Sunday, October 30, 2011

Theo's Shockwaves are felt in Peoria

The annual Iadipaolo Halloween party was this past Friday night.  Normally there is a good group from work that attends, but there was a football game tonight that drew their interest instead.  No biggie, the usual gang was there...  Jane, Jim, his daughter and her boyfriend.  Vince and Sandra thrust large quantities of chili and puppy chow at us, but I gravitated around Jim's cookie cake (no surprise there).

Did I mention that we watched World Series Game 7?  No?  Oh, then I didn't tell you that Jane came as the most scariest thing ever!  Oh, and to complete her ruse she cheered the entire evening!

Here's the Iadipaolo contingent:  Joey Gladstone from Fullhouse, Snow White, Rapunzel, and the Amazing Spiderman.  I'm not sue if you can tell from the picture, but Spidey must have, like, seven gym memberships!

Now to explain the title of the post.  About two-and-half weeks ago I posted a brief snippet about the Cubs and how the hiring of Theo Esptein will hopefully turn the sports franchise I so dearly love into a perennial contender.  If you're a Cub fan, then Theo is the hottest thing since the internet, thus my motivation for my costume this year.
Apparently before his interview with the owner of the Cubs he stopped in a Starbucks in Wrigleyville and purchased a coffee and a banana.  A fan asked, "Hey, aren't you Theo Epstein?"
Theo replied, "No, I get that all the time."   Pauses, turns back to the questioner and asks, "Who's Theo Epstein?"
So busted!  If you get that all the time, wouldn't you go google that guy to see if you did indeed look like a celebrity?  For the record, Theo later admitted that was he's a terrible liar and he was indeed at the Starbucks.
Anyway, I went as Theo Epstein.  I borrowed Jane's Red Sox/Cubs hat combo (because Theo was only so recently employed by Boston), my Cubs polo, a Starbucks coffee, a banana, and a cape.  Why the cape?  Well, because the Chicago pundits have proclaimed him to the Cubs' savior!  I figured I would give my costume a little bit of a super hero flair, because let's face it, if he's going to bring a Championship to my team of choice it's going to take some super hero like powers!
For the record, Jim and I did not talk to one another about our costumes before the party.  Although, we definitely had to pose together!  Jim's a box of cereal named after... wait for it... Theo Epstein!  On the sides of the box where ingredients and nutrition information can normally be found he had written in all the stats for a formula of success.  On the back, as many cereal boxes feature, he had a word search with many baseball and Cub related words!  He really went all out and my vote for best costume went to Jim, although the Cardinal Fan was a close second.

The weekend before I was the Coker's costume party and had a blast there as well.  Jeremy and Mikelle and went as LEGO people.  Very involved and totally unexpected costumes.  I don't have pictures from there shindig but let's just say that they would have fit in well with this this group:
Happy Halloween, everyone!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Auction in Galesburg

Last Saturday morning Dad picked me up early and made the trek along I-74 to Galesburg.  We reached our destination at he airport about a half hour before things got rolling.  While dad registered, I took the opportunity to survey the inventory to be auctioned.

One of two functioning airplanes.
The two not-so-functioning planes.
Golf cart for Grandpa?
Possible trailer to haul Ed?
A hangar full of airplane parts and some nice tools.

It turns out that Dad was really only interested in a trailer for Ed (his 1953 pick-up), a golf cart for Grandpa, a sandblaster, and few other odds and ends.  The big items were all to be auctioned off at 1 o'clock sharp and the rest were listed on a numbered inventory sheet.  During the first 45 minutes they made it through 40 items, which meant most of Dad's items (tagged with numbers in the 4 and 5 hundreds) would be on the auction block around 3 in the afternoon or so.  Yikes!  That's a bunch of sittin' around!  Dad would have been fine, as he seemed to bump into quite a few people from the airplane industry, but I would have needed a nice easy chair to get through the day.  A couple of dilapidated bucket seats soon to be auctioned off weren't going to cut it.

Dad drove me back home and then he headed back for the big items at one o'clock.  He returned empty handed as the trailer went for more than twice what he was willing to pay and the golf cart need more work to get it running that it was worth.  He didn't stick around for the smaller items on his wishlist.

The auction had everything, even the kitchen sink!

It was a fun experience as it was only the second auction that I've been witness to.  The whole situation kind of took me back about twenty years...  Dad would drive Jane and I around to local baseball card shows; we'd roam the aisles for hours and buy maybe ten dollars worth of cards.  Dad still did the driving, but it was his turn to roam the aisles.  Seeing Dad in his element was worth the trip alone.  There is so much to know about airplanes and while I could only name maybe a couple of dozen items in the hanger and their purpose Dad knew the name of everything and each item's use. I figure I only owe him about 30 or so more airplane auctions to repay him for all of the card shows that he chauffeured me to during my childhood.  Yeah, my dad's the best.


Went to the K-Roger this morning to pick up food for the week.  Came home, unloaded, looked the receipt, looked at the coupon that prints out with the receipt and mass quantities of celebration ensued!

If you know anything about me, know these two things:
     1. I'm a baseball fanatic.
     2. Pizza makes my world go 'round.

Look, this isn't just any ol' coupon.  This just happens to be a coupon for Laura and I's favorite type of frozen pizza.  The Garlic Bread Crust pizza made by Tombstone is flavorful and provides the most edible bang for the buck.  Our pizza oven has seen more than a few dozen of these.  Aw yeah!

Side note: I refer to Kroger as the K-Roger because of one of my past students.  She was from the Philippines and her family did a bunch of their shopping when they got to Illinois at the local K-Mart.  She assumed that Kroger and K-Mart were owned by the same company and thus she called it "the K-Roger".

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Is this THE DAY it all turned around?

Rumors abound that Theo Epstein has left the Boston Red Sox to take on the general manager position with my beloved Cubs.  Epstein was the youngest GM in major league baseball when he was hired back in 2002.  Eight years later he is now 37, has a World Series ring to wear on each hand, and is generally considered one of the top five "suits" in the game.  An expensive one at that: $20 million over five years!

I liked Jim Hendry and he brought the Cubs to the playoffs three times since 2003, but ultimately his old school methodologies coupled with some bad  negotiated contracts were his undoing.

Many questions now run through my head... Is Quade on the way out as manager?  Is Sandberg possibly coming back to the organization in some capacity?  Will the Cubs make a splash and sign a foreign pitching all-star (Yu Darvish)?  Will Carlos Pena be back, will Bryan LaHair get a chance at first, or are the Cubs in the market for Pujols or Fielder.  Perhaps "Next Year" isn't as far off in the future as I originally thought?

If you're a Cubs fan and looking toward the future here's one of the best articles I've read on the direction of the franchise: "Kaplan: Epstein 'blown away' by Ricketts' long-term plans".

One thing that is for certain: I will be more interested in the my loveable losers than I have been in the recent past!  (Wait, is that even possible?) 

All the good news has got me singin'!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Leaves: Rake 'em if you got 'em.

15 bags & 3 cans of leaves
I feel like the leaves from our ash tree out front fell later in October last year and over a longer period of time.  Over a three or four week period we were able to mulch some leaves and fill our three garbage cans for the city to pick up each week. 

Well, I've purchased twenty-five bags in the past week and I've raked/bagged four of the last five days.  The big oak tree on the north side of the house hasn't even really hit stride yet.  Oh, and since this picture was taken yesterday a whole new batch of leaves await collecting.

Laura has been a champ during the Great Leaf Fall of 2011.  She's so cute!  She pulls a new lawn waste bag over her head in an effort to unfold the silly thing.  They stand a good three feet tall, and the bag engulfs Laura all the way down to her waist.

Gus on the other hand has not been nearly as helpful as evidenced by the below picture.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Red Wigglers

Vermiculture...  About six or seven years ago Laura and I started "farming" worms in our basement on Hanssler.  We put our compostable fruit and veggie snacks in the bin and the worms would say, "Thank you." We play some Barry White and they would go forth and procreate.  Twice a year I clean out the worm bin in the basement and start anew.  About 95% of the worms, their castings, and the dirt ends up in the vegetable garden.  The red wigglers supposedly help aerate the dirt and the castings provide excellent nutrients for the new vegetable crop! 

To the right, the worm bin is stored between our extra freezer and a lawn refuse bag full of shredded newspaper for worm feedings.

Below is what I find when I take off the lid!  Usually the worms are scampering for cover!

I shovel full of worms!

To the left below: a receipt from our last worm purchase.  We started fresh when we moved into our Suffolk house.  We haven't purchased any worms since!

To the right below: an empty yogurt container of 200+ worms to deliver to Jim.

There were at least another 500 in the bin after I pulled some big ones for Jim's garden.

To start over, I leave just the dirt/castings in the corners of the bins and the inevitable worms that are lurking in those corners.  I then add shredded newspaper to the bottom, because Laura and I think intelligent worms are better for the garden rather than the illiterate variety.  On top of the newspaper we throw in leftover fruit and veggies.  Next, forty pounds of top soil.  Play some Barry White, wait until April, and repeat the process.

Gus came down to keep me company, but all he really wanted to do was try to escape!  What a stinker!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Everyone, this is Ed.

Mom and Dad took a trip on Tuesday, September 20th down to Murphysboro, IL.  What did they find?  Why all those miles and a day off from work?  Ed.  Ed's why.

Ed, named after the original owner, was born in 1953 the same year as Dad, and he's now a part of the Olson family.  He's parked outside "Ken's Workshop" just waiting for some TLC.  Ed is a 1953 Chevrolet 5-Window Pickup.  There's a couple of cracked windows, more than a little rust, a couple of dents, some tacky rims, and no antenna for the stereo. 

The engine of Ed.
My dad suggested that this will be a three year project and he doesn't plan on spending more than a few grand getting Ed into cruising form. I've witnessed Dad's magic touch with machinery more than a few times and I'm a believer!

I'll post updates from time-to-time for those interested.  Meanwhile, I suppose I know what will consume Dad's Christmas wishlist!