Middles Do Boston

Last week, I traveled to Boston with my sister Bridget, my cousin Meghan and my selfie stick. It was kind of a spontaneous trip, we only decided a couple of weeks prior that we should all go to Boston together. The three of us are all middle children, so we figured we should treat ourselves to this trip, since no one else is going to treat us to anything, everyone knows that no one loves middle children.
The night before we left for our trip I was up later than I had originally planned because I was having a lot of trouble packing and figuring out my outfits. Of course I needed to be prepared for anything, “going-out” outfits, “being tourists during the day” outfits, “I’m just a sporty twenty something exploring a big city” outfits, etc. My mind was racing and I was stressed out! Then, once I was finally done packing and about to climb into bed for a good night’s rest I see a spider crawling across my bedroom floor! I was livid that this spider had the nerve to crawl across the plush carpeting that my landlords/parents had just installed! I don’t know if this spider thought I was renting out my place as an Airbnb while I was away in Boston or something, but he was sorely mistaken. But in the spider’s defense, it is something I’ve thought about, I’m sure I could rent it for a pretty penny. I mean, how appealing does this sound:

“Calming studio apartment located on the second floor of a building my parents own, in the heart of Evergreen Park, ‘the village of churches.’ Sleep soundly on a luxurious twin bed from Darvin furniture, complete with Pottery Barn Teen comforter. Amenities include an AC unit, TV and possibly a mini fridge pending landlord approval. Must be comfortable with pets and Baby Boomers. Must also be willing to help said Baby Boomers in the event they have an issue with their phone, TV, laptop, or any other technology related device. Landlord may get you a doughnut in the morning though if you are polite. Message Kathleen if interested.”

Yea, I think it’s safe to say the spider was on to something, my place would rent out like crazy.

Image-1 (16)

This is the photo I would use that would make my place rent out like crazy. Please ignore the violence going on on the TV, I was enjoying a Law and Order SVU marathon.

After tossing and turning all night because I felt so itchy from the spider incident, it was finally time for Meghan and me to head to the airport (Bridget was already in Boston for work, being a business woman on a business trip). Our friend Laura was nice enough to drive us to the airport and while on our way she asked us what we were most looking forward to about our Boston trip. “I can’t wait for all the inside jokes we are going to have after this trip!” I responded. “Hopefully we’ll come up with some good hashtags for Instagram!” I mean, who doesn’t love a good inside joke and hashtag?! #MiddlesDoBoston

Once we got to the airport and through security we had a quick drink at the airport bar and then went to our gate to board. We seemed to be waiting to board for quite a while though, so I decided to pass the time by talking about movies. Usually I would have brought up some new celebrity gossip, but I had been so busy in the days leading up to our trip that I had no time to watch Inside Edition so I had zero gossip! “Have you ever seen the movie Sully?” I asked Meghan. “That was a good movie. I mean how crazy is it that you hit a flock of birds and then it takes out both engines and before you know it the plane is going down! Can you imagine being a passenger on that plane?!” Meghan looked at me like I was crazy. “Why would you talk about THAT movie right as we are about to get on an air plane?!” She responded. “And yes, I have seen it!” Whoops, my bad.
The flight there was pretty uneventful, other than a lot of turbulence due to rain. I was fine and kept busy by reading my People magazine, but Meghan did not look like she was having fun. Apparently she kept thinking about that movie or something.

After a bumpy ride we landed in Boston and headed right to the bathroom because we drank way too much water. I was at the sink going to dry my hands when I realized there were no paper towels, only hand dryers! “That’s strike one, Boston!” I thought. Everyone knows my pet peeve is when bathrooms only have hand dryers and no paper towels. If I want  to ruin the environment with paper towels that’s my right, my prerogative! Don’t force me to be eco-friendly with your fancy hand dryers that only partially dry my hands. So with our hands still dripping with water, we then headed to the apartment we had rented for the weekend. Bridget had already checked in for us and was anxiously waiting our arrival (She was quick to switch from a business woman on a business trip to a business woman on a leisure trip). The place was nice but no one could get any cell service in the apartment. Bridget and Meghan were a little annoyed with this but it was not a problem for me since I do not ever really get text messages, other than the occasional roommate texting me asking if the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty, or if I know the password to her Yahoo email. Our only other complaint besides the cell service was there was no microwave! How would we heat up our food?! Sure, there was an oven but who uses those things anymore?! After getting over THAT shock we quickly got ready and then went to dinner and a few bars near Fenway Park. I was a little disappointed because I wore a super cute outfit and looked like a bombshell babe, but no one took any pictures or posted anything on social media so it was a total waste. Other than that it was a fun night.

IMG_9675

Visiting the set of the 2005 blockbuster movie “Fever Pitch” staring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon.

The next day we woke up and did a ton of tourist activities including the Freedom Trail, which took us to a lot of historical landmarks in Boston. Some were interesting but others were wicked boring. (Notice how I used the word “wicked?” Only a few days in Boston and I’m already picking up the lingo!) One stop was a very old cemetery where Paul Revere was buried. All the tombstones were from the 1700s and everyone seemed to have died pretty young. I saw one headstone of a woman who died when she was 26-the same age as me! But here’s the real kicker-she had already been married! She died a lucky woman, that is for sure. Just as I was beginning to feel bad about the fact that I was still an old maid at 26, I spotted across the street probably the nicest Walgreens I had ever seen in my life. Apparently it was not part of the Freedom Trail but we stopped in anyway and we were NOT disappointed. Crown molding throughout, shiny floors, plenty of snacks and beverages, was I in heaven. After a quick stop at Walgreens we headed to the bars again to have a much needed drink after all that walking.

IMG_9653

Pretty Sure that’s what Paulie was saying on his midnight ride

IMG_9654

Super lame tea party-there were no Twisted Teas, not even Brisk brand iced tea! Not worth the stop.

Saturday was a bit more of a leisure day. We went to a roof top bar where I sustained some sunburn on my scalp and my sister suffered severe burns on her chest and back (pale kid problems). Then we rode the train, or as the locals call “The Chaaaaaarlie” (you have to say it in a Boston accent) to meet up with our other cousin, Cara. Thank goodness Bridget was our city girl and helped Meghan and me navigate through public transportation in a big city! If it was up to us we would have taken Ubers everywhere. We didn’t know any better though, we were just a bunch of Southside Bumpkins in the big city!

Sunday we had just enough time to go to brunch (Since we are basic white girls/Millennials) and then it was time to go to the airport. It was my first time flying United so I was pretty excited. Let me tell you, it’s a good thing they make coach passengers walk past the first class passengers on the way to their seats or I might have forgotten how middle class I am! So kind of them! But that wasn’t the only perk United provided, there was a little dog on my flight! And he looked thrilled to be flying United as well.

The flight back was fine until it was time to get off the plane, where I experienced my second pet peeve: when people don’t wait their turn to get off the plane. Do people not have manners anymore? Exiting a plane is just like getting communion at a Catholic church. There is an order, you wait for the row in front of you to go before you do! And if you cut the line people will talk about you and give you dirty looks. I don’t get what people don’t understand about this! Once we were finally off the plane and in the airport we were immediately reminded that we were middle children as no one was there to greet us or give us a ride home. Yes, the vacation was over and we were back to reality. We all called Ubers and headed our separate ways.

IMG_9647

This young man was a true gentleman and waited his turn to get off the plane. Proof that chivalry is not dead.

We were exhausted when we arrived home but it was a great trip. We even discussed plans for our next trip! Watch out 2018, because the Middles are going international!

IMG_9548

Brick sidewalks and cute streets are so Boston.

Advertisements

Janie Had a Little Lamb

Earlier in May, my youngest sister Jane graduated from the University of Dayton. Being the fifth child in our family to go to UD, we all made the final voyage to good old Dayton, Ohio for the grand finale. My parents, Mike and Mo, thought the whole thing was pretty bitter-sweet. They couldn’t believe after five kids and 13 consecutive years at the University of Dayton, it would all be over after Jane’s graduation. I could tell they were excited for the weekend. My mom even emailed us all an itinerary of the events for the weekend, which included dinner reservations, what time the ceremony was, and meeting Miss Kelly the lamb. Yes, Jane had a newborn lamb named after her. More to come on this later.

FullSizeRender (13)

I received this email from my mom when we were sitting on either end of the couch. Baby Boomers and their smart phones, am I right? What ever happened to human interaction?

In addition to being excited, my parents were also proud of all Jane’s accomplishments. “Kathleen, did you know Jane is graduating Summa Cum Laude?” My mom said to me a few days prior to the big weekend. I couldn’t tell if she just wanted to share her good news about her youngest child or remind me that I graduate college without ANY honors. Being smart isn’t everything, MOM! “Oh, yea, yea, that’s great,” I said flatly, not even trying to hide the fact that, frankly, being a typical middle child, I didn’t really care. “Honors are nice and everything, Mom, but remember how I had the same cell phone through all four years of college? That was pretty impressive, am I right?!” (NOTICE ME! LOVE ME! Was what I was really screaming inside)

Having the same phone all throughout college is probably my greatest accomplishment in life. I mean does my mom even realize how rare that is in the college environment? Sure, lots of kids graduate from college with honors, but how many are able to hold onto their cell phone freshman through senior year? Not many I bet.

Originally all of us were going to leave on Friday for the graduation, but my roommates, AKA my parents, decided to leave on Thursday night to make it in time for some award ceremony the NerdBomber was being honored at on Friday morning in Dayton. So that meant I had to hold down the fort while they were gone that extra day. AND it also meant I had to be the one to drop Duke off at the dog-sitter’s house. I was very distraught over this. I didn’t want Duke thinking I was the one abandoning him for the weekend! It would be so hard to drive away with his sad face staring at me as I left. Plus, I didn’t want the dog hair in my car. I had just vacuumed it and didn’t want it getting all dirty. Even though I protested, my roommates still made me do it. And they left quite the honey-do list for me to complete after they left. They conveniently “forgot the cameras” and had to have me bring them. Sometimes it’s hard being the glue that holds my family together.

Friday morning came and it was time to drop my buddy Duke off. Luckily, my sister came home and went with me to drop him off. I was so upset I had to stop at Dunkin Donuts and treat myself to a coffee and a doughnut.

IMG_8533

“Wait don’t take my picture yet I have something in my teeth.”-Duke

IMG_8534

“OMG are you serious?! I literally just told you not to take my picture, I was trying to get a piece of Dog Chow that was stuck in between my teeth out you betch.”-Duke

I felt like a mom dropping her child off at preschool for the first time. “Wow, Duke is going to be really sad when we leave him. He really likes me,” I was explaining to my sister on the way over. But when the time came to leave him at the dog-sitter he was actually excited! He didn’t even look back at me! I couldn’t believe it. I was so insulted. After all the walks I took him on and Pupperoni I gave him through the years, he goes and treats me like this?

Image-1 (13)

My face as Duke lectures me on how I need to take my car in to get my oil changed and tires rotated. Blah, blah, blah. Classic older bro worrying about his little sister’s safety.

I decided I wasn’t going to let Duke ruin our fun road trip and tried to put it behind me. I quickly forgot about him once my siblings and I started discussing where we would stop for lunch. When you have a five hour car ride, stopping for food is about the only thing you have to look forward to. “I’m fine with just about anything, EXCEPT Burger King. You guys know I ALWAYS have a bad experience at Burger King,” I said. “Oh and Maggie you CANNOT pick the place. You lost that privileged the Dayton Graduation car ride home incident 2008.” What incident am I referring to? Sit tight and I will explain the nightmare:

In 2008 my oldest sister graduated from Dayton. On the way home that weekend we had a three-car caravan going because my parents love caravans even though their children hate them. We had Walkie-Talkies going between the first two cars since this was before all of us had cell phones. My dad and Maggie were leading everyone in the first car. I was riding shotgun with my mom and some of my other siblings in the second car. We had some discussion on where we would stop for lunch over the Walkie-Talkies, but nothing was decided. All of a sudden my father and Maggie get off at an exit. I saw a sign for McDonald’s at the exit so I thought everything was OK and we continued to follow them. Then, to my bewilderment, my father’s car passes the McDonald’s. I begin to panic as I see an Arby’s in the distance and nothing else. “WHAT ARE THEY DOING?! THEY CAN’T BE HEADED TO ARBY’S CAN THEY?!” I scream. My siblings look up from the back seat and I can see the fear also begin to take over them. I grab the Walkie-Talkie from my Mom. “MAYDAY! MAYDAY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOU PASSED THE MCDONALDS!” I yelled into the Walkie-Talkie. But they ignored my cries and parked in the Arby’s parking lot. Apparently my father and Maggie wanted to eat there. The rest of us could not believe we were being forced to eat Arby’s. Had we done something wrong? Did our parents not love us anymore? Sometimes in life things happen that force a child to become an adult. I became an adult that day at Arby’s. Innocence was lost and I was never the same.

Image-1 (10)

I was having flashbacks to the Arby’s incident 2008 when we passed this sign going through Indiana.

My sister agreed that Maggie was not allowed to pick, so we chose Culver’s. Culver’s never disappoints. Butterburger? Yes, please! (While there my sister Bridget and I got into a mild argument over fries and cheese curds, but I don’t want to air all my family’s dirty laundry here.) After our bellies were full we continued on to what was a pretty uneventful ride. It took us a little longer than planned so we had to quickly get ready at the hotel and then it was off to dinner and then a bar near campus.

Saturday morning we all met for breakfast at the hotel. I must say, Mike Sr. must have splurged on the hotel because the breakfast was darn good. Chocolate milk AND french vanilla creamer for coffee? I mean, I was blown away. Was I at the Ritz-Carlton or the Holiday Inn? I honestly wasn’t sure. We were all texting trying to figure out what time everyone was meeting for breakfast while my mom kept trying to make her room “the party room.” It was getting a little pathetic.
IMG_9031

IMG_9032

My mom was desperately trying to find friends to hang out with her room while I was overly excited about the chocolate milk.

After breakfast it was time to meet Miss Kelly the newborn lamb. To explain, Jane was an education major at UD and her cooperating teacher who oversaw her student teaching lives on a farm. One of the sheep on the farm had a newborn lamb and Jane’s cooperating teacher liked Jane so much that she named the lamb “Miss Kelly” after Jane. Great, so Jane graduates with honors and gets a lamb named after her. Youngest children get everything. We played with the lamb a lot and then of course my two unmarried sisters and I had to take a “Miss Kelly” picture with the lamb. I mean when is the next time there will be four Miss Kelly’s all in the same place?! At the rate we are going the lamb will be the first of the four of us to become a Mrs.

IMG_8622

Four Miss Kelly’s. Each one whiter than the next.

IMG_9033

Miss Kelly the aspiring talk show host. Much like the other Miss Kelly’s, she also is a fan of Inside Edition.

After a lot of time taking pictures and playing with Miss Kelly we headed back to the hotel to shower because Miss Kelly was cute, but she smelled pretty bad. And the lamb was kind of dirty too. After that it was off to another party where I stayed out way too late which I very much regretted the next morning.

Sunday was the graduation ceremony so we had to be up pretty early. Thank God I had chocolate milk and french vanilla creamer with my coffee to get me through the morning. We arrived late at the ceremony (classic us) so we were up in the nose bleed section of the UD arena. By the time we got to our seats I felt like I needed an oxygen mask we were so high up. As I was trying to catch my breath I look over to see my Mom pull a glow stick out of her purse and start to raise it above her head. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. “What are you doing with that thing?! I said laughing. “We’re at Jane’s graduation, not Blue Man Group.” “Oh you little smart ass,” she said. “I’m trying to get Jane’s attention! I texted her to tell her to look for a blue glow stick so she knows where we are sitting.”

Image-1 (12)

Mo and her glow stick.

photo

Me mocking Mo and her glow stick. And at that moment Mo came to terms with the fact some of her children will always be smart (Jane) and others will always be smart asses (me).

As anyone who has ever attended a college graduation will know, sitting through those things is pure torture. Anyone who says they enjoy college graduations is either a liar or needs a psych consult. We were so high up in the stadium for Jane’s graduation that I wasn’t getting any phone service and they didn’t have any lights on in our section so I couldn’t even read any of the magazine’s I brought so I literally had nothing to do but sit there and make fun of my mom and her glow stick. Time was moving incredibly slow. Once the ceremony was finally over our reward was moving Jane’s stuff out of her house, cleaning up from the previous night’s party and then a five hour car ride home. To make a bad day even worse, we stopped at Wendy’s and it was awful. That red head usually serves good food but this time she disappointed us immensely.  Our burgers were cold and our fries tasted reheated. We all went around and tried to rate our meal, but there was confusion on if we were rating our food out of five stars or ten stars so we all crossed “Food Critic” off our list of dream jobs and left Wendy’s tired and dissatisfied.

Image-1 (14)

Wendy is my least favorite red-head right now. I was very hangry when I sent this Snap Chat.

Image-1 (15)

Spoiler alert: I had to do all those things. I reminded my parents numerous times that I shouldn’t have to go to Jane’s college graduation because she didn’t go to mine. She claims she had her “Senior Prom.” I question the morals of any person who chooses music and dancing over the academic milestone of a family member.

Despite our rough Sunday, overall it was a fun trip. While we may no longer have any kids at Dayton, I’m sure it won’t be my last trip to UD. Flyers for life!

It’s a Duke’s Life

I vividly remember the day Duke became a part of our family. It was a warm spring day in April of my my senior year of high school. Some time had past since our family dog had passed away and we were ready to be dog owners again. My younger sister and I had spend the previous weeks researching where we could find Boxer puppies for sale and finally found some in Danville, Illinois. My Dad does a lot business there and is familiar with the area so we easily convinced our parents to make the 3 hour trek from Chicago to take a look at some adorable puppies. We were all very excited so the ride seemed to take forever. Actually, it did take forever since my Dad was driving and he is an extremely slow driver. I was beginning to worry the dogs would be fully grown by the time we got there. Had I ridden to Danville on a turtle, I probably would have gotten there faster.

Once we arrived all the puppies were sleeping outside in the backyard (apparently no one told them we were coming). We gave them some time to wake up, coast for a bit, maybe have a cup of coffee and read the front page of the paper, while we did the whole meet and greet with Duke’s parents. They were a nice couple, the father pretty big, looked like his nails could have used a trimming but I didn’t want to judge. Duke’s mother was a bit too much to handle; she was extremely hyper. I give her credit for her enthusiasm but dat bitch was saggy (Bitch is the term used for a female dog, I’m not being rude). Her tummy nearly hit the ground it was so stretched out. I politely suggested maybe she sign up for a few Pilates classes to strengthen her core after having all those kids and my mom quickly came to her aid. “Leave her alone she just had puppies!” That was 5 weeks ago Mom, stop making excuses for her.

The whole long car ride there my mom kept telling my younger sister, Jane, and I that we could pick out the puppy. She said we did all the work to find the litter of puppies (which we did) and that since our other 3 siblings were away having a grand old time in Ireland, we could represent the kids and choose our new family dog. We carefully inspected each puppy, spending time with each to see which one would be the best fit for our family. Finally we had picked out what we thought was the cutest puppy in the bunch. We scooped him up, and brought him over to our parents who were on the other side of the yard. “Mom, we picked out the puppy!” We said excitedly. Her back was to us at first but when she turned around I saw that she was carrying 2 puppies, one in each arm. Without hesitation she responded, “Mmmm no that’s a ‘flashy Boxer’ we don’t want that one. They’re cute when they’re puppies but once they grow up they aren’t as cute. Definitely not that one. But you girls can help me choose between the 2 puppies I am holding!” Flat out denied. Talk about an empty promise. After we got over the initial shock and picked our jaws up off the ground, we put our dream dog back with the other rejects and “helped” our Mom choose between the two identical looking puppies in her arms. One dog was sound asleep in my mother’s left arm, while the other was looking around and panting with it’s tongue hanging out of it’s month as if it was 120 degrees in her right arm. We decide the one with the huge tongue had more personality so we chose him. That big tongued dog became our Duke.

Young Duke and his big tongue

Young Duke and his big tongue

It would be an understatement to say that our first few years with Duke were ruff-whoops-I mean ‘rough’. That “personality” that first drew us to Duke turned out to be quite destructive. He chewed up furniture, stairway railings, and even tore down wallpaper in our hallway. In his defensive the wallpaper was out dated, very ’90s-ish’ and I agreed with him that it needed to go. I think he was inspired by the shows on HGTV we would watch together and was just taking some initiative in redecorating the house. He also chewed up a picture of me that was hanging on the fridge and tore up my 8th grade graduation video. I did not come to his defense on those occasions due to the fact that I felt personally attacked by Duke.

I remember my parents calling me a number of times while I was away at college threatening to send Duke to “the farm” after he had ruined something else. I knew that they were bluffing and didn’t actually want to send him away, they aren’t that heartless. I mean sure, yea, they would promise their children they could pick out a puppy and then break that promise without a second thought but they wouldn’t ever get rid of the family pet. Someone just needed to whip the little brat dog into shape. And I knew just the man to do it-my Dad. He had trained 5 kids, surely he could train a dog.

Duke's

Duke’s “Whoops, did I do that?” face. He puts it on every time he gets in trouble.

After many months of my Dad working with Duke things slowly started to get better. With lots of training and discipline he wasn’t nearly as bad or destructive as he used to be. And Duke turned his behavior around too (wink).  Although he still had a bit of an attitude and got into trouble every now and again, Duke was allowed to stay. He patched things up with my parents and they are closer than ever now.

While Duke may have a solid relationship with my parents, his relationship with me can be a little rocky at times. We love each other but we also fight a lot. We are both Aries (he March 26th and I March 29th) so it’s only natural for us to butt heads, we are the rams. Duke, like a typically boy, can always take things too far though. The other day, after we had a small quarrel, I was walking by while he was laying on the floor and he deliberately reached out his paw to try and trip me. I thought it was extremely immature of him. He’s 42 in dog years, when is he going to grow up? But at the end of the day we always apologize to each other and become friends again. This is mostly because we truly need each other. He needs me to feed him and to go on walks, and I need him for sending snap chats to my friends.

I just wanted him to look nice for Easter mass. He cleans up nicely,doesn't he?

I just wanted him to look nice for Easter mass. He cleans up nicely, doesn’t he?

I had to break the news to him that he didn't have thumbs when he tried to take a selfie. It didn't go over so well.

I had to break the news to him that he didn’t have thumbs when he tried to take a selfie. It didn’t go over so well.

Duke and his girls having fun on vacation.

Duke and his girls having fun on vacation. Duke was a little over served that night if you can’t tell.

Although he can be selfish and whines a whole heck of a lot, he is a part of our family and we love him. Sure he has an attitude and can act like a teenager, but he has more personality than any other dog we have had. We may not always get along but we have fun. Looking back now I am glad my mother broke her promise about letting my sister and me pick out the puppy. If she hadn’t done this, we wouldn’t have Duke, Moms do know best! Thanks Mom!

Roommates, siblings, pink robe wearing besties.

Roommates, siblings, pink robe wearing besties for life.