15 September 2014 § 3 Comments
Last Friday morning, as I got off my first bus and prepared to cross the street to catch my second bus, I had to pause for a second because my audiobook was interrupted by LOUD music. The first bus lets me off right next to the frat houses at the local university, but at 6:30 am, I am used to things being a little bit quieter. It appears that the gentlemen of one fraternity partied through the night, for no apparent reason. Except perhaps to be awake to serenade fellow riders and me with their rendition of “Tiny Dancer,” as we waited for our bus and marveled at the stamina of youth.
3 September 2014 § 2 Comments
This morning, in preparation for an appointment I have this afternoon, I drove my car to a park and ride and, for the first time, took the bus from there. Four other women waited at the stop with me, and while we were waiting, they asked me whether it was my first time at the stop (yes), offered homegrown tomatoes (no, thank you), and chatted about their upcoming days.
When we got on the bus, they merrily greeted the group of women already seated and continued the happy banter. Today, it turned out, was one woman’s last day on the bus, so there was a present for her. They traded tips on their favorite nail salons, and asked a pregnant lady about her plans for work until the baby comes. When we got to my stop, they all wished me a good day as I got off.
I probably won’t take this bus more often than every couple of weeks or so, but what a treat to look forward to when I do!
26 August 2014 § 5 Comments
I started a new job at the beginning of August. (A big girl job, as I’ve been calling it.) Along with the office, coworkers, and regular work hours, I have also become a bus commuter.
The university where I work subsidizes the cost of the bus pass to an incredible $25 a year, so it seemed ridiculously expensive by comparison to pay to park and for gas–even in my reasonably efficient Civic Hybrid. Plus, my bus commute takes about 50 minutes, roughly the same time it would take for me to drive 25 minutes, park, and then walk 15-20 minutes to my building. Finally, I commuted to a nannying job every day this summer, and while it was crucial for me to have my car to drive my charges around, toward the end of three months of daily commuting, every time I got in the car I felt (maybe irrationally) like I was statistically due for a wreck. Adding all of this up made it an easy choice to take the bus, but logistically I still had some things to figure out.
In a way that is probably typical of someone raised in a Texas suburb, but nonetheless embarrassing and revealing of my privilege, I had basically no idea how to take a bus. Trains/subways in cities I’ve lived in or visited have not been a problem because they stop at every stop. Faced with needed to communicate with the bus driver that I needed to get off, though, I was at a loss. So I watched the online how-to-ride videos through the city’s transit website. I felt dumb, but the reason they have those videos is for people like me, who have never had to get on a bus. I mastered the commute in a day or two, and I’ve been happily riding ever since.
I listen to audiobooks and podcasts, while enjoying not having to pay attention to the road. I’ve definitely messed up the schedule and missed a couple of buses, but I find the whole process preferable to driving myself. Here’s to many more years as a bus rider!
5 March 2014 § 2 Comments
Currently, there is nothing that I like better than fixing things up around the house. I think it’s a combination of renting, so I don’t HAVE to fix anything (only the things that are in working order, but I’d like something nicer, or things that didn’t come with the house). So we can call the landlord when showers/kitchen sinks/washer drains aren’t draining, but I can replace the cruddy old bathroom faucets, which were still in working order, but not very nice. I replaced them with affordable, highly functional options from Home Depot, and that was a bear because the bolt on one of the old faucets was completely rusted in place. A day of spraying WD40 rust formula on it and laying upside down while saying all the swears and feeling like my arms might fall off from super-intense plier-ing (not a word? I don’t care) may not sound like fun to you. BUT having a tangible and obvious output for work that I do, as well as making things nicer or more functional in our living space is just SO AWESOME.
We also bought a used dryer really cheaply from the lovely handyman that came to fix the rent house and he delivered it, which was oh-so-helpful. About two weeks later, though, the drum stopped tumbling. Fortunately, that happened when Hubs’s clothes were in there, and not mine, and also fortunately we have so much closet space in this new house that we just hung dry all of Hubs’s clothes. But we needed to fix the dryer, and at first I was bummed because new (to us) things breaking is disappointing. But thank goodness for THE INTERWEBS, the source of my powers. Apparently, if an appliance breaks, you want it to be the dryer because 90% of the time you can fix whatever is wrong with it yourself. So I watched some youtubes, and it turned out that the most likely scenario when the drum stops tumbling is that the looooong skinny belt that goes around the drum and attaches to the motor has slipped off or broken. I took the dryer apart (YOUTUBES) and the belt had broken. I found an appliance parts store close-ish, drove there, and told them the belt part number that I needed. I also picked up a new pulley (another part that can malfunction), and a new lint trap because the old one was coming apart at the edges and the wire mesh was pokey. Then I replaced the pulley and belt, vacuumed out years of dust with the shop vac and wahoo:
The other thing that I’ve done so far, which isn’t really fixing things but makes a huge difference in any room, is hanging curtains. It may seem like curtains aren’t that big of a deal, but I agree with my girl Sherry over at Young House Love that curtains can make as much of a difference as painting. And since we’re in a rental and we likely won’t be doing any painting, the curtains are all we’ve got. And I love curtains, I think because I love fabric. I don’t have photos of our curtains, but I just love how they warm up the rooms and give us privacy.
My next projects are a serious clothesline outside on the wooden supports that came with the house (we won’t even need the repaired dryer!) and garage storage/organization. What are you working on around the house?
24 February 2014 § 5 Comments
The last twelve months, I’ve felt the most unsettled that I ever have in my adult life. Selling our house, an internship in Chicago, a move North Carolina, and another [local] NC move, against a constant background of trying to finish my [damn] PhD and my parents’ [unsurprising, but no less bothersome] divorce has been a challenge. And to do it all in the midst of feeling disconnected from our support network in Tennessee has sucked.
When things are that tricky, it’s hard for me to write in this space, even though I do think writing helps me process and feeds me creatively, which I sorely miss when I’m having a hard time. I think of people that complain openly and frequently on Facebook and I so desperately don’t want to be that person that I don’t write here, where I really could and really need to. And something about calling the blog Inviting Joy got me stuck that I only should write when I’m finding joy–not just inviting it. I think I should give you, my readers, more credit. At least two of you have mentioned that you’ve missed seeing me here–messages of support that meant so much to me. And this blog isn’t Facebook, so here I am.
My cousin shared a link for a 30 day writing challenge, and when I saw the subheading “write yourself alive,” I couldn’t resist. I want to write myself alive. I’m going to write for an hour every morning, as I am in the midst of another transition: from employment to [f]unemployment/dissertating, which will hopefully result in the PhD finally being done FOREVER. I’ll share some of what I write and some of it I’ll keep private, but I want to publicly commit to this practice and thank you for reading.
7 August 2013 § 2 Comments
I have become that woman: the one who misses her animals so much that she kisses the animals of strangers.
Example 1: Isabella the St. Bernard.
She was beautiful and the first really big dog I’d seen in this neighborhood composed entirely of highrises. Though we have a lake view, we do not have places for dogs to exercise, so all the high energy dogs I’d seen looked uncomfortably bulky. Isabella was just right, probably because St. Bernards mostly just lay around all day, burning calories sleeping and drooling. As she walked right toward me on my way to work, big, drooly mouth in a doggie grin, I couldn’t resist. “CanIpetyourdog?” I said in a rush, even as I squatted down to give her a big hug. Her person was kind and understanding as I chatted his ear off, eventually moving out of the way so they could get back to whatever they actually needed to do. But not before I kissed her sweet, furry noggin.
Example 2: Lucy the contraband kitten.
She dashed out of another apartment on my floor in the highrise, which DOES NOT ALLOW CATS. (Believe me, I checked). Slightly drunk on good food and wine, I paused while unlocking my door and asked, “Would you let me cuddle that kitten?” When he said yes, I went to their door and put my arms out. She was tiny, with a fast beating heart and black bunny fur. She didn’t struggle in my arms, but looked around interestedly until I kissed her and handed her over.
23 July 2013 § Leave a comment
I know that a lot of people think it’s stupid that everyone cared so much about the Royal Baby, but I LOVED it. It was just so fun for me to bond with the other fans at work and to watch so many people around the world get so excited about the new little prince. Maybe it’s all just superficial and shallow, but I actually did feel connected to all the cheering people. And welcoming a baby is special, regardless of the baby.
In June, my high school BFF and I watched Birth Story, which is a documentary about Ina May Gaskin and the Farm midwives. Each time the babies were born, we both cried. Something about them coming earthside, having not been there a moment ago and then suddenly being there, slays me.
Imagining that happening for William and Kate, whom I love a little bit (in a non-stalkerish way), and being so thankful to have something so joyous in the news after all the heavy, hard things that have been there lately made me watch the video of them coming out of the hospital so the world could meet their baby over and over again.