Archive for the ‘Homefront’ Category

Lately, my main mode of transportation has been my Xtracycle cargo bike. Recently, I made my biggest haul home from the office, which included a Cuisinart ice cream maker from Amazon. Stay tuned for ice cream updates.


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I rode my bike home from work today in the pouring rain. It was awesome.

Eliza had offered to come pick me up, but the sight of stand-still traffic on Congress Avenue made me think twice. I decided I’d rather get a little wet than be stuck in the car staring at taillights. Above all else, I love the location of our house. I especially love the fact that I can bike to work, which I’ve been doing daily for over a month now. At first, I wasn’t confident that I’d make it through the Austin summer, but it turns out that biking in the heat isn’t so bad. (You make your own breeze.)

So now, my thoughts have turned to selling my car. I’ve already cancelled my monthly parking pass. The prospect of getting rid of my car payment has become tantalizing. But just as a backup, I may want to get something older and cheap. I’m thinking something like this:

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I’m learning that when you buy a house, trips to Home Depot take up a good portion of every weekend. I don’t mind Home Depot, but I’m not a fan of spending the weekend in the car. I will say this, though: trips to Home Depot beat trips to the storage space. When we lived on campus, space was somewhat limited. So every other weekend or so involved a trip across town to our storage space. But when we moved into the house, we ditched the storage space right away. I don’t miss this place at all.

But with the house, the storage equation has inverted. Now we can buy the mass quantities of consumer goods that Americans are supposed to: 32-packs of toilet paper, case upon case of Diet Coke, and gallon containers of mayo. These things are our birthright, and I’m happy to stake my claim. And just in case there’s any doubt, let me be clear: I’m not being facetious. I love this stuff.

So now I have a weekend car trip I can actually look forward to: Costco. True, there are moments in the store when it feels like you’re in the middle of a war zone. Kids are screaming. Old ladies are cutting you off with their tank-like grocery carts. But I love a deal. So I love Costco, too.

Another perspective on weekend trips:

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This weekend we had our first taste of something we have missed ever since moving to campus: the newspaper. We tried for months to get the paper delivered to our apartment at the school, but they never managed to find us.

At one point after several weeks of failed deliveries, I called the Austin American Statesman to tell them it still wasn’t showing up. By then, I had called so many times, the guy who answered actually recognized my voice: “You again? Really?” We finally gave up and resigned ourselves to reading the paper online. But it’s not the same.

It’s certainly not typical for people our age to subscribe to the paper. My particular attachment stems, at least in part, from the fact that my dad was a writer for the Washington Post while I was growing up and continues to write today. So throughout my life, newspapers have always played a central role.

While we’re on the topic of media upheaval, here’s a link to a piece my Dad wrote for the Post a few years after he had left the paper, from one dying medium to another: the Postal Service.

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Eliza and I have officially entered a new stage in life. After spending 18 months living in tiny apartments on the campus of the school where Eliza works, we bought a house. To celebrate our new digs, I’m kicking off a new series of posts.

I originally had an idea for a series called “Things I Won’t Miss About Living at a School,” but I decided that would have been a little too negative. Living at the school was actually a great experience. Still, it had its quirks and there were a lot of things we missed about living in the real world.

So in the spirit of positivity, this series will be dedicated to all of the small delights that we’re now enjoying in our new house. But before I get into what we love about the new place, I thought I’d share a few photos of where we came from in order to set the stage. There were three different apartments over the 18 months. (Unfortunately, I only have photos of the first two.)

Here’s the first one. It was a pretty small place, so these photos were actually shot with a scanning electron microscope we borrowed from the UT Physics department. First the bed “room,” which as you can see, spilled over into the kitchen, or as we called it: the bitchen.

Here’s a clear shot of the bitchen. And yes, I made eggs on that little burner.

Finally, the living room, complete with tiny TV, tiny Christmas tree, and window unit A/C.

Here’s another shot from before we moved in.

Next we moved into a slightly larger studio. This place’s quirks included a door that opened outside and which was positioned right next to the bed.

Our living area was at the foot of the bed. At least we got some good light, but it made sleeping in a little difficult.

The best part about this apartment was its kitchen, which was (more or less) full size. We still lacked a dishwasher, but at least we had an oven.

There were at least two things we learned from living on campus. First, after putting most of our possessions into storage, we realized that we didn’t miss most of them (cooking tools being the notable exception). Second, after living without so many things (oven, central air, dishwasher, etc.) we had a new appreciation for all of life’s little conveniences. So that’s what this series of posts will be all about: the everyday delights we’re enjoying now that we’re living like bona fide adults in a place of our own.

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