Sunday, August 05, 2007

Starting Over. . . Again

Rain finally came to Midwestern Funky Town. Since moving here last week, it has been ungodly hot. It was more Midwestern Melting Town than Midwestern Funky Town. Let me tell you, I didn’t move to a place where the state flower is an icicle just so that I could spend my days sweating.

If I am talking about the weather, that also means that not much is really happening in my life. Sure, I am super busy. Boxes are being unpacked, organizing is being done, and work on the never-ending-research-project of doom is proceeding. None of that, though, makes particularly scintillating blog reading. It’s not as if I am going to discover a hunky naked man in one of those boxes. Nor is it likely that we would then have hot, hot monkey sex upon that discovery. After all, I have all my hunky naked men shipped via UPS.

So, given that I don’t have enough energy/ambition to create a coherent post, I will cobble together an entry from several thoughts that I have had over the past week:

    *Starting over seems like a slow process. One also has to get acclimated, clean, connect utilities, and update all those online profiles. These things take even more time when there is only one of you in the move. After all, there are certain contents in a household that remain the same whether there are one, two, or four individuals in the unit. Everybody needs cookware. Everybody needs towels, etc. When there is only one of you, it takes that much longer to unpack all of that crap.

    *Starting over also requires a lot of emotional energy. No matter the circumstances, there is something viscerally unsettling about suddenly living in a new place. Still, if Jesus has the power to rise up from the dead and take to the sky, then so do I.

    *In all of my unpacking, I have concluded that I own way too many books and way too many dishes. At least I can justify the former (somewhat) by the fact that I am a professor. The latter, though, is seriously out of control. I am volunteering myself to the American Psychological Association as a case study to update the DSM with a new diagnosis of "Dish Mania." Why – WHY – do I need four sets of dishes? Three of those sets are seventy years old – the other forty years old. Why? Why? Why?

    Do I seriously think that Fergie and her posse are going to drop by at any moment and will require massive catering? And, let’s be honest, if Fergie and her posse did drop by, I would use paper plates. This whole dish thing is out of hand. I need help.

    *Unpacking those dishes was slowed by placing shelf-liner in all of my new cabinets. To be honest, I have never really seen the purpose of shelf-liner. Before she left, though, my sister and I went shopping for household items needed in a new place. When I informed her that I didn’t really plan to line my shelves, she looked horrified. As a result, I dutifully bought several rolls of the stuff. Seriously, though, why do I need this? Does it protect the dishes from the shelves? Does it protect the shelves from the dishes? Why is there such an antagonistic relationship between the two that they need a neutral zone of paper?

    *Beyond unpacking, watching ancient t.v. shows, and starring blindly at a text that needs revising, I have also poked around the town a bit. Yesterday, I went out to search for a birthday gift for my other sister (Yes, there is another). She is a Leo (which fits her perfectly).

    I decided that the funky downtown of Midwestern Funky Town would be an ideal place to find a funky gift.While wandering around, I discovered that every shop, regardless of its actual contents, was a “gallery.” If there was a 7-11, it would have been renamed the “Big Gulp and Slurpee© Gallery.”

    It seems to me if you are selling a vinyl LP that has been melted into a chip and dip bowl, you have forfeited your option of claiming “gallery” status. Don't get me wrong. I understand the quaint appeal of the item, but it's not really a "gallery piece."

    Trust me, they weren’t selling this item with a sense of Andy-Warhol irony either. Midwestern Funky Town is not that funky – yet.

    *I am in a major hurry to get the Texas license plates off of my car. I don’t want anybody in Midwestern Funky Town mistaking my unfortunate tags with an endorsement of that state’s atrocious politics.

    *When I get those new plates (Monday – probably), I want the traditional blue plates of my new state. I hate all of these novelty plates that every state keeps issuing. What is with pasting lighthouses, sunsets, or boats all over vehicle tags? It’s a means of identification not an ad for freshness.

    Yeah, I know a lot of these plates represent a minor donation to some worthy cause. This leads to its own absurdities, though. Like the idiot who drives a giant pickup truck but has the nerve to buy a “wildlife” plate. Clearly he reasons that forking over an extra ten bucks a year is going to undo the eco-damage of his four-miles-per gallon gas milage. It’s a little like Dick Cheney suddenly sporting a peace button on his lapel. Sure, the message is great, but it’s a little hollow when it’s resting on somebody slightly to the right of Kaiser Wilhelm.

    *Meeting my new colleagues at Big Midwestern University certainly contrasts with my first weeks in Texas those many years ago. It’s great to have so many people interested in the history of race, gender, and sexuality all in one place. They seem happy to have added me to the faculty and have really gone out of their way to make me feel welcome.

    I can’t say that this will last my entire time in MFT, but it sure is different than my Texas institution already. During my first week in Texas, in contrast, several senior colleagues came by my office to inform me that a) They didn’t want to hire anybody in Latino studies but were overruled by higher ups b) they didn’t think that Latino Studies was a legitimate historical discipline (too regional, don’t you know?) c) they really, really didn’t think that sexuality studies was a legitimate field of inquiry (too “trendy”) and d) they hoped that I didn’t take any of that personally, but thought I “should know.” Still.Not.Over.It.

    *Before leaving Boston, I finished reading the latest Harry Potter book. There are some things to say about it, but I will wait to write about it until it is out of date no longer topical won’t be a source of spoilers for those who haven’t finished. What I can say is that it was an adequate book that answered most of the questions raised by the other books. Overall, though, it took a bit of the magic out of the series for me (especially the dreadful last chapter). I suppose, though, she didn’t write it for me.

    *Moving still sucks.


LurkerWithout said...

In the hurly, burly world of Academia are you allowed to hit jerks with shovels? Because the "friendly" faculty seem like they need a "thanks for the heads up" shovel to the face...

adjunct whore said...

i covet your dishes...i too adore them and have too many. my entire pantry is also filled with books so ditto to that. and i moved two years ago.

i'm glad your new colleague are rightly welcoming you and showing clear respect and genuine interest. it should be this way.

Rebekah said...

I cleaned out all my books a few years ago, and regret it to this day.

Yes, I have many more now... had to fill up the empty space left in my heart and bookcase, but still.

Don't get rid of your dishes or your books unless you want to.

(so, which dishes do you have? Can we see?)

Earl Cootie said...

The advantage, though, of moving alone rather than while coupled is that you don't have fight over all the dinky crap that isn't worth fighting over but since you're both stressed over the move you fight over it anyway.

(We have a specialty plate, btw. One of the wildlife varieties, to be sure. But s'okay, I know that you were talking about someone else.)

Jason said...

You read the last Harry Potter book before leaving Boston!! I am outraged sir!

dykewife said...

moving will always suck. unless we're dynamited out of this place, i'm not moving until we either move to another city or else buy our own home.

give away the spare sets of dishes. there are always people who are in need of things like that. you know, women or men who are rebuilding their lives after having to flee violent relationships...people who lose their homes to fire.

i'm very glad that your welcome to the new university was so pleasant. i'm pretty certain that your welcome will remain the same. people who welcome newness and knowledge, for the most part, always will.

as i look around the house right now, i'm thoroughly overwhelmed by the amount of work left. *sigh*

Marlan said...

Two of the heaviest items to lug around in life, books and dinnerware. I confess to a heavy duty diner/restaurant set for daily use.

Eric said...

Don't get me started on American license plates these days.


I can only pray that plain license plates will be brought back, if only because they are easier to read by cameras installed at the entrance to toll roads.

Clio Bluestocking said...

Feeling your moving pain here.

I have a buddy who describes his Texas colleagues as "rednecks in intellectual clothing." I thought he was being a bit generous in the "intellectual" department. What creeps. May they rot. Thank heavens they aren't your problem any more. Much happiness in your new place, with all your dishes!

vuboq said...

If dishes were wishes, everyone would help doing the washing up.

Re: HP7. By "last chapter" did you mean the Epilogue? Because, yeah, that was kind of a disappointment.

Cooper said...

That kitschy chip bowl would be right at home in a few of the "galleries" downtown here. I find the dish-loving aspect of you adorable. Perhaps you could write a feature entitled "Dish of the month". I know exactly what you mean about "unsettled energy" within a new place. It took me many weeks to lost that feeling when I moved here. Painting helped.

Anonymous said...

What's amusing about the new MI License plate is that it on it's overly crowded design containing 3 cities, some trees, Big Mac, the outline of the Great Lakes, and it even has a strand of DNA going up the middle -- but not a single car anywhere on it. Heh.

I'm not sure if you can actually get the plain, old, blue plates anymore, unfortunately.

Artistic Soul said...

I had the same reaction to the last chapter of HP -- dreadful!!

And on moving is difficult to get adjusted, so hopefully you have some time to settle in before teaching starts up. Now if I could get my butt in gear and start acting like it's August and I have to go back to work soon, then I'd have better advice on that end. :)

tornwordo said...

Sell the damn dishes on Ebay. It's amazing what you can get rid of that way. I've never understood the allure of shelf lining.

I'm glad to hear that you are being properly welcomed at your new job.

Christopher said...

If any of those dishes are Fiesta or Harlequin, I'd be willing to take them off your hands, just to be polite of course.

As for those license plates, Indiana has a state-issued plate that says CHOOSE LIFE. Unless you're Wham! circa 1985, that just isn't appropriate. It makes me feel like campaigning to change our plates in Kentucky to say CHOOSE NOT TO GO TO INDIANA. I believe they also have a plate that says IN GOD WE TRUST. Fucking Hoosiers.

pacalaga said...

I must be the only person in the world who liked the epilogue. Then again, I like a neat, tidy wrap up and a happy ending, no matter how many dei hop out of that particular machina. Give me a happy ending every time! (Sung in my best Danny Kaye impression.)
Oh yeah, and shelf liner protects you from having to wonder what the previous tenants/owners kept on their shelves that no amount of wiping up could ever rid you of.

Chad said...

I was disappointed that my preferred ending didn't get accepted by Rowling: not only do Sirius and Lupin turn out to be alive after all, but they move in together and open up a House of Pies.

But, yeah...


I couldn't help but wonder if she wrote the whole epilogue just to say, "No, no! Nothing queer here!"


GayProf said...

LurkerWithout: Probably hitting senior colleagues with a shovel would negatively affect one's chances for tenure... Probably.

Adjunct Whore: We haven't even discussed the 28 boxes of books that I shipped directly to my new office that are waiting for me to unpack them.

Rebekah: My dishes are Moonstone from the 1940s, Blue Mosaic by Fire King from the 1960s, and two other patterns from the Depression era.

Earl: No, I was totally talking about someone else entirely. Seriously -- I really had one person in mind.

Jason: I point out that it was a book written for children. It didn't really consume a huge amount of time.

DykeWife: I am thinking about becoming resigned to living with the boxes for awhile. The energy and time to unpack the remaining ones seems like too much right now.

Marlan: We like restaurant ware.

Eric: If license plates aren't dreary, they aren't doing their job.

Clio: One thing that always killed me about my former Texas colleagues is that they imagined themselves as quite "liberal." I suppose in the context of the state, they were.

VUBOQ: I do mean the Epilogue. It seemed totally unnecessary.

Cooper: Don't encourage the dish thing -- Seriously.

Alan: I feared that the blue plates might be a thing of the past. I still plan on asking, though.

Artistic Soul: I have about a month before classes start, but it will be jammed packed with deadlines.

Torn: I have thought about starting an e-bay thing on the side. It would require, though, that I actually get a business license, figure taxes, etc., etc.

Christopher: I lived in Indiana for six years. I know your pain.

Pacalaga: I don't object to a happy ending, but the pre-epilogue bit was already pretty happy.

Chad: The lack of queer wizards and witches bothered me a lot this time around. Not sure why.

Marius said...

I'm happy that your new colleagues and the department are being very supportive. And you really need to get rid of some of those dishes. The books can stay! :)

David said...

Well, if you were Jewish:

One set for meat
One set for milk
One set for meat - Passover
One set for milk - Passover

Sounds about right to me.

Oh, but you aren't Jewish, are you?


Steven said...

What a positive upside to the reason behind you dreadful move......the new job. Glad to hear that everyone is welcoming and providing encouragement.

Baron Scarpia said...

Too many books? No such thing.

(I'm moving myself in three months and despairing over the weight of the tomes I'm taking. Yet when I decided to throw out the non-essential stuff last week, how many books did I get rid of? Three)

About Harry Potter - forget Hogwarts and read 'The Little Prince' instead. You'll be glad you did, as I tell everyone whenever the opportunity arises.

JC said...

Having recently been to Indiana, I was shocked to discover that those "In God We Trust" license plates are the only ones that are FREE. Gah!

Oso Raro said...

Good luck settling in, and welcome to the next phase of your life. Funny, but Mr. Gordo is moving to Boston at the end of the month for a new job! Oh well, we missed each other by a year.

I know some folks, including my comadre, who got their degree at what I think is probably MFT. Funny, but I don't think of that state as truly midwest, but maybe that's me, stuck farther out on the ice cap!

Oh yea, and moving always sucks!

Anonymous said...

I don't see how anyone has LESS than four sets of dishes. In fact, I wonder often why you have so few.


Anonymous said...

Love your blog.

I work in accounting at a small private university in Texas. (Houston really is better than East Texas. Really.) One of the special license plates on offer is one for our university. It costs $50 per year for the plate. The state keeps about half, the rest goes to the school. They pay every two years. We just got a check for a whopping $2,900. That works out to about 116 proud alumni who are bad at math and like paying the State of Texas to make a contribution to their alma mater.

Sarah said...

as a fellow midwestern-er you should know that the weather does not get better. I am from San Diego but now live in Chicago and let me tell you that surviving the weather is something these midwesterners are very proud of - it is like a right of passage around these parts.

I am new to your blog but if it helps any I think Latino studies is a valid area of study.

GayProf said...

Marius: I think that some of the books are more likely to go. Nothing hardcover, but there are many things that I will never read again (probably).

David: I am willing to convert if it will justify the dish thing.

Steven: It is a major positive given the new job was the only reason I left Boston (but also the main way that I avoided being banished to Texas).

Baron: The sick thing is that I didn't really have to lift my books this time given that I was able to hire movers. Yet, they still seemed like too many.

JC: The "In God We Trust" thing must be new to the IN plate. When I lived there, the standard tag had some rambling about "Amber Waves of Grain."

Oso: I am very jealous of Mr. Gordo's good fortune to be living in Boston. I hope that he can find an apartment in Back Bay or Beacon Hill. Those are the areas that I would be targeting if I still lived there.

Whit: We could form a Dish Mania codependency that would get really ugly really quick. I am not going to buy any more dishes -- except for the ones I just ordered from ebay. After that, though, no more!

Anon: Yeah, but if they donated directly to the university they wouldn't have a public acknowledgment of it like they get with the plate. It's all about the showing, not the donating.

Sarah: Hail, Fellow Midwestern Amazon! I am jealous of your Chicago locale. Truth be told, I would rather be cold than hot. All those many years in the NM desert left me totally anti-summer. So, if the Midwestern Funky Town turns into an ice-cube tray after only three weeks of heat, I am going to be okay -- I think.

Tenured Radical said...

"During my first week in Texas, in contrast, several senior colleagues came by my office to inform me that a) They didn’t want to hire anybody in Latino studies but were overruled by higher ups b) they didn’t think that Latino Studies was a legitimate historical discipline (too regional, don’t you know?) c) they really, really didn’t think that sexuality studies was a legitimate field of inquiry (too “trendy”) and d) they hoped that I didn’t take any of that personally, but thought I “should know.”

This doesn't just happen in Texas. Then, at Zenith, there is the other thing that probably won't happen in MFT, which is all the homophobes go out of their way to tell you about some *other* person who is "very homophobic" and hten they tell you about the gay person who is "just like a member of our family" and then -- if you are really lucky -- they tell you that whether a person is gay or not is just not important to them.

Golly -- am I still not over it too?


Dance said...

If it helps any, I've toted 36 wineglasses around three states. And I hardly use them, because they are all crystal and dishwasher-safe determines my daily use. But I break them out at parties--in fact, sometimes I have parties just to justify the wineglasses.

But I only have one superfluous set of 1960s dishes (because I just got rid of a second).

However, I strongly believe in decorative license plates.

Thanks for the thoughts on starting over.

goblinbox said...

I'm super into Fergie. Please don't tell anyone; I studied opera for ten years. It mustn't get out.