Monday, February 25, 2008

Our first day

Well, day one of our new jobs is done.

My commute downtown was pretty much without incident. I had local office orientation in the morning, was taken to lunch by some of my new associates, and spent the afternoon on a borrowed computer completing administrative stuff (my work computer was on backorder and hadn't arrived yet). All in all not a bad day, although it was odd dining at lunch with people who had to be at least 12-15 years younger than me - I may be the only non-manager with a child.

The commute home was interesting - I took two buses and while I didn't have to wait very long, it seemed to be a lot slower that the train/bus combo. Tomorrow morning's commute will be very interesting, as it is snowing buckets right now, with 6-8 inches forecast. It won't be extraordinarily cold, so I may hoof it to the train rather than risk buses on roads that may not be clean. We'll see.

The rest of the week will certainly keep me busy, with several different events scheduled, all of which include a free lunch. However, one of the first things the Rev. and I will have to decide is scheduling - this is not an 8 to 5 job. I may opt for leaving earlier in the mornings to get back in time to share dinner and give the boy his bath. The firm, in its drive to climb higher on the "best places to work" list, is supposed to be more open to alternative work arrangements, so that may work to our advantage. We'll see.

SARAH: My 1st day "on the job" started WAAAAAAYYYY too early. The small child who lives with us thought the pre-butt crack of dawn hour was more than sufficient to call it a good night's sleep. (I was awake enough to notice that the mug of water I put in the microwave was the source of the popping and sizzling--something about gold/metal paint not doing too well in there.)

Perhaps my early call wouldn't have been so bad if I hadn't spent the weekend with a bunch of lunatic quilters holed up in a Double Tree in West St. Louis County who's idea of a good time is "sleep? who needs sleep? There's a quilt top to finish." Followed by a crazed look in their eye. (and that was just me looking in the mirror!)

I did come home with one almost 1/2 way done and I didn't have any of my fabric pre-cut! (on account of the move and all) After I finished a block I stopped pouting over my fabric choice which was picked in duress after I had to give up the idea of what I wanted in my head when we went to find the fabric a few weeks back. Here's what I got finished:

Here's a shot of a several people's main square:

Squint at it. Isn't it cool how the same pattern looks so different with different fabric colors/hues?

Inspired by the call for snow and lots of it beginning this afternoon, Z man and I headed out this am for some shopping errands. I caught him on the beginning of his nap so I drove around exploring until he woke up. Didn't get lost cause I had "Mildred" with me, the GPS I was gifted with at Christmas so as to not get lost.

I gave her a name for two reasons. One a very kind friend of my who was in the car with me shortly after I got her would stop his side of the conversation every time she gave directions. I kept telling him to not worry about interrupting her, but it is not his nature to be rude. I named her so that I could tell all nice people who enter my car, "Mildred's the woman who tells me where to go and how to get there. I ignore her, so should you."

Secondly, when I'm standing at the back door and Frank's at the car, I can yell, "do you have Mildred?" instead of "Do you have the GPS?" Maybe our neighbors will think that's the boy's name for one of his toys he must have with him?

The most exciting thing that happened while were out is that at the end of our shopping, checking out in fact, while I was paying, Z, scraped into the cart, found a way to stand up! As I was doing my final transaction I looked over to find him almost eye to eye with me. Still strapped in mind you, and grinning. Twerp!

He went down early tonight, hopefully he won't want to get up to see the sun rise or watch the snow fall over night. Bed is calling…

(Tuesday update: Z did wake in the night, but slept until his usual time this am. Happy Mommy! Frank left early (we were still in bed). Snow not as deep as predicted, it's beautiful, but enough already! Z has a new weird habit. He likes to put his forehead on the hardwood floor and scoot along with it touching, sometimes making the oddest -his head on the floor- of noises. It is now nap time!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

next best thing?

To video is pictures, right?

What 1000 words would you put to these two?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Small comfort

The new job starts Monday, so I decided to do a test commute today to make sure there wouldn't be any surprises next week. I have several different planned routes, but all of them involve some exposure to the elements, whether it's a walk to the El or a wait for the bus. I tried walking to the train station first, which took about 15 minutes at a pretty brisk pace.

The only trouble was it was 10 degrees with a -5 wind chill. Yeah. Time to break out the long johns, scarf, and chap stick.

Once I get downtown, it's not so bad, even though I have about a 10-minute walk from the El to my office. The reason is the Pedway, which is basically a human underground hamster trail that connects many of the buildings downtown.

If today wasn't cold enough, the wind chills night will be between -20 and -30; tomorrow the high will be in the single digits. The weather folks say this is 20 degrees below normal for this time of year. Well, THAT'S a relief.

Seriously though, I'm definitely a city person. If this is the worst it gets, I can handle that. I think the Rev. has it worse because during this time of year she'll basically be housebound with Zane until it warms up (on the plus side, she says she can get a lot of things done).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Zane's latest trick

No other comments necessary, I think.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Getting settled in

Move + 1 week, and we finally have phone and internet. Ahhhh. We're not close to being moved in yet, but there has been progress. I'm hanging additional shelves in the Rev.'s closet (her closet has the most space in the house but had the shortest shelf and bar installed) so by the end of the day we can probably break down the rest of the wardrobe boxes. Our goal for this weekend is to get our closets and bathroom done.

Yesterday we got a view of the deep underbelly of Chicago bureaucracy - we went to get new driver's licenses and new tags for the Rev.'s car (mine is for sale). What an experience. Getting the plates required two forms to be filled out and going through three separate lines. Part of the process is handled by the Departement of Revenue and part is handled by the Secretary of State. At least it was all in one building.

The driver's license process was longer and more annoying. First you have to check in to see what sort of services you require and you're issued a ticket with a letter and number, then you sit and wait until your number is called. The Rev. was called right away; I had to wait another 30 minutes to be called, even though my number was only one greater than hers. After that ordeal, we had to pay, which was another line.

Then we had to get in line to take a written test (even though we had licenses from another state). And I do mean written - paper test, desks, red pens (ONLY!) for making your answers, scowling proctors, the whole nine yards (we had the option to take the test in Polish or Spanish, but we declined). After taking the test, we had to get back in the test line to have the test graded, by hand. We actually got in trouble for talking in line while waiting for our grades. After getting our grades, we got in another line, that as far as I can tell had no purpose other than to get us to the final line where our pictures were taken. The whole ordeal took about 1 1/2 hours. The boy behaved admirably the whole time.

And after all that, we had to go to another office to buy a Chicago vehicle sticker (a privilege of living in the city). Unlike the license bureau, they didn't take out of state checks, but took all credit cards.

There are still little irritations with the condo here and there. ComEd hung a sign on the front gate yesterday threatening to cut off the power next month because the electrical contractor didn't make the appropriate sacred incantations. Of course the developer claimed there was no problem and would get right on it. Meanwhile, we're still waiting for punchlist items to be completed.

Well, back to work.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hot Chocolate and Expensive Internet Connections

So, I'm sitting in a nearby Starbucks, having spent a fortune on hot chocolate and and internet connection (what a racket!). But I've been going CRAZY not checking email since last Friday (it's only Tuesday, so it must be some kind of modern disease.) Frank went to the library yesterday and checked up on things. He tried to go again today, but it is Lincoln's birthday, so it's closed. Phone in home is yet to be hooked up, but we did get the DSL package of stuff delivered last Friday. Soon....

Yes, we are here, have been since Friday. Today it is snowing. Lake Effects Snow Advisory until midnight--something about 1-2 inches per hour in the "lake effects bands" whatever. it's pretty and only mildly troublesome as you are driving. As a bonus it gives some traction on the six inch ice ruts in the parking area behind our new home. I think we already have 5 inches on top of the 6-7 of ice in our parking area. (Yesterday we had to push the car to get it out of an ice rut in the alley...)

Seems it may be Saturday at the earliest before we have phone/DSL. ugh. I knew I relied upon this a lot, but w/o TV either I'm feeling completely out of the loop! Hopefully by this Saturday we'll have service that we can use w/o having to find a place to hook up. There's a debate between the builder/ developer and Frank as to whether or not ATT will do the inside hook up or if he needs to call his electrician. Being the second of four to move into the building, there are still bugs being worked out.

We are in, but still in shambles. Zane's room is 95% done minus pictures to be hung on the wall. The washing machine arrives on Thursday. Yippee! I think we'll make it until then. Seriously, all the basics are covered. We have heat. We have electric. We have hot water. I can make a meal and take a shower. I have very little to complain about other than "stuff" is highly overrated. It's expensive to move and then you have to find a place to put it. I hope I remember this months (instead of days) ahead of the next time we move.

Miracle of miracles we managed to get a Dr.'s appointment for the boy very quickly. Upon recommendation of our real estate attorney who has three small girls under the age of 6, we are going to a Dr. at North Western which is located down town. Evidently the real estate attorney's children were in there today too. According the the Dr. Zane's ear infection continues to "improve", but he now also has a common cold. He's hacking away and his babbling is hoarse. poor kid. He lunged to play with another kid at the Dr.'s office. I will find a play group soon.

Thank you to all who are thinking about us and sending warm thoughts our way!

Friday, February 08, 2008

We're not worthy!

Just a quick shout out to the movers. Not only did they safely navigate our stuff through the narrow streets of Chicago, but the driver also managed to back a big freaking moving truck about 250 feet into the alley behind our new home without taking out any utility poles or dumpsters (the alley is about 13 feet wide and the truck is about 10 feet wide). The only wrinkle was some looney importers on the corner who are used to using the alley as their own private loading dock.

And, the estimate was within $100 from the actual charges. Pretty damn spiffy work.

So, if you're planning a move from central Missouri in the future and need a mover, we're have a great recommendation for you. Just leave a comment or email offline.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

It's on the truck

That has to be one of my all-time favorite salesman excuses for why an ordered product wasn't delivered on time. In our case, however, it literally is true. After a marathon night packing session Tuesday night, we called it quits around midnight, set the alarm for 4 AM, got a few hours of sleep, then resumed stuffing our lives into boxes.

The movers showed up on time and were very efficient. They were also grateful to us because we had culled a large pile of stuff that we weren't taking, but it wasn't trash either. As my sinister-in-law said the night before, "somebody could start a new life (a good life) with all the stuff you're leaving behind!" The movers culled that pile further by picking through it to find treasures for themselves to take.

As for the picked-through leftovers, the church very very very graciously offered to cart it away for us. Thanks, Bob and Dwain! Meanwhile, another church member showed up with fresh chocolate chip cookies, and another member carted off most of the opened (but still edible) food from the fridge and pantry. Good people.

Anyway, the truck pulled out around 3 PM or so. We spent another hour doing the final walk through and clean-up (I use the term loosely), then packed up our cars with the stuff we wanted to keep with us, stuffed Zane into a space amongst the clutter, said a last few tearful goodbyes, and headed to St. Louis for an overnight rest.

The plan is for me to drive up to Chicago today to meet the truck when it arrives Friday morning. Sarah, Zane, and "Grumpy" (Sarah's Dad) will drive up on Friday. The old man got a senior discount on Amtrak, so his trip back will be on the cheap.

Did I mention the weather? Monday (our originally scheduled moving day) was clear and beautiful, but we changed it last week after it became abundantly clear that two full-time workers with a toddler can't get much packing done without extra time and/or extra help - as it turned out, we needed plenty of both. Yesterday was cold and nasty, with early drizzle changing to freezing rain and then to snow, but just enough to make things messy.

Meanwhile, Chicagoland got hit with a mini-blizzard on Wednesday, although the city seemed to escape the worst of it - maybe about 4 inches total, as opposed to the 12-14 inches that the northern suburbs were pounded with. Today is supposed to be cold, but only flurries. Friday should be a bit warmer, but still cold enough for flurries. What fun!