You know it’s getting close to the start of school when you order $250+ in new dress clothes from Lands End — instead of buying more t-shirts. What can I say? There was a sale, a big one, so I bought four shirts, two pairs of pants, and a pair of fun winter clogs. Because, you know, even though it’s going to be 102 today, Winter is Coming!*
Archive for July, 2012
Dear Husband, i.e., The Coach:
Here is your summer “Honey-Do” List, in order of importance:
- Order replacement parts for the pool. It’s hot out there!
- Cut the rest of the ivy off the front porch.
- Chop up the tree branches in the backyard.
- Dust all the ceiling fans, THEN mop the floors. The landing needs a good scrub.
- Clean the cat food out of the drain in the downstairs bathroom sink (don’t ask).
- Hopefully, by this point we can set up the pool. And, build some pool stairs?
- Replace the back stairs so we don’t break our necks.
- Fix the fence (new post on the street side!)
- Replace the kitchen floor (after vacation when fridge is empty).
- Call Sears and schedule annual fridge/stove maintenance.
- Call Schneider for A/C annual checkup (after vacation when we get paid).
- Rebuild the “shutters” on the front window.
- Paint all lower windows and trim.
- Clean basement and put in the insulation I bought three (???) years ago.
- Get another quote for the gutters (after I get second summer paycheck).
By fall break, we should be able to move on to:
- Fix bathroom wall (after the gutters are done).
- Put in new toilet in upstairs bathroom.
- Put in new sink in downstairs bathroom (to make more room for litter box).
- Figure out how to fix leak in downstairs shower drain.
And by spring break:
- Paint the walls in the downstairs landing.
- Get the landing floor really, really clean (or replace it, bah!).
- Start working on build-in bookshelves for the landing.
When that’s all done, we can discuss the build-in bookshelves in the dining room.
Ambitious, I know, but seeing how *nothing* got done last summer, the list has grown and some of the issues — like those damned stairs — have gotten worse. And, 0bviously, I will help you with some of these things when I am not working on my book manuscript. I can paint the low-stuff. I can paint the landing. I can even help clean the basement.I will not, however, go crawling back into the potentially rat-infested ivy. That one’s on you — and maybe the Russells too.
The Traveling Ph.D.
P.S. Other minor stuff might also come up, like hanging some new curtain rods in the living room, or putting up a new mailbox, or putting in a new kitchen fan. But, these are all dependent on low gas prices.
Don’t worry, folks! The Coach and I are both alive and kicking. We ended up leaving Saturday for my uncle’s funeral and it has been busy since we’ve been back. Well, The Coach has been busy. Me? I didn’t leave the house for three days, but I did soak in the pool. I also wrote a couple of syllabi. The Coach finished all of his lesson plans from last year (sigh). I canned a couple quarts of salsa. The Coach cut his thumb on the corn cutter and bled like a stuck pig. Yeah, we are completely boring, I know.
In the past 12 months:
- My friend Bob: cancer.
- The Coach’s former student: a heart attack at 20.
- The Coach’s student: suicide.
- The Coach’s student: undiagnosed heart condition.
- My friend Patty: cancer.
- My former professor: cancer.
- The Coach’s student: long term illness.
- My Uncle Howard: cancer.
- The daughter of one of The Coach’s friends: gunshot wound.
The Grim Reaper can stop picking on us any time now. We’ve had enough.
I Named Her Frida
(Do you get the reference?)
Yes, I finally bought a new bike and it is awesome!
Ann Patchett’s Bookstore
As you may well know, The Coach and I have been complaining about the fact that we need to buy new gutters for our house. I had set aside some cash to do it this summer, but alas, I’m going to have to raid the savings account to take a last-minute trip up to Ohio to see the family. I guess it’s a good thing we haven’t had any rain this summer; in fact, it’s been so dry that we’ve decided to put off the gutters until next spring and just use some of our tax return to help cushion the financial blow.
Of course, we didn’t make that decision until after we decided that we should be responsible adults and “staycation” in July instead of taking a big expensive trip out west (which, you know, is what I really wanted to do). Plus, given the fact that Clancy just turned 16, I have this (sort of irrational) fear that the dog might die while being boarded and we had already boarded him once this summer. And, to be honest with you, I didn’t want to put all those miles on my Mustang. The Coach’s car has already topped 175K and next summer, when Sally is all paid off, I plan on giving him my old car so I can get a new Prius (if I can afford it – we’ll see).
Yeah, that’s a long lead in, just to tell you that we did a day trip down to Nashville last Thursday as a part of our staycation adventures.
We had planned to go to the Parthenon, but it took us a while to get out the door, so the trip ended up being a bit, well, “abridged.” Because he is a good sport, The Coach took me shopping at Parnassus Books. That’s Ann Patchett’s independent book store, if you didn’t know that already. In a way, I saw this shopping adventure as a bit of an economic statement against giant corporate bookstores. I know, I know: I shop at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon, but that’s because we don’t have an independent bookstore in this neck of the woods.
Little known fact (or not): In the nine years that we have lived in Evansville, we have gone from three bookstores (Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million) to one. Oh sure, there are a couple Christian bookstores (there’s not for me) and less than a handful of used bookstores (which are okay, but cannot meet all of my reading needs). Since I have a massive book addiction, I get panicked at the thought of BN going under. I mean, what will I do then? What will happen to my need for immediate gratification? It’s true that I have an e-reader, but it’s just not the same thing!
I’ll admit that I was a little worried when we discovered that the bookstore was located in a suburban strip mall instead of being in a funky old house or a chic downtown location. But, as the old saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. (I know, very pun-like.) The store has a very nice selection of books, from literary fiction to teen novels to the children’s section with its child size entrance that even I was too tall to use. The Coach pointed out a couple of books that piqued my interest – one of which (Iversen’s Full Body Burden) came home with us. I also bought a signed copy of Patchett’s The Patron Saint of Liars because I thought it would be fun to buy an Ann Patchett book in Ann Patchett’s bookstore.
Yes, I am that nerdy.
While I wouldn’t make a second trip down to Nashville just to go book shopping, The Coach and I both agreed that we’d add Parnassus Books to our list of places to stop whenever we are in Nashville for hockey games or concerts, or when we are driving through coming back from a trip down south. But, once The Coach’s paychecks start up again (mid-August), I plan on signing up for the store’s “First Editions Club” so that I can have at least one nice book a month.
In the Bathroom
The Melting Pot, Nashville
It might seem that our whole trip was focused on acquiring books – and maybe it was – but we also poked our heads into a Ten Thousand Villages where I bought a mouse for my mouse (I’ll take a picture one day) and we found a Bath Junkie where I got some salty almond-tainted foot scrub. More importantly, we got to play with our food again – that’s right, Nashville has a Melting Pot! And, then we just came home because, you know, the dogs needed out and it’s a good two hours home from Nashville.
Final note: I bought a fondue pot when we lived in Chicago, oh, about 15 years ago. It’s still in the damned box. D’oh!
So, does it make me weird that I thought about running around my kitchen, clutching my homegrown watermelon, while muttering “my precious” to the animals?
My #firstworldproblems continued on Tuesday when I learned that Oat Flax Bread is some of the nastiest stuff I have ever encountered. Seriously, I had to throw my sandwich away. And the aftertaste just would not go away, not even after I chewed two pieces of stale gum, brushed my teeth, and ate dinner.
My hair, on the other hand, has decided that it will bow to my will and adjust to the new cut. Okay, maybe not my will – but lots and lots of product. It may not be the Tamsin Greig cut I was going for, but I did manage to get surfer girl chic out of it – until this morning when I looked more like a crazed version of Bill Hendrickson’s mother (re: Big Love).
The Coach wants you to know that he called Sears, even though I refused to cross it off the list until Sears actually shows up to do its warranty work on the fridge and stove.
I joined a book club. I’m thinking about doing a Master Gardener class. I’m trying to cultivate a life outside of work.
Speaking of work, I had to cancel my senior seminar for the fall. Even after my “recruiting email,” there were only three people in it. I felt kind of bad until I realized that my teaching schedule went from five days a week to two days a week. Bonus: The methods class I picked up in lieu of the senior seminar gave me 20 more students to work on a collaborative research project (and, all of us are going to get paid too).
The summer is getting away from me. I only have 46 pages written for the book project. Okay, that’s 46 single spaced pages, but somehow I feel like I am a slacker. Plus, I really should send out a couple of articles this summer if I ever want to make full professor. But, it’s hard to be motivated when there were no raises this year.
In more somber news, my cousin messaged me last night to say that my uncle has stage 4 liver cancer. That’s rough.
I wish I could spend my day re-reading Harry Potter.
Instead? I have to go to work: meeting, meeting, meeting. Blah.
Why, oh why, can’t I get the freakin’ hair stylist to follow directions?
This is Tamsin Greig, a British actress I came across while watching Episodes –which is hysterically funny and showcases a very sexy Matt LeBlanc (much more sexy in this show than he was in Friends, but I digress):
She kind of reminds me of my late first mother, only her hair is less gray.
Here’s another picture, so you can see more of her hair.
And, this is the picture that I shared with the hair stylist.
Given the fact that I had a head full of hair — I went in with a single layer chin length bob — I was expecting that said hair stylist would be able to accomplish this. Granted, I knew that it might be a little short in the back, but I had tons and tons of hair on top. Tons! And I had more than enough hair to make those cute asymmetrical bangs. So, please explain how I ended up with this haircut:
You’ve got to be shittin’ me! Again?
Seriously? The top of this cut is way, way too short for me to do anything except add some texturizer and wait for it to grow out. As for the bangs, all I can do is sigh. This is the second time this has happened to me in Evansville. My friends will all remember the trauma of the “American President Annette Bening” haircut that happened two summers ago — the one that was so short that my husband had longer hair than I did. You know: the one that was supposed to be Annette Bening as lesbian mama in The Kids Are All Right. The one where I showed the stylist a picture and she completely ignored it. It took me about six months to grow my hair out enough to keep my head warm. While I am thankful that this stylist (a completely different person, mind you) didn’t leave me half bald, I am really quite annoyed that she essentially gave me the same haircut that was on her own head. UGH!!!
That’s it: I’m done with that salon for-f*cking-ever.
Obviously, it is their policy to do whatever the hell they want.
Obviously, the customer is never right.
Obviously, they don’t want my money.
Squire Boone Caverns, Corydon, IN
OR: HOW WE ESCAPED THE HELLMOUTH FOR 60 MINUTES
There’s only so much time a body can spend floating in the water getting prune-like toes while trying to beat the heat. Quite frankly, the Redneck Riviera is getting bathwater warm these days — something I adore, but The Coach hates. I guess a body just can’t get cool enough when the water’s 90+ degrees?
When the weather’s broiling hot, there’s not much one can do to stay cool. Oh sure, there’s the movie theatre and the office, but there are only so many movies one can watch and who really wants to work during their designated staycation? So, a couple days ago, The Coach and I decided to escape the heat by going 60 feet underground.
That’s right, folks: We hit the Indiana Cave Trail.
As I learned last year when TQE and I went to Marengo Cave, Underground Indiana has issued a “passport” for this “trail.” If you get it stamped at all three southern Indiana caves – Marengo, Bluespring, and Squire Boone – you will get a special Indiana Cave Trail t-shirt. Surprisingly, I had not lost my passport (with my first stamp on it) in the 11 months that had passed between my friend’s visit and our recent heat wave. The Coach and I discussed our options: did we want to go north towards Bloomington or east towards Louisville? In the end, we picked Squire Boone Caverns, mostly so we could continue on to the other ‘Ville and visit a friend of ours.
Lost in Indiana — or Not?
This place was out in the boonies!
Here’s the 4-1-1 if you’re interested: Squire Boone Caverns is located in the middle of nowhere, or at least, it feels like the middle of nowhere. Once you get out of Corydon proper, you are surrounded by corn fields and trailer homes … and more corn fields. Fortunately, there are a lot of signs to guide you into the park – which turned out to be more than just the cave. At the bottom of the hill, there’s a grist mill; up top, there’s a little village where you can buy candy, soap and candles, “mine” for fool’s gold, and feed the goats and ducks. Too bad it was so damned hot; I couldn’t bring myself to even look at the candles because I knew they’d just melt into puddles of wax. I did, however, take a picture of the goat.
The second thing you need to know is that there are 73 stairs in and out of the cave. The folks that operate the place really, really want you to know this. There are signs everywhere and they will remind you two or three times before you start down into the cave. What they don’t tell you is that you will be descending on a spiral staircase or that there will be a sign telling you to “Look Down: 60 feet.”
All those stairs are worth it, though, if you want to stand around in 54 degree temperatures for an hour or so. Well, there are also some interesting formations (like the flat stalagmites and the rimstone) and a waterfall (the 90% humidity ruined my hair as you’ll see below), but seriously: 54 degrees! The cave would have been the perfect place to take a nap if only they would let you. Sadly, the only person spending extended time down in the cave is Squire Boone – or rather, 27 of his dead bones.
Big Ass Rock Formation
I took this while we lollygagged at the back of the tour
And, if you haven’t figured it out by now, Squire is Daniel’s brother, so you can put on your coonskin hat – or buy one in the gift shop. You can also buy commemorative caving helmets and bat stuffies — even though the cave doesn’t really attract bats. In fact, according to our tour guide, he has only seen 14 bats in three years (yes, he counted).