I spent most of Wednesday getting Walden back in shape to travel. I removed nearly everything last weekend to do the furnace install, so it took a fair amount of work to get things back in place. I’d also removed all of the curtains to wash them (and I’d hoped to make new curtains, but that didn’t happen). I had to figure out what clothes take to the conference, but that process weas confounded by the desire to pack not for the conference, but for life in Walden. The latter took precedence, mostly because I couldn’t figure out what shirt and tie would match the two suits I bought soon after the fire. The suits stayed home. And then little things happened, like I had to cut a board to cover the furnace so that I could put stuff on top of it, and once I had the circular saw out, it seemed foolish not to make a table.
Walden, Thor and I finally left The Rental a little after 2:00. The getaway was made much more painful because each of the 27 times I made yet another trip back into the house I had to re-set the alarm.
Then we went to the office to sign forms for students trying to graduate and such. I walked by our departmental bookkeeper and thought to myself “You know, self, given that I’m driving to New Orleans in less than an hour, it’s probably not too soon to fill out paperwork for travel.” The $600 reimbursement for 1300 miles in a car may have been a bit more than a plane ticket, but I’ll certainly make it up in hotel fees, even after I put down an estimated $30/night for parking. Down the hall I signed a form so that someone will get a masters degree. I then visited with a colleague who started the same time as I did. She has tenure, a non-burned down house, and a wedding date. As I sat there looking over the fence at her, it occurred to me that the plush grass under my bare feet feels mighty good. I went to my office and, after thinking that someone had stolen the laptop that I’d gone back to campus to get, managed to exhume from its resting place under a box of laptop power supplies. I returned to Thor waiting in Walden and we finally started Shakedown II.
The first day of the shakedown consisted of an uneventful and uninteresting drive to Birmingham via I40, I24, and I59, a drive that is noticeably longer at Walden’s 50-70 MPH pace than at 80 on cruise control. It was dark when I arrived in Birmingham. Neither my dad nor my cousin answered the phone. On a misguided attempt to find a shorter way into town I spent an extra 15 minutes getting there (why I’d do such in a town that I grew up in eludes me). The route took me by a Whole Foods, where I got a entirely passable, but too-expensive plate of steam table food. I don’t think I’ll be able to live for long in Walden dropping $10 on a plate of merely passable food.
After I ate the dinner at Mom’s and she gave Thor some chicken scraps from the soup she was making, we went and hung out in Walden. My cousin, who worked late, dropped by and we had a glass of cheap white wine and discussed the possibility that perhaps the wine was not done any favors by the stainless steel cup. Maybe I should get a couple sets of Reidel glases and a Riedel Wine Glass Travel Case
Thor and I slept out in Walden with the top down, so Thor and I shared the bottom bunk. It got a bit chilly, so I turned on the furnace, and it was awesome! Click a switch, turn a dial, and lo! My house was toasty warm. It was good first night.