Monday, October 31, 2011

Recipe for the Playoffs

Terri asked for my blue cheese and garlic encrusted steak recipe a few days ago and I'm hesitant to give her the details on how I normally prepare it because I think this recipe would turn out much better! That said, all I do is tenderize the steak a bit (don't go crazy), brush on some A-1 steak sauce ( your choice of flavors) and then brush on some minced garlic. After the final turn on the grill, I put blue cheese on top of the steak so it melts. It's tasty, but not truly "encrusted".

(update: I tried the Ruth Chris recipe tonight and it was awesome!)

By the way, I read that meat marinated before grilling accumulates something dramatic, like 75% or so, fewer carcinogens, so make sure you marinate your meat before you grill!!

The Bears have to play another Monday night road game, which seems a bit unfair. It's undeniable that the home team on Monday night has a bigger than normal advantage. Now we have to play Philly after they destroyed Dallas at home. It's ok though. After Philly we play Detroit and San Diego at home. If we win two of the three games, we will be 6-4 going into the last six games which are against mostly sub-par opponents. Over that stretch we should go 5-1 or 4-2 at worst, so we should be 11-5 or 10-6 and either record should be good enough to get into the playoffs. This Philly game will be a tough one, but don't lose hope!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Bye Week

It's a bye week for the Bears, so what does a Joe do when there's no game to attend or prepare for? Well, Friday night was a nice night in where LL made baked chicken as part of a delicious dinner. She also made a pan full of iced pumpkin bars which are fantastic! We watched some shows which we missed while ESDNM was in town and had a nice evening.

Friday was also the day that construction began on Super Closet 2.0. The new closet we added downstairs was quickly dubbed Super Closet 1.o after the idea for a walk-in closet in the same room came to fruition. Adding the closet really just made use of some wasted space outside of an existing rather large closet. Now that room will have two big closets and a big bathroom with a shower and a jacuzzi tub. Sweet (suite)! I'm not doing the work myself of course. Normally I hire Manual Labor Mike, but this time I hired a drywaller and painter who came up with the idea for Super Closet 2.0 and did the work on Super Closet 1.0. His work isn't as good as MLM, but he worked on Saturday as well as Sunday!

Friday I got a good workout in too, which came into play on Saturday. As Saturday was a pretty nice day, though slightly on the cooler side, and we had the afternoon free, I decided to see if LL wanted to go for a run down by the lake. She did and so we did, for about a mile south and then a mile back. Normally she goes further on her own, but my legs really started to ache as I realized the err of my ways with working on Friday first. Oh well, it was fun anyway and a little exercise beats no exercise!!

Saturday night brought a Halloween party at a friend's house in Elgin, which is about an hour away with no traffic, 2 days during rush hour. LL and I dressed up as Starbucks baristas and the costume was generally liked pretty well. The party hosts went all out with decorations and lights, which had the unfortunate side effect of making my phone camera useless. Someone came through with a flash though and took a bunch of pictures, so if I find them I'll re-post them. We didn't get to the party until 9:30 so we stayed until midnight and ended up sleeping in late on Sunday to recover.

After a slow start, we had a solid breakfast and then headed to the local hardware store to pick up shelving supplies for the new closet. Afterwards, and after some afternoon football, LL made dinner which was a delicious combination of pears, apples and cinnamon over pork chops along with a sweet potato. Delicious!!

We rented a movie, a scary-type movie for a change to go more in line with the season, called Priest. It's out at Redbox and we thought it was decent. A pretty great weekend!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Further over indulgence courtesy of ESDNM

Ok, maybe he's not SOLELY to blame, but I think he's mostly to blame. Dinner on Thursday was at our favorite sushi because 1) I'm not sure if ESDNM has been there 2) it's BYOB and 3) it's good sushi!! Minnie and Eric are the hosts and they were there with their added help, Harry, who is just as nice as they are.

Unfortunately the pictures aren't all that great:

We went with two bottles of wine for the three of us and ESDNM forced me to finish one of the bottles with him. LL had maybe a fourth of the other bottle. We brought the rest of that bottle home for drinking tonight!

See what I mean by not great pictures? I kind of forgot until all the food was gone!!! Doh! Thought the empty plates left the food up to your imagination at least.

And I forgot this picture from Irazu, the Costa Rican restaurant we went to on Wednesday. They only take cash!! A vital piece of info if you're in the Logan Square hood and want to eat there.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!!

It's the two month anniversary of my marriage to LL!!! Actually, right around now the ceremony was ending and.....oh wait, that was EASTERN time, so I guess it wouldn't have started yet. Anyway, today is the day and it was clearly the best thing I've done with my otherwise marginal life. :-)

Since the reconstruction of our downstairs has been completed, we've been able to move stuff back downstairs and then cleaned out old items to be replaced by wedding gifts (and in some cases just got rid of old stuff). I have to tell ya, it's nice to have new pots, pans, knives and glasses. This week I also started using our new bath towels. Awesome. Interestingly enough to my readers I'm sure is that I was really excited to use our new iron! And use it I did this week. Good stuff. Very happy with it!! Last night I told ESDNM about using all the new stuff and he said I should get married again!! Hmmmmm, nah.

We still haven't even put all of the gifts away yet, much less spent the gift card money. We're hoping to get those things done over the next month so our house is going to be even more awesome!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Preemptive strike

Rarely do I think of my blog as a weapon, but when ESDNM shows up in town, you have to be ready to go guns-a-blazin' lest you get blamed for gastronomical events that are not your fault. To wit, this evening was dinner at Irazu, a Costa Rican restaurant which turns out to be right down the street from Ricardo. ESDNM saw Irazu being covered on some cooking show, but forgot the name. Fortunately, when you google Costa Rican food and Chicago, one restaurant shows up. Turns out the inside is very small and cramp, but their outdoor patio area is fairly spacious.....seems like a simple remodeling job would fix that, but who am I to say? So we sat out on the patio, even though it was in the 50's and huddled near a heater. The food was pretty tasty and was declared a "double" on the baseball analogy rating system. ESDNM's last discovered restaurant was Sun-Wah, a Chinese bbq place and was rated a home run.

LL and ESDNM surveying the very small print on the menu. Low light and small print was not helpful. Look at that cool heater right behind LL. I made sure she had that seat so she wasn't cold.

Here's a picture of one of the heaters by itself.

Dinner! Those are empenadas in the middle while LL and I had similar dishes (meat with onions, peppers and some other stuff grilled together) with Costa Rican rice (dirty rice and black beans) and sweet plantains. Yum!

Oh, did I mention it was BYOB? The entire bill for three including appetizers taxes and tip was $73. Not bad.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Money out, money in

Yesterday was an exhausting day, though for no traditionally good reasons. Sunday night with nothing really good on TV (the football game was a 62-7 blowout of teams we don't care about and the baseball game, which unless you're a huge sports fan or live in the city of one of the teams playing, is unwatchable anymore), we decided to rent a movie at about 8:30 which didn't finish until about 11:30 and it about another hour before we got to bed.

The next morning started early, 6 a.m., for both of us, leading to my exhaustion. The reason I had to get up was to take my car into "my guy" Dave because my brakes needed work and I wanted him to check out the suspension on my car. Turns out I needed new struts, which isn't unexpected on a car with 120,000 miles on it. Since I bought my Toyota before their company went to hell in a handbasket, it could probably go for another 50,000 miles if I treat it right. The prospect of a car payment makes me bristle, so I was happy to part with the $1,400 to get the car in good working order again. A trip to "my guy" without my car involves walking 6-8 blocks to a train and then walking another 5 blocks or so Dave's garage. It's not bad when the weather is good which is why I wanted to get the work done sooner rather than later. When it gets cold outside, it's an unpleasant trip, especially if you're paying money to do it!!

On the other side of the ledger, I went to the grocery store to get food for dinner and saw a sign that said "$25 gift card with flu shot". Now, I've been wanting to get my flu shot but the timing hasn't been great with how busy I've been (I don't want a weak immune system when I get the shot), but I've been pricing them out at various stores and they run you about $25-$30. So I meandered back to the pharmacy and said "is this deal for real?". Sure enough, though the pharmacist could barely believe it herself, it was a net $4 for the shot! So I got shot up and then the pharmacist says that I can submit the bill to Blue Cross and they'll reimburse me! Outstanding!!

Dinner was porterhouse steaks encrusted with garlic and blue cheese. Those and a bottle of wine is also why I didn't get my entry done last night!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Morning entry

Just too tired to write it tonight. Look for it in the morning!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Boy am I terrible at writing recently. Why might you ask? Well, a combination of a lot of work, work on the condo, Ken's visit and......I'm not sure what other reasons.

Yesterday I did play softball though! First time playing in about a month or so. It was fun as we had sort of a reunion with guys who played on the team 5+ years ago. We went 1-2 for the day, obviously not good, but had fun. Our first game hinged on two plays: one of our outfielders went back on a fly ball and had it hit off his glove and go over the fence for a 3-run, 4 base error, and the second play was a one out bases loaded double play hit into by one of our best players. We ended up losing 16-11 and those two plays were at least 5 runs.

We crushed our second team 26-6 and lost the third game something like 18-15 or something. For the day I believe I was 8-10 getting on base (2-3, 3-4 and 3-3), so I had a good day at the plate.

Even though I told LL she in no way had to come out for the games, much less the mid 40's start to the day at 8 a.m., she did indeed come out like a trooper and fortunately the temperature got up to almost 70 for her comfort. Awesomely, there were about 6 or 7 wife/girlfriend fans there along with a few of their kids too! Good stuff.

LL has been on an unprecedented cooking streak!! This week she cooked a great chicken dish and followed it up with stuffed peppers, which we ate two nights in a row. Tonight she topped it all off with glazed pork chops and a side dish of apples, pears and brussel sprouts in a sweet sauce. They were all very good!! She was a little hesitant about the peppers after I told her that I loved stuffed peppers and that my mom cooked them all the time growing up. LL's were delicious too!!

ESDNM comes into town this week for work, so that means over eating and over drinking....basically over consuming. Bad ESDNM....bad!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

All Warm and Fuzzy

On our Columbus Day shopping excursion, Eddie Bauer was a big hit and particularly this fleece lined hoodie. This bad boy made the trip to the Bears game as the temperature dipped to 50 during the evening. It was awesomely warm. Very happy to have acquired it and for just about half price.

A friend of LL's contacted me a few weeks ago to talk about some ringing that she had in her ears. It seemed like her basic symptoms were pretty similar to mine, as far as the tinnitis goes at least. People with Meniere's all have tinnitis, but not everyone with tinnitis has Meniere's. Turns out she has a benign tumor pressing on a nerve in her ear that's causing the ringing sensation. Operating on the tumor could cause permanent hearing loss in the ear or possibly facial muscle issues as it's a tricky operation with different nerves and such around the tumor.

Before you get all out of sorts, I've had two MRI's of my noggin, several years apart and there are no tumors up there (even less hair too). Seems like the tumor possibility must be the first thing on the physicians list of things to check for when someone comes with ringing in their ears and Meniere's is really far down that list. Maybe it's because they don't have a cure for Meniere's but can operate on tumors.

Lastly, I'm reevaluating my TV, internet and phone providers. There are companies with deals for bundling, most notably Comcast and Xfinity (same company basically), but I've heard nothing good about them. Currently I'm using ATT for internet and phone and DirecTv for TV. I'd like to move away from satellite so when the weather is bad I could still actually watch TV (snow, rain and wind can limit your satellite signal provided viewing). Anyone in the Chicago area with good info to report? There have been some people switching to RCN, but not for an entire bundled package.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Joisey Ken hits the town!

Joisey Ken made his annual pilgrimage to Chicago to pay homage to his Vikings (and maybe to spend some time with me too). Arriving before noon on Friday allowed us to get in two rounds of golf this weekend. Friday afternoon we played Old Orchard Country Club, which sounds and looks nicer than it really is. This summer we went to a wedding there and I remembered how awesome the course looked with big, old trees and nice greens. While those are both true, the course wasn't as nice as I had hoped and there were some rough spots. Oh well, live and learn. We had fun anyway battling the wind and the temperature to some degree. Still, for October, it was nice, just not as nice as it has been the last three weeks or so.

We played about as can be expected with Ken not having played in 6 weeks and me using a new grip, stance and swing. We got back into the city in time for dinner at Sapori Trattoria though and were joined by LL and Smitty. Smitty was going to the Ohio State/Illinois game on Saturday, otherwise he may have joined us for golf. Dinner was great though, despite our first sub-par waiter at one of our favorite restaurants. The manager made up for it though by giving us two free deserts and each a glass of Moscato. Nice save.

Being stuffed and tired from golfing in the cold and wind, it was an early night. Saturday was a relaxing morning and then off to Springbrook Golf Course in my home town of Naperville for our second round. The wind was even worse, gusting to 35-40 mph as near as we could figure. Again though, we had fun and I even finished with birdie-par-par. Not too shabby considering the weather and my swing changes.

Saturday dinner was back at Gale Street Inn for ribs. I say back at because we went there last year when Ken was in town and he wanted to go back there this year. Unfortunately they don't take reservations so we got there and put our name on the list and were told it would be 30-45 minutes. Forty-five minutes later we were the only people in the bar area who hadn't been seated. Apparently the hostess accidentally crossed our name out and they forgot about us!! We were just chatting away and enjoying a beer, so we barely noticed anyway. The manager gave us a free appetizer to make up for it, so we were ok. Dinner was great too as we all had ribs and enjoyed them very much! Gale Street is actually rehabbing its old bar area, so we'll have to go back again and see how the changes look.

Sunday morning brought another relaxing start to the day before shopping for the tailgate. It was raining, so I'm glad we didn't try to fit in a third round of golf. The tailgating started when we left at 3, even though the game didn't start until 7:30. Good fun was had by all as we had probably 12 people there including some of the usuals: Sausage Andy and E-Money, along with my buddies Fedor, JC and Jimmy White Trash. Good stuff. Chili, brats, guacamole and bacon wrapped shrimps and dates were on the menu. For my good buddy Doug though, it was porterhouse steak! Yep, I cooked him a porterhouse steak on the grill and it turned out pretty well!! He joked around when I said 6 weeks ago or so that I would bring all of the food for the tailgate, that he wanted a porterhouse. Ever since then he asks every week where his steak is. So I finally got that monkey off my back!

Ken brought our wedding gift with him and he went along with what I did for his wedding gift: a certificate to Golfsmith for him and a certificate for Nordstrom's for his wife. I figure that way they both get something just for themselves while everyone else has given them something for their house basically. Ken and Dawn were very generous and continue to show what great friends they are.

This morning was not too rushed, but I got Ken to the airport by 9:45 and he was all set for his flight. He's returned safely and back to his wife and daughter a little heavier, but no worse for wear!

Just a reminder of where we went....the neon sign didn't show up on my iphone.

Joisey Ken and a crazy vikings fan at the tailgate. This dude was all done up and has tattoos for every team that Randy Moss, and ex-Viking now, caught multiple touchdowns in a game against. That's dedication.....and more than a little insane.

Here we are in our seats with Doug, still full from eating his porterhouse I'm sure! Yes, the temperatures dropped a bit, down to around 50 by the second half.

This didn't show up well either, but it was a 3/4 moon and it was orange on the horizon. Very least in my mind if not on film!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weather and Golf

Since just about the beginning of October, the weather in Chicago has been awesome. If I'm not mistaken, I read the other day that we had 10 or 11 consecutive days of cloudless skies....cloudless!! They were awesome days let me tell you. It was the longest streak in 75 years or something ridiculous. Couldn't have been happier!

Last week, I took a golf lesson courtesy of a Christmas gift from LL. I've taken lessons before, several in fact. Over the years I've had a video tape lesson with a pro from a country club to which I belonged. I also took a three day videotaped lesson out in San Diego where I hit about 1,200 balls. It was fun and my swing was broken down at that time. Well, in the 5 or 6 years, since that weekend, I've really regressed apparently. I shouldn't say that actually as this pro, Gabe at Golf-tec, started with my grip, specifically my left hand. In all of my other lessons, I've only worked on my right had and how it held the club, so this was interesting. The video lesson was even more hi-tech than in the past (as you might expect from 5 years ago) and my swing had issues on top of my bad grip.

My alignment was all pointed left (shoulders and feet mostly) and my grip and swing plane were pointing right. The result was relative inconsistency, especially with my driver, but it was disguised by swing adjustments that I would make through athleticism, not proper form. So when I inevitably got tired, or started off tired, my shots would go astray. Gabe said in ten years when I was less athletic, I would barely be able to play the game with my current swing. We'll see how I do after this weekend when Joisey Ken comes into town and we golf at least twice. It could be a big mess, but there's some of that to be expected anytime you change your swing. Regardless, I'll be golfing and hanging with Ken, so it's all good!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It's a surprise sports entry!

Even though last night was the Bears/Lions Monday Night Football game, I'm going to start with the Blackhawks. Why would I do that if the season only just started (two games in)? Well, because after the first month or so last year, the Blackhawks had played 5 more games than the rest of their competition (like 15 games while everyone else had played only 10). It doesn't seem like it's a big deal because they all play the same amount of games, but it was a huge deal for the Hawks as they culled about 40% of their roster from the Stanley Cup winning team the previous year in order to fit under the salary cap. So instead of a lot of practice time and getting used to playing with each other, they had to play actual games that counted. This year they again had significant turnover, but are on par with other teams having played last Friday and Saturday and then had off until this Thursday. Much better and more conducive to winning. Through the end of the month, most NHL teams will have played 11 games, including the Hawks, so at least they aren't behind the eight ball this year. Last year they barely made the playoffs having to get help from another team on the last day of the season.

Now to the Bears. As a nationally televised game, you may have seen the debacle. But I would contend things aren't as bad as they seem. They are 2-3 and not looking awesome, but if you look at their schedule, they've played some tough teams in tough situations. All of the teams they've played thus far are averaging 30+ points a game. If you look forward on the schedule, it would surprise few football folks if they won their next four games to go to 6-3. They could then win four of their last 5 pretty easily and go 10-6 or even 11-5. No need to panic folks!!!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Almost as controversial

Boy do I LOVE three day weekends! Sooooo nice. After a tough week of work and getting up early, it was nice to have these days off.

Friday we celebrated LL's mother's birthday by taking her and her husband to our favorite local sushi restaurant, Roll-a-Palooza. While her mom likes sushi, her dad is not a fan. However, we ordered stuff he could try (shrimp tempura and such), but he also tried some of the nigiri and claimed to have enjoyed it. The food there is soooo good and the owners are so nice, it makes it an easy call when we're in the mood for sushi.

Saturday brought a day of shopping where I ended up buying all the stuff! LL didn't buy anything, but she enjoyed shopping. After going to a few of "my" stores, I hit the driving range to try out my new golf swing and grip, which resulted from a lesson earlier in the week. Then I went back and shopped a bit more with LL. It was an exhausting day!

Sunday brought church and then a trip to The Maple Tree Inn in Blue Island for their annual softshell-crab fest. It was pretty fantastic and we were joined by our friends Tom and Lynn. A good time and good meal was had by all.

From our wedding left to right: Dave, Mary, Tom and Lynn.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Whoops I did it again

Ok, Steve Jobs died (publicly inappropriate alarms should be going off). The superficial outpouring on Facebook has been somewhat sickening. First, I'd bet virtually none of those people who said things like
"I wish I could just stay in bed and lay around with all of my apple products." or
"My hats off to you, Mr Jobs, for being the greatest visionary of our time."
have ever met him, know anything about his personal life or what kind of person he was or even heard him speak in person! They just have an image of him and it's not his miserable failure with NEXT computers. I do because I was subjected to a bunch of artsy prima donnas who didn't care that the systems were cost prohibitive and impractical. They also decide to ignore Steve Wozniak's contributions to Apple. Am I happy he died? OF COURSE NOT. Is it sad? Yes, any time a 56 year old dies it's unfortunate and sad. Did he turn around a company years after he had helped run it into the ground, yep. Was he a great visionary? Hardly. He simply was heading up a company poised to take advantage of modern technology and probably had a slightly greater customer focus than his competitors. I applaud him for that.

Been a busy couple of days with work and an economic conference that discussed the impact of our current economic crisis on the "middle market", which turns out to be generally defined as a little bit bigger than our normal client. It was interesting though and the main speaker, Diana Swonk, chief economist from Mesirow Financial, is a pretty dynamic speaker. For the record, she blames our congress in part for the budget mess and believes the economy will edge upward slowly over the next few years, but with jerks both up and down.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Guacamole Monday

When the weather is nice (meaning relative warm) on Bear's Sundays, I (or LL in the case of last weekend) make guacamole. You can't really have "dipping" dishes when it's cold and everyone has gloves on for obvious reasons. So we make guacamole and it's delicious. We also make WAY too much of it, but you just never know right? Neither of us are people who would just throw things away, so now we have this leftover guac and needed a use. The answer: guacamole burger Mondays. It's as simple as it sounds: you cook a burger and dump a bunch of guac on it. Outstanding! We've only had them two weeks in a row, but they are delicious. I fear we'll miss them next week when the Bears play out of town.

Commensurate with the start of the football season and excess sodium consumption, my ear has started ringing. It's not too bad right now, but noticeable. It started about a week ago when we went out to dinner with LL's parents at Cheddar's (a chain like Chilis or Applebees). Instead of doing something smart like getting a steak or something in which it's really hard to secretly add sodium, I got a pasta dish with sausage and some sauce. It was good, don't get me wrong, just loaded with sodium. So I have no one to blame but myself. The tailgate food, while usually not HIGH in sodium, is not LOW in sodium either. Well, maybe it is high, but I can put up with some ear ringing for my fun and tasty tailgates!!

Monday, October 03, 2011

Foxy Knoxy

If you don't know the subject of my title, you have to be living under a rock. Today Amanda Knox was freed in an Italian court after an earlier judgment against her was overturned. So let's just say she didn't kill her roommate 4+ years ago. She's not in her apartment when the corpse is found and Amanda is then ushered to the police station and then jail. That was 4 years ago.....four jail for a crime you didn't commit. What could possibly go through your head every day that you're sitting there being incarcerated unjustly? Ugh. Just awful. And then the jubilation you must feel today after finally being released (though her conviction of defamation against another person was upheld, but it carried a sentence of 3 years (really, 3 years!?!?) so she had credit for time served).
I can't even fathom the range of emotions.

On a completely different topic, I always have pen and paper next to my bed. For some reason, I constantly come up with good ideas or tasks or things to remember, while I'm laying in bed just before going to sleep. Sometimes I think, "Oh, that's too big to forget." and then I do. So last night after the lights were out and before I fell asleep, I thought of and wrote down 10 things to do on Monday. TEN! That's just crazy. Tell you what though, I got eight of them done! The one big thing that I couldn't remember even moments after I thought of it, I actually remembered mid-morning and got it done as well. So many things going on.....

Now that the basement is carpeted and some of the furniture is back in place, it's time to move stuff back downstairs from upstairs. It also means it's time to get rid of some more things as you inevitably do when you move stuff around so dramatically. So we have much work to do around the house over the next week or so with moving and reorganizing all sorts of things. Joisey Ken arrives in two weeks!!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Bears are who we thought they were!

The title today is courtesy of LL. It's been a busy few days and I didn't know where to start, so I thought I'd start with today and the Bears. It was a gorgeous day for our tailgate, but the alarm clock went off very, very early. We loaded the car up though and headed to the parking lot to see the Punke clan and a bunch of my friends including Smitty and Bill the Bear who were sitting in our other seats as well as E-money, Jack and Blind Mender. Good fun! We started cooking by 8:30 and had some good food....courtesy of LL. Yep, she did all the prep work on Saturday while I was out golfing with Nick, Smitty and Bill. She made the bacon wrapped shrimp, the guacamole and the peppers/onions mix for the brats. It was awesome because I left for golf at 11 on Saturday and didn't get home until around 9 and the prospect of cooking and doing prep work that late was not appealing.

The Bears won and are 2-2, which is where I thought they needed to be to have a chance to make the playoffs this year. Their competition was stiff the first three games and we could have gone 0-3, but started off with a big win over Atlanta. So at 2-2 with our win over Carolina today, we're in decent shape 1/4 of the way through the season. I could see us going 2-2 in our next four games as well. Then we could go 6-2 in our last 8, which would put us at 10-6 and potentially in the playoffs. We'll see!

Continuing to go back in time, our downstairs carpeting was installed on Wednesday and Thursday. If you've ever had carpet installed, it's very similar to moving: you have to box everything up, put it somewhere else, and then move it back. All of your electronics have to be unplugged, moved, put back and then reconnected. So most of Friday, that's what we ended up doing; moving stuff around. It's a pain, but it was great to have carpeting downstairs again. It's great and we're very happy. We're also adding a closet in the back room, so LL is VERY happy. That project should start later this week and only take a few days to put up.

And an update to the Benny Baseball situation: one of my teammates from last year finally hunted him down at his house on Saturday morning and established contact. Turns out that he's ok, just depressed a bit and down on his luck, but otherwise healthy and such. Avoiding tough conversations, event potentially embarrassing ones, is no way to go through life. Face your problems head on....and with the help of your friends and family.