Monday, September 15, 2014

Two-Week Warning

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Today is Week 36 which means we can go into labor at any time.  To really emphasize this point, our friends K&J, who are pregnant with twins of their own (boys), had their C-section on Saturday.  K is 10 days behind Nightingale in terms of due dates and such.  But she is also my age which mean the babies were always at a higher risk and as such, probably opted to make their appearance sooner than later.

 So it's a double-sided sword.  On the one hand, you want as much time as possible to be as ready as possible.   On the other hand, Nightingale is ready to have these kids out of her.  She cannot move easily and going up and down stairs is particularly difficult.  Yesterday I was working in the garage while Nightingale was taking a bath.  After she was finished, she wanted me to bring her some water but I was no where to be found.  I had left my phone in the house and didn't see her text.  She was mortified that I wasn't there to help her in a moment of need.  Of course it was all the hormones and not a geniune case of me being off to no good.

The good news is that we do have the nursery set up and more or less have everything else more or less set up.  The bad news is we still haven't figured out what we are going to do for childcare when we go back to work.  And the longer we hold off delivering the children, the later in the year NG has to go back to work.

Weekend DIY

The sink in our laundry room was starting to fall apart.  That is to say, more correctly, the vanity that holds the sink was starting to fall apart.  Too many sink overflows caused the pressboard to weaken. 
Eventually I want to revamp that room and make it more functional: optimize the space better and make it look nicer.  But for the cash-strapped moment, I needed to make a quick repair.  So I decided to build a makeshift frame for the sink top and to make it more challenging I decided to only use whatever I had available in the garage (and yard).  I took the fence gate that I build last spring, which had fallen down because it was too heavy and cannibalized the frame and the screws.  I also had some scrap wood that I was eager to use.  It took me just over two hours to complete and I think I did a decent job of building something that will hold until we can afford an upgrade to the laundry room.  I probably could have done a better job of measuring things out and re-enforcing the joints but that would have taken more than 2 hours and I had other fish to fry on Sunday.

Thoughts on the Bears-49ers game

Many are saying that the turning point was when 49ers defensive tackle Quinton Dial launched on Cutler late in the first half, drilling the Bears quarterback in the sternum.   Cutler led the Bears back from a 17-0 deficit after that.  I think the turning point involved two other plays.  First, Jim Harbaugh challenged a catch by M Bennett and though he won the challenge, it was more a case of the officials being too picky.


Second, I'm going off memory here and I'll have to see if  I can verify it but at the end of the first half, the 49ers had the ball with less than a minute to go.  They had a lot of field to cover.  Yes your team could get into field goal range or even against these bears, score another touchdown.  But with as little time as was left on the clock and the fact that you have an entire second half still to play, Up 17 to 7, it probably makes more sense to go into the locker room and regroup.

Friday, September 12, 2014

whats for lunch

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Nancy Nall writes:

Lunch and I are growing apart. Why eat lunch, anyway? To get out of the office, sure, but food wise, it’s just a big load of calories sitting in your stomach just when you need to get four more hours of work done. Today we moseyed down the block to a taco takeout joint, and I ordered the vegan naked burrito — the fillings without the tortilla. I thought it would be light and digestible, but I forgot about the red onions. Erg. An afternoon of dragon breath hardly seems worth it when you can just have a huge breakfast and do a Balance bar or something around 1 or 2 p.m. Bookend the day with calories but skip lunch, or go super-light.



I know many people like to skip lunch and eat at their desk so that they increase the chances of getting out of work on time.  I just cannot live that way. 

I use to skip breakfast so lunch was a requirement.  And getting away from everything for an hour was also important.  ditto not eating lunch at my desk so as not to create terrible smells that might offend co-workers.

Photo Credit: Dr Drea

Antonym for Diminishing Returns

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First, I want to state that I am really starting to hate Auto-Correct/Auto-Complete functionality, especially when it for some reason only known to programmers, takes Diminishing and types it as Dimishing.

While working on something else, I discovered I needed an antonym for Diminishing Returns and apparently there isn't one.  So I'm inventing one.

Flourishing Returns:  a law affirming that to continue after a certain level of performance has been reached will result in a increase in output.

you're welcome.

Flourishing Returns approved by Austin

 


Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Weekend Post

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Rock Star Parking for Taste of Polonia
Last year we went to Michigan to spend time with the little monkeys so this is our first Labor Day in the not-so-new house.

Irony Alert:  a three day weekend and at least three different friends wanted to get together and of course the window of opportunity was more or less the same slice of time.  It's always tricky getting my friends to cross pollinate.  At the same time, we had a lot to do on the weekend so I didn't want to overcommit the weekend.

First, Milkster is in town and wanted to get together.  Hanna also wanted to meet up with us.  Finally, Basia reached out to me to see if we were able to meet up for dessert since they* were taking KandJ to Smak-Tak so they were going to be in the area.  I told them about the tentative plans with Milkster and Hanna (though not in as much detail) and suggested meeting for dessert either here or nearby. 

So I suggested that Hanna meet us at Taste of Polonia since she was going to take the Blue Line to Jefferson Park anyway.  I wanted her to meet her doppelganger Milkster anyway.

Icarus and Milkster

House Tours:  Was able to get in an hour of Taste of Polonia on Saturday.  Met up with Milkster and her man and we caught up on things.  Hanna was running late as usual so to kill time, I brought Milkster and Dude** over to see our place and Nightingale.  They had a tight window as well so we really just came here, saw the house, then I had to drive them back to Jefferson Park Terminal and pick up Hanna.

Week 34:  Yesterday we just picked up a second crib so even if I don't finish assembling it (unlikely) we are much more ready than we were a week ago.  To be sure, we would have survived if we only had one crib because, contrary to everything you read in the internet, twins can sleep together in the same bed for a few weeks without major calamity.  In fact, some twins seem to prefer it and won't sleep otherwise.

The Bad News:  so there were no offers on the condo and we had to decline the first renter we were offered because he had poor credit and we have been burned by that before.

* and **  need some alias for Milkster's boyfriend and Basia's husband.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

College experiences overwhelm those of us who are unprepared for them

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This time of year I often think back to when I first went off to NMSU in Kirksville, MO.  Fellow CN blogger Walter Michka wrote a post called Back to School Lessons Learned on Monday (Walter usually only posts once a week on Mondays so he has consistency going for him). It's about dropping off his last kid at college and he had this to say about his own college experience:
My college experience was a tad… different. I never “took” to college....After two semesters, I had twelve F’s and one D. I spent the rest of my college career playing catch-up: first at a junior college, then a 4-year school downstate, majoring in the opposite of engineering.
I didn’t make new friends there, didn’t join a fraternity. I didn’t forge bonds with young men and women who’d become my life-long soul mates as we journeyed into our collective futures. I was homesick most of the time and only made one “friend,” a girlfriend… until she dropped out, broke up with me, and moved back home (not in the order). My mother died at the start of my final year, making everything worse."

"I finally got through college; I have a degree. It took me longer than planned but I graduated. I even learned a few things. I know I didn’t get anywhere near the experience I should have out of school. And I know there are no do-overs. But I can now see how this time in a child's life is supposed to go when I watch Kid #1, Kid #2, and now Kid #3 dart off and swim away.

 It only took me one semester to get my act together.  While I was hopelessly, hilariously under-prepared for higher education and being away on my own, I did adjust and course correct a bit quicker than Walter although the academic damage was already done.  The emotional damage took many more years to recover from.

NMSU had forgiveness so if you retook a class, the better grade trumped.  unfortunately you take both grades with your transcript when you transferred.  I spent the rest of my college career not playing catch-up so much as trying to finish ....majoring in the opposite of engineering as well: journalism, or at least the UIC equivalent -Mass Communication.

Unlike Walter, I did make a lot of friends at NMSU, many of whom I'm still connected with through Facebook.  But like Walter, I do feel like I had no where near the experience I should have had in a small college town during my late teenage/early adult years.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Communication Conflicts and Volunteer Organizations

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 Rinse. Wash. Repeat:  I've seen a pattern when it comes to getting involved with volunteer organizations. The newcomer shows up and is fresh with ideas. The long-standing members don't want to give up too much power and, also having been in newcomer's shoes, have a sense of what will work, what won't work and what has failed before.

The newcomer either gives up and moves on or conforms with hopes of some day being involved in calling the shots.  Eventually the newcomer gets their chance only by that time they have lost some of their creative edge and energy. 

*************
The conflict comes in the communication.

When I was in Europe for the Prague Marathon, one of the gentlemen I talked to at the Expo referred to our activity as jogging.  Runners don't like it when what we do is called jogging.  Call it our dark little prejudice.  In the states we equate jogging with that fad in the 70s where people wore jogging suits and did something just slightly less goofy than power walking.

Here's the thing:  That gentleman wasn't talking about that jogging when he used the word.  He was using the word jogging to be the English translation of whatever word is "running" in Check or Lithuanian or Romanian.  






Sunday, August 24, 2014

Late Sunday Post with a chance of Sunset Picture

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amount of sunlight/shadow 3:35 pm CST 
 

It’s a hot, humid and sunny August Sunday, I’m in my office/parlor, listening to the window AC unit that the previous owners left us, blow cool air (and poisonous freon most likely).  My plans for the evening: Spend it with my wife and mother who is on a 4 hour pass from the Nursing Home.  And also maybe get ice cream after I mow the small patch of grass in the back once the sun moves far enough in the West behind the garage to cast a shadow on it.

While I have been whining and complaining and stressing all week, Life is still relatively good. I think it’s worth noting that it is, and that I’m appreciative for it.

This blog post inspired by this one.