Friday, October 31, 2014
Monday, October 27, 2014
- I was double-charged for a hotel room.
- A newspaper subscription was automatically renewed, when I wanted it canceled.
- I was inexplicably charged interest fees, although I paid off my bill in full.
- I was triple-charged for a purchase, over the period of a few months.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
-The wedding activities all took place in lower Manhattan, where lodging is quite expensive. I used Airbnb to rent a space on a foldout couch, and thereby got to see a different slice of city life. My hostess lived in a fifth-floor walkup apartment. The building was built long before indoor plumbing, so it was with a shower in the kitchen, and I brushed my teeth at the kitchen sink, because that was the only sink in the apartment. I see that I take my bathroom for granted.
-The Metropolitan Museum of Art had a special exhibit of mourning clothing from the past 150 years. I think I am in a small percentage of living Americans who have worn mourning, and it was especially meaningful for me to see it in a historical context.
-I listened to a strong quartet who gives concerts in a barge under the Brooklyn Bridge. It was lovely to listen to Beethoven and watch the Manhattan skyline.
-New York City is expensive, but its subway system is so much cheaper than the DC metro that I am jealous.
-I wanted to buy some authentic bagels to take back with me, but the line at the site was almost a hundred people long. I realized it would be faster to go home and make the bagels myself.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
My current job involves more travel then I had done for past jobs - about 20%. Mainly, my trips have two purposes, to run (or work at) conferences and to visit universities that we have given grants to. Both types of trips are really productive, and they are are important parts of my job, but work trips give me headaches. Literally- I take a great number of painkillers when I'm doing them. As an introvert, I find it extremely taxing to talk to new people all day long.
I feel quite lucky that we've been able to reduce my trips a bit for the coming year. This fall, I only have two trips. Earlier this week I was in North Carolina, where I saw the coolest library. They took all the books and stacked them in a four-story-tall room. A huge robotic arm fetches whatever book you order. As a result of such efficient book stacking, the rest of the floors are filled with innovative study and work spaces for collaborating students.
Next week I'll be in Virginia, but today I'm off somewhere for purely fun reasons. A friend is getting married in New York City, so I'm taking the Bolt Bus up I-95. This is the first wedding I've attended at a marriage bureau, which should be an interesting experience. It sounds like a scene from a movie: a wedding at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
The other way to get ready for winter - eat lots of heavy foods. For dinner I ate one of my favorite English dinners - cheese on toast. I make the version that uses a white sauce plus beer and cheddar cheese.
I'm also celebrating good health today. In the past two weeks, every creature in the house has been sick. I missed work, took the dog on midnight trips out to visit every tree in the neighborhood, and cleaned up after the cat was sick all over the bed. I'm not ever sure that disease are communicable between cats, dogs, and people, so it was probably just bad luck. In any case, I think we're all well again.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
It turns out that my father has also taught me a superpower. Because of his engineering and general creative fix-it prowess, I am imbued with the belief that almost anything can be fixed and that I have a fairly good chance of fixing it. Last night the neighbor had his car towed home from the train station after it wouldn't accept a jump start. I brainstormed a few things we could try, including removing the battery and using my plug-in charger on it overnight. In the end, we were able to jump it using my car. Several important lessons: (1) It really is important to keep a pair of jumper cables in your car - almost no one I know does this. (2) The battery in a Chevy Cobalt is in the trunk. (What?!) and (3) When I try to fix stuff, sometimes it works.