Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just a perfect day, you made me forget myself

Winter morning

I needed to go to the supermarket today to pick up some bread and milk. I decided to walk.

Most people would think I was crazy. It snowed and sleeted last night. There was a little bit of some sort of unidentifiable precipitation when I left. But there were a few reasons why I decided to walk.

First, it wasn't nearly as cold today as it was yesterday. Maybe the air temperature was similar, but the wind was gone. It actually wasn't entirely unpleasant to be outside!

Second, the supermarket is probably about a half mile from my apartment. I knew I wasn't going to go to the gym today, so I thought the walk would do me good.

Third, and most importantly, I didn't want to lose my parking spot. Those of you who live in the city and have to park on the street know all about this. I have the last spot before a driveway, so no one can park behind my car. This means that even if it snows more, as is predicted, I should still have a somewhat easy time getting my car out of its spot. There is nothing worse than being blocked in while parallel parked when it snows. You have even less wiggle room for getting out of the spot because there are piles of snow in front of and behind the car. Getting only milk and bread did not necessitate moving the car. If I needed a full supply of groceries perhaps I would have used my car, but milk and bread only didn't warrant it.

I really didn't mind the walk. I put on my This Week In Hockey podcast and listened to Stan Fischler and and John Giannone talk about hockey. At times I had to turn up the volume on my iPod because the el was going by, but I actually like the sound of the el, so this didn't bother me. If I hear the el it means I'm home. It is one of those sounds I don't even really notice, but I miss it when I'm in a quiet environment.

It's a dreary day today; it's cloudy and gray. This is the sort of day that makes Chicago look ugly to people who don't really love it. Combine a gray sky, gray slush on the ground, and the drab brick buildings and it's not a very inviting sight. But I can't imagine it any other way. I can't imagine brightness and color all over the place. It's just not for me.

This is the sort of day when people stay inside, and to be honest if it wasn't for running out of milk this morning I would have stayed inside as well. But it really is a beautiful day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wind, my new best friend

Lake Michigan on Cold Day 8

Usually the wind is not my friend. The street I live on is incredibly windy because it is right next to the lake. It's even worse on days like yesterday, when the wind speed is high.

Throughout most of the day yesterday the wind was my sworn enemy. Most of my time spent walking outside involved either plodding ahead and not getting very far because the wind was in my face (no need to go to the gym yesterday, I got quite a workout from walking into the wind, thank you very much) or trying to steady myself as the wind changed direction and tried to take me with it.

Sleeping was even difficult. I tried to take a nap, but I couldn't easily fall asleep because the wind was rattling the windows. It didn't help that a little while later the nice young man was back in the kitchen making a lot of noise, but that's a topic for another post.

This morning, however, I realized that the wind did my a great big favor yesterday. Since the temperature is going to drop today I wanted to get my car out of its spot before the snow froze and became difficult to remove from my car, and even more difficult to drive on. My wonderful boyfriend came downstairs with me, leaving for work early so he could help me in case I got stuck. We got down to the car and saw that there was very little snow on the car. It took me all of five seconds to remove the tiny bit of snow that accumulated on my rear window. That's it. The wind was blowing so hard, and I was parked so close to the lake, that the wind prevented a large amount of snow from coming to rest on my car. Additionally, the street wasn't very loaded with snow because most of it had blown away. I was able to get my car out of its parking spot relatively easily. I drove around the neighborhood a bit, just to run it a little, and saw that people who lived on other streets weren't nearly so lucky. Many had several inches of snow on their cars and a lot of snow on their streets.

I never thought I would say this, but thank you wind for blowing so hard yesterday and making my life so much easier.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to

Our kitchen is being remodelled. Normally this is done when tenants move out of the building and the apartment is vacant, but apparently there was some sort of plumbing problem that required the removal of our kitchen cabinets and the creation of a bigass hole in the wall. My landlord figured that since they had to do that much anyway, they may as well do the whole shebang and give us the kitchen that new tenants get. Instead of old metal cabinets we will get nice new wood cabinets. Instead of a... um, whatever type of crap flooring that's impossible to clean we have in there now, we'll have a brand new gleaming tile floor.

The work started on Friday when the metal cabinets, the sink, and the counter were ripped out. It was a good thing I was watching a film with subtitles (Water, it was a very good film, you should see it) because there was no way I could hear dialog over that racket. When the young man who is doing the work left, sure enough, there was a bigass hole in the wall, exposing all of the kitchen pipes.

Of course, no work was done over the weekend. We were left with a bigass hole in the wall, no cabinets, and a spout. I am not pipe savvy, but I think the spout is what connects to the sink pipe that forms a U-shape. We bought a pizza on Friday for dinner. We washed the two plates we used in the bathroom sink. While it technically worked, it was kind of gross. Once all the water drained from the sink there were little grease marks from the pizza. That is something you expect to see in your kitchen sink, and it's fine, but for some reason seeing it in the bathroom sink grossed me out a little bit. We then decided that we would buy paper plates, bowls, and cups, and that the only things we wanted to wash were silverware. We bought food that is easily microwaved, even though our stove works five, because the bathroom sink isn't big enough to clean most of our pots and pans. And let's face it, if a little bit of pizza grease in the bathroom sink grossed me out, I don't want to even think about what it would look like after washing a wok.

Needless to say we are a bit inconvenienced, but when I think about cooking in a nice kitchen I feel a little better. That thought came to an end when I was sitting in the living room on Sunday and heard a trickle. Yep, water was coming out of the spot. It was only a little. It left a puddle about the size of a puddle that would be made if a big dog peed on our floor. We put a bowl under the spout and let it go.

The nice young man came back yesterday to work on it again. He would come in and out. Apparently the plumbing problem that necessitated this whole situation affects more than one apartment, and I could hear his power tools being used in other apartments when he was gone. All of a sudden, I heard rushing water. I went into the kitchen and discovered water coming out of one of the exposed pipes. Most of it wasn't falling onto the floor, but into the wall. It was quite a bit of water. We had our own little waterfall!!! Some people pay a lot of money to go on vacation and see a nice waterfall, but we had our own. Too bad there were power tools in the way because I could have put down a blanket and we could have had a romantic little picnic in our kitchen.

Ultimately the nice young man fixed that, and we got a shiny new pipe in place of the old one. I know this because there's still a bigass hole in the wall, and the new pipe looks so shiny and pretty compared to the old dingy pipes surrounding it. The nice young man stayed until 9:30 last night, working over 12 hours, bless his heart.

I wonder what will get done today. Perhaps a patching of the bigass hole in the wall? I don't think that's a lot to ask. I'm just looking forward to having a sink and a counter back. We were supposed to make a nice meal on Thursday for Valentine's day. That might have to be postponed for a bit.