Saturday, August 28, 2010

I know I've been away from the news, but

what's this I hear about Glenn Beck "reclaiming the civil rights movement"?

The man is crazier than a shithouse rat.

Also, he lies quite a bit. Evidently Fox viewers like that kind of thing? Weird.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

For those playing along at home

Greetings from the Mountain Time zone. Just a quick post to say I am safe and well and so happy to be crossing this great land. With all the visiting and sight-seeing and resting my tired eyes I have just not left time for blogging.

I do have a persistent earworm to pass on this morning:

You're welcome.

Now to Mount Rushmore!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

On the road

I'm off. It is hard to leave my babies, even though they are 8 and 6 and will be just fine with their Daddy. We will all call each other a lot.

Work is in progress to form and pour the foundation walls today as well. It is both unsettling and, frankly, a relief to leave that behind. It's not as though I can competently supervise any of it anyhow.

OK then - to the driver's seat with me! Catch you in a few hundred miles.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leaving tomorrow

Packing's done... I think. I hope. There's room in the car if I've forgotten something, but it's a matter of time, now. I'm ready to get going, and don't want to spend the morning loading "one more thing" a dozen times.

Turns out everything I need to wear for four months takes up about three cubic feet. Remarkable. I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed. I'm a simple dresser and I didn't pack anything fancy. Talking about this trip over dinner with some friends earlier this summer, they asked if I'd started figuring out what to pack yet, and if I was anxious about it. Nah, I said. What do I have to pack? Clothes for fall, right? And how complicated can that be, when all I wear is jeans, turtlenecks and fleece vests?

The girls are a little upset. I haven't taken this long of a trip without them before. I do get away for the occasional long weekend -- Mr. Sandyshoes is very good about accommodating visits to friends on my own -- but not for ten days. This time, when the girls see me again it will be on the other side of the country, after a long flight to a completely unfamiliar place, at the home of people they've never met. It's all feeling pretty momentous to them. Plus, their backyard is wrecked and the driveway's all torn up, and the deck is pulled apart. It must seem like a lot of upheaval. It seems that way to me, and I'm not 6 or 8 years old.

I've told them they can call me as often as they'd like, and say "where are you now?" and Daddy will show them on a map. The Peanut thinks it will be hilarious to call me before I've even turned the corner and ask me where I am. She is planning this and giggling. The Bean isn't finding any of it funny yet, but that will come in due time.

I drove around a bit today, saying a mental farewell to my favorite parts of town -- library, beach, pretty town center. When I return, it will be wintertime, and I'll have missed a Town Meeting (I know, the horror! but I almost never miss one, and this will be a biggie) and two elections (got my absentee ballots though), and many school committee meetings. It is probably for the best that I miss those latter, as I'm starting to feel more frustrated than is useful with all the goings-on of late. I love this town, but I fear the school district is being taken over by Bears of Very Little Brain, and this in a critical budget year. It'll be refreshing to spend time in a place where I know none of the ins and outs of how it's being run, and I won't be there long enough for it to matter anyway. I can stay in the loop online, of course, but it might not hurt to disconnect a bit, either. We'll see if I can manage it.

Right now though, the important thing to manage is not to stay up all night wondering what I've forgotten to pack.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

T-2 days

Can't blog. Packing.

Also: foundation footers being poured today.

Also: have to go to Grandma & Grandad's to deliver houseplants and say farewell. Will try to avoid too much obvious glancing at my watch.

Also: a few pesky errands that couldn't have been done sooner.

I hate this part.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

T-5 days


Sorry. I am typing to the sound of concrete being jackhammered to tiny bits, and asphalt being broken up, and a deck being sawn apart. To build more house, we have to wreck some alcove, some driveway, some deck. Did I mention it's loud? It is freakin' LOUD.

Still, it is a different loud than the half-dozen 8 year-olds made during the Bean's slumber party last night. Good grief girls, why all the screaming? I just don't get it. One friend in particular is a screamer, and my Bean isn't far behind, and holy shit that sound cuts through my skull like a jackhammer cannot. I had them playing outside as much as possible. Mr. Sandyshoes laid out giant tarps across the dirtscape that is our once-lovely backyard (the new septic system went in yesterday and all is well with that) so that there is a bright blue path from the part of the deck that still exists to the girls' play structure. It

...what fresh screeching hell is this? Oh, concrete saw.

... anyway the big blue tarp making a path like that looks like some sort of water park feature. I kind of want to hose it down, dive off the deck and slide like a penguin out into the yard. Needless to say that would end in all kinds of sadness, but it's fun to consider.

The best part of the party, for me, was dinnertime. I made tacos. Kids are supposed to like tacos, but holy crow, kids are also picky eaters. How do they grow, these children that won't eat anything? Anyway, I heard a fair bit of "I don't like taco meat," but I had them try just a tiny scoop on their plates and lo and behold, it wasn't what they thought it would be, and they loved it, and both pleased and embarrassed me by saying so as much as they did. (My advice, which I know you didn't ask for: Don't cook with "flavor packets." They're revolting, filled with salt and MSG and who knows what the hell else, and really no less complicated than adding your own cumin and chili powder.)

Anyway the party went well -- playing outside, sand art on the deck, dinner, cake, presents. We were about to get set up for the movie at that point but the girls were being nuts and Mr. Sandyshoes, because he is awesome, hollered "WHO WANTS TO RUN AROUND THE CIRCLE?!" and dashed out of the house, and they all followed him around our little cul-de-sac a few times, and returned panting and quiet. Heh.

Then the movie (the chihuahua one, but at least I didn't have to watch it again -- pre-screening it was 91 minutes I can never get back), then bedtime. They were set up in the playroom. As the night wore on I made a couple of bad-guy appearances to tell them it was time to sleep, and as far as I can tell it was actually quiet from 11:30 until 7:30 this morning...

...just in time for the excavators to arrive. The noise didn't get really going until just before the parents were due to pick up their girls, so there was some unfortunate overlap. We hollered thank yous and good-byes over the pounding of the jackhammer. Since then I have had some time at my desk while the girls chill out to The Lion King. Any moment my old friend will arrive, frayed from a long drive in Cape Cod-bound summer traffic but hopefully happy to be here.

And yes, I'm still leaving in 5 days, but, you know, hakuna matata.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

T- 7 days

I hit the road for the West Coast in one (1) week. This time next Thursday I will be as far west in Pennsylvania as I can stand to drive in one day. Hopefully at this hour I'll be settled in a comfy hotel room, watching whatever's on cable and browsing the AAA Tour Book for where to stay in Indiana the next night.

However, a few things have to happen before then. 

We are having a new septic system installed tomorrow. A hulking yellow excavator sits silent in my torn-up back yard as I type. Early, early, early tomorrow, its cheerful operators will be here to get the job going. They will be cheerful because they started on it today, and it looks like they'll get a jump on the weekend.  Their cheer may be short-lived, because Mr. Sandyshoes plans to ask them if the system really needs to be oriented exactly the way they've staked it.  Cheer or no, I really, really hope the job goes well, because:

Tomorrow afternoon begins the Bean's slumber party for her 8th birthday (btw, the Bean turned 8).  Six other eight year-olds will be here for a crafty activity (why yes, I am doing sand art again... the Bean requested it), dinner (tacos, again by request), cake and presents, a movie (God help me, this might turn out to be Beverly Hills Chihuahua; I tried to sell her on that new documentary about hydrofracking, but no dice), and then they will all go to sleep, right?  RIGHT?   Anyway sometime between now and when these friends arrive, I have to bake and frost a cake, take the Peanut to get a present, clean the house enough to have everyone sleeping (humor me) on the floor, and tidy it enough to have room for all their stuff. They leave after breakfast on Saturday, which is good timing, because:

A different excavator will be here by then, ready to break ground for the foundation to an addition to our house.  Did I mention we have been planning an addition to our house?  And that we got the building permit earlier this summer?  And that having the building permit means we have to start work within six months?  Which means we have to start before we leave for MWCU?  Yes.  Yes, yes, yes.  Because that's just how we roll.  Haha!  In fact, I thought we didn't have quite enough on the calendar, so: 

A friend from high school whom I haven't seen in 25 years is coming to visit Saturday - Sunday.  It's going to be really great to see him.  Sometimes, visits just need to happen no matter what else is going on. 

So that's the weekend.  I can only look that far ahead at this point.  Beyond lies packing, and nobody wants to look there. 


No particular reason this song should've been plaguing me at zero-dark-thirty this morning -- I haven't heard it in who knows how long. Still, there it was. And thanks to the Great and Powerful Series of Tubes (RIP Ted Stevens), here it is for you, too! This is a weird little video. The blazer! The turtleneck! The standing basically still on top of a box! The turtleneck!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Holy crow, it's really happening

A few posts back I mentioned that our family is headed West this fall, to spend a semester at a Major West Coast University where Mr. Sandyshoes will be on sabbatical.  Actually, that was way back in March that I mentioned it, and here it is August and we are leaving soon.  Whoa.

In the interim, we found housing (important!) in MWCUville, made arrangements for our own house, figured out where the girls will be attending school for the first half of third and first grade, and bit by bit, got details decided on and buttoned up.

For weeks I've been aiming at using up everything in the pantry, and the shelves are looking pretty bare.  I'll have to really get creative to leave things as empty as possible.  Quinoa and chocolate sauce, anyone?  Canned pineapple and navy beans?  Come on over, I've got a decent Chardonnay to go with!

Now it is time to think about packing.  I hate packing, so I'm prolonging the list-making phase as long as I can.  It's weird, for this long of a trip.  On one hand we have to bring, well,  everything, so it should be a long list.  On the other, "everything" is really just clothes/coats/shoes, and some games, scooters for the kids because they take up less space than bikes, a few important files/documents... what am I forgetting?  Something obvious, no doubt.

We're bringing a car out.   For a while, we thought of taking all of August to drive out there all together, but the timing didn't work.  Mr. Sandyshoes is at sea on a research cruise (less lovely than it sounds, but still exciting) and won't be back in time for us to have made it the trip we wanted it to be.  So I will drive the car out myself, and rendezvous with Mr. Sandyshoes and the girls at a friends' place, and we'll do a little west coast sightseeing all together before we settle into the house we're renting.

When I tell people I'm about to drive across the country solo, I generally get one of two responses:  "Why?  Are you insane?" or "oh wow, I wish I could do that!"  The are-you-insane camp doesn't like driving and/or solitude, and is overly concerned for my safety.  I love both driving and solitude, and while not unconcerned for my safety, I'm not worried about it, either.  Common sense + car in good shape + phone + AAA + GPS = I will be fine.

Actually, I am late to the whole GPS-in-the-car thing, though I had a hand-held model way before it was common.  I didn't see the need, because I never had any trouble using good old-fashioned maps (except in Boston, where all direction-giving aids, including actual road signs, are, infuriatingly, useless).  I know people who got a GPS device, and suddenly can't navigate their own home towns without it.  How does that happen?  But it is nifty, and probably useful for locating hotels in unfamiliar places, and the little voice will give me something to talk back to.  I hear you can download a Darth Vader voice for it.  Heh.  Give me Patrick Stewart, though.  Or Alan Rickman.  Oooh, how about Ian McShane as Al Swearengen from Deadwood:  "Turn fucking left, or prepare for eternal fucking traffic lights, and the like."  That would be awesome, and I will be going through Deadwood...

I digress. 

Anyway, I'll be fine.  I've always been a very independent person.  But you know, you get married, you have children, maybe you quit your paid job... before you know it, that proud independence plays a faint second fiddle to the wife-and-mother part of life.  I miss it.  This road trip gives me a chance to taste that again, for a little while.  Also, I do plain love driving.  Which is good, because 3400 miles is a hell of a long way to drive.

In related news, I am delighted to report I have found a travel mug I don't hate.  There shall be tea on the road, without styrofoam cups!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Don't judge! Oh wait, do. Do judge.

Two judges are on my mind today:

1) Elena Kagan, whose confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court makes both history and good sense;

2) Vaughn Walker, who wrote this excellent sentence, among many others, throwing California's shameful Prop 8 out on its ass:
"A private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples is not a proper basis for legislation."
(
Also, watch this, though it's got naught to do with Judge Walker: