but at least I have been out and about: yesterday I was invited to lunch with a director of a Related Program, and that was pleasant; I need to figure out how to participate in a way that is useful to them and to me and won't take up too much of my time. But even better, this person seemed very nice and chatty, so I may even be able to work this into a semi-regular socializing time. Not too often; I understand what running a big program is like. But maybe another lunch or so this semester, plus whatever other social activities I work up with other people, and things will look good.
Today I went exploring and visited a Historical Site. I was going to say it was a Famous Historical Site but, eh, after visiting it I'm not sure it rates three capital letters. You know how there's George Washington's house and then there are old inns or buildings from that time period and they know he once ate there? Well, this place was a notch below that. I should have gotten off my butt earlier because it was already very hot once I got there, but otherwise it was pretty. I was going to cross it off my list (I bought a local guidebook and I promised myself I'd play tourist a lot this year) but they have some fall events where people run around in old-timey costumes and do old-timey things, so I might be back.
There is potential for hikes around here but since I don't know how to carry the air-conditioning unit outdoors that's going to have to be on hold --- possibly for a very long time. Does it ever cool down around here? I sure hope so. Also, the bugs --- I am not pleased with the mosquito situation here. I had a lot of bites around my knees and now I have a whole bunch more, and it feels like they are more itchy than I remember from summer camp. They are also staying for longer, as I don't remember still being woken up in the middle of the night by bites itching four days later. Sigh. And do I need to be checking myself for ticks or whatever? I walked around in tall grass. Ick! I am not used to having to think about this crap.
I am also not used to the ways of the air conditioning. I have it on 78 and it comes on a lot. Is my bill going to be enormous? Should I set it higher? It feels fine downstairs, too cool even, but upstairs is stuffy and I have been having trouble sleeping at night. Plus, I have a ceiling fan which does wonders for circulating the air down here, but doesn't seem to help with the hot upstairs. And it is on "high" but I was unable to reach the little switch up by the blades, even standing on the chair. It knocks papers off the coffee table and makes directly underneath way too cold.
Unfortunately I think my cats are terrified of the fan, and that is partly why they only come out at night when I go to bed. Sigh. I don't know what to do about that --- I would like them to not live on top of the cabinets like they do. *scratches head.* I worry about them, and they are getting thin looking ---- they do eat every day, but not as much as they have been. I don't know how to entice them to spend the days out of their hiding place. Or to not fear the ceiling fan. I guess I could turn it off, but right now that also means having no living room light. Hmm. Sigh. Any advice would help.
I also spent this afternoon on a "study date" --- "prep date"? I dunno --- where I worked on Evil Syllabus I Know Nothing About with one of the other postdocs. She has more stamina than I do; I pooped out around 4 and she didn't look up to talk about leaving until way after 5. So the good news is that I kept working, although desultorily. And I am actually a little surprised about how slowly it's going. Syllabi really can suck up all available time. But the good news is that the other postdoc got a lot done and mentioned she was feeling a little stir crazy doing all that moving and unpacking, so she is very amenable to having more of these work meetings and social meetings. All of which is grand. There was a random guy who was working on his laptop and who interrupted us to ask questions about what we were doing and what teaching was like while we were there, but I guess that's going to be par for the course here.
Speaking of which, I have been spoiled by the concept of coffeeshops ---- there really is a multitude of options in Gradschooland, most of which are delicious and locally-owned. Here we had to drive into the next town over to meet up at the Starbucks. Can there really be nothing near the school? I will continue my quest, but I think this may not be a place with coffeeshops. Heresy! I have a lot of adjusting to do.
Ah yes. You've got here-is-not-like-there syndrome. It's tough moving from paradise to not paradise. I, on the other hand, feel like I could live anywhere since I grew up in Indiana. Most anywhere is better than that. Even Wisconsin, where I was in school for a while.
I'm guessing there must be a coffee shop on campus. A school that is large enough to offer a post-doc is large enough to have a coffee shop (or two) on campus. Sniff around. I hope you find something lovely and charming.
What utilities are you paying? The A/C will definitely make the electric bill go up. We have 2 A/C window units in our house for extra hot days, and our bill was 200 dollars last month. That's for a 1600 square foot house, though. Not sure what will happen there.
Glad you're meeting a couple of people! Try to have fun!
Those bites around your knees might be chiggers:
Just one of the many joys of southern living I don't miss. And yes, if you're out in woodsy areas it's a good idea to check yourself for ticks later before you get in the shower.
But assuming you're somewhere in the southeast: fall is a fantastic time. It'll cool off a bit, the leaves will change colors and become gorgeous, and the bugs will be less intense.
Coffee's just not as big a thing in the south, probably because it's too hot for coffee most of the year. It's all about the iced tea.
78 seems to me a pretty reasonable setting for the AC. Many southerners keep theirs at 68 year-round.
It sounds like you're doing a lot of things right: making contacts, keeping busy, taking advantage of what there is to do. Good for you.
The cats will get used to it. Don't worry. (I have two rescued feral cats who are scared of everything and everyone except me, and they adjust to all sorts of road trips, new places, fans, etc).
If feeling poor, I'd probably just set the AC to 80 and sleep downstairs, give up on the upstairs for a while.
Just catching up on your moving/new city/new life drama -- whew! What a change!
I also made the CA --> south move and, yes, it can be traumatic. Hope you start to settle in soon but my biggest advice is: don't spend all your time thinking about -- or, worse, telling everyone you meet -- how much better CA than where you are living now. It's tempting to rehearse these facts but it'll only lead to heartache for you and annoyance for everyone else.
Hope that doesn't sound too bossy -- but I've been there!
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