Monday, May 21, 2018

Project Paint the Porch: Stage 0

The time has come to paint the front porch.  This is actually a stop-gap solution because we
eventually will have to repair/replace the porch at some future date.  I'm hoping that future date is sometime after we sell the house.

My neighbor used a product called Deckover and it looks pretty good on his old steps.  I thought I'd give it a try.  I wanted to change the color of our house and shift from Green to Blue or grey or something that isn't green because our house has an overabundance of green.  However Nightingale pointed out that it would look too funny if we didn't paint all the trim around the house and it would be too much work to do so.  Hence we are going with Mountain Spruce.

My plan is to do this in stages since I need to do it when the little DN are at school and the weather cooperates.


  • Stage 0:  power wash and prep the area
  • Stage 1:  paint steps green.  Two coats.  
  • Stage 2:  spindles (another color)
  • Stage 3:  green railing
  • Stage 4: risers
  • Stage 5:  install quarter rounds on the six steps and paint those green as well.

I bought everthing I need (except the quarter rounds) over the weekend so I should be able to start if the weather cooperates.  The temp needs to be between 50-90, with less than 80% humidity and no rain expected for 24 hours.

It's raining today and it is also supposed to rain this weekend, starting Friday.  This is what my phone app says right this minute, it's always subject to change.  That gives me a slim Tues-Thursday window, depending on when the rain will come friday.  We are also traveling to Michigan for Memorial Day weekend so I won't be able to finish (or start) until next Wednesday.







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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Changes at the Office and home

So I made it through year number two at Big Audit.   It has been rough from almost day one.   I realize belatedly that one of the reasons Headless Nick was so cold towards me was, from his perspective, I was replacing him.

 So a week or so ago my PML forwarded me an email from the person who manages hoteling in the Chicago office.  Note: they reach out to our PMLs instead of to us directly.  This is one more sign of how dysfunctional things are at Big Audit.

I'll miss the white board and coat cubby
The issue was they wanted to move some tax group into my area, which would mean relocating me.  At the same time,  Hoteling Dude asked if I really needed a permanent seat since my utilization was under the threshold.  I could come to the office and hunt for a desk, but that doesn't make sense.  I do not work with anybody in the Chicago office and coming to the office is really just a thing I did to make Headless Nick happy and provide me some structure.

When I started in 2016, we could somehow get the kids to daycare and get to work between 8 and 8:20, especially with my mom helping out in nicer weather.  However, as the kids have gotten older and are learning to test limits, getting them to daycare has become a longer battle ordeal in the mornings.  I simply cannot get to work anywhere in the zip code of On Time.

Anywho, I'm giving up my desk at the office and WFH more.  Until they officially take my desk away, my plan is to go into the office a couple times mid-week.  Eventually I will switch to full time at home, unless and until the rumored restructure impacts me. 


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Thursday, April 26, 2018

What I am watching these days

It's not easy for me to watch anything on TV these days. Movies involve a babysitter and a tight window of opportunity. Our TVs are usually streaming Octanauts or PJ Mask (and whatever the next cartoon moose and squirrel find appealing). The intersection of time that I'm in front of a TV and there isn't a small child usurping it is extremely scant.

So when I say that binged watch anything these days, I really mean that I watched consecutive episodes in a finite amount of time spread over a couple of days versus the more conventional definition of completing a season in an afternoon or a series within a weekend.
That I was able to watch 10+ hours of Netflix Lost In Space is an achievement in and of itself.  Luckily I didn't have to rewind episodes like I did with Altered Carbon because of all the AC Universe jargon that is shoved down your throat.
I am able to stream stuff on the tablets though.  In fact I rather prefer it this way. The Close Captioning helps my old man hearing and it can somewhat multitask.  
  • The Expanse  
  • The 100
  • The Handmaid's Tale
  • Westworld 

Haven't seen Handmaid's Tale  yet and cannot get Westworld yet until I figure out how to get HBO without a subscription.  Maybe it will be better to wait until I can binge watch it on Prime or Netflix.
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Monday, April 23, 2018

Not doing the push ups anymore

The second half of march -- Ides of March forward -- was almost perfect.  Something like 14 for 16. And April started off stellar but then crashed and burned.  I have not done my 10 push-ups a day thing for over a month. 

Part of the reason was many mornings I'd wake up with my back sore from sleeping in a twisted position because one of the kids was sleeping with their feet kicking into my liver. 

The rest of the reason was pure laziness.  I'm should resume the endeavor, even if it's just unofficial but what are the odds that happens.  Maybe once the warmer weather arrives and I run outside more.








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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A touch of the Writer's Block

It is probably very obvious that I haven't posted much here lately.  Usually by this time of year, I've surpassed my lowest years (2010 and 2011) of published posts.

Writing in the morning works for me because I have access to a brain that doesn't exist any other time of the waking day. Think about what the brain was doing just minutes before that alarm clock went off. It was dreaming. Creating storylines with strange plots, strange casts of characters, and no real sense of a structured plot. That's the brain you can tap into at five or six o'clock in the morning. Peak creativity. -- Chris O'Brien, Medium Rare.

I have been in a slump since the start of the year. First off, my daytime paying job has been busy, stressful and more demanding than usual.

Time for grilling
Second, I'm going through what I refer to as the Groundhog Day Phase with my kids.  Everyday it's pretty much the same thing:  Fight with them to wake up in the morning, get them dressed and off to daycare.  Then scramble to get to work at a time that is in the ballpark of "Start Time".   Hope that things are quiet enough that I can leave on time and meet my wife at daycare and bring the mini-tyrants home, feed them and fight with them to go to sleep at a decent time.  Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Finally, as the quote above suggests, I do my better writing first thing in the morning these days.  But my mornings are chaos and by the time things settle down, the day is half over and my energy and creativity are depleted.  

On a side note, I've opted to take advantage of my job privilege of flexible schedule and working from 
Home more often.     I should probably cancel my gym membership.    

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Monday, April 9, 2018

These old letters are pensieves and horocruxes

I've been working Project Ancient Letters since September of last year.   These letters have lived in a box that I've carried around from apartment to apartment, condo to house.  These old letters bring back memories long forgotten. 

Some people can look at that box and just say yeah I don't need these anymore and toss them without reading them.

Some people will re-read them but still throw them away. 

Then there's me. My original plan with these letters was to re-read them and then pitch them.   But someone suggested that I scan them which seemed ridiculous at the time.  But then I realized that I have free access to an industrial sized scanner at the office and had no set timetable so why not.  I'm certainly becoming very good at working that scanner.  If my current job doesn't work out, I guess I can find work at a Kinkos.

These letters were very much like Pensieves (or Horocruxes in some cases), transporting me back in time. 

I just scanned the last ones before the end of last year, so now comes the next phase.  Returning them to the senders that I'm still in touch with.   I'll keep a few that have some special meaning for me, at least until the next time I need to clear some clutter, and the rest get bonfired.

It's interesting how people will reference something I obviously wrote in a previous letter, or perhaps mentioned on the phone, but it is just vague enough that I cannot tell what we are talking about.  I can see traces of when my confidence started to erode and my depression setting in.

If I had the bandwidth, I'd write a post about some of the key writers.  Maybe I still will even though I've already returned some of the letters to their senders.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

One More WiFi device at this house

I purchased a Zmodo Greet Wifi Video Doorbell With Beam Smart Home Hub And Wifi Extender off MorningSave at the start of the month.  As is my life, I only today got it installed.  The device cost $59 (plus $5 shipping) and to get a professional electrician to install was another $95.

I probably could have figured out how to install it myself.  But I don't think I would have done as good a job of mounting it as the pro did.

To be honest, I'm a little disappointed in the device.  I don't expect a lot from certain tech.  It's nice if it has extra bells and whistles but I generally buy something for a specific purpose and if it is lacking in functionality that would make that tech meet that need, I feel cheated. 

The camera does not come with a zoom and tilt.  Also, I would expect the part that attaches to the actual doorbell to be more modular, so that you could swap out for a more enhanced version later. 

I'm still tinkering around with it so maybe there is a way to get some zoom or tilt.  Stay tuned.



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