Friday, August 30

Swing and Sway

Ah, what will I write about when there are no more HBS orientation events left? But then, I guess that's why I joined the Partner's Club.

Tonight was the boat cruise around the Boston harbor. Which would have been a lot more pleasant had it not been raining and about 60 degrees. And if the boat ride had been 1/2 an hour; not three hours (everyone now, "A three hour tour, a three hour tour"). Actually, the whole thing was a lot more pleasant than I would have thought--we ran into the one cool couple we've met before and I hung out with some of Adam's classmates who are really nice. Three people told me what a great job Adam did giving a presentation in class. Of course, three other people came up to me and asked, "Is it true you won't let Adam wear khaki pants with blue shirts?" Apparently, for their presentation, they had all wanted to dress in the uniform, but Adam refused on the grounds that I forbade it. So they all wore jeans and white shirts. He's a good boy, that Adam.

But then there are those folks who just make me want to scream. Like the ones who have obviously forgotten my name (no matter how many times we've been introduced) and they don't admit it. One guy was introducing his girlfriend, and he introduced the woman sitting to the left of me and Adam sitting to the right of me. Skipped me completely but did mention me, "Adam and his wife moved here from Seattle." Adam got only one smack tonight for referring to me as "his wife." He did quite well otherwise. And then there's the guy sitting across from us who directs his entire conversation to Adam, even though I'm there and actively participating by asking questions.

We hung out downstairs sitting in a booth the entire night. Upstairs the music was playing really loudly. Not surprisingly, we sat at a table where everyone had a boyfriend or girlfriend. When we walked upstairs to leave, there were three huge circles formed of human bodies, swaying drunkenly to Billy Joel's "The Piano Man." Everyone was singing and swaying, swaying and singing. It was just like prom, but way more pathetic. As I whispered to Adam, "You're wishing you were single right now, aren't you?" we made a run for it. I bet they are all still singing and swaying, although most of them have probably moved on to their dorm rooms.

Wednesday, August 28

The Life of a non-CWIT

I've been a delinquent blogger. Job hunting--the networking, the classified searching, the writing and rewriting of cover letters and resumes--is a full-time job. That combined with my freelance job (proofing a mystery) has left little time for things such as blogging. But I think of you all often! I'm so digging the comments feature. I feel like I'm having a dialogue with everyone. Almost seems like I'm not on a computer sitting in my office in Arlington, but out in the real world communicating with people.

Sunday was the final rush of HBS activities. The day started with the Partner's Brunch. Anyone want to guess what they served at a Partner's Brunch at 11 a.m. on a Sunday. Oh, no, don't be silly. There were no eggs. No, no toast or bacon either. What, are you delusional? Of COURSE there was no coffee or tea. Yikes! These Partners would never make it in Seattle. It was high tea. At 11 a.m. Tiny sandwiches (smoked salmon, at least, and cucumber and chicken salad, with pbj for the kids) with the crusts cut off. Veggies and dips. Pear and guava juice. Scones with whipped cream and strawberries. Iced tea was the only form of caffeine. And teeny little plates. I took three trips through the food line before I was close to sated. I should have known we were in trouble when we drove up and Adam said, "Oh, look, we've entered the land of SUVs and mini-vans." I bonded with the one other woman I found who is not a CWIT (corporate-wife-in-training). The most horrifying thing? The women, who have the same last name as their husbands, who still felt compelled to write on their name tags, "with so-and-so" or "wife of so-and-so" as in "Minnie Mouse, wife of Mickey." You all know what my name tag said right? Everyone now: Jenny Brown.

So, you're probably saying to yourself, it was the last partner's event. Big whoopdeedoo, now you're done. Only... I paid my $125. I know, I know, I'm a masochist. I don't know why I did it, but if nothing else, it should give me great writing material. And besides, maybe there will be one or two non-CWITs in the group. I already got my first invite to a partner's event. A golf outing. Gee, what shall I wear?

That evening was a barbecue, which was fine enough. I realized how Seattle I am when I, a devoted non-vegetarian, pointed out in disgust to Adam that there was no vegetarian option. I think he was equally surprised. But the chicken and burgers were fine, and I'm done with HBS. Oh, well, at least until tomorrow night when we take our boat cruise around Boston.

Sunday, August 25

Where's Martha When You Need Her?

In case anyone was wondering, neither Resolve nor a steam cleaner will remove large splotches of Light Heather Gray from carpet stairs. In case anyone was wondering why there are large splotches of Light Heather Gray on our carpet stairs, well, take Adam. Take one extension ladder. Take one paint roller tray full of Light Heather Gray. Voila! Splotches. Large ones.
Conversation of the evening [At HBS's Casino Night]:
Me: Oh, you went to Princeton? I know a lot of folks who went to Princeton. What year were you?
HBS student: '97
Me: No, don't know anyone in '97. I know folks who are older.
HBS: What year were you?
Me: '89.
HBS: High school?
Me: No, college.
HBS: No, high school?
Me: No. College.
HBS: Oh.

And, yes, Adam slipped and called me "wife" twice this evening.Oh, how I love Boston.

Wednesday, August 21

Crimson Sucks

Tonight was an HBS happy hour at Spangler, the most ostentatious student center ever created. The happy hour was fine, met some lovely people. Met some of the partners (read: wives; I met not a single boyfriend/husband who would be staying in Boston) who told me I had to join the Partners Club. So I checked it out. $125 for two years, so that I can make friends, too. Gee, they even have a day when we get a case and a professor comes and discusses it with us as if we were real HBS students! The application form asks where I went to college (no mention of grad school, but then what's the point of grad school when all these lovely women already have their M.R.S. degrees) and I get to choose from a list of hobbies. Yes, running and biking are on there. My other choices? Scrapbooking, Quilting, Knitting, Dancing, Cooking. I got a packet of information. Apparently, grammar and spelling--and even spell check--are optional for partners: "HERE ARE A FEW RESTAUARANT RECCOMMENDATIONS FROM PARTNERS THEMSELVES." I kid you not. I asked Adam if his student package included a list of local grocery stores. He laughed. "Um, no!" Because the partners' packets did.

The word "wife" has been banished from Adam's vocabulary. I'm having a mild identity crisis here. Back home, I was a writer, an Amazonian, a board member, a runner, a biker, and a KAG among other things. Oh, yeah, and Adam was my boyfriend and then husband. But here, here I am few of these things. Yes, I'm a writer ("So where do you write right now? Oh, nowhere? Ah, I see") and I am unemployed (not an identity I plan to embrace). And, oh, yes, I'm Adam's wife. That's how people know me here. "Oh, you're Adam's wife." I already have issues with the fact that everyone assumes my last name is Medros. After telling Adam about this little crisis of mine he made the mistake tonight of saying to someone, "My wife loves sushi." An innocuous statement, yes. A true statement, yes. A statement made with pride and love (I know he adores being married). But mere seconds after it came out of his mouth he saw my glare and instantly knew his mistake. He is now forbidden to refer to me as his wife in any circumstance. He can be my husband all he wants, but I shall not be "wife." My name is Jenny Brown. Everyone now: Jenny Brown.

Tuesday, August 20

I'm not sure why I find the Who Would You Kill? site amusing, but I do.

Monday, August 19

Visible to the World

The thing about keeping a weblog is that now that I know folks are going to be checking in to see what I've been up to, I feel obligated to update on a fairly regular basis. Problem is, I don't always feel like saying much. I was going to write yesterday about our day (party at Adam's parent's house in Portsmouth, bargain shopping at the outlets in Kittery--Eddie Bauer flannel sheet sets for $30!--lobster dinner in Maine before heading back), but I was simply too beat when I got home. Today, well today was a less than exciting day. We had bought a bed and mattress on Saturday (and finally ordered blinds for the living room. I feel like an exhibitionist when I sit in the living room at night as we're so visible to the outside world), so we finished up the bedroom to get ready for the mattress delivery today. I steamed cleaned the carpet (a short, grayish speckled, rather industrial looking carpet) a bunch of times and Adam finished painting the window trim. All that's left is minor touch-ups. This morning we put the bed together and I began unpacking our bedroom belongings. We're still not going to sleep in the room tonight, because it was too difficult to clear a path to the bed. Tomorrow we'll be up there. The mattress is a hoot--it's firm, but what's so special about it is it's the offical mattress of the last Olympics. Yes, you heard me. There is an official mattress. I guess those athletes really care what they're sleeping on. What a shame that folks won't be able to see the "USA" print on the mattress. Buying the mattress was a hoot. We went in and they all felt the same to me. A couple were slightly mushy, so I said no to them, but then Adam found one--$100 over our price range--that he was convinced was the mattress. Whatever. I've got a place to sleep at night and we now have a working guest room, so I'm satisfied.

But life feels a little dull right now. I'm going to start freelancing a little again (proofing and copyediting) until I find something more permanent. Or, who knows, maybe I'll freelance for a little while. I'll have to try it on and see how it feels. If it gives me more time to write, then maybe that's how it'll be. I need to find a writing group, though. If anyone knows of any writing groups in the Boston area, let me know!

Tomorrow we start painting Adam's office and then we begin repainting the library. Yep, that's right. Rose Taupe is on its way out and Lilac Heather Gray is on its way in. Rose Taupe looks beautiful in the hallway, but was simply too rose for an entire room. Ah, the joy of paint.

Okay, today's duty fulfilled. Not very inspired, but that's how it goes sometimes.

Saturday, August 17

Friday, August 16

It Isn't Easy Being Green

So, obviously moving a household full of furniture generates a lot of waste. Before our move, our helpful, friendly Allied mover supplied us with a basement full of boxes as well as pretty new newsprint paper for all our boxing needs. We had bags full of peanuts from our wedding presents and we scraped together rolls of bubble wrap--some new, some used. Upon arrival in our brand not-so-new home (but looking newer every day now), we had a lot of trash. Oh yeah. Now, I'm not an environmental person by any means of the imagination. I drive alone when I could take the bus (or, now, the T). I don't print on both sides of the page. And I've never even thought about hugging a tree.

But recycling? Well, they make that pretty easy for you don't they? In Massachusetts, they even give you back 5 cents for every can or glass you bring back to the store (digression: what ever happened to the cents key on the keyboard? It used to be there, once upon a time, didn't it? Are cents that obsolete that they don't even rate the tiny spot above the numbers? Who did it lose out to?). Or, you can do what I did, which is go to town hall and pick up a pretty blue tin for all your plastic-glass-tin recycling needs (which is what we'll continue to do unless I get really desperate in the job hunt and find that getting my deposit back is an economic necessity). While at town hall, I picked up this nifty little pamphlet that explained all our recycling needs. Happily, curbside recycling will pick everything up (just like curbside garbage--they will pick up anything! We left out five bags, three cans, a shoe rack, a metal file cabinet, and a bathroom sink [really!], and they took it all. Their only condition is that you call for major appliances because they send around a different truck. No wonder our taxes are so high. Hey, is it pathetic that I'm reduced to blogging about my garbage?]. But there are requirements around recycling. All cardboard had to be bundled up in stacks no more than 30 inches. So we bundled. And bundled. And bundled. We had about six stacks of cardboard. We put all our paper into paper bags. To be especially green, we took our Styrofoam peanuts (how many folks know that Styrofoam is a trademarked word and therefore must be capped? I know this because the lovely people at Dow Chemical wrote me a nice letter attesting to this fact when I was a production editor for a series of mystery books in which the word "Styrofoam" appeared in the lowercase) and bubble wrap to our local mail company for reuse. We are the coolest of the non-cool recyclers.

Or so we thought. "Hey," I said to Adam, "no one else has recycling out." We checked our calendar three times, and yes, indeed, today was our recycling day. Which means none of our neighbors recycle. Dorothy, I don't think you're in Seattle anymore.

I wake up around 7:30 this morning to the sound of a truck outside. I'm pleased because the mess in our front yard is a good 10 feet long and a bit of an embarrassment. Yet, when I peer out the window, our garbage is gone... along with our myriad stacks of cardboard. Our lonE blue box of cans remains. Those garbage people--the same garbage people who were the saints last week for taking the bathroom sink--are now idiots who trashed our beautiful recycling. An hour later the recycling truck comes and sweeps off our cans/bottles/plastic. Ugh. Even my non-green heart feels blue over that one. Those beautiful trees sitting in a landfill. Adam and I consoled ourselves by saying to each other, "Do you think, maybe, the garbage truck picks up the paper recycling? Maybe the recycling truck can't handle it? Yeah, that must be it." Yeah, I'm sure that's it.

[Side note: I think all my desires for writing come from my grandfather, Poppy, who used to be an avid reader of New Yorker (although he was always chronically behind, because he read them in their entireity and he was quite slow; I mean that entirely in the physical, not intellectual sense, as he was a very clever man), was constantly writing and submitting bon mots to local papers. He used to type everything up, and I have his old typewriter, an Olympia, that I'm guessing is from the late '60s or early '70s. Anyway, I'm checking out the keyboard and the cents key is on the lowercase of the @ key, next to the colon/semi-colon key. It's where you're " and ' key is now. Back then, the quote sign was on top of the two and there was no "1" key, because the "l" key served the same purpose. There are plenty of other differences, but it's pointless to go into them here.]

Not Poppy's, but the same model. Click on it to see the keys.

Drip, Drip, Drip

Okay, we've hit that point in painting where I'm getting so sloppy that even I can't watch me paint.

Thursday, August 15

The Fumes, The Fumes

We spent the entire day painting in 100 degree heat, with no fans because the power went out. Which probably explains why this passes for conversation this evening while watching baseball:
J: I want to be at that game.
A: I know you do.
J: Safeco is way better than Fenway.
A: Yeah, it is.
J: No sushi at Fenway.
A: No they don't, honey.
J: Sox on Fox. Is that like Hop on Pop?
A: Something like that.
J: Look, Brian Daubach. Is he related to Roger Daubach?
A: You mean Roger Staubach.
J: Do you know how Roger Staubach spells relief?
A: Um, huh?
J: Do you know how Roger Staubach spells relief?
A: Um, the same way everyone else does? R-O-L-A-I-D-S?
J: You have no remembrance of that, do you?
A: Of what?
J: Of how Roger Staubach spells relief.
A: Sh, I'm watching the game.

Maybe it's time for me to start making friends here.

Wednesday, August 14

Rose Taupe

While I hate the Rose Taupe in the library, it looks great in the hallway. I spend the afternoon painting it while Adam paints the bedroom (Shady Grove--isn't that the name of a retirement home?). Why are we painting separately? Adam came down to see what I was doing and after just two seconds, he said, "I just can't watch you painting." I'm still doing it all wrong, apparently. Well, the paint is up, so how bad could I be doing? Second coat tomorrow. The humidity causes the paint to take longer to firm up.

It Is the Heat

With the third heat wave of the summer happening in Boston, I picked a hell of a time to start back up my running. However, my life needed structure more than it needed comfort, so I'm back out there. It's been almost two months since I was regularly running, but oddly, I fell back into it easily. No soreness. We live near the Minuteman Trail, which makes for a gorgeous run as it traverses fields, woodsy areas, historical places. It's like the Burke-Gilman trail in Seattle, but with more foliage.

Sunday, August 11

I Want My MTV (But It Only Wants Me for 10 More Months)

So, I'm watching MTV as I'm wont to do when there's nothing on. And advertised is a contest to direct a new Korn video. Granted, I don't like Korn. Granted, I have no desire to direct a video. Granted, this would have passed unnoticed as most things do these days if they are not related to the painting of the upstairs or the new kitchen faucet, but for some reason, the contest rules flashed--in a speed that could only be called subliminal--and I saw it and it stuck in brain. Right there in tiny f'ing letters in front of me that despite my advanced years loomed across the screen as if posted on a billboard: "Contest is open to legal residents of the U.S. who are between 18 and 34 years of age at time of entry." 34. Upper limit is 34. Ten freakin' months and I'm officially too old to watch MTV anymore. What will they do, block the signal to my house? Does Adam suffer as well (he can watch for another 4 1/2 years) or does he get the signal when I'm not near the TV? In 10 friggin' months, I'm too old for Bust and Jane magazines (as they've both proclaimed in their magazines that they are for the 18 to 34 year olds; in fact, it was declared just in this last issue of Bust--right after telling me that my chances of getting pregnant in another 10 months drops by 50%). So what? I leave the magical 18 to 34 demographic group and that puts me where? In the 35 to dead range?

You know, I was there when it all began. Martha Quinn is not just the answer to some trivia question for me. I knew her before she was using Noxema. I wanted my MTV in the worst kind of way! My friend Liz, who looked 21 at age 13 and my parents couldn't stand because her family was "laid back" (read: she could smoke whatever she wanted to and her sexuality was an easy fact around the house), had MTV, but no, we lived in the mountains where you couldn't get cable. So I'd spend my time at her place glued to the set, loving it when they played Blondie's "Rapture" (and where did I find the clip for this? On the baby-booming, Chicago-loving, Viagra-and-Rogaine addicted VH1 Web site). We finally got cable in Miami Beach later in high school, and I wasn't supposed to watch any in the afternoon, but the second General Hospital was over (be still my beating heart, but was Jack Wagner to die for, or what?), I'd flip to MTV. That Peter Gabriel "Sledgehammer" video was so cool! And wow, did you see how they mixed in the animation in A-Ha's "Take on Me" video? Anyone else remember when they announced they would stop using the astronaut in deference to the Challenger explosion? Anyone else remember when they played music? The first three years were all Rod Stewart, but I stuck with them.

And now, they don't want me anymore. I guess I'm supposed to just quietly go to VH1, welcome Mariah Carey into my life, embrace Ensure, and let the kids have their fun. Well, screw you, MTV.

Do you know if you look up Martha Quinn on, you get nada? How's that for grateful? Okay, rant done. For the moment... I'll go watch some Angry Kid to calm myself down. Or am I too old for that as well?

Saturday, August 10

A first yesterday! A day without a trip to Home Depot or Lowe's.

We're headed into cranky territory. Adam is going to attempt to mud and tape the upstairs himself. He's not real excited about it, but considering it's a lot cheaper/faster than the alternatives, he's going for it.

Meanwhile I'm ripping up about 500 checks from my old account. I bought a ton, because I was never going to leave that house. Sigh. But this house, this house I'll be in for life. Definitely! Or at least probably. Or at least... whatever.

Thursday, August 8

There's something reassuring about unpacking books. It sort of declares, "This is home." I want to leaf through each book as I unpack it. Funny how just a few words here or there can bring back memories, the mood I was in when I was reading each one, the phase of my life. I have a pile of Bukowski books from my East Village days that bring back my tiny studio apartment on 10th street with the loft bed and my psycho-cat Motorhead. The Sandra Cisneros from when I first moved to Seattle. The stack of books--Edward Abbey, John Steinbeck, Mona Simpson--that I used to write my master's essay. The books I read while living on the kibbutz. The Primo Levi book Adam lent me to read when we first started dating. The trashy wedding-related novels I read while dreaming up my own wedding. I feel more comfortable with my books surrounding me.

Wednesday, August 7

I just told Adam I'm not sure I like the color (Rose Taupe) we chose for the library: too pink. The look he gave me told me that I'm going to learn to love pink
So, I'm giving credit where credit is due. I've registered my blog with BlogTree. It's "the blog genealogy site" where you track whose blog inspired other blogs. My first personal blog experience was with Eugene's blog. You can learn more about Eugene from his blog than you can in conversation with him, so I am a regular reader. But the one who pushed me into creating my own blog was Adam, because if he could have a blog, then so the hell could I. So those are the ones I listed as my parent blogs. I'm not sure if I've inspired any blogs, but we'll see (Sandra, hurry up and start yours already!).
Boston observations:
1) Bugs. The bugs are everywhere. Including the crunchy kind.
2) No beer in grocery stores. Nada.
3) The kosher section in the grocery store is huge. Big signs proclaim the super market bakery is kosher.
4) The Asian food section is small.
5) The music radio stations are all the same. Different numbers on the dial; same music.
6) NPR plays BBC all day (so I've taken to listening to KPLU on my computer; the Seattle radio hosts are vastly superior)
7) My house here is messier than it was in Seattle.
8) The local grocery store doesn't carry Hagen Daz sorbet.
9) The stupid sun won't stop shining.

Tomorrow morning I finish stripping the wallpaper off the bedroom walls (and as my father says, "Thank goodness you're not stripping it off the doors or else it would be doorpaper"). That's a nasty messy job. But it's mine, because we realize I'm much better at destruction than construction. So once I get all the goo off, Adam can take over from there and make the room pretty. The electrician comes tomorrow (yeah! fixing outlets! I have cords draped everywhere to get power to my beloved computer), the appliance repair guy (to fix the broken stove burner) and the gutter guy (for an estimate) come Friday, and the flooring guys come to give an estimate on Saturday (that's the one we may put off doing). Our new sink and vanity for upstairs were ordered today (we were too good for the off-the-shelf variety, so we special ordered ours). I've decided I don't like going to Lowe's/Home Depot because they remind me of Fernley. I enter on and immediately my walk slows to half pace. So much yet to do. I keep wanting to go home and relax... and then I remember I am home.

Monday, August 5

Oy, is this place a mess. I finally got everything in the kitchen put away and today I've been working on my office. Adam, meanwhile, has been busy being Mr. Fixit, a job he seems to relish. In order to paint the upstairs bathroom (Barely Blue) he completely removed the sink and half the toilet. Who knew he was so handy? Tomorrow we go shopping for a new sink at our new home away from home: Lowe's (the toilet was fine as is). After the last experience painting together (and given the miniscule size of the bathroom), Adam painted that one on his own. Next comes the library (Rose Taupe) and then we start to attack the wallpaper in the bedroom. We'll be sleeping in the guest room until we get the upstairs done, so there's major motivation to get moving on that and have it finished before our first house guests come in early September. For now, my main task has been getting the boxes cleared out. Considering this house is twice the size of the previous one, I'm not sure why this is such a difficult task, but it appears that our belongings have made like bunnies and multiplied throughout the haul to Arlington. The more I clean, the messier this place gets.

Tonight, our friend Rachel came by to check out the house and go out for dinner. After, we decided to rent a movie and buy some beers to take home. We went to Lexington (just two minutes away) to go to the liquor store (Arlington is dry so no beer in supermarkets; it's only recently that you could buy it in restaurants). The three of us went in and as we went to check out, the guy insisted on seeing our i.d.s. Fine. Only they don't accept out-of-state licenses. Massachusetts only. He looks us all over and says, "Look, I can't take your id, but the guy is obviously old enough to buy, so if he wants to pay, I can sell it to him." So Adam bought the beer. I went to grab the six pack to walk out and the guy says, "No, no, he's got to carry it out." Is there anyone out there who doesn't know I'm five years older than Adam? Or scruff-boy, as he's been known lately, as he's in his rugged handyman phase and hasn't shaved in quite a while.

Priorities now: Get a job. Get rid of the bedroom wallpaper. Get a full night's sleep. Right now they all seem like daunting tasks.

Saturday, August 3

We have achieved furnitureage.
If when you come over to visit the living room seems a little dark, it is. Adam and I have decided that instead of painting a second coat, we'd just keep the lights dim.

Things you'd think I would have learned by now:
1) If you get paint on your shoe and then walk across the floor, you will get paint on the floor.
2) Likewise, if you have paint on your hand and then touch, oh, say your hair, you will get paint in your hair.
3) If you've just painted the baseboard, it's best not to lean on it when trying to paint the window above it.
4) Corollary: paint from the top down.
5) If you dance to A3 (and who doesn't dance when A3 is on?) with a paint brush in your hand, paint will splatter everywhere.

Despite the fact that Adam had "issues" with the way I paint, we finished the living room, the only one we were feeling pressured to finish before the movers arrive. Adam has this weird way of painting, something he keeps calling "Slowly and Carefully." He gets annoyed with my method, which I believe is equally effective, "Fast and Fast." Apparently I don't angle, I dab. I don't brush, I squash.

The rest of the house will get done over time. The upstairs bathroom and the library should be done by early next week, but we're going to sleep in the guest bedroom so we can get all the wallpaper out of the bedroom, which could take a good while. The kitchen and offices (downstairs and up) we'll have done because the walls need a little work at the same time. And then there are all the other things we want to get done... patience has never been my virtue.

In the meantime, we've been sleeping on a sleeping bag on the floor. But we have phone and cable and our cable modem, so things are moving in the right direction. And now, it's time to go to floor.

Friday, August 2

I'm starting to feel a little despair at what we've gotten ourselves into... so many projects! Too many to write about now (must go paint the trim in the living room), but wanted to say that the phone company did indeed change our number, so if you want to call before I send out the official notice, drop me an e-mail and I'll send you the new number.