Our furnace still works.
Since moving here, we've been using a local company that provides annual check-ups of our furnace and AC. The first year was tough, because the technicians they sent were...um...not so good. Case in point: when the blower motor blew out in 2008 (on one of the coldest days of the year), the guy tried to sell me a new $5,000 system, when the motor was ultimately replaced for just $300. So when we found a technician from this company whom I felt we could trust and wouldn't try to fleece us, we kept asking for him every time we needed a maintenance call. Until this week, when we found out that he quit, and we don't know where he went. Now, to me, a good HVAC technician is like a good stylist: you find one you like, and you stick to her like conservatives stick to their guns and religion. (Trust me - we've been through two salon moves in four years with ours.) Thankfully, our new technician, Frank, seems like a decent fellow, so I'll be requesting him in the future. That being said - Tom Y., if you read this, call me!
My feet are bigger than I think.
We spent Saturday afternoon in Lincoln Square, enjoyed a buffet lunch at an Indian restaurant, and - while Matthew perused the Book Cellar - I got fitted for some new running shoes at Fleet Feet. So it turns out that for several years I've been buying running shoes a full size too small for my humongous flippers. Armed with this new information and a bruised ego over my no-longer-so-daintys, I grabbed the recommended pair of Brooks, then drowned my sorrows with three pairs of fancy running socks, a "beanie" hat, a pair of gloves with a little "cap" over the thumb so I can still control my non-fruit-symbol-engraved music player, and Yaktrax, which strap on your shoes and supposedly let you run on snow with better traction. I'll let you know how they turn out - should be a fun winter.
Like butter, bacon should be its own food group.
I think bacon makes everything taste better, but particularly when flavoring a hearty vegetable soup that will last us the week - if we're lucky. I had to clear out a lot of vegetables in the fridge to make space for the turkey day ham, so I threw a bunch of stuff in the pot, including some kale (the green stuff). Hey, quit coveting my Cherry Red, 7.25 quart Le Creuset dutch oven that I spent years deciding to buy...
There are people on the bus who really shouldn't talk to strangers. Ever.
Last night, we managed to overhear the conversation between a 40-something woman clutching her bible - let's call her Chatty Cathy - and a 28-year-old fellow (we assume Eastern European). Chatty Cathy was trying to engage this total stranger in conversation for whatever reason, and she would not stop talking the entire freakin' bus ride. The poor guy - whose English was fractured at best - tried his damndest to keep up, but she kept on yapping. We learned from their conversation that Chatty Cathy's mother was a pastor for 40 years (although at first we thought we heard her say bastard but then she repeated it five more times during the conversation - just to make her point), and she kept trying to get more personal information from him, but his limited English did not help.
Chatty Cathy: So do you have any siblings?
Eastern European Fellow: I have one seester and brudder.
Chatty Cathy: So just one sister and your mom?
EEF: No, B-r-udder.
Chatty Cathy: So only one sibling?
Then he asked for her number, which she didn't want to give, but she took his, and made no promise to call him. She did reiterate several times that she was a born-again Christian and she didn't drink or smoke, and that if he was the type of person that drinks or smokes, then she didn't think they could be friends.
And when we finally - mercifully! - got off the bus, EEF tried to cop a hug from Chatty Cathy, except she stuck out her hand and said "Shake my hand! Shake my hand!" as a preemptive strike. It was a good thing she did that, or that bible would likely have gone places it had never gone before.
We are fortunate to have great friends in our lives.
We were taking said bus ride to get downtown to meet up with our good friend, Patrick, at Quartino, which was packed to the gills. Patrick and I were roommates for a year when we were both in grad school, until I
Yesterday marked the birthday of Patrick's late best friend, Robert, who passed away last year after a long battle with a brain tumor. Robert was a much-loved high school choral director in Palatine, and Patrick felt that he needed to be here this weekend to celebrate Robert's life - 'cause that's just the type of friend he is. We love Patrick to pieces - he's one of the most genuine, heart-on-his-sleeve, kind-hearted people we know. And since we don't get to see him often, we were thrilled to catch up, and recall some of our memories of our Buena Park apartment. Patrick and I connected through a roommate matching service (since I was still relatively new to Chicago and Patrick was in Louisiana at the time), and he asked Robert to check out the apartment on his behalf. And when I asked Robert to take off his shoes when he came in the door, apparently he knew right off the bat that Patrick and I would be a good match.
So here's to you, Robert - happy birthday; the world misses you something fierce. And here's to you, Patrick, for being such an amazing friend in so many ways, in so many lives.