Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Relaxing weekend, anxiety laden week approaching

Our weekend was rather chill in spite of the obligatory trip to the remote ends of Chicagoland for a family birthday party.  The reason was because my mom went home Friday morning and stayed there all weekend.  When she is around, she is an extra set of hands to help with the kids.  but it comes at a price. When shes' not around, its more physical work for us, but the atmosphere is more relaxed.

Saturday AM, Nightingale went to Costco while I kept the kids...alive.  She got home, we had a late lunch and then headed out for the birthday party.  My cousin Wednesday has two kids, 2.5 years apart, the youngest being just a few months older than Moose and Squirrel.  Wednesday is going through the birthday learning curve between having combined Bday parties, one for each, and also learning that not everyone wants to give up their Memorial Day weekend to go to a kids party. 

I've always said that the best time to throw a kids party is when it's a good time for you.  Kids don't learn how calendars work until much later in life so take advantage of it as long as you can.  As long as you give them cake, ice cream and presents they really don't care if you do it 2 weeks after their real birthday.

The party was nice but we overstayed.  the plan was to leave during the 5 o clock hour and we stayed until almost 7.  The meant that we were due for a meltdown on the way home because the kids were getting hangry.  Luckily we got to the McDonald's on the highway Oasis before full meltdown occurred. 

Sunday was nice weather in the am but cooler and rainy in the pm so the kids couldn't go outside and burn energy. 

there are two projects I want to get to ASAP but I won't be able to touch them until this weekend.    This week is a conference for my job which involves seeing a lot of the people from the No-Name Software Company.  I' m a little anxious about that. 

There was one thing that occurred over the weekend, which I will write about in detail later.  In the past, things like this usually leave me with an ominous pit in my stomach.  To be sure, there was a bit of a dark cloud hoovering around.  But I also have enough confidence in myself to know that this is not of my doing and I don't deserve the bullshit this person is sending my way. 

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Replacing ugly window treatment, one room at a time

I was never in love with the window treatments that came with this house.  Most of it was of the "eh, it will do" variety, with occasionally patches of WTF were you thinking?   I've since replaced the ugly pink blinds in our bedroom with cordless blinds that do a decent job of keeping the light out.
Luckily our bedroom windows face East so there isn't much light to worry about on the occasions that we get to sleep in.

In the kids room, which they have not slept in for over a month now, the blinds that are over the changing table got broke somehow.  I imagine it was a combination of them being cheap, and years of my kids grabbing at them while being changed.  Anywho, I had to replace the one and because you have to have matching treatment on all windows, I had to also buy a replacement for the perfectly functional one on the other window. 

Unfortunately, the woodwork in this house, specifically upstairs is very hard (insert your own joke here).  You have to predrill with a bit much larger than you would think and you can still risk stripping a screw or breaking a drill bit. 

My fantasy was to simply hire some store to replace and install all the window treatment at once.  But since we likely aren't staying here forever, that will change to only replace what is necessary.  I suspect I will do the heavy blinds in the kitchen but otherwise all the curtains should be sufficient and there will be no love lost when we leave them behind.




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Friday, May 12, 2017

Being Her own worst enemy

My mom saves everything.  From the sentimental to the stupid.  She saves all her paperwork.  When she pays a bill online, she actually prints the confirmation page out.  I've tried showing her how to make a PDF of it and save it on the hard drive but I'd have better luck convincing a dog not to eat a sirloin steak.

So it is with great irony that we are looking for some specific documents and my mom cannot locate them in the piles of files she has at home.  This is not the fault of her angry neighbor who allegedly called the inspectors on her; this is not her ex-boss who was an asshole for not paying her above market value for non-market value skillsets.  This is her own doing. 

And it is fucking frustrating because it falls on us.  At the very least I have to hear her bitch about how tough her life is but am not allowed to recommend the obvious solutions that would improve things.  At the more important level, we really could use those original documents that will likely show up once we give up and order expensive reprints.

Beyond that, some day the woman is going to die and it will be up to us to sort through that hellhole to find the few documents that could make our lives easier.

Let me paint a picture to hopefully provide some background context.  My mom has the mental and emotional faculty of a teenager.  Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, she never developed the tools and savvy to navigate Life beyond this stage.  In addition to that, she also has a closet full of Bad Decision Jeans which she wears to death.  I keep talking to her like she is an adult capable of understanding complex scenarios and making mature, adult decisions.  Unfortunately,  her brain is not wired correctly to process these directives.

TL/DR:  My mom isn't good at Adulting, in fact she's terrible at it.


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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Public Transit Woes

I've taken public transportation in Chicago more or less my whole life.  Whenever I see someone commit an infraction against their fellow rider, I have to wonder:  Are they really that clueless or do they just not care?  How can you ride the escalator and not notice that people stand to the right and walk on the left?


Okay it seems some people were raised by wolves, or didn't get the necessary socialization in kindergarten.  Maybe they weren't taught common sense or their brain chemicals fire off differently. 


Escalators:  you can walk up or down them.  if you MUST stand, please move to one side so others can get by. And if it isn't obvious, stand to the same side as the other lazy morons. 

Elevators:  let the people off before you get on.  Seriously, these are nothing more than boxes that travel up dozens of floors supported by a metal cable that, while strong, can have a bad day too.  The\ less weight the better. 

In fact, if you are taking the elevator to go 2 floors or less, chances are good you could use to lose some weight yourself.  please find the stairs.

Catching an Elevator:  Unless you are in one of those old buildings with a single elevator, if the door is four inches away from closing, let it go.  I gurantee it will come back or there will be another one.  Sticking your hand in the door only 1) makes me late, 2) sets off that annoying warning noise and 3) risks you getting the nickname lefty.  Why would you trust your fingers to a $3 sensor?

Once I was coming home from G-school relatively late at night and I missed the connecting Montrose Bus because some lardass got in front of me on the stairwell.  It was a deliberate move and probably the fastest he went all day.  He proceed to walk slowly down the stairs and there was no way to go around him.  There was no bus tracker at the time but it was likely to be another 30 minutes for the next bus and I ended up walking home.

I realize it's not the biggest crime against humanity but it is irritating to miss your bus or train because someone couldn't or wouldn't move fast enough or get out of your way.

When I use to get on the Irving Park blue line, there is a long narrow escalator.  I get upset by people who stop walking up the escalator when they know *they* will make the last car of the train but not consider the people behind them (or that we would like to have enough time to get to a middle car for a better chance at a seat).

My wife pointed out that i could take the stairs.  BUT my dear the escalator would be faster if Ms-only-thinks-of-herself weren't impeding me.  I want to maximize my chances of The ultimate case of entitlement I ever encountered was someone who stepped off the bus and the stopped while she put her suitcase on the ground pulled the level so she could roll it.  BECAUSE moving 2 steps to the right or left would have been too fucking courteous and considerate!


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Monday, May 8, 2017

Matryoshka dolls and birthdays

So I got a little older over the weekend.  It was a nice day, the kids let me sleep a little longer than usual. Lately I have been waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep right away.  Not as bad as Nightingale experiences but still, that's valuable sleep time I need. 

Nightingale took Natasha to the store while I kept Boris busy. It was a nice sunny day so after nap I tried to keep the kids outside to burn energy. 

In the evening we met Katness and another mutual friend-couple that also have twins for a kidless meal.  The meal was actually something we talked about doing and I offered this weekend since I knew May gets busy between the bookends of Mother's Day and Memorial Day. 


I like our house and for a city house, it is awesome.  However, I'm so over some of the issues and shortcomings it has.  Every problem is a Russian Nesting Doll with an issue embedded in another issue wrapped around a new issue. 


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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Daycare dilemmas

The last week has been rough in some ways. Last Wednesday we got a call from daycare that Natasha threw up, so someone had to come get her.  The call came just 5 minutes after I had arrived at the office, stressed as usual that I get into the office so late because of the logistics of dropping the kids off at daycare and then getting to work.

Because it was still "rush hour" I was able to get back to daycare within less than an hour and was home in time to make all my scheduled meetings. 

On Thursday we got another call that Boris had some massive dyheria. We sent my mom to get him because neither of us could go.  On Friday Nightingale kept them both home and today they are home because a city crew had to shut the water down on  the block.  So we have effectively paid for 3 or 4 days of daycare that we could not use.

Oh and construction crews have been working on Cicero Avenue for the last few months and have forewarned of needing to turn the water main off one day.  That day came Monday -- Because why would it not happen on a day that we weren't there -- so I took the day off and kept them both home again.  

It was essentially a 4 day weekend with my kids and a a week off of daycare as far as they were concerned. 



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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Getting Stuff Ready

So this weekend was a little different than the usual format.  On Saturday I had a special ChicagoNow blogger Group Discussion and I wasn't sure Nightingale would give me a hall pass because we had plans with Katness later in the day.  She even did the Costco shopping with the kids and my mom, which had to be like the 8th circle of hell. 

The meeting was fun with the usual social overhead.  I like to catch up with people I know but also meet new people so it's hard to talk to someone and then find a way to disengage to go talk to someone else.  And there is always that one person who doesn't know when to dial back the amount of personal TMI they are sharing.  Also a group that large needs some parliamentary procedures when talking.  I did learn a few things so I feel like it was beneficial from both a social maintenance aspect as well as blogging.

I got home while the kids were down for their nap, in fact they had just settled down.  My mom decided to leave because we were having Katness et al over, but again she takes so long to decide to leave and get her things that nap time was halfway over.

All we did was go to the nearby park and then order Thai food.  Probably not what Katness had in mind but she had swim lessons for her twins earlier so it didn't make any sense to try and go to a museum that would close by 5. 

On Sunday we just hung out at home and called/facetimed with the various the in-laws.  While anything could change, I believe we are going to move to Tennessee by the end of 2018 if not sooner.  To this end, we need to get a few things done around the house and some of those things I want to enjoy as well instead of just paying to have the next buyer have them. 

My frustration is some of these things, are too big for me to do myself, but too small for a tradesmen to bother with.  and apparently it is against their belief system to take credit cards.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Working from Home Blues

WFH should be a benefit, but lately it has not been all it could be.  Sure, I get to save time on my commute.  Unfortunately, I do not get to take full advantage of the perk because of my mom.

Our house is in much better shape than hers, so much so that she spend a lot more time ours, under the guise of helping with the babies.  A normal person would realize that they get the whole house to themselves Monday through Thursday and respect my wanting privacy and alone time on my WFH day.

Unfortunately, my mom is not a normal person.   my mom doesn't understand the concept of personal space, privacy or alone time because she has an over abundance of these.  It's kinda like explaining the plot of Inception to your dog...in Latin.

My mom has the mental and emotional faculty of a teenager.  Through an unfortunate set of circumstances, she never developed the tools and savvy to navigate Life beyond this stage.  In addition to that, she also has a closet full of Bad Decision Jeans which she wears to death.  I keep talking to her like she is an adult capable of understanding complex scenarios and making mature, adult decisions.  Unfortunately,  her brain is not wired correctly to process these directives.


TL/DR:  My mom isn't good at Adulting, in fact she's terrible at it.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Quick Catch up

 One of the bad raps that Chicago gets is that we don't get much of a Spring.  We usually get a long, brutal winter followed by a period of melting snow and rain, which then gives way to a humid Summer.  It's really more of a perception than reality stereotype but there is some truth to it.

Two weekends ago was pleasant weather.  I managed to get some thing done around the house including the first level of cleaning out the garage.  It's not nearly at the level I would like it to be but I am able to move around in the workshop section and my work table is clear so there is that. 
 We had a very mild winter but it was still winter and it wasn't always warm enough for me to work outside or in the garage.  A lot of what we do is predicated on weather, free time and whether or not my mom is around.  When she is around, she can distract Moose and Squirrel.  However she often gets in the way especially if Nightingale wants to cull clothes or toys or anything else we want to get rid of.  My mom has a save everything forever hoarder mentality. 


It's a rock and hard place situation.  With her around, we get some help with the kids but she drives us crazy, especially me.  Without her, we are back to man-to-man coverage on the kids and don't have time to work on other things.



This weekend we honored the Easter holiday tradition by going to a home improvement centerto buy supplies for our garden.  IN keeping with tradition, we didn't actually do anything with said supplies.  These will sit in the garage for at least a month until we finally budget some time to get to it.

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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Have you met our Washer and Dryer yet?

Over a month ago we purchased a new dishwasher just to come home and find we needed a new dryer as well.  I simply bought the largest washer and dryer that Samsung had available.  We have had these just over a month and they seem to be performing up to expectations.  I don't really do the laundry anymore, my mom has taken that task over in order to rationalize her hanging out here 99.9% of the time.

My only regret is that I didn't get one that was smarter

I hate the term Smart when used to describe anything. The Smart Phone has led to a certain expectation and even prejudice against anything that is described as smart.  A better term might just be enhanced. 

So there are two types of smart washer.  The one that supposedly scans your wash load and determines, based on weight and presumably material how long to wash it.  And the other one that lets you talk to it via a phone app.

In any event, we had an issue with the washer and I had to troubleshoot it the old fashioned way but googling error codes like a cave man instead of being able to connect a smart phone app to the machine and getting a detailed analysis of the problem.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Before we get to April and all its shenanigans

I don't write here nearly as much as I should and that is bad because I like to look back and see what was going on.  But sometimes I don't want to write in complete, well thought out sentences with forward moving recap.

We are in that in-between weather where it isn't warm enough to go without a jacket or have the windows open, but it's not cold enough to run the heat high.  A lot of people got so use to the mild winter that they just expected summer to be here already.  To be sure, a couple of Fridays ago, I was able to sit on my deck while WFH.  Today it is too cold to be outside.

On Sunday I ran like my 20th Shamrock Shuffle, give or take.  Athlinks records go back to 1998 but I think the first time I ran the Shuffle was 1997. My best time was a 31:03 in 2006, my Awesome Year of Running PRs.  This year I came in a little under 42 minutes.  

This year the Shuffle did two things that were major improvements.  First, they did have the option of having your bib mailed to you for a nominal fee.  I did not utilize that option because I thought it would be fun to go to the Expo and see friends and get free stuff.  I brought Boris with thinking it would be fun to bring a two and half year old kid to an expo.  It was a good time but it was hard to enjoy all the booths or even do the little shopping I need to do (replacement sunglasses and a phone arm band). 



Unfortunately, it was more trouble than it was worth and the time could have been better spent. 


The second thing, which I did partake of, was they kept the corrals open longer.  In the past you ahd to get to your starting corral something like 30-45 minutes before the race.  In colder weather this was insane and stressful.  This year you had until 10 minutes before, which allowed me to take my time getting in line.  I checked a small bag with my jacket, a t-shirt to change into and my wallet and car keys.  They tell you not to do that but seriously what areyou supposed to do, run with those items?  it works out if you are wearing something with pockets but in warmer weather you would have less clothing.

I had also found a free legal parking spot not too far from Grant Park.  Good thing too because all the parking lots and garages were charging special event prices.  So I essentially saved the $25 I later spent on lunch. 



Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fun With Numbers

I took this survey on the Shamrock Shuffle site.  The poll doesn't show how many people took it but I don't expect the number was very high this early, since the race is the better part of two weeks away.
 
So let's assume that an even hundred took it thus far.  Using standard rounding rules, that means almost half the participants (45 people) are running the Shuffle for the first time.  Another 38 people are running their 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th time, which implies that they aren't sick of it yet.  After 5 times however, repeat participants drop sharply.




This might lead one to think that 5 times is enough for most people.  It also could mean that by the 5th time running this, you really don't need to go to the website to figure anything out since it is pretty much the same each year and you are also bombarded with emails explaining any new things.

only 2 people continue to run this after 10 and 15 times respectively.  But that isn't true because my friends and i have run it for the last two decades and according to FB I have more than 2 friends (even when you factor out imaginary ones).

The simplest answer of course is that most people don't take silly polls like this one unless they are incentivized somehow to do so.

I've run the Shamrock every year since 1996 except for 2007 which was one of the worst years of my life.  I'm sure it's just a coincidence but I've superstitiously made it a point to make the Shuffle the one race I do each year now that my running has diminished.



Nightingale promises that if we do move to Tennessee, we will come up each year to run that race for as long as I like. 

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Hanging out in The South

We were visiting the in-laws in Tennessee last week.   First half of the trip was in Franklin, which is like the Western Springs of Nashville.  

We went to the Adventure Science Center, which we got into free because of our reciprocal membership in the MSI back home.  We also went to a Bouncy House place.  Both of these were great options for burning kiddo energy since it is unseasonably cold right now.

The second half of the trip was spent in Olive Branch, Mississippi where Nightingale's youngest sister and her husband Jethro live.  Wasn't sure the second half of the trip would happen because SIL had a miscarriage the week before.  [Note, I'm putting that here for posterity, not for exposition.]  Eventually it was decided that we would spend an extra day in Franklin and then proceed to Mississippi.

All in all it was a good trip.  

We are strongly considering moving to this part of the country, despite it's Red State designation and isolation aspects.  The pros would be getting a big, family friendly suburban house with adequate space, cushy features, and better school system.  The cons would be living in a Red State and being isolated from our current friends.

However, we currently aren't seeing very many of our friends on a regular basis anyway.    And are paying a lot to live in the city.

Our cost of living would be greatly reduced but we would only have our family for social interactions, at least initially.  It's hard to make new friends especially at our age in life and our political orientation.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

House Projects for 2017

Nightingale and I have to make some decisions like if we are staying in our current home, moving to the suburbs, or out of state.  We don't feel a calling to the South where the bulk of her family is, although it would be much cheaper cost of living.  However, I'd be giving up access to the Polish Culture here in Chicago.

We also have to make some decisions about which home repair, improvements we are going to tackle this year.  So I'm gonna catalog a few here.

Front Porch:  The steps are good but the risers need replacing.  On top of the porch roof we have some ornate railings which look cool but also need repair and repainting.  Finally there is the porch ceiling that needs to be stripped and varnished.


Electrical:  we should update the electric from 100 to 200 amps.  We also need to move the power line because it is too close to the deck (some Idiot Previous Owner built the deck without checking or caring about this).  There are also some various light switches that need fixing and we want to replace a couple of ceiling fans with better models.

Back Deck:  The railings need some repairs.  We also would like to build a pergola of some sort to get much needed shade.  I want to clean up the underneath and maybe put in some large stones or something to keep the weeds out.  In a perfect world the IPO would have poured concrete when he built the deck.  Now we will have to wait until and if we ever decide to replace the deck.

Laundry Room Makeover:  since we are getting new appliances, it might be a good time to make the room a little more functional.  At the very least we need better lighting in there.

Garage Epoxy:  this one is for me, but we should both benefit from it.  A clean garage floor and better lighting will improve the use of the garage.

I'm sure there are other items I'm forgetting.  I don't think we can do all of these this year and depending on how long we plan to stay will determine which ones get priority.


Weekends too short to deal with crappy issues

We had a pretty decent weekend with one Ongoing issue. The weather was nice enough on Sunday to let the kids outside to play for a little bit.  Because their slide and other toys were put away for the winter, they don't have much to do outside except play with rocks, which they actually prefer.

On Saturday we had Peapod delivered, had a long talk with SIL that we are visiting in a couple of weeks.  I got a rare call from work because our application wasn't working.  In the evening our Financial Advisor came over and went over our numbers.  According to his calculations we could potentially pay off the house 8 years early and retire when we are each 62.  This assumes everything stays status quo.

Ongoing issue.  My mom spends all her time at our house, ostensibly recovering from her sickness and helping with the kids, but really just enjoying our nicer home over her crap shack.  It was tolerable when she would leave us alone for the weekend but that is no longer the case.  She grates on my nerves and I can only hold back so long, then I snap at her for some stupid thing when I'm really pissed about the last 7, 8 or 9 other things she did to drive me crazy.  my mom doesn't understand the concept of personal space, privacy or alone time because she has an over abundance of these.

Saturday and Sundays are the only days we get to snuggle with our kids.  The rest of the week we are trying to get ready for work and get them ready for daycare.  Yesterdays she came upstairs because Boris had tripped and hurt himself and she wanted to make sure he was okay.  A normal healthy well adjusted person would pick up on the daggers I obviously was sending out and say "well I'll see you downstairs" but my mother just used it as an excuse to sit on the bed and join our family time. 

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Dishwashers, dryers and other appliance bedtime stories

We finally decided to upgrade our dishwasher because, among other things, we were tired of having to prewash every dish before running the dishwasher.
our old GE Prolite that came with the house

The model I wanted would have cost 899.88 and had a rebate for the $150 installation.  I had $350 in rewards cards and Shop-Your-Way had a coupon for $60 off $499 purchase.  They were also waving the sale tax so that would have cost $514.88 including $25 to haul away our old unit.



The model we ended up with was slightly higher.  It was on sale for $1099.99 (down from 1849 allegedly).  It did not come with a rebate for the installation so the $350 plus a coupon for $100 off $999 brought the cost down to $824.99 including $25 to haul away our old unit.  Oh and a $20 hose that would have been included with the Bosch.  

 

The more expensive model had features that we felt were worth the extra money.  The Kenmore Elite has more jets and a self cleaning filter and heated dry.  

Of course the day we purchased the new dish washer, we came home to find that our dryer had finally died.   Although I was hoping to put it off until the DW was paid off, I went ahead and ordered a new washer and dryer yesterday.

 

 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

One more post for February

Unless something strange happens, Chicago and most of the Midwest will not have had any snow on the ground since December.  All global warming jokes aside, most of us know that a tame or mild winter comes with a price, usually a rougher winter the next year.  Ironically, the forecast calls for snow tomorrow.

Our weekend usually involves a trip to Costco or some other store, and a social obligation.  We got to Costco kinda late but it didn't matter because the kids slept in.   Because my mom still isn't 100%, Nightingale stayed home while I did Social Maintenance Duty and went to a pseudo birthday dinner for a member of the former MSTV group.  Katness was out of town but I went because I wanted to catch up with my Polish Peep and keep that connection open.

On Sunday we went Dish Washer Shopping.  It took longer than we expected and when we got home, I discovered that our dryer was broken.  Again, an over abundance of irony this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time to stop letting former colleague live Rent-Free in my head

About a year ago I started a new job.  It's probably about as close to my dream job as I'm gonna get in this lifetime.  I have a lot of autonomy, am paid well and enjoy good benefits.  It's still work and there are the usual Corporate America frustrations that come with most white collar office jobs. 

That said, there was one conflict I had to deal with.  An over zealous coworker who was also assigned to be my mentor and unofficial supervisor.

I'm gonna call him Nearly Headless like the ghost from the Harry Potter series.  He wasn't a bad guy and we got along well enough except in the power struggle area.  My real boss has a lot on his plate and asked Nearly Headless to manage me.  He took this task to heart and really tried to over manage me.

I don't want this to be a gripe about a coworker but I want to point out one form of psychological warfare he played on me.   My team is on the East Coast and I work in our Chicago office.   So we do the majority of our interaction electronically.  Email, Instant Messenger and phone. 

Over a two week period of time, I would come into the office, sit at my desk from 8am (okay 8ish) and not get up until 1, 2 or 3 in the afternoon to take lunch.  No matter when I took lunch (full disclosure I eat lunch at my desk but then go to the gym next door to get some semblance of a workout in), I would come back to an IM and email asking me for something. 

I don't know what the odds are of this happening but it has to be an incredible coincidence that he didn't need anything from me until I left my desk! 

The coworker is long gone.  But he is still living rent-free in my head.  I get stressed out in the morning when I'm trying to get my kids to daycare and get to work on time.  I stress when I go to work out and the elevator takes a little longer, or God forbid I spent a little too much time in the post workout sauna. Too be clear, I'm not spending hours at the gym, I either run 3 miles or swim 10 laps, that's about all i can manage in an hour when you factor in clothes changing and showering.  Even with the gym right next door, it takes the better part of 10 minutes to get from my desk to the locker room.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Next time skip the bread

A metaphor for my mom's execution abilities
The other night we experienced something that was caused by an Unfortunate Series of Events.  These events can be traced back to my mom not doing something she was supposed to do, the way she was supposed to do it.

She was supposed to put a casserole in the oven at 430 so that it would be ready when Nightingale brought the kids home from daycare.  She even texted us to ask because we had forgotten.  But instead of putting the casserole in the oven she went to Jewel to get some bread.  Since she was leaving the house she was afraid to leave the oven on, which  I can appreciate even though you can set the timer so it turns off once the cooking is complete.

So because dinner wasn't ready when Nightingale got home, she had to feed moose and squirrel something else.  We aren't positive but ti seems that the smoothies she made caused Boris immediately, and Natasha after bedtime to throw up. 

We stripped Natasha out of her pajamas and brought her into bed with us.  Boris was able to go back to sleep or stay asleep through this.  I put the bedding, the pillow and the stuffed bear into the washing machine and ran it, hoping I'd get to dry it in the morning before daycare.  Luckily Natasha kicks a bit so i was up at 3:30-4 and decided to be useful and put the wash into the dryer. 

Here's the thing.  she didn't need to get the bread.  and in her mind, she thinks she's just going across the street to the store, like at her home.  Not realizing how far a walk Jewel is from our house and not anticipating long check out lines.

It's been this way my entire life.  I was telling Nightingale about the time my friends and I were getting our library cards.  All we needed was a utility bill to prove we lived where we said we did. 
She could have just given me the phone bill but instead went to the library and showed them her driver's license. 

My mom has a child-like understanding of the world and most of her problems could be avoided if she would just be more of an adult.  Unfortunately this isn't part of her programming and she has gotten away with being herself for the better part of 7 decades.

I have to think about what project around the house to work on this year.  There's a lot of things I'd like to do but I'm not sure what to focus on.  I'd like to make the laundry room more functional and we need new washer and dryer.  I also want to epoxy my garage floor.  I'm trying to do something about the space under the deck and the deck itself needs some repairs.  The front porch also needs work.  Finally it would be a good time to update the electrical and deal with the power line that connects to the home.  The thing is, that might be the budget breaker that puts other things on hold. 

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 weeks to Spring

With the exception of very light dustings, Chicago has not had any significant snowfall since December.  There were those who believed we were in for a rough winter with large amounts of snow and arctic temperatures.

While I officially do subscribe to climate change, I don't want to be an alarmist.  However if this trend keeps up, my kids may never see snow again.  On the other hand, if you are the sort  to dig through Historical Snow Records, you might be surprised to find that mild weather in the Midwest though rare, has occurred before (1922).  What caused it is up for debate.




We are supposed to be in the 60s this weekend which is good for getting the kids out of the house...we have plans with Katness to finally see Maggie Daley Park. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day and weekend review

The weekend came and went and there are a few things I wish I could take back but for the most part it went well.  We got up early on Saturday and dropped off our paperwork at the tax preparer.  With both our condos finally sold we hope to not only not have to pay taxes this year, but perhaps get some money back.

Then we headed off to Costco and I have to say, getting there at 9:30 when they first open is a huge difference from the normal time we usually arrive.  Fewer people means we can get through the store quicker before the kids have a meltdown.

When we got home we put the kids down for nap and then went to Kingston Reflexology for a couples massage.  That was basically our Valentine's Day present to one another.

We get all the Valentine's now

On Sunday a CN blogger friend came over and picked up our Bob Stroller.    We were gifted 3 double strollers and really only use one, so it was a relief to clear the garage space of this one.  I had visions of running races with the kids in it, but after two years we have never used it.  It is in rough shape but nothing a good cleaning couldn't fix.

On Sunday  I made the mistake of reaching out to someone I had essentially written off.  When I started my new job, I realized that I worked right across the street from an old friend from the No-Name Software Company.  I asked Hanna about meeting for lunch and we made plans.  Of course I had a conflict so I asked about rescheduling.

When someone cancels plans with someone else, I feel it is their duty to reschedule the event, within reason of course.  I made a few attempts but didn't pick the magical right day/time and figured this person wasn't interested in having lunch.  I gave up and moved on.

That was around June last year.  Flash forward to this weekend.  I sent Hanna a text that was a simple "hey has your account been hacked."   Apparently she has another new phone because she didn't recognize my number (side note: how fucking hard is it to transfer your contacts to a new phone in 2017?)  After talking for a few minutes she was  all "let's do lunch." 

While I thought, Fuck You, I said sure, sure, gotta run.  Which I think even the densest person in the world would interpret as please kindly find a short peer to walk off of and go fuck yourself. 


This person wasn't intentionally trying to be mean or inconsiderate.  They are a 8 or 9 on the Airhead ability in the D and D Game of Life. Which means they may not have got the point about aforementioned implied Fuck You, but somehow I think I have burned that bridge.

It took me a few days to process but what really bothers me is this person made more of an effort to find out who the mysterious texter was than to make plans for lunch last June.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Winter is almost over

Last week's snow effort
This weekend was a little unusual because I actually had to work late Friday night and Saturday morning.  We had an outage and I had to sit on a couple of long calls.  Luckily This is a rare occurrence at this point in my career.

In other news Sunday was the Super Bowl and Nightingale decided last minute that we should invite someone over.  I normally like doing this but because of our current circumstances, I wasn't as up on it.  We have my mom living on our upstairs couch while she recovers and our house isn't as guest friendly as I would like it to be.  And Moose & Squirrel can sometimes make it a little challenging to have an adult conversation.  So we ended up inviting a couple that just had a kid a few months ago.


Maybe next year we can invite a larger crowd.




With roughly 6 weeks left of Winter, we have had a surprising lack of snow this year.  I'm of two mindsets about this.  On the one hand it would be nice to play with the kids in the snow on weekends and let them burn energy, especially since this is the last year they can use their current snow suits.  On the other hand, I'm fine with not having to shovel snow or deal with brutal freezing cold. 

I just hope I don't have to wait 6 more weeks to be able to use our garage or grill. 

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Binge Watching: Dark Matters follow up

I'm having a tough time finishing Season Two of Dark Matters.  With Expanse and Westworld I couldn't wait to get to the next episode.  With Dark Matters, the appeal just isn't there.  All 3 are similar in that with each episode you have the current action/plot and a piece of a larger puzzle is presented. 

  • Westworld: the android's evolution, the man in black and the back story
  • expanse: what Mao was up to
  • dark matters: who are these people and how did they end up together.


What I think it is, is that the first two make no bones about being intended for adult audiences.  Dark Matters is trying to either appeal to a younger generation or cast a wider net and it's just not working for me.

the other observation is that the first two work in a back and forth, circular motion whereas Dark Matters is linear.  Yes it has flash backs but only as a plot device or to show instead of tell, not to reveal or let the watcher discover they way the first two do. 

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Right-Wing Stereotype Bingo


The other day I jumped on a thread that I probably should have avoided.  It's not that I cannot handle myself.  It's just that it's obvious that it was an Echo Chamber and no amount of reason or logic was going to penetrate.

Look, if you support Trump and think he's doing the right things, that's fine.  But no president is or ever was perfect, not even George Washington.  You would gain a modicum of credibility from those on the opposite side if you couched your praise with phrases like "he did the right thing but should have followed established process" or "it does suck that he didn't think it all the way through."

But when you give him a free pass with no fault behavior Carte Blanche, you sound like the kid whose favorite team is already out of contention for the playoffs the first month of the season and you blame the refs instead of the coaches and players.

And then there is this:



What does any sane, rational person say to someone who doesn't consider New York and California part of America?

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Binge Watching

Since Moose and Squirrel arrived, we haven't been able to keep up with our favorite shows like we use to pre-kiddies.  Actually, that's not 100% accurate.  It wasn't until the bedtime ritual expanded to include longer bath time and book reading along with one or both kids fighting sleep that our evening freetime shrank.

I started Binge Watching WestWorld, although when you consider that the episodes are longer than an hour and I could only fit one, maybe 2, in per night, it's stretching the definition of binge watching.

Now that that is done, I'm working on The Expanse and Dark Matters.  These are shorter length episodes and I was originally gonna watch an episode of each, as if I were watching TV shows old school.  However, with season two of the Expanse coming in Feb, I decided to finish that one first (halfway there) and then finish up Dark Matters.

Update:  I actually finished watching Expanse and am quiet pleased with it.  A lot of information is thrown at you and I did have to rewind at times.  But luckily there are online synopsis that recap the episode and provide additional details I missed so that I don't have to re-watch an entire episode.  Based on the online comments, the series is more or less true to the books.  


Job essentials

I love my not so new job, I really do.  Well love is a strong word but essentially it is as close to my dream job as I will achieve at this point in my life.  I have a flexible schedule and it is very autonomous.  Furthermore, now that Headless Nick has left and I don't feel like I'm constantly being watched, it is more enjoyable than ever.

That said there are some drawbacks.  For one thing, I often get an assignment or task that is so boring my brain tries to escape out of my ears. And as is often the case, the reward for finishing one of those assignments is getting assigned a new boring task.

This has been the most snowless January I can remember in quite a while.  On the one hand I'm happy that I don't have to shovel a ton of snow or deal with bundling up the kids to take them to daycare.

On the other hand, I would like to have some snow to build a snowman or fort on the weekends for them to play with.  I had visions of them jumping off the deck from the old pool access door into a big pile of snow.

Guess that will have to wait until next year, which might be better anyway as they'll be a year older and more susceptible to the idea that you don't jump off every high place, just the one Daddy approves.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Easy and Expensive versus Cheap and Complicated

Every since we moved into our house, I've wanted to figure out a way to get music to play throughout the house.  The previous owner did run some speaker wire from the basement to the first floor and he also installed speakers in the kitchen that connect to an old school receiver which is located in a cabinet above the fridge.   [Note: the asshole actually left us a broken CD player but my buddy gave me his old school receiver.]

I can play celestial radio through it, but I'd like to be able to connect other speakers to this system and stream it throughout the house (well most likely just the living room, basement and perhaps back deck and maybe even the garage).  I hoped I would be able to buy some sound bars for the respective TVs and use those as wireless speakers when not watching television.

I'd also like to be able to stream Spotify as well as the music on my PC and even the CDs we still own.  Lastly, I want to do this as inexpensively as possible and don't want to fish wires to connect speakers back to the main receiver. 

So far my limited research (a trip to Best Buy and reading through the audio Forum at Tom's Hardware) indicates there are a couple of ways to do it, with the trade-off being between getting everything I want and the setup costs.

Upgrade the Receiver:  I could get a more modern receiver with Bluetooth and/or WiFi which would allow me to stream content over the kitchen speakers.  The drawback is that unless I buy the speakers that go with that brand of receiver, there is no guarantee they will all play nicely with one another.  And I would not be able to take advantage of the most of the receiver's output jacks because it has to be located in the kitchen cabinet and there is no practical way to connect any peripherals to it.

Connect an Audio Adapter: there are various adapters that connect to your old school receiver which just bring the WiFi piece.  I haven't found one that also includes bluetooth so you are limited in wireless speakers and sound bars.

It seems SONOS is the Platinum Standard out there, though there are cheaper solutions out there.

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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Today's thoughts

One of the things I'm working on this year is reducing my FB friends list.  I'm shooting for getting it below 500.  At the moment I'm removing people who hardly ever log in, or I've had zero or next to zero interaction with in the 8+ years I've been on FB.  I'm sure FB is part of the problem because it doesn't let everyone see everyone's stuff.






I'm struggling mostly with what i call my Loyalty Friends.  These are people who I use to interact with in some way back in the day but don't anymore.  They haven't done anything to me and haven't unfriended me so it seems jerkish to do the same to them. 

I have at least 5 dead friends on Facebook.  Obviously they don't appear in my feed but I wonder if they do influence the algorithm?  I notice that whenever I unfriend a few people, within a day or two I start seeing friends in my feed that I haven't seen in years.  Conversely, I get comments from friends who usually don't comment so I suspect they are suddenly seeing me in their feed where I was missing before. 

Thus instead of unfriending a hundred people at once, I'm going at it slower just to see who shows up. 


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Friday, January 6, 2017

Catch up post for posterity

Winter cold and snow don't bother me much although I enjoyed them more as a kid than as an adult.
However, when the temps are as cold as they have been this week as low as 10 and as high as only 20, then it gets beyond annoying.  It's too cold to be outside for very long even if you are bundled up.  God forbid I have to do something outside like minor work on a car.

Winter is a series of milestones, like a drunk walking home, lurching from parking meter to lamppost. I’m already seeing pitchers-and-catchers-report numbers here and there. In one month, I’ll start noticing that the days are in fact growing longer. Then snowstorms will give way to freezing rain, then the first false hope of an early spring, then spring itself.  -- Nancy Nall

We caught a lucky break that the snow melted over Christmas break and hasn't returned...yet.  That may change next week.  My mom earned another trip to the hospital because she had pneumonia.  So she got to spend the holidays in the ICU and is not sitting with an oxygen tank in our home.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Rogue One Review


Over the holidays, Nightingale and I were able to break away from our kids and see Rogue One.  I did not hate Rogue One, but I have issues with it.  I knew enough about the plot and the ending from spoilers so I wasn't shocked or surprised.  I cannot really put my finger on what I didn't like though I agree with a lot of what she said here.


I think the biggest part that bothered me was the last 20 minutes.  We know they succeed in getting the plans, so did we really need to create drama with a giant claw machine picking out data tapes from a very big shelf that, oh what a surprise, gets jammed just as the correct file is accessed?

I would have been fine with them getting the file, perhaps still climbing to the top of the tower to broadcast and having a shoot out with Director K.  We didn't need the additional plot line of the rebels on the ground needing to create an uplink directly to the attacking fleet to let them know that an important transmission was coming.  This could have been re-directed into just buying Jyn and Cassian more time to finish their task.

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Changes to MOL in 2017

For a while I've been wondering what to do with this blog while also writing over at ChicagoNow (although I haven't posted there in a while either).  I've decided for now that this will be more of the archive of my personal life, as much as i feel shareable on the internet.  To that end, I'll probably write shorter but more frequent stream of conscious posts to capture something that is going on at the moment for posterity sake.

I am also probably going to split Two for Tuesday posts into separate posts instead of one post with two primary subjects.  Or not.



Precise number of crackers permitted



I'm attempting a Sugar Detox this week.  I'm weary of New Year's resolutions and goals that set one up to fail but  I figure even I can pull something like this off if it is only 3 days.   I decided to start today because that frees me up for the weekend.  Your body doesn't know the difference between 71 and 72 hours, and the only reason it is three days is because you need some measurable.  Although I suspect that is also the average time it takes to get all the sugar out if there is any science behind this one.  So I figured I'd start when I woke up today and when I wake up on Friday it's back to normal.  The hardest part will be not having an alcoholic beverage before bedtime.

If this is successful, I may make it a monthly thing, or I can try to expand it to 4 days, or do it every week.  Will just have to see how it goes.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Starting 2016 on the right foot

If my scale is correct, I weigh 5 pounds less than I did a year ago.    This is somewhat incredible to me because I haven't exactly been a workout fiend of late and winter is usually when your body stores fat, not loses it.

I did run two consecutive days so there is that.