Monthly Archives: July 2007

Interesting Weekend

We had a very interesting weekend … did some fun stuff … saw some thing interesting, and encountered a new situation.

First, the fun stuff … we went to the Darwin exhibit at the Field Museum with my parents. It was quite interesting and informative. It covered both his Theory of Evolution, his personal life, and some discussion of Evolution in general. Did you know that he almost didn’t go on the Beagle voyage? He had asked his father for permission, but it was denied. After some huranging, he got is father to agree that … if Charles could get a reasonable person (in his father’s opinion, of course) to present good reasons for him to go on the voyage, he would allow it. Charles worked with his uncle, who his father apparently thought was reasonable, to put together a point by point rebuttal for all Mr. Darwin’s arguments against going.

After the museum, we decided to go for dinner … we didn’t want to go for Greek food, as that’s what we have a habit of doing. We also didn’t want Chinese, because Ginny and I just had Chinese food.

We decided on Italian … and found a place about two miles west of the loop for dinner. As we were driving there, I spotted a yellow cab that was a Ford Escape Hybrid. Considering how taxis drive, a hybrid vehicle makes a lot of sense. It was a 2008 model, which I’m not a big fan of … but it’s better than anything else. That was the interesting bit.

On to the weird … we got to the restaurant, had to wait a bit of time for a friend to join us, ordered and ate. The food was good. We were ready to leave, asked for the check, and I tried to give the waitress my AMEX card. She waved me off saying that they didn’t take that. So I asked her if Discover was OK. She clarified by saying that they didn’t take ANY credit cards. I only had $20 cash in my wallet. Luckily dad had some cash.

I was kind of shocked … I had never encountered a main-stream restaurant that didn’t take credit cards. I wonder what they do if someone shows up, orders, eats, but doesn’t have enough cash?

In with the new

Well so far so good … the new driveway was poured today. The construction crew, seven guys, were here fairly early and got to work immediately. It took longer than I thought it would, but they sure knew what they were doing.

Driveway BeforeHere’s what the driveway looked before … it was pretty wavy and cracked. It had been resealed once, but that didn’t help a lot. It was hard to shovel and the snow thrower would get caught up on the various dips & cracks.

Driveway Pre-PourI applied for the village construction permit, and posted it in the window, about a week later (middle of the next week), I noticed on the web cam that there was a crew breaking up the old driveway. Here’s what it looked like after they were done.

Driveway In ProgressThe work itself was kind of like a dance … the guys dumping the concrete were followed immediately by the guys spreading it. Once it was spread, the guys with the float were there to smooth it out. Then the guys with the hand trowels & floats were in to touch it up. Finally the guy with the grooved trowels laid in the expansion joints.

Driveway FinishedAfter they were finished, it looked pretty good. Obviously the proof will be when it’s dry, we can drive on it (which will be in about 3 days), and we have a few snows.

I noticed that the contract with the construction company specifically voids their warranty (one year) if we use chemical deicers on it. I’ll have to look into getting it sealed. The folks on DSL Reports Home Improvement forum suggested that I get it sealed in October. It’s probably going to be an ‘every two years’ thing.

Aside from the amount of time & effort it took to get an actual estimate, I’m pretty pleased with it so far. The cost was good, the work was done quickly & professionally, and there was a minimum of fuss.

Out with the old …

drivewaygone.jpg… driveway.

Hopefully a new, concrete, driveway will take it’s place in the next few days.

I never liked our driveway … it was asphalt … and had buckled and heaved over the many winters & summers it’s been in place. Plus, last year, we got a notice from the village that we needed to get it resealed (it looked really ratty).

Considering how hard it’s been to get a hold of the company that’s doing the work, I’m quite amazed that it’s gotten even this far.

The construction company that is replacing our driveway is the same one that is rebuilding our street. I had hoped to have the driveway ripped up during the same period that the street was ripped up.

I called the company when they first started removing the street. I was promised that an estimate would be done within a week to 10 days. 10 days later, I had no estimate. I called again, left a message on their voice mail. Called again later in the day, talked to their receptionist, who promised she would walk the message over to the estimating department. Never heard a peep.

Some of our neighbors were getting their driveways replaced also … so I asked one how they got a hold of the company, and was told that their experience was much like mine. The only way to actually get an estimate was to find a supervisor for the job and get them to give me an estimate.

The next day I worked from home for the morning and, as soon as I saw a crew starting to work, I walked up to them and asked for a supervisor. The supervisor called the estimator, who came to our house about 45 minutes later.

The estimate was quite reasonable … about $2.5k … which stands to reason … since they don’t have to bring the crew out, equipment, or materials, out to the job.

The driveways that have already been replaced look nice … I’m hoping ours will be just as nice.

Sure, it can’t hurt

So Ginny and I are making dinner a few minutes ago … just some pasta with a simple sauce.

I’m adding some tomato paste to the sauce … I put in about half the can, and ask Ginny “Should I just use the whole can, if we don’t the rest will just go to waste” … to which Ginny responded, “Sure, it can’t hurt”.

Oh, how wrong she was … as I flicked the spoon full of tomato paste into the sauce pan, a big dolop of very hot pasta sauce splashed out of the pan … landing on my wrist and arm.


I can’t wait till 2008

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush has commuted the prison term of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby, who faced 30 months in prison after his March conviction on federal charges of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to investigators.

CNN – Bush commutes Libby’s prison sentence

Poor attempts at rhyme aside … this is absolutely ridiculous … how the hell can Bush justify this?

Based on recent actions … it’s clear to me that the executive branch of our government considers themselves above the law.