New Refractions

IMG_4778Yesterday, when we were waiting for the movers to arrive and enjoying the calm before the proverbial storm, we learned something about our new house:  on a sunny day, when the light strikes the art class design in our front window, the refraction makes a very cool design that moves across the wall as the sun rises in the sky.

It was a bright, pretty start to a very long moving day.

Moving Day

Today, we move.

IMG_4776We’ve got a good game plan and a pretty solid understanding of which pieces of furniture should go where, but the gods always throw you a few curve balls to keep you on your toes.  For one, it’s a brisk 7 degrees outside right now, which means that, with movers trudging in and out through open doors, our new house will be akin to a meat locker for the day.  Bundle up and brace yourself!

For another, our sensitive dogs have gleaned that something is up.  For Penny, this realization — like any realization she has ever had in her life, frankly — has just stimulated her ever-voracious appetite.  For Kasey. it’s an apparent cause of her decision to barf on the floor.  It’s a welcome surprise to start what is likely to be a stressful day.  Who knows how this Mutt and Jeff canine pair will react to being introduced to a new home, and what happy gastrointestinal events might greet us tomorrow morning?

For now, we’re up, guzzling cup after cup of coffee, packing up our stuff in the rental, and gearing up for a big day.

On The Cusp Of The New

Tomorrow Kish and I move into our new house in German Village.  It’s an exciting time for us, as we leave behind our transitional rental place and settle into our own home.

IMG_4639Part of the attraction of this move is the thrill of the new.  For a while, at least, nothing about our home life will be routine — not the path to the bathroom in the morning, not using the stove to prepare meals, not the view out the back window while drinking coffee in the morning.  For days to come we’ll be adding and repositioning furniture, unloading boxes, and figuring out what should go where, and because there is still some work to be done on electrical fixtures, closet doors, and kitchen cabinets, the house itself will be changing around us, too.

Of course, there’s something intrinsically exciting about change.  As Americans, we tend to crave it.  Part of that process always seems to involve getting tired of the old, and we’re feeling that as well.  We’ve appreciated having a rental where we could camp out for two months, but as Moving Day has drawn closer we’re chomping at the bit to move on.

Eventually we’ll settle in to our new home, there will no longer be a sense of newness in every little experience, and novelty will transform into comfort.  That’s in the future, though.  For now, we’re on the cusp of the new, and we’re happy and excited about it.

FURminator Forever

When you live in temporary quarters while most of your possessions are in storage, you’re going to have moments when you wish you could put your hands on an appliance, article of clothing, or device that’s instead squirreled away in an anonymous box in a warehouse.  And the longer you’re parted from your stuff, the more you miss the little things.

Lately, I’ve been having a strong case of FURminator envy.

For those who aren’t familiar with this terrific product, the FURminator is a heavy duty brush — a “de-shedding tool for large dogs” — that helps to get rid of dog fur.  When Penny gets a vigorous brushdown with the FURminator, the result is large clouds of white dog hair that collect into loose balls and roll across the yard like tumbleweeds in an old western.  Since Penny remains fur-covered, of course, you begin to realize just how much fur dogs carry around.

So why do I miss the FURminator?  Basically, because every one of the dog hairs that would have been gathered into a mass of discarded fur now ends up on my clothing.  I’m a walking testament to the adhesive properties of dog hair, which is clingier than your first high school girlfriend.  My blue cloth winter greatcoat looks like a kind of mangy alpaca effort that Joe Namath might have worn during his Fu Manchu moustache period.  It’s not a particularly attractive look.

So when we finally move to our new place in a few days, I’ll be going through boxes with undiminished zeal, keeping an eye out for a handy little device that, liberally applied, should help to keep our new home from becoming a fur-fest.  FURminator Forever!

Rail Renaissance

Richard has another really good piece in today’s Florida Times-UnionThis time it’s about the nation’s freight rail carriers and their “rail renaissance” — which in this case means their increasing profitability.

DSC04102One of the great things about this story is that it goes behind the upward trend in railroad profits, and stock prices, to try to figure out what forces are at play that produced the “rail renaissance.”  It turns out that there are a lot of them:  industry consolidation that has dramatically reduced the number of carriers over the past 70 years and thereby reduced rate competition, investments by the railroads that allow them to carry ever more freight, decreasing number of employees, with the decline in associated costs, and an infrastructure advantage over the nation’s highway system.

Now that I think of it, I’ve had several recent experiences driving through rural areas only to be stopped by a train that was stacked high with containers and seemed to go on forever.  For the railroads, those incredibly long container trains are engines of prosperity.

It makes you wonder:  if rail carriers have made a comeback, is there any chance that the passenger rail industry might similarly have its own “rail renaissance”?

Candy Care Package

IMG_4740Today Kish is going to travel north for a short visit with Russell, and she’s bringing along a care package of sorts:  a box filled with some vintage candies and a bag of peanut-butter-and-chocolate buckeyes.  It’s the kind of gift that helps to warm a cold winter’s day.

Our rental is located near the Schmidt’s Fudge Haus, which not only offers fresh handmade fudge but also has a ridiculous selection of vintage candies that you probably haven’t seen recently:  Necco Wafers, Bonamo’s Turkish Taffy, Mary Janes, Chuckles, candy cigarettes, yellow gum cigars, Teaberry gum . . . the list goes on and on.  As you walk down the aisle of goodies, looking at candies you haven’t thought of in years, it calls back fresh memories of childhood and strong recollections of precisely how those candies felt and tasted.  Who doesn’t remember the dusty, chalky feel of candy cigarettes and their brittle, sugary crunchiness?  (Not that I am suggesting that you’d want to give them to a young child these days, but things were different back in my smoke-filled childhood.)

I’m guessing that Russell will enjoy dipping into this candy care package.