Saturday, November 29, 2008


Fall of 2008 will forever be remembered as the Semester of Boxes and Suitcases. Penn moved. Then I moved. Then Penn's good friend bought a house and he and his wife also moved, with a lot of help from us. Next weekend my friend from school who is taking over the lease on my old apartment is moving, with a lot of help from me. In the midst of all the moving I packed suitcases and went to Delaware. And Boston. And San Francisco. And back to Penn's hometown for Thanksgiving. Oh, and remember back before all the moving actually started, how I was going up to Penn's hometown at least every other weekend, and there was the whole Niagara Falls trip...Good lord. So many good things, but SO MANY DAMN BOXES.

Honestly, I don't even want to think about traveling to my parents' house for Christmas right now because it's going to involve yet another suitcase. Thankfully, I still have almost three weeks until I have to do that.

Luckily, the new apartment is finally almost completely organized. I packed up all the rest of the stuff from my old apartment and moved it over here on Tuesday, and I spent Wednesday cleaning the old place so that my friend can move in. After a month of living in limbo I finally have all of my stuff in one apartment again, which is a very nice feeling. I even have the whole place almost completely organized! I'm forcing Penn to help me hang all of our pictures and wall decorations tomorrow and then I have to organize a filing cabinet and that's it. And then I'm immediately decorating for Christmas, so I'll take pictures and post them sometime in the next few days so that you guys can see the new place. I'm really proud of it. Penn and I did a pretty good job of combining our stuff into a nice looking home, and I'm really proud of everything he's doing to keep the place looking neat because he knows that's important to me. And even though we've already been living together for a month, I still feel a little giddy every time I look at our toothbrushes resting in the same cup or my high heeled shoes lined up on the shelf under his tool chest. Things are going well.

I wish I'd done a better job of writing about the month of November. A lot happened, and most of it was really good and a lot of fun. But between all the moving and travel I seriously haven't had more than an hour here and there of free time, because the schoolwork load has been just as heavy as ever. But I'm doing great. Happy, healthy, busy, and in love. What more do you need to hear, really?

Friday, November 14, 2008

How You Know You've Found a Good Man

You all know I sleep with socks on my hands, right? (To help hold in my moisturizer, and no, I can't stand the way moisturizing gloves feel on my hands, etc.) Well, prior to us moving in together, Penn had never experienced my sock hands. Oh, he knew that it was a habit of mine, mostly because it seems like every time he met one of my friends for the first couple of months they would gleefully ask, "Ooh, has she slept with socks on her hands yet?!" (That's my "thing", apparently.) But for all these months I hadn't been sleeping with socks on my hands when I was with him. Since we were only together some nights, there were still usually enough other nights in the week where I could go be a freak in the privacy of my own home. That, and having socks on your hands sort of precludes you from certain bedroom activities, if you know what I mean.
But now that we're living together, I've had to break out the socks in mixed company. If I don't use my socks at least a few nights a week, my hands get so dry it's unbearable (I'm half alligator, I swear). So the other night I waited until I was pretty sure we were finished euphemistically "going to bed" and actually going to bed and then I quietly snuck over to my side of the bed and put on some lotion and my socks. Well, of course Penn noticed and laughed like crazy and asked if I wanted some gloves for my feet and then told me that he thinks it's cute. Insane, but cute.
This morning he had to wake up a couple of hours before I did, so while he was in the bedroom getting dressed I was still dozing in bed. When Penn leaned down to kiss me goodbye he said, "Do you realize you're sleeping wearing nothing but socks on your hands? You look like a mental patient." And I laughed and then he proceeded to kiss me goodbye for much, much longer than is necessary, proving that somehow he still finds me sexy even when it's 7:30 in the morning and my hair looks like a bird's nest and I haven't brushed my teeth in eight hours AND there are socks on my hands. I think that's pretty good.

One other quick anecdote: The other day Penn said to me, "Oh yeah, I meant to tell you: I was looking around at a book fair the other day and I found a book called How to Clean Everything. It was only a dollar so I was going to buy it for you because I knew you'd like it, but then I said, 'No. If I do that, she is really going to want to clean EVERYTHING.' And you already clean enough!" Poor guy.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hi Kiki!

Kiki demanded a blog entry yesterday, and she also demanded that I mention her in the entry. So there, that's one thing accomplished today!

I realize it has actually been a really long time since I wrote anything worthwhile, but I have a lot of excuses. I've known for months that November was going to be a hectic month because of the two conferences I have (had) to attend. That means two papers to polish for presentation (and in the case of one of the conference, several other people's papers to read) plus two time consuming trips to take. Then everything happened with Penn's new job and him moving down here and our decision to move in together earlier than planned and the next thing I know I wasn't just going to two conferences in November, I was also doing a mid-semester move (which anyone in their right mind will tell you to never do, ever). Then there was my birthday, which was lots of fun, but celebrating is another reason I haven't had time to really write in a long time. And then about three weeks ago I felt really lousy for a couple of days and the cold lingered and lingered and then turned into a sore throat and eventually turned into the Cough That Will Not End. I feel like I've been sick for years. Several people have suggested I have bronchitis. One of my professors went to a doctor and was officially diagnosed with it herself and ever since she has been hassling me to go to a doctor, too. Since it seems to be going around right now I suppose I probably do have bronchitis, but I just don't think going to the doctor is worth it. What will a doctor do, charge me fifty bucks and give me a cough suppressant? Bronchitis is a viral thing, you can't take antiobiotics for it, therefore going to a doctor is pointless. So basically I've been hacking my way through classes and trying not to cough in my boyfriend's ear all night long and occasionally suggesting that someone fly me to somewhere warm and dry and put me in a sanatorium. Fortunately, I finally seem to be doing better this week.

So yeah, that's why I haven't been writing. And now I have so many things I could write about I don't even know where to begin. Ummmmm...cohabitating is fun! Seriously, everything is going really well with the new place. We have enough organized and unpacked and I've moved enough of my stuff over that it feels more or less comfortable and I feel like I'm actually living here and not just living out of a suitcase. We currently have what I've dubbed the White Trash Living Room since we haven't moved my couch over here yet and therefore our furniture consists of a slipcovered recliner and two beach chairs (complete with beer holders), but the bedroom is almost completely in order and the kitchen and dining room are fully functional. The office is still a disaster since that's where I've been throwing everything I want to deal with later, but honestly, many, many people would live their entire lives in this apartment in its current state and be completely satisfied. (People that are much less anal and organized than me!)
I haven't spent a single night in my old apartment since Penn moved down here, so it's a really, really good thing we decided not to maintain my lease until the summer. I thought it would feel kind of sad to leave my old apartment and officially leave my life as a single woman, but truthfully I haven't even had time to feel nostalgic about it. The only time I felt a little sad was when I went over there the other day to pick up some stuff and I realized that I never really had the closure of Last Night in This Room or Last Walk With the Dog in This Place like I usually like to have. I normally like to give myself a little mental ritual and ceremony of closure, and I didn't get to do that this time around because all of the moving has happened so fast and there has been so much else happening in the meantime.
But you know, it's okay. Even though that apartment is still technically mine until mid-December, it doesn't feel like home anymore when I go over there. The new place feels like home. Last night I was walking the dog up the steps to our condo and I thought, "Wow, I live here with my boyfriend," and it was weird to think that a year ago I didn't even know Penn and couldn't have imagined this place or that I'd be living here with him. But now I can't imagine NOT living here with him. I'm excited to see how our life plays out here. So far it's really going well.
You'll be impressed to know that I DID try out the Clothes Mountain method, but only for a week and only because I don't have a dresser here yet. Still, I tried it! What's more impressive is that I've already started indoctrinating Penn into the Way of the Closet. I sent him a message to get our laundry out of the basement laundry room yesterday while I was at school, and when I came home he had not only brought the laundry upstairs but had folded and hung up his own clothes. I was so happy and proud! So I'm in the process of convincing him that organization makes both of our lives easier, and he's in the process of convincing me that it's okay to leave the dirty skillet in the sink overnight once in a while, and it's looking like we're going to do just fine living together. I love coming home after my night classes and having him here happy to see me, I love that he works close enough to come home and meet me for lunch (or "lunch") once in a while on the days that I don't have to go to campus, I love that whenever I think of something I need to tell him I can just shout, "Hey, guess what?" into the other room instead of finding my phone and calling him, I love getting to use him as a pillow every night...he's actually really good for me because ever since we moved in together I've been going to sleep when he does, which is actually a normal time of night for a person to go to bed (we're usually in bed by 11:00). My schoolwork has been kicking my ass so much lately that I've been having to get up at ungodly times like 3 or 4 AM to finish papers and reading, but now that I have my schoolwork under control again I'll actually be able to sleep from 11:00 to 7 or 8 in the morning, which is completely reasonable and so much more healthy than what I used to do when I lived alone.
The condo itself is working our really nicely, too, other than the fact that I've managed to lock myself out of it TWICE so far. It's so ridiculous I don't even want to get into it except to tell you that the other day I sat in the hallway and read the phonebook for an hour while waiting for Penn to come home on his lunch break and let me and the hound back inside. Needless to say, I'm making a spare key and putting it in a convenient location ASAP. Otherwise, though, things are great. It's pretty quiet. We're near a railroad crossing so I hear trains a lot when I'm awake but they're never loud enough to wake me up when I'm sleeping (and I've always been a big fan of train whistles, anyway, I've mentioned before about how I romanticize trains), and we have a neighbor who likes to blast loud Chinese music once in a while, but he goes to bed early. I feel safe walking the dog around the neighborhood, and being able to walk to the grocery store in two minutes is awesome. The kitchen is just as nice as I hoped it would be. We have an entire drawer that holds just two pitchers because I seriously don't know what to do with all of our storage space. The bathroom has tons of storage space, too (his-and-hers medicine cabinets AND under-sink storage AND a linen closet), and a shower that makes me feel like I'm at a spa, but oddly enough there are no plugs anywhere in the bathroom so we have to store an extension cord under the sink to plug hair straighteners and beard trimmers into the hallway plug. The bedroom is enormous, which I didn't really realize until we moved my bed into it and I realized that it's literally twice as big as the bedroom at my old place. I like looking out the windows and into the tree tops. And the whole place is already full of books and I haven't even moved mine over yet. I'm so happy the man I'm spending my life with is a reader. I feel like we're going to be happy here. I already am.

In other news, it has been interesting to watch the fallout from the election. My brother tells me that everyone in my home state is convinced that Obama's election is the end of the world, whereas up here in my blue state I feel like people have been doing happy dances in the hallways, and at the conference I went to in Boston over the weekend all anyone wanted to talk about was how it's a victory for the artists and the intellectuals (which would be nice, but we'll see about that). The vastly different reactions are very interesting to me. I hope the polarization is just a temporary thing and that by the time January roles around everyone will be ready to settle down and be reasonable.
It's no huge secret that I live a brief subway ride from the capital (I just don't write the city name because I'd rather not be easily googleable), and I can't imagine how insane things are going to get here for the inauguration. Apparently every hotel room in the city and surrounding suburbs is already gone and people are now renting their apartments out for up to two grand! Naturally, Penn has decided that this is what we should do: rent our condo out for two grand and use the money to take a ski vacation. While part of me thinks that would be awesome, I think that the possibility that a renter could completely trash our place or make off with half of our stuff means that I won't actually be able to be talked into doing it. That, and I'm wondering if people are really getting that much money for their apartments or whether that's just what they're hoping to get on Craig's List. As of right now, Penn and I are trying to get tickets to the inauguration. I've been thinking about doing it ever since I moved here, I just didn't realize it would end up being quite the historic event it has become. Now it seems like it's going to be nearly impossible to get tickets. I wrote a letter to my senator today pretending to be my father (he told me I could do it, and it's not like he has any huge amount of clout but, hey, he has more than I do!) and he's going to get one of his lobbyist friends to put in a word for me (him), but I'd be surprised if we actually managed to get a coveted ticket. So, hey, maybe we will be renting out the condo and getting out of the madhouse that week. We'll see.

I have a lot of other things I should talk about eventually: my birthday (Penn rocked my birthday, by the way), the conference I just went to, the schoolwork that has been killing me, the fact that I think I finally have a couple of feasible dissertation ideas...but it's 10:30 and I've had several glasses of wine so I think that means it's bedtime.

P.S.-I don't have to go out of town this weekend. That's the first time that has happened in a month, and the last time that it will happen for two weeks! I'm so excited. All I have to do tomorrow is meet a friend at the mall for a movie and shopping. I love when life has been insanely hectic and it suddenly gets temporarily easier.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Early Birthday to Me!

I'll be 26 years old in 45 minutes. And while that's a (minor) historic event in my personal life, I realize that most of the rest of the country doesn't give a damn. But besides being the eve of a special day for me, it is an historic day for everyone else in this country, too, of course, whether or not you voted for Obama (or even voted at all).

I don't talk much about politics here, but it's no secret that I'm really happy that America elected Barack Obama today. It's pretty amazing to be sitting here with Penn on the living room floor* drinking a celebratory beer and thinking about how someday our kids might ask us what it was like when this country elected the first president who wasn't a white man. And I'm not even sure what exactly I'll tell them. It has been a long, often tedious campaign season. But now that all is said and done I'm happy I was here to witness it.

Don't screw this up, Mr. Soon-to-be-President. There are a lot of us who aren't idealistic enough to believe in hope or change or buy into the cult of personality but who still think you can be a good leader for this country. Don't let us down.

*We still haven't moved a couch over to the new place yet. We threw Penn's dilapidated couch away and I still have my old place until mid-December so we've been moving stuff over gradually and the couch hasn't made it yet. As of two nights ago we do have a bed, though! Priorities, people.