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Today [community profile] junkyard and I took the bus downtown to the O. Henry museum. We were sitting near the back and I was going on in my let's say exuberantly stentorian way about how I've been really enjoying Doctor Who with the dead-sexy-librarian David Tennant, but that as soon as my friend Mimi e-mailed me the super-dreamy clip of the season finale of Torchwood in which Captain Jack makes out with Captain Jack I moved it to the top of my Netflix queue (which [community profile] junkyard, if anyone, can appreciate), when a gentleman in a suit turns to me and opens his mouth...

...and I'm thinking, uh oh, am I about to be yelled at for being noisy? Or for talking about boysmooches? And if it's both at once, will I affect apology (for the former) or outrage (for the latter)?

...and then he says, in lovely dopey British-accented stammer, that if I love David Tennant I should check out Casanova, and that I should also Netflix the Tom Baker episodes, and that Torchwood is indeed a wonderful show. And then he gets off the bus and leaves me a little more in love with 1. the British and 2. Austin.
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So yesterday, my birthday package from my parents came (Muppet Show Season Two, baby!), and in addition to it being a birthday present it was also mail, which meant I could get a library card (more on that later), so it was a double birthday present.

And then today Hodge and I got home from getting free furniture from the side of the road, and there was a whole pile of boxes from [profile] drawgirl (some of it stuff we left in the Portland house, but some of it also my birthday box! Thankyouthankyouthankyou!). AND, in the mailbox, the missing part for my desk, so I can put together my desk. I did a little kung-fu breakdance on the front porch.

So all in all the last 48 hours of Postal Service in my life have been totally stellar. It's almost enough to make me forgive them for the Reagan stamp. ;)
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So the desk is now officially an existential crisis. I'm not being melodramatic here. It's been a whole saga and every day I go into my office feeling cheery and hopeful that a vague desk-shape might start to appear from the MORE THAN FIFTY PIECES (!!!) that came in the box from Office Depot. And every day, when I slink out of the office, I feel like seppuku is a viable option. This constant discouragement is certainly not helped by the fact that even finding the desk was an ordeal. I 1) went to Ikea, 2) picked out one I liked from Ikea and got my heart set on it, 3) discovered that the one I picked couldn't hold a keyboard tray, which since my joints are now mush from five years of library work is a necessity, 4) went to the office store, 5) picked out one I thought I could live with, 6) was told it was out of stock, 7) tracked down another one at another Office Depot, 8) purchased the thing feeling excited that an end was in sight. And that was three days ago! Three days, of MORE THAN FIFTY PIECES of heavy desk debris scattered across the floor of the office!

And one of the MORE THAN FIFTY PIECES was broken, so I have to wait for the replacement to come in the mail before I have a hope of finishing the stupid thing.

Every painful quandry I get into (with the help of the utterly useless directions) gets resolved just in time for a new painful quandry to rise up.

I hate it.

The desk saga has also happened in concert with the destruction of my coffee maker. The carafe broke and it's out of production so I can't get it replaced, but I'm too stubborn to throw away an otherwise perfectly good coffee maker. The sad thing is, it won't actually percolate without the bloody carafe pressing against the drip just right. So I've been standing at the coffee maker pressing a spoon up to the drip to force it to give me caffeine. But seriously, there is just a shade too much antagonism in my life right this instant.

Of course, then I get back to the book I'm reading (Cormac McCarthy's The Road) and I feel like an asshole. Okay, so I have to jerry-rig my coffeepot. I'm not yet digging dirty seeds out of hay bales to feed my starving child.
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I have the same trouble blogging as I do keeping my hand-written journal; when something big has occurred, it's more or less impossible to create a narrative from it until long after the fact. And since I'm a little OCD, it's hard for me to let that go. Since I'm still embroiled in the chaos of the move, it's hard for me to write about it in any but the most piecemeal manner. I'm sure no one reading this minds this fact; it's only my desire for continuity that suffers. But then, maybe it's good for me to break my own rules every now and then.

Driving was relatively uneventful. The cats were mostly fine. They slept a lot. I did get an opportunity to add to the list of things they do not like: the car, Freddy Mercury, the car, the Decemberists, the car, Lady Sovereign, the car, the Beatles, New Order, Depeche Mode, Regina Spektor, music in general, and the car. The list of things that the cats do like now includes Jim Dale, the totally wonderful narrator of the Harry Potter series. Consequently, I listened to a lot of Harry Potter. Any time Jim Dale was on they settled right in and took a nap. Any time I changed it to music, they started meowing and beating on each other.

I drove very near to some of my long-distance friends, and was a little sad I hadn't arranged for visits, but given that the logistics of the drive were already a nightmare I suppose it was for the best. We alternated between gorgeous scenery and barren wastelands. That pretty much describes our American west in the twenty-first century, though, doesn't it?

Now we're in Austin. We're working on feathering the nest from scratch, and I think we're doing all right (a combination of Goodwill, craigslist, Ikea, and Target). The house is nice, but there's not as much good stuff to walk to as we had in Portland (we were spoiled!). I miss our old neighborhood and have moments where I regret the move. But as the house starts to look more homey, I start to feel a bit better. Jack spent four days hiding in a cupboard and is finally starting to come out and explore. Hodge is already making calls about employment. All I need is a desk and some bookshelves and I think I'll feel comfortably tethered down here. I just want to get back to writing. Things will settle into comfortable melancholy instead of spastic madness then.

After a decade in Portland the thing I understood most was how to find resources. I realized I had an excitingly nerdy opportunity for education from this move. I just need a utility bill and I can go to the library. I have to figure out where I am and how I fit here. In a way it's wonderful to have a puzzle like that to occupy myself.

scavenging

Aug. 9th, 2007 03:43 pm
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Of all the things I saw between Oregon and Texas, the sights that stood out to me the most were the scavenger birds.

I've always liked scavengers. I know they're not popular, signets of death that they are. They've always reminded me, though, of the absolute economy of nature. When I see roadkill I feel a pang of regret for the little life lost. But when I see a crow crouched over it, or turkey vulture circling overhead, it's a comfort. There is suffering and pain and it' s a part of living. There's also nourishment and resourcefulness, and that's part of living too. Carrion animals take what's passed and use it for energy. Waste not, want not.

Driving through a country that alternates between barren stripmalls and sweepingly beautiful vistas, I had a lot of time to consider the subtle ways the universe compensates for loss. This isn't always as simple as "God opening a window after closing a door." This isn't always as simple as "leave the place and people you love behind in return for the chance to do what you love." It's sometimes a matter of something literally dying, literally suffering and wasting away or being mowed over by a large fast-moving vehicle or starving to death in the wilderness, in order that something else can eat it and thrive.

We're here. Let's see what flourishes.
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Wednesday we leave. If any of you want postcards and haven't already sent me addresses in the past, and you want some mail, add your address here (comments will be screened).
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It is exactly one week until departure day.

Yesterday I was walking past the bathroom and thought, "Wow, the bathroom's so clean and organized. No boxes. No piles of crap."

Then I thought: "Maybe I could live in the bathroom for a week?"

I realized the other day that I am incapable of thinking of the road trip in anything but the most David-Lynchian terms. Like I literally am dreading this as a horrible beatnik/apocalyptic hell trip. Our car will break down in the desert. One cat will die of thirst and the other will be terribly ill and I'll have no way to get him to the hospital. Or a crazy trucker will run us off the road and murder us with his rig (he looks a little like Willem Dafoe crossed with Steve Buscemi, in my head). Or something.

I confessed this mindset to Hodge yesterday and he just said, "Actually, it'll be like that, but a lot more boring."

Of course the only other model Hodge has provided so far has been to describe every Stephen King story where a young traveling couple ends up in a weird town, and either gets eaten by carnivorous frogs, or sent to the rock show of the damned. So he's not helping (if it's up to me I'm taking us to the rock show. I've always had a thing for Buddy Holly.)

Anyway, it occurs to me that I need a new paradigm for this trip. I've never moved my belongings to a new city via road trip. Moving from Alaska to Portland was piecemeal over four years of care packages and plane trips back and forth. Any suggestions for a new set of circumstances to visualize?

I'm very excited to get to Austin. I'm just fuck-all tired of moving there.

Oh, also: I have been inked. When I find the little cord-thingy to upload the pictures I shall (who wants to guess it's in a BOX?!?).
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[profile] hplovescats and I are in fact moving to Austin together (we'd previously thought he might have to stay here for a few months to finish some freelance work). Now we're working on the logistics.

We have two cars, so we're caravaning. I'll have the cats in my car. He was going to pull a trailer, one of the small U-Haul trailers, but recently we've been trying to investigate shipping options. The U-Haul is $300; if we can ship for not much more than that, it might be worth it just to not have the headache (in fact I'd go up to $450 just to get it taken care of). We don't have tons and tons of stuff, but Hodge has some expensive equipment that is bulky.

I'm shipping all my books and DVDs media rate, so there's that. But does anyone else have alternative shipping experience? We looked into doing some stuff through Amtrak but our boxes might be too bulky for them (they want 3X3X3 packages). Have any of you shipped major belongings for a move before? Advise, please!

Essentially, it's going to be a hard enough move with the cats. We're looking to reduce the stress level if possible.

The good news is we have a house!

vacation

May. 23rd, 2007 10:32 am
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Next week [profile] hplovescats and I are going on a much needed vacation to Austin (which is quickly becoming a job-hunting, house-hunting, errand-running "vacation" but will at least get me out of work for a few days). I am hoping we will have time to wedge Six Flags into the equation. The Krypto-Coaster is calling my name.

Anyway, anyone who wants a postcard should add their address into the comments (they're screened so as to protect privacy). This time I plan to actually buy postcard stamps before I go and take them in my wallet, so the odds of getting a postcard actually mailed from Austin are pretty good (as opposed to handed to you when I get home, which has been my tradition so far).

Meanwhile, I'm a little bit losing my mind here, but it's all going to be okay. Why do I have so much stuff? So much paperwork and random odds and ends? Last time we moved, I kept thinking I had finally moved all my books to the new house, and literally five or six times I opened a closet door or found another unexpected box stashed underneath something, filled with more books. I remember once I just started crying, crouched over yet another heavy box weeping bitter tears of bitterness.

I'm going to sell over half of them this time, either at Powells if they'll take them, or at the moving sale in July. And as much as I'd like to believe that I'll stuff the money into another envelope for moving expenses, I will probably buy more books. It's not my fault, though. Miranda July and A.M. Homes have both released books I've been waiting for for months. Also I need to buy all the Murakami I don't own.

But at least I'll be trading three or four boxes of books for maybe one box, which will help.

I'm so tired. All these logistics are strangling me. I just want to end all the housekeeping bullshit and get back to writing. This is good, though; when I move I'll be so relieved to write I won't remember at first just how sad I am to have left Portland.

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