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Goodbye Little Friend

Today I said goodbye to someone who has been with Joel and I from practically the very beginning. We got him a couple months after we got married. We’d just moved out of my hometown to be closer to Joel’s new job. I was lonely and needed a friend. So off to the pet store we went and spent $14 on a little blue parakeet.

We named him Einstein.

No particular reason for that name except I thought it was funny. He almost got renamed when my nephew Hunter saw him for the first time and exclaimed “TURTLE!” Einstein seemed to fit him though so it stuck.

Through the years he was my little buddy when I was home alone waiting for Joel to get off work. He loved the sound of running water and punk rock music. He was also probably Five Iron Frenzy‘s littlest fan. He loved to rock out. He rarely ever screeched or made the loud obnoxious noise parakeets are known for. He mostly just chirped and sang pleasantly or had little conversations with the birds outside the window.

He was a afraid of almost everything. He didn’t even like to be held for a long time. We tried to get him toys and even another parakeet buddy but he wanted nothing to do with them. As long as he had his music or running water he was happiest.

He eventually warmed up to us and realized we weren’t out to kill him. When I spent a year based in DC while Joel was back here in Chicago he and Joel became really close. They never lost that special bond. He was meant to be a friend to me but he ended up being Joel’s confidant during all the hard times while I was away.

Then the last couple months he started to look a little rough. His feathers weren’t as bright and he went through a molting phase that didn’t ever really end. The last couple weeks he started falling off his perches. And then in the last few days he just didn’t try to get up on them anymore. He just hung out at the bottom of his cage. His one little foot curled up under him and he never used it anymore. We had to move his food and water onto the floor of his cage so that he could eat and drink.

Then this morning he sang one more quick little song. It stood out to me because I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I heard him actually sing.

Then he let out what sounded like a painful cry. I went over to check on him and part of his bottom beak had broken off completely. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. I called Joel and he rushed home so he could take him to the vet. I was too much of a mess to go with him. It just broke my heart to see him in such pain.

Joel and I said our goodbyes to him and I stayed home and just cried. The vet said it was nothing we did wrong. He couldn’t be 100% sure without very expensive blood work but all the symptoms pointed to a tumor. It would have cost hundreds of dollars to even try to treat him and there was no guarantee it would do any good. He was just in too much pain already so we decided the kindest thing was to put him down.

I miss him so much already. The cage is already in the garage because it’s just too painful to see it sitting there empty. Looking at the spot where it used to sit makes me cry though.

I think Phoebe will miss him too although she was never a big fan. I blame that on the geese that used to live in the backyard of our old apartment. Bullies. But we could always say “Where’s Einstein?” and she would run to his cage. If he got too loud she would run over and grumble at him or stare at him in interest.

He was old and up until the end he lived a really nice life. I wish we would have taken him to the vet sooner. I feel so guilty that we let him be in pain at all much less letting it get to the point of his beak breaking. We knew in the last several days that he was really sick and we’d probably have to have him put down. I just didn’t want it to be true. I wanted him to suddenly perk up and be his happy little self again.

We did the kind thing, although I wish we’d done it sooner. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier though. He left a void bigger than I imagined he would. He was always just there, in the background making my day a little brighter and more pleasant with his song. And now he’s gone.

A part of our family died today. I miss you so much my little friend.


A real boy

This past weekend I was at my sister’s with Joel babysitting her three kiddos. My nephews are Anthony 4, Jordan 3 and Devin (but we call him Diggy) 5 months and they are seriously the sweetest kids ever.

Here are a couple snippets from the weekend:

JordanUncle Joel, you don’t live here.

JoelWell for the weekend we do.

JordanYeah but you don’t live here regularly. (side note, seriously he used the word regularly. He’s 3! Cracked me up)

JoelWould you like it if we lived here regularly?

At the same time: AnthonyYes! JordanNo!

AnthonyBut Jordan, then they’d be here all the time.

JordanBut that would just be silly.


They were watching a super hero move and one of the previews was for Harry Potter.

AnthonyI like Harry Potter. Is he real?

MeNo he’s a character on TV just like Superman.

He seemed disappointed but got lost in the movie and didn’t say anything else about it. Later my sister Anna (16) was over and she was talking with Anthony. He was obviously being super cute and so she said,

You’re so cute, Anthony. You should be on TV.

Anthony’s eyes got really big and sad. He took a deep breath and said,

But…. I want to be real.

I was so pleased with how the day went. I thought it was going to be the whole weekend. My brother-in-law was having some health issues and we thought he would need to be in the hospital all weekend. Thankfully the issues turned out not to be as serious as originally thought and they didn’t even have to stay over night.

It was going to be kind of fun and interesting though. Going from a blissfully child-free couple to two toddlers and an infant? For a whole weekend? Including over night? Bam!

I was shocked at how stress free it was though. Yeah I was tired at the end of the day but those kids are so freaking well behaved. The most annoying part of the day was heating up bottles every time Diggy needed to eat. And that was not that big a deal. At all.

The only thing I’m worried about now is I won’t be able to live up to this high standard of adorableness my sister’s kids have set. I’m just the tiniest bit concerned that I’m going to end up raising a herd of monster children.

Maybe I’ll just convince my sister to move in next door. Between her and their older boy cousins they ought to stay in line. Or at least their cousins will teach them how to be ridiculously adorable and I won’t notice the monstrous behavior as much.

Popcorn and Cake… wrecks

I grew up in the town where Orville Redenbocker developed his famous and delicious popcorn. Hence, the annual Popcorn Festival. With the exception of a few adult years where I was either living overseas or had to work I’ve been going to the Popcorn Festival since I was a little kid. It starts with short 100 meter dashes for kids 2-10. It’s so cute to see my nephews carrying on the tradition.

Winners. Yay!

After that there’s a parade in which a float = anything with popcorn thrown on it.

Or people dressed as popcorn. Whatever.

As a kid I remember the floats being these elaborate creations made entirely of popcorn. Not sure if I was just little and thought everything was cooler or if people got lazy because the floats aren’t all that impressive anymore. Oh well, it’s more about spending time with my family anyway.

See how my brother is leaning back in his chair? Despite warnings he continued doing it.

He learned his lesson though.

Once the parade was over we walked around a bit, ate some junk food and listened to the bands that were playing. Normally we’d look around at the booths as there are always some really cool crafts and things. This year it was so insanely crowded that we quickly decided it wasn’t worth it and headed home. I made cake!

If you follow me on twitter you may remember tweeting about my cake wreck. See, in my head I’m this fabulous baker. Unfortunately I have very little experience and so things don’t tend to turn out the way they look in my head. Remember the asshole cake? Yeah.

I do learn from my mistakes though and did not come close to losing a finger or throwing cake across the room. Win!

That’s kind of where the win ends though.

What I learned this time is whipped frosting, while delicious, does not hold layer cakes together well.

Whipped frosting kind of likes to be all airfull and slidey and before you know it your beautiful layer cake looks like this.

That hole in the frosting is from me trying to push the layers back into place.

Top tip: that doesn’t work. At. all.

We all got a good laugh out of it though and the really cool thing about the cake wasn’t revealed until I started serving it.

That was the reaction I was hoping for.

Ta da!

Hot mess on the outside. Awesome on the inside.

Kind of like me.



No no no no no no no.

This keeps going through my head over and over. My dad had a stroke.


No. Can’t be true. Nope.

Mentally I’m holding my ears and scrunching my eyes closed and saying la la la la la as loud as I can.

My dad had. A stroke.

My grandfather had a stroke. My dad’s dad. He had a couple actually. Ultimately he died. I was too young to remember the man he was before the stroke. I’m told it changed him a lot. I only have pinpoints of memories of my grandfather. His stroke made him much grumpier and as a small child I didn’t understand it. I loved him though despite the fact that he scared me a little. I wish I could remember him as he was before his strokes. I don’t think he would have scared me then.

I wonder if my dad had as hard a time accepting things when it was his dad as I’m having now that it’s mine. I wonder if his mind argued with itself. His dad was an amazing man, I’m told. I know my dad thought so. How did he handle it when it was his dad lying in a bed or sitting in a wheelchair? I wish I could ask him.

I visit my dad and I see the other stroke patients. They’re old. My dad can’t be old. My dad can’t possibly belong here with all these weak, sick old people. He doesn’t belong there.

Those can’t be my dad’s legs, so small and frail. Those can’t be my dad’s arms, barely able to lift himself an inch. My dad picks me up when I’ve fallen and hurt myself. His are the arms I can curl up in when I’ve had a scary dream. He gives me advice when I have a problem. The roles aren’t supposed to reverse like this. He’s my dad.

The worst is his mind though. He’s not there. At least not completely. My dad not only knows the year and the president but he’ll talk your ear off passionately for hours about exactly how said president has failed. My dad doesn’t stare off into space. My dad doesn’t just follow a conversation, he leads it.

No Dad, it’s not 2003. No Dad, it’s not 2012. No Dad, you’re not going home tomorrow. No Dad, that man in the next room isn’t your brother.


I can’t stand it. It breaks my heart into a million pieces. It’s so unfair that my dad is almost 73 and I’m only 25. I feel like I’m desperately clawing, trying to hold onto every precious second I have with him and those seconds are sand, disintegrating underneath my nails faster and faster and faster.

It takes my breath away to think of losing him. How much less of a whole my family would be without his hearty, infectious laugh and goofy jokes. I’ve had that ticking clock in the back of my mind for years now. I knew I couldn’t keep him forever. Why do I feel like someone just sped up the countdown?

It could have been so much worse. He can walk and talk. If you didn’t know him you might not even know he’d had a stroke. But for me? The lack of mental clarity makes me nauseous. My dad is his mind. I want him back.

I can’t help but feel likes it’s the beginning of the end and that thought sends me swirling into a deep dark pit of despair. I want to be wrong. I’ve never wanted to be wrong so badly in my life. I desperately want everything to return to normal. I don’t want a reason to be in denial.

Outwardly I’m remaining positive and hopeful. Inside I’m holding my head and screaming at the top of my lungs. I want my dad back.

Nothing is wrong.

No no no no no no no.

Birthday Celebrations (part 1)

Because obviously I couldn’t celebrate my birthday all in one day. My birthday is way too important to be able to fit the celebrations into one day.

Or there are so many people in my life that it’s impossible to get them all together at once.

Either way.

Anyway, I had to work on my actual birthday. I got off early however and came home and took a three hour nap. I never take naps. Once I’m up I’m usually up for the day. Apparently turning 25 has changed me though because that was not the last nap I had this week.

Anyway, I came home, took a nap, relaxed around the house and then had a nice little dinner with Joel. Perfectly relaxing.

Tuesday I worked so no real excitement there.

Yesterday was when the real celebrations began. After another luxurious two hour nap, I met up with my sister and brother-in-law and they treated Joel and I to a yummy dinner and some bowling.

It was dollar bowling night so there was about a 45 minute wait for a lane. We killed the time playing pool.*


But we had fun. Mostly making fun of how bad we were.

In case you think I’m lying, Joel and I played against Naomi and Melvin. We won every game. Not because of any kind of skills on our part though. Every win was because of a scratch on the 8 ball or something similar. Lame. And hilarious. Thank goodness we weren’t playing for money.

We finally got a lane and then had a ton of fun bowling.


I have mentioned before that I have no bowling skillz. I actually got what I’m pretty sure is a life time high score of 88. That included two strikes in one game. ::dies::

Joel got a high score of 130. That would be incredibly impressive if I didn’t tell you he was playing with bumpers. I’m sure he would rather you be all impressed though so I won’t mention the bumpers.

Er… oops.

For the record? My 88 was completely unassisted by bumpers. I got that practically pro score all on my own. Boo yah.

Anyway, it was a truly wonderful evening. I’m so lucky to have a sister that is one of my very best friends. I can’t get enough time with her and her hubby.

Thank you guys for a really fantastic night. Love you!

*Excuse the crappy iPhone pictures, somebody forgot the Nikon ::cough:: Joel ::cough::

Wordless Wednesdays: Fun with Legos

Phoebe and Jack

I leave Joel alone for one evening and I come home to a bottle of jack the size of my head. If I didn’t have a massive headache I’d join him. Instead I’m going to hide in a quiet dark spot.


Not ruined

This morning I attempted to go into work. That lasted about an hour and a half until someone could come in to relieve me because I was less than useless. It was truly pathetic.

I then came home and, despite having gotten over nine hours of sleep last night, fell, fully clothed onto the futon and slept for four hours. Apparently an hour and a half of work = need for four hours of sleep. Sad right?

I should have stayed home.

Stupid pride.

Anyway, I woke up and took care of Joel and myself. By take care of I mean occasionally passing him a kleenex and telling him he needs to drink more water. Oh! And I made him rice.

We also had our own version of Christmas caroling. If by Christmas caroling you mean mutual moaning about how much our stomachs and heads hurt. Festive.

I told my mom to pass the message on that we wouldn’t be joining them at my grandparents for Christmas Eve dinner. And then I proceeded to bawl my eyes out for thirty minutes.

I was pretty grumpy and had a decent pity party. I love Christmas and now I’m missing it. Boo hoo.

Once I got a grip on it I realized how things could be so much worse. Joel and I have the flu. Yes, we’re pretty miserable but we’ll live. There are so many people in hospitals right now.

We have our little apartment. It has heat and running water (something Joel and I both have spent Christmases without growing up). We have everything we could ever need and a sweet little crazy dog who loves us to the point of obnoxiousness.

Our fevers are much lower and we’re both feeling better. By tomorrow I expect we’ll both be in full recovery. That means we’ll be able to spend the entire day enjoying  quality time together, just the two of us.

The world closes on Christmas day. It will be just Joel and I without the stress of presents or drama. It wasn’t the Christmas to which I was looking forward. I thought Christmas was ruined.

As it turns out, I’m thinking it’s exactly the Christmas we needed.

Where are you Christmas?

This year I just haven’t been into Christmas. I started out excited but I could never get into it. Now it’s a week away and I’m just… completely neutral about it. Not excited, not dreading, just kind of numb to the whole thing.

Actually that could kind of describe my outlook on life right now. Meh.

It’s kind of a bummer way to feel. I can’t figure out why either.

I need some suggestions on how to snap out of this funk, if you can still call it a funk. Otherwise I’m going to end up in the nut house. I can’t keep this up forever.

In an attempt to rev my Christmas spirit I’m going to list what I’m excited about.

1. Seeing my sister Liz and nephew Hunter. They moved to California a year ago and I miss them x billion. I haven’t seen them since I visited them last January. (btw click that link and watch the video. It’s still makes me laugh out loud.) They arrive next Wednesday night and I cannot wait to see them.

2. Christmas eve dinner with my grandparents and extended family. Always a good time. My family is amazing.

3. The food. Gosh I love holiday meals. I literally just finished eating a second ago and the thought of having a holiday meal is making me drool all over this keyboard. Mmmm

4. Christmas morning at my mom and dad’s. Again with my family being amazing.

5. Christmas night with Joel’s family. It’s going to be a little different since so far we’ve always spent all day Christmas with my family. But I got really lucky with my in-laws and so it will be fun to see them.

6. Christmas movies. I’ve watched some but I’m looking forward to watching my favorites: A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Grinch, Home Alone, all the claymation specials etc. I’m sure those will put me in more of a Christmas mood.

I actually feel better already. This year it’s not about presents, it’s about spending time with the people I love the most. That should be enough to get anyone out of a funk.

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