Sunday, September 26, 2010


I'm back, gentle readers, after an admittedly long absence.  In the time I've been away, I've gone back to New York, packed everything, put it on a moving van, come back to Oklahoma, had all of my furniture and boxes delivered, unpacked most of it, painted most of the house, and, oh yeah, I've been working, too.

So, I'm really tired, but I want to get these pictures posted for all of you.  That means they won't be in any real order, but since most things in my life are chaotic right now, this blog will just be a reflection of my current reality.

Here we go!

New bathroom light fixture, courtesy of Father of Ken's master electrical skills:

New faucet in the bathroom, courtesy of Father of Ken, master plumber: 

The shirt I happened to be wearing to work on the house when I met my elderly neighbor, Mr. Martin:

The study with the new light fixture, but before it was painted:

Our makeshift "table" the weekend that my furniture arrived:

New kitchen:

The bathroom before we did some major work in there:

Hall cabinet with new glass knobs:

My bedroom before we painted it:

My temporary bedroom set up when this was all of the furniture Kenna and I had:

The second bathroom:

Cool stove/oven:

The garage with the old washer and dryer:

Empty living room with the chest of drawers that Mother and Father of Ken brought from Kansas and Kenna lounging around while we worked:

She loves to look out the sliding glass door:

My stove/oven lights up!

This reminds me of one of the "Reminiscing" posts I did:

Cutting shelf liner:

There was a lot of shelf liner to replace in this house...

Kenna looking out the door:

New knobs on the kitchen cabinets:

 New rug for the patio:

 Preparing to paint the living room:

Painting the study:

Putting my new bed together:

The small bathroom, after we took the medicine cabinet down and painted--the mirror and shelf will be hung soon:

 My bedroom after we painted and put things back:

The hallway, after we painted (ignore my clothes drying):

The larger bathroom, with the beginnings of Halloween decorations:

Well, that's it for now--I'm supposed to close on the house tomorrow (this has been quite a journey, so I won't believe it until I hand the check over).  I'll tell you the Tale of Two Closings another time, but I wanted to give you an update on what's been going on.  We'll finish painting the inside of the house this coming weekend, hang things on the walls, and hopefully I'll finish unpacking things soon.  I could never have done this much so quickly without the help of Mother and Father of Ken, who have been here almost every weekend since I moved here.  It is definitely starting to feel like home and I'm really glad to have my furniture and TV service after several weeks without either.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades

Gentle readers, this week I was required to attend "New Faculty Orientation."  Generally, I don't mind these kinds of things as they often provide important information that one should know when working at a new place.  The content of this orientation session (there are between 4 and 487 more of these that I have to attend) was fairly helpful, but the other participants shall I put this?  A study in academic stereotypes.  And also incredibly annoying.

I was the second person to arrive about five minutes before the orientation started and I followed directions and signed in and took a seat.  Shortly thereafter, one of the new basketball coaches arrived and we discussed one of his players who is also my student.  So far, so good, right?  Only moments after we were all supposed to be there, everyone else showed up.  "Everyone else" included another one of the new coaches and Business Suit Bob, who does something in the business school that apparently forces him to be incredibly self-important.  He strides over to the coaches, ignoring everyone else, and begins one of those ridiculous handshaking rituals that some men engage in.  Then they all started discussing athletics, making the usual lame jokes about the success (or lack thereof) of this year's team, etc.  Ugh.  Also, no one seemed to be able to read the "Please sign in" sign in the doorway, so they all had to be reminded repeatedly to do so.

Then it got worse.  Slicked Back Hair Steve the Nerdy Scientist Who Thinks He's Hot showed up and began leering at every woman in the room and trying to make awkward conversation.  It really isn't that difficult--just introduce yourself, politely inquire about the other person's area of study, and perhaps ask where they went to school.  

Right on his heels was Billy the Balding Math Professor, who began making lame math jokes the minute he arrived:  "Wow, we've grown exponentially, huh?!"  Dude--see my commentary on appropriate initial academic conversation above.

These two were followed by some older gentlemen who were quite nice, but clearly befuddled by the topic, which had to do with the use of technology for teaching purposes.

Next we had a stream of various people wearing stereotypical academic attire (linen is popular, also long vest-like garments, ill fitting pants, items that were fashionable over ten years ago, and my favorite, the big plastic academic glasses trend).

Oh, there was also the woman who is as annoying a "student" in the new faculty orientation as she probably was in grade school.  You know--the one who bounced up and down in her seat saying "Me!  Me!  I know!  I know!" about everything.

So, the session got started and we came to the topic of using Blackboard (an online learning system that you can use to make course websites, give exams and assignments to students, etc.) and Business Suit Bob clearly had something to say.  Of course, he couldn't just raise his hand or say "could I ask something?"  No, he had to sit there making obnoxious facial expressions at the presenter, obviously shift around in his seat, and sigh loudly.  Finally the presenter said, "Do you have a question or a comment?"  "No, not really.  Well, I guess I'm just trying to.............  No."  She went on and he continued to be a jerk, so she stopped again to ask if he had something to say.  Well, actually, he did.  He had been sitting there thinking about all of this and he just couldn't understand some of the benefits and how you could preserve any kind of integrity with an online test.  He could just see a row of frat boys sitting together on their couch taking a test together and how would we know and what would we do about it and wouldn't it be better to have them take the test in class and on and on and on.  While he was droning on and on, Coach Two fell asleep and Coach One looked like he wanted to stab someone (Business Suit Bob, perhaps) in the eye with those curly topped toothpicks.  My kind of guy.  Maybe we should develop a special handshake.

Then we got to the part of the presentation when it was open to questions.  People didn't really have questions, though, they just wanted to tell everyone else about the clever ways  they had used Blackboard in the past and how superior their methods were to someone else's.  Slicked Back Hair Steve continued to leer when he wasn't explaining the finer points of using Blackboard to assign and grade problem sets for physics and Billy the Balding Math Professor weighed the merits of creating two separate shells for one's two section course versus having both sections use a single Blackboard shell.  Coach Two slept on, Coach One looked like he wanted a stiff drink, Business Suit Bob was mad that he didn't have the floor anymore, the older gentlemen looked increasingly confused, and the enthusiastic woman next to me seemed to be able to counter everyone else with an even better Blackboard anecdote.  

Finally, over an hour later, we were released.  The boys club (Coaches One and Two and Business Suit Bob) had resumed their BS conversation from before as I made a beeline for the door.  Slicked Back Hair followed me out of the building, continuing to leer.  Unfortunately, I will have to see this same group again several more times (which I will undoubtedly be recapping for the blog).  I. Can't. Wait.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Well, gentle readers, it has been a while since I last posted and a lot has happened.  I packed up seven bags of library books to return to school:

Kenna, Father of Ken, and I drove from NY to Kansas in a car loaded with clothing and other stuff--poor Kenna didn't have much space:

On the road, we saw this trailer--notice anything strange?

Traveling got old after a while:

We made it to Kansas safely and then Kenna and I continued on our way to Oklahoma.  Last week, I started my new job and my house/dog sitting gig and worked on getting things together for my classes.  Then, Mother and Father of Ken came down on Friday night and we did some serious house hunting Friday night and most of Saturday.  I'm now in the process of buying this house:

There is some work that needs to be done, but for the most part, the house is move in ready and the things that need to be done are all fairly simple.  The house was built in the mid-1960s and it reminds me of the house that Grambi used to live in.  It's on a corner lot in a quiet neighborhood and it has a nice size yard, two car garage, and a cute patio in the back.

This is the room off of the kitchen that I'm going to use as my study (all of the rooms are going to get fresh paint):

This is the kitchen, which has some cool 1960s features that I'll show you later.  The cabinets will get new hardware, I'm going to pull the linoleum up and do something else to finish the floor, and eventually I'll probably replace the counters and backsplash.  I'd love to get a new refrigerator, but that's probably pretty far down the road.

There are two full baths--this is the smaller one and it's going to need some serious work.  I really hate the sink and light fixture and the toilet seat is one of those padded ones in dark green.  

This is the bedroom attached to the small bathroom:

The master bedroom (there's a third, smaller bedroom):

The larger bathroom--yes, that is wallpaper border over tile.  That will be coming off as soon as possible.

And now, for the coolest part--the 1960s stove/oven:

You should see the shape this thing is in--I can't wait to use it.  It is a double oven combination with a pull out stove and a cabinet below:

This is in pristine condition and extremely cool.  You push the range back in when you're not using it and I am SO EXCITED to have a double oven.  

So, I'm hoping to close when my stuff arrives from NY or maybe even a little sooner, but it will be a fun house to work on and it has plenty of room for guests, so start making reservations today ;-)  It will be totally different from my house in NY, but I'm looking forward to getting in there and settling in.

I'll be back as soon as I can with updates, etc.  See you soon!