Saturday, October 17, 2020

Epoxy Garage project phase two

Today we paint.  At least I hope to paint.  Right now the temperature is only 51 degrees and you really want to be closer to 65.  My garage is usually a little warmer than outside, often exponentially, but still not warm enough to attempt this.  It is supposed to reach at least 63 today so hopefully, that happens and I can do this.




completed:  

  • empty garage (easier than I thought)  ✔
  • power wash it (did it myself)✔
  • patch any holes or cracks in the foundation ✔
  • clean with degreaser ✔
  • etch ✔
  • paint


In hindsight, I should have patched sooner.  There is a learning curve and while I was able to make the second box stretch more, I didn't do a great job of making one of the fillings super smooth.  (Fatigue and the lateness of the hour).


My two big worries are that I won't have enough paint and that it won't adhere properly.  There seems to be a white powdery residue from the etch which as me concerned. I don't have time to wash and wait for it to dry so I'm gonna use a broom and a leaf blower and hope for the best.  It is impossible to get a Clean Room effect anyway and I cannot imagine that other people haven't run into this problem.

My plan is to work from the back of the garage to the front and the north side to the south side.  The garage floor has break sections so if I can get the two sections where all the garage stuff lives and the one part where the cars are parked, I could theoretically do the last section another time.  I'm really hoping that it doesn't come to that.  A friend who did this herself last month came up with a brilliant suggestion.  Instead of me buying two 2-car garage kits, I bought one 2-car and one 1-car kit.  This should be enough.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Epoxy Garage project phase one

 One of the pipedream projects I have on my list is epoxy the garage floor.  In a perfect world, I'd have a cool design, like maybe the Bears logo or just a cool color combo.  In reality, I would go with a simple tan color for this garage since it isn't likely to be our forever house.

I might have missed the window to do it this year, but I'm slightly hopeful now that an opportunity has presented itself.  Nightingale has to go visit her sister for a family project and that means her car will be gone all weekend.  It would have been better last weekend weatherwise, but then again who wants to paint a garage floor when the weather is so beautiful.  

There are two things that I need to figure out first to see if it is worth doing.  First, I have a crack to fill.  There are lots of small cracks that the epoxy will mask, but the bigger ones do require patching.  


Second, I have this strange residue in one corner.  It looks like something spilled and then someone left a cardboard box on it for years and then finally ripped up the cardboard with just a thin layer of paper left behind.  Over the years I half heartedly tried to remove it with varying degrees of luck.  I swear I found something once that dissolved it but had to get going to work, forgot about it and now it's gone from my memory of what I used.



If I cannot get the majority of it off, it doesn't make sense to paint because the epoxy won't adhere properly.  I have been making progress with paint spirits and elbow grease so we shall see.  I'm hoping I can get it to a point where a good power washing will remove all the the microscopic remains.  

 The typical process is more or less the following:

  • empty garage (easiest to do when at least one car is out of the picture)
  • power wash it (might hire pro for that)
  • patch any holes or cracks in the foundation
  • clean with degreaser
  • etch
  • paint


All with a not insignificant amount of time in between.  Since this is a first go and not our forever home, I've given myself permission to do only a decent job i.e. not F it up for the next owner.  So I won't be doing two coats of epoxy and no clear coat.  

Today's I'm going to patch the cracks and let it set for two days.  According to the instructions, you typically patch and then as soon as the patch has set, you clean, etch and paint.  But I want to see how much one container of patching compound gets me so that I can decide if I need to order more or not.   

If the patching looks good and the strange residue is removed, I'll empty the garage on Thursday after Nightingale leaves for work.  I can have a crew come and power wash it.  That means I can do the degreasing and maybe the etching on Friday.  Unfortuantely, Moose and Squirrel are home from school on Friday, but luckily, they are friends with the kids down the street so I can send them there for a few hours.  

That means I should be able to start painting on Saturday.  It's typically 24 hours before you can walk on it and 72 before you can put things back including your car.  Nightingale gets back Sunday afternoon evening but a day or two in the driveway won't kill us.  

On another note:   On this day 6 years ago, I sold my condo.  And they money that went to that mortgage started going to daycare.


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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

September challenge

Seemed a good goal at the time: For the month of September, I decided I would do 10 pushups and one 1-minute plank each day.  I decided this on Sept 3 so I had some catching up to do.  I found that the first day or two were rusty, and it was never a milk run, but if I did them with consistency, it wasn't too hard.


  Of course I'd miss a day or two and then have to make them up.  I don't know why I decided making them up was something I needed to do, but I did.  If I skipped two days, like on the weekend for instance, I would make one missed set up each day.

For instance I skipped Friday, did Saturday's set thinking I was making up for Friday but didn't get around to the second set.  Skipped Sunday as well.  It was easier to count Saturday's for Friday and just say I'm two behind on Monday.  So I did Monday's set.  Wasn't feeling it so I waited until today to do 3 sets because we are running out of September.  

I'm not sure I will continue this in October.  

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Bears are 51% pretenders 49% Contenders:  If I'm being honest, I am one of the more apologetic Bears fans out there.  But even I have had my doubts about this season.  First Detroit gifted us a win.  Then we barely held on to win against the Giants.  I really thought Atlanta was gonna slaughter us, or best case we'd get some garbage touchdowns late that would make the score look closer than the game really was.

I'm always curious to see what season this will be.  My first season as a Bears fan I saw them go 9-7 and miss the playoffs because of a loss to Atlanta.  I got to see that season again in 2008.  I really thought this was gonna be the repeat of 2002 when they won their first two games then tanked the rest of the season.  Or since we are in a global pandemic, we might do like 2001 and have a magical season that ends with a playoff loss to a more real team.  


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Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Last Day of August

We decided to send our kids to Parochial school because I'm not cut out to do home schooling with the kids, and they just aren't cut out for online schooling.  It wasn't an easy decision.  Besides spending money, we are worried about the COVID-19 risk.   



First day of School

While we are in the Wear a Mask, Social Distance and Shelter at Home if Possible camp, we aren't as extreme as some people.  When I go for a run, I don't wear a mask because I figure it's easier to maneuver away from someone than to run in a mask.   History, please don't hate me.

In between job hunting, I've been using this time to work on projects around the house, both big and small.  It feels like every project or endeavor I started this month was not capable of completion, though through no fault of my own.  

I cracked a tooth, and the permanent crown won't be ready until Sept 8th.  I went to get a broken cabinet door replaced, and it will not arrive before Sept 11th if I am lucky.Even my guilty pleasure YA show The 100 is in hiatus until September 9th.  

I guess that's not entirely true since I did repair and replace some of the door stopper pads in the upstairs bedrooms.  Moose and Squirrel broke the one in the middle bedroom so I had to first patch it. 

It looks better once it dried

This particular wall is apparently original plaster so I had to do two waves.  The first was just putting enough patching compound to form a base.  Because there wasn't much to adhere to, it took longer for the quick dry compound to dry.  As luck would have it, I didn't have any styrofoam or other material I could squeeze in there (though ironically once this project was done, we got more Amazon packages).  

We never had one in the Master Bedroom presumable because adults are good at not slamming doors.  So I slapped one on there.  I also bought a spare for the back bedroom since it's only a matter of time before Moose and Squirrel break that one too.


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Tuesday, August 25, 2020

How I've spent my summer

 It’s been 2 months since I was told I was being let go at Big Audit.  In that time a few minor setbacks cropped up that can be magnified by the whole losing your job thing if you let it.  My iPad screen cracked that first week or so.  My tooth cracked last week.  It feels like a few other things have occurred. 


 Oh and the electrical in our basement is acting wonky.  A couple Sundays ago, the power went out, but just to the basement.  The electrician I worked with was out of town so I did some googling.  I started flipping breakers until I identified the one for the basement (lucky number  13) and that brought power back, but only momentarily.  It kept tripping.  When they finally were able to fit me in their schedule, they came over to troubleshoot.   Seems like disconnecting the printer helped, but not completely.  As a short term solution they replaced the breaker.  It seemed to work.  I even reconnected the printer and everything was fine.  Until Saturday.  I think our cleaning lady tripped the breaker again when she vacuumed.  I’ve relocated the printer to the dining room and everything is fine for now, but I know this is a short term solution.  Just when I fixed one issue with the house, another one cropped up.


 I’m not sure why it is all of a sudden a problem.  The printer had been running down there for years, even before the electrical project.  I did add a roku, and apple TV and a NETGEAR FVS318 ProSafe VPN Firewall 8 with 8-Port 10/100 Switch, but I doubt any of those draw enough power especially when passive.  Michal said it might have to do with how humidity affects some of the remaining tube and knob wiring that is within our walls.  We had a Derecho the week before the power outage and he said that might have built up some additional humidity issues.   He later said that I have too many outlets and lights connected to one line.  I think they were in a hurry to get to their next project and didn’t want to take this one on yet.


 Just before we got the news, Nightingale and I hired a baby sitter to watch our kids while we worked.  We learned quickly that both of us WFH was not working well.  Often times we both had to be on calls and that left Moose and Squirrel free to run around and cause trouble.  And sharing an office was not working out either.  

Even after getting the news, we decided we could still afford to keep The Baby Sitter and I could use the help to work on projects around the house, run critical errands, and job hunt.  On that last point,  I want to point out that job hunting during normal times can be slow.  Each time I’ve been between jobs, it’s taken several weeks to several months before I was brought on just because of the byzantine processes of Corporate America.  During a Pandemic, jobs are even harder to come by, especially for someone who specializes in a particular DM software solution.


I did manage to get the basement painted.  I used an old 5 gallon bucket of ceiling paint that I had bought for my condo in 2003 and never used.   I wouldn’t use this for a real project but it was suitable for covering up the smudges getting the ceiling and walls  one uniform color of white (more or less). 

 I feel like I accomplished some other projects but I just cannot think of them right now.  




 

 

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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Tethered to a phone

 While I'm not sure of the exact date, I filed for unemployment over a month and a half ago.  In fact, I have two paychecks waiting for me.  Unfortunately I have not received the prepaid debit card Illinois is using.  I thought a card would be easier than direct deposits because of my trust issues.

The 3rd party company that does the cards for IDES shows that they haven't received my information from IDES yet and to please check with my state agency.  

I have a call into IDES about this and I am at the end of week two waiting for a callback.  I have to keep my phone with me at all times because if I miss the call, it's not like I can call them right back.  And even though their recorded message says it will come from the number I dialed, there is a slight chance it could come from another one.  So I have been answering almost all calls. 

This is annoying.  It shouldn't take this long.  And yes, I could probably select the Lost/Stolen card option or switch to direct deposit.  But I'm worried about the money that is already there.  Will I eventually get it...I assume so.  How long will it take and do I want to go through extra gymnastics of setting up DD or getting a new card.  I mean given how solid the system is so far, what could go wrong!


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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

thank you for coming to my Ted Talk

right now there are two loudest camps -- the wear a mask (always) Camp and the masks don't help much, if at all Camp -- but there are other camps in-between.


I wear a mask in the store and if a repair person comes over, but when walking outside I often do not and simply keep my distance from others. My family has sheltered at home from the beginning and we do interact with some other people who have done the same (sans masks).

I'm not going sit in a crowded restaurant, or beach. However, I will go for a walk and if I pass someone without a mask or don't have mine, I'll move as far and quickly away as possible. Certainly not gonna stop and chat with anyone at length.

When this first began, I was reminded of the Y2K scare and how IT professionals had to embellish the risks to get everyone's attention. I think there has been a little bit of (necessary) theatre not to intentionally mislead but to get people to take this more seriously. Because humans need simple messages, ie "don't do this all the time" versus "don't do this unless condition#1, Condition#2, etc".

There is still a lot we don't know about COVID-19 and as we learn, we must adapt.

To be clear, I am taking this seriously and believe we should have started with a "play it safe" and "do no harm to others" approach and are sorely lacking consistent, nonpartisan leadership.
thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

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Friday, July 17, 2020

Knocked another item on our Get The House Ready to Sell List

When we bought this house our inspector told us that we had a couple of problems with the electrical.  First problem was the feed was over the deck, which is absolutely against code.  Like it was never okay and there is no grandfather clause for that one.

Second, the electric panel in the basement was also not up to code.  It was using something called 'Cheaters' which allowed a 200 amp service to work with a 100 amp panel.  At least that is how it was explained to me.  It was also explained that this is fine in most parts of the country but not in Cook County.  Yay government oversight! 

We asked the owner to address it and he reluctantly gave us some money to take care of it.  I was prepared to walk away because this is a legitimate get out of contract free card issue.  But the respective realtors wanted their money after spending so much effort finding us a home and marketing his, so they convinced him to give us a credit.   Of course the standard way of determining how much money is by getting three of your electrician friends to give you lowball quotes and you take the average.  You will never find an electrician who will do the work for that price. 

Can you picture Boris hitting this with a rake?

I've been getting quotes for years from electricians who would do the panel and the move and upgrade the service (I wasn't sure if we had a 200 Amp service but it appears we do) and they all came in around $3K. 

Honestly, I don't remember how much was given but now that I think about it, it might have been more generous than I remember.

I got the panel taken care of in 2017, or was it 2018, via an Angie's list deal for about $800, IIRC.  But the electrician kept upping the price to move the feed because there are only so many good spots to put it and putting it in the best exterior location might have meant moving the panel which is a lot of work. 


When COVID-19 derailed our plans to list the house and move south, I decided it was time to fix this issue so that I wouldn't have to give the next buyer a credit for this.  I'm likely gonna have to give them a credit for something else, because there is always something else, so this helps.  Plus Boris was walking up the stairs once with an outstretched rake in his arms and although he's too short to reach the power line now...it's only a matter of time before we have fried Moose.


I got a couple of quotes and found someone I liked.  He figured out a way to move the line with minimal impact and without having to do some of the destructive things other electricians threatened.  He also consulted with ComEd to verify that it was up to code and best practices and we got their blessing so yay!



He came in April to give the estimate and I was honest and said I wanted to do this but couldn't pull the trigger at that moment because i had other projects in-flight but wanted to get this going before summer ended.  He was very accomodating and not pushy at all.


Ironically, once I was able to get to this, we had issues with weather.  May was rather rainy and we kept having to reschedule.  We pushed it out to the first Thursday in June but then Nightingale had us join the Adamas on a lakehouse vacation.  We were going to have him do the work anyway with my mom here to reach out if there  were any problems but my spidey sense said not to do that.  So I cancelled 11th hour and reschedule for the following week.  Between his schedule and the weather, we got it done on Friday, June 12th.  It was a good thing I rescheduled too because there was a slight misunderstanding in where they would put the new feed and by being there, they were able to rethink it on the fly. 

It cost $2500 and I do like how it came out.  I'm worried that if we stay here, we'll someday put an addition on the house and that will mean this was for naught but what can you do.

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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Job History repeats itself

Just wanted to share the not so pleasant news ...My job at Big Audit, along with 400+ other souls, was eliminated.  I got the news June 22 although my last official day was July 5th. 

We knew this might be coming and would have come sooner had COVID-19 not slowed things down a bit.  Like my last job, they outsourced my position to offshore/Not-America. This is just the wave of the future of corporate America.  Same way manufacturing went overseas in the 70s and 80s, other jobs were outsourced in the 90s etc.  Same as it's always been.


I should have been safe because I work with Federal Data that cannot be accessed by 3rd party or non-citizens (or non-employees of KPMG but the got around this by making offshore legit KPMG employees). Whatever your political viewpoint, the Trump Administration relaxing of regulations lead directly to the elimination of my job. 

I'm less mad about that than I am that my Office Nemesis got to keep his job but I lost mine. He made my life a living hell for the last 3+ years and it didn't need to be that way.  Poor leadership enabled him and lack of oversight empowered him. 

Anyway, there is never a good time to lose a job but in the middle of COVID-19 things are moving slower than ever.  Luckily we are good savers and don't spend money too frivolously so we are okay for now.  Hopefully something comes along that is a similar job where I could work from anywhere but this was a unicorn opportunity not likely to be repeated.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

What are the odds

In the summer of 1988, I worked at PPSB as a telephone solicitor.  I sold crummy magazine subscriptions to people.  I got the only job an experienced no-talent, not connected 19 yr old could get.

As you might imagine, a job like that has a revolving door of people.  I started with a guy named Alex who lived not to far away.  A couple of times we'd go to his place for lunch and have a few drinks to make our afternoons a little more pleasant.  He was a much heavier drinker than I, Cutty Sark being his drink of choice.  We really only did this two or three times before he got fired for being late or something.

Besides Alex, I can only remember a few others from that job.  There was Melissa who went to Northern University and was home for the summer.  She had  real boyfriend somewhere but hooked up with Alex to pass the time.  She lived within walking distance of the building.  Melissa was, as we'd say, good on the phones. 

Then there was Connie, who also was good at the phones.  She wasn't as comely as Melissa but had a steady live-in boyfriend.  She lived somewhere on Belmont, just west of the blue line station. 

Another girl named Marie was planning to go to medical school.   Connie, Marie and I went to Medussa's one night.  It was probably the only time any of us did anything outside of work.

Finally there was Kristen.  She split her time between San Diego and Chicago after her parent's divorce.  I had a crush on her but didn't do anything about it.



I've run into Melissa once since then.  I was walking somewhere downtown and she was outside her office building, presumable having a smoke.  She recognized me before I realized how I knew her.  She had also put some on weight which made me uncertain if it was her.

I've run into Connie and Marie probably twice as well.  Connie was my waitress one time at a bar & grill in the late 90s or early noughties.  Another time I was on a date and Marie and someone were sitting at the table next to me. 

I've run into Kirsten twice as well, both times at bars.  Once in the mid-90s and once in the early noughts.  Neither time was she willing to give me her number.

Clearly none of us made enough of an impression on one another to stay in touch in any way.  I have a vague memory of calling Marie once to see what she was up to, but again it didn't grow organically.

My point is, assuming everyone was always in Chicago during these 32 years, what are the odds that we would run into one another so seldom as we have?  I'll come back to that.

In 2008 I was in Krakow and I ran into Kimberly Chulis in the town square.  now we knew we were each going to be in Poland at the same time but had no plans to meet up.  In fact, if I had taken longer to get ready that day or she and her mom had lingered at breakfast, we might not have bumped into each other when we did.

My argument is that it is more unlikely for Kimberly and me to bump into each other than Alex, Melissa, Marie, Connie and Kristen not to run into each other in a longer time span, yet here we are. 


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Thursday, June 11, 2020

My attempt at a perfect BLT

While on quasi-vacation last week, I attempted to make a BLT that was more than just slapping Bacon, Lettice, and Tomato on bread.


We had already baked a bunch of bacon for breakfast with the idea that we would use the rest for BLTs.  The only problem with this is first, people pick at the bacon all day long, especially if it is out.  And second, we kept forgetting to get tomatoes from the store.



I should note that this was on the second to last day of our holiday and the only bread available was sourdough bread.  We also had a toaster oven instead of a regular toaster.  So I decided to try something different.  




First I buttered one side of each slice of bread.  Then I put this in the toaster oven for the default toast setting.  When it was done I put mayonnaise on the nonbuttered side, added the bacon, lettuce, and had to use avocado in lieu of tomato slices.







Overall it was rather yummy and a good first attempt.  Next time I either need a thicker cut of bread or not toast as long.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Quick Catch-up for June

Damn Nanny State:  My wallet has been missing since June 5th.  The irony is that I hadn't really needed my wallet during lockdown except for the few times I went shopping.  But on that Friday I had an Instacart delivery and they require seeing my ID.  It's frustrating because there is no one looking at me and saying, this guy might not be 21 years of age.

update:  the wallet was found 11 days later.

In addition to that my car battery was dead (we finally charged it Tuesday after it had been dead for at least 3 weeks).  And my bike has a flat tire.  It's like a country and western song if an urban hipster wrote it.

Every year we buy a cheap gazebo for our back deck.  And every year the damn thing gets destroyed by that one extra windy storm that usually occurs the week we are out of town.   This year we bought a metal pergola from Aldi's and it is a much better solution.  it fits the deck better too.  The only problems are it holds a ton of water in the small covering that came with it, and the design doesn't provide shade from the sides, where the sun comes through in the evenings.  Orienting the pergola 90 degrees isn't practical so we have to come up with some other solution.

I would like to get some cheap sectional outdoor furniture but everything is still so expensive.  I'm hoping I can catch a good clearance sale because I don't want to invest in anything too nice and have to worry about transporting it when we move south.




Moving South.  It is theoretically possible we could pull it off this fall but COVID-19 put us in a pause mode and now we are behind in terms of getting the kiddos into a school down there in a timely manner.  Plus given how the little douche nuggets destroy this house and make a mess

Electrical:  I've been trying to get an electrician over here to fix the power feed over the deck problem, more or less, since we moved in.  Usually, it's been cost prohibative but we finally decided to address is this summer since our plans to move are on hold.  We figure we have to deal with it when we sell so it is better to do it now.  



Every time I tried to schedule it, we'd get rain and it was unsafe to work with moving the power lines. The guy is scheduled (again) to come on Friday.  We shall see. 



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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

My first encounter with a Karen

My first summer home from college I got the only job an experienced no-talent, not connected 19 yr old could get: telephone soliciting (don't judge).

Sometimes my mom would sometimes pick me up after work.  She had a dark blue Cutless Ciera.  One time, I went to the parking lot and saw a dark blue Cutless Ciera and got into the passenger seat.  It was not my mom.  it was another mid-30s white woman.


As soon as I realized the error, I said "whoops, wrong car."  But Ms. Karen wasn't hearing any of it.  She was screaming panicking and not calming down.  Understandable from a certain point of view.  

ninety seconds later Karen's kids showed up.  They vouched for me that we all worked together and we had a big laugh.  It became a running joke back at work for the remaining two weeks that Lenny and Squggy still worked there.  

Heres' the thing:  Karen went from OMG YOU COULD ONLY BE TRYING TO ROB/RAPE/KILL ME -- NO OTHER EXPLANATION is PLAUSIBLE to "oh it's an honest mistake want to join us for movie night in 20 milliseconds."

the lady with the unleashed dog reminds me of my coworkers' mother.

I should add that Lenny and Squggy quit that job a couple of weeks later on principle.  Our employer, Roger, had this incentive program.  We were paid for 35 hours at $4/ hr which comes to $144 per week.  The details escape me but essentially we got an additional $1/hr and an extra 5 hours of pay if we didn't come in late, come back from lunch late and I think didn't need to leave early.  So an extra $56 in 1988 dollars isn't anything to sneeze at.

Still, Roger was being an asshole and probably circumventing some labor law but Lenny and Squggy were probably trying to get out of working all summer so they could instead enjoy the benefits of whatever suburban home they lived in.  

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Thursday, May 14, 2020

Knocked off one item on our Get The House Ready to Sell List

I addressed one of the items on our Get The House Ready to Sell Todo list.

I hired a handyman to fix the decorative railing.  I'm happy with the price but not with the scope of work.  Let me back up.

In order to make this work out for everyone, I had a handyman come over a few weeks ago and went over my Punch List.  This itself was a bit of a drag because they were eager to come over earlier than scheduled because it snowed and they couldn't do any work.  I was swamped that day so I stuck to our original Friday appointment (April 17th). 

Before
Then it took over a week to get the quote.  And then another week or so to schedule the work.  The weather was a factor (originally scheduled for May 5th but rain prevented outside work) but still, it stretched the time out.  I didn't mind much because  I wasn't in that much of a hurry to shell out money.

Anyway, they bunched a few things together and for this day of work (May 8th). 
  • Move electrical outlet from fence to deck
  • Raise outlet on deck
  • Reseal basement shower
  • Repair railing on top of front porch

The total cost was $800 (plus $80 in materials) but ended up being $600 because they finished early and couldn't do the shower because a part wasn't available. 

After
I should have been clearer in that I not only wanted the railing fixed but also sanded and painted.  This would have added to the cost and maybe it's a good thing that they didn't because I could certainly use my spare time to strip, sand and paint it myself, or outsource it to someone else.  I do think they could have put more wood putty on some of the other parts of the railing instead of focusing just on the North end. 

My only real complaint is they didn't do a spectacular job of post-work cleanup.  Also, I know they left with some supplies I paid for that they should have left behind but maybe someone else will benefit.

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Monday, May 4, 2020

Future House Hunting

So while our plans to move have been put on hold, that hasn't stopped me from looking at Real Estate Porn and seeing what type of homes are available in our presumed new location.

While Nightingale's parents and sister are in Mississippi, we are targeting Tennessee because of the taxes and better schools.  We were told a place called Collierville is the answer to our needs.  I know nothing about it except that it is essentially the Memphis version of Naperville.

Here are links to two homes that are well out of our budget.  We do not want to be mortgage poor and barely scraping by to make the rent.  If these houses drop significantly in price that will be a sign that the market is going down which might not bare well for selling our Chicago home, even though Real Estate is very regional, it is likely if a bust is coming, it would hit Chicago first than Collierville.

1289 Marsh Creek Ln  ($579,900)

I like the carport (porte-cochère) garage area.  Essentially there is a garage for our cars and a workshop area for me.  I also like the bathroom with the walkthrough shower (picture 13). 




The enclosed back porch looks interesting but not the kickass outdoor space I'd like or expect at this price point.  no good picture of the yard.



I do not like the entryway (pic 2) because of the wasted space above the front door.  The kitchen is nice but closed off to most of the house.




1330 Martway ($589,000)

It has a big driveway which is nice.  The space at the top of the entryway looks accessible which can come in handy when we get a cat.  The Kitchen is phenomenal and open to the rest of the house.  The bathrooms look large and nice.  Ther is a huge walk-in closet for NG.  The outdoor space is more open and could probably be built up.



As I said these houses are way out of our budget.  We want our next home to be affordable and paid off quickly so that we can retire as early as possible.  The version of these homes in our budget will likely have one fewer bedroom and perhaps even one fewer bathroom.  But I'm taking note of what I like in a house so that we can find something that approximates it in our price range with the hope that we can build on at a later point.

We aren't gonna add a bedroom but we might be able to update a kitchen or bathroom or build an awesome outdoor space.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Year Four at Big Audit is in the books

I made it through Year 4 at Big Audit.  All this means is that I get to keep 60% of my vested 401K firm matched contributions.  It's no accident the way they designed the proration.

Years of Vesting ServiceVested Percentage
less than 20%
2 but less than 320%
3 but less than 4 40%
4 but less than 5 60%
5 or more 100%


Every year on my anniversary, I look at the email that was sent to my "orientation" class.  There were eight of us, including myself.  Only myself and one other person are still here.  Even the HR person who sent the email and presided over the class is gone.

I don't remember the stats for the previous years but I'm certain even after the first year the number diminished.  I know one person changed careers to become a teacher.  She looked like a Carrie Bradshaw clone and had actually led me to the conference room and babysat me during my in-person interview two months before.

To say it has been a rough 4 years is an understatement.  My Office Nemesis and I have been having more and more issues.  It has got so bad that my PML forced his PML to get involved and our director even got involved.  So far it has mostly been Kangaroo Court Retorhic but there has been some improvement so I'll take it.


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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Staying put literally and figuratively

Like most of the world, we are under Home Quarantine because of the COVID-19 virus.  I don't have any hot takes or thinky-thoughts that anyone else doesn't have though I will try to write more here and at ChicagoNow for future alien anthropologists that explore our post-apocalyptic planet to consume.

Before this all begin, we were getting ready to put the house on the market.  We were trying to figure out when Nightingale could quit her job.  In order to not burn bridges, she needed to give at least a month's
notice.

We also needed to do a few more things around the house before we could officially put it on the market.  Our realtors felt like we should have listed ASAP but hat's what realtors always say.  in their line of work it a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.  But there was no way we could have had everything ready by March 1.  And our house shows better in optimal weather, especially with the lack of central air.

Below is a list of things we need to address, more or less in the order of priority.  Meaning if we could only do one thing, start with number one, etc.

at the same time, our biggest need is the need to purge.  I started by selling things on FB marketplace and Letgo, with mixed results.  I did manage to get rid of some big items and make a little money at the same time.   But I also got ghosted and the usual freaks and weirdos.

My thought is that I don't want to move things into a local storage center.  Then transport things to a Memphis area storage center.  and then to our new home once we finally find it.  Also, everything has a cost: do I pay to move it or replace it?  Or do we really need it at all?

I thought that FIL could fly up on a Tuesday, load a truck with the first batch of stuff we know we are keeping but don't need here (NG family dressers, the spare grill I bought that is still in the box, our free weights, etc) and then he could drive off early the next morning, with NG.  They would get down there in time to drop it off at storage and return the truck to the local U-haul, or even if they did it the next morning that's fine.  Then NG would fly back that Thursday afternoon, or even stay until Saturday.

Decorative Railing:  This has two fixes, expensive or cheap.  The cheap easy fix is to remove it.  And I am prepared to do so.  However,  part of me feels like it could be repaired and restored with some help.  It might mean hiring a pro and spending more than I should or if my MIL truly can help, we could do it together.



New Window Treatment for middle bedroom, living room bay window, and kitchen windows.

Paint the Basement: one consistent color of white.  There is no point in doing this while the kiddos are still running around making a mess down there.




Replace carpet in the basement.  There is no point in doing this before the basement gets painted.

Repair Plaster ceiling in the living room.  This is also easy or hard.  I don't know enough about it but I think we can get it cosmetically repaired quickly.  Or do it the right way which will take longer and cause more dust and clean up issues.  I even think we might get away with not doing anything about it but it will be the realtor's call.

Attic Steps painting:  this one is just a nice to have.  Right now the stairs are white but very dingy looking.  I think a dark grey color will make it look better and hide dirt.

Pipe Dream:  I would still like to fix the basement shower.  The problem it doesn't' seem like a cheap fix and I am not gonna pay for a bathroom reno that I won't get to enjoy.

Also, the fence between our house and our neighbor to the North of us is falling down.  At least three posts have rotted through so its likely at the point where replace versus repair costs about the same.  I suspect that if I were to check the survey, my property line is a little more north than it is right now.  which could be an issue because I don't want to screw the next owner out of land.

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Early spring arrival

Update:  This was drafted before the current COVID-19 Events and I forgot to hit publish.

Not only did we have a mild winter, but we are getting an early spring.  In all my years living in Chicago, I've always been cautiously optimistic about declaring an early spring.  We usually get one more snowstorm after the shovels have been put away.  As if Winter was trying to mock us while also using up the last of his snow supply.

But in the last decade or so, I'd say we have had very mild winters.  Sure we have had a couple of polar vortexes and a fair amount of snow, but nothing near what I remember as a kid.  Call it Climate Change or whatever, but the winters have not been as bad during the 10s as they were in the 00s or 90s.

That said, this is likely my last winter here.  We have decided to move to Tennessee.  We still have to officially put the house on the market, and for that, there are still some things to be done around the house.

But most importantly, we have to purge.  It costs a lot to move across state and every item might be a premium.  Everything we get rid of means room for something else in the moving truck.





I've been trying to sell things on LetGo and FB Marketplace with some relative success and headache.  Between getting ghosted and people trying to low ball you an already bargain-basement prices, it can sometimes be more trouble than it is worth.  On the other hand, I do enjoy when someone completes a transaction and something leaves our cluttered house and is replaced with spending money for Boris and Natasha. 

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