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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in kendellsquare's LiveJournal:

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Monday, May 17th, 2010
10:39 pm
Saturday, May 15th, 2010
6:39 pm
5:41 pm
4:40 pm
Egypt and Jordan, Pt 1
Now that the dust has started to settle and I'm mentally back in the correct time zone, I'm ready to talk about it. :)

Why A Tour?Collapse )

ETA: Photo album link here:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0EbNGrho3ZMWH-
Thursday, January 7th, 2010
10:14 pm
Annual Book Review
The full list of books I read this year is below. It was a smaller list this year than usual, but there were some highlights:

* The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon - Defies description, but possibly the best book I read this year, competing with ...

* The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbey - Not my usual style, but I really loved its dry tone.

* The Attolia series by Megan Whalen Turner - The first of the series (The Thief) is OK, but the other two were total page-turners!

* The Flashman by George MacDonald Fraser - The first in a series I plan to read all the way through. They're the memoirs of a (fictional) British soldier in the Victorian era, and his many misadventures. Great historical fiction!

* The only re-read on the list was Rats, Lice, and History by Hans Zinsser. This is out of print, but you can get it used on Amazon. It's basically the history of typhoid, as told by your cantankerous and somewhat rambling grandfather. Funny (possibly unintentionally) and informative at the same time!


Shirley Charlotte Bronte
The Arrival Shaun Tan
The Stuff of Thought Steven Pinker
Austenland Shannon Hale
A House for Mr. Biswas V.S. Naipaul
A Year in Provence Peter Mayle
Slammerkin Emily Donoghue
Six 18th Century Plays Various
Misquoting Jesus Bart D. Ehrman
Case Histories Kate Atkinson
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill Mark Bittner
Birth Tina Cassidy
Written in Bones Paul Bahn
New Guinea Tapeworms & Jewish Grandmothers Robert S. Desowitz
The First Word Christine Kenneally
The Last Days of Dogtown Anita Diamanti
Ramona Helen Hunt Jackson
Falling off the Map Pico Iyer
The Constant Princess Philippa Gregory
Happy Accidents Morton A. Meyers
Reading Lolita in Tehran Azar Nafizi
The Queen of Attolia Megan Whalen Turner
The King of Attolia Megan Whalen Turner
The Island of the Colour-blind Oliver Sacks
Beauty Sheri Tepper
Dewey Vicki Myron
World Without End Ken Follett
The Steel Wave Jeff Shaara
Agnes Grey Anne Bronte
Your Inner Fish Neil Shubin
The Flashman George MacDonald Fraser
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Michael Chabon
Typhoid Mary Anthony Bourdain
Daniel Deronda George Eliot
The Eyre Affair Jasper Fforde
The French Lieutenant's Woman
The Elegance of the Hedgehog Muriel Barbey
The Innocents Abroad Mark Twain
The Wild Muir Yosemite Assoc.
A Wild Sheep Chase Haruki Murakami
Pyongyang Guy Delisle
The Four Feathers A.E.W. Mason
Too Cool 2 Be Forgotten Alex Robinson
Ice-Candy Man Bapsi Sidhwa
Peeps Scott Westerfeld
Epic Rivalry: The inside story of the Soviet and American space race Von Hadesty & Gene Eisman
The Pluto Files Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Our Dumb World The Onion
The Name of the Rose Umberto Eco
Good Book David Plotz
Gourmet Rhapsody Muriel Barbey
State of Fear Michael Crichton
Rats, Lice, and History Hans Zinsser
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
10:11 pm
Wake-up Call
This morning at 4 a.m., I heard a strange noise in the basement. Figuring I'd sleep better if I just peeked in, I looked downstairs and was horrified to find it flooded, with water streaming down a mysterious pipe in the back of the basement. (The noise was actually the deluge bouncing off a somewhat conveniently located steel drum. If it had been a little to the left, the basement would have silently flooded for who knows how long before we found it. If it had been a little to the right, though, it would have actually *caught* all the flood water...)

I was sure that this was the fault of my top-floor neighbor, who is having her place gutted and renovated, because they had just started demolition yesterday, so we turned off the building's water and called up her contractor. Miraculously, he roused a plumber and they got over before 6 and took a look at it. Turns out, it was the sewer line to the house that had backed up (although at this point the two inches of water in the basement appeared to be just water and didn't smell or anything.) This had nothing to do with the renovations; it was lucky for me, though, that the renovations were happening - otherwise, who knows who I would have called who would have gotten out of bed at 4 a.m. to figure it out!
Sunday, October 18th, 2009
6:11 pm
Kitty Update, plus bonus weekend whining
First the good stuff:



Sure, they fight sometimes; and cleaning out a litterbox is no picnic. But they are getting to be very sweet kitties. Archer (grey one) will sit next to me on the downstairs couch and snooze while I pet him, for literally hours at a time. And Camo made great strides this weekend, allowing me several 10-15 minute pettings as well as sitting briefly on my legs on Friday. Today we even found them curled up together on the couch, so I couldn't resist taking a load of photos.

Now the weekend whining:

I hear bad things come in threes, so I can now say I completed the "flooding rooms with washing machine water" trio. (Recently, alpine_tunnel and my Aunt Edie have had tragic washing machine incidents.) This one I did to myself; totally my fault. In order to prevent flood water from ever getting into the washer, there's a big switch I have to turn to direct water into the washer, before turning it on. I did NOT turn this switch - now I know what happens when I don't - several inches of water accumulated in parts of the floor (it's a really slanty and crazy old floor so it didn't flow evenly) before I found it. I ended up mopping and scooping all the water into the sump pump hole (note to self - one mop per household is not enough - get more ASAP.) and now I'm worried that the water will not all drain out of there but will just sit there stagnant and nasty.

The good news is that, thanks to a dehumidifier, three hot water heaters, and a furnace, the puddles on the floor are already almost gone.
Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
10:45 pm
Istanbul
We arrived in Istanbul at dawn, which was a really lovely way to see it. We disembarked and took a bus offered by the cruise to our hotel. Then we proceded to make the most of our one day to show my mother Istanbul, and ran her (and ourselves) absolutely ragged.

In one day, we saw
- The Hagia Sofia (Former Christian Church turned Mosque, now musuem)
- The Cistern Basilica (Former cistern, now museum with mood lighting and random sideways-pointing Medusa head statue)
- The Grand Bazaar
- The Blue Mosque
- Topkapi Palace (The Sultan's Palace)

And also had, as Brad mentioned, one of the best lunches of the trip. (He neglected to mention that he and my mother washed that meal down with Cola Turka, one of the few sodas in the world that can go head-to-head with Coke in its local area and win.)

We had already seen all of these things in 2000, when we had 5 days to see the city instead of one, but it was nice to see them again, especially the Blue Mosque, which is stunning.



OK - I swear I'm done talking on and on and on about the Greece/Turkey trip (or, as my Turkish boss called it, "The trip to Turkey and some other country.")

Next topic for boring everyone to death with - my cats! :)
10:25 pm
Ephesus
Trying to finish off the Greek trip entries before I forget everything!

Quite possibly the coolest ancient site I've ever been to was in Ephesus. One of the buildings was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and it must have been pretty amazing, since even what's left is pretty magnificent.

We took a tour bus from Kusadasi (on the coast) to get to Ephesus. Our first stop was a house said to have been inhabited by the Virgin Mary. Nothing particularly interesting to say about the house - it was small and full of fervent people. I tend not to believe "So-and-so Slept Here" tales anyway.

The real deal was the ruins of the ancient town of Ephesus. There were some amazing arches, and even whole facades of buildings, that really gave a feel for what the town must have looked like. (Oddly enough, the building in Ephesus that was one of the wonders of the ancient world is almost entirely gone, but the less-"wonderful" Library of Celsus is very well-preserved!)





After the Ephesus tour, we had to endure a pitch at a carpet store. The plus side was getting a carpet-making demonstration, which including an amazing demonstration of the fact that the same carpet has very different coloration when seen from different angles - they kept dragging out somewhat lackluster-looking rugs, then rotating them 180 degrees and suddenly they were popping with color!

Ephesus was the penultimate stop on our tour. We had a day on the ship, before landing the next morning in Istanbul.
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009
10:14 pm
Rhodes & Bodrum
Rhodes is in Greece; Bodrum is Turkey. Nevertheless, they get somewhat mixed up in my mind whenever I think of them. Both were old beachside cities with similar castles and medieval remnants.

Rhodes is actually a pretty sizable island, as these islands go. After a morning exploring the lovely main town, castle walls, and the Palace of the Grand Masters, Brad and I decided to venture a bit further out and see the Acropolis of Lindos. It turns out that Lindos is a good 45 minutes away from the main town by taxi. After a few refusals, we found a taxi willing to drive us out there and wait around for an hour for us to see it before driving us out.

I was very glad we went out. It was an interesting combination of the very, very, very old (a temple from 300 BC) and the only very old (13th century castle). It was also pleasantly uncrowded.



The best part of our Rhodes day might actually have been dinner. Like all dinners, we ate on the boat, but this day we made reservations for the more casual restaurant on the top deck. Normally the dining is al fresco, but it was a bit too windy, so we sat just inside a restaurant with floor to ceiling windows, and I popped outside at regular intervals to snap photos of a truly magnificent sunset.

Bodrum was not as memorable. According to my Turkish coworkers, the main draw is actually the night life, which, since our boat left before sundown, wasn't really an option for us. Nevertheless, there was a castle and a museum, and some nice shops... also, we had the best baklava there, served by a very talkative waiter. We didn't actually order them - and we might actually have been charged for them (the bill was in Turkish) - but they were very good anyway.

10:00 pm
Milos & Santorini
Our first stop was supposed to be Mykonos. Unfortunately, the winds were too rough, so we stopped in Milos instead. Missing Mykonos itself wasn't really all that disappointing, but I was really sad to miss the side trip to Delos that was to come along with it.

There's actually not all that much to see on Milos. The island is, like most of the Greek islands we saw, volcanic, which, in some parts of the island, meant blindingly white rock made of layers and layers of ash. It was fun to see the super-white rock, then turn and look at the super-white whitewashed houses nearby... the whole island had the same color scheme. However, in this respect, Milos was the merest preview of the next day's attraction - Santorini.

Milos:


I had been looking forward to Santorini for the sake of pictures more than anything else. We took a bus up to the village of Oia, where we explored down every alleyway for different views of the stark white churches with distinctive bell towers. Oia was truly a feast for the eyes, which no pictures can quite do justice to (but I couldn't help but try):



To get back down to the shore from Santorini, there were three choices. One choice was several hundred stairs (nobody really even considered that one...), another was a funicular, and the last choice was by donkey, along a very steep switchback. Brad was apparently tempted to try the donkey option, but I remained firmly anti-donkey, both in Santorini and on all other islands.

Another use for donkeys is apparently carrying luggage:
Friday, September 4th, 2009
6:21 pm
Cruisin'
Before the trip, I was a little bit skeptical of the whole cruise travel concept. I was worried that I wouldn't get enough time on each place to see everything I wanted, and just wouldn't have enough control over my time. Also, I was worried I would suddenly become one of those ugly tourists who don't know where they are each day, and just want to be herded around in large droves so they can snap a photo and get back to the air conditioning.

I was wrong. Cruising is a wonderful way to go. This was one of the most relaxing vacations I have taken. Every day, we docked at an island first thing in the morning. We had breakfast on the boat, then either took a tour or walked around the island on our own for the morning. We'd find a nice place for lunch, have a relaxed lunch break, and then explore a little more on our own, before making our way back to the boat sometime in the late afternoon. Then we had time for a two-hour nap before dinner, followed either by some on-board entertainment or a rented DVD, and then sleep. This is one of the few vacations that, aside from a bit of jet-lag, I finished more rested than I started!



The only downside was seasickness. This was a small boat, and when they put the sails up, you could really feel the movement. (The other guests probably thought I was a total lush, since I was constantly staggering all over the place.) After the first, icky seasicky night, Brad and I used a prescription patch for seasickness. This worked well enough that we could eat actual food, but not well enough to encourage us to stuff ourselves silly.

I don't think a cruise would work for every itinerary, but for rounding up a lot of places, each worth seeing but hard to get to, it was absolutely perfect.


6:07 pm
Athens
I figured I'd try and write a brief entry about each place we saw on our trip, with a teaser photo or two. The full album can be found here:
http://share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=0EbNGrho3ZMWHv

We flew from JFK to Athens, where we had basically a day and a half before we had to pick up the cruise. Naturally, the best activity to do when you're jet-lagged is to lug yourself to the top of the Acropolis and see the ruins, which we did after a quick look at the changing of the guard, which was eerily reminiscent of Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks.



Seeking a route that was easiest on my mom's knees, we ended up going a back way, which wound through a collection of very picturesque old houses. I had to wonder if they were inhabited, and if so, who lived there and how they put up with the tourists.

Finally, we staggered to the top, where we found the ruins absolutely clogged with tourists. The wind kicked dust in our eyes, and was so strong that at one point I was practically blown over. (Thankfully, I had heeded the advice of wise friends and did not wear a skirt that day. I did not fully believe them until I encountered the wind myself, but they were right right right.)

Of course, I knew that the ruins were pretty sparse up there. But I was a leetle bit disappointed by them nonetheless. Our next stop was the brand-new archeological museum, built to prove to the Brits that they have a world-class museum space capable of taking care of the Elgin Marbles, so give them back already. It was actually a bit hard to find, since, having been open only a few weeks, it was on no maps or signs anywhere. But it was a nice enough place, and I do hope they can get their artifacts back.

By evening we were more refreshed, and had a good dinner (at a place recommended by our taxi driver from the airport, who was a wonderful, friendly, one-man ad campaign for Athens). Seeing the city, and especially the Acropolis, lit up at night was absolutely gorgeous.




The next day, Brad and I dashed through the city and to the Agora for more ruins. The Agora was less crowded and better preserved. The only damper on the day was that fires had sprung up just outside of Athens, causing a dark cloud to drift across the sky (and at times, turn the sun blood-red.)

Then it was time for the boat!
Monday, August 3rd, 2009
9:22 pm
Let the Sun Shine
This weekend, for our anniversary, Brad and I went to see the revival of Hair on Broadway. It was a very awesome experience.

Despite deciding to get tickets only a few days ahead of time, we got really nice seats, along the aisle on the orchestra. The aisle part turned out to be pretty key, as the cast was, shall we say, quite interactive with the audience, running up and down the aisles and messing with the people within their reach. (I personally can now say I've had my leg humped by the actor playing Claude, for instance...)

The cast was all great, choreography seamless, and the scenery appropriately low-key (no gimmicky stuff distracting from the show). But what really made the show for me, I have to admit, was the very end. During the curtain call, they basically invite anyone who wants to, to join them onstage, while a few of the ensemble goes into the audience, and everyone is on their feet, dancing an clapping endlessly to "Let the Sun Shine In". Of course, Brad and I had to rush onstage. Being up there, surrounded by cast (and other audience members) and looking out at the lights and the full theater, surrounded by the sound, was as close to being on Broadway as I'll ever get, and was exhilarating.

That was the upside of the weekend. The downside is a mysterious rash on my arms and neck. I'm hoping it's just an annoying poison ivy, but even that makes me sad - I'll never look at my garden as a fun place anymore, but a scary one.
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
10:21 pm
See Mrs. Gray, she's proud today...


I've been really surprised how much I enjoy having a little garden. When we moved in in January, there obviously wasn't anything in our backyard. I've done little so far to the flowerbeds except clear away a few weeds and lots of dead leaves and sticks, and all these amazing plants keep jumping up out of nowhere. First it was a random pair of daffodils (I felt vaguely cheated - TWO daffodils? Is that the extent of my garden?) then suddenly, all these plants for which I have no names started sprouting out of the ground. Out of nowhere, suddenly I had some bleeding hearts, and interesting ferny things, and then, one day, an azalea bush suddenly exploded into gorgeous bright pinks. Now they've faded and I've got a monster rose bush (that desperately needs trimming, actually.)

Our nemesis so far has been the lawn. Grass is hard!! The previous owners told us that some of it tended to die out in the winter, so we bought some soil and fertilizer and seeds (deep shade, since we get little sunlight back here) and raked over the straggles of grass left at the edges of the plot, and the bare earth in the middle, and planted some grass. The weather was ideal - cool but not too cold, with tons of rain. In about two weeks, the existing grass was getting a little tall, and new shoots were springing up in most places. Unfortunately, so were gigantic weeds. These things were gargantuan - dinner plate size - and surrounded by delicate growths of new grass! Now we had a dilemma - to remove the weeds (and destroy the new grass) or let them keep growing until the new grass was a little stronger and risk having a lawn consisting more of weeds than of grass? We did a little weeding, which resulted in a bare patch in one segment of lawn, and a little spraying of a weed killer that claimed to kill weeds but not grass (it totally lied - so we have a big patch of dead yellow grass now). The season for planting new grass is pretty much gone, and I can only hope that the crabgrass spreads to fill in the holes. Any advice for next season is appreciated...
Wednesday, May 6th, 2009
9:47 pm
Photo Sharing Advice?
As the weather gets warmer, I've been able to have a few weekends in which to take photos of my new neighborhood. I wanted to share them, but I have a dilemma.

I've always used Shutterfly, and I have loved everything I bought from them - two photo books, several calendars and some prints. The photo books especially have been terrific. However, I'm getting increasingly frustrated with their online slideshows. After getting everything all set up and ordered the way I wanted, I did a test run and it froze at every third picture. Not only that, but for some reason, the images look really crappy on the slideshow, even though they look great on my computer before uploading, and even when I get large prints from the website which look perfect. So I need a new way to share pictures. Ideally, I would also like it to have the same kind of ordering capabilities as Shutterly, so I don't have to upload to one site to show people and another site to make calendars, etc. But if you're really in love with flikr or picasa, enough to justify the duplication, I'm curious to know that too...

Here are a few photos of Jersey City, while I'm figuring it out:Collapse )
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
9:26 pm
Book Report: Misquoting Jesus
My reading has fallen off considerably in the last six months, what with moving and work and a million other excuses. But I read a good one this week - Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman, about some of the ways the text of the New Testament has been changed over time.

Specifically, he talks about how we will never be able to find the original texts, and how we have tried for centuries to sift through all the variations, even among copies in the original Hebrew or Greek. I think this is a great entry-level book on the topic, giving a good taste for what this field of study is like, even if it didn't cover quite as much ground as I would have liked.

For one thing, it's only about the New Testament (I guess I should have figured that from the book title...). For another, he limits himself entirely to variations within the oldest Greek manuscripts and early Latin translations, not even covering the fact that translating from one language to another necessarily causes at least subtle, and sometimes drastic, changes in meaning. (He could have at least thrown in a few of the most silly translation errors/misprints that have occurred in Biblical history as a sop to the reader, but no.)

On the plus side, this narrow focus does allow him to write a short, and readable, account of the centuries-long effort to trace back the original work. There were some interesting tidbits (notably, the part about being able to handle snakes without getting bit is likely a later edition), but what interested me most was the subtle, sometimes unspoken assumptions that he worked under because of his background.

His preface explains that, as a teenager, he was "born again", and had gone to Bible college and a religious grad school, eventually deciding to concentrate in the study of the oldest texts of the Bible.

As somebody who was raised nominally Christian (but essentially raised atheist), I grew up assuming that the Bible was a book written entirely by humans, and that, even if a God existed (which seemed possible), and even if he was involved with human life (which seemed improbable) and even if he had a son named Jesus, who really DID die and come back to life (which seemed unbelievably improbable), anything written about said events in the Bible would be pretty much inaccurate, filtered through not only centuries of copying, but the lens of a very different culture in which the original events would have occurred. So I found it enlightening to read between the lines of this book, as the author describes his eventual determination that one cannot read the Bible literally, even the earliest known versions. You can hear the wonder in his tone as he realizes this.

I have to admit that a good part of the enjoyment of this book was being able to take this journey with the author; the tone of the book is, surprisingly for such a scholarly topic, extremely readable, almost conversational.

So, 5 stars for Misquoting Jesus. The only thing it was missing was some more humorous examples of mistranslation - I know they're out there.

Incidentally, for a humorous treatment of the Bible, I recommend Ken's Guide to the Bible.
Thursday, February 5th, 2009
10:13 pm
Wishes granted
Last night I was having some not-so-great dreams. After one of numerous awakenings, I drowsily thought, "C'mon... can't I dream of something happy?"

Whatever part of me dreams things decided to oblige me, and I had a very short dream in which I was reading a newspaper. The headline was "Cloning in Toronto is Going Great!". Well, I guess that's technically a dream about something happy. Thanks, brain.

I've been pleasantly surprised by the PATH this week. When I got my 40-trip pass in the mail, I was quite displeased to find that it didn't work at any terminal. I called Wageworks, the company that sends me the cards after buying them pretax, and they told me to "Just find a PATH employee... they'll help." Oh sure, like they're just hanging around?? Well, turns out they are. And I only had to fill out my name and address on a little card and they gave me a new pass that works! Nice...(Incidentally, all the signage bizarrely refers to it as "PATH", not "the PATH", as in "Help us keep PATH clean".)


I'm not so happy with IKEA. They have now failed us twice (First trip, they gave us the wrong cover for the sofa and were out of stock of glass doors; second trip, we got the doors and sofa cover, but one of the doors turned out to be missing all the attending parts to attach it to the bookshelf. I complained vociferously enough that they reluctantly agreed to send me said parts by mail... I am pessimistically sure they will be wrong or incomplete, but we'll see... maybe they'll come through like (the) PATH did.
Monday, January 26th, 2009
10:07 pm
A Jersey City Tale: Week 1
Our first week in the new place went pretty well, actually.

Day 1: The move went as smooth as could be expected, with all the usual chaos of boxes, but nothing broken (except nearly the head of one of the movers, who did a total Three Stooges move where one of them picked up a bookshelf from the bottom and wacked the head of the guy behind him with the top).

Moving out...Collapse )

The moving guys came at 9 sharp, and were done by 12:30. They were on a flat rate, and it was the coldest day here since 2007, so they were motivated. We got the kitchen and the bedroom in livable condition, but the living and dining room were pretty much a huge mess. After a dinner at our new favorite Mexican place, we made a makeshift nest of blankets on the floor and watched the netflix movie we had carefully kept unpacked for our first night - the MST3K of Hercules Unchained. Awesome ep, although about halfway through our butts fell asleep from the hard floor.

As for actually falling asleep on the first night, I was a little bit disturbed by some of the "old house" noises, like the heater kicking on and off. Brad helpfully added his own sound effects of creaking floorboards and voices muttering "Kill....kill....". I love my husband.

... and moving inCollapse )

Day 2: We broke out the hand-drill, and after only a few frantic calls to parents, we got curtains on the windows, a shade in the bathroom, and a coatrack (Andrew's comment upon seeing the latter: "Well, that's almost straight") all attached to various surfaces in our new home. No sooner did we return the neighbor's stepstool than I decided that the curtains were way too wrinkled for the lines to "fall out" with gravity over time. They would remain wrinkled for a few more days, though, thanks to a lack of tall stepstool and ironing board.

Day 2 pixCollapse )

Day 3: A red-letter day indeed - Brad shoveled for (practically) the first time! We also discovered Jersey City's light rail system, which is pretty convenient for those without a car, in getting around. Two other discoveries of the day: a 6-foot ladder will actually fit inside a cab, although it makes the cabbie grumpy, and the folks at Bed, Bath and Beyond are all lying bastards. ("Same-day delivery, $15" = "Tomorrow, for $30") Oh well. We do really like the nightstands we got at B,B &B, and now we have a ladder, a vacuum cleaner, and many other useful things. Also got some laundry done - and snapped a shot of my favorite bizarre sign left in our basement by the occupants before last.

More pixCollapse )

Day 4: More snow! (Shoveling is less fun the second time around, actually...) We went out to Ikea, which was a bit crazy, but we got a lot of nice things, then I sat home and waited for Ikea, the cable guy, and the aforementioned B,B &B deliveries, which all came pretty much at once. Apparently, we didn't have wires yet downstairs, so they had to go through our basement and up, which was crazy, but now we have internets and cable. This is the first time I've had cable in many years - it was an expense we could always do without - but these combo packages make it seem comparatively expensive to just get internet... hopefully I will not become a couch potato...

Winter wonderlandCollapse )

Days 5-8 During the week, our schedule was "run off to work, run home, assemble/clean until our fingers are about to fall off, go to sleep". We discovered partway through that Ikea gave us the wrong parts for our couch/chaise combo, resulting in a giant, half-assembled lump of furniture dominating the living room for the rest of the week.

After another weekend, and another trip to Ikea, we're still not quite fit for visitors, but we're getting close! At least the curtains are ironed now:

Monday, January 5th, 2009
5:13 pm
Yay! (Almost)
So, Brad and I are now the proud owners of two whole floors (plus basement and backyard) of an 1880's brownstone in Jersey City. Almost.

First of all, this was supposed to have happened before Christmas, but of the two mortgage companies competing for our business, neither of them could get their act together before the holidays!

Today, we signed all of the papers, got keys, etc. The only small problem is that the mortgage company wired the loan to the WRONG LAWYER - some random other lawyer in Hoboken! Our lawyer was leaving messages with the mortgage company's voicemail every 10 minutes, saying "Where's the loan? The wire never came through!" and they kept not calling her back thinking, "What's she talking about? We sent it this morning! Oh well, no need to *call her and tell her that*."

Finally, Brad called. They tried to blame our lawyer, as if she would have accidentally sent some other random lawyer's account number to them... but eventually agreed to send the payment, EOD today, or more likely, tomorrow. Until that happens, I guess I'm still not really a homeowner... but we're pretty much there.
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