28 October 2005

Not dead. Yet.

I think I may have coughed up an important internal part yesterday in the front yard, any volunteers to come look for it? I'm not sure what part it was, but I think you'll recognize it if you find it. K promises me I'm not dead and in h-e-double hockey sticks because there wouldn't be flannel sheets and cuddling there, even if there is likely to be gut-wrenching coughing.

Everyone stares at me if I cough when I leave the house. Evidently, they all think I'm contagious. I actually had one woman this week get right on my case from the minute she walked into work. "Whatever you have isn't dangerous for pregnant ladies, is it?" How the heck am I supposed to know? I don't even know what it is, except that it must not be too contagious since I've had it for weeks and nobody else I know has it. "Well, you make sure to stay away from M because I don't want you to get her sick, we need her around here." Gee, thanks for the compassion and the ability to make me feel valued all at the same time! A+ for you!

Yesterday evening was another adventure in being a spectacle. K and I have to replace the door between the house and the mudroom, and two weeks after the promised delivery date, it finally arrived at Home Dump, so we picked it up. Despite being barely able to sit upright, I had to go because K was not willing to take any chances with picking out stain or door knobs without my okay. We took the pickup and knew the dimensions of the door, so it didn't seem like this was going to be a challenge. But, they had it packed in a large wooden structure and it wasn't clear that the glass would make it home all in one piece if we took it out. Since it was on a pallet jack, we assumed they would probably just send one of the forklift guys out to hoist it into the truck for us. Nope. They sent us the "lot attendant" (read: man who collects carts from the parking lot) who was approximately 9000 years old and didn't sound any more likely to make it across the parking lot than I was.

The three of us wrestled the door and wooden frame into the truck. Standing straight up. So, the 8' door is sitting in the bed of the pickup, for a total profile of maybe 11 or 12'. We had to go on another errand before we went home, and the man at that store immediately laughed when we walked in, and said "I followed that door on X street, were you guys just over there?", and of course, we were. When we went through intersections, the drivers of the waiting cars turned their heads and followed us all the way across. At least one pedestrian appeared frightened for his life as we went around the corner he was standing on.

I expect we'll hear about other people who saw us and how entirely insane they think we are. We hear that about one thing or another that we've done at least twice a year since we've been here. The joys of small town living.

25 October 2005

Not Amused

A view of my afternoon, and there is supposed to be another 24 hours of rain changing to snow changing to rain and back again. Forecasted accumulation: 3-6". K may be in it up to his knees before he leaves work tomorrow morning. None of our vehicles have snow tires on yet. The new car doesn't even have a windshield scraper. Who could ask for anything more!


Last night was my return to yoga class after being sick for so long. The class I attend has been called "American" yoga in a negative way from someone who has practiced other places. I find it to be exactly what I need, maybe because I'm a stereotypical American, or maybe just because I enjoy a more cardiovascular workout.

The instructor encourages flow (the smooth connection of one movement to the next) and we hold each pose long enough for her to make suggestions and corrections, but not so long that you're exhausted from a single pose. By the end of class, I'm generally dripping with sweat (and this is not hot yoga), every muscle both tired and stretched, but I feel energized and just plain better than when I started.

I felt reasonably well all day and I was very disappointed to miss class last week, so I thought I would give it a try. My muscles were both weak and tight, but at least responding to my direction. Until the coughing started again. It started during a standing pose, which was tolerable because I could cough and balance at the same time. The difficult one was trying to cough and breathe during standing split. I'm sure you can google it and find a better description, but for what it's worth standing split involves balancing on one straight leg while pointing your other straight leg towards the ceiling with hands on the calf and chest on the thigh of the down leg. So, more or less, upside-down and balancing on one leg.

Not a good time to cough in close quarters where teetering over generally involves knocking over one or more of your classmates. Thankfully, most of the people near me are used to my clumsiness at this point and are getting pretty good at dodging out of the way and last night they had the advance notice of the hacking and coughing so I didn't injure any innocent bystanders.

24 October 2005


Why is this a bad time to try and move out of the NE? Because all the leaves on the trees are falling (actually most are already gone since they started in August), and we had our first snow Saturday night. My driveway involves a VERY LARGE hill with several curves. It is not especially long for this area, but it is far from your standard suburban driveway. There are many evenings when the little car doesn't make it up the hill in the snow (even though the driveway has been plowed and we have sand barrels all the way up), and the key to last year's partial success was chains. I have to use snow chains to get up my own driveway.

When K and I closed on this house in late March a few years ago, we drove 14 hours as a two vehicle caravan and arrived here to snow. It was just a little snow, and the majority of the winter pack had melted off the driveway since it had recently been plowed. Our second day, it warmed up and the snow in town disappeared. The third day, our moving day, was cold and windy. We showed up at the lawyer's office to sign all the paperwork, and while we sat there signing 4000+ pieces of paper, it began to snow again. I've never been so devastated to see those flakes. By the time we finished up and drove to the house, there was probably 1 1/2" on the driveway. K, having learned to drive in a snow-prone environment, felt that this should not be a problem. So he tries to get the large rental truck up the driveway. No go. He tries to back the truck up the driveway. No go.

After much cursing and yelling and sociable differences of opinion, we decide that the available solution is to put the pickup in 4WD and get at least some things up to the house since we have nowhere else to stay. We use a state pull-off to park the gigantic truck towing our car (probably not legal since the plows are running), and head back in the pickup to unload some things. Success! Then we try to leave, and the pickup gets stuck. In the snow. Just off the driveway. We have no shovel, no sand, no means of moving the pickup. And the car is full of junk, still hooked to the big truck, a little over a mile up the road.

The story goes on, but I'll leave it at us unloading the big truck just barely in our driveway, one pickup load at a time and ferrying everything (including appliances) up the hill and then into the house. This was not a pleasant experience and one I've sworn to myself I wouldn't repeat. But. It is starting to snow. And we're still here. I do not want to be here until May next year.

21 October 2005

That warm feeling in your shoes

Gas prices are ridiculous. I believe that statement is obvious to anyone who has experienced the recent doubling in the price of gasoline recently. But along with gas, these inflated prices affect important things - like heat. I almost performed a spit-take on the computer today after reading a statement from a self-centered NYC resident about how the "extra $29 a month" (calculated somehow from an average of $350 extra this winter) for heating this winter was nothing to be wasting precious news coverage on.

Sorry, but if you live anywhere that your thermometer is not required to have a -30 F line, then you should shut the hell up about heating prices. I am reasonably well-off financially for the area I live in and I certainly don't complain about the cost of heating my house in the winter since I have insulation, double-pane windows, and electronic thermostat that keeps everything just the way I like it (including hypothermia-inducing cold when I'm at work). Still, the three years I've lived here, I've never failed to gasp when opening the monthly winter propane bill.

Some of my neighbors on the other hand, have been installing wood furnaces and cutting every remotely flammable item off their property to prepare for winter heating costs they won't be able to afford. These are the kind of houses that are insulated with newspaper, or not at all. The windows are "historic", which means that you can feel the draft from several feet away. These people do not have a "daily latte" to give up; they don't have cable TV; they already make their own lunches. They will not get government assistance with their heating. They may (if their pride allows them) rely on the generosity of others who contribute to a shared heating fund at the electric or gas company. Or they may just go without when they get too far behind on their bills and pile on as many clothes and blankets as they can.

In other words, make sure you stay in your crazy world where $350 over the winter isn't almost $100 extra a month, and be aware that the warm feeling in your shoes might just be where you stepped in a pile of the crap you're spewing.

19 October 2005


Any time I have an extended stretch of time at home, I start to wonder what it would be like to be a non-working wife. I don't have any kids, so there's no reason for me to stay at home while my husband brings home the bacon. But what would it have been like if I grew up in a time where that is what I would've been expected to do from the day we got married? How would I have learned to fill all the hours? Would I have known all the neighbors? Would I have been willing to ever move to a new place and start again with an empty house and no one to talk to?

As it is, work brings a comfortable sense of belonging and of place. Even if we don't know anybody, K and I can each go to work, meet people, ask around about local services, and most importantly, "belong". I've hypothetically wondered what I would do if we ever had kids. Could I leave them every day to go to work if I didn't financially have to? Could I stand the isolation of being home in a rural location where there are very few other adults during the day? But with the potential move staring me in the face, I have to say that I think staying home (with or without kids) would put a major damper on my willingness to relocate. Once you've fully immersed yourself in a community and in the day-to-day lives of the people around you, I can see where it might be hard to leave.

Okay, maybe I'm just delusional from coughing. Most of four days laying around the house coughing, sleeping, and trying to do some work from home so I'm not hopelessly behind when I go back has probably overloaded my ability to think rationally or express coherent thoughts. But these are the kinds of moments that give me that wide-open feeling, to notice that I have actually made a choice when it comes to how I run my life, and that I could change my mind.

18 October 2005

The sun will come up sooner or later

Gather job history, references, other assorted paperwork. Check.
Complete application. Check.
Send application to prospective employer. Check. Gulp!

The first application is out the door. A baby step on the way to something different, but a huge emotional commitment to moving on. A few indecisive days, and some nights of troubled sleep and I'm on my way.

I've also discovered that it is sort of a weird position to be the weak link. My husband is more qualified, more experienced, and more highly trained than I am in this new field. Thus, if we are going to get job offers in the same location, it is likely that they will want him and give me a job just to make sure he comes. He's never been in quite the same position because usually we just move where I can get a job and I support us until he finds something he wants to do. But now, I feel like I'm going to have to prove myself qualified to anyone who knows (or assumes) how I got my job. I know that connections are always the secret to getting where you want to go, so I'm certainly not concerned about that, but it is always good to feel you've earned something by your own qualifications. Oh well, maybe they'll at least interview me and pretend they care.

13 October 2005

Begin here

I feel as though I have a lot to say lately and I'm heading into a "transitional" period in my life, so maybe some random passer-by or close confidante will have helpful or insightful advice or commentary to give me. In return, I will attempt to entertain you with episodes from my past and present to keep you reading and helping me.

What transition am I referring to? Well, I've described it to people as my very first mid-life crisis, and I reserve the rights to have additional crises as I see the need. Although I hope I'm not really at mid-life yet, I have achieved a point where my life is stable and utterly unfulfilled, and I waver back and forth between wanting to "DO SOMETHING" with my life, and just wanting to chuck it all, run away, live under a bridge, or do something else equally irresponsible. If you actually know me, you know that I'm generally perfectly predictable and I've traveled through life as though AAA gave me a strip of road map to some destination. Lately though, it is more like someone gave me an entire atlas - full of exciting destinations and uncountable routes to arrive there! But, where do I want to go? What if I don't like it there? Can I really leave this narrow map and face the possibility that I will never actually arrive anywhere? Or that I might have to give up and come back?