Thursday, November 27, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

I'm only writing this for banter

I've been listening to AM radio on the drive home, specifically Tom Waddle show.  Sometime just before the Vikings Game, a fan called in and said he still believed the Bears had a chance to make the playoffs.  This was before they beat the Vikings when even the radio pundits felt it was over. 

As much of a die-hard fan that I am, I don't even share that caller's optimism.  In fact, I burned my Bears Flag when they lost to Green Bay two plus weeks ago.  I wasn't so upset that they lost -- GB is a pretty good team and it was at home -- but I was bloody pissed that they played so poorly after a bye week. 

Looking at the ESPN playoff standing screen capture I'm posting, for the Bears to make the post season the following would have to happen:

  1. Bears have to win out the rest of the season
  2. Lions and or Packers have to collapse.

If the Bears win out the rest of the season, that would mean they beat the Lions twice along with Dallas and New Orleans and they would end up a wild card.  I suppose they could split with the Lions as long as they win by more points for tie breaking rules.   Which would be ironic to me because at least twice in my years as a fan they've missed the playoffs with 9-7 records but lost out to tie breaker rules (and I suppose the one 10-6 year that was true too).

Left on the schedule: 
  • This Sunday's trap game against Tampa Bay (aka Lovie Bowl)
  • Then the Lions on Thanksgiving. 
  • Then Dallas and New Orleans, not sure what the order is but if they can catch the Cowboys on their traditional December downswing.
  • Then two more games against the Vikings and the Lions.  

So let's say they are 8-6 or 7-7 at that point.  Presumably the playoff picture is clearer two weeks out and winning out would control their own destiny, something the Bears historically are not good at.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

No decisions from Fear

When November began and I learned that it was the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, I thought that this would be a good month to work on my Great American Novel.  Wannabe writers are encouraged to write a novel in the space of the month. Not necessarily a good or even a salable novel, but just a story of sufficient length to be called a novel  (NaNoWriMo uses 50,000 words as a marker, which John Scalzi says is actually slightly short for modern novels — "60k is usually the lower bound".
Unfortunately Moose and Squirrel have kept me very busy.  When I get home my mom usually hands Boris to me so that she can return home.  (Natasha usually only wants to be with mommy.)  I've hardly written 500 words let alone 50,000.

I did finally get around to drilling the holes in the secretary desk so that the computer fits in it nicer with the cords hidden neatly.  That one had been on my TODO list for months.  At first I just wasn't sure where the holes should go.  After some time I decided that I could achieve what I wanted with only three holes, two on the inside part of the desk so that they would not be noticeable should we ever decide to relocate the desk in such a way as anyone could see the back.

So this happened

The other day our dryer started making this noise.  Actually, it made it a week or two ago but it was a one time thing so I didn't give it much head.  Alas the noise came back and it wouldn't go away.

I consulted Google and YouTube and found that video.  The challenge has been finding the time to take apart the dryer and troubleshoot.  As I said, when I get home, I'm usually handed a fussy kid who won't go down for a nap and my evening is consumed. Yesterday I was finally able to take the machine apart and lubricate the drum barrel.  Unfortunately, to know if this works, I have to re-assemble and test.  Very time consuming.

I was going to write a little bit more of a ranty post but then I saw this on a friend's FB status:

It was a good day for the Chicago Catholic Church today.
Any day that calls us to imagine...hope... and love is a great day...isn't it?
Tonight I feel a sense of excitement and hope.
As I reflect on Archbishops Cupich's homily today
I am reminded that love drives the fear out of the "messiness" of life.
I am convinced that when we respond to situations, challenges and crisis out of fear, we almost always make the wrong decision.
Fear makes us timid when we should be bold.
Fear makes us lash out when we should listen.
Fear makes us cling to what we might lose when we should be generous.
Fear makes us focus on consequences when we should focus on faith. Courage rises out of that love
Courage allows us to be able to do what love calls for -
even when we are afraid.
God doesn't let us drown in doubt. God gets in the boat with us.
A ship in a safe harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are built for.
God calls us to set sail and live boldly!

Good advice and I think Nightingale and I need to invoke the No Decisions from Fear thing more.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Holy Karma, how much longer till we're all squared up?

So a day so full of promise and a dozen jokes about Kim Kardashian has turned into an afternoon of annoyance.  Things that annoy me:
  1.  Birth Shamers: There are camps of people who think anyone who gets an epidural or has a c-section is a terrible person.
  2. the cashier who couldn't just give me a quarter back for change for a $9.76 bill she had to give me 24 cents because all those pennies add up
  3. the lady at the podiatrist office who, after entering my info in her computer, is going to make me fill out multiple forms asking the same information because she doesn't have the tools or the brains to transfer the information to those forms; nor the ability to email them to me ahead of time..
First, the lady at the podiatrist office who, after entering my info in her computer, is going to make me fill out multiple forms asking the same information because she doesn't have the tools or the brains to transfer the information to those forms; nor the ability to email them to me ahead of time.

then I had a lunchtime meeting so with my Annoyance Levels already peaked I run downstairs to Halsted Deli and get my usual triple decker (this is one of the better sandwiches they make). The cashier couldn't just give me a quarter back for change for a $9.76 bill; she had to give me 24 cents because you know, all those pennies add up.  I mean I can put up with their higher price on their Egg McMuffin knock off that doesn't include hash browns, and their markup on Chips and Soda.  But making me carry two dimes and four pennies?  Rage Beast!

I asked myself why I get so bent out of shape when things like this happen and it comes down to this.  First, I don't like paying the inconvenience tax for someone else's deficiency.  Second, it makes me feel powerless and not in control of my life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Winterizing the house for winter

Like any household, our 100+ year old house requires some prep work for the winter and we learned the hard way last year that you shouldn't put it off.  Last year I foolishly thought I could wait until Thanksgiving weekend to do stuff with the help of my FIL

Alas November proved too cold to really work on things so this year I vowed to get the deck furniture -- which we have even more of now -- put away early.   Unfortunately with the arrival of moose and squirrel, it's been a challenge finding the time. 
The Goose unfortunately will not return

Ideally, this window is during daylight hours when the weather is warm but not too hot and definitely not raining.

Unfortunately EVERYTIME I had a window like that, we found we were without extra hands to free me up. One weekend the weather was supposed to be great on Saturday but instead the good weather shifted to Sunday, when SIL had to leave.

I was starting to get pissy because it seemed like a giant conspiracy on behalf of the Universe.

Thankfully, this last weekend Nightingale got so sick of me bitching about it that she allowed me to call my mom to come help for a few hours on her "day off".  I was able to get the leaves raked and mulched (with my new blower/mulcher from and all the deck furniture put away.  There's still some trivial stuff to do and I fully expect another round or two of leaves to bag up.  But I got the important stuff completed.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Seeing it a little differently

When I work downtown I have to leave the house by 7:45 to catch a bus to Jefferson Park in order to make it to TopFive Financials' downtown office by 9am.  Unfortunately I had to help with the twins and I was a bit rushed.  CTABustracker assured me a bus was 8 minutes away when I left the house and I'm pretty sure it doesn't take me 8 minutes to walk .2 miles though Google maps show it could take 6 minutes.

The bus blew past as I was about 10 ft from the intersection, with the light against me.  Chasing it was not an option.  I elected to catch the Milwaukee bus going South in hopes of getting off at another El station like Logan Square, California or even Division.  Instead I opted to ride the bus all the way in, which got me to the office at 9:20.

It did give me an opportunity to see Avondale, Logan Square, Wicker Park and a few other spots along Milwaukee Avenue.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sixth week observations on having kids

I want to write a little bit about our time in the hospital before it completely escapes my memory.  We left early Monday Morning and headed to the hospital for a Scheduled C-SectionScheduled C-Section means we knew all along it would be a C-Section and not a vaginal birth, not that the date and time were set in stone.  We actually ended up going in a week early.  Why do I point this out?  Apparently there are camps of people who think anyone who gets an epidural or has a c-section is a terrible person and they birth shame them!

We ended up staying at the Baby Hotel hospital for four days and three nights.  I have no problem being there the first two days/nights.  It's part of the job description.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have insisted that I go home Wednesday after noon to look after the house, spend quality time with our neglected kitty and get things ready for Nightingale arrive the next day.

One of the reasons to be there the first couple of nights, besides general love and support, is to go through Baby Bootcamp where you get use to the concept of no sleep and feedings every few hours.  Which is fine and all but you don't need to go from one extreme to the other.  They have nurses on staff who are there to give you a break if it gets to be too much and you need some sleep to keep from losing your shit. 

Using the logic that "you need to get use to it because there might not be help at home" is like saying you shouldn't use air conditioning because it might break some summer.

The thing is, regular day-to-day stuff doesn't care that you are having a baby and it doesn't get done on its own.  40% of my paternity leave was spent in a hospital room not being very productive.  Especially since as we learned from last year, there is a lot to do around the house before winter arrives and right now, it's not getting done.  Yes I bonded with my kids and changed diapers and such. But at the time I suspected I would be allowed to take the young poopsacks home and the opportunity to bond would still be possible one week later. 

The first nice day of weather we had that fell on a weekend was also the day that SIL had to leave so I couldn't do much yard work.

One of the lessons we learned a bit too late is when people come to see the baby, it's best to schedule that visit in the early evening.  Right now, the kids are at their best behavior from mid-morning to early evening.  And while that's great for visitors, it is also the only time Nightingale can manage them without my help.  So the best time for me to do those things around the house that need to get done. but i cannot do that if i have to play host. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Guess they are waiting for the announcement

So we tried to invite our family over for Easter our first year in this house.  I figured it would kill two birds with one ham.  We'd take a major holiday off the rotation and everyone would get to see our new home and check "visited the dark evil city once per decade" off their to-do list.

Unfortunately it wasn't a warmly received idea from various branches of the family because of their feud with my mom.  Basically they don't want to be in the same room as her because something went down the previous year at or just after Easter.  

The following was sent to me a couple of years ago (I have not altered it, even for spelling):

Hi Icarus 
Here I found the protocal for you on baby's birth announcements for the future. When you friends or family have babies.

The phone call is a common response to the birth announcement by close friends and family. This may be followed up by a card, gift or personal visit. Be sure to clearly state your baby’s schedule and your availability. Unscheduled visits can put a new mom into a bit of a tizzy so always say when you want people to stop by.
E-mail responses to birth announcements are common from distant friends and relatives. The new parent may receive a ton of messages on their social networking site or receive responses by formal e-mail. Parents just need to say thank you and acknowledge the e-mail but detailed letters are not required.
No response at all to receiving a baby birth announcement is more frequent that you may expect. Some people either choose not to respond in any way (not common) or don’t realize they should respond (common). Like greeting cards or thank you cards, a response is not necessarily expected or understood by everybody. For people that didn’t send birth announcements at the birth of their own child or are receiving a birth announcement for the first time they may not know how to respond. Don’t worry you won’t notice under the shower of gifts, cards and good wishes.

Hope this helps You and Nightingale 

She didn't include a link to the source but I'm assuming she found this out there on the interwebs. The impetus for this was we had been talking about her daughter and I was called out for bad behavior: Failure to Adequately Acknowledge a Significant Life Event.

Apparently, even though we only heard about the birth of my cousin Wednesday's kid through Facebook, we were supposed to...I'm not sure what.  Morticia and Wednesday certainly didn't follow the above
protocal when our kids arrived.  I don't know if they figure that because we didn't follow a protocal we didn't know about, they are excused from following it, or if the protocal only flows in one direction -- like most of the expectations from that side of the family. 

In any event, we made our sincere gesture and it was declined.  I am well past the age where I have any Fucks left to give.

Wednesday and I are over a decade apart and so even though I've tried to have a relationship with her, it only flows in one direction.  By that I mean she will reach out to me when she requires something or she will talk about what is going on in her life until the cows come home, but the phrase "how are you" is seldom uttered.