Homeward Progress

Well, a month or so has passed since I’ve written about my brother’s house; mostly as we leave behind the lumberjacking portion of the construction and begin laying sticks and bricks, my presence on the job site is becoming less and less necessary.  Considering my skill with a hammer, the helpful absence of one additional carpenter can only speed along completion — not to mention reduce injury.

Still when you stop to imagine the lifetimes spent building the pyramids of Giza, the great cathedrals of Europe, and the Baltimore beltway, you appreciate the speed and efficacy with which we construct the modern home.  Thus, I wanted to post the first and latest pictures from Pat and Tiff’s property, hopefully illustrating the construction timeline for the last two months. Continue reading

The Bacon

Dragon in the trees

The dragon really has nothing to do with this post. But doesn’t it look awesome?

Last week presented me with a rather gratifying job opportunity at one of the nearby schools, teaching science and history to fifth and sixth graders.

This week finds me en route to a meeting with the school principal to discuss salary and my curriculum for the upcoming year, a prospect which — having drifted jobless in academia for the last four years —  fills me with some apprehension.  In the world of research, most scientists are lucky to get paid at all; even highly trained post-docs struggle with making rent and resort to scrounging the offices for free doughnuts.

As a middle school educator, how much should I ask for?  Do I even have a say?  What’s fair?  Luckily my family has offered a few helpful stratagems to ease me through the process: Continue reading

Undreamed Shores: Part 2

“Contractions?”  Katie whispered across the table, her voice calm and relaxed like a speeding train flying off a suspension bridge.  “How far apart do they need to be before . . ?”

“Five minutes or so.  Anything less than that and they need to haul tail to the hospital,” Dad said staring across the table.  A strange intensity had began to burn in his eyes; he shifted in his seat, hands curled before his mouth, legs flexed and eager to run — if the situation so demanded — the hundred-fifty miles back home.  Mom continued to nod at my brother’s electronic voice, now rising and falling over the receiver like a roller-coaster scream.

“Yeah . . .,” she laughed.  “Uh-huh . . .  right.  Well, ca . . . sure.  Just call if anything . . . right, sure.”

Then she ended the call, pressing the little red button and reaching for her wine glass.  My  mother allowed the alcohol to swish and twist around her mouth, savoring the subtle flavors of the pinot before answering any of our questions.  Dad’s face had alternated between several shades of volcano red and oxygen-deficient blue before spitting out the necessary question . . .

“Well?” he asked. Continue reading