Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tech Savvy Chica

As many of you know -- I've avoided the cell phone craze. For one brief moment when I first moved to Chicago back in 2002 I had a cell phone. It was never turned on, I never used it and once it rang in purse and I peered around the store I was in trying to figure out which idiot wasn't answering that annoying phone with it's shrill ring tone. Shortly thereafter I got rid of the cell phone and only occasionally borrowed Rob's for emergency situations (like grocery shopping when I needed Rob to help carry in the groceries and our doorbell didn't work). Once I was envious of Rob sending text messages to Nanny who was sitting one table away from us at a restaurant in Las Vegas. Other than that -- I never really wanted one and in fact termed myself as someone who should not have a cell phone, i.e. I am the person in the airport terminal answering Rob's cell phone in a ridiculously loud voice, screaming "Can you hear me?" when I know full well everyone within a 10 mile radius can hear me.

Alas, my life has come to a point when I really need a cell phone. We are currently living at the cottage which has no landline (and also receives only 3 TV channels, but whatever). I am also working from said cottage at an office which consists of a dining room table, laptop and awesome view. So I knew I need to get technified.

On our second day in Buffalo, I headed to a cell phone store, and proceeded to go all out. I got a Blackberry (no small steps for me!) Rob and I now have a family plan with unlimited text messages to each other. Thank God, because I don't know what I would have done without texting Rob about the security dogs while waiting in line at Canadian customs in the same car as him -- and also it provided an amusing moment when I got yelled at by a customs officer with said dog through an open window. For your reference, cell phones must be turned off while waiting in line at the Rainbow Bridge.

However, despite my miraculously mastering proper volume control while talking on my Blackberry, we are still quite technically challenged. The Blackberry functionality still can't be set up because apparently Blackberries require a stronger signal. So if I turn on any of the functionality I loose my connection. Additionally my reception drops periodically and people get the impression (obviously with which I do not agree) that I am not cut out to have a cell phone and constantly turn it off -- not the case people! If you have my cell phone number and are trying to call me, don't give up, call back later!

Rob's cell phone somehow manages to work. Despite an incident last night when our neighbor called to tell me he was going to bring us flowers and Rob's cell phone battery died as soon as I answered, prompting said generous and kind neighbor to think that I hung up on him. (He still brought the flowers).

We have also purchased a plug-in USB connection, the sort that Bill Curtis my almost work-landlord/neighbor advertises on TV. Thankfully, this connect-miracle seems to work down here quite well, and is even faster than dial up. Sadly it cannot sustain a strong enough connection (or bandwidth -- whatever that means) to allow me to video chat, an integral part of my job as my boss LOVES video chat. So thus, we will be driving up to Buffalo every so often. Those of you in city are welcome to come down and see us, or if the drive is to much, call my cell and we can do dinner or after work coffee or something. Just remember my cell phone may be out of range -- NOT turned off. I am savvy in the way of the modern girl.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Kind of Town, Chicago is...

I just couldn't get out of Chicago without having at least 2 more CTA incidents. On Thursday I was stuck on a train that the doors only opened for every other stop. And then on Friday, we sat at Fullerton while the station PA ran repeatedly announcing, "There are pick pockets on the train. Please watch your purses and pockets. Police have been called." It should come as no surprise to you that no police arrived.

I am officially able to make this post because we are no longer in Chicago and therefore no CTA karmic kick can punish me for my complaining. That's right, we're in Buffalo now! I'm posting at my Mom's house, where we stayed for our first night. We'll then head to the cottage either today or tomorrow depending on the movers ETA.

We spent our last day in Chicago (Rob's birthday) at a ridiculously hot, but awesome Cubs game. We had sushi and walked our neighborhood and then took one stroll down memory lane also known as Welles park, before heading home to finish up any packing.

The movers arrived yesterday at 7 am, and were easily done by 9:30 -- all of our junk, including Rob's Uncle Johnny's ventriloquist dummy was welcomed by a mover who I swear looked like Carlos Zambrano's cousin. I did tell that I would tip him if the dummy did not make it onto the truck (and subsequently not into my closet where he normally resides), but alas correct mover policy dictates they cannot leave possessions on the side of the road. Rob also pointed out to me how wrong it would be to leave the dummy in its antique suitcase in my closet -- imagine the new tenant finding that as a welcome gift.

We left our apartment in somewhat cleanliness having previously arranged with our landlord to pay for the cleaners. Thank God, cause I just do not do that well.

And then we packed the Bug with what little would fit, and a wide array of cat accessories including 1 travel sized litter box a Pet Hammock and 2 collapsable meowing cardboard carriers. Meowing stopped by about 11:30 am and shortly thereafter, I opened Grey Cat's box. Despite having plenty of room to get out and lay on the seat, he decided to instead sleep in the travel litter box (luckily with fresh litter). Later on he decided to crawl underneath the Pet Hammock, causing at least 10 minutes of panic as Rob and I became convinced he had escaped from the car at the rest spot.

But alas, we have survived, the cats have survived and indeed seem to like traveling (I'll post a picture later).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Getting Closer

Ok, I feel better now. At this point I only have 2 cabinets, 2 drawers and my dresser to pack. Most of the various accessories of the apartment are done, but I feel like there's stuff lurking everywhere. Tomorrow is the big Dining Room Giveaway and then I get to throw lots and lots of stuff out.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moving Project [Part Deux]

Ah, and I thought we were doing so wellllll yesterday. Today I got home with a handful of extra boxes, hoping to finish the kitchen and my closet. Rob meanwhile had been home for a few hours and had finished his to do list including his closet -- a huge coup! Rob is not only assisting in packing but leading the way. I seriously caught myself a good one the day I married him.

Sadly his success is my failure. As it turns out, I was completely unable to get ANYTHING done despite my efforts and seem more tired for my lack of completion. I packed parts of the kitchen, and parts of my closet -- but that still leaves all of the dishes (!! damn my years at Pier 1!) and my dresser. Packing the closet ultimately led me to unearth -- gasp, my sewing machine. How do I pack a sewing machine? We're now down to those ridiculously shaped items that refuse to fit in any boxes, and random things that I have no idea how to pack.

My dining room table has since turned into a yard sale on crack. Those of you who wish to attend said yard sale (also known as I'm giving this stuff away for free and you can take a half-empty bottle of liquor too non-sale) can email me and then stop over on Wednesday. No, seriously, come get stuff -- that's one less haul down to the dumpster.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

If anyone gets engaged in the next week...

Don't tell me because the Martha Stewart Wedding Library has been cataloged, archived and packed. Also the Martha Stewart Everyday Food Magazines -- as well as:

  • Our entire library of books (all labeled with "Books:Black [1]" or "Books: Red [5]")
  • Our hall closet (snow shovels have been thrown out to be replaced when we have something to shovel)
  • Our living room (with the exception of part of the corner cabinet)
  • Our linen closet
  • Most of the kitchen mini-appliances and the cookbooks

Still to pack?
  • Closets
  • Bedroom and Dressers
  • The rest of the kitchen

Sooo close to being done. By the way, if anyone wants random books, VHS Chick-flick movies, dusty picture frames or various random crap, an air conditioner, or possibly a 10-speed bike (you have to convince Rob) stop on by. In lieu of a yard sale, there will be a dining room sale, where will be happy to supply you with half empty bottles of liquor upon your purchase (and proof of ID).

By the way, Black Cat is helping.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Who wants an update?

OOOOOHHHHH, interestingly I just noticed that my IT guy at work updated my computer with a new version of my web browser thereby allowing me to see blogger's shortcut buttons. Blogging has never been this easy. Awesome.

Anyway, what I really wanted to say is -- We are moving to Buffalo! I know this has been official for quite sometime, but it is officially happening soon. Want the details? Here they are:

  • We have no place to live, so we're living here:

  • So we're going to be staying there until we find an actual apartment, and our stuff gets to stay in storage.
  • We have hired movers (because we are smart), but no we aren't packed yet.
  • Pick-up date is scheduled for August 24 (day after Rob's birthday) or August 25 -- we don't find out until a little closer to the date. And we will be leaving that same date.
  • The kitties are not in the least prepared for their move and therefore this should help.
  • And I officially start working from home on August 27 -- so yeah, I'll see ya'll Labor Day weekend.

Time for Q and A. Anyone?

Sunday, August 3, 2008


I spend a lot of my evening quiet time silently thinking over my response to the evening news. I like most people in America (I hope) have been grossly dissatisfied with the media since oh, about 2000 -- when news stopped meaning objective facts and started meaning round tables and editorial comments. After listening to the news, I generally debate the points in my head, marshalling my arguments, generally trying to work off my mad. The other night I had a fit of rage, when I watched the news accusing both McCain and Obama of dirty ads, including the celebrity comparison and the 'Obama is elitest because he likes arugula and power bars memo.' Seriously, these are dirty ads??? No, this is a slow news day in which you as the main stream media feed into America's growing dispassion for all things political and train us to stop paying attention to what you say. Dirty politics was what you forgot to report in 2000, when Karl Rove's small minded men engaged in phone campaigns throughout the South asking what people would think "if" they knew that McCain had a child of a different race. Accusing people of eating arugula or being "Same Old" not dirty politics -- just boring.

Now, that being said, the other big issue that seems to come up A LOT both at home and throughout those lovely round table discussions is the question of whether or not Obama is all talk and no substance. I don't consider it a bad question. Our nation has traditionally had longer serving candidates, and Obama is a relative unknown to the majority of the country. For those of us in Illinois, he's an old standby. He was an institution in this state when I moved here in 2002, so he to me is characteristic of Illinois politics. When I went to school in Louisiana, people used to talk about Louisiana Politricks. I think the term applies here too. I moved to Chicago, when Illinois was cleaning house Obama being one of the cleaners-- the biggest scandal of course being the indictment of Governor Ryan who has since been convicted.

When Obama spoke at the Democratic Convention, I had already been thoroughly dissolutioned at the democratic party. I was a Gore supporter, big time. It was obvious to me that John Kerry was not going to be elected, though I voted for him anyway. I knew that the Democratic party was in danger of becoming the villian, something that physically hurt me because the meaning of the party, the purpose of the party is so incredibly popularistic that it is essential to our very being. How could the Republicans be the party of family values -- when the concept of a government caring FOR the people is the tenant of the Democratic Party? DNC leadership had failed, and I knew we needed a superstar -- a Kennedy, a Clinton, a something to steer public attention away from the backwater of party dealings.

Obama's speech was moving, and truthfully, I told Rob that night that I thought O should run. But I didn't think he would, and I wasn't 100% serious. Until August 30, 2005 and the days following. Those of you who know me well know I have recently been obsessed with Colleen McCullough's First Man In Rome series about the late days of the Roman Senate. Though never a fan of the Republic(an) system, I was fascinated for the first time about the pure intentions of Senate legislation -- and saw in this plan of Obama's a Caesar, or a Princeps Senatus.

I started paying attention to the political plans which were not appearing on the evening news. Any articles on Obama's plans were clipped and neatly tucked in whatever book I was reading at the moment. Having a compendium of articles on Obama's the war, environment, tax, and economy plans, I never really understood why people were unsure of what he would do if president. I found his plans more extensive than most. Yes, I realize that plans must be altered as the moment requires, it struck me as fascinating to see that he was able to come up with intensely detailed plans, covering all of the eventualities that I could possibly envision.

Subsequently, I knew from the Katrina actions on, that I was voting for Obama. I chase news about Obama now because I like to see what he's doing and I'm starting to realize because of that I may hear things that other people don't. My ears prick when others don't. For example, when I was waiting at O'Hare for a flight in June, I heard Obama's name on the CNN broadcast and sat down to listen to an article on Obama and McCain's response to the Supreme Court's verdict on Guantanamo Detainee rights, in which Obama spoke out about the importance of the right of habeas corpus for all individuals. (I'm sadly disappointed to say that the media had very little interest in this story.)

All of this is merely to say, why I like Obama and does not allay the fears of those concerned for his lack of experience. To you, I offer this rebuttal. There is no experience to prepare any one for the job of President of the United States short of being President of the United States. If you recall, George W. Bush had experience (5 years as governor -- a far more highly rated type of experience than senator). That turned out really well, but I bet you knew that back when you didn't vote for him. Other people who had experience? George HW Bush (26 years experience in government), Richard Nixon ( 6 years in Congress, 8 years VP) Herbert Hoover (7 years, Secretary of Commerce), and Rob would like me to add Jefferson Davis (US Senator and 7 years US Secretary of War). If that doesn't reassure you, then you've gotten the point. There is no assurance that any one will make a good president. The most we can do is look at his or her character.

Quite frankly when I hear people concerned about Obama being all talk and no substance, it all the more reminds me of one of the biggest reasons I'm voting for him. My number one concern for our country is our current lack of respect for the global community, our current unethical conduct and completely immoral recent actions. The number one thing that I know we are going to get from Obama is diplomacy -- and the number one thing you need for that to happen? A good talker.