Saturday, July 30, 2005

Spunky the Funky Monkey

Dear friends,

This is a Public Service Announcement to let you know that your friend Kristi has gone off the deep end. Now, I suspect that some of you might falsely believe that I went off the deep end long ago. Perhaps when you saw me performing interpretive dance purely for my own amusement, you thought, "Wow, she's really lost it." Or maybe it was the time that I woke you up in the middle of the night by reciting Steve Martin's Holiday Wish to you and laughing maniacally that made you think I had a screw loose. Maybe you thought it happened when I came home with the knee-high, pleather snake skin boots, but I'm telling you, that was just a seriously ill-advised fashion choice! Now, I'm sure I could go on for a good while longer, but I have to tell you that most of that is just due to good old fashioned quirkyness. This time is different. I'm telling you that I have really gone off the deep end.

I need you to know about the newest member of my family (notice I didn't say "youngest"). His name is Spunky. Spunky the Funky Monkey to be exact. He came into my life when my dad purchased him for Eric on or about August 3, 2004. "Oh, what a cute stuffed monkey," you're probably thinking. But, I can't even really consider him a stuffed monkey anymore. He's more like a person in our house. Therein the problem lies. Let me tell you about the personality that we (yes, Chris has gone off the deep end with me) have created for Spunky. He has an extremely long and interesting resume, which makes it difficult to determine his age. It is relatively easy for even the untrained ear, however, to ascertain that some of Spunky's stories might be less than truthful, or exaggerated to say the least. Amazingly, both Chris and I are able to do a remarkably similar Spunky voice. It's raspy yet medium-to-high pitched. It tells the tale of years of hard-drinking. A wonderful companion for a child, no? Luckily the poor child is unable to understand the madness, but I do believe that the whole Spunky ordeal suggests years of embarrassment to come in Eric's life.

"So you have this former hard-drinking stuffed monkey of indeterminate age who has this voice--that's no so weird," you might be thinking. Well, it only gets worse from there. Would you like to know more about Spunky? Well, let me tell you the doozies we've come up with. Spunky used to be a stunt monkey--relatively famous, in fact. You might have seen him in such movies as Fight Club. Spunky was the stunt double for both Brad Pitt and Ed Norton. We figure this stunt training gives him a leg-up as a companion for a toddler boy who isn't walking, but already loves to throw himself face first onto the floor and then laugh hysterically.

Spunky is also very well traveled. In fact, after a paw injury precluded him from further professional stunt work, he backpacked across Europe until his settlement money ran out. Then he headed back to the states where he traveled by rail with the bums, taking sips of their whiskey in return for a little camaraderie. After nearly a year of this, he was found passed out, matted and disoriented. He was checked into a rehab where he cleaned up his act and entered a training program to become a Mentor Monkey. You see, that is how he ended up in our life.

Spunky comes from a long lineage of rhyming family members. Some members of the Spunky clan are: Spunky the Chunky Monkey, Spunky the Punky Monkey, Spunky the Clunky Monkey, Spunky the Bunky Monkey and the shunned Spunky the Junkie Monkey. You can tell by their qualifiers what their individual idiosyncrasies might be. If you're wondering how our Spunky got to be "funky," I believe it comes from his stellar dance moves. He used to be a professional dancer, you know. He knows Kevin Feder line personally, and he says that K-Fed is totally using Britney. Oh, Mr. Spunk Munk is also prone to stating the obvious as though it's a shocking revelation. Spunky also has a few favorite sayings that he uses quite often. Some gems are, "You bet your ascot!" "That wasn't in my contract!" and, at bed and naptime, "Man, I'm really bushed!" And, speaking of Bushed, if you look at Spunky from the correct angle, there's a striking resemblance to our own George W. Seriously. Sometimes he gets called away by the Secret Service so that he can be a red herring for the president.

Well, if I have been unable to sway you thus far that I really am crazy, I'll now share with you perhaps the worst part of this whole story. While I'm at home during the day with Eric, I can hold entire conversations with Spunky, where I talk to him and then respond ALOUD in the raspy monkey voice. And these conversations are not for the benefit of Eric. Several times a day, I find myself wondering, WWSS (what would spunky say)? Spunky doesn't usually get to come out of the car when Eric and I go out, but on the rare occasion that he does, I really have to hold myself back from engaging him in conversation. The thing is, he's just so damn funny! You never know what he's going to say next (well, I do, but that's OK because it just sounds funnier in Spunky's voice).

Well, there you have it. I believe I might actually be certifiable, but given a history of weirdness, it kind of raises the threshold for what you might consider crazy from me. Luckily for me, if one of you so-called friends was to try to have me committed after reading this, I'm pretty sure I could call upon the old Catch 22 and be free from a life of straight jackets (for now, at least). So, please don't try to have me committed, but, I don't know, maybe call me every once in a while or something.



P.S. Is Spunky just dying to add his input in this letter? You bet your ascot!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Extreme Close Up--WAHAHAH!

I woke up this morning to find that Chris had changed the background of our computer to this most excellent picture. Rock on, Wayne!

(Ok, so maybe it just looks really huge when it takes up our entire screen)

The picturesque town of Niles, IL

Although I technically live in the city of Chicago, I live very close to the edge, near the dreaded suburbs. In fact, if you didn't know I lived in Chicago and you came to visit, you might even erroneously think you were in the suburbs. Then you would get $75 parking ticket and that would clear things right up for you--you're in a real city; a city that doesn't mess around when it comes to parking scofflaws like yourself. Being that I live in an area of the city that is essentially a peninsula of Chicago, surrounded on three sides by suburbs, I tend to do a lot of my business outside the city. (You'll note that Chicago is so important that if you simply say "the city" to anyone in the greater metropolitan area, they'll know which city you mean.)

Sometimes my daily escapades bring me to a lovely little town called Niles. Oh, how to describe Niles... When I look around Niles, my brain automatically coverts the vision to black and white. I can just imagine peering into a house and seeing a woman in a dress, high heels and pearls, vacuuming with her brand new Hoover, while her children sit contently at the dining room table reading their Dick and Jane readers. Niles really came into its own in the 1950s.

The thing I like about Niles is that everytime I drive through I notice something new. The first point of interest is the Leaning Tower of Niles. This one's hard to miss. I guess I always knew this thing existed somewhere in the Chicagoland area, but I was never looking for it I guess. It's part of a YMCA. Whenever I go to the Niles Target or BRU, I get a little taste of Italy along the way. What's not to love about kitsch? What seems funny to me is that there are people who set out on roadtrips just dedicated to seeking out stuff like this, while I drive by it every time I need to buy diapers.

I also love that Niles' town motto is "Where People Count." I always wonder aloud if they can spell, too, but nobody ever gets it. Oh well, I'm lame, what can I say. There's just something delightfully tacky about the entire town of Niles. That's not a put down--it's just how this entire area is. It's definitely more in-your-face than charming. Anyway, my most favorite thing about Niles is something that I just noticed last week, despite the fact that I've lived in this area for almost a year. As I was driving to Niles' Golf Mill mall (which has a tower protruding out of it that is constructed with a dimpled material that looks like--get this--a golf ball--how do they come up with these things?), I noticed a street sign that I've never seen used anywhere else. It says, "Don't even THINK of parking here." Oh no no, a simple "No Parking" sign wouldn't suffice--in Niles, you're not even supposed to think about it! Well guess what, Niles Police, I thought about it! And not only did I think about it, but I thought it would be pretty damn funny if I did park there and blatantly disobeyed your silly sign. Who do these people think they are? Poor Niles...I think when you're just a city near the city, you have to try a lot harder to get your point across. I think I should warn you, though, since we've already established that you're a parking scofflaw, that if you park there, or even think about it, they'll probably slap you with a $15 fine!

Inconvenience store

I'm highly troubled by the fact that the Walgreens near my house has the gall to call itself a convenience store. There is absolutely nothing convenient about it (except the three most important things--location, location, location). No matter what I go there for, they do not have it, no matter how simple the request.

For instance, a while back I went there to get some potato chips--just plain old potato chips. They didn't have any. They were sold out of the name brand potato chips. They were sold out of the generic potato chips. They were sold out of the flavored potato chips. They were even sold out of the individual packs of chips. Finally, I spy one can of Pringles--not exactly what I had in mind, but OK. I pick them up and realize why they're still on the shelf--the can has been run over by a Mack truck. Lovely. So...that was probably strike one.

Then there was the one hour photo incident. "It's going to be about 4 hours--is that OK?" Then the guy takes my name, which I carefully spelled out for him, and types it in wrong--both first and last. Nice to meet you, I'm Krystie. Yes, it used to Kristi, but Andrzej at Walgreens really thought that Krystie became me. The name part I actually thought was kind of funny, but why do I have to still pay premium prices for 1-hour photo if it's going to take them all friggin day to get it done?

I think next came the morning incident. I was on the road around 7:30 one morning thinking, "MUST. HAVE. CAFFEINE." I'm all annoyed thinking that there's nowhere to stop that isn't out of my way, but then low and behold, Walgreens pops into my field of vision like an oasis. "Is it open this early?" I wonder. Then I see the sign: "Now open at 7am Mon.-Fri.!" Splendid! I park my car and try to run inside, only to be met by an automatic door that won't budge. I came *thisclose* to actually walking into it. I peek in and there's not a soul to be seen. Fantastic. Just effin' fantastic.

Never minding the fact that that's already strike three, like an idiot I keep going back, thinking it can't possibly get any worse. Yet somehow, it does. Next incident...I go in for stamps and realize I'm thirsty too. I go to grab a Coke and there is none. There's no brand name soda whatsoever, for that matter--it's all sold out. I can get Walgreens brand Cola or Grape Soda, or a real Chicago favorite--"Red Pop", though. Red pop scares me, but that's a story for another day. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I take my suspect-looking cherry lemonade to the counter and I ask the guy for stamps. He gets really nervous looking and picks up the phone, pages a manager then slams the phone down. Then, without waiting for the manager, he picks up a clear plastic envelope marked "Stamps", which is clearly empty, and reaches into it as though he might find a handful of those special magic invisible stamps to sell me. When he comes up with nothing, he says, "Uh, we don't have any stamps right now," almost like a question with an implied, "Did you want to wait until we get some more?" So I tell him to take the cherry lemonade and shove it up his ass and I leave. I get out to my car and I promise myself that I will never set foot in there again. But it didn't last long.

Last weekend, as I was headed out for dinner, I remember that most Walgreens have Bank One ATMs, which just happens to be my bank. I'm thinking, OK, this doesn't have anything to do with Walgreens itself, I just need to use the ATM, it will be fine. Well, of course it wasn't. It wasn't like the machine was out of cash--it just wasn't even hooked up, or plugged in or something. WTF? So, so, so annoying. I swear to you that I'm never going in there again. I swear to you. (Hey guys, I'm running over to walgreens--does anybody need anything?)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Ever-conscious of his image, Eric has chosen horn-rimmed glasses to set off those blue eyes.

A complex system of lights and mirrors

allows me to see into the houses of my neighbors on either side and across the street. I don't consider it spying so much as still trying to squeeze the last bit of value out of the three semesters that I spent as a student in the School of Engineering. Seeing how the rest of the world lives is just so darn interesting. I love taking walks at night so that I can glance into peoples' open windows or through their open doors and just see what they're doing in there, how they've decorated, how messy their house is, etc. They're usually not doing anything all that exciting, but yet it still somehow fascinates me. I love when I can actually overhear bits and pieces of their conversation. It's kind of humbling to be reminded every once in a while that in the world that other people have created for themselves, I'm nothing more than a person passing by their house who was probably not even noticed. And you know what, for those few minutes it's so peaceful to be insignificant--it really is. As for the complex system of lights and mirrors, I suppose I really do have one (but I can't really vouch for its complexity)--it's in my bathroom and it allows me to examine my face magnified times ten. That, too, is humbling.

My bathroom is a Wonder Spot

One of the many, many joys of motherhood is that you never have to go to the bathroom alone. It's fantastic if you enjoy the idea of always having your own private audience (I'm not so into the audience thing, but it's better than listening to him scream his lungs out from the other room). A bathroom is a room that can provide endless amusement to a baby--that is unless you want him to be amused for a minute while you do your business--then he just wants to hang on you and whine. But I digress. If you're a curious toddler, you know that bathrooms have flushy things and rolls of soft paper that can go for miles and happy looking ducks and, probably the most exciting thing, a magical pot of water that you just know would be so much fun to play in if mommy would just slip once and leave that darn finger smasher up. What a wonderful place to play--*almost* as much fun as crawling on the floor under the table at a restaurant!

Today I head for the bathroom and leave the door ajar so that my little friend on all fours can join me at his leisure. After a few seconds, I hear giggles and see a red ball come bouncing into the bathroom followed by its friend Eric. The ball rolls over near my feet then proceeds to roll into a decreasingly smaller perfect spiral, for way longer than a ball should roll on its own. It was so odd, almost like it was possessed or something. I couldn't help but think of this place in Wisconsin Dells called the Wonder Spot. It's this gimicky place where all sorts of weird things happen, like your hair stands on end when you pass through a doorway and things roll uphill and water goes backwards down the drain. It's one of those places that a kid would REALLY want to go to, then realize after being there for 3 minutes that it really sucked. Kind of like what happens when I take Eric in the bathroom with me.

The Baby Eric brushes his teeth.

The Baby Eric

For some reason, everybody likes to call Eric "Baby Eric." I, personally, like to refer to him as "The Baby Eric." You know, like "The Baby Jesus". Not that I'm comparing him to a deity, or The Deity, as the case may be. I don't want him to get a complex--you know one of those complexes that you get when you think you're above anyone else. I can't even say the name of it at the moment; given the nature of this post to begin with, it would seem especially sacrilegious. Some people may see him as just another baby, but he's certainly important enough in my world to earn a "The" in front of his title (is "baby" a title?). Ergo, he is The Baby Eric and I am The Mama. Let's never mind the fact that he still calls me Dada (not to be confused with the man known as Daddy).

I was a crossing guard in a parallel universe

Friends, Canadians, Countrymen...

Welcome to the wonderful world of Kristi. Please keep your hands inside the vehicle while the ride is in motion.

I love the idea of a blog, I just hope that I am able to keep up with it. I have such a terrible time keeping a diary. I try and then realize 1) that I'm writing as if someone other than me will read it and 2) I'm terrified at the prospect of someone reading my random ramblings; this scares me enough to stop writing all together. I fancy myself to be someone who has pertinent and entertaining things to say. Whether or not that is the case, I suppose, is for the reader to decide. In any case, perhaps setting forth with the knowledge that this blog is something that can easily be seen by others, I will somehow be able to come to terms with my writing quirks. Happy reading, all.