Monday, March 11, 2019

Spring is arriving

A week or two ago, I said to Nightingale that Spring is coming.  I elaborated that yeah we would probably get one or two light snow powderings (we did) and it wasn't shorts and sunscreen weather but we could safely downgrade our winter coats from parka to jacket.

So I haven't done my usual beginning of the year project post yet.  I've actually completed a few so far.  I installed a new toilet in the first-floor powder room. This project was more complicated than it had a right to be.



First off, I was willing to pay a plumber to simply fix the running water by simply replacing some old parts within the toilet.  I know that isn't worth their time so I tried to sweeten the deal but agreeing to replace the basement toilet.  I got some takers but they were so expensive it just wasn't worth it. 

One company wanted to charge me approximately $1K a toilet with a service plan.  Colossal waste of my time.  I have to remember from now on when I use Yelp to find vendors, ignore the phone calls.  The point is so that I can look at offers, not get phone calls from people trying to talk to me over the phone like I'm a teenager from the 80s.

I ended up buying a toilet from Costco and doing it myself.  I had actually asked my cleaning lady if she had a recommendation and she sent me a picture of one while she happened to be at Costco.  It was on sale for $180 and included everything you need, although I sprang for a non-wax ring and I have to admit, my in-laws were right about that.

And luckily I bought two because the tank connector leaked water after being connected to the water supply.  Had I only bought one toilet, I would have had to take it back, but instead, I swapped out the good tank and brought back the second toilet.  The basement toilet, which works fine but has some cosmetic cracks, will have to wait.

I also hired a plumber to fix the leak in the upstairs bathtub faucet.  This was worth the $230 ($40 per cartridge and $150 service call) because I would not have been able to do it as quickly and efficiently, or really at all, as a professional.  This is the exact reason I try to do the things I can so that I can shift my limited money to pay for situations when I have to outsource the work.


In the basement, we got rid of the wood burning fireplace.  While I had that crew in, I also splurged and had them work on the leaky shower.  It isn't perfect but it is better than it was.  Total cost for that project was approximately $1600. 




I really hope that is it for now.  However, I know there are some more coming.  I need to finish those quarter rounds on the porch and maybe touch up some of the paint.  Next, I need to power wash the stone pavers and the house.  I will do this in two jobs.  I also need the gutters cleaned and re-balanced. 

I want to get the area under the deck landscaped so it looks pretty when we try to sell and also so that it is less maintenance. 

Finally, we had to address the crown railing on the top of the front porch. 


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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sometimes we are heard

I wrote a post the other day and didn't really do the usual promote it on social media thing.  Yet somehow, one of my favorite writers and fellow CN bloggers noticed.  

I enjoyed your latest post on social exclusion. It's very relatable but I'm sorry you experience that. I'm in a constant group chat with a group of 5 girls I went to high school with and I feel that "otherness" all the time and it's unfortunate. Keep up the thoughtful work :)

She wrote to me on Twitter  Direct Message which isn't the best way to get ahold of me, but it is her preferred method of contact and it does work.  Honestly, I wish she would have put the comment on the post since that helps the post gain internet currency.  Being a fellow writer and blogger, I would have thought she would understand that.  On the other hand, I suppose a DM is more permanent than a comment that a user can come back and delete.


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Thursday, January 31, 2019

DailyMile is going the way of the DoDo

I've been using the DailyMile website to track my running since December 2011.  It served its purpose but I can tell that the site is sorely in need of code updating, which it will likely never see because whoever is/was behind it, couldn't figure out how to monetize it.

DailyMile came too late to the game.  This would have been a wonderful thing in the early 2000s when not ever runner had a Garmen or other GPS watch device and would have loved a simple tool to keep track of their mileage.

In lieu of the expensive GPS watches, a lot of us runners used a poor person's tool at USATF.   This clumsy website was just good enough to let you map out a route and share with others, although most runners, I suspect, just used it to figure out how many miles they just ran.

Had it partnered with USATF, perhaps it could have found its niche.  Instead, when DailyMile came on the scene, it tried to be like if Facebook if Facebook were a Running App.

I'll keep using DailyMile as long as it is free and available but I suspect it will be sunset in the next few years.  There are other apps I could use and will likely do so since my Garmen is about to die.

UPDATE:  Not too long after I published this, I logged into DailyMile to post that day's run and saw this message




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Polar Vortex visits Chicago

Yesterday was the coldest day perhaps on record for Chicago and many parts of the midwest.  Public Schools and our daycare were closed as they are today.  It is understandable in one sense.  Many people have rough commutes that would expose them to unnecessary dangers of the cold.



My unpopular opinion is that many people are acting as if this is radioactive fallout instead of cold air.  That's not to say that you can be outside for prolonged lengths of time without consequences, severe frostbite comes to mind.  But you can survive going from your home to a car and to a heated building if you have the ability to do so.  If you have to wait for a bus or train in the elements, that is another thing entirely.  Still, as long as you bundle up and the wait isn't too outrageous, you will survive.

Meanwhile, I was able to take yesterday off but am working today.  I didn't want to take two days of PTO even though I have the hours, I'd rather use them for something else when the weather gets better.

I WFH 100% so most days I'm in workout clothes to start the day. I drop the kids off at daycare and then get back home just in time to start the day.
On a good day, I go for a lunchtime run and then check in and see what is on the agenda for the afternoon. My team is EST so sometimes that run is at 11 CST, sometimes at 12. If I put it off past 1pm, I just don't want to do it.
I get back and usually, there is a call or issue I have to address. Therefore I don't get to shower until 3 or 4. So I'm basically in "street clothes" from 4 until bedtime which, with two rambunctious preschoolers, never comes soon enough.
#TheStruggleIsReal






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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

New Year, New Office

This is a picture of my new desk.  It's actually a used Ikea Micke desk I picked up on Facebook Marketplace.  It is replacing the larger, bulkier rolltop secretary desk we bought ages ago.  We sold that on Marketplace as well.

Ironically, this is the second Ikea Micke desk that was available.  I was going to purchase one from someone but had to hold off because the attempt to give away my rolltop desk fell through.  That's right, I was going to give the desk to someone for free but she couldn't take it for, reasons.  Thus I was able to sell it for $50 (I paid $80 four years ago).



With a laptop and decent WiFi, I can work in almost any room I wish around the house.  And when the weather gets decent again I do plan to sit on the porch or back deck for parts of my workday, or even the garage.

But there are times when you just need a traditional desk, especially if you want to hook up a monitor for an extra screen.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The latest new normal

For the longest time, I was going crazy trying to get the kids to daycare and myself to work on time.  The older they got, the more rebellious they became.  It was stressing me out and I was taking it out on them and Nightingale.  My anxiety came from the work situation which I'll write a post about at some point.  Essentially, it was not doing my career any favors being late all the time especially since I could not really stay late either.

We just need 178 more drinks of water


So when the opportunity to WFH full time came along it seemed like a no-brainer.  Take the kids to school, get back home and maybe even have a little time to get a run in before work.  Alas, it did not go as expected.  It is as if they somehow knew that I have a little more cushion so they decided to delay getting up and getting ready for school.  I would say we have the following buckets:

  • Get to school with just enough time for me to get back in time for work
  • Get to school with me getting back with enough time to run/relax/mow the lawn
  • Get to school with me getting back late

I did finally learn that it is better for me to pick them up closer to 5:30 than 5 like I did most summer (I'm a slow learner).  The sooner I pick them up, the more time I have with them until Nightingale gets home and playing zone is so much harder than man-to-man when it's pre-schoolers.


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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Reached the unofficial goal

Last week I unceremoniously completed my unofficial goal of running 300 miles per year.  My official goal was not to have a goal but merely run whenever I could get it in.  As luck would have it, switching to full-time WFH helped provide more opportunities to get running in, although I didn't get to take advantage of it as much as I had hoped.

Oftentimes, I would think okay I'm going to go for a run at 11, which is noon at EST and people will be at work.  But something would come up.  Then I'd try for noon but then again, something would come up.  By then I'm starving so I'd eat lunch and need to let my stomach settle.  So then I'm running at 1 or 2 and then I have to wait until 4 to take a shower.  On the otherhand on those times when I could get out for a run before 11, it feels like I have a full day ahead of me!



More still to come 

I still intend to do some running before year's end, and beyond, of course.  But it is so refreshing to not have to use my lunch time to get in a few miles and instead run an errand or watch a show.

When I look back at this year there were so many months I could have easily got those miles in.  I only ran 10 miles in January, how hard would it have been to make that 13, 14 or 15 miles?  If I run 25 miles a month, I hit 300 by the end of December.  But running 27 miles a month gets it done in eleven so I can do better.



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