Saturday, June 30, 2007

Love this:

A traveler in the Himalayas came upon a great gathering of philosophers and holy men, represent all aspects of belief and including one aged guru reputed to have achieved Nirvana by subsisting entirely on a diet of asparagus.

The traveler was astonished when, in a sudden mountain shower, all of the participants in this conclave were drenched except the asparagus-eater.

“This is not incredible,” explained the guide. “Bliss is the awning of the sage of asparagus.”

Taken from the Mensa web page.


Get it on
Bang a Gong
Get it on

The walk through revealed that the seller had not, as he had promised to in the last round of contract negotiations, fixed two electrical junction boxes in the attic and re-tacked some falling insulation. He told our realtor that he was very sorry, and that he forgot. We really didn’t ask them to fix very many things, just the big things. He is supposedly fixing this Sunday and we have another walk through scheduled for Sunday afternoon to confirm.

One of the things that we asked them to fix was a large piece of siding on the roof that presumably came off in one of our recent storms. This was the only issue flagged by the city inspectors and while the work isn’t done yet, it’s already been paid for by the seller. We were able to show the receipt, so when the work is done we can call the city inspector, he’ll do a drive by inspection and then fax us the occupancy permit.

It’s 4:30 a.m. and I have already been to Uncle Bill’s and back. I had the corned beef hash breakfast platter and read the RFT. I was there early/late enough to catch the bar crowd and the din was cacophonous. It reminded me of college. I think there is a full moon – there was that extra buzz in the air. I was listening to T-Rex – Bang a Gong - and looking at the cloud covered moon on my drive to the restaurant, it felt very late-night cliché. I wasn’t expecting such a crowd at Bill’s, but then it is Saturday morning. Having already slept some, I had the feeling of sitting with people who were a day behind me, in a different and preceding phase of their lives. If I don’t go back to bed I am afraid they will pass me up. Yup, there they go – sleeping into rested tomorrows.

I am looking forward to closing on the house if for no other reason than a presumed end to these middle of the night wake ups. Under normal circumstances I average one of these insomnia stints every month or two. As it stands, I am at three for the week.

We got our closing summary (a laundry list of how much cash we need to bring to closing) last night and it is interesting to see who is making what off of this deal. A few years ago I read an interview with a woman who had the highest documented IQ in America at the time. When asked what she planned to do with her life she responded that Real Estate clearly was the career where one could make the most amount of money for the least amount of work – leaving one free to contemplate the things that Mensa magnates muse on. Our agent’s commission substantiates that claim.

Of course Tina did have to put up with us for a few months and show us a couple dozen houses, but that’s not a lot of work considering she’ll make close to 10% of what I earn in a year on this single deal. Walk or drive around, look at houses, make a few phone calls, sign the right forms, cash large checks, not bad. Not everyone can do it though, I think of our realtor in H who spent countless hours with us and ultimately made nothing for her efforts. Sorry Leslie, thems the breaks.

I know that we’ve made a good deal on our house, a great deal really, but I can’t deny my natural skepticism. It was that same skepticism that had me on my hands and knees, flashlight in hand in a crawl space this afternoon confirming that the repair hadn’t been done. I have to trust that there is some value in wariness, even if insomnia comes with it.

“Why,” I asked my attorney “is the final sale being transferred from the seller’s name to an LLC?”

“If they’ve owned the property less than a year, a transfer to an LLC could save them up to fifteen K in taxes. If they are trying to protect themselves from a lawsuit over some problem that they know about with the property, you are protected by the Fraudulent Transfers Act because the original contract is in the seller’s name”.

When I am out of my depth and still moving forward, as is clearly the case in the mine field of real estate deals, it’s nice to know that there are lots of people who are smarter than me who have my best interests at heart. Thank you friends and family for your good advice through this process.


Friday, June 29, 2007

What can I report to you? The packing continues. We are through the books and into the dishes and bar ware. We are making regular trips up to Anheuser Bush to raid their boxes. We have to use Jes’s mom’s pass and go through a security spindle into the bowels of the bottle capping plant. It’s kind of cool. Thus, all our boxes are the same size for ease of lifting etc.

Our landlady is trying to rent the place (if you want to live here, it is very cheap) and we have a couple coming by this morning – so I cleaned the kitchen last night to help the place show well (I mopped etc.). Time jump – they were here and have left. It looks like they are going to move in late July if we can be out – Kathy has offered to prorate our rent and give us her old gas dryer. That works. We’ll just need to be fully out before the Wisconsin trip.

Security/safety update: our new house has an integrated alarm system that will be active before we move. It has smoke, carbon monoxide, and fire detectors all directly linked to the fire department in addition to the usual police triggers. I’ve never had motion detectors before, how cool! It’s only twenty one dollars a month – cheap! My brother pays over a hundred dollars a month for the same service in California. Of course, I’ve been warned that those false alarms can get expensive. As far as theft goes, all the gadgets in the world don’t add up to my dog’s teeth. He keeps biting through Netflix disks as he tries to kill the mail lady. Luckily the mail slot at the new house feeds into the hall closet. I think that we are moving into a lower crime area from where we are now, but in this city property crime is something of a constant risk.

It looks like the FHA first time home buyer thing went through, so Missouri is picking up 4K of our closing as a grant (http://www.mhdc.com/homes/firstplaceloans/index.htm).

The concern was how much money I made at East Central teaching dual-enrollment classes in the spring. If you extrapolated that money out over the year it would have put our combined income above the ceiling for the grant. I had to write a letter and Jes had to field a phone call about me no longer working there. I also had to convince the HR person at East Central that I no longer worked there, despite still being listed as adjunct faculty. Reliable teachers don’t die (get terminated) they just fade away. Both Truman and Meramec still have me listed in their faculty directories. ITT does as well. The HR lady at ITT told me that they like to maintain the listings of potential employees to ease accreditation audits – I imagine that is true across the board. It just feels odd to prove reduced income as part of a home loan and to have to deny employment at places you no longer work.

On the other side, the hurdle was my student loan debt. I am still on a gradual course to complete my M.Ed. (Masters in Education) in 2008, so I needed my loans to be in academic deferment in order to have them not be considered as debt for the loan application. I got the email from Sallie Mae this morning confirming my deferment to August 2008; so, the ducks continue to line up. We are doing a rapid closing, so as we come into port I keep looking out for icebergs. We have our final pre-closing walk through of the house today at eleven and will actually get our first set of keys. The purpose is to confirm that they’ve fixed what they said they’d fix. When I drove by the other day they had “cleaned out the garage” by piling all the crap in the alley behind the house. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

You might think that when left to my own devices, with nothing in particular to wake up for, that I might develop a summer habit of sleeping in. Nope, my schedule has been set to “random”. I woke up at 3:30 (a.m.) after a very restful slumber and am now up for the foreseeable future. I’ll go get breakfast in a bit at some all night place, probably Uncle Bill’s. The up side is that if (when) I need a nap later I don’t exactly have to clear my schedule. You should consider teaching as a career, there are definite perks.

I suppose house worries are partly to blame for my early morning consciousness. Worry isn’t exactly the right word, as I am very excited to become a home owner. We close on this house in six days. No, worry is exactly the right word. To say that I have a lot going on right now would be to traffic in gross understatement. New job in the fall, new house next week, baby on the way, less than a year married: that’s a full plate. All of these things are shifting my identity somewhat. I am not overwhelmed by the changes, but I am definitely whelmed.

As a side note I had to take a break in writing this to research the etymology of “whelm”. You’ll be happy to know that it has come to us across the gulf of time from Middle English whelman (to overturn) and Old English hwelfan (which meant “to cover over”). The modern meaning has gained association with submergence in water in particular. If you’re a general word and you want to survive, my advice is that you should develop specific associations as fast as possible so that subtlety and specificity of meaning can carry you forward as the language evolves.

It’s interesting that we don’t say whelmed anymore, but we do say overwhelmed to convey the sense that we are drowning in stressors, that the stressors have crested the dam. All language is in a sense metaphorical, a comparison between world and idea without the use of like or as, but some words really go the extra metaphorical mile. I’ve known several poets who have a preference for the Old English terminology as the Latinate words have a precision that can be more clinical than poetic. I don’t agree with them, but I can appreciate the argument.

Anyway, I am very excited at the prospect of getting an office in which to putter. I don’t have an office at my new school and my classrooms will be shared, so having a home office is essential. We’ve been packing our books and are up to fifteen boxes. We have quite a few books to go and are thus contemplating hiring movers. Jes can’t lift more than thirty pounds as part of the standard pregnancy cautions; so as the prospect of moving all our crap falls to me, I am thinking that a little splurging on movers might be in order. When you have as much stuff as we do, beer and pizza for the friends doesn’t exactly cover it. One up side to our situation is that we are only moving five minutes away and essentially have the whole month of July to move. Maybe several beers and several pizzas will get the job done, even if I am just buying them for myself.


Monday, June 25, 2007

I know you wanted to go to Jes's show and you also wanted to come make paper weights on my birthday - so here are some random shots of the show that we took before it opened and shots of Tyler completing his paper weight (you can refresh for different pictures):


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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Our friend Linda was on NPR the other day (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=11225337). Kinda cool. You have to listen to the clip to hear her; she explains why she is voting for Hilary given her record on the war.

I guess I could have posted from K.C. – I was a little busy with the A.P. class. I had to read several books and write five short papers. I had a good time with Jason and Tiff. I brought left over BBQ from Erica’s party for dinner on Sunday. We snacked on that more on Monday and then we went to a Japanese Hibachi for their anniversary on Tuesday. I made a modified gumbo on Wednesday (file’ is hard to find on the Kansas border so I had to flub with savory and thyme), and Tiff made a great meatloaf meal on Thursday. It’s a little daunting to get a preview of how busy we will be with a young child. Their daughter Triton Emily is charming, but is also a handful.

I got back to St. Louis last night and then we spent today in Illinois at a BBQ for Jes’ stepmother’s brother. We keep moving closer to owning a house and having a child. We’ve started packing already. Our chickens have not yet hatched, and yet we count them anticipatorily.


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father’s Day

This is my first – is it? I am spending some of it cleaning up from a party we had last night for Erica. As she is Atlanta now, we don’t get to see much of her. Tyler and Brea (sp?) were also here with their twins – if I can remember how I did that MPEG last year maybe I’ll post a video of the twins eating hobo stew.

BJ came up from Springfield and brought his sister Brit and his brother-in-law Aaron. Aaron has written a book about his year in the Balkans as a stop-loss soldier that he wants me to edit – I’ve read the first half of it and I think it’s promising. As long as he can wait until next summer for the edit, I think I’m game. My original plan for part of this summer was to write a family memoir about our time in New Guinea. When we’re in Wisconsin later this summer I hope to crib the notes that will evolve into it. My father has been arranging his slides into a visual outline – we’re taking our scanner up with a special slide attachment to preserve them and allow for editorial flexibility. We certainly are into taking on a lot all at once.

My food posts seem popular – so here’s one:

I put the smoker through its paces yesterday. At our last BBQ I used it more as a grill. For the meal last night I did pork rib tip in a 50/50 mixture of Stubs and Open Pit BBQ sauce on the lower rack, and on the upper rack I did beef ribs with a simple rub – ½ Tbsp Salt, 1 Tbsp Sugar, ½ Tbsp Cumin, ½ Tbsp black Pepper, ½ Tbsp Chili Powder, 1 Tbsp Paprika. I bought a metal smoking tray – it’s like a small metal drawer with holes along the bottom that you might make in a shop class. I put three cups of water logged hickory chips in the tray, wrapped it in foil, poked a few holes in the foil with an ice pick, and threw it in with the coals to smoke. I got a good two and a half hours of smoke out of the hickory. At round four-thirty I swapped out the tray for my Dutch oven loaded with hobo stew.

It’s fun to be cooking at three levels in one grill. I am feeling my way through times and temps with the smoker, but a meat thermometer and a coal count helped – thirty bricks to start and five new every half-hour or so – the main thing is to keep the temp in the smoker below three-hundred degrees.

I would write more, but I need to pack as I am off to KC later today for a summer class I am taking this coming week. One of Jes’ cousins is coming up from Arkansas to stay here, so they can play while I am away. The class I am taking is through Truman’s education program and the tuition is being paid for me by a grant from the Eisenhower Foundation – thanks Ike! Your 1,300 is most welcome.

Jason and Tiff are putting me up – or putting up with me – however, that’s phrased. I guess I’ll take them the leftovers for the BBQ as pork rib tip isn’t exactly Jes’ thing. At any rate, I am off...


Friday, June 15, 2007

Yesterday was certainly a busy one. For complicated reasons we have only had Jes partially insured for the past few months – her insurance company refused to cover her, as they require twelve months of prepay before covering maternity (they what?!?). Yes, they expect you to pay more in premiums before you are even pregnant than you would pay for both a normal pregnancy and delivery. She has had emergency, but no maternity. We’ve been paying the maternity costs out of pocket – which have been expensive, but less expensive than the coverage would have been.

Anyway, my former employer, who is still my employer until August, switched insurance companies this week and had an open enrollment so we were able to get Jes onto my insurance with maternity coverage. Even if they hadn’t switched companies they were still having an open enrollment this month, the funny part is that they switched to Jes’s same company, but under the group plan they have to give her the coverage that they denied her on her individual policy – so there. We did a three hour roundtrip to H yesterday morning to fill out the enrollment paperwork – the superintendent pressed me to reconsider leaving and told me I would always have a place on his staff. Sad, I loved that job.

So my new job, which I will also love, will have to cover Jes when we switch to their insurance in August – which I’m sure they would have anyway - because there is a federal law mandating that when you switch policies in switching jobs, and you have had maternity coverage, they have to maintain the level of coverage that you had with your previous employer. Good to know.

After we got back from H we had a fair amount of paperwork to get to our loan officer to supplement the material we’d already given him, old W-2s back to 2004 and such. Having completed that task, and faxing everything off to him, we then set up Jes’s show at Third Degree, which opens tonight. She had me work as her assistant earlier this week on several of the pieces, she’s going to get me trained up as a glass blower so we can do production work after my school day is over. This is a very cool thing.

This morning we have the building inspection on the house followed by a sewer inspection – they will run a camera through the sewer to the street to check for tree root incursions or other problems – a new sewer line could be very expensive so we want to know what we are getting into. After that we are heading back to the studio to finalize the show – which you should come to tonight from 6-10 at Third Degree.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

As expected, our morning meeting required fifty two signatures. We were there for some time as this state funding we are applying for requires several years of financial records to prove need and no prior home ownership. It’s an odd thing to have to simultaneously paint a financial picture of both health and need. We are sliding between Scylla and Charybdis in that we need to qualify for the home loan (no problem) while not appearing to make more than a certain amount between the two of us (problem).

We had to call a few of our former part time gigs to make sure that they are no longer listing us as employees when people call. This is tricky because we both do contract work and are generally always potential employees for people that we have contracted for in the past – just because I have made X at the “puppy mill” is no reason to assume that I will make X in the future but state auditors tend to view pay stubs as reflective of both what you have and will make. Today we are both crafting letters of explanation to accompany our application for state funds, as well as rounding up stray documentation. Tomorrow we need to run back up to H to sign some stuff there as they are switching health plans. It has been and will be the summer of the signature.

After we had our meeting, we went to Kopperman’s for breakfast. It is lovely to sit out on the sidewalk in the West End while drinking fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. My huevos rancheros was perfect as usual. We went and worked on Jes show after breakfast. She had me assist her for the first time and I learned more about how to blow glass – mostly I just got the pipes ready, put things away, and was generally an extra pair of arms. At the end of the session we had room in the annealer so I made my second paper weight. I’ll post a picture when it cools.


Insomnia to the tune of an Eddie Rabbit song:

Oooooooooooooooohh I’m signing my life away, looking for a better way, for me…

Jes stayed up late worrying about money, so I am taking the morning shift. I’ve been up on and off since three. At four thirty I gave up and got up. I keep replaying our financial data in my head. We have a meeting with a bank first thing today to finalize our FHA MHDC home loan. Through this program Missouri is granting us three percent of the purchase price to cover closing costs; however, if we move in under nine years we have to pay them back a percentage of the grant. Still, that’s nearly four grand in “free” money. The loan also comes with the lowest rate anyone is offering right now. Wouldn’t you know it, we look for a year and it goes up the week we sign a contract. In the wider historical context, the rate is still quite low.

I do think we are going to love the house and home ownership. With the baby immanent, the first year is going to be tight: no cable, ditch the netflix, drive the motorbike to work, red meat on alternate weekends tight. Growing up it was always like that, my mom makes this pizza that you can’t eat more than one slice of – cheap, good and filling. My parents raised six kids on far less than I make now. I’m not so concerned about the debt, it’s the idea that the interest is front loaded so that we are paying the bank double what the property is worth over the life of the loan – that makes me a little crazy. But then I bought food on credit in college so I’ve eaten apples that I’ve ended up paying for twenty times over. I like that image – credit as forbidden (forbidding) fruit.

Then there is the nine years thing. I have reinvented myself on a regular three year schedule – though I was in the ville for nine years, so there is precedent. I was talking to my dad the other night and he was having a “face his mortality” moment. He’d had a colon cancer screening with an all clear result and the doctor told him that he didn’t have to have another test for five years. “In five years I’ll be eighty, so maybe I’ve had my last screening,” he said in the way that one jokes about their eventual exodus.

They are going to Venice in the fall to travel while they are still able, not that there is anything wrong with either of them – knock on wood. I wanted to see them more this summer than we will be able to. Houses, babies, and new jobs tend to monopolize things a bit. I told my dad that we’d probably live in this house for ten years and I could hear him wince over the phone – he was wondering whether he’d be around in ten years. His mother lived to be ninety-six, but his father died quite young.

I guess nothing will wake you up in the middle of the night quite like death and taxes. Oh, and Eddie Rabbit….


Monday, June 11, 2007

No good Aristotle lives without a platypus:

The distinctions that we make between food and pets are odd ones.

My last post was about cooking tilapia – and conversing with the food before I cooked it. Tonight I euthanized a pet fish who was suffering. I’ve killed plenty of fish for food, caught them with hooks, cut their heads off, gutted them, scaled them, breaded and fried them. I’ve pulled plenty of dead pet fish from my tanks after sickness or rivalry ended in death. I haven’t ever taken a fish that was a pet out of the water before it was totally dead. I think it was the right thing to do, but it was very sad for me – I hope that it was an end of suffering for the fish.

My father told me once how odd it was to have grown up on a farm where cats and dogs were regularly killed in tangles with tractors and pitchforks, and then to adjust to how his children were with their pets. He was always kind to his pets, but more than once he’s walked an old dog out to the woods. He was a farm boy who raised city kids. My mother’s father kept livestock inside the city limits until it was outlawed. She’s talked before about her brother strangling his pet rooster, which they then ate. I am caught in a syncretism – more than one actually.

My friend Kim’s dog caught a mouse this weekend. She saved it from the dog, couldn’t kill it herself, and didn’t want to let it go. She thought I might want it to feed to my snake. Live food is a risk for pet snakes, especially when you’ve caught the “food”, as it could have any number of diseases. I told her to take it to the park and let it go, that’s what I’ve done in the past.

Psychologists might call this haphazard identification with fish feelings a kind of intermittent “anthropomorphizing” – ing (active verb) morph (to change into) anthro (as in human). The false assumption here is that humans are something apart from the animal kingdom. Of course I can empathize with animals in that I too am an animal. Talking monkeys often make this mistake, failing to see that attributing human feelings to animals is attributing animal feelings to animals, and vice versa. Many notable intellectuals have oddly (and perhaps correctly) blamed the talking (and the writing) for this delusion.

I am forced to conclude most rationally that we are clearly all insane. It’s the syncretism; it’ll get you every time.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Does food ever talk to you?

Right now I am marinating these tilapia filets in orange and ginger. I’ve invited our landlady and her mother over later. I just went up to the filets and asked them how they would like to be served and they told me, “Serve us on a bed of white rice made in the steamer that you got for your wedding.”

I asked them, “Are you sure you’ll have enough flavor to carry the rice?” They said, “Yes, we’ll be very rich. You are slow cooking us on those red oak grill planks, with orange slices on top and the zest of the orange will sharpen on top of the rice – you’ll need the rice for the flavors to separate on the palate.” I’m sure they are right.

Food tells me when to put it on and when to take it off. It comes and gets me from very involving parties at just the right moment. I ask it if I have missed my calling and it tells me that life is long.


Friday, June 08, 2007

The house – as per rhetor81’s question – is about five minutes south of where we currently live. We live in the south Grand restaurant district right now, just off Tower Grove Park, near the Blackthorn pizza pub. The new house is also just west of Grand, near the south Grand Ted Drewes, slightly north of Carondelet Park. We will be walking distance to the Feasting Fox, Giuseppe’s Italian, and several other very good restaurants. The area is called Dutch Town and is on the Eastern edge of Bevo – where Mary lives. While historically German/Dutch – this has become the international heart of St. Louis. The international Center, also on South Grand, has been instrumental in settling refugees in this part of the city for decades.

In terms of international populations, Bosnians and Vietnamese are the two largest groups, but Chippewa – particularly toward the antique district – is increasingly Latino. The other day a woman in full African dress was walking up the alley behind our house with her laundry basket balanced perfectly on her head. This is a very cool community to be a part of.

The house itself was a foreclosure, but it has been rehabbed to within an inch of its life. It is now a three bedroom, three bath with around 2000 square feet of livable space.

Corner lot with overgrown garden and both brick and concrete patios
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Finished basement with walkout to the backyard – bathroom – laundry room – wet bar
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Top floor master suit with full bath – though I think this will be office/guest room so that we are on the same floor as the nursery

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Smallish kitchen – but totally new with all stainless appliances – gas stove, side by side fridge, dishwasher, built in microwave, nice tile – I don’t love the paint job – I do love the French doors into the dining room

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Fireplace is nonfunctional – but we could put in a non-vented gas fairly easily

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There are three other rooms on the main floor – two bedrooms and a sun porch. There is also a one car garage and the yard is fenced. There are lots of odd touches – one of which is remote controls for the lights with ceiling fans. We’re just going to lose them and then we’ll have to sit in the dark without any wind.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

They accepted our offer!!!!!!!!! We are buying a house!!!!!!


I went up to Uncle Bill’s Pancake house for breakfast and the paper. I read the paper. I decided when I first got up that today I was going to do something that I haven’t done yet since the summer started. I decided that today I am going to relax. It’s an odd day to relax. We put in an offer on a house two days ago, they countered yesterday, and we parried (counter-countered) this morning. I am oddly relaxed about the process. It’s not our dream home, but it will work. They might come down. We might go up. We are going to look at another, cheaper house on the same street later today. As we get ready to make this investment we are discussing all of our priorities for child raising, travel, lifestyle, etc. It’s relaxing to know that I have a very smart wife.

I went up to the Red Box video dispenser after I ate and got two cartoons – Avengers 2 and Iron Man. Nothing says summer relaxation to me like sitting in the AC and watching cartoons. Love it.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Whitaker Music Festival at MoBot starts tonight – Vanessa & I (& others?) are going to go see Jeremy Davenport (for free). You’re welcome to join us. I didn’t go once last summer because I was teaching Wednesday nights. Jes is working at Third Degree tonight, but she’ll join us for future concerts I imagine.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Tralfamidorian Summer:

Imaginary interlocutor (to me): So, how’s your summer going so far?

Public Persona (to fictive interlocutor): Well, I’ve put fifty plus hours of time into playing video games in the past week, so that’s like working overtime. I took the day off from that and spent most of today cleaning and organizing. I watched Oprah… I’ll probably spend the rest of the week wrestling eight boxes of un-filed paper work down to three or four. I might watch Oprah again. I will not watch The View. Jes is still working, so I’ve taken her lunch a few times. I hope I am decompressing, but I’m not sure yet. It doesn’t really feel like it. I think it would help to actually get away.

As an additional stressor, I’ve been taking lots of house tours in the afternoons and evenings. Roughly every other day I go and look at four or five – sometimes with Jes and sometimes not. It’s a little exhausting to perpetually rearrange your finances and furniture on hypothetical floor plans. As we get more and more tired of beat up property, our range of price interest is slowly creeping up. We have crested the hill of rehab that I can do and are sliding down the slippery slope of work that I want to do – less drywall, more landscaping. Part of that is having already lost much of the summer to the search. We would have had to have closed already for me to make much use of my time off. If we made an offer today, we wouldn’t close until July. We are working our realtor Tina, but she’s game – chasing the ever illusive seller-paid commission. We found out tonight – in true St. Louis style – that twenty some odd years ago I went to grade school with one of her good friends.

Marinetti I bemoan, futurism falters in the provinces, where the past is never past.

On the work front, I cranked out my AP syllabus last Friday and sent it off, so I am waiting to hear back from the audit people to see if I need to revise anything. I needed a principal’s sign off on the initial draft and ended up hanging out with him on Monday for more than an hour. He’s going to be a good boss. Soon I’ll need to start reading, or rereading as the case may be, what I’ll be teaching in the fall. The rigor of the AP schedule is such that I am not going to be able to closely read with the kids and manage my other duties I need to have a jump on them. Having your summer off translates practically to having your summer less scheduled. Still, there are worse things than getting paid to read, think, and talk about great literature.

I spent a little time in my online photo album tonight. The time jump between most of my uploaded pictures and now is a little jarring. The gap in pictures is an indicator of how much time and energy has been shifted into my working life. I ran into a friend the other day at the store and she remarked that my once frequent emails about BBQs and such had dropped off to only one in the last six months. I’m not unique in this. Many of my friends have, of both necessity and choice, placed more emphasis on their families and careers. I am part of several expanded circles of friends and in many of them there is talk of planning some kind of yearly get together just to make sure it happens.

Poetic synopses of sentiment on the transformations of time:

Here I am in a new marriage, with a son halfway here, and I am reflecting on the recent passing of Kurt V. and the explosive departure of Hunter S. and the slow slide of William B., all of which surround me in a far off way like mountains composing the foothill’s horizon, and the centipedes and silverfish of summer windowsills gallop out their million moment steps betwixt birth and death to the deep ocean refrain “So it goes…”


Checking in from California or the “Mother Road”?

Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

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With silver bells, and cockle shells,

And marigolds all in a row…

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Monday, June 04, 2007

People seem to like it when you blog about your pets... why is that?

Anyway, the cat has been unusually rough on the furniture of late, so Sunday we decided the time had come to get the gato some furniture of his own. While touring the various pet stores we found this monstrosity for 50% off. He knew it was his when it was still in the box.

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Ajax is now the proud owner of his very own pagoda.

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While the cat is a blur of enthusiasm, Sebastian (lower right of third picture) seems resigned to the fact that his owners are nuts.


Friday, June 01, 2007

We had our second ultrasound today. Everything is going well and now we know what we are having. Drum roll… around October sixteenth we will have a baby boy, most likely to be named Elliot-something-or-other. We are still working on middle names. We got to hear the heartbeat again and Jes’ blood pressure is so low that she is going to live to be one hundred and twenty. All measurements for the baby are in the normal and healthy range – right on track.

I don’t think I’ll post pictures from the ultrasound as they are more spooky than cute. Everything is normal, the baby is very healthy, but at this stage he is skin, bones, and organs. The ultrasound pictures are a little alien – think skeletal old man. With his arms in the picture, the face shot looks like a jolly roger. These will be cool to have in Halloweens to come. On the he’s a boy front, there is no doubt that he is a boy – fully equipped. Crap, now I have to figure out how to be a dad.