Friday, November 17, 2017

That must be some discount

my neighbor is getting new siding.  He's using the same shit-for-brains assclown who I hired to repair my porch stairs posts.  I hired him because he had dome some carpentry work for Sam and seemed to do a decent job.  He must be some relative or something because he said he gave them a discount on the work and is working on and off, presumable between other paying jobs.





They started the work on Sept 29th.  It is now Nov 17th.  Call me spoiled but it would have to be a significant discount for me to go this long without the work being completed.

I don't like the guy because he never came back to finish the job, nothing major but he was supposed to put a cap on the top which would have looked nice and might have kept the wood from splitting.  He used cheap, untreated wood.  He convinced me that because he was painting it, it would be fine. 
Wrong.   Because you don't paint the underside, moisture gets in and damages your wood.  Worse than that, he started ignoring my calls and when I called from a landline, he actually pretended his wasn't the right person. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

what did we do this weekend

Saturday we stayed in.  raked the leaves.  Our kids were not feeling well.  on Sunday we met Katness at the MCI and then went back to her house to watch the Bears lose another "close" one.

I'm at the point where I should know better than to get my hopes up about the Bears.  No matter what happens to Green Bay, they were not going to loss 3 games in a row especially to the bears.  beating the Bears has been indoctrinated in their DNA.  If you cannot beat a Aaron Rodgers less Packers team, there isn't much hope for you.



This team is looking like the 4-12 season (the 2nd one) the Bears had in the late 90s.  It's mostly because of internal politics...the GM wants to get rid of the current coach.  I'm convinced we lost more games than we should have last year in order to get the lowest draft pick possible.  Which means we have to suffer through another ugly season and then maybe have a decent rebuilding next year and beyond. 



Thursday, November 9, 2017

Memory replay

It's not what's happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it's your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you're going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny.  – Anthony Robbins

I have been reliving memories from the past, not to dwell in the past, but to learn from it.  To try and figure out what was my fault, what was gonna happen anyway and how to let it go.

While I always replay events from my past on my High Definition Pensieve, I'm sure a lot of this has been  caused by scanning and re-reading all those letters.  In order to save time and sanity, I may have to just scan and not read them. 




 In other news, I'm slowly chipping away at the 300 miles I want to run this year.  I ran 4 at lunch on Tuesday, bringing my total up to 254 for the year.  I know I could just not run if I really feel like it.  There were many years where I was running until December 31 trying to make some arbitrary goal but since my running ability is diminished, I feel like I need to keep fighting. 



not sure if i mentioned so I'll write about it here.  With our kids we had three battles to win. 

pacifiers (pacis)
sleeping in their own beds
potty training.


I knew we were not going to win all three at once.  for about six months before their recent birthday, we switched them to pacis only at naptime and bedtime.  the week before their birthday we went paci free and they pretty much accepted this without much of a fight.

On the potty training, Natasha is essentially there.  For those not in the know, PT has two components: the act and the cleanup.  It's gonna be a while before Natasha masters the cleanup but as long as she is going in the potty, we are happy.

Boris can do it but refuses except to stall bedtime or to get attention.  Everytime we buy a new box of pull-ups or diaper genie refills we wonder if this will be the last.

On the sleeping in their own bed, we lost some ground.  This is probably my fault for letting them sleep with me while NIghtingale's parents were in town using our bed and she was at a conference.



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Thursday, November 2, 2017

The best laid plans...

So today was supposed to be in the 60s.  I had hoped to put away the rest of the garden furniture and the Halloween decorations during breaks while WFH.  I also hoped to get a long, leisurely run in. 
Followed by organizing the attic a little better.

Unfortunately, it is raining but that isn't the kicker.  My kids are sick.  Boris woke up in the middle of the night and vomited.  A LOT.  It got on most of our bedding.  The kids already stayed home Wednesday because Boris allegedly had diarrhea on Tuesday.  We kept Natasha home as well because it was just easier than fighting to get her to school.

I say allegedly because they have a tendency to send one of our kids home every few weeks like clockwork.  One of the twins vomited.  Or has diarrhea.  Or a fever.  Or is leading the Toddler Rebellion demanding more cheese in the mac and cheese.   I sometimes think they just call to get the kid-to-teacher ratio down a bit.

I'm really lucky at this point in life to have a job where I can just decide to WFH without my drama.  At TopFive I would have been able to but I would have had to alert people.  Here at the new gig, I already work remote, so it doesn't matter if I'm at the Chicago office, my house or a Starbucks as long as there is wifi.

A job like this only comes once in a lifetime.  When I started out in Corporate America, WFH was not a thing.  Even if it were, the junior paralegal thing couldn't really be done at home because we mostly assembled files and redwells, bates stamped documents and got treated like shit by attorneys and other paralegals...hard to do all that remotely. 

A job like this only comes once in a lifetime.


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Friday, October 27, 2017

I still love them

I have been late to work every day this week.  In fact, most days I'm between 10 and 30 minutes late.  All because of my douche nugget kids.  They won't go to bed on time so they are tired and don't want to wake up in the morning.  Even when one of them is more or less cooperative, the other one decides to put up a fight.  And we are already tired and sleep exhausted from 3 years of sleep deprivation.

It's no one's fault. It's no one's fault. It's no one's fault.  But it is what is going on right now.   Daycare is only half a mile from the house, it's a 5 minute drive and a 10 minute ordeal to get them inside, use the potty, go through the usually good bye ritual.  Unless Natasha is feeling clingy.  Then we are there for an extra few minutes that I know I'll want back when she's a teenager who cannot stand to be around me but at the moment  I need to catch a train. 


I get so angry.  Not at my kids taking too long to get ready in the morning.  I mean I get angry about that too.  But I'm already angry from 673 other things that I hold in so that a trivial thing just breaks the camel's back. I'd love to burn off some steam by going for a run but hey, my WFH mornings get shot to hell because I spend so my time struggling with them and then taking them to daycare.   I like to run before work so that I get it out of the way and I can use my "lunch hour" to run much needed errands.


Then there is my mom.  She is always here, especially on my WFH day.  She will eventually leave for a few hours or the weekend, but by the time she does, my morning, when I am most creative and productive is over.  It's not that I cannot do things while she is here, it's just that she puts her nose in my business and is in the way.  And somehow it seems more efficient to waste time reading the internet in the morning and using the afternoon daylight to get stuff done around the house. 

On that note, I need to remember next year that this time is too late to be putting garden and yard things away for the winter.  Do it a week or two earlier and if the weather is unseasonable warm afterwards, so be it.

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why am I doing this again?

One thing I’m working on, I have this box of snail mail letters received while in college and early adult years when people still wrote real letters. Initially I was going to re-read them, keep a few and pitch the rest. However, many of them have memory nuggets and other tidbits that despite my jaded and cynical self, I cannot bring myself to do so. Sentimental old fool that I am.





I started scanning them and then I got the idea to send the originals back to some of the people whom I’m still in touch with if they are interested (sadly I did pitch a few letters before making this offer). The project will take some time, probably longer than it took to write and read those letters in the first place.  It doesn't help that I pitched a few of the letters after scanning them, only to find that they went to google drive as zero byte files.  I'll go through the trouble of re-scanning the ones I still have, but considering I could just as easily pitched the whole pile I'm not too broken up about it.


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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017 Running Goals update

So far this year, I have run 230 miles.  I'm not certain but I feel as if I am ahead of the pace for this time last year.

I need 70 more miles or 23 more 3 mile runs, which is about all I ever have time and energy for these days.  When I'm consistent I can squeeze out a 4 mile run but time still factors in.  I'm not gonna do 17 4 mile runs but if i mix a few in I can be done with my 300 mile goal by early December.

I would still run when possible but i wouldn't be trying to reach a goal by Dec 31 like I do most years.

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

You cannot go back

so a couple of things are going on that I want to write down for historical value.  In no particular order....


So my high school reunion is this Saturday. I'm not going.  But its interesting that someone reached out to me yesterday via Facebook Messenger to find out if I was.  Interesting because the last time I had any interaction with this person was after our reunion in 2007. 

K was my high school biology lab partner and we use to have the deep discussions and talks that freshmen have.  And then I hardly ever saw her again because, high school.  When we reconnected in 2007 we hung out a little bit but again drifted apart.  I don't know if she thought I was interested and I was just looking for friendship but we didn't stay in touch.  I do recall sending an email or two that went completely unanswered (she's a texter) and even a FB messege, also unanswered.

So the old me would have looked at it as an opportunity to reconnect and be been oh hey let's get together.  The new and improved cynical me is like "nope".  I was cordial and friendly but not overly inviting.  She obviously knows how to get in touch with me when she needs/wants some information but didn't feel the need to stay in touch or return my messages over the years so bye bye Felicia.

Next up, I'm scanning and re-reading some old letters that I received from friends back in the 90s when people wrote snail mail.  It's bringing back a lot of forgotten memories and all the feels, as the kids say.  A lot of these friendships once meant the world to me and now I'm lucky if we acknowledge each other's life achievements on Facebook. 

 Furthermore, it is turning out to be a tough task scanning these letters.  For one thing, I must have a thousand of them.  Some of them are folded in such a way that the industrial scanner sometimes misses a line at the bottom and I just don't have the patience to try and scan them manually.  So I might end up missing a transition sentence here and there.  But honestly, if I haven't read them in 20 years, does it really matter?

Finally, the inlaws have been in town all week and Nightingale had to go to a conference that started today. She left Tuesday because her coworkers talked her into going early to do the touristy thing.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How did I not know about this

 


It usually takes the better part of two hours to water our postage stamp sized city lawn.  Moving the sprinkler every 20 minutes.  I tried daisy chaining a couple of sprinkers and that sort of worked.  But then I remembered something and check Uncle Google and Aunt Amazon and found this:

Andrews 100-Foot 2 Tube Sprinkler Hose 10-12349

Andrews 2 Tube Sprinkler Hose



Product Description

Double tube construction with holes pierced on one side

Amazon.com

Made of durable yet flexible vinyl, the two-tube sprinkler is easy to contour around garden beds and varied terrain. The end clip can be removed and reset, allowing you to adjust the hose length either permanently or temporarily. And, because the hose lies flat, you can point the holes up for a gentle spray or down for a slow soak. Guaranteed for five years.

I ordered a 30 footer and found that it worked well for the side of the house, where I usually get lazy because I don't want to keep my neighbor's sidewalk flooded.  Then I went back and ordered a 50 and 100 ft  hose.  I use the 100 ft out front and the 50 and 30 along the lengths of the South and North fences, respectively.  There is still some hose switching but it cuts my time down in half if I'm being efficient. 




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How a 5 minute difference cascades into an avalanche

Like many Wednesdays, Nightingale had to get to work early so I volunteered to take the kids to school.  I also opted to WFH because I have the next two day off work. 

Just as we were about to leave for school, Natasha had an accident and we had to change her close.  This delayed us by 5 long, excruciating minutes.  After dropping the kids at daycare I opted to forgo my before work run and take the minivan to the car wash that is 1.9 miles from the daycare.  When I finally arrived I was the only car at the place at the moment.  Score.

They always do a thorough job and I got out of there at exactly 8am.  However, because it is Cleaning Lady Day, and because I was too lazy to walk two extra blocks to the ATM last night (nevermind Nightingale forgot to hit the ATM in her building) I had to add this to my morning tasks.

Since I foolishly left the house without eating, I was making all the bad decisions because of low sugar.  Instead of just coming home, grabbing some food and then going out for a coffee and hitting the ATM, i tried to do it on the way home.  in more traffic.  while hungry.

So I get home and my mom is putting the house in order for Agna the Cleaning Lady.  She leaves exactly 10 minutes before my 10am call so i don't get to work on anything. 

Then during the call cleaning lady comes an hour early!  Because of course.  And the guy I hired through Angie's List, who canceled twice shows up to aerate my lawn.

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Friday, September 22, 2017

First day of Autumn 2017

In the coming weeks I am really hoping to do some major purging at home.  The in-laws will be in town for Moose and Squirrel's 3rd birthday party.  They are going to take a crap ton of baby stuff for SIL who is pregnant.  That should clear up some space in the attic to create a play area that the kids can hang out in (supervised) for a few hours on cold winter days).

I also found somebody who is interested in the bookcase and my old queen bed.  The only catch is I have to deliver and ordinarily I'd be like M'mmm nope.  But she lives 2 miles from us and is a cancer survivor so I can cut her some slack.
Some creative rearranging

I've had that bed for 20 years and some odd months.  I got it as a Christmas present to myself because previously I had a full size which just wasn't good for a single guy.  The only reason I had the full was the bedroom in my first apartment had a radiator against the South wall which prevented me from having a bigger bed.  There was no way to orient a bed any other way either because there was a closet and bathroom door against the West wall and the entrance door against North Wall.

Once these items are out of the house, I get my home office back.  The advantage of that is that I can work from home a bit more and also our living room will have more room for the kid's toys and crap.  Not that I cannot WFH now but it would be nice to have a separate room away from everything, especially when my mom lingers before going home for a few hours or the weekend.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Lucky Girl

I wasn't going to write a September 11th related post because many bloggers write posts like that to drive traffic to their site and I already did that.  But while looking through old files, I came across a quote that I cut and pasted into my archives.  I suspect I wanted to write something as profound or maybe it just struck me as prolific. 

Time passes. Life goes on. We move forward, and it’s so easy to forget. It’s important to remember, not only what we lost, but what we discovered. The goodness in our hearts. The generosity, selflessness, kindness, love, and unity we are capable of.

Why is the nation debating the right of a mosque to stand near Ground Zero? Many innocent Muslims died that day, as did innocent Jews, Christians, and people of all denominations. A debate such as that is the antithesis to the lessons which should be culled from remembrance. Such a debate is host to the same kind of hatred behind those attacks. I hope, in remembering, that we can be the people that everyone’s god, spirit, guide, or humanity meant for us to be.
-Lucky Girl

I'm not 100 percent certain, but I believe it was written by Staci on a site called  How Very Lucky to be a Girl which no longer exists but I was able to find some remnants on Internet Archive Wayback Machine 

In retrospect it is very possible it was someone else who wrote the text above.   Her old Facebook Page seems to be gone and her twitter is dormant to say the least.

Time passes.  Life goes on.  We connect with someone on social media and then we lose touch.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Next Year's Possible Projects

Today FB reminded me that last year I had the driveway gate and basement wizard of oz doors painted.  I also had a new backdoor and two screen doors installed.  There's a long story about that if I haven't told by now, just don't want to relive.  Maybe someday.

So last year was doors.  This year was electrical.  IF we are still in the house next year, it will be windows.  Specifically the north-most kitchen window.  The Casement currently expands over the deck railing.  Whomever installed the deck realized this and made the railing smaller than the others, which I'm sure is a code violation.  The entire deck is a code violation but I can address that after I fix the window and raise the power-line.

I will see if I can change out the window for one that expands vertically or just an ordinary window.  There are a couple other windows that could do with updating/replacing.  But if I do nothing else, I am replacing the heavy wooden monstrosity that are the blinds in the kitchen. 


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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Post Labor Day Weekend Report

Ll
So Jesus installed our new electrical panel last week.  It took him over 10 hours to get it done because of the complexity.  Which is a nice way of saying a previous owner used cheaters to configure the old panel in a complicated cumbersome fashion.  Because he worked so late, he didn't install the LED
lights in the laundry room that night. But he did come back Friday to finish those so now the small cramped space has much better light.  I think with some rearranging of things, I could design a very functional laundry room without sacrificing storage.  Something to do on a rainy, cool autumn WFH day.

Next up will be the garage.  I've decided to just use plug in lights and extension cords instead of pay anyone to hard wire them.  There are two light switches that enable/disable corresponding outlets so it's effectively the same thing and I save labor costs.  Between the panel, the outdoor outlet, replacing a 3-way switch in the kitchen and the new lights, I've spent almost $2k on electrical projects this year.  Money well spent I will add because it will improve things while we are here.   [I'm going to light up our front porch for Xmas like no one's business.]



I've been going to the Taste of Polonia, more or less, for the last three decades.  In my 20s it was pretty boring for a Polish-American who didn't speak a lick of Polish.  There wasn't much to do and the food was essentially what my grandma made or I could buy at any polish deli.  It was basically geared for FOTB Poles.  Luckily enough members of the board died and younger people took over and made the event more young people, non-pole friendly. 

I try to go every year now just to support the event and this year was no exception. We usually buy a 2-day pass but only used one day this year for Reasons.  Our kids are still too young to enjoy or even understand it but I like to check it out. 

We did go to the fest on Sunday and met up with a couple of friends, one with a 1 year old, the other who is 14 weeks pregnant. We hung out for a little while, then got some food and came back to our place to drink for free (those that could).  We are super excited that she is pregnant with a girl because now we have a place to send some of Natasha's stuff that she will outgrow.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Home Repairs are like Matryoshka Dolls

We have two major electrical issues with our house.  We knew about these issues when we bought the place and we did receive some monies to deal with them.  and that time has come.The first is the electrical panel is not up to code.  The second is the power line supply from the pole is too close to our deck.  Our deck should not have been built they way it is and likely did not have a permit.


At this point its' a Matryoshka Doll situation.  If we are going to change the panel we might as well upgrade to 200 amps.  But to do that means a bigger "pipe".  And the only option is to put it through the roof soffit because we have too many windows to simply move the wire, or so I was told. 

However, it took talking with 4 or 5 electricians to determine that "well code doesn't allow me to do that" really means "that's a lot more work and I'm going to make it cost prohibitive for you to do so".

Here's where things get a little murky.  For one thing, we don't know if we are going to be in this house for one more year or 10 more years.  If we are staying, I might seriously consider paying the extra money to have the panel and the pipe moved.  Except we aren't just talking a few hundred dollars more.  The work involved is such a headache that even if I find an electrician willing to do it, it won't be cheap. 

And then there is the paying for the work.  I've received quotes for the entire job ranging from $3k to $6k and most of these guys don't take credit cards or offer financing (except the $6k guy).  I thought I'd be cleaver and buy a panel upgrade from Angie's list and then get the same guy to do the rest of the work.  However, the guy I got told me it would be an additional $2800 to do the rest of the work, which puts me in a pickle.  I got a quote from someone who said they could do the whole job for $2600 including the panel.  So which guy is lying?

The guy I'm going with couldn't explain to me why the job is going to cost more than the other guy.  And the first guy isn't returning my calls to see what it would cost if I did the panel first, because why would he.

Jesus suggested that he simply install the 200 amp panel but leave the 100 amp service.  Then I could get whoever I want to do the rest of the work at a later time.  I'm going with this approach because it gets us further along.


The typical Angie's List panel install is $875 (allegedly marked down from $1100).  Panels cost about $100-200 at Home Depot.  I'm guessing you can buy more expensive ones but not not $1k more so the rest I assume is installation hours and some profit.  Assume $150/hr for an electrician.  I was told it will take about 5-6 hours for the panel installation.  There isn't a lot of profit involved so my guess is that this is a way to get into a customer home and get some other electrical work while you're there (i.e. the upgrade to the 200 amp service, the new lights I'm gonna have the guy install in the laundry room while he's there).

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Last Friday of August

 In another month, it’ll be the equinox, then the journey to the Solstice, and then we start our trip back into the light.   We have had a relatively mild summer in the Midwest and I couldn't be happier about it.

The will turn 3 next month and we are planning a party.  The nice thing about kids this young, and I encourage all parents to do this, is they don't know the calendar or their birthday per se.  So we can celebrate it whenever it works for us.  As it turns out, we are planning to do so the weekend after their actual birthday because of schedules and such.


We have three battles we need to fight with the kids. 

  • pacifier
  • sleeping in their own  bed
  • potty training

Natasha is pretty much potty trained.  We have noticed a vast reduction in the amount of diapers and genie inserts we were going through.  Once Boris is finished, I should have enough to pay for the electrical upgrade.

Some time ago, the kids stopped sleeping in their cribs and always wanted to sleep with us.  i hacked their cribs into daybeds and that kept them interested for a few weeks and then the novelty was over.

I bought a bunk bed for the kids thinking that would please them, we even switched their room with the guest room.  No dice. 

Buy the good mattress as you will end up sleeping with one of them

Today my mom said she was going to "wash her hair, have another cup of tea" and then go home for a few hours.  90 minutes later she is still here, even though her hair is washed and her tea is drunk.  Of course i also ran out for a quick 30 minute errand and as I expected she wasn't going to leave while I was gone. 

I've flat out asked her not to be here when I WFH and every week its a different excuse for hanging around.  What is really incredible is she shoots herself in the foot by holding her ground.  She has errands and things she needs to do and being able to do them during the less traffic laden hours of 9-3 are optimal.  But when you waste half of that time just hanging around your son's house because you want to prove a point, it's hard to get everything done.

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Monday, August 14, 2017

Same as it Never Was

If it has become apparently obvious, I don't do much writing here these days.  This should be no surprise since my bread and butter comes from the other site.  But I do like to put some personal stuff here for journal-archive purposes.

On Friday I had a decent Extra Curricular To Do (EXTD) list and was looking forward to knocking some stuff out.  Unfortunately the universe had other plans.  I got a call from daycare that Boris had Diarrhea and I had to come get him.  No sense in picking just him up so I went and brought both kids home after lunch just as they were getting ready for nap.

Natasha didn't want to sleep so she stayed up while Boris got two hours.  Then around 4, she crashed and I let her sleep for an hour.  This was a precursor of what was to come because this weekend we had events that meant skipping nap.

On Saturday Gemma was in town and someone from the old RCYA group hosted a cookout. 
While Gemma is aware that there is no love lost between me and most of that crew, she understandably values her convenience a bit more and having everyone be in one place is easier for her.  Since we had to miss her wedding last year, I figured it wouldn't kill me for one afternoon to hang out with these people especially since it is only 2-3 specific people and one of those didn't come.

That's not to say, if you knew what to look for, there wasn't something in the air.  The Krazy Guatemalan came up to me, shook my hand and said hello in a manner that was like "well lets get this out of the way".  So-Suede waited as long as he could and was the last person to acknowledge me.  Even his wife was friendlier and more welcoming.

It probably would have been more apparently awkward had I come by myself but luckily, with two toddlers you never have a dull moment.  So between managing them and catching up with everyone else, time moved quickly.  Gemma of course overbooked her day and had to leave around 3 to make her next event. 

We stayed for about a half an hour more. I wanted to talk more with the host and this would have been a good time since once half your party leaves, you can take a break.  But our kids were approaching meltdown moment so it was a good excuse to leave as well.

On Sunday we took them to their first White Sox game.  We did this with Katness because Sundays are family day and the tickets are cheap.  Unfortunately there was traffic so even though we left early, it took almost an hour to get to the ballpark and we missed the opening fireworks (saw them from the parking lot).  We did manage to stay until the start of the sixth inning before we decided it was a good time to leave.  We wanted to beat traffic and avoid large crowds of fans. 


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Friday, August 4, 2017

Kid's first Cubs Game at Wrigley Field

To celebrate it's anniversary, my not so new company had an outing to the Cubs game the other day.  Because I was allowed to bring a guest and because kids under 2 get in free, I decided to make this our kids first (and perhaps only) Cubs game.  I'm not much of a go see the game in person type anymore.  Unless you pay a fortune, you can usually see the game better from your living room or even a sports bar, which is vastly cheaper.




But as this cost us nothing, except the $100 we spent on Cubs T-shirts for four, for the occasion,  I figured why not.  Especially since I knew we were not likely to spend more than a few innings there.  Nightingale was stressing because she forgot that I told her kids had to sit on our laps and our seats initially were not together.  They were three seats apart, which isn't the worst thing because even total strangers would probably switch with us and I have to believe most of the over 2,300 registered people from my office would as well.




Think about it, either the three people between us know each other or they don't.  Does person in seat two really care if they sit on the left side of these other two or the right?  It worked out even better because when we got to our seats there were plenty of open seats avialable, probably because all the youngins were still drinking free beers and watching the game from the pre-game reception at Brickhouse Tavern.  We took up the seats we needed but were prepared to move if needed.  Alas that never happened because we only stayed for 2 innings.



I should note that when we were asked to request our tickets, I did ask for two, as I'm sure most people did.  I don't know why they didn't group people together, i can only imagine something "fell apart with the planning-implementing phase of this task".  When I went to pick up the tickets, the line was long and I went on the last day.  But since the tickets were free, and the firm bought me beer and appetizers, I am not complaining.

Katness, who coincidentally was at the game the next day for free as part of a work function, has invited us to see the White Sox for Family day in a couple of Sundays.  This isn't free but is a reduced cost so we can now check off 2 of the 5 major Chicago Sports teams.  As big of a Bears fan as I am, I will likely not take my kids to Soldier Field for a long, long time because football fans are assholes.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Back in the Day: The Octogon

One of the places I use to go to drink and dance in the 90s was a dive bar called Octagon (2483 N Clark).  I suspect it was one of those bars that put up shop when the neighborhood was less than desirable and eventually got taxed out of existence once the final stages of gentrification arrived.

I've never really liked clubs because they are just too loud to talk to anyone.  That's not old man Icarus talking, I felt this way in my 20s.  The only exceptions I've found are the euro-trash and maybe a few suburban ones.

The front of this place really looked like an Old Man Bar trying to pass itself off as a sports bar (probably what kept it alive during the early days of gentrification).  In the back there was a decent sized dance floor and they played what we considered Alternative Music:  DePeche Mode, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, New Order, Tears For Fears, etc. 

Free Parking was hard but not impossible to find and my friends and I would go there, have a few drinks and get our dance on.

 The owner was there every night making sure everything ran smoothly and I think he was in his late 70's at that point. He sat on the corner sipping his drink making sure he said hi to everyone as they walked in. Great times and memories..

I was hanging with some suburban transplants at the time so we often were the first ones there and the first to leave, not that it would have made any difference.  I was often the 5th wheel to a pair of couples which is not only counter productive to meeting anyone, it is actually the kiss of death.

Plus I didn't know how to talk to girls people which would work out fine 20 years later.  Around 1999 it closed or re-branded itself as Thin Lizzie's.  I don't care to google if that place is still around, it was douche bag bait for all the frat boys in Lincoln Park and lost it's edge. 

There was another place that had a similar concept, bar up front,  psychedelic dance room in the back (I'm sure this is not a unique thing).  The Artful Dodger (1734 W Wabansia) went one better by having the bar area look like Medusa's all grown up. 




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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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