I'm mostly moved and mostly painted but, unfortunately, nowhere near moved in. Those dropping by or camping here on the 4th are probably going to see a lot of boxes sitting around, but unless I break a leg or something the painting will be done. I expect the next couple of days to be rushed: I hope to finish moving tonight. Depending on how much time I have left, I may clean my old bedroom or take care of some painting at the new place. Heather moves on Saturday, so I'll be helping with that, and in the evening we're going to have to clean the place out. Check-out comes Sunday morning at 10:00. The rest of Sunday will probably be spent painting.
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Ended up talking to Heather about nothing in particular for well over an hour last night. In a way that's a bit odd. Historically most of our conversations have lasted only a couple of minutes, and in most cases have been of the "how was your day" variety. (Really bad days or stupid coworkers occasionally resulted in fifteen minute conversations.) I'm not complaining about last night's conversation, of course. It's just that it's somewhat unusual for us to find stuff to talk about. That said, I'm not sure how we managed to go from talking about Rich being sick (again) to commentary on how filthy some of the stray cats in the neighborhood are.
Very interesting news day today. In a ruling that almost caused me to convulse with laughter, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional. Apparently unhappy with the decision, the National Republican Campaign Committee promptly blamed Tom Daschle. Meanwhile, patriotic, God-fearing members of Congress gathered to recite the pledge on the Capitol steps.
All in all, it should be interesting to see how this all plays out. An article from foxnews.com seems to suggest the pledge has been a train wreck from one day one. Some highlights:
- The pledge was written by a commieer, "Christian Socialist"in 1892.
- It was originally a pledge to "my Flag" instead of "the Flag of the United States of America." (Whether the original author intended "my Flag" to be interpreted as the stars and stripes wasn't made clear in the article.)
- The original salute for the pledge was the "Roman Salute," although that fell out of favor when the Nazis adopted the same salute. (I don't know why, but I find this hilarious.)
- The "under God" part was added in 1954.
So, taking all that into account, I suppose we should probably expect more hilarious hijinks to come.
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In other news, I just linked to FoxNews not once but twice, so I guess it would not be surprising to learn that today is a cold day in hell.
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Went to the Twins game last night. The Metrodome really sucks. I may say more about that later.
And another night of storms rattles the new apartment. While I rather would've gotten some restful sleep last night, I have to admit to looking forward to the first storm to come after I finish the sunroom later this week. Huge, wrap-around windows, a great view... It'll be mother nature in surround sound, baby.
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In other news, my building's electrical system is pretty funky. And by that I don't mean good funky, as in "he's got the funk," I mean bad funky, like "dude, something smells funky in here." Last night the power went out in the two back rooms of my apartment as well as in the hallway just outside my front door. I knew where the circuit breakers were, so I wandered down to the basement (through the darkened hallway, reflections of lightning occassionally flashing through the ventilation shafts) and found the switches that appeared to be for my apartment. They were all on. I briefly considered switching them off and back on again, but here's the thing: I share power with other apartments and hallways. Flip the wrong breaker and I could be resetting computers and clocks in my neighbor's apartments. It ended up requiring some consulting with the apartment people (I have trouble calling them "landlords" for some reason), but we eventually got the power back on. They're going to have an electrician in to look at some "issues" later this week, so hopefully this won't become a common occurrence. That said, while walking back to my apartment a few minutes later, the lights dimmed for a moment before returning to normal. Fun.
Quite a storm this morning. Lots of lightning, lots of thunder. I should've taken my alternate route to work, but for whatever (probably sleep-deprived) reason, I took 35W instead. Unfortunately, it had about three feet of standing water on it down by Diamond Lake Road (not to mention one poor car "stalled" in the center lane), resulting in one heck of a traffic jam. Being stuck in the right lane was actually a blessing, as I was able to go native at 32nd and get to work only 20 minutes late.
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You know what I need? I need a break. This month has been non-stop. When I'm not at work I'm at home painting or moving or cleaning or some other related activity. Montreal was fun, but it wasn't a break. Other than a few hours sleeping, Sarah and I were in constant motion for almost the entire trip. What I need is a break, just some simple downtime, a weekend where I can veg and do whatever, or, more likely, absolutely nothing. Maybe go for a walk, something I haven't done for three weeks. Or maybe read all of the Sunday paper. Or work on lstc.org. Or flip endlessly between the Discovery Channel, TLC and C-Span. Or cook dinner. I have all these things I do to keep myself sane, and I haven't done any of them in quite some time.
This week will be busy. So will this weekend. Then comes the 4th of July weekend, when I'll have friends visiting for a couple of days. Now, granted, I'm excited to have Ben and Beth camping here, but I almost wish the motorcycle rally they're heading to would start a week later. Then I could spend a weekend sleeping.
10:35 in the evening. I'm pretty much moved. The computer and that five-ton couch are still here in the old apartment and will probably be moved on Monday and Wednesday respectively. Select rooms in the new apartment are clean and organized. All rooms in the old apartment are disaster areas.
Heather, her parents, Rich and I walked up to Sebastian Joe's for some ice cream this afternoon. A similar event, sans Rich, happened the day Heather moved in about a week after I did two years ago. As we move out, I find myself exiting six days before she does. So in a way, those trips to Sebastian Joe's were sort of like bookends to our time here. Funny how that worked out.
I had a single scoop of chocolate malted ice cream on a sugar cone.
10:53. Damn I'm typing slowly this evening. I'm going to head over to the new apartment now and tape up the living room for painting. By now I should know it's crazy to think I'll be able to paint it in two days (in time for the couch to move in), but I'm going to try anyway. One complicating factor is Tuesday: Instead of leaving work to come home and paint, I'll be heading to a Twins game down at the Metrodome. Yup, the stadium tour is going local.
) ) )
So, I'm sitting here, 1:15 in the morning, in a living room that's really no longer mine. The posters are down, the bookshelf is empty, the camera collection is packed, the computer is offline. Home is somewhat of a vague concept; when I go to bed in a few minutes, it'll be in the same place I've met my pillow for the past 24 months, but I feel more grounded in the vacant apartment not 25 feet from where I now sit. I have a home, but I almost feel a bit homeless.
So, anyway, I'm sitting here and I'm thinking about the past two years of my life. I'm thinking of everything that's happened in this now partially stripped room, the good and bad, the memorable and insignificant. I'm thinking about the conversations, the jokes, the clumsy statements, the insults, the babble, the tender words, the arguments, the contemplation. I'm thinking about two turkey parties, one Fourth Of July get-together, one frigid New Year's Eve. I'm thinking about the movies rented (Happiness, Das Boot, The Beast, Panic, The Manchurian Candidate, Best In Show, Sexy Beast, Office Space, Series 7: The Contenders, On The Waterfront... oh, this is impossible), the books read, the CDs studied, the Sunday newspapers dismembered. I'm thinking about one summer spent in hellish, stifling heat and another spent in cool, air-conditioned comfort. I'm thinking about visitors from Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts and numerous points in Wisconsin. I'm thinking about Heather's insanity-driven cleaning binges and my afternoon-long attack on the front windows. I'm thinking about the threatened seizures, the fainting spells, the constant allergies, the worrying, the days passed on the couch, the arguing about health insurance, the questionable home-remedies, the (ahem) alcohol. I'm thinking about those huge front windows and all the things seen through them (guys in underwear, idiots getting towed, cute girls, show dogs in training, snowplows cutting it a bit close, obscenely bad parking jobs, that occassionally drunk neighbor) or heard through them (the bickering or laughing pedestrians, the construction truck hitting our building, that infernal homemade motorized scooter, that occassionally drunk neighbor). I'm thinking about ________, ________, ________, and other things I dare not write about, and ________, for which I've adopted a policy of avoidance.
I'm thinking I may actually miss this place. I could say more, but I really need to get some sleep.
It's moving day.
The first day of summer brought an unexpected mix of stormy weather and fatalism.
"Looks like the end of the World."
"Yup, it's dark out there."
"We all have to go sometime, Mark. Don't try to fight it."
"Well, if we all get sucked down, at least I'm dressed appropriately." Pause. "Hey, is that _______?"
"I think it is."
"You'd think an umbrella would be a good idea."
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Sunday should be interesting. Not only is it moving day for Mark, but Heather's parents are going to drop by while I'm working on my exit. I'm not entirely clear why this is, but her mom doesn't just dislike Rich now, but apparently has problems with me as well. She went as far as to tell Heather it would be in my best interest to have completely moved out before they drop by. (Such statements, of course, only make me want to delay moving a day, but I'd rather not move on a weekday.) Now, I can understand why Heather's mom may not want me to be around for when she goes off on another of her anti-Rich tirades, but to single me out as a target, well, I don't get it. Maybe it's because I've become generally supportive of Heather and Rich as a couple, if not the idea of continuing to share the same space as them. Or maybe not. Whatever the case, I guess I don't really care enough to continue thinking about it.
For now, back to painting.
There's actual progress on the painting front. Other than a gaping space in the kitchen that has to be replastered (the apartment folks really made a mess when they removed the cupboards to make space for the refrigerator), there are just a couple of doors and a relatively minor amount of trim that needs to be painted to complete the bathroom, back foyer and kitchen area. I should be able to finish that tonight, which should clear the way for me to move in this weekend.
I'm almost a bit embarrassed over how excited I am for the new apartment. Sure, there are going to be issues with storage space, electricity, water pressure and other fundamentals. I still haven't figured out how I'm going to handle the living room, and I still have to get a kitchen table. But it's gonna be cool.
Well, I'm back. Montreal was fun. So was Toronto. And Chicago. And Ikea. And Tim Horton's. And watching Sarah spaz out over Canadian currency. I took over 500 photos, a select number of which will be posted sometime on or before July 10th. (Yes, I know that's a long time, but I have more important priorities than photos right now. Like painting. And moving. Besides, I'm going to have friends camping at my new place on the 4th and 5th, so I have to be settled in by then.)
As for now, I'm going to take a brief nap and then get painting. I have to have my belongings moved by June 23rd, so taking a day off isn't really an option.
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Sort of a moment of deja-vu in the cafeteria at work today. I'd ambled in for my 3:30 caffeine fix and stood for a moment at the counter to pay the cashier. The place is lightly-staffed in the afternoon, so it's not unusual for people to walk through and just leave their money by the register. To my knowledge, such an honor system usually works fairly well.
Today, though, someone left a $1.30 on the counter, which would've been OK had the nickel not been a Canadian nickel, which it was. The cashier didn't seem very amused: "64 cents on the dollar! Hmph. I know who left that here." Her voice shifted, becoming low and ominous. "I'll get him."
Slept through the alarm again this morning. When I finally awoke the clock read 9:11. Were I superstitious I'd take that as a bad omen, but I'm not, so I had a good laugh about it instead. Besides, I'll be traveling on American Airlines flight 1280 this evening and, to borrow a Jason saying, 1280 just doesn't sound like a headline number.
With that I'm off to Montreal. See you Monday.
No painting tonight. Well, I may do a little touch-up work later, but my main priority this evening is packing for Montreal. Tomorrow, when I leave work, I won't be heading home. I'll be heading to the airport.
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I've come to the conclusion the power-roller I bought was a waste of money. Not only does it have a lengthy cleanup time that effectively negates any time savings it lends to the actual painting process, it seems to be possessed by demons. After using it on the bedroom, I decided it would only be worthwhile to use the power roller in the kitchen/dining area, the largest space in the apartment. Well, that was a mistake: I was slowly covering a flat, simple part of a wall when the roller's splatter guard sprung off, bounced off my head and landed on the floor, pinwheeling paint all the way down. "Well, dammit." I clicked the on/off switch to cut the power, but the motor kept running. Click. Still running. Click. Running. Click. Click click click click click. Still running. "You piece of shit." Click. The roller was saturated by this point. Fearing drippage, I set it on some newspaper and yanked the power cord out of the wall.
It kept running. Exasperated, I started yelling at it. "You're not plugged in!" A few moments later the laws of physics finally kicked in and the infernal contraption fell silent. Speaking of kicking, had the base not been full of paint, I probably would have given it a swift kick across the room. (And, with the way my day was going, probably through the sunroom window and onto the windshield of a passing police car.) But, thankfully, I didn't.
Demons, I tell you.
) ) )
I've mentioned I haven't been getting enough sleep, right? A haiku:
the roller flings paint
like epileptic children
Okay, that was uncalled for.
) ) )
I was munching on a carrot and browsing around the online version of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel when I read this: "Last year, the Utne Reader named Milwaukee the nation's most underrated city, while Girlfriends Magazine named it the No. 1 place for lesbians to live." Carrot chunks. Everywhere. Now, don't get me wrong, I think these ratings are a good thing. I hold Milwaukee close to my heart and am always happy to see it get props. It's just that I grew up about an hour from Milwaukee, spent a lot of time there and, right or wrong, have a fairly detailed, nuanced view of the city. And for whatever reason, the words "Milwaukee" and "lesbians" just don't seem to go together. Madison, sure. Minneapolis and St. Paul? Yes. Milwaukee? My brain hurts.
You know, I'm sure there's a Laverne & Shirley joke lurking in this somewhere, but I'm not too interested in finding it.
I am so sick of painting. The apartment is starting to come together, though. More on that later.
) ) )
1:30 a.m. Once again, Mark can't sleep. This has officially passed the point of being an annoyance. It's now a problem.
I've always had trouble sleeping on a set schedule. The world revolves in 24 hours, but my body has traditionally made its way around every 25 or 26 hours instead. While that's prevented me from being a morning person, it's always been manageable. Over the past few months, though, my internal day has expanded to 28 or 29 hours, and as a result the only sound sleep I've been able to get has been on weekends. I'm still doing OK at work, but it's probably only a matter of time before my ability to do my job starts to be impaired. (Hmmm. Unintentional puns all over the place.) I've been trying to set up an appointment with my doctor about this, although I'm not sure when that'll happen. There have been problems with, ahem, scheduling. That may not be a bad thing, though, as a couple of upcoming changes may help things somewhat.
The obvious question, and one that I've been asked numerous times, is if there has been any unusual sources of stress in my life. Well, Heather and Rich are an obvious answer to that one. I expect to be moving into my new place in a week and a day (tick, tick), so not only will I have complete control of my schedule for the first time in two years.[Additional comments deleted 10 June. Sorry.])
In a week I'll be able to start watching Frontline and Nightine again. In a week I'll be able to leave the bathroom door open when I take a shower. (Heather used to leave for the day before I claimed the bathroom, but for the past few months I've often had to account for Rich's presence, too. That, and Heather has about five billion sick hours she has to use before she and Rich move to Tennessee, so she's been taking a lot of mornings off. Why do I like leaving the door open? Well, I take hot showers, so it's nice to be able to vent the bathroom. But I'm getting sidetracked again.) In a week I'll be able to read in a quiet living room. In a week.
Of course, the Heather & Rich Show may turn out to have nothing to do with my sleep problems. Only the next few weeks will give insight to that.
Well, it's 2:00 in the morning now. I'm going to try to get some sleep.
It's early morning. Like 2:30 morning. Can't sleep. The week has been busy so far. It feels like Thursday, but not in a good way. I have so many projects going on, so many changes coming up, yet most of it seems detached and distant. A week from now I'll be in Chicago on my way to Montreal. Two weeks from now I'll be in a new apartment. Mentally, neither of those things are even close to being on the radar.
) ) )
I finally have everything together for painting the new place. I should be able to start tomorrow.
The new apartment situation has gotten off to a less than spectacular start. As noted yesterday, I wasn't able to go in to start working on the place on Saturday as they were painting the floors. I ran into the management people yesterday evening as I headed out for a walk.
"How'd the floor painting go?"
"Oh, we decided not to do it today."
"We'll just have to paint it in sections and have an area where you can hop to your door."
So this morning I went up to the apartment to take measurements and make final color decisions and, of course, they'd painted the entire hallway, effectively blocking me from the place for another 24 hours.
1:35 a.m. For a month I have two homes, the one I'm in now and the one next door. I did a walk-through with Bill, the apartment manager, late yesterday evening, and a few hours later Heather and Rich were my first guests. It'll be an interesting month.
If I were to write a classified ad for my present apartment, I'd probably describe it as "classic." I'm not sure what I'd call my new place. Odd? Perhaps. When it was built it had six apartments, but it's been subdivided and rearranged numerous times since then. At present it has 13 units. I'm in #21. It's on the third floor. No, I can't figure it out either. There are other quirks as well: Not a single apartment shares its layout with any of the others in the building. Use too much power in one apartment and you may cause a hallway or neighbor's unit to go dark. The phone system only supports one line per unit; the wiring dates from the 1930s. Some closets have windows in them. Depending on climatic conditions, four apartments may or may not share doorbells. And then there's the huge, swinging hook on the south side of the building no one can figure out the purpose for.
I was giving Heather and Rich the grand tour. We were walking down to the basement when he said it. "This place reminds me of The Shining."
I turned and pointed at him. "No."
"No. I don't believe in ghosts, but you do not compare my new building to the Overlook."
"But it's just like it, all the crooked hallways and strange spaces..."
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In other news, painting will be a bigger project than expected. All surfaces will have to be primed and a number of ceilings will have to be painted. I'd been hoping to start on it tomorrower, I mean todaybut they're going to be in painting the floors so I'll have to wait a day.
) ) )
Rich: "There are a lot of cats in this building."
Heather: "Let's get Mark a kitty!"
Mark: "Let's let Mark get moved in and settled first."
Heather: "Then let's get Mark a kitty."