That’s right, we don’t yet have internet at the apartment. We get it next Friday, you know, while I’m away at Readercon. Until then, postings will be somewhat sporadic I’m afraid.
We spent yesterday cleaning and unpacking. The bedroom is assembled and has no boxes. Yay! Rob has disassembled the stove and is deep cleaning it. It’s a nice old Welbilt, which has thirty plus years of grease buildup on it. We shudder.
The living room is starting to emerge from the chaos of boxes, but it will take awhile.
I have to give a huuuuuuge thank you to Emily, Jodi and my brother, Steve, for their help moving us in.
We are at a gas station in Peever, S.D getting ready to cross into Minnesota. It is 5:06 pm local time.
I promised to tell you about our misadventures from yesterday, so this is what I wrote up while we were driving.
It was dark when we crossed into South Dakota. One of the interesting things about crossing a state line is that the quality of the road one is traveling on changes dramatically. So, as we crossed into South Dakota all the reflectors disappeared, the white line showing the edge of the road disappeared and the color of the road became almost exactly the same as the shoulder. Without my brights on, it was very hard to see the road. I did not feel comfortable traveling more that forty-five mph.
Everytime another car approached, the road beyond them completely vanished. I learned to watch the angle at which they approached to get a guess about what the road would do when I got to it. Occasionally, there would be reflectors by the road, but not where you would expect them. There might be a curve and then three reflectors on the straightaway.
At one point, as a semi approached and the road vanished again, I saw a quick reflection in his lane. I had time to think, “My god, is there a cyclist on this road?”
And then I hit a deer.
A herd of them was standing on the road. What I had seen was the reflection of one of the other deer’s eyes. The one I hit materialized in my headlights as if it had beamed into place. I can only assume that the semi also hit one.
We stopped, confirmed that there was no serious damage to the truck. There wasn’t–one of the advantages of driving something so large, I guess. After this, I slowed down still more as the road got twistier.
We kept trying to call the campground to cancel the reservation, but could get no cell signal. Though it meant that we didn’t get to the campground until after 11:00, we still went for it knowing that if we got behind, that today would be even longer.
Unfortunately, they stop registration at 11:00. So, though we had reservations, we had no idea where we were supposed to be. I finally found a bag with our name on it that contained a map to our site. It was hard to see the site numbers, so we decided that I would sit in the truck while Rob looked for the campsite.
While I was sitting there, someone came out to complain about the noise of the diesel, so I shut it down. Someone else then came up to demand to know what was going on. Though I was now quiet, he wanted me to move the truck away. I figured the smart thing to do would be to take it back to the main parking area and just pack the tent and cats to the campsite. He assured me that the road went straight through.
He was quite wrong. So, while Rob was looking for the campsite, I got stuck at the end of a deadend road. I tried turning the truck around, and hit a rock–no damage, since I was going extremely slowly, but enough to convince me to stop the truck where I was.
We were next to a cabin which had no cars in front of it. There was a large grassy area. At this point I decided to screw finding “our” site and to just camp in the grassy area. I walked back to get Rob and we set up the tent. Of course, since we were at the end of a dead-end road, it was completely dark. The truck was facing away from the grassy area, so there was no way to use the headlights to set up. We worked with the glow cast by the overhead light in the back of the truck. Our nightlight, once we set up the tent, was supplied by the screen of my laptop. Ah, technology.
We got up at five this morning and hit the road. Mt. Rushmore wasn’t open yet, but is clearly visible from the road. I’ve got to say that it’s more impressive from the side than from the front, but there’s no safe way to pull off and take a photo there.
The road since then has been unbelievably straight.
The new moving truck holds everything we were planning on taking, including bicycles and Rob’s motorcycle. Whew. We backed the new one up to the old one in front of the Chelsea’s house and carried stuff straight across–some things did get offloaded so we could control weight distribution–but it went so much smoother than yesterday. A shady street and a ramp beats sun and stairs any day.
A hearty, hearty thank you to the Chelsea household, Mick Daugherty and Rick Lovett for their help carting everything across. They totally saved our hiney.
The house is totally empty except for the cats and their acoutrements. We pick them up in the morning and hit the road. The plan is to leave at dawn and go straight to Salt Lake City instead of doing an overnight stay in Boise. Whee! At least the solstice will give us lots of daylight driving time.
I am living in a stranger’s house. It is not the boxes which make it so; it is the absence of things. We sold the steamer trunk which served as our bathroom cabinet. As we were carrying it out, I realized that I’d owned it for nearly twenty years. I bought it in college and moved it around with me, but it has no place in NYC and is not truly irreplaceable. I have, in fact, coveted nicer ones that I couldn’t justify because I owned this one. I didn’t mind selling it.
But when I walk into the bathroom, it is no longer part of my house. This room belongs to someone else already.
Although we had serious sibling rivalry growing up, he’s a swell guy. He just got accepted to Vanderbilt where he will finish his doctorate. I’m not looking forward to calling him Dr. Harrison, but I’m still proud of him. Oh– and he’s driving up to NYC to help us move in.
I’m emptying my basement. I have loads of stuff that aren’t going with us to NYC. If you are in the Portland, OR area and are willing to come pick things up, you can score on foam, ribbons, fabric, glue and lumber. Email me and I’ll give you my contact info.
I also have several boxes of marionettes that I inherited from an older puppeteer and I can’t take them with me. These are in various stages of completion. Some of the boxes are only parts. Many of the marionettes need to be restrung
I can’t bring myself to throw them in the trash.
These are good for an older child’s toys, beginners and collectors.
Jodi is in from NYC to do a little bit of ADR and to do some visiting. He’s here until Monday. Yay! We’re headed out for dinner tonight. On Friday night, Julie arrives and then Sarah on Sunday. It’s like old home week.
Our friend Eve is in town from Portland for the next couple of days. I, of course, am trapped in the studio today. We’re also discovering the downside of Rob having a job. He can’t go gallivant around town with her. Ah well, I suppose at least this way I’m not missing out on all the fun.
Her visit is already proving delightful, and so far I’ve only seen her in the car on the way back from the airport. Besides her wonderful personality, she also brought bagels from New York. Rob and I were embarrasingly pleased to have these.
For future reference, anyone coming to visit us who can bring bagels from NYC automatically gets bonus points.
Yeah. So, I don’t know what I was thinking when I thought I would drive home every night to Chattanooga. We’re having way too much fun. It’s 2 a.m. and we’re just going to bed.
We watched the newest Dr. Who episode. May I say, I am such a geek. I was a huuuuge Dr. Who fan when I was a teen, and by God, I turned fourteen again watching these episodes. They are really good. Besides engaging characters and interesting storylines, they actually have production values. If you’ve seen the original Dr. Who episodes, you know what a phenomenal leap that is. Of course it’s also fun to sit with a bunch of SF writers and chat about it afterwards.
I’m going home early tomorrow. I’ll really miss Jenny, Nia, Steve, Luc and Lee. This has been a great weekend.
Oh! And Jenny and I just realized that we’ll see each other in NYC on Wednesday. Then I will get to see Steve and Lee at Chattacon next weekend. Looking forward to that.
I had a rough day at camp today. One of the little girls is selfish, obnoxious, manipulative and I don’t like her. The kids made stick horses, which turned out really cute. At the end of class I told them to put them all at one end of the room while we joined the rest of camp for snack time at the other end.
As I walked past the snack table I saw that little Miss Snippy had her stick horse, which she’d been waving in my face and everyone else’s, so I told her to put it away.
“But it’s all the way over there. Can you put it away for me?” she said.
“No, it’s all the way over there for me too.”
“But,” she whined, “you’re a teacher. It’s your job to help kids.”
Biting my tongue, I took a breath and then replied, “It’s my job to help children who are having trouble, not children who didn’t follow instructions in the first place.”
“But I’ll lose my place in line.”
“There’s no one behind you. You’re the last one in line.” I turned and walked away, straight into the teacher’s lounge where I announced that I didn’t like her.
I’ve had children who don’t pay attention, or are disruptive, but not one that’s so openly manipulative. She’ll be like this when she grows up, it’ll just be more subtle.
So, I was very grouchy on my way home, but when I got there I found a box. My dear friend’s in NYC who let me stay with them when I come out have a fantastically appointed kitchen. The last time I was out, I was helping Marlene in the kitchen and commented on her sets of mixing bowls. She has a set of nesting glass bowls that come in every imaginable size and a set of steel bowls that are perfect. I mentioned that I covet them.
Today, without any provocation, Marlene sent me a set of nesting steel bowls. So, very, very kind.
Sarah, Jodi, Sam and I hung around in Greenwich Village and the East Village for most of the afternoon. We took Sarah to Pizza in a real NYC pizza joint (recommended by a native) and then to have a canoli. Good fun.
As I was heading back up to catch the train for Katonah, I had a bit of time to kill so I stopped in Union Square and wrote for a bit. When it started to rain, I decided that it was time to catch the subway, so I headed down to catch the 4,5,6. There was a huge crowd on the overpass looking down at the platform. As I came up, three cops came running flat out and yelling “outta the way!” It turns out that someone had been hit by the subway. I didn’t see much, although it was hard not to rubber-neck like the rest of the crowd. There’s something about an accident that just pulls ones attention. I don’t know why. It’s not like I wanted to see a tragedy, but there seems to be something hardwired in to turn and look at accidents.
They carried him out on a stretcher, so I think he was still alive.
We finished the meetings today after getting lots of good work done. Emily and I rode back into NYC together and then headed out to a lovely restaurant for cocktails and appetizers. Then I met Peter and rode the train back up here. Tomorrow, I head back to Portland. Hurrah!
I arrived in NYC with no problems. I had dinner with my friend Sue, and am now sitting in a coffee shop enjoying the internet while waiting for Peter to get out of his show. I’m staying up in Katonah at Peter and Marlene’s place for the next couple of nights. So far, the trip has been uneventful. We’ll see if it continues to be so.
(Tor Books – July 14 2020) Mary Robinette Kowal continues her Hugo and Nebula award-winning Lady Astronaut series, following The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky, with The Relentless Moon. The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and […]