Tag Archives: condo life

photo friday: in the future

9 Jun


City 2Someday, possibly someday soon, we will have to move from our bootbox of a condo, when sharing the space becomes completely untenable* for two large humans, a smaller human, a dog, and two cats.

And someday, possibly someday soon, we will also have to leave our little neighborhood, because more space in this now-fancy set of streets costs more than we want to spend, and is out of our price range altogether if we want more space to also include a few blades of grass to call our own.

But that someday is not today, so today I will, as I do on the daily, enjoy this little neighborhood for all it’s worth and say thank you to God that I get to live where I do.


*Right now we’re at semi-untenable status.

photo friday: room for improvement, i guess.

13 Jan

The dog doesn’t seem to mind the mess, even if I do.

This is my side of our bedroom. I thought the light was really lovely the other day, and tried to capture it with my camera. It kind of worked. Mostly it just captured my mess, so, well, here you go. You get a photo of the bedroom in its often normal state—baby things and clothes scattered everywhere, books in mild disarray on the windowsill. And of course, the dog.

Yes, the bed is made, and yes, that’s part of the room’s normal state. A made bed is sometimes the only thing that manages to get done in a day. (And more often than not done by my Swede.)

I don’t know who these people are who have tidy, magazine-perfect homes. I’m sure they exist, though possibly only on the Internet, or at least some version of them exists, much like fiction characters kind of exist in real life due to the resemblance they bear to the author’s Uncle Frank or hairstylist or second grade teacher.

Anyway, I’m not one of those people, and I’m not even a version of one of those people. In my head I want to be one of those people, but in reality it doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t. And I’m not going to follow up that declaration with some bullshit about embracing and learning to Love the mess! Embrace the mess! You are the mess! And you are okay!

Yeah, I know I’m okay. My mess and I are just fine, thanks. We don’t like each other, and we glower at each other regularly, and that’s just how our relationship is. Like much in life, it is not perfect.

Maybe someday I will get my shit together, or at least put away, but today is not that day.




photo friday: no. just, no.

4 Sep

Since the day we brought her home, Juniper’s greatest want in life is for the cats to be her friends.

Since the day we brought her home, the cats’ greatest wants in life is for Juniper to stop sniffing their butts. And then to go the hell away.

They are all currently at an impasse.

"Are you sure you don't want to be my friend?" "Go away."

“Are you sure you don’t want to be my friend?”
“Go away.”

zen and the art of closet maintenance

26 Aug

You may remember, back in June, when this happened:

Mother shit, this has been wreaking havoc on my life.

Mother shit, this has been THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE FOR MONTHS NOW. 

I am…huh. Well I’m not happy, or sad, but I’m not indifferent, I’m just, well, I guess I’m just reporting with confused and pained and shit-happens emotions that this mess has not yet been remedied. For those of you keeping track, yes, this disaster originally happened in June. It is now late August. And that is a long time to live with such chaos in this bootbox of a condo.

I actually went out and bought a closet organizer from Home Despot soon after disaster struck. It’s a lovely organizer, with lots of bars and things upon which to hang my and Swede’s clothes, and racks to store purses and other such items.

Since its arrival, said lovely organizer has made a wonderful home for itself propped against the wall in our front hallway. I look at it fondly every time I enter or leave our home. Sometimes I even give it a pat on the top of its box and wish it a good day as I toddle off to work.

I’ve had incredible intentions over the past couple of weekends while Swede was out of town to install the organizer, but my follow through leaves something to be desired. I went so far last weekend to move the mess from our bedroom to the living room, now that our foreign exchange student has departed. I did this with the intention of clearing out the closet space completely so I could buckle down and organize the shit out of the organizer, and use power tools, and build things and….yeah. I don’t actually know that power tools are necessary to install this organizer, but a girl can dream.

But before I could get so far as to even threaten the closet menacingly with a power drill, I was talking with my friend LP and telling her how I’d moved all of our clothing into the living room, and I was going to install the closet organizer, and then, while everything was out in the open, purge my clothing supply like a motherfucker. At which point LP suggested I purge before I install the closet organizer, because once it’s ready to go, she pointed out, I’ll want to fill it, and I probably wouldn’t end up purging as many items as I should.

Blew. My. Mind.

So I started purging, tossing shirts and dresses and a couple of pairs of pants and even a pair of shoes, but then Swede got home, so while I finished the purge, I (again) never got around to installing the closet organizer. Nor have I moved our clothing back into our bedroom. It’s still in the living room.

And these assholes have decided they like it that way.

Quit looking at me, Tall Lady. You left your shit here, and now it's mine.

Quit looking at me, Tall Lady. You left your shit here, and now it’s mine.

It is not my fault that you put your clothes within reach of my napping. Also, that dress behind me is ugly. What were you thinking?

It is not my fault that you put your clothes within reach of my napping. Also, that dress behind me is ugly. What were you thinking?

Instead of getting into heated debates with the jerks about how I put my clothes there for their comfort, I’ve decided to use this turn of events as motivation to get the damn closet organizer installed in the damn closet.

Now. If only I could find the power drill.

photo friday: not one care

14 Aug

It is often hard to catch a good photo of Lady Gaga Halloween Cat, as she is more than a little camera shy. But here I think I’ve managed to really capture her essence, which is basically, “If Fat Cat wanted the bigger basket instead of having to stuff himself into the smaller one, he should have gotten here earlier.”

And how do you feel about the fact that those baskets are supposed to hold our possessions and are not actually for your napping pleasure, LGHC?

“I give no fucks.”

Go away.

Go away.

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: august 2015

12 Aug


About a month ago, I and 5,692 other drivers in the express lanes were racing down the Dan Ryan like bats out of hell—as you do—when traffic started to slow down considerably for no apparent reason—as it does—until we got to a point where I realized there was, in fact, a reason we were all inching along the expressway. I looked to my right to see a car absolutely engulfed in flames on the shoulder of the local lanes.

Yes, Chicagoans. Great idea. Let’s all drive sloooooowly—nay, come to almost a complete stop—while passing a hulking, metal inferno that could very possibly explode at any moment. Well done. (golf clap)

A+ for you guys.


I can’t wear black pants and any kind of white top together. I just can’t. And it’s such a drag! There are oodles of cute white tops out there, and black and white is a classic color combination for a reason (it’s attractive), but I can’t bring myself to make it happen. I spent too many years as waitress, where black pants and a white shirt were requirements. There were entire summers when that’s pretty much all I lived in. So I’m sorry, you guys. I just can’t do it. And don’t even get me started on tuxedo vests.


In my Tuesday morning boot camp class at the gym, our trainer often likes to end the class with the “Superman” exercise, where you lay on your tum and raise your arms and legs in the air—like you’re flying, Superman-style, but sadly without the tights or cape. It’s a great exercise, apparently, for your back and core, but let me tell you something else: It has made me seriously reconsider what I would want my superpower to be, were I to choose.

I had generally always said flying as my superpower of choice, because just think of how much money you’d save on plane tickets! And how much time you’d save not sitting in, ahem, traffic jams going past cars engulfed in flames!

Sadly, I have very little core and upper body strength, and while doing the Superman exercise in class last week, I realized, “Mother shit, there’s no way I’d be able to fly five feet without falling from the sky from exhaustion.” I could maybe make it to the coffee shop around the corner from us. But I wouldn’t be able to hold my body like in the proper position for terribly long. I mean, I guess I could go with the Wonder Woman style of flying, because she’s more slanted rather than completely horizontal when she flies from what I’ve seen, but I don’t get the sense that she went very far with her flying—if you’re flying on an axis, you’re really going more up than you are over, right? And there’s nothing up that I want to get to. Over, yes. I want to get over there. So slanted flying doesn’t seem like the best course of action to take.


Teleportation it is.


A few weeks ago, Swede was in a rush to get out the door and forgot to put Juniper in her crate. When we came home later that afternoon, we found this:

Dead Pillow

Poor couch cushion. You never stood a chance.

 While it was a disappointment that the couch cushion was now scattered all over our living room in fluffy bits, it wasn’t a terribly big surprise—the dog has had a vendetta against this particular cushion for quite some time. That cushion? Had it coming. Sadly what it had done to incense the pibble we’ll never know, as the cushion took the reason behind the feud to its grave.

Now that the couch cushion is good and gone, Juniper has set her sights on ridding the household of ALL insolent and offensive soft surfaces, including, but not limited to: the pillow in her crate, the other couch cushion, and her biggest whale to date, our bed:


It’s only when the bed is stripped of all the sheets and mattress pad, when it is completely bare, that Juniper will attack what she thinks is the awful-terrible-no-good bed, and try and give it the what-for. Again, the reason for this new enmity between dog and bed is unknown.

But frankly I wish they would just reconcile because the bed is the only nice piece of furniture we own.

recipe for disaster? or masterful plan? you decide.

15 Jul

Recently I’ve been trying to do my part to de-clutter our bootbox of a condo.

It’s not going well.

As anyone who has tried to de-clutter anything ever, you understand the complete high you start off with, doing hot laps around your space and sweeping the obvious things to get rid of into the garbage or recycling or Good Will bags. And after those first 10 minutes, it gets a little harder.

I’m sure professional organizers/life gurus/normal people would tell you that honestly, you really don’t need it—whatever it is—even though you have spent the past five years since whatever the thing is that came into your life convincing yourself that you do. And they’re most likely right. And most likely if Swede and I actually listened to them and actually kept ONLY the things we used, our bootbox of a condo would be a minimalist’s paradise. Think of how much space we’d gain just by getting rid of the cats!

I joke.


Anyway, in an effort to de-clutter, or at least acknowledge the clutter (Hello, Clutter. How are you today? Dusty? Great, great. Carry on.), I spent some time the other day culling through my cookbooks and recipe files that are stacked and piled and generally running amok in various corners of our home. And do you know what I discovered?

I have a lot of freaking recipes.

And I think I’ve actually made approximately only 2.794 percent of them.

No, I don’t know why that is, either. Or why I’ve instead, in all my cooking, chosen to use recipes that are from elsewhere, and not in these piles.

Because I mean piles, you guys. PILES of recipes that I printed out or scrawled on ripped out sheets of notebook paper years ago, as in before I even turned 30, while surfing the web, probably while I was supposed to be doing something more productive, like not accumulating a metric ton of shit I don’t need but now can’t seem to part with, such as mismatched socks and various notebooks filled with ideas for books I most likely will not get around to writing unless I quit my life full-tilt and spend every minute from now until my dying day tapping at the keyboard.

A smattering of the recipes that make up the pit.

A smattering of the recipes taking up residence in our bootbox. 

And some of these recipes look phenomenal, which makes it all the more devastating to me. Rocky Road cocoa puff treats? Yes, please. Coconut curry braised short ribs? Why am I not eating these right now? Chocolate éclair torte? Sweet Holy Mother, bless me for I have sinned in not making this. Cheesy chicken roll ups? Ehhmmm…well, okay, something about it must have appealed to me at some point so I’ll give it a go.

See what I mean? And that’s just a few of—no joke—hundreds of recipes that twentysomething McPolish threw in the file pit.

So I made an executive decision, friends, right then and there. A decision I look forward to keeping and tackling: Instead of being sad about all the recipes I haven’t made (yet hoard like a fatalist with soup for the coming rapture) (why on earth do people think their bomb shelter will survive a rapture?) I’m making a concerted effort to, actually, you know, MAKE these recipes. I’m going to work my way through my recipe files, and see what was what in the land of aged 25-28-year-old-McPolish’s tastebuds.

I can’t promise the results will be pretty. Or tasty. (Still curious about the cheesy chicken rollups. And by curious I mean mildly horrified at the prospect.) But by God I WILL spend some quality kitchen time wondering what the Sister Mary Fudge my younger self was thinking!*

*And maybe when that’s all said and done, we’ll finally tackle the Pinterest boards.**


open letters to my neighbors and neighborhood

1 Jul

Dear Neighbor In The Building Across From Us,

The red track lighting you have in your living room—of which I have a perfect view from my bedroom, because apparently neither of us believes in closing our blinds—PS, sorry about flashing you last week—is a bold choice.

I wonder if, from the inside view, it looks as discotheque-ish/devil’s lair-ish as it does from my angle? Because when the sun sets and darkness blankets the city as much as darkness can in a city, what with all the lights from cars and shops and life, the cherry red glow that emanates from your living room is quite distinct and almost seems to pulse with a life of its own.

I can’t tell if those red track lights are focused on something on your wall—I don’t see a TV, or a piece of art, so presumably they are simply focused on a blank wall? Though I do think I see the tips of plants peeking through the window, so now I’m wondering if you have some sort of greenhouse in the making going on in your loft apartment. Are you a budding horticulturalist?

Please Do Hide Your Light Under a Bushel,

Your Across the Parking Lot Neighbor, McPolish


Dear Neighbor One Floor Down and One Unit Over,

I’m sorry my dog always woofs at you every time you venture out onto the balcony to fire up the grill. It’s just that whatever you’re making smells delicious to her, much better than the kibble we feed her, even if we do douse said kibble with homemade chicken stock or mix in pureed pumpkin because God Forbid this dog eat plain kibble, what is she, an animal?

Anyway, she’s not woofing at you out of anger or because she thinks you’re going to rob us. She’s woofing because she’s demanding. Demanding that you give her some of your grilled meats. Demanding that you pay attention to her. Demanding that you just come on over here and let her give you a cuddle.

You’ll get used to it after awhile.


Your Neighbor With the Adorably Demanding Pibble, McP







Dear Neighbor at the End of the Hall,

You smoke a lot of weed.

Well, wait—I don’t actually know how MUCH you smoke, but by the smells wafting from your apartment that are smellable as soon as the elevator doors open, I can say that I know how FREQUENTLY you smoke. Which, to be fair, I’m not sure if it is actually frequent or not in comparison to pot smokers at large. So maybe frequent isn’t the right word, either. What I’m trying to say is that you smoke weed, and your neighbors know it.

And I’m not writing you this blog-letter (bletter?) to judge you about your weed consumption. I could give a shit, frankly, and I wish for your and others’ sake that pot was just made legal already. I’m writing you this letter simply to tell you….

Well, I don’t really have anything to tell you.

So, yeah.

Have a nice day.

And sorry to bother you.

Carry on.


Your Down the Hall Neighbor and Condo Board Treasurer (Why You People Entrust Me With Your Money I’ll Never Know), McPolish

surprisingly, i am not perfect

24 Jun

Things I Probably Shouldn’t Do:

  1. Stay up past midnight on a school night to finish reading The Girl on the Train.
  2. Leave a brownie on the coffee table, thinking I can trust my dog not to eat it, because she doesn’t normally snatch things off the table. Lick them, yes. But eat them, no.
  3. Hide bacon in the refrigerator from Swede.
  4. Accidentally lock the cats on the balcony overnight.
  5. Frost a devil’s food cake less than two hours after I take it out of the oven.

Things I Can Do To Remedy the Things I Probably Shouldn’t Do Because I Most Likely Did Them Anyway:

  1. Stay up the entire night watching West Wing so as not to fall asleep and have a dream wherein Everyone Needs a Julie tells me while making her bed that she’s decided to become a serial killer and in response I try to talk her out of this by hitting her with a pillow.
  2. Give the dog a stern talking to and then dissolve into a cuddle puddle because HAVE YOU SEEN THAT FACE? LOOK AT THAT FACE. HERE, HAVE AS MANY FOODS AS YOU WANT I LOVE THAT FACE.


  1. Blurt out, “THERE’S BACON IN THE FRIDGE, YOU CAN EAT ALL OF IT BUT FOUR SLICES,” in the middle of a conversation about grilled cheese.
  2. To be fair, this one was NOT my fault, as Swede was the one to lock up that night. But to make up for it the poor little jerks got an insane amount of treats, and then more treats because we felt like, hell, we’ve already traumatized them, let’s trim their nails and cut the matted fur from around their butts! We’re on a roll!

    I'm never speaking to you assholes again. Until you give me ham. Jerks.

    I’m never speaking to you assholes again. Until you give me ham. Jerks.

  3. Shove the cake in the fridge for awhile and hope for the best, then drive an hour to my parents’ house with the cake on the floor of the car and the air conditioning fan on full blast, and then when I get there immediately run it out to the refrigerator in the garage yelling, “I made you a cake for Father’s Day, Dad! Hope you like it! I forgot to get you a card!” and pray that you’re not about to serve your dad cake soup.


and introducing….

17 Jun

Last summer, I never told you about how I was the Greatest Gardener On The Planet, did I?

(Yes, initial caps even on the articles. I’m That Good.)

I’m guessing I probably did not. Which is a shame, because I was. And probably still am.

In Summer 2014, I discovered that I have a green thumb galore. Specifically when it comes to plants in pots on my balcony. I had four plants—a veritable forest—each of them named and special in my heart. There was Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the basil plant; Vivian, the tomato plant; Clive the Chive; Dilbert the dill plant. They all thrived throughout the summer months, and I was in my element tending to them and only freaking out mildly when I’d discover that overnight a spider had spun an intricate web between Vivian and the balcony railing.

To say I was happy with my balcony garden would be an understatement. Let’s consider for a moment that the year before when I had a (nameless) tomato plant that produced all of seven tomatoes.


And while those seven tomatoes were a semi-proud moment, last summer’s bounty blew that shit out of the water. Seriously, Vivian especially was incredibly rambunctious in her production last summer, popping out tomatoes well into October. Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler also held her own, and Clive the Chive would regenerate his skinny-stalked self within days of my snipping him down.

It goes without saying, then, that I expect this year to be equally as phenomenal, if not extraordinarily better. Because, as I mentioned, I am The Greatest Gardener On The Planet.

I’ve changed things up a bit in the balcony garden this year, partially because Clive the Chive (who is supposed to be a perennial) did not return, and partially because I wanted to try expanding my gardening gloves. This year, I have five—FIVE!—plants nestled on my balcony, ready and waiting for my deft, agile hands to tend to them with kindness and love, and also shoo away the g-d cats and dog when they get at little too nibbly at the leaves.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you this year’s balcony garden stars, all of whom will, if they know what’s good for them, provide me with a cornucopia of herbs and vegetables.

We have Fine Girl, a Brandywine tomato plant (the dog already shows a suspicious amount of interest in her)

Watch it, dog.

Watch it, dog.

Franklin, the basil plant

Oh, Franklin. I do hope you make it past July.

Oh, Franklin. I do hope you make it past July.

Pepper, the mint plant


And Clooney, the rosemary plant (the g-d cats seem particularly taken with her; since Clive the Chive did not return, I have a feeling that Clooney will bear the brunt of their gnawing if I’m not careful)


These were all starter plants that I repotted two weeks (no judging) after I bought them at the farmer’s market, but I wanted to also try growing something from seed, as I’d had such success with Dilbert last summer. This summer, I decided to plant cilantro from seed, because thank the good lord above I do NOT have the gene that makes cilantro taste like soap and honestly, I can’t get enough of the herb. If I could walk around with a bunch of cilantro in hand to sniff whenever I wanted and not look like a complete weirdo, I would. For now I will settle for inconspicuously inhaling and snuffling cilantro-scented candles.

ANYWAY, the point is I also planted cilantro seeds, and now there are a few buds peeking through the dirt. It’s like a miracle! Of nature! That I made happen! (Then again, are we surprised? I am The Greatest Gardener On The Planet.) Hard to tell, though, if this is actually cilantro, or if I’ve been fertilizing weeds the past couple of weeks, but either way I’ve decided to name her Nadia.


Meanwhile, the rest of the plants seem to be doing….well. While I am The Greatest Gardener On The Planet, Franklin struggled for a bit there, as did Fine Girl, but I think they’re on the up and up. Pepper is growing like, well, like a mint plant, that is to say: We will soon have to move out of our condo due to mint infestation. Clooney seems to eat up the summer sun, and if all goes the way I’m hoping, she’ll stick around well into winter.

Welcome, Summer. And welcome home, balcony garden loves.