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.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy belated Father's Day 2017 version

For the majority of my life, Father's Day has had no significant meaning, other than most of my friends had a good excuse not to hang out with me when I was being a whiny, needy bitch. 

So after four decades of never really giving a Flying Fuck about Father's Day, I am now legitimately part of the Dad's Club, I am still more concerned with how  to raise  socially-conscious children with beautiful manners and high self-esteem while Keeping Up with the Kardashians is still out there.  Or at the very least, be the kind of father my kids don't eventually grow up to hate.

So it's a little weird to get all the Happy Father's Day mentions on Facebook and in other forms. 




Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, biological, step, adopted, cool uncle, or anyone else playing the Dad role. Hope you all have a great day!

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

This is what prompted it

here is the original post


And the comment thread that ended a superficial friendship  


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It isn't always hugs and puppys


Sigh.  Over the weekend I received the following FB-mail from a former friend. 


Hi Icarus. I just wanted to let you know that I have unfriended you and I think it's only fair to let you know why as we have met face-to-face and are part of the same blogging group.

The bottom line is after your comment on my most recent thread, I no longer fully trust you. I was willing to even take a humorous hit directed at me on my own post about being a hack or a troll. But then when you let me know that you weren't joking and I specifically asked why, you did not respect me enough to respond. Nor did you in anyway stick up for me when fellow CN blogger said that I was not a good person on a comment thread that you started. I would never unfriend someone because they disagreed with me, but I feel that I offer others more respect than what you gave to me. And I have come to love myself too much not to have strong boundaries.

I just wanted to let you know as that is what I would want had the tables been reversed. I am glad that our paths crossed for a bit. And I offer a blessing to your and your lovely family.

Love,
AB

So much to unpack here, but let's try.  It's already understood that is a final message, not a request for clarification or attempt to preserve our precious friendship. A healthier more confident well adjusted person would reach out first for clarification and then unfriend if they didn't like what they heard

I don't know what my comment has to do with trust and respect per se.  I asked a relevant question that lots of people would ask based on her post: was her account hacked or was she trolling everyone.  She never really clairified and I got too busy to follow up.Because if it isn't clear that your FB post is not the most important thing in anyone's life right now, I don't know what to tell you.

When you take the time to write an essay like this to someone, instead simply just silently unfriending it is always about YOU.  You know deep in the darkest reaches of your soul you are the one in the wrong here and you are trying to assuage your guilt by writing this treatises of justification.

I'm not sore about the unfriending, truth be told I was thinking about clearing her from my feed as well since we don't interact (I know that is mostly because of the insane FB algorithms).  But what I really hate about this is she gets to dump her last words behind the scenes at me so she can feel better without the world knowing what a phony New Age SJW she really is.  This Facebook Friend not only unfriended me because I didn't respond to her 128 comment thread, but she took the time to unlike my Facebook Writing page too. 


I'm sorry our fellow CN blogger sibling attacked her.  Jenna is a fantastic writer and has a way with words. However, with respect to their interactions with other, she often go through life Cos playing as a tantrum-throwing child.  Especially if they aren't 100% in lock-step agreement with her.


But that isn't on me.  She cannot hurt her the way Jenna hurt her.  So she is using the unfriending and final say note as a way to try and hurt me.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Quick Kiddo Update

So for some time now Natasha has been using the potty and is out of diapers.  I should have recorded it sooner but it has been a couple of months now.  She has most of the mechanics down and only wets herself in situations where she gets excited and forgets to tell us she needs to go.

Boris uses the potty at school but rarely at home.  Still we have seen a significant savings in diapers and diaper genie refills.  If we can get Boris on board we might be able to divert that money back to our retirement funds, or at least have a nice dinner out some evening. 

On the other hand, they have stopped sleeping in their room altogether and sleep either with us or in the guest bedroom, usually one in each.  So much so that we  are seriously converting the nursery back into my office.

We use to put the kids to bed and then come back downstairs to decompress, possibly watch a show and/or get ready for the morning.  Now we have had to go to bed with them.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

Post Memorial Day Wrap up

We had a busy Memorial Day weekend.  First my mom left our house Friday at some point and didn't return until Monday so that was an extra bonus.  I know that sounds mean reader from the future but the is a distinct difference in the overall mood when my mom is not around.



Katness and family came over late Saturday evening and we grilled hamburgers.  On Sunday we went to a friends annual MD cookout.  On Monday Nightingale got the idea, based on our On This Day FB reminder, to go out to breakfast at our local diner and then take the bus to the beach.  It was a close to spontaneous as a couple with two 2-yr olds can be (you still have to pack a ton of stuff). 

It definitely wore the kids out.  They napped so well Monday afternoon that it was hard to wake them up. 


A lot of companies in Corporate America have figured out that people get even lazier during the summer so they come up with summer hours.  My current place (have I come up with a name for it yet) uses the leave two hours early on Friday thing.  We are supposed to make those hours up during the week but either you are busy enough or you aren't. 

Last year Headless Nick never brought up this perk.  I did ask him about it once and he was very nonchalant, saying that people do it if they are caught up.  The thing is, he liked to work.  He would come in at 9 and stay until 6 which equals my 5 pm.  During Kickoff Friday, he would stay until his 4, which was my 3.  So skipping lunch to leave early wasn't an option.  He just couldn't understand why someone wouldn't want to take advantage of the distraction free time to get some real work done.

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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.