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Bill Roper's Journal
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21st-Apr-2019 09:50 pm - Getting Things Done
There are a great many things that I should be getting done. However, life is being exceedingly busy, so they aren't getting done, because other things keep crowding their way up the priority queue.

Maybe next weekend.
20th-Apr-2019 11:31 pm - Scrimmage
Katie and Julie’s softball team played their first scrimmage game today against another Des Plaines team. This gave us a chance to look at a lot of the girls at different positions. The girls acquitted themselves well and we learned a lot.

And personally, I was happy with how Katie and Julie did. :)
19th-Apr-2019 11:19 pm - Cats and Dogs
Skeezix seems happy to see us when we come into the library. Still not so thrilled about the dog at the door, but I didn't expect that yet. Katie brought Skeezix out of the library and into the family room where Ruby the Dog was encountered and Skeezix fled to a spot underneath my recliner chair where he decided he was going to stay.

This was about the time that *I* decided to go to lunch. :)

During my absence, the chair was tipped up, and Skeezix was extracted and returned to the library.

Among today's purchases for our new resident was catnip.

Skeezix approves.
18th-Apr-2019 11:32 am - Cat v. Dog
This morning, after the girls went to school, I picked up Skeezix, scritched his head and tried to carry him out of the library. Ruby was waiting at the door. Skeezix objected strenuously. I closed the door, put Skeezix down, and he went to hide in a bookshelf.

We will try this again.

Later.
17th-Apr-2019 10:56 pm - Meow!
Well, we have a cat.

Julie has wanted a cat for some time now and I started actively looking for one last weekend. After one false start, I located a likely feline today and we were able to pick him up this afternoon. The kitty, who came home with the assigned name "Skeezix", is about one year old and appears very happy to have people paying attention to him.

The big question is how the introduction to the Ruby the Dog is going to go. We'll try that *tomorrow*, I think.
15th-Apr-2019 10:54 pm - Back to Work
I am back to work and -- in and around a lot of meetings -- am continuing my spelunking expedition through some code that I am fixing up. After sufficient inspection of a routine, I can usually remember what it is *supposed* to do. Then I need to see if it's actually *doing* that. And then I need to make it work with the changes that I'm making. All this is very entertaining. And just a bit exhausting.

Today, I stared at three complicated if statements and the code within and rearranged them so that there was slightly more code and fewer if statements. It is remarkable how much more clear the code became. It's still not quite *right*, but I have written comments to indicate what the code is *supposed* to do and -- after I get done with it tomorrow -- that is what it will be *doing*.

This is *way* more work than it should be.
14th-Apr-2019 11:25 pm - Snow!
It was a good thing that everyone went home last night instead of staying to do more recording today, because we got almost a record amount of snow for April 14th or later today. If we got just a bit more, we'll tie or set the record, but that's where we were at 9 PM.

There were things I probably should have done with today, but I didn't. :)
13th-Apr-2019 11:13 pm - Recording!
Barisha, Carol x 2, and Clif were here today for a recording session. We made a little less progress than we might have hoped, but progress was made. Given the weather forecast, we decided that everyone should go home instead of trying to hang around for more recording tomorrow.

Snow? Who ordered snow?
12th-Apr-2019 11:52 pm - Live Music
Well, I'm missing the live music at FKO this weekend, but I *did* get to hear the live music at the talent show at Katie's school this evening. They all did pretty well. :)
11th-Apr-2019 11:07 pm - Look At That!
The Cardinals completed a four game sweep of the Dodgers today at Busch Stadium. I am both surprised and pleased to find that the Cardinals are tied with the Brewers for the NL Central lead. It was certainly not where I expected them to be today when I looked at the team on Monday morning.
10th-Apr-2019 10:37 pm - Train Delay
I got to the train station for my trip down to the Loop and discovered that there had been a switching error (apparently a scheduled CN freight train had not shown up, but they kept holding the tracks open for it). All of the Metra trains were massively delayed. Oops.

Happily, one of the heavily delayed trains stopped at my station shortly after the delayed train I was planning to take should have arrived there, so I got to the Loop only a little late. I got to the *office* rather later than I'd intended, because McDonald's managed to mislay my order for 15 minutes or so, but eventually they disgorged my breakfast sandwich (and a bonus apple pie for my patience).

At work, I got to meet one of our QE folks who is in to visit from India. We all went out to lunch together and then had a productive meeting where I explained how one of our subsystems works to the QE folks.

When I got home, I snagged Katie and we went out to dinner and then to Play It Again Sports where we found a new glove for her to replace my high school glove where the laces failed. I can get my glove relaced, but not before she's going to need a working glove. :)

And now, it is late and time for bed, because I got up *way* too early this morning.
9th-Apr-2019 10:48 pm - Toodaloop!
Off to the Loop tomorrow for meetings. Naturally, the weather forecast has gone from today's really nice to 39 degrees for a high and rain.

Ah, well. It's not *that* long a walk...
8th-Apr-2019 10:37 pm - Opening Day
It was Opening Day for the Cubs at Wrigley Field and I headed down there with a friend of mine. In what was a complete surprise (well, not if you had looked at the forecast for today, but if you had been to previous Opening Days at Wrigley), the weather was gorgeous.

The Cubs kicked the Pirates around 10-0. Both starting pitchers departed after two innings without giving up an earned run (there's a proposition bet for you); Lester with a hamstring injury, while Taillon gave up six unearned runs on three two-out errors and took a ball off his head.

Lester had a better day: his team won.

But it was a nice day at the ballpark, if not very exciting after the fourth inning. :)
7th-Apr-2019 10:51 pm - Minor Home Repair
Gretchen has been chasing after me for a while to do something about fixing the shelves in the pantry, two of which have collapsed as shelf pins broke. I carefully measured the original plastic shelf pins to see if I could get some replacements, found them on line at Home Depot, and ordered the replacements which I picked up last week.

Sadly, the replacement pins were the wrong size. Apparently, I mismeasured.

By this time, though, I had already loaded a *lot* of stuff out of the pantry. A good portion of this was junk that had been pushed to the back of a shelf, or perhaps things we might have *wanted* that had vanished on the back of the shelf (Look! The screws and fittings to assemble the bookshelf that Rolf gave me as a wedding present!). And I found enough metal pins that had fallen out but which were not bent that I could support *one* shelf of the two that had fallen.

You know, three big shelf spaces are a lot more useful that one big shelf space and three smaller ones. So I removed a shelf, we put the other shelf back on the pins, and we reloaded the pantry. The pantry is much more useful now.

*Today*, Sam and Bonnie came over for dinner and to chat and to help me with the *other* pending project that really needed to be fixed. When we had the downstairs bathroom tiled, the installer had cut a tile to cover the top half of a double switch box that he only needed half of. That tile had broken and was in danger of falling out and exposing hot wiring. This is bad anywhere, worse in a bathroom.

I finally figured out that I could install a double switch plate and put a blank in the upper hole where the switch wasn't. Except that we have raised trim and the switch plate encountered the trim. Hmm.

So after some experimentation, Sam and I made my *fourth* trip to Home Depot for this project, got a nylon switch plate instead of the brittle plastic ones that I had bought, and came back home where he carved off the top end of the plate so it would fit under the trim. A bit of fiddling around and everything was successfully assembled and looks almost like it was planned to be that way.

There are many *more* things that need to be done around the house, but let's settle for two completed projects for the weekend...
6th-Apr-2019 11:01 pm - Knees!
The weather was lovely today and we had a two hour softball practice.

My knees have been happier with me. :) But they'll improve with practice.
5th-Apr-2019 11:01 pm - The Great TV Countdown
We are heading toward the end of the season for many of the shows that we watch. Some of them are not coming back. Some are. Let's see how it looks:

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (series finale tonight)
Hawaii Five-O
Supergirl (renewed for next year)
Dancing With the Stars (season over)
Magnum P.I. (season over, renewed for next year)
Happy Together (season over, almost certainly dead)
DC's Legends of Tomorrow (season just resumed, renewed for next year)
Lethal Weapon (season over, who knows?)
The Rookie
NCIS: New Orleans
Whiskey Cavalier (we like this a lot, but expect it to be canceled)
The Big Bang Theory (final season)
Young Sheldon (renewed)
Mom (renewed)
The Orville
Elementary (final season starts in May)
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (sixth season starts in May; series ends after season seven)

It looks like there are some holes opening up in our viewing schedule.

And we could really use some more sitcoms.
4th-Apr-2019 10:05 pm - Let's Twist Again
On Sunday, Gretchen twisted her knee fairly badly. It has been getting better, but is still not quite up to "good" yet.

This has not made her week any more pleasant.
3rd-Apr-2019 10:20 pm - Preempted
I understand why our local network channels would cut away from the TV broadcast to cover Lightfoot's victory speech in the Chicago mayoral race. It's news.

What I *don't* understand is why they didn't resume the broadcast at the point that they interrupted it. Instead, they dropped several minutes out of the middle of the episode. This was true of both ABC and CBS, so my attempt to work around the expected preemption by adding time to the end of the recording on my DVR was a complete failure.

Tonight, we watched one of the episodes using "On Demand". We'll get the other one shortly.

But it's annoying and shows a certain level of disrespect to the viewers.
2nd-Apr-2019 10:45 pm - Brrr!
You know, it may have been in the upper forties today for softball practice, but with the sun going down and a stiff wind, it didn't feel like it. :)

Ah, well. Now I am prepared to take my parka to Wrigley Field next Monday for Opening Day...
1st-Apr-2019 10:26 pm - Today's Festivities
It is always fun, after a hard day's work, to sit down and pay all of the bills. It is even more fun when you are making your own tax payments to the State of Illinois and also making Federal and State tax payments for your father's trust (because you will get reimbursed for this eventually, but getting checks out of the accounts in time to pay off the government is going to be pretty much impossible).

April Fools!

It is really *not* so much fun. But is *is* necessary and so it is now *done*. Well, other than posting everything in the morning.

More checks than I've written in months...
31st-Mar-2019 11:17 pm - Break's Done
This was the last day of spring break for both girls. Tomorrow, it will be back to school.

So much for the extra sleep...
30th-Mar-2019 06:35 pm - Sympathy for Peter Grubb's Dog
Today's recording session having fallen through because having a bad cold means not trying to record vocals today (not *my* bad cold, just to be clear), I figured I could spend a little time working on Juanita's album. Having forgotten where I left off, I decided to pick up with Peter Grubb, because I like the song.

I had been hammering on it for a couple of hours getting parts balanced when suddenly I realized that I had been discovered by Ruby the Dog, who is *not* supposed to be in the basement.

I guess she heard about this other dog who was being abused and decided that she needed to show up and take care of it.

Good dog! Now go upstairs...
29th-Mar-2019 11:52 pm - Softball!
Katie and Julie's softball team met for a get-to-know-you party over at Tina's house this evening. There was a *tremendous* amount of giggling. :)
28th-Mar-2019 10:06 am - It's Taxing
Got my tax returns back from the accountant. Caught one small transcription error on the Illinois return, which they will fix.

It's hard to speak definitively about the effect of the Federal tax law changes on our taxes due to income fluctuations across the last three years, but the good news is that I don't owe the Feds money this year. In fact, I will get money back in excess of the estimated tax payments that I made last year. And I will no longer need to make the estimated tax payments, which is also good.

I owe Illinois some money this year, mostly because we didn't put money in the girls' education accounts, partly because I accelerated some of this year's property tax payments into last year to try to take advantage of that deduction on last year's Federal return. But I don't owe Illinois very much money, which is good.

This feels *much* better than last year.
As I was getting into the car after lunch, I looked around at the bright, sunshiny, and moderately warm day and realized that spring had arrived. Yay!

Unfortunately, spring will be going back on vacation tomorrow afternoon, but you take what you can get.
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