Category Archives: Chicago

Things to Do in Baltimore When You’re Almost Dead

I don’t travel much.  Or well.  There’s plenty of reasons for this, a large one being traveling is expensive and I am not independently wealthy.  Another reason is I am, especially as I’ve gotten older, a bit anxious.  Okay, that’s a giant understatement.  I am very anxious.  I don’t really drive anymore because the last winter we had a car, I turned into everyone’s great Aunt Tillie and drove twelve miles an hour if there was an inch of snow on the ground.  And yes, I know exactly how miserable and annoying that is, so I just took myself out of the equation.  If someone doesn’t text me back within two minutes, I’m pretty convinced they’re either dead or hate me.  Also, every time I see an airplane take off, all I can picture is the Challenger explosion.  Yes, I know the Challenger was a rocket and not a plane, and yes, logically I understand I am safer in the air than I am on the ground – especially if I’m driving – and yet here we are.

So when I got the opportunity to go for a mini family reunion in North Carolina a few weeks ago, I had not been on a plane in nearly eight years.  Which means I also had not been out of the TriState area in eight years.  I had the money.  I had the vacation.  (Had being the operative word, stay tuned on that one.)  It was time to get out of my bubble.  So I booked the flight, much prouder of myself than I probably should have been as I am 39 years old and considered mostly fully functional.  I was really excited, but I was also nervous as hell.  I had to fly to North Carolina via Baltimore, I hate taking off and now had to do it twice, and I was going by myself, which I had never done.  By the time it was time to go, I was a gigantic ball of extremely annoying nervousness.

The way there went smoothly.  I set four alarms to make sure I didn’t miss my flight, I checked my pocket approximately 597 times to make sure my ID hadn’t jumped out of my zipped coat pocket, I was two hours early, I had a twenty two dollar bloody mary.  I was ready.  I was immediately stopped at security because my ass set the metal detector off.  “Ma’am, do you have anything in your pockets?”  “These are leggings.  I don’t have pockets.”  “Well, something in this area,” (gesturing at my not inconspicuous ass,) “that is setting it off.  Please step to the side so we can pat you down.”

Now.  There are few things I am 100% certain of.  But one of them would be that at any point in time, I am not transporting anything, metal or otherwise, in my ass.  Like, I know this.  It’s not like someone could sneak it in there without me knowing.  So why I broke into a panic sweat, I don’t know, yet here we are.  It’s like when I’m downtown and the cops are walking through the Thompson Center with the drug sniffing dogs.  I don’t do drugs.  I am not carrying drugs.  Ever.  But every time, my heart starts racing until I get past them.  Suffice it to say, they did not find anything wayward in my butt and I was set on my way, shoeless and sweating.

The rest of my arrival went smoothly.  Whether it was the vodka sodas, the interesting teenagers on their way to a debate conference, or the smooth flight, I don’t know, but I was fine.  I met my sister and niece at baggage claim, my parents picked us up, and off we went.  We had a great few days with family, lots of laughs, lots of wine, a boat, and made some great memories.  It was a great trip. 

And then.

My flight home was scheduled for Sunday morning at six am, direct on Southwest from North Carolina to Midway.  I would be home by nine thirty am.  This was by design.  I knew I would want some time to decompress after being outside my element for a few days. 

The first wheels fell off Saturday night, when I got a text message saying that my flight was canceled.  Apparently, there was no plane.  I’m going to tell you right now that this on its own was enough to get the anxiety going.  I don’t like when things change.  I had that flight number memorized.  I knew where I was supposed to go. I knew when I was coming home.  I knew my gate.  I was already checked in online.  My cousin saw my panic and walked me through rebooking.  Okay.  I had to connect back in Baltimore, but I got a flight at 8:30AM, would have a two hour layover in Baltimore, and then home sweet home.  I adjusted!  Go me!

My parents dropped me off at the airport, I had a drink, and was on my way.  We got to Baltimore, got off the plane, and went to McDonald’s and inhaled a breakfast sandwich.  Cheerily talked to a man next to me who was on my next flight, scheduled to depart at 12:30.  We went our separate ways, me happily saying,  “Okay, maybe I’ll see you on the plane!”  Ah, back when there was such sweet, sweet hope.  I headed to the bar for a nice relaxing drink while I waited. Talked to a nice man who was delayed to Florida who was slamming Bud Light like it was his job.  Look at me!  Traveling!  Making conversation!  Not being awkward!!


Out of nowhere, all of the emergency lights started blaring, all of the sirens in the airport started going off, and the automated voice was screaming that we were in an emergency.  So much for not being awkward.  I jumped off my stool in a panic, grabbed my purse, and was a solid five feet away before the bartender said, “Oh, honey, it’s just a drill.  We’re safe.”

Now, I’m no expert, but I would still like someone to explain to me why they were blasting the words EMERGENCY instead of THIS IS A DRILL so the less savvy of us travelers could perhaps not piss our pants during the duration of said drill.  I slammed my drink and immediately ordered another to to bring my heart out of my throat and back into my chest where it belongs.

Okay!  Time to go!  Go to the security line, and literally as I’m standing in the vestibule thing where they scan you, I feel my Garmin vibrate with a text message.  I glance at it and all I see is the word, “Cancelled.”  I pretend like this isn’t happening because obviously it can’t be and proceed to my gate, where there are about 150 people lined up at the gate.  I just stood there, in line, like I had any idea what I was doing.  I called my sister – who is not a spaz and travels frequently – and plaintively said, “What do I do?”  She tells me to see what they say, then immediately calls back to say all Southwest flights are grounded until Monday and I need to go right now to an American or United counter to get a ticket out of there before everyone else realizes it.

Except I don’t know where those gates are.  I knew where Southwest was.  I had not planned on going to another gate.  I do not do well when the script is flipped completely upside down on me.   Also, the flight she found on United was 375 dollars.  I did not have 375 dollars.  I mean, I did, but that was going to throw a wrench into paying my electric bill and eating food for the next week.  I planned money for vacation.  I did not plan for a four hundred dollar emergency.  She said she’d call her husband – who travels all the time for work – and see what he thought I should do.  He can get me a flight to O’Hare at 3:30 with his airline miles.  (Side note?  I love my sister and brother in law.  A whole lot.  They are good people. I still have a sneaking suspicion said flight was not exactly free but they were concerned I was going to have an absolute breakdown in the airport.)  At this point, Southwest is saying they can book me on a flight at four pm, but it might not go.  Call my brother in law and just said, tearily, “What do you think I should do?”  He says he’s just going to book it and send me the confirmation, to go to American Airlines and pick up my boarding pass.  It is 1:30PM. 

I heroically find the AA counter all by myself and wait in line for an increasingly maddening 42 minutes while the agents help the only two people in front of me.  Apparently they are missing connecting flights to Europe.  I do not care.  I need a ticket, something tangible to tell me that I am, in fact, leaving Baltimore.  Finally get said boarding pass and head back to my girl Melissa at the bar, who lets me charge my phone and brings me quesadillas.  I’m actually still in decent spirits.  I can go with the flow!  Especially if I have the help of six people!

Text – flight is delayed to four pm.
Text – flight is delayed to four thirty pm.
Text – flight is delayed to five pm.
Text – flight is delayed to five thirty pm.

Begin to get irrationally angry at both my phone and Garmin watch with their cheery vibrating with all of this garbage ass news.  My Bud Light swigging friend from the morning is also still stranded.  He leaves for his gate and says, very seriously, “You’re a very nice girl.  But I hope to to hell I never see you again.”  Same goes, buddy.  I am all alone.  Blatantly plead for sympathy on Facebook with posts like, “I live in Baltimore now.  My new address is Gate 4C, Baltimore, Maryland.”  People respond with the laughing emoji and I swear at them a little bit.  I have no idea where my bags are.  Baltimore?  North Carolina?  Texas?

It’s now a quarter to five.  Head back through security, vowing not to explode if my watch vibrates so as not to get arrested in the Baltimore airport.  Get to the gate.  My plane is here!  All of us weary travelers nod knowingly at each other.  We’re getting out of here! 

“Folks, your plane is here!  We just have a slight maintenance delay and then we’ll get you out of here.”

Despite overwhelming reasons not to be, I am still an extreme optimist.  Just a slight delay and I’m going home. 


“Uh, folks, really sorry to say this, but this plane isn’t going anywhere tonight.”

I had been halfway out of my seat, expecting them to say we were boarding.  I sat back down, literally stunned.  Who has three flights cancel in one day?  Do I really live here now?  The girl next to me swears and immediately gets on her phone to rebook.  I do nothing.  I’m just sitting there, staring at the plane.  I can’t even move.  My sister texts me right then saying, “Boarding yet?”  and I just respond, “Just canceled.”  She immediately calls, swearing a blue streak that would have otherwise made me quite proud, and says, “You tell them you booked this flight on points, you’re a priority flier, tell them they have to get you out of there tonight!!!”

At this point, I’m literally standing in line, tears rolling down my face and desperately needing to blow my nose, and just wail, “I don’t think they’re going to believe me!!!!!”  Because clearly I am not a priority traveler.  Clearly I need to stay in my apartment forever.  Clearly I am never leaving Baltimore.  My mind is racing.  Do I take a voucher for a hotel?  Do I have to pay for a hotel?  Is Baltimore safe?  Do they have Uber?  Keep in mind, I am running on three hours of sleep, vodka, and a quesadilla.  I am in no shape to make any decisions. She tells me to see what they say, if they offer a flight tonight to take it, if not, the rest of my family is working on a hotel and transportation.  (Have I mentioned my family is amazing?  The group text from this day is GOLD.)  I get to the agent, who says there is a flight to O’Hare at nine pm. 

Pathetically, still fighting tears, I ask, “Is it actually going to Chicago tonight?” 

“I sure hope so, honey.”

I trudge back to my new family at the bar.  Melissa takes one look at me – keep in mind I have been there for her ENTIRE shift – and just says, “Oh, honey.  Again?”  I nod mutely at her.  She hands me a drink on the house and plugs my phone back in.  (Two things to note here – I for sure posted a glowing review of the bar on their Facebook.  Also, while it seems as though I drank a heroic amount of vodka this day, I was not drunk.  I assure you, nothing will sober you up faster than having three flights cancel on you while you’re by yourself in a city you’ve never been in with zero concept of time and the outside world.)

Flight is delayed to nine thirty.
Flight is delayed to nine fifty.
Melissa reminds me the kitchen is closing and I order french fries.
Flight is delayed to ten fifteen. 
Melissa brings me another drink and apologetically tells me they’re closing soon.

I head back to the gate.  Am now a pro at security, wordlessly taking off my shoes and coat, secretly calling all of the happy travelers who are just arriving at this godforsaken airport who are clearly going on vacation assholes. 

“Folks, your plane has landed from New York!!!  We’re going to do a very fast turnaround and get you to Chicago.”
Entire gate goes up in cheers, me excluded.  I do not believe them.  Until this damn plane is in the air, I have no hope. 
People are plastered against the window, looking for our escape.  One man says, “Oh fuck.  It’s one of those super small planes.”


We finally get to board the American Eagle, otherwise known as “My First Airplane.”  They ask if I am willing to help in an emergency as I’m in the exit row.  My eyes were literally glowing by this point because I’ve been inside circulated air for sixteen hours and my contacts are dried to my eyeballs, and I’m pretty sure I was delirious.  I couldn’t have helped someone cross the street, let alone operate machinery.  I have no shame in saying I looked her right in the eye and said, “Absolutely.”

I have to DUCK to get onto the plane.  I’m 5’4.  This is the smallest plane I have ever been on.  I try and breathe deeply.  I am going home.  I decide I’m going to sleep because I was too afraid to in the terminal, (because you know my ass would have missed the plane or gotten robbed,) and immediately abandon that plan as we’re ascending because it felt like the plane was doing somersaults.  Looks like we’re back to my old friend vodka.

The flight attendant comes down the tiny aisle offering drinks.  I politely ask for a vodka soda and she comes back with a cup of soda and a mini-bottle of Titos.  Score!  This will make me two drinks and get me home!  Then she says, “That will be eight dollars, and we only take cash.”

I had spent my last cash tipping Melissa.  All of the other airlines said they only take credit cards.  I researched it!

“But…but.  I don’t have any cash.  I spent it all because I’ve been in the airport for fourteen hours.”

She looks at me closely and says, “Oh, honey.  You just take it.”  God bless you, air service person.  I love you almost as much as Melissa.

We start to descend and I have my face pressed against the window, all fear of flying gone.  I see the familiar grid lights of Chicago and legit start to cry.  I am home!

I am the second person off of the plane, despite being in the middle.  I walk, unseeing, through O’Hare, following the signs that say “Ground Transport.”  The first vehicle I see, I vow to get in.  I walk out to the beautiful, freezing, Chicago air, call a Lyft, fall into it and thank Santa that my driver doesn’t want to talk.  Finally get home, pour the the giantest, bestest glass of wine ever, and sit on my couch in dead silence for forty minutes. 

And then I got the flu from sitting in an airport for fourteen hours and being on four different airplanes and couldn’t leave my bed for a week, leaving me with a grand total of five vacation days for the next ten months.


This is what crazy looks like

The End.


Maybe, Just Maybe

In the last ten years there have been seven deadly mass shootings across the United States of America.  These horrific days in the past decade included the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, the babies of Newtown, the theater goers in Aurora, as well as victims in  Blacksburg, Virginia, San Bernardino, California, Fort Hood Texas, and Binghamton, N.Y.  In ten years, there were 161 people killed and 186 injured by gun violence at the hands of madmen.  Innocent people, lives cut short, and for what?  As Americans that’s what we wanted to know.  We fought bitterly regarding gun laws and safety and police and more recently, about immigration.  How do we stop this?  What can we do?  This is an outrage.  This is tragic.  We are supposed to be the greatest country in the world and we’re letting homegrown terrorists attack our citizens.

We held vigils. We set up donations and GoFundMe pages.  We marched in parades and had moments of silence on the most public of stages.  We published People magazine articles giving all of these victims a face, showing their story, and deservedly so.   We demanded our politicians give us answers and plans.  We wanted change and needed answers; This must be stopped!!

Meanwhile, in my city, in my beautiful Chicago that I call home, let me tell you what’s happening.  We’re going to the beach.  To the air show.  To a fireworks show on the 4th of July.  To baseball games and picnics in Humboldt Park.  To Puerto Rican fest and pretty much every other festival this city has to offer, and there are many.  To concerts and to Millennium Park.  To the zoo.  We’re having block parties and talking with our neighbors.  This summer especially, if you look at my Facebook, we’re living a beautiful life here in Chicago.  And don’t get me wrong, we are.  We’re taking full advantage of everything this great city has to offer.

But let me tell you what else happens here.  Yesterday, my husband didn’t go fishing because at noon, on a Tuesday, there were 20 shots fired less than a mile from us, near the fishing spot at the park.  A few weeks ago, my roommate lamented that he’d love to get red Nikes, but he can’t wear them in our neighborhood so what’s the point?  It’s not wearing certain football jerseys because of the colors.  It’s me asking the question, with hope every time, “Those were fireworks, not gunshots, right?” and being told I’m wrong, to call 911 again.  It’s staying home and in the backyard on the actual 4th of July instead of going downtown like we wanted to because we didn’t want to be on the street at night.  It’s no one leaves the house alone after dark.  It’s crossing the street when coming home late because of the twenty people standing on the corner throwing gang signs.  It’s having one of them swing a gun in your direction and walking head down and quickly, trying to get the gate open as fast as possible.  It’s calling the police nine times this year because of gunshots and seeing a response twice.   It’s learning gang tags and who lives where.  It’s not walking north on our street.  It’s avoiding the gang member memorial at the end of the block when there are too many people standing there.  It’s finding a 9MM shell casing on North Ave.  Oh, and it’s paying $1300 a month in rent because our neighborhood is one of the most up-and-coming in the country.

On average, every two minutes someone is shot in Chicago.  On average, every eleven hours someone is killed in Chicago.  In 2016 alone, 474 people have been killed by gunshots in Chicago.  In 2016 alone, 2,589 people have been wounded by gunshots in Chicago.  In 2016 alone, 3,063 people have been shot in Chicago.  I want you to go back and reread that.  Then do it again.  Then, for a little perspective, go back to the first paragraph and compare.  Ten years mass shootings across the country, 161 killed. One year in Chicago, 474.  Ten years mass shootings across the country, 186 injured.  One year in Chicago, 2,569 injured.  For a little more perspective, 2,996 people were killed on September 11th, 2001.  Think about it.  More people have been shot in Chicago in a single year than were killed on the deadliest day in US history. 

And what do we do?  Do we hold vigils or parades?  Are all of these murdered ever even recognized by name in our local paper?  Do we demand of our politicans answers and strategies?  No, we do none of that.  We make up names like Chiraq and print it on T-shirts.  We profit off of documentaries detailing what a war zone Chicago is.  We develop disgusting memes that say, “Chicago, come for the entertainment, stay because you got shot.”  We’ve made ourselves a joke, a cartoon.  A revoltingly accurate one at that.  We don’t do anything.  We argue about who’s at fault – is it the BLM movement?  Is it the police?  Surely it has to be one of those things.  We try and argue and pinpoint one specific thing to blame.  Because if we have something to blame, we don’t have to really think about it.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s not just one of those things.  Maybe it’s the systemic racism and wildly corrupt politics that has held this city captive for years.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s the absolute and utter crumbling of the Chicago Public School system, where upper middle class schools have fundraisers and the teachers in the “bad” neighborhoods have to bring their own toilet paper and supplies.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s that the opportunities in these bad neighborhoods are few and far between and the kids that are born and raised there don’t know any different than guns and gangs.  Maybe, just maybe, when little kids aren’t allowed to ride bikes at night for fear of being shot, they learn that they better be able to shoot.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s because it’s pretty clear that no one cares if they live or die.

Likely it’s a combination of all of those things.  The BLM and police issues can’t be discounted.  They’re part of the rhetoric, problem, and solution, all in their own way. But to point the blame directly at either of them is sticking our heads in the sand.

Because the other thing that can’t be discounted?  That can no longer be ignored?  Are the 3,063 people that got shot here in less than ten months.  The 474 of them whose families will never hug them again.  The ones who won’t see their own kids grow up.  The ones whose mothers won’t see them graduate high school.  Because I think the main thing we have lost sight of here is that all of these gunshots? There are actual people on the other side of them, no matter the decisions they’ve made or the paths they’ve taken.  They are PEOPLE, just like the 161 innocents that got the respect and mourning they deserved.  We are all humans.  We are all living in the land of the free, home of the brave.  And yes, we should all matter. 


How to Host Easter Like an Actual Adult. (Sort of.)

In my family, holidays are a big deal.  I’ve written about this before, detailing the extraordinary lengths my grandparents and later my parents, sister, aunt, and cousins go to to set a beautiful table filled with delicious food.  As we have always lived in an apartment, we haven’t really been in a position to host any holidays, and I always kind of wished we could. (I suspect no one in my family has been too heartbroken about this, as I’m not really known for my organizational or homemaking skills, plus, my cats keep sending them to the hospital.)  But while we do still live in an apartment, it’s now a very nice one with space and a pretty kitchen and lots of countertops and places to lock cats and their sharp, angry teeth away and room to sit down.

So I thought this year, Hey, you know what?  You should offer to host Easter!  You have room!  People don’t hate coming over anymore, especially if the cats aren’t allowed in the room.  Even you can’t fuck up a ham!  (I started drinking wine in the past few months.  Thus far, all of my brilliant ideas have come after a couple glasses of Walgreen’s finest Pinot Grigio.) So when my mom brought it up, I tentatively said, “Well, I thought maybe I could do it?  Since we have space?”  I suspect she was surprised, but gamely said, “Sure!  If you want to do it, that’s fine!”

Yay!  I’m hosting!  Look at me, all grown up style!  Wahoo!  I shall make baby girl Violet a beautiful Easter basket and we’ll have an Easter egg hunt and she will love it and everyone will talk for years about how fun Easter was that year and she’ll always remember how Auntie Coco hid eggs with candy in them for her.I told Tony and Tony, and was met with just a bit of resistance in the form of, “WHAT?  Where the hell are we going to put everyone?”  Whatever.  They’re pessimists.  I got this.  I told my sister, who responded with a “Heh.  Okay!  Have fun!” Again, whatever. I’ll be FINE.  I emailed my friend Autumn the next day at work to tell her, and she responded with, “OMG!  Can I please come and bring popcorn to see how this goes?!” 

I faltered a bit here.  Autumn is my champion. She’s my cheerleader.  If she was questioning my abilities, I may just have bitten off more than I can chew.  Oh well, too late now – I have lists to make and hams to buy!  Except, hmm, I have no idea what kind of ham to buy or, now that I think about it, whether my Puerto Rican grocery store even carries ham.  Moving on.

T Minus Two Weeks:
Phone calls with my mother.  “Okay, you need to plan a menu, and we’ll bring a table and chairs, and you need a tablecloth, and do you have enough plates and cups and silverware?”  “Um.well, I thought ham?  And yeah, I for sure have enough plates and stuff.”  (SHIT!  Mental note, go buy all new plates, silverware, and glassware.)  Mom, “Okay, I have little dessert plates and pastel napkins.  I’ll bring you a roasting pan, table, chairs, plates, napkins, and I’ll bring a vegetable and appetizer.  And I’ll send you a recipe for a glaze.”  Me, “Sounds good!  Did I tell you I’m going to do Easter eggs for baby girl?!”  Do you see a theme here?  I am awesome at ideas, poor at execution.

T Minus One Week:
Tables, chairs, roasting pan, Easter baskets, dessert plates, and napkins have been delivered. Me, Oh, well, this is great!  Realistically, all I need to do is buy the ham – SHIT find out if Cermak has ham – and get the Easter eggs for the fun hunt!
Tony, “Hey, my parents are coming too!”  Okay!  More the merrier!  What a fun party we will host!
Phone call with mother, “Okay, well, you’re going to need more food.  I’ll get some fried chicken too.  Did you get a tablecloth?  Did you get a ham?  Did you tell your sister what to bring?   You’re going to lock the cats up, right?  What about dessert?  Do you have brown sugar and whiskey for the glaze?”  Me.  No, no, yes, I don’t know, no, and I’m drinking the whiskey.  “I got rolls?”  “Okay.  You realize Easter is over a week away, right?  Bread won’t keep that long.”  Me.  “Duh.  I put them in the freezer.  I’m not stupid.”  (This is where I suspect my mother began drinking.)

T Minus Six Days:
My mother in law, Sharon, sends my brother in law with a new kitchen table and chairs that seats five.  (Because ours only sat two.  Hey, when you move four times in four years, shit breaks.)  My sister in law also sent him with sturdy plastic plates, silverware, and servingware.  Score! Sharon also comes with two Easter tablecloths, a myriad of Easter napkins and an Easter bunny placemat for Violet.  So really, all I need are the Easter eggs for the hunt.  Dammit!  And the ham.

T Minus Five Days:
“Hey, mom?  So I’m at the store and I know you said get the biggest ham, but I just realized I have no point of reference here.  What’s a big ham?  Three pounds?  Twenty two pounds?  Should the bone be in?” 
Hmm.  I wonder if my grandma ever had to carry a ten pound ham home in her purse? 

T Minus Four Days:
“Okay, Court, so I’m bringing the chicken, a vegetable, a cheese platter, stuff for mimosas – do you have champagne glasses? – and another appetizer.  What else do you need?”  Me, “Oh, I’m all good!  I think we’re ready!  Didn’t you see, I posted the picture of the ham on Facebook??”  Still have no glaze, glasses, Easter eggs, candy, or ingredients for potatoes.  But that’s nothing!

T Minus Three Days:
Tony, “Can we have corn?  So I can eat something?”  Sure!  Let me just put that on my list that I haven’t written out because it’s all up in my head.  “Okay, well you have to work tomorrow, so me and Tony Marzilli will clean and go grocery shopping and we’ll be all ready by the time you get home, and then all we’ll have to do is make the potatoes and set up the tables on Sunday.  We’re good!”

T Minus Two Days:
I should probably get on this shopping list.  I still need to get Easter eggs for the big hunt!  Oh, and glasses.  I know!  I’ll head to the busiest Target on Earth at State St. at four pm on Good Friday.  It’ll probably be empty.  Spend the next two hours growling at tourists, aggressively pushing my cart through the Easter aisle, buying two bottles of wine, an Easter bunny because seriously I am not spending fifteen dollars on a basket, twelve fillable Easter eggs, candy, and rationalize that small plastic glasses are totally acceptable for Easter dinner.  Go home and drink one of the bottles of wine, because really?  There’s nothing left to do.

T Minus One Day:

Two hours, a hundred dollars, and a very grumpy Tony Marzilli later, we’re ready to begin cleaning.  Approximately thirty minutes later, Tony Drobick walks in the door after a full eight hour day, quite dismayed to find me scrubbing the vents with a toothbrush on the floor and Tony Marzilli covered in bleach, yelling, “I swear to God, if I see an Easter bunny I’m punching it square in the mouth.”  I throw paper towels and windex at him, saying, “Here.  You don’t have to do anything.  Just dust the entertainment center, wipe off all of the books and everything in it, sweep the floor, and take out the garbage.”  He complies – seriously, once I hit this level of crazy there’s no reasoning – muttering, “Have Easter, they said.  It will be fun, they said,” whilst rolling his eyes.  Finish all the cleaning, and my beaming, “Hey, look, we’re all ready!” exclamation is met with hostile stares. 

Okay!  All we have to do is set up the tables and stuff the Easter eggs, and then it’s time to cook! 

Hmm.  This tablecloth is really big for this table.  Let me just tape it up with the flourescent green duct tape.  That’ll work, right?

WHO THE FUCK SEALS PLASTIC, FILLABLE EASTER EGGS WITH TAPE?!  Terrorists, that’s who.  The next forty minutes are spent stabbing at them with scissors, swearing at each other and sneaking far too many M & M’s. 

Okay, let’s hide these eggs!  (Brief yet extraordinarily heated argument questioning the timing of cleaning out the fish tank.)

Another, increasingly hostile argument regarding my festive idea of putting colorful napkins on the bathroom sink for guests to wipe their hands on.  Physical struggle ensues as Tony Marzilli wants to fold up actual hand towels instead.  Culminates in me yelling, “I DON’T LIKE THE TOWELS THEY DON’T LOOK PRETTY PUT THE FUCKING NAPKINS IN THE GODDAMN EASTER BASKET!!”

I should probably have a glass of wine.

No, Courtney, no one wants to stick their hands in salt cellars, I don’t care if they were your grandma’s.  I passive-aggressively leave them on the duct taped covered table anyhow.


My family shows up, complete with carrots, crackers and cheese, an antipasto platter, a seven layer salad, champagne glasses, two bottles of champagne and a bottle of wine because they know I get my wine from the drugstore, orange juice, an Easter basket for the baby full of chalk,  a gift for my new nephew, and a bag full of toys. 

My glaze is not thickening as the Pioneer Woman had promised.

Violet is pointedly disinterested in her Easter egg hunt and is much more interested in the fish.

My oven grates are upside down, apparently.

An hour later, my in laws show up with Tony straight from work, also carrying another chair, a leaf for the table, two pies, and a gift for Violet.

You know what? We had a great time.  I didn’t drop the ham, the cats didn’t escape and attack anyone, the baby had way too much candy and enjoyed bossing the boys around, and everyone liked my potatoes.  My mom took a picture of my napkins in the bathroom to send to my aunt Sheila, who is basically Martha Stewart, so it was pretty much the highest of praise.  My cousin showed up around dessert, and we finished the night watching old home movies – during which I was mercilessly mocked, I might add – happy for a great end to a fun day.  Everyone ate, we laughed, we drank, we enjoyed our company and I looked around and felt very grateful for this family of mine.

Everyone praised me for doing a great job hosting my first holiday.  This is my thank you to all of the people that basically did it for me.


Martha's got nothing on me and my Easter basket napkins

How to Run Your First 5K

If you follow this blog or are friends with me on Facebook, you may have noticed that I ran my first 5K this past weekend.  If you didn’t notice, you should probably get your observation skills tested by a professional because I’ve been basically shouting it from every form of social media I have at my disposal.  I’m not going to lie – I am proud of myself.  Proud of myself for signing up, for following through, for finishing, for signing up for more.  It may not seem like the biggest deal; I was among thousands on that day alone, let alone all of the other people that run miles more than that every day. But was a big deal to me.

That being said, I think I may have been overoptimistic and conveniently forgot that the 5K was not just a big party and that before all of the good feels that would come with finishing, I would actually have to run three miles.  While I knew I could do it, I was much more involved in the atmosphere and fun than the actual running portion.

And thus I present to you:  My First 5K – A Narrative

  • Sweet Jesus, it’s early.  Is that the moon?
  • I don’t get up this early for work.
  • Whatever.  It’s raceday!
  • This is great!  Look at all of these other runners on our bus!  How fun!
  • Yes, yes, I am a runner too, people.  I have the commemorative shirt on, just like you.
  • Which is a bit smaller than I would like, I must mention.
  • I must have been drunk and optimistic when I ordered this size.
  • We’re here!  Look at all the people!  There’s my mom and dad!  Yay!
  • I have to go to the bathroom right this second.
  • Apparently raceday for me starts in a porta-potty.
  • Okay, I see how it works.  The 7 minute milers start here.  (Show offs.)  I’ll head back a bit.
  • Where, exactly, is the 15 minute miler start line?
  • I’ll just stand back here with the people pushing strollers.
  • They’re all stretching.  I should stretch.
  • Except I don’t really know what I’m doing.  I usually warm up with a brisk walk.
  • I’ll just walk in a little circle for a bit.
  • Yeah, now you totally look like you’ve done this before.  Stop it.
  • Starting horn!  We’re underway!
  • Except my group isn’t moving.
  • Here we go!  There’s the start line!
  • This is awesome!  So many people cheering! Woohoo!!!
  • There’s my mom and dad again!  Look at me!  I’m doing it!
  • That picture they took is totally going to be my profile pic.
  • Wait, why does this hurt already?
  • OW.  Should have stretched more.  That’s okay.  First couple of minutes are always a little tough.  You got this.
  • Awe, look at this awesome couple!  He’s pushing his wife in a wheelchair!  How great are they?
  • I’m kind of sad that I just saw that because he passed me up….
  • Huh.  I thought they were going to mark each mile.  Must have read that wrong.  Because surely we’re past the first mile?
  • I’ll just check my watch.
  • Seven minutes?  It’s only been seven fucking minutes?!
  • Where’d all the cheering crowd go?
  • I should have brought my headphones.  Listening to myself huff and puff is not super motivating.
  • Okay, okay.  Beautiful day, first 5K, we’re doing this!  Look, there’s the first mile marker!  You’re almost done!
  • Yay!  They have one of those water tables and I can totally be one of the runners that grabs a cup of water and downs it without stopping, defiantly throwing the cup on the ground as I continue my strenuous run.
  • Except no one is handing me water.
  • Oh, yay, someone did!
  • Yeah, I’m not sure what made you think you could drink a cup of water and run at the same time.
  • Because now you’re choking.
  • Also, you’re an asshole, because no one else threw their cup on the ground.
  • I’ll just double back and throw that in one of the fourteen conveniently placed receptacles.
  • This went a lot different in my head.
  • Where’s the wheelchair guy?
  • Here we go!  The girl in front of me has on a Marine Corps shirt.  And I’m keeping pace!  You, unknown soldier, will be my motivation.  I shall keep up with you.
  • That bitch just picked up a toddler, put him on her shoulders, and sped past me.
  • Well, there’s like 475 reasons you wouldn’t be a good Marine – this is just another one.
  • Wait, no one said there was going to be a hill.
  • Now’s probably a good time for a little walk.
  • Hey, guy?  On your front porch?  Who just yelled, “Good job!  Only four miles to go!”  You’re an asshole.
  • Water station!  That means mile two is done!
  • Let’s try not to fuck up so spectacularly with the water this time, yeah?
  • I don’t want any more water, anyhow.
  • Wheelchair guy!  Yay!
  • Don’t think about the fact that you’re celebrating catching a septuagenarian who is literally pushing the weight of another human.  Concentrate on the positive!
  • Hey, there’s my mom and dad again!  And friends!
  • Hell yes, it IS almost bloody mary time!!
  • It’s entirely possible my parents have covered more ground this morning than myself.
  • Hey, lady?  With the stroller containing three children?  You are hurting my feelings.
  • Yay, more cheerleaders!
  • Almost there!  I see the field!
  • I do not, however, see a finish line.  Which is unfortunate, because I’m kind of getting done with this whole running thing.
  • WTF do you mean, we still have to run around the whole field before we go inside?
  • Maybe just another short walk.
  • Heading into the concourse!  I did it!
  • Except this is kind of uphill, too.
  • And I totally have to pee again.  I wonder if the bathrooms are open?
  • It would probably be the shortest line ever for the bathroom at Wrigley.
  • No one will ever let you live it down if you stop to pee in a three mile race.
  • There’s the finish line!
  • And there’s all of my favorite people that came to see me!
  • That picture?  Is totally not going to be cute.
  • This?  Right here?  With my best friends and family, who got up at the crack of dawn to watch me chug past the finish line?  This is awesome.  I love everything.

Next time, though, I’m bringing my headphones.  Ke$ha and Avril Lavigne are infinitely more motivating than my inner monologue.



Am I The Only One??

To walk across the fire for you????  Ha!  Now that I have that song in your head, you’re going to want to read on, right?  I wasn’t even planning on going there but as soon as I typed the title, Melissa Etheridge was all up in my brain so I had to share.  Aren’t you glad?

Anyway, it’s been a long week.  Well, it’s been a long several weeks, as most of you living in Chicago understand.  I’m not going to write about the weather because it makes me want to punch everything in the face and wish that wind would become a solid, physical thing for like forty seconds so I could kickbox it to death instead of it calling the shots and propelling me face-first over ice disguised as sidewalks and sonofabitch if you people would just shovel this wouldn’t happen….Ahem.  Suffice it to say, it’s been a bad winter.  When the best part of your day is NOT getting impaled by an icicle falling off of a building, the winter has already beaten you.  Trust.  So us Chicagoans have been pretty much of one mind the past couple of weeks, which consists mainly dreamily remembering those beautiful days last year that didn’t require fucking boots.

I saw a picture on Facebook yesterday demonstrating how we can save ducks’ lives by cutting the plastic rings from a six-pack so they don’t get caught in them and choke.  A year or so ago, I wrote this post on that same topic, as I was surprised that other people didn’t do this all the time.  It got me thinking about some other things that I do or think that I assume are perfectly normal, but other people consider to be a teensy bit crazy.

Am I The Only One?

  • That Thinks We Need to Leave Bieber Alone?  Yeah, I said it.  Leave. Him. Alone.  Is he a punk kid with little respect for authority?  Absolutely.  Does he deserve the wrath of an entire country actively awful upon him?  No.  One, making jokes about how hilarious it would be for him to get raped in prison?  Doesn’t make us look very smart.  Ditto for starting a petition to get him deported that received so many signatures the government actually had to act on it.  Folks, if we deported or imprisoned every nineteen-year old that made a couple of really stupid, arrogant decisions, it would be the end of the population as we know it.  Do you not remember being 19?  Hell, I was an asshole at 19, and I was a rule-abiding kid from the suburbs with only $45 a week to work with.  If I’d had access to millions of dollars with no supervision, the least of my problems would have been smoking pot and drag racing, I promise you that.  Is he a shit?  Yes.  Did he make some mistakes?  Absolutely.  In one way or another, he’ll pay for them.  I hope it’s in the form of realizing he’s a shit and straightening up.  Hoping for him to fall into the revolving door of drugs and rehab like so many celebrity teenagers before him, hoping for him to fail, is just mean-spirited.


  • That is Completely Terrified about The Missing Plane?  Is it just me, or is this some Langoliers shit come to reality?  Two hundred people and thousands of tons of metal just gone into thin air?  How have we just gone on about our business, like, “Oh, well, can’t find it, that’s weird.”  I just picture them all in some abandoned airport in an alternate universe all, “What the fuck?  Why are we not the top story on the news?  What is WRONG with these people?”


  • With the Musical Taste of a Preteen in the 90’s?  I’ve been running a lot, and I’ve found there is a direct correlation between how long I can run and how much 90’s angsty pop music is on my playlist.  Ludacris and Eminem have taken some top spots in the rotation to keep me going, but the number one song that pumps me up and propels me to keep going?  Avril Lavigne’s “Girlfriend.”  Why?  I don’t know.  It’s been over a decade since I’ve had any reason to hate someone’s girlfriend, and if you really listen to it – which I have, often – it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  Yet here we are, and every time it comes on, I go faster than I did the day before.  If the folks in the park had any idea what was blasting in my headphones, they’d actually be LESS scared of me than they already are, which is a tough spot to find.


  • That Has Notebook Paper Decorating the Fridge with Magnets, Despite Being Childless?  Currently, my refrigerator boasts a notepad, three coupons for Family Dollar, a picture from 1980, a pen-draw picture of an eyeball, my sister’s baby shower invitation held up by a Bert and Ernie magnet, and a note scribbled in Magic Marker that says nothing but, “SOUL TRAIN IS ON.”  The notepad?  Not for grocery lists, or things we’re out of.  (Which is likely we make frequent trips to above-mentioned Family Dollar at 9PM for things like toilet paper and cat food.)  No, it has sports predictions for the upcoming week.  The eyeball was drawn by a friend late one Saturday night and we deemed it a work of art.  The Soul Train note?  My husband was on the phone one Sunday morning and he would not appropriately respond to my frantic gestures to run into the living room for this grand moment in television programming.

Everyone has their little pockets of weird, right?  Right????







The Running Diaries

Last year, I starting riding a bike to work in an effort to not murder someone on the CTA and hopefully improve my fitness at the same time.  I learned a lot in those first couple of weeks; drivers in Chicago despise bike riders more than Steve Bartman and Lovie Smith combined, speeding joyfully down a hill whilst reminiscing about the freedom you experienced as a child riding a bike lasts only as long as it takes for a car to pull into the intersection at the bottom, and people should really pay more attention before whipping their car door open on a busy street with a bike lane.

I loved riding the bike to work and can’t wait to start it up again. Of course – it has to be mentioned – this is partially because this winter is by far the biggest bitch I have ever encountered and the CTA, as hard as it tries, cannot possibly keep up.  There’s too many people, there’s too much snow, there’s too much slush, there’s problems with Ventra, everything is freezing to itself – it sucks.  My commute, on a good day, should be about 30 minutes, door to door.  This year?  It runs between 45 minutes and an hour and a half, and that’s on a day it’s NOT snowing.  Which isn’t often.  So the thought of walking out my door, not almost killing myself on the stairs, getting on a bike, riding through the wind and sunshine, and arriving at work not swearing and covered in salt and slush is extraordinarily appealing.

I did not take off any weight after starting this regimen.  In fact, I gained some.  That was disappointing – I mean seriously, who gains weight after going from zero activity to riding a bike six miles a day?  The answer is someone who carb loads as if they are training for a marathon instead of mildly exercising for 40 minutes a day.  (Very mildly.  I’m so slow on the bike that everyone passes me.  Old people, young people, overweight tourists on the Divvy bikes – everyone.) Baked macaroni and cheese, loaded mashed potatoes, and my favorite creation entitled spaghetti monster – baked spaghetti with cream cheese and mozzarella in the sauce – this is what I lived on.  Unsurprisingly, by the time Christmas rolled around, I was a giant, puffy version of myself and more closely resembled John Goodman than I ever would have liked to.

Something had to give, and that something was carbs.  I won’t bore you with all of the details of my newfound love affair with cauliflower as a substitute for every single thing I used to make – take a look at my Facebook and you can see plenty of that as I am, unfortunately, that person who now posts pictures of their dinner with alarming frequency.  (But seriously – cauliflower pizza?  Genius.)  So I’d been feeling good, had taken some weight off, had more energy – all the good feels you get with eating better.  And somehow, somewhere in my brain along the way, I got it in my head that I wanted to run one of the 5K’s that Chicago always hosts throughout the year.

Let’s get something straight right here.  My family?  We’re not runners.  Even my little sister, who does run, who has run a half-marathon, who attends those terrifying-looking fitness classes that make me want to vomit just watching them – even she admits we are not runners.  It’s not that we’re lazy or have never been athletic; in fact, some of my favorite memories are bike riding in the forest preserve as a family when we were younger.  My sister and I always played softball or soccer, and she was a cheerleader and – believe it or not – I was in my high school dance troupe for two years.*

*People are always surprised by this.  For some reason, they are never as surprised when I tell them I played the tuba.  Go figure.

At any rate, the most I had run since high school was at a haunted house about 15 years ago when one of the actors chased me out the exit with a chainsaw. I ran about fifty yards out of sheer terror before my body realized what it was doing and I collided into a tree.  So when the thought of running a 5K first crossed my mind, I dismissed it as pure madness.  Like, Okay, Courtney, we’re not drowning in a vat of mac and cheese every night – let’s just go with that win instead of getting all crazy here, okay?

But I couldn’t get it out of my head, and soon I found myself researching 5K’s and how to get started running.  I found a program called Couch to 5K promising to turn me from a couch potato into someone able to run three miles in nine weeks.  I found myself looking up success stories and starting to think that I might be able to do it.  There were other people, both smaller and bigger than myself, with pictures of themselves smiling with medals and thought, well, it’s worth a try.  And I decided I would start the next day.  And I did, which is possibly the first thing I’ve followed through on in three years.

Week One. Longest run time – 1 minute.  I learned that when one is 35, out of shape, and an ex-heavy smoker, running for even such a short amount of time should be approached with more caution than exuberance.  By the third repetition of the “run” portion of the workout, I was running slower than I was walking and being outpaced by toddlers in snowsuits.

Week Two. Longest run time – 1 1/2 minutes.  An increase of a measly thirty seconds.  Pssht.  That’s nothing, right?  I learned that thirty seconds is a really fucking long time when you’re trying to run.

Week Three. Longest run time – 3 minutes.  This time, I knew.  I knew it was going to be harder.  So I downloaded some inspiring music to keep me going.  I was feeling good and enjoying the challenge, so I really wanted to keep it up.  I learned that just because you like a song does not mean that it is good to try and run to. (Eminem’s Lose Yourself?  Good.  Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe?  Not as much.)

Week Four. Longest run time – 5 minutes.  This is the week that I got hit in the ear with a piece of rock salt by a passing car so hard I almost went blind and Mother Nature dumped a whole shitload of snow and horribleness on Chicago – again – and I had to repeat it over the course of about three weeks.  I learned that I should pay more attention to cars in my path and that Mother Nature is fucking pissed beyond belief at us for spraying all that Aquanet in the 80’s.

Week Five. Longest run time – 20 minutes.  I know.  Hell of a jump, right?  It was eight minutes the first day, then the last day of the week – WHAM.  Twenty minutes.  Like you weren’t huffing and puffing through 90 seconds just a few weeks ago.  I learned that this stupid app on my phone has been right since January, which is a longer track record than I’ve had in quite awhile.

I’m signed up for three 5K’s this year.  The first one is the Race to Wrigley in April.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to run to the whole thing.  My app says I can, so I’m hopeful.  But I do know that I will finish, whether it takes me 35 or 60 minutes.   And if the Cubs’ past few seasons are any indication, it is the happiest Cubs fans will be all year at Wrigley unless they’re going to a concert there.

So there’s that.

To be fair, I only make that face when I'm about to fall.  I don't look nearly that cute the rest of the time.

To be fair, I only make that face when I’m about to fall. I don’t look nearly that cute the rest of the time.


So, There’s a Live Animal in Your Wall.

Thursday, 10PM.  “Hmm, why are the cats skulking along the baseboards in the kitchen?”  “Oh, there’s a loose floorboard.”  “Hmm, I hope that rat/mouse I saw in the summer doesn’t try to get in.”

Friday, 7PM. “Aaah.  Excellent.  Long week complete.  Time to sit down and relax with a drink.  Hey, you’re home all alone for the first time in forever.  This is sort of nice.”

Friday, 7:48PM.  “I’ll just go ahead and stir this pot roast.  What a great dinner this is going to be!”

Friday, 7:51PM. “What’s that scratching?  Hmm, I never noticed that hole below the kitchen cabinets.”



Friday, 7:56PM. “No, I don’t THINK there’s a rat in my wall.  There IS something in my wall.  I saw it. Send help, like right this second.”

Friday, 7:57PM -Friday, 8:05PM, Pounding on wall frantically whilst yelling out loud. Go away!! Oh my god oh my god!!!

Friday, 8:05PM to 8:35PM. Hysterics.  There’s no other word.

Friday 8:35PM to 8:37PM. Silence.  No one cares.

Friday 8:38PM to 8:42PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy, motherfucker!  I’m going to get you!!!

Friday, 8:43PM to 8:51PM.  Camped out at kitchen table, making as much noise as possible.  “Come on, Ramon, hiss at the dirty shit filled rodent – yeah, okay, it’s a mammal – trying to attack our lives.  And my pot roast.”

Friday, 8:52PM to 8:56PM. “Why are you throwing up, you stupid cat???  This should be your shining moment!  Your one chance in your eleven years to do something that doesn’t make everyone angry!”

Friday, 8:57PM to 9:01PM. OMG this is totally worse than when that possum got onto the porch.

Friday, 9:02PM to 9:05PM.  And when that stupid skunk had babies in the backyard and they were all digging everything up and trying to act like they were cute but were actually horror-filled stink bombs that ruined entire weekends.

Friday, 9:06PM to 9:10PM. Scratchedy scratchedy scratchedy!!!!  Ima get you!!  You’ll never sleep again!!!

Friday, 9:11PM to 9:15PM. Yes, yes, I do believe it’s time for another vodka drink.

Friday, 9:16PM to 9:21PM. “Die, motherfucker!” yelled while pounding on the wall.  “AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEE!!”  (that’s me screaming, if you didn’t catch it.)

Friday, 9:22PM to 9:30PM. Maybe it died?  Or fell asleep?  Does that happen?  Do they just give up?

Friday, 9:31PM to 9:45PM. “All is calm, All is bright!”

Friday, 9:46PM to 9:47PM. I am not losing this pot roast.  You don’t scare me, rodent!

Friday, 9:48PM to 9:51PM. Seriously, this has to be the one night in six months that the partyboys upstairs haven’t come home around this time to gear up for the night.  I don’t know that they’d be that much help, but this is one situation I’m not ashamed to admit I really wish there was someone of the opposite sex here to give some advice.

Friday, 9:52PM to 9:57PM. Am going to be found here, alone, eaten by rodents.  I swear, Mom, I was just about to clean up and organize that dresser.  I got sidetracked.  I’m sorry.

Friday, 9:58PM to 10:01PM.  Might as well have one last drink.  The thing has been quiet for a few minutes.  I can only assume this means it is gathering reinforcements.

Friday, 10:02PM to Present. Clutching glass of vodka, head spinning as if on a swivel, just waiting for the noise, spontaneously yelling and/or stomping feet.

Just know I loved you all.


See that little hole right underneath the cabinets? That’s where the scary monster is trying to get in.

It’s Too Cold for This Shit.

And by this shit, I mean absolutely everything.  Seriously.  I usually try and embrace all of the seasons and take them in stride,  “Hey, it’s winter, pretty soon we’ll be complaining about how hot it is!”  I  even believe myself most of the time.  After today, though, when I waited a cumulative 47 minutes outside in subzero wind chills for the CTA, after I slipped going down the stairs, after my I got my stupid coat sleeve wet trying to wash my hands, after I was pushed out of the way by a full grown man for a bus seat, after I dropped my glove and bus card onto the disgusting floor, after I stepped off the bus into a pile of slush up to my ankle, I surrender.  This is a big, huge, miserable bucket of suck and I would give my yet-to-be-conceived firstborn for a single afternoon swimming in Lake Michigan.  Taking a shower in the morning is the happiest part of my day because it is the only ten minutes of the day I’m actually warm.

  • It is too cold to go to the grocery store.  I will make a meal out of zucchini and cream cheese if I have to.
  • It is too cold for that stupid Erin Andrews probiotics commercial.
  • It is too cold to talk about anything other than how cold it is and how much worse next week is going to be.
  • It is too cold for every single living soul to turn into an amateur weatherman.  Today I heard everything from six inches of snow to 40 degrees tomorrow.
  • It is too cold to mop the floors a-fucking-gain.
  • It is too cold to listen to one more word about Justin Bieber and the fact that he acts very similar to 70% of 19-year-olds in the United States and it is too cold to scroll through the hundred or so memes that have already been created and are running rampant on Facebook.   Two things about this: One, if he was a well-loved superstar to adults instead of teenagers here on a Visa and we were making jokes about deportation, the country would be up in arms. He’s not selling government secrets; he’s an idiot teenager    Two, one of the most popular memes thus far is a split-shot of the Biebs and a tough looking criminal with a caption along the lines of “Oh, I’m gonna love you!”  Wait, so rape jokes are okay if we don’t like someone’s music or attitude?  Come on.
  • It is too cold to watch one more fluffed up weatherperson – who is almost always a perky little girl – standing outside in frigid temperatures telling us how cold it is.  WE KNOW.  WHY DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE HER STAND OUTSIDE??
  • It is too cold to remove the plastic Christmas decorations from my front yard because their cords have been frozen to the ground for three weeks.
  • It is too cold to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night because no matter how high the heat is, the toilet seat is like fucking ice.
  • It is definitely too cold for this idiot, Republican GOP candidate Susanne Atanus, who believes “God controls the weather and that tornadoes, autism and dementia are his punishments for the gay rights movement and abortions.”  In other news, Santa Claus really does travel the entire world in one night giving gifts to good, deserving (heterosexual) children and the Easter Bunny is totally real.
  • It is too cold to even enjoy the beautifulness that is Harry Connick Jr. on American Idol because J-Lo is wearing a dress without a snowsuit over it and it makes me mutter incomprehensible things like, “I bet SHE didn’t almost freeze to the front gate trying to get in.  I bet her stupid front door wasn’t frozen shut.”  (True story.  That was when it was actually 20 below as opposed to balmy 7 degrees we’re enjoying right now.)
  • It is too cold for Captain and Tenille to get divorced.  WTF???
  • It is too cold to be sitting at the laptop with two fur-covered animals just staring at me instead of keeping my feet warm.
  • It is too cold to not have a fireplace.
  • It is too cold to not be dressed like Randy from a Christmas Story and I hate scarves.
  • It is too cold to drive a car.
  • It is too cold to enjoy national media pointing out how miserable it is here.  Jimmy Fallon has polar vortex songs and I can’t even be happy about them.

I am declaring this weekend Summer in January.  The heat’s going up to 80, static electricity be damned – hey, the ensuing fire will only create more heat!!! – we’re getting beach cocktails, spreading out a blanket on the floor, and only playing Jimmy Buffett for 24 hours.  Who’s with me??

Four short months ago.

Four short months ago.

Ten Signs the Chicago Winter Has Beaten You Senseless.

One year, I had tickets to both the Bears and Cubs home opener.  The day of the football game, it was 105 degrees on the field.  The baseball game?  Was snowed out.  We know the weather is bipolar in Chicago, but somehow we are continuously surprised by it.  “I don’t remember it sucking this much last year.  Was it this hot last year?”  “Remember last year on this day, when we went to the beach?  Why is it snowing?  WHY???”  We have approximately seven days a year of perfect weather, and generally even those are marred by the impending bitchfit we know Mother Nature is brewing.  Oh, are you enjoying this unseasonably warm day in March?  Opened up all of the windows and pulled out the grill in anticipation of an early spring, didja?  I have two words for you, losers.  WINTRY MIX.  What?  You’re surprised?  Don’t worry.  I’ve got a tornado I’m working on for next week that’s going to make this miserable shit seem like rainbows and sunshine. 

That being said, this winter has been particularly brutal.  Snowstorm in January?  Not surprising.  Wind chills of negative 40?  That’s new.  And being that it’s only January 9th and we’ve already had nearly two feet of snow and several days in which Alaska was enjoying temperatures 30 degrees higher than here, I think we have a legitimate argument that spring should probably start next week.  Here’s a couple of signs the weather is winning.

You Have Worn More Than One Pair of Pants.  To Work.

I don’t generally even pull out a coat until it dips below 25 or so.  This year?  I had seven outfits on at the same time.  Once arriving at work, it was like the unsexiest strip show ever –  and I wasn’t alone.  The whole office was like a graveyard of outerwear.  Boots strewn about, sweatshirts laid out on desks, extra socks under desks; coats, scarves, and hats ripped off haphazardly to counteract the 80 degree difference in temperature between the ground floor and the 29th.

Every Single Person You Know Has a Cold.

Coughing, sneezing, sniffing, that gross clearing of the throat and sound of snot in Kleenex – these are your days now.  The only place I’ve found to be comfortable is in a sweatshirt, yoga pants, thermal socks and slippers on the bathroom floor with the shower running full stop to create my own personal sauna.  Sometimes I bring whiskey to make it a party.

If You See That Post About How Beautiful Chicago Looks Under Ice Posted One More Time, You’re Going to Punch Someone.

So many of my social media friends – currently not in sub-zero temps but instead in places with reasonable weather like California and the South Pole – posted this article this week.  Yes, it IS beautiful.  Unless, perchance, you happen to be attempting to walk through it.  Then, you can’t stop to admire the beauty.  You know why?  Because YOU’LL FREEZE TO THAT SPOT FOREVER if you stop moving for even a second.

Ditto to the “Chiberia” Folks.

Just, ugh.  Fucking stop it already.  That’s worse than “Chiraq.”  Sometimes I hate Twitter.

Your Kitchen Floor Looks Like This.

"There's only so much I can do!!!!!"  cried the mop.

“There’s only so much I can do!!!!!” cried the mop.

You’re About to Spontaneously Combust At Just About Any Second.

It’s so dry in your house/apartment/workplace due to the constantly running heat that shuffling along the floor on carpet is a deadly game of Russian roulette – the next thing you touch might be your last.

You’ve Developed a Love-Hate Relationship with Your Mode of Transportation.

I can’t speak to those of you poor souls trying to drive in this nonsense.  But those of us taking the CTA have developed a drug-dealer-like dependency on our bus drivers.  “Please, please, please, be on time, you miserable f-ing piece of garbage.  Please.  I’ll be nice.  Please just show up.  Please don’t make me wait out here longer than three minutes, you f-ing jerks.”

You Forgot How to Walk Like a Normal Person.

Anyone who has thought that they were walking on innocent snow or slush who has violently found the black ice underneath is terrified of it happening again.  So we all walk gingerly, which, in boots, is more of a slow uncoordinated clompstomp across the street.  Walking the full block and a half from the El to work becomes a terrified mantra of “Don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall WATCH OUT SEWER COVER don’t fall don’t fall don’t fall please please don’t fall.”

You’ve Done This.  Or At Least Watched a Video of One of Your Friends Doing This.

For those of you lucky souls who aren’t currently dealing with Mars-like temperatures, this is what happens when you throw a pot of boiling water into the air when it’s 14 below.  (Also, yes, I am considering a second career as a cinematographer, how did you know?)

Gray, Dirty, and Wet is the New Clean, Shiny, and New.

Nothing you own will ever be the same.  The slush alone is enough to ruin the best of pants and shoes, no matter how hard you try.  Just let it go.  You need all of your strength just to not fall on your fucking head and break every bone in your body. Everything is ruined.  We’ll start again next year.

So thanks, Polar Vortex.  For making us appreciate this so very much more.



Christmas List

Dear Santa,

I know you’re busy this time of year.  I know you’re probably inundated with adorable letters from adorable children; children who have probably spent their year trying to be good instead of calling people doucheboxes on the internet and secretly harboring fantasies of tripping people on the bus that were mean to them like I have.  So I’m not going to ask for anything too crazy or expensive, because I just might not deserve it.  But I’ve put together a list that I think will benefit everyone should you choose to grant any of my Christmas wishes.

1.  No more twerking.

2.  A do-over button on Candy Crush for when you notice the move you should have made right after swiping out something useless.

3.  A worldwide, yearlong ban on Kanye West’s name being mentioned in the media.  If any media outlet slips up and runs a story on him or even says his name, they face a punishment of spending an entire day with him and Kim telling each other how amazing, special, and talented they are.  No breaks, even for vomiting.

4.  The Blacklist should be a weekly show all year long – none of this “Season Finale” nonsense until we find Red.

5.  A pop-up box on Facebook anytime a user tries to share a story that says, “Are you sure?  Have you checked Snopes?”

6.  Speaking of Facebook, AnE1 WhO PoSTs a STaTus ThAt LoOks lieK DIs has to go back to third grade for two days.

7. Ditto to anyone who says “supposably,” “irregardless,” or “Valentimes day.”

8.  Every year at this time, we retire one awful Christmas song in the rotation and replace it with a new, good one.  This year I vote we switch “Wonderful Christmastime,” with “Underneath the Tree.”  Sorry, Sir Paul, but Kelly Clarkson rocks that shit and your song?  SUCKS.  So hard.

9.  My neighbor to please drop his new habit of whistling like a mass murderer as he’s walking up the stairs in the middle of the night so as to ease my night terrors.

10. Please let Jay Cutler not throw any interceptions in the endzone this Sunday; I simply cannot handle any more controversy.  (I know this will happen before Christmas, but trust me as I believe in you, if you lived in Chicago, you would feel my pain.)

11. Every news story about a celebrity or athlete being arrested or just generally being a moron is to be counteracted by a story of an athlete or celebrity doing something good.  There are more like Andre Johnson than there are like Lindsay Lohan.

12. Anyone cataloguing the triumphant exploits of their Elf on a Shelf must also show the aftermath, whether that be the cleanup or the careful explanation of why Elfie was in the car with Barbie to begin with.

13. On a personal note, I would like a nonstick pan.  And by nonstick pan, I mean nonstick even when it comes to eggs, or at least an honest advertisement which states, “Nonstick unless you are cooking eggs, in which case you’re going to be really mad trying to clean this.”

Pretty please Santa?  If you can’t accommodate them all, maybe just a few?  Or if you only pick one, can it please be the Kanye ban?

Merry Christmas,


Also, can I get my cat to sit still long enough to take a fun picture like this?

Also, can I get my cat to sit still long enough to take a fun picture like this?