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Archived Entries from February 2011


Garbage Disposal

The last piece of the kitchen appliance puzzle has come into place today. My new 5/8ths horsepower, uber-quiet garbage disposal.

Gone are the days of the $70 1/3 horsepower "badger" pieces of crap that a) can't beat Serge's funky plumbing, b) break after several years, and c) are loud heavy and obnoxious.

I took the plunge and got a good one this time.

Installation was a snap.

Remember, I'm seeing the forest now, and being patient. I didn't swear once. I would swear, however, that my blood pressure never went above 120/80 the entire time I was installing it. I even replaced the collar mount thing on the sink and re-wired the whole business.

It is whisper quiet. I'm not kidding. Between it and the new dishwasher, the plumbing noise in the kitchen is now close to nothing at all.

I can't wait to run some chicken bones or something down it.

Anyway.

I'm at that bad point in the semester where I'm ready to drop out and be rid of school. I got a few points taken off an assignment and I think the grading was unfair and that I followed the directions and the instructor is not just being overly picky, but somewhat hypocritical. I just need to hang on for a couple more months.

Work is getting weird again. Now it appears that maybe the state civil service goons are going to try to make ALL information technology-related positions on campus transform from academic professional positions to civil service positions. It is kind of scary that they have carte blanche to just make sweeping changes without any sort of discussion one way or the other.

Probably just another bump in the road, but one that, again, wastes my time, and institutional time, and energy and effort, when it would be SO much easier to just let me do my stupid job.

Posted: Thursday, February 24, 2011, 4:12 am
Mood: Combative | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Bit of a Turnaround

Maybe it is the snow melting. Maybe it's the almost 60-degree temperatures the past week or so. Maybe I'm just finally coming to the realizations that my wife (and mother-in-law) wish I would have come to years ago.

There's this injustice part of me that I need to just let go. I realize that there is a time that we as a society need to fight "injustices" (see Egypt) but there are other times where it probably makes the most sense to just shut up and look out the window and be happy.

Between the situation at the local school, the situation with the entire state of Illinois, as well as the problems up north in Wisconsin, I could probably get myself worked up into a foaming-at-the-mouth aneurysm in a few minutes. But what for?

We live in a nice house. We have a sound roof over our head. We have two cars that work fine. I'm not in any danger of losing my job, and the redhead isn't either. The kids do well in school.

Let the rest of it go, Mike, and do an even better job of seeing the forest.

I think that sort of a realization is coming because of a somewhat significant milestone. For years and years I've promised my wife "just one more month and we'll be on top of everything." I say that every month, it seems, for the past however-many years. Just one more month.

Well, that month is this month. And I'm dead serious.

We've spent the past year making a number of very significant lifestyle changes, and also a lot that might not seem very important. And we limped through last summer, go through last fall, survived all that the holidays and end of the year entail, and did a little sweeping up of some things after the first of the year.

And I look ahead to March, and there it is. There's the month where this all comes to fruition. No more "one more month."

I can stop looking backwards and worrying about the future and start to embrace the future, financially speaking, of course. 2011 is going to be our year.

Anyway.

I had a pretty good weekend. We had friends over Saturday night so we cleaned the house pretty good during the day Saturday, and I always love it when the house is nice and clean.

Oh, and I installed a new dishwasher Saturday as well.

The old dishwasher has been on its last leg for months. First the top washer arm stopped working (and yes, I took it apart, and the water was being pumped up there and nothing was blocking the arm--I have no idea what the heck the deal was). Then it would fill with water and run the first cycle, and then empty the water and keep emptying the water even as the next fill cycle was running, so you had to unlatch and re-latch it to get it to stop emptying otherwise it would run the whole rest of the wash cycle dry. That was a pain in the neck, but tolerable--you just had to be around when the dishwasher was on (no turning it on and leaving for work). The final straw was that it would start to fill up, and not stop filling up, and just pour water all over the place. Okay, time to go.

Of course, my OCD was never okay with our nice fancy new black appliances being sullied by an old off-white dishwasher. So now we're all black and there is order in the universe once more. Oh, and the new dishwasher rocks. It is really whisper quiet (I didn't think it was doing anything the first time I turned it on) and the dishes come out absolutely spotless. I even spent $60 and got a two year extended warranty that starts after the manufacturer's 1-year warranty expires. I'm quite happy--I was really getting sick of washing dishes by hand. Yay!

The final piece to the puzzle is a new garbage disposal. I was originally going to get a full one-horsepower model, but I did some research and read a bunch of reviews and I think we're going to go with the 5/8-horsepower higher-end insinkerator (not the badger series, which is what I always used before). The fancier one has dual-speeds and goes both directions (alternates, so stuff doesn't stay stuck in it) and is supposed to be lots quieter and got all good reviews at Lowe's web site.

Happy that we can grill again. Think I'll go make myself a burger... (Playing hooky from work today to boot...).

Posted: Monday, February 21, 2011, 5:20 pm
Mood: Awesome | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Hanging On

I don't know if seasonal depression is causing my good moods to short circuit or what the deal is.

Work is running me ragged lately. But it's a good ragged. I'm doing more fun stuff. I'm taking more of a leadership role. I'm not just doing web pages, not that there is anything wrong with that. I'm fitting into the big picture. It's cool. It's a lot of meetings, which I despise on principle, but it's pretty cool.

I'm having a hard time staying positive right now, however. I'm frustrated with the baloney at our local school. I'm frustrated with our continuing problems at the University. I'm frustrated with the state of Illinois.

I tell myself to let it pass by. The redhead still gets part of a raise each year because of the negotiated union thing. The "retention" increase I got last year is worth several years' worth of 3% raises.

But I still feel like I'm looking over my shoulder. What is going to break? What is going to happen to the redhead's job? What happens if something crazy happens in our department or college and I end up without a chair when the music stops? It's frustrating being scared all the time.

And I should qualify that a bit. I'm not normally scared. I think we're in good shape. I think the seasonal depression is starting to get to me, and it is manifesting itself by magnifying problems that are already in existence but are perhaps not as catastrophic as they might seem.

People are fleeing the University in droves. Lots headed to Wisconsin, of all places. One of my very talented colleagues just took a job at Northwestern.

He's young, and single. Lots more difficult to do that with children, especially teenagers.

But I guess we can if we have to. The University still would have to give me 12 months to find another job if the worst possible thing ever happened. It'd suck, but we could do it.

It just sucks that I even have to consider such a thing.

Anyway.

Sure wish the tax return would show up. I'm sick of washing dishes every night. Well, or the nights that my darling wife doesn't do them. Without a dishwasher it feels like a person does nothing but wash dishes...

It'd be nice if my sore throat would go away as well. Blech.

Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011, 4:36 am
Mood: Cough, Cough | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Underwhelmed

So Snowmageddon came and went, and we skipping work on Wednesday, but the whole thing was, well, sort of lame. We didn't get the fun 20 inches of snow that people got. Instead we had frozen rain for 12 hours that coated everything with 2 inches of ice but that was about it.

The power never actually went out--we had that one slight dimming of the lights and that was it. We were without Internet access almost all day Wednesday, which sort of stunk, but we dealt with it. Work Thursday and Friday was really hectic--this was not a good week to pick for having a day off in the middle of it. Oh well.

I took some pictures of the ice on the trees, but none of them really turned out well. Here's a picture of some icicles on the front of the playhouse. The cool part of this is that the icicles were nonexistent on the left side of the roof edge and grew in length as they went further to the right.

The only nice side effect of this weather is that we drove the new car to work for the rest of the week, since it has bigger tires and is theoretically "safer."

Made the trek to Bamba for lunch today, and it was awesome, as always.

I don't know much else. Looking forward to dinner at the Schmidt's house in Mahomet tomorrow evening. Just looking forward to the weekend in general. Sheesh.

Posted: Friday, February 04, 2011, 10:53 pm
Mood: Happy | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


Snowmageddon!

Just one of the fun terms I've heard for our impending snowy doom over the next few days. I'm also a bit partial to snownami and snowpocalypse.

At least the freezing rain is more frozen and less rain so that it isn't accumulating on power lines and such too badly (yet). Here's the river birch in our front yard:

Power is still on. The Internet is still attached to our house. Plenty of beer. I'm not complaining.

Even though my laptop is in the shop and I have to sit at my ancient G4 PowerMac 733 MHz that is seemingly slow as molasses.

A few more pictures that I forgot to post earlier. The first is a "finished" shot of our dining room after getting all the paint on the walls. Very happy with how it turned out. House should be almost perfect before graduation bash in May.

I finally unloaded our old, monstrous ProScan Tube TV in the playroom and got another flatscreen to put down there. It's a 42-inch LCD with 1080p resolution. So it's slightly smaller than the plasma upstairs, but I'm really happy with the way it looks, and I think for Alex's XBox games the picture is even better (the plasma is 720p).

Eventually I'll mount it on the wall and all that goodness, but for now it is just nice to have that behemoth tube TV the heck out of the way.

Yay! Blogging two days in a row for the first time in forever! I'll try to keep it up.

Uh oh. Little brown out action. Need to post because the power may be going DOWN...

Posted: Wednesday, February 02, 2011, 1:33 am
Mood: Relaxed | No comments | Article URL | Post a comment
 


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