Last week of February

I posted late last time.  This threw off my timing for the next posts as well.  I really didn’t have anything new to say either.  This week, I have a couple of things to talk about.

Rich did some shopping around for a drywaller to put up the dry wall and finish off the taping and mudding.  Given the height of the ceiling, I thought it was a good idea to have someone else doing the work.  Also, it would go a lot faster rather than doing it ourselves.  I say that like I was going to help.  Not.  I give moral support, but I didn’t plan to do any of the work.

One of the guys at work has a brother-in-law who is a drywaller.  He put in a call and we got a call back.  He lives up in Wisconsin by the Dells, but this gives him a chance to work and visit with his sister.  The price was good and he is highly recommended.  So when the weather warms up a little more, we’ll be getting walls up out in the new garage.  From there, Rich will get the electrical done and start moving in.

On Wednesday, I met up with my friends, Kim and Diane, for a little girls’ night out.  I drug Karen, my new contractor, with me as well.  We had dinner and drinks at Bahama Breeze in Schaumburg.  It had been a while since I was able to talk to Kim.  It just being the girls meant we didn’t have to watch what we talk about.  It was a good time.  Thanks, ladies, for coming by to join me.

I had Rick come out to pick me up.  I didn’t want to drink and drive.  It might not have been a problem since I didn’t really even drink one alcoholic drink.  Getting old is bad.  I used to be able to drink more and now it just keeps diminishing.  Rick did eventually show up.  I kid him that my friends are more his friends than mine.  They all like him a lot.  We had to stay so they could talk to him and get caught up.  Kim used to watch Rick when he was little so she has a lot of history with him.

On Thursday evening into Friday morning, we got another 3 or 4 inches of snow.  It was too bad, but I really dreaded spending 2 hours to drive into the office.  I decided to work at home.  I ended up doing a lot of work that day.  I had meetings, but nothing I had to concentrate hard for.  I don’t know how people around Chicago can’t drive in the snow.  They drive 10 to 15 under the speed limit in the rain also.

On Friday, I went with Rich to bowling.  I try to go at least once a month.  Then I show my support and get to catch up with the guys at bowling.  Sean was filling in for one of the guys on Rich’s team.  I’ve known Sean for a couple of years now.  He’s a young guy who fills in now and then.  He’s a lot of fun and I like talking to him.  It added to the evening having Sean to give a hard time.

I’ve been trying to fight off some sort of sinus problems all week.  On Saturday, I work up to put the dog out in the morning and ended up going back to bed.  I just couldn’t stay away all day.  I was able to go back to bed later in the day.  I just couldn’t stay awake!  On Sunday, it was only a little better.  I had a headache and just couldn’t feel like I was walking under water.

During the week, I saw an ad that Adam Ferrara from Top Gear was going to be at Volo Auto Museum.  I love that show.  I asked Rick if he wanted to go and he did.  Eventually, Rich wanted to go also.  We went out to breakfast at The Windmill.  This restaurant is cute and has really great food.  It is way over decorated and they change it for each season.  The basic décor is plates and cups and saucers from all different things.  There is the Wizard of Oz wall, Shirley Temple wall, and so on.  There is a train at a bar for the little kids.  We get things like biscuit and gravy omelettes, Mexican messes, and cinnamon rolls pancakes.

We headed over to Volo Auto Museum at around 10:00.  I figured things would be getting started about 10:30 or so with Adam.  There were already quite a few people in line.  We bought our tickets and joined the others in queue.  We found out that Adam wouldn’t be arriving until 11:00.  We had a whole half an hour to wait.  Oh well.  The line behind continued to grow quite a bit.  Finally, Adam arrive.  His first words were, “Hello, I’m Tanner Foust.  I’m not as small as you thought, right?”  Amazingly, he looks like he does on TV.  Usually, they do look different.

The group ahead of us had a small girl.  When she saw Adam, she started crying.  Adam tried to make up with her and she just wasn’t having any of it.  Adam shook his head and said, “She’s upset I’m not Rut.”  This referred to one of his co-stars, Rutledge Wood.  It would have been cool to have Rut there.  Finally, it was our turn.  I got my picture taken first and then Rich joined us.  I got a signed photo.  Rick stepped up for his turn with Adam.  Amazingly, all of our pictures turned out pretty good.

On Saturday and Sunday, Rich took Sascha out scootering.  Of course, she had a high time running.  A good Husky is a tired Husky.  With some luck, the weather will be getting warmer and Rich can start taking Sascha out with the walky dog for bike rides.  Either way, Sascha loves to run.

Last week of February is here.  It came so fast.  Pretty soon, it’ll be March and the big round of birthdays.  Rick’s is March 9.  Then Rich’s will be here in April.  I’m looking forward to Rich’s birthday.  We are going to Hofbrau Haus to celebrate, eat German food and have a few beers.  They opened a location in Rosemont, which is pretty close to the house.

Rich fixed chicken piccata last weekend.  It was wonderful.  I love a good cook.
Rich fixed chicken piccata last weekend. It was wonderful. I love a good cook.
This is how I usually see Rich, with Sascha close by.
This is how I usually see Rich, with Sascha close by.
Rich was complaining about a heavy weight on his chest again.  I might need to get him checked.
Rich was complaining about a heavy weight on his chest again. I might need to get him checked.
Rick was also complaiinign about a heavy weight on his chest this week.  An epidemic?
Rick was also complaiinign about a heavy weight on his chest this week. An epidemic?
I told Rick his face would stay that way if he didn't stop.
I told Rick his face would stay that way if he didn’t stop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
We were winding our way through the crowd to get to Adam.
We were winding our way through the crowd to get to Adam.
I got my picture taken with Adam first.  He might have been more impressed if I was a tall willowy blonde.
I got my picture taken with Adam first. He might have been more impressed if I was a tall willowy blonde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Adam Ferrara with Joy and Rich at Volo.
Adam Ferrara with Joy and Rich at Volo.
Adam and Rick together for a photo op.
Adam and Rick together for a photo op.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latest holiday season

So instead of writing my blog on Sunday, I went down to The Roundhouse for appetizers and beers.  We decided to take a road trip to Aurora with a friend.  We had wanted to go down and check out the surroundings for Two Brothers.  We’ve had some of their beers and now it was time to see what The Roundhouse was like.  The structure is an old train turnaround on the tracks leading in and out of Chicago.

The Roundhouse had originally been saved from decay by Walter Payton and his business partners.  They set it up as a restaurant and beer house.  After Walter was gone, the restaurant slowly declined.  Two Brothers Brewing decided to expand their food and service by buying the property and making it their own.  They are in the process of setting brewing on the premises.

History is very nice and the restaurant is pretty good.  We took Rick along to act as chauffer for us.  The beers were very good.  I had samplers so I could enjoy more of the beers.  I can only drink one beer so the samplers equal to one, but I can have more flavors.

We got hit with winter and a snow storm on Thursday night into Friday.  We got about 7 inches on top of the 4 inches we already had on the ground.  It was heavy and wet.  Earlier in the week, we had snow and rain.  The commute was agonizing.  One day, it took an hour and an half to crawl to the Mot.  On Friday, it was a much better idea to stay at home and work.  Didn’t hurt that I wasn’t feel that well anyway.

The snow left a wonder world of lacy limbs and icy puddles.  On Saturday, Rich and I took Sascha out for a walk through the snow.  We wondered down to the river.  Geese were hanging out.  Sascha was barking and trying to reach them.  Not all of the river was frozen and the geese gained the freedom of the water’s edge.  I took pictures of the scene.

We continued around through the neighborhood.  We wandered down through squirrel alley.  This is the road that continues around by the river and back into the hood.  We call it squirrel alley due to the great number of squirrels who live in the woods surrounding it.  These squirrels go to great lengths to torment the dogs.  Sofie had a hard time walking through there and Sascha barely makes it through the length of the road.  We rarely walk through there.

Around and about, we ended up down by the lake.  It looked really questionable on whether it would hold a human walking across it.  We could see several fishermen out on the ice and fishing away. Rich attempted to walk out there.  He sunk into the water and decided to give up the attempt.  I wanted to take Sascha out on the ice to see if she would walk out there.  She’s going to have to pull the sled when Rich decides to ice fish himself.

Back home, I needed to clean up the house before the housekeeping people came out.  I know that sounds ridiculous.  I don’t do much, but I feel I need to pick things up out of their way so they could clean.  Then there is the matter of all that dog hair.  We do have a Husky and they drop an entire dog every two weeks.  I keep telling Rich we need to name that dog that appears in the hallway in our room.  So I vacuum up the excess dog hair so they only have to mop and get up the dirt.

Rick received his long awaited scarf in the mail this week.  Back in the fall, he decided that he wanted a scarf just like Tom Baker wore in an earlier version of Doctor Who.  This scarf is striped and very, very long.  I was surprised at his choice.  Tom Baker was my Doctor Who in the 1980s.  He asked around to see who knew how to knit.  It turned out that his Aunt Kelli could knit and was willing to create this scarf for his Christmas present.  Since it took a little longer to finish, Kelli sent the scarf through the mail.  Now, Rick wanders around with this scarf draped around his neck.  Everyone comments on it.  Thanks, Kelli.

Ah yeah, Rick finally completed the insulation in the garage.  Now the walls are ready for drywall.  Rich decided to have a professional do the work.  It would be easier on us and would only take a few days rather than week.  So Rich is checking around for someone to do the work.  He has a couple of sources to find a professional.  It just seemed like it was taking a while to connect with someone.  Rich thinks he has someone and there is a possible meeting for a quote on Saturday.  Hopefully, this moves forward.  More to come on that.

Valentine’s Day has come.  Our habit is only to exchange cards.  There is no need for gifts or a great show.  We’ve even given up going out to eat on that day.  The restaurants are packed and it is noisy.  We stay at home and enjoy the quiet.  This week, Valentine’s fell on our normal family eating out day.  We moved it up one day.

After having a really long day at work, I decided that a drink would help.  We headed out to The Onion Pub in Barrington.  This is a very nice pub.  The food tends to be iffy, but the beer is always excellent.  The beer cheese soup is also great.  So a Russian Imperial Stout and beer cheese soup is always good on a cold day.  Once again, Rick was the chauffer.  Did I really do that to him twice in one week?

This year, Rich snuck in and got me a gift for Valentine’s.  I was totally caught off guard.  I didn’t have my card yet!  I opened the package and was very, very surprised.  I didn’t even know that Rich listened to me when I rattle on.  Of course, I can’t tell you what it was, but I absolutely loved it!  I did finally go out at lunch time and picked up the perfect card.  Oh yeah, I also got the latest SI swimsuit issue for Rich.

The next big holiday is Rick’s 19th birthday on March 9.  I know he wants a cool gift and that means a lot of money.  I tell him that’s not going to happen.  He keeps showing me pictures of cool guitars.  They are Les Pauls, no less.  Then there is something about a Jack Harkness coat.  It is not on my list though.  I did get a couple of things.  I don’t think he’ll be too disappointed.

I’ve even started on Rich’s birthday gifts.  It’s never too soon to shop.  Rich has decided that he wants to go to Hofbrau Haus that opened in Rosemont this winter.  That’s OK.  We’ll enjoy some good German food with some good German beer in a very nice German environment.

I’m still collecting up pictures of that moment known as “I have a heavy weight on my chest.”  Since Sascha loves to be a lap dog, it tends to spread to your chest.  My collection of photographic evidence of this phenomenon is growing.

Rich was having trouble with a little chest pain the other day.  Sascha seemed to be fine .
Rich was having trouble with a little chest pain the other day. Sascha seemed to be fine .
A close up of Sascha making sure that squirrel didn't cross the line into her yard.
A close up of Sascha making sure that squirrel didn’t cross the line into her yard.
It's hard to tell, but that's Rick under that big ball of fur.  Yeah, he was having chest pain too.
It’s hard to tell, but that’s Rick under that big ball of fur. Yeah, he was having chest pain too.
A good way to see the snow that accumulated from the last few snows.
A good way to see the snow that accumulated from the last few snows.
Snow was falling as Sascha was watching that pesky squirrel that was just out of reach.
Snow was falling as Sascha was watching that pesky squirrel that was just out of reach.
It was my turn to feel under pressure.  Sascha was just wanting a little love.
It was my turn to feel under pressure. Sascha was just wanting a little love.
It was snowing pretty good out there.
It was snowing pretty good out there.
Just a shot of Griswold Lake with the ice fishermen out there.
Just a shot of Griswold Lake with the ice fishermen out there.
Rich was feeling a little under the pressure.  I'm not sure why though.
Rich was feeling a little under the pressure. I’m not sure why though.
Rich walking Sascha down to the river.
Rich walking Sascha down to the river.
Rick finally got his Christmas present from Aunt Kelli.  Great scarf.
Rick finally got his Christmas present from Aunt Kelli. Great scarf.
Sascha was watching the geese that she just couldn't get down at the river.
Sascha was watching the geese that she just couldn’t get down at the river.

Another shot from winter

What a difference in the weather over the week!  We went from 50s to single digits.  I hate winter.  Unfortunately, you have to have a real winter to enjoy a nice spring and summer.  I just don’t have to enjoy the cold and snow, do I?

This week, I was in class for two days.  It was for Microsoft Project, which we use as our main delivery tool.  I have to confess that I didn’t understand a lot about the program.  It’s always a little strange the first day.  You don’t know the instructor or the other people taking the class.  I try to be friendly and talk.  It’s hard sometimes.  I go blank and can’t figure out what to say in reply to things.

What do you know?  Project is just like a database.  You have your view of the database and then the tables that contain all of the information.  Duh!  No one ever explained it like that before.  I get it now.  So I need to convert all of the information in my head into tables of information.  Then I need to ask the different groups of users to do the same.  Wow, this wasn’t so hard.

As everyone knows, Sascha is a love bug.  She just wants to be petted and sit in your lap.  Rich started this saying around the house.  It goes something like, “I need to go to the doctor.  I have this heavy weight on my chest.”  This, of course, is Sascha trying to snuggle up to you.  That’s about 52 lbs. of dog on you.  I decided to capture pictures of Sascha cuddling at different times and string them all together into a collage.  So far, the pictures are cute.  We’ll see how this progresses.

We woke up to snow on Saturday.  It wasn’t much for us, but about three inches covered the ground.  Sascha was very happy to go out and roll around in the white stuff.  At least it was light and fluffy.  Rick had an easy time of cleaning off the driveway, patio, and the deck.

On Saturday, Free Spirit Siberian Husky Rescue did their annual sled demo and chili dinner.  This is the rescue where we had gotten Sascha.  She was Holly back then and was the lead dog on one of the sled teams.  It’s amazing to watch her run.  She puts her entire heart into it.  The snow meant that they could use the real sleds and not the wheeled sleds they use when there is no snow.

So Rick and I took Sascha out for the fun.  I had bid on one of the sled rides and won.  So I got to ride in a real dog sled.  Sascha was put on the team as well.  She didn’t get to be lead, but she was putting in more effort than most of the dogs.

There is a photographer who is part of the volunteers with the group.  He takes all of these wonderful pictures of their events.  I got pictures of me in the sled and he got a great shot of Sascha doing what she loves best.  I just have to say, it was too cold for this.  I think it was 11 degrees with -15 wind chills.  We managed to survive and Sascha got to run with a team.  She was tired the rest of the day.  I swear I saw her smiling in her sleep though.

It’s been way too cold to work out in the garage.  With the single digits and the wind chill, Rick has gotten somewhat of a reprieve from putting up insulation.  The ceiling is mostly done and one wall.  That leaves two and a half walls to go.  There’s probably some patching here and there to ensure that everything is all sealed up.  We hope the temps cooperate this week.

Rich has been telling me that our TV in the living room is slowly dying.  It appears to be getting darker and darker.  I know I can still see the shows as they play.  Rich says the bright is up as far as it’ll go.  Rich has been doing the normal research to figure out what he can buy to replace the TV.  He came up with two possible replacements.  This meant that it was time to do some in person investigation.

We headed out to H.H. Greg.  First stop was the refrigerators.  I’m looking, but I’m still not sure what I want.  Then on to the TVs.  We know what size we need to fit into the entertainment center.  That tells what we need to look at.  We find the Samsung and the Toshiba that Rich wants to see.  There’s a big difference in the screens and the quality.  Then there are the features.  So the Samsung is winning so far.  Then we see that they have one that got returned for a bigger model.  That makes the price enticing.  Rich wrangles a little bit.  Yep, the Samsung won.  We pay and head home with the spoils for trade.

The old TV has to come out of there first.  Rich get is out and we clean up the spot.  There are cables to move and rearrange.  Then there is the dust to get out there.  The new TV fits in nicely.  Rich gets it all cabled up and we turn on power.  Wow!  That’s a gorgeous screen.  Now we have to learn the remote and all the steps to get to our favorite things.  We can stream directly from Netflix, get onto the Internet, and even get to the hard drive on the network to view pictures.  This is going to be fun.

It’s time to start the food line.  I make up cheese dip with sausage.  Rich starts working up his wings.  These things are awesome.  They go down fast.  Spicy, sweet, and crispy.  Delicious.  The game starts up and we move on to sliders.  This is one of Rich’s specialties that we have for occasions, like Super Bowl.  I share one of mine with Sascha.  I think she’s a fan as well.

Besides the food, there is still Zurekbrau in the keg.  We’ve been enjoying Husky Paws for a while now.  It’s got such a great flavor.  I’ve had one while I was doing some work to prepare for some meetings in the morning.  A good way to work.  Too bad I can’t do this while I’m at work.  I get another one for dimmer and to complete this blog.  I’m enjoying the evening.  Come on, Ravens!

So the game plays in the background while I’m typing up my blog.  I guess I should finish up and get back to the game.  My team is winning.

That sweet face is a dog who wants a lap, at all cost.  This is right before she starts to bully her way into your lap.

I'm collecting pictures of Sascha cuddling.  This was Sunday morning and it was my turn to cuddle.
I’m collecting pictures of Sascha cuddling. This was Sunday morning and it was my turn to cuddle.
This is our new 40 inch TV.  It just fits, but the picture is gorgeous.
This is our new 40 inch TV. It just fits, but the picture is gorgeous.
Sascha in the back seat on her way to the sled demo.  She loves to ride.  I think she gets a little car sick though.
Sascha in the back seat on her way to the sled demo. She loves to ride. I think she gets a little car sick though.
This is me on the sled with Jason on the back with the brake.  It was really cool to get to ride in the sled while Sascha was helping the team to pull.
This is me on the sled with Jason on the back with the brake. It was really cool to get to ride in the sled while Sascha was helping the team to pull.
We are off!  Sascha is with the second set of dogs.
We are off! Sascha is with the second set of dogs.
The team and sled around the last corner and we are headed for home.
The team and sled around the last corner and we are headed for home.
One last shot of the team.  Good job, Sascha.
One last shot of the team. Good job, Sascha.