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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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Short Winter, no running goals and pushing our luck


January is essentially over.  February is a short month although this year it has an extra day.  And while there is no guarantee that March and April will be snow-free or even snow-lite, it does feel like this will turn out to be a mild winter.  Which is good for a guy who no longer owns a snowblower.



We might be pushing our luck a little bit.  Not only do I sneak out during my workday to pick up the kids from school, but I also need to sneak out a little early to get them to Tae Kwon Do twice a week.
 Unfortunately, Boris got kicked out of TKD so now we need to come up with something else for him to do to burn energy and not sit around all day watching screens. 



While I decided not to have a running goal for 2020, I still intended to run whenever the mood and opportunity suit me.  Today is the 28th of January and I've run 25 miles this month.  I'm hoping to get a run in tomorrow but even if I don't run another mile this month, I will only be 6 miles under the MPD objective of last year.

Update 01/30/2020:  I just got back from a 4 mile run with Mr Lumpy.  That brings my total up to 29.5 for January, so I was short by 1.5 miles without even trying.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Optimal Parking Spot

After attending public school for two months now, I have some observations.  It only took me a week to figure out the drop off and parking situation.  Basically, you want to find the spot that is closest to the building but farthest from all the Drop Off Drama.

If we leave the house before 7:20 and everything lines up correctly, we can snag this spot.  My kids love it because there is a ramp for them to jump onto, which avoids any mud.  This won't work once snow covers the ground.  I like it because I can use the driveway of the abandoned house across the street to execute a three-way turn and head back the way I came.  Alternatively, if I have a clear enough path in front of me, I can head north and pick up Cullom Avenue without waiting too long.


The afternoon pickup is a little more tricky.  Morning drop off is between 7:30 and 7:45, but for some reason, afternoon pickup is precisely at 2:45 pm.  Since we don't have After Care, I have been essentially taking a break from work and going to pick them up.  In order to minimize time away from the work desk,  I leave at 2:30, usually get there between 2:35 and 2:40 so I don't have to wait too long.  One time I was parking at exactly 2:45 so when I walked up to pick up, Natasha thought I was late.  I tried to explain that I usually was just one of the first parents in line but today I was at the back, but she wasn't having any of that. 

I can usually get the kids and be back at my desk by 3pm.  Sometimes it goes a little over if there is heavy traffic or the kids take their sweet time getting to and into the car.  We only have to do this for four more months so hopefully there aren't any conflicts with work between now and then.

Now for those observations.  There is always that one parent who parks blocking the sidewalk because their little snowflake cannot walk two more car lengths to the empty spot...or they don't want to park that far for reasons.  There are also a few people who either don't know or don't care how to drive through a round-a-bout. 



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Monday, January 6, 2020

New Running Shoes for 2020 and a little boyond


Woot had a sale so I decided to buy these Saucony Men's Guide ISO 2 TR.  I got two pairs so I can hopefully remember to alternate them between runs.

Back in the day, I would have bought one pair, run in them until my mileage was between 300 and 500 miles, and then try to find another pair.  Usually, by then the price had come down because the next model would be released. Being on a budget, I'd push closer to the 500 miles.  Even then, I was going through 2-3 pairs of shoes a year.

Now I have the budget to buy two pairs at once but I don't have the running stamina.  Even at a conservative 300 miles per pair, these two should last me through 2021 and probably a little beyond.


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Friday, January 3, 2020

Happy first few days of 2020

I hope 2019 wasn't too terrible for you.  It couldn't end fast enough for me.  For some reason, years that end in 9 always turn out craptastic for me.

Since Nightingale's parents moved to Olive Branch, MS, holidays have defaulted to going there because Younger_Sister is also nearby.  As the kids get older each road trip is a little easier but ultimately it is still me just watching my kids in a different zip code.

We typically drive to Mt Vernon, Ill and spend the night at a Drury Inn, which apparently is halfway to a lot of destinations.  One time I struck up a conversation with this guy who was going to Virginia Beach from Colorado!  He told me he drives 13 hours, comes to this hotel, and then gets up at 3 in the morning to drive the next 13 hours!

The Drury is nice in that it includes a buffet dinner and breakfast.  Nothing fancy, or even remotely healthy, but it saves us the trouble of getting back in the car to search for food after having the kids strapped into their car seats for 4+ hours.  And it has a nice indoor/outdoor pool that is good for running down my kids' battery so they sleep.  So we burn an extra 2 days for travel but it is better than being in the car for 10+ hours.

It wasn't too bad this trip.  The in-laws managed to keep their political viewpoints under wraps until almost the last day (usually they break by midweek).  My FIL doesn't like his quiet routine disrupted and all the grandkids running around getting into things did get him to go full OLD_MAN_GET_OFF_MY_LAWN mode before not too long, but otherwise, it was one of the better trips in recent years.



That said, ever time  I think moving down there won't be so bad, BIL Jethro does a good job of talking me out of it by simply opening his mouth and spewing Fox News talking points.  I remind myself that he is just voicing out loud what a lot of people down there are thinking inside.

We are being pressured to move down there.  Nightingales' dad is 70 and he is having health issues.  the sister that lives down there already isn't capable of taking care of him, especially now that she has an almost 2-year-old.

We do have to move.  Our house has some warts that just aren't worth the money to remediate especially since our school system is okay, but not great.  I don't want to make it sound like our house is terrible nor do I want to dive into all the issues.  Let's just start with Air Conditioning.  We only have window units and it is cost-prohibitive to install space pack, Mitsubishi wall units or even standard central air.

The issue is if we move to a good school system, we get less house.  Or we can move to the suburbs where we don't know anyone and Nightingale's commute would suck even more.  She would likely have to quit her job and if she's gonna do that, then why not move South and enjoy a lower cost of living.

The other issue is my mom.  The smart, adult thing would be to sell her home and use the money to purchase a decent home that could comfortably house her, me, Nightingale and the kids.  But she won't do that.  Instead, we'll move to Mississipi and then she'll decide to join us or die and I'll have to come back and deal with all of the probates.  Alternatively, she could sell her home, and we could pay this one off and she could live here and we'd become snowbirds.

But no.  She'll wait until we move down there and then either come visit and never leave, while still footing the utilities for her home, or she'll die and I'll have to come back here and try to settle things up over weekends while incurring hotel and airfare costs.


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