Category Archives: Kim

I’ll be watching the family jewels instead of fireworks tonight

Originally posted in 2008 at Chicago Moms  Blog. Although referencing our previous home, it explains why we might be sitting out the fireworks tonight. My family returned home from watching the July 4 fireworks to find our home had been burglarized. The thief entered through an unlocked porch door. It was unlocked because the porch contains nothing of value- lots of stinky shoes and bathing suits and towels drip-drying on a rack- and we have a door with a deadbolt lock that leads into the main house. Only the burglar didn’t pry open that door, instead he removed a screen and climbed into our house through a large window that connects the porch and the house.

Ironically, when he stepped into our house, his foot landed just inches from a copy of Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew. However, the thief didn’t leave many clues behind. We didn’t even realize our house had been burglarized until my ten-year-old attempted to fall sleep in DH’s and my bed (a Friday night ritual) and asked why I left my jewelry on the bed.

Um, I didn’t.

I asked son #2 if he’d been going through my stuff prior to our picnic.

Nope.

Then I noticed DH’s bureau was wide open.

There was a quick shout across the house to DH. A moment of panic. And then I called 911 for the fifth time in almost as many weeks.

I was instructed to get my family out of the house ASAP in case the burglar was still in there. I suspect he was long gone, but who am I to challenge an operator who’s surely heard it all?

So my boys, who were in their jammies, DH and I stood waiting out front for the police, whom we later learned got held up in post-fireworks traffic snarls. My freaked out boys were shivering partly out of fear and partly due to the fact that in summer their pajamas consist of a pair of boxer shorts.

“Maybe we should get the boys some clothes,” suggested DH.

I grabbed a solid four-foot walking stick from our front stoop and loudly tromped into the house. If a burglar was in there, I was ready to kick his ass. Unless he had a gun, in which case, he might have killed me. But I didn’t think of the gun scenario at the time, plus, we were pretty certain the house was empty.

We got clothes for the boys and called their grandparents (not the ones who rescued our kids during our ER visit in June, we like to spread the love) to pick them up for an impromptu sleepover. The cops came and stayed for two hours, taking pictures, asking questions, and dusting for prints. Our very own CSI: Chicago.

While the burglar didn’t take everything. He did get some key piece. I overheard my older boy telling his friends the next day that the burglars stole about $1,000 in cash and $3,000 in jewelry. I don’t know where he got these numbers. They are way off. Waaaay off.

Like he got maybe $80 in cash and, well, I don’t know how much in jewelry because all of my “real stuff” has been inherited.

He took a ring with great sentimental value and, now that I think about it, perhaps significant street value: a platinum and diamond cocktail ring from my Great Aunt Rose. Aunt Rose was the wild aunt who taught my brother and me games like blackjack and gin rummy and lived a glamorous life in Hollywood, serving as Jerry Lewis’s assistant for many years.

My mom gave Aunt Rose’s ring about a year ago. It was quite the bling ring, and though I’m not quite the bling gal, I like to think I was channeling her adventurous spirit the few times I wore it.

We didn’t insure it because I knew it wasn’t the kind of thing I’d replace (perhaps pure naivete), but I’m really sad when I think about it winding up in a pawn shop or simply being taken apart.

The thief may have also taken my wedding band. Years ago, my widower uncle passed on my aunt’s gold wedding band and matching diamond-chipped anniversary band. At the time, I was having health problems that swelled my fingers, making my wedding band tight and uncomfortable to wear, so I switched to wearing hers. I eventually switched back to my smaller, but nearly identical band, but as the swelling would come and go, so would the different rings. I’ll have to assume that hers got stolen, not mine.

But regardless, the family jewels are gone. And it sucks.

Post Script: a couple of weeks after this was posted, I found my aunt’s bling ring on the floor behind my bed. It must have fallen as the thief rifled through my jewelry box.

Garage Sale, Day 1

Today is the first day of our garage sale, so I’m keeping it simple on the blog. Earlier this week, the boys and I conjured up a great bit of summer fun with duct tape, a contractor trash bag and water.

Take a look at the Water Blob we made and let me know if you try this yourself. It was hours of fun using inexpensive materials we already had around the house. The fun was extended by the boys hovering over the computer creating mash-ups with the video segments I’d filmed. Best deal of the summer so far.

Stop by the garage sale if you’re a local. You’ll get the blog reader discount!

This Post is Brought to You by Depends

We finally have a plumber in here to work on the house’s two original bathrooms, and when I say work on the bathrooms, I mean replace the cast iron plumbing stack that runs from down in the basement up through our second-story roof, plus pretty much every other original pipe. Because we’re doing the demo ourselves, DH ripped out the toilets last weekend meaning I need to run up a flight of 14 stairs if I need to pee.

And I do mean run, because I turn into a Zombie when I’m at the computer and when it hits me that I’ve been making a mental note to take a pee break  for, oh, two or three hours, time is of the essence.

Happily, the plumbers are here now. I was worried the water would be shut off while they are working on the bathrooms, leaving me no choice but to depend on Depends. (Or pee into a cup and then dump the contents into the skunk den under our front stoop, but I think it only scares them if the urine has a high testosterone content. Also, the skunks occupy the den during the day so this idea is really a worthless idea all around).

Fortunately, the plumbers are able to keep the water running in other areas of the house.

I am so glad we’ve finally started moving ahead on the bathroom renos. We have many of our new fixtures sitting in the living room and the others are on order. After the plumbing rough-in inspection later this week, the electrician will take center stage. DH, AKA the general contractor, “indulged” me by going tile hunting the other day, but I don’t think I was being premature. I really hope to have everything up and running by July.

Follow Reluctant Renovator on Facebook for the latest updates on skunks, chipmunks and all of the other wildlife trying to #OccupyMyYard.

My Big News Might Be a Snooze to You

Serta's Great mattress heistAfter sleeping sitting on this news for a few weeks, I’m delighted to announce that I’m serving as a Serta Blogger Ambassador through the end of the year. It’s been said that I do my best work in bed and I love to sleep, so it seems like a good fit.

From time to time I’ll be sharing news about the Serta and their products, and maybe a giveaway or two.

Speaking of which, after working with Serta last year and giving away an iComfort Sleep System on this blog, not to mention showing off my own, several of you asked if there’d be another chance to win an oh-so-relaxing Serta Mattress.

There is!

Serta recently a new campaign featuring those cute little counting sheep (several of which are scattered about my office).

The Great Serta Mattress Heist

It seems the sheep (which find themselves out of work due to Serta’s dreamy mattresses) have broken into Serta HQ and escaped with a Perfect Sleeper Mattress. They’ll soon be sharing clues on Facebook as to where they are stashing the purloined* goods.

Serta is asking Facebook fans to find and reclaim the stolen Sleeper by decoding clues left by the sheep. In addition to the grand prize, there will be weekly giveaways to fans featuring plush Serta Sheep (so your office can look like mine), Serta pillows and other tokens of comfort (I’m hoping this includes including their super soft plush blanket that I enjoyed until one of my boys snuck it away).

Once all three clues have been delivered, Serta will ask participants to complete a simple form and submit their guess as to the location of the hidden mattress. Correct guessers will be entered for a chance to win a new Serta Perfect Sleeper mattress set complete with a full Sleep to Go top-of-bed pack, a personal letter from Sheep #1 and an exclusive Serta Counting Sheep gift basket.

Speaking of a Serta Sheep gift basket, look what I received gave myself nearly a year ago. I can’t believe it’s almost a year since we bought the house! Though perhaps that’s because we’ve only been living here a few months. At any rate, it sure feels like home now.

 

(Please not that the giveaway mentioned in the video was held in 2011.)

As a Serta Blogger Ambassador, I will be receiving compensation as well as Perfect Sleeper mattresses for my boys, making us an all-Serta house (except for in our guest room, where we have a lumpy old futon–sorry guests!). All opinions are my own unless my husband writes a guest post in which case all opinions are his.

* Seriously, have you used that word since high school?

Are you still reading? Go channel your inner Nancy Drew and find that mattress!

Big Week of Bloggy Fun Ahead

bob the builder or Hitler youth tattoo?

I thought a Bob the Builder tat would be a fun way to mark my blogaversary, but it looks more like Bob the Hitler Youth Guard. Crud.

Like my friend Tracey, I missed my blogaversary. I started Reluctant Renovator just over a year ago, a few nervous weeks before we closed on our house. What a year it’s been! But honestly, I don’t have time for a starry-eyed link-filled year in review post. I’m coming off of nearly two straight weeks of end of year performances, parties and events at night, work deadlines, not to mention a week-long biz trip for the hubs and a couple of local trade shows for me. The next couple of weeks bring a certain child’s 8th grade graduation(!), end of school for two kids, a synagogue retreat, a TV appearance for me(!), more work projects and a chance to be a fly on the wall citizen journalist at the upcoming Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

And let’s not forget a garage sale I very much hope will  take place on June 9– just in time to keep the growing pile of cast-offs from taking over our basement.

{deep, cleansing breath}

Anyway, about that blogaversary. It’s time to par-tay.

Virtually, of course. Hop on the happy train by taking a moment to de-lurk and reassure me that someone (something?) other than spambots frequent this blog.

The fun will continue this week with photos of me in a bathing suit (rawr) and chance for you to win a fab suit for your fine self. I’ll also be hosting other giveaways through the end of the month, so stay tuned!

 

April Showers…

If Mother Nature cooperates, it will be raining when you read this. Check out my April post over at Angie’s List to learn how Chicago-area homeowners can combat the basement flooding that often come along with April rains.