Thursday, November 15, 2007

Switching apartments

We signed the lease for this apartment sight unseen. Since moving in problems just kept coming up. It was a large apartment but the setup was just bad and it caused a lot of wasted space. There were only two drawers in the kitchen making it unusable. We could not fit our kayaks in the basement so we had to store them in the equipment shed and get permission to get them out. Without sidewalks we could not safely walk outside the apartment complex. It was not close to either of work places or the train. Basically it had nothing going for it. Boy am I glad we signed a short lease. With our decision to not buy a house it meant that we needed to find another apartment.
We originally were going to move into a house in the same city as where we worked. We pulled out at the last second though (literally we went to the Real Estate office where we were supposed to sign the contract.) because the owner was just to shady (wanted us to pay rent in cash) and we would have had to pay for an extra month of rent.
When we did find a good place moving was easy since most of our stuff was still in boxes. We just rented a truck for the day. The biggest problem that we ran into was the truck was 11'2" tall and could not fit on any of the parkways and a lot of roads because of the old stone archways over a lot of roads around here. I set the GPS to truck but for some reason I still had one close call where I had to be in the middle lane to fit under the large part of an archway. We also found out that the Truck rental place was closed on Sunday so unless we wanted to be charged for an extra day we had to get back by that night. This meant we only had time to make one trip and I was running up and down stairs with boxes. Needless to say I was exhausted but we turned in the Truck in time. My friend D. came by to help with the last of the boxes and the good new is that we found an excellent sushi restaurant right next to our new house.
Our new place fits us much better. (It meets all the requirements that we had when looking for a new house.) And to top it all off it is cheaper for rent too.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

NYC Marathon

Since I could not really race for time I had to come up with a different reason to run the marathon. What I finally settled on is I would be happy to beat my time for when I ran the Los Angeles Marathon and I wanted to see the city of New York. I figured there couldn't be a better way to get my bearings then running 26.2 miles through all 5 boroughs.
The day before we went to the convention to pick up my bib. I was surprised at how efficient they could process everyone in line. From there we went to Tavern on the Green in Central Park for their pasta dinner. They were also very efficient in getting everyone through. They really had this thing down pat for the Marathon.
In the morning my wife dropped my off at the southern tip of Manhattan then drove over to my friend D.'s house to get some more sleep. I took the Staten Island Ferry to the starting line. There were so many people they had 4 different starting lines, then the roads merged together after they caught up in length. Right before it started everyone stripped off their sweats and other clothes that were keeping them warm and started running. There was trash and clothes everywhere. For the next mile I was working to keep from tripping over the discarded clothes. I then realized between the disposable clothes and special energy food and drinks, and the fact that most people traveled around the world for marathons. This sport is for rich people. It is to much like golf. I lost my desire to run another marathon at that point.
L. and I had bought iPhones because we needed to keep track of dates. It was the perfect tool to have for someone just enjoying a marathon by themselves. I could listen to music, take pictures, call people, and check my progress on the map, all in one device. I know I sound like a commercial but it did make me smile being able to use it.
The other thing that made me smile was that everyone was planning to cheer me on when I passed near D.'s apartment. They underestimated how fast I was going and I ran past the point way before anyone got there. I was doing pretty good up until I ran over the Queensboro Bridge. It seemed like it was just to big of a hill for me. For the rest of the race my time just kept getting longer and longer per average mile. Everyone has a chip in their shoe and you can log into a website to give statistics. It was nice that it could also email people when I hit mile markers. There was a lot of people cheering everyone on. After the Queensboro Bridge the people cheering for me in Upper Manhattan helped. I have to say that a little Jewish girl giving high-5's to runners is what put the biggest smile on my face though. A lot of people were handing out candy and stuff too.
I finished in 6 Hours, 10 Minutes. I beat my old time, so I was happy. Yes I could have done better had I had time to train properly, but I was happy that I was able to finish too with my hip problems. Everyone met me at the finish line. I was pretty beat and was ticked that I had to walk an extra mile after the marathon before being able to meet up with everyone. Since we ended in Central Park we had to take the subway home. While waiting for the subway I squatted down to give my legs a break. When I stood back up my brain was a little hazy but I realized something was different. I finally placed it, I couldn't see! I grabbed onto the pole next to me to make sure I didn't fall over or black out. As my vision slowly came back I told everyone that everything was black. L. said that I turned white as a white can be. We made it home without further trouble and I took the next day off from work to recover but I was no where near as sore as I thought I would be.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween

My wife L. had to dress up for work and all her co-workers decided to go with a super-hero theme. Basically they all wore a super hero T-shirt. L. asked me if I wanted to go in on it so I was Superman for halloween.
A few days before Halloween there was a 5k run at my work where you were supposed to run in your costume. It made it easy just to wear the Superman shirt and I ran with the whole time with an intern that was working for our group that I also ran with when we were in Arizona. She ended up winning the price for guessing how many candy corn there was in the jar.
Every year on Halloween night my friend D. gets excited about the Halloween parade in NYC. Now that we were living there he was looking forward to watching it with us instead of being in it like he usually was. As a last minute thing his work asked him to be in it. He agreed because he thought he could dress up. As it turns out it was just to be security to make sure no one got near the float. He was understandably ticked off. L., D.'s wife, and me ended up watching it instead. As we walked to the place where we were going to sit people kept yelling out "Hey superman" and it caught me off guard every time because I kept forgetting I was wearing the shirt.
3 million people seems like a lot and it is. That is how many people it was estimated watched or was in the parade. The official floats and costumes were very elaborate. Not on the order of Carnival, but they did remind me a lot of the Dia de Los Muertos costumes from Los Angeles. After the official parade, people who think their costumes are good enough are allowed to walk the route. People boo or cheer as a vote to how good people's costumes are. This year there were a lot of Senator Craig because of his incident in the airport bathroom. I personal favorite was a man dressed as a Samurai with a large painters palette and a toy referring to the scare about lead paint in chinese toys. D. says in past years he has seen people naked and painted florescent green and someone with a Bill Clinton mask on and his penis hanging out so I guess the police look the other way for that parade. After two hours of watching people we got tired and started to head to the subway. That's when all the people started to get in the way. We finally found D. at the end of the parade and compared notes on what costumes we liked best. It got us excited enough to want to plan costumes for the next year, but so far they are still just plans.