Someone I haven't mentioned yet, which is odd, is my dear friend Nina. Nina and I have been great friends since I lived in my first condo in the city. I used to live next door to her: she was in 526 and Matt and I were in 525. We got to know each other because one night Matt and I were eagerly hanging up our new frames on the wall (a few weeks after our wedding) when suddenly the neighbor banged back on the other side of the wall. It was Nina. And suddenly we realized that it was midnight and that we were probably waking her up. Matt apologized the next time he saw her in the hallway. I think she was hoping we were short-term renters. But we weren't. :)
But luckily, Nina LOVES children, so when I had Claire, we became fast buddies. She loved Claire so much that it made up for everything... I think. Unfortunately, we moved when Claire was 8 months old...just when Nina and I were really hitting it off. Now I have to drive to Nina's house from my house, but I still do it about once a week...even 7 years later. These pictures show my drive from our house near the Oakley exit off of 290 into the Canal exit off of 290 where Nina lives and where I used to live.
That tower up on the left is the Sears (or...Willis) Tower. Well, anyway, Nina has been a great friend who grocery shops with me on an almost-weekly basis. That's how we started hanging out. She didn't have a car and I did so we would run errands together. We do Trader Joe's and Dominick's and TJ Maxx and Kohl's together. Those are all Nina-approved stores. Have I mentioned that Nina has lots of rules to live by? I have learned most of them over the years.
1. Do NOT shop at Whole Foods. It's ridiculously expensive. And who needs organic anyway? Except for milk. If it's for kids.
2. NEVER leave your purse in the shopping cart when you walk around the store. Not even for 1 second. She gets after me all the time for this.
3. Do NOT be so stupid as to put the frozen stuff in your shopping cart at the beginning of the shopping trip because they will melt. (Do some of these rules sound obvious? Remember, I was a young new wife when she first met me and these things did not come naturally to me).
4. Never drive on the highway when you can take side streets. You miss all the good scenery. And it is very hard to smoke in a car that is going too fast....your hair gets all mussed up, (did I mention that Nina is a smoker? And that she's almost 70? Well....anyway...that's our building up on the right).
5. Clip coupons like crazy. And when the cashier says to you "well, you saved a quarter" then say back to HER "well, you can't make a million without it" (the Sears Tower is only about a block away from the condo).
6. If a box says "all natural" or "made with real fruit" then it's 100% good for you. Haha! Alright, I have to tease her about this one because she is such a sucker for labels.
7. Always use reusable bags. Where the heck would a person store a million plastic bags anyway??? (This is our condo building by the way).
8. Closets and drawers should be cleaned out regularly....daily even.
9. Do not change a light bulb if there is a handyman in the building that can do it for you. ;)
10. Whenever possible, get your shopping companion (that's me) to check out the cart at the front desk for you and push your groceries up to your apartment. That way the companion (that's me) can bring the cart back down to the front desk on her way out. If the companion hesitates for any reason, offer her gifts or snacks from up in your apartment. She won't be able to resist. ;)
Alright, there are many more Nina-rules, but let me finish the story. I was all prepared to do a blog post about Nina on Tuesday night, (I took all these pictures on the way to her house and everything!). I hadn't seen her in WEEKS because of the baby, so I decided to surprise her and just show up at her condo.
But the weird thing was that she was not in her apartment (and she almost always is). Then a bunch of paramedics walked past me to her neighbor's condo door and knocked. When the neighbor saw me knocking on Nina's door she said "oh, Nina's in here!"
It was so weird. She was having majorly high blood pressure issues and I ended up riding over to Rush hospital with her where she still is, 3 days later.
They managed to get her blood pressure down, slowly. It was 300 over something when we got there which is bad.
But it worried me. It made me sad. I don't like to see my Nina in a hospital. She would kill me if I had taken a picture of her on the bed, so I didn't. :) And she was fine and funny and giving all the doctors a hard time, so I know she's going to be okay. Every time he would ask her to do a test of some kind (to determine whether or not she'd had a stroke) she would say "are you kidding me???" if the test was too easy.
She's going to be fine, but she has to quit smoking now. She's done it before so she can do it now. This is her (back in the day) with her sister. We love you Aunt Nina! Get better!