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Somebody hire me to dream up this stuff for your corporation! Quick!

What happened to Tuesday?

Tim is down in the garage right now, putting our new bed together. So far, he has assembled a dining table (the top folds up and pivots so that it’s really small and now our kitchen is about twice as big), three dining chairs, two end tables, three lamps, my new dresser and one shoe rack. He also mounted this neato wall-hanger thingie in the kitchen to hang our spice rack and various things that clutter the countertop. So now that counter is about twice as big.

Tim is the best!

And I’m not just saying that because he told me that he bought my birthday present today. Sucking up? Why, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about! I, sir, am offended, and I challenge you to a duel tomorrow at dawn!

Actually, dawn doesn’t really work for me. I’d hate to wake Auggie. How about something around 10:30-ish? Tell you what, let’s make it lunch at the Bread Co. about noon and we’ll just eat some soup and talk about our feelings instead. Sound good?

The thing about all of this assemblying — assembling? — is that there is still a daunting pile of boxes down there. Stuff just waiting to be assembled! ‘I am from Sveden. Von’t you please assemble me? I make delicious meatballs and fresh vegetable salads!’ Mmm…meatballs…

So, how ’bout that election, my friends? Tim even called up our friend Rich that works on (soon to be Senator) Talent’s campaign last night. He said he wasn’t really sure that Rich even knew who he was. Sweet!

Anyway, Tim needs assistance with the bed now. I know this is awkward, but I kinda need to go. Sorry!

What happened to my weekend?

Man, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it’s Monday. Of course, it’s only Monday for another hour and change, so then I have to start all over again with the oh, man, it’s Tuesday already.

This weekend flashed by like a streaker on a hockey rink. (Nice simile, eh? I thought you’d like that.) I attended my first La Leche League conference and it was just ducky. Lots of like-minded mommies and little babies and big babies and not as many exposed breasts as one would expect. Sure, there were kids a-nursin’ everywhere you looked, but these ladies are pros at what they do.

Tim was such a sport, hanging out with Auggie while I was up in Clayton doing my thing. This is a special accomplishment considering that a) Tim has never spent an entire day with Auggie alone (and since they came to lunch with me Saturday, this still holds true kinda), b) We were all still recovering from our respective illnesses and c) Auggie has been possessed by Satan.

I’m thinking teeth are definitely in the works here, my friend, as Auggie has been a total handful ever since his fever broke last Friday. He’s unbelievably clingy, he doesn’t want to eat, he doesn’t want to not eat, he must be in my arms at all times, he’s chewing on his fingers and crying, stop looking at me daddy…

It sucks, in a nutshell.

Plus, since my mom, uncle and aunt all came up today to stay over whilst Uncle Bobby has back surgery, all this fun with Auggie made cleaning up the house a challenge, to say the least. It took over an hour to just get him to consider taking a nap. And then, as soon as he went down, I got to clean both bathrooms! Poor me.

So tomorrow is Election Day. I really don’t have anything much to say, except that Auggie and I will be fulfilling our constitutional destiny, as it were. Hopefully the lines will be blessedly short when we show up (but full at all other times) and we will be able to get our business done posthaste.

Dude, I have got to get some pictures updated here! We have some great shots of us in Chicago! Of course, I haven’t been taking that many of Auggie here lately, as it always seems as though he has some horrible bruise on his forehead from his many topples. What can I say? I don’t trust that you all won’t get all wacky and forward them to that guy on “America’s Most Wanted.” Especially now that Auggie had the unfortunate altercation with a sidewalk last Friday afternoon. His forehead and nose are scraped up most heinously.

I guess the one thing I can take some solace in is that he hasn’t had a black eye yet.

What am I doing? Saying something like that virtually guarantees that he’s going to have both eyes blackened by Wednesday, doesn’t it?

FLU Smackdown!

So what I didn’t mention yesterday was that Auggie had a fever all day. He didn’t really have any other symptoms, other than he had a fever. Weird. Teeth?

But now today, both Tim and I have been struck down by some serious flu-esque crud. Nausea, stomach cramps, achy-ness… It’s just a big bucket of fun around here. Plus, Auggie’s fever is still ranging between 101 and 103.5 degrees.

So you’ll forgive me if I’m a little light on the blogging today. I feel like dog poo stuck on the bottom of an old shoe.

Post-consumer-orgy letdown

I was going to go to bed without blogging. But you know how I live to make you happy. How could I leave you hanging, when I’ve been teasing you for the past three days? Anyway, here’s the tale of the last day of our trip to Chicago (who knew the telling would take longer than the actual trip):

We diligently set the hotel room clock ahead one hour before we went to bed, eagerly anticipating the extra sleep. Ideally, we wanted to be out of the hotel by 9 so we could be at IKEA and ready for the doors to open at 10.

Unfortunately, what with all the beer-drinking and other drink-drinking the night before (I think I even smoked a cigarette or two?), I woke up promptly at five minutes before six. Normally when this happens the morning after a drinking binge, it’s bad, bad news. But I would not classify Saturday night as a “binge.” Mainly because I only had one vodka drink. I usually only reap the consequences of a multitude of delicious cranberry-juice and vodka or vodka tonic drinks. It doesn’t matter how great the vodka is. Alas.

Anyway, I definitely felt poorly. There was about an hour there where I was not sure at all how I felt. Nauseous? Check. Tired? Oh, yeah. Sandpaper for eyeballs? You know it. But the worst part was that I was missing Auggie terribly. Once I got past that hour, though, I was able to go back

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to sleep for another hour.

I felt much better after that.

So we finally got ourselves moving and checked out at about 9:20. Uh-oh. Already behind schedule.

Once we got out on the road, we hit another snag. We didn’t exactly know where IKEA was. You see, every person we asked gave us different directions. So we ended up using an amalgam of the directions and ended up in the middle of nowhere. I got Tim to pull over at a gas station (it was even his idea), and we got back on track. Fortunately, we were only 10 miles away.

Once IKEA came into view, we were both gaping like a couple of goldfish. I mean, our friends told us the place was huge, but you just can’t imagine the size of it! I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a building as large. I guess stadiums, maybe.

I was so excited to be there that I’m truly embarrassed to admit it. I annoyed the heck out of Tim, I know, shouting directions about where to park and come on let’s go. We got our provisions together (binder with photos of every wall in the house complete with relevant [and irrelevant] measurements, tape measure, shopping list [which was not referred to once, as I recall] and money). Off we went, like lambs to the slaughter.

Just finding a dang shopping cart was an ordeal, my friends. And for those of you who have never been to IKEA, here’s a brief rundown of how it works: You start out on the third level by getting a cart. The floors have a round layout that actually flows pretty well, although I feel like we easily missed a third of the store. There are several “vignettes” of rooms outfitted with IKEA products, but we quickly came to ignore these, as each product said “See Kitchen section” or something like that. Frankly, I was experiencing so much sensory overload, I could barely remember my own name, let alone that I should check out the metal measuring cups in the Kitchen section.

The third floor also has a restaurant that serves Swedish meatballs. Cute. Although we didn’t eat any. And they have a nursing room. Yay, IKEA!

It took us two hours to get through the third floor. We picked out a new dining room table and four chairs, three new rugs and some neat-o kitchen stuff (OK, so I did remember to check out the metal measuring cups in the Kitchen section). We decided to take a break and get some lunch, then hit the second floor and fly like the wind. (Whatever happened to Christopher Cross anyway? Probably lost in IKEA.)

Near-emotional breakdown #1 occurred when I realized that we still had to choose a new bedroom suite, computer desks, lighting and something fun for Auggie, then check out — all before 2 p.m. It was 1:15.

The second floor was where the nightmare really began. The crowds were getting unbelievably thick at this point. We picked out a new bed, new dressers, new bedding and a mirror. I got a second cart.

By the time we wound our way around to the office furniture, I was rapidly losing steam. I missed my son. And somehow it had to have been “Baby Day at IKEA,” I swear, as every other person there was pushing a stroller or carrying a baby. Near-emotional breakdown #2.

I managed to pick out a new computer desk (that doesn’t look at all computer-desky) and helped Tim choose one as well. Next was lighting. We got lamps for the computer desks, lamps for the bedroom, lamps for the living room and track lights for the family room. When Tim started asking about chandeliers for the entryway and dining room, I lost it. No more. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

So we set out for the first floor, where we pick up all the furniture (flat-packed in boxes) and fork over our wads of cash. Oh wait! Kids section! I tear through it, barely registering the adorable little baby beds and awesome kids-room ideas, settling only long enough to spot the perfect little farm play set. Sold!

Oh my. What to do with two overloaded carts when you still need to load up a flatbed cart with hundreds of pounds of furniture? And every checkout line is six people deep?

Well, I’ll tell you what we did. I got in line with the two carts while Tim ran all over fetching our furniture. At least they would put the bedding boxes together for us. He got back to the line just in time for me to start checking out, royally ticking off everyone behind us in line, I’m sure. But, hey, you’re behind the woman with two overflowing carts, what’s a few more boxes?

He didn’t have room for the computer desks, so once we were done checking out (and Tim figured out that you have to pull up the car to the store to load out the stuff), I ran back in to wrangle these unbelievably heavy boxes onto another flatbed.

Current cart count: two shopping carts, three flatbeds. Wow.

Then I got to get in line again! At least I got to use the express lane this time!

Of course, right as it was my turn, this middle-aged guy walks up with a twin mattress and says, ‘I’m a doctor and I just got a page from the hospital. Do you mind if I go in front of you?’ And me, being the nice kind of person I am, said, ‘Sure.’

But as he’s peeling off twenties, I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute. You’re in a hurry to get to the hospital, but you still have time to buy a mattress at IKEA? Must not be that big of an emergency, I guess. Glad you’re not my doctor.’

But he’s thanking me profusely and I’m blushing, so, well, gosh, don’t think anything of it, Doctor.

Somehow we got it all loaded into Mom’s Suburban. And then we got on the road. It was nearly 4 p.m.

The trip home is a complete blur. I felt all numb inside. I couldn’t recall exactly what we had bought, and the catalog didn’t help to jog my memory. Did we really get two end tables for $8 each? Could my huge new computer desk have cost only $99? Maybe. And exactly how many hangers did we buy? An infinite number, it seemed.

Now, we’re spending all of our free time putting the stuff together. I figure that we should have it all done by about, oh, Christmas…

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night!

Since I realize that I probably went into way more detail than you needed/wanted in yesterday’s post, I’ll try to be more concise.

On Saturday, we met my old college buddy Ryan and his friend Geoffrey for breakfast. I haven’t seen Ryan in five and a half years, so it was really great to catch up with him and see how well he’s doing, etc. He took us to this neat-o restaurant called Wishbone in the Lakeview district and regaled us with stories about old mutual friends and such. Thanks for the great time, Ryan!

They were also nice enough to drop us off at the train station back downtown so we could catch a train out to Arlington for the races. This is something you should know about Tim and I: we both are totally in love with mass transportation. Trains, subways, water taxis — love ’em! Busses… Eh.

Anyway, so even though we’d paid for a parking pass for the Breeders Cup, we decided to take Metra out there instead. The train stop is right behind the track, unlike the remote parking we’d been assigned back in Schaumburg (a stone’s throw from IKEA, as we learned the next day). Plus, it’s much more fun to be able to relax and enjoy the trip, instead of worrying about traffic and did we miss the exit and park right there, no, not there, there!

Once we were on track, we quickly realized that this was not going to be the funnest time at the races. First off, the weather was lousy. Cloudy, windy and cold. The forecast had been calling for mid-50’s, but it was more like mid-40’s. Then, Tim went to place a bet about 20 minutes before the next race. He showed up back at the seats just in time to see the race, but had gotten shut out at the windows. The lines were just unbelievably long.

I had a pretty good time, though, just hanging out at the seats, talking to JT’s dad and people-watching. I didn’t feel at all compelled to bet, as the Breeders Cup is just an amazing day of racing where all of the horses are the best, so picking a few to put money on just seems like an exercise in futility to me. Plus, historically I tend to lose my shirt on Breeders Cup day. Not this year!

During the next race, a horse took a bad step on the turf course and broke his leg just down the track from us, dumping his jockey in the process. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horse break down in person before, and I have to tell you, it was one of the most heart-wrenching things I’ve ever witnessed. It’s an image that will be burned in my memory forever, I’m afraid.

The poor horse, Landseer, had to be euthanized on the track as his injuries were too severe. His jockey, Edgar Prado, was OK.

Sometimes it’s really hard to be a fan of horse racing.

So, after sticking around long enough to see the Sprint, Tim and I decided that there was too much fun to be had in Chicago to sit around freezing to death and not having fun, so we left. We were just in time to catch a train back to the city, and we spent the rest of the afternoon being tourists on Michigan Avenue. We even ate cheeseborgers at Billy Goat’s.

We met up with another college friend, Gary, and his girlfriend Elena that night for dinner at a restaurant called The Outpost in Wrigleyville. The service was great, the wine was delish, the food was good and we just generally had a really good time talking. Afterwards, we adjourned to a bar called Delilah’s. Its major claims to fame seem to be $2 bourbon specials and a refurbished Addam’s Family pinball machine. Oooooh kay.

But it was fun! We all had too much to drink, we sometimes shouted over the britpop DJ and when Tim and Elena started debating the pros and cons of socialism, I knew it was time to go. Plus, we had the big trip to IKEA to be ready for!

Alas, we still woke up tired and hungover, even with the extra hour of sleep from the switch to standard time. For the three hundredth time, I swore that I would never drink again.

Speaking of which, here I’ve rambled on and on about Saturday, when I promised I’d tell you about Sunday. And now it’s already midnight. Blast! I heartily apologize. Please come back tomorrow and I promise that I will tell you all about our five-hour ordeal at IKEA.

In defense of the fanny pack

Six hundred miles later…

Dude, we are totally beat. The weekend was an unqualified success.

Tim ended up taking off the entire day on Friday (even though the mortgage-fiasco closing did not happen), so, after trading vehicles and child with my mother, we left even earlier than I had hoped. Whee!

After a long, rainy drive, we arrived at the immense Hyatt Regency at about 7:30. The drive up Lakeshore was amazing, as always. Tim wanted to take some inner-city Interstate, but I insisted that we drive I-55 to the very end. The lake looked all cold and lonely, and the skyscrapers were all enshrouded in mist. Brr!

We checked into our palatial room, unpacked our stuff and then headed out to River North to meet up with our friend JT from New York.

Backtracking a bit here, the whole reason for going to Chicago this weekend was to attend the Breeders Cup of thoroughbred horse racing. We’re big fans, and I just realized that not everyone who reads this may know that.

Anyway, we arrived at this bar, Brehan’s, about an hour early, so we struck out looking for some dinner. We walked up North Wells, passing some intimidating-looking clubs with velvet ropes and doormen and such. Finally, we were nearing a diner-type place and Tim was starting to try to talk me into burgers, when we came to the front and realized that it was Ed Debevec’s. You know, the place famous for bad service and wisecracking waitresses? No, thanks.

Across the street was Gino’s Pizza or something like that. Huge, just huge! With a line out the door! Then, on the next block, Tim spotted this little sign that said “Carson’s” and was like, ‘We have got to go there. Ribs.’

So we did. And it was pretty fabulous.

We made it back to Brehan’s (where every girl I swear was Mimi Smartypants) and met up with JT. It’s always so great to hang out with JT. He’s so honest and earnest and I totally wish I knew some the perfect single girl for him. Whoever wins his heart is lucky indeed.

We ended up drinking several beers (read: I wasn’t totally wasted, but definitely more intoxicated than I had been for a very long time) and talking about our mutual friends, discussing the next day’s card, etc., etc.

Bizarre incident of the night: When we were settling in at Brehan’s, we snagged a table as this 40-something woman and her male friend left. She was pretty drunk — not stumbling or anything — but she had tons of stuff. It was obvious she had been there since after work, and since it was then about 10, well, you can guess how much she’d been drinking.

Anyway, so she’s trying to gather up all of her stuff and her dolt of a friend is just standing there watching her, and I offer her a hand. I helped her pick up her shoulder bag from underneath the table and made sure her takeout bag was arranged so the food wouldn’t fall out. After some awkwardness, she was finally gone and Tim and I sat down.

About 20 minutes later, she pops up at the table again. Apparently, she’s been in the bathroom this entire time and now she can’t find her purse. She thinks that she left it at the table, but I know for a fact that she had it when she left. Anyway, she’s drunk and the place is pretty loud, so Tim and I humor her by getting up so she can look underneath the table and around it. I started getting a little nervous, because she’s looking all huffy like we took her purse. Great.

About this time, JT shows up and we begin talking to him as this lady continues to look around the bar for her purse. Waitresses get involved, soon some burly-looking guy is looking around too. They eventually realize that she’s pretty drunk and lose interest. But she’s not going away.

So I finally get up, take her elbow, and ask her to help me retrace her steps between the table and the bathroom. She’s mumbling about how her life was in the purse, yada yada, and she might as well kill herself now. Hello! This is fun!

Nothing in either bathroom, nothing around the bathrooms. I’m thinking, ‘Great. Someone stole this woman’s purse and now I’m going to get stuck paying her cab fare home.’ I’m looking in trash cans, hoping that the guilty party just took the cash and dumped the rest. Then, lo and behold! a waitress parts the seas and she has the purse! The drunky left it on the bar! Nothing’s missing! God bless the Midwest!

She leaves, and I can get on with my vacation.

Tomorrow: My emotional breakdown at IKEA.

Not one mention of Kenny

Man, I love and hate the night before a big trip. And this one is only for the weekend! I’ve still got a million things on my to-do list, but it is dwindling a little.

One fun thing that has kept me up this late: When bringing up my hanging clothes from storage (yes, still), I had a mini-fashion show for myself, trying on things that haven’t fit for a long time. It was so awesome and now I’m all proud of myself and motivated to keep chugging away on the program.

I rock!

One thing that Tim and I have agreed on is that this is a free weekend. No worrying about what we eat. Now, I’m not going to go completely nuts and eat an entire Chicago-style pizza. (Mmm… Pequod’s….) But I’m not going to religiously write down every single thing that goes in my mouth.

So my friend Ryan (who we are meeting for breakfast on Saturday and I’m so excited) has given me a secret tip for IKEA. Apparently, they have an “As is” room on the first floor by the cash registers and you can get neat-o stuff there for even cheaper! Woo hoo! We are the king and queen of scratch-and-dent! Is it sad that I am so looking forward to this orgy of consumerism?

OK, OK, off to bed I go. Tomorrow I surrender my baby to my mom for two whole days (plus a couple of hours). What am I going to do without him??

Another reason to hate the Dead

The mystery of the missing peppermint lip balm is solved! I’ve been scratching my head for two weeks, wondering where my wonderful Whole Foods-brand nectar had made off to. I was pretty sure that Auggie had snagged it off of my dresser, but why couldn’t I find it? I mean, we had every single room on the top floor of our house empty (except the kitchen and bathrooms) and still no lip balm.

So yesterday, I’m fishing around in Auggie’s toy basket in the living room, looking for missing pieces to this wooden puzzle deal, when I see the beloved green stick down at the bottom. Eureka! My lips rejoice!

Sorry, but I get all attached to lip balms. I just recently made the switch from straight Carmex, which has been my constant lip salve since, like, junior high. Major turning point.

Anyway, I’ve been getting strange looks from the people who have come over to see the newly-refinished floors. We have most of the (mismatched) furniture back in our bedroom, yet there is only the lone mattress on the floor. There’s a perfectly logical explanation for this, which of course I will bore you with. (Ugh, how many sentences have I ended with a preposition thus far? Please forgive me, O AP-style gods.)

I think I’ve mentioned (like 100 times) that we’re going to IKEA this Sunday while we’re in Chicago. One of the things we’re salivating over is a new bed. Up to now, we’ve only had our fabulous pillow-top mattress and box springs on a bed frame (let’s see the hands of all those pillow-top believers out there). How ever have we made it this far?? I mean, we’re practically savages! No headboard! Footboard? Not even in our dreams!

Well, most IKEA beds are designed to be used with only a mattress, so we wanted to make sure that our mattress alone would be comfortable enough to preclude buying a new one at IKEA. So far, so good. Plus, Coco is totally loving the low bed that she can hop into willy-nilly. In fact, she disappears for hours at a time, only to wander into the kitchen all bleary-eyed like, ‘Dude, I just had the best nap.’ Much like I was during my freshman year of college.

My, I’ve been so caught up in homicidal fantasies about Inept Kenny that I can’t believe tomorrow is already Thursday! I have a million things to do. Deep breaths… Deep breaths… You would not even believe what Mr. Jerry-is-my-hero-yet-I’m-a-total-capitalist-salesslug tried to pull tonight. You just wouldn’t even believe it. Tim and I have been chuckling to ourselves all evening long, just thinking about it. Suffice it to say that Kenny was treated to quite a bit of salty language on my part tonight. Then I got to call his boss and tell on him.

Neener, neener, neener. I almost said, ‘I’ll have your job!’

I scorn thee, Kenny

Tell me if you think this is scary:

For our trip to IKEA on Sunday, I have taken digital photos of every single wall in our house (except for the garage — should I do the garage?). I will then enlist Tim to help me take all relevant measurements (wall height and width, distance from the floor to the bottom of the windowsill, area available between our bedroom window and the farthest point the closet door swings out, etc.) and write them on the printouts of the photos. Finally, I will place said printouts in a handy binder to tote along to the store.

I’m going to frighten the nice salespeople, aren’t I?

And what is up with everyone being all smart, all of a sudden? I could barely follow Mimi Smartypants today. My brain is all limpy or something.

I got an “I lost 10 pounds!” ribbon today, thank you very much. It seems that my worries that I would balloon back up while visiting my mother last week were unfounded. I actually lost 4 more pounds. Yippee! Now, I’ve lost a total of 10.6 pounds (not that I’m counting or anything). The lady who weighed me made a big deal about how heavy jeans are and that I’ve probably even lost more, but I don’t know. Sounds like something fat people tell themselves to make them feel better.

All I know is that my jeans are getting big! And I tried on pants this weekend, only to have to go back for a smaller size. Yay, me! I haven’t been this skinny since Tim and I were training for the 10K we ran back in 1999. Of course, I have had a child since then. But still!

Oy, but I still have a long way to go until I’m within my “recommended weight range.”

I have so many things to do right now. I’m in one of my can’t-deal-with-it-now-so-I’ll-just-procrastinate kinda moods. Like I said, limpy.

So the ineptitude of our mortgage company continues to grow each and every day. I swear that I’m going to have an ulcer before we close on the damn thing. You know, I’m not one of those “I’ll have your job” kinda people, but I really feel like the guy we’ve been dealing with should be fired for incompetence. I ended up calling one of the owners of the company yesterday and telling the whole sad story to him. Now he has taken over our file. I hope I never have to speak to “Grateful Dead bears ring-wearing dude” again. I should have known better.

I would fire him.