Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

a dose of the flu

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

I’ve been off work for most of last week, and one day the week before, the longest I’ve been out sick for ages. I’ve been running a fever since Thursday last week – about 9 days now, although it’s been responding to Tylenol. Not very high fever, around 99-101, but even so. The strange thing is, no other symptoms at all – appetite is fine when my fever is down, no congestion or anything – so kind of a mystery

So on Tuesday evening Emma took me to the doctor’s – the doc checked me out for strep throat, and also for pneumonia, which apparently is going around, but both tests came out negative. He gave me antibiotics and said that I should go back if it’s still going on by the end of the week.

Which it was, so went back to the doctor yesterday – a different doctor this time. I told him what had been going on and he immediately (and jokingly) said “Malaria!” I must have looked a bit worried as I laughed – he asked if I had been to Africa or anywhere like that lately, and I told him I had been to India but that was a couple of years ago; my last trip abroad was to the UK, so he said “Mad cow!”. Ha ha ha. Anyway, he said that he thought it was probably flu, and there’s not much you can do except rest and get good nutrition, which I’ve been doing, so hopefully it’ll be over soon. He insisted on doing a test, which involved taking a nasal swab – basically sticking a small brush right into my sinuses. When a doctor says “you’re going to hate me for this” you can be sure not much good will come of it. I had no idea I had sensory nerves back there – it was a pretty bizarre and unpleasant feeling, almost like he was taking a brain tissue sample, and of course he had to do both sides too, so I knew what was coming the second time. They also took some blood for other tests, which felt like nothing compared with that swab.

So, just waiting for results and looking after myself. Hopefully I’ll be back at work on Monday or Tuesday next week!

basement upgrade update

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I haven’t posted pics of the basement in a while. Work has been going on, but with the drywall going up and getting finished, it hasn’t looked too different. However we got to the point where the painting could start this week, so tonight I took a few photos, and here they are. I can’t believe how much cleaner the whole place looks – we have to keep looking at the “before” pictures to remind ourselves.

So the plan for tomorrow is that the guys will finish spray painting the ceiling, and hopefully put in some of the new flooring. Over the weekend I’m going to paint the wall on which the laundry tub is going to go, then early next week the plumbers will be in to finish the laundry, and also reset the bathroom. Then it’s pretty much just a matter of a bit of door framing, and I’ll have time to paint the rest of the walls. Finally we’ll have a nice, dry, clean basement, and get our laundry and garage back too!

obama reaction

Friday, November 7th, 2008

I haven’t posted about the Obama victory, because to be honest I’m not quite sure how to put it into words. It feels in many ways, to a lot of my friends, like such a relief and release that a lot of us are quite subdued about it. I’m just really looking forward to some sanity and transparency from the government – I’m aware that a lot of people’s hopes will not be met, but it can’t get much worse, can it?

And on the historical nature of who Obama is, I think this cartoon speaks volumes, and at the risk of being over-sentimental, it gets to me every time:

Tom Toles cartoon

Tom Toles cartoon

I heard that there’s a cartoon in a UK newspaper, also of the White House, with a sign next to a small lake saying “Please do not walk on the water”.

what’s for lunch?

Friday, October 31st, 2008

On the menu at our work cafeteria today: Aviyal Wrap w/Spinach, Saffron-Mango Basmati Rice, Minted Yogurt Dressing and Pineapple-Mustard Salad or Potato Chips. Sounds pretty good to me.


Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

My Facebook status post from this morning has generated a few comments, so I thought a quick blog post would be in order.

On the walk in to work this morning I noticed that the street a couple of blocks from the house was full of trucks and trailers. It turned out that the street was in the process of being transformed into a movie set, and that it’s for the new Coen Brothers movie, A Serious Man. In fact as I was walking by and checking out what was going on, Ethan Coen himself walked right by me (he seemed fairly preoccupied, or maybe just cold, so it didn’t seem the right time to be quoting Big Lebowski lines at him (warning – sweary words in that link)).

It looked like they were planning to film in and around this fantastic building on the corner of LaSalle and Blaisdell:

View Larger Map

busy day

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

For a Saturday, today turned out fairly eventful. After a great dinner with friends last night at the Quang Vietnamese restaurant round the corner, the kids slept pretty well, and as a result so did we. After breakfast I had to do some home repair – I think that the plumbing work in the basement caused the kitchen tap to get some gunk in the workings, so it was leaking a lot. A quick dismantling and reassemble and we were all set.

We had to go out to get some supplies, so a Costco trip was in order. We also needed to go to the Post Office, but on the way we had a bit of an accident – I was just outside the parking lot, when the driver of the car in front and to the right of me must have realized that she missed the Post Office parking lot entrance, so swerved into my lane, then stopped and reversed right into the front of us (even though I was honking the car horn as she was reversing). It was a low-speed impact: some scratching, minor denting and a turn signal broken on our car, but still a bit of a pain and enough to make you a bit shaky. Toby was kind of upset, so Emma took him to the Post Office to do what she needed to do while I called the insurance company. Fortunately the other driver was hugely apologetic and cooperative, so here’s hoping that there are no issues.

Anyway, we went for a bit of lunch to regain our collective cool, then did the shopping, then hung out at home for a while, followed by a trip to the park, then dinner, bath for the kids, and now they’re quietly asleep. We also trimmed Dara’s hair for the first time. It seemed a bit of a shame when she doesn’t have much, but she was developing a bit of a mullet, so it was more just a tidy at the back, and looks a fair bit neater now.

Actually I’m re-reading this post and realizing that the day was really neither busy nor eventful. Still, we’ve gotten this far and I’m not really in the mood for editing.

new basement progress

Monday, October 13th, 2008

Well the basement renovation is continuing apace. So far we’re really happy with how it’s going. Overall here’s what’s happened:

Demolition of all the walls, shelves and bar. Tear out of old wiring, replaced with new. Installation of drain tile and sump pump flood protection system. Removal and improvement in sewer piping. Moved the gas meter to outside wall, removed old gas piping and replaced with copper. Removal of all old water piping, replaced with copper and PVC pipes, with huge improvement in water pressure to the upstairs bathroom. Vapor barrier installed around walls. Wood framing installed for walls. Insulation installed for walls. New lighting and power outlets installed.

Next steps are for the new walls to be built, and the new laundry tub to be installed, then new flooring, then painting.

First week pictures are here; latest (week three) are here.

sad story

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

This morning my friend layclerk (it’s a singing thing) in Glasgow posted that his cat Ernie, who has been sick for some time, passed away. Very sad. It’s something I guess you know will happen with a pet, but it’s heartbreaking when it does happen, and especially in this case when Ernie was only seven years old. I know I’ll find it very difficult when it happens to my orange cat Scout. Anyway, spare a thought over the next few days for him.

how to be popular

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Or not – from


Sunday, September 28th, 2008

This week we finally finally got around to starting our renovation of the basement. We’ve been meaning to get around to this for ages – we would occasionally (about once a year) get a little water in the basement floor when there was a lot of melting snow and rain in spring – not enough to do any harm but enough to stop us from putting any nice furnishings there. Also it was just very ugly – done in wood panelling probably in the 30s or something, and it really needed to be cleaned up.

So after a number of wildly varied quotes, some refinancing, lots of cleaning and junk removal and a bit of fretting about how good the contractor would be we had the whole thing start this Monday. There’s been tons done already – Monday and Tuesday was the demolition of the wood paneling and the drop ceiling; Wednesday there was a lot of cleanup of plumbing, including some drains, then Thursday we had Standard Water come in to do the water protection work – installing drain tile and a sump pump, which involved a trench being dug around the perimeter, then filled with stones, piping and finally cemented over. Friday there was more plumbing and the first of the electrical clean-up. Quite a productive week to say the least, and next week we’re all set for the new walls to be built, and the start of the plumbing updates.

It’s been a bit of a hassle – not too bad because obviously most of the work has been downstairs, but we have had some strange happenings with our electrical system, and the plumbing work has affected the water pressure in the bathroom and kitchen (much better in the bathroom, and terrible in the kitchen which means that the dishwasher isn’t working, so lots of dishwashing all week). The cats have been quite accommodating – we had to move their litter trays and they haven’t been allowed downstairs, which is usually their hideout.

Anyway, it’s all very exciting. Here are the photos from week one – enjoy. I’m already shuddering at how bad it used to look – even if we stop now it looks 100 time better.