Wednesday, December 17, 2014

How we feel about the Bears this year

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Just when you thought the train wreck that is the Chicago Bears couldn't get any worse, they find a way to make pathetic look professional.  I wrote my two cents on ChicagoNow but whoever made this video is a genius.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Would I be guilty of Dibs?

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So our house comes with a drive way, apparently a rarity for SFH in the city.  When we get heavy snowfall, people have taken to parking on the street in front of my driveway.

It was a mild winter the year we moved in so it wasn't a noticeable occurrence, but with last year's Polar Vortex and the large amount of snowfall we experienced, there were several times when someone parked in front of our driveway.

Since the city doesn't plow alleys, it is hard to get out of my garage from the back (I have garage doors on both sides, I know, another perk of the 1%). 

So the problem is this:  if I don't shovel my driveway, people might not realize they are blocking it when they park there.  [it's happened once and I'm gonna give the benefit of the doubt and assume it was because of the late hour -- during the day you'd have to be wearing a special kind of blinders to not notice the driveway you're parking in front of, snow or not.]

If I do shovel, including the street in front of it, people use it as a standing pad to pick up their kids and/or drop people off.  [Even in the summer a dude double parks there even though there is 1) a hydrant spot right next to it and 2) usually other parking a mere 20 yards in either direction.]

I can handle that, but I can foresee a situation were my wife or I are late for work and someone has double parked there while they run inside.  Yes it would likely only be for a few minutes but do I have to endure this because my neighbor is lazy or obstinate?  if I put something to block the driveway, am I guilty of Dibs?

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

OverEngineered and Over Reacting

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But at least we didn't flood this year:  Living in a 100+ year old house means there is always something that needs fixing, repairing or just simple routine maintenance.   While Former Owner did a lot of updating and upkeep, there are still things that need to addressed sooner or later.  Former Owner was a fire fighter and fire fighters have a reputation for also being part time plumbers, electricians, and other types of tradesmen.   (heretofore known as Tim-the-Fireman for reasons that hopefully will become obvious)

Angie's List had a Furnace Inspection, Cleaning, and Tune-Up  deal and I scheduled the service.  I bought the deal in late September because I figured I'd either need it for the condo since the buyers seemed finicky and likely to ask for it, or I could use it at our place.  Turns out, the new buyers didn't ask for a furnace Tune-Up after all so we got to use it.  Unfortunately, this is heating servicemen busy season so the earliest we could get on their schedule was the week before Thanksgiving.  
Or we'll be resigned to use this more often

This is technically our third winter in this home although really more like our second because we closed two years ago and didn't completely move in until the end of December and that winter was relatively mild.  Even then we noticed that the upstairs was so much hotter than the downstairs, which we attributed to the radiator heat.  I asked Sean the Serviceman if he could figure out the complicated thermostat Tim-the-Fireman installed because we couldn't.  It appears Tim-the-Fireman installed a very complicated zone system with a thermostat that is designed for multi unit apartment buildings, not a SFH.  The zone feature won't work because the radiators don't have the appropriate cutoff pieces and it would cost thousands of dollars to retrofit them.

The less expensive and faster solution is to have the guy disconnect the over-engineered thermostat and replace it with an ordinary Honeywell programmable thermostat.  I wasn't there when Sean made the call but Nightingale trusts him because he spent so much time trying to figure out how to re-program our thermostat on what should have been a short house call.  He even recommended purchasing a thermostat myself rather than pay the markup his company would charge (I checked and it is practically 100%).  I tried getting a wifi one but Sean says those won't work with our furnace so I'll have to go low-tech.  It's a shame because I figured it could talk to my Smart TV and have great debates with the Smart Washer Dryer we will eventually have to purchase.

 There's no such thing as coincidence: A friend I use to know has converted her blog from Public to Private.  I cannot be sure what caused this decision -- maybe too much spam -- but I suspect it was me popping up for a visit last month.  I hadn't visited in almost two years and though my comment wasn't trolly, challenging or controversial (you'll have to take my word for it, because I cannot link back to it) I feel as if she just didn't like me being able to pop over and say hello like the rest of the interwebs.

The one used her blog as an open letter to her friends and she even helped me get this blog started.  But apparently our friendship eroded some time ago and it is much easier to lock the blog down than feign even a modicum of interest in maintaining the friendship.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

As is the custom of his people...

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...Austin guards a fresh load of laundry.  Apologies for the grainy photos, it was hard to get a good shot of our cat while our kids were screaming bloody murder in the next room.  For some reason they just wouldn't go down for their naps this afternoon which made dinner plans at Wishbone with Katness and her husband a little hectic. 

And so begins our journey into being the parents that bring kids to a restaurant and have to deal with crying babies.  At least we went early enough to avoid large crowds and I did get up and take the kids outside (well out to their unoccupied tented off but heated area) whenever they were getting too vocal, which was roughly every 13 minutes on average.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Cannot wait to make my kids go to this

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Prepare for the holidays with the PMA — Saturday, December 13, 2014
The PMA will offer a Christmas workshop on the art of ornament making, on Saturday,
December 13, 2014, in the Polish Roman Catholic Union of America Social Hall.
Morning workshop session – 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Afternoon workshop session – 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Workshop fees, which includes a free admission ticket to the Museum –
Adults: $15 & Children under 12*: $7
*All Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Please submit your payment and reservation no later than December 12th to:
PMA Christmas Workshop
984 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60642-4101
Or by phone: (773) 384-3352, ext. 2102.
Space is limited. Walk-ins may be turned away.
Please arrive 10 minutes before the scheduled session. Free parking available.

sobota 13 grudnia 2014
Muzeum Polskie w Ameryce
984 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642-4101
Serdecznie zaprasza na:
WARSZTATY tworzenia polskich ozdób choinkowych
13 grudnia 2014, w sobotę,
w godzinach od 10:30 do 12:30 oraz od 13:30 do 15:30.
Koszt udziału w warsztatach z wliczeniem zwiedzania Muzeum,
osoby dorosłe: 15 $, dzieci poniżej 12 roku życia: 7 $
Prosimy o rezerwację miejsc pod numerem telefonu 773–384–3352 w. 2102 do 12 grudnia
i korzystanie z powyższej formy.
Prosimy o przybycie na 10 minut przed rozpoczęciem zajęć.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Some good Dilbert Quotes

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I'm just parking these here for later use.

If you look at the United States as a system, or a big machine, it is lumbering along with nothing but basic maintenance. We have a political system that was designed during the age of horse-drawn carriages and it no longer fits the times. (Or at least it ignores the opportunities of the Internet age.) We need a system that occasionally rebuilds the entire engine of democracy as opposed to keeping the old system dusted and oiled for eternity. 

I came to my hypothesis that intelligence is just pattern recognition because people who are not terribly bright have trouble understanding analogies. And analogies are just patterns.  

When you are young, the most useful thing you can do is focus on your own health, happiness, and education. The world wants you to be selfish until you don't need to be that way. That's what keeps the system going. But if you maintain a high level of selfishness all of your life, your friends and family might only be pretending to like you.

 I certainly agree with the first two.  The last one is one of those Life Lessons that I think I didn't learn until much too late to really utilize.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Think we have enough coffee

Note: this is two shipments worth
Although I canceled my Amazon Subscribe and Save orders, a few managed to ship before the cancellation went out.  Actually, I suspect that wasn't an accident as once I started canceling orders, the email alerting me to the next shipment mysteriously didn't arrive.

No matter, we will definitely use all this coffee and if there is another Polar Vortex driven winter or a Zombie Apocalypse, we are prepared, or at least will be well caffeinated.