Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We didn't sell the Chicago house the first day it was on the market, big surprise... If you've got ideas for Tech Direction projects for this semester my ears are open... I really wish someone would resurrect LoudTwitter... This makes the fifth year for "The Crazy Scheme" at work. I guess maybe it's not so crazy anymore... Really nobody seems to be using AIM anymore, I wonder if seeing it on my monitor makes me look old to people... Really I think they could just go back to making The West Wing like they have with Futurama... We officially now have a "basement cat." She's black too like the ones you see on the internetz. We won't have her for much longer I think... I tried backing up this computer with one of those snazzy external hard drives. Problem is, I can't be sure it worked. Seems like it missed some stuff... At least once a day these days I find myself thinking "Dad won't be calling"... I watched another Rubicon. After three episodes I still don't know if it is going to make the cut in our house... They've torn up the sidewalk all around Warner Hall. When they did it I guessed it was because the roof was leaking on the offices below. Turns out I was right... The reason I was backing up the computer is that a little over two weeks ago it bricked, then yesterday it just started up again; too spooky for me... I think that the radio guys here in town will never run out of things to say about the Steelers. It's endearing... I might be going into Goodwill withdrawal. Maybe tomorrow I will take something from my closet here... Like 14 days ago I said I needed 20 more days of A game before I could lose it - so if there's anything you need me to do I'd shoot for the next couple of days...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Almost There

In my original plan this was the week the house would have come onto the market. That's why we have language like "original plan" so as to be able to distinguish it from the current plan or even from how things just come out. As it is the house could list next week, not bad as far as I'm concerned, but I think actually it won't. The realtor seems to believe that at this point we might wait for the first week of school. Too many shoppers and brokers away on vacation right now.

The last couple of days have been some of the hardest in the world of sorting. My sister and I had been accumulating all of the "kryptonite" in one room so as to be able to keep going. The last two days have been that room. Things like my parent's yearbooks, all the letters I'd ever written to them that they saved, awards and commendations, and hundreds and hundreds of family photos. Much more difficult than clothes or office supplies.

But, two days later and it's all gone in a "keep" box or to Goodwill or to trash. I think the hardest of all was to put mounted family photos in the trash. But in every case I have the photo and don't want the enlargement. Unfortunately, Goodwill isn't going to want even really nicely framed photos of my family - and the way my dad did them there isn't even a frame to donate.

The contractors, who were going to be finished last Wednesday, are still working. They've had to redo a couple of things and the weather didn't really cooperate with some of the exterior work so it's dragged out a little. We have a white tornado cleanup scheduled for tomorrow and thankfully the interior work is complete but for one item. Tomorrow they will work on finishing the exterior work and then the realtor is going to have to coordinate completing that one last item. Even with the delays I am pretty happy with their work and the interaction.

We'll see how I feel when I get the final invoice.

Looking back I can't think how this would have gone if... if I hadn't owned a truck and lived close enough to drive in... if my sister and my wife hadn't been able to take the time out of their lives too... if my cousin Susan hadn't been able to pitch in so much... if this had happened during the academic year instead of in my enormous break... if my boss and colleagues hadn't been so totally flexible... if "hot" wasn't the extent of the difficult weather... it's been tough, but I can't lose sight of how tough it could have been (and still could be).

We haven't done "to did" in a while, here's today's (and thanks to my wife and sister for the big pitch in):

  • ordered the next "special" trash pick up - hopefully the last.
  • called the appraisal person to set a meeting
  • went looking for plastic tarps for the garage - failed
  • went to the post office to forward the mail - failed
  • hauled some trash for the special
  • made a lunch date tomorrow with a cousin who's looking out for me
  • placed some ornamental lights in the yard
  • dropped off like a zillion wire hangars at the dry cleaner
  • made a second attempt at the mail forwarding and succeeded
  • ran some surplus medication for donation
  • took my sister and my nephew to the airport
  • tried to transfer my dad's iPass to my name - failed
  • took a totally understated subtle birdhouse assembly to a neighbor's
  • finished off the back bathroom
  • staged the master bedroom
  • staged the second bedroom
  • straightened out the room we're using for cleaning
  • completed assembly of some chairs my sister had recovered for staging
  • hung curtains in the dining room
  • hung curtains in the living room - decided we need another panel
  • finished clearing the basement (out to the garage to sort tomorrow)
  • Mrs. Boevers (among other things) staged the family room
  • went for replacement light bulbs and that extra curtain panel
and yet, compared to other days it felt like I did very little.

Just a few hours left. Fingers crossed. Maybe some pics tomorrow.

Friday, August 06, 2010

To Did

I'm not making a whole lot of progress on the Dad front from here at home base. I did finally go through his current mail and pay his bills. I can't decide if I should go ahead and change his billing address or depend on the post office forwarding things to me. All in all the process was pretty uneventful, although I did find what looks like a fairly significant unpaid hospital bill. It looks like he was waiting for the insurance people to act on it, so I guess that's the tack I will take too for the time being.

To date I haven't waded into the Medicare/health insurance morass. At the house his medical billing records filled a shelf space about three feet wide. Down deep I am hoping since he stopped going to doctors that the thing will spin down on its own, but somehow I don't think that's too likely.

I'm getting reports on the renovation work on the house. Everything seems to be proceeding to plan. My cousin says he thinks there's two or three more work days left, which puts it right on the schedule we'd talked about. Be nice if that comes off without problems.

We thought we might have a buyer for the car, but now it looks less likely - so I still have that to figure out. Someone suggested taking it to CARMAX. That might be the simplest overall solution, but I can't help think we'll take a big dollar hit for going that way. Not sure you get all that much value from a dealer when you come in without a trade. Still, with the insurance and the registration up at the end of the month maybe I should just look at the hit as a convenience charge and move on already.

I'm still looking for suggestions on a couple of things. I still need someone to look after the gardens once the house lists. I think I need someone to look in on the house itself periodically. Both of those sound like actual businesses, but I am striking out finding someone to fill the bill. If you know anyone/anything...

Be real nice to be able to button up the "on site" part of this gig by the 18th. Work here is approaching here making the light at the end of the tunnel really look like a fairly convincing oncoming train. Everyone has been great so far, but I don't want to overtax their good nature. Fingers crossed. Guess we'll see.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Time Marches On

"The evidence shows that the movement of marriage away from a gendered institution and toward an institution free from state-mandated gender roles reflects an evolution in the understanding of gender rather than a change in marriage. The exclusion [of gays from marriage] exists as an artifact of a time when the genders were seen as having distinct roles in society and in marriage. That time has passed."

Read more: here

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Ok, we'll try this even though it's been a while... Hooray for CA and the Prop8 decision, of course now we all get to watch the appeals... My desktop computer shit the bed, all indications point to a fried motherboard, here's hoping the hard drive is intact (remember to backup, people)... I have a car and a house for sale in the Chicago area. If either of those things interest you please get in touch... I went to work a couple of days this week, all things being equal it's pretty hard to get motivated - and, lo and behold, they are managing fine without me... The realty market here in Pittsburgh is pretty dead this week. We were all concerned and then our realtor told us not to worry "it's not you, it's everyone;" Not so sure that's actually better... Against all preparation the first week of school is going to be a doozy for production again... We booked one Vegas trip for August and I booked another for October, now all I need is to win the Logo/MLE contest for a small straight (although anyone in Vegas would know not to try to fill an inside straight - and how could anything straight be attributed to Logo?)... I think it is quite likely one of our cats will be going to the shelter by the end of the week. This is one of a myriad of things I am sad about... HDNet is so far the best FIOS discovery. They run Star Trek: Enterprise back to back in the morning, and this week they added Torchwood - both without commercials... Using my laptop as a desktop a little bit makes it look like it is on a hospital bed - cables running everywhere... My other page has gone into complete suspended animation through the month of July. I am trying to get someone to pick it up for the fall, but a little bit I am afraid it might be over... Everyone seems excited and eager for the fall semester to begin. Me less so... I've been getting an unusual number of Facebook connect requests from people I don't know, one would think they can't all be incoming frosh...

Monday, August 02, 2010


The work on the house has begun. One (or two) of my cousins have graciously volunteered to stop by and keep me up to speed. Apparently today some of the window glass was replaced and the wallpaper came down in the kitchen; so that's some positive contractor karma. Of course on the other end of the spectrum he sent me an email asking me where the paint was. It seemed pretty clear to me from his proposal that the paint was included. Maybe not. Probably a hashtag for such things: #ifthatstheworst...

I don't think I am going to make the full adjustment to being back before I have to go out there again. A little bit my vacation this summer is like Inception:

I was on summer vacation.
I took on pre-college, a vacation from vacation.
My dad passes and I skip out on pre-college to go work on the house: vacation from my vacation from my vacation.
I work until I am burned out and take a break: vacation from my vacation from my vacation from my vacation.

That's four layers deep - limbo, right? Soon I'll be going back and I guess the layers start to unwind. Too bad I don't get the benefit of the time distortion with each level - this week at home could be like 100 years in real time. Instead I look up and July is gone. I never really even made my to-do list for the summer. Good thing I didn't, it would have gone right in the bin anyway.

I think I see the endgame coming. I only need to figure out a few things. I need to find out how to sell a car...

Anyone in the Chicago area interested in a 2007 Camry w/15,000 miles?

I need to find someone to keep up the gardens on the property after the house goes up for sale...

Anyone in the Highland Park area got a kid that wants to make a few bucks?

I need to figure out what to do with a bunch of artifacts/collectibles that really only have sentimental value. Beyond that I only need for the house to sell. Now, in the worst real estate market in memory I have not one, but two homes for sale. #ifthatstheworst...

With the endgame comes something that finally feels like a list, even if the "end" which at this point is getting the house on the market isn't really the end. Still it's something.