Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Smart Running Decision: Don't Do It

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Photo Credit: Robert Horowitz

According to DailyMile I've logged 345 miles so far this year (350 when you add in my run from Sunday).  Given that we are in the waning weeks of October, I really doubt I'm going to close in on 500 miles.  In fact, it will be a larger effort than you'd think to hit 400 truth be told.  Besides not being able to consistently make time to run, when I do run my knees ache and my endurance is toast.

211.8 pounds
The Monster Dash is this weekend  and I believe I'm signed up for the half marathon distance.  While I could certainly walk/run 13.1 miles and maybe MAYBE even do it under two hours, I'm in no condition to do so and it would be a terrible race experience.  So the smart thing to do is to take Nightingale's 10K entry and give my HM entry to Mr Lumpy.

The best thing I can do is rest my knees.  I'd like to think taking a few months or even a year off from
running will revitalize me.   Unfortunately I think I will need to see the knee doctor again and come up with a long term plan. For the time being, I have to also accept that my weight is going to linger around 210 lbs and hopefully doesn't rise much more.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SYPP, PHH and the Polish Consulate

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Polish Consulate General
1530 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60610
One of my Polish Peeps posted this picture on their Facebook Feed.  Apparently one could go inside last weekend because Chicago was having it's annual Open House. a free public festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to 150 buildings across Chicago.  The selling point being that you will "explore repurposed mansions, hidden rooms, sacred spaces, private clubs, iconic theatres, offices, hotels and more—all for free."

Actually, for this place and I think one or two other buildings, you needed to pre-register for places like this because, security. 

What is the difference between an embassy and consulate?  I imagine size and day to day activity so I looked it up.  While the terms embassy and consulate are used synonymously, the two are very different.

  • An embassy is the larger and more important of the two and is described as a permanent diplomatic mission which is generally located in a country's capital city. 
  • By contrast, a consulate is a smaller version of an embassy and is generally located in the larger tourist cities of a country but not the capital. 
  • There are special cases and several unique situations making some examples complicated. 

I've been inside this building three times; once for a (Society of Young Polish Professionals (SYPP) social event and twice for Christmas Parties.  Not speaking much Polish was definitely a liability in all those cases.  The decor is very traditional and old, it looks like the parlor time forgot. 

And so a post that was just meant to be a picture of the Polish Consulate and some throwaway text becomes a post about a group of Poles I met in the early 2000.  One of my Polish Princess friends tried to start a social group with the intention of networking young polish professionals with the idea that we could help one another start businesses, land jobs and get laid meet a polish person one could take home to mom and dad.  This was before LinkedIn and Meetup and it never really saw the light of day because of a variety of reasons.

Another group called Polish Happy Hour (PHH) leveraged technology, specifically a free yahoo group, and managed to pull off more of what Polish Princess wanted.  PHH petered out around 2009 for various reasons as well, particularly because there was no strong recruitment for new members.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Where was this weather six hours ago

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By that I mean it was raining this morning and early afternoon so I had no chance to work on the winter prep chores.   Now it's chilly but otherwise gorgeous.   

The wrong kind of stone pavers

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I'd like to give the former owners of my home the benefit of the doubt when it comes to a lot of things around the house.  Perhaps there was a really good reason the kitchen doesn't have insulation in the walls and ceiling.  Maybe different crews finished the basement at different times which could explain why the master light panel is behind the bar and requires one to walk through a dark basement to turn most of the lights on.  In the almost two years we have lived here there are countless times Nightingale and I have asked: "WTF were they thinking!"
Before Power washing and sealing

Our front walk, side driveway and backyard are comprised of paver stones.  They are nicer than asphalt or concrete but do require some maintenance upkeep.  I did my Google and YouTube research and found that paver stones require you periodically sweep in paver sand between the joints at least three times a year.  This keeps them from moving and if they were installed properly (level) then you don't have too many puddles after a big rain.

After: sealed and power washed
Unfortunately, the pavers used by Previous_Owner are not the kind of paver stones that look pretty when power washed like my neighbors.  I have to wonder, was it cost, technology or both that went into the decision not to use the prettier ones.  I can only assume that either they were not available when this project was done or they were hugely cost prohibitive.  

My research yielded a chemical enhancer/sealer that you can apply to paver stones to keep them looking good.  Unfortunately, again the enhancer doesn't do much to my type of paver and at $50 a half gallon, it is cost probative for me to do my entire backyard and driveway, so only the front walk got treatment.  

It might be hard to notice the difference in the pictures.  I meant to take better before and after pictures but it was a very busy week when I did this project and I had a short window between good warm weather to dry the sealer and the upcoming storm.  I got a deal on a power washing on Angie's List so I outsourced that part. 


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Marathon Blues

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Today was the Chicago Marathon and as usual, many of my running group friends are participating in it.  Having just had twins I have an automatic excuse for not only not participating but also not going through the effort to view it live and support anyone I know.

The thing is, if I could run 26.2 miles today, I probably would participate in a marathon although probably not Chicago - I've done it a dozen or so times and it is in the Been There, Done That bucket. 

Alas these days my body cannot run 26.2 miles, it can barely run 2.6 miles.  It's not so much soreness or pain, though there are aches and issues with both knees.  It's almost as if my body has decided that because I ran so many miles and marathons during the late 90s and 2000s that it is done.  No more running.

I want to believe that if I can get the right therapy treatment I could make a comeback and still BQ.  On the other hand, it is more likely that my marathon days are over.  When I go out for a run, I barely get over a mile when I start to feel sluggish or achy or both.  Time was that I would toss on my running clothes and head out and before I knew it, I had 3 or 4 miles knocked out and had to remember to turn around.

At the end of the 90s, I gave up volleyball so that I could focus on marathons.  Now is the time to give up marathons to focus on the kids.  Occasionally I still found a pickup game of volleyball and even joined a rec league a couple of summers during the noughties, so there is no reason to believe that I couldn't do the same thing in the running world.  I just don't want to struggle with a 6 hour marathon time like one particular friend did today.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Why I won't share this on Facebook

I have some news that I would normally share with my friends on Facebook but for some reason I'm not going to post this one.  Spoiler Alert: my condo is under contract.  Why won't I share the news?  well for starters it's superstition: I don't want to jinx it.  But the real reason is I've been in a bit of a Dark Mood lately  I'm just having one of my overly sensitive moments where I just cannot reconcile how life should be and how life is.

When I tried to sell my condo in 2010, the Share Button wasn't a thing on Facebook.  You had to cut and paste information.  So it makes sense that many of my friends back then didn't take the 7 seconds necessary to share the link I posted with my condo sale information.   Heck, I'll bet most didn't know how to cut and paste so it might simply have been a technical issue.   A few did figure it out and made the effort though most others simple made annoying statements in the comments like Is it on the market? or Are you working with a realtor?  My favorite was the How Much?  I mean how lazy do you have to be not to click on a link that has the very answer to the question that is on your mind?

One particular friend that knew I really wanted to sell my condo didn't share the post.  all she did was comment "looks great!".  This really hurt.  I didn't expect the majority of my friends to rally but for some reason  I thought she might.  Instead she just made that comment.  Literally in the time it would take to make the comment she could have cut and pasted the link into her status and shared.  But she didn't.

Fast forward to 2014.  I posted a picture of our cat the other night.  Within an hour there were 3 comments and 31 likes.  My link to my re-listed condo?  It took several days to achieve half those numbers but at least this time more friends did hit the share button.

According to Facebook, 20 people shared the link.  The total number is still less than 1% of my Facebook friends and that is after allowing for the random virtual friends and the people I've met once IRL, or the obscure high school, college and former job friends and even the people who created an account but never check in,  and various other buckets.

First off, no one is obligated to do anything for me, especially share my condo link.  I get that.  Second, I realize that the chance of a friend of a friend buying/renting my condo is slim.  The only argument is that you never know which friend of a friend will benefit from another friend of a friend.  Look how Nightingale and I met.

Third, I guess I'm really having trouble wrapping my mind around the fact that people will click the like button but not the share button.  Of course you also don't get anything tangible, just the warm fuzzy of helping your friend out.

One of my deep fears is that once the condo is finally sold, some other COW or life snafu, like losing my job, will come along and I won't be able to alleviate the credit card debt I've acquired by using the money I was previously using to cover the condo mortgage when the place wasn't rented out. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Favor Economy is not always apples to apples

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So pretend you and your friend go to lunch.  You discover when it comes time to pay the bill that you forgot your wallet or don't have enough to cover your share.  Your friend says no problem and covers you.

Now a month or two later the situation is reversed.   Let's assume you decide not to cover your friend for lunch, even though you have the money and no reason you couldn't cover your friend.  Now, this is an analogy so we're not really talking about lunches.  The lunch represents something a friend did for you, at  a certain expense and Level of Effort (LOE).  It might have been $20 and no big deal, or it could have been the last $20 the person had or $20 earmarked for something else.  And yeah, they chose to help you out but that is really a cop out if you go there.
I'll sleep with your ugly cousin if you clean my bathrooms for a month.  That's the same thing, right?

Because not only have you missed a chance to pay your friend back, but you are ignoring the fact that you kinda sorta owe your friend something.  And so a month or two later, it might not be the exact same thing that you can do for your friend, because in Life it never really is apples to apples, oranges to oranges. To be sure, if you cover your friend at Denny's they really aren't obligated to cover your rent the next month.   But hopefully it is something along a similar value and LOE.

Upon further expansion, I do wonder if that is why in the past some of the people I have helped out didn't return the favor?  Perhaps they literally thought they needed only return the $20 lunch, not the "$25 dinner" or "$18 movie".  Either that or some of the people I call friends really are classless dicks.