rax: (ADORAVUL[PIX])
  • It was supposed to be 36 today. Instead it is snowing again. I know I don't get to whine to the people in Boston, whose life literally is snow, but for ~everyone else: *whiiiiiiiiiine* There's this horrible layer of ice below everything and I don't know how I'm going to shovel and rrrf. And so much for my plan of going to Trader Joe's (a 90-minute drive away on a good day) this morning. I will have to make do with the food I have here for another day or two I guess. Maybe I will put on eight layers and trudge to the co-op later, except I am kind of worried I will slip and fall into traffic.
  • Had two dreams last night, one a horrible nightmare about something bad happening to my cat (turns out real-world-cat was out of food, and if this is what happens, I am feeding him before bed every night from now on), and the other a dream that I did an in-class exercise with my students on Tuesday that I woke up to and concluded actually that's a really good idea and penciled it into my lecture notes. Um, thanks, subconscious, I guess? 
  • Speaking of cats, Selene has accepted Leo's smell at this point --- I can smell like him and still pet her, although other people are not yet afforded the same privilege because she is Selene --- but has not accepted Leo. This is OK. They each have two floors of house to themselves and spend plenty of time looking at each other without having to definitely interact. This is really good, no one is doing anything destructive, and hopefully in another month or two they will share space without it being a huge thing. (Although when Leo tries to come within five feet of Selene, she hisses and he runs to the basement. But this is like a zillion times better than Oolong's response, which was to run right up to Selene. I think it will be fine.)
  • Apparently I can still have outside interests while fulltime in both grad school and the tech industry; I wrote, revised, and submitted a story to an anthology in the last month. I don't know where I found the time either. (Well, I have some idea; I spent a lot of time in airports this month. Wasn't much else to do once I got tired of homework really.) Also, as a random writing-practice thing, the story I wrote was one continuous scene of around 6000 words. Those of you who have had the [mis]fortune of reading my writing in the past know that my fiction used to be broken up into discontinuous scenelets of 500-1000 words a piece, which was also cool but was not optimal in that I was doing it all the time as opposed to when the story called for it. Over the last couple of years (as pushed, gently, by a particular professor in my MA program) I've been working to write longer scenes and see what sort of different things I can do in that situation; at this point it's rather easy and two of the last three stories I've written (as well as the more recent novel chapters, not that anyone has seen those at all) have been a single sustained block of prose. The next thing on my list is decidedly not, but on purpose; it feels very nice to have developed this new skill and be putting it into practice. Hopefully the editor I submitted to will think so too. *fingers crossed*
  • People who know this sort of thing: talking about money which I guess is potentially rude? )
  • Also [livejournal.com profile] scwizard claimed I wasn't going to get my tax paperwork in order this weekend, and just to be contrary I think I have it all in one place already? :) Though I may be missing things I don't know I need, I at least have enough to take to the accountant and be like "uh hi help which things should I bring you, you clearly don't want the entirety of my filing cabinet." So that's another thing off my tasklist. Hooray.
rax: (rival rival lech lech lech!)
  • Or maybe only like 77, but I have that feeling on my face of "I have been walking in the sun for too long" and it was too hot for jeans and a light shirt really, but that was all I had. Relatedly, I am in Texas, spending a long weekend with [personal profile] gaudior  and [livejournal.com profile] weirdquark . It's been wonderful. Texas is kind of terrifyingly Texas, but we have done things like go to a gay bar and find nutritional yeast at the grocery store, both of which went better than attempts to do the same in Indiana, so that's pretty awesome. (Heck, it's harder to find nutritional yeast in Cambridge, MA.)
  • Oh and the whole thing where my mood is all crazy, which it has been recently? I can't tell if it's "my mood gets way better when I am with an SO" or "my mood gets better when there are people I have known for many years around" or "my mood gets way better when the weather is less terrible" but either way or all of them, the last few trips have been great for me.
  • Of course, flights home tomorrow may end up being held up by bad weather, which would be exciting. Hopefully I will not miss class on Tuesday morning for the second time because of delays in Chicago. I'm going to have to travel for work in February; please remind me that I should not travel anywhere else in February, even if it seems like a good idea at the time, even if there's a sale. I need to spend some weekends at home... so I can get some work done. If I need more social, I can find people to hang out with in Bloomington, or worst case import them. This is not to say being here is not incredibly awesome and calming and good. But it is not a good I can do every weekend.
  • I'm doing that thing where I get ahead on homework and it is awesome. I need to get more ahead, but I am ahead and that is good, and in one class I am even two weeks ahead. One of them I'm only up to this Thursday, but I can fix that on Tuesday, or maybe tomorrow if I'm feeling productive on the plane.
  • For people who like to plan in advance, I will be in Seattle from March 11th to the 16th and Boston from the 17th to the 20th. I will spend a lot of the Seattle time with Rik, but there will be other time too and I'd love to see friends! Boston, uh, Thursday night will be Poker and Friday (or maybe Thursday?) lunch will probably be with former coworkers and the 20th I will be going down to RI to see family, and other than that, maybe there will be a party? I dunno?
  • A bunch of other things happened but I am at a place with people and also have a bunch of work to do so that's all you get this week.
rax: (Benten guitar case)
Technically, this week is my spring break at my MA program. I'm still working for my job, of course, although I took a half-day Monday and had to work somewhat weird hours on Tuesday because my basement flooded and my hot water and heat got turned off. At the time it was sort of exciting actually but now I'm more or less exhausted. At least today was beautiful and I got to take a long walk with a good friend who I hadn't seen in a while. The story of how I fixed the basement is actually pretty hilarious, so I will tell it to you.

Every year our basement floods a little bit, an inch or two near the front of the house and just damp near the back. Everything we care about is up a few inches off the floor for this reason. After the first time (which sucked) we learned to deal with it, no problem, whatever. We did not, however, buy a pump. We rent, and figured that was our landlord's job, and besides what do we care, we can just wear galoshes to do our laundry. We --- well, maybe I shouldn't speak for everyone who's lived here over the last five years. I, at least, am the sort of person who likes to solve problems by routing around them whenever possible. 

Monday morning, [livejournal.com profile] eredien  announced that there was no hot water, and I said... hmm! I went to check the hot water heater before heading off to work and, well, it was submerged in six inches of water. Oh dear. I decided to work from home and monitor the situation, [livejournal.com profile] eredien  went to work after calling the landlord, [livejournal.com profile] lutris  fled the state for unrelated reasons, [livejournal.com profile] postrodent  was a darling and took out the trash for me, and [livejournal.com profile] doma  and I started trying to figure out how to solve this problem. At the time, I was on a ridiculous conference call with a customer who was like "Yes, please wait twenty minutes," and so I decided to spend the twenty minutes working on this whole, you know, no hot water thing. None of us, including the landlord, could find anywhere in the area that would sell us a sump pump, because, well, everyone's basement was flooding. Stores would pick up the phone and say things like "Home Depot, we do not have any sump pumps."

Eventually the fire department came by and turned the gas off entirely, but not the power, and made a suggestion --- if we were enterprising, we could probably hook up a bilge pump for a boat. I called up Russo's Marine in Medford, and it turned out that they had one bilge pump in stock, but it had no power supply, just wires coming off of it. "Whatever," I said. "I went to MIT! [livejournal.com profile] doma  went to MIT! Surely we can figure this out." We drove, carefully avoiding any roads with valleys, and obtained the pump from this giant store full of large powered boats. Walking into a completely dry boat showroom out of a deluge is actually really hilarious. (And I was dressed for basement spelunking, in ruined purple keds with my pants rolled up to the knees. I am surprised they let us in.)

Back at home, sitting at the dining room table, I realize "Shit, I don't actually know the first thing about how to do this." And immediately I block this thought. See, the way my brain works --- if I let myself think that I am not able to do something, I won't be able to do it, and I will be miserable. But as long as I believe that I am capable of doing something, I usually can, even if the thing is ridiculous and hard or scary. So I grab this motor and some random parts and wires and electrical tape and say "Okay! I can do this!" I asked some friends online for help, all of whom disagreed with each other in a hilarious but useful way, and cherrypicked advice like how to merge wires and what to use as a 12V power source and how to deal with the fact that the bilge pump's output didn't correspond to any hose I had. I could have done it without them, eventually, but a chat room full of nerds is both more efficient and funnier than straight-up googling things.

So here's what I did: I took the pump, and stripped the wires a bit, and attached them with electrical tape to a speaker cable that was extra in the media room. Then, to make sure the wires didn't get water in them, I duct taped a cardboard box that had previously held a Christmas ornament my aunt made for me in like 2003 to the top of the bilge pump, and duct taped the electrical taped wires to that. Then I connected the end of the speaker wires to jumper cables to the battery of [livejournal.com profile] doma 's running car. (If nothing else, a car is a very inefficient backup generator. If I were to do this again, I would have spent the extra hour figuring out how to use an AT power supply instead, so I could have plugged this into a wall and not had to hold jumper cables while standing in the rain.) When the hose didn't fit, I held it tightly in place, wrapped a bunch of electrical tape around it, and then wrapped a bunch of duct tape around that. Then, we stood out in the rain holding the jumper cables in place and watched the basement slowly drain. It was awesome. Eventually the duct tape hose seal failed but not until the water was low enough that the landlord could turn on the gas and we could at least boil water for tea. Unfortunately the hot water heater had to dry out before we could get the pilot light on.

Monday night a friend offered me a real pump and I set that up on Tuesday morning and basically finished draining the basement before the landlord even got there. He finished off the rest with a wet-dry vac (he still hadn't managed to find a pump) and got our heat back on. The hot shower I took at around 4 PM was amazing.

....and of course, none of this is my thesis. :) But right now, I am going to bed.

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