Some Months Later

detail from painting
Originally uploaded by KF.

It’s funny the things your old friends will remind you of. Like the embarrassing things you said in college. Or like the funny haircuts you used to think looked good.

Or, say, like you said months ago that you were going to post more pictures of the condo since you moved in, including (ahem) pictures of the painting you bought from me.

Without further ado, more pictures of the condo since I moved in, including the fabulous painting I bought from Marcus’s show this summer.

Thank you for your patience. Carry on.

Some Days

Some days are destined to be expensive. This, alas, is one of them. I knew it was bound to be, because I had my appointment with Mike the blinds guy, but it didn’t quite go like I expected.

The morning began with $200 worth of dentistry, for a cleaning and exam plus a genuinely awful full-mouth set of x-rays. This was followed by $450 worth of tires. My rear-passenger side tire had developed a slow leak, which fact I failed to notice until much too late, due to my failure to approach the car from the passenger side, like, ever. The result was that I stupidly ran on the tire while it was all but flat, resulting in severe damage to the sidewall. I knew that I was going to need to replace at least two of the tires because of this, but thought it likely that I’d need all four. I’m glad I prepared myself for the worst-case scenario here; the car only has 47,000 miles on it, but it’s seven years old (yes, I never drive anywhere at all), and the Firestones that came as original equipment on the car were showing their age. The tire guy showed me significant crackage between the steel belt and the sidewall, and told me that Firestones have a bad tendency toward tread separation as they age. I don’t drive an SUV, but would still prefer to drive with the treads attached to my tires; ergo, four new ones.

And all this was before the financial main event of the day, the visit from Mike the blinds guy. I’ve been putting off getting the windows in the living room/dining room taken care of, but the heat of the last month (and, of course, an imminent visit from my parents, who will no doubt be horrified that I haven’t gotten my windows treated after six months) finally pressed me into action. A couple of decisions, a little internet research, and a phone call later, and I had an appointment with Mike. He arrived with a kit full of samples, and I thorougly surprised myself by actually liking the polywood better than the real wood, in the shade I wanted. The polywood (a PVC/wood blend) is heavier, but super-durable, and 50% less expensive. And honestly, from a distance of greater than a foot away, I’d have been hard pressed to tell that the sample wasn’t actually wood. I’m hoping I haven’t let the expensiveness of my day affect my choice here, and I’m hoping that what was true of the sample turns out to be true of the finished blinds, but at the moment, at least, I’m feeling pretty confident about my choice. And astonishingly, Mike the blinds guy is only charging me just under $700 for the nine windows I’m having him cover — and that includes installation.

Today, I really needed to be surprised by the lowness of a price. Thanks, Mike.


Originally uploaded by KF.

I found myself so discombobulated yesterday after the toe event that I couldn’t sit down and get back to work, and so instead went out and purchased and then mounted a fab new set of shelves above my home desk. I had shelves like these (though much less nice ones) mounted above my desk in a couple of apartments in New York, and it took me a while to realize that all that searching around for some new desk configuration I’ve been doing over the last month or so was all about trying to replicate the feeling of those old workspaces. So why not just go back to the wall-mounted shelves? Much, much cheaper, much more flexible, and I feel like I’ve got a whole new office.


deconstruction 1

Originally uploaded by KF.

So I’ve finally given in and drunk the kool-aid, and have uploaded my first photoset to flickr. I’m not entirely sure why it took me this long, though it has something to do with the gallery feature of ExpressionEngine, which I was pretty committed to making work. And it’s a great feature, but flickr’s mighty compelling, so this is kind of an experiment to see which I like better.

This post is largely a test, to make sure that the API I’m using is working properly. In part, though, I’m also showing off a set of condo-related photos, documenting the demolition of the old city yard directly across the street from me, over the course of the spring semester. Construction is on the verge of beginning on phase 2 of my neighborhood, and the new village expansion is similarly beginning just down the street from me. The good news about this is that my pseudo-urban life is about to become a bit more convincing; the bad news is that the inconveniences of construction will be everywhere in evidence for the next year-plus.


The leak in my garage continues unabated, through three plumbers who can’t seem to figure out what the problem is, when I keep telling them that the leak isn’t coming from my condo, it’s only ending up in my condo. They run my showers and flush my toilets, and say, nope, no leak here. And leave.

If that were the only leakage, though, it might be more bearable. I think we’re moving up on the forty-days-and-forty-nights mark here in SoCal, or maybe it just seems like it’s got to be divine wrath falling from the sky. What’s clear is that I don’t think I’ve actually been fully dry in over a week. The basement of our office building has flooded repeatedly, and my classroom — in that basement — is now dank and cold. Enough. Or, in case English just isn’t carrying enough weight with the divine these days: Basta. Ca suffit.

On a happier note, though, I’ve gotten my wi-fi all wi’d and fi’d, and so am able to work from my second-floor-landing office nook now. I’m still having to negotiate the security issue, though; my after-market original Airport card and my new router simply can’t get together on either WEP or WPA. So right now I’m using MAC address control to prevent random folks from glomming onto my bandwidth, but my packets are nonetheless still leaking out all over the neighborhood. Of course, my packets are largely dull, so it’s probably not an issue, but I’m just saying.

What’s Going On

Things that have been happening of late, or are happening in my immediate future, that prevent me from doing any substantive writing, a fact which is beginning to make me chafe a bit, but that ought to be ameliorated in the days to come:

— The last stages of a search in the English department. I’m happy to report, however, that I was much less involved in this one than I ought to have been. (Okay, so I’m happy to report it, but feel guilty nonetheless.)

— An absolutely amazing visit from Nalo Hopkinson, who gave a fantastic reading and held several sessions talking with students, including the students in my Race, Gender, and Science Fiction class, who now adore her. As do I.

— A lovely housewarming party, which required a full day of shopping, cleaning, and gumbo-making, but which was absolutely the highlight of my last few weeks. The most exciting moment of the event, however, was not exactly party-related:

— Many hours spent with plumbers and customer service managers in the new condo. I came home last Thursday at about 9 pm to find a trickle of water, emerging from underneath a pile of R.’s boxed-up stuff and zipping across the garage. In a panic, I moved all the boxes (which now appear only to have gotten damp on the bottom, thank goodness), to find that water was leaking from the base of the wall, where it met the foundation. I called the 24-hour emergency customer service number (having been briefed that leaks constitute Genuine Emergencies), and the guy on call in turn called the plumber, but told me not to expect any response before morning. Wrong. The plumber showed up at 10.30 that night, looked at it, said “yeah, you’ve got a leak,” but decided that it wasn’t actively leaking any more, so he’d be back in the morning. Friday morning, the customer service manager came around, pissed that the plumber hadn’t done the job the night before, and he and his crew cut into the drywall in the garage to attempt to figure out the source of the leak. The plumber showed back up early that afternoon and ran a series of tests of this and that, still trying to figure out the leak’s source and how to stop it. And in this came my favorite moment of the day: at approximately 4.00 pm, the customer service guy comes up to me and says, “Uh, ma’am? The contractor is going to cut a hole in your wall.” I have no idea what the look on my face must have been, but I said, in a slightly panicked voice, “But I’ve got forty people showing up here in an hour and a half!” The good news is that the guys conferred and decided that further demolition could wait until the next day. The bad news is that I spent all day Saturday with the plumber, watching him cut hole after hole in my stairwell walls, which now, duct-taped together, resemble a Mondrian coloring book. The better news, however, is that they seem to have fixed the leak, and the drywall guys should be coming any day now.

— A big pile of grading that I’m still not finished with.

— Preparations for this Thursday and Friday’s visit from the outside reviewers in our ten-year Media Studies self-study and review.

That’s the end of my whining. I’ll be back in the swing shortly, I hope.

Update Number One:  The Condo

So, for my first update on old business: I’m entirely settled into the condo, though I’ve spent even less time there over the last week than I did before the movers showed up. Things are almost entirely unpacked, with the exception of my workspace (yes, I know, should have happened by now, but “work” has taken place entirely in the office of late, so there’s been no great pressure to get that done) and the huge pile of miscellaneous stuff that has accumulated in the spare bedroom. And the pictures: I’m waiting for R. to come see the joint so we can decide together where the pictures should be hung.

Those last details aside, I’m in. And I love the place. It’s more spacious than it seemed it would be during construction, and it’s mostly really quiet.

Mostly. The city yard, which is in the process of moving to another location, has a load of loud trucks that pass through around 5.30 every morning. Which is, needless to say, annoying. But which is blissfully temporary.

My only complaint at the moment, again, is how little I’ve gotten to be in the place. I’m having a housewarming party tomorrow, and then plan on hanging out at home as much as I can this weekend. But given that I’m still having phone-related difficulties, I’ll probably still have to spend a bunch of time in the office Saturday and Sunday, like it or not.

In the meantime, a bloggerly housewarming party: new pictures in the gallery.

And soon, another reason to raise a glass…


So here’s the good news: the utilities transferred easily; everything will be in my name as of tomorrow, no sweat.

But there’s one little complication left to be dealt with: the phone. Last time I had a non-college phone, there was no choice whatsoever involved; one went with Verizon, because they were all there was, and while there might have been some illusion of plan-choice, the choices were relatively limited.

Now, as I understand it, the situation is quite different: regular phone or VoIP? If regular, Verizon or SBC? Discrete services or a package?

I need advice — do you have any to give?

Something You Don’t Want to Hear Five Hours Before Your Walk-Through

“KF? This is A., from the O. Company? I know you’re coming in at one o’clock today, and I’m just calling to let you know that we had a little leak in your unit last night, but there was no damage. We just want everything to be up front. It was the heating unit. The carpet got a little wet, and the wall, but there was no damage. The guys are in with the blowers right now drying it. We just wanted to let you know.”

Monday Morning Condo Blogging, vol. 13:  Small Things

As I expected, work is continuing apace on the condo, but the changes, though significant, are mostly small. There are some larger things happening, such as the installation of the bathroom counters and sinks (witness here the righthand side of the master bathroom, an unsatisfying shot, but the best that could be done in the time I had available).

Master Bath

Otherwise, though, the changes are a bit subtle. My garage, for instance, which increases in cleanliness by the day —


— is now home to my hot water heater.

Hot Water Heater

My dining room now has its hanging light fixture in place, which I’m happy to report is not the godawful chandelier I thought I was going to have to take down first thing upon moving in, but something actually workable:

Light Fixture

My lovely balcony view now comes with a railing:


And my kitchen. Which continues to make me happier than a kitchen ought, every time I see it. Notable additions: the missing cabinet; the stove (under the visquine); some paint; drawer and cabinet hardware, and assorted electrical outlets and wall plates. Not visible: the dishwasher, which has also been installed, and the microwave oven/hood, which is in a big crate to the left of the spot I’m taking this picture from:


Ah, forget your fame, your fortune, your exotic locales; happiness truly is a set of brushed-nickel fixtures and the knowledge that you’re going to get to move in soon.

(Oh, but on that whole free-money deal from last week; my lender, always looking out for me, has nixed the plan, wisely pointing out that I’ll have no leverage with which to get problems fixed if the final inspection happens after the builder already has my money. So I’m not sure of the timeline now, but things are nonetheless moving right along.)