Monday, November 4, 2013

living all the things

Time is flying by, mostly an artifact of being busy and not doing the zazen and aikido that help slow down my experience of life. I did go to aikido weapons class last week, but then I promptly went to a conference in the City for two days, then had a three-day weekend visiting Ben in Minnesota.

Just two weekends ago we went to North Central Nowhere, New York for my cousin's wedding. With my wedding and my grandmother's funeral, I've seen more of that family in the past 3 years than in most of the past 20, which is great, because they're awesome. The cousin I'm closest to now has three great kids, including a gangly 13-year old in the classic male "non-verbal lack of eye contact" phase. On a recent visit with my 12-year old niece, I learned that one approaches these creatures by not talking; so I walked up behind him, tapped out his knee, held him up but severely off balance for a couple seconds, then put him back upright and walked away. We bonded.

I'm going to try to avoid flying for the rest of the year, though. It taxes my physical resilience, which is still coming back.

I finally bought and installed a Nest thermostat. Being able to control it from your phone or a website is more handy than you'd think, but overall I think it's a geek toy, and if you've got a functioning programmable thermostat, I can't recommend shelling out to replace it just on practical terms. It made sense for us because (a) we're dorks who like the occasional pretty gadget, and (b) our original thermostat, inasfar as it never actually turned the heat off once it reached a certain temperature, wasn't actually a thermostat.

I learned a little about thermostat wiring from this blog I read (the Nest bothers his heating system, but doesn't bother ours). I hesitated slightly on the installation, because there are two wires and they're both black; one day it occurred to me that if you've only got two wires, it doesn't matter what order they go in, so I could just go for it. (Current polarity does matter with individual LEDs, but even then the only thing that happens is the LED doesn't turn on.) The Nest is eminently civilized, a black glass circle on the wall, gracefully ringed with steel. The house is still cold, what with the dozens of drafty windows and general lack of insulation, but so far the Nest beats turning the heat on and off by hand.

I've been fantasizing about insulating the house. I'm not sure how practical that is, though. When I was a kid we had insulation blown into our house's walls, which involved drilling an endless series of 2-inch round holes in all the walls. They might be able to blow or stuff it into the walls from the attic. In reality, though, there are more important and effective projects: window repair/replacement, fixing the bathroom drainage, and adding piers below the house that aren't canted at a 20° angle.

J is doing pretty well, all things considered. His great-grandmother died, so he's been processing that in his J-specific way. He seems to be exploring ideas about death and adulthood in a much more mature way, thinking about what happens when he grows up.
"I'll have to live on my own?"
"Eventually, yes. Not until you're ready, though."
"But I won't be able to eat my favorite foods any more."
"That macaroni and cheese you like? They sell it at Trader Joe's."
We'll have to see what he needs when he starts pushing into adulthood, but it'd be nice if he could rent an apartment from us--over the garage, say, or if we moved into a different house with an in-law unit--as part of his transition.

Learning to purchase and make macaroni and cheese will obviously be a key part of that project.

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