Tag Archives: condo living

dear buyer, i’m just wondering

19 Oct

Two weeks ago the sale on our bootbox of a condo was finalized, and I’d be lying if I said that since then I didn’t have a few anxiety-ridden, hand-flapping moments of oh holy fuck, maybe we made the wrong decision how on earth could we have sold a place where so much life happened for us and eeeeeeeeeeeennnggggggonlydogscanhearmypanicnow.

But in my heart I know selling the condo was the right decision on so many levels, the top of which is that we Needed. More. Space. The mental sanity of my child depended on it. The mental sanity of my main squeeze depended on it. My own mental sanity depended on it. As wonderful as the bootbox of a condo was to us for the past four years, it was time to go. It was time to go, and it was time to let go, and it was time to let the condo be a place for someone else to make memories of happy times and sad times and angry times and sexy times and drunk times and bored times and frustrated times and dreaming times and humble times and worried times and righteous times and crying times and laughing times.

Yet I can’t help but think about the new owner, and I wonder how she’s settling in.

I wonder if she pours a Very Large (no judging) glass of wine at the end of the day, and sits on the balcony watching the sky fade from twilight to dark, which is never actually too dark because the streetlights pop on, illuminating Michigan Avenue, casting people in shadows as they walk down the street.

I wonder if the smell of grilled meats that twirls through the neighborhood makes her reconsider her dinner plans, and say Fuck This Noise, I Am Not Cooking Tonight, Yay, Margaritas, and turn off the stove and dash through traffic to the Mexican restaurant across the street.

I wonder if she keeps her windows open at night, so the sound of the garbage trucks banging through the alley at the barest break of dawn wakes her up on the regular, to the point she wonders why she even sets an alarm.

I wonder if she is happy.

I wonder if, on the first morning she woke up in her new condo, she tried to have a Maria von Trapp moment as she stepped out onto the balcony, arms spread wide and ready to greet the city, but forgot that the screen door was closed, put her foot through it, and then had to duct tape over the hole so the cat wouldn’t try and use it as a cat door, except he was too fat to fit through it and got stuck.

I wonder if she is full to bursting with ideas for her life in this new neighborhood, this new part of the city she’s living in, a complete unknown except maybe it’s close to her work, so, bonus for that.

I wonder if she’s adopted a big baby of a pitbull.

I wonder how many times she’s thought to herself, Oh, fuck me, there are only two closets in this place.

I wonder, while unpacking, how fast it took her to say, “In my next home, the first thing on my wish list is more space.”

I wonder if she’s finished unpacking.

I wonder if she drops the F bomb a lot.

I wonder if buying this condo is just the first of several decisions she will make that will alter the course of her life in ways she can’t even begin to imagine.
I wonder if she’s noticed I only gave the tub a cursory scrubbing before we left.

I wonder if she will have a good life there.

Because that’s my greatest wish for her, and any owner who may come after her, that that little bootbox of a condo be a home, for however long that may be.

photo friday: sleeping beauty

27 Jan
20161011_120257

Jerk. 

We have been blessed: Baby McSwedolish is an excellent nighttime sleeper. He is not so fantastic at taking naps during the day times, unless he is in his crate car seat,* toodling around with us on errands and outings.

But if I had to choose, I will take his proficiency at nighttime sleeping over napping any day, because 1) I’m not terribly good at napping myself, so I get his inability to do so, and more important, 2) I’m not sure he can nap, because the amount of time the beasts in this house spend sleeping at any given time of the day or night is so great that it probably absorbs all of the nap power from the other living beings residing here, thus rendering us all un-napable.

In other words, it is the cats’ and dog’s faults that Baby McSwedolish does not sleep well during the day. Mostly, of course, the cats’. Because everything is always their fault. Forever and ever, Amen.

*Stop calling it a crate. He’s not a puppy, girl. He’s a baby. A baby.

what we have not

15 Jun

Recently, our internet was out for Four. Whole. Days.

It wasn’t pleasant.

I mean, sure, it wasn’t like we were on the Oregon Trail, and had run out of food by day two, and then everyone died of diphtheria or drowned in the river by hour 37, but then again, maybe we were, and maybe we did. I can’t really know, because we couldn’t actually play Oregon Trail because the internet was out.

It should be noted that there are benefits to being cutoff from the internet at home. So much you can get done! For instance:

  1. Clean the shit out of your house.
  2. Finally put together the album of pictures from your wedding that happened eight months ago.
  3. Call friends and catch up on their lives.
  4. Cook and bake your way through your File Pit.
  5. Take your dog on ridiculously long walks that will finally, finally tire her out so she doesn’t do zoomies around your one-bedroom condo at 11:30 at night.
  6. Catch up on the back issues of Time, The Economist, Real Simple, and HGTV magazine that are piled around your house.

Here is what I actually did:

  1. Looked at Pinterest on my phone.

And actually, I probably could have played Oregon Trail on my phone, but I didn’t, because I didn’t think of it until just now.

Granted, Swede did some of the things mentioned above, because he is a much better person than I. But me? No, I pretty much became one with the couch and lamented the lack of technology in our home, and called RCN on the regular to see when they would be restoring service. (Guess what? The original tech forgot to put in the order for a line tech to come and fix our stuff, so yay! Even longer delay.)

And then, in a quiet, unassuming change, our service was restored. I’m not sure how, or why, but we woke up a few mornings later and waa-la! Interwebs! No call from RCN saying they’d fixed it (in fact, the line tech didn’t come out until like, three days after that to fiddle with something in the box and called us to assure that All Was Right With Our Internet) (and then ended up getting stuck in our parking lot) (it’s a common occurrence). It was just there.

And our regularly scheduled chaos of life resumed, as if nothing had happened, no break had ever occurred.

And now, wouldn’t you know it, I’m missing those quiet days on my couch like they were my One True Love.

 

 

 

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: june 2016

8 Jun

1. One of the Le Creuset dishes we have broke. It was a big, beautiful oval dish with a bubble-like lid that was ideal for making casseroles. And let me tell you something, I love a good casserole. Anyway, it broke, and Lo! How the McPolish was bummed. But these things happen, such is life, and now I have a bigger quandary on my hands: while the oval baker part is in many several pieces, the bubble-like lid is still completely in tact.

What does one do with a completely in tact lid? I feel bad throwing it out. Is there a website that will place orphan lids where I can list it? Do any of you need an oval lid for your Le Creuset oval baker? Comments and suggestions are welcomed. Free to a good home.

2. It’s June. And that means fresh fruit. Which means making ice cream with said fresh fruit. You’ve been warned. Who is you? I don’t really know, to tell you the truth. Let’s just say it’s a blanket statement for the Chicagoland area. Why am I warning you? Again, not really sure. It’s entirely possible I’m drunk on homemade ice cream and letting my mouth get ahead of my brain. I may also be making wild gesticulations, but it’s not like you can see me because this is the internet and I’m totally a figment of your imagination. Me and my homemade ice cream made with fresh fruit. Oooooo….sppoooooookkyyyyy….

3. Speaking of summer…kind of…well, it’s June, anyway, which means that I can finally stop wearing a coat on the regular and hey! That might as well be considered summer in these here parts. ANYWAY. It’s nice enough out that Swede and I and The Beasts Who Live In Our Home spend a lot of time hanging out on the balcony thinking and talking about very philosophical themes and ideas, like What Is That Strange Man on the Sidewalk Shouting About Now? Or, Should We Get More Plants? And, What’s For Dinner?

What’s perplexing to me, however, is how little time our neighbors spend on their own balconies, enjoying the warmer temps. Every unit in this building has a balcony (one unit even has two, the lucky ducks) (though not so lucky when they have to be fixed and repainted), and we’ve all just been though the same seemingly unending months of gray, blah weather, and yet…nothing. Sure, there’s the occasional neighbor who will grill on their balcony, but most are apparently not fans of al fresco dining. Or al fresco drinking. Or al fresco anything. Which is a shame, if you ask me, but no one, as of yet has asked me, but if they do, mark my words I’ve got a statement prepared.

4. Unlike last summer when I didn’t actually make it to a White Sox game until August, I’ve managed to get to two, count ‘em TWO, games so far this year. And while attending said games, I’ve spent much of my time eating my way through Comiskey.* And let me tell you something: Tater Totchos are not what I thought they would be. They’re delicious, don’t get me wrong, but basically all you’re getting is a Styrofoam bowl of tater tots that are then covered in nacho cheese.

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Playing the Cleveland Indians, inspiring a constant stream of quoting Major League. 

I say “all you’re getting” like that’s a bad thing. It’s not. I think I was just expecting a little more pizazz. And it’s really just as straightforward as the name implies—what are nachos? Corn chips with melted cheese. What are tater totchos? Tater tots with melted cheese. Duh—and my own brain created a more dramatic rendition of the dish.

But let me tell you something else: Helmet nachos? Now those are something else, a beautiful sight to behold, and much guacamole to eat.

*The Cell. Whatever.

 

 

photo friday: patience

12 Feb

DSC_0011

The only thing these two agree on is that Ham is Delicious and Yes, We Will Sit Nicely Until The Big Man Hands It Over.

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

One:

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.

Two:

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.

Three:

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.

So.

Teleportation it is.

Four:

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.

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.

Sincerely,

Your Neighbor With the Adorably Demanding Pibble, McP

**

DEAR ASSHATS ARGUING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET AT 3 AM ON SUNDAY MORNING,

GO THE F HOME AND FINISH YOUR FIGHT THERE OR SO HELP ME GOD I WILL PUNCH YOU SO HARD IN THE GUT YOU WILL BARF UP ALL THE TEQUILA YOU JUST DRANK AT THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT ACROSS THE STREET WHICH IS A TOTAL WASTE OF YOUR MONEY BUT REALLY I COULD GIVE A SHIT BECAUSE OH MY GOD NO ONE GIVES A CRAP ABOUT WHO SAID WHAT TO WHOM THIS IS NOT AN AUDITION FOR REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ANY CITY.

NO, I WILL NOT STOP YELLING UNTIL YOU GET THE HELL OUT OF MY AIRSPACE,

A VERY IRRITATED AND MCPOLISH BECAUSE SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WAKE ME UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?

**

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.

Best,

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

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.

Seven.

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

Pepper

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)

Clooney

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.

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.