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A postdated prelude

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I've been praying for him every morning as I make my toast.  He sent us the toaster as a wedding present.  I can't use it without wondering if he's safe, if he is guilty, and if he will ever be okay.  I can't use it without thinking that, according to the news reports, he was getting into this mess around the same time he and his wife sent the toaster.  Then I remember that she had signed the card for them both, even though I'd never met her.

Sometimes I think about emailing his brother to ask how he is.  Sometimes I think about just getting a new toaster. 

I tried to look it up before, but today I found him on the sex offender list.  In custody.  Convicted.  Sex offender on 10-year notification.  Those words just swirl around.

I think about how we grew up.  I think about how hard his life was.  I think about how he overcame it.  I think about Freud.  I think about all the subconscious reasons he might want to be in jail.

And then I think about how any teacher could be accused.

It's scary.

barn raising

We survived week one and lab check in.  Geoff's been exhausted, going to bed around 8:30.  We're still figuring out all the things that no one tells you about, just because they're done the way they've always been done.

I found out that my office phone has a different number than it claims, and that the phone also connects to another chem prof and the department secretary.  The number I've been giving out goes right to some guy's voicemail.  I don't know who he is.  I need to get that straightened out.

Our neighbors across the street are building a barn/garage. They hired professional help in the form of men in plain clothes and straw hats.  I'm a big fan.  A bearded older man, two young men, and a pre-teen boy are working alongside their modernly-dressed driver and co-worker as they assemble the attic floor this morning.

Still waiting to close.  It's obnoxious.


Isupposethat11yearsisenoughtoexpectoutofakeyboard.Obviously,myspacebar hasdied. Itwillwork onlyundersustained pressure inoneparticularspot, and tryinghasalreadymademythumbhurt enough! We'llhavetoworkthroughthis(andtheamazingslownessofthe desktop)somehow;thereisnocomputer inourbudget forseveralmonths.Infact,thereisverylittlebudgetrightnow.

Istartteachinglabtomorrow.Notnearlythe payof mylastteachinggig,butIsupposethereareplentyofopportunities tobranch outhere.Plus, theDeanarguedfor abetter titleandmoremoney formealready.IamanAdjunctAssistantProfessorofChemistry!!!

Ihaveanoffice. Ihavenokeystothisoffice,nordoIhavekeys fortheteachinglabsyet.I'malsolackinganemailaddress,parkingpass,anddirectoryentry. So it might behardformystudentstofindmeatfirst.Ohyes,andtheTAshaven'tbeenassignedortrainedyet.



We're having fried potatoes again?!?!  We had homemade french fries for lunch yesterday, and I cannot keep track of how many other times we have had fried potatoes.  Perhaps my tummy is not upset by being homeless; the constant barrage of fried food is surely getting to me.

This morning Dad called me back to the office to help him on the computer.  It seems he was setting up an Uzbekistani email account, and couldn't fill in the last three form boxes because he couldn't figure out what they were.  Of course!  They were in Russian!!!  But he thought I may have enough experience filling out computer forms that I could figure them out from context.  I suggested that we simply translate the page, and that seemed to solve the problem.  Of course, now he will be visiting even more foreign websites now that he knows the power of free online translation tools....


Mom and I took the dogs to the dog park today.  Cooper barked at and chased a puppy that got in his personal space, and its owner totally freaked.  She picked up her dog, coddled it, and sternly asked if I would like to muzzle my dog.  I told her that it was perfectly normal and safe behavior and if she wanted me to leave, I'd be glad to, because her children were touching my dog without permission and should not be in the park to begin with (neither should the puppy; it was too young to have had all of its shots).  She shut up and moved to another area, and (hooray!) her children stopped harassing my dog.  Then we had a nice conversation with an English woman and her daughter who shared stories of cat trap/spay/neuter adventures.

No posts for a while.  Travel tomorrow, wedding festivities, then vacation.

fresh paint

My parents have lived in this home for 8 years.  Since I have been moving every year and going through complete cleanings at each move, I took it upon myself to do a little extra cleaning around the house this week.  I vacuumed the walls, ceilings, plus some baseboards and doorways. 

Somehow, this turned into "Let's paint the kitchen!" 

Now, they didn't repaint the kitchen when they moved in.  And it was kind of gross.  There was a bad sponge paint job to begin with, and normal buildup of kitchen grease didn't help.  So Mom and Geoff went to Lowe's and picked a paint color, primer, and all the supplies.  After church on Sunday, we changed into old clothes, taped everything off, and went for it.  The primer was dry after dinner, and we got the whole thing done before going out to see make-up fireworks.  New switch covers, a little more cleaning, and now everything is back on the walls.  It looks good (aside from the whole plaster wall issue).

We also installed a wireless router, so Mom can use my old laptop to play online while Dad does work from the desktop.  And Geoff was able to use his own computer to get some work accomplished as well.  We made sure it's all secure, and it frees up more computer access for everyone.  Dad was also having trouble with Internet Explorer, so I downloaded and introduced the family to Firefox.  He had been so frustrated with IE that he was only online for a few minutes at a time all last week.  After installing Firefox, I believe he spent all afternoon and evening online.  He didn't even see the freshly painted walls until about 11 last night!!!

Cooper is having an allergic reaction to something he ate.  We got him into the vet today and got antibiotics to keep a skin infection from setting in.  He also had a split toenail looked at.  He will be staying here while we go to PA and MD, so we wanted to get that in before we leave.

Today was full of little errands.  Had to get a new air filter and wiper blades for the Subaru.  Geoff got a new swimsuit.  Cooper went to the vet.  I went to Lowe's with Mom for another outlet cover, which Geoff then got to Dremel to shape, and I had to affix to the wall with Sticky Tack (ah, the joy of an old house!).

Gathering up all our stuff and packing tomorrow.  We each have to drive a car to PA, and the dog is staying here, so it will be a long lonely car ride on Wednesday!

neighbor dogs

So I've only cried once since being back in Indiana.  That was because of an unexpected piece of business at Monthly Meeting that got my Dad's panties in a knot.  Not being a member of the meeting anymore and having to spend a week and a half living under my parents' roof prevented me from speaking on the issue, so I excused myself to cry in the lobby instead.

It is very hard to have a good dog when surrounded by the dogs of Hemlock.  Most dogs in the neighborhood are what I would consider to be higher energy hunting and working dogs (lab mixes, shepherd mixes, weimaraner).  No dogs other than Harri get regular walks.  The weimaraner is cooped up in its house all day long and hurls itself against the door and windows when we walk by.  All other dogs are fenced or chained outside, so we run the gauntlet between these under-exercised and over-protective dogs each time we go out.  This only feeds Cooper's issues (I thought we were over the jumping and spinning and screaming fits, but apparently not when faced with these circumstances).

On top of this, I'm trying to help mom with Harri's walking, because it was absolutely out of control.  She'd ignored my instructions for the Gentle Leader, and Harri had slowly started pulling all over again.  We are making progress with the walk, and even with doorway manners.  If I could just get everyone to ignore the dogs upon returning home, I think we might be onto something...

My father needs to lose weight.  Diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, bad knees, sleep apnea, narcolepsy....  Gee, do you think there's something other than drugs that could help?  But he still eats like a farm boy and has zero self control.

We're going to the dog park now for some positive canine social interaction.  Because you just can't get that in Hemlock!


Especially after teaching Consumer Chemistry this January, I understand that the FDA needs to reprioritize and shape up on a few things.  But going after Cheerios so vehemently?  Get serious!!!

I can think of several things I would work on before then...  Labeling potential allergens in alcoholic beverages!  Coming up with better thresholds and guidelines for those pesky "may contain" allergy labels!  Requiring that "supplements" say what's actually in them, instead of using trademarked ingredient names!  Finding a better balance between pushing drugs through too fast and too slowly!  Not getting pushed around by pharmaceutical companies!  Public nutrition education that makes sense!  Improving analytical techniques for food inspections!

There are more, but it's time for our morning walk down by the river....


I'm bored.  The boys are asleep.  I've already done 7 of the crosswords in the 100-puzzle book I picked up at the grocery store.  I designed a "How Well Do You Know Me?" quiz on Facebook.  I've shuffled my deck of cards.  I took a shower and dried my hair.

I've been reading the news online.  I think there's quite an odd assortment of headlines today.  Fossil evidence of giant sperm?  The guy who really wasn't abducted?  PETA lashing out at the president swatting a fly?  A "hot cereal death"?  I suppose there are bored reporters out there, too.

I just looked over to see that one of Geoff's socks is nearly worn through at the heel.  Didn't we recently go through and toss out worn socks and buy new ones?  That sock must have escaped the sorting.  Drat.

I'm still a little anxious, but I haven't cried in three days or so.  And I'm eating regularly.  I still am not eating much at once, and my body is still definitely off it's normal routine.  But everything's a little better.

I wish the pool here weren't quite so cold.  It's an indoor pool, but it's a little chilly for my taste.  You have to be really active to stay warm enough in it.  I even tried swimming after going for a long hot walk, and I was too cold!  It's an odd shape, too, so there's no good line to swim across.

alternate plans

We thought about climbing Badger Mountain this morning.  That didn't happen.  I was too lightheaded to make the ascent, so we turned around and visited the new dog park instead.  Cooper got to play with some terriers and boxers.  When he had run for a while, he returned to us and gladly walked to the gate to leave.

I went to the grocery store today to restock and get some things for our return trip.  I went to WinCo, which had been recommended to me by multiple people.  But no one told me that they "don't accept credit anymore" until I was checking out.  Of course, I never memorized my PIN in Minnesota, and didn't ask to have it reset before leaving.  And I didn't have any checks on me (of course, they might not have taken an out of town check either, I suppose).  But I did have $70, which covered my bill, after arguing with the cashier about whether or not a manufacturer's coupon would scan (why must they argue, when they can just scan it to find out if it is accepted?).

Cooper's napping in the sun.  Geoff's getting ready to go to a meeting.