Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Apartment Quirks

I have been living in Chicago for a week now, and I have discovered a couple of apartment quirks that need sharing. I present to you, dear readers, the adventures of the grocery cart and the smores maker:

First, the grocery cart. I went grocery shopping for the first time on Saturday, and the girl who is subletting the apt to me (Jenn) has one of those collapsible, rolling grocery dolly things that people who don’t have cars take to the supermarket. If you have ever lived in a large enough city, you have seen one. If not, I bet you can imagine. It’s like a foldable buggy. Anyway, I took it grocery shopping and on the way back was mildly complaining to myself because the handle of the thing is so low. I'm 5'7", and the handle was about 4 inches lower than I would naturally want to push it, which resulted in me being hunched over like an old woman for the 4 blocks home.

I was grumbling about height discrimination when I remembered that Jenn (the subletter) is easily 6 feet tall. The idea of her hunched over this buggy was hysterical to me (funny how it becomes funny when its no longer you). I don’t know how she managed, except that she must have only gone shopping once every blue moon, or perhaps forced a shorter friend to push the cart.

Another strange discovery of the apt: Jenn has one of those smores maker things. You know the thing you see in SkyMall magazine but assume no one would actually buy? Well, she has one. At first I thought it was a fondue pot and I got all excited. But then I slowly recognized it from SkyMall, what with all of the flying home I did last summer when planning my wedding. It’s got little trays for the gram-crackers, chocolate bars and marshmallows, and this little pot with a grill on top for you to roast them. Now I must make smores while I live in Chicago. No sense in wasting a perfectly good smore maker, especially since I am somewhat confidant this is the only time in my life I will encounter such a device.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Something to tide you over

If you need a good laugh while you wait with baited breath for my next post, go on and visit my sister's blog, where my whitey-Mc'White sis actually says, "It was crazy like we was trippin', yo." Seriously.

Welcome to Chicago

Apologies for the long week of silence. I have moved to Chicago for the summer and I do not yet have internet access, so I have to hunker down at the internet cafe a few blocks away if I want to check my email or update my blog. But now that I am in and settled, I thought I'd update you on the move.

On Wednesday I hauled my two ginormous exactly 50 lbs suitcases and three carry-ons (I know the limit is two, but I looked so bedraggled by the time I was boarding the plane the flight attendants needed little time to determine it wasn't a rule worth enforcing and let me by) and fell into a cab to the airport. Despite the fact that I could barely maneuver the bags by myself (even if I do a great pack mule imitation), I had all of my baggage i's dotted and t's crossed, because my friend Jess had warned me that any time she flew one-way, she was searched. And sure enough, after I checked my bags and tottled with my three carry-ons through the metal detector, the guy who triple-checks your boarding pass announced with a booming voice, "Ma'am, you have been selected for a full search! I need a female assist over here for a non-alarm full search!" Then he put me in the glass box. You know the one, with the little shoe mats inside it? So I stood in the little glass box as hordes and hordes of my fellow passengers filed past me, the glass box prisoner.

Had this happened 5 years ago, the other passengers may have looked on me with fear or contempt, this blonde ponytailed terrorist the airlines had managed to capture before she wreaked havoc in the airport food court. Don't those denim capris and pink toenails look a little too American? Who is she trying to fool? Luckily, however, the other passengers are just as weary as I am by the whole airport process, and most passed me with encouraging smiles or "hang in there's." There but by the grace of God, you could see in their eyes. My favorite passerby was the woman and the small boy who passed after I had been standing in the glass box for about forever. The boy was clearly in the "why?" stage of development, and took a break from asking why the screeners wore blue to asking why the lady was in the box? His mom glanced up at me, sized me up and told her son "she probably did not mind her manners when she was asked to sit quietly before the plane comes." The boy stared at me, this mannerless convict for a second as his mouth formed a tiny red "o." He asked no more questions, lest he be the next hauled into the stockades.

FINALLY the female assist shows up. Apparently she was off swabbing down people's laptop bags and could not be pulled away. She takes one look at me with my tank top, tight fitting capris and bare feet and laughs. Then she reaches forward and gives a slight pat to my stomach, the only part of my clothing that could possibly be concealing anything (if it were, say, a piece of paper), and says "thank you, John has finished checking your bags, you are finished." I waited no less than 20 minutes in the glass box for her to pat my stomach. I would have rather just removed the shirt for the original security checker and gotten on with it.

The rest of the move was largely uneventful, save it taking me 20 minutes to go 30 feet to the cab stand once I collected my huge bags again. A couple of women offered to help me (I love Midwesterners), but considering I estimated each bag to outweigh them both put together, I declined. I stumbled in and out of a cab for the second time that day, and now I am settled. It's a fine little studio apartment with an amazing view, and I am only a 15 minute walk from work. Pictures and updates about my first few days in the Windy City to follow soon.

Friday, May 18, 2007

a long night

Yesterday, around 4pm, Tobey coughed up her afternoon meal on the bedroom rug. I cautioned her about eating too quickly and cleaned it up, and we went back to watching Law and Order. Around 5pm, she hacked up the rest on the hall rug. To make a very long story of a very sleepless night short, Tobey vomited every other hour all night until 5am. I would wake up at the sound of her gagging, get up and clean it up, and carry her back to bed where she would snuggle up until I was lulled back to sleep and then she would creep off and start the whole process over again.

Although this made for a very sleepless night, I was not too put off by the whole thing, since she is my Tobey and I love her and she was not feeling well. However, Patrick did not stir once. And this was off-putting. Around 3am I started to understand how one parent can get reeeeeally pissed off at another because he or she doesn't feel the other one is pulling their middle of the night crying/feeding/changing weight. I can imagine if this went on night after night I would be shoving Patrick out of bed with nary an "excuse me" when it became his turn to get up.

Tobey is feeling much better this morning, as am I. But last night reconfirmed that I am not ready for children. If only there was a way to make Patrick wake up and not me...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Here fishy fishy fishy

We have fish. And we have a pair of cats. And this often means that we have a pair of cats that like to watch the fish. This picture was not staged. I bent over to see the fish, and Tobey helped herself up to a closer look as well. And then roared! Well, meowed at them, anyway. But doesn't she look ferocious doing it?

Monday, May 14, 2007

cough cough, gag gag, oh what a relief it is

Besides going for a mid-day beer with my fellow student pals and spending at least two days staring at the wall, I have another post-finals tradition: getting sick. Ever since my first year of college, as soon as the last exam book is closed, I fall victim to post-stress disease disorder, or PSDD. Ok, technically I made up this disorder. But after 6 years of studying it, I am nearly an expert in its mysterious ways.

First, I should be reeeeeally stressed out for a good bit of time. One week ok, two weeks better. It must be finals or exam-induced stress, weddings and work will not cut it. (If you are suffering from non finals-related PSDD, get a massage and call me in the morning). Then, after being incredibly stressed out for two weeks or so, knowing that you absolutely CANNOT get sick or you will fail an entire semester of classes, you should relax with glee, because you are finished! FINISHED! HooRay! And then you shall get sick.

My family and I have a few of theories as to why this happens. The first is that stress will eventually make you physically ill, and it usually takes, oh, two weeks for that to happen, conveniently about the time you are finished being stressed. The second is that I was going to get sick anyway, as finals usually happen around the time of intense seasonal change, but my body is able to hold it off because I CANNOT get sick and the mind is a powerful thing. (that's my favorite, probably because it involves me being able to hold sickness at bay with my mind). Finally, there is a theory that this is all psychosomatic, and that I'm not really sick, my body just expects to feel sick because my mind tells it that I'm finished with finals and it always gets sick when I finish with finals.

Happily, this year has been very minor (knocks on... the coffee table). Only a mild cough and sore throat, one day of chills and some headaches. Nothing I can't party around. Stick it in your ear, PSDD.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Exam from Hell

Today I took what is in my opinion the worst form of the Harvard Law final: the 8-hour "take home" exam. At 8:30am, the exam is distributed. You have until 4:30 to turn in a neatly typed exam, by hook or by crook. It is long, it is stressful, and it requires you to sit in one spot for 8 hours and write 15 or so pages on one or two topics. And you emerge all bleary-eyed and hungry. And I hate them hate them hate them.

But today was a brand of take home exam I have never before seen: the relentlessly soul-sucking, panic-attack inducing, wad of evil take home exam. You could safely describe us as antipaticos. I mean, take home exams are bad, but they usually aren't evil. It was soooo bad. How bad was it?

It was so bad that although I usually finish take home exams with an hour or so to spare so I can check my answers and make sure I've had a chance to cover everything I think is important, today I had to just stop typing at 4:20pm so I could turn it in on time. It was so bad that it took me almost two hours to read the exam and do the recommended background research before I could start answering the question. It was so bad that one of my friends had to take one of her panic-attack pills at 3pm when she realized she only had an hour and a half left. It was so bad that when I turned it in at 4:25, I was only the 8th to turn it in out of a class of 50. It was so bad that at 4:30 as I beat my head against the outside of the building over and over again until I lost consciousness I noticed not fewer than 5 classmates running across the quad to hand it in on time. It was so bad we didn't even want to talk about. Harvard kids, and we didn't even want to pick it apart sentence by sentence, like we did with everything else. It was so bad the Mormon kid suggested we all go get a beer and forget about it.

Ok, the Mormon kid didn't say that. But we did go get a beer to forget about it. And it was that bad.

Tomorrow I have one exam left. Just one. Only 2 hours long. I can do it. I can do it. I have seen the face of Satan, and I have survived. How bad could the last exam be?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

los gatos wackos

I think my cats have spring fever. It is finally hitting the 60s and 70s regularly here, and sunlight is already pouring in when Patto and I get up at 6am. Because its finals season and because I turned my ankle last week, I declined to join him on our morning run and snuggled back under the covers. As soon as the front door shut behind him, the cats went loco. Caesar raced into the room and into the window sill of one of the bedroom windows. He stared out intently for about 8 seconds, and then raced across the bed and into the sill of the other window. After a few seconds, he raced out, and I could hear him tear down the hall and into the kitchen, where based on the mild scraping sound I could tell he had used a chair to launch himself into a kitchen window. After a few seconds, he tore back into the bedroom and into the original window... then the second window... then back down the hall to the kitchen. By this time I was curious. I got up and peeked out of the second bedroom window, expecting to see a bird, or a chipmunk, or Patto, stretching in the yard. There wasn't a thing moving out there. By this time Caesar had run back into the bedroom to begin the cycle all over again. After he left the first window, however, he came to a screeching halt when he saw me standing at the second window, arms folded. He froze and looked at me wide-eyed for a few seconds, when Tobey came trotting into the room. She looked at him. He looked at me. She looked at me. And then I tell you, they exchanged glances with each other, and then both casually turned and walked out of the room.

I don't know what sinister kitty plan I interrupted, but being the good mom that I am, I followed them to investigate. By the time I reached the living room, Tobey was perched in a window, talking to a bird outside. Caesar had backed into one corner to get a running start, and then proceeded to run around and around the tops of the living room couches at full speed. Across the loveseat, a sharp turn to run across the couch, leap over to the chair, and then run back to the loveseat. Rinse and repeat.

Deciding it was time to put an end to all this craziness, I walked into the bathroom, shut the door, and turned on the shower. Immediately both cats were stationed and meowing outside. They don't do so well with shut bathroom doors; Tobey because she has a permanent easement to your lap, and can't tell if you are sitting in there or not; and Caesar because he loves to watch the water run in the tub or shower and dip his paws in when he gets the chance. Sure enough, when I stepped out of the shower, all was quiet on the other side. Caesar had managed to shove an entire arm up to the shoulder under the door, and was patting it around (looking for a key?). Upon hearing the water shut off (and no doubt suspecting you could be sitting in there without her), Tobey stuck one of her paws in, too. This was too much for Caesar, as he has some sibling rivalry issues. Based on the sounds, and hours of observation, the following is a dramatic reenactment of what might have been happening on the other side of the door:

Caesar jumps on Tobey: "I was here FIRST!"
Tobey, body slamming Caesar: "You're such a brat!"
Caesar, jumping on her as she tries to walk away: "I'm telling MOM!"
Tobey, biting an ear: "Go ahead, cry baby."

And on and on until I open the door. Both cats struggled to untangle themselves and run into the bathroom. Caesar plops himself down into the damp floor of the tub. Tobey winds in and out of my legs, pretty as you please. It seems the craziness has abated for now. Gatos Wackos.

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Oh, finals. Just as the weather is starting to get nice (we almost hit 70 again the other day. Almost) we students have to buckle down and study still we cry. And then study through the tears. During a study group a few days ago I had the joy of playing "whose life is more pathetic now that it's finals season?" I was in a close second with "I haven't been outside or gotten out of my pajamas and flippers for three days," but my friend Jess took the prize with "the only thing I have said out loud in two days is "keep the change" to the take-out delivery guy."

Flippers. Yes, I said flippers. For some reason, I have a natural habit of calling house shoes or slippers flippers. I don't know why. I know that they are called house shoes, but for some reason, when I see them my brain supplies the word flipper. And who can be bothered to double-check that your brain is supplying the right word when you are involved in the life-altering conversation of "Where's my flipper? I'm missing a flipper!"

Anyway, apologies if my posts are sporadic or grumpy over the next few days. I only have two finals and a short paper left. I'm armed with moose munch and a lap-cat. I'm going to make it after all!

Friday, May 04, 2007

snacks make the heart grow fonder

Joyous surprise! Yesterday the law firm I will work for this summer, whom I affectionately refer to as Mobious, sent me a Harry and David gift basket to help make finals studying a little better. I suppose they have a vested interest in making sure I don't go mad during finals season, which happens more than you would like to think. Anyway, the basket is stuffed with chocolate covered goodies. I got right to work on it. Of course, Caesar proved that it doesn't matter how expensive the gift, all he really wants to do is play with the box.
Oh well. More for me!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Sneak Peek

After several months (due to several setbacks) my wedding video is only one week from completion! Bob, of Bob Franklin Films, sent me a sneak peek. It's only about one minute long, but it looks great and I can't wait to see the rest. Enjoy!