Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pay for day care, here's the change.

One week into day care and Miles brought home the flu... well a 24-hour virus of some sort. A kid who has gone his entire life being pretty sick-free is now going to be exposed to lots of little tykes with germs every day. So after barfing in the car on Friday afternoon, we got to spend the next 24 hours dealing with a very sick little buddy. Thankfully it passed and life moved on.

Yeah, life moved on until 2am Sunday night / Monday morning when LP and I got struck with the virus and did our version of dueling barfers. Being sick with a little one is bad enough, but when both parents can hardly move it truly is a challenge. There is no way to explain to a sixteen month old why mom and dad are laying on the ground moaning... and keep running to the bathroom. And add to that the biggest obstacle was to make Miles meals since the smell of food just made me want to barf more. Even the smell of Mac & Cheese was unbearable. Thankfully, we had a friend come by and deliver some things we needed to make it through the sickness.

It all passed, and we are all over it (I hope), but these certainly are the times I wish we lived by family.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Paczki Day!

I am too tired to write anything this morning... but since this is one of my favorite days of the year I feel like I should post something. So here is a link to 2007's post. If you do not live by a Polish bakery, then just go grab a jelly donut. Happy Paczki Day!!!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Something little.

Last week I bought my son his first Thomas train set. Nothing fancy since we really cannot afford it. Just a simple oval track that came with a couple trains. No tunnels. No bridges. No cranes, or rocks, or flashing lights. Just trains and a track... and that was all he needed. MO was so happy. He has played with it every day - for hours.

I sometimes get down that I cannot afford to buy MO everything he wants (or everything I want for him), but seeing him so happy with a simple toy makes me realize I can learn from him. I don't need everything I want. I have so much already. I have the important things... I have family, and friends who are like family.

I often forget, and it's nice to be reminded by someone who is only fifteen months old.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Friends, an ongoing lesson.

Friends are a wonderful part of life. Yet friendships are often a tricky relationship. When I have moved to a new city, most of my friends I left behind faded, but the best (and few) kept going on strong. And when I got laid off I was once again surprised by friends.

It's hard to know what to do when you call (text or email) a friend looking to talk... because you're down, because you need advice, because you just want to talk to someone above the age of one, and that friend never gets back to you. It's even harder after a few calls are never returned. Being unemployed can be lonely, and even worse when you feel a good friend has no time for you.

On the flipside is one person in your life that surprises you by checking up on you, calling every so often to say hello. I was very surprised when this happened to me, and look back on all of those calls and feel truly thankful.

Friendships are a relationship, not a collection. One great friendship is so much more rewarding than everyone knowing you.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 2.11.2010

Some nights you just have to make sloppy joes. You just do.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Day... Earthquake.

This morning the western suburbs of Chicago were jolted by a tiny 4.3 earthquake. Since it occurred at 4am, I slept through it, but for some strange reason I was wide awake by 4:15am. Not sure if the reason was the cat who was making noise, barfing, and pushing in MO's door - or maybe it was the earthquake. I tried to get back to sleep, but it was useless, so I made some coffee and turned on the TV to watch the news. The local news coverage was all about the earthquake. The local Fox station was interviewing people who called in with their experience, yet the anchor seemed a bit disappointed when caller after called reported no injuries or damage. I found this all very entertaining since I grew up in California, and any earthquake under 6.0 is really more of a hiccup. All of this talk about earthquakes started to make me a tad bit homesick for California, which is a very odd concept - do people see tornadoes on TV and get homesick for Kansas?

Simultaneously there is a foot of snow outside the window, which was the other top local news story this Chicago morning. For me, snow is one of the many things I adore about living in this city. I did not grow up with snow so I am not jaded like many Midwesterners are. I enjoy putting on the Sorels and going tromping in the snow. I get giddy about the idea of making snow angels. I get a tiny bit bummed out when the snow is too powdery and does not form good snowballs. I do look forward to snow every Autumn... and I also cannot wait for it to go away every Spring. I certainly would miss the snow if I no longer lived around it.

My day started out with coffee, being a little homesick, and also realizing again how much I truly enjoy Chicago.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 2.5.2010.

Last night I made Polenta with a Mushroom Sauce and Mixed Greens (made by SV) on the side. Excellent! I forget about polenta... sorry polenta. It's just something I do not make much. This was also the first time I cooked with Marsala wine... nasty to drink, but it gave this dish a fantastic flavor!

It was our Happy 76th Birthday Hank Aaron dinner!

Friday, February 05, 2010


Interviews are an emotional, wild and crazy ride, especially when on unemployment for more than a year. Since trying to find a job in a recession is never easy, I have been forced to apply for mostly jobs outside the music industry, where I have spent all of my professional life. I went with the mindset of the more jobs I apply to the better my chances of an interview would be. With large numbers of talented people out there looking for work, this is not the easiest time to find a job in a different industry. Sure, the job functions of a project manager may be the same, but I have found that most industries think they are rocket-science and an outsider would just not understand.

Before the interview: I have never had a job where I had to wear a suit to work, nor did I really need to wear anything but jeans and a tee-shirt. So when an interview comes around it is always hard to figure out how to dress for an interview. A friend told me once that you can never go wrong with a suit... guess what, you can. Over dressing for an interview can be just as uncomfortable as under dressing. I have found myself finding a happy medium to a few interviews by wearing a suit but no tie. I had an interview once at a PR agency where I took my friend's advice and wore a suit and the first thing one of the interviewers said to me was, "Oh look, you wore a suit. You did not need to do that." I sat there the whole time thinking I just looked like a dork... a well dressed dork. It is hard to "know your audience" when you do not know anyone at the company.

After the interview: For me, the waiting game is the hardest part of the interview process. Since over the past year I have only been on a handful of interviews, I can not help myself but get all worked up about the idea of being offered the job. Maybe it's positive thinking, maybe it's positive hoping. I find myself at times daydreaming about what it would be like to work at the company... what my commute would be... what having money back in my savings account would be like. I so want that feeling of being needed by a company, by a group of people, who thought I was an answer, a solution. Over-wishful-thinking only seems to lead to a big crash when no job offer comes, and a bigger crash when not even getting to the second round.

I know my day will come, and my guess is that I will know it at the interview. I have a feeling that it will feel right, that the company will be as excited about me as I am about the company. I know it will be right when my only disappointment will be the idea of not being a Mr. Mom anymore. I will miss that.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Clean sheets.

Being a stay at home dad makes me responsible for the laundry, among other things. This is one chore I really do not mind. There is something very satisfying to me about clean laundry, maybe it's the fresh smell or the warmth. Maybe it's the feeling of accomplishment... nah, it's got to be the smell (or lack of smelly smell). Plus, all of the trips up and down the stairs is a good workout.

One of the little joys in life for me... crawling into bed with clean sheets. Heavenly. Yet the biggest challenge with doing the laundry is washing the sheets. The reason: there is always a cat sleeping on it or in it, usually Georgia. Something inside me hates to move a sleeping kitty, and when I try to move one of them they play dead. Really. They get really heavy and try to glue themselves to the bed. So most times I just give up and wait until they get up by themselves. The problem: cats always sleep during the day. Our cats could sleep a week straight, like most I'm sure.

So today is the day... the cats must go find a new place to sleep. I have been putting off washing the sheets since Monday.

Georgia playing dead.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Whatsfordinner, 2.3.2010.

Chicken, Black Bean, and Goat Cheese Tostadas... I thought it was a great new way to prepare something we make once a month. The black beans were mashed into a cooked onion, ground cumin, chili powder, and water. LP was just not down with the goat cheese.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dads night out.

Today I signed up to go to a Dads evening out through the Neighborhood Parents Network of Chicago. This is a group that we just became members of since a few friends highly recommend it. Dads are one of the parts of my life I feel I am missing. Being a stay at home dad, I tend to go on outings with moms... which is great... but I would like to hang out with some dads. Not just dudes, but dudes with kids. Guys that understand what being a parent is all about... hopefully. The few dads I know in Chicago work during the week and at night I am usually too worn out go out.

I had stumbled across a stay at home dads message board / group in Chicago, but I was not amused with some of the discussions that were on the board. One day they were taking a poll of your favorite sex toy - on a stay at home dads message board. Really? I just do not see that this is the place for that sort of discussion. Maybe a poll about what is the perfect time to go to the grocery store, or what is the rudest thing a nanny or mom has said to you... those would be great discussion / poll topics. So just based on those few things, I completely ruled out all dads associated with that group were douchebags. Right or wrong, that is what I did and did not look back.

So on Pączki Day, I will take my little buddy and we will head out to our first play date with dads. Although meeting new people is not my best skill, I am looking forward to (and staying positive about) this outing. Maybe I'll find a dad or two that share some of my interests... maybe.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Unemployment benefits.

On Saturday I received a letter from the State of Illinois stating that my unemployment benefits had expired. Done at 52 weeks. Do they purposely time these notifications to arrive on Saturday - when all State offices are closed? It drives one crazy (especially me). I just wanted to talk to someone... anyone, but I had to wait until Monday morning. So all weekend is spent worrying about what we are going to do as a family.

Monday morning is here so I made the call. After pressing #, and then *, and then holding, and being disconnected, then redial, followed by #, and of course *, and #########... I got through to a living breathing real person! The operator could not tell me any specific information about my benefits, all she could do was to tell me I had to come down to the office to dispute the notice, and I could not make an appointment. Life without a job is tough enough - so why not make it more difficult by trying to deal with the State's unemployment system. Ug.

So my goal is one morning this week I'll be going down to the Unemployment Office and spending my day in line... waiting... waiting... waiting. I sure hope, for their sakes, I don't have to bring Miles.