The Laundry Channel

There are those of us, perhaps on the spectrum, who like to watch the clothes go around in the dryer.

Our building provides a video feed of the laundry room on our tv. I can watch my clothes go around from the comfort of my own easy chair. I feel this is very thoughtful of building management.

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What a day

Weather-wise, that is. Mid-January, but yet sunny, with temperatures above freezing.

Who says we don’t have beach and mountain views in Chicago?

I walked along the beach and out onto the pier.

A few more years, and we’ll have palm trees growing there. It will be like Miami beach without the hurricanes.

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Caveat Emptor

We have learned that condos don’t always look the same in person as they are advertised on the internet.

So we drove up to look at the one we have placed an offer on.

Startlingly, it looks just like it does in the Redfin ad. What are the chances of that?

Plus, it snowed while we were there. I thought it was exciting. This sentiment was not shared by all in our party.

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Put your money where your mouth is

We had a long-distance walkthrough of the condo we’re considering. For a two-bedroom apartment, it has a large kitchen with gas range (very important to CVH). Based on the dozens of condos that we’ve looked at online, I don’t think we’re going to find a bigger kitchen in our price range. And of course, the building allows cats.

We made an offer and sent our earnest money.

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Movin’ on up?

Another condo came on the market in this lakefront highrise. Sixteen stories up. I think George Jetson used to live there. We arranged for our Realtor to give us a remote tour, but alas, once again, it went under contract before we could even see it.

Condos in downtown Chicago are a drug on the market, but it’s a lively market on the North Side.

There is another unit available in this building closer to the ground. We’ll see if we can get a look at it before it sells.

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In real estate, things aren’t always as they appear

The Realtor walked us through the condo we were interested in with her cell phone camera. There were definitely some surprise things that were not featured in the pictures on Redfin. Extra stairs. Odd floors. In any event, the seller accepted an offer from someone else in the meantime.

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New Chicago Home?

For the past couple of years, we’ve been seriously considering moving to Chicago. Originally we were going to wait until 2022, but it’s looking like we need to move up that schedule to Spring 2021.

We’ve been looking at lots and lots of condos on Redfin this summer in order to get a feel for what’s available in various neighborhoods. We have found one for sale that we might want to go ahead and get now. It has lots of windows and appears to be on a pleasant tree-lined residential street in Albany Park (or Irving Park, depending on who you ask – it’s near the border between the two in any event). We’re going to get the Realtor to give us a remote tour with her cell phone.

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Vacation Back East

East Kentucky, that is. We loaded up the Datsun and headed to Carter County, in far eastern Kentucky and Carter Caves Kentucky State Park.

Carter County
I don’t think it had anything to do with these Carters

Carter County is named for Kentucky State Senator William Grayson Carter. Apparently the neighboring counties got too big and had to be redistricted and this new county was named after him. Kentucky has a ridiculously large number of counties for a state of its population. A tremendous amount of taxpayer money could be saved by consolidation. But that is not the subject of this post.

Carter Caves State Park is situated in the typically beautiful East Kentucky hills. It does have a number of caves (twenty), but they were all closed due to the corona pandemic. Actually, nearly all the park’s amenities were closed, including the canoe tours, swimming pool, playground, restaurant, and miniature golf course. Nevertheless, it was worth the trip.

Perhaps because so many of the family activities were not available, it wasn’t very crowded. All the hiking trails were open, and we were able to see lots of trees (lots), lots of big rocks (lots), and big rock bridges, which were as impressive as caves and much less claustrophobic.

We stayed in the motel in the park. It was the usual park motel room, with a deck that allowed us to listen to the birds sing, and one night, watch a deer eat. Deer are surprisingly noisy eaters.

We walked through big holes in rocks, like here in Smoky Bridge
Another view of Smoky Bridge
On top of Smoky Bridge
Yet another huge bridge at the park

I enjoy hiking the Kentucky woods, and had a great time. CVH was less pleased with the way the hills kept going up and down and up again.

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Stepping outside early today, I thought “What a beautiful Friday morning!”

“Or Monday morning. Or Saturday morning.”

And I realized it doesn’t matter much these days.

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Old Man Asks Me “Why Is It More?”

When I was a small tot, I remember going with my mother to the grocery store. She spent $20 each week to feed two adults and a small child. Once I went with a family friend on their shopping trip; they were a little more well off than our family, and that mom spent $40 for a week of food for two adults, a teenage boy, and a small child. At the time, I thought that was an awful lot, but that was before I discovered how much teenagers eat.

In October 1980, I made a note of how much my usual items were costing at my local Kroger in Clear Lake, Texas. I held onto that list for thirty-nine years, and thanks to the internet, was able to compare those prices then with the prices in September 2019 at the same Kroger.

I was surprised at many of the results. After adjusting for changes in package size, I compared the prices against the change in the Consumer Price Index for the same period (approx. 2.938).

Some things are a lot cheaper, notably dairy products:

ItemAdjusted Price Change since 1980
Dozen large eggs-64%
Gallon milk-63%
24 oz elbow macaroni-53%
5 lb Russet potatoes-50%
Gallon distilled water-48%
Pound cheddar-45%
Frozen fish sticks-40%
Canned tomatoes-33%
Pound onions-32%
Canned tuna-31%
Chips Ahoy cookies-23%

Some things are a lot more expensive:

ItemAdjusted Price Change since 1980
Folger’s coffee45%
Nabisco Saltines37%
Hunt’s ketchup37%

What conclusions can we draw from these data? Why is Clorox higher (remember, this was before corona shortages)? Why are canned tomatoes so much cheaper, but ketchup so much higher? Ketchup is just tomatoes and HFCS – maybe HFCS has gone way up; that would help explain the increase in Coca-cola (which is HFCS and water). And what in the world is up with saltine crackers? Are they putting Clorox in them? How could Chips Ahoy cookies be cheaper, when they’re really just a combination of HFCS and saltines?

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