Birthday Celebrations

Joy and I noticed some others celebrate their birthday for days.  Justine did 28 days of Justine and Sara celebrates for two weeks before and after her birthday.  Since we are older we needed to scale that back a little.  Anyway I would like to thank Joy for making the days around my birthday wonderful.  Here are the details.

Wednesday April 9th, the Birthday eve was celebrated at a place called The Beer Market. Thy have a very extensive beer selection.  There where twenty beers on tap.  I sampled all the IPAs, a couple of Wiessens, and one bottle of Samichlaus. The Samichlaus was their most potent offering.  I remember reading about this beer ten years ago, but never thought I would get to try it.  Well, it is very strong.  The body was full and on the sweet side.  It is a good thing that is was sweet or the alcohol taste would have been overwhelming. Lizet, a coworker, really enjoyed the Lindemans Framboise they had on tap. She and I share a birthday.  I have worked with a few people that share my birthday.  Joy drove me home the Beer Market so I could really do a good sampling.

Joy Commentary:  Rich definitely enjoyed his night out at The Beer Market.  We had good company and food for the evening.  It was several beers and  five and half hours of fun.  Good thing I drove though.

Thursday was a little slower for some reason.  Joy and I went to the DMV so I could renew my license.  She was worried that it would take a long time, but the DMV in Woodstock is ranked number one in customer service. They are very busy, but extremely efficient.  I was out of there in 20 minuets. I then washed my truck.  Then I was allowed to open my gifts. They gave me a metal work bench, diamond plate peg board, a stress toy that says Boss on it, a collection of gourmet salts, and Vietnamese Cinnamon. For dinner, we went to the best BBQ place in McHenry County.  It is called BBQ King. They are located just off the square in Woodstock.  It’s a busy place.

Joy Commentary:  Who know that a DMV could be so exciting.  From the time you walk in the door until you leave, they keep you moving.  Of course, I discovered it was a great place to people watch.  In the 20 minutes there, I got 5 or 6 good stories on my observations.

Friday is my Bowling Day.  Joy joined me at bowling followed by a visit to Sports Page, our favorite sports bar.  They have the best Buffalo Chicken Wings.  She also got me Birthday Donuts for work.  In my old group, people would bring in donuts for their birthday.  I am trying that idea out on my new group.  I am not sure if it will stick.  They just don’t seem to eat that much.

Saturday, we finished the Birthday celebrations at the Schnitzel Platz.  Bob Beilfuss and Hank Mitchell were playing popular German fest music. This went well with the fine German food and Dunkle Wiessen we where drinking. Even Ricko was enjoying the food and music.  He was our designated driver for the evening.  He did a fine job of getting us back home after the festivities.

Another shout out to Joy for making the past week very special.

Joy Commentary:  Think he’ll remember all of this when it’s my birthday?  Happy birthday, darling.  Glad you enjoyed it.  Sorry, but I could resist the urge to edit the content a bit.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! Once again, it was a good day for a Polish eating holiday. We had pierogi and sausage for brunch along with Mimosas for the adults. Zurek soup was on lunch followed by lamb, wild rice, and crescent rolls for dinner. Rich picked out a really nice pinot for the adult beverage.We had the annual biting of the ears on the bunnies this afternoon. We only do one basket these days. That way we share the goodies. Rick and Rich get their own bunnies so they can bite the ears off of them. I don’t need a bunny. Just give me the Cadbury eggs. Sascha wanted her bunny, but I didn’t want to start a bunny chase. The squirrels are bad enough.

The weather finally warmed up enough for the drywall to go up. The contractor called to say he expected to be out on Wednesday to start work. It’s amazing what one guy can do if he is an expert. Funny, his name was Rich also. Too many around this week for me to keep them straight. The first day saw the ceiling go up. On the second day, the walls were up. Friday saw the taping and mudding. Looks great in there. This is going to be one nice garage.

Rich was planning on the mud to be dry on Saturday so we could start getting the primer up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. He and Rick went out and got paint anyway so we would be ready when the weather is warmer. They got white paint for the top and blue gray for the bottom of the wall.

On Friday, we all to bowling. Rick took his ball along in case they needed someone and he could take the opportunity to bowl with a real team. The fourth on Rich’s team didn’t come in, so Rick got to bowl with his Dad. I think he enjoyed it. Rick did bowl pretty well for not being a full time player. However, Rich’s last game was awesome. He did 209 without his handicap. There were 5 or 6 strikes in there.

That gave us a good reason to head over to The Sports Page for wings and nachos. From there, we could finish up the Louisville game and watch the remainder of the Kansas game. I wore my Louisville shirt to bowling. The guy who owns the alley came down to tell me that he was turning on the Louisville game down by me just so I could watch. How cool was that.

Speaking of March Madness, Alex ran the Z Family Pool again this year. The same cast of characters applied along with a few new ones. For $20, we can put in our bracket and hope for the best. This year’s list of unlikely winners hurt most of us. It would have been a good year to pick the underdogs. I picked Louisville, but I’m not top dog on the list. That would be James (JimiZ).

Rich and Rick picked Kansas. Now they wished they had Louisville, but they are cheering right alongside me. I was watching Louisville earlier this year and was highly impressed with how the team was setting up to get shots. Peyton Siva is directing traffic and the team was responding. Now I see them taking that all the way to the finals.

I called and got a quote for the electrical work on the garage. The guy came by one night and walked through the work with Rich. On Thursday, he sent his quote by email. Rich thought it was a good price for the entire scope of work and not just for getting the service out to the garage. On Friday, the contractor left a phone message wanting to start on Monday. Rich figured he’d call on Monday and try to set it up as soon as possible. Then an email came in on Saturday still wanting to start on Monday. So I guess the electric out to the garage starts on Monday. Now we’ll have lights while we paint.

We’ve started planning for the Derby Party. Rich brewed beer on Thursday. So there will be wheat and cherry wheat available on party day. The weather got warm enough to turn on the water spicket and for standing around the garage.

The weather had better get warmer is all I can say. Where is spring? I know the winter has been terrible. But I am so ready for warm weather and lots of sunshine. I keep thinking it’ll be better soon, but the cold keeps hanging on. By May 4, it’ll be warm, right?

I’m hoping for a better week coming up. At least, Easter was nice.

Snuggling on a Sunday morning.
Snuggling on a Sunday morning.
Such a sweet face.
Such a sweet face.
Sascha enjoying big red chair time.
Sascha enjoying big red chair time.
Sascha catching up on the rays.
Sascha catching up on the rays.
Community Easter basket of goodies.
Community Easter basket of goodies.
Annual biting of the bunnies.
Annual biting of the bunnies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunnies missing ears.
Bunnies missing ears.
Easter eggs for Zurek soup.
Easter eggs for Zurek soup.
Rich brewing beer for Derby.
Rich brewing beer for Derby.
Drywall going up out in the garage.
Drywall going up out in the garage.
Real walls up now to hide the insulation.
Real walls up now to hide the insulation.
New walls all ready for paint.
New walls all ready for paint.
Yeah, someone else had to reach up high for the ceiling.
Yeah, someone else had to reach up high for the ceiling.
Is this is?
Is this is?
Rick was happy with his handiwork.
Rick was happy with his handiwork.
Rich admiring it.
Rich admiring it.
All those paint samples.
All those paint samples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March in like a Lion

Winter again?!?  Tuesday, it snowed again.  I planned ahead this time though.  I ended work at home on Monday, so I had to go into the office on Tuesday.  My plan was to stay at the office until the snow started and then go home.  I had a meeting at 10:30 and no snow yet.  I checked out the windows before I went into the conference room.  At the end of the meeting, someone on the phone said to be careful out there.  It was snowing!

Rich was coming down to my cube so we could go to lunch.  No way.  Grab your stuff, honey, we’re headed home.  We made it into town and stopped for lunch at Chi-Dogs.  By the time we got done, the snow was piling up.  I got us the rest of the way without incident.  Whew!  Time to settle in and let it snow.

Rick came home from class.  Now it was time for him to shovel us out for the first time.  It was probably up to 3 or 4 inches out there.  It was heart attack snow.  That meant it was wet and heavy.  I really appreciate having Rick around when there is work to be done.  Especially when it is done out in the cold.  He made the first pass in under an hour.

Meanwhile, Sascha was having a high time out in the snow.  She was bouncing around and refusing to come in.  At one point, Rich went out to talk her into coming in.  He didn’t see her at first.  Then her head popped up from behind a big bank of snow.  Apparently, she dug a hole in the bank and had settled in like she was living out there.  She did come in and settled into the big red chair.

On Wednesday, Rich and I worked at home.  The snow continued to come down.  We got another couple of inches.  After Rick got back from class, he shoveled some more.  This time, it was less time and less snow.  While he was out there, the lady across the street came out and asked him to shovel out her drive.  He did it with a smile.  They hadn’t dug out from the first day, so there was a lot of snow and the plow had created a good pile at the end of the drive.

When Rick came in, he was cold, wet, and tired.  I asked if she offered to pay him.  He said she hadn’t.  She said she had a heart problem and couldn’t shovel.  I thanked him.  Somewhere along the line, Rick will want something and I’ll remember his good deed.

Last Sunday, the Space Station was supposed to go overhead.  Rich has been trying for a while to remember to go and see if he could track it as it goes over us.  We remembered and went out onto the deck to scan the heavens for a light we thought would be the station.  A couple of airplanes went over. These are easy to see with the red and green lights.  It’s amazing that the mechanisms of sailing apply to air travel also.  Just northwest of us, I could see a large white light that appeared to be moving a little faster than a plane.  The light was actually the sun shining on the solar panels and that’s why it was so bright.  We tracked it across the sky in the direction that the notice said it would follow.

This week, I’ve been emailing with Rose.  She was asking some questions.  That gave me an opportunity to ask some in return.  Rich’s Air Force group from Germany wants to have a reunion this summer.  Many had gone through San Antonio and a few are still in the area.  It was decided to meet for dinner there.  Since plans weren’t moving forward, Rich set up a website and we are going to work on scheduling something.  We plan to drive down to San Antonio, have dinner with the group and come back.  Rich thought it would be nice to visit with Rose.  The plan right now is to have the dinner over the July 4th weekend.  So I asked Rose to help me determine a restaurant and then I can work on the details.  Now we have something else to look forward to this year.

Rich bowls on the Motorola league every Friday night.  Last night, Rich came home in really good spirits.  Apparently, he rolled a 239 in his last game.  Everyone was excited as he rolled.  He even posted a snap of it on his Facebook page.  This is his all time high so far.

Our friend, Jay, asked if we could watch his dog, Guinness, while he was in Vegas during training.  Of course, I’m happy to watch her.  Rich was worried about how Sascha would take a new dog in her domain.  Guinness and Sascha have been together before without major confrontations.  Jay and Guinness came by today to visit.  Sascha was excited to see Guinness.  They played and Guinness wondered around.  I figure after a day or so they should be packing around the house together.  So we will have a houseguest for a couple of starting new Saturday.

The epidemic of chest pain continues around here.  Sascha can’t seem to get enough of packing with her people.  Just as soon as someone sits in her chair, she wants to sit there also.  No, it’s not Rich’s chair anymore.  She can hear someone sit down in it from three counties away.  So the photos continue of her apply pressure in her own special way to each of us.

So Rick’s birthday is coming up.  He wanted to know today if his birthday week was beginning.  He wanted to get out of dishes and other chores this week.  Good luck with that, boyo!  I have to do my chores during my birthday weeks!  I’ll give him a couple of breaks, but he still needs to do his work.  I’m running out of time when I can continue to abuse this relationship to my benefit.

Saturday is his big day.  He’ll be 19.  A few of his friends are coming over to celebrate.  He’s getting too old for anything big.  We figure we’ll go out to dinner on Thursday to his favorite restaurant.  I’ll get a cake for Saturday so we can sing Happy Birthday.  Birthday cake is always a must.  Sascha will like it, but she doesn’t sing Happy Birthday like Sofie used to.

Well, on to another week.

Rick had to shovel us out a couple of times.
Rick had to shovel us out a couple of times.
Snowing coming down out front.
Snowing coming down out front.
I guess I'm not sitting out on the patio until spring.
I guess I’m not sitting out on the patio until spring.
Rick looking back in the window.
Rick looking back in the window.

Sascha out enjoying the snow.

The guys behind us built a cool snowman.  He was really tall to have rakes for arms.
The guys behind us built a cool snowman. He was really tall to have rakes for arms.
Rich had prove for his score in the last game on Friday night.
Rich had prove for his score in the last game on Friday night.
Sascha and Rick just hanging out.
Sascha and Rick just hanging out.
The kids packing.
The kids packing.
Rick is having chest pains.
Rick is having chest pains.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy having chest pains.
Joy having chest pains.

 

Chest pains again on Sunday morning.
Chest pains again on Sunday morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rich and his baby.
Rich and his baby.

Work on the interior of the garage begins

Now that the garage is up, it’s time to work on finishing it off.  Rick is my undocumented slave.  That and the fact that he really needs to work on his skills for when he owns a home.  Rich has a lot of techniques and experience to share.  I figure they might as well as work on this together and do a little knowledge transfer.

The first task is to insulate the garage.  Rich wants to do the ceiling and seal off the ends as much as possible.  That’s Rick’s first task.  While he was off on break, they got started.  However, it is going a lot slower than I thought it might.  Last week, Rick went back to class and is working the insulation job around classes and homework.  Right now, Rick has almost completed the ceiling.  I’m hoping that is done by the end of this week.  Then they can start on the wall.

Once the insulation is completed, Rich is thinking ahead to the dry wall.  It might be easier to get that hired out and done.  Someone working full time can probably complete it in a week or so.  Rich decided to do the electrical work on the outside of the dry wall so that he could make changes as he needs.  We think the code is to do conduit (metal pipe) so it won’t matter what side of the wall its on.

The stove in the kitchen has been acting flaky for a while.  Rich made chicken a couple of weeks ago and it wouldn’t hold the temperature.  It took forever for that darn bird to cook.  If I calculate it correctly, the stove might be 10 years old.  I’m not exactly sure when Dave bought it, but I do know it was part of the remodel.  That took place a couple of years before we bought the house, at least.

Rich and I bought reviewed stoves online trying to pinpoint what we wanted in the way of features.  Funny, we looked at the same features.  We wanted a convection oven, 5 burners with the center being the elongated burner, and stainless steel. I had seen the Frigidaire online and the reviews were really good.

On Saturday, we went out on some errands and stopped by the appliance store to take a long and actually do some hands-on review.  Grand carries several of the top brands and then it is easier to compare.  There was the Frigidaire along with several others stoves.  It had the features I wanted and several more that were a surprise.  After walking around and comparing, it came down the Frigidaire.

Luckily, Rich was feeling generous and agreed to purchase the stove.  Delivery is coming on Tuesday.  That’s great, because I’m home!  They will deliver, hook it up, and haul away the old one.  Can’t argue with that.

I subscribe to Mishka the Talking Husky on YouTube.  This is the cutest Husky and she repeats a lot of words and phrase.  I have to watch another talk because mine is broken.  Sascha barely communicates verbally.  She has subtle actions, but no outright direction.  She only barks when she is frustrated or extremely excited about something.  She barks when she is getting ready to go scooter.

Anyway, Mishka’s owner was showing a new trick that they are attempting to teach their dog.  They took a piece of cheese and get Mishka to twist in the air.  They call it Twist.  Rich thought it looked cool.  He started trying to teach Sascha.  Turns out, she doesn’t really care for the bacon treats.  Most of the time, she flops onto her side rather than twist for the treat.  So Rich bought cheese ends from the deli.  Now Sascha will twist for a cheese treat and almost consistently.  Who knew that Sascha liked cheese that much!  As Rich works with Sascha, we’ll attempt to get video of the progress.

This past week was long.  My PM was in from Colorado.  When Beth makes it into the office, I go in every day.  That tends to take its toll on me.  Sad to say that, but it’s true.  We have meetings and try to do some strategic planning.  Of course, there is lunch every day.  That’s a hard one.  Luckily, I was able to work at home on Friday.  I finally got some work done, but I was so tired from the rest of the week.

I did knock off on time so I could go to bowling with Rich.  Once a month, I go with him and watch while the Motorola league bowls.  I know a lot of the guys, either from work or just from the bowling event.  I like going now.  I have people to catch up with every month.  I think the guys like talking to me.  They do come around my table.  Then we go out to eat afterwards.

This week, Rich wanted to check out a place called Blues Bar.  It’s just a few miles beyond the bowling alley.  Some of the guys from work go out there for lunch.  It’s a BBQ and Beer type of restaurant and club.  They have a lot of microbrews on draft, which is a plus.  The theme is Blues Brothers so there is a lot of memorabilia around.  There are really large screen TVs everywhere for the local team games.

We got in and got seated.  The beer menu was really good. Rich started off with Flying Dog Doggy Style APA.  The waitress served it in a 10 oz glass and it should have been a 16 oz glass.  She brought Rich a free 16 oz version after he completed the first one.  Then he went for the Very Mad Cow Milk Stout from Revolution.  It was so good.  I know because I get to at least taste them, even if I can’t drink a full one.  Someone has to be the DD.

We ordered the rib appetizer plate, brisket, and pulled pork.  The food was really good.  The mac and cheese had onions, bacon, and lots of cheese.  I was impressed with both the drink and the food.  I highly recommend this place to anyone in the Mount Prospect area.  Fun and delicious.

 

Completed the ceiling over the top of Sally's side of the garage.
Completed the ceiling over the top of Sally’s side of the
garage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rick climbing the ladder to work on the ceiling.
Rick climbing the ladder to work on the ceiling.
Little bit up close of the ceiling.
Little bit up close of the ceiling.
Work area for cutting and leftovers.
Work area for cutting and leftovers.