Tuesday, June 21, 2011

oof so busy

No house yet. The sellers accepted the offer on June 6, but as you'd expect, we're still waiting on their bank (it's a short sale). Still looking around at other places, but there isn't anything, really: lenders are only dribbling out the foreclosures and short sales, to keep prices from cratering, and combined with the local tech boom, prices are only inching down.

I'm flying to Western New York State this weekend for my grandmother's memorial service. It will be nice to see everyone and be supportive however I can. I expect miserable weather, although on the bright side there seems to be some hope of thunderstorms.

I studied a little bit for the GRE! Have I taken practice tests yet? Nope! Do I need to? Yes! When will I do that? Dunno!

Work is going smoothly. It's pretty slow in the office. Also pretty warm. The Ops office completely lacked ventilation until last night: one of our guys sent email (possibly profanity-laden) to a few people explaining that he wasn't coming into the office until they fixed the AC like they've been promising to since before I started there. They installed a couple vents in our office, but it was a little hard to tell how well it worked because one of the AC units for the entire building broke, so it was generally a bit warm. Our floor-standing AC unit seemed to keep us in better shape than the rest of the office, though.

For reference, the guy who complained has a weather station on his desk, and it was 86F in the office, with no air movement, when I gave up and went home yesterday.

My toes seem to be doing well. Anna had the bright idea that my awesome kick scooter might have been the problem, and sadly I think she was right. But, I can run again. Or I would be able to, if I weren't drastically out of shape and my limbs didn't feel like lead. I'm working on it.

Perhaps in lieu of studying for the GRE, I've been reading a lot. I finished Dracula! It's really, really good. I'm not entirely clear on how deep it is in the "literary" sense, as opposed to just being exquisitely constructed storytelling. I'm going to read some background essays for help: there are various claims of themes involving Irish-ness (did you know Bram Stoker was Irish? I didn't, until a few weeks ago) or the power/danger of female sexuality, or whatever. Philistine that I am, I failed to notice any themes that persisted through the book, despite my years of education. But I often think any fiction more complicated than Steinbeck is wasted on me.

(Speaking of nice things being waste on me, I tasted a $300 bottle of red wine last week. It had the exact same metallic-dirt taste as reasonably-priced red wine, except this was worse because it was a Bordeaux, so it was kind of watery as well. Yum!)

I highly recommend Dracula, because it's probably not quite what you expect. Set aside your previous vampire-fiction experiences: I got to the end and thought "Wow, that would make a horrible movie." Plus it's just fun to read.

Sunday felt like my first Father's Day. J spent the day with his dad, but Anna took me out to dinner.

Anna refers to me as a "bonus parent," and J and I are growing closer with time spent together. So I get to do things like tell him how to dump the nasty cough medicine on the back of his tongue so he tastes it less, and he occasionally steals my shoes like he steals Anna's. We have the occasional history lesson: for example, if you're building a Lego base on the moon a thousand years ago, there were no horses because they were brought later by the Spanish.

This is nuts. When did I ever find time to watch TV?


  1. If you want to get past procrastinating in studying for the GRE's, here's some really good practical advice http://blog.kaplangradprep.com/2011/01/26/the-hardest-step-of-studying-getting-started/ from one of my Kaplan teacher colleagues.

  2. Thanks, Elisa!

    This year is also a little challenging because of the revised GRE: they advised that if schools need scores before September, I should take the old test, which means before August, because they're anticipating significant delays in sending scores for the revised test. So my chances for taking it a second time are a little dodgy. I have faith I can buckle down and do it, though. =)

  3. Chris, this is a big issue for many people this year--and as you can imagine, I have a lot of students in your boat. Did you get a test date yet? The last regular day the test will be given is July 22 or 23 (depending on the test center), and slots are going fast.

    The issue with scores on the new test isn't as bad as you've been told. Test takers will get (unofficial) scores right at the test site, on test day, but on the current scale of 200-800 rather than the new scale of 130-170. You can let schools know your unofficial scores; they'll get the official ones, on the new scale, in November.

    So, if you take the test next month and don't get scores that you like, register to take the new test. As a reader and an excellent grasp of language, you may even find the new test more manageable than the current one.

    The real point is, don't let the GRE become an even more high-stakes test than it already is.

    Poke around in that GRE blog on the Kaplan website. There are loads of great posts--none of them are stale--to help you with strategies for dealing with the GRE.