That was the Week – July 6th through July 12th 2015

My post where I highlight bits and bobs that happened to me throughout last week.

Car Dealers, rain and buses:

Tuesday I needed to leave my car at the dealer all day so they could do a recall. The dealer is not far from my place and even closer to the bus stop near my place. Every night when I go to bed I promise myself that I am going to take the bus to save gas/money.  I never do take the bus. After they checked my car in I was told I could wait for the shuttle. I had other plans. It was raining. This may be the first time I have ever mentioned this on the, which frankly would shock me, but I love love love walking in the rain. Give me anything from a mist to a shower and I’ll be out in that for hours. I knew a bus would be coming in a about ten minutes so I slowly walked to the bus stop. I did forget that the bus took an extra 15 minutes to get to work so I was later than I should have been.  Hope my boss doesn’t read this.

When I took the car in they gave me to possibilities. It would be an easy fix and only take an hour or they would need to have the car all day.  I waited all day but never did get a call from them saying it was ready.  When I left work I still hand’t heard from them.  So I hoped on the bus going the other way and went to the dealer since it’s on the way. If nothing else I thought I could get an update. Maybe I should have called.  When I got there the guy gave me the keys. Not sure why they never called and I didn’t asked.

Goodbye to an inspiring internet friend

On Wednesday I read the very sad news of a death.  I didn’t know Lisa in real life. I had only been reading her blog since 2012.  She died after a short battle with an aggressive cancer.  After the initial wave of sadness, two thoughts kept going through my head.  Way too young and way to fast. She was only 54 and she had only been diagnosed about 7 months earlier.  I never doubted that she would beat it. From reading her blog I got the impression of someone who just conquered life and got what they set out to get. I was certain that I would be reading about her life in Paris for years to come.

As a kind of tribute I have been going back and reading some of her older posts. I knew the basics of her story but more has been filled in. She found herself at 43 with no marriage and no kids. So she decided to work toward her dream of living and writing in Paris. She moved so she could save money and starting working up the type of career that could be done in Paris. It took almost 2 years but in late 2006 she was living in Paris. In what seems like no time at all she met the man of her dreams and was married into a pre-made French family.

I found some great quotes from the post in 2005 where she announced her plan to live in Paris:

What I want more than anything is to EXPERIENCE more of life, more of the world.  I want to create a life that is BIGGER than the norm, where I have the opportunity to meet people and go places and experience things that will take me beyond my own back yard. As I near the end of my years, I want to be able to look back and have no significant regrets about not having done things that were really important to me.  I want to be someone who is bold, who is able to take chances and willing to experience new things.  I want to broaden the scope of my horizons.

And:

It’s not that I want to run AWAY from my life — it’s not a bad life at all and I’m very blessed in many ways.  It’s that I am now running TOWARDS my life.  I think we all have to decide what our lives are about… and I think mine is about a JOURNEY, both in the literal and figurative senses.  I am more into the process than the outcome now.

She accomplished her goal. She lived her dream. It may have only been a for a too short 8 years but how many of us live our dream for 8 minutes let alone 8 years. Just imagine if she had taken the easy road and just kept putting of attaining her goal.

She could change her life after 40 so why can’t I.. or you.

Mr Von grumpy meow:

Usually Saturday, or as it more correctly known around my place Caturday, is one of Jobu’s favorites. If I am around I open up the balcony door and let him just hang out out there. He loves it. He sits out among the plants and sleeps. He basks in the sun and watches people go by.  But sometimes we get Mr Grumpy Meow like last Saturday. He just moped around. He would whine at me to let him out on the balcony then he would come back in a minute later to whine some more. He actually can be pretty good at communicating what he wants. If it’s food he will run over to his food dish. If he is having his poopy trouble he’ll run over by the liter box. I think he wants me to squeeze it out or something. Silly cat. For four hours he moped and whined. I thought maybe something was wrong with him but how do you tell. Finally he went to sleep and the rest of the day was happy and playful.

That was the week: June 8th – 14th 2015

Recently when reading on of the blogs I followed I ended up reading a blog post from way in the past, something like 2006. It was a mundane post about what was going on in their life.  I realized that this person could go back years in their blog and have little remembrances of what their life was like in the past. I’ve decided I’d like to use my blog in that way as well, so that in six years I can look back and remember what I was doing. So am going to write these “That was the week” posts in which I will recap what happened the previous week. I am sure my almost 30 regular readers will find these boring but hey this is my blog.

Note: I didn’t proof read this post. It’s too long and it’s already Wednesday of the next week.

Monday: After work I did my usual Monday outing. This consists of going to the local bowling Alley with some friends and watching whatever sports catch my fancy.  They have the new  Illinois gambling machines there and I usually throw five to ten buck in. I almost always lose but it’s not like I am spending huge money.  My buddy on the other hand seems to be single handily trying to keep the Illinois government afloat.  I have seen him win big $900 or $700 a night. Most nights he loses to the tune of 2 to 3 hundred dollars.

The big news of the night was game 3 of the Stanley cup finals.  Sadly the Lightening won and took a 2-1 game lead in the series.  My prediction of a Hawks win in 5 games shattered. 

Tuesday: This took place over the entire week but I am putting it on Tuesday because that is when it started. I am on a minimalist kick again.  I have been going through old and unused things. If I find something that looks like it has some value I try and sell it on ebay. I had put up some old dvds I hadn’t watched in years. Somebody used the buy it now option on Monday so I packed up the dvds for shipment. Ebay provides a convenient option where you can just buy the USPS shipping label from them print it out and drop off the item. Somehow I screwed up and purchased two identical shipping labels. I only printed out one. I dumped the package in the bin and thought no more about it.

I really looked at my PayPal page and  noticed the two identical charges.  I also saw that the tracking information said the package had never been received by the Post Office.  Each of the shipping labels I purchased had a different tracking number.  One said it had never been use the other said it had been delivered that day. Knowing that PayPal would try to hold onto my money until they could confirm delivery, I looked for a way to update the tracking number to the one I actually used. I finally found a way to do that but I had to use the old PayPal interface. I then looked for a way to try and get a refund for the unused shipping label.  It turns out that if a shipping label isn’t scanned after five days ebay gets refunded the money which they then refund to your PayPal account.  Allegedly,  I am still waiting for my refund.

Wednesday: It was a pretty big day around the wonky house.  First Wednesday is my standing trivia night. I meet a bunch of people at the local Buffalo Wild Wings and we play trivia against each other.  We used to have live trivia but the guy who ran that moved away. We just play the Buzztime games.

More importantly it was game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. With trivia over I went home between the second and third periods with the game tied 1-1. I watched the rest of the game on my computer while doing some other stuff. The Hawks took an earlier 2-1 lead.  They managed to hold on and win but the last minute was some of the most nerve racking hockey I have ever watched.  My heart raced the entire time. The Lightening had several excellent chances but they could not put the biscuit in the basket. Look here for a story and short video about the game.

Thursday – Friday:  Both days were nice and boring.  I would come home from work and was quite happy to just hang out at home.

Saturday: The big day of the week. I had a lot to do.  I needed to be up at Medinah Country Club for a wedding reception by six o’clock. It’s about a three hour drive so I wasn’t in much of a hurry. I had plenty of time. My plan was to get up, maybe go for a walk, maybe clean a bit, have lunch and then set off. The forecast was calling for some storms so I thought I might have to work around them.

Having time I went for a walk.  When I got home a started cleaning a little and I turned on the dishwasher. I got sucked into reading old blogs. I started going through my blog reader and looking at now defunct blogs, reading old posts from years ago, and then following links and to other blogs. I realized I needed to take a shower, but I couldn’t because I had just run the dishwasher which uses up all the hot water. I would have to wait about an hour.  That was still fine. Plenty of time left. I decided to make up some homemade pancakes to eat.  I had all the ingredients I thought.  Oops no butter, and my measuring cups and spoons were in the dishwasher still.  I had to eat something so I hoped in my car and drove to a local fat (yes that is intentional) food establishment. I got back home and I still had five hours to get to the reception.  I took my shower, threw my stuff in the car and took off.  I got to my parents which was 2/3 of the way. I put on my suit.  Trust me. I looked goooood.

I arrived at the beautiful and historic Medinah Country club to act as the plus one.  I am often the plus one. It’s a great way to get good and free food 🙂 I had a good time at the reception and it seemed like most people did.

The reception happened to coincide with game 5 of the Stanley cup playoffs. I had installed an app on my phone so I could keep up with the action. That wasn’t necessary because he DJ said he would break in with updates on the game. And that he did.  When the Hawks won I saw something I hadn’t really considered would happen at a wedding. The bad quality video below shows people dancing to Chelsea Dagger celebrating the Hawks victory. At this point the series was 3-2 with the Hawks no needing only one win to get their third Stanley Cup in five years.
This video doesn’t work

Sunday: I woke up at my parents house and hung out with my Parents. I did my usual run to McDonalds for breakfast that I do when I am home.  My mom went out shopping while I stayed to take care of my dad. While out she learned that a friend, Henry, had had his van t-boned.  She picked him up and we had an early dinner.  On the drive home I had to go through a really nasty downpour. I was not shocked to learn of flash flood warning in that part of the state.

They still can’t predict Illinois weather

So I got up last Sunday determined to go for a run since I hadn’t run in about a week. It was overcast as I was getting ready so I checked the weather online. A big red warning bar greeted me.  Eighty percent change of strong thunderstorms with heavy rain. It was claimed they would hit later in the morning. I clicked on the radar and only saw a tiny shower hundreds of miles away.  It’s not like I was running a marathon. I’d be back in a half hour. I ran then did the post run stuff: shower, eat a bit.  It was about the time the storms were supposed to hit so I checked the weather again.  The heavy storm warning was gone. It now claimed a hundred percent chance of rain that should come about noon. So noon rolled around and there still wasn’t any rain. Now the weather site listed a fifty percent change of rain about two pm.  Two pm came around an I had to go somewhere so I checked again.  Now it said a twenty percent chance of some showers around eight pm.

It never did rain. Not a drop.

A warm wind at your back and a tornado at your front

Storm
Photo courtesy of flickr user Tim Sheets

This past Sunday I had to drive to Chicago for a special friends 40th birthday. Yet once again things conspired against me. I really think the universe doesn’t want me in the western suburbs.

First off the engine light on my not even three year old Ford Fiesta kept coming on. Sometimes when it would come on the engine would lose some power. Turning the car off and back on(Have you tried turning it off and back on again) fixes the problem until it happens again. On Friday during lunch I took the car into the Ford dealership to see if they would look at it. They told me to bring it back Monday. I could not miss this party. So I rented a car for a couple of days.

Next up I needed a present. I actually knew exactly what I wanted to get. I had found it online and wanted to see it in real life. Luckily for me the retailer has a brick in mortar store in my town, or so the internet says. I first looked for the store on the Friday and couldn’t find it. So the next day I navigated my fancy Nissan Altima rental car to the store using google maps. The store wasn’t there just an empty store front. I mean seriously shouldn’t google have been up on that. So this happened.

So Sunday dawns warm and with very strong winds blowing from the south. I had heard the possibility that their might be some strong storms that day.  Nothing seemed obvious on the radar as I set out.  I made good times with the strong wind at my back.  Listening to the radio out of Chicago it sounded like really horrible times were ahead. They were talking about postponing the Bears game.  I made it almost all the way to Naperville with out much in the way of bad weather, even had some sun and the window open for awhile.  All that changed as I got within a mile of my destination. Deep dark clouds rolled above me and a few giant drops of rain splashed against my windshield. Then the storm broke loose.  The wind became a gale and the rain poured down reducing my vision to a mere twenty feet.  I made it but sadly some others weren’t as lucky. There were several tornadoes and some confirmed deaths. At one point I was behind a pick-up truck with the tailgate removed and bed liner.  Every time he pulled away from a stop light water would pour out of the back of his truck.

On the way back from the party the temperature had dropped over twenty degrees and the wind had shifted to gale force from the west.  As I drove home I saw a skein of geese trying to fly.  Probably forty of them endeavored to head west.  They frantically beat their wings as hard as possible.  They didn’t make any forward progress. They just bounced around in the air.  Probably some sort of metaphor for life.

The scariest part for me was that I drove right through the place were the strongest tornadoes rolled through. If I had only been an hour later.