Jessamyn is in...|
03sep... job interview
05sep... 34th b'day
30aug02 . . . . .
fire in the hole, water in the hole
There's an entire class of pictures in my family albums which can all be fitted with the title "My Dad and the stuff that he is taking apart, or perhaps building." It's good that these pictures have such titles because otherwise they look like my parents are in some sort of war zone... walls are taken apart, ceilings and floors have huge gaping holes, and things are dismantled everywhere. Some of these pictures exist only in my head, such as my father carrying the new shower enclosure on his back up a ladder and into the second-story hole he and maybe my mom and maybe the teenage helper guy tore in the bathroom wall. With this in mind, here is a picture of Greg in the newly formed hole we created when we took apart the hot tub that has been gracelessly decomposing in the center of my deck since I moved in here. It has never worked, recently started to tilt, and only served to inspire well-meaning friends to say things like "You should really get that going again."
My personal etiquette has always dictated that making suggestions about others' expensive home repair projects [other than being unflaggingly supportive "that is going to look really great once you get all that crap out of there!"] is to just shut up and act like their house is the best house in the world, like you would if they had a baby, "Oh, he is just adorable" [that said, my pals John and Laura have a new baby that really does seem to be a charmer]
Suffice to say, I couldn't stand the pressure and wanted my deck back. We now have a lot of big hunks of wood in varying stages of rot, three five foot metal hoops that were used to hold the tub together, a lot of senseless plumbing [need a water pump? or an electric water heater? call me] and a big slab of tongue and grooved lumber that is destined to become my next kitchen table. 30 minutes after this picture was taken, a friend called and asked us to go sailing, which we gladly did. Then we went up to Bakersfield and helped my friend Clint move in his new pellet stove, stopping in Canada on the way back just to say we'd been there. Now I'm typing this. At this moment, the deck now is more of a mess than when we started, but the sun is shining and I think I'll get motivated to schlep the lumber away any minute now....
26aug02 . . . . .
There's a new image up on the home page
-- in case you're one of those people who link directly here -- that I am particularly proud of.
We just got hundreds of gallons of propane delivered this morning to tide us [or someone] through the winter. With any luck at all, we won't even use all of it. I got gasket cement for the woodstove and some more high heat paint. I also found another matress on the way to the dump on Saturday [not at the dump, but out with a free sign down the street] which brings the total free matresses up to three. I think we're planning a BBQ the last weekend of September, see if we can put all this extra bedding to good use. If you want to come up and do some leaf peeping from the comfort of someone's backyard [trust me, it beats the drive-down-the-road version] come for a visit, we've got plenty of places to sleep.
My job interview is the 3rd of September, next week, so pardon me if I'm a little distracted. I head the library has a cable modem.....
22aug02 . . . . .
ant vs grasshopper, grudge match of the century
I'm starting to believe we might not actually die out here if we were to stay the Winter. That is, if I get this job. The job pays $12.25 an hour if
you have a Master's degree. I really shudder to think what it would pay if you didn't have one. The good news is that, even part time, I can live on that kind of cash. In fact, if I earn too much money, I get stupid and think that maybe I need to buy new shoes or something. This will prevent that. I got a pair of Bean Boots
from the thrift store today for $2, that should stave off any further shoe cravings.
We tossed wood all last week, finally stacking the two cords we got from the guys down the street in the milking shed. People who sell firewood around here really work like hell this time of year. They're wiry men with deep tans. The local guys I bought wood from this year are new at it so they don't have a dump truck yet. Every piece of wood that went into my yard was tossed out of the truck by one of those guys. The $100 I gave them per cord [split two ways] can't possibly break down into more than $10/hour for them, most likely less. Plus they bought the wood from someone else. That sort of puts the librarian pay into perspective.
19aug02 . . . . .
any excuse for reading
So, after a few days of manual labor in intensive heat, I decided that this weekend was going to be for nothing more than reading, eating, and sleeping. I stuck to that pretty well with a few time-outs for email and phone calls. Got a lot of books read
. I'm now working on increasing the quality of my reading choices. I like dopey forensic mysteries but always feel a bit let down when they're over. This is mostly because they wrap things up to quickly in an "Ah that explains everything!" sort of fashion, or they're too convoluted in a manner that defies pragmatics. Mostly they just all seem the same after a while, even if the forensic info is interesting.
Saturday we took some time off because we had not one, but two random visitors who came one after the other. Sophie and Kristen dropped by on their way back from Burlington, bringing their spaniel Nick. We hung out on the porch and chatted and just as they were leaving another car pulled in. This one held an older man who I didn't recognize. Turns out he used to hang out at this place back when it was a functioning farm in the 40's and 50's. We walked through the barn with him and his companion and heard stories about the barn when it supported 1,000 head of cattle and 40 dairy cows. The land the farm covered was about 1,000 acres and took up a large part of the town. He left us his name and we looked him up online. Turns out he's a metallurgy professor at MIT. I'm dying to ask him more questions about the place, but I don't know if it would seem stalker-creepy to start emailing him. Guests randomly stopping by is a rare enough occurence, but two in one day is simply amazing. One of the advantages to living on a major highway is that it's pretty easy for folks to swing by just to see if you're around.
17aug02 . . . . .
actually, it IS the heat
Made a deposit in the cosmic
karma bank by helping friends
in Amherst move in this 90 degree heat. Big boxes of books -- I have very literate friends. When we arrived on Wednesday afternoon and walked into their house it was all I could do to blink back tears "you guys ... why .... you're packed!" Stuff was already in boxes, moving was a pleasure [except for the fiendish heat] and I got to hang out in the library at Melvil Dewey's alma mater
, where they have an interesting and old selection of books about libraries and librarianship. They use compact shelving
in the basment of the Robert Frost Library which means that all the shelves are right next to each other and when you need to get between two of them, you push a button and they all lumber apart like recently awakened elephants and show you the previously hidden books between them. The librarian equivalent to a trust fall is standing between them and having someone else push the "close" button.
12aug02 . . . . .
Happy 30th anniversary, Florence and Jim!
I applied for the job, finally. I had one of those "damn, I'm good!" moments when I finished the cover letter and realized it was the best cover letter I've ever written -- succinct, entirely truthful, polished. If I don't get this job, it will only be because I am overqualified [or they have read this website and determined that I'm too stuck up to work in a small town library]. We had a stretch of those days that make every other too hot or too cold day in Vermont totally worthwhile. It was in the seventies, clear blue sky, breeze blowing, sweet grass smells all over the place, frequent hummingbird visits, a bit of a chill in the air at night, zillions of stars. We got a lot done, I sanded and painted the somewhat rusty woodstove, Greg cleaned out the milking shed, I got all the icky charred gunk out of the propane grill, Greg climbed under his car and made a parts-list for some maintenance work. I even started to organize all that stuff-in-drawers that I accumulate.
As you probably know, people in Vermont tend not to get rid of things, at least not anything that they might ever use again. This contributes to the generally low quality of our perpetually-occurring yardsales. It also explains why in the center of my town there are no less than three school busses parked in front of peoples' houses absolutely filled with what seems to be junk. Keep in mind there are maybe 14 houses in the center of town, tops.
At any rate, I am like this particularly with cables and electronics stuff. I used to keep all the stuff in a file cabinet, but cables are second only to coat hangers in their ability to adhere to one another; they mate for life. So, I decided to make some use of the sixty drawer card catalog I have in the guest bedroom. Each drawer has a cable, or set of cables if there is an obvious grouping. I flipped over the labels that were in there [Garcia/Grisman, Dead 77-80, Phish 94-96, etc] to find lovely Dewey Decimal numbers underneath. To this I added my own headings. Now I can find everything.
To the postcard sender(s) from Providence: unsigned postcards with pictures of large transvestites on them do not send a friendly message. If you were trying to be anything other than creepy, you failed.
08aug02 . . . . .
hair splitting and hairballs
"You heard me."
"I hurt you? No I didn't"
"Sweetie, I do not herd you, I let you run free...."
Accordingly, I am foreswearing the old boyfriend, for the new one A Dictionary of Modern American Usage, except for the fact that we think it is wrong about how to verb-ize the word catalog. When I was in college, I did a thesis project on the idiotic way the generic "he" pronoun is used in English [i.e. that it's supposed to refer to both men and women, though no one really believes that]. This dictionary isn't afraid to tell it like it is, under the heading SEXISM:
Though the masculine singular personal pronoun may survive a while longer as a generic term, it will probably be displaced ultimately by they, which is coming to be used alternatively as singular or plural.... Speakers of American English resist this devlopement more than speakers of British English in which the indeterminate they is already more or less standard. That is sets many literate American's teeth on edge is an unfortunate setback to what promises to be the ultimate solution to the problem.
My all-male thesis advisor group fought me tooth and nail about this topic and conclusion [which I also drew in 1990 or so] and I feel suddenly vindicated.
My pictures are up from our southern road trip, although the coverage is spotty and I believe we have no pictures of anyone we stayed with after my Dad's house [stop #2]. I'm not sure if it is coincidence that just a week after I mention the super-obscure Army Medical Museum, there is a big article about it in the New York Times -- here is the hairball that they were afraid to show you.
Guests are all packed away to various points unknown exept for Greg's parents who leave tomorrow. We may, finally, get back on our regular eating schedule -- liquid breakfast, lunch at four, dinner at ten -- and then maybe I'll start working on a resume for this library job.
03aug02 . . . . .
my week as an author
I made a weird decision this week to actually try for a job at a small rural library in Vermont, the Jaquith Public Library in Marshfield. It's a one-person library, meaning that if I got the job, I'd report to the board of trustees and be the only person, save maybe a volunteer shelver, in the entire place. I'm not sure if this is an inspired decision or total madness. If I got the job, it would mean staying in one place, commuting to work [or moving] and spending a lot of time reading books to children, which I am good at but have never thought of it in terms of being a job skill. I like the name Jaquith, though maybe because it would be a killer word in Scrabble. The job pays less than my tech support job did but it comes with benefits, which I have never had before. Deadline is in a few weeks, I'll post more news as I have it.
I think I've gone library-crazy because this weekend Katia and I are editing down the final manuscript of the book we are working on, Revolting Librarians Redux. The manuscript is due to the publisher in two weeks and Katia and her boyfriend Brian -- who I think is a doppleganger for Greg but apparently am alone in this belief -- came in from Illinois to visit, edit, and fret together and make rash decisions about style and the way to spell the word[s] "website". Katia gets some sort of comp time from her work for this. Me, I get someone else besides Greg to cook grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for. The book is shaping up really well and is much better than I remember it being when I read many of these submissions over email.
In other weird decisions, we decided to not go to Burning Man this year, mainly because we're unemployed, it's too far from here, and I never really rounded up a posse to go with. I am aware that years from now I may be able to point to August 2002 as the time I "settled down" or perhaps "got square" but I really see it as getting pragmatic and deciding to spend more time with my newly planted rosebushes and freshly mown lawn and idyllic Vermont summer. Maybe I'll have a Labor Day BBQ and birthday party.