• It’s Over

    Today, I am not working. I took the day off, thinking I would need it to recover from the half-marathon that I ran yesterday. Turns out that I really don’t need it. My muscles are a little sore, but I feel fine. We did not go fast at all in the half-marathon, my time was around 3:18. In fact, I felt so good yesterday that I cleaned out my entire living and dining room, threw out my old couches and went and bought a new one.

  • Glass Block Window Installation

    The glass block window went in really easily. John, Janet and I had it in and mortarted in about two hours. I saved about $500 by doing it myself instead of hiring the guys I called.

  • Catching Up

    As soon as I get some time, I’ll post the pictures from Bloomington. I didn’t take too many because the battery on my camera died on the first day and I forgot to bring my charger. But I’ll have Jack’s and Em’s pictures to put up as well.

  • My Bloomington-Normal Trip with Emily and Jack

    We are sitting in our hotel room in Bloomington, waiting for a pizza for dinner. Here is Em and Jack’s narrative of the trip so far:

  • Another Route

    Rode the #74 Fullerton bus today, en route to my cousin Janet’s house to pick up her car. I picked it up in Lincoln Park, by DePaul and rode it to California.

  • My House Has a Hole

    I finally took the old, rotted window out of my bathroom. This left me with this hole.

  • Add a Route

    After returning my cousin Janet’s car to her house, I took the bus home. Pleasantly, this involved taking a new bus route. So, I can now cross off the #52 California/Kedzie bus off my list of routes. I took it from Logan Blvd to 36th. Then transferred from to the #35 which brought me home. Total travel time: 1 hour

  • My Runs

    The Nike Plus website is letting me share my last 5 runs with the world. So, I’ve copied the code and am posting it here to see how it looks.

  • My Longest Run

    Yesterday, after work, I put on my new Brooks running shoes and went for a long run. (Note: It was raining pretty hard, though not when I started.) I was shooting to go around 4 miles because that’s my long distance these days. I ran from my corner to the park and then three times around the park. I thought I’d also run home too, but my calves were feeling really sore and I thought it best to stop there. Turns out that I ran 4 1/2 miles! I had run for over an hour, as I still go pretty slow, averaging a just under a 14 minute mile. Not fast, but not bad, in my opinion. Needless to say, after walking home, I was incredibly sore. The muscles in my legs got really stiff. And they were pretty stiff this morning as well. Later in the day, they got better and now (around 10pm) they’re ok.

  • Bathroom Work

    Finally, I got a good day of work in on the bathroom today. Basically, I built the wall by the sink. Here’s what it looks like.

  • My Strange Goal

    I’ve had this thing that I’ve wanted to do for a while. I don’t know why I want to do it, but I do. I’d like to say that I’ve ridden every bus or el line in Chicago. And not just taking a ride so that I could say that I’ve ridden it. I want to actually go places which require me to ride every route. I know it’s nuts and I don’t know why I want to do it, but I just do. I’ve ridden a number already and I’m going to create a single page listing all the routes I’ve ridden. Then, as I ride a new bus route or el line, I’ll add them to my list. Today, I rode the #12 Roosevelt and the #9 Ashland (though I’ve ridden that one in the past).

  • Bathroom Floor—Happiness

    Here’s what my bathroom has looked like of late.

  • Running

    This Sunday, I ran 3.25 miles and felt ok afterwards. Maybe I can do this half-marathon after all.

  • A Crazy Idea

    So, my friend Laurie Strahinski emailed me the other day, asking if I wanted to run a half-marathon with her in August. Now, as I’m easily 50 lbs. overweight, this seems to be a ridiculous idea. But, because I am an idiot, I agreed. I have been going to the gym off and on (more off than on), so it’s not like I’m starting from scratch. My first week, I could run two miles pretty easily. Now, I’m up to three miles in just under 40 minutes. So, I’m not breaking any speed records, but I’m doing ok. I’m trying to run three times a week, though I’m not sure how my knees will hold up.

  • Work Continues…

    Tonight, I finally got off the old cast-iron drain from the tub. It was connected to the main stack with lead. So I had to drill some holes into it and then just chisel it out. I broke one drill bit (9/16″ RIP) and also cracked the screwdriver that I was using to pry it out. But, after about 2 hours, I got the pipe out. So, I’m very happy that’s over.

  • Fixed Bedroom Electricity

    So, as I was going to bed last night, I plugged my laptop in the outlet by my mattress and poof, lights in the room went out. I thought I had blown the circuit, but then turned and found that the stuff plugged in on the other side of the room was still on. I went to the basement and found that the circuit was not blown. I figured that whatever was loose in the box that I put the cover on the other day, must have finally separated. Since it was around 11pm when I discovered this, I decided not to try to fix it immediately. (I don’t ever work on stuff when I’m tired because that seems to be when I make truly dumb mistakes.) I shut the breaker off to the room, just to be on the safe side and went to bed. I got up around 6am and decided to check the wires in the one box. After retwisting them together, I put the cap on and some electrical tape for good measure. When I turned the breaker back on, everything worked fine. So, small problem fixed.

  • Removing the Floor

    The last bit that I need to remove from the bathroom is the floor. Rather, the sort of vinyl top and plywood floor that’s over the subfloor. This is a royal pain. Why? Screws! The vinyl (it’s not really vinyl, but I don’t know what it is) floor is covering the heads of the screws, so it was really hard to get up. In fact, I only took up half the floor. I used my circular saw to cut it into pieces and then had to pry the pieces off. This was really hard and my back is pretty sore. It’s just proving to me how much better screws are at holding things than nails. Tomorrow, hopefully, the rest will come up and I’ll be done gutting.

  • Electricity in the Bathroom

    After a stupid mistake yesterday, where I learned a valuable lesson about rough edges in conduit and what happens when you cut through the coating on wire, I finally have electricity in the bathroom. (Lesson, MAKE SURE all edges on conduit are SMOOTH because if you hook a wire and rip through the coating, it’s a HUGE flash and will scare the bejesus out of you.)

  • Empty Bathroom and Bad News

    Here’s a shot of my completely gutted bathroom.

  • Boneheaded Mistake

    I still haven’t put the pictures of the bathroom up. I’ve taken some, but am too lazy to get the cable for my camera out. Anyway, I can describe the bathroom, it’s completely empty. I spent Sunday morning cutting the old cast iron vent pipe (that was connected to nothing on either side) to get it out of the wall. Tonight, I decided to move the electrical conduit that went across the ceiling and up next to the main stack. I did a really good job of bending the conduit, which was a little difficult because it wasn’t a 90 degree bend. But then stupidity took over. The way the conduit came up, it looked easy to just run it right into the cover of the box in the attic. So, that’s what I did. Then, as I was struggling to put the cover on (after I reconnected the 6 pairs (3 black, 3 white) of wire, did I realize that I forgot to put the little ring on the inside of the conduit. So, the conduit I just added doesn’t really stay attached to the box. Basically, I just ungrounded everything upstairs. So, tomorrow, I’ll be doing basically the same thing I did today, just hopefully, I’ll do it correctly.

  • Bathroom Demolished

    Thanks to my cousin Janet, my tub is gone. And just about everything else in the bathroom is gone as well. Pictures to follow…

  • Back to Work…

    …on the house, of course. I’ve just about finished gutting the bathroom. It was a pain because it was updated at some point. Whoever did it, didn’t remove the old plaster and lathe, they just put drywall over it. So I had to remove both the drywall and the plaster/lathe. Fun. And, as an added bonus, I no longer have anywhere to take a shower. But, one of the reasons that I joined the gym at work was so that I could take a shower there before work. So, this isn’t really a big deal. The coolest thing though is that I now have a window in the bathroom. I LOVE it!

  • Ski Trip

    I have recently returned from a nice vacation where I went skiing for the first time in my life. I went to Park City, Utah to Deer Valley Ski Resort with my sister Julie, my brother John and John’s Dutch friend Mark. We stayed at the condo of my sister Nancy’s friend Sharon. (Thanks Sharon!) I forgot to take my camera, so I don’t have any pictures to post. But if I get pictures from those who did bring cameras, I’ll put them up.

  • Working with Ruby

    To set up a new project: ruby cookbook (using cookbook as the project name)

  • Working with Ruby

    Now that ruby and mysql appear to be working ok, I need to set up a new database. First of all, look at the config/database.yml file. The root user password (or whichever mysql user that you’re going to use) must be put in this file. Then, the database must be created: