Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My first attempt at Skeleton Keys

Heard about this signature drink from Nancy Nall and decided to try it.  You can probably substitute cheaper brands but I decided to go with the top notch ingredients where possible.


Skeleton Key
This cocktail is very easy to make and definitely pleases the masses.
1 oz Woodford Reserve
¾ oz St. Germain
½ oz Lemon Juice
3 oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer
5 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
Pour all ingredients directly into a collins glass except the bitters. Then, add ice and gently stir. Finish by floating the Angostura bitters on top of the cocktail as your garnish.

 I couldn't find fever ginger beer and lemon juice is lemon juice.   The real challenge of course is finding St Germain.  I found a source online and ordered the sample size just in case this turned out to be a gross tasting experiment.

It was not.   



So these were a big hit with my SIL so I imagine I will just order a case of the St Germain from Binny's next payday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Nine months makes a huge difference

We are in Grosse Pointe visiting the Fam and enjoying a few days of Cousin Bonding.  When I write enjoying I am not at all being sarcastic. It actually is a very pleasant, relaxing visit.  The last time we were here, Moose and Squirrel would not let anyone else hold them and were very mommy and daddy centric.  In other words, we couldn't do anything except hold our babies, which I can do back home.

It was so bad that Nightingale declared we were not doing any more road trips until the kids were older.  At the time we were dreading the upcoming SIL2 wedding in June to Mississippi.  For that trip we had to split the driving into two shorter legs of driving.

They did so well this trip, sleeping the majority of the time that we were able to power through and
drive almost all the way without stopping.  That helped because we got a very late start out the door each time.

In past visits I always worried about the kids injuring themselves or getting injured by their older cousins who just want to play.  But now they are old enough that we don't have to watch them every second for fear of them injuring themselves.  We still have to keep an eye on them but not as intensely. 



We got in on Friday around 4:30 which is perfect because we have enough time to unpack and unwind before dinner.  We made a deal with the SIL where she watched our kids Saturday morning while Nightingale and I went Estate Sale-ing and had lunch, and we watched her boys that evening because they had plans they had forgotten about when they invited us for this particular weekend (some things never change.)

The only issue is we came back too early, just as SIL1 was putting our kids down for nap and they did not want to go to sleep.  That threw our afternoon off a bit.  

Sunday was the bigger birthday party for Little_Monkey2 and this time we were more firm about nap time. 

  We left Monday morning, again not as early as I would have liked, but we still made excellent time because they kids slept for almost 3 hours worth of the car ride home.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Decluttering physical and symbolic clutter

When ever we drive up to Michigan, I start to think about all those road trips I took in the 90s back to Kirksville.  There wasn't really anyone here who I could carpool with so it was just me.  Driving for 7+ hours.  
Leaving NMSU back in my college years was somewhat traumatic for me.  While I did initially struggle in college, by junior year it had finally seem like I was making positive forward progress navigating the world that is higher education.  I had a good group of friends.  I was doing okay academically and repairing the damage to my GPA that my clueless freshmen self inflicted.  I even had a girlfriend.

Alas I had to leave because of finances and also because there were no more classes for me to take unless I changed majors.

For years I tried to get back there.  To Planet Kirksville and the life I had to leave behind.  I would visit Kirksville while my friends were still there and later St Louis even semi seriously considering relocating there to be with them.

I spent a lot of my 20s struggling because I didn't have the support structure here that I had there (or thought it had there).  It wasn't until I built something solid here that I was finally able to let go.

I spent a lot of time and energy holding onto something that didn't exist anymore and probably didn't really exist in the first place.  And had I been able to let go sooner, I probably would have had a better 90s and 2000s.



But I'm sure she's a nice person

The reason I keep this blog around:  I want to write about an experience I had this year but I cannot do it on my ChicagoNow Blog.  As part of the Separation Package TopFive provided us, we got 3 months of Career Counseling Services from Lee Hecht Harrison.

First off, this fucking name doesn't roll off the tongue and it's isn't anything I'd associate with resume writing or job hunting services.  Second, the company website doesn't have an easy to find portal into your career placement center. 

Finally they assigned me some overworked person with a Vice President title that doesn't really amount to anything.  She calls me the evening before she leaves for a week vacation.  This annoyed me because even though I had something lined up by then, what if I hadn't?  I'd lose a crucial week of being able to talk to a live counselor about job hunting tactics.

When she got back, she wanted to follow this script.  She would talk, talk, talk.  Ocassionally ask me  a question, never listen to the answer, and then go back to the script.  I could tell she was getting annoyed when I asked questions and went off script.

The sad thing is, all I really needed from Lee Hecht Harrison was help hammering down my resume and my LinkedIn profile.  After that, we could have parted ways and you would have had one less person to talk with for three months. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Summer Weekends

Can't quite put my finger on what's wrong with this
This was one of those weekends were I feel we accomplished some things yet still had a relaxing, fun time with the kiddos.  We just had two obligations: meeting with the financial advisor on Saturday and me going over to Nightingale's condo on Sunday fix a few things up.   


Had I realized that it would only take me a couple of hours, I could have done it Saturday morning and then Sunday would have been a free day.  On the other hand, had I tried to do it Saturday, I suspect it would have taken longer and I would have talked myself into finishing up on Sunday so let's call it done and move on.

I'm proud to say that my painting skills are actually pretty decent.  My caulking not so much.  Like many home maintenance and repair type takes, the more you do something the better you get and caulking is not something I get a lot of opportunities to do.  and I'm okay with that.  

I have today off because I saw an opportunity to get some thing done around the house.  We have slowly been addressing some of the issues around here as my emergency funds replenished from the time off.  I didn't have to drain them but I did tap into them more than I would have liked.  For instance I had the unexpected issue with my car, which cost over a $1K.  We also bought a new mattress because the old one was just too lumpy to get a good night's sleep with...not that Moose and Squirrel give us many good night sleeps.


Monday, August 8, 2016

Everything revolves around Nap-Time

We had a very productive weekend.  We define productive these days as we spent quality time with our children ND managing to get something done around the house project wise.  Bonus if the QT is something that while simultaneously wearing them out so they go to sleep on time and sleep through the night (hopefully).


On Saturday we met up with Katness and her twins for a double-date at Brookfield Zoo.  It was a little stressful getting off in the morning because we are usually the ones that are late, Nightingale wanted to make our meetup time of 9:30.  It turns out our meetup time was actually 10 so we were early for once.  The Gods rewarded us with a beautiful but not too hot day.


On the way home we opted to stop at a nearby Costco so that we wouldn't burn our Sunday on a trip to the store.  Since everything revolves around naptime these days, a trip to the store means either timing it so that they sleep on the car ride to/from the store or going early enough so that we get them home in time for nap.  That last scenario doesn't always work out.

I try to play to my strengths and mask my weaknesses. For instance I make a list of things we need to do during the kids naptime and knock them out one at a time. We finally got the car seats re-adjusted.

Also, with the new job, I don't have quite the WFH freedom yet that I had at the last gig, so I have to schedule stuff very far out. I'm having three different repair/service people come out next Monday to do some much needed house maintenance.  This is actually going to be a PTO day so I don't have to monitor a laptop all day.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Last Day of July

Another month about to end.  I wanted to list all the home project repairs I've completed around the house, either myself or by paying someone else to do for me.  I don't think I have a comprehensive list but I can tell you that I've spent upwards of $2000 this month alone.

In no particular order, I got the basement shower re-caulked.  Got out chimney swept. Our appliances tuned up.  I've also ordered new screen doors which is turning into its own saga.

  I've also engaged a concrete repair company to fix a small leak in our wizard of oz doors.  I'm also seeking out estimates to paint said doors and the iron gate in our drive way.


I also got my iPhone and iPad screens repaired although I had to leave the iPad at the shop and the microphone on the iPhone doesn't seem to be working which will mean another trip to the store.