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Egads, DMV. You’re a Wreck!

Day 5:

Omg. That was an adventure.

Things effected by Covid that are ok, but still not quite right: movie theaters, music concerts, some shopping experiences and the freaking DMV. It’s never been a walk in the park, it’s always usually a total PITA, but now it’s kind of a mess.

We had two reasons to go to one of the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles.

1.) New Driver’s License

Number 2 sadly, because, genetics…lost his wallet last week with his license, debit card, and some special un-needed but sentimental keepsakes. Some of those things include his Great America pass since he was nine, an old school ID, his social security card….YOWZA. Ok, that one was needed. Insert super big face palm. I feel like we need to report that or something.

And he also lost $100 in cash; hard-earned tips from the restaurant where he works. The day he lost it, he spent three stressed and upsetting hours retracing his steps, talking to all the management he could at the three places he went, searched his car multiple times, left his phone number everywhere. It’s gone. A bummer of a life lesson.

Sidenote: I just can’t relate with a human who would find a wallet in a parking lot and not try to do the right thing. It makes me so sad. I hope they get a flat tire, they ruin their favorite shirt in the laundry and a bird poops on their head.

2.) Driver’s Permit

Number three needed her drivers permit. She finished the class part weeks ago and was scared she was going to forget everything. Which I get. But dammmnnnn it’s hard to get an appointment. You have to wait weeks. It’s such a clogged drain that they have given people who have an expired license a six month extension. The best option for us with a busy schedule was just to suck it up and go.

The first time we tried to get her permit was a disaster. It was about three weeks ago. I had to take a half day off of work, which was hard in itself, and I was not having a good tummy day. I was trying my best to smile and be excited for her, but inside, it felt like there was a tiny, little angry person living in my intestines, repeatedly stabbing them with big fork.

A lot of my stomach issues are stress-related, so this wasn’t helping. I raced home from work and grabbed all the essential documents needed: social security card, a bill with her name on it, her driver’s school paperwork, a copy of her birth certificate. Let me repeat that, a COPY of her birth certificate. That’s what the school told me. A CO-PY. Or maybe they didn’t say that. Maybe it’s just…me. We all know it’s most probably just me.

The facility wasn’t close. We make the trek out to Schaumburg and got there at about 1:30pm. We pull in:

That scenario, for me in particular, was like an irritable bowel horror movie.

We waited in line and soon we were not the last people; we were giddy. She was so excited to get this…I was a little teary that I was already at this milestone with my baby. I had also already quietly made a plan that if I needed leave the line to run inside to the bathroom, I would do it very stealthily and with conviction. But so far, so good.

There was an older gentleman busker playing mediocre violin, but I was feeling jovial and supportive, so I gave #3 twenty bucks to go toss it in his guitar case. I told her to do it dramatically so everyone could see. I thought we would start a tip trend when everyone saw us do that. Crickets. Come on, humanity!

Finally, an hour and a half in; we were about 30 feet from the front door. An employee was checking people’s documents to prep everyone who was about to enter. I handed him everything, while I made what I thought were witty, funny and adorable side comments about our line wait. Number 3 nudged me a little, rolled her eyes almost out of her head and pretended that she didn’t know me. Then the man said, “I‘m sorry but this is a copy of her birth certificate. We need the real thing.”

What?” I said?

This is a copy of her birth certificate. Do you have an original with the stamp on it?” When he said that, I started to get a little dizzy, I couldn’t seem to find any air and his voice was warped like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Number 3 was shocked and looked at me like a just ran over a baby bunny.

I was horrified, She was horrified. But…I…you see…I ….was digging in a dark closet, trying to grab things out of our file cabinet…it’s looked like a birth certificate, it felt like a birth certificate, it smelled like a birth certificate…I was going to throw up. My sweet daughter. I’m not sure what embarrassed her more, the fact that we had to leave in front of everyone or the very obvious crying of her very distraught mother. What a SHIT. SHOW.

Pivot, heal, relax, re-group, re-charge.

Three weeks later, we tried again. I grabbed number 2 to kill two birds….This time we got up at 6am, headed out to Waukegan, whipped through Dunkin’ and pulled in…

OK, ok, ok, OK. It wasn’t that bad. The weather wasn’t horrible and we actually kind of had fun. In true Moran fashion, we made lots of new besties around us, with people we will absolutely never see again. Number 3 was so nervous for her test, so we pulled up an online practice test and she was asking me for all the correct answers. Dear Lord…the wrong parent took her. Number 2 wasn’t much help either…who can remember these little things?

We made it to the hot spot; the entrance door (past the scene of that last crime), so I felt victorious. You can’t see it because of the glare, but right in the doorway behind the glass, the security guy had this huge Uzi megaphone thingie and it was right near me when I was waiting there and it took every little strength in my body not to pick it up and yell “BREAKER BREAKER ONE_NINE!”

Number 3 said, “MOM, NO.” She knows me.

Inside, the employees were wonderful. Kind, helpful and sweet, we went through both processes painlessly. It’s not their fault that China created Covid and now we have long DMV lines. #2 and I had to go outside and wait for #3 to take her test and when she came out smiling, we knew she passed. Easy peasy.-ish. We were home by 10:00am!

And…this is the best.

“Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby…No Sir, I Don’t Mean Maybe!!”
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Say It Ain’t So, Rizzo.

Day four.

Ernie Banks.

Billy Buck.

Ivan DeJesus.

Andre Dawson.

Rick Sutcliffe.

Sammy Sosa. (Pre-cork)

Ryno.

Javy.

Bryant.

ANTHONY RIZZO.

The Chicago cubs organization just ripped the heart out of the Cubbies.

I grew up sitting in the 11th row behind the visitor’s dugout. Seats 5, 6, 7 and 8. It used to be the 10th row, but they added another row and we moved with it. My dad first got the tickets in 1971. Near the end, I could hardly get to a game because of kids and life. The last few years, my dad’s health prevented him from being able to maneuver through the crowds to get to the seats.

I remember entering the park as a girl, running behind him, looking up at the back of his head, reaching out to grab his shirt, while he masterfully serpentined between the crowds of people. He would turn back and smile his golden smile to me to make sure I was keeping up. We’d stop just for a quick second to get a scorecard and he’d get a beer (Later on, one for me too). We loved our seats. We had all the chances to move aisles closer to the field, but we loved being able to just jump over and fall into ours. Easy in, easy out. Perfect for raising a hand to buy a Home Run Hot Dogs and Budweisers.

In my early 20’s, while I was attending my fourth and last college, I rented an apartment on Broadway one block south of Addison. It was kind of a dump and it was next to The Jewel and that SUCKED during Christmas season because those damn Salvation Army bells would ring all the freaking time. But I was so close to Wrigley. My dad was a commodities trader at the Board of Trade and he was off work at 1:30pm. On game days, he would sneak out a bit early and hop in a cab. I would ride my bike, walk or rollerblade over to the park and meet him at The Cubby Bear. We bought the peanuts outside because they tasted better. He’d hand me my ticket and we’d start the mad dash. Even going to the games as an adult, I still felt the rush…I still always wanted to reach out and grab his shirt. Sitting there watching the game was our catch-up time, it was relaxing and it just felt like home.

Twinning with Sutcliffe.

Sometimes I would take the train in with my mom and we would go Cubbie nuts. My mom is still a die-heart fan, too. She was raised a Sox fan, but we don’t hold that against her. (So was my husband and his family is not happy.) We really had the best of times through the years. Our favorite thing to do after the game was to go to the Wild Hare and get our reggae on…so many laughs. Those were the party party days. We were always meeting new people and chatting up our “seat neighbors.” Some we knew for over 30 years. They saw us grow up. They saw us bring all of our babies there for the first time. They saw the last days of dad being there.

My kids were raised in the red, white and blue. They didn’t know anything else. They all went to the the park as babies and they all had their personal Cubbie adventures. Being a Cubs fan has been a big part of who they are today.

Every opening day, my brother and I would trade off going with Dad. Some days were filled with freezing rain, some were sunny and beautiful, but they were always perfect. The timeline of the day, the routine, the songs, the stretch, it was all so comforting like a bug warm hug. I will cherish those days forever.

Of course, I fell in love all the time. My first boyfriend was Billy Buckner. He was a dashing hero to me. My dad is the kinda guy who knew everyone and somehow he finagled us having an official “Donaldson Day” at Wrigley. We were able to go on the field, lay against the Ivy, see the locker rooms. I sat in the dugout on Ivan Dejesus’ lap. Hell yes, I did. Oh, and this happened.

My dad did this Randy Huntley fantasy baseball camp and it was pretty darn cool. He was able to play alongside Ryno, Durham, Jody Davis, Fergie, Lee Smith…It was a total dream come true for him and it was cool to watch. Years later, my brother did the same….

Years later, my brother did a cool thing for my dad. Let’s the face it. THE.COOLEST. THING. Jim Donaldson day.

As we got older and started our families, it was harder to see my brother and his family. He and his wife lived a block away from the park on Sheffield and could hear the crack of the bats through his open windows. Wow. He was able to still go to the games all the time and I know that was another dream for him fulfilled. It was always fun to go to the games with him and catch up….always a beautiful bonding experience with him at the park.

I did marry a sox fan, as I mentioned before, but I would like to formally thank the Cubs for helping me woo him. Wrigley with my family was a great way to get him to marry me. We have flirted there many times at the park over the years.

And oh my word, THE FOOD. If you go old school, there is nothing like a Home Run hot dog from a park vendor…mustard only. Second place for me is a dog from inside with grilled onions. Great link HERE for the park food. We loved going to the Club before the games, during a rain storm or when it was just too damn HOT.

The Club

The Friendly Confines have changed. First it was cool things like the statues…Captain Morgan expansion was interesting…they fancied up the bleachers…Gallagher Park was a cool addition. Then they started to replace the premiere seating. Finally, they were ready to upgrade our box. And they changed the ticket prices to obviously separate the wheat from the chaff. They tripled them. Insert middle finger here.

So now, where I grew up, there are a bunch of corporate people who are in town to drink $20 IPAs and don’t give a shit about the Cubbies. Stay classy, Rickett’s.

And…because they Yankees could afford it and the Rickett’s clearly need more money, we just lost our Golden Child. I’m grateful for the years we had him. He was a bright shiny light with a giving soul. He was not only a phenomenal player, but a funny, charming, philanthropic Chicago lover. Rizzo is cancer survivor, a hero to so many of us, a complete inspiration. He helped make IT happen. I am so grateful we had him for so long. I wish him and Emily the best.

BREAKING NEWS:

I just heard Javy traded to the Mets and Kimbrel to the freaking Sox.

I’m out. (Kicks a can, stomps off.)

MORE BREAKING NEWS:

(Runs back in….)

BRYANT TO THE GIANTS?

(Light can on fire, punches wall, stomps off. )

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“This is only a drill.”

Last year, I was helping out in my youngest daughter’s classroom. We had a surprise lockdown drill.
I.LOST.MY.SHIT.
First, this is embarrassing, but…yeah, I’ll share.  Because I know that I’m not the only one who has felt like this and it needs to be talked about because it’s actually ok for us to say out loud, “this is scary.”  I am scared for my children, for my friends’ children, for my teacher friends.  I’m scared for everyone.  Even everyone I don’t know.  The whole package.  And also, I wish I was braver and not so scared. 

Let’s all agree that if you know me well, I’m a little…let’s say…hyper-empathic, to a fault….badly coupled with an overactive imagination that is way too big for it’s britches.  
But here I am….excited to help out in class…the last year that I can before my youngest moves to middle school. Cry! Weep! Take a selfie with her…post! I adore the teacher and the kids and we are doing cool things with planets and rockets and cereal boxes and cotton and….

Surprise lockdown drill? 

That…was not on my volunteer agenda. But here I am.  I’ve got this.

The alarm goes off and the teacher locks the door, turns off the lights and starts to huddle the kids under the desks. I look at her quizzically and she smiles and tells everyone it’s a drill. Or did they announce it?? I don’t recall.  I do remember feeling my blood boiling and my face getting hot and I put my hands on my cheeks and my stomach starts to hurt.  I follow her lead and pretend like I’m even an 1/8 of the superhuman she; as all teachers are in situations like this.  I am trying to calm the kids, who’s levels of fright are somewhere probably ranging anywhere from a 1-3 out of ten….I was lingering at somewhere around 149 out of five. While I’m smiling, winking and making funny cool-mom faces, inside I’m dying. Kind of literally.  All replayed out in different scenarios in my over-active absurd mind. I’m legitimately scared and there is no valid reason for it.  It’s a practice drill.  But I’m not 100% sure.  They don’t tell you that before it starts because….it’s a DRILL

Some of my thoughts…that I can vividly remember…that were pounding in my head, flying and whipping around like lights at a Floyd laser show:

(1)WHERE IS MY DAUGHTER. She’s literally right next to you.  Where are my other kids? Safe at school.  Safe?  Safe. These kids are safe.  I’m mom to all of them right now.   Count the kids. one, two, three…I don’t even know how many kids there are but still count..four, five, six….smile.

(2) What is that look in the teacher’s face? She looks scared.  This isn’t real.  Could this be real?  This isn’t real.  I’m listening so hard with my ears for every.little.thing.

(3) Can the kids see me crying a little bit?  Stop.  Stop.  Breathe. Smile.  

(4) Wall of windows.  How do those windows open? How fast can I get there and open one to get the kids out before something happens and I can’t make it? Omg STOP.

(5) Can the kids even fit out the window? How far do they open? Stop.  

(6) Where is my cellphone?  Where is my purse? It’s across the room.  I don’t need it.  Why the FUCK is my cell phone not in my pocket?  Smile.

(7) Re-lax. This is a drill.

(8) Almost done.

(9) Is the teacher scared? Wait? Is that a scared look? No, she’s fine. No wait, she’s acting like she’s fine, but she’s losing her shit.  No, she’s annoyed that her parent helper keeps staring at her and is losing her shit.  I’m so sorry.
(10) This could NOT be a drill.

(11) Keep smiling.  Keep making silly faces.  Keep winking.  Hide fright.  

(12) Why doesn’t Mike ever volunteer?

(13) I want Mike.

(Smile at Lulu, wink, squeeze her hand…make funny face)

(Turn away so she doesn’t see me crying again)

I hear footsteps.  Then the door jiggles. They are checking the locked doors. The principal and the police officers.  I know this.

It’s just a cop.

It’s just a cop.

It’s just a cop.

Omg. Is this real? Staring at windows. Starting at teacher. Staring at windows.

The next 5 minutes felt like 5 hours.

*Announcement: Drill over.

As I non-challantly blow a kiss to my daughter, make a lackadaisical eye-roll laugh and wave at the teacher, after I sign out at the front desk, tossing out some witty repartee about how “I always pick the best days to volunteer” and as I saunter out of the building… I am choking…CHOKING back the tears and the sobs that I finally let out all the way home.  I should have just taken her home with me.  I want to take the entire school home with me.

There wasn’t enough bottles of Chardonnay for me when I got home that day.  Why yes, I did day drink that day.  Sue me.

That experience wasn’t the real thing.  The vile thing.  Nothing I felt or thought that day could ever even TOUCH what all these children and teachers have had to experience and are continuing to experience.  The HORROR.  The REALITY.  

NO ONE. No child, no teacher, no parent, no law enforcement, no rescue teams should EVER have to go through any of it. Those children were helpless in a war they didn’t ask to fight in, in an unmarked war zone they called school and without any way to defend themselves. This is the worst kind of war ever.

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