friends! We were already exhausted to begin with. The law does that to people.

My sister and my friend Liz! I look blurry for some reason.

Some of my Bar Show crew! We take a lot of pictures, some of which we should definitely think twice before sharing anywhere.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Air Invasion

It's Air & Water Show weekend here in Chicago, or as I like to call it, %#@&^%. Hundreds of thousands of people come into the city to fail to make right turns on red, amble aimlessly directly down the middle of the sidewalks, and presumably watch an air show of some sort. Parking in our neighborhood becomes an absolute nightmare, as opposed to its standard fever dream, and every Walgreen's line becomes clogged with people trying to haggle over the price of sunscreen. In short, it is a grand affair.

This year, one of my friends had a party, because her new place has a gorgeous rooftop in an excellent location for viewing. Because I will take any excuse to drink rose in mass quantities, I attended, and on that score it did not disappoint. I did spend the majority of the actual air show program hiding inside my friend's condo and consoling her terrified dogs, but I pretty much got the gist of it from the ear-splitting flyover noises.

Afterwards, I tripped over the sidewalk and scraped my entire forearm against the side of a building while trying to get to McDonald's and order a chicken sandwich. May there be many happy returns of this day.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Bulletin

So the church my mom and I go to has started making us all introduce ourselves to each other at the beginning of each mass. This may not seem like a big deal, but we're Catholic, so the whole idea of church is that we can sort of disappear into the background and think about where we should go to brunch afterwards. I already have to shake hands with strangers after the Our Father without a sanitizer station in sight; I wasn't exactly looking for more. And let's not forget that we are, by and large, not a charismatic religion -- if I wanted lots of excitement, I'd become a Snake-Handling Baptist. That might even get me on the news.

Anyway, I've struggled over the years with the Catholic mass. I'm definitely for all of the social justice, but kind of against the premarital sex will blow your legs off business. I'd also prefer that there be less child rape involved, but maybe that's just me.

The 9 AM mass we go to has the huge disadvantage of being at 9 AM, but I do like having the whole day ahead of me afterwards. And there's never a threat of acoustic guitars, which tend to creep into the later services. Also very few children, which is good, because Jesus said to "let the little children come to" him, not me. I'd hate to get in the way.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

West Coast Time

I was just in San Francisco for work for a few days. It was pretty nice. A lot of the work I was doing consisted of drinking and exchanging business cards, so that's okay. The weather was beautiful the whole time, although they did have these weird, anemic mornings where I felt like I wasn't even sure they were really happening yet. That could have been me, though, given the drinking mentioned above. And I got in a short visit with a friend I've known since kindergarten, but who has nevertheless forgiven me for throwing up on her mother's day card. That's the sort of closeness you just can't develop overnight.

It is always kind of weird dropping into a city for one or two days and just working there, though. I didn't really get to see any of the major attractions, like the Golden Gate Bridge or the Full House building. Mainly I saw the hotel conference rooms and the bars and restaurants within a two block radius of there. Oh, and the airport. I do have to give some credit to SFO for their range of food options and plentiful outlets. Demerits to United for the in-flight internet not working, however. I was already out of reading material for heaven's sake.

I'm definitely glad to be back with the full weekend ahead of me, though. I've got a lot of not doing stuff to be doing before Monday comes.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Golden Grams

I've been getting pretty into Instagram lately. I actually joined it several years ago, but I didn't really understand that it could be used for anything other than putting filters on photos to make them look like you have a shitty old camera instead of a nice new one, so I didn't do much with it. My account literally consisted of some blurry, dark pictures I unsuccessfully tried to clean up from one of my Vienna trips and, for some reason, a picture of Chili's. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But now I've begun to understand the real, celebrity-stalking uses of Instagram, and I love it. I know when the Vanderpump Rules crew takes a contractually-mandated trip to Mexico together because I can see all of the pictures hit the 'gram, and wonder if LaLa did something to her nose. I get inside insights into the production of all kinds of wonderful and terrible Hallmark movies because I've actually bothered to learn the real names of the Hallmark stable of "stars" and follow them on the app. And I have immediate access to lots of slutty photographs of vaguely famous hot people I've seen on thousands of reality shows across the years, and I straight up refuse to apologize for it.

I've also, of course, constructed an elaborate fantasy persona for my own Instagram, which seems to consist largely of traveling, drinking, and hanging out with cute dogs and children. Okay, so maybe it's not that far off from reality. But I seldom, if ever, include photos of myself in disintegrating sweatpants watching Murder, She Wrote for hours on end. No one needs that much reality. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

We Didn't Buy A Zoo

But we did go to one. My firm had an event at Brookfield Zoo today, so my mom and I took my sister and her family. It was kind of great! The animals were actually all doing stuff today, unlike other times I've been where they're all kind of just lying around looking like someone is forcing them to watch the second season of True Detective. I saw some kangaroos boxing each other; it was exciting just to know that animals can be assholes, too. My nephew got to see a polar bear diving at close range, but fortunately through a glass wall, so his face did not get bitten off. And we also had a close encounter with a grizzly bear without the necessity of leaving food trash out at a campsite. Animals are cool, when they're not trying to kill you.

We also got to take my nephew to my firm's lunch, which was amazing for him. He had a cut up hot dog, which he insisted on eating with a fork, because obviously that's the etiquette, and a piece of cheese, which he balled up with his fist. And then there was the corn muffin, which he ended up wearing for much of the day. Oh, and I mustn't forget the ice cream, as the other diners are unlikely to soon forget the shrieks of joy that accompanied it. Eating is just the best, isn't it?

Anyway, we did something, and things happened, and it was fun, and now it's over.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Weekend in the Country

I'm visiting Quincy with my mom this weekend. It's so exciting I barely know what to do with myself. We already went to Wal-Mart and picked up food; then we took Deja to the dog park, which was empty. She walked around sniffing stuff for a while, realized she was hot, and demanded to be taken back home. It is an incredible time to be alive.

Tomorrow it is supposed to rain all day, which should only amp things up. We might Netflix some old Frasiers, who knows? And then there will be church. Who doesn't love a good old fashioned Catholic mass? The Apostles' Creed gets me especially hot and bothered.

Of course, I have a bunch of work to do this weekend, anyway, so it's really not the worst time to be trapped in a '90s living room with the world's most rambunctious dog. Time to let my productivity shine.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Physical Education

I had a friend in town last week who is really into Crossfit, and he asked me to go to class with him. Since I've been to about ten thousand fitness classes in my life, I figured it wouldn't be a problem. But it didn't occur to me that my classes are generally taught by tiny, cute women named Erinn With Two Ns or Bekah With a K who like to shout "you can do so much more than you think you can!" and Instagram. Crossfit is taught by enormous, chemically altered bros who like to overcompensate for their limited command of the English language. And so there was suffering.

The whole class was based on snatch lifts and squats. A very pleasant bro right next to me decided to adopt me when he saw how terrible my lifting technique was, leading to a twenty minute sequence of me apologizing awkwardly for failing to move my wrists and/or elbows and/or shoulders in the preferred method. Suffice it to say that it is unlikely to be set to music for a training montage any time soon. And then, about halfway through the class, the tops started coming off all around the room. I have never seen so many tribal tattoos and homoerotic ass slaps in one place.

The upshot, of course, was that I was unable to walk normally for three days. I was foam rolling every two hours and sucking down back & body Tylenol like it was my job. And I had to ask Ian to fetch things from upstairs for me since stairs were pretty much out of the question. Isn't being fit grand?

Sunday, July 02, 2017

La La Land... I Mean Moonlight

I spent the last week in Los Angeles for work. It was okay. As with most business travel, a lot of it involved the inside of a conference room, and those tend to look the same wherever you are. We did get to go to a good dinner at Craft, the restaurant run by the jolly bald guy from Top Chef. There was a salad with avocado and tomatillos that completely blew my mind, as well as a potato gratin that I would probably trade a week of my life to eat. And they were so nice -- they kept bringing us little complimentary snacks and even gave us packaged scones to go for the next day's breakfast. So I shall be fat but happy, it seems.

I don't think I saw a single fat person in LA, however. Everyone was thin and tan and conspicuously chill. That kind of chill where you feel there's an incredibly monstrous person just waiting to bust out, but still. And people kept randomly interjecting themselves into our conversations, as though we were all good friends and just waiting for them to join. I learned a lot of surprisingly personal information about people I was never even introduced to, let me tell you.

We did have one semi-celebrity sighting. Ryan Murphy was sitting at the table next to us at dinner one night. I completely ignored him, because I'm so cool. Didn't even confront him over his decision to allow Lady Gaga to act. I did try to eavesdrop, but the tables were way too far apart.

Anyway, LA is a strange place. I went there. Now I'm back. Crazy world, this.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Morning After

Do you ever have one of those mornings after drinking where you are filled with deep regret and fear and you know not why? I'm not talking about mornings where you repeatedly empty the contents of your stomach -- which may well be bright pink and gelatinous -- into the nearest receptacle, although of course I've had those too. I'm referring to the mornings where you don't quite recall all of your actions from the previous night and become overwhelmed with the sense that you may have done something horrible. Like, for instance, tell your friends the truth about what you think of their bangs, or leave a two liter of Diet Mountain Dew in their crop top closet. Not that I've done either of these things, but I did throw up on a girl once and not remember it until two days later. In my defense, I had mixed gin and vodka. Like, in the same drink.

Anyway, I had one of those recently, and while it turned out that everything was fine and I didn't do anything untoward, it made me realize that I'm way too old for that shit. I should be, like, waking up and realizing I enrolled in the AARP or something. But as long as the Zima reissue lasts, I'm likely to find myself in this state from time to time. So somebody please stop me from peeing in the kitchen sink.

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