Tuesday, February 28, 2017

One more post for February

Unless something strange happens, Chicago and most of the Midwest will not have had any snow on the ground since December.  All global warming jokes aside, most of us know that a tame or mild winter comes with a price, usually a rougher winter the next year.  Ironically, the forecast calls for snow tomorrow.

Our weekend usually involves a trip to Costco or some other store, and a social obligation.  We got to Costco kinda late but it didn't matter because the kids slept in.   Because my mom still isn't 100%, Nightingale stayed home while I did Social Maintenance Duty and went to a pseudo birthday dinner for a member of the former MSTV group.  Katness was out of town but I went because I wanted to catch up with my Polish Peep and keep that connection open.

On Sunday we went Dish Washer Shopping.  It took longer than we expected and when we got home, I discovered that our dryer was broken.  Again, an over abundance of irony this weekend.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Time to stop letting former colleague live Rent-Free in my head

About a year ago I started a new job.  It's probably about as close to my dream job as I'm gonna get in this lifetime.  I have a lot of autonomy, am paid well and enjoy good benefits.  It's still work and there are the usual Corporate America frustrations that come with most white collar office jobs. 

That said, there was one conflict I had to deal with.  An overzealous coworker who was also assigned to be my mentor and unofficial supervisor.

I'm gonna call him Nearly Headless Nick like the ghost from the Harry Potter series.  He wasn't a bad guy and we got along well enough except in the power struggle area.  My real boss has a lot on his plate and asked Nearly Headless to manage me.  He took this task to heart and really tried to over-manage me.

I don't want this to be a gripe about a coworker but I want to point out one form of psychological warfare he played on me.   My team is on the East Coast and I work in our Chicago office.   So we do the majority of our interaction electronically.  Email, Instant Messenger and phone. 

Over a two week period of time, I would come into the office, sit at my desk from 8am (okay 8ish) and not get up until 1, 2 or 3 in the afternoon to take lunch.  No matter when I took lunch (full disclosure I eat lunch at my desk but then go to the gym next door to get some semblance of a workout in), I would come back to an IM and email asking me for something. 

I don't know what the odds are of this happening but it has to be an incredible coincidence that he didn't need anything from me until I left my desk! 

The coworker is long gone.  But he is still living rent-free in my head.  I get stressed out in the morning when I'm trying to get my kids to daycare and get to work on time.  I stress when I go to work out and the elevator takes a little longer, or God forbid I spent a little too much time in the post-workout sauna. To be clear, I'm not spending hours at the gym, I either run 3 miles or swim 10 laps, that's about all I can manage in an hour when you factor in clothes changing and showering.  Even with the gym right next door, it takes the better part of 10 minutes to get from my desk to the locker room.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Next time skip the bread

A metaphor for my mom's execution abilities
The other night we experienced something that was caused by an Unfortunate Series of Events.  These events can be traced back to my mom not doing something she was supposed to do, the way she was supposed to do it.

She was supposed to put a casserole in the oven at 430 so that it would be ready when Nightingale brought the kids home from daycare.  She even texted us to ask because we had forgotten.  But instead of putting the casserole in the oven she went to Jewel to get some bread.  Since she was leaving the house she was afraid to leave the oven on, which  I can appreciate.

So because dinner wasn't ready when Nightingale got home, she had to feed moose and squirrel something else.  We aren't positive but it seems that the smoothies she made caused Boris immediately, and Natasha after bedtime to throw up. 

We stripped Natasha out of her pajamas and brought her into bed with us.  Boris was able to go back to sleep or stay asleep through this.  I put the bedding, the pillow, and the stuffed bear into the washing machine and ran it, hoping I'd get to dry it in the morning before daycare.  Luckily Natasha kicks a bit so I was up at 3:30-4 and decided to be useful and put the wash into the dryer. 

Here's the thing.  she didn't need to get the bread.  and in her mind, she thinks she's just going across the street to the store, like at her home.  Not realizing how far a walk Jewel is from our house and not anticipating long checkout lines.

It's been this way my entire life.  I told Nightingale about when my friends and I were getting our library cards.  All we needed was a utility bill to prove we lived where we said we did. 
She could have just given me the phone bill but instead went to the library and showed them her driver's license. 

My mom has a child-like understanding of the world and most of her problems could be avoided if she would just be more of an adult.  Unfortunately, this isn't part of her programming and she has gotten away with being herself for the better part of 7 decades.

I have to think about what project around the house to work on this year.  There are a lot of things I'd like to do but I need to figure out what to focus on.  I'd like to make the laundry room more functional and we need a new washer and dryer.  I also want to epoxy my garage floor.  I'm trying to do something about the space under the deck and the deck itself needs some repairs.  The front porch also needs work.  Finally, it would be a good time to update the electrical and deal with the power line that connects to the home.  The thing is, that might be the budget breaker that puts other things on hold. 

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

5 weeks to Spring

With the exception of very light dustings, Chicago has not had any significant snowfall since December.  There were those who believed we were in for a rough winter with large amounts of snow and arctic temperatures.

While I officially do subscribe to climate change, I don't want to be an alarmist.  However if this trend keeps up, my kids may never see snow again.  On the other hand, if you are the sort  to dig through Historical Snow Records, you might be surprised to find that mild weather in the Midwest though rare, has occurred before (1922).  What caused it is up for debate.

We are supposed to be in the 60s this weekend which is good for getting the kids out of the house...we have plans with Katness to finally see Maggie Daley Park. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day and weekend review

The weekend came and went and there are a few things I wish I could take back but for the most part it went well.  We got up early on Saturday and dropped off our paperwork at the tax preparer.  With both our condos finally sold we hope to not only not have to pay taxes this year, but perhaps get some money back.

Then we headed off to Costco and I have to say, getting there at 9:30 when they first open is a huge difference from the normal time we usually arrive.  Fewer people means we can get through the store quicker before the kids have a meltdown.

When we got home we put the kids down for nap and then went to Kingston Reflexology for a couples massage.  That was basically our Valentine's Day present to one another.

We get all the Valentine's now

On Sunday a CN blogger friend came over and picked up our Bob Stroller.    We were gifted 3 double strollers and really only use one, so it was a relief to clear the garage space of this one.  I had visions of running races with the kids in it, but after two years we have never used it.  It is in rough shape but nothing a good cleaning couldn't fix.

On Sunday  I made the mistake of reaching out to someone I had essentially written off.  When I started my new job, I realized that I worked right across the street from an old friend from the No-Name Software Company.  I asked Hanna about meeting for lunch and we made plans.  Of course I had a conflict so I asked about rescheduling.

When someone cancels plans with someone else, I feel it is their duty to reschedule the event, within reason of course.  I made a few attempts but didn't pick the magical right day/time and figured this person wasn't interested in having lunch.  I gave up and moved on.

That was around June last year.  Flash forward to this weekend.  I sent Hanna a text that was a simple "hey has your account been hacked."   Apparently she has another new phone because she didn't recognize my number (side note: how fucking hard is it to transfer your contacts to a new phone in 2017?)  After talking for a few minutes she was  all "let's do lunch." 

While I thought, Fuck You, I said sure, sure, gotta run.  Which I think even the densest person in the world would interpret as please kindly find a short peer to walk off of and go fuck yourself. 

This person wasn't intentionally trying to be mean or inconsiderate.  They are a 8 or 9 on the Airhead ability in the D and D Game of Life. Which means they may not have got the point about aforementioned implied Fuck You, but somehow I think I have burned that bridge.

It took me a few days to process but what really bothers me is this person made more of an effort to find out who the mysterious texter was than to make plans for lunch last June.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Winter is almost over

Last week's snow effort
This weekend was a little unusual because I actually had to work late Friday night and Saturday morning.  We had an outage and I had to sit on a couple of long calls.  Luckily This is a rare occurrence at this point in my career.

In other news Sunday was the Super Bowl and Nightingale decided last minute that we should invite someone over.  I normally like doing this but because of our current circumstances, I wasn't as up on it.  We have my mom living on our upstairs couch while she recovers and our house isn't as guest friendly as I would like it to be.  And Moose & Squirrel can sometimes make it a little challenging to have an adult conversation.  So we ended up inviting a couple that just had a kid a few months ago.

Maybe next year we can invite a larger crowd.

With roughly 6 weeks left of Winter, we have had a surprising lack of snow this year.  I'm of two mindsets about this.  On the one hand it would be nice to play with the kids in the snow on weekends and let them burn energy, especially since this is the last year they can use their current snow suits.  On the other hand, I'm fine with not having to shovel snow or deal with brutal freezing cold. 

I just hope I don't have to wait 6 more weeks to be able to use our garage or grill. 

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Binge Watching: Dark Matters follow up

I'm having a tough time finishing Season Two of Dark Matters.  With Expanse and Westworld I couldn't wait to get to the next episode.  With Dark Matters, the appeal just isn't there.  All 3 are similar in that with each episode you have the current action/plot and a piece of a larger puzzle is presented. 

  • Westworld: the android's evolution, the man in black and the back story
  • expanse: what Mao was up to
  • dark matters: who are these people and how did they end up together.

What I think it is, is that the first two make no bones about being intended for adult audiences.  Dark Matters is trying to either appeal to a younger generation or cast a wider net and it's just not working for me.

the other observation is that the first two work in a back and forth, circular motion whereas Dark Matters is linear.  Yes it has flash backs but only as a plot device or to show instead of tell, not to reveal or let the watcher discover they way the first two do. 

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Right-Wing Stereotype Bingo

The other day I jumped on a thread that I probably should have avoided.  It's not that I cannot handle myself.  It's just that it's obvious that it was an Echo Chamber and no amount of reason or logic was going to penetrate.

Look, if you support Trump and think he's doing the right things, that's fine.  But no president is or ever was perfect, not even George Washington.  You would gain a modicum of credibility from those on the opposite side if you couched your praise with phrases like "he did the right thing but should have followed established process" or "it does suck that he didn't think it all the way through."

But when you give him a free pass with no fault behavior Carte Blanche, you sound like the kid whose favorite team is already out of contention for the playoffs the first month of the season and you blame the refs instead of the coaches and players.

And then there is this:

What does any sane, rational person say to someone who doesn't consider New York and California part of America?

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