Tuesday, February 28

Question of the Day

What do you wear to a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Breakfast at the Fire Hall? I never seemed to have this problem in the city!

We live in the country, so I'm thinking people will be dressed casually. But I'm there to network, so I want to present myself like the Executive you want to hire. But the Executive you want to hire knows how to relate to the country people. It's a tough call.

I settled on blue jeans (casual) with a stretch cotton top and a blue wool blazer (Executive). And I didn't feel like I stood out. There were a lot of casually dressed people, retirees and moms, but the business people were dressed like they were about to head to work. Which of course they were, because it's Tuesday.

My host, a local marketing Executive, was a little more dressed up than me. Her blazer a turtleneck matched mine, but she had black slacks on to my jeans. Black slacks are pretty popular workplace attire hereabouts, especially with a solid colored top. Women in offices also tend toward color-coordinated "outfits" that you see in stores like DressBarn, with a solid and a print (preferably floral) that match spot-on.

Well, anyway, enjoy your pancakes and Fastnachts! I know I did.

Sunday, February 19

Radio Silence

Boy, we don't post much here anymore.

I would like to say it's because we are out leading exciting lives, or because the house is now completely perfect, but those would both be lies. In fact, it would be a lie to say that I don't post because I don't have any time to post -- while I am incredibly busy these days, I certainly still waste my share of time on the interweb, and if this was a place dedicated to posting my random thoughts about the Olympics or silly things my students do, then I would probably write much more. But we promised to try to keep this blog somewhat on the topic of renovating our house and adjusting to small town life, and those are things that I haven't had the time to do much of recently.

Yesterday we did take advantage of some calm between the storms in our jobs to do some shopping, though. We started by going to a local HOME SHOW, where we hoped we would be able to talk to people who could help us paint the exterior of our home (if we ever get the money to pay them) or install some new cabinetry in the kitchen (again, if we ever have the cash) or all kinds of other home improvement projects that are slated for summertime. But alas, the place was primarily filled with developers who wanted to build us a new home and banks that wanted to help us finance said home, along with a few people selling granite countertops and lots of gravel. So mostly we just wandered from vendor to vendor taking advantage of the door prizes and the free bananas (did I mention that this HOME SHOW had a tropical theme?) and after about 30 minutes we left.

We then hit a number of used and new furniture shops. While we aren't currently looking for any major furniture, we still like to browse. And I am completely desperately in need of a new bedside table. Ever since we moved here I have been using some crappy shelves that used to hold towels in our bathroom as a bedside table, and it is a very unstable set up that is ugly, at that. And ever since I built the new bed, I have felt even more desperate for a bedside table. The problem is that we have yet to see ones that we like. Granted, this problem could be solved the way that most problems are solved -- with a trip to IKEA -- but I am worried that even they wouldn't have what we are looking for. The kicker is that I have no idea what I am looking for, and it's not like I am constantly in search of some Platonic Ideal of a bedside table -- K. wants them to have drawers (though she is flexible even on that point), and we want them to be roughly the right height and be able to not get waterstained from the large number of water glasses that I let pile up on my bedside table -- but somehow none of the stores we went to yesterday, or in the other shopping excursions, meet our standards. Sigh.

Friday, February 10

The Case Of The Dead Cable Modem

A couple of weeks ago, we returned home to find a note hanging on our front door knob, talking about leakage and emissions. No, it wasn't some real-world version of porn spam, it was a note from our cable company saying that we might have leaking cable signal coming out of our house. And that we need to call Adelphia to set up an appointment immediately.

Which we totally did not do.

So a week or so later, we got a voicemail from Adelphia, explaining that we really might be emitting cable signals from our basement, and that if we don't call them to set up an appointment ASAP then we were violating FCC rules and that any plane crashes in the mid-Atlantic states would be completely our fault.

But we still didn't call.

In our defense, it wasn't out of apathy or malice -- God knows that we don't like plane crashes -- but that we've been insanely busy. Life in my department has expanded from a 60 hour a week job to an 80 hour a week job due to some major goings-on, and K. has more freelance jobs on her plate than you can shake a stick at -- though they all seem to end in late March, so she is also expending energy finding more. Also, we like to emulate Bob Costas and for weeks leading up to the Olympics we lock ourselves up in hotel rooms and study up in preparation for the Big Event. (Go Ohno!)

So we were slackers.

Then yesterday, while K. was working here at home partway through the morning, the internet pooped out on her. And after checking all the obvious things, she also noticed that the cable had died as well. So she called Adelphia and they had absolutely no idea what the problem was so they talked her through a bunch of possible solutions, none of which worked. So they agreed to send out a technician to look at it in the afternoon. We of course needed this problem fixed right away partly because we are totally addicted to the internet and partly because tonight happens to be both the opening ceremonies of the aforementioned winter games of the 27th olympiad and also the final episodes of Arrested Development -- a DVR night if ever there was one -- She then asked if the technician could also address this whole 'cable leakage' problem, but the Adelphia person had no idea what she was talking about. So she set up an appointment for the afternoon and then called me to tell me I needed to come home from work early to deal with the Adelphia guy as she had a meeting elsewhere.

So I came home early, and was eagerly working on research in our den when I heard the cable guy arrive and just outside the window I heard him talk on his cell phone/walkie talkie to someone back at the home office who was saying "yeah, when I was out there this morning the wire came out that hole and it was the one on the left or something". I was confused why they had already been to visit our neighbors this morning, but I left it alone. Eventually, the cable guy came in and started asking me a bunch of questions about our wiring set up and our house. I asked him what their relevance was and he said he needed to know the answers to address the leaky cable lines.

I then asked him about the fact that our cable/internet was dead and if he had any ideas about how to fix them, and he gave me the answer that you have all probably already figured out by now, as I have laid it out like and Encyclopedia Brown mystery (alas, I don't know how to write upside down in HTML) -- Because we had never responded to their queries about the cable leakage, Adelphia had decided to "pad" (which is cable guy lingo for 'padlock') our cable and shut it down.

Now, you might be asking yourself a few questions -- If they are going to lock down your cable, why don't they leave a note explaining that they are doing so? If they intentionally lock it down, why did the person at Adelphia tech support not know anything about this and why did they talk us through other possible solutions? If someone was at our house to lock it down, why didn't they RING THE FRIGGING DOORBELL so K. could let them in to the house to do what they needed to do? -- these are all good questions, and the best answer I can come up with is that Adelphia is completely incompetent.