Friday, June 24, 2011

I STILL live here...Thank goodness

Ash Mat "Arriving" at the
George Street Block Party!
Last weekend one of my very best girls (& professional bridesmaid) came to visit Chicago! Ash Mat & I joined Zeta in college in 2003 but didn't fall in love until 2006-ish...not a moment too soon! She & Coop fell in love last Spring when Meghan stayed with her for a little while before Meg moved up to Chicago. We always say "Family is who loves you when you need them" & for that reason, Ash Mat, Coop & I will be family forever. The only thing better than having best friends that love you is having best friends that love each other too...Ok, I'm done with the mush.

Kent in the
Hula Hoop Competition
Moving right along...Ash Mat was in Chicago last weekend. We had a super fun time. We enjoyed some libating, some sight seeing, Mani-Pedi's, & Bottomless Mimosas at Jack's on Southport which was a lucky find. BEST of all though was the surprise block party just 1 block immediately south of my place. Block parties are on my top 5 list of things I love about Chicago. And I'm pretty sure the only reason block parties even happen is because the folks on each of those blocks just want to celebrate the fact that it's summer & we live in Chicago. That's all. It's like a party where all the neighbors close down the street, put out some tailgate games, hire a couple live bands & scream (sometimes quite literally) at the top of their lungs "WE LIVE HERE!" Obviously I couldn't agree more with that sentiment. I have a super special, precious place in my heart for St. Petersburg, Florida...My hometown. But living in Chicago is
Learning how to "Dougie"
simply magical. I was so glad to share the magic with Ash Mat!

One last little lucky find was Mickey's on Clark...We stumbled across this little gem while looking for a place to get a quick bite of lunch before the Zoo on Tuesday. What we FOUND was an outside bar/grill with Strawberry Margaritas, $3 Coronas & fantastic people watching. Seriously, I know I've been in Chicago for over a year & every body's probably sick of hearing it, but I just don't care...I LIVE HERE! STILL! And it just keeps getting better. I totally forgive Chicago for the Blizzard & everything. One more time...I live here, THANK GOODNESS!

Happy Friday,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Stylin' up the dessert tray

This all started when I saw these cutey little cupcake tins on Etsy. Of course when I bought them it slipped my mind that I didn't have any mini-cupcake pans (oops!), but eventually I got it together & ordered some. THEN of course I just had to fance these little sweet cakes up with a legit cake decorator. FINALLY after several weeks I managed to round up all of the necessary accoutrement, pick up some Strawberry cake mix (my FAVORITE) & whipped up what turned out to be a big 'ol batch of very stylish cupcakes. Yum! Just in time for Ash Mat's visit! I have to hand it to myself...not bad for a rookie.

Have a Sweet Week,

PS - For more cutey little cupcake tins visit The Cupcake Social website!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Plumbing Along

Some of this may be redundant...BUT I just have to chronicle the nonsense that has been our apartment lately. It all started with a "typical" clog that turned in to a full on back up in our sink & tub. The plumbers came out in their overalls (yes, seriously), took the toilet "off" & put some kind of crazy electric snake machine down the pipe which caused a flood of what they call "black water". Later the cleaning crew came out to sanitize our floor as a result of the contamination caused by the "black water". While they were here our landlords friend came over & started nosing around, sassing us because we used a plumber she didn't like. Apparently he's a "snake". She warned that she'd put him out of business & mentioned something about how he must have forgotten who she "works for"...Picture something out of the Real Housewives of New Jersey except instead of a Range Rover she rides in on a Men's bicycle that she "borrowed" from our upstairs neighbors. It's frightening. And funny. 

Anyway while she was there cussing the plumber she also started letting us know how unnecessary she thought it was that a cleaning crew was there to sanitize our floor. We let her know that the insurance company sent them over but she still wanted to know which adjuster we talked to, who called this company, if it was covered under our landlords policy, and ON & ON & ON...No matter how many times we told her that our landlord called his insurance agent she was still under the impression that we had something to do with it. While we were discussing this the cleaning crew blew a fuse. OF COURSE! Our landlord's "friend" took that as a sign that she needed to go out to the garage & bring in several boxes of miscellaneous fuses & start switching them out randomly to see if that would fix the problem. Of course it didn't. 

Obviously the fuse that blew was the one to the AC & the Refrigerator. So Greg went to Home Depot at 11 & brought home 2 industrial extension cords so that we could keep our food from spoiling. The next day when the Electrician came out (2 hours late) he twisted the fuses tightly into their appropriate positions. "They just weren't in all the way. Was somebody fooling around with them or something?" 

That's the end of chapter 1. 

Chapter 2: Greg leaves for Utah for 2 1/2 weeks. Then the plumbing backs up again. We call a different plumber this time. They don't answer. Our landlord instructs us to call the "Snake" plumber back. He doesn't answer. Finally the 1st plumber agrees to come. Until our landlord completely insults the plumber & me by using a racial slur while negotiating the price of the visit. The following day, the "Snake" plumber shows up unannounced & when we tell him we've got yet another plumber coming he says "Well let me know how that works out for ya" & then hangs up. Totally normal. Finally a plumber comes (1 hour late) & says there's nothing he can do unless he breaks through the floor & replaces the plumbing. He leaves saying not to flush too much & don't take long showers in the mean time. 

Of course he's made a COMPLETE mess of my house & the tile floor. So I kept the dogs off of the tile & decided I'd tackle cleaning later. The next day I deep cleaned the entire apartment...mopped, bleached, name it. I even replaced our bath mat. I left for a few hours & came back after 9, looking forward to a fresh smelling, thoroughly cleaned bathroom, hopeful that at least we could treat it gingerly & make it through the upcoming visit of one of my best friends. When I went into the bathroom & found that my new bath mat was completely soaked & there was standing water draining down into my floor I was completely defeated. A few hours later I went in to check again & found a fresh batch of standing water that was again draining down into my floor. But where was it coming from? 

I called in to work today (for the 3rd time) so that the plumber could come BACK & try to fix it. Our landlord is threatening not to pay for the visit 2 days ago until the plumber "actually does something", because obviously if it's not "fixed" it can't be because something more serious needs to be, no...surely it's because BOTH of the plumbers who have been here & said the same thing are incompetent. He's also been in Greg's ear all morning calling us "dramatic' & accusing us of "over dramatizing" the crumbling bathroom floor situation even though it's now been through 4 floods & is absorbing all of the water. Finally the plumber gets our landlord to agree to pay for him to take out the vanity, open up the wall & fix the problem. 

So he's in the midst of that now. re-tracking mud, dirt & toilet run off through my house. I'll be back to work putting this house together in a few short hours I'm sure. But we still have to have the floor replaced, which our landlord's going to fight us on forever I'm sure. To help grease the wheels we're seeking the help of an attorney. It's unfortunate that all of this is happening, and in some ways I feel kind of bad for our landlord. But in the words of my father, "It is what it is". All just 3 days before Ashley gets here & with a looming work deadline, 2 dogs, wedding planning & a traveling Mister. Sheesh. 

Have I said lately that I can not WAIT to stop renting?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Little Women

It's hard to believe that almost 11 years ago my Mom & I drove to Cincinnati to visit our first baby, my niece Christine (10 going on 15...I know, such an "Aunt" thing to say). It's harder still to believe that our second little nugget, Trinity, was just 6 months old when I graduated from high school, and now she's finishing the 2nd grade. Trinity expressed her amazement at this, saying "And 8 years later you're still in college?"

Although I can't believe these little ladies are growing up so fast, I am certainly enjoying their maturity! Last weekend "Uncle Butters" and I hosted Christine & Trinity for the Memorial Day Weekend. I should also mention that I am thoroughly enjoying our proximity to the girls now that we live in Chicago...The "half way point" where we met my Brother to pick up the girls is just a 3 hour drive away.

From the Blue Corner...
Saturday we got up early & enjoyed a Pancake Breakfast care of Uncle Butters. We had originally planned on going to the Lincoln Park ZooMillennium Park, but it was raining so we decided to walk to the nearby Belmont Music Festival. The Music Festival features vendors of all sorts of things, including some wrestling masks Trinity was intrigued by. There's also a stage where a number of live bands play throughout the festival. We made our way down to the stage, and the "other Meghan" lead a charge to dance in the rain (which was steadily picking up of course). We got drenched in the rain, but we enjoyed our time dancing, libating & taking in the sights, sounds & tastes of Chicago festival season! We ended that day with a nice long walk to Wrigley Field & a surprise live band across the street, which we enjoyed from our front yard.
Riding the Train

The next morning we had an early appointment at J.Crew Bridal to try on some Wedding Dresses (Eeeep!) and some Bridesmaids dresses. The girls were really excited to ride the L downtown. They were comparatively less excited about dress shopping, because although I'd hoped they'd have some things for C & T to try on, they didn't have anything on hand. Coop & I had fun trying on our dresses nonetheless. Coop has yet to meet a Bridesmaids dress that doesn't like her...stay tuned for March 2012! As a reward for the girls' patience, and because I wanted to spoil them a little, we did some shopping downtown. They each picked out a few things they liked for the summer, and we all had a great time shopping together. Naturally, it pored the ENTIRE time, dashing our hopes of making a Lincoln Park Zoo & Millennium Park visit...we added those things to our "next time" list. We settled for Jenga & Uno back at home with Uncle Butters & the pups.

Later that night we hosted a BBQ for some of our Chicago friends (to show off our bright, kind, talented nieces). Christine & Trinity wore their favorite new outfits & charmed everyone to pieces. Trinity held her own with the boys in several rounds of Uno, a few of which she won.

On our last day together, Memorial Day, it was 90 degrees in Chicago & the girls had been patiently waiting for the sun to come out so that we could go to the beach. We weren't able to spend as much time at the beach as we would have liked (we had to get on the road toward home!) but the girls got to frolic around in Lake Michigan for a little bit.
I'm so proud to be their Aunt! I'm looking forward to many more summer visits to Chicago (among other places I'm sure) & lots more proud moments with these two.

Here are some more photos of our fun weekend!

Bursting with pride,