moving on, up

covered steps up to apt

If everything goes well, I’ll be moving in to this place a little over a month from now. I realize this isn’t much of a photo. It’s a mother-in-law apartment on the back of a nice house about eight miles up the road where I live. Just a teeny bit closer to work and the pool and my friends. Just a little bit further from Bethel and Boston and my family. Mostly good. It’s the most I’ve ever paid for rent and, relatedly, it will be the first time I’ve ever paid rent to live somewhere by myself. The apartment is small and has nice wood floors and insulated windows that look out on to tall trees. It has a guestroom, visitors welcome as always. My future landlady is one of my computer students. We got her her first laptop two weeks ago and just this week I set up DSL in her house. She sent her first email from her house on Tuesday. She is 83 years old.

Ola is getting back in the next week or two so we’ll overlap a little. Her youngest son is getting married at the end of July so there will be a certain amount of hustle and bustle and chaos there. I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to pack up most of my things that are in the common spaces and I have my room and a little more stuff to put in boxes. Anyone who wants to come haul a box to the new place is welcome to come by on August 2nd. I am pretty sure there will be pizza. And likely beer.

I’ve got the time to compose this because I’m waiting in an airport watching my flight to Chicago get further and further delayed. It’s already passed the time that it arrives in ORD after my connecting flight will have departed, so I’m scheming ways to either meet with friends in Chicago, get a flight to someplace else interesting [or more nearby, the LA area is filthy with airports] or prepare to show up in the middle of the night in LA. I suppose I could always drive home and bail on the entire proposition, but I’ve got a nice talk about rural technology to deliver and some librarians to hang out with that i haven’t seen in quite some time. I sort of expect summer travel to go this way. I have comfy shoes and a good book. I’ll get there eventually.

three point status update

There is a website I sometimes visit that is for chatting and nonsense and every so often there is a status update thread where people tell you about what or how they are doing in bulleted list format. If you know anything at all about me, you’ll know that I love the lists. I also find that somewhat arbitrary constraints are sometimes good to get you motivated when you’re staring at a blank piece of paper [or text entry box]. And, as always, by “you” I mean “me” You can tell more about people by what they choose to include or not include usually than by whatever the actual facts are on their list. That said, here is mine because it’s about time and because I have news.

  1. Ola is coming back in the first week of July. Like for real. Her youngest son is getting married in the end of July and there will be a lot of people tromping in and out of here during that month, I suspect. I am looking forward to seeing her, it’s been a while. I mentioned to her that I had only killed a few of her houseplants, so I am optimistic about the whole transition.
  2. That said, I’m in love with living alone so I’m moving to Randolph (one town over) where I’ve found this great mother-in-law apartment. I have a handshake agreement to move in August first. More details on that as they emerge. I can always use help moving, but truth be told, I don’t have much stuff. What I could use is someone to help me build a platform bed of some sort.
  3. I’d like to say that I’ll be closer to work but the big news is that RTCC decided to stop funding the drop-in time [and library outreach] that I was doing so I’m not working in Randolph anymore except for the occasional lifeguarding and library fill-in stuff. More details on that over at I feel pretty bad about it. Not personally because I’ll be fine and I have enough work and I was feeling a little underappreciated and underpaid there. No, I feel bad about it because I felt like I was doing great things and making a difference and I’m annoyed that for whatever reason — and I know, money issues are real, especially in this neck of the woods — the program wasn’t sutainable. Drat. I have more than enough work and other activities to keep me interested and involved, but I’ll be looking for more things to plug me in to the community. Chances are high I’ll pick up more regular librarian work but nothing is certain yet.

So, those are the plates that I’m spinning in the air at this juncture. Mostly good.

chain wallet saves the day

there is a story here

I’ve had a chain wallet since I lived in Seattle and used to wear it with the chain and everything. It was a good way not to lose my wallet, and my keys. I’ve since taken the chain off, but it’s a decent wallet and despite getting three (3) wallets for holidaytime this year (a message?) I still use the same old wallet.

Sometimes I lose it. I left it in a bathroom when I was in Salem NH last year and went through a little freakout until it was returned to me. I do all the stuff, photocopy everything in there etc, but it’s still a horror show replacing a wallet full of stuff. So, this time I was certain I’d really fucked up. I was on the Mass Turnpike, gassing up at a rest stop and I put my wallet on top of the car (yes, you know where this is going) while I put the gas cap back on. I’d had a long weekend. I hadn’t gotten quite enough sleep. It was 90 derees at 7 pm and I was driving in a car without air conditioning. I was, you could say, not at my best. That said, even when I’m at my best I’m absentminded and spacey. I drove off with my wallet still on the top of the car. Zoom.

To my credit, I figured this out almost instantly and by the time I checked the top of the car, all there was was a little smudge of pollen oulining my wallet’s trajectory off the top of my car and into the void. I had a few bucks in change in the car. I was checking into a hotel that evening. I was on a Turnpike. Fortunately, I had a cell phone that worked. I called my sister and did my favorite “I am calling someone with Internet access” reference trick. She found the phone number for the gas station at the rest stop and talked to the nice guy who worked there, told me to call him. I tried to figure out how to get off the Pike, back on, then back heading the other way — stupid one-side-of-road rest stops. I found change under the seats enough to pay my way off the Pike and back on. I was hoping against hope I wouldn’t have to be one of those people at the toll booth filling out a “I promise I’ll pay you but I’m a little short at the moment” forms that infuriate everyone behind them. All the toll booth operators wished me luck.

I called Chris at the Gulf station and explained my situation. He went out to look for my wallet at the pumps, no dice. I explained my exact wallet-on-top-of-car scenario. He was no stranger to it. He said what usually happenes is that the wallet stays on the top of the car until the car gets going fast and/or merges on to the highway. At this point the wallet hits the road and explodes, spewing its contents everywhere. You have to drive down the breakdown lane at 5 mph, picking up your life. “It’s usually an all-day project” he said. The sun was setting.

I managed to get turned around, only going about 20 miles out of my way. Stopped at the rest stop and began the perpish walk down the narrowing sidewalk that goes next to the on-ramp to the highway. Every step I took was one more step I didn’t see my wallet and I tried to think what the heck I’d do. Go back to MA and borrow money from my sister? Throw myself on the mercy of the Farmington Hilton? Borrow gas money from the librarians I’d be speaking to? Hock the pasta maker I’ve been carrying around in my trunk for the past month? As the sidewalk tapered to nothing, I was wondering if my usually great luck was also. At the same time, I noticed a truck that was in the breakdown lane of the highway, over the median. There was a truck driver sitting in the cab, waving at me.

Now, normally this is not cause for celebration, and I was just about ready to tell him that I was not looking for company, thank you, when I noticed he was actually waving my wallet. Seems that he had run out of gas, in that exact spot, and in walking back to the gas station, saw my wallet on the on-ramp and grabbed it. He had already called my house and left a message saying he was going to UPS it to me. The two metal snaps had held it closed. “It’s all there.” he said (meaning my money in addition to my bus tickets, my Charlie pass, my receipts, my health card, my nonsense, my life). I had been hot and sweaty and panicked for the past 45 minutes and just about fell over. Instead, I clambered up to the passenger side of his truck and reached in to get my wallet. I introduced myself, told him he’d just made my day, my week, my month, and said thank you over and over again. He declined to give me his name, said have a nice day, and then had to go answer his phone that was ringing.

It was, in fact, all there. Some of my cards were a little wrinkled [see driver’s license above, my AAA car was bent clean in half, in two pieces] and I got to the hotel about an hour late. Today I drive to New Britain CT to give a little talk about libraries and computers. I’m trying to think of a way I can work this story in.