Saturday, June 25, 2016

Save Ferris

On Tuesday we went to see Ferris Bueller's Day Off in Millennium Park. Now, if you are at all familiar with my neuroses, this probably does not seem like something I would do. And in fact, it was not my idea -- our friend wanted to do it for her birthday. But it was not in fact an idea that panned out particularly well for me. It was an absolute mob scene. We went over there right after work and the entire lawn was already covered with people. We got a tiny space on the very edge of it and claimed a little bit of sidewalk as well. Then about ten feet worth of people claimed the rest of the sidewalk. I barely had room to enjoy my burrito bowl in peace. And as far as watching the movie goes, that was pretty much out of the question. They started it well before dark so it was barely visible, and people did not hesitate to talk over all of the dialogue. Then, shit really got real.

I decided to step out to tell my sister and her family not to come, since there would be nowhere for them to go unless they happened to be in possession of some Ant Man suits. When I got back, I found that they had closed the gate to the lawn and were refusing to let anyone through. And there were some very sizable and sassy ladies enforcing that decision, ladies who were apparently impervious to my faux folksy charms. Nor did they seem particularly interested in Ian's pleas from the other side of the fence. So we left less than halfway through the movie, which of course we hadn't particularly been watching in the first place. Mainly I was sad to miss out on the pie someone had brought.

Anyway, the lesson I've learned is that going places is difficult and seldom worth it. Better to stay home and rewatch Murder, She Wrotes for the tenth time.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Longest Day

Apparently the longest day of the year is a day earlier this year because of leap year? I didn't realize that could happen, and yet this information comes from my mother, who is almost as reputable a source as Google. The longest day of the year is important to us, because darkness makes us cry unexpectedly and eat uncontrollably. And so each year we try to commemorate the occasion somehow, even if some years it's just taken the form of me heading up to my roof for five minutes after getting out of work at 10:30.

This year we went to a rooftop bar in Old Town, my past and future home. (The neighborhood, not the bar. I don't think they'll let me move in there.) It was insanely hot out, but we were in the shade, so we did not die. In fact, I didn't even sweat through my shirt. My mother had a single glass of prosecco and I had let's just say more than a single glass of rose. It was a bit of a scene, but I could tell I was not the only person there with a parent. The fact that the waitresses kept offering to take our picture suggested that this was not their first time experiencing this arrangement.

It was a nice night. And now the days start getting shorter again. Stupid passage of time. Personally, I am against it.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Back to the Future

Did I mention that I have my 20th high school reunion coming up in a few weeks? I'm looking forward to it, even though it comes at pretty much the worst time for me, the day before a good friend's wedding, two days before the Fourth of July, and six days before we close on the new place. So I will be making a surgical strike on Quincy, basically reuniting and running within a matter of two days.

It's definitely going to be interesting, though. Since my dad passed away and my mom spends a good chunk of her time up here now, I don't get back to Quincy very often. And when I do, it's not like I'm trolling the bars for contact with my former classmates. (Although it does happen: Wal-Mart is basically the center of the universe.) So there are a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time. Hopefully they haven't gotten weird, and won't think that I've gotten weird. What counts as weird these days anyway?

As far as events go, it should be pretty casual. We're having a barbeque, a tour of the high school, and a night at a bar. And Quincy has basically no public transit, so I probably won't even be able to get wasted. Though there is the promise of a retro soundtrack to look forward to. I don't care what people say, to me Hootie IS America.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Adventures in Babysitting

My mom and I babysat my nephew pretty much all day on Saturday. It went pretty well, although it was completely exhausting. He legitimately never stops moving, at least when he's awake. And he only slept for ten minutes while we were there, and that was when he just passed out face down on the rug in the middle of a game we were playing. My sister said he slept like ten hours straight after we left; I'm genuinely not being sarcastic when I say I'm glad he saved it for them.

He's a very cheerful guy and a lot of fun. Right now his favorite pastimes are dumping blocks all over the place and trying to hurt himself by falling into the storage ottoman. He also likes it when I give him high speed turbulent thrill rides by picking him up and running him around the room. He laughs a lot and vomits only a little. He's actually probably a bit lower maintenance than the dog right now. Which to be fair isn't saying much, since she basically never wants us to leave the house for any reason.

The only real problem was that they've decided they don't want people swearing around him any more so he won't accidentally repeat something at daycare. This really cramps my babysitting style, obviously. But I'll make the best of it, because self sacrifice is really what I'm known for.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Amazing Things I Have Found While Preparing for My Move

Turns out you can accumulate a lot of junk in ten years. Particularly if you have a storage locker and a lot of underbed boxes you rarely revisit. Here are just some of the great things I've found:

This is a nativity scene angel I made out of construction paper in college. Legitimately, I saved it. It was taped to the wall of our college apartment. That used to be a trumpet he or she is holding, not an e cigarette.

This is a dinosaur head on a stick. It can be used for grasping distant things, I guess. I think I'm keeping it.

My friend sent me a Liberace postcard once. My friends know me so well.

This is netting that I apprehended from a bulletin board in one of the womens' dorms in college, obviously while drunk. The theme of the bulletin board was, "Fishin' for Success," or something like that.

This is a Post Fruity Pebbles branded toy of some sort. It is hypnotically enjoyable, for some reason.

Monday, June 06, 2016

The Heart of Dixie

Let me tell you a little bit about attending a Dixie Chicks concert with your mother in the south suburbs of Chicago. First, of all, arrive early, as it took us about forty-five minutes just to get a parking spot and another half hour to get through the interest line, which can probably be attributed to the fact that their crack security team appeared to consist of three surly teenagers holding metal detector wands listlessly. But you probably don’t need to worry about the wait because, second, you need to be prepared to wait. The concert started at seven, but the Chicks themselves did not take the stage until well nigh nine. But this is actually not the worst thing, because it gives you time to, third, analyze the fascinating array of humanity in attendance. There were ladies in short shorts and “Cowboy Take Me Away” t-shirts, bros in “Keep Calm and Carry Guns” t-shirts (who had apparently missed the Chicks’ well-publicized trip to the left), and even big fat party dudes in “I Like to Snatch Kisses and Vice Versa” t-shirts. Obviously you will  want to make a trip to the make-your-own-t-shirt store after your concert visit. Fourth, don’t expect an uninterrupted listening experience, because the CSO this ain’t. We were fortunate enough to have a group of very drunk rednecks standing right by us, loudly conversing about everything but the concert and occasionally even shouting incoherently at the performers. But don’t worry, because security was ON IT, walking by occasionally and utterly ignoring the apparent auditions for Party Down South taking place right in front of them. They were probably distracted by, fifth, the single longest bathroom lines I have ever seen. We’re talking, like, women’s room at the New Kids revival tour long. Bring your phone, because you will definitely be able to knock off a few levels of Candy Crush whilst you wait. But don’t drop it because, sixth, all porta-potties are disgusting. On the plus side, seventh, the Chicks pretty much kill it in all respects. Sick ass fiddling, non-cloying Prince tribute, amazing Beyonce cover, major hits without any semblance of phoning it in. That will all come in handy when, eighth, it starts to rain and you must huddle under your blanket because umbrellas are for some unknowable reason not allowed. It was a wet, uncomfortably neo-Confederate evening, but ultimately well worth the price of admission!

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Significant, Important Developments

I think it should just about sum up the quality of my weekend to tell you that last night I went to a barbecue where we drank Whispering Angel (allegedly the favored rose of the Hamptons) and watched Center Stage on a giant outdoor screen. Cooper Nielsen really pops when he's viewed in a dark backyard through the haze of alcohol. Jodi Sawyer remains very pretty, but not very turned out.

In truth, I did not get to stay for the entirety of the glamorous backyard premiere of Center Stage because I also had a friend's birthday party to go to. That involved a heavy smell of incense, a DJ playing lots of Beyoncé, and gift bags including tickets to some sort of boy band revue. And at this point I have to say how wonderful it is that we've reached a point where Blogger knows to automatically add the accent mark to Beyoncé.

We also did a ton of packing this weekend. It's actually kind of amazing to realize how many things we own that we can pack now, knowing that we're probably not going to need them any time in the next month. It's almost as though we just buy things for no reason in some insane, consumerist drive.

Tonight we're taking my mom to the Dixie Chicks! That's certain to end well.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Helpful Moving Tip

When you're packing for a move, it may help to be intoxicated. For weeks now, I've been avoiding work on our storage locker, because I knew it was a complete mess and would take forever to go through. Also, I knew there were going to be a ton of hard choices to be made, since I hate to throw things away. But guess what? Turns out drinking makes all of that easier.

After a lovely afternoon of brunch and cocktails last Saturday, I came home and, after eating half a family sized bag of Doritos, decided it would be fun to work on the storage locker. I pulled everything out of there in a total frenzy and just started tossing random crap I had saved for literally no reason in the trash. Notes from my Constitutional Law class in law school? In the trash. (Well, recycling, but let's not get too literal here.) Briefs I'd saved from my first job? In the trash. A non-functioning TV/VCR combo I've had since college? In the trash. Decisionmaking is easy and fun!

Of course, I did manage to bang my ankle against something in the process, and only just today discovered I have a huge cut and ugly looking bruise there, but that's just the price you pay for success, I guess. I'm drinking for everything from now on.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Party People

We had my nephew's first birthday party this weekend. He is, of course, way too young to have any interest in a party of any kind, but this is America, so we had decorations and activities and cake and snacks that he could not eat. The largest portion of the party was by far dedicated to a family photo session with a photographer, which should yield lots of shots of a baby who is about to cry or who has recently stopped crying. There were also presents, which he did seem to enjoy, to the point that he let out a several extended screams of joy. (These must be distinguished from his screams of anger or disappointment.) Oh, and there was music from his baby music class, which is clearly designed to drive adults mad. It was quite the affair!

The cake, in particular, was quite perplexing to poor Jack. We put a piece in front of him and he only sort of gingerly touched it. We then tried to put little pieces directly into his mouth, which seemed to very much upset him. Then he started dribbling frosting all over his body, at which point we realized what a clutch move it had been to allow him to wear just his diaper for the cake portion of proceedings. Then he started crying and pretty much didn't let up. Turns out he doesn't like to be messy, just like his uncle.

All in all, it was the best first birthday party I've ever been to, though I must admit that I can't really say if I've ever been to a first birthday party before this.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tangled Up in Blue

We signed up for Blue Apron, a service where they send you ingredients and recipes for three meals every week. I was skeptical about it because I was afraid they'd make me eat vegetables and other horrifying things, but it turns out that you can always take a week off if the meals available that week don't look good to you. And so far the meals have been good, anyway, even if they have sometimes involved foods I can't exactly pronounce or spell. The single best one so far was probably the quinoa enchiladas, which were so tasty I actually forgot they didn't have meat in them. The spinach pasta with snap peas and onions was also quite good, though it involved a turnip of which I remained (and remain) quite skeptical.

I actually like the cooking part, too, I must admit. Although to be fair, I mainly just chop things, while Ian does the more difficult parts. But man is it satisfying to go at a potato or a zucchini with a knife.

Oh, and it's also fun just to get mail that's not bills or ads. Even if it is admittedly a bit heavy to carry up the steps. I'm sure it's good for my quads or delts or something.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Customer Service

With our upcoming move to a bigger place has come a need for more furniture. Which means that we spent a chunk of our weekend going from furniture store to furniture store and being assaulted by salespeople. We went to the place Brooke Shields pretends to get her furniture for, the place that sends the giant ten-volume catalogues that infuriate my greener friends, the place that got name-checked in an episode of Friends. But the best place of all was where we met our friend Elise.

My first impression of Elise was that she might be a homeless person, but then I realized she was too nicely dressed for that, so I thought maybe she was just a crazy person. She accosted us outside the store in that sheepish, confessional way that people have when they are about to ask you for money. It turned out that she worked there, though, and wanted to help us with our search. She told us not to worry, though, because she wouldn't "hover."

For the next forty-five minutes, we could not shake Elise for more than a minute at a time. She followed us through the living room section, handing us post-its and measuring tape we hadn't asked for, and giving us information about upholstery we did not need. We managed to elude her for a few minutes by feigning interest in a bedroom set and heading to a different floor, but she caught up to us eventually. And gave us a fascinating history of the ottoman.

When we finally decided just to leave, she not only gave us her complete contact information, but also offered to come to our new place with us and help us "design our room." She assured us that she would give us her wallet and keys when she came in, in case we were nervous about having a stranger in our house. She also promised to loan us dozens of design books from her collection. When we got into the car, I half expected her to pop up in the back seat.

The best part of all of this is probably that we're actually going to buy a couch there, so Elise has a big commission coming her way. She certainly earned it.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Boxing Day

Even though we are not moving until early July, we decided to get started on packing this past weekend. It really does make some sense, if you think about it, because there is so much stuff to pack and the end of June and early July are always super busy times. Plus, easily half the stuff we own we will not miss if it's boxed up for the next month and a half. Will I urgently need my CD copy of Hootie & the Blowfish at some point in the near future? Come to think of it, why do I still own that at all? I mean, we can't deny that we as a nation lost our collective minds and went through a Hootie phase right around the time everyone was wearing high-waisted jeans and getting The Rachel, but most people did a drop off at the Salvation Army sometime after that. Will I want my American Legal History textbook in the next several weeks? That one I stand behind keeping, as the Colonial methods for trying witches alone make it worth a deeper read.

Anyway, that's what we're doing. And we already have about twenty boxes stacked up in the living room. To be clear, they are fairly small boxes, but they do make us look like squatters. Which frankly is a look I don't mind. At least it's not Crocs.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Capital Steps

This week I had to go to our great state's capital, Springfield, for an oral argument. I've always enjoyed Springfield, ever since we went there in middle school to learn how weird the 1800s were. I remember that there was a lot of butter churning and the people slept in shorter beds that sort of required them to sit up. Also that Mary Todd Lincoln was very fat. Oh, and some kid got his shoelace stuck in the escalator at the Illinois State Museum and we were delayed in getting back by like an hour. It almost endangered our Hardee's trip; that's how serious it was.

This time, I did not get to do any sightseeing, although I did enjoy an amazing cheese-drenched dish known as a horseshoe. It's an open-faced sandwich with French fries and cheese sauce on top, and pretty much every place in Central Illinois claims to have invented it. As though anyone had to invent slathering things in cholesterol in Central Illinois. I certainly did enjoy it, though.

The argument itself seemed to go quite well. Not that that means anything. My best argument ever was for a case where we ended up losing 7-0. I think sometimes they pretend to agree with you at the argument just because they feel sorry for you.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Holy Mother

Mother's Day has never been a huge deal in my family. My mom just doesn't really want the attention that much, or maybe she just prefers being a martyr by telling us she doesn't want the attention. Of course, my grandmother loved the attention, or probably just loved going out to eat at reasonably-priced family restaurants, so I have been to more than a few Mother's Day brunches in my time. But now we frequently do nothing at all; Ian and I just took my mom to dinner last week while we were in Quincy and designated that Mother's Day. I had the Sonora Chicken Pasta.

Anyway, none of this should be viewed as a lack of enthusiasm for my mother, or for mothers in general. My mom spent the better part of two decades knee deep in shoebox dioramas, viola recitals, and extra credit papers about alchemists for me. She even let me get away with eating pretty much nothing but buttered white rice for a few years there. She's served as a ghost writer, an accompanist, and a staff photographer, in addition the usual motherly occupations as chauffeur, tutor, and chef. She's great! And I'm even excited that she'll be living with me part time once we move into the new place; isn't that every 38 year old's dream?
So happy Mother's Day! Call your mother. Unless she's Mia Farrow; the line will probably be busy all day.

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