Monday, August 14, 2017

Same as it Never Was

If it has become apparently obvious, I don't do much writing here these days.  This should be no surprise since my bread and butter comes from the other site.  But I do like to put some personal stuff here for journal-archive purposes.

On Friday I had a decent Extra Curricular To Do (EXTD) list and was looking forward to knocking some stuff out.  Unfortunately the universe had other plans.  I got a call from daycare that Boris had Diarrhea and I had to come get him.  No sense in picking just him up so I went and brought both kids home after lunch just as they were getting ready for nap.

Natasha didn't want to sleep so she stayed up while Boris got two hours.  Then around 4, she crashed and I let her sleep for an hour.  This was a precursor of what was to come because this weekend we had events that meant skipping nap.

On Saturday Gemma was in town and someone from the old RCYA group hosted a cookout. 
While Gemma is aware that there is no love lost between me and most of that crew, she understandably values her convenience a bit more and having everyone be in one place is easier for her.  Since we had to miss her wedding last year, I figured it wouldn't kill me for one afternoon to hang out with these people especially since it is only 2-3 specific people and one of those didn't come.

That's not to say, if you knew what to look for, there wasn't something in the air.  The Krazy Guatemalan came up to me, shook my hand and said hello in a manner that was like "well lets get this out of the way".  So-Suede waited as long as he could and was the last person to acknowledge me.  Even his wife was friendlier and more welcoming.

It probably would have been more apparently awkward had I come by myself but luckily, with two toddlers you never have a dull moment.  So between managing them and catching up with everyone else, time moved quickly.  Gemma of course overbooked her day and had to leave around 3 to make her next event. 

We stayed for about a half an hour more. I wanted to talk more with the host and this would have been a good time since once half your party leaves, you can take a break.  But our kids were approaching meltdown moment so it was a good excuse to leave as well.

On Sunday we took them to their first White Sox game.  We did this with Katness because Sundays are family day and the tickets are cheap.  Unfortunately there was traffic so even though we left early, it took almost an hour to get to the ballpark and we missed the opening fireworks (saw them from the parking lot).  We did manage to stay until the start of the sixth inning before we decided it was a good time to leave.  We wanted to beat traffic and avoid large crowds of fans. 

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Kid's first Cubs Game at Wrigley Field

To celebrate it's anniversary, my not so new company had an outing to the Cubs game the other day.  Because I was allowed to bring a guest and because kids under 2 get in free, I decided to make this our kids first (and perhaps only) Cubs game.  I'm not much of a go see the game in person type anymore.  Unless you pay a fortune, you can usually see the game better from your living room or even a sports bar, which is vastly cheaper.

But as this cost us nothing, except the $100 we spent on Cubs T-shirts for four, for the occasion,  I figured why not.  Especially since I knew we were not likely to spend more than a few innings there.  Nightingale was stressing because she forgot that I told her kids had to sit on our laps and our seats initially were not together.  They were three seats apart, which isn't the worst thing because even total strangers would probably switch with us and I have to believe most of the over 2,300 registered people from my office would as well.

Think about it, either the three people between us know each other or they don't.  Does person in seat two really care if they sit on the left side of these other two or the right?  It worked out even better because when we got to our seats there were plenty of open seats avialable, probably because all the youngins were still drinking free beers and watching the game from the pre-game reception at Brickhouse Tavern.  We took up the seats we needed but were prepared to move if needed.  Alas that never happened because we only stayed for 2 innings.

I should note that when we were asked to request our tickets, I did ask for two, as I'm sure most people did.  I don't know why they didn't group people together, i can only imagine something "fell apart with the planning-implementing phase of this task".  When I went to pick up the tickets, the line was long and I went on the last day.  But since the tickets were free, and the firm bought me beer and appetizers, I am not complaining.

Katness, who coincidentally was at the game the next day for free as part of a work function, has invited us to see the White Sox for Family day in a couple of Sundays.  This isn't free but is a reduced cost so we can now check off 2 of the 5 major Chicago Sports teams.  As big of a Bears fan as I am, I will likely not take my kids to Soldier Field for a long, long time because football fans are assholes.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Back in the Day: The Octogon

One of the places I use to go to drink and dance in the 90s was a dive bar called Octagon (2483 N Clark).  I suspect it was one of those bars that put up shop when the neighborhood was less than desirable and eventually got taxed out of existence once the final stages of gentrification arrived.

I've never really liked clubs because they are just too loud to talk to anyone.  That's not old man Icarus talking, I felt this way in my 20s.  The only exceptions I've found are the euro-trash and maybe a few suburban ones.

The front of this place really looked like an Old Man Bar trying to pass itself off as a sports bar (probably what kept it alive during the early days of gentrification).  In the back there was a decent sized dance floor and they played what we considered Alternative Music:  DePeche Mode, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Tears For Fears, etc. 

Free Parking was hard but not impossible to find and my friends and I would go there, have a few drinks and get our dance on.

 The owner was there every night making sure everything ran smoothly and I think he was in his late 70's at that point. He sat on the corner sipping his drink making sure he said hi to everyone as they walked in. Great times and memories..

I was hanging with some suburban transplants at the time so we often were the first ones there and the first to leave, not that it would have made any difference.  I was often the 5th wheel to a pair of couples which is not only counter productive to meeting anyone, it is actually the kiss of death.

Plus I didn't know how to talk to girls people which would work out fine 20 years later.  Around 1999 it closed or re-branded itself as Thin Lizzie's.  I don't care to google if that place is still around, it was douche bag bait for all the frat boys in Lincoln Park and lost it's edge. 

There was another place that had a similar concept, bar up front,  psychedelic dance room in the back (I'm sure this is not a unique thing).  The Artful Dodger (1734 W Wabansia) went one better by having the bar area look like Medusa's all grown up. 

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Friday, July 21, 2017

A Modest Home Improvement

Before: North end of Porch
Because we have essentially decided that Casa de Icarus is no longer going to be our Forever Home,
we have initiated a new Home Improvement Protocol.  Basically we are only putting money into the house where it is needed, either to fix something that is broken or improve it for resale purposes.

Since we cannot do everything at once, we are doing the essentials first (see new dishwasher), followed by the things we can enjoy while we are still here (see new washer and dryer).  After that, minor trivial things that don't cost too much will be considered.

So I decided to get an outdoor electrical outlet installed on the north side of the house.  For the most part, the existing outlet on the south-side works fine, except in the few use cases where it doesn't.  

I'm not sure why there wasn't already one there in the first place.  Some previous owner put a lighting system under our front porch, along with a cement foundation which makes for excellent storage.  So adding an outlet would be a no brainer for someone with electrician mad skills.
After: Now with MORE POWER

 In any event, now I can put holiday decorations without having to run extension cords under the stairs and risk anyone tripping and potentially suing us.  We can even hang lights on our roof now.

It wasn't out of the ballpark but it certainly wasn't cheap.  I did my research and found someone who quoted me south of $200.  Although it actually did come out to $200 and that doesn't include the $50 outlet I bought from Home Depot because we had a little money to spend.

Update:  I should include costs.  The GE 2-20 Backyard Outlet cost $47.  I went with this one because it has 4 plugs.  It also cost me $200 to have the work done (quoted: "
As discussed; we will just charge you labor and material NOT TO EXCEED $200.00.
I really think total will be around $170.00 though."  Dan Schacke Home Comfort Services, Inc.
Naturally I would have preferred it cost less, but it was around the price everyone else quoted me, so fine.  


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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bedtime for toddlers

I should have been chronicling this better but we are in this new phase where the kids only want to sleep with us.  For a long time one or both would get up in the middle of the night and make noise until we would pick them up and take them back to our room.  Then it shifted to them starting out in our bed in the first place. 

Sometimes I would take one into the spare bedroom so that we weren't squished because even a King sized bed is too small when your toddlers sleep perpendicular to the bed. 

Of course this means none of us get a good night’s sleep so the kiddos don’t want to get up in the morning.  Which makes it harder to get ready in the morning.  Assuming they are not being mommy-centric and will let me dress them, we still are pushing getting out the door in a timely fashion

I bought a bunk bed off Wayfair thinking that would solve the problem.  It sort of did for a short time.  Now I get to sleep in the bottom bunk (a full size thankfully) with one or both of them until they fall asleep and I can sneak back into our bed.

The next step is to get rid of our old bed.  We don't get many guests these days and if needed, we do have a blowup mattress.  Once the bed is gone, we can reconvert the nursery back into an office.  I'm thinking we can ship the old bed to my in-laws once they get their new house and they can either hold onto it until we move down or keep it. 


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Friday, July 7, 2017

Standard Polish Operating Procedure

Running before work is not an option these days.  Neither is running after work.  I sometimes manage to get a short run in during lunch but I'm always stressed about getting back to my desk before anyone is looking for me.  I really look forward to my before work on Friday runs.

Unfortunately, those are going away too.  The kids are just taking too long to get ready for school and mixed in with our own apathy about getting moving in the morning, by the time I drop the kids at daycare and Nightingale at the train, it's time to start my day.  Now that it's summer, it's gonna be too hot to run during lunch break.  And besides, I have found that I have a better chance of doing it if I get it out of the way earlier in the day, especially if I have mini projects to complete around the house before break.

Random Burrito Joint in Jefferson Park

And my mother won't fucking leave our house!  Take this morning, as we are heading out to take the kids to daycare, she tells me she is going to clean up and then go.  I get back and she tells me that she is going to pay her bills online and then go.  She prints every payment which takes forever because she functions in a pre-2004 technology mindset.  I also asked her to help me with something and took 10 minutes so that will set her back 4 hours.

I cannot concentrate when she is here.  We even almost got into a fight over the most stupid thing until I realized what was going on and deescalated it.

Mom: can this [some stupid glass item that could easily wait until tomorrow or be hand-washed] be washed in the bottom drawer [of dishwasher]?  It won't fit in the top.

Me:  I don't see why not. [meaning I don't see why it couldn't be put in the bottom.]

Mom:  Because it won't fit I tried [thinking I was doubting her statement, not answering her question.]

Realizing this, I pointed out that we had a miscommunication and even said "this is why we get into fights."

She immediately changed the subject as if the conversation never occurred.


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Friday, June 30, 2017

2017 half over

Happy pre-4th of July to you all.  Nightingale, Natasha, Boris and I were supposed to go to Memphis this weekend but those plans got crushed.  Hopefully we can make the best of the situation and use the time to deal with all those little things we keep kicking down the road while still having some enjoyable family time.