Memorial Weekend Follies

The postings may continue to be a bit infrequent over the next couple of weeks. I am now in the midst of finishing up a lengthy research project for a graduate class I am taking and simultaneously trying to close the school year out with my students, all while moving into a new apartment. Also, by the way, my parents will be making their first visit to New England this weekend, during the move, as luck would have it. Thus the weekend is jam packed already and I will be swamped nearly every minute of it. Although, one of the advantages of my parents coming into town is that it provides a great excuse to dine at swanky Bostonian seafood restaurants, to show off the local cuisine to my fish-loving father.

In future, I may reveal more of my research, which is focused on writing and style. Even though it borders on the extremely obscure, it is fascinating and really transformative stuff. Thus, here’s to everyone having a great holiday weekend

Let’s just continue to hope for a reprieve from the rain that has been washing away most of Massachusetts. We’ve been under so much water lately, I have begun feeling like Noah!

New Digs, New Gig

It has been a busy couple of weeks. From nearly the moment I returned from my brief respite in Chicago, Ali and I were on the hunt for new dwellings. Unbelievably, it took all of three days. With thoughts of heading to Cambridge or Somerville, we started eyeballing the paper and looking for a place that would make traveling easier on Ali. Yet, we ended up finding a place practically in the same neighborhood. The place is an old building above some shops with a less than desirable entry, stairwell, and hall; however, when you walk in the unit, it has great character. With a full kitchen, 12×14 main room, and 10×14 bedroom, it may not seem like a whole lot, but the fifteen foot ceilings give it a great spacious feel. Hopefully we’ll be able to get most of our stuff in there.

On another front, I was able to secure employment for the coming fall. I am headed to the next town over, moving up the academic ladder a bit, to the high flying Belmont High School. It all happened so fast, it is hard to believe. Nevertheless it is very exciting. It completely removes a huge amount of concern to have locked in someplace so early. Quite a relief, actually. It certainly has bittersweet qualities, considering I will sorely miss my current comrades in arms. In many ways, I wish I could have stayed on in Waltham, but there wasn’t any room for me this year. That being said, it is great to be wanted and I am definitely looking forward to the new year. In fact, I was stunned to discover this week that the school came in 156 in the recent Newsweek high school rankings, the third highest ranking for a Massachusetts school. For whatever those things are worth, it does kind of sweeten the deal a little.

From Chicago to Boston

Picking up the truck.

I left for Massachusetts three weeks ago to the day. For those of you that were unaware here is the catch-up. After a long-distance romance that reunited me with my high school sweetheart closed in on a year’s length, I picked up and moved across the country so we could be together. Some wondered “What took so long?” and others responded more on the order of “You’re moving?” Nevertheless, Ali and I became serious enough that someone moving was inevitable. My moving was the path of least resistance, while satiating a bit of my long-buried wanderlust. So, now I am “Live from New England.”

Ready to hit the road.

First, I couldn’t have done it without the help of a small group of great people (You know who you are!). Thanks again to everybody who helped. This group includes anyone who helped with packing or took various items off my hands, so as they required no packing. I am extremely grateful to those that helped pack the truck, considering it was a weeknight and I was slightly overwhelmed with all the necessities. Yet, only three weeks ago Ali and I jumped in the U-haul, destination Bay State.

Coffee for the road. Day 2.

The drive took a bit longer than either of us would have liked, but we still managed to have as much fun as we could. We started the trek after the morning rush, since loading the truck took us well into the prior evening. Of course we got completely hung-up by the parking lot known as Interstate 80/94. Anybody that has ever had the pleasure of sitting on that godforsaken stretch of pavement will have just sighed in sympathy. Note that I was driving a 15 foot box-truck while dragging my Maxima in tow. Fast forward a few hours and we were cruising down the Ohio Turnpike. By the way, anyone traveling that ribbon of asphalt is treated to some of the nicest oasis stops in the nation. Passing through approximately five minutes of rain the whole leg, we pulled off in wonderful Barkeyville, Pennsylvania to lodge for the night at 11:00 PM EST. Combined with the weight, speed capabilities of our transport, and pit stops we were only to average about 55 mph. We ended the first day just shy of the half-way mark.

New American Gothic.

Road-tripping always renders the greatest opportunity to meet the most interesting people. On the dawn of day two, we had the pleasure of encountering an elderly couple from Little Rock, Arkansas. On the surface they were quite cute. They made the trip back to PA for the gentleman’s 60th high school reunion (How about that?!). Being a magnet for the social folk, these two took a shine to me and Ali immediately. That’s when everything took an amusing turn. The woman began chit-chatting about the weather. Hurricane Charley was the news of the day, if you’ll remember, so the television was abuzz with weather reports. That’s when she dropped the first comment that charmed my feminist girlfriend to no end. Mentioning those media-savvy meteorologists, the lady mused, “They (the weather reporters) sure think they know what they’re talking about, even the women.” Quite frankly, I was a bit surprised Ali didn’t pull a spit take with her coffee, but she really didn’t have time. The hits just kept coming from these sincere, sympathizing seniors.

Safely in Waltham, MA.

After learning we had come from Chicago, the older man proudly let me know, “I served with a bunch of boys from Chicago, in the War. They were all Polocks.” At this point, Ali jumped up to get more food and I seized the moment as a teaching tool, explaining how the Polish population in Chicago is greater than any other city with the exception of Warsaw. This and questioning them about their trip seemed to stabilize conversation for a short time. Yet the old lady had one last obscure ethnocentric tangent to weave into the conversation. She mentioned they had taken a local coal mine tour. Here was the topper! “Did you know that most of the coal that is mined here in the States is shipped off to China. I don’t like sending things to China. You know we sent a lot of scrap metal to Japan before they bombed us at Pearl Harbor.” At this point, all conversation seemed to screech to a halt as Ali busily tried to pick her jaw up, as it had dropped from the table, to her chair, and landed with an almost audible thud on the floor. Meanwhile, I was doing everything I could to stifle a welling laughter that nearly brought me to tears. It is safe to say that the last comment effectively ended our meal together. Once Ali had found and managed to reconstruct her talker, she screwed her eyes on her watch, and curtly but politely supposed “We should probably get on the road.” Not realizing we were breakfasting with the Bunker’s kicked the day off with fodder for a number jokes that traveled with us most of the second day.

All told, it took about twenty hours to complete our crossing to the coast, give or take an hour or two. So, pulling into Massachusetts around 7:30 PM EST was welcome relief. We dined with the Boston contingent of Ali’s family, took in some of the Olympics, and crashed for the night.

New home amidst the boxes.

First thing next morning, the unpacking began. With the help of Ali’s dad, step-mom, and younger brothers, we removed nearly all items on the truck marked for storage and headed for the homestead. Nearly all day was spent unloading that mobile crate into a space about half the size of my previous residence. Looking at the pictures below, one can appreciate my mild amusement with this reality. Truth told it is no doubt cozy, but not really problematic. As most of you know, I am capable of living out of boxes for long stretches of time. So, a few weeks of upheaval is nothing.

Hope you enjoy the pics. I have to say I think Ali did a great job of chronicling the voyage.

More to come…