Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Optimal Parking Spot

After attending public school for two months now, I have some observations.  It only took me a week to figure out the drop off and parking situation.  Basically, you want to find the spot that is closest to the building but farthest from all the Drop Off Drama.

If we leave the house before 7:20 and everything lines up correctly, we can snag this spot.  My kids love it because there is a ramp for them to jump onto, which avoids any mud.  This won't work once snow covers the ground.  I like it because I can use the driveway of the abandoned house across the street to execute a three-way turn and head back the way I came.  Alternatively, if I have a clear enough path in front of me, I can head north and pick up Cullom Avenue without waiting too long.


The afternoon pickup is a little more tricky.  Morning drop off is between 7:30 and 7:45, but for some reason, afternoon pickup is precisely at 2:45 pm.  Since we don't have After Care, I have been essentially taking a break from work and going to pick them up.  In order to minimize time away from the work desk,  I leave at 2:30, usually get there between 2:35 and 2:40 so I don't have to wait too long.  One time I was parking at exactly 2:45 so when I walked up to pick up, Natasha thought I was late.  I tried to explain that I usually was just one of the first parents in line but today I was at the back, but she wasn't having any of that. 

I can usually get the kids and be back at my desk by 3pm.  Sometimes it goes a little over if there is heavy traffic or the kids take their sweet time getting to and into the car.  We only have to do this for four more months so hopefully there aren't any conflicts with work between now and then.

Now for those observations.  There is always that one parent who parks blocking the sidewalk because their little snowflake cannot walk two more car lengths to the empty spot...or they don't want to park that far for reasons.  There are also a few people who either don't know or don't care how to drive through a round-a-bout. 



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Monday, January 6, 2020

New Running Shoes for 2020 and a little boyond


Woot had a sale so I decided to buy these Saucony Men's Guide ISO 2 TR.  I got two pairs so I can hopefully remember to alternate them between runs.

Back in the day, I would have bought one pair, run in them until my mileage was between 300 and 500 miles, and then try to find another pair.  Usually, by then the price had come down because the next model would be released. Being on a budget, I'd push closer to the 500 miles.  Even then, I was going through 2-3 pairs of shoes a year.

Now I have the budget to buy two pairs at once but I don't have the running stamina.  Even at a conservative 300 miles per pair, these two should last me through 2021 and probably a little beyond.


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Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy first few days of 2020

I hope 2019 wasn't too terrible for you.  It couldn't end fast enough for me.  For some reason, years that end in 9 always turn out craptastic for me.

Since Nightingale's parents moved to Olive Branch, MS, holidays have defaulted to going there because Younger_Sister is also nearby.  As the kids get older each road trip is a little easier but ultimately it is still me just watching my kids in a different zip code.

We typically drive to Mt Vernon, Ill and spend the night at a Drury Inn, which apparently is halfway to a lot of destinations.  One time I struck up a conversation with this guy who was going to Virginia Beach from Colorado!  He told me he drives 13 hours, comes to this hotel, and then gets up at 3 in the morning to drive the next 13 hours!

The Drury is nice in that it includes a buffet dinner and breakfast.  Nothing fancy, or even remotely healthy, but it saves us the trouble of getting back in the car to search for food after having the kids strapped into their car seats for 4+ hours.  And it has a nice indoor/outdoor pool that is good for running down my kids' battery so they sleep.  So we burn an extra 2 days for travel but it is better than being in the car for 10+ hours.

It wasn't too bad this trip.  The in-laws managed to keep their political viewpoints under wraps until almost the last day (usually they break by midweek).  My FIL doesn't like his quiet routine disrupted and all the grandkids running around getting into things did get him to go full OLD_MAN_GET_OFF_MY_LAWN mode before not too long, but otherwise, it was one of the better trips in recent years.



That said, ever time  I think moving down there won't be so bad, BIL Jethro does a good job of talking me out of it by simply opening his mouth and spewing Fox News talking points.  I remind myself that he is just voicing out loud what a lot of people down there are thinking inside.

We are being pressured to move down there.  Nightingales' dad is 70 and he is having health issues.  the sister that lives down there already isn't capable of taking care of him, especially now that she has an almost 2-year-old.

We do have to move.  Our house has some warts that just aren't worth the money to remediate especially since our school system is okay, but not great.  I don't want to make it sound like our house is terrible nor do I want to dive into all the issues.  Let's just start with Air Conditioning.  We only have window units and it is cost-prohibitive to install space pack, Mitsubishi wall units or even standard central air.

The issue is if we move to a good school system, we get less house.  Or we can move to the suburbs where we don't know anyone and Nightingale's commute would suck even more.  She would likely have to quit her job and if she's gonna do that, then why not move South and enjoy a lower cost of living.

The other issue is my mom.  The smart, adult thing would be to sell her home and use the money to purchase a decent home that could comfortably house her, me, Nightingale and the kids.  But she won't do that.  Instead, we'll move to Mississipi and then she'll decide to join us or die and I'll have to come back and deal with all of the probates.  Alternatively, she could sell her home, and we could pay this one off and she could live here and we'd become snowbirds.

But no.  She'll wait until we move down there and then either come visit and never leave, while still footing the utilities for her home, or she'll die and I'll have to come back here and try to settle things up over weekends while incurring hotel and airfare costs.


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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

MPD goal achieved

I managed to hit my unofficial goal of running 365 miles, i.e. one mile per day, with just over a week to spare.  I even got a few extra miles in to account for any mistakes or discrepancies when I switched from DailyMile to Strava.

Month Expected Actual Strava
Jan 31 25 24.8
Feb 28 34 33.7
Mar 31 25 24
April 30 18 18
May 31 38 38.8
June 30 30 30.5
July 31 24 24.2
August 31 39 39.2
Sept 30 29 29
Oct 31 45 45.3
Nov 30 32 32.7
Dec 18 29 29.1
totals 352 368 369.3
average 30.775
left 2 Go 13 -3 -4.3


I'm putting the above in text form instead of a screen capture so that I can cut and paste the numbers if I ever need them.  I'm also backdating this post because I'm not sure what direction I'll take Mysteries of Life in 2020 and maybe ending it in 2019 is the way to go.

At one point, I was 18 miles behind on the goal...but by October 17th I managed to catch up.

It was challenging especially when the trifecta of weather, work and motivation didn't always intersect.  There are days I just cannot get out to run.

The thing about a goal like this is I'm back to being married to a training schedule.  There are days when I have other things that need to be done, especially around the house.  Mowing the lawn, watering the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow.

What I've found is that there really is something to doing at least a 2 mile run.  If I'm not feeling it, quitting after 2 miles still knocks out that day and the next for recovery or the previous for makeup.  If I am feeling it, it isn't that hard to push through another mile or two and build up some running equity.

I think for 2020 I'll go with not having a goal.  I'll just run when and if I feel like it and not worry about hitting a mileage goal.

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Monday, December 16, 2019

5 miles to go

With 15 days left in 2019, I have 5 miles left to go on my MPD running goal.  It's amazing since at one time I was at least 18 miles behind where I should have been for the given month.  Luckily I was able to chip away at it once the weather got cooler.

I have four more days to knock out those last five miles before we head South for the holidays.  And if I don't do it by then, I usually manage to get at least one run in down there, though I wanted a little cushion to allow for any mileage miscounts since switching from DailyMile to Strava.

Whether I do those last 5 miles or not, I consider this goal a success.  It was challenging especially when the trifecta of weather, work and motivation didn't always intersect.  There are days I just cannot get out to run. Sometimes I have other smaller projects I need to get done during the span of time that I have daylight and no kids in the way.

And now with having to pick up the kids at 2:45, I have to be sure everything is quiet on the work front.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

MPD November Update

On Sunday, November 24th, I ran the Lincolnwood Turkey Trot, as I often have, on and off, for the last two decades.  I thought I had signed up for the 5K so that I would be done in time for the kids' Drumstick Dash, but evidently, I picked the 10K instead.  I ran it with Na, whose kids stayed with Nightingale and our kids.

Although I ran the 10K distance, Strava claims I did 7.5 so I'm going with that number instead.  There was a lot of walking back and forth to the cars.



Update:  As expected, I didn't run much the rest of November.  I did a run on Tuesday which was harder than it should have been so I decided to give myself the rest of the month off, especially since we had company over the holidays.

According to my stats, I have 25 miles to go with 29 days left (as of Dec 2).  Not a difficult number to achieve baring any unusual activity.  If I just ran 1 mile per day at the track after dropping off Moose and Squirrel to pre-K, I'd certainly put a dent in that 25 and then only need a few miles over Christmas Vacation to put it to bed.

The thing about a goal like this is I'm back to being married to a training schedule.  There are days when I have other things that need to be done, especially around the house.  Mowing the lawn, watering the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow.

I think for 2020 I'll go with not having a goal.  I'll just run when and if I feel like it and not worry about hitting a mileage goal. 

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

What Dreams May Come

A little snow on Halloween
I have three recurring dreams.  I probably have more but I've noticed three in particular that have at
least a recurring theme.

In the first one, I'm back at Big Bucks Law Firm 1.0 and I'm a paralegal, assigned to a case that is just about to go to trial and I have no clue what the case is about.  I have not had this dream in some time, but it used to be more recurring.

In the second one, I'm back at the No-Name Software Company and I'm either back on the phones or watching everyone else back on the phones.  This one still crops up fairly frequently, even though it has been a dozen years since I left.

In the final one, I'm about to run a marathon but I have not trained at all.  In the past, it was a lack of training but real life has seeped in and as my body cannot run more than 5 miles on a good day (after two consecutive weeks of consistent running) now it is because I simply cannot run.   This dream seems to be more frequent.

I'm surprised I don't have any dreams from Big Bucks Law Firm 2.0, Low-Rent Consulting Firm or TopFive.  I guess my time there was too short to make lasting memories.

One last dream/theme that occurs frequently: living in my mom's crapshack and trying to renovate it. 


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