311 Is a Joke

While Nola sleeps off her latest vaccine bender, I thought I'd hang out in our sun room, listening to the lovely babbling brook below. What? you say. I thought Svendlor lived in Chicago, and not near the river -- what is this brook you speak of?

Well, we had a big rainstorm last weekend. Drains were overflowing, water was pouring down the streets. Fine, but this kept going on our street well into Monday, and then Tuesday, etc. Charlie investigated, and found something cracked near a fire hydrant up the street. He said it actually looks like a natural spring, just a couple of holes in the street with water streaming up and out of them. A dutiful citizen, he called 311 and was told, oh, we already know about this; we're on it.

So here we are, on Friday, and gallons of water per second are still rushing down our street, pooling for a moment at the corner where we live, then running down a storm drain. It really is an authentically brook-ish sounding babble. But an ecological nightmare. OK, maybe nightmare is too strong a word. An ecological misfortune? Disappointment?

Which makes me wonder: why do we live in the city? Certainly not for the great night life, which, while it exists, is not particularly baby-friendly, and our whole lives revolve around a certain little girl at the moment. I guess I just don't picture myself as a suburban person. I've never lived in a suburb (unless you count Berkeley, California, as a suburb; I don't). They just seem a bad combination of blandness and neuroticism about the blandness. Yes, I'm sure you can live a decent, happy life in the suburbs, just so far, it hasn't been our style.

We'd like our kid to see different kinds of people and different ways of living. For instance, today on the bus, Nola got to see a huge cross-section of Chicago humanity. She sat in her stroller in a corner, scoping out the passengers, looking entranced the whole time. We met a nice old lady named Angie who was a gerontologist/sex therapist and knew allll about babies. It was fun. I don't think we'd have had the same experience sealed up in a car, puttering down some exurban boulevard to one of those box-like office complexes.

So, we put up with the babbling brook for now. And, if the city stays true to form, they'll find the loudest way possible to fix that water leak bright and early at 7:30 a.m. (See: November 2004, gas goes out just as we're cooking Thanksgiving dinner).


The Many Names of Nola

This weekend, a fellow parent we had just met asked us, well into the evening, "What's her name again?" The confusion was totally understandable -- other than when we introduced her, we probably didn't call her Nola once. Here are some of the many names of Nola.

Baby Lady (we love this one)
Big Girl (she loves this one)
Disi (Cherokee for "little bird")
Little Bird
Ms. Opposite
Sweetie Weetie
Droolie Christie
Julie Crusty