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

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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