The Perils of Working in the Original Skyscraper Jungle

I work in the city. THE city. As in Chicago. Home of the original skyscraper. Did you know that? After the Chicago Fire, they commissioned an architect to do whatever he wanted…and he wanted to change the world, apparently. Thus skyscrapers were born.

So I work downtown, inside The Loop, Chicago. Each day I walk a mile from the train, rain or shine, sweltering or bitterly freezing. And then I work. And then I walk another mile from work to the train. I used to occasionally take a cab (VERY occasionally), but mostly I’d brave the elements because a one-way $8-10 cab ride just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve recently discovered that I’m not as afraid of the bus, but for an extra $2.25 per trip, it’s only worth it when it’s REALLY fucking cold out. Like negative temperatures cold. Like WAY negative temperatures cold. Because that $2.25 would quickly become $22.50 PER WEEK. And that’s a lot on my already-expensive commute.

So I brave the dangers of walking in the city. When it’s freezing out, and especially when the freezing starts to warm up just a smidge, signs start popping up all over The Loop. On my walk to and from the train, I pass no less than 8 caution signs each way. Caution signs that warn passersby of potential falling ice. FROM THE FUCKING SKYSCRAPERS.

Caution Falling Ice

  1. How the fuck am I supposed to see the falling ice ball from the sky by looking at a sign 2 feet off the ground?

  2. How the fuck would I even protect myself if a giant, painful ball of ice were to come tumbling down on my head?

  3. What is the fucking purpose of the signs? Do they think they’re preventing legal repercussions of a chunk of ice decapitating some unlucky soul?

Because if a giant fuckball of ice falls on my head and doesn’t actually kill me, I’m going to sue something. Or someone. Okay, probably not. But I would most certainly be pissed. And in a lot of pain.

Then…THEN…I get safely inside the confines of my building? Only to discover that because of the wet, melting ice on my feet, I could fall to my death inside the fucking skyscraper. Because those floors are fucking SLICK. I should know…I slip on them on a regular basis.

Caution Wet FloorThese days, I’m not opposed to a nice, cozy suburban job…with a 5-15 minute drive. We’ll see.

Blog Friends, what dangers await you on your morning commute? Or do you have a dangerous job? Or do you avoid danger like the plague?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

I Made Pictures in My Mind to Remember You

Caution: This post may make you cry. But it may not. It made me cry writing it. So read at your own risk that you may or may not cry. And I promise I tried to put some humor in it. Whether or not you laugh is up to you. So really, you could laugh AND cry. Or neither. The choice is yours, really.

You may have been wondering why I disappeared for a week of guest posters in March. Or why I’ve not been quite as socially active. Or why my posts are lacking that special oomph that makes me me. This is why.

In August of last year, we received a devastating blow. Brian’s mom, who was the nicest and most wonderful lady in the whole world, without a mean bone in her body, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. In layman’s terms, she had a non-smoker’s lung cancer that had already spread.

Until February, she fought and fought and fought. And we both (she and I) believed that she would fight it, kill it, and stomp on its grave. That stupid cancer. We spent a lot of time talking about how she was going to make this cancer wish it had never paid her a visit. She was strong. But February came, and reality set it.

The cancer was taking over.

Cancer. Was. Taking. Over.

On March 23, the world lost a fine lady, and Heaven gained an angel. It sucks. Cancer sucks.

But I am lucky. Lucky that I knew her. Lucky that I spent as much time as I did with her. For a while we were spending most of our weekends with Mom. And while there may not be a lot of photographic evidence, I have pictures in my mind. Lots of them. Sweet ones and funny ones. And those will live on forever. I am lucky.

But I’m still sad. And while she wasn’t my own mom, she was family. And I loved her.

One of the best pictures, though, is not a picture in my mind. It’s a real picture. After surgery, she couldn’t walk very well, but I promised to take her to the grocery store. I promised to teach her how to ride the driving cart at the store. Surprised that I knew how to maneuver it so well (Thanks to my Mom, my Gram, and my own silly injuries), she became less reluctant to try it out (Because she didn’t see me almost get hit by a car on my way into the parking lot) and she was ready for it. If I could do it, so could she.

So we had a grocery adventure, Brian’s mom and I. Just the two of us.

Driving like a rock star. She had a great teacher, you know...

And then we had more driving cart adventures. Because we could. But those are all brain pictures. And not real pictures. Lucky for me, I’ve got a pretty colorful brain.

Blog Friends, tell us about someone you love. Tell us a memory. Tell us about a picture in your brain.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Cancer Sucks

Relay for Life Hope

Relay for Life

When I was 8, my grandfather was diagnosed with a skin cancer called malignant melanoma, By the time they found it, it had already metastasized in other places and the outlook was not so promising. I remember him being sick, and sometimes he was all there…other times he was not.

I don’t remember a whole lot of the bad stuff, but I remember shortly before he passed away, he gave Mom some money to “go buy the kids something.” So we went to Walgreens and another store. I got a pair of shoes that I loved and a mini Christmas tree (20 years later, I still put it up religiously). My brother also got a mini Christmas tree and something else.

I also remember the day that he died. We were at the hospital. I hugged him. He told me he loved me. He used to call me Christinie Christinie Jelliebeanie (which is why I occasionally use the pseudonym Jelliebean and why Penny calls me Bean). We went home to the house, with the intention to return. My uncle called and told us that he would be gone before we came back. But we had said our goodbyes, so it was okay. I remember it being sad, but I don’t think I cried. I didn’t cry a whole lot then. I guess that in my adulthood, I’ve made up for my lack of childhood tears.

At my grandfather’s wake, tons of people showed up. I was a kid, and there was a play area. So I wanted to play. I didn’t quite realize what was going on. When my school pals showed up with their moms, I would ask if they wanted to play with me, but the moms would all look at me funny, and say that they were just there for a short time and needed to pay their respects. I just wanted to eat cookies and play with toys.

Of course, the day of the funeral came, and I remember my older cousin Jennifer crying a lot. I didn’t understand. I realized then that I should be crying too. So I tried to cry. But I couldn’t. So I just sat there with her. Wishing I could cry.

Yup; cancer sucks.

Last night, my Chicago Bears (and those pesky Dallas Cowboys) were the first to sport their pink shoes and accessories to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness…Yes, that’s right, you’re about to get splashed hard with the pink bug. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A disease that my family knows all too well. My sister (who, by blood, is actually my dad’s cousin’s daughter) recently had most of her lady parts removed because she has the breast cancer gene. Her mother, her grandmother, her aunts, her cousins–all my family, too–have been affected.

Now, it’s on both sides of my family. Fucking breast cancer.

Today, I’m asking the blogosphere to send out good Juju to my family. Whatever works for you is happily accepted here. Prayers, thoughts, well-wishes, good juju. From the bottom of my heart, thanks.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!