New Life

We have all been laughing in the hallways of academe because we all agree that we spend the entire summer carefully getting ready for the new school year, and then by THE FIRST DAY of the new semester it is somehow already a complete madhouse disaster and everyone is running around and there are a thousand frantic messages on your phone and the people in facilities are like OH SHIT WE FORGOT TO ASSIGN YOU A CLASSROOM and your TAs are like NONE OF MY STUDENTS CAME TO SECTION and you suddenly realize you never actually uploaded the syllabus to Moodle and for some reason the air conditioning in one of your classrooms is just fully not turned on at all, complete with window ineffectually open onto the utterly sweltering 95 degree heat / 90% humidity day that suddenly plopped down on this town just in time for the first day of school. And your students are just absolutely demoralized by the heat, it is like a Carson McCullers novel, everyone sprawled and damp and with slitted eyes and using the syllabus to fan themselves, and really not responding well to your attempts to goad them into an argument by telling them about Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain.” Finally you let them out 20 minutes early because sweat is pouring down your back and legs to such a degree that you actually become horrified that your skirt is becoming see through, which would be a really legitimate disaster from which you’d never recover.

Meanwhile we bought this house and moved into it. It is really an adventure. For example, there is no hot water in the bathtub faucet. There is hot water in the kitchen sink; there is hot water in the SHOWER faucet. Just not the tub faucet. Can anyone explain this? We also don’t have a shower curtain situation yet, so we are taking horse baths squatting in the tub like dirty Europeans; it is terrible and no way for a good American citizen to have to live. For another example, the apple tree, which is such a blessing and something I have longed for for my entire life, is also surprisingly stressful. It is so big, and so abundant, and I also did not know that apples come in waves, like 500 of them ripen and fall and then another 500 come along. So we are absolutely inundated. I really can not express to you how many apples there are. The entirety of the yard is completely covered with rotting apples, such that you can’t walk around out there without slipping, and you can’t mow the lawn. Suddenly we have to put at the top of our already-considerable high-priority-home-ownership to-do list “PURCHASE APPLE PRESS,” because research has revealed that making cider is the best way to process a mass number of apples quickly. Get ready for some gifts of weird probably-not-very-good homemade hard cider, if you live near us or visit us! Home cider presses are $500. We also have to buy a washing machine. Today I have to hand-wash a bunch of my husband’s underwear so he will have something to wear to his job tomorrow. I am in charge of this not due to my gender, I assure you, but simply to the fact that I am off work today and he is not. I do not look forward to this task but I will do it stoically as did my foremothers before me.

We also need to build a compost bin. These are pretty epic projects that we don’t have time to do but that really need to get done SOON. We are digging a trench this weekend to bury apples in, that is how dire the apple situation is.

Also, does anyone have some good shower curtain advice? I want a thin, handsome, fabric shower curtain that I can wash. I thought if I got a nylon hotel-style shower curtain liner, that this would solve my problems, but the water actually comes through the liner in a fine spray and causes puddles on the ground!!!!!! HORRORS. So now I don’t know what to do. What is your shower curtain preference?

We have also decided, in a fit of emotional desperation, to experiment with NOT HAVING INTERNET IN OUR HOME.


This is a crazy decision.

1. We literally have to use the internet, for our jobs
2. If you don’t have the internet it is impossible to keep up with culture of all kinds
3. We watch all our movies using the internet

On the other hand

1. We don’t like the way our brains feel
2. We don’t like how much time we waste
3. We don’t like how fragmented our social life together has become
4. We want to read more
5. As professors, we HAVE to find ways of delineating between work time and non-work time; it just can’t be that we are “at work” 24/7, but when there is internet in the house we seem helpless to not respond to student emails at 10:00 p.m. or whatever

I really don’t know what is going to happen. We may only last a week; or it may be life-changing in a good way. Really anyone’s guess! Anyway I am at a coffee shop listening to white guy blues.

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4 Responses to New Life

  1. Alex says:

    What if you DID get internet but you only set the router to be on during certain hours of the day?

  2. Eileen says:

    We had the same problem w pineapple guavas! SO MANY, and they rotted so fast. The only solution we found was to go out every day, no exceptions, and pick them all up. I also routinely spent summer weekends on a ladder picking the baby pineapple guavas in a vain attempt to head off the deluge. It sort of worked.

    Compost: buying a length of chicken wire or other wire fencing and bending/pliering it into a cylinder makes a pretty cheap & easy bin.

    Shower: we have a nice fabric curtain on the outside and a plastic one on the inside. Sounds extremely 80s with peach swags everywhere, but is actually, uh, white. If you occasionally wipe down the plastic one w vinegar or diluted bleach solution it works ok.

    Putting the router on a timer sounds interesting but potentially too expensive for the amount of use it would be getting. Re movies: assuming you have a DVD drive, you can always get them from the library.

  3. Matt O says:

    we have a washable shower curtain. I think it’s nylon or polyester or something, but it’s not particularly thin and doesn’t have a problem with water getting through it. We also have a cloth (probably cotton?) curtain on the outside that might soak up any water that does get through, although honestly I don’t think any does. I prefer it so much more to plastic because, as you said, you can just throw the liner in the laundry every week and it doesn’t get moldy.

  4. Marijke says:

    After much shower curtain research and a year-long stint with a cotton cloth curtain, I bought some thin white poly ones from fred meyer and they work perfectly. I will send you some if you want!

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