Chicago Real Estate Pricing Matrix Spreadsheet

I’ve been looking for some real estate in Chicago and I noticed that assessments (HOA fees) were extremely high in some properties even if the price was reasonable which wasn’t even a consideration when we first set our maximum price range but made a huge difference in our potential monthly payment.

I decided to build out a matrix using Assessments as the y-axis and cost as the x-axis and then made a model to determine what was affordable based off interest rates, our maximum monthly mortgage payment (including escrow), insurance, etc.

Here’s the Chicago Real Estate Pricing Matrix Spreadsheet if you’re interested in using this spreadsheet model.  Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like:

Chicago Real Estate Cost Matrix


My Thoughts on LASIK surgery 5-days after the operation

First, let me tell you that it’s pretty great to be able to wake up and read your alarm clock or see the world for that matter in one clear image as opposed to a big blurry blob.  I am really happy with the fact that I have 20/15 vision according to the optometrist and I have no regrets about the surgery.

Now with that said, I will say that the surgery itself at least for me caused me to get pretty tense.  By the end of the surgery, I was gripping those grip balls they gave you prior to the surgery as if I was holding on for dear life and this is after they gave me a sedative to relax a little.  Let me elaborate a little… there’s no pain during the surgery as they numb your eyes with a bunch of drops and the surgery is actually really quick, I’d say less than 10 minutes in total.  I was doing fine even when my vision went literally “white” when they cut the cornea or whatever they do with the laser.  It was only after they put the cornea back or whatever the second part of the surgery is for one eye that I started to get tense.  The reason for this is after my vision goes white and they “roll” me to the other side to do something to my eye and then “roll” me back to the original place, I can make out some little things and I notice they are touching my eye with something.  I then see a bunch of red spiraly looking things in my vision and I think that’s blood and that got me to tense up.

As they do one eye at a time (the right eye first), the second time around I was definitely holding on to the grip balls fairly tightly since I was clearly agitated but I knew I couldn’t move.  When the operation was done and I’m placed back in the waiting room, I’m just spaced out since you can’t really see very well (everything is fuzzy), your eyes are still numb from the drops and the memory of the operation is still very clear in your head.  Oh and your eyes are pretty painful later that night after the surgery  but feel a lot better the next day.

Now 5-days later, my eyes are still recovering and they are pretty dry (it feels like when your contact goes behind your eye or if you have a little hair or something in your eye/contact).  I have to do eye drops every 30 minutes so it’s definitely interesting living my life in 30 minute increments and the feeling of a “fresh artificial tear” is quite nice, it’s kind of like the feeling you get when you put on a fresh pair of contacts.  During the night, I definitely get “Halos” around lights when I am driving and when I go to bars that are pretty dimly lit, everything is pretty “fuzzy” (not as “fuzzy” as after the surgery, but it’s like there is a slight haze around everything).

Overall, definitely worth the money (a little under $4,000) and I would highly recommend anyone to get it if they’ve been thinking about it.

Old Oak Tap: An Elegant Bar Tucked Away in UK Village

Neighborhood: Ukrainian Village
Restaurant Name: Old Oak Tap
Address: 2109 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

After eating a delicious dinner at The Cheesecake Factory on Michigan Avenue, I ventured to UK Village to try this place out with a few friends. I noticed immediately that in the summer this place would be great to go to with its outdoor setup. The inside of the restaurant was dimly lit and you could tell it was designed to give off an intimate vibe. I.e. Take your significant other here.

On a cold Friday night, the place wasn’t too busy and it was easy to find a table. Since we had already ate, we just looked at the drinks menu in which there was a fine craft beer selection and even 10+ beers on tap. The beer menu even offered my favorite beer: Youngs Double Chocolate Stout.

As I’m looking to find a good Gluten-Free beer, I got the Original Sin Cider which was decent.

Service was good and the decor of the restaurant was simple but elegant.

old oak tap bar areaold oak tap dining area

Quick trip to Jagiellonia

Neighborhood: Avondale
Bar Name: Jagiellonia
Address: 3634 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL

Met up with a buddy today and we decided to try out one of the bars in his neighborhood since we always go to my neighborhood to explore the different bars in Wicker Park. We grab a quick bite to eat at a local Mexican restaurant and have some really good tacos and then decide to try out a bar we always pass by when I’m in his neighborhood… problem is, this bar just happens to be closed for some reason even though the bar hours clearly state M-Sun 7:00 PM to 4:00 AM. My buddy mentions he knows of another bar closer to Milwaukee but as we begin walking there we see a red sign that says “Sports Bar” and we decide to try this bar out instead. We walk in and at first we see absolutely no one in the bar and then we look to the left and there are 3-4 people huddled in the corner quietly chatting with the bartender. We grab a seat by the pool table and notice there’s a Blackhawks game on and Spring Training baseball game on, however no one is paying attention to the TV’s. The bartender asks us what we’d like to drink and we notice there are 3 choices on tap, Okocim, Carlsberg and PBR. I’m about to order a PBR but I change my mind at the last second and decide to go with an Okocim, some sort of Polish beer according to the bartender. My buddy gets the same. Okocim ends up being fairly decent.

Anyway, my impression of this bar is that it reminds me of the kind of bar you find at a bowling alley, it’s fairly old and it has really dim lighting and has the cliche pool table and jukebox in the corner. Can’t say I’ll ever actively decide to go back to this bar with plenty of other options available in Chicago but maybe if I happen to be in Avondale again and want to go to a bar I’ll try this place out again.

2012 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Recap

As the NY Marathon was cancelled this year and I didn’t want to waste all that training plus I was fund-raising for Team World Vision, I decided to run the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 3, 2012. The weather was around 35 degrees Fahrenheit and it was fairly crowded at the start line but as the race progressed, it really thinned out. It was definitely a weird race as they didn’t block all traffic and there were quite a few intersections where there were cops stopping traffic to let the runners through. I remember at one point, a lady was using her phone and didn’t see the cop and nearly hit him and the cop screamed, “GET OFF YOUR PHONE!”

I started with the 3:40:00 pace group but they started out a lot faster than I was planning on starting so I fell back to the 3:45:00 pace group who actually started out rather quick too. I decided to spend the first few miles just getting comfortable and finding a pace that I was comfortable with. Around mile 5 I caught up with the 3:45:00 group and then decided to keep going at a 8:15/mile clip or so. I caught up to the 3:40:00 pace group around mile 12 and ran with them through 15 before I decided to try to go faster. I was keeping a good 8:10-8:15/mile pace before mile 19 where I must have done the tangents wrong since I was 0.15 miles over and this resulted in the 3:40:00 pace group passing me. I tried to keep up but by mile 21, I hit a mini-wall and for the rest of the race I was really struggling. It didn’t really help that it started hailing/sleeting at mile 23 and started to drizzle/rain at mile 25.

At mile 25, I was in pure zombie-mode just trying to get to the finish line as it was getting cold due to the rain soaking my dri-fit running clothes. I picked up the pace but my calf muscles kept cramping up every few steps which became really frustrating. Mentally I was drained but I was trying to fight through the fatigue to just finish the race. I can definitely understand how Marathon’s can be a mental toughness game. For me, since mile 21 I was exhausted and remembering Chicago last year, around mile 16 I just basically quit, however this year, after 7 months of training I wouldn’t have any of that. I definitely did slow down after mile 21 and I took longer to restart running after each water station but overall, my pace slowed 20-30 seconds only which I was pretty happy with.

I really tried to shoot for under 3:40:00 but just couldn’t, however I was able to finish at 3:40:xx which was awesome. It was a PR of 25 minutes roughly and came out to be about a 8:25/mile which was about the pace of my training runs during the summer. Crossing that Finish Line never felt so good, haha.

Franklin Kuok Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Results