Why Windy City Momma?

My name is Renee Keats.  I used to work for the Governor of Maryland and hated it because I didn’t feel like I was helping anyone.  (Also because I had to wear a suit to work everyday and I didn’t get the summers off…but that’s another story.) When a grumpy State Senator yelled at me for forgetting to pay her parking fee, I knew that I was so out of there!  So I jumped ship and moved to my favorite city: Chicago Illinois.  (I decided that Chicago MUST be my favorite city after the 100th time screening of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off in my parent’s basement.)  Anyway, I convinced my  boyfriend that it would be awesome to move in together, share an apartment and eventually live in the “Windy City.”  Of course I was in love–with the city… and the boyfriend.

I started blogging in 2003 when I was pregnant with the then boyfriend–now husband’s– baby because (a) one of my husband’s friends’s wives was doing it and it seemed cool and (b) as a reminder of how much I disliked the whole pregnancy experience.  (Note to pregnant women reading my blog–it gets better after the first 3 months of pregnancy and birth…trust me.)  When I realized that I didn’t have time for household, new baby and job, I dropped my favorite past time and concentrated on keeping my head above water.

As the internet grew and so did this thing called “blogging,” I picked it up again.  This time I took it very seriously and concentrated my efforts on writing about the various products and experiences that I appreciated as a mom and felt that other moms might enjoy learning about too.  And then it happened….my life’s passion got in the way.

I love helping people…and I don’t mean crossing the road either.  While I was busy enjoying parenting life in Chicago, I also became passionate about healthcare.  I’ve been involved in one way or the other in healthcare my entire life: Majored in Public Health in college, got a Master’s in Public Health, worked on ensuring schools received money for caring for at-risk children, etc.  More specifically, I was taken aback by the number of folks who had NO IDEA about health insurance, benefits and what the money coming out of their paychecks was paying for.  I am one of those few folks that “geeks out” during open enrollment and offers my opinions (for free of course) to my friends and family about which health plan they should choose.  Yes, I know that it takes a strange breed of person who enjoys reading EOBs (Explanations of Benefits) but I am that breed.

Fortunately, my husband supports my blind ambition to ensure that everyone in the US has access to affordable health care and my daughter tolerates my random outbursts about washing her hands thoroughly. (I am a public health master after all!)  How was I to know when I didn’t pay that State Senator’s parking bill that she would be doing me a favor…I never would have found my life’s passion if she hadn’t have humiliated me in public and thus causing me wonder if it might be best to just pick up and move to the Windy City rather than spend another day pandering to mid-level politicians.