Archive for May, 2006

Meet Dolly

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006
Dolly 2  Dolly 2, originally uploaded by Koog Family.

This is Dolly. Emma’s favorite doll. Dolly makes her smile and laugh. Sometimes Dolly even helps Emma stop crying.

Dolly 1  Dolly 1, originally uploaded by Koog Family.

Emma likes to give Dolly hugs and big, wet kisses.

But that doesn’t mean that Dolly still doesn’t get thrown on the floor sometimes.


Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Dancing Bat     The test came back negative today.

The biting bat (may he or she rest in peace) did not have rabies!! 

So no more shots for mom or Emma.¬† And I’m not as worried about the tenant’s bills anymore.¬† Homeowner’s should cover most of it, I would think.¬† And as my boss reminded me,¬†it’s just money.¬† Luckily, everyone is in good health.¬†¬†

Bat, Bites, and Bills

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

I’m still trying to come to terms with just what the odds are, astronomically¬†speaking,¬†of the occurrence of¬†some bizarre events in¬†our house over the¬†weekend.¬†

Paul and I left town for one night.  It was our first out-of-town overnight away from Emma.  My mother stayed over to take care of her.

Nothing could possibly go wrong in less than 24 hours, of course!

I made a routine check-in call to my mother from the hotel in the morning of our¬†weekend getaway.¬† Mom said that she had “had quite an adventure” the night before.

“Oh, Emma didn’t want to go to bed?” I asked, innocently.

“No,” she replied.¬† “There is a bat in the house!”

My jaw dropped.  We have never had a bat our house before. 


The events (and related, impending bills) are not yet far enough in the past that I’m able to spin¬†this one for humor.

The short version is that during a middle-of-the night check on Emma (in her room), my mother saw something swooping by.  

She turned the light on and saw the bat.

She screamed.  Emma shrieked at her scream.  (This pattern was repeated several times as the bat fluttered and echolocated around the room and into the hallway).  

Mom and Emma spent the rest of the night in another room with the door closed.   

Before we arrived home, things devolved from the novel to the unfortunate.

At my urging, my mother recruited the friendly upstairs tenant to help catch the bat, which was, by day, sleeping on the side of the kitchen cabinet.

During the course of the otherwise successful capture, the bat turned its head and bit our tenant on his fingertip.

Upon hearing that news (in Chicago), the first thing to flash through my mind was my homeowners insurance policy, followed quickly by other thoughts, which, of course, included great concern for the tenant.

A¬†representative of the Health Department¬†recommended that the tenant get the rabies vaccine right away.¬† She also read from¬†guidelines recommending that Emma and my mother should also get the shots, because the bat was in the house while they were sleeping, so we can’t know if they might have been bitten.

Because a Texas boy bitten by a bat during sleep died recently, and because of a well-known case of bat-related rabies in our state, the officials and medical professionals are all taking this very seriously.     

My mother got the first of her two shots the ER on the afternoon we arrived home, and I took Emma to the ER for her first (of five) shots, too.

Emma is scheduled for another shot on Tuesday.

The bat is being tested for rabies, and we’ll know its status on Wednesday.¬† If it has rabies, I’ll take Emma for the three additional shots over the next month.¬† The initial ER visit aside, I’ve made arrangements with¬†a reasonably lower priced (but still not that low) clinic for purposes of getting the rest of Emma’s shots.

But here’s the rub.¬† I told¬†my mother¬†to tell the tenant that¬†I would pay for his vaccine expenses.¬† It was the right thing to do, but I said it¬†before I thought through all the permutations of how much¬†that might cost if he has no health insurance.¬† ER visits aren’t¬†cheap, and he’s going to have to go five times!¬†to get the full vaccine series.

The good news is that everyone is being¬†cared for, and¬†there should be no health problems, even if the bat has rabies and bit everyone that¬†could.¬† And it’s all at zero cost to my mom, thanks to her insurance design.¬†

The bad news: in addition to the cost of Emma’s visits and shots, I may be¬†paying for five(!) of¬†ER visits for the tenant, who may or may not be insured.¬†¬†I cringe to think of how much that may¬†set me back.¬†¬†So much for our free trip weekend!

I’m still going to try submitting whatever it is as a claim on my homeowner’s policy.

Paul promised to check the attic soon to try and determine whether¬†any of the bat’s friends are up there.

I’m hoping this was a¬†one-time, freak occurrence.

Am feeling a bit more uneasy now, about that week away that we’re planning for later this year.¬†¬†¬†¬†

Oh, . . . BATS!!

Grand Prize Weekend

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

Hotel Monaco

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


In late July, 2005, Paul and I attended my firm’s summer picnic. I was as pregnant as the day was long, and we were generally in the process of preparing for the imminent arrival of our new family member. At the picnic, we were distracted from thinking about our changing family status, however. There was something else to look forward to there – the prize drawings.


Fruit and Wine in our room

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


Every picnic attendee was allotted the same number of tickets to insert, as we did, into different containers to to win different prizes. Gift certificates, spa treatments, booze (this is Wisconsin), and sports and theatre events.

When the drawing was held, we compared our ticket stub numbers to each prize number that was called out. No winners in there. Nothing. Zip.



Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


But wait. There was one more prize to be called. The “Grand Prize” Рa round trip for two to Chicago on Amtrack, a night at the Monaco Hotel (witha special arrangement for wine and fruit in the room), and a gift certificate to the South Water Kitchen. And the winner was. . . ME! I certainly wasn’t expecting to win, and was quite surprised to hear my name called.


The Yoga Channel

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


As I waddled up to the front to receive my prize (a lovely assemblage of the gift certificates and several Chicago tourist magazines and maps, in a bag), the place erupted into loud applause and cheering. I wasn’t sure what to make of that other than the fact that I suppose people felt sorry for me in my state of advanced pregnancy and imminent sleepless nights, and figured that I could use the getaway


El Station

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


We recently noticed the convergence of three sets of circumstances: 1. I can drink wine again; 2. Emma is old enough to be left overnight in the care of a relative; and 3. Paul’s school schedule is clearer now that it’s summer, and all.
So we finally made our reservations, and headed off, last Friday, on our “Grand Prize” trip.


Ann Sather Coffees and Menu Selection

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


It was a lovely, if short, getaway. We caught the train to the city, avoiding all the traffic. Checked into our hotel and promptly enjoyed the “wine hour” in the lobby. We walked around the Chicago River area for a while before arriving for our dinner reservations and a lovely meal. And when we returned to our room, our new pet-for-the-night, was delivered to us. We named him Fishy.


Street Scene – Belmont Avenue

Originally uploaded by Koog Family.


The next morning, we took the “L” train to our old neighborhood and breakfasted at a place we‚Äôd been a few times before. After the trip north and back, it was time to head Amtrak station and get home again. But all in all, a lovely little trip!

Morning Transformation – In Pictures

Saturday, May 27th, 2006
Bed Head   Morning again? So soon?

Bed Head   You wanna do what with my hair?

This is the way we brush our hair   Brushing, brushing. . .

This is the way we brush our hair   Almost finished brushing.

Hello!   All pulled together and ready for a new day!

June is Dairy Month!

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Mars Cheese Castle
Originally uploaded by ChicagoSage.

June is Dairy Month!

What better time could there be eat some fresh, squeeky cheese curds, to visit some cheese blogs (neatly compiled in my new¬†”Cheese Links” section), or¬†to salute¬† my favorite Wisconsin roadside attraction,¬†Mar’s Cheese Castle – that beautiful landmark/cheese store that lets the driver on I-94 know that he or she is finally in Wisconsin.¬† Mar’s is the city-person’s resource for squeeky¬†curds¬†and other edible¬†novelties.¬†(And you may not know this, but you can stop there to eat lunch, too.¬† They make a mean grilled¬†ham and cheese.)

Not to be forgotten is the fact that¬†June starts the reign of this year’s¬†new “Alice in Diaryland,”¬†the Wisconsin State¬†dairy industry marketing representative who serves a one-year term performing traveling dairy education and service.¬†¬†¬†

Or, to keep your dairy month celebration more refined and¬†mellow, just pour yourself a glass of your favorite fermented grapes paired up with¬†your favorite fermented dairy.¬† That’s right, I’m talking about the food of the gods – wine and cheese.¬†¬†

What ever.

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

Scandal at the firm today.

One of our attorneys organized a “meet and greet” with a local accounting firm to take place at a restaurant last evening after work.¬† The drill at these things is that people from each company (in this case, our firm and the accounting firm) show up, drink cocktails and eat chex party mix, etc., while asking those from the other company¬†about their practice area, which one is obligated to find fascinating.¬† One is then also obligated to then suggest that the other person’s work fits very closely with one’s own¬†area of¬†work, and that mutual referrals of business would seem a natural¬†fit.¬† The other party agrees; business cards are exchanged.¬† People share with their new-found best friends a¬†couple of off-color stories¬†about what their friend, Bob, did, the last time he was in [fill in the blank:¬† this restaurant or any other landmark or body of water visible from the meet and greet location].¬† People tell a couple of practice-related war stories.¬† Everyone agrees to “be in touch,” and then¬†goes home. We have these IN our firm offices sometimes.¬† No better way to encourage attendance than that.

But in this case, the organizing attorney scheduled it off-site, sent a total of three¬†e-mail reminders – one a couple of months ago, one last week, and one at 11:00a.m. on the day of.¬† He didn’t walk around to talk to people face-to-face to raise enthusiasm.¬† He didn’t have a partner or a representative of the firm send an “endorsing” e-mail or help with recruitment.¬† And here’s the clincher.¬† He only invited 12 attorneys!¬†

Alright now.¬† Anyone who’s ever organized so much as a Mary Kay party knows that a typical response rate to that kind of invitation (without using other, heavy-handed recruitment tactics) is about 10%.¬† I had indicated that I might drop by, but then, things changed for me.¬† I was tied up much later than I wanted to be with a deadline project, and Paul had been taking care of Emma for hours and needed a break. Trying to be nice, I sent the organizer an apology, letting him know that I wouldn’t make it.¬† Here’s what I got back:

¬†—–Original Message—–

From: xxx, Dxx

Sent: Wednesday, May 24, 2006 8:44 PM

To: xxx, Kelly 

Subject: Re: Wxxx

What ever.

—–Original Message—–

From: xxx, Kelly

To: xxx, Dxx

Sent: Wed May 24 18:14:17 2006

Subject: Wxxx


I’m sorry – I was planning to stop by the Wxxx Meet¬†& Greet, but a client has requested that I get them a couple of amendments today. I’m still finishing them, so I’m not going to be able to make it. Hope some firm¬†folks did make it.



And today, a partner sent around a¬†scathing e-mail scolding everyone (cusswords included) for not showing up (only three of our people did, to their twelve).¬† Now, I’m thinking that, under the circumstances of the invite, he slightly exceeded the 10% and did OK.¬† It should have been promoted another way.

I’ll sleep soundly, knowing that I apologized in advance.¬† But I don’t know if the organizing attorney will, after sending that little not-good-for-his-karma e-mail.¬†

Houston, We Are Mobile!!

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006


This morning, Paul and I both witnessed actual, completely-unimpeded-by-having-her-own-leg-in-the-way, forward CRAWLING!!!

She’s been quite the scooter-arounder for some time now, but this is a breakthrough.¬†

Baby proofing, here we come. 

And I suspect we’re going to be getting more exercise of our own, as we keep watch over her explorations, as well.

(Sorry, cats.¬† You’re probably in for a rough ride.)

Milestone Alert

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Nine and 1/2 months old, and today, I brushed Emma’s hair for the first time!¬†

She just hasn’t had enough of it to need brushing until now.¬† I’ve just pushed it behind her ears now and then with my fingers.¬† But it’s finally getting long enough, in parts, to look unruly when she wakes up.¬†

So I brushed it this morning.  With a soft little baby brush. 

I parted her hair to one side, too.¬† I changed the side of the part, after Paul thought the first choice I made wasn’t the natural one for her.¬† Now her hair is parted on the same side as mine.¬†

And it looks, like she always does, just lovely. :)

Signs of Decline

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

Urban Fishing Rules
Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

The lawyer in me appreciates a finely coordinated set of codified rules, but knows that they are rarely either coordinated or enforced.

The libertarian in me knows that that a society that imposes too many rules, as our prolific governments do today, at all levels, simply causes, by definition, widespread rule-breaking.

And so, I find these signs in the park mildly amusing but quietly unfortunate.

A majority of the people who frequent this park don’t speak English natively, if at all.

So the laws announced in these signs result in the creation of multiple violators – citizen and otherwise.

I have to find the quote I’ve bookmarked at work – it cites Plato on how prolific legislation is a sign of a society in decline.


Notice in the Park
Originally uploaded by Koog Family.

The rules on these signs may have been better observed at the time of their original drafting. But today, I fear, they are reminders that our country is sliding toward lawlessness as simple a result of suffering under too many laws.