28aug03: a visual aid
[the offending hose] Some people have houses with a lot of extra coolers, or maybe boomboxes, or possibly suitcases. Out here we have road atlases. I'm not sure why but from where I am sitting, I can easily see five. Now some of them are actually gazetteers and are only for Vermont and have all those little roads that you look at and say "I wonder where that goes?" and then you realize two years later that it's the shortcut to the post office.

This is helpful for our next little geography lesson: where are you people? My house, the one with the barn, is in West Topsham. West Topsham is a small no-account town just a few miles from the Northeast Kingdom. About 150 people live here and they are mostly, though not entirely, older people. There are no libraries near here that have jobs paying more than about $8-10 an hour. When Greg got accepted to VT Law School, I decided to expand my job search to include libraries within reasonable distance from there as well. I found the nice people at Rutland Free and I'll be working there for almost the next two years, starting the eighth. Greg and I went back and forth on where to live and for a while. I thought I'd live in Rutland, he would live in South Royalton and we would commute to see each other. I decided I'd rather commute to work than commute to see my boyfriend, so we found a room for rent in Bethel, a bit closer to my job and a whole lot closer to his school. I don't know much about Bethel yet, but while it's small there seems to be a thriving community here with a recreation area, a few little shops and a mini-bandstand all within walking distance. The weather there also seems to be calm, as opposed to up in the hills of West Topsham where it is best described as tempestuous. Plus, our cable modem gets installed next week. We'll be in West Topsham on weekends until the caretaker gets here in late November.

As far as distances go. Topsham to my job is two hours. Bethel to my job is under an hour, and from Bethel to VT Law is ten minutes or less. I may be in the market for a good used car.
27aug03: yet another list
I am reading a book called Thinking in Pictures about this woman who is autistic and explains how she thinks differently. I have always thought that maybe I think in lists. Information seems to organize itself into nodes as soon as it enters my head. In any case, for those of you playing along at home, this is how the trip went down.
  • Greg and I drove to Burlington VT
  • He went on to Buffalo NY to drop off the car we had been borrowing [thanks Nora!]
  • I flew to Seattle WA
  • He flew from Buffalo to Seattle the next day
  • four days of packing, mailing, and putting stuff in storage
  • we drove to Idaho in Daniel's car
  • I gave a talk at the Pac NW Library Conference
  • we left, car broke, we fixed car
  • three days of driving in merciless heat, no AC, and chilly hotel rooms
  • arrived in St. Louis, Greg flew from St Louis to Manchester NH
  • Greg took a bus to Montpelier, got his car we left by the bus station, went home
  • I drove, via Tennessee, to Raleigh/Durham NC, drop off the car we had been borrowing
  • dropped off car, took train to Boston MA
  • got ride from Boston to my house, boxes have preceded me, luggage has not
  • thanks to an incredibly nice guy from Amtrak, I get my luggage yesterday

This one was complicated, even for me. The only part of this trip that did not flow smoothly was getting my car [Gutless, now in Seattle, needs to be here] out here as well. I think I've got it covered, but you never know.
25aug03: another list
Just because I found it weird that I hadn't already made this list. This is all the road trips I have taken E-W or W-E that have been two-plus days. I meant to call it cross-country trips, but some of them started in the middle.

date

from/to

car

companion

purpose

June-July 1989 Boston - San Fran/LA - Boston Chevy Blazer Matthew round trip x-country vacation
June 1990 Boston - Seattle my Chevy van Matthew moving to Seattle
Dec 1990 Seattle - Boston VW Bus Ian home for x-mas break
April 1992 Omaha NE - Seattle Mobile Traveler motorhome Peter accompanying Pete on his move to the Pac NW
Sep 1992 Chicago - Seattle Saab 900 Tex accompanying Tex on his move to the Pac NW
June 1994 Palo Alto CA - Washington DC Honda Civic Jack wedding, honeymoon, ALA conference
Aug 1995 NJ - Seattle Chevy station wagon Jack moving to Seattle after Romania
Sep 1999 Seattle - Boston VW Jetta none moving Sophi & Kristen's car to Boston
Apr 2001 Seattle - Boston - Seattle Ford F150 Kate/Nick round trip - moving stuff from Seattle to VT and thenreturning truck
July 2001 VT - Seattle my Toyota Cressida none moving my car to the West Coast
Aug 2001 Seattle - Boston Toyota Camry none moving James's car to Boston
Sep 2001 San Fran - Chicago Jeep none getting out of SFO after 9/11
Nov 2001 VT - Seattle Geo Metro Jane moving back to Seattle, moving Jane to Seattle
Apr 2003 Seattle - VT Toyota Tercel none moving Robert and Robbyn's car to the East Coast
Aug 2003 Seattle - NC Honda Accord Greg moving Daniel's car to the East Coast
23aug03: home
[the offending hose] I am back in Vermont after 20 hours of train and car travel from Raleigh, NC to here and am snoozing pleasantly in my head, if not in corporeal actuality. It was a good trip, all parts of the scheme worked, except for one. I have two weeks and a day before I start my job. The to do list is short but manageable: get shoes, get truck inspected, find caretaker, ship piano to Norway, get snowblower from MA, unpack boxes, etc.

A word about boxes. Moving out of my room in Seattle was really the first time -- since I didn't have to immediately move in someplace else -- that I have been able to really pack in an organized fashion. And I'm a bit on the fetishistic side when it comes to organizing. I now have two lists, one for crates, lettered A-L and one for boxes, numbered 1-14. The numbered ones were mailed. The lettered ones were stored. I know what is in each of them. I know which boxes were shipped media mail, which were insured, which have not yet arrived. We'll see if it makes any difference in the faux-xmas of unpacking or the familiar twinge of something-left-behind, but man, do I love these lists. Happy Virgo Month of Freaking "Leisure".
19aug03: crazy schemes, redux
So far so good. I got to Tennessee and the last three hour leg of my trip is this afternoon. Just wanted to check in and let people know I wasn't lost or in trouble. The trickiest part of the trip -- where we put Greg on a plane in St Louis and he gets to the airport to get on a bus to get into his car that we left a few blocks from the bus station a week and a half ago -- is over. The bad part -- where we blew a radiator hose on the side of the highway and were rescued by a forest fire fighter named Dori who showed us the way to the parts store and then all but changed the hose for us while we rehydrated and only told us to pass on the good deed -- is also over. Greg starts law school tomorrow. I get home this weekend and my job starts in two weeks. More from me when I'm not hogging the only house computer and phone line.
09aug03: the most beautiful place(s) on earth
The joke is that whether I am in Seattle or Vermont I think I am in the most beautiful place on earth. This is lucky for me. It is also lucky that I have a weird short or otherwise fallible memory so I forget how strongly I was in love with the other city when I am away from it. So, in short, it's beautiful here. I got up early [thank you jet lag] and bought a ton of plastic crates, cardboard boxes and other packing and storage implements. Now I am filling them up. I'm sure everyone says the first ten boxes are the easiest, but I am amazed how quickly this is all going. Now I just have to remember to tell my friends who do not read this site, and who I don't talk to or email as frequently, that I am fixing to go. I am getting rid of a lot of junk.

I'll be in town until the 13th. Greg gets in this evening. If anyone wants to do the kind of hanging out that you can do over a pizza and a lot of milk crates and packing peanuts, drop me a line.
07aug03: sliding right into so-called leisure
[doesn't this baby look a bit familiar?] Congrats to Robert and Robbyn for having a baby and not giving it a name that starts with the letter R. Welcome Elsie Rose Kistler Smith!

The big trip starts tomorrow. Actually, we decided to complicate matters and start it today. So, we're heading to Burlington tonight just to make sure we have one more thing to potentially go wrong before really getting into it. I'm still looking for a place for us to stay in Boise in the middle of next week, if anyone knows anyone. By the time I get back to this coast, my stuff in Seattle will be stored mailed or discarded, Greg will have started law school, we will have started renting a room in a house in Bethel, my job will still be two weeks from starting and my car will [hopefully] have made it here as well. It's odd thinking about leaving Seattle for any real length of time. People have been asking me if this is the end of my bi-coastal existence and I have to honestly say I don't know. My best guess is that the intervals will be spaced farther apart. My new job goes for 20 months, but after then we have at least another year-and-change of law school so maybe I'll go do something else for a while.

And no smart remarks about the Virgo Month of Leisure, please. I try to relax every year and every year something goes kablooey. 2002, job. 2001, you know. 2000, accident. 1999, road trip. 1998, Guatemala. 1997, bought a house.

So, updates pokey until about the 22nd. If you're in Seattle, drop me an email, help me pack a box or two.
02aug03: stewardship, misplaced
[there are cells in the basment of the new library I'll be working at] First off, I resurrected the travel plans page, if only to remind myself where I am going the next few weeks. Second, Greg and I have found a very nice place to live during the school/work year in Bethel Vermont. Lovely house, nice woman who lives there, not super spendy, not too far to my job, Greg's school, etc.

Third, every year people ask if I have a garden. Every year I say "no" but for a diferent reason. Birds ate all the seeds in year one. Slugs and mice in year two. I'm not sure what happened in year three, rabbits? This year we planted the little seedlings inside and let them grow to a hearty size before planting them in the little garden bed outside. We thrilled to their little proto-leaves, then leaves, then little flowers. It was exciting, watching them grow, they were almost eight inches tall! Then a few days back I noticed that the little pepper plants I thought we were growing looked suspiciously like the weeds that I had been trying not to grow. The weeds were also busy growing adorable little purple flowers... I must admit, at this point, that I never understood why you would pay money for potting soil when you had acres of perfectly good dirt surrounding your house. Now I understand.
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