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Mark's Journal
Several months ago, I discovered that the New York Times lets you have unlimited free access to their web content (instead of up to ten free articles a month) if you sign in with a .edu e-mail address. You just have to go to nytimes.com/passes to create an account (if you don't already have one) and sign in.

Until last week, each time I signed in, I was told that my academic pass was valid until midnight the next day, or something like that. Fine, I figured. Signing in every couple of days was a worthwhile irritation if it meant I got to keep reading the Times without having to pay them, and without having to delete their browser cookies every several days to start the page-limit counter over at zero.

But then last week, I noticed that the confirmation message when I signed in said "Your pass will expire on September 30th, 2021 at 12:00 AM ET."

No more jumping through hoops? I can read as much as I want? For over five years? I'm sold!

(Also, 2021 is only five years from now?! WTF?!)
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It's a good indicator of how crappy I felt on Friday night that it seemed like a good idea to lie in bed and watch some recent shows on the Apple TV in the bedroom, which meant watching all the commercials on the network apps, instead of watching them from my TiVo in the living room, where I could've fast forwarded through the commercials.

There were so many things I wanted to get to on Friday night but couldn't. I did lots of cuddling with the dogs, and not much else.

I got to one of the several things I wanted to do yesterday, and one of the several things I wanted to do today, and I think there's more couch time in my future tonight as there was last night. Hoping to be 100% tomorrow, or at least closer to normal. We'll see.
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Well, we moved today! I don't think I've posted about this before, but our whole office, and the other offices on the first floor of our building (which is otherwise one of the big residence halls on north campus), are moving for the summer -- and today was the day.

We're going to be on the second floor of a warehouse building off campus, and while we were told it's air-conditioned, one of the folks who's usually in the building says it gets warm over the summer. Great. I strongly prefer not warm.

It's also got a touchy alarm. About 10-15 minutes after Karen and Steve left, leaving me alone in the building, two CUPD cops wandered in to find out why the building alarm had gone off. Luckily, they believed my silly story about it being our first day above the warehouse!

Maybe tomorrow will go more smoothly.
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The night before last, I woke up after having a very vivid dream in which I found a store that was having a sale on ammunition, and of course had to rummage around checking sizes only to find that they didn't have the specific type of .22 I needed for my rifle.

Actual ammo isn't much easier to find in New York, which has much tighter restrictions than it used to.
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I decided fairly late in the day to go with friends to see "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" at 7:30, and of course had to run home to walk and feed the pups before heading back across town to the movie. That's one of the few "disadvantages" of having dogs; not a lot of choice but to go home after work every day. But they're worth it!

Didn't want to risk having the movie get sold out, so I headed right back there and bought a ticket, then decided to head across to the Triphammer Mall for a beer. Triphammer Wines & Spirits was also doing a wine and bourbon tasting, so I popped in there first, of course! Then chatted with folks over a beer at Ithaca Coffee Company (cafe plus gourmet shop plus tavern with HUGE beer selection).

That's probably when I should've eaten something, but I figured I could grab something small after the movie. :-)

Of course, after the movie, I remembered my friend Jake was in town just for the night, and headed down the hill to meet up with him at the pub he'd said he'd be at. Hung out there for quite a while, had a young lady give me her phone number, and then headed home to take the pups out for a bedtime walk and got to sleep.

Today was great! After brunch, Molly and I took the dogs up to a cider orchard that friends own, and they got to romp off-leash! [ Watch the video on FB... ] Gloria isn't doing too well, and mostly sunbathed on the grass having a staring contest with the cidery's elderly cat, but Penny and Carter got to run around and tire themselves out a bit. They're both zonked out on the couch while I watch hockey and write this.

Just had a light dinner of a bagel sandwich featuring corned beef courtesy of a friend, and was going to leave it at that... but I've been invited downtown to try a preview of a new chicken sandwich at a friend's eatery. Guess two dinners tonight will make up for last night. :-)
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Something Ned (a fellow photographer) said to me at a game last weekend really resonated. He was talking about how he had changed his eating habits when his doctor told him to lose weight.

"If you do it for thirty days, it'll be a habit."

The dogs and I have been back in the house for two and a half weeks, and one of the things I'm trying to do is get in the habit of folding the clothes as they come upstairs from the laundry, and putting them in reasonable places in the dressers and closets.

I still have lots of clothes in bags that came back from the laundromat, but they're at least all folded for me, so that should be easy. Knowing a lot more about my clothing categories than I did when I moved in and last organized the dressers should make a difference, too. For example, I just put a stack of green t-shirts together; there's a relatively small number of occasions when I'm going to wear those. (One is coming up.) I put a stack of red t-shirts together, but realistically, that's probably going to turn into a whole drawer.

Also important to the new habit is putting clothes where they belong when I take them off. Shirt I'm going to wear again? Getting folded and put in a drawer. Anything that's heading to the wash? Into the hamper. That should help keep the room tidier than it has been in a while.

Exciting? No. Important to keeping the house presentable? Yup.
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Sorry, it's been almost three and a half weeks since I reported in! The dogs and I finally got to move back home last Wednesday (a week and a half ago). The house isn't back to normal, not by a long shot, but we're home.

Servpro was a confounding mix of thorough and careless. They seem to have done a great job of demolishing the basement and cleaning out everything down there, and the upstairs was largely boxed up and cleaned to deal with likely mold exposure up there. Air testing before the cleaning showed high mold levels, and air testing after showed levels so low as to surprise even them.

But they broke things, left a lot non-functional, left garbage and debris on the driveway and lawn, clobbered my front flagstone step, and, inexplicably, unplugged my basement freezer and let hundreds of dollars worth of local meat, frozen vegetables and fruit, and random stuff like lasagna and mac & cheese, spoil. Ugh.

The washer and dryer had been rendered unusable, but after pressure from the insurance adjuster, they sent someone to hook them back up, so I've been able to do some of my own laundry. Phew! No idea where the two brand new jugs of laundry detergent went, but no big deal to go buy more. They'll probably show up in one of these cardboard boxes eventually.

I've been trying to go through at least one cardboard box a day, getting rid of lots of it and finding places for more of it. I have too much stuff. Soon, I'll have a little less.
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For those of you who haven't been following along on Facebook, a clogged sewer pipe backed up and flooded my basement. I discovered this two weeks ago when I went downstairs to do laundry and discovered an inch or so of not-quite-water on the floor. Hard to tell how long before that the flood started.

The good news (great news, actually) is that the insurance company is being great. They know there had been pre-existing damage from several years ago, and since they feel they have to tear out the old damaged material in order to deal with the new damage, they are covering that. Even better, since they have to tear out the old damaged material to deal with the new damage, they are covering replacing it.

Roto-Rooter came about an hour after I called, and cleared the clog, and I'm really grateful to them for the advice to call my insurance company. I'm horrible about dealing with such things, and I don't know when I'd have gotten around to it. They took care of a lot of the necessary things for me, and very quickly.

The dogs and I have spent about a week and a half in a hotel, on the insurance company's dime, while everything in the basement got torn out, and over the first few days of next week the upstairs is going to get cleaned to deal with mold exposure. I have to bag up all of my clothes and bedding and towels and such, all "soft goods," to be cleaned, and all of the hard surfaces are getting wiped down with anti-microbials, to be sure there's no lingering mold contamination that could bloom again later. I did a bunch of the clothes-bagging this afternoon, and will do more tomorrow. I had to stop when the Servpro guys were leaving, since they were going to help me carry Charlie's tank (she's my snake) out to the car, and of course I couldn't leave her in the car for long. keeyoo and family are kindly taking care of her until we can safely move her back to the house. Meantime, because of mold contamination in the heat ducts, the ducts had to be cleaned, which is a very impressive and loud process!

My boss is being awesome, too, and letting me bring the dogs to work. Leaving them all day in the hotel room might work, but it's risky, since I didn't bring their crates. And, the dogs are being amazing. It's been weird for them, to say the least. They're behaving themselves at work (understandably getting a little restless here and there) and managing great in the hotel. I've been leaving them for a few hours at a time here and there, and so far, so good.

As much of a pain as this is, I'm doing my best to look on the bright side. I'll probably have a lot of tidying to do upstairs, but I'll also try to get rid of some random stuff I don't need. And in the short term, the basement is going to be empty and unfinished -- but then I'm going to be able to design and build a brand new basement. Insurance should cover most of what I want to do, at least to restore the level of finished basement I had before. Finished main room for hanging out, finished guest bedroom, and "3/4" bathroom (with shower instead of tub).

And I'm thinking about all the Marriott Rewards points I'm racking up at the Courtyard. :-)
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I love the conversation between Merry and Pip in "The Fellowship of the Ring" about the vital meals between breakfast and lunch. Second breakfast and elevenses are important to hobbits!

But apparently they're also important to Spaniards. Last night's couchsurfers are from southern Spain, and Jose commented that most Spaniards eat a small breakfast -- a little bread, fruit, maybe cheese -- certainly not huge piles of eggs and potatoes and meat. (This came up while we were eating Ziffy omelets at the Lincoln Street Diner, of course.)

I usually have a small breakfast, too, but apparently Spaniards tend to have a small sandwich or other snack later in the morning, before their big meal of the day early in the afternoon.

I have a feeling I would gain weight quickly if I started eating a snack between breakfast and lunch regularly.
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Yes. Yes, I should.

What time do ticket sales end, though? And where should I buy it, considering the retailer gets a bonus if they sell a winning ticket?
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