I'm Not A Bitch! I Just Have Allergies!

For the last several years I have been tormented by splitting headaches.  I was always tired, too.  A simple trip to the park with the kids left me feeling exhausted.  In typical guilty mother form, I felt bad for feeling so bad.  But last year I had a knee surgery and, for the first time in our family's medical history, we met our health insurance deductible so I went crazy!  I went to an allergist.

Guess what?

I have allergies!  All this time I thought my fabulous suburban life was giving me a headache and sapping my energy.  I called it the "ungrateful bitch syndrome."

But I have allergies!




I have always loved this time of year, when everything is blooming, but this seemed to be the time of year that I was the most uncomfortable, too.  I am so thrilled to know that there is a physiological reason for my syndrome.

I have a runny nose and itchy eyes and I am short of breath so I am test driving allergy medications.  So far I am successfully using Optivar for my itchy eyes.  (It burns soo good!)  I have also developed a new appreciation for those kids that are crushing up little red Sudafed pills (the kind you have to sign for at Walgreens.)  I am beginnning to think that it is possible that all of those meth makers are just kids with really bad allergies gone bad.  Those little red pills are amazing and despite the fact that my doctor and pharmacist and webmd.com insist that it is not possible to become addicted to Sudafed it doesn't feel right to love a drug like I do.  On the advice of my doctor I also started a prescription of Allegra D.

I don't like having allergies but I am really happy to know that my problems aren't just my bad attitude.  Look at our lovely yard.  Everything is so colorful and alive.  What kind of monster would be grumping about while living in the middle of this suburban bliss?

Spring Break 2010

Shedd Aquarium with Friends!

Hard to Believe by VOTA

Taken with a Blackberry so the quality is lacking but I believe the message was captured! The little kids seemed really happy (and exhausted) on the ride home.

Tell Me Your Story

Are you willing to share your suburban success story?
Tell me your story by clicking on this link.

Tami Kidd-Brown

Read my interview with a Successful Suburban Woman, Tami Kidd-Brown by clicking here.

I ask each of the women I visit to share some of their "favorite things."  Shoes.  Make-up.  Jewelry.  Awards.  Purses.

At first it feels a little funny but once I am able to prove that I am sincerely interested in what kind of moisturizer they use they kind of dig it.  One of the things that I was able to convince Tami to share with me was her favorite purse, a Choette Sac (in the picture above.)  The purse is really cute and it feels so sturdy that it might last for a couple of generations.  These bags are a bit pricey at $800, but as proof that I have spent too many years in my suburban universe I have somehow made peace with this price and am contemplating a purchase.  The amazing thing about this purse, that makes $800 almost palatable, is that it can be manipulated into 20 different styles.  Watch the video and check it out!

Can I Buy You A Burger?

Meatheads is Messing with Me!

Have you ever heard of the saying, “Kill them with kindness?”   Well, Tom Jednorowicz from Meatheads Restuarant has and he is using it on me.  
After posting a sassy little blog entry about one of his restaurants, I got one of the most gracious and practical responses I could have imagined.  It's killing me.   
Perhaps the real note is in a trash bucket on his computer or in tatters in some landfill.  I'm certain there is a cleansing letter his mother taught him to write, then destroy.  In it he calls me a bored, spoiled, under-engaged, over-functioning, chubby, suburban white-bread, old navy wearin’, credit card wieldin’, mini-van driven, antiquated, thinks-you-know-everything-because-you-toiled-away-in-advertising-designing-billboards-and-jingles-before-Al-Gore-invented-the-internet, chick-a-dee.
I haven’t had the guts to show my face at Meatheads Restaurant again although it is located right next to my regular pit stops at the busy corner of Route 59 and 75th Street in Naperville:  Costco, Starbucks, Home Depot, Whole Foods, Chase Bank, Noodles and Nordstrom Rack.  Every time I cruise by I try to see what is happening inside.  Are there customers?  Are those two guys still playing office in the dining area?
The lights are still on.  There are cars in the parking lot.  There are customers with winter coats stacked in chairs next to them, but no guys in shirt sleeves with laptops and cell phones.  
Of course everyone in my family knows that I have a complimentary $50 Meatheads gift card burning a hole in my penny pinching pocket.  I originally joked that I was going to give it to our 18 year old son, Jonathan, and a bunch of his obnoxious friends.  (I mean that with love, guys.)  But that didn’t seem meaningful enough and it seemed unnecessarily cruel to the crew at Meatheads.  (Ooops.  There I go again, slandering my teenager.  Sorry, again J-Bear and buddies.) 
Instead, this is what I have decided to do.  I am going to use this gift card to feed another suburban family (up to six people) at Meatheads.  The catch is that you have to eat with me and my family!  
Just send me a quick email at deniseburks@successinthesuburbs.com by March 1 with the word MEATHEADS in the subject line and I’ll pick a winner and be in touch, soon.
I can’t wait to here from y’all! 

Comment from Ron Prchal, Lisle, IL

I live in Lisle and read about you in the Naperville Sun today and I thought about a quote I once heard .... the only normal people in this world are those you don't know very well!

Carolyn Finzer

I wanted to meet Carolyn Finzer since the first day I saw her watering flowers at the post office.  Eventually, I met her and she invited me to her home and gave me a tour of her garden.

Carolyn Finzer, a successful suburban woman.


I wrote this post about Meatheads Restaurant on a Friday night.  On the following Saturday morning, around 9am, my 10 year old was out shooting hoops in the drive-way when an employee from Meatheads Restaurant delivered an envelope to him.  Inside was a $50 gift card, that I have yet to use.
At about the same time that morning the following email appeared in my inbox.  I was so taken aback that I still am not sure what to say.  I’m convinced that the guys from Meatheads are messing with me.
Mrs. Burks,

My name is Tom Jednorowicz and I am the owner of Meatheads.  I am not one of the gentlemen that you saw/met in the restaurant.  I read your blog and, although entertained by your writing, am extremely disappointed in your experience in our restaurant. 

We have very fundamental principals around which we expect our business to be operated; Serve simple yet high quality food, take care of the customer, provide an atmosphere where people can escape a bit from the rigors of their life.  We failed in embarrassing fashion.  You provided much more than “something [for us] to think about.”   You have rattled the very foundation on which the vision for our company and culture is built.  We obviously have gotten lost in the less significant aspects of operating our business and forgotten about the most important element…You.  I assure you that your wake up call will be amplified throughout our organization.  As painful as it was to hear, your message provides an opportunity for me to reinforce what we are SUPPOSED to be about.  We will use it to create immediate change within our company and in those that work here.

I want you to know that we absolutely, positively appreciate your business…but actions speak louder than words and we need to deliver.  We embrace and react to customer feedback and now we need to demonstrate to you, and to ever customer that comes through our doors, that we are better than what we have recently demonstrated.  In all honesty I wouldn’t blame you at all if you never came to back to visit us.  I’m not sure that, in your shoes, I would.  I am going to sincerely and humbly ask you for another chance.  In hopes that it will make it a little easier for you acquiesce, I will have somebody drop off at your home today a $50 gift card for you and your family in an effort to get you back in the restaurant.  If you choose to use it you should expect a radically different experience.  No matter what you choose, I want you to know that I am truly and deeply sorry, and I thank you for your honesty.

Take Care,

Tom Jednorowicz
Meat Head Management
30 West Monroe, Suite 1000
Chicago, IL 60603

Goodnight Christmas 2009

Tonight we say "Goodnight" to Christmas 2009!

Once again, the music on this little piece is compliments of Cross Wired, featuring my lovely and talented cousin, DaVal Johnson and his even more lovely and equally talented wife , Cheri. Enjoy!

"Silent Night"
Adapted by Cross Wired
Arrangements by DaVal Johnson
Vocals by Cheri Johnson