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!

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…

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??

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.

God bless DSL

We’re back! Sorry for the lack of updates, but I just could not stand to do more than check my e-mail on that dial-in modem. That took nearly 20 minutes as it was!

The floors look great, thanks for asking. I can’t believe how beautifully they turned out. Sorry that I can’t work up much more enthusiasm right now, but we are both totally wiped out from moving all the furniture back. That’s especially sad, seeing as how we have only moved about half of the stuff back.

See, we’re going to Chicago next weekend, and while we’re there, we’re going to check out the IKEA store up in Schaumberg. Whee! New bedroom suite here we come! And new desk! And closet storage stuff! And rugs!

Anyway, we don’t want to move a bunch of stuff back upstairs, only to move it back downstairs next weekend. Capeche?

So what can I tell you about last week? It was really hard. I really missed Tim. Auggie was a major pain during the night, waking up and not going back to sleep until I brought him into bed with me.

I couldn’t believe how bad I was at that! You see, Tim usually handles all the nighttime stuff. I roll over in bed and cover my head with a pillow. Away from home, it’s especially challenging, because you’re not only concerned about the baby, but also the gracious people who are hosting you and said baby.

So I didn’t sleep well. At all. Which is not good, especially considering that each morning I woke up to another 24 hours of permanent mommy duty. My mom was a huge help, but she had stuff of her own to do.

So we did a little shopping, visited Grandpa and Granny, got to see little Cammron (who is doing famously) and generally had a pretty good time while we whiled the days away, waiting for the house to be ready.

We visited the nursing home where my mother works as an ombudsman (yes, she is a saint) and Auggie put a smile on many the face among the residents.

It’s so good to be back home. I apologize for boring the pants off of ya’ll, but I think I’ll go “press some sheets” as my dad would say.


Wow, super cool, the Google robot has finally crawled through to bookerdog dot com. Yep, when you type in bookerdog to the search engine, we’re the top hit!! Judging from their cached page, it looks like it happened sometime between the 11th and the 13th because it shows the Baseball blues post. However, if you just type in Tim Clauss into the search, you won’t find us right away because apparently there’s a Tim Clauss who was the co-author of one of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books, so he get’s like 5 pages of Google results. Beth’s name fortunately brings it up as the second entry.

So, the reason that Beth is suffering in dial-up purgatory is that the floor refinishing has begun at our homestead. That’s right, except for a few toilletries, all of the contents of the upper floor of our house are currently in the garage/basement. It’s like one of those snow globes that’s settled after a good shake, only possibly slightly more disorganized. There was some final scrambling on Tuesday night as we finally read through the documents the refinishing company had given us. Remove the interior doors, cover all the vents, do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around. So after I packed Beth into the car I listened and sorta watched the disappointing baseball game, while performing these final acts. The last thing was to put plastic up over the doorways for the rooms that were not being refinished. I then collapsed on the couch to be available in the morning for the arrival of the refinishing crew.

Now I’m a nomad, staying with our friends Chris and Dana, who have been very gracious in offering me a place to stay. Even better is that Chris had a friend give him tickets to the Blues hockey game last night that were in the third row. Since last night’s game was the worst attendance the Blues have had in 5 years, we were able to move up and sit first row right on the glass. This is a very cool place to watch a hockey game from. After starting the game looking like bush leaguers, they got better and better through the game, and won the thing in overtime. After seeing 3 baseball games last week, it was refreshing to be at a sporting event that ends in about 2 1/2 hours. We were back to Chris’ by 10pm.

It’s only then that the realization that I’m sleeping alone sinks in. Nearly every night for the past 5 1/2 years we brush our teeth, settle into bed, do some reading, and talk. Usually it’s nothing serious, but it’s a time when I can have just about anything come out of my mouth and not worry about being ridiculed and nearly always be completely understood by someone who knows me as well as I know myself. When that’s not there, it’s the time when I miss my true love the most. Ahh well, as long as I can get to sleep, I know I’ll see her in my dreams.

I miss Beth.

Beaten and dejected

Coming to you at 21.6 kbs via the slow-poke modem at my mom’s house!

That’s right, we’re rockin’ the 54K down in the Cape. Actually, we’re crying in our proverbial beers here this evening, as the Team of Destiny lost its date with destiny thanks to a heartbreaking flare from the heartless wonder, Kenny Lofton. Is there no justice in the universe? Alas, if the NY Yankees could not do it last year, then surely destiny has turned its back on this most noble of sports.

You’ll indulge me for waxing poetic about men younger than I who make more in a year than I will ever see in my entire life. It’s been a rather long day. After an even longer weekend. And now I can do some relaxin’, rural-style. 21.6 kbs-style. Aww, yeah!

Dang Cardinals.

Who are you?

Tim is poking me with a stick so I will go to bed, seeing as how I have a dentist appointment bright and early tomorrow morning. So why don’t you take the 45 seconds you normally would spend/waste reading this entry and send a note to beth at bookerdog dot com?

You could tell me your hobbies, how you found this site, your major credit card numbers, what is currently playing on your stereo, etc. Do it now!