Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Sheriff of our alley.

We live on the first floor. This is awesome for a few reasons. The stairs do not cause any issues when bringing groceries into the house. When my legs are sore after a good workout, I am able to get in the house without falling down (something that was MUCH more difficult when I lived on the third floor). I can patrol the delinquents in my alley better because I can see them and give them looks to GET OUT OF OUR PARKING SPOT WITH YOUR DOOBIES. (OK, so this only happened once. But I felt like a really old grouchy man.)

Of course, living on the first floor is a problem because of safety reasons. There's the whole robbery thing that now causes us to have bars on all of our windows. (It really is like living in a minimum security prison.) We also cannot sleep with our windows open because of the noise in the alley and because our window is right on the alley. It feels unsafe. We also cannot leave home without all of our windows being shut and locked. (You see, having them shut isn't enough. Apparently, according to the forensic expert, the burglars could see that our window was UNLOCKED from the street and that was how they were able to get around our minimal bars on the windows.)

On the rare occasion we are home and can really open up the windows, we get a wonderful cross breeze going through our apartment. We also get to take in all the neighborhood activity. Living along the alley, we get to see and hear some colorful things. There was the time after Christmas when I learned why you should dispose of your knives via Salvation Army or Brown Elephant when I saw a homeless man with our former kitchen knife slicing open people's garbage bags. There was the aforementioned doobie-smoking going on in our parking spot two weeks ago (before work.) Then there was last weekend. The dog barking episode.

P.I.C. and I had the windows open to get some fresh air in when we first heard it: a tiny dog incessantly yapping. That's annoying from the get-go, but add to it other bigger dogs that would join in sporadically. Anyone who's read me for longer than a few months knows my feeling on tiny shrieking dogs. They annoy me.

Apparently, they annoyed my neighbor too. I was whining in my rather passive-aggressive fashion to P.I.C. when I heard a loud outburst from one of the guys that lives across the alley.


Things were getting interesting. I looked out my back window and saw this guy on his second floor balcony with his dog that had been occasionally joining in the bark party. I noticed that the little yippy dog was in the window directly next to his. The guy walked back into his house. He comes out with a squirt bottle. He squirts in the window of the little dog's apartment.

It was as though there was instant silence.

"Didn't like that, did you?" The guy patted his significantly bigger dog on the head and proceeded to walk around his balcony. I hear him holler into his apartment, "ONE SQUIRT and the dog shut up." He sounded so proud of himself.

He continued to walk around his balcony, holding the squirt bottle, just waiting for that yippie dog to start barking again. He looked like a patrol man. Nope. He looked like the Sheriff. Working hard to fight against yippie dogs that get all the other dogs facing the alley riled up. Fighting to end the constant barrage of dog barking. I could get on board with this. Consider me a deputy, neighbor man!

Yep. That's how one of our neighbors got the nickname of Sheriff. I wouldn't mess with him. Once he has his squirt bottle, he means business.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I'm nice.

It's true. I am nice to my friends. I try to make sure that I check in with them regularly. I like to send cards. "Happy Birthday." "Cheer up." "I miss you." "Aren't you glad we're friends so I will send you awesome cards like these?" You know, the usual cards people send. In fact, I love sending cards so much that Hallmark became too much for me. I got over the stupid "forced funny" or "forced sentimental" cards they had. I now love another card store. It's called Paper Doll and it's really great. The cards are unique and made by real artists. Some are letterpress, which really feels just so fancy and special to the tough. I love the store and all of the cards contained therein. It's a fact. If I give you a card from there, you know you've made it in my life.

OK. But I am not writing about my niceness and love of cards. NO. I started writing today because I was thinking of my niceness, then thinking "Yeah. I'm nice. 'Til you piss me off."

FOLKS, that has happened today. Rather than spending the day diligently working, I prefer to think of ways to exact my revenge on said offensive party. Here are some of my ideas:

1. Find her wedding dress and cut it up.
2. "Lose" the file.
3. Leave a small container of Chinese food in her offer, but hide it really well so she can't smell it.

Sigh. My likely action is to just ignore her and never offer to help her out again. I am quite passive aggressive.

Oh, and she will NEVER get a card from me. NEVER (again).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The case of the missing cheese.

P.I.C. have been KICKING ASS at married life. We menu plan. We grocery shop. I finagle him into doing some of my laundry before the situation gets TOO extreme. Last weekend, we had a similarly successful Sunday. We planned our menu, then went shopping. We negotiated the appropriate bun for our buffalo chicken sandwiches on our menu. (I refused to buy a pack of eight sesame seed buns and instead wanted to put them on a healthy multigrain sandwich slim. He insisted that sesame seed buns would hold up to the chicken and toppings better. We compromised by buying two sesame seed rolls from the bakery. NO WASTE IN OUR HOUSE.)

We were so smug 'til we got home and realized...the blue cheese is missing. SHOOT. How do you make healthy buffalo chicken sandwiches without the blue cheese? We carefully combed our long receipt and realized we were, in fact, charged for the missing blue cheese. Apparently, it disappeared at some point in between the store and the car, or the car and our house. Clearly, this was P.I.C.'s fault. He pulled a quick stop at a yellow light thereby spreading the contents of two grocery bags over the back seat. (He will tell you he is being prudent after a recent red light ticket. I will tell you he is TRYING to give me whiplash.)

It wasn't under the driver's seat. It wasn't under the passenger's seat. (I feel like I am channeling Rebecca Black here..."Which seat cheeeeseeee?")

We didn't go back to the store because we had visited a grocery store outside of our neighborhood. Come on, gas is expensive. $4.75 a gallon? No way. We'd just finagle some blue cheese elsewhere, we figured.

Until today. P.I.C. gets into the car and lo and behold, the blue cheese has EMERGED. Here is how the text conversation went.

P.I.C.: "I found the blue cheese."

F.A.: "WHAT? In the car?" (Please note the undertone of smugness in this text, as he was the one who allegedly checked the car twice for the missing cheese.)

P.I.C.: "Yeah."

F.A.: "Do you think we can still eat it? I mean, it was pretty cool this week. I bet it's OK."*

P.I.C.: "Dunno, I opened it and smelled it. It's blue cheese, it stinks. I don't know."

F.A.: "Let's just eat it. I'm sure it's fine."

P.I.C.: "I'm gonna buy new cheese."

Sigh. He has no idea what it's like to live on the edge does he?

* I am the known guinea pig in our household for how long we can eat things past their expiration date. The rule is, if it passes my smell test, it's fine. Yeah, it's gross, I know. But my nose has not failed me yet. Stomach of steel, right here!

Monday, May 16, 2011

One thing I love...

I really, really love to cook. I know I have mentioned it before. Furthermore, I created a blog to chronicle my adventures in food. I figure I should probably start writing in there more because my awkward happenings tend to revolve around food. For concerned parties, please be advised that my finger still hurts. Stupid limes.

Also exciting is the fact that my kitchen is becoming more and more grown-up with each passing day. Oh yes, I have acquired the Cuisinart food processor. I have REAL knives. Pots and pans are on our agenda. And we are well on our way to having a full set of plates WITHOUT chips.

I also really, really love to have dinner parties and cook for my friends. P.I.C. thinks this is weird, but me? I love it. Seeing someone enjoy my food fills me with immense pleasure. So, SEE? There are real and tangible benefits to being my friend. I feed you. And probably wine you too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The jaunty walker...look out, ladies!

Yesterday, my coworker and I were walking in the loop to take care of some business. We were stopped at an intersection when I noticed a rather peculiar-looking fellow. It wasn't so much his appearance as it was his demeanor. He was practically leering at the cars waiting to turn right. Then I heard him mumble something to a lady in a minivan, see her shake her head and chuckle, then she made her right turn. The light changed, and he crossed the street in a rather jaunty fashion, arms at ninety degrees, butt swishing a bit from side to side. In my mind, he had some song in his head playing causing him to have that little strut.

I started giggling and pointed him out to my coworker. She asked me, "Well, didn't you hear what he said? He was like, 'Do you want to go to the movies with me?' to that lady."

That little blurb along with the jaunty walk I witnessed set me on fire. I couldn't stop laughing.

Today, after my standing Friday lunch date with my husband and another former coworker, I was telling the story as we walked back to our respective offices. I had just started imitating the jaunty walk (because really, what's a good story without a little animation, amIright???) when P.I.C. stops me (RUDE...never ever interrupt a good animation) and says, "WAIT. What did he look like?"

I described the man and P.I.C. interrupts me AGAIN. "I KNOW THAT GUY."

Apparently, shortly before my coworker and I saw this fellow, he was in court. With my husband. Apparently, just outside of the courtroom, this man walks up to an attractive lady and asks her, "Can I take you to dinner?"

SERIOUSLY. He then proceeded to wait in the front row of the courtroom waiting for his case to be called.

How crazy is that? We both encountered the jaunty walker. I wonder how it changes his stride if a lady actually accepts his invitations...I will have to contemplate that, then come up with an animation for that. You know, for future story-telling purposes.

Ladies of Chicago, be aware. There is a jaunty walking man strutting his stuff all over the loop looking for love. You might be next.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

An inappropriate conversation.

Yesterday, it became very apparent that one of my colleagues was having an issue with her child. A puberty issue, to be precise.

No sooner had I entered the ladies' room when I began to realize the issue. Her son was beginning to ask questions. She was deep in a conversation with another coworker when I walked in.

"Mom, when I get older my voice will get lower, right?"

"I'm gonna get real hairy, just like Dad, right?"

"But what happens to the girls?"

Yeah, that's the one that stopped her in her tracks. However, lucky for us, we have lots of coworkers to whom we may pose questions. As my colleague went on and on about how to tell her son, the other coworker with whom she was lamenting the situation began to commiserate.

"My son is nine years old and he's already got the hair. In fact, he had no problems dropping his drawers to show everyone his hairy nuts."

HAIRY NUTS. Yes. This was said in the ladies room.

At this moment, I hurriedly dried my hands and ran out of the bathroom to her explaining to the first lady that she had to teach him that "dropping drawers" was not, in fact, socially acceptable behavior.

Man. Kids sound like so much fun. (Also file this one under coworkers have THE MOST INAPPROPRIATE conversations.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The dumpster incident.

Yesterday morning was similar to any other in that I awoke with full-on cob webs in the brain. I didn't have to get up early because my coworker and I had to drive quite a distance for a deposition. I still woke at a relatively normal hour to sit and have a little coffee with P.I.C. since I wasn't sure what time I would get home.

He was busy getting ready when he asked me to run out to his car and look for something. No problem. I walked out our back door and felt instantly confused. The dumpster was missing. At this moment, I merely had one sip of coffee in my system, so this threw me off. I turned to my right and found the dumpster: prominently placed squarely behind my neighbor's parking spot.

Please be advised that this vehicle was not, in fact, my neighbors' vehicle. We had commented the night before that it was interesting that a strange car was in our neighbors' spot, but just assumed they'd had house guests.

APPARENTLY NOT. I went back inside and hollered at P.I.C. "LOOKOUT THE BACK WINDOW." He did, and he noticed one other thing on the car that I had missed. A NOTE. Oh, this made my passive aggressive heart SO happy. So not only did my neighbors leave a note, they ALSO pinned this car in with our building's dumpster.

Sigh. Since I was home for much of the morning, every time I heard commotion in the alley, I would walk to the back window and peek out. The dumpster (and car) remained in place. A few hours later, however, I did notice an additional note that I could fully read. "PLEASE DO NOT PARK HERE. PRIVATE PARKING. YOU WILL BE TOWED."

Within five minutes of spotting THAT bolder note, the dumpster was back in its rightful position and the mystery vehicle was gone. Sadly, I did not see the offending party, nor their removal of the dumpster. I felt as though I was the WGN Morning News team and had missed that bridge falling down on live TV.


Actually, I was sad to miss the aftermath, but glad that I didn't have to maneuver our car around that dumpster. While funny, the dumpster made it infinitely more difficult to get in and out of our spot. Good thing I was able to get out. I write notes for that sort of offense.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stupid limes.

My wedding featured limes. But I'm not about to talk about the decor of my wedding. Nope. This post has to do with my leftover use of all those limes. All 130 or so of them. (I think I was successful in giving away one of the vases of limes at the end of the evening.)

So, as you might know, today is Cinco de Mayo. It is NOT Mexican Independence Day though. (That is September 16, according to Anyhow, like a darling little someecard I received earlier today from the one and only Ms. Sass:

So, I decided to use my limes and my powers of the "best margarita recipe" on the google, and make margaritas. Of course, I also will need my homemade salsa and some homemade guacamole. So last night, as I started to make salsa (it's always better after it sits for a day), P.I.C.* decided to help out. He'd cut and squeeze the limes for me. So he plops down at the kitchen table as I'm standing in front of the counter taking care of my salsa business.

I can't repeat everything I heard P.I.C. say because there was a lot of cussing. You see, he had slippery fingers and frequently would drop limes in the bowl. He also was splashing lime juice everywhere. Again, not an issue. We had plenty of limes left. Well, I finish with the salsa (mmmm) and then make some dinner. He takes a break from the lime squeezing to eat dinner. We head back to the kitchen, him planning on cleaning up, me planning on taking over the lime business.

I started in. It was going really well. In fact, I was feeling downright SMUG about my skills with the lime juicing. Yeah, I dropped one in the bowl now and again, but I was a JUICIN' machine. Seriously. 'Til one errant swipe of the knife incapacitated me.

Somehow, I managed to plunge the tip of the knife very deeply into the space between my ring finger and my pinky finger on my left hand. I got up, immediately moving to the sink. 


P.I.C. hands me two paper towels. 


He hands me a clean kitchen towel at which point I sink to the floor. Dizziness begins to consume me as I realize that my pinky now has the distinct feeling of those tingles you get when your foot falls asleep. I become convinced that I have cut some sort of a tendon and my pinky will need to be amputated. 

When I finally am able to get up, I move to the living room at which point I begin to google knife wound injuries. It is only when P.I.C. notes that I am on a "BMX" website and mocks me that I begin to calm down. I text my Nurse Practitioner friend for advice. She assures me I'm probably okay, I just need to monitor it.

Sigh. I don't think P.I.C. realized it would be four days into our marriage that the "in sickness" part of the vows came into play. Just kidding. We didn't say those vows.

I am happy to report that my pinky is still attached. I do appreciate any and all medical (or amateur medical) analysis in my comments, however. And guess what? My Cinco de Mayo party is STILL ON. I can party on with a little knife wound, right?

* I am convinced that now that we are married, I need to change his nickname. Any suggestions?

Monday, May 2, 2011

So much to say, so little to write.

I had dinner with my husband tonight. MY HUSBAND. I know. You're used to me calling him P.I.C. But now he is, without a doubt, my husband.

Our wedding day was, without a doubt, the best day of my life so far. I married my best friend. I committed to the person who will be there for me through thick and thin. But right now, I don't want to write about it for all to read. There are so many beautiful emotions coursing through my body right now, and that have been going since Friday. There are so many beautiful memories that just aren't quite cemented in my brain. The entire wedding day seems like a dream, from the beautiful morning to the goodnight kiss delivered in our hotel room. But I want to keep it to myself right now.

I have become used to delivering all sorts of details of my life on the Internet. Most are funny (to me at least), some are sentimental, but I put a lot of it out there. However, a day as personal as April 30, 2011, my royal wedding, if you will, needs to remain locked in my heart a bit. I am not entirely sure why, but I know it's deeply personal to me. I don't want to share it.

At dinner tonight, I heard the song to which I walked down the aisle, and I wept. Tears ran down my face as I faced my husband in the candlelight, over our tasting plate of Spanish cheese and meats. He smiled at me, and I knew. At that very moment, I decided I would write something for him. Something exceedingly verbose to encapsulate our very special day. I would write for him, and him alone.

Stay tuned. There are funny and wonderful stories I shall share. But for now, there are certain things that I intend to keep between myself and my husband.

I hope you understand.