Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Insert foot in mouth

The only conversation I had with anybody at church on Sunday:

Woman: "How many months?" (gesturing at my stomach)
Me: "Oh, I'm not pregnant."
Woman: "Well you look like it."
Me: stunned silence
Woman: "Well, get on it!"
Me: "I can't have children."
Woman: "My friend couldn' have babies. She had four, five of 'em and they just kep' dyin'"
Me: "Oh, that would have been tough. We've lost three."
Woman: "Yep, she just kep' havin' 'em and havin' 'em and they kept dyin'" (this was said very quickly as she retreated away)

Monday, April 27, 2009


I posted this on the other blog I write for, but I thought I would post it here too.

We went to church for the first time in our new ward also happened to be the first time I willingly went in almost 2 years (long story...see my other posts). We decided we wanted to get active again and the 1500 mile move provided us an excellent opportunity to start fresh. We didn't get a chance to 'ward shop' because we had a VERY limited time to find a place to live, so what we get is what we get.

Our experience there today was a little less than we had hoped for/expected and naturally we talked it over on the 25 minute drive home. We discussed all sides of the issue and could not decide on where we stood, so I thought I would see what you all thought. (Because I have some pretty insightful friends our there)

When there is a new member to a ward (no matter if they are a recently baptized convert, a family who just moved in, a newlywed couple moving from the student ward to the family ward, etc) what expectations are ok and where is the line drawn? I know it would be too much to expect a host of angels to meet us at the door or for valet parking or for a seven-course meal to be served after the block. But with all joking aside...what can one expect? Both as the new person and as the ward?

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Friday was a BEAUTIFUL day. My new friend Sara and I decided to take our smelly four legged children on a walk to enjoy the very welcome sunshine. About a half a mile or so into our walk I notice that I am missing my cell phone. I ask Sara to hold the boys while I quickly go back and see if I can find it. I thought it must have fallen out of my pocket when I squatted down to pick up Besta's, well...poop. (sorry, gross I know but hey, at least I am a responsible dog owner!) I scoured the entire way back to our building and found nothing. I raced upstairs, told Nathan to call and suspend the phone, then I went back to meet up with Sara.

We get back to the apartment and it was the weirdest thing...I would think about things that were in the phone (pictures, addresses, birthdays, etc) that I would have to get again, or that I would have lost forever and I would worry, but I never got that horrible pit in my stomach...which is weird because I am a WORRY WART. As we were getting ready to head to the cell phone store, Nathan got a call on his cell phone. Someone had FOUND my phone and wanted to get it back to us. He had searched through my address book and called the number for 'HOME' and no one answered, but the message said Holly and Nathan so he scanned through and found Nathan's # and called that. We went downstairs to wait for them and about 20 minutes later this beautiful little family comes walking up to us and hands me over my phone. The guy's son (who looked about 12-ish) had found it. I thought it was awesome that he was teaching his kid to be honest and do the right thing. They could have easilly just kept it and used it for themselves, but they didn't. I was (and still am) grateful for them. I hope somewhere, somebody will show them the same kindness on them that they showed me.

This beach has gone to the dogs!

We took Besta to the dog beach this afternoon. He was (as always) content enough to ride in the truck and take a little walk, but when we got to the gate and walked through and he saw all those other dogs and then we TOOK THE LEASH OFF (because he's always leashed outside). Oh man, he took off and ran and ran and ran. You could just see the grin on his face. I tell you what, if you are ever sad, go to a dog beach. Watching those guys all running around and playing with each other with their big goofy tongues hanging out the side of their mouths...good as Prozac. Seriously.

I love this picture of Nathan and Besta...isn't it just sweet?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Playing Tourist

Our first weekend here we went into the city with our new friends John and Sara. We got to see The Bean (I believe it's actual name is Cloud Gate), Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park, Grant Park, Crown Fountain and we checked out the Magnificent Mile.

John & Sara

Buckingham Fountain

Jay Pritzker Pavillion

The Bean

This is the park where Obama gave his acceptance speech.

American Chicago??

Crown Fountain

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Meeting the neighbors

So we moved into this fabulous building on April 2nd. The landlord had misplaced the mailbox key and the garage door opener and he assured us that he would have replacements to us in 48 hours. It is now WAY past 48 hours. We took matters into our own hands. We FINALLY found a mailbox lock the right size and installed it ourselves. Yesterday I went with my new buddy Sara to Lowes in search of a garage door opener. After the assistance from the resident door/window helper we were on our way. When we got home I tried to program it myself, but you need to push a button on the back of the motor and that is easily 12 feet up, and as I am no giant, I gave up and left it for Nathan.

He woke me up this morning (er, LATE 11:56...don't judge) and told me he did something bad. I am thinking something along the lines of eating all the leftover Easter candy, killing the dog, etc. No, not that he tells me. He then tells me that as he was programming our garage door opener he erased the code from the motor and therby made everyone else's openers NOT work. But hey, he says, ours works now! (That's my eternal optimist)

So as I relay this moment of hilarity that so fits the our lives, he is going door to door in the building, explaining the situation and fixing each and every opener. At least he'll get to meet all the neighbors!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Calling all readers

Head on over to my online bookgroup and throw out some ideas for our summer months. Anyone is welcome to join us...well, technically ME because I am generally the only one who comments. :(

Anyone out there want to be my book buddy?

Where is your powder room?

In the event that you needed to use the lavatory in our house you would have the option of two. This one: (generally intended for use by guests)

With a wicked cool sink.

Or this one: (our Master Bath)

Yep, that is a separate shower...and yes it is marble. (I feel like a Rockefeller) Want to hear something cool, yet oddly creepy? Our toilets shut their lids BY THEMSELVES. All you do is start it and the lid gently closes on its own. Seriously.

Here's a shot looking out of our bathroom into a little slice of our bedroom...which we have chosen to make into a quasi-office.

The Martha Stewart in me

One of the challenges of our new pad is that the drawer space in the kitchen is VERY limited. So I have had to get creative with storage of things you'd put in drawers.

I want to go for an 'Old World' feel for our apartment and I wanted something that would look good and be functional for all my spatulas, etc. This is what I came up with. I took a normal glass flower vase (this one was from Walmart...$3.97) and some hemp/twine.

I wrapped it around the vase, securing it with a little hot glue every now and then. This is the finished product:

Friday, April 17, 2009

I'm hungry

This folks, is where the magic happens. This is my new kitchen. Super tall cabinets (to go with our super tall ceilings), stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and hardwood floors. (although i gotta tell ya, standing all day on hardwood with no shoes or socks on HURTS your feet)

Another shot.

This is our friends and family wall. Think you should be up there and you're not? Send me a picture. (4x6 please)
Oh, and did I mention our microwave is smart? It cooks your food, then tells you it is ready...which is a good thing, because I have occasionally forgotten something in the microwave only to discover it days later. Thank you smart microwave.

The Great Outdoors

Each of the condos in the building has their own private deck up on the roof of the building. Right now it is a bit too cold, but we have set up the hammock and put the grill up there...and this weekend is supposed to be 75 degrees so hopefully we'll get to use it! Here is our little section. It is nice because we are next to the wall for the stairwell, which gives a little relief from the wind (if it happens to be blowing the right way!) Once the trees all leaf out it will be pretty up there. I'll have to post some more pics. Sara and I want to do a container garden, once it warms up we'll get started on that.

Here is the view from the deck. You can see the city skyline in the least for now. Once the trees are all bloomed (is that right? Do trees bloom? or leaf? spread? hmmm..) it will make it a bit more difficult to see.

There are LadyBugs EVERYWHERE! We get them in the house and it works out ok because they provide free entertainment to my furry kids. I can always tell when one has gotten in because they kitties are running around all crazy trying to get it.

Besta likes the deck...don't let this sour puss face deceive you.

Here is our condo's newest tennant. Mr. Bat. He showed up the day after we did and has been in that same position ever since. Not sure if he flies away at night and comes back or if he is dead. I'm not going to poke him to find out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Viva chicago! (part 3) a.k.a. The Long of it

We got back on the road Saturday am and made pretty good time through the remainder of Iowa and Illinois. We stopped for lunch and heard some people talking behind us about the storm blowing in. After all we had been through we HAD to make it to the hotel before it got there...I could take another setback. So we get in the car and are a couple hours away from the base, I call to make the reservation at the Navy Lodge (I hadn't made it before because I wanted to make sure we were actually going to make it...I didn't want to pay for night that we didn't use...turns out that was a good idea cause we were pulling into town two days later than I had anticipated.) I had called to check with this particular Navy Lodge on their pet policy about a month before we left. I told them about our traveling circus and they said it would not be a problem. turned out to be a problem. They said they would allow only two pets per room. The 'helpful' customer service lady said we were more than welcome to book two rooms. Ya, that would just be GREAT. We were running SUPER low on funds already, lets just book a SECOND room for the dog. grrr. I start bawling in the truck. I have been glued to that seat for four days. Eating too much fast food, with a side of too much stress. I broke. Luckily Nathan was there and he called his sponsor John and had him find another pet friendly place for us to stay. (We stayed at La Quinta...and if any of you are ever traveling with pets I HIGHLY reccomend them. No extra fees...clean wifi) We get checked in and unload our circus, then unhook the car off the dolly and return it. As we finish doing that, it starts snowing. We grab a quick bite at Chili's and head back to the room.

The next day we get up to over a foot of snow. grrr. I try and contact realtors (because you find apartments through realtors out here...for real) but it is Sunday and none are around. We drive around and look at a few places from the outside, just to get a feel for the area. The next morning we try the realtors again....and we get a list of referal housing from the base housing office. We call a bunch, see a lot and decide that some people's definition of LIVABLE is definitely not the same as mine. There was one house where the bedrooms were about 7x7...and there were only two of them. Keep in mind we are moving from a five bedroom house...two 7x7 bedrooms just isn't going to cut it! Oh, and to add to it the landlord of this house wanted to be able to use the spare room in the basement as an office. It had no outdoor entrance, nothing separating it from the rest of the house. He just wanted to be able to come and go as he wanted. No bueno.

By Tuesday night I was getting frustrated. I had long since run out of clean clothes...I was tired of eating out and I thought we might never find a place to live. That's when John (Nathan's sponsor) called us to tell us about a condo open in their building. We drove right down to look at it. It was great. Cherry hardwood floors, 42" cabinets in the kitchen, jetted bathtub, fireplace, private rooftop deck. We told them we would think about it and call them in the a.m. We talked the whole way back to the hotel about the pros and cons of living so far from the base. We decided it was worth it. We called the next morning, said we'd be down to sign the lease in a few hours. The next 6 or so hours were HORRIBLE...they involved LOTS of tears, much anxiety, unhelpful Navy Relief, a very generous mother and grandmother and one understanding landlord.

We finally got everything signed (that night...see picture...what a pretty city!) , and the next morning met with the property management people at the condo to get the keys. John and his wife Sara lent us an air mattress and some pillows so we wouldn't have to sleep on the floor.

On Tuesday all our stuff was delivered. Man, we have a LOT of stuff. It is a bit tricky...because we moved from such a big house with so much room into a small-ish condo with two bedrooms. But it is good. We're going through and keeping what we really need and the rest will be given to Good Will or put in storage. These pics are taken from our little balcony, looking down into the alley behind the building. The two white moving trucks were both FILLED. Yep, we're officially hoarders.

I refuse to post pictures until it is decent, and it is slowly coming. To help calm your thirst for pictures here is a teaser: (this was obviously taken before our massive amount of boxes arrived)

This is the living room. That is a fireplace in the corner (sadly, we have already used it..isn't it APRIL??!?). I know the pic sucks, but it will have to do for now. Be patient with me, I have 296 boxes to unpack. (That was our actual count...I told you...hoarders...)

Oh ok, stop whining, here's this one too. This is the back of our building. (beggers can't be choosers). That's the garage where each condo has one spot (thank heavens...I HATE shoveling snow off cars!...sorry Nathan the truck is too big and has to be outside) The third floor up is our place. You can see the dog house on the balcony. The two windows are our bedroom, as is the first one on the left side. The second little window is the master bath.

More to come...I promise!

I am totally buying one of these...

I came across this beauty while perusing through this website. Do you think a social worker would find this item problematic??

Monday, April 13, 2009

Close encounter of the homeless kind

I had my first real encounter with a (well I assumed him to be) homeless person last week. Yep...first of probably many I'm sure.

Nathan and I walked the 10 minutes or so the the Metra stop and when we got to the top of the platform I noticed there was a guy sitting on the other end of the long bench. I do get spooked easy when it comes to being safe (Remember Seattle?... My OCD manifests itself in all things safety related) so I picked a spot on the other end of the bench from the mysterious guy. We sit down and then it gets wierd: (I tried to spell out some of his funky pronounciations and audio version of this would be WAY more entertaining, but this will have to do)

Wierd Homeless Guy: Hay, what's your name?
Holly: Holly (oh crap...did I just give him my real name??!?)
WHG: What's your frieeend's name?
Nathan: (leaning out in front...shouts in a gruff voice) NATE.
WHG: Whatcha doin?
H: Waitin for the train
WHG: You got kids?
H: Nope
WHG: Want one?
H: Someday
WHG: I tell you where you can get 'un reeeaal cheap. One dollar.
(It is about now that I get a whiff of what sweet smoke and realize this guy is baked.)
H: silence
WHG: See ov'a there, that grey buildin'?
H: Yep
WHG: No, see the grey one? ...Look... See the red one then white one then red one then tan then grey. Right?
H: Right
WHG: With all the ads, right?
H: Right
WHG: Lotsa babies. One dollar will feed them.
H: Oh
WHG: Sssshhhh!
H: silence
WHG: We gotsta be quiet. Know why?
H: Why?
WHG: Baaad people. They tried to kill my sistuh.
H: That's not good.
WHG: Nope. They spit in her cheeseburger. So I gave her twenty dollas. Know why?
H: Why?
WHG: Cause I'm her big brother.
H: silence
WHG: I tell you what. I like you. I tell you whata do. Go to the check cashing place. Give them twenty-five dollas. They give you three back and a pass. Good for all of it.
H: Oh.
WHG: You know where that's at?
H: Nope
WHG: Ov'a there. Under that sign.
H: Oh, ok
WHG: Sshhhhhh! Quiet!
H: Oh, sorry.
WHG: Know why?
H: Why?
WHG: They listenin.
H: silence
WHG: Know who I am?
H: Nope
WHG: The powleece. Backups comin.
H: silence
WHG: I gotsa job. You prouda me Holly?
H: Yep
WHG: Know where I work? AA giggles. For real. You prouda me Holly?
H: Sure, that's great.
WHG: You can get it there. Under that sign. See the sign? We meet there ev'ry night at six o'clock til nine. Coffee with nine sugars and three creams.
H: That's a lot of sugar.
WHG: giggles. Yep. You can meet us. You know how ta get there...turn 'round and go down tha stairs and go left. See the street lamps? Over there, the fancy lookin ones?
H: Yep
WHG: Over there. Go. Six o'clock. mumbles
H: Ok
WHG: Know who I am?
H: The police?
WHG: No. I'm Peter Pan. giggles
H: Oh (man this guy is psycho...he's on his second joint by this time)
WHG: I gots me some Reeeeeeces. I'm good with Reeeeeeces, huh?
H: Yep
WHG: You know the babies? In that grey buildin? I gots mine.
H: Oh. You got yours there?
WHG: Yep. Lexus. Porsha.
H: Like the cars
WHG: ...and Elizabeth
H: That's not a car.
WHG: Nope. Royalty.
WHG: Know who I am?
H: Nope
WHG: Stevie Wonder. He's like Michael Jackson and Prince. mumbles
H: silence
WHG: Where you goin on the train? Don't go to the city.
H: Why?
WHG: Baaaaaad people. They're listenin.
H: Ya, isn't backup coming?
WHG: giggles. Yep.
(Nathan has been trying to get me up to walk away for the past few minutes. We can see the train pulling up in the distance I finally give in and get up to walk away. Our little homeless buddy gets up too)
WHG: You read papers?
H: Sometimes
WHG: Here. Have this 'un.
H: No, that's ok. Don't you want it?
WHG: Nah. Here. (walks towards us...he hands me the Chicago Sun Times) See ya. (He smiles and I notice he has only a handful of teeth. He is carrying a bag of Vitamin Water and smells of sweet smoke.)

We got on the train and had a good chuckle over the whole thing.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Long and Short of it...

The Short
  • We are alive...and well (after a short bout with a sinus bug)
  • We found a pad (thanks for the thoughts and prayers)
  • It is AWESOME
  • The cats and dog love it...the humans do too
  • Already went downtown to see Buckingham Fountain, the Bean, Mag Mile
  • Our stuff came yesterday (how in the world did we ever accumulate all that??!?)
  • LOTS of boxes
  • Internet gets hooked up on Friday (I am going through serious withdrawls, thank heavens for free WIFI at Panera Bread)
  • Pics to follow

The Long
  • Well...that'll be the story for another day