Wednesday, May 31, 2006

liveblog: cleaning the rental

Day 275
31 May 2006

We've discovered that it's nearly impossible to get any packing or cleaning done at the rental when the kids are with us, because the rental is now decidedly un-babyproof. So Glen and I have taken it in turns to go to the rental, pack, clean, and bring stuff back to the new house. Finally, at about 6:00 this evening, we realized that we were going to have to make a bilateral attack on the kitchen if we were going to get out in time to avoid paying extra rent, so we hauled everyone back to the rental. We stuck Peach in her stroller, parked her where she could see us, and supplied her with snacks; Link we left to run amok if he so desired (which he did). As you might imagine, much hilarity ensued:

6:40 Peach grows weary of snacks, starts throwing them on the floor. Counterproductive! Time for a bottle.

6:42 Peach settled in with bottle. All quiet on the Western front.

6:43 Link screaming incoherently in living room. Run to living room, find Link with nosebleed.

6:45 Look for paper towels to clean fresh blood off of living room carpet. Tell Link that he needs to sit VERY STILL, or his nose will start bleeding again.

7:08 Link’s mantra “can I get up yet?” becomes more annoying than his running around. Reluctantly tell him he can get up.

7:27 Link in charge of stroller. Peach giggling. All is well.

7:31 Instruct Link to slow down with the stroller.

7:33 Advise Link that wheelies are not OK.

7:35 Admonish Link to slow down, or he will not be allowed to push the stroller any more.

7:38 Link enters kitchen, advises me that he “turned too hard.” Rush into living room, find a bewildered but otherwise unharmed Peach sitting in her stroller, which is reposing on its side.

7:39 Inform Link that he is in BIG TROUBLE.

8:00 Go to grocery store in search of those little metal saucer thingies that go underneath the burners on the stove, because no way am I going to be able to get the old ones clean in under four hours.

8:49 Three grocery stores later, return in triumph with complete set of burner thingies in hand.

8:50 Discover that I have purchased the wrong variety of thingies. Sigh deeply. Turn my attention to cleaning the oven.

9:28 Glen heads back to store in search of correct thingies.

9:57 Glen returns in triumph with correct thingies in hand.

10:08 Mopping commences.

10:11 Peach's complaints become unbearably strident. Remove Peach from stroller. Make futile attempt to convince her that she really, really needs to stay out of the kitchen while Dada is mopping. Resign myself to carrying her around for the next half hour.

10:42 Hand Peach to Glen. Commence vacuuming.

11:05 Leave keys on counter for landlord. Return home to sleep like the dead.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Day 271
27 May 2006

Sore muscles, scrapes, scratches, bruises, broken fingernails ... either I've been playing rugby, or we moved our furniture today. Let the baby-proofing begin.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

hooray! we're infested!

Day 264
20 May 2006

Steps for moving into our “new” house (actual date of construction:1977)

1. complete closing

2. get sale of house recorded

3. get keys from realtor

4. gather a few personal effects, go to newly-purchased house

5. carry personal effects into house

6. discover cockroaches in basement

7. remove personal effects from house

8. return to rental house, peruse yellow pages for information on exterminators

So that's where we are.

Friday, May 19, 2006

full committee

Day 263
19 May 2006

And did I mention that I found a third member for my committee? I talked to Dr. Victoria yesterday about my project, and she agreed to serve as my second reader ... or maybe my third reader. I'm not really sure how that works. If my committee chair is also my first reader, then Victoria is my third reader. Whatever. Anyway, I have a committee now.

I'm excited to work with Victoria; my non-evil twin recommends her very highly. I had originally intended for my project to be more involved with the history of the novel, and to examine how the early-nineteenth-century novel is either an outgrowth of or a break from previous trends. But I wanted to work with Victoria badly enough that I've adjusted the scope of my project: it will now focus more on where the novel is going in the nineteenth century, as opposed to where it came from in the eighteenth.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

hooray! we're poor!

Day 262
18 May 2006

This blog is pleased to announce that we will have no money for the next thirty years, because we have bought a house:

We are very excited about this. We closed today, so we should be able to start moving in on Saturday. This will give us a window of about ten days to get everything moved out of our current (rental) house and get it clean before the end of the month. Alas, I fear we shall see the Christmas lawn ornaments of doom no more.

Monday, May 15, 2006

not the Annoying Boy

Day 259

15 May 2006


Today in class one of my colleagues wanted to argue that Shakespeare really is timeless, because people from every time period since the theaters reopened after the Restoration have performed his work on stage. On the other hand, I argued, each of those time periods has adapted Shakespeare’s work in one way or another, and some of them have changed it significantly (happy ending to King Lear, anyone?) This is an extremely reductive argument which leaves out many important factors which blah blah blah, but my point here is that he and I argued back and forth about it vigorously for a couple of minutes, the discussion moved on, and nobody got snitty about it. Such a nice change. See how pleasant it is when we all realize that a discussion is, in fact, academic?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

an open letter to Dan Brown

Day 255

11 May 2006


Dear Dan Brown,

I'm not Catholic, and I really don’t care that you wrote a fictional story wherein Jesus got married and had children and then the Catholic church spent hundreds of years trying to hush it up and kill his descendants. However, you are the poster child for the phrase “source check,” and in that way you really irritate me. In your little blurb at the beginning of The Da Vinci Code you throw around words like “fact” and “accurate” and well documented, and imply that under a thin veil of fiction, your story might really, essentially, be true. Setting aside the issue of truth claims, I would like to say the following: shut up about your sources already. Your “sources” are a bunch of wacko conspiracy theorists. And somehow, with all your “research” (which your wife did for you anyway), you couldn’t even manage to correctly describe the geography of Paris, which is not exactly an obscure location. As someone who actually does scholarly research, however lowly, I find your posturing offensive. Also, your writing is very bad.


Octavia S.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

my last theory class ever, probably

Day 248
4 May 2006

I only have one class this term: Theoretical Discourse. I was initially encouraged by the fact that the class is on Shakespeare criticism (specifically Hamlet criticism) because it makes everything a little less nebulous if you can see it applied. Alas, it's still Theory. After two and half hours of the professor giving a brief review of the history of Western thought, I left class yesterday with a staggering headache and a fervent desire never to return. I can see the possibility that other people would find this stuff interesting; what could be more fascinating than the history of ideas, of how we attempt to understand the world and ourselves? In theory (ha ha) it sounds great. In practice ... well, it's good that I'm getting it out of the way.

It appears that I will be having at least one big issue with this class. Prof’s estimate of how much time we should spend on classwork goes like this: for an undergrad course during a regular semester, you should plan two hours of homework time for each hour in class, so for a three-credit class like this one you would spend six hours a week studying outside of class. Since this is a graduate course, you can multiply that by two (=12 hours). And since this is a Spring term (half as long as a regular semester), you can multiply that by two again (=24 hours). He graciously rounded his estimate down a bit, but still said that in terms of time commitment, this class should be “like a part-time job, about 20 hours a week.” Riiiiiiight. As it happens, I already have a part-time job, but thanks anyway.

On the plus side: Spring term is only 8 weeks long. There's no final exam. There's lots of reading, but not too much writing. What is it that he thinks we're going to spend 20 hours a week doing, anyway?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

eau de frat boy, part deux

Day 247
3 May 2006

Time to box up Del’s stuff for shipment. He has already assured me that there is nothing either illegal or alive amongst his belongings. I have, however, taken the precaution of donning latex gloves before digging in. I decline to ship the acoustic guitar (sans case), the George Foreman grill, and the two crock pots – too much trouble. The rest of it is mostly clothes. Among the expected hip and/or snarky t-shirts and baggy jeans, a few items of interest:

  • something that appears to be a shoe-polishing kit, in a ziploc. Why? Is he huffing the shoe polish? The only shoes he wears are Etnies.

  • I'm going to assume he wears the D.A.R.E. t-shirt ironically

  • not one, but two bright purple polo shirts, one of which is from Eddie Bauer

  • an “alumni” t-shirt from “the UCMT family of schools.” He must get these at thrift stores.

  • A hillion jillion gazillion dirty socks, including one oddball tube sock with rasta-colored stripes around the top. I can see the advantage of having that many socks: you never have to wash them. When you've worn them once (or however many times you can tolerate, which in his case appears to be significantly more than once) you simply move on to another pair. But in that case, why not just throw them away when you're done with them? Why keep them around to clutter up your apartment and vex you when it's time to move? They are neither useful nor decorative in their current state.

Total: 5 medium-large moving boxes, exuding just a hint of eau de frat boy. I intend to ship them USPS, but am not sure what I should do when they ask me if the packages contain any hazardous materials.

Monday, May 01, 2006

eau de frat boy

Day 245
1 May 2006

Mom went home on Saturday (April 29th). It was a good visit, relatively stress-free, and Link and the Peach had a really good time with Grandma. Then yesterday I came home from church to find three messages from Mom waiting for me, asking me to give her a call. Her tone of voice was pretty casual, but the fact that she left three messages in a row without giving me any information about why she was calling was, you know, a little suspicious. (Last time that happened, she was calling to tell me that my father had died.) I decided to call her back sooner rather than later.

This time, it turned out that she just wanted me to help my Delinquent Younger Brother (shall I call him "Del"?) move home. And even that wasn't as annoying as it sounds. He was all packed up and ready to go, but he was traveling by bus, and couldn't take all his stuff with him. No problem, I can stash it in my garage and ship it to him later.

OK, saying that his stuff was already "packed" might have been a teeny overstatement - it was actually stuffed into numerous garbage bags. Whatever. It all fit in my Corolla just fine. I dropped him at the bus station and headed home. By the time I arrived at my house (about an hour later) I was starting to notice an unfamiliar smell coming from the back seat of the car ... a pungent mixture of sweaty socks, stale beer, and cigarette smoke, a sort of Eau de Frat Boy. Nice. I hope it's not permanent. Link tends to throw up if there are funny smells in the car.