It’s been a while since

It’s been a while since I posted here. What I’ve been doing:

  • Kate made curtains for the baby’s room, which feature monkeys riding on camels. It’s a good, Rudyard Kipling-esque kind of monkey-camel riding thing, though, not the kind of thing destined to give nightmares. The oil painting by my brother Oliver, however, is a different story: it features a placid, pallette-knifed wood scene. A mountain is reflected in the lake, and in the middle of the lake a giant eyeball floats. That one’s not staying in the nursery.

  • Yesterday, I dug three craters in the yard to get rid of three overgrown bushes in front of the house. I was astonished at how much dirt I had to move in order to get the root balls out. The toughest case — a gnarled evergreen — forced me to dig a seven-foot Comedy Bomb Crater with the root ball standing proud in the middle. Still, it was satisfying work, especially since the bushes were so tall that our house had been starting to look like the one that you don’t want to lose your softball in the back yard of. Even though the freaky crone inside turns out to be very nice, with the lemonade and the cookies and the happy after-school special ending.

    I took the brush to the Lanchester Landfill in Snuffy’s truck, which is a HUGELY cool mid-nineties tan Ford F150 with a black “CASH” sticker on the back. I wore Amish broadfall pants with suspenders and a Carhartt coat, and enjoyed the hell out of being a gentleman farmer for the day. (“Gentleman farmer” = “No idea what you’re doing”)

  • Kate and I have been talking about baby names. For no good reason, I find myself attracted to the polysyllabic names of ancient conquerers, like “Sennacherib” or “Ozymandias.” I would never saddle an actual kid with that name, although “Yosemite Young” is still under consideration. “Ashley” and “Madison” are DEFINITELY not. (We don’t find out the gender of the baby for another month, BTW.) This site from the Social Security Administration has been a big help.

  • Last weekend, Kate and I went to a nearby farm to buy some pumpkins. Like many farmers in the area , Milky Way Farm is adapting to suburban sprawl by becoming a B2C operation. They’ve built and opened a creamery, selling gourmet ice cream. They have a big pumpkin patch, to which you ride on a wooden trailer ringed with hay bales. A local teenager, fresh from soccer practice, stands by the tailgate on the way over and rapidly recites a half-remembered tour: “The building on your right is the barn, where the cows go to, um… where they go, when they have to, um, go somewhere.” The parking field is packed solid with minivans and SUVs, and the pumpkin patch is packed solid with affluent suburban families in casual clothing. Kate overheard two couples talking: “Oh, do you pick your own pumpkins too? We’ve been coming here for years. We even cut our own Christmas trees!” Overcome by this display, Kate muttered “Wow, lady! Do you even kill your own Easter bunnies?”, which almost caused me to drop the three head-sized pumpkins I was staggering along with.

  • I put a windshield on my motorcycle so that the ride to the station is a little less cold. Now that I’ve got hard saddlebags and a windshield, the bike is edging towards being an old-man cruiser. However, I don’t see any of the local hipsters riding their Italian cafe racers to and from work in 40 degree weather, so I’m probably retaining some measure of coolness. Like it matters. Unfortunately, it’s dark on both ends of the ride, these days — to the station at 6:30, from the station at 7:30 — so I don’t get to see the leaves. What’s more, the darkness on the ride to the station is making the ride more dangerous. Twice in the past two weeks someone has pulled out from a side street directly in front of me. These were low-speed events: the most at risk were some bruises, but my horn, my vocabulary, and my middle finger have all been getting a workout. If it doesn’t get much lighter when daylight savings starts, I’m gonna think about packing the bike up for the winter.

  • I’m working on a highly secret prototype project, whereby I will use old, clunky electronics as protective cases for new, expensive, and delicate electronics. Did I mention it’s highly secret?

  • I finally finished a project I’d been working on as a going-away present for my friend Kieran Downes, who’s now at MIT studying the history of nuclear weapons. It was a mushroom cloud nightlight made out of clear vinyl, pop-rivets, and some of Kate’s quilting template material, and it turned out pretty damn cool, if I do say so myself. The next day, I left it on the train, and it got lost. Ugh.

  • I got a promotion at work! When I get my new business cards in six months, they will read “Associate Director, Technology”. I now share a window office and have that most important badge of Agency status: my very own Herman Miller Aeron Chair. With no doctor’s note or conference-room larceny needed!

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