I’ve been thinking a lot these days about money. And it’s just depressing, though it shouldn’t be. Honestly, in the grand scheme of things, I’m quite well off. I have a good job with good benefits and I own my house. Well, the bank owns it, but they’re letting me live there as long as I give them 21% of my take home pay for the next 18 years. Aside from my mortgage, I have no other debt, so that’s good. I guess what is depressing me is that I don’t live that extravagantly, but that I feel like I’m always stretched for cash. For most of my working life, I’ve been saving as much as I can for retirement. It just doesn’t look like there’s ever going to be enough there for me to retire.
I have had my MacBook Pro for just over a year now and have been very happy with it. All of that changed lately, after I tried to update the operating system to 10.5.2. This was just another update (though a large one), that I tried to install with software update. My first problem was that it didn’t work. After a while, the screen went black and basically nothing was happening. I forced a reboot and then, the computer would not boot at all. I left it in disgust for a while and then when I returned, it went on fine.
I had the absolute best time at the opera last night. I saw La Traviata with Renee Fleming singing the part of Violetta. She is AMAZING! And, the two seats in front of me were empty, so I didn’t have to keep moving around to see the stage. I could just sit back and enjoy it. The two seats behind me were empty for the first act, but then an older couple sat in them. I wouldn’t have cared, except that they had the annoying habit of making little comments to each other during the applause. While normally, this would have pissed me off to no end, I was so enjoying the singing and acting that I didn’t really mind it. The tenor who sang the lead (the character name is escaping me right now) was terrific as well. I hadn’t seen La Traviata before and I just loved it. It was a little long, ending around 10:30pm, but when it was over, I could have sat and listened even longer. It’s for shows like this that I continue to subscribe to the Lyric. Finally, a great show from this season.
Since I feel like I’ve given my life over to my house since I’ve moved into it two years ago, I’ve decided that 2008 will be the year that I take my life back. So, starting with something easy, I went to see a movie, which is something that I think I did once or twice in 2007. I went with the Julies to see “Juno”. It’s the story of a pregnant teenager and it was very good. It was both touching and funny and I really liked it. The Julies thought that the main character looked like Punky Brewster, but I was a bit old for that show and never really watched it, so I don’t know about that. Whoever she looked like, she was really good. Anyway, I don’t want to get into details about the movie, except to say that I really liked it. Hopefully, I’ll get to see more good movies like this over the year.
I just received my new XO laptop that I bought last month. It’s definitely for kids. I have pretty small hands and the keyboard on the laptop is small even for me. I’m pretty impressed with it though. It’s running a version of Fedora, Fedora core 7 I think. But it has a terminal to use and lots of other stuff. I think for kids in developing countries, where cost is the main factor, that these things will work pretty well. Though, it’s funny that it doesn’t come with any sort of documentation. The kid just has to play around with it. I like doing that, but I don’t know how many others do.
Today is the last day of 2007. I think I’ll remember this year as the year that I had no shower. It took just about the entire year, but I got things basically done. Here are some pics of the finished bathroom. (Note that there are no shots of the ceiling because that’s not yet done.)
I talked to my boss at work today and he told me that perhaps my showerhead had a regulator in it that restricted the flow. I took it off and indeed there was a little plastic regulator. So I took a pair of pliers and pulled it out. I then switched the pipe for the showerhead around because I had it in backwards. This solved my problem of not being able to get the cover on, which makes me happy. I replaced the showerhead and can’t really tell a difference in the flow. So I guess it didn’t make that much of a difference. Oh well.
I started remodeling the bathroom on January 27, 2007. I’ve just taken my first shower in my remodeled bathroom. The entire room is not done, but the tub area is, so I figured I could take a shower. It was a bit of a let-down. I guess I was expecting a fantastic experience after all the work I put into it. But, it turned out to be a shower just like the ones I took before I did anything, except that the water did in fact get hot. (That’s more likely related to the fact that I finally turned the heat up on the hot-water heater.)
Finally, I have the tile done around the window. It’s not fantastic, but it’s not bad. If I had built the original wall square, I would have had a lot fewer problems. But, live and learn.
Took Friday off from work (where they pay me) to work on my bathroom (where I don’t pay me). I got lots done. I painted and put the floor tiles in. Today (or yesterday as I write this), my brother Mark came over and we did lots of tiling on the walls. He was a great help and I got tons more done with him here than I would have done by myself. We got all the tile in around the shower and most of the window done. I just have to finish the top (arch) of the window and the wall behind the toilet and sink. Turns out that I’m going to have to get more tile, but that’s ok. No pictures today. It’s getting close to being done and I’m getting excited.
Or, to sound a bit more snooty, I saw Giulio Cesare at Lyric Opera tonight. It’s a long one. Starts at 6:30 and ends who knows when. I only made it through two acts, but a small part of me wanted to stay for the third. I didn’t because I would have gotten home really late and I really didn’t love the opera. Sometimes you get great ones, sometimes good ones and sometimes bad ones. I’d put this one in the good category.
Since I spent just about all the time I had off for Thanksgiving (minus the day itself) working on the bathroom, I should have something to show for it. So, here it is. I just finished priming and should be able to paint tomorrow. Then, finally, I can start tiling! I am so looking forward to taking a shower at home, I really can’t put it into words.
It’s been a great Thanksgiving so far.Â I got up this morning and ran in the Turkey Trot in Lincoln Park.Â My goal was to finish in under and hour and though I walked the last 100 yards or so (because I was sure I was going to throw up), my official time was 59:50.Â (My ipod showed 59:40, so I may have to recalibrate it.)Â Then we went to the Museum of Science and Industry to look at the Xmas trees and I thoroughly enjoyed a special exhibit they had on maps.Â Back to my Mom’s to eat and now, my brother’s family has left to go to his inlaws.Â It’s now 5pm and most of us are taking naps.Â I love this holiday.
Tomorrow is my favorite holiday. I’ve decided to list some of the things that I am most thankful for this year.
Mickey the Great has just left. He came over today to install the drain for the toilet, shutoff valves on all the pipes in the bathroom and drill a hole in my brick house for a bathroom vent. All the while recovering from the flu. He is altogether deserving of any praise I can heap on him. Thanks Mick! I owe you big time!
Yesterday I bought two laptops through the “Give One Get One” program of “One Laptop Per Child”. One of the inexpensive laptops will be sent to me and the other goes to a needy child. Here’s the link:
Last weekend, we got a lot done. We, being the operative word. Mom, Mark, Paul, John and Jack were all over. They did a ton of cleaning, which was great. Mark helped frame out the medicine cabinet. Then Paul came over and we hung a bunch of drywall. Today, I hung the cement board that goes over the controls of the tub. I have to buy a door so that I know where to end the drywall on the last wall. And then I’ll be ready for tile!
Today my dsl from Speakeasy was updated. The installation went ok. The guy from Covad was terriffic. He really knew his stuff and got everything set up properly, though it took a bit of time. The Speakeasy group, on the other hand, disappointed me.
I haven’t written much about the house lately, not for lack of work on it. I’m just tired of explaining to people that it’s still not done. I work slowly because I really don’t know what I’m doing. Yes, it is a pain to have to go elsewhere to take a shower, but it’s not the big of a deal.
As is obvious, I am back at the default theme for the blog. I liked the Beautiful Sunrise theme, but I got html errors sometimes when logging in for administrative purposes. That just bugged the heck out of me, so I went back to the default.
I just noticed that my categories don’t show in this theme. So, now I don’t like it. I’m going to have to search for a new one.
Janet’s friend Becca is working with a Dutch doctor at the World Boxing Championships going on in Chicago right now. He was asking her about getting an unlocked phone that he could use in the Netherlands. I started laughing at dinner when she mentioned it and told her that I didn’t know about other unlocked phones, but that I could unlock an iPhone, if he wanted that. Becca didn’t think she did, so I asked John and he said that anyplace will sell and unlocked phone, it just costs a bit more. Though today Becca sent me a text message saying that the doctor would like an iPhone after all. I figured. They’re pretty cool. Anyway, if I crack an iPhone for him, he’s going to get me really good (maybe ringside) seats. So this might be fun. He’s supposed to buy it tomorrow, so maybe I’ll see the boxing later this week.
Friday night I went to a play at Victory Gardens, called “A Park in Our House”, I think. It was ok. About a family in Cuba in the 60s, I’d guess. I enjoyed it and Janet’s friend Becca and I were saying that we liked this one better than the last one we saw. And it’s true in that this one was easier to follow. Funny thing is, I think about the first one “The Defiant Muse”, more. Though I’m pretty sure that this is because I’m still trying to understand it completely. It was about a writer whose main character seemed to come to life for her. So, it jumped back and forth between real-life and life with her character. It was pretty interesting how they did it, but since there were only so many actors, I wasn’t really sure if it was real-life or a scene from her book. Oh well, either way, it’s great to see live theater.
The fact that my previous theme didn’t show the year of the post ended up really bothering me. So, I found a different new theme. This one does show the year and has a little menu for searching older posts, which I love. I’ve had this blog for over two years, so the listing of all the months was starting to get a little out of control. My only gripe with this theme is that there isn’t a link to login or for the admin stuff. Right now, I just put a wp-admin at the end of the blog link. I guess I can make a simple page that will take me to the login page.
As is obvious, I have changed the theme of my blog. I downloaded one called beautiful-sunrise-10 and really like the look of it. My one complaint is that the year of the post is not shown with the date. This may end up bugging me more than it does now. And if it does, I’ll probably go back to the default theme, which was ok. The other issue I have is that I’m getting errors like this: