Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fun With Numbers

I took this survey on the Shamrock Shuffle site.  The poll doesn't show how many people took it but I don't expect the number was very high this early, since the race is the better part of two weeks away.
 
So let's assume that an even hundred took it thus far.  Using standard rounding rules, that means almost half the participants (45 people) are running the Shuffle for the first time.  Another 38 people are running their 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th time, which implies that they aren't sick of it yet.  After 5 times however, repeat participants drop sharply.




This might lead one to think that 5 times is enough for most people.  It also could mean that by the 5th time running this, you really don't need to go to the website to figure anything out since it is pretty much the same each year and you are also bombarded with emails explaining any new things.

only 2 people continue to run this after 10 and 15 times respectively.  But that isn't true because my friends and i have run it for the last two decades and according to FB I have more than 2 friends (even when you factor out imaginary ones).

The simplest answer of course is that most people don't take silly polls like this one unless they are incentivized somehow to do so.

I've run the Shamrock every year since 1996 except for 2007 which was one of the worst years of my life.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence but I've superstitiously made it a point to make the Shuffle the one race I do each year now that my running has diminished.



Nightingale promises that if we do move to Tennessee, we will come up each year to run that race for as long as I like. 

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Hanging out in The South

We were visiting the in-laws in Tennessee last week.   First half of the trip was in Franklin, which is like the Western Springs of Nashville.  

We went to the Adventure Science Center, which we got into free because of our reciprocal membership in the MSI back home.  We also went to a Bouncy House place.  Both of these were great options for burning kiddo energy since it is unseasonably cold right now.

The second half of the trip was spent in Olive Branch, Mississippi where Nightingale's youngest sister and her husband Jethro live.  Wasn't sure the second half of the trip would happen because SIL had a miscarriage the week before.  [Note, I'm putting that here for posterity, not for exposition.]  Eventually it was decided that we would spend an extra day in Franklin and then proceed to Mississippi.

All in all it was a good trip.  

We are strongly considering moving to this part of the country, despite it's Red State designation and isolation aspects.  The pros would be getting a big, family friendly suburban house with adequate space, cushy features, and better school system.  The cons would be living in a Red State and being isolated from our current friends.

However, we currently aren't seeing very many of our friends on a regular basis anyway.    And are paying a lot to live in the city.

Our cost of living would be greatly reduced but we would only have our family for social interactions, at least initially.  It's hard to make new friends especially at our age in life and our political orientation.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

House Projects for 2017

Nightingale and I have to make some decisions like if we are staying in our current home, moving to the suburbs, or out of state.  We don't feel a calling to the South where the bulk of her family is, although it would be much cheaper cost of living.  However, I'd be giving up access to the Polish Culture here in Chicago.

We also have to make some decisions about which home repair, improvements we are going to tackle this year.  So I'm gonna catalog a few here.

Front Porch:  The steps are good but the risers need replacing.  On top of the porch roof we have some ornate railings which look cool but also need repair and repainting.  Finally there is the porch ceiling that needs to be stripped and varnished.


Electrical:  we should update the electric from 100 to 200 amps.  We also need to move the power line because it is too close to the deck (some Idiot Previous Owner built the deck without checking or caring about this).  There are also some various light switches that need fixing and we want to replace a couple of ceiling fans with better models.

Back Deck:  The railings need some repairs.  We also would like to build a pergola of some sort to get much needed shade.  I want to clean up the underneath and maybe put in some large stones or something to keep the weeds out.  In a perfect world the IPO would have poured concrete when he built the deck.  Now we will have to wait until and if we ever decide to replace the deck.

Laundry Room Makeover:  since we are getting new appliances, it might be a good time to make the room a little more functional.  At the very least we need better lighting in there.

Garage Epoxy:  this one is for me, but we should both benefit from it.  A clean garage floor and better lighting will improve the use of the garage.

I'm sure there are other items I'm forgetting.  I don't think we can do all of these this year and depending on how long we plan to stay will determine which ones get priority.


Weekends too short to deal with crappy issues

We had a pretty decent weekend with one Ongoing issue. The weather was nice enough on Sunday to let the kids outside to play for a little bit.  Because their slide and other toys were put away for the winter, they don't have much to do outside except play with rocks, which they actually prefer.

On Saturday we had Peapod delivered, had a long talk with SIL that we are visiting in a couple of weeks.  I got a rare call from work because our application wasn't working.  In the evening our Financial Advisor came over and went over our numbers.  According to his calculations we could potentially pay off the house 8 years early and retire when we are each 62.  This assumes everything stays status quo.

Ongoing issue.  My mom spends all her time at our house, ostensibly recovering from her sickness and helping with the kids, but really just enjoying our nicer home over her crap shack.  It was tolerable when she would leave us alone for the weekend but that is no longer the case.  She grates on my nerves and I can only hold back so long, then I snap at her for some stupid thing when I'm really pissed about the last 7, 8 or 9 other things she did to drive me crazy.  my mom doesn't understand the concept of personal space, privacy or alone time because she has an over abundance of these.

Saturday and Sundays are the only days we get to snuggle with our kids.  The rest of the week we are trying to get ready for work and get them ready for daycare.  Yesterdays she came upstairs because Boris had tripped and hurt himself and she wanted to make sure he was okay.  A normal healthy well adjusted person would pick up on the daggers I obviously was sending out and say "well I'll see you downstairs" but my mother just used it as an excuse to sit on the bed and join our family time. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dishwashers, dryers and other appliance bedtime stories

We finally decided to upgrade our dishwasher because, among other things, we were tired of having to prewash every dish before running the dishwasher.
our old GE Prolite that came with the house

The model I wanted would have cost 899.88 and had a rebate for the $150 installation.  I had $350 in rewards cards and Shop-Your-Way had a coupon for $60 off $499 purchase.  They were also waving the sale tax so that would have cost $514.88 including $25 to haul away our old unit.



The model we ended up with was slightly higher.  It was on sale for $1099.99 (down from 1849 allegedly).  It did not come with a rebate for the installation so the $350 plus a coupon for $100 off $999 brought the cost down to $824.99 including $25 to haul away our old unit.  Oh and a $20 hose that would have been included with the Bosch.  

 

The more expensive model had features that we felt were worth the extra money.  The Kenmore Elite has more jets and a self cleaning filter and heated dry.  

Of course the day we purchased the new dish washer, we came home to find that our dryer had finally died.   Although I was hoping to put it off until the DW was paid off, I went ahead and ordered a new washer and dryer yesterday.

 

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

One more post for February

Unless something strange happens, Chicago and most of the Midwest will not have had any snow on the ground since December.  All global warming jokes aside, most of us know that a tame or mild winter comes with a price, usually a rougher winter the next year.  Ironically, the forecast calls for snow tomorrow.

Our weekend usually involves a trip to Costco or some other store, and a social obligation.  We got to Costco kinda late but it didn't matter because the kids slept in.   Because my mom still isn't 100%, Nightingale stayed home while I did Social Maintenance Duty and went to a pseudo birthday dinner for a member of the former MSTV group.  Katness was out of town but I went because I wanted to catch up with my Polish Peep and keep that connection open.

On Sunday we went Dish Washer Shopping.  It took longer than we expected and when we got home, I discovered that our dryer was broken.  Again, an over abundance of irony this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time to stop letting former colleague live Rent-Free in my head

About a year ago I started a new job.  It's probably about as close to my dream job as I'm gonna get in this lifetime.  I have a lot of autonomy, am paid well and enjoy good benefits.  It's still work and there are the usual Corporate America frustrations that come with most white collar office jobs. 

That said, there was one conflict I had to deal with.  An over zealous coworker who was also assigned to be my mentor and unofficial supervisor.

I'm gonna call him Nearly Headless like the ghost from the Harry Potter series.  He wasn't a bad guy and we got along well enough except in the power struggle area.  My real boss has a lot on his plate and asked Nearly Headless to manage me.  He took this task to heart and really tried to over manage me.

I don't want this to be a gripe about a coworker but I want to point out one form of psychological warfare he played on me.   My team is on the East Coast and I work in our Chicago office.   So we do the majority of our interaction electronically.  Email, Instant Messenger and phone. 

Over a two week period of time, I would come into the office, sit at my desk from 8am (okay 8ish) and not get up until 1, 2 or 3 in the afternoon to take lunch.  No matter when I took lunch (full disclosure I eat lunch at my desk but then go to the gym next door to get some semblance of a workout in), I would come back to an IM and email asking me for something. 

I don't know what the odds are of this happening but it has to be an incredible coincidence that he didn't need anything from me until I left my desk! 

The coworker is long gone.  But he is still living rent-free in my head.  I get stressed out in the morning when I'm trying to get my kids to daycare and get to work on time.  I stress when I go to work out and the elevator takes a little longer, or God forbid I spent a little too much time in the post workout sauna. Too be clear, I'm not spending hours at the gym, I either run 3 miles or swim 10 laps, that's about all i can manage in an hour when you factor in clothes changing and showering.  Even with the gym right next door, it takes the better part of 10 minutes to get from my desk to the locker room.

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