Are There Any Sadder Words

...than I packed the stereo?

Okay, I know there are. But seriously, the stereo being unhooked is the moment at which I realize just how far things have gone.

Of course, there's lots happening here. The roommate is also moving, and this has caused a sort of apartment version of Risk. First, I took the living room for storage. Then he struck back. Now I have retreated to my bedroom, where I am marshaling my forces in the form of cardboard boxes. It's like when I built forts when I was a kid, only now, the walls are all my belongings - particularly books. We're in a holding pattern now, though this morning while he was away, I began to sift through the Tupperware drawer in the kitchen - one of the few places where our things have co-mingled.

I expect shots will be fired come dinner time.

The process has been harder than any other move, or so it seems to me from the midst of it. Having everything so packed around me at night has begun to give me odd dreams. It's tough to even be in my room because it reminds me of the clutter of my parents' house, and I'm finding myself claustrophobic in the room that used to be a sort of sanctuary. Lying on my bed to take a phone call is almost panic inducing, and I find that I'm having a hard time focusing on conversations or saying much of anything even when I am.

I narrowly headed off a visit from my parents, who claim to now - after four years of me living here - have an interest in seeing the Great Attraction of the Area.

And yesterday, I had coffee with one of my best students, who is thinking about graduate school but who is trying to work with my most absent minded of soon-to-be-former colleagues. While I probably don't have to be as delicate in suggesting that they, as an undergrad, are going to have to learn that most useful rule of graduate students - that committees are things to be managed and carefully fed information - it wasn't an easy thing to explain that what matters is a finished Senior thesis as much as the masterful work my colleague is threatening to make them conjure from thin air.

So it's back to packing and the odd little almost-panic attacks that come every time I step in my room. More to follow.

Too Far Gone

Today, in the store, the clerk complained to me.

"Jesus," he said, "it's cold out there. It's killing me." (no, my name isn't Jesus, and the only time anyone ever uses it for me is when something is exasperating them - usually that something is me).

"Oh, this?" I replied, "This is nothing. And better this than humidity."

Four years, I've been here. And now I'm telling locals to stop fussing about cold weather. Just in time to pack it off elsewhere.


New job, new town, new purchases. Here is the partial list of things I have bought:
  • couch
  • recliner
  • new glasses
  • new sunglasses
  • new dvd and vcr player
  • a big boy prestige cell phone
  • all sorts of car repairs
  • moves here
  • movers there
Things I am preparing to buy:
  • a tv?
  • a faintly modern computer
  • some sort of big bookshelf/entertainment thingamajig
  • end tables and lamps
  • a big boy prestige vacuum
My Marxist ideals are stinging.


Yesterday, a sweet package - or a package of sweets - arrived in the mail for me. Among other things, the card said, "...maybe cookies for strength [are] just what a guy might need int he middle of a move."

And I thought, "Hooray! Cookies...and another box!"

What Makes a Microcosm

It's funny the things that you can obsess over in moving. Today marks exactly 14 days to the move, and I'm in what I think is a good stage of packing. In a day or two, nothing you say about this will convince me that I am, in fact, in good shape.

But aside from the couch and what it says about me in life, the thing that is truly funny is just how obsessed I've become with what goes in the bathroom.

That's right: I'm obsessed with designing my bathroom.

I won't try to count up how many trips I've made to the Target bathroom aisles trying to decide what shower curtain I wanted. It has become a topic of dinner conversation. Multiple dinner conversations, in fact. And that I actually had a 20 minute discussion about what type of bath mat was ideal with someone probably makes me a candidate for Chief to help poor old McMurphy me out of this pickle once and for all.

And I've been debating it, to be sure. If the big guy won't bring the pillow to put me out of the misery of becoming fixated on things like this, I'm clearly going to have to do it myself. This is not who I am. I mean, I almost never have anyone over (I could probably count on one hand the number of people who've actually sat and talked with me in my apartment in the last four years). And yet, here I am.

What I think has happened is that in all the chaos of the move and fighting with the university and having the roommate come home and explaining to my parents that coming to visit me during a move is the worst possible time is that the bathroom of the new apartment was recognized as the one part of this move that is of a size and complexity that I can actually think about and still feel like I'm on top of it. One of the frustrating things about these moves is that, inevitably, you want them to be perfect: to land you in the perfect job, in the perfect city, etc, etc. I've moved enough though - and this doesn't have to be about what places I've moved to: just the process of moving serves for this example - that I know imperfection is a part of the game.

In the end, I did decide on a shower curtain and a bath mat. And I've bored more than a couple of friends talking about it (and now, I've bored you, folks of the Intertubes). It helps, though I still haven't decided what kind of soap dispenser to get.


I think.

Is This Thing On?

Hm. A blog.

Yes, I used to have one of those. Poor, neglected thing, lost and alone wandering the Intertubes. Oh, I'm a bad blog owner. And this is probably the 1,217th time I've tried some apology for not turning up on the blog and suggested some vague commitment to being better about it.

I have no excuses. Not because I don't want to have one, but because I don't know what the reason for the the neglect really is.

Maybe it's the move. Certainly that'd be a good excuse. No one could fault me for ducking underground because I took a new job and have been planning a move. I should use that one. Mental note. No, I've been scattered. I'd better not trust a mental note. Someone take that down for me.


Or maybe it'd be because of the conference we were planning. That was crazy busy. Balls were dropped. Balls were picked up. Dinners were planned and a good time was had by all. That'd be a good one, too.

Or maybe because of leaving a good program at an okay university in a place that feels dubious and students who I've grown to enjoy for the unknown. Well, not the completely unknown, but you get the picture.

The point is, I don't know why exactly the blog has fallen to the wayside. Some days I feel really bad about it. Some days, I think about it not at all.


The move is in 15 days.


The big struggle with the university is mostly done. They still haven't paid me for last summer, but, oh, they've paid dearly for this one. I am not popular at the moment, but I have been paid.
If nothing else, bureaucratic revenge feels nice. It'll feel nicer when they do the right thing once and for all.


My father wanted to come help with the move. I, of course, opposed this.

My father, with the heart and respiratory conditions, all 73 years old of him, wanted to come help me move. All I own is books and a bed. Right now, my office is packed (12 boxes of books). There are boxes of books under my bed (10). I have books yet to pack (???). My apartment looks like I knocked over a paper supply company. And into this, my father - with my mother's blessing (no, with my mother's boot in his ass) wants to come help me move. My family, as ever, is crazy but sweet. I'm blessed.

Fortunately, he can't come. But I do appreciate the thought.


The other day I bought a couch. This, I feel, marks me officially being old.

When I move in here, I got rid of my furniture - what furniture there was - except the stuff for the bedroom. Paying off bills was a priority; having my own stuff wasn't. So my roommate got to keep his furniture and got to choose how the living room worked. But now I'm headed off to the new job and to my own place, and it was time to replace the stuff I got rid of.

For a long time, I had a policy that I'd not own anything I couldn't move myself. A couch clearly violates this.

This hurts me worse than the fear that I'm approaching 40. It distresses me just a little more than my most recent thoughts about buying a cell phone.

A couch. And a matching chair. Grownup. Scary.


I am so excited for this move. And I'll try to keep you posted.