Monthly Archives: November 2009

To cable or not to cable?

Posted by Katie on November 15, 2009
Daily Life / 8 Comments

Dave and I have been throwing around the idea of canceling cable for a couple months now.  Sounds like a fine idea, be we just can’t seem to bring ourselves to actually do it.

We do watch a lot of TV, but then we always end up watching the same things over and over again.  It’s to the point that we can’t just turn on the TV at 2 AM for a healthy dose of Forensic Files any more, because we’ve probably already seen that episode…twice.

And with me being sick for the last couple weeks, I have to be honest and say that I am more than a little burnt out on TV.

Really the motivation for canceling cable is in the money.  Cable is expensive.  And without cable, we can do things like read books and talk to each other.  But then, we have to entertain ourselves by reading books and talking to each other.

I’m curious to know your take on this.  Do you get by without cable?


Posted by Katie on November 15, 2009
Husband, Weird / 1 Comment

Ok.  I’m starting to feel better and get back into the swing of things again.  I did go back to work last week, of course, but I didn’t win any awards for productivity.  Not that my job regularly passes out awards for anything, but you get the point.

I mostly have my voice back, and my cough is getting better every day.  I’m still tired a lot, but I’m taking it easy.

All the horrible things you hear on the news about swine flu…you should believe them.

Dave gets some major extra credit husband points for putting up with me these last couple weeks.  He has been exceptionally patient and kind.

Thanks for taking such great care of me Dave!  And thank God you didn’t get it.

My germaphobic nightmare

Posted by Katie on November 08, 2009
Stress, Weird / 2 Comments

Everyone knows that I am a bit of a germaphobe…nothing wrong with that.  I wash my hands a lot, I nag Dave to do the same, and to be honest I don’t get sick that often.

So you can imagine the horror when I was diagnosed last week with a probable case of H1N1.  That’s right.  You read correctly.  Katie has the swine flu.  Let the jokes commence.

The reason that it is a probable case, and not a confirmed case, has to do with the large number of cases in Chicago.  The doctor basically said that my symptoms are all consistent with swine flu, but they no longer conduct the blood test for confirmation because it is now so prevalent.   The one treatment option for regular flu and swine flu are the same, and expensive…Tamiflu.

The danger of H1N1 comes in the fact that your body’s immune system is pretty much down for the count.  So you are open to any bacterial infection that comes along.  The reason why people die (4 confirmed deaths in Chicago this season) from the swine flu, or any type of flu really, is because of the complications.  In my case, the complication is a bacterial infection in my throat and lungs.  So I lost my voice last week and may have coughed up a small animal.  I am on antibiotics to treat these things, and hopefully prevent pneumonia.

This last week has been a wreck, I tell you.  Or, more accurately, I have been a wreck.

The scariest part of this whole ordeal was fighting the high-grade fever.  As an adult, I have never had to deal with a 102 degree temperature.   And in my whole life, I can’t recall a single time (let alone a whole week) when I felt so much like someone beat the hell out of me with a baseball bat and left me for dead in an alley.  Being hungover is like one hundred billion times better.

And I don’t sit around and do nothing very well.  Missing six whole days of work has almost killed me.  So I am just about on the verge of stir-crazy, minus the energy to do any real damage.


Drive fast, take chances

Posted by Dave on November 07, 2009
Cars / 4 Comments

That’s what Danica told me to do, so…


“Dave,” you may be asking, “why are there numbers on your car? And why do they look like they were applied by an amateur, on an area of the door only just wiped clean of dirt two minutes ago?” Well, I have a perfectly good explanation: you need numbers when you’re on the track!

On the front straight

I took the family car out for a NASA (National Auto Sport Association) “High Performance Driver Education” aka track day in early October.  The last time I did this was back in 2002 while living in LA. Fortunately autumn held off just long enough to have a nice weekend for driving, although there was a stiff breeze which cooled things down quite a bit.  Cool air makes a heavy car happy, and keeps your brakes from catching on fire.  Is this safe, you ask?  Of course it is!  They have a firetruck:

Fire Truck

Plus, it turns out you can get insurance for this sort of thing.  $75 is all it costs to insure the G6 for an entire weekend of hot-lapping (keeping in mind the $1500 deductible).  I only went for one day, but I got a solid hour and 40 minutes of track time.

Race Grid

I had the least track-capable car in my run group, although not the slowest (at first).  Several other drivers were there for their first track day, and when you’re driving your $80,000 Viper on the track (which happens to be wet) for the first time, you might be a little cautious.  All told, in my group there were 3 Corvettes, a Viper, a Civic Si, a Lancer Evo, a 350Z, and a fully race-prepped M3.  I had a driving instructor ride along for one run, which was very helpful.  Her first comment was, “This isn’t the sort of car most people take to the track.”  Oh, but it’s a G6 GT.

Waiting for Green

This is me checking my watch to see when we get back on the track.  So what if it has four doors?  It had new tires and high-performance brakes, and the four-wheel independent suspension is tighter than the average sedan.  I was pleasantly surprised with how well planted it was, especially when transitioning from a fast right to a left at about 65 MPH.  The front-wheel drive is a bit of a handicap when trying to accelerate out of corners, although very safe and easy to control.  I never felt like I was going to lose control or go off.  The seat-belt never locked tightly though, and I had bruises on both knees the next day from bracing myself in the car.


That’s a 50 MPH turn right there.  There’s something therapeutic to screeching tires around a corner, then flooring the gas pedal all the way down the straightaway.  I was hoping to break 100, but only got up to 97-98 MPH in the strong headwind.  I’ve raced the little go-karts at miniature golf places plenty of times, but nothing compares to driving a full-size car around a real race track at speed.  Ideally I’d like to do this once or twice per year, but as I get more mature older, I’m much more conscious of the possibility of something expensive breaking.  At some point, it would be better to buy a genuine race car, something that we don’t depend on for groceries and vacations, but that’s another story entirely.

I have to thank Katie for taking all these wonderful pictures.  You can see some more highlights of the day here.  I should also thank her for being a good sport to let me do this in the first place (“What if you crash?”  “I won’t.”).