Goodbye Apartment

April 29, 2011 at 10:07 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )


Guys.  Guys!  This is it.  Moving Day.  I went and picked up my keys last night then spent an hour drinking beer and jumping up and down all over my new place as I mentally rearranged furniture and patted myself on the back for landing such a super cool apartment.  I’m so excited I feel like it’s my birthday and I haven’t been able to sleep all week!  But as ready as I am for this transition, I really will miss certain aspects of my current place and it will forever have a spot in my heart.  So of course, I wrote an ode:

Great memories from the last 2 years

Or at least, mostly great.

Obviously lots of laughs and yes, a few tears

Dwelling in a place originally meant for me and a mate.

But things don’t always go according to plan

Yet they do seem to work out in the end

Even I knew I was better off without that ex-man

And pretty soon my lonely apartment became my friend.

Problems arose though, as they always do

Atrocious water pressure plus of course the big guy upstairs

Really wore out their welcome before the 2nd year was through

That also helped make my decision to change living lairs.

Moving isn’t exactly easy, fun or even pretty

Even though it appeals to my organizational side

No matter, today takes me to my 2nd place in the Big City

The next apartment that will be mine as I continue this wild ride.

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April 28, 2011 at 11:57 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I’ve had/have a lot going on this week, what with a long weekend at home and late return Monday, field trip for class on Tuesday, a volunteer appreciation party at the Field Museum last night (to be blogged about at a later date), picking up my keys to my new place tonight and my big move tomorrow.  Oh and of course my extensive coverage of the Royal Wedding (not).  I’ve been so busy that I, like many, have been completely wrapped up in my own little world.  Which was why the news of the devastation that tornadoes just caused down south really gave me pause.  As I type this, almost 200 people are confirmed dead from a twister that spanned over a mile and was on the ground for over an hour.  Listening to NPR this morning, I heard a local weatherman in Tuscaloosa incredulously talking about just how big a storm this was and I actually got goosebumps.  One of my all-time favorite people ever lives in Tuscaloosa and while she’s safe and sound, all of these stories really put everything I’ve got going on in perspective.

And I’ve got it pretty good.

My thoughts will be with those who are sifting through the ruins of their homes and neighborhoods and I am reminded now more than ever how lucky I am to be moving into a new, safe place.  Remember to be thankful for what you’ve got, because it could all be gone in the blink of an eye.  Just ask the people of Alabama.

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Won’t Miss This

April 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

The countdown continues!  It is now a mere 2 days until I move across town.  Since I awoke this morning to loud music coming from

I also wont miss my cat staring at me forlornly as I pack all around her

my lovely upstairs neighbor (this was at 5:45 am), I decided today would be a good day to list the things I won’t be missing once I move.

  • Crappy (read: nearly nonexistent) hot water pressure in the kitchen.
  • Almost as crappy water pressure in the shower.
  • A bathroom sink that alternately sprays and drips – you never know what you’re gonna get.
  • The dump truck outside my bedroom window on Monday and Thursday mornings.
  • The sporadic bus schedule on my block anytime outside of morning rush hour.
  • The creaky floorboard in my hallway, conveniently placed in the one spot that must be walked upon in order to get to any different room in the apartment.
  • Living across the street from a former coworker whom I did not end on the best of terms with and trying to avoid her so we don’t have an awkward conversation that neither of us really wants to be a part of.
  • Having to explain to people where my neighborhood is because they’ve never heard of it.
  • My narrow, winding stair case that is difficult to navigate sober and nearly impossible to climb after drinking.
  • My steam radiators that make a huge racket and take up valuable living space.
  • Having to deal with the drunken traffic on Addison St. before, during and after Cubs games.
  • My upstairs neighbor.  Please note, this includes: loud bass music blaring at all hours of the morning and night; random food left in the hallway (bits of burrito, taco, pizza, candy, chips, popcorn, noodles); random trash left in the hallway (paper plates, hangers, napkins, candy bar wrappers, take-out boxes, sauce containers from the Burrito House, soda cans, cigarette ash); random mysterious stuff left in the hallway (white powder, a Christmas wreath); loud screaming and crying; awkward encounters with the neighbor, his angry brother and disgruntled elderly father; strange thumps on the ceiling at all times; letting said neighbor in the building after he locks himself out (this has happened at least 3 times) and watching as trash is thrown out of his window above me into the dumpster outside.  There’s more but I think you get the general idea..

Alas, my days of living with all of this are nearly finished.  And since I’ll be on the top floor myself in Apartment 2.0, I won’t be dealing with at least a few of this issues any longer.

There are a few things I will miss, however.  They are: The Burrito House; Little Caesar’s; Target; closer laundry facilities and a cool living room mantle.  Though the sacrifice of those things will be well worth it when I’m walking around on top of the world staircase in air conditioning as a machine washes all of my dishes.

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Loooong Weekend

April 26, 2011 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I returned late last night from my long Easter weekend home.  The trip started off per usual, with the Megabus leaving late and me hunkering down in my seat with my laptop.  Six episodes of How I Met Your Mother later, we arrived in downtown Indianapolis. As the bus pulled in, so did the thunderstorms.  We got about halfway home before the lightning got really crazy so we decided to call my aunt and uncle to get a weather update, as they happened to live close to where we were.  They said that if we drove straight through and didn’t make any stops, we would likely beat the worst of the storm.

Literally 30 seconds after I hung up the phone, we got a flat tire.

At this point, we were inching towards a tornado warning.  Mom managed to drive her car under the closest overpass so we were out of the rain and luckily the flat was on the passenger side, so we were out of the traffic.  Now, this pains my independent Girl Power self to admit , but I’ve never changed a tire all by myself.  This was something a certain father of mine was supposed to teach me but he moved down south and that never happened.  So…we called my uncle back.  After incredulously asking how we managed to get a flat one minute after hanging up the phone, he agreed to come to our rescue.  So I yanked all of the stuff in the trunk (and it was full) out and put in the backseat, then grabbed a flashlight and took a leak behind some concrete pillars (sidenote: I was convinced I was going to stumble across a dead body but I managed to avoid that).  Then Mom and I sat in the car, strapped in by our belts as semi’s sped by doing 90mph.  The lightning wasn’t exactly comforting and the storm was getting closer so we were lucky my uncle showed up when he did.  I helped him with the tire and it made me feel slightly better when he strained against the lug nuts, because if he had a hard time then I probably couldn’t have gotten them off on my own, Girl Power or not.  We got the donut on right as the rain began to come down in sheets and since we didn’t feel safe trying to drive on home, we followed him back to his house.  After being rerouted 2 times due to flooded out roads, we managed to get to my aunt and uncle’s.  At this point it was like 12:30am and we decided to try to wait out the storm.  Around 3:30 we finally gave up, since the tornado warning was showing no signs of abating.  So a few beers, handful of Oreo’s and snippets of Michael Jackson’s This is It later, I finally crashed on their couch, only to wake up 4 hours later to drive on home and take Mom’s car to the shop.

No Peeing?

So, that was fun.  Everything happened in the best possible way though and we eventually got home safely, which is all that really matters.  And I bought my uncle a rather large beer later in the weekend, which was the absolute least I could do.

Here’s a few other things I did over the course of my 4 days at home:

  • Breakfasted with two old high school friends
  • Had awkward catch-up conversations with a former Dairy Queen co-worker and my 4th grade teacher, at the same restaurant
  • Got a haircut (first in almost 7 months – I’m surprised she didn’t just take a match to my locks)
  • Spent the remainder of a gift card at Kohl’s
  • Dyed 4 dozen eggs and stuffed 2 dozen plastic eggs with candy for my grandmother
  • Took both grandparents out to lunch (in a monsoon)
  • Went to Easter Mass, officially the longest mass known to woman
  • Laughed at my mom after she locked her keys in her car (this was not her weekend when it came to automobiles)
  • Went to dinner with 6 various family members
  • Drank wine and gabbed with my sister and mom until 1am

Oh wait, that was just on Saturday while I was running on low levels of sleep/patience.

The rest of the weekend was full of eating, talking and generally enjoying the company of the roughly 30 relatives that crammed into my grandparents house on Sunday.  I hid some Easter eggs outside in the mud and then helped small children find them in the rain.  The weather I could’ve done without but other than that the weekend that started off on such a rough foot wound up being pretty great.

Though if I never pee under an overpass again, it will be too soon.

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Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2011 at 11:49 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Today is Earth Day and while I’d love to sit and talk for hours about the environment and how to save it, I’m pretty short on time.  We’re having a potluck at the office this afternoon and then I’m heading home on the good ‘ol Megabus for a 3 day zombie Jesus Easter extravaganza!  It’s a good day (even if the weather is dismal) full of food and family, which makes me appreciate being on this planet even more.

Thanks Be To Earth

I wrote a pretty good piece on this day last year so you can feel free to (re)read it if you’d like.  And in case you’re as short on time as I am, here’s a recap of just a few quick and easy ways to do your part for Ms. Mother Earth:

  • Unplug your cell phone charger when you’re not using it – that thing sucks up all sorts of energy.  Same for microwaves, TV’s, computers and other large appliances.
  • Turn off that water when you brush your teeth and wash your face!  Also, as nice as 45 minute showers are, you could probably do what you need to do in a bit less time.
  • Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot (less energy is used to heat up the water).
  • Take reusable grocery bags to the store instead of using their paper or plastic – many places will actually take 5 or 10 cents off for each bag you bring (Target is one of them).
  • Recycle!  It’s really not that tough, especially since so many places now do it for you.  I take out more bags of recycling than garbage, every single week.
  • Turn off your lights when you leave the room – seriously, I know you’re not made of money.  And if you are could you please send some my way?

Okay now I”m off – enjoy your weekend and the next time you hear from me I will likely weigh 20 lbs more due to the massive amount of candy I plan to eat over the next few days.  And the only energy I will waste while doing so will be the energy spent unwrapping all of that delicious, delicious chocolate and shoving it into my mouth.

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In Rememberance

April 21, 2011 at 12:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Just a heads up, this is another one of those serious posts.

This week has seen a few heavy anniversaries and I just wanted to mention them here.  There’s a good chance you’ve been inundated with these stories over the last few days but that’s not going to stop me from talking about them as well.

On April 19, 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was the site of the most destructive act of terrorism committed on U.S. soil by an American, ever.  I was in the fifth grade and I can still remember the look of panic and fear on my teacher’s face as she ran in and tried to explain what was happening.  I also remember staring at photos of the bombed out building for hours, trying to understand how something that was so complete and intact could look like that in mere seconds.  It was the first time in my childhood that I realized how truly sick and hateful some people could be.

On April 20, 1999, Columbine High School in Jefferson County, Colorado became known around the world after two high school seniors killed 12 of their fellow students and a teacher in a bloodbath on campus.  This was 2 years after the school shooting in Paducah, KY, which was the first time I had ever heard of kids committing such an atrocious act.  When it happened in Columbine, I watched students being evacuated live on CNN with the help of the FBI.  I cried in my kitchen because I couldn’t understand how people could do that to their peers.  I still can’t understand that and I don’t think I ever will.  Which might be for the best.

On April 20, 2010, 11 men lost their life in the explosion that sent 4,900,000 barrels of crude oil into the Gulf Ocean at Deepwater Horizon, the site of the BP oil rig.  The damage done to the ocean life will probably not be fully understood for decades but the increase in dead baby sharks, dolphins, sea turtles and other sea creatures leads one to assume that the oil has harmed more than BP would ever let on.  Many (most?) coastal residents are still avoiding eating sea food and the fishing and tourism industries are still struggling to bounce back.

It’s hard for me to believe it’s been a year since the oil spill but it’s also hard for me to believe it’s been 16 years since the bombing in Oklahoma City.  Our media-based society has a tenancy to forget the news as quickly as it’s created and our current 24-hour news cycle only makes this worse.  Which is why I wanted to say a bit about these three anniversaries here.  While it’s easy for these events to fade to the recesses of our memory, the families and friends of the people who were involved in these tragedies still deal with it every single day.  The same goes for the survivors.  They don’t forget and sometimes they don’t move on, which I imagine is made worse when they think that the news and general public have forgotten or no longer care.

I remember and now I’m sure you do too.

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Long Lost Junk

April 20, 2011 at 7:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I always think it’s interesting to see what sort of stuff emerges from the woodwork when you begin to pack up your

Easy - move

entire life in preparation for a move.  Seeing as how I’m preparing to move into my 8th new place in the last 10 years (whoa really?  Yeah, I guess that’s right…), I’ve enjoyed being able to do a massive inventory of my crap prior to each relocation.  Even so, I’m often amazed at what I come up with as I clean stuff out.  Here are some recent examples:

  • A sturdy white step stool that’s been hiding in the storage unit in my basement (having a storage unit is a double-edged sword, let me tell you).  Had I remembered its existence, I probably wouldn’t have fallen off of my kitchen chair while trying to change my smoke detector batteries last year.
  • A box full of car cleaning supplies.  Good car cleaning supplies, also hidden in my basement storage unit.  One of the things my dad taught me when I was younger was how to properly detail a car; when I owned one, I enjoyed taking the time to make it look good.  So I have quite a collection of waxes, cleansers, sprays and brushes, all of which I completely forgot I owned.  Hell, I didn’t even have a car when I moved into this place so I have no idea why I’m still lugging this box around.  It will soon find a new home with my momma.
  • A box full of gardening supplies (including a rubber hose.  Who am I?).  See above for the general gist of why I have this even though I no longer have a garden.  The only difference is that Dad didn’t teach me squat about gardening; my female parental unit schooled me on that.
  • A massive collection of hair ties, found under a rug.  This is The Great Catsby’s doing, as she plays fetch with them and steals them in the middle of the night if they’re not safely secured around my wrist.
  • A pair of pajama pants I had long since though were lost.  The monsters under my bed must’ve hidden them because that’s where they were found.
  • Lots of dust, cat hair and a couple of spiders.  All have been forcefully removed from the premises.

Obviously, cleaning/packing/moving has some benefits.  Finding so much stuff makes it almost seem like Christmas!  But instead of having cool new things to play with, I have to reevaluate the life decisions that led me to keep so much junk to begin with.  And slowly but surely, I’ll continue to get rid of everything I can.

Until I move into my new place, of course.  Then this cycle will start all over again.  I guess sporadically de-junking my place is better than accumulating year after year after year…my mom has joked (?) on more than one occasion that when/if she moves from the home we’ve had for over 20 years, she’s just going to take a match to the place instead of packing.  Sounds like a plan but she better let me look through it all first…I might have another storage unit to fill up.

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All Packed Up and No Place to Go

April 19, 2011 at 11:10 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

There are 10 days until I move.

This is not me, as I actually think I'm kicking this move's ass

I have class until 9pm tonight, will be out-of-town Friday – Monday evening, have class next Tuesday until 9pm, will be attending a volunteer appreciation benefit at the Field Museum next Wednesday and am picking up my keys to my new place next Thursday night.  Movers will be at my apartment a week from Friday when I get home from work.  For those of you keeping score at home, that leaves me with two nights to finish shoving everything I own into various boxes and bags.  Am I worried?  Not really.  I have roughly 87% of my packing finished and really the only thing left is my kitchen/pantry area.  And of course cleaning, but that’s on the back burner until the place is entirely emptied out.

So yes, as I mentioned, I hired movers.  Considering my lack of vehicle and lack of desire to try to fit my queen sized bed on the bus, I thought this was the best option.  Especially since I’ll be moving from a second floor to a third floor (elevators do not appear to exist in Chicagoland apartments).  My plan is to stand around, with a wine glass in one hand and a french cigarette holder in the other, directing the three strong and burly men I’ve hired to be careful with my coloring books and monkey photos.  Yeah, that sounds about right.

Since I had to get such an early start on packing due to the crazy schedule I’ve made for myself, I’ve been sitting around staring at boxes for about a week.  It’s rather depressing.  It’s also frustrating as hell when I reach for something and realize it’s in a box and surrounded by tape.  Why I thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and pack up just about every writing utensil I own, I’ll never know.  Ditto for my extra tube of toothpaste.  Anyway, as moving will be taking over my life for the next few weeks you’ll likely find a few more blog posts referring to it in the coming days.  And while I may not be too worried about packing, I will admit that it’s still just a tad stressful.  I’m more than excited to move to my new ‘hood but there are things (coughTargetcough) that I’m going to miss as I leave them behind.  However, I won’t miss quite a few things as well and that list might make an appearance here later this week.  Either way, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end (thanks Green Day) so this is no different.  If I can figure out where I stored my toothpaste I’ll be able to handle just about anything.

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Mother Nature’s Sick Sense of Humor

April 18, 2011 at 12:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

My current feeling towards winter

Eight days ago I woke up and put on my sandals for the first time in six months.  I then put on a tank top and shorts and spent roughly 4 hours walking around outside in temperatures well above 80 degrees.  After donning snow boots and heavy coats for months on end, I can only try to describe how glorious it was to enjoy sunshine and warmth.  I knew that such a heated day was an anomaly but I enjoyed it while I could and began to allow myself to think that winter might actually be over.

I then put away my extremely cold weather scarves and hats and I think that’s where I went wrong.  Why?  Because today I woke up and saw snow on the ground.

After spending a bit of time crying, cursing and generally denouncing the distance from the equator in which I find myself living, I rolled out of bed and put on more layers of clothes than I should be wearing this late in April.  I didn’t put on my snow boots out of principle though I did have to dig in my closet for a hat, muttering my hatred for the weather the whole time.  I realize that this sort of thing happens and should honestly be expected at this point but come on.  Enough already.  I surrender.

I’m traveling to southern Indiana this weekend for Easter and I can only hope the weather is a little nicer down there.  However, if it’s too nice there’s a good chance I just won’t come back.  Are you listening, Mother Nature?  I know I can’t be the only one cursing you today.  Though if it helps, I promise to bring back all of my winter gear and leave it out until August, if you just bump up those temps a bit.  If you agree, simply stay under 40 degrees and rain for the rest of the day.

According to, it looks like we have a deal.

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A Funny for the Friday

April 15, 2011 at 1:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

In an admirable effort to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Staute of Liberty, the U.S. Post Office has

I love America

issued a commemorative first-class stamp! Of the wrong Statue of Liberty.

See, the Statue of Liberty depicted on the stamp is the replica Liberty located at the New York New York Casino in Las Vegas, not the Statue of Liberty located in the New York Harbor. As you can see from the above photograph, the replica statue features a “rectangular patch” on the center spike—not to mention different hair and “more sharply defined” eyes.

The differences were noted by a philatelist, who tipped the story to Linn’s Stamp News. USPS spokesman Roy Betts told The New York Times “We still love the stamp design and would have selected this photograph anyway.” (Sure, guys.) Former Mayor Ed Koch was less diplomatic: “It simply means the post office is doing a stupid thing.”


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