Tuesday, August 28, 2007

jobs and the moon

Keith had e-mail from Kirby in Austin. Kirby's working 2:00-11:00 five days a week (Sunday and Monday are his days off), and he's going to apply for a senior position, which would give him a team to supervise. No high school, no college, not the greatest wages, but potential for more (and started over $10, which is more than some college graduates are making while they pay back their loans).

The work he'll be doing will be what he was doing in Albuquerque (which makes him a potential senior—his experience) but he says that at the new place they've asked them to use only "library voices" so they'll have a very quiet workplace.

The photo is of Holly in her new "powder room" (which was until late Kirby's bathroom). It's a toilet princess photo. She has a new toilet lid and if you lift it there's a picture of Zac Efron.

Meanwhile, back in Albuquerque, we had a moon viewing scheduled for 4:00 a.m., to watch the eclipse. I woke up natural at 3:33 and looked, and it was beautiful, and clouds were moving toward it, and the moon moving toward clouds. So I helped Keith up (he torqued his back on Sunday, in a tournament, from the way he fell when he was defeated), and went to wake up kids, even though it wasn't 4:00 yet. Marty and Holly were still awake, and Holly woke up our friend Bo who had spent the night so he could view the eclipse with us. We went out on the deck and watched the moon, and the clouds, and the moon pop out a few times, and finally there was a clear sky in the moon's path. Keith went to work after a while. Marty and Holly went to bed. Bo needed to leave for work at 7:00 so we stayed up and watched the moon until 6:00 or so.

We didn't take any photos. Sorry. It was nice, though. I brought Holly hot chocolate and a blanket, and we talked about astronomy, spinal and nerve pressures, songs with the word "wrong" in them (because of the lyrics game, about ideas Holly had had about how some people sabotage their own logic, and stories about rock concerts (particularly the recent Vans' Warped Tour). Bo and I ended up with blankets, talking about why it's colder just before sunup.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Kirby, internet, phones

Continuing on the thoughts of modern technology...
Even servicemen deployed to other countries have occasional chances to e-mail and phone. I think of situations in other times and places and I'm very grateful for electronic communications.

I talked with Kirby several times yesterday, and it was nice for me to be able to be helpful to him even so far away. When I asked him for his mailing address, there was a female voice on the other side helping him figure it all out. I don't know if she works there or is one of the other Albuquerque transplants (there are several) or what. He lives the Promontory Point apartments at 2250 Ridgepoint Dr. So I tried to look them up to see photos but didn't find photos. I did find apartment reviews/commentary, so I know that some people love the place and others don't--about 50/50. There are bugs. Sometimes the pool isn't cleaned often enough. A repair guy someone really liked changed jobs last spring or sometime and isn't there anymore.

I feel like a spy.

Kirby's a very easygoing guy, though, and gets along with people well, so I don't think he'll have any problem requesting assistance or waiting patiently until he gets it. That's good for Kirby. It makes his life better and makes him a good customer service guy, too. When we've needed to call a tech line here, if it's anything besides Apple care (I'm the only one with a Mac, and their support people are wonderful), Kirby usually does it because he's very patient. He and Keith will try to keep me from being the one to call, and I'm glad to let them. I get frustrated being on hold and asked the list of questions that make no sense in light of my problem. Kirby and Keith will just answer them all. But now Kirby's gone.

Mapquest showed me that he's by a freeway and Anderson, which looks like a big street. I feel like I could find him if I needed to.

I'm keeping AIM (AOL instant messenger) open to see if he shows up there. More harmless surveillance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Kirby's gone to Austin now

Some of this I sent to the Always Learning list already, but there's more.

Kirby, my firstborn, has packed up and driven away. I'm almost completely calm. I have some confused butterflies in my stomach, but the departure was peaceful and sweet.

I credit that to cell phones and e-mail. Tomorrow the cable guy comes to hook them up for internet and cable TV. Kirby hasn't ever had cable, and told the roommate he didn't really think they needed it, but hey... Not many cities have a mile-high mountain right outside with TV transmitters on it. And if cable is the way to get internet, rather than by land-line phone as we have it here, then he's getting cable!

Because I could call Kirby right now, and because he can call me if he has so much as a flat tire, I don't need to have the fear.

It's not so long ago that I would've had to wait for phone installation and long distance, or for a paper letter.

So I credited my calm to technology, but part of it is also that the parting is peaceful and sweet. We helped him pack. His friends came over here to say goodbye, eight or so of them, and they were all nice to me and asked if I was okay. I am.

We're saving his room for him for a year. If he wants to move back, he can move right back in, and that makes his own risk and potential fears smaller.

He already has an apartment. He has a job that begins on Monday. They took an 8x10 U-Haul with tables and two beds and lamps and such. He has a broom, flyswatter, toilet paper, paper towels... They have dishes and pans.

They have cell phones and the internet. They live a very short walk from where they'll work, and quite near a WalMart too (with groceries). They will be okay. His roommate's name is Eric. I met him last night. Big football player guy. Gamer guy, too.

Another change is coming today too. Keith called to arrange to give my Dodge Caravan to charity. We got it used nine years or so ago. It's a 1994. We've already had the transmission(s) done twice and it started to go out, and the computer that knows what the dashboard knows is coming and going. So I've taken the license plates off (artsy front plate and real back plate; New Mexico switched their system a few years back, so plates stay with owners). The keys and title are by the front door. When it's gone I'll clean up the puddle of transmission fluid.

Two changes. Not big awful ones. He's not in Iraq.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Look what Holly knows how to do!

This is a dress I had from my late teens. My dad got my sister one and then I wanted one too. I couldn't believe that after years of telling me not to wear miniskirts, he had gotten my sister a scooter. Scooters were so short they had matching panties. This one does too. It fits Holly now (and hasn't fit me for a LONG time ).

But look what Holly did with photoshop! She amazes me. This is awesome:

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

they all rolled over and one rolled out

Kirby's not gone yet, but because of work he didn't go to Santa Fe yesterday when the rest of us did for the interment of his uncle's ashes at the national cemetery there. Here's Marty, Holly, me and Keith, August 14, 2007, outside the little shelter where the ceremony was. We visited my dad's grave while we were there. He met Keith, but never knew our children. We went to lunch and then back to the cemetery for a while more. Holly slept all the way home, with her head in my lap. Tomorrow morning, Kirby and I are leaving for the HSC conference in Sacramento. I'm Sunday's keynote speaker. Kirby's on a panel and doing a workshop on games dealing with history. I'm looking forward to getting to spend some time with him (in planes and airports, at least; I might not see him much at the conference). We return Monday afternoon, and he leaves for Austin early Wednesday morning. I don't know if he'll be there for a year or two, or for thirty years. I'm glad it's only one state away, but these are some very big states. I think it's over 12 hours of solid driving. I cannot personally drive for twelve hours (hardly even two), so he is going out of my range.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

clouds in a big clear sky

Out the window of our highest room, the library, this morning.
I could have taken the photo from the yard, but to show that we can see that from inside the house seemed cooler. Kirby was asleep up there, so I very quietly opened the venetian blinds. Yeah. That's never quiet. But he courteously pretended to still be asleep (or maybe slept through it).

Marty wasn't home this morning, so we figured he stayed somewhere, and we speculated this and that. After a couple of hours I called him. He's at my friend Jon's house, housesitting. Oh yeah! I had forgotten, and he had never told Keith-the-dad. He wasn't in trouble, we were just curious. We're short cars; he has one. There was an aspect of practicality, too.

Tomorrow/Monday, Marty finishes his 15 hours of community service. He's working in the Red Cross office. Last week he cleaned the yard and trimmed bushes or something, and inventoried all their furniture. The reason Marty was sentenced to do community service is that he was playing on steel slides in a city park late at night. He knew there was a closing time on the parks. He knew they could've run when the police car pulled up (as one of the four people who were there suggested). But he didn't. And they were the third group he'd had to run off from that park the same evening, so he ticketed them all. Because they went to different judges, one had to pay $51 court costs. One had to take a class to improve her character and pay for it ($100), and two got community service (with the option to take the class, or to pay costs or fees and do five hours of roadside weeds and trash). They both chose the 15 hours and no fees.

So Marty is some kind of criminal, who left a party where there was liquor and music to go to a quiet, dark park to play on the slides. I can't be very ashamed of a criminal like that. They weren't drinking or using drugs or making out. They were playing on the slides. Three of them were 18 and one was 21. And Marty was very responsible about showing up to court dressed nicely and all that. It's all a learning experience.

But the best part was when he was first talking about having chosen the Red Cross office over doing 15 hours of data entry for another The American Cancer Society (as Brett chose), he was totally cheery about it. He said "Maybe I'll meet the girl of my dreams, or maybe I'll discover I like working for the Red Cross."