Monday, November 28, 2005

Wrong turns.

I've been thinking lately that the nice thing about being someplace new, especially if you've got plenty of time, is that you never take a wrong turn. Either you're getting where you're trying to go or you're learning more about your new city.

That was not the case this afternoon. I was definitely taking wrong turns. It took me two hours to get to the bank. It was supposed to be about forty-five minutes, which is what it took to get back. It took so long primarily because 53 is a screwed-up road and I didn't read all the signs carefully enough the first time. I had to get directions from the bank and then from Mapquest to get there. Once I did everything was straightforward, though.

When I got back I called Asia and she suggested starting to look for houses just after the holidays. I need to apply for a job today. There was nothing in Sunday's classifieds. I'm feeling a little guilty for not getting a holiday job, but I really don't want to and I can afford it and I wouldn't be able to work on the busiest days of the season anyhow. I was thinking last night, while Eric's sister talked about how much money she was making in her new job and what she was spending it on besides her student loans, I used to make that much money, and I've been financially responsible my entire life, why am I having to be so careful with it? and then I realized that it's because I've been financially responsibly my entire life--which admittedly has not been that long, but still--that I can afford to be unemployed for the next several months if it becomes necessary. I really am doing okay. And I still don't regret quitting my job and don't expect to.


The computer is fixed--it was the RAM; I'm borrowing a stick of Eric's for now and will be getting the replacement sticks in about a week--and it's sixty degrees out. I have to drive out to Oak Harbor still, but it's sunny and warm and I think I know where my missing Billy Joel CD went. Change is good.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

I love technology.

My new computer will not work. First, it was shutting down randomly; that turned out to be because the fan wasn't mounted properly and it kept overheating. Now, it's randomly having fatal errors. It doesn't seem to be the hard drive. It doesn't seem to be the CD drive unless it's both. It could be the motherboard or the processor chip or the RAM. I'm learning all sorts of things about how computers work that I didn't know when my computer was working fine. We can't take it back easily because we ordered it online and it's a Frankenputer. I am not pleased. Eric is beyond displeased, probably mostly because this was supposed to be something fairly straightforward in his area of expertise that he was going to do for me and it's turned into this pain.

Otherwise, things are going well. Except for the snow and the ice and the cold, but that's going away now and it's not so bad when I don't have anywhere I'm required to drive except four miles to where I can get food and company and a bed whenever I'm tired of being alone.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The new start

It's a gray, cold, rainy sort of day. It's exactly the sort of day for staying at home with cocoa and a book and enjoying the fact that I don't have to go to work, and that's exactly what I've been doing. This is the first day that everything's been put away (except for one half-full box of office supplies and one half-full box of...stuff...that I think I'm just going to put away as is) and my cable's been installed and I've been at home to relax and start to do the things I said I would do once I got settled. I guess that means I'm settled. I have files and final bills to send out and a new computer to anticipate and the quilt to make for Marie.

At my going-away party everyone talked and laughed and I felt a little left out, which is only right I suppose, but not much; and the pizza was excellent and I got a gift certificate to Hobby Lobby, which will be nice for quilt backing and batting, and Margaret Atwood's Negotiating With the Dead from Jeri (whose book I helped with). And I saw Kathleen and KB. Kathleen had agreed to help me move. Ivy asked me if I had enough help and when I said no, volunteered herself and Ron. But the only one who showed up was Marie.

She gave me a scarf she had crocheted herself. It's blue and wonderfully soft and I was touched. Apparently I wasn't so bad an officemate after all--either that or she was just so glad to be rid of me. It was a long day--why do I have so much stuff?--but we got everything packed, including my car on the trailer, by dark. Then we went to J. R. Scotese's for dinner and then Marie went home and Eric and I went to start for Toledo and the U-Haul truck dashboard lights didn't work. We hadn't noticed--or rather, Eric hadn't noticed, because I had been chicken and asked him to drive the truck from the rental place, which was a convenience store, by the by; we only knew to stop there because we saw the trucks--in the daytime, but now it was dark and driving with no idea of how fast he was going or how much gas he had left sounded neither appealing nor safe.

So we called the U-Haul emergency number, and also Eric's mom Brenda. U-Haul kept us on hold and then asked the problem and then said they'd call back with an ETA on a technician to help us and didn't. Brenda asked Eric to find the fuse box and switch out the bad fuse with a nonessential one to get us going. But the batteries in my flashlight were dead--I've replaced them--and when he finally did it with my tiny red pocketknife light and the light from my cell phone it didn't help. We called U-Haul back and I talked to a nice young lady who said that it was now so late no vendors were open to help us. I said, You'll reimburse us for our hotel costs tonight, yes? and she said yes. So we went to the Hampton on Colonel Glenn, which I believe was the hotel I stayed in my first night in Dayton when I interviewed, and in the morning the dashboard was of course visible so we just drove.

We unpacked everything very quickly and then went off for dinner. The apartment isn't bad. I'm really glad I have brand-new carpet, though, because it isn't very good either and the new carpet makes it feel much nicer. Still, it's cheap, and it's only six months. Over the next few days--last week--I got things organized and cleaned the kitchen floor twice, once because it was visibly filthy and once because my socks kept sticking to it even afterward. I've spent some time getting lost while driving. I've responded to a few job ads and ordered a couple of Christmas presents (Christmas in six weeks! Isn't that wild?) and gone apple-picking and endured a minor cold. Toledo's not bad so far.

This week I start up my usual employments--sewing and knitting and, once again, writing--and try not to worry about my jobless state. I'm actually not worried about it, but that worries me itself because I know I'm lazy and would be happy doing nothing as long as possible, and technically speaking if I'm frugal it will be possible for quite a while. Having no income isn't the same as having no money, but I'm trying to treat it that way so that it doesn't become the same. Fortunately my pursuits are pretty cheap (and I have my Hobby Lobby gift certificate to help out) and so are my living expenses for the moment. I'd forgotten how carefree apartment living is. Maybe this is just what I need.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Hi. I live in Toledo now. It's weird--that thought, not the city. The move went reasonably well except for a lack of dashboard light that ended up with Eric and me staying in a hotel Saturday night instead of driving up 75. I'm making Marie a quilt because she was the only one who showed up to help and we would still be moving if not for her. Most of my furniture is in place now and the boxes are being unpacked. I'm over at Eric's now, waiting for people to get home for dinner, and this is all the Internet I get because I didn't call the cable company. Or rather, I didn't get through. I need to hunt up a phone book. Because I really want an Internet connection. Then I can write about my apartment and how it feels to be out of work and how very filthy my kitchen floor was and how I was too chicken to drive a U-Haul with a car trailer. But it all depends on the cable company.

Friday, November 04, 2005

19 change-of-addresses down, 2 to go.

Tip: whenever you know you'll be planning to cancel a dial-up service, always, without fail, call two months early and use the two free months they offer you. I daresay you could call three or four months early and negotiate.

Just insurance and cable left.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The big day

Today is my last day of work. Today I finish up any little tasks I've been given (one). Today I use the postage meter for the last time. (Yes, I pay for it.) Today I take the last personal items from my third of the office--my talking bug and my African violet. Today I wipe my computer clean of all bookmarks and personal files (resumes and job listings mostly). Today I say good-bye to a regular paycheck, albeit for a short time (I hope).

Last night I taught Peggy and Marie to knit, and they both caught on pretty quickly--probably partly because they both crochet and partly because I taught them the easier (if slower) way. Marie knitted a little loose, which surprised me, since I understand 97% of all knitters start out way too tight. Peggy was almost exactly perfect in her tension, which surprised me even more. They both seemed to enjoy it, though, and Peggy has promised to finish a scarf and send me a picture of it. The other group members, who are avid Harry Potter fans, have told me to come down next time--first Wednesday in December--so that we can discuss the movie.

It was a nice night. Didn't leave me enough packing time, of course, but oh well. I'm being very lethargic about the packing. I've done the living room, the basement, the bathroom, and both bedrooms except for some hanging clothes and my hats. That leaves the kitchen, the breezeway (shoes and coats), and the garage. Tonight I'll be working on the ktichen and the clothes and washing my sheets, bathmats, and any other remaining laundry. Oh, my washer and dryer, how I'll miss you.

Tonight is my going-away party. Marie had to leave early last night to get to a store whose name she refused to divulge, saying she was being sneaky because she had to go and get something secret. (I'm very dense about these sorts of things. I wouldn't have realized her odd behavior meant anything if she hadn't outright said so.) We're all meeting at LaRosa's at 5:30 for pizza and talking and some sort of secret. It should be fun. And a good way to end my last day.

(I brought in four packs of lunchmeat to leave in the kitchen. It's not as nice as when Carrie brought in three tubs of local ice cream, but maybe somebody here will want them and it's too late for them at the house.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Yay for justice and Liberty Mutual.

I got a check from my insurance company yesterday. $500. My deductible. They got Idiot Green Truck Driver to pay up. Justice prevails! I don't hate moving quite so much anymore.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

In which Jennifer Homeowner laments the loss of her identity, only considerably less elegant.

The apartment leasing agent and I are on "Jen" terms now. As in, she's started calling me Jen. Since she's trying to be helpful, I'm trying not to be annoyed. She has verified for me twice that my new address is what she wrote it down to be, verification I needed since the electric company couldn't find it in their database. Apparently they have one number off, as we verified by checking meter numbers. Anyway, that's set, and if the check I sent today gets there Friday I'll be fine. If not, I'm going to have to drive up there Friday and give her another check, an act I'm not looking forward to at all--though it might let me pick up Eric and thus cancel the car dolly. But no, I'm going to need my car to carry all the fragile stuff anyway--telescope, computer, DVD player, VCR, two stereos, electronic keyboard. And I need that five hours I'd lose because I'm not nearly as motivated to get everything packed as I ought to be.

I hate moving. I knew I was going to reach a time when I no longer liked moving and this is it. I want to be there, I don't want to be here, but I don't like this process of doing it. From the time I went to Baltimore for grad school in 1999 up until this move to Toledo, I have moved seven times. That's an average of more than a move a year. And only to three places, really--Baltimore, Seattle, Ohio. Why do I keep changing homes? It's not to prevent me from accumulating stuff, because I've accumulated (books mostly, but also, you know, a sewing machine and a fabric stash and a Papasan chair and a KitchenAid food processor). If I kept going different places, as I'd originally wanted to, that would be fine, but no, it's only been three, and I'm now at the point where I don't want to be a stranger in a new city anymore; I want to be where my friends and my family are. And I'm still going to have to keep moving, in six months to a house (why do I need a house?) and in a couple of years to the West Coast and possibly a couple of years after that back if Eric can't stand it. I have to keep all my boxes. (My new apartment has the water heater in the walk-in closet. I'm thinking of taking the second bedroom to sleep in and making that room the office/craft room so that it doesn't bother me every morning when I get dressed.)

Oh, and the buyers don't want the washer and dryer, which is reasonable but disappointing. "If she leaves them, we'll take them," they said, via The Agent. Ha ha ha. Now I'm definitely not leaving them. Only not leaving them involves unhooking them and hauling them up the basement stairs (which probably means taking the railing off) and putting them in storage for six months. I don't wanna. I hate moving.