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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

If lust and hate is the candy...

I've been blogligent. But I swear, I've got good excuses--lots of them! Honest... I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD.

Since I start back to work full time in a week and a half, I'm trying desperately to train myself to sleep and wake at appropriate hours. No more staying up until all hours of the night doing sudoku puzzles until my eyeballs burn and I can't see through the tears. No more sleeping in until Eric wakes me up. I somehow have to be able to get up before him, get ready for work, then wake him up and get him dressed and fed and out the door. Sounds like fun--like handling a slithering eel.

I'm also trying to break all my bad habits. I somehow need to turn myself into one of those people who washes their clothes and then irons them and hangs them up or folds them and puts them away. And someone who always has clean dishes, rather than a constant pile on the counter, some of which probably date back to 1972. But! Our landlord is finally going to replace our dishwasher--yay! I'm hoping for a strapping young lad named Rico. But a Ken(more) will do just fine.

I'm also weaning myself off of soda (again). Remember that diet I mentioned, oh, a couple months back? Yeah. I don't think the mere mention of it burned many calories at all. So, I need to get down to business. I saw some pictures this weekend from a wedding I stood up in a few summers ago, before Eric. I was comparatively svelte. Then I saw a picture of myself taken on Sunday, in which I looked like a linebacker. Yikes.

So, yes, I'm basically attempting a total life makeover in the next 12 days. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm beta testing a new weight-loss patch.

And also, waxing my upper lip.

McHijinks

The sign outside the McDonalds near my house reads, "Don't forget to try our new Asians."

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Kiss it.


I am cutting and pasting this directly from my email from Illinois Tollway.

100 Days of Heat

Police now have motorcycles for easier access and speed enforcement in tight work zones.

Beginning Memorial Day weekend, Illinois State Police District 15 will turn up the "heat" with special enforcement details for 100 days ending with the Labor Day Holiday weekend. Called “100 Days of Heat,” the effort is a comprehensive traffic safety program during the busy summer construction and travel months. The effort includes the ongoing Operation Hard Hat details to catch speeders in work zones. That’s where police pose as construction workers with radar equipment. Systemwide efforts are also in force to ticket speeders, DUIs and overweight trucks using unmarked police cruisers, aircraft, portable weigh stations and officers on motorcycles, a first for the Illinois Tollway. And, don't forget the photo speed enforcement vans coming soon. So, the "heat" will be on this summer!



First of all, what's with the tone of excitement over all the new ways we can potentially be caught speeding by the Illinois State Police? This is not exciting! This is an impetus for mutiny!

"That’s where police pose as construction workers with radar equipment." Are you kidding me? First of all, this is Chicago, where every hour is rush hour. If by some stroke of luck I am able to speed, through a construction zone, no less, by god I'm going to be speeding. And chances are, if there's so little traffic that speeding is possible, there aint no construction happening. So, good luck with that one, Illinois Police. Secondly, there's a Village People joke in here somewhere.

And let's not overlook this: "And, don't forget the photo speed enforcement vans coming soon."

Aww, come on, you're going to be taking pictures of me? Guess it would behoove me to apply makeup as a speed down the freeway--nay, the payway. At least I'll be cute when I'm caught speeding. That always helps.

You know what I have to say to all this? Bring it, Erik Estrada. Bring the Heat. You'll never catch me. I'm crazy like a fox.

Death By Cuteness

I guess that's what toddlers have going for them. For every occasion upon which they make you want to claw your own eyes out with a grapefruit spoon, there are at least two occasions in which they make you want to nibble on them until your teeth ache from their sweetness.

Right now, Eric is Super Talker Boy, so I get to hear a lot of toddler logic in action. And most of it is just way too cute. I mean, the English language is complicated to master. I think maybe we could take a few lessons from the toddlers' perspective that the simplest explanation is the best. I wish I could remember all the cute things Eric says, but I think it would get a little old if I posted baby witticism on my blog every day (ummm....oops). But, here are a couple of recent things that I thought were especially cute.

A few weeks ago, Chris mowed the lawn for the first time. Eric watched him out the window the entire time, chanting, "Daddy mow the lawn," fifteen hundred and seventy-three times. When Chris finished the front yard and headed for the back, Eric left his post on the living room couch and hightailed it to the kitchen so as not to miss anything. Once again, "Daddy mow the lawn. [beat] Daddy mow the lawn. [beat] Daddy mow the lawn," etc. When Chris mowed around the tulip bed, he bumped the tulips a few times and they would bend over and spring right back up. Eric stopped chanting, "Daddy mow the lawn," and said in a whisper, "Daddy mow the flowers." When Chris was finally done and turned the lawn mower off, Eric announced, "All done, mow the lawn!"

Then today, Eric and I were driving home from his music class. Whenever we go anywhere in the car, Eric likes to shout out all the attractions he sees. This is especially fun because we often drive a stretch of the expressway where the El line runs between eastbound and westbound traffic. For as long as we are driving next to the train tracks, Eric likes to tell me, "Choo-choo tracks!" over and over and over again. One time, as we were merging from one expressway to another, there was a lot of traffic (ha! sorry, this sentence makes it sound like traffic is not the norm--I wish!), and I told Eric, "Look at all the cars down there!" And now he says that to me ALL THE TIME. Also, there is a lot of road construction nearby, so we spend a lot of time discussing heavy machinery. Actually, we discuss all vehicles of interest--particularly school busses and motorcycles. Eric also likes to yell out, "Water park!" when ever we see something vaguely wet--pools, sprinklers, lakes, puddles, etc." But today, as we were driving home, several things caught Eric's eye. "Baseball field!" "Football field!" "Golf ball field!"

And come on, "golf ball field" actually does make sense, right?

Saturday, May 20, 2006

In case you mistakenly thought I was popular.


I got a new cell phone yesterday! Mine phone was pretty beat up, and I was eligible to renew my contract and get a new phone, so I did (and Chris did too, but hasn't activated it yet). You know how when you get a new phone, it's kind of exciting to hear whatever stupid ring tone you've chosen for it for the first few days? So, I anxiously awaited my first phone call. And waited. And waited. And waited. And am still waiting, actually. Well, that's kind of a lie. Last night, I called my own phone number from work, just to make sure that it was actually working. It was. On my way home from work, I called Chris and told him how sad I was that nobody had called me on my new phone yet. Moments later, his stupid old phone dropped the call. And he didn't even call me back. And my mom! Even my mom hasn't called me! And she's always calling me! I mean, it's not like I'm that popular, but it's unusual to go 24 hours without a phone call. I guess it's like that Jimmy Buffett song--if the phone doesn't ring, it's me.

Dear Britney Spears:

So, you're getting a lot of flack for your parenting skills, are you? Well, here's my advice to you: visit a certified carseat technician. Have SP's carseat properly installed, and make sure you use it correctly. It's really not that hard, and he really will be so much safer. Proper carseat use will take a lot of the heat off. As for the rest of the stuff, don't worry about it--it happens to everyone. Babies are slippery and wiggly; people trip all the time; etc. Those things are accidental. Accidents, by their very definition, are uncontrollable. Unfortunately, you're in the limelight, so everybody gets to see and hear about everything you do. Let me tell you a little story about the worst accident ever involving a newborn. Not my newborn, mind you...OK, I'm lying. It was my newborn.

When Eric was two or three months old--not sure exactly, but it was definitely the summer of 2004--Chris and I decided to go for a walk with him. We walked all around the neighborhood with him safely strapped into his carseat, which was snapped into the stroller, like in the picture (of some totally random woman and baby that I found on the internet). We went to rent some movies from Tower Records at Clark and Webster. Then we went across the street to the 7-11, and we got Slurpees. Mmm. Slurpee.

We went to pay for our slurpees, but we didn't have any cash on us, and their credit card reader was broken. There was an ATM in 7-11, but I made Chris run across the street because our bank's ATM was in the Tower building, and I was sick of paying the $5 in fees for taking out $20. I stayed back at 7-11, with Eric and the Slurpees. Damn, those things were cold! Our stroller had a tray with two cup holders, so I set the slurpees in them. Well, actually, I put one of the slurpees in one of the cup holders, but the other cup holder was an odd size that approximately 1% of the world's cup population could fit inside. So, I moved our keys and cell phone to that cup holder and set the other slurpee on the shallow tray between the two cup holders.

It took a few minutes before Chris got back, so I was killing time flipping through magazines or something. Chris came back, paid for the slurpees and then opened the door so I could push the stroller out. Without thinking twice, I steered the stroller over the sizable threshold and out the door.

As if in slow motion, I watched as the unsecured slurpee teetered as I went over the threshold--forward towards Eric, then back towards me and then forward again, gaining enough momentum to fall out of the tray. As soon as the cup hit Eric, the top popped off and he was completely covered in Slurpee.

He got this confused and surprised look on his little face and then let out the cry to end all cries. I don't remember exactly how we set about cleaning him up. I think we were still in the stage where we couldn't leave the house without 14 changes of clothes and 72 diapers. But, how do you change a baby on the sidewalk outside of 7-11 when your only place to put him is a stroller covered in red slurpee? I'm sure it's a predicament we have all found ourselves in at one point or another. Anyway, all I do remember is carrying him home from there, and all of us being very sticky. And also, swearing off slurpees for the rest of my life (or at least until further notice). I also remember that everything involved in that snafu would forever be stained pink.

So, see Britney? It could be worse. At least you haven't dumped 20 or so ounces of red ice on your baby. Yet. But accidents do happen--even to the most careful of people. Don't sweat the accidents. But do fully secure your child in the car. There's really no excuse for that. Take care.

Sincerely,
Kristi

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Yum.

Well, I just came across this link again today, and thought I should post it for anyone who hasn't had the pleasure of seeing it before.

Be sure to click on the right arrow to scroll through all of them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Apolitical

(Because I don't think president bashing becomes me.)

Yesterday, Eric and I were getting in the car to go to his music class. Usually, when we go for rides in the car, Eric gets his "guys," which are his pacifier, stuffed monkey and "DC," which is this ratty bib that Eric loves. So, we were getting in the car, and Eric immediately got excited about something, threw the guys on the floor and started chanting, "MUSIC! MUUUUUUUSIC!" and pointing at...what? I thought maybe he was just excited about going to his class. He kept saying it, so I put the radio on, thinking that would make him happy, but it didn't. We went to his class, and when we were on our way back--the same thing. As soon as I opened the car door, his face lit up and he started yelling "MUSIC" again. Except this time, he was able to grab the object of his desires: the umbrella. And he sang into the umbrella the whole way home.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

And also...

Does anyone else remember that junior high joke about blower's cramp?

Q: What's this? [Then make this face: ]

A: Blower's cramp. Do you get it?

Apparently W does.

OK. That's all for now.

Rhetoric

So gas prices are on the rise again. They're holding pretty steady around $3/gallon in these parts. $3/gallon--can you believe that? I remember when I was first driving, prices were much closer to $1/gallon. I'm absolutely certain that I've paid less than a dollar per gallon for gas since I've been driving. I can remember filling up in Mahomet, IL circa 2000 for $.999/gal. That wasn't that long ago--not long enough to justify a $2+ dollar increase. But I digress. So, as I was saying, gas prices are on the rise again--bitch, bitch, moan, moan, grumble, grumble. Who the hell wants to pay $3/gallon for gas?!? Then comes the announcement: gas prices expected to reach $4/gallon in the next few months, and, oh my god, we're so lucky to only be paying $3 now! See, it's all about the spin.

So, who wants to take a stab at spinning this?

Maybe a little bit crazy.

OK, so it's midnight-thirty, and I just got back from the grocery store. First of all, I should be in bed, and asleep, for like three hours now. Secondly, I had one of those moments at the grocery store. You know, one of those realizations where you think, if somebody turned the corner and walked down this aisle *right now,* they would see me and think that I'm totally nuts. And not only would they think that, but THEY WOULD BE RIGHT. Why, you ask? Well, here's why. Because it's midnight, right? And I'm at the grocery store, in the bread aisle. And I'm searching--scanning every shelf, stepping on the bottom shelf to see what's on the top shelf, pushing stuff aside to see what's behind it, scavenging--for whole wheat hot dog buns. WHOLE WHEAT HOT DOG BUNS. Because, you know, hot dogs on whole wheat are SO MUCH better than hot dogs on plain old white buns. Yeah. What's wrong with this picture?

Monday, May 15, 2006

Karaoke Club Minutes

Date: Thursday, May 11, 2006
In attendance: Kristentatious, Greenfish, Vernessica
Should've been there: Sue, Erica, Racer X, La Fraise (maybe we should call her "FORX"...as in, "Forxy Lady")

7:30 p.m. K + G meet for pizza at Vernessica's restaurant. OK. It was more like 8:00 p.m.
8:00-9:15 p.m. Eat delicious pizza goodness and chat
9:15 p.m. G and I depart for the Sponge Reef. Yes it is as cheesy at it looks.
9:40 p.m. Arrive at Sponge Reef and notice that it is way more crowded than the same time last week. There are at least five more bodies in the bar. It should tell you something about the size of the, um, Reef if five more people constitutes "way more crowded." Also, unlike last week's minutes of deafening silence between songs because there were only a couple of people singing, this week there was already a pretty sizeable karaoke rotation when we got there. It seemed like everybody already had a stack of requests in. Also, at this point, the time line becomes blurry.

Greenfish and I picked out some songs and turned in our requests. Also, within minutes of our arrival, a group of four people came and sat at the table next to ours. Because of the coziness of the establishment, our cabaret-style tables were almost touching. It was unfortunate that they were so close, because it made it harder for us to talk about them discreetly.

There were two couple, one older couple and one younger couple. We got the feeling that one member of the older couple was a parent of one member of the younger couple. Except, we couldn't exactly figure out who belonged to whom. Father and son, both out with their fiancees/wives (it looked like both women we wearing rocks)? Mother and daughter out with their men? I finally decided upon mother and daughter hooked up with father and son (hence daughter married to her step-brother....it seemed like it could have been accurate). They seemed very nice. The older man sang a decent version of Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues, while the younger gal reminded me of Sue in that every song was her favorite.

While we sat there waiting for our songs to be called, and waiting for Vernessica to arrive, Greenfish and I flipped through the book and decided to make a list of songs to be sung by Racer X at a future date.

In no particular order:

Broken Wings by Mr. Mister
Cum on Feel the Noise by Quiet Riot
Don't Stop Believing by Journey (this must be sung as a dedication to Big Dave)
More than a Feeling by Boston
Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Öyster Cult (Note To Greenfish: Secure a Cowbell)
Be Still my Heart by The Postal Service
Summer of 69 by Bryan Adams
Roxanne by The Police
Also, Message in a Bottle by The Police

We stopped there as we thought that list of songs could tide us over for a while.

Also, Greenfish and I need to remember to sing Oh What a Night sometime, in honor of Camille, my French Exchange student from HS. And Vernessica needs to sing Can't Get You out of My Head by Kylie Minogue, with a dedication to Racer X.

Finally, our songs were called. Greenfish went first with "Like a Prayer" by Madonna. (Later, Vernessica would call when she was on her way over and ask me to turn in the same song for her. Unfortunately for her, it wasn't meant to be.) I sang next--99 Red Balloons by Nena. As I was waiting for the song to start, the KJ handed me a stack of small papers. It turned out to be all of our song requests from last week. Of course, by distracting me, he made me miss the intro to the song, and it's never good to miss the beginning of your song. Oh well. I really like that song, but I never noticed how many long pauses it had before.

Vernessica finally arrived and got called to sing pretty quickly. She sang Sheyrl Crow's My Favorite Mistake, which was a source of great excitement for the girl sitting at the table next to us.

The rest of the night is starting to get kind of fuzzy, but I do remember the following things:

Some guy sang Africa by Toto and totally showed up Racer X's off-the-cuff version from the previous week (for the most part I would say that they are equally good singers, but this guy made the synthesizer/xylophone noises during non-singing moments, which I'm sure Racer X could do better if only he'd thought of it).

We also discussed Vernessica's love life and made a list of Dating Guidelines for her to follow:
*NO COKEHEADS
*No guys with girlfriends or wives
*No Bass players (Sorry, hun, but you need to break a pattern. My apologies also to Racer X, but I'm sure this rule will allow your Forxy Lady to breathe a sigh of relief. You know, because I'm sure that she has always seen Miss V as a big threat.)
Also,
*No Gay Guys (Always a good rule to follow. I should know.)

Hmmm...the only other thing that I can remember is that Greenfish sang Joy to the World by 3 Dog night, which is one of my absolute favorites. Yay karaoke!

I know that this week, Greenfish will miss karaoke because she is going to be in Vegas, doing things that stay in Vegas. But several other people have expressed interest, including Sue, who believes she will be done with her take-home final and be ready to go out!

Dear Grey's Anatomy,

First of all, shame on you for making me wait until tomorrow for your exciting conclusion! Secondly, please don't leave me!! I've never been one to beg, but if that's what it's going to take, I'll do it. You can't leave me for an entire summer! Nooooo! I don't know what I'll do without you! Waaaah! I'm going to go cry myself to sleep now. At least we still have one more night together...

Love,
Kristi

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Is it just me?



Is it too much to ask that those electronic bank signs just show me the time and temperature, and that those are preferably both accurate? Seriously. I don't need to know that I can call Guadalupe Ochoa for fabulously low car loan rates. I don't need to know that your bank offers Totally Free Checking! when I can already read that in the gigantic signs that cover each and every window of the bank. I don't need to know that you're having an Upcoming Event for New Customers last weekend. I just want to know the damn temperature. That's all.

Thinking about this reminds me of a separate but (possibly distantly) related quirk I have. When I'm driving, I always have a compulsive need to do something totally distracting and unnecessary at the worst possible moment. For instance, if I'm trying to merge onto the highway between a semi and some asshole who's trying his damnedest to make sure I don't get in front of him (even though HE'S the one who decided to drive in the merge lane), I will absolutely NEED to change my radio station right then. Or, I'm exiting at a clover-leaf interchange and somewhere in the middle of the 360-degree-turn it becomes truly ESSENTIAL that I make a phone call. Or I'm driving through a parking lot where people are walking all over the place and coming out of nowhere and there are full-fledged parking spot wars between cars and, oh my, it seems like the treble and bass on my radio are a little askew and it MUST BE FIXED. Or (and here's the connector), I'm exiting the highway to go to work and I see the temperature flash on the annoying bank sign on the other side of the expressway. Right then, while I'm decelerating and driving the windy exit ramp that ends in an abrupt merge, I just have to compare the bank sign temperature to my car's thermometer (there's a button for that mixed in with all the thermostat buttons). What can I say. I'm a weirdo.

Just terrible.

And today, on his first full day as a two-year-old, Eric laid down on the floor in Target, right at the top of the escalator and had a full-blown, sobbing, screaming fit. "WANNA GO SEE BASSETBALLS! WAAHH!!!!" Of course, I was just trying to be nice by letting him walk out of the store instead of being stuck inside of the cart. Additionally, we had already looked at the bassetballs. And the baseballs. And the bikes. And the helmets. And the twucks. And the teebees. I'm looking forward to a fun year.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

On this, your second natal anniversary


Dear Eric,

I can't believe you're turning two! Part of me can barely remember what you were like as a newborn, and part of me feels like you were just born yesterday.

Shortly before you were born, your father started working in Hell. He worked directly under Satan himself. I remember him coming home from work one day and saying he had good news. He told me that the big man said it was OK for him to take time off for your birth. Satan apparently added, "Just make sure he's not born on Mother's Day! Ha ha ha!" (because Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants--er, Hell). Anyway, I knew right then and there--sometime in March, probably--that you would be born on Mother's Day.

Saturday May 8th rolled around and you didn't disappoint. I had mild contractions all day long and I was certain that you would make your big debut the next day. That night, as we got all of our things together for the hospital, I told your dad that I'd read about how women who give birth on Mother's day usually get extra pampering and steak dinners and the likes, and wouldn't that be cool. We went to bed thinking that it was the last night of our old life.

Around 3 am, I awoke feeling sick to my stomach. But then, thank god, it went away....only to return a few minutes later and, oh wait, maybe these are REAL contractions. You know, unlike those fake ones I was having the day before. So, let's cut to the chase. After a couple hours of those "real" contractions, we headed to the hospital. And got sent home. Because I didn't know from real contractions.

They told me to go home and rest and eat something--that it could be days before you came. Apparently, these nurses had never been in labor before, or else they would have never suggested to a woman who was in the throes of labor to "rest and eat something." After several more agonizing hours of contractions, a trip back to the hospital (at which point they still wouldn't admit me, but instead wanted me to walk laps) and what felt like a hundred laps around the hospital floor, shuffling like an old man and stopping to have mind numbing contractions and occasionally throw up, they finally admitted me and gave me an epidural.

Now, let's revisit for a moment the part where I mentioned me getting pampered because I had you on Mother's day. That was so wonderful! Well, I can imagine it would have been wonderful. You know, if you'd decided to be born at a reasonable hour. I can remember my mom coming into my room around 10 p.m. and asking the nurse how long she predicted it would be before I gave birth. The nurse told her probably 4 more hours or so. As the nurse was saying that, she gave me an aspirin to take (not sure what the aspirin was supposed to do....like, I'm sorry you've been run over by a Mack Truck, but here, take these two tylenol). As soon as I swallowed the aspirin, I immediately threw up. Then I started shaking uncontrollably, which is apparently The Sign that birth is imminent. You were born at 11:06 p.m.

At first, I wasn't sure how I felt about you.

But, in my defense, you had no eyebrows, dark sideburns, and they made you wear a garden gnome hat. And I was wearing a mu-mu.


I'm not so sure you were very keen on me, either.


Of course I'm only joking. I loved you before I ever laid eyes on you.

Truth be told, at first you were a little boring. It's nothing personal, all babies go through it. It has something to do with the lack of motor skills and all-liquid diet. But we still had lots of fun with you.





And you got bigger and bigger. And more and more entertaining.






Lord knows the past two years haven't always been sunshine and roses. I've certainly seen this face a time or two.

But, I will say this--there hasn't been a dull moment. Being a parent is more everything than I ever possibly imagined it could be: more fun, more rewarding, more exciting, but also more tiring, more tedious, more frustrating.

Every day you amaze me. I never imagined that a less-than-two year old would know every sport known to man and be able to look at a picture of an athlete and know what sport they play by the look of their jersey. I thought I had at least another year or so before you could trump me in a popular vote to switch TLC to ESPN.

I never knew that I would want to learn what every piece of construction equipment is called so that I could save you from the embarrassment of calling everything "truck" or "Bob the Builder."

I never knew that I would actually be willing to eat a piece of food that another person had previously chewed or sucked on and then rejected. But now I know that when there is no garbage can nearby, and no other obvious way to dispose of something, and your choices are eat previously chewed food or hold previously chewed food, it turns out that eating previously chewed food is not so bad after all.

I also forgot that I could love somebody so completely and so unconditionally. Thank you for reminding me. Happy second birthday, baby boy.

Love,

Mommy

Friday, May 05, 2006

Big News.

No, I'm not pregnant. Are you people crazy?!? Anyway. Yesterday I accepted an offer to trade in my part-time evening job for a full-time day job.

I was actually offered the position a while back and had about a month to decide. And I spent the entire month agonizing and waffling. Obviously, I ultimately decided to take the job. But I haven't really told anybody yet (except you, Internets). Only my husband and my mom knew up until now. I think it's because I still feel nervous about it. I have moments where I'm happy and excited and other moments where I turn into an absolute mess thinking that I'm forsaking my baby. (*sniff)

I think in the end everybody will be ok, though. This will actually be my first time being a salaried full-time employee with benefits. That's kind of exciting. And it will be nice to up the cash flow a little bit. Two words: Shopping. Spree. I can't wait. SHOES! HERE I COME! Anyway, um, that's a ways off...

So, yeah, I'll be starting full time in June--on the 12th I believe. Wish me luck or something...

And, also, now that I'm done brooding and being contemplative, it's back to my regularly scheduled blogging. I'm sure that's a weight off everybody's mind. ;)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Buy some dirt. Plant a seed. Grow a brain.

Do you ever just feel like telling that to someone? I do. Nobody that I know personally, mind you, just dumb people at large.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Part One Point Five

OK, this story really has nothing to do with our move out of Lincoln Park, but it is sort of distantly related because it has to do with our old apartment. As lawyers might say, it is herein incorporated by reference. Or something like that. Anyway, I was just going through the desk drawer and found an old picture of me. It was taken when I was pregnant, and I was standing in the bathroom of our old apartment (everytime I write that, I think of the Barenaked Ladies song, of which I believe Dr. Vortex is quite fond). I looked at the picture and I noticed the ledge of hula people, which reminded me of an amusing story.

Let me start by explaining that our old apartment building had kick-ass, industrial-strength toilets. There was no tank, it was just connected directly to the pipes, like public restroom toilets. It had a monster flush, and my husband was convinced that it was ok to put absolutely anything in the toilet (he has carried that perception to our current house with a normal toilet). Seriously, any type of garbage that could possibly be created in the bathroom was certainly flushable, in his mind. Q-Tips, bandaids, disposable razors, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if, when I wasn't looking, he used that toilet as a garbage disposal. OK, I think you get the picture.

Explanation 2: We had a hula-themed bathroom. Hula boys, hula girls, hula dogs, hula Gumby, hula Homer Simpson. We had all the hulas. And they sat on the window sill, which was right next to the toilet.

Explanation 3: I was at my parents' house for the weekend. Need I say more? But, ok, I will anyway. Eric was about 3 months old. Chris was working all weekend, so I went out to see my parents. Chris got home and decided to open the windows in the apartment to cool the place down. Including the bathroom window. Oh, and hey, guess what. Since he's a guy, you gotta know that the toilet seat was up. (Just kidding...actually, I have to give him credit--he's always very good about the toilet seat. but it was up in this case). So, hulas in bathroom window + open window + toilet seat up + strong breeze + flush-o-matic toilet - wife to point out flawed thinking = big trouble.

When I got home, Chris told me there had been a terrible tragedy, and that Hula Bob had committed suicide. (We didn't really name all of our hula people, but we had this fat, middle-aged hula couple that we called Hula Bob and Hula Betty.) Anyway, Hula Bob bit it while I was gone. Chris explained that he fell right into the toilet. He tells me, "It broke into a bunch of pieces, I pulled out the big pieces and I flushed the smaller pieces." So, I happen to notice that in the garbage can is Hula Bob, all fat and happy, just missing his base. And I think, "Oh no. Please tell me that you didn't try to flush the base of a hula person down the toilet. A big, round, thick disk of a base. Please tell me you didn't flush it." Chris assures me that it's fine, and that the toilet has been working perfectly.

Well, magically, when I went to use the toilet, I must have broken it! We tried to plunge and stuff for a couple of days, but it just wasn't working well. I called the maintenance man out to our apartment and decided to play dumb. First, before he came over, I hid all of the hula people in my closet. At the back. Under 16 pounds of clothes. Then I told him that I was out of town, and I came back to the toilet not working (totally true). He used his industrial strength plunger, and thought he had it fixed, but no. So he went and got a snake. He can feel something in there, he tells me. He then went and to get a wet-dry vac. He tried it out and thought he had solved the problem. At that point, it was really loud in the apartment, so I left with Eric and told the maintenance man to lock the door on the way out.

I came back later and there was a note. The toilet's still broken. A little while later, the maintenance man came back and knocked on the door. He tried to explain to me, in broken English, that it seemed that there was something in the toilet drain. He claimed that it must be something disk-like which was acting like a stopper, and that it's still letting some water through, but he can't get it out. He explained that he would have to come back the next day and take the toilet out. Except, he also explained that when they remodeled the bathroom, they laid the new floor on top of the old floor with a layer of concrete. And that, in order to remove the toilet from the layer of concrete, he would probably need to take a sledge hammer to it. And he would probably be back the next day, but he just needed to make sure that he has another toilet on hand for when he demolishes the current one.

So, once again, he came back the next day, and once again, Eric and I left. I wasn't going to stick around for the demolition of the toilet. I made sure that we stayed gone a good long time. And when I came home, hours later, the apartment was quiet. I feared what I might find in the bathroom. I glanced in and saw the toilet, in tact, with the seat down and the base of one Hula Bob sitting on top of it.

A little while later, there was a knock on the door. It was the maintenance man. "I feex da toilet. Ees not good to flush da tings down de toilet. Dees time, we feex it for free. Next time, we probably gonna have to make you pay."

I seems, though, that the Polish handyman's threat to make Chris pay is not enough to stop him from attempting to flush inappropriate things. So, in other words, stay tuned for future toilet stories.