Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My last post from South Dakota.

Friday is moving day. It's all boxes and cleaning products in here. I've heard from two people - one of whom is related to a Floyd Management employee - that Floyd Management does not give back security deposits. I wish I'd heard this before I spent an hour last night and another hour this morning cleaning the stovetop. Though, I must say, it does give me a little boost to see it gleam in the light, its new drip pans sparkling. It's really quite pretty. Anyway, I will no longer knock myself out cleaning the place, which means less work to do tomorrow.

I think we're in good shape. We're about at that phase where you think you're done, but you really have several more hours of labor ahead of you before you're actually done. For my last major move, this phase came at about midnight or 1am, and we pulled an all-nighter. Moving after staying up packing all night, and then having to clean the apartment, is not an experience I'd like to recreate. So, I think we're in pretty darn good shape, since I can go to bed tonight and still have plenty of time (I hope!) to finish up tomorrow.

One thing I learned about Mr. Plain(s) Feminist that surprised me is that he apparently packs boxes of books more quickly than I do. (Which is also lucky for him, as I've been packing my books all week and he's only just begun today to pack his.)

Bean has surprised me throughout by being very positive about the whole thing. I'm a little worried he'll have a meltdown when the place is actually empty and we leave. He is planning to hug the building goodbye. In truth, I feel a little like hugging it, myself. I've really loved living here, and I'm sad to go. This is by far the nicest apartment we've had, and it felt like home from the moment I walked in the door. We've all grown attached, and we've all been comfortable.

Plus, we've been spoiled by having the laundry just off the kitchen. I'm not looking forward to doing my laundry in a basement again!

But - a new adventure awaits. My next post will be from another, larger city a bit further north...stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The sky, five minutes ago.

Why I love living in the midwest! Click for larger images.

Friday, August 17, 2007

My right foot.

In a minute, I'll be heading off to see a podiatrist about my - I hate the word; there's something embarrassing about it - bunion. In middle school, I had to cut short my dreams for a career as a prima ballerina and give up the toe shoes because I had weird feet. The chief concern appeared to be bunions, esp. on my right foot. The podiatrist gave me shoe inserts and essentially doomed me to a life of ugly shoes. I eventually was able to give up the inserts and to wear fun shoes and heels, but I always had to be very careful with what I put on my feet.

Some time later, I hurt my back and found that I couldn't wear heels of any kind. That's not really a huge sacrifice, except that there are some outfits that really don't look right without shoes with heels.

In more recent years, though, after I managed to mostly cure my back problems through yoga, I once again began wearing unsensible shoes. And it felt good for my self-esteem, if not for my feet. In fact, my feet were quite unhappy with the shoes, but I wore them anyway. Some of the worst offenders turned out to be - big surprise - Payless shoes, which are cheaply and poorly made. (Advice to all shoe-wearers: always pay more for your shoes. Pay less for everything else, but the shoes should be excellent quality.)

There was one pair dancing shoes, in particular, that I blame for my current predicament. They were gorgeous - velvety Mary Janes with a dancin' heel and a big flower on each toe. They were decadent, sexy, and they felt wonderful on my feet. Though...after a while, I did notice that my right big toe would be numb for a few days after I wore them out dancing. And after more time had passed, I noticed that the numb feeling never quite went away.

One night, the cab we'd called never showed up when the club closed, and we had to walk about a mile and a half. In the shoes. And my feet hurt so bad that I wanted to cry, but I was in so much pain that I didn't have the energy for tears.

Sometime after this, I realized that the shoes, once comfortable, no longer felt good on my feet. All the dancing, combined with the long march, had worn them out. So I tossed them. But it was too late - the damage had been done, and now, every pair of shoes I put on was uncomfortable. For the first time since middle school, the bunion was back - and this time, it hurt.

When I called my doctor for a recommendation yesterday, she said, "oh, so you're ready to have the surgery?" I told her I most certainly was not thinking along those lines at all, and she said, "there are two kinds of bunions: surgical and non-surgical." And she's sent me to a podiatrists that does this surgery, so I guess we'll see what he has to say.

Meanwhile, I'll be cleansing my shoe collection of my two pairs of Payless boots. I'll have to think long and hard about the clunky Nine West lace-ups and the three-inch ankle-wraps (SOB - it kills me to think about parting with these).

I'm heartbroken at the thought of Naturalizers for the rest of my life...

Monday, August 13, 2007

The days just go by...

I should be packing. In a minute, I will log off the computer, turn on the t.v., and plop down in front of it with some boxes that need assembly. But I have the lack of motivation and the overwhelmed feeling that come in pairs whenever there's a big job to do.

Also, I went to the gym this morning, did my full lifting program (yay!) and then wiped out after about 7 minutes on the bike. I don't know why. I suspect I set the level way too high. So I came home on wobbly legs, fully planning to go to the grocery store and buy some healthy food, and instead I ate the Dairy Queen cupcake that's been sitting in the freezer for Bean (who didn't know it was there, anyway, so don't look at me like that) and finished off the rest of yesterday's very sugary chocolate cream pie. So now I'm tired, wobbly, and feeling fat.

Oh, yeah, and every five minutes or so, some new thought occurs to me with a little panicky flutter about something else that needs to be done - like, just now, I realized that I haven't send my new address to the credit card companies yet.

You can see why it's infinitely pleasurable, in the face of putting all of our belongings into boxes, to do things like buy a new slipcover for the chair and shop for a new futon and plan what color throw pillows to buy. (Which is what I have been doing for the last two days instead of packing.)

Saturday, August 11, 2007


OK. I've finally got Bean registered for school AND for aftercare. And I lined up a babysitter for the night I teach an evening class. I'm planning to bring him with me on the few occasions I have to be in the office on a weekend - I can set him up in the corner with a DVD and he'll be happy as pie. I hope. Whew! I don't mind telling you that I've been carrying around a lump of anxiety about this for the last several weeks, never sure that it was all going to work out. You see, Mr. Plain(s)feminist is going to be commuting for a while, so many of the things I usually take for granted, like another parent being around, are presenting challenges.

But for now, we're good. Unless Bean gets into the magnet school, in which case aftercare will be a problem. But I'm only going to worry about one thing at a time.

I am subsuming all my worry into moving details. Today I head over to UHaul and Target to pick up boxes and tape. And then I'm faced with the problem of, once packed, where to put the many boxes? The books alone will take at least 45-50 boxes. No joke. I think I'll have to dismantle the living room bookcase and put it in the garage so that there's room for the book boxes. And even so, that's a huge mountain o' boxes!

Actually, just the thought of that many boxes is making me queasy. I'm off to see what else we can bear to part with...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Tommy, Tommy, Tommy (and other tales of cable)...

...if it turns out that you drowned that baby, you won't recover from it. I don't mean you'll keep boozing and sleeping around and ruin your life - I mean, you'll lose your viewers. There's no way we're ready to watch a man drop a baby in the river and walk away. It's just not going to happen. I mean, I already barely watch you anymore. You and your buddies at the firehouse started out as flawed but redeemable characters. But now, you're just sexist, racist, homophobic, and more importantly - because you could've overcome those traits - you're just plain mean. Even Television Without Pity says, "TWoP readers didn't really take to the tale of a firefighter who was often drunk, irresponsible, sexist, racist, and homophobic, and therefore, it's time to turn the hose on Rescue Me."

And while we're on the topic, I don't really care that the gender "issues" brought to the fore on Mad Men are true to the era. They make me damn angry to watch. What is the point? Yes, television is supposed to make one think, but it's not supposed to make me pissed-off for no reason. I have enough sexism to deal with in daily life without needing to reach back into the sixties for a fix, thank you very much.

Now, Damages I'm enjoying. So far. But it strikes me that this is a show that will very quickly go the way of Lost. Too much intrigue, too many promised answers that lead to more cliffhangers, and I will stop watching. Damages writers, I hope you're approaching this show like Murder One and that all will become clear by the end of the season. I'm not prepared to give you longer than that. If I had the time for twisted plots that never ended, I'd go back to watching soap operas. I like my dramas tied up in a neat bow at the end of the season.

For this reason, my new favorite show is Survivorman. Drop him on top of a mountain, in the ocean, on a deserted island, and he survives. Alone. Without food. Without a film crew. He does it all himself. And I'm damn impressed, both at his skill and also at the Discovery Channel's ingenuity in thinking this one up. I will definitely keep watching.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Starting Kindergarten.

For the last couple of years, people have been asking me if Bean would be starting Kindergarten this fall or if I'd be keeping him back a year. In New York, this would be kind of an odd question, and it would imply that the asker thought that Bean had some deficiencies in social skills or that he wasn't intellectually ready for Kindergarten. One wouldn't ask such a question, generally, without cause.

But in South Dakota, this question is asked frequently, and I know many people who have opted to keep their kids home for an extra year. The reasons range from the parent feeling the child isn't ready for school, which, in my personal experience, seems to be more likely when the child hasn't been in daycare or preschool prior to Kindergarten, to the *parent* not being ready (and, again, in my personal experience, this seems to come along with fears of the child eventually graduating high school and heading off to college at the age of 17 rather than 18 (which is exactly what I did, so I confess to not really understanding this particular fear)). There is also the impact of sports on this decision: as I understand it, the age cutoff for sports is different from the age cutoff for school, so kids can begin Kindergarten but not be allowed to play rookie baseball (or whatever). So some parents keep the kids back so that they can play sports with their grade level (or even so that they can be physically larger and more skilled as compared to others in their grade level).

This has always seemed weird to me, as a product of a very different culture with re. to schooling. So, when I was in my soon-to-be-new-city in Minnesota last month getting Bean registered for Kindergarten, I was shocked (happily so) to see that many (all?) of the public elementary schools in the city had an option for Pre-Kindergarten for qualifying four-year-olds that was part of the public school curriculum. Four-year-olds who were deemed ready (and how this readiness was ascertained, I'm not exactly sure, but I think it meant that they knew their alphabet and were basically reading to learn to read and could recognize numbers) could begin to go to Pre-K programs in the schools.

I was so struck by the enormous difference between these two states that lie right next to each other that I couldn't help but to expound upon it to anyone who would listen - and the MN public school employees were fairly shocked to hear of my experiences in SD.

It seems to me that if we are really going to be serious about education, then we need to make sure that children are better prepared to start school than they appear to be in SD. This means that sports should not be preventing kids from starting Kindergarten on time (or early). Sports programs need to get in sync with the school district age cutoffs. Pre-K should be available at every public school. And, while there are certainly some children who benefit from starting school later, parents should be better educated - and the school district should be involved in this process - so that parents have more information upon which to base these decisions.

(I've also posted this entry on Dakota Women - see link at right.)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

On pants-wearing (not).

(I actually wrote this in July, shortly before I left on my long summer trip, which is nearly over, and I planned to post it long before now. However, spotty internet access and vacation-induced stupidity made me forget about it. So here it is.)

I was just reading over at Friday Playdate about kids not wearing pants, and it reminded me that I'd also been reading some musings on the same theme at Dooce. And so that, then, made me consciously realize that I, too, often don't put on pants in the house after awakening. Eventually, I'll throw on a pair of shorts, or if it's chilly, sweats, but the early morning will find me sitting at the computer, checking my email in my undies, right by the front door, which Mr. Plainsfeminist seems to like to open, without warning, while I'm sitting there. (And then he gets irritated when I yell at him about it, for some reason.)

Bean is also going through that brutally honest phase that kids go through, which is one reason I suspect that certain people (you know the ones) don't like kids. You know what I mean - "look at that fat lady" or "why does that man gots no hair?" kind of statements, the comments kids made that make you want to curl up and die. So what this means for me is that I have to hear about my bad breath and "poky" legs all the time. It's giving me a complex. Adults do not have sweet, flower-smelling breath the way some kids do (they really do, sometimes, though not Bean after a garlic spinach pocket - I can practically smell him in the next room). But all of a sudden, Bean keeps complaining that I have bad breath, and I am starting to think that maybe I'm not eating the right foods or something and am having a ketosis problem since he never complained before. It's making me very self-conscious, and I find myself sucking on breath mints and keeping my hand over my mouth a lot.

The "poky" legs thing is simply that Bean does not care to sit on my lap when I am wearing shorts and my legs are not freshly shaven. I get frequent orders to "put on long pants!" because he objects to the pokiness of even the slightest amount of stubble.

Basically, I feel like a sasquatch with bad breath these days.

But I'm thinking that my prediliction for pants-lessness might partly explain why Bean emerged from his room this afternoon, while we had company, with his underpants on his head, and bare nekkid from the waist down. I, myself, am not much into hats, so I can't really explain the headgear. However, given these options, I think I much prefer smelly sasquatch-ness to this young Frank Barone behavior. (Incidentally, this link will take you to one of the more poorly-written Wikipedia entries I've come across so far.)