Tuesday, February 27, 2007

a room with a view

As promised, here are some pictures of the new house...

Now this is what I call "fine dining"!

This is a bit of the tiny chunk of our property that could reasonably be called a "yard".

The cats agree: we sure get a lot of snow up here. Good thing for these wide windowsills to watch all the action.

At least one of us has a car that can get us in and out of this place! Shortly after J left, I called a plow to come make me an escape route. We later found out from our (very nice) neighbors that the retiree who used to live here always shoveled the driveway himself. All 400 sloping feet of it. Hmmph. Some of us have jobs, you know.

See that brown blob up there on the hill? That's our house, as seen from the woods. Bet we won't be able to see it from there once some leaves start popping!

And about where I was standing in that photo--that's where I saw, from my office window, not 1 or 2, but about 12(!) deer (I'm calling it our "herd") stroll by yesterday afternoon. I love this place!

Friday, February 23, 2007

you know you've moved to the country when:

-The first thing you receive in your mailbox is a card from the postal service that contains the heading "Rural Delivery".

-You're heading out to your first dinner out "in town" (trying to make it there before they close at 9 PM!), when you pass by a building with a parking lot full of cars and wonder, wow? what's going on *there* on a Wednesday night? And then you realize, it's a church.

-When passing by said church, you and your spouse speculate on what these good townspeople would think of you should the postman ever reveal to them the contents of your mail. (I read it for the articles, really!)

-At your big dinner out "in town", country songs are in regular rotation in the background music.

-After a big snow (like the one we had last night) you feel absolutely trapped in your own home until you are able to locate someone who is willing to come plow your 400 ft sloping driveway, because your compact car will never make it back up the hill should you leave the house with the driveway unplowed.

-You call to order a pizza from only pizza place in town, and the phone number is 555-8181. 10 minutes later, you have no heat or hot water and need to call the local repairman. His number is 555-8282.

-The local paper (delivered free to all residents on Fridays) contains full pages listing activities for senior citizens, numerous articles on church-related activities in the various towns (e.g. "Chicken Supper at Methodist Church"), an ad for a Christian summer camp, and...get ready for it...I am NOT making this up...a Jazzercise ad.

Monday, February 19, 2007

we did it!

Greetings from our new house in the woods! We're still living out of boxes, but we have cable, internet access, a couch to sit on, and the number for the only pizza joint in town. What more could you need? It's definitely going to be a while before we're all unpacked...

So, I'm hoping it's not just because I've been off work for almost a week, but living in this house feels like being on vacation. There's just something about this place that has made us feel really relaxed. I guess the view of the woods makes up for the interior maze of boxes.

The recent snow has allowed us to take note of some of the other inhabitants of our property--we've seen rabbit tracks, bird tracks, and some cat-like tracks that could be a raccoon or a fox (whatever it was, it left paw prints on J's windshield the other night!). We have a male cardinal in residence who has a lovely singing voice.

Last night my brother-in-law came up to see the house for the first time, and we took him on a mini night hike down to our stream. It was the first time we'd walked down into the woods since moving in. During the hike, we came across the first concrete evidence of deer on the property...hoof tracks leading down to and across the stream and criss-crossed over some other trails. Apparently we weren't the only ones trying to track the deer--there were some dog-like paw prints following the same path as the deer tracks. Coyote? Very possibly. Needless to say, as exhilarating as the discovery of the tracks was, I did get a little spooked when I heard rustling in the woods, even though it was probably just the wind.

I still can't believe this place is OURS!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Not a snowflake in sight all winter, and now all hell is set to break loose over Connecticut...just as it's time for me and J to haul an insane amount of crap over to our new digs! Wish us luck...

I'll be out of sight for a few days as we will be in transition, but I'm sure I'll have lots to share when I get back. Thanks for laughing with me through the major stress of the last few days!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

what happens when your in-laws get to paw through your things

When I'm facing a big task, I tend to get into making lists. In preparation for the move, I had written out a list of "manageable" tasks, listed by room, on a legal-sized piece of paper. Somewhere along the line, this list got tacked up in the kitchen. Today, I noticed several of our moving helpers taking a glance at the list, and started to worry about whether I'd written anything I wouldn't want family looking at. So when I saw that my brother-in-law seemed to be reading the entire list line by line, I got up to tear it off the wall.

"I have to make sure I didn't write anything embarrassing on that," I said, totally giving myself away.

He pointed at an item listed under "Bedroom". "You mean like 'Pack goodies'?"

Um, yeah. Like that.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

moving sucks, part II

OK, calm down. Just breathe. It's gonna be alright. They're going to locate your new address and snake their sneaky little wires in there and you are going to continue to be able to download celebrity gossip news and dirty craigslist postings at the sweet, sweet lightning speeds you have grown so deliciously accustomed to.

"I'm showing that we do service that area, but I'm not so sure about that house." This is what the 3rd Comcast customer service agent I had the pleasure of interacting with today told me. Surprisingly, this was the most reassuring thing I'd heard from them so far. I mean, it's better than "you're going to have to find another provider up there", which is what the first agent told me. The potential repercussions are beyond me. First, I would have to change not one, but TWO, email addresses. Second, I have seen what Cablevision has to offer and I fart in their general direction. No "On Demand" exercise programs? No...well I don't know what else they're missing but I am sure I would not like their service. Comcast is like Jordache in the 80's; Cablevision is like Jordache today. I am a cable snob.

I won't even begin to speculate on why our particular house would be showing up as unserviceable. I like to be serviced; my new house should be equally obliging. Maybe a Comcast tech once got spooked by a ghost on the property? Or...oooh! Maybe a chupacabra! Bigfoot! The Loch Ness monster! We do have a lot of room for hiding up there.

Comcast, if you're reading this, picture me on my knees before you. I am begging you, please! Let me keep my PowerBoost and my digital cable with exercise programs and late-night HBO specials On Demand. Just because I want to go live in the woods doesn't mean I want to stop sucking at the teat of corporate television or reduce myself to ordering...gasp!...DSL service. Call me back, Comcast. You don't have to play games with me--I won't think you're desperate if you don't wait a few days. I know you have others, but I think you feel the same way about me as I do about you. We need each other. I don't think I can live without you. Just stay with me, Comcast. I'll even let you do, you know, that *thing* we talked about that one time after all that wine? Please, Comcast, I know I can make you happy forever.

Kat E

Monday, February 05, 2007

moving sucks, part I

You know how people are always saying "I'm NEVER moving again"? That's because moving sucks. My living room is an obstacle course of full boxes, half-full boxes, empty boxes, trash bags and darting cats. My coffee table is littered with (more) crap (than usual). And amongst all this, there's no way any actual routine cleaning is getting done.

On the positive side, J is sorting through his many, MANY boxes of possessions, trying his best to find things he can actually bear to part with. So this weekend, we shared many laughs (in between the even more numerous moments in which one of us nearly assassinated the other) over old diaries, photos, and other mementos. A few highlights:

--I found my diary from freshman year of high school, in which I spend pages discussing my huge crush on a boy whose hair is "long in the back, but not too long, because that would be ugly". I have a feeling I'll be sharing a few of these entries with you all eventually.

--J dug out his old prom photos, in which he sports hair that is, um, pretty darn long in the back, and a white tux (also short in the front, long in the back, like the hair) with a peach cummerbund to match his date's huge peach lace-and-frill covered dress. He's so lucky to have found me instead ;)

--At one point, J barged into the bathroom, where I was washing my hands, and announced "dry your hands, I have something cool to show you but be sure your hands are dry first." So I dried my hands, and at his instruction (which I'll probably seldom follow in the future), closed my eyes and opened my hands. When I opened my eyes I saw that I was holding a handful of teeth. NOT cute, innocent baby teeth. No, these were his Big, Ugly, Adult, WISDOM TEETH. Not exactly what I was expecting. However, I will admit that this was much less traumatic then the time he showed me the rubber-banded remains of that long-in-the-back part of his former hairstyle, which he had for some UNGODLY reason kept in a box since he cut it off. I'm pretty sure I insisted that we could reminisce over his long lost mullet just fine by looking at pictures of it; and so it found its way to the dump, where it probably got covered in toxic waste and is now roaming the Northeast attaching itself to unsuspecting victims.

With regard to something else I discovered during this hellish moving process: I would just like to say that I love the fact that J and I have at least 2 giant Rubbermaid bins labeled "Costumes".

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Swiss shards

Super-brief photo summary of 4 days spent in Switzerland, most of which time was spent indoors, working:

Flew into Zurich. After clearing customs (Swiss customs was surprisingly...barely noticeable?), my next order of business was to board the next available train to Geneva. I was able to snap some photos during my 10-minute wait:

When I got to my hotel in Geneva, my room wasn't ready yet. I stepped outside to capture the snowscape. Apparently, I'd gotten there just in time, as Switzerland (like most of the US), hadn't seen much snow at all this season. It was snowing when I landed, and for a day everything looked like this:

This was the view from my room:

Also seen from my room, this apartment building seems to have a lovely garden terrace on the roof--notice the trees growing through the space in the roof?

Before I got too motion sick, I was able to take a few snaps from the train, en route from Geneva back to Zurich after my meeting:

As my flight home didn't leave until the next day, I was able to spend a couple of hours in downtown Zurich:

I wasn't overly thrilled with Zurich, but I did get a good fondue dinner there at this restaurant (apparently it's the place to go for fondue...which you'd think would be around every Swiss corner, but I can assure you it is decidedly not):

And, the view along the river after dark was just lovely:

Many thanks to J for the fabulous new point-and-shoot, which makes taking great travel photos a snap.