Monday, May 31, 2004


I've spent the last couple of days doing a lot of shopping for stuff for my house. I've been to CostCo, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sam's Club and Lowe's. Wandering around all those stores, driving in between them and unpacking stuff (new and old) is exhausting.

I had no idea just how much stuff I would need. Some of it I need to buy and some of it I just need to find in what I've inherited.

My parents and I tried out the Korean Garden restaurant, in Cary, before we went to Sam's. It was pretty good. We particularly enjoyed a large scallion and seafood pancake as an appetizer.

So far, my house doesn't feel like "home" yet. I'll keep you all posted as to when it does.

Monday, May 24, 2004

I've moved!

There's been another big gap in postings, but for good reason! In addition my being extremely busy at work, my insurance company alerted me that my driver's license had been cancelled and I moved into my new house. It may be a while before I have cable hooked up, so my posts will continue to be sporadic.

Last Friday I got the call about my license. It had a medical cancellation. The DMV claimed that they had sent me notices last December stating that I had to come in to be re-examined and that my license had been revoked when I didn't show up. I never received any mail from them. You'd think that they would at least use registered mail when notifying you that your driver's license had been cancelled. I called several people at the main office, but I was unable to get them to extend it until I could get to the DMV or even drive home from work. The earliest appointment I could get for a new road test was Thursday at 9am. It was pretty ridiculous and I did far better than when I actually got my license, but they were all very nice. I needed to change my address on my license anyway. Somehow it seems worse if your license is taken away from you for almost a week than it is when your van is in the shop. It is, however, a lot cheaper.

Last Saturday, I also had an excellent dinner at WH and BZ's house. She served tilapia, rice, asparagus and cantaloupe salsa. It was pretty amazing. I went with JJ and JA and we all had a good time.

This Friday morning, at 8:30am, the movers came! DeHaven's did a fantastic job, moving all the heavy furniture and boxes of books. I spent the night there last night and it was the first time I'd ever spent a night in a house by myself. I neglected to turn off the bathroom fan, which masked any bumps in the middle of the night. My new ice maker sometimes sounds just like someone's knocking at the door. The one wrinkle in all this is that, until this morning, they still hadn't hooked up the gas line to the road. No hot water. No hot showers. No clean dishes. I don't have a clothes washer and dryer yet, so it didn't affect that.

When I got up this morning to brush my teeth, I discovered that I also didn't have any cold water. It looked as if the gas people accidently cut the water main immediately after they started working on the gas. I was going over to my parents' house to take a shower, but, of course, they didn't have water either. I do think I might be able to have a bog garden at the edge of my property... It's back on now and hopefully the gas people will finish someday. My builder has been trying to get PS Energy to hook up my gas since November!

Saturday, May 15, 2004

I'm not dead!

It keeps getting longer and longer between posts. I've figured that it would make more sense to actually get some sleep than complain about how much I've been working every night. Before today I only had two off in three weeks and they weren't consecutive.

Last Sunday, I did go to the computer science department's graduation ceremony. I didn't know any of the students who were graduating. They didn't know me either. I go for the free food. It's catered by the guy who runs the cafeteria closest to the department. He gave me a big hug when he saw me. I went into work immediately after the luncheon.

I had lunch at the India Palace II on Tuesday with PS. We decided if we didn't decide to just go that we'd never do it. It was good. It was so nice getting out during the day and having a good meal.

Wednesday night, I dragged my family to Tosca, where they'd never been before. I had shrimp stuffed ravioli with a lobster something sauce. The sauce was brown. It was very good. For dessert, I had a scoop of hazelnut chocolate gelato with a scoop of mixed berry sorbetto. The waiters kept giving me a hard time that it was a strange combination, but I thought it was perfect.

Today I went to GM's house and watched Mystery Science Theatre 3000 present "The Cave Dwellers". Like all MST3000 episodes, it was fairly hilarious. I hadn't seen GM in five years, but he seemed just the same, but with a beard. I met two of his other friends, A and J.

After I got home, we watched the Preakness. Smarty Jones can really move. We may have a triple crown winner yet. Afterwards, we went to ACME once again. In their e-mail newsletter I had read that they were going to have soft shell crabs and soft shell crawfish over lemony cheese grits with brocolli raab. I reserved two orders for my mom and me when I made the reservations. My dad and I split yet another strawberry rhubarb cobbler to finish it off.

Actually, the major thing this week is that my move got postponed. My builder couldn't get the grading scheduled and the concrete poured until the day after I was supposed to move That wouldn't exactly have worked out. The movers couldn't reschedule until a week and a half later, so it looks as if I'll me moving on Memorial Day weekend. I had really been looking forward to the vacation and moving in, so these next couple of weeks are going to take forever.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Duke's East Campus Graduation Reception

Since I neglected my blog for so long, I just have to post more than once today. I went to the graduation reception on the Duke East Campus lawn. My dad and I go every year, because it's often very pleasant eating and talking under the giant oak trees. The food has been kind of detiorating over the years, though. When my mom graduated, they had shrimp wrapped in bacon. Last year's was particularly bad and even the punch was watered down. The punch used to be a combination of kool-aid and Sprite. Now it's pineapple juice and Sprite. Surprisingly enough, I prefer the kool-aid. This year, almost none of the hors d'ouevres contained meat. Of course, that suited me just fine. They had vegetable sandwiches, which were pretty good, lots of fruit and cookies, etc.

Is it only about the food? Well.... There are always lots of parents and graduating seniors milling about. It's a good time for watching people. This is especially true for me now that I'm no longer on the look-out for students that I know. Occasionally I do see one or more of my former professors, which can be cool. Today I saw Dr. BB, since his daughter was graduating.

One of the more entertaining things is observing how people dress. It ranges from formal attire, including uncomfortable looking shoes, to torn jeans and t-shirts. I saw so many women wearing spiked heels with pointy toes. In some cases, the heels sank right into the ground, which looked particularly awkward. Why would anyone do that to their feet? I saw so many ankle straps that seemed to be wreaking havoc to the backs of ankles. I didn't see any outlandish or inspired dresses, though.

Dusting Off the Cobwebs

Goodness! I haven't gone this long without posting since I started last Christmas. Unfortunately, work can interfere with whatever I'd rather be doing and I haven't had time to let my readers know what I've been up to. For three nights in a row, I worked until close to 11pm. I've decided to take today off, but I'll probably go in tomorrow, after graduation. Fortunately, I know my code works, but I just have to test it a little more to make sure.

Here are some random highlights from the last few days:

Tuesday morning, I met with the Builder Products/Closetmaid guy and we figured out what kind of wire shelves I want in my house. I also specified where the towel rods and things like that should go. While I was there, Baby, one of our neighbors' three dogs got in my van and ate an entire bag of liver treats.

That night, I went with my dad to buy a spotlight from Lowe's. I had decided at one point that I wasn't going to have a light over my stove, but then JJ suggested that I might want to have an electrical plate above it, just in case I decided that I wanted one later. Finally, my builder suggested that I just buy a single track light for it. I went in there intending to buy a $10 light and I ended up buying my refrigerator. I got a Frigidaire and it didn't sound as if they usually kept many of the particular model in stock and it might take two weeks to get one. Hopefully everything will go as planned and I'll be able to have it delivered as scheduled on the 18th. The funniest thing was that they had a label on it describing all the features and it said that the buttons on the front "doubled as a nightlight". That's one expensive nightlight...

Wednesday night, I met my dad over at Neomonde for dinner. We got to eat our sampler platters outside, which was nice. After getting my labneh fix, I went back to work.

Thursday and Friday consisted almost entirely of working. I did try a Starkist make-your-own tuna salad kit Friday night at the office. It was terribly cute, since it came with tuna, crackers, low-calorie mayo, relish and even a mint.

Today, I went over to the new house. They've made a lot of progress. The carpet and vinyl are in and both look great. The gray carpet isn't too dark or too light. It's just perfect and it goes well with the paint colors. The spotlight is up now and doesn't look too bad. My dad had commented that it didn't look as good as all my other light fixtures, but it really doesn't look bad. It doesn't stand out, which is a good thing. I have a garage door now. They were working on the deck while I was there and it even has a floor. It's a good size and I think I will really enjoy it. Considering how little we've used my parents' deck, that may be overly optimistic, but we'll see. I think patio furniture will help.

Monday, May 03, 2004

A Day Off and a Nice Visit

Yesterday I spent the morning sleeping and my afternoon and evening at work. I brought a frozen dinner in with me, so at least I wasn't hungry when I got home around 10 pm.

KS was in town for a wedding this past weekend and I took the day off to spend some time with her. She met me over at the new house and I showed her around. Since Saturday, the biggest changes were more progress on the deck, particularly the ramp, and the ceiling fan is now up in my bedroom. It looks just as I had imagined it would. It's a Minka Aire "Flyte", which is perfect for the angles in the room. One of the funny things was when I was showing off the guest bathroom and I was startled by a small piece of insulation that came up through the floor vent and a hand that poked up to make sure it got through. I said, "Hello there!" and my builder said hi and that he was just cleaning up the crawl space.

Afterwards, I took KS over to my parents' house, to meet FIFO. He really liked her. He really likes everyone, but he was particularly enthusiastic about meeting her. He must have sensed that her sister has a Weimaraner. We sat and talked for quite a while and then went with my parents to Tupelo's for dinner. KS had been to ACME the night before, so we couldn't take her there. As always, I chose the crawfish ravioli and I thought it was excellent. My parents had never been there before, because it's usually very busy on Saturday nights, when I usually desert them.

It was a good day.. It's always fun to hang out with KS and I hadn't seen her in a couple years. We keep in touch very well by IMing, but that's just not the same as getting to talk to her in person.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

It's all coming together...

Early this afternoon, my parents and I went over to the new house. It's still stunning to me how much progress has been made. Now that almost all the lights are installed, some of the finished plumbing fixtures are in, the deck is progressing and the cabinet knobs/pulls are in place, it's incredible. It's just amazing to think about all the plans, sketches and agonizing decisions that have produced such a beautiful three dimensional dwelling. I still can't believe that I actually get to live in such a cool place.

After I left the house, I went to the office to work for the rest of the afternoon. It wasn't my idea of the best way to spend a Saturday, even a rainy one, but I needed to get some work done. My teammates were also there, so it certainly wasn't a lonely effort.

Around dinnertime, I left for EB's house. JJ and JA brought Chinese food from Eastern Lights and we had quite a feast. I was tempted to have some pork fried rice, but I was a good little quasi-vegetarian and stuck to sweet and sour shrimp and Ma Po tofu. Sable seems to be recovering nicely and did not seem to be suffering from her van exit method. I met Sheba and she's seems like a frisky gal. They have very different personalities and coloring considering they were littermates. FIFO was eager to sniff all the olfactory information off me as soon as I got home.