I had a dream that my lawn was out of control, about a foot tall and going to seed all over the place. I needed to mow it, but it was too tough so I had to rip out these clumps of grass first before the lawnmower could even gain a purchase. Now, you could say that this dream had some grounding in reality--but really it's not that bad. Yes, a few clumps are seeding and look a little ragged, but on the whole it's nothing that an impartial observer would ever dream of complaining about. No, the real problem is that the lawn has infiltrated my subconscious. Why do I dream about the lawn, about which I profess not to care, and not my pride and joy the garden?! The sad fact is that I do care about the lawn, am forced to care about it by the inexorable expectations of suburbia. Also, it does look awful nice now, and I'd hate to ruin all that pretty grass which the previous owners, or at least their landscapers, have so graciously provided me with. We're hoping to go with an organic method here, but I'm already thinking about what sort of weed killers and fertilizers I might employ to halt the deterioration that's already appearing.
And yes, I did mow this afternoon.
It's a good thing I mowed that lawn yesterday, because my brother Tom was in town to celebrate his birthday, and we took advantage of my excellent natural wiffleball field to... play some wiffleball. Since I only mowed to 2 ½ inches the infield was what you might call slow, but at least our feet didn't get caught in the grass, causing us to trip, as might have happened otherwise. We brought speakers outside and listened to music the whole time. The neighbors did not appear to mind.
It was interesting, though, playing ball on my own lawn. As Tom pointed out, if he stepped on the flowers right behind home plate there wouldn't be anyone to get mad besides me. Owning a home is a strange thing: I still don't think I've entirely adjusted to it yet. Oh well, I have a couple years I suppose.
We're going to the Cape tomorrow to celebrate the 4th of July holiday. While wiffleballing I got a good start on my sunburn, so I should be a proper lobster by the time I return to this blog.
It's not every Fourth of July that you get to see fireworks displays in a half-dozen different towns, but that is and experience that I can claim for myself this year. Of course, most of them are betwen five and fifteen miles away, and fireworks that are silent and about a quarter inch high on the horizon aren't quite the same as those you get to see (and hear) exploding right over your head, but it's still quite an experience. The trick is, we're staying here at a house in Wellfleet that's pretty much right on the beach, and we can see pyrotechnic displays from all the way down the Cape, from places we can't even see over the horizon in the daytime. Seeing six or seven simultaneous fireworks shows, however miniature, is quite an experience in any case.
I'm reminded of the last time I was down the South Shore for the Fourth. It was in Scituate, and we were similarly staying in a place right on the beach. We watched the fireworks, and they were impressive as you would expect. A little while after the show was over, though, a thunderstorm came up, or came down or whatever, right on top of us, and the constant lightning strikes across the horizon put the fireworks to shame. The noise was pretty impressive too. Just because I liked that natural display better than our national pastime of blowing things up, though, doesn't mean I hate America. Really! I love the USA!
Happy Fourth of July, everyone!
We got out of town at an opportune moment. In Wellfleet the temperature was around 75 degrees, the sky was clear and blue, and the breeze was blowing beautifully. Back home it was hot and muggy, we're told; and we experienced thr change for the worse as we made our way back this afternoon. We also experienced an entirely unreasonable amount of traffic, but Leah used the time in the car to study GMAT math with her brother, so it was all good.
All in all, it was a very pleasant vacation; I'm about ready to go on another one now. Only thing is I need to take care of the plants here for a while. The lawn is suffering the most: I really need to get that irrigation system working again. See, you come back from vacation and get sucked right back into the quotidian cares of life...
Several times I've commented on the noise of aircraft overhead, which is quite loud on occasion, by stating it's like living by an airport. When I do this in front of other humans they don't seem noticably amused, but I assure you I mean it as a joke; because the fact is, we do live by an airport. But it's a small one, and it doesn't bother us most of the time. When we first moved in I used to run outside to look at the louder planes, and I'm still occasionally moved wave at some of them, but for the most part we hardly notice.
What we do notice about that airport now, though, is that it's pretty big for a small airport. It takes up a fair amount of room on the ground. We were actually always aware of that fact, but it's been brought home to us now in far more brutal fashion, because they've closed the road we like to drive on to get to Concord. Now we have to drive around the other side of the airport, and it takes a little while. I'd estimate the detour adds three miles to the route, or even four, which is noticable when it was only about two miles to start with. Leah has to go that way to get to work, so she notices it more than me.
Our dirt roads are nearing the end of their lifespan: many parts of them are now very nicely gravelled. It's just as well, since the parts that are still dirt are now tremendously rutted and also wet and muddy. It's all the fault of the rain we had today. This evening I watched a pickup truck in front of me almost disappear into a puddle; following, I took a slightly different route. The rain was good for the grass, though. I'm told those dead spots will recover, given a sufficient supply of moisture. I sure hope so: I can't stand any more nightmares!
For some reason I spent some time this evening looking at psychological tests. First I did the old Myers-Briggs typology test thing, in which I scored a INTP like usual. Leah is a ISTJ, and we assume that those two personality types are well-matched, because we obviously get along so well together. I am unable to make a concrete determination in that direction, however, since you have to pay to do the Jung Marriage Test. Oh well, it wouldn't tell us anything we didn't already know, I'm sure. Some folks disparage the Myers-Briggs test; I wouldn't put any great stock in it, certainly, but it does do a wonderful job of describing my personality. Leah agrees. It's all in good fun.
Not in good fun, we find, is the Rorschach test (of inkblot fame). I never knew it, but apparently there are right and wrong answers to the test, and seeing certain images in the blots signals that the respondant is a mysogynist, say, or psychotic. Unfortunately the test is under copyright so I can't get a look at the actual cards, but this site has black and white images of the cards along with a cheat sheet that tells you the answers you're supposed to give, if you're sane. I only got some of them right. But we knew that already.
If people use either of those tests for any serious purpose, I'm worried. Especially the Rorschach. Can't you tell more about someone with a simple interview? I guess that's why I'm not a psychologist or a psychiatrist or whatever they are.
If you live in Massachusetts and don't live under a rock, you already know that i am taking the GMAT Graduate Management test on July 18th (apparently the strong roofs of rock houses block out most of the loud screaming i generate while studying). So if you have anything important to say to me INCLUDING something being on fire, please out of courtesy wait until after the 18th to trouble me.
[GMAT gramatical mistakes made in that last paragraph: "GMAT Graduate Management test" this is redundant and will be wrong as an answer choice because don't repeat yourself don't be redundant don't repeat yourself, stupid. "being on fire" is wrong because the word being is always wrong as it is seen by the GMAT authors as being wrong.]
So i am preoccupied with studying, and will not be posting on this site and if you can't handle that WELL I'M JUST TRYING TO GET INTO BUSINESS SCHOOL SO THAT I CAN MAKE MORE MONEY FOR YOUR OWN SAKE AND FOR THE SAKE OF THIS FAMILY, SO LEAVE ME ALONE! The business school program to which i am applying has an average GMAT score of 640, considered to be quite difficult to obtain.
["considered to be" the actual English idiom is consider [nothing] wherein there is no preposition or prepositional phrase between consider and the modifier. ex: a score of 640 is considered quite difficult, if not impossible to obtain, especially for a loser like you, leah.]
Also we're like having a wedding or something, for which i have to do some stuff this week. Luckily, Dan is helping, and all this will be over soon. Man, if i had a nickle for everytime a boy told me that.... i'll be rich!
[ "i WOULD be rich. Subjunctive.]
So as I said we had beautiful weather while we were on the Cape, but as soon as we left things took a turn for the worse: so much so that Leah's parents, who rented the house there and were kind enough to invite us, made their return to civilization a couple days ahead of schedule. If you're going to be stuck inside on a cold wet drizzly day, you might as well have a giant screen tv. Broadband internet access is nice too. They were getting bored in any case, as I understand it; Leah and I are convinced we would have done a better job entertaining ourselves had we been in their position. In any case, we were very fortunate in our vacation timing; and since it was the only vacation we've had in more than a year, it's a good thing too!
Also, the title of the entry preceding this one is the best ever. Leah wins.
We're in the middle of bug season here, and it seems clear that Bedford has more bugs than Arlington. The mosquitos are a trial when I'm gardening, and now there are these even more irritating flies which come out an hour or so before sunset and make it distinctly unpleasant to share the outdoors with them. There are inside bugs too: big spiders in the basement, and a creepy-crawly silverfish type thing that scuttled out from under the dirty laundry when I picked it up in the bathroom. A great many bugs that aren't inside, also, would like to be, and we collect what must be the entire moth population for three blocks on our screen doors in the evening.
All these bugs are neutral to downright unpleasant, but there are compensations. The dragonflies that seem to enjoy my garden are so much fun to watch, and the summer just wouldn't be a summer without fireflies, which we have in profusion in our yard and the surrounding woods. By next summer we'll have alot more flowers in, so we'll get butterflies too. All in all, I can't complain too much about my dealings with the class Insecta.
The Fed Ex man comes in this afternoon carrying two very large boxes. I remark that i don't recognize the name of the company, and wonder where the boxes came from. Mr Fed Ex explains:
"Someone sent you something from Italy."
"It's got Fragilee written all over it."
I look at the address . It came from California.
I furrow my brow.
"It's a joke." He said.
A joking matter? Aren't you a government employee??
I had a little barbecue this evening and my guests and I played some badminton. It was two on three, and since there were only three badminton raquets me and the other fellow who made up the side of two had to make do with tennis raquets. We still managed to squeak out the victory, 225 to 222; which sounds like a closer game when you don't know that the other side got two points for every shot they made while we received the tradional one. I may not be able to lift my arm tomorrow.
It seems that on days like this, that are hot but still pleasant and breezy, it's just impossible to drink enough fluids. The biggest problem is that I don't even really feel thirsty, just walking around, but when I do chance to take a small drink I find that I can't stop until I've consumed a considerable amount of the liquid in question. Which is fine, I guess, except when the liquid in question is beer or fancy expensive lemonade.
I imagine my poor grass feels the same way. Alas!
We had some guests staying over for the last couple of days, a couple people I know from the internet who were in town to attend the MacWorld conference. Actually, though, I think that was only an excuse: the real reason was to come and hang out with other people from the B&B web board at Ambrosia Software's web site and play video games. In which I was happy to indulge them, and we did some other fun stuff as well. Tim fixed the light in our fridge, which was out, and would have fixed the sprinklers too if he could have. Oh, the poor poor grass!
GMAT = t - 1.5
So the new Harry Potter book came out on Friday, yeah? It's just about a given that we had to buy it--when a couple weeks ago we heard it was coming out, Leah said, 'oh well, there goes another twenty-five dollars.' See, because we have to complete the set! Plus, you kind of want to know how the story comes out, and it's just impossible to get the book from the library or anything: the waiting list is over a hundred people, if I heard correctly. Of course, it'd be easy to wait a couple days and then just borrow someone else's copy; as far as I can tell, everyone who cares has already read the thing, except for Leah, and she has a good excuse: she's waiting until after the GMAT.
And yes, I care enough to have both purchased and finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I was going to wait a while, pick it up on discount somewhere, but then I saw it in the supermarket--the supermarket!!--for only $19.99, and I just couldn't resist. Even after I asked Leah to check and she told me it was even cheaper on Amazon. There were already all these spoilers all over the internet! I had to read the thing soon, or it wouldn't even have been worth bothering. So I bought it yesterday afternoon, and I finished reading it last night.
Is it good? Well, yeah, as far as Harry Potter books generally go. Maybe one of the better ones: not as good as book five, but sure better than two and three. For my instant review, with spoilers, look here. I wrote that on a webboard; I'm not even going to bother to copy it all out here.
Now the only problem is not giving away the whole thing to Leah before she gets a chance to read it. It's not long now, though; the test is tomorrow at 1:00. She's studying her idiom flash cards now.
We went out tonight to celebrate Leah's success on the GMAT. We went to Niketown in Boston so she could get some new shoes, and then went out to eat and ate lots and lots of food. Thank goodness Leah did so well on that test that she'll never have to take it again, because I never want to eat like that again. Actually, at this point I never want to eat again at all, so it's all good.
I brought the leftover portion of my dinner home, though; right now the very thought of it sitting in the fridge makes me feel like vomitting, but I'm told that it's inevitable that I will, in fact, be hungry again at some point. Hard as that may be to believe at this point.
Leah will tell you about how smart she is at some later date, perhaps: suffice it to say right now that she's smarter than 93% of the world at math and smarter than 99% at verbal... things. At the English language, I guess. Woohoo Leah!! She rox!!!!
So i took this little test yesterday that you may have heard about, called the GMAT or THE BIGGEST MOST IMPORTANT TEST OF MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE!!! Before i left for the test in the morning Dan and i were both so nervous that we were both drumming on every randomn thing in the house: dan in the living room smacking the couch and table, me in the kitchen slapping my note-cards down as i went through all 300 of them in the last hour before i had to leave. To think this moment is the culmination of two months and a thousand dollars of test prep... Lance Armstrong doesn't know the pressure.
Anyway i took the computerized test, which gives you the benefit of knowing your score at the end of your testing session. My final total score (verbal plus math) was a 730 (out of 800), which puts me 90 points over the average GMAT score for acceptance into my coveted Business school program, and over 200 points higher than where i started on my first practice test.
Then we went out to eat, as dan pointed out, and while the food and drink was sooooooo good in true celebratory fashion, i found myself in true collegate fashion poised over the toiled bowl at two in the morning with my stomach screaming: "You like that, Grad-school girl?!? If you ever eat like that again EVER we are going to up and leave you, bitch."
Learning from past mistakes, in the future i will celebrate while going easy on the sangria and massive amounts of fries. food = gross = neveragain.
With the title of this post I refer not to the delightful aromas of the year's finest season, but to the fact that summer makes things smell bad. Really! Beyond the fact that you actually can smell things in summer--unlike in the winter, when all the odors are frozen--the heat and humidity stimulates everything disgusting and malodorous to step up production a tremendous amount. Case in point: our clothes drier stopped working for some reason (reason hopefully to be determined and remedied soon) and the clothes that were supposed to be drying in it sat in their own moisture for some hours before I noticed the trouble. Even though I then hung them outside, where they dried in a reasonable time, the damage had already been done: a distict mildewy odor now attends the entire load, which rather defeats the purpose of washing in the first place (side note: we rarely think of it, but us boys at least wash our clothes for the purpose of odor removal rather than visual cleaning).
I won't even mention bread mold or skunk cabbage, or actual skunks, for that matter. When was the last time you got sprayed by a skunk in the winter?!
That is why I oppose, and violently, the proposal as related to me on Slashdot to extend Daylight Savings Time for three more months or something. The last thing we need is more summer! Oh wait, that's not right. It may sound silly, though, but the demand is there: folks figure that changing the clocks will actually effect how much daylight there is. Wouldn't it make more sense to change the hours that companies operate, if they don't like the amount of sunlight where (when?) they're doing business now? Although I guess it's all arbitrary anyways.
What it all does demonstrate, though, is that we're all doing things later than they used to. If the plan goes through it won't be light until after eight in the morning in November, but nobody'll mind because who gets up before 8:00 anyways?! All the action happens in the evening. Next thing you know noon'll be at 3:00 PM to make the bar-hopping easier on those cold winter evenings.
So the problem with having a garden is, all sorts of things can go wrong with it and that can get kind of frustrating. The problem now is that some other creatures--other than myself, that is--have acquired a taste for certain of my plants: to wit, a woodchuck or woodchucks for the leaves of the cucumbers and squashes, and some terrible beetles for the entirety of my marigolds. Interestingly, the buggies seem to prefer the 'sweet cream' marigolds, a tall, pale variety, considerably more than the traditional orange models. I don't know why that might be. In any case I have procured some organic insecticide which I hope will take care of the wee critters; I confess, though, that I'm not hugely confident.
I am confident, on the other hand, about the measures I've taken to stop the woodchucks. They sell, we find, fox urine in bottles, and you can splatter a little of it on the ground to scare away rodents all and sundry. I have to say, anything that can manage to eat within fifteen feet of the little urine-soaked cotton balls I put out, is a stronger man than I. Fox urine in it's purest form posesses a strong and dangerous odor. I advise you to learn from my mistakes, and not, out of curiosity, take a big sniff upon opening the bottle. The smell lingers in my nostrils even now; or maybe that's the cotton balls outside I can smell. I'm telling you, that stuff is strong.
Actually the title of this post should be the other way round, but I figured if I did that you'd have even less idea what I was talking about. And what I'm talking about is lawn mowers. I got this push reel mower a while ago--for the young folks in the readership, that's a mower without any sort of an engine--but I was unable to make it work fully. It only worked halfly, in that it mowed grass across half of its width; which would be fine if I wanted to go over everything twice. Which I'm not inclined to do, as we have a fair amount of grass here. By dint of much effort and adjustment this afternoon I got the machine into a little better shape, enough to mow a few swatches, but I'm afraid it's still not up to the whole job. It looks like I may have to give in and buy a power mower, and save this one of the edges and tight spots (where, all fairness to it, it really excels). Not that I'm giving up the idea of unpowered lawn care entirely: I still feel like I could manage the whole thing with a perfectly working push mower. Perhaps that creature exists only in my dreams, however; we find that Home Depot (to name one prominent example) now carries nothing but power mowers. Where all too many suburban homeowners now use riding mowers to trim their quarter of an acre, I am clearly in a very small minority here.
After much work and effort, and much help from Bill (who provided tools and engineering know-how, both of which I lack), the sprinkler system is working again! What a joy it is to watch the water pouring fourth, even though I know how expensive it is likely to be. I think it's worth it though: we've always wanted a home like in those magazines, and also Leah tells me she likes green grass. Since she didn't appreciate my suggestion of going to the other side of the fence, watering it had to be. It was kind of a debacle fixing it: we did many things that didn't work, and in the end we were suprised when our last attempt was a success; but I'm not going to knock anything that works!
Despite our best efforts, however, the clothes dryer remains broken, so I will continue to knock that. Knock, knock.
Among other activities, we stopped by the tuxedo place--'Mr. Formal', in this case--to pick out my wedding outfit. I must say, I look mighty fine in the suit that we picked out. With Leah's beautiful dress we are going to be one snazzy couple. And it's going to be a fine party we preside over, too: we met with the florist and caterer and I got to see the place we're having the reception for the first time. Pretty class. If you haven't been invited yet, I suggest you start angling for an invite: it's going to be the social event of the season.
The wedding is looming in the distance, like a heavy stormcloud of vodka, pink roses, and leah needing to loose ten pounds. The final wedding preperations are in full swing, as dan mentioned yesterday. As he wrote, we met with the florist, caterer, and reception hall representative to finalize details such as table placement, linin color, and flower placement. And about a BILLION other things, which i don't even remember deciding but which will surely affect THE REST OF MY LIFE!!! What dan did not tell you was that this was very booring and tedious for him, and i wasn't too far behind him in terms of brain shutting down after three hours of it, either. Good thing there were some caring women there looking after me and making decisions in my best interest based solely on the criteria: how can we cram the greatest amount of pink objects into this small space?
Things that will be pink on September 4th:
the bridesmaid dresses
the sugar flowers on the cake
the opening coctail to be passed around (lemonade rasberry puree and rum, i think)
the wrapping paper on all the presents that we get (if my shower is to be any indication)
my underware (but you won't see it, suckaz!!!)
Dan's face, cuz he'll be marrying such a hottie!
We have gotten so good at decision making that we chose a wedding cake in about four seconds based on "it's chocolate" and "it has pink on it." I wonder what was the point of looking at all those bridal magazines. About now i feel like: can't somebody else take care of all this? I have to go work out.
But the most exciting part of the day was definitely choosing a tux for Dan. He is one good looking Man when you get him into some formal wear. And whereas i had to order my dress AT LEAST six months before the wedding, the tux place told us that two weeks before would be sufficient for the boys to come in to pick out their tuxes. Two weeks!!! Maybe they know that boys can never plan for anything in advance. Or maybe they've just accomidated because Lexington is such a shotgun wedding town.
Speaking of shotgun weddings, i'd better get to the gym before people start thinking this IS one. (on account of my bulging stomach filled with GMAT knowledge.... i mean chocolate.) Even Dan took a bike ride this morning... I think my obsessive-compulsive-ness is rubbing off on him. Already! Oh, how sweet!!!
Today could easily be described as tropical. You know how they say, 'it's not the heat, it's the humidity'? We had both. I consider myself something of a stoic (just ask Leah, who by the way is both beautiful and kind), but even I was driven to using air-conditioning both in the house and in the car. Yes, even I. Luckily the house came with a free air-conditioner, that the previous owners left down in the basement, cause I sure don't think I'd have ever been able to buy one. So the thing probably uses more electricity than the rest of our appliances combined (EnergyStar compliant it is not), but I guess it's worth it.
Anyways, after the tropical heat we were treated to a tropical storm, which was something to watch. Saved me having to give the plants their evening watering; in fact, I'm amazed they didn't all drown where they stood, so much water came down in such a short space of time. Lightning, too; I turned off the computer, even, afraid of a hit on a nearby power line. Strange that I don't worry a bit about the house burning down after a lightning strike, but I'm desperately paranoid about the computer here taking any damage. I unplugged the modem from the cable, too. By the time the thing got all shut down the storm was already dying down, but it's the effort that counts.
I harvested the first cucumber today, too.
So this is what summer is supposed to be like. After the rain the day before yesterday, the temperature just cooled right down, and yesterday just being outside felt like swimming in cool clear water. To celebrate, we booked a room at a bed and breakfast for our honeymoon. It's going to be fantastic, I can confidently report. At this point it looks like the only downside with the place we chose is the lack of any sort of internet connection, but I imagine I'll be able to cope with the absence for a little while. We'll have lots to do, after all!
Like, swimming and... biking...
Sox are talking about trading Manny Ramirez and Congress is working on extending daylight savings time. I don't think I can handle posting in this blog with all the trauma in the world these days!