Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Autumn birthdays

Like most people, I struggle with what to share on social media, especially when it comes to my
children.  I try to strike the balance between sharing memories and important milestones for both connecting and archiving these events, and safety by not giving away too many personal details.

So Boris and Natasha turned 2 last week, just in time for Fall.  We didn't do a big party like last year for a few reasons.  For one thing, this is probably the last year we can get away without having some type of celebration.

Nightingale took three days off of work and the plan was to do some projects around the house without small children getting under feet.  Unfortunately, my mother wouldn't go home and just vied for Nightingale's attention as much or even more than our two kids combined.

During the week, my mom stays with us and drops the kids off and picks them up from daycare.  She typically goes home anywhere from Friday evening to Saturday morning, returning late Sunday evening or early Monday morning.

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 no sense of time.  She will sit down to rest for a "minute" and two hours will go by.  Mostly because she is either distracted by her iPhone or something on HGTV or both.

The difference between when she is with us and when she isn't is night and day.  It might be a little more work without her extra hands but it is so much less stressful.  We can definitely see a difference in the twins behavior too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

diligently and aggressively culling and decluttering

I've hinted at this before but I tend to hold on to things too long.  Old memories, mementos and friendships.  At my wedding, my best man said in his speech that I was loyal.  I am, to a fault.  Generally I don't discard a friend unless they've dissed me.  

Last summer I did a lot of purging and decluttering.  This year I intend to do some more of the mental and emotional variety.  

trying to heal the hurt and learn to forget the regret

 "Don't look back, let it fade and let it go
Don't look back, let it fade and let it go"

Cutting Crew - Don't Look Back Lyrics | MetroLyrics

There are two big things I need to trim down.  First, I have this big box of letters that I have received from people throughout the years.  Am I or anyone really gonna ever read them to find some peril of wisdom from a friend from a long time ago?  

Second, my FB friends need to get down to a more reasonable level.  I was keeping a lot of them because of loyalty and whatever but fuck if we don't interact anyway what is the point?

For instance, there are a couple of people I use to do speed work with for Marathon Training...in 2005.Or somebody that I met at a friend's party a million years ago.  Do I really need to keep them in my friends list as some sort of message in a bottle to our future alien anthropologist exploring our post-apocolyptic planet?  

Oh he was friends with this attorney who also happened to be friend with someone who would eventually know someone who was there when the revolution began.  

I think not.  Therefore I am diligently and aggressively culling my friends list.  For now, I'm focusing on people who don't really log into their FB account that often and only have an account to keep tabs on their younger relations or perhaps to be tagged in a photo.  Next up is people who don't really interact with me on any level.

It's well established that I have a Love Hate relationship with FB but I'm mostly over it.  I've come to terms that I enjoy connecting with friends in a Virtual Reality Environment.  That's why I was an early adopter of email and loved IM when people used it. For instance the other day I posted:

It's as if after watching the ‪#‎RNC‬ someone said it would be impossible to out crazy that and the ‪#‎DNC‬ said "hold my beer and watch this"
And I got tons of positive reactions from both sides of the aisle.

That said, I finally did it.  I un-friended a trio of people I should have unfriended a long time ago.  We don't interact in real life on on the Zuckerberg Virtual Reality page and there is no love lost between us.

We don't even pretend to like each other on our respective birthdays.  And they certainly never really had my back. 

I need to remove more friends but I'm really hesitant for some reason.  For years I kept some of these people around because I wanted to show that I was friends with them.  Or they were part of a collection, like everyone from book club.  There really is no point.

For instance, I started at the No-Name Software Company with three other friends.  Over the years we stopped trying to maintain lost contact.

Cuts both ways: The other day someone from the ChicagoNow ecosystem unfriended me.  I wasn't surprised since we haven't interacted in years -- well I like and comment on her post but not the other way around, her being much more popular and pseudo-celebrity.  It did strike me that we have almost 40 friends in common and I'm sure she doesn't interact with most of them any more than she did with me.  So what made her pick me? 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Exercising Cuts into Whirlpool Time

I belong to the gym next to my office.  my company gets a discount that brings the price down to $100/month which is pricey just to have a place to change into my running clothes or take a swim 5 days a week.  But when you consider the shower, steam room and suana, along with free razors and mouthwash, it almost breaks even.

I could use more of the gym's amenities if I had time, but I am squeezing my workouts during my lunch and it already consumes the entire hour to go next door, change, workout, shower and return with just enough time to inhale my lunch.

So the challenges.  On days that I run I have to decide if I'm doing the treadmill or running outside.  If I go during true lunch time, everyone is at the gym or outside.  This impacts elevator frequency and speed, along with bumping into people in the locker room and on the running path.

If I go off hours, my co-workers seem to need something from me roughly 10 minutes after I leave thus I don't get back to them for almost an hour. 

On days that I swim it's a little more manageable.  I change into my swim trunks and then go into the steam room to warm up because the pool is set at 78 and my old bones feel a chill.  It goes away after 1 lap of course.  As usually occurs whenever I start swimming after a long hiatus, i use to need a half minute to rest between laps but after a week or so I'm at the point where I can do 10 laps in about 20 minutes, which leaves time for the whirlpool and perhaps another few minutes in the steam room before showering and getting back.

It takes 72 laps to make a mile in this pool so I know I'm not doing a huge workout.  I could probably squeeze 8 more laps in to make it an even quarter mile but that would cut into my whirlpool time. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Bike Repair Drama

Nightingale and I have been biking to the Jeff Park train station all summer.  Sometimes Nightingale bikes all the way to work.  I tried it once but it was too much of a hassle.  Nightingale has even bought a Divvy membership so she has the option of biking all the way to work in the morning but taking the El home in the evening.

One morning last week we were actually on pace to leave before 7:15 which is huge for me.  A colleague at the office cares a little too much about when I get in, go to lunch and leave for the day, so I stress about getting to the office by 8 so that I can use my lunch hour to workout.

should get one like this

Alas, my bike had a flat tire.  Finding out you have a flat tire at the exact time you need to leave means you have very few options.  I could see that the tire was torn so inflating it wasn't going to do the trick.  I didn't know how long it would take for a bus and probably should have taken a minute to check Bus Tracker.  Instead I used Nightingale's bike to get me to Jeff Park.

I had to take my bike to a repair shop to  get a new tire. Instead of using the expensive bike shop that is a mile West of our house, I decided to take it to the expensive bike shop that is a mile North of our house.  They did tighten my bike lock holder which had started to come loose so that was nice of them. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Difficult coworkers and work relationships

It's taken me the better part of three decades to find a job I really like.  By like I mean I have the right balance of using my brain, earning a decent salary, good benefits and appropriate work-life balance.

That said its not perfect, nor do I expect it to be.  They call it Work for a reason.  It take a long time to learn the written and unwritten rules of each particular organization.  How things are supposed to be done, how things should be done and how things actually are done.

But there is one toxin that makes me dread coming into the office: The Difficult Coworker.  There's at least one at every company, usually one per department, group and team.  My DC  monitors my time meticulously.  It has become a game of cat and mouse.  If I am away from my desk too long, he reaches out and asks unusual questions that seem very odd.

From time to time, I get a message from an alleged friend who hasn't said boo to me in years, not a happy birthday on Facebook or a congratulations for unlocking any Life Achievements.  They reach out, like anyone else, because they want something and feel I am a path to getting it.  Usually it's a job but sometimes it's a work referral.  The irony is they are taking the lazy approach and trying to leverage a relationship that just isn't there because they were too lazy to do the easy social maintenance over the years.

I'm not saying they had to invite me into their personal lives and send me the holiday newsletter.  I'm just saying when you don't interact with someone on even the most minimal level, you have to have some set of balls to reach out to them and ask for help the requires actual effort on that party.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Wrought Iron Gate and Wizard of Oz Doors after

And this is the final product.  Nightingale is not pleased that I choose to do the Wizard of Oz doors in blue when we did the gate in Black.

Wrought Iron Gate and Wizard of Oz Doors intermediate

This is after the gate and Wizard of Oz Doors have been brushed with steel wool and coated with a rust inhibiting primer.

Wrought Iron Gate and Wizard of Oz Doors Before

It's taken a while but we finally got painting these metal beasts on the docket.  You might not be able to tell from the photos but there are plenty of rust spots on the Iron Gate and basement doors.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Big Labor Day weekend chocked full of plans

Had a fun, productive Labor Day weekend with just a little stress thrown in for flavor.  We did a lot:  Taste of Polonia twice, went out for breakfast, dropped off donations at Salvation Army and went to a late afternoon cookout.  All in all it was a big weekend.

Donations away!

The only project I really wanted to accomplish was culling through our attic full of baby clothes and gear.  It's difficult for Nightingale to work on that when my mom is around because she questions/challenges ever decision.  My mom is kind of a hoarder and doesn't want us to get rid of anything. Nightingale also struggles with what to give away versus what to save for our friends who will/might have babies soon or her sister who might have one someday.

Alas, we still managed to get it done and ended up with 11 boxes of stuff that we dropped off at the Salvation Army on Monday.  And now that the attic is a little more clear, I can try to organize it better so that our kids have another playroom we can contain them in. 

We went to the Taste of Polonia twice, Saturday and Sunday.  We had to do two trips because we were meeting different couple friends -- CoupleA is trying to get pregnant, CoupleB is pregnant -- and Nightingale didn't know how the two would cross-pollinate.

I won't go into gory details but the dynamic was completely different with each set and one was more enjoyable than the other.  I think it was probably a combination of not feeling well and not realizing what life is going to be like once the kiddo arrives.  

I've been going to TOP for years and I have to say, it has finally crossed the line from an event that only old-world Poles can appreciate to something young kids enjoy.  It could use a more family-friendly element.  Jeff Fest had bouncy houses where you could buy a ticket and your kids could ride unlimited.  TOP had the same bouncy slides but it was per ride, which can add up quickly.  I imagine they have no incentive to change this source of revenue but you never know.  It only took two decades to bring the average fest goer's age down.

On Monday we had a cookout to go to and this illustrates my polar mindset.  On the one hand, would have liked to stay home and relax on the last day of a holiday weekend.  But we got to meet up with some friends we hadn't seen in ages, and that was fun.  There's still the protocol game of "you don't have to bring anything" and "we cannot show up empty-handed"  This is resolved by bringing wine, of course, but that often means another trip to the store.

When they are this quite, that means they are up to something

Our kids are old enough to amuse themselves but we still have to keep an eye on them.  So while we were able to catch up, we still didn't have completely uninterrupted conversations.  Another year or so and we can let them loose and sit back and actually hold a prolonged conversation.