Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Back in the fold

 Looks like I need a few more aliases for friend: A quick search on this blog shows I haven't written anything about a group of friends I use to hang out with a lot in the early 2000s.  I actually went to high school with Ross and we reconnected one summer evening in 2002 when I ran into them at Movies in the Park.  Monica invited me to join them for their weekly MSTV night -- when they would take turns hosting dinner and watching the NBC lineup of Friends, whatever else and ER.  This is the group that K of KandJ is part of.  K went to high school with Monica.

Anyway, while we've been couple dating KandJ, we have fallen out of sorts with Monica and one of the less frequent members of the MSTV crowd.  On Saturday that changed.

We were invited back into the larger MSTV gang.  With weddings there is always someone you wish you had invited and didn't and someone you invited and wish you hadn't.  Ours was no exception and when we got married, we couldn't invite everyone and one couple from the extended branch of the MSTV gang didn't make the cut.  So for the last three years on the few occasions where we did see them there was a slight understandable cold shoulder. 

At the same time we also didn't see much of Ross or Monica either.  They actually opted to skip our wedding for a family reunion in Canada on the same day.   And I wouldn't have minded so much if Monica had told me when we were at Ravina two months prior. 

Any way since we, like KandJ are having twins and this couple also had twins a few years ago, we are now in the Parents-of-Twins club.  I don't really we are going to be hanging out as much as we did in the pre-married days.  But it is nice that fences are being mended and doors opened so that it is easier on everyone to have the entire crew over.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Code Name: Moose and Squirrel

Assembly time is almost longer than time kids
will actually be able to utilize it
So people are starting to ask if we have names picked out.  Most are just making conversation.  Others, closer relatives and friends, are lobbying for their choice and/or to be the babies namesake.  A small minority are just trying to be in the know.  We definitely want our kids names to be slightly unusual and not mainstream, but not wacko out there either.  We are trying to avoid names that have multiple common spellings (such as Steven and Stephen) or have an icky nickname.  I looked though a list of Polish names and found that most of them are simply derivatives of other names so there really isn't much point naming our daughter Kasia if she's gonna end up being Katie anyway.

We have made the decision not to reveal any of the names we have on our short list.  Therefore I will refer to them, now and probably forever on this blog, as Natasha and Boris.  Sidenote:  I actually lobbied for the name Natasha but it just didn't work out with our final decision.  Boris was never an option.

Our last ultrasound showed that our future kids are healthy.  Boris is 2lbs 8 oz.  Natasha is 2 lbs 7 oz and breech so the C-section is still on the table. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Where do we put it all

getting his muddy feet prints on Everything!
Between the baby shower and a friend of the Adama's giving us a crib, a changing station and a few other items, it made sense to rent a U-haul trailer to bring it all back here. It was a challenge to load the darn thing because we didn't have everything together at once in order to put the heavy items in the rear.  It didn't help that Little_Monkeys wanted to help and play in the U-haul. 

After everything was packed, Nightingale remembered that we forgot a chair and otterman so I had to rearrange a few things.  It was at this point when the 6th person helpfully stated: "Don't forget you also have the back of your SUV".  I'm glad six people felt compelled to tell me this because the first five just weren't clear in what message they were trying to deliver.

From my years of traveling in situations like this is what often happens is you put things in the back of your car that could fit in the U-Haul and then you still have to find room for the luggage you forgot about in your room. 

We made the trip home in decent time though we did hit a few pockets of construction related traffic.  Now the house is kinda a mess as we put the majority of the stuff in the basement.  We also got an email from a Day Care Center we were supposed to tour the next day.  They emailed to tell us that they filled one of the vacant spots and since we are having twins, they are canceling the tour until another spot opens up.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Away on Planet Michigan

Over the weekend we were in Grosse Pointe, Michigan for the first of Nightingale's baby showers.   Whenever we drive up here I inevitable think about all the times I drove out to Kirksville for college and even to visit afterwards.  I don't know how I managed that 7 hour drive, most of the time on my own.  
Nowadays I don't like to drive more than a couple of hours at a time, probably because I now commute 90 minutes a day four times a week for work.   
Alas for this trip I had to do all the driving because Nightingale cannot drive comfortably in her condition.   The good news is that we left just after rush hour, made good time and only needed to stop once for a bathroom break, once for lunch and gas. 
It was a nice trip overall and that is probably because after all these years of traveling to either Nashville or Michigan, we have finally reached our family equilibrium, the point at which a family becomes so use to each other and each others' subtle nuisances that we learn when to engage and when to leave one another the hell alone.
Nightingale is big on getting together with her entire family and they make a big effort to do it even though everyone now lives in different states.  I recall the first time we went to Tennessee to stay with Nightingale's folks, probably Christmas 2009.  The Adamas, who only had Little_Monkey#1 at the time, were also coming.  The future in-laws only had three rooms in their townhouse and the expectation of Adama was that he and his wife got one room, his 2 year old son would get the other because he was such a problem sleeper that he needed total darkness and silence and the parents would get the other room.  Leaving Nightingale, myself and her younger sister in the hallway on pull-away beds.

I was NOT going to sleep in the hallway so that a 2 yr old could have his own room and said that I could either stay in Chicago and give
Nightingale a lift to the airport or the Adamas could suck it up for two nights and cram into a room.  My reasoning followed the insane logic that just because Little_Monkey#1 was a bad sleeper 18 moths ago when you tried it, perhaps possibly something has changed and you know, why not try it again?  Adama wasn't trying to be a dick to the other adults so much as he was thinking about his son and also assuming that we all wanted what was best for the little monkey and would all benefit from him getting a good night sleep.  And also being a dick.  
I had already taken the Adamas free baby sitter away from them when I started dating Nightingale and this was yet another silent battle in many to come over Adama Needs not trumping other family members.  This one was solved by someone -- MIL I believe -- getting us a hotel room off her rewards points.  It would turn out that Little_Monkey#1 sleeping issues stemmed from being hungry and though he still prefers to sleep in a dark room (who doesn't) he actually thinks its kinda cool to get to sleep in his parents room.

This trip is special because it is not only
Nightingale's baby shower, but also Little_Monkey#2 baptism.  This brings lots of Nightingale's side of the family to the Adama compound including youngest SIL and future. BIL.  Just just say it is a crowded house but we are not on top of each other because it is such a big house and that Family equilibrium thing.  That doesn't mean there still wasn't a little bit of controlled chaos.

Future BIL is lobbying to get us to take SIL cats since they are moving in together into a smaller abode. I should be a good guy and take him up on it since Future BIL has taken a lot of pressure off me because he's more FIL's type of guy when it comes to social political issues.  On the other hand, if we get more cats I want to raise them from kittens.  Furthermore when poor Austin passes, I think it would make sense to have a short period of cat free time, no more than a decade of course.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Struggles that I didn't ask for

Well I asked for it didn't I:  It's funny how when no one read my blogs I wrote all the time and wished for an audience.  Now that I have one, I find it hard to find energy to write.  I say energy because I have tons of ideas and topics I want to write about but often lack the energy to write a post.

That's because I have other things that take up my time like projects around the house, work and attempting to get back into marathon running shape.  Also, I've learned that hammering out 500+ words on a post is one thing, but it helps if there is a good picture to go along with and if I can through in a good SEO headline all the better.   Yuck, that is a lot of work and sometimes I'd rather not bother.

Some things I struggle with:  A short time ago the carpenter that was working on my neighbor's deck asked me what I do for a living.   I told him I'm an application manager and he asked me: "What's an application?"

I really don't know what to do when this comes up and it comes up in various forms more often than it should.  I'll be at a party and someone is making small talk or I'll run into a friend I haven't seen in a long time and they have a non-Corporate America type job.  I'd say 80% of the time a simple "I work in IT" gets the job done.  But every so often I run into someone who just has to really, really understand what it is I do and cannot accept a throw away answer like "I work in Information Technology." 

 Everyone knows what a doctor is and what a lawyer does.  And while they really don't know the day-to-day activities, they can make a good enough guess of what an accountant or an administrative assistant does.  But a lot of Corporate America titles in no way, shape or form describe the mind-numbing, soul-sucking tasks we perform.

Is it really my job to fill in the gaps in the knowledge/experience of the carpenter who probably never spent any time in a white collar office environment?  Or the massage therapist or self-employed translator that doesn't know the inner workings of CA?

And while we are on the subject things I struggle with is asking people for help.  One of the reasons I struggle is when you tell someone your problem, they usually suggest a course of action based on the elevator pitch you made summarizing your problem.

And if my issue were such that it were that easy, I probably would have thought of whatever solution you came up with 30 seconds after hearing about the issue I've been struggling with for x weeks.

The other frustration is filling in the back story necessary to bring someone up to speed, especially if I've told the story before.  Contrary to popular belief, I don't expect anyone to memorize every aspect of my life.  However I feel if you are compelled to ask me the same question more than a half dozen times, maybe, just maybe you should allocate a brain cell to remembering the details so you don't have to bug me a 7th time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another rough week for our household

Last Tuesday our cat Austin went from bad to worse.  He seemed listless and almost catatonic (no pun intended) so we took him to the emergency vet hospital closest to our house, a location in Avondale/Logan Square.  I'll come back to that in a moment.

It turns out Austin has diabetes.  We knew there was a risk based on his other health issues and we are bad cat parents for not noticing the signs like peeing outside his box and being extra bitey.  so Austin spent two nights in the hospital and we spent a crap ton of money to keep our pet alive because losing him two weeks after putting Maggie down was not an option. 

So we found this hospital because our regular doctor couldn't get us in and I didn't really want to go to the far away Pet emergency center at Clybourn and Belmont.  it turns out that this place is 1) much closer to our house and 2) has an endocrinology set upso we could have taken Maggie there instead of schlep out to Buffalo Grove.

This is not the first time some agency we rely on has "failed" us because of the limitations of their geographic knowledge of Chicago.  My dentist asked her administrative assistant to find a surgeon who could remove my wisdom teeth that was close to my home and took my insurance.  In all of Chicago she found one dentist who qualified and his office was on Michigan and Chicago, about 9 miles from my home as the crow flies.  [Technically I did suggest somewhere near my work office too but this place is 4 miles from there.]

I can deal with my transplant friends thinking that Chicago is only the Loop, Lincoln Park and maybe one or two other trendy neighborhoods.  And I can deal with my ill-informed suburban co-workers who think City of Chicago = Sears Tower + Buckingham Fountain and then surrounded on all sides by Cabrini Green like warzones until you get to Evanston or Oak Park.  What I cannot accept is a business not being aware of the local geography enough to be able to determine that "hey there's a dentist right around the corner from your address because Google Maps!"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Basically, it was a mini-wedding reunion

For the first time in a long time we had a busy social weekend.  On Friday we were downtown because my friend Valerie from college was in town.  She was in town with her daughter and her friend to see Queen in concert.  They wanted authentic Chicago Pizza without waiting in the lines at Pizzeria Uno or other such Elk.  I suggested Pizano's Pizza which is not the best choice out there but there are far, far worst.  We had a good time catching up and talking.  Valerie isn't strong with the social maintenance or friendship upkeep so there are long gaps in between contact -- my wedding was the last time I saw her -- and she's anti-Facebook so she'll be on the short list of Amish People I'll have to get around to emailing once the twins arrive.
How I feel about the World Cup

On Saturday we met K and J and Sarah a  friend of Nightingale's from Planet Michigan.  we were going to go to a lawn concert at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, but in lieu of the pending thunderstorms opted instead to have dinner at The Portage.  We were a tad bit worried because our friends don't always cross pollinate well but we seemed to have a good time and talked babies.  K and J are also expecting twins (boys) and Sarah is very knowledgeable in this area being a former nurse herself.

On Sunday we met another couple for brunch at The Garage.  Basically everyone we were with this weekend was at our wedding.  Afterwards we went grocery shopping, and then spent some time on our deck.

Last weekend Six Corners was having a BBQ feast so we invited the runner groups over.  We did the same thing last year on a smaller scale and this year we simple expanded the list.  Didn't realize it would also be Father's Day weekend, Old Town Art Fair and of course Flag Day all rolled into one.  Although the running groups are fairly easy going and friendly, I did feel sorry for one of my co-group leaders who didn't have a good representation from our last pace group.  it was a good beta test for the next big party, our co-ed shower next month.  I learned that we need more outdoor seating and we had just enough food, which means we didn't have enough food.  It's always a tricky thing because if you buy too much food and you have too many no-shows, it can go to waste.