Friday, March 28, 2008


I finally can take a moment to sit, relax, and breathe. Granted, I really should be getting these last few boxes that are driving Daniel crazy out of the kitchen, but I want to sit and chill and finally post an update...

Clearly, it's been a very busy week. But here are a few highlights:

1. The move went well. OK, it was a struggle, but it happened. A heavy, wet snowfall last Friday delayed the packing of the truck and, as Dan pointed out on his blog, Wingstroke, I wasn't exactly all packed up when he arrived Thursday night to assist with the move.

Moving day began with some shoveling and salt placement. This made the back steps of my apartment only slightly less treacherous. But I have to admit, Dan scaled those steps about 7 times as much as I did that day, so he's the real martyr.

We started the day like this:

And it ended a little something more like this:

But after a quick cry and a moment of calm for my Chicago life to flash before my eyes, we were off. And remarkably (according to other couples who have moved) still speaking to each other.

We got in about 11 Saturday night and exhausted. Despite that, we couldn't help but giggle (OK, I giggled, Dan's was more of a manly guffaw) in excitement that we were officially co-habitating. Then we passed out...

2. We made it! Moving day is over! And despite extreme uber super ultra exhaustion the Easter Bunny didn't forget about the Bear!

But, speaking of the Bear, how cute is my new roommate? Seriously! We all had a great time at Easter brunch at my sister's on Sunday, then set to unpacking the truck. Claire was so helpful and took so much joy in handing stuff to Dan from inside the truck and carrying the few things she could carry into the house.

Monday we made pizza together and made a card for Grandma Phyllis, who had sent us an Easter care package. Then she asked... "What fun thing are we doing tomorrow night?" So, the next night she helped me plant the herb garden and sprout grower that I got as a going away present.

On her way to bed, again, "What fun thing are we doing tomorrow night?" So the next night we painted her nails with the nail polish from the Easter Bunny. I hope I can continue to be "fun" in her eyes, and accept that not every night can or will be a "fun night."

3. I started the new job this week, about which I only have great things to say at this point. Isn't the honeymoon phase at a new job great? Before you hear all the drama and gossip and crap that's going around?

As the reporter for a brand new paper, they didn't have an open desk in the newsroom so I have a cubicle over with the ladies of layout, who are really funny and nice. I kind of like being in their area of the building, as I don't have to worry about struggling to hear the person I'm interviewing while sitting next to some loud talker with a hearty laugh. I think it's going to be fun -- they've even already let me in on their group stash of snacks and tea.

It's a bit odd going from my own sizable office to a little cubicle, but I think I'm adjusting quite well. I've got a few weeks to settle into my position covering every beat for two cities, which is a welcome surprise, since the launch of the paper was pushed back 3 weeks.

But so far, so good. I'm really happy to be a reporter again. I feel very at home.

4. In fact, I feel very at home, at my new home. It's no secret that I'm eager and excited to move to a new place at some point this year, as is Dan, but we're doing what we can to combine all of our possessions and make this home as comfortable as possible for the time being.

We had the biggest pile of trash ever to take to the curb last night and we've got the car loaded for donations to the Salvation Army. It's amazing the amount of doubles (and sometimes triples and more) of things you find in your possession after combining the homes of two adults who have lived on their own for years.

For example, we have six cheese graters and three strainers (which would have been 4, but I threw one out in Chicago). We found ourselves with 2 microwaves (mine stays since Dan's was from roughly 1987), three coffee makers, about two dozen plates and three ladles.

What cracks me up about that the most, is remembering the first time I came for a weekend visit here, about a year and a half ago. For lunch that Saturday, Dan made us soup (and by "made" I mean heated up a can of lentil soup on the stove -- it's been proven that he can't cook). As he prepared to dump the soup directly from the pan to the two bowls waiting on the counter, he turned and asked

"What's the best way to get this soup into the bowls?"

"Do you have a ladle?"

"Um... what's a ladle?"

It turns out, he had two. He just didn't know they were there and didn't know what they were.

So, we continue to march our stuff out to the curb or into the car. At this point, each of us has given away many of our belongings, and I admit sometimes it's hard to give away something that's mine, just because it's mine. But really, it's finally starting to sink in that everything is ours now. There is no "mine" and "his."

It's good to be home.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Hello, Ferndale.

I've made the fantastic voyage to Ferndale, with both my sanity and my breakables intact. I'll have to write about it in detail later, when I'm not up to my eyeballs (literally) in boxes and bags, but I thought I would offer an update nonetheless.

I'm banged up and bruised from head to toe, I still can't find my deodorant and I made the mistake of setting down my Chapstick this morning -- it's now sufficiently camouflaged among the wreckage.

But, on the bright side, I did manage to find my phone charger and wine glasses after hours of searching last night. As long as I've got my priorities straight, I think I'll be fine.

I'm exhausted, but I'm happy. And now I must get back to work...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Educational experiences

This week has taught me many things. An old lesson is that I hate moving. Physically, emotionally exhausting, moving is for the birds. I have muscles aching in areas I didn't know I had muscles, and a black and blue foot accompanied by a limp, where I dropped my box springs on my right foot yesterday. I'm going to pretend it's nothing serious and keep on limping.

I've also had a chance to observe some daytime TV, something I haven't regularly done since I worked the late shift at the State Journal. As my constant background noise (having packed up my stereo and CDs) I've learned that Drew Carey is doing a fine job hosting The Price Is Right, bringing a little sarcasm and wit (a bit much for some of the blue haired contestants) to a daytime TV classic. I've been able to shout wrong answers at the TV during Jeopardy, as it sadly is on at 3:30 p.m. in Chicago, so I've not been able to watch it regularly since I moved here. I've learned there's a game show about crossword puzzles and a whole lot of women on Maury who just aren't sure who their baby daddy is.

I've learned, in some ways, the friends who are really going to miss me and the friends who I'm really going to miss. Last night I had a lovely dinner and drinks with three of my favorite Chicagoans, who I will very much miss dinner and breakfasting with, Sally, Echo and Jon. We all were brought together by a job (or in Jon's case restaurant ownership) and our friendships have flourished simultaneously over the years. And Echo, well, he's stuck with Auntie Kirsten whether he likes me or not. I've learned I can never take enough pictures of him or tire of hearing his laugh.

I've learned that all of my favorite Chicago foods make me feel like a giant greaseball, but they are oh, so good. I've learned I'm going to miss my old neighborhood, as I sit here next to my man, each of us blogging and Scrabbing, while there are so many other things we should be doing. And, for that matter, I've learned that my lack of tears this week only confirms the fact that I can't wait to start our little family in the mitten.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Just a quick stop in the hustle and bustle of packing. I haven't yet showered, I can't stop sneezing from ingesting dust and cat hair. Well, this should explain it all. I look like this:

Daniel posted my bed on Craigslist this morning for free and I got a call within about 1.44 minutes. I sold it to a nice man named Steve, who has been sleeping on the floor of his apartment because his air mattress popped. For me, the bed was old and starting to be springy. For Steve, it's going to be the best sleep he's had in weeks. It makes me feel good. I would feel even better if someone would throw a little cash my way and take my dresser and kitchen stand off my hands. But what can you do?

Yesterday was a busy and productive one. I decided to jet over to my nearby Treasure Island grocery store to hit its salad bar for lunch and found myself in the middle of an episode of "The Wire." As I was walking from my car to the store, police cars came from all directions, seemingly cornering me. I asked an employee standing outside whether I shouldn't go in and he assured me, "Nah, it's all under control."

I proceeded inside, and as I cut through one of the checkout lanes, was overwhelmed with the shouts "Down on the ground!" from about six cops who seemed already to have their target, the kid who so lovingly has weighed my produce for the last four years, face down on the ground. I'm not sure why 6 officers were needed to keep this 130-pound kid on the ground, to whom they then shouted "On your back!" although they were holding him face down on the floor.

Anyway, I wanted my salad, so I kind of tip-toed past them and went about my business. In the back, I saw another employee with bloodied arms who looks just like Nathan from The Wire, ponytail and all, shaking his head and explaining to other employees that it all started when he asked face-down-on-the-ground-produce-guy to get out of his way and the Spanish expletives started to fly. Ah... nothing like a fist fight between grocery store teens to give the Chicago cops something to do...

Sally and I headed out in the afternoon to get our nails done at Tres Bien Nails on Armitage, just east of Sheffield. Now, why would I be getting my nails done when I have some serious packing to do, which will no doubt destroy them? Logical question. I got Sal a gift certificate to the place for her birthday back in January and have not had the time or money to accompany her. Since I'm walking the Chicago plank, we scheduled it for this week (and a Wednesday when they have their mani-pedi special). I went with black for my fingernails, since it will hide their destruction better, not to mention whatever gets under my nails. I've been going to this place for years and have gotten several friends on board for their Wednesday special. I mentioned I was moving, as I gave my punch card type thing to Sally. Upon my exit, the owner handed me a little gift bag with a card (addressed to me -- must have gotten it off my credit card -- SMART) and a black OPI nail polish, along with a bottle of top coat and base coat. I was beyond surprised and very touched that they would do such a thing.

Then it was off to Cleo's for my favorite grilled cheese in the whole wide world -- giant and with a shallot-herb aioli. Even better was that Chatman was working! Chatman with whom I worked on oh so many Saturdays at The Local Option. A very drunk man took our picture, so we could commemorate the reunion and good-bye.

OK, I no longer can sit here and procrastinate. I have oh, so much to do. Greek outing with Sally, Echo and Jon tonight, just before Daniel's arrival on the train. Or, knowing Amtrak, hours and hours before Daniel's arrival. I guess this really is happening!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Let me fill you in on a little secret...

Daniel and I each have discussed posting a blog about this for months, or maybe even a year. But a new Kia (I think) commercial is compelling me finally to do it once and for all.

The point of the commercial is that gas mileage is so good on this new Kia model, that you will have to go to the gas station so rarely that you will forget what side your tank is on.

This goes on for a good couple of minutes, various Kia models in all colors having to navigate around gas pumps because they just haven't been there in so darn long.

Let me let you in on a little secret. When I got my new company car last year, I mentioned the fact that I would have to get used to driving up to gas pumps on the other side, when my boss said, "Well, just look at the arrow."

Um, what's that now?

The next time you get in your car, look at the gas gauge. There will be a picture of a gas pump with an arrow pointing either to the left or the right. Whichever way it's pointing -- that's the side your gas tank is on.

Pay it forward. Spread the word. And nice try, Kia.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Calgon, take me away.

I'm hiding from the boxes in my apartment that are trying to eat me. I have found a nice quiet corner in the new Starbucks on Fullerton Avenue near Racine. It began with only a couple of people and slowly the toddlers are infiltrating the joint. What is better? Noisy toddlers? Or the racket in my head telling me to get to work?

My car is full of boxes and tonight the strangers who have stepped up to take some furniture off my hands will begin to parade into my apartment. I've managed to sell a couple of things too, which I guess will help fill up the UHaul with gas on Friday.

OK, the boxes win. I can't take these toddlers anymore.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A moment of calm in the chaos

I'm sitting in Argo Tea, which I have grown to love during my last 3 1/2 years in this neighborhood. Between a couple of appointments during the week of chaos, I thought I would reflect on the weekend send off activities.

It took me a couple of days to recover from Thursday's daytime drunken Chicago office send off. I spent my last half day in the office in a coffee and cupcake haze, managed to run a couple of errands and hit the sack by 2 p.m. to do some resting up before Jennifer's Friday night arrival. We hit up the Twisted Lizard for some Mexican and were happily vegged out on the pull out couch by 10:30, watching crap TV and drinking Coronas, all of which was more than what we had asked of ourselves for the evening.

But we had a good time. We have had so many nights like this during the last four years, it was nice to have one last Jennifer visit before I left. We started our Saturday dodging drunk St. Patrick's Day revelers who filled the streets of Lincoln Park before 9 a.m., headed to Nookies for breakfast.

If you are a Chicagoan and have yet to eat at Nookies, of which there are several in the city, you should do so immediately. This one sits on Halsted Avenue somewhere near Belden. They've got great specials, lots of vegetarian options and meaty options alike. I'll surely have to write something up about it over on I Eat Veg.

After wolfing down as much as I could of my veggie breakfast sandwhich with spinach, goat cheese, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes, we set off for a day of productivity. I had every intention of utilizing Jennifer to help me plan my attack. What to pack first and how. After more than one move to Seattle and back, surely she's a pro. Well, we managed to do a TON of shopping in my neighborhood. We were able to justify it, of course, and managed to try on everything and buy just about nothing. She walked away with some items for a birthday gift and I some Easter items for the Bear and some boxes and containers from The Container Store.

After all of this walking and shopping we deserved a little Sushi snack, so we stopped at Dee's near by apartment for a little sushi and some warm Sake and managed to rest up for a bit on the couch before heading out to another favorite restaurant on my list -- Bite.

I'll have to write about Bite, too, but it hit me on Friday that I couldn't leave this city without one more plateful of Bite's Buffalo tofu. I've tried to make it at home, to no avail. I just can't do it like Bite can. But, my worst fears came true when we learned it wasn't on the menu this month. I settled for Jerk tofu and BBQ tofu and a few other things Jen, Sally and I shared, along with vegan apple spice cake. You just can't go wrong with Bite's desserts. So, I left semi-satisfied that I had fulfilled my Bite longing, and with the knowledge that the trick to the Buffalo tofu is the deep frying...

We then set off for Shoe's Pub, where a handful of other friends were to gather to see me off. I love Shoe's, its staff, its location, and the fact that it was the one place in Chicago I could walk into and feel like I was walking into Cheers. However, the plan was somewhat thwarted by the fact that the bar was full of St. Patrick's douchebags who had been drinking since 9 a.m. Drunk girls were crying, others were stuffing their faces with pizza, singing Jimmy Buffet at the top of their lungs or dancing in a way they believed to be sexy in their drunken hazes.

I professed that it wouldn't be that bad, but believing there was nobody else who would be joining us, I agreed that we could take the party back to my apartment. The seven of us trekked to the nearest 7-Eleven to load up on supplies and off the apartment we went. We had christened the apartment four and a half years ago with a celebration for Holly's just passed birthday. It was essentially the same small group of friends back then, including Jennifer, so it was nice to kind of bring it all full circle.

Again, we had a field day with the Photo Booth function on my computer. Photo Booth + alcohol = fun. What can I say?

Needless to say, we had a good time, and didn't have to put up with any douchebags other than ourselves. I was so happy they each came out to spend time with me, with little fanfare and just the fun that we know we can have if you just put us in a room with each other (and a little booze). There were no tears. It was perfect.

It took me a full day to recover, however. I ordered some Thai food from Duck Walk last night, so I can check that off my list. There only are one or two places left -- a grilled cheese from Cleo's and some guac and veggie tacos from The Local Option, where I spent so many Saturdays waitressing I can't believe I actually miss the food. I thought it would take many more years than it has to get over that.

On that note, I've spent far to much time rambling away here in Argo Tea and must brave the snow/rain mix outside and get to my next appointment. My goal for the day: at least pack one freakin' box. We'll see....

Friday, March 14, 2008

Farewell tour continues

The tour hasn't slowed down for one second since my final arrival back in Chicago. My last entry into the city as a resident. Yesterday I found myself at a nice lunch at the Erie Cafe, inundated with red wine, desserts, kind words and final farewells.

There was plenty of teasing, of course, my Chicago co-workers getting in all their last jabs at my not eating meat, moving to Detroit and being so foolish as to be in love. Now I sit and finish up the gutting of my windowless office. My first office ever. That I've occupied for four years. In a few minutes I'll hand in my keys, say my good-byes and begin the craziest week of all time.

Jennifer will be here tonight to help in the packing (whether she likes it or not) and the farewell tour festivities, which should help in my struggle to remain calm. I feel like I've been talking about and thinking about this day for so long. I can't believe it's here. This is really happening. Let the games begin!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Buyza Farewell Tour

It officially has begun. I have an office in Chicago, an office in Lansing, friends in both places... thus, the farewell tour.

This is my final voyage to Lansing for work. Yesterday I got a great gift from our office manager, Ethyl, a kit to grow sprouts (she's a meat-and-potatoes kind of gal, but she knows me well) and an herb garden, along with a really sturdy tool bag. The gift was unexpected and I love it.

There was a lunchtime pizza party and we all had a little fun playing with my new baby, Mr. Mac (I'll write about my budding love affair with Apple later). Here's some of the evidence and proof of the goofy bastards I work with.

After attending an annual awards ceremony in Grand Rapids with co-workers, I met up with Jay at Moriarty's, our old haunt. When Jay and I first started hanging out when I would come to Lansing, she lived nearby and we would meet there for Bloody Marys regularly. Now we're old, poor and tired and we mostly hang out at her house on the rare occasion that I stay in town and don't drive down to Ferndale. This being my last night staying in Lansing for work, we decided we would force our tired butts out for a drink, which turned into three. But we had a great time swapping stories about kids as I prepare to be a stepmom of sorts, laughing about past events and just a generally girly therapy session. It was wonderful, though I'm awfully tired today.

My last day in the Lansing office is today and our farm director, Janelle, was nice enough to bring in some cupcakes. A fine way to send me off and load me up with sugar before my final trip back to Chicago, which I've called home for more than four years.

Tomorrow I'll attend a farewell lunch with my Chicago work crew at a great restaurant down the street from our office downtown, across the street from the park where I've spent so many lunch hours along the river. Saturday I'll meet at my neighbor, Shoe's Pub, with my Chicago friends, most of whom are Michigan natives and themselves are plotting their escape from the city in upcoming months and years.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I'm going through changes...

First allow me to say that's an Ozzy reference, not a menopause reference, in case I needed to clear that up. To say some things in my life are changing is an understatement. As I prepare to head back to Michigan to move in with my squeeze and his girl, I've continued to remain quite calm despite the mounds of boxes and chaos that surrounds me.

This past weekend I managed to move my cats to Ferndale, something I hope to never, ever (ever) have to experience again. After a recent trip to the vet, I found myself armed with about 10 kitty sedatives. She said to start with half if a pill during a trial run the weekend before and go from there. Considering Tobias and Lucy weigh in at 19 and 14 pounds respectively, the half of a pill caused them to be semi-drowsy for about three hours.

So, at 10 a.m. Saturday I loaded them each up with a full pill. I anticipated this knocking them out nicely and remained confident that I would get the cats, some boxes and myself into the car, on the road and to Detroit in plenty of time for a Nistorical 6 p.m. wedding at the Guardian Building downtown.

It's harder to get out the door with a car full of boxes, cat carriers and enough different kinds of clothing, shoes and coats for a wedding, three days of work and more. The cats were stumbling like half-drunk toddlers but as soon as they were forced into their plastic carriers, the yowling began. Tobias sounds like a human child crying and groaning and Lucy tries to follow suit but fails in the noisy department. Thank god. One was enough.

By the time I made it downtown for a quick stop at my office, it was clear that we all were in for about 4 1/2 hours of torture if I didn't do something. One at a time, I took them into the lobby of my building, as the security guard warned me the owner would be none too pleased with cats in the building, then proceeded to make googly faces at each cat as I struggled for nearly 20 minutes to administer more sedatives. I gave Fat 1 a whole one, since he practically weighs more than Claire and I gave Fat 2 another half. We were on the road by noon -- 1 Michigan time. It was not looking good for that 6 o'clock wedding downtown.

I kind of ruled with the driving, however, and I pulled into Ferndale around 5 p.m.
I only had about 20 solid minutes of quiet, but it was better than nothing and much appreciated. It turns out I should have played Smoking Popes on the front speakers only about three hours earlier and maybe I would have had a quieter ride.

Like superheroes, Daniel and I sprang into action and managed to get the litter box, food and water bowls set up, fool around and get dressed for the wedding. We pulled up in front of The Guardian at 6:01 and had a lovely time. It was a perfect and amazing wedding.

We capped off the night with some fun at the Blowout, which led to a fuzzy and late morning, not helped by the time change. The cats had settled in nicely however (full-blown addicts after the extra sedatives and the catnip I didn't put away during our rush to get to the wedding...). They were relaxed and primed for the attack of the Bear.

She proceeded to crawl around like a cat for the first couple of hours and, two days later, still seems excited and enthused by her new cats. Just this morning we cracked open the bathroom door to find Claire not only out of bed, but on the floor playing with the cats. This just seems to be working out for all parties involved.

Besides the actual move, I'm preparing to officially shack up with someone for the first time. While all signs point to success, the cramped quarters are a bit worrisome. Surely they won't cause too many stresses and rifts, right?

We're just wondering exactly how long it will last that he sweetly wakes me up by rubbing my back and arms, and when I finally wake up, I begin my slow rise with a big ol bear hug. So far we're at two days and counting...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Back to the lightside...

For the last four and a half years when someone has asked me what I do for a living, I would tell them, "I used to be a newspaper reporter, but now I..."

I had found that A) this would clear up a LITTLE bit of confusion when I would then attempt to explain my mashup of jobs on the business side of news radio and B) I still took pride in being a reporter, even if I wasn't anymore.

I'm happy to say, I no longer have to refer to "my former life as a newspaper reporter," for I am a reporter once again! I've accepted a full-time reporting position with C&G Newspapers, a group of weeklies based in Warren, Mich. The company is launching its 18th paper in April, for which I will be its sole reporter (more or less). I'm 98 percent excited and 2 percent nervous, but even that is mostly nervous excitement.

But I always thought I would be back. When I took a part-time office job with my current employer upon moving to Chicago, my reporter and editor friends didn't get too worried. A "transitional phase" is all it was... right? When I was offered a full-time job at the radio networks eight months later and accepted, that's when the questions and comments started to rain down upon me.

For the nearly four years since, I've heard, "When are you leaving the darkside?" and my mom would e-mail me news stories and ask, "Wouldn't you love it if that was your name on the story?" I took it all to heart. I missed it like crazy, all the while stating that I was "sleeping better at night" and happy to be reading more again, etc. Basically, some things to make me feel better for abandoning the career I had been working toward since I was 16 doing paste-up and layout at my hometown paper, the Ionia Sentinel-Standard. (Note: This means literally cutting out individual stories and sometimes paragraphs or individual words, coating them with hot wax and sticking them onto a large rectangular piece of paper to create each page of the newspaper).

You see, about two weeks after I moved to Chicago I got a call from my former editor, Clint. And I remember it was mid-afternoon. I had just gotten home from my part-time job, more or less as a secretary. He said he had good news for me: my series of stories that essentially had taken down a corrupt police department had earned a first place for investigative journalism from the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.

Most people would be elated, right? Holy crap! A first place! At the age of 25! How many newspaper vets did I beat out for this honor!?!?

Instead, I cried. I was so upset. How in the world had I left this business, which, for nearly 10 years, I was convinced I was "meant" to do. And now I was a secretary 20 hours a week. What the hell was I doing???

Well, it didn't take long to calm down and at least try to appreciate this accomplishment in my career, which I'm happy to say is apparently back on track. Now I have to get over feeling silly about hanging a wooden Wisconsin-shaped award in my new cubicle. Actually, I don't know if I'm ready for that just yet. For now it may have to stay at the home office...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Good-bye, ye olde city of wind

Or maybe I should say "See you later," because I, no doubt, will be back. Hopefully more often than reality and energy levels usually allow one to return to their former city for visits.

I'm moving back to Michigan. I officially will be shacked up with Dan, the Bear, the cats and the fish in two short weeks, which still somehow don't seem short enough. This will be the third time I've moved to another state and it is my last. Thank god.

It's stressful enough moving across town but throw another state into the mix and it's a whole new lot of expenses and stresses. UHaul, cat sedatives and more. Oh, and I should mention that I've been driving a company car for the last 3 1/2 years. So, on top of cancelling and changing appointments and services, taking the cats to the vet, renting a UHaul, buying and gathering boxes, orchestrating schedules and generally planning my attack -- I've thrown buying a car and determining which insurance company to use on top of everything. (Especially because you can't buy a car without proof of insurance and you can't get insurance without a Michigan license and you can't get a license without....)

And, just to keep me on my toes, I dropped my phone yesterday and had to get a new one. Although I spent more than an hour at Verizon last night, I walked away with a brand new phone -- free of charge. The phone gods were smiling down upon me (um... after I dropped the phone, apparently?) and "new Verizon guy" asked his boss if he could wave my $50 deductible. So, that sure was nice.

But despite all of the stresses I am certainly experiencing, I'm remaining quite calm, if I do say so myself. My apartment's a mess, but that's to be expected, I think. I found a great car at a dealership in Michigan -- it's exactly like my company car, so I already know I like it. Dan's going to test drive it for me tomorrow, though, and I should be able to pick my little red Pontiac up on Monday.

The cats are taking their drug-induced voyage to Michigan on Saturday. By then Claire's purple Beta fish, Tiara, should be safely perched on a new white shelf so the fatties can't get to her. Although, Tiara has been trying to commit suicide anyway, so maybe we would be doing her a favor by letting the cats have at her. I guess we'll have to see what Claire thinks about that...

My Chicago nostalgia already has begun. I've got my eyes on a few restaurants before I go. Thankfully, I hit up The Breakfast Club with Nicolle a couple of weeks ago, so that's off my list. I still need a grilled cheese from Cleo's, Panang curry from Duck Walk, all-you-can-eat sushi with my lady friends, Local Option guacamole and chips, and a few cheap whiskeys at Shoe's Pub. That's all I can think of for now. And, again, I'll be back and can eat this stuff anytime, right?

In the meantime, I'm taking many deep breaths and move forward, with my hands raw from constructing boxes and the circles under my eyes darkening each day. As temperatures have dipped in recent weeks to near zero with below zero wind chills, I've been driving to work. Most days getting lucky enough to get a "good" meter, which costs the same as the train. Yesterday, I decided to take the train. After all, it was in the upper 20s -- which is practically like summer during a long Chicago winter, and I have $50 on my train card to try to burn in the next two weeks. I decided I wouldn't even read on the train. I would get one of my last tea lattes at Argo Tea and look out the window as I took the trip to work, admiring the scene of the downtown hustle.

A quick stop at my chiropractor's to drop off a purchased scarf and a phone call to try to reschedule a doctor's appointment due the move stalled my boarding the train until after 8:30 a.m. -- always a deadly battle to squeeze on anytime after 8. I crossed the street toward the station just as a train was pulling away. Once on the platform, clutching my mate latte with my hood up to help block the chilly breeze, my usual 2-minute wait for the next train turned into 15. So, I pulled out My Antonia and started reading.

It's tough to turn pages with gloved hands, not to mention when one is holding a cup. So, I decided to de-glove because, after all, a train must surely be just around the corner, right? It was this thinking that allowed my hands to freeze for the next 20 minutes as I waited, unable to squeeze onto the one train that did stop.
Eventually I made it onto a train after waiting about 35 minutes. It was too packed to see out the windows so, with my hands red and stiff, I attempted to continue reading, holding the tea and steadying myself as best I could.

Everyone was grumpy and stinky, their morning breath and winter rush sweat invading my nostrils despite my best efforts. Forget taking the train. I'm back to my car. I can get reimbursed for any unused money on my card anyway. Screw this. And Say Yes! to Michigan.