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Working in Chicago (as opposed to NOT Chicago), I tend to see a lot of weird shit. Like the circulating saw blade out in front of my office next to the rusty razor blade, which I took one look at, thought “Someone should do something about that,” realized that there was no way in hell I was going to be that somebody and went about my day. And the strange pattern of tweens attaching stuffed animals to their backpack confounds me – are they storing meth in there or something?

I work in a building full of former lofts that was probably once a sweatshop back in the days of wine and roses… *looks wistfully into the sunset* While my office is the one of two on the floor, the floor above me is home to one huge office that I’m halfway convinced trains elephants and reenacts historic Civil War battles.

Since I have to commute about 45 miles to and from the office, my journey begins at the ungodly hour of six in the morn’ (did you know that there’s a six in the morning? ME EITHER). By the time I’m in the office, I’m either so jacked up on caffeine that I’m vibrating or I’m nodding out from my train ride so I probably wouldn’t notice if the floor above me began to reenact famous battle scenes in my own office.

I was practically nodding out on my way in last Wednesday; so out of it that I’d tried repeatedly to enter an office down the block (which turned out to be a home) and nearly tweeted something about how I heart Justin Bieber.

Yeah. I know.

Through the sleep in my eyes, I punched the door code and stumbled into the foyer of the building, eyes on the prize. Or, in this case, the elevator. As I approached I noted that I was not alone in my desire to ascend floors and groaned inwardly. Not because I hate people but because I was fearful I might blurt out “Blergy-poo-Lady-Gaga” in response to “Good morning!”

We stood semi-quietly waiting for the elevator and the gentleman struck up a conversation with me. He’s one of those guys you can’t help but like, all smiles and witty banter, and I instantly forgave him for speaking to me before I had my coffee* because he was just that awesome. We chattered and chittered our way upstairs where he wished be good luck on my day as I bid him farewell.

It was then that I noticed what was probably the awesomest thing EVER to be carrying around.

There, nestled in his arms was not a backpack or ottoman. It wasn’t a bird, plane, or Superman. No.

It was a life-sized bendy-looking model penis. Complete with balls. It wasn’t – I don’t believe – a dildo, it appeared to be intended for use as a teaching device, but I couldn’t be sure. I mean, how do you say, “NICE DONG!” to someone you’ve just talked about sparkly Uggs with?

I spent the rest of the day feverishly wishing I’d had a model penis to lovingly carry around with me. It could be my new friend! We could go on adventures together! I’d call him Stampy and we’d be the very best of best friends! It was a beautiful daydream ripped apart by learning that those types of teachable penis models do not come cheaply.

But hey. At least I learned that they’re probably not reenacting historic battles replete with cannons upstairs.

They’re probably recreating all the light saber scenes from Star Wars.

With model penises.

*I fired my Thermos for poor job performance

When my daughter was a toddler, she and I had a lot of problems with her frequent over-usage of soap and lotion. Well, her fascination with all things cleansing and moisturizing has reached an entire new level. A level so embarrassing that I might be shunned by the entire Mommy Community after I tell its tale, but tell it I shall, because I have no shame.

This one might take the cake though.

The other day, as I was getting ready for work, my daughter came into the bathroom rubbing her hands in her usual mirthful way. Yep, lotion again. As my temperature began to rise, I asked her where she had obtained said lotion. She replied, “By the bed.” Funny, I thought. I don’t remember having any lotion by the bed. Then it hit me.

Wait for it.

Wait for it.

You guessed it…

My daughter had coated her hands in lube. Hi, My name is Julie (Hi, Julie) and I may have accidentally committed a sex crime against a two-year-old.

Now, before you get your spanx all in a bunch and think my husband and I are some kind of sex perverts, hear me out. The “lotion” (I am going to keep referring to it as “lotion” because the word “lube” really freaks me out) she had found was actually a bottle of Pre-seed fertility lubricant, not a 20-gallon bottle of Astroglide. This particular “lotion” was used to help conceive both of the kids, not for hot, stinky monkey love. Regardless, I was mortified.

I immediately took her to the sink to wash the “lotion” off her hands, though there was no amount of soap that was going to wash off the crimson flush that had taken over my cheeks. After I cleaned her up (a remarkably speedy process, given the presence of the “lotion”), I sent her on her way to play. No “No more soap or lotion” talks, no scolding, no nothing.

Just a hope and a prayer to the big man above that she would not tell her friends at school about the incident and that the sex crimes enforcement agency wouldn’t be visiting me at work that afternoon.

Julie is the wrangler of a little girl who wears glasses and a fuzzy pink eye patch and a little boy who does neither. She also writes nonsense at I Like Beer and Babies. She is OK at Facebook and sucks at Twitter.

Back when I was a kid living in, you guessed it, Chicago* winter was full of the awesome. That is, until January hit, you’d successfully squeezed out every magic drop of Christmas present goodness – hell, you’d even made “my monkey butler Mr. Snappy” out of the boxes your presents came in – and you suddenly remembered why you loathe winter. Because it’s ass piled on ass, snowing ass, and your boogers freeze when you step out the front door.

The moment school’s back in session after Christmas Break (no, we weren’t so weirdly PC back then) it began. Every day, you’d call some random number listed by the phone called “time and temperature” and they’d tell you the forecast.

See kids? We DID manage to live without an iPhone app that alerts you about all the weather-related things that might affect you – like somewhere on another continent, a brush fire has broken out and OMG DO SOMETHING even though it’s glaringly obvious to anyone with half a brain that there’s no way you’re going to travel to some country you can’t pronounce with a bucket of water – the TSA has banned water along with breathing, smiling, and hope.

Most of the time, some grainy-sounding, vaguely female voice would inform you what you already knew - it was ass cold. It would be ass cold at noon and ass cold when you went to bed.

One of those rare moments, though, you’d hear from the equally grainy voice that WEATHER was going to happen and it was PROBABLY going to be BAD! As adults, we groan and think about how this is going to make our toes physically freeze and fall off our body into wee toe Popsicles while we commute to and from work. As kids, though, this was the beginning.

The beginning of the feverish prayers for a snow day. For me, it’d go something like, “Dear God, I think this is how I pray or something. Can you please make it snow tomorrow so the schools are closed? And, can you make the person on the radio with the boring voice swear? Thanks, Jesus Christ, Amen.” As though God had better things to do than to make it snow so some random Midwestern child could avoid school.

Then, the questioning began. Because I wasn’t raised by helicopter parents, my own parents always looked semi-shocked when I walked into a room, like, “Wait, who IS this chi…Oh right, we had another kid.” But when a possible SNOW DAY was MAYBE GONNA happen, my parents couldn’t help but pay attention to me. Mostly because I badgered them at least every three minutes to “call the school” to see if it had been cancelled yet. Didn’t matter if there wasn’t a single flake of snow falling or if the front yard had suddenly turned into a tropical paradise, I’d pester them just the same. My shrill cries eventually gave way to this conversation:

Young AB: “Mooooooooooom, can you call the school now?”

My Mother: “Rebecca**, I called ten minutes ago. Nothing has changed since then.”

Young AB: “How ’bout now?”

My Mother (doing her best to ignore me)

Young AB (determined to NOT allow my mother to forget my existence for a single moment): “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! PLEASE CALL THE SCHOOL! I MIGHT NOT HAVE SCHOOL TOMORROW!”

My Mother: “Not-so-subtle method of getting me to call, huh?”

Young AB: (smiles proudly)

Eventually my mother broke down and gave me the number so that I could call and listen to the tinny voice tell me that school was, for now, still on. And the next day, I’d wake up, hopeful that I’d get to spend the day drinking cocoa and relaxing by the fire on a bearskin rug while my (box) monkey butler, Mr. Snappy fed me grapes. Didn’t matter that I both loathed cocoa and we didn’t own a fireplace OR bearskin rug and that Mr. Snappy had gone through too many incarnations of box creations to even resemble cardboard.

I’d scramble to the phone and punch in the coveted numbers only to hear a bored-sounding lady (I think it was the school secretary, but I can’t be certain) say the same thing. Which was, essentially, “School’s in session. SUCKER.” Okay, the SUCKER was implied, but you get the drift. School was on. No fireside chat with Mr. Snappy.

Ad nauseum.

I’d forget all about the ass cold and focus on more interesting pursuits like counting the piles of ice-encrusted poos in the backyard and determine if our dogs did, in fact, shit in patterns. (answer: no) Then, one morning out of the fucking blue, I’d wake up to find my mother staring forlornly at the phone. Groggily, I’d ask her what was wrong.

Choking back a sob, she’d reply, “You have a *weeps* snow day today!”

Suddenly I’d be wider awake than I’d ever before been and scrambling through the house to find pieces of my winter gear. I’d shove my legs into my snow pants, not caring that the pants had somehow eaten one of my beloved cute kitten socks, knowing I’d regret it later when my boot had filled with slush. I’d scuttle out the door, all “I can’t move my arms!” as the gang of neighborhood kids began to run out of their front doors.

*click* I’d hear as my mother locked the door behind her, still crying over the implications of a snow day.

I haven’t had a snow day since Jesus copied my math homework.

That is, until Monday. All week the week before, I’d heard various reports of a cold wave hitting Chicago on Monday – all with varying degrees of hysteria – and I promptly laughed. With varying degrees of sarcasm. Cold? In Chicago? In JANUARY? Why, I NEVER!

Until Monday. When it was -50 degrees BELOW zero. Because “death by commuting” seems an awfully pathetic way to go, I decided that I probably wasn’t going into the office. Neither was my coworker Lauren. Or Adam. Or Chris. Or Ryan. Or, quite frankly, MD, my boss.

The kids, trapped at my house until further notice also had a snow day. I’d hoped to miraculously find an adult-sized snowsuit in my coat closet so we could romp around in the snow together, but alas, there was nothing. Besides, it was so cold that the Weather Channel finally stopped reporting on the fish*** and started saying things like, “drink a gallon of water before going out doors,” and throwing around hypothermia like it was a hip new band.

So we stayed in. For two straight days while the world shut down. In fact, our snow day(s) could easily go on record as the laziest snow day(s) in the history of snow day(s) ever.

Also? The best.

*Motto: 4/5 governors impeached!

**My parents are the only human beings who call me “Rebecca,” which means that whenever I hear it, I’m instantly on guard, as though I’m in terrible trouble.

***Won’t someone think of the fish?
————–
Am I the only person who remembers snow days as lasting approximately 89 hours and filled with the most fun stuff in the history of ever?
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