Sunday, August 26, 2007

Honey, I'm Home

Obviously, that's not what it looks like NOW. Now it looks sort of like a rain forest. That tree in the front yard is in full leaf, and it is a thing of grand beauty. I spent quite a lot of time yesterday parked underneath it, hoping to absorb some of its calm and perspective on change and time and ...whatever else it had to offer.

Moving is, well.... let's go with "interesting" as a descriptor. "Pure unrelenting hell" is perhaps an overstatement, but not by much. A temporary move presents special challenges. Every single thing in our large home had to be sorted into one of four piles: essential, take to Pennsylvania; essential, but don't take it -store away from the renters' use (like, say, the wedding china); leave out for the renters to use; why the hell did we have this, anyway???? I would have told you we didn't have a whole lot in that last category. I was appalled to discover the truth. Seriously, you don't need to donate another thing to the Goodwill. We have met the needs of the poor people of the world for the foreseeable future. (Assuming, of course, that they aren't offended by the state of some of our junk. I would be, if I were them.)

Then we packed up our little car like the Beverly Hillbillies and started across the country. Math-Man's driving skills are the stuff of legend. In the interest of my own mental health, I tried to sleep through as much of his turn as possible. I decided that he thinks of the road as a race course. He doesn't drive that fast, although I did see 85 mph at one point. But he does race-driver-like things. He changes lanes in a curve, so the car is driving as close to a straight line as possible. He doesn't bother to signal these turns, because surely that's what everyone does (???). When I ...ummmm...expressed mild concern, he said "I have to have some optimization problem to work on." I thought, but did not say, "You could work on...oh, I don't know...optimizing your life span." He accelerates until he's smack on someone's bumper and then changes lanes. In traffic jams, he'll get insanely close to the car in front of us. Sleep. Really, it's the only solution that allows for marital harmony.

Now our three pieces of furniture are unpacked, and we're discovering all those things we ought to have packed. Honest-to-Pete conversations: (remember that Dave was here for spring semester of the previous school year, so had some supplies and furnishings in storage)

Me: You have a few spices, right? (I knew he wouldn't have many.)
Math-Man: Oh, yeah. Sure.

(I've found salt and pepper and paprika that I think belonged to the previous tenant.)

Me: I don't need to pack our everyday silverware, do I?
Math-Man: No, I took some stuff.

(We have two spoons and two forks.)

But all of this is, in the end, trivial. See.... I did learn some stuff from my wisdom-tree! We're in the same place, at the same time, getting ready to start new adventures. And when I start to freak out (which is approximately every third breath), I'll go sit under my tree some more.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Flooded Hometown

Our neighbor, fellow parishioner, and colleague Dave Changnon (a specialist on climate change, as it happens) took these pictures of our flooded hometown. This is the bridge closest to our house:

This is my beloved bike path:

I don't think this tree is usually submerged:

Holy mackerel.