In Which It's One Thing After Another

24 September 2003


I woke up this morning and banged my shin on a box on my way out of the bedroom. It was an auspicious beginning. My mail reported a segmentation fault when I tried to poke at it. Status uncertain, reason uncertain. Hmmmmmmm.

I packed some more stuff. That's going to get to be the story of my life for the next couple of weeks, so I hope you all get used to it. I'll try to write about other things, or at least not to go on at length about what I packed. We got out the tarp and put a bunch of stuff out on the deck, so we have more room to stack things inside here now. It was hot yesterday. It's supposed to be about that hot today, so I'm going to give in and turn the AC on again. I think it'll be the seventh time this year. The AC is no good on cooling down the place. It's just all right at keeping it from heating up in the first place.

Next time it gets hot like this, I will live somewhere with central air. I comfort myself with this thought. It's supposed to cool down at the end of this week, but who knows what it'll do for the end of next week.

Timprov put "Diet Dr. Pepper" on the grocery list instead of "Diet 7Up." Because by the time he would be finishing a twelve-pack, we'll have a C.J., who drinks Diet Dr. Pepper. Hee. Ten days. And then I'll have another poor minion to pack and haul things. Muwahaha. I'm good to my minions, though. I even consult them about what kind of cookies I should bake.

We got lots of hugs yesterday morning, and also happy tomato stuff for on the bread. I think I have to start trying to figure that stuff out. Mark said he thought we could serve it for a dinner party. Heh. I think we could keep it in a jar in the fridge and eat it with a spoon. It'd have to be a dinner party with people we already like a lot. But we have to figure out the recipe still, so maybe not all that much liking is required.

Mark is awake now, and he's muttering ominous things like, "Uh-oh" and "hard drive errors." But he's trying to fix things.

I got an e-rejection this morning, but the market I wanted to send the story to next takes e-subs, so I can do that today (assuming things are not too badly damaged to get back up and running). It occurs to me that things like the directions to Karalee's house and the numbers to call to arrange for services to the new house are all on my e-mail. Mark says his computer needs a new hard drive, so we'll get a few things off his machine, and we'll have internet but not our usual mail, and I'll pick him up and buy a new hard drive at Fry's when I'm done at the museum with Karalee this afternoon.

People say that it's always something when you're buying a house. I thought it might always be something house-related. Evidently not. Ah well. Nobody is dying because of this. It's an expense and an inconvenience, and that's all. And I was planning to be gone for most of the day anyway, so I couldn't have handled any mortgage stuff that would have come on e-mail anyway. And there shouldn't be anything urgent that way. It could be worse. I managed to get Karalee's address out of my folder, so I can get where I'm going, and after that we'll get a new hard drive, and then Mark will install it and all will, more or less, be well. For the time being.

Until there's another fire to put out, of course.

More blues have been eliminated for office colors. We're down to Jazz, Regatta Bay, Mineral Blue, Sapphire Lace, Artesian Water, Electric Blue, Cobalt Stone, Planetarium, Newport Blue, Cobalt Glaze, an entirely different Cobalt Glaze that isn't even close to the first one, and Cerulean. And I think I just left out the second Cobalt Glaze. That's only eleven. No problem. We can choose among eleven.

My grandpa sounds like he's turned a corner and may be going home today. I hope so. Nobody is particularly comfortable after abdominal surgery, but I think he'll be much more comfortable in his armchair than in some hospital. So for those of you who have been concerned, we're getting there. We're still awaiting news on Mark's grandma.

We're doing a lot of waiting around here lately. Luckily, it seems to be coming with all kinds of tasks to keep us busy. What a relief. Because, you know, not being busy enough is often a problem of mine.


So I got in the shower pretty quickly yesterday morning, so that I could take Mark to work, because he'd spent enough time on computer problems to miss his bus, and I needed the car to go with Karalee. The dress I'd been intending to wear has a seam torn or shredding at the side, so I put it on my pile to take to Mom and her serger. Just another thing.

When I got to Mark's office, it was too early to head up to Karalee's but too late to go into Palo Alto and have time for a nice coffee. So I sat with Forbidden Journeys in the car in the parking lot; it wasn't hot yet then. Then I took 280 up. My advice to you about the Peninsula: if you have a choice between 101 and 280, and both get you where you're going, always take 280. Always, always, always. The traffic will generally be better, but even if it isn't, it's the difference between driving somewhere that looks like a decent place to be and driving through a tacky urban wasteland.

Karalee's neighborhood is nice. I didn't even know it existed. Their house looks like it's going to be a lot of fun for them, all the right views in all the right places, and space for books. The area has older, interesting houses with marble staircases along one row of them, and the neighborhood Catholic church is of St. Brendan the Navigator. That delighted me probably more than it should have, but -- Brendan the Navigator! I mean. Usually the best you can hope for is Our Lady of Something Interesting. (Hmm, now there's one. I would look into OLSI.) I think it was good for me to spend an afternoon with Karalee before leaving, because she really loves being in San Francisco. The same sorts of things delight her about it as delight me about home, and she was eager to share that. And I could enjoy it -- and still think, of course, that it would be good to be in my own version.

We swept past the line of people who were buying tickets at the door, using the member line, which was nonexistent. There were people down the block, though, on a Monday late morning/early afternoon, for the Chagall exhibit. Some of them were on a tour group and name badges saying where they were from, places in Georgia and all over.

Karalee was a good museum buddy. The qualifications for being a good museum buddy are as follows: you have to have a flexible pace. I don't care if you look at every piece with me or if you hare off ahead or lag behind, as long as you don't try to drag me with you on the one hand or act annoyed and rushed on the other. I'm perfectly capable of waiting with my journal at the end of the installation if you're still looking. Karalee's flexibility came from familiarity borne of membership in the museum, so she could look with me at my own pace. Also, a museum buddy has to have a sense of humor about art and a willingness to form opinions. So if art is funny or bad, laughing at it is a bonus in a museum buddy. And "here's what I like," or, "Oh, I thought that was truly mediocre" are definite pluses. So it all worked out: some of the Chagall pieces are quite funny, and there were some others that were bad enough that we had to laugh.

(I'm listening to Gladys Knight for what'll probably be the last time before we leave. I can't take all the CDs in the car, and I'm not likely to want to listen to her in the car. Especially since I can get to my folks' and have my dad do the Pips' "Woo-woo" on "Midnight Train to Georgia," and he's much cuter with it than the Pips.)

After we determined that neither of us had any great desire to see the installation of Asian prostitute pictures on the photography floor, we decided to get juice and cookies in the basement of Macy's. I'd never been, but it was a bit like the basement of Dayton's. (So now I'm hungry for some of the tomato pasta salad from the basement of Dayton's. Marshall Field's. We'll get there.) The juice was zippy, with strawberries, peaches, lemonade, and lime sherbet, and the cookie was yummy, and generally a good time was had by all. We loaded the car full of Karalee's boxes from her recent move -- got rid of all her boxes for her, and I'm not sure we could have fit any more of them in and still gotten me, Mark, the new hard drive, and the handful of needed groceries in there. So we'll be hauling boxes up from the car a bit at a time for awhile now, and there'll be plenty to keep us packing. (And finding space for the boxes. That'll be the trick.)

The hard drive installation didn't go as smoothly as it might have, and I don't know what Mark has yet to finish or when he went to bed or anything of that sort. His computer is our hub and tends to get our mail for us and all that, so getting it fixed is more than just convenience for Mark. Also, we got home to find that Timprov's computer was behaving oddly (in a totally unrelated way, as far as we could tell), so that was just one more thing.

Oh, and we couldn't call ahead and tell Timprov we were on our way home and discuss dinner and its beginnings with him, because the cell phone had gotten bumped on in my purse (its faceplate has been missing for awhile now), and being on from whenever it was bumped to 5:30ish was enough that it had zero battery left. Which was probably a good wake-up call: we need a new phone before we leave on this trip. This one is battered and decrepit, and we need to be able to leave it on and use it for at least twelve or thirteen hours at a time on the trip home. So it's one more thing on the list, but at least we figured out it would be an issue before, say, Truckee.

Last night, I worked on Reprogramming edits and "The Beast's Apprentice," neither of which was the most urgent on my to do list, even as far as stories go. But I'm having a crisis of faith on "Even Without Deceit." Or maybe not something that dramatic. Maybe just a skeptical squint. And all the Victorian fantasies and fairy tales are making me want to work on "The Beast's Apprentice," so I may just give in and finish that soon. Depending on what other projects and tasks demand my attention.

I hope this all gets arranged so that I can post this entry, answer the e-mail that had already arrived yesterday (I'm getting new messages but can't access my old ones yet), and generally get on with things. I don't know for sure what Mark will be able to get done this morning. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Either way, I won't lack for work....


Brilliant ideas that did not occur to us: if boxes have lived with two cats for two months, they may have picked up a bit of cat dander. Possibly. Oops. I woke up at 6:30 to find Timprov still awake and a dryer-load of his laundry still going, which surprised me a little, since he'd said he went to bed at half past midnight the night before. But his sleep schedule is often out of whack. I went in to say good morning and found out what was in the dryer: his sheets. He had put book boxes #19-27 on his bed to get them together and discovered this problem, so he had to wash the sheets, and we'll need to juggle the boxes out on the deck so that we can put the dandery ones there. All three of us are allergic and just didn't think. I'm still grateful to Karalee for providing the boxes. We'll just need to deal with them a little differently than the other boxes. And it explains the slight snozzliness I had in the car and dealing with a couple of them. They'll vacuum out the car when we take it in to be tuned up, or I'll do it myself; it'll all be fine. But Timprov's sheets definitely needed washing before he could sleep on them. I can feel the cat dander myself. It will be a box-hauling day.

I finished typing what I have so far on Reprogramming edits. I decided to pack the rest of the manuscript and leave the really major changes for when we get home. Typing edits is not a particularly happy activity for my back, and my back is getting enough in the way of not-particularly-happy activities as it is. Yoga is not really staying ahead of it, either. So: time for new material that hasn't been written out longhand.

Still no rejections in the mail. Maybe everything will work out conveniently, and all the rejections will arrive for me to send them out to the new place before I go. (Or maybe they'll get here while Mark is still getting the mail here, after I've already left. Or on the first days when things get redirected. Toujour optimiste.)

And the Twins clinched their playoff spot. It would be a nice welcome home if they kept playing good baseball. I'm just sayin'.

I finished Forbidden Journeys and reread A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and now I've started Greg Bear's Blood Music: it was on my reading pile, and I got it in a $1 hardbound copy at Half Price Books. I'd rather put a paperback in my backpack to have along with us on our trip, so there you have it. Greg Bear's picture on the back looks like a blend of a couple physics profs I have known. This amuses me.

Mark hopes that things will be set up and ready before he goes to work this morning; he needed some sleep, which seemed like a reasonable idea to me after two nights of wrestling recalcitrant hardware. Poor guy. This was just not the timing we could have asked for. Not that we'd be asking for computer problems anyway....

The Merc quotes Hillary Clinton as being shocked that the Chinese edition of her book was censored, "amazed and outraged." I wouldn't have said that in public, were I her, because being amazed that they censor American politicans' books in China is an indicator that someone has just not been paying attention.

In other delightful Merc stories, apparently the Vatican has decided it doesn't want anybody to keep being Catholic. The story was about new rules to only use altar girls in drastic circumstances and to crack down on laity preaching sermons and homilies. The new rules would also ban dancing and clapping. (Because, you know, it isn't in the Bible that King David danced before God or anything like that. I never got that about the anti-dancing sects. Of course, there are lots of reasonable things in the Bible that some people choose to ignore, and lots of unreasonable things they choose to follow on slight pretexts, like the Episcopalians who are arguing over whether dogs are okay.) The article notes that "Lay preaching in Catholic churches has grown common in parishes where priests and deacons are scarce, especially in northern Europe." Oh. Okay. So you have a clergy shortage, and your response is to make sure that young people who might be interested in becoming clergy have a greater chance of not hearing your beliefs espoused. Uh, brilliant. I can hear Father Greeley ranting from here....

I don't have a dog in this fight, a horse in this race, whatever. I'm not Catholic. I couldn't really care less whether the Vatican sets about alienating half the Catholics in this country and bunches of them elsewhere, on a personal level; I think this ruling on altar girls, if it went through, would hurt some devout and faithful Catholics I care about, and that would be a shame. But mostly I just boggle that the Vatican doesn't seem to learn from past mistakes. You can't go around telling people something is okay and then, in absence of any new evidence or reasoning, decide that it isn't. They tried it with birth control -- there was no initial statement against the Pill, so a lot of European and American Catholic priests figured it must be all right, and they told their parishioners it was fine to go on it. Then out comes the ruling a few years later: nope! Oops! Can't do it. And the result is how many Catholics on birth control? Lots and lots. And now this. I just don't understand how the proponents of these new rules imagine them working in actual practice. It seems like poor strategy, or perhaps poor tactics.

Ah well. There's a lot of that going around. Me, I just made fresh lemonade, and the kitchen has that citrus-peel smell, and I like it a lot.

A week from tomorrow we get C.J. from the airport. Also we get Hungarian food, I hope. It makes it quite clear what Mark will be eating immediately upon our departure, at least: Hungarian food. Lots and lots of Hungarian food.

I don't know when I'll be all connected up and journaling when we get home. I'm sure I'll have plenty of stories from the trip home...although I'm not sure I'll have the inclination to sit down and retell them all in a journal entry. We'll just have to find out what's going on and what I feel like writing about. I don't like posting back entries -- if an entry says a date on it, I want it to have been available on that date. But these long entries may be annoying for some people, too. Thoughts?

Woohoo! We have internet to more than one computer, we have access to my old mailboxes, and we'll have ftp tonight. So: posting journal entries soon. In the meantime, much I can do that I couldn't to before. Yay.

My printer is out of magenta ink again. I don't know why. I never print anything in magenta. I think it just runs on magenta ink. And it has the charming feature of popping up a persistent little warning that I am running dangerously low on magenta ink! Oh horrors! When I've already minimized the warning window, I really think it should go away. I'm printing in black, and I don't have time to go buy magenta ink in the next couple of weeks. Maybe two weeks from now, when we've moved into the house.

Whoa. Two weeks.

So we have a phone number now. We also have electric, gas, water and sewer, trash/recycling/yard waste, cable, and internet. The gas company was a little freaky -- needed the names of all residents of the house who would be over 18 as of moving in, and also wanted an emergency contact. It did make some sense to me -- the other utilities don't have explosions, really -- but still, at least a little bit freaky.

Here's the thing about cereal: Timprov generally has the same cereal attitude that my father and I have. We pour ourselves the size bowl of cereal we want to eat. Then, should the box still contain cereal, we put it back on the shelf. We do not eat more cereal than we wanted just because it's still in the box. Nor do we waste the cereal that isn't enough to fill a bowl. Even if it's less than a quarter cup of cereal. Usually this is not an issue, because one buys another box of cereal, shockingly enough, and continues to pour the desired amount of cereal into the desired bowl. However, right now, we won't be buying another box of cereal right away, and we won't be letting the nearly-empty one sit. So I'm amused to contemplate that I'll be having a hodgepodge breakfast one of these days, getting rid of all the fifth-cups of cereal. It's okay. I like cereal.

BART tickets would be like that, too, except that you can't ride a fraction of the way somewhere if you only have thirty cents on your card. But Mark will be taking BART, so if the change-giving machine is not functioning when I go tomorrow, I can give Mark whatever leftover ticket I have.

Tomorrow may be my last BART ride for months or years.

Right then. Mark has things set up! Yay!

Back to Novel Gazing.

And the main page.

Or the last entry.

Or the next one.

Or even send me email.