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Aw, rats.

We had some.  In our grape vine!

So today was grapevine trimming day.  The Lawyers came over this morning and we cut down all the non-woody growth on the vine, which should be its natural wintering state anyway.  Found out that we didn’t have an infestation by any name, but definite evidence of prolonged hang-out-itude, so it’s good we were on top of it to dissuade any rodents from wintering with us.  We also took down the very poorly placed hackberry that was dangling threateningly over our neighbor’s yard.  It seems to be a volunteer from many years ago, but it was growing right against the fence and in between two obviously planted birch trees it seems to have been choking out.  Most (all?) the hackberries in Davis are unhealthy anyway, so it was sort of a matter of time before this one got all yucky and dripped sap and goo all over.  This is why our neighbor wanted it cut down!

Anyway, it does make us the tree-killin’ neighbors.  Our local busybody (and resident 8-year-old) was rather perturbed about the grape vine (though it’s in our back yard…) though hasn’t seemed to notice anything about the tree in the front the city cut down last week, nor the hackberry we took out.  He’s selectively protective, though I do have to allow the theory that since his best friends used to live in our house he has fond memories of the grapevine and/or palm tree.  It is a little suspect, I completely admit, that we moved in here two months ago and have lost three and a half (if you’re counting all the grapevine we took out) trees.  The city tree took everyone by surprise, though, since it turns out they didn’t tell anyone they were going to cut it down.  We just came home and it was gone!  Sounds like (from the Lawyers’ side) we’ll have some new trees in soon.  The city owes us one, too!

Other than that, it was papers, papers, papers today.  Finished the second section’s worth of homework from this week, and read the paper I set aside for myself today.  Should have perhaps done a little more with my evening, but I was feeling quite off post dinner and decided to take the night off.  Been spending a good amount of time getting Firefox all gussied up since I realized the new Ask doesn’t get along with Opera.  I was getting a bit tired of having to switch between the two for all my Flash based stuff as well… but I’m not sure how long the Firefox trial will go.  Just giving it a whirl for now.

Big small day tomorrow.  It’s Monday, my blessedly least intensive day, but it’s also the day the undergrads need to turn in their first essays!  Hopefully that won’t be too much chaos, but you never know.  I’ve already had a few last-minute panickers, but nothing too intense.  I’m more worried about the content of the essays and grading them than anything else.  Plus I have a lot of homework to do tomorrow… Lewis and I need to whip up an “interview schedule” for our socioling project, and I’ve got more exciting reading to do.  Egad!  It’s certainly never dull around here.


Good grief it’s been a busy day!

Another one of those getting chores done types, but they do leave you feeling like a tidying superhero.  I got our papers organized, and got Comcast to agree they sent me a silly bill for an account that’s closed.  Made breakfast, lunch, and dinner (triple play!), paid rent, tidied up the living room a bit, and finally took care of those bread crusts we’d been petrifying and turned them into gallons of croutons.

We also managed to kick up some neighborhood controversy today, because the arborists came to cut down our silly palm tree.  The Lawyers were thinking the palm tree had reached the end of its usefulness in life, as it was now taller than our house and thus provided only a view of the craggy trunk bit.  It also harbored a lot of screamy birds (not that this relates to it’s cut-down-ability) and was filling our lawn with palm tree seedlings.  I don’t really mind one way or the other about it, since it’s not my house to begin with, but it will be nice to be able to plant some more garden-like elements in that space, and to pretty up the fence and front yard at eye-level.  I do hope the birds don’t miss it too much.  I just about jumped out of my skin when they took it down for-really.  I assumed they were going to cut it down in hunks and take it away like that, but instead they just hacked it off at the base and felled it between our house and our neighbors.  For a minute I thought we were having an earthquake, it really shook the whole house.  Can’t imagine what it’s like losing a tree like that in a storm or something.

Anyway, we certainly felt like the bad guys around here.  The neighbor next door gave Lewis some grief about it, including about how we should have used it to put up an owl box… (standard answer: “well, we’re not the landlords”).  And our neighborhood busybody (and resident eight year old) was aghast we’d do anything that rash.  He saved us a couple seeds, one of which he has probably already planted, in case we change our minds.   He also mumbled something to Francie when she came over about having cut down a native plant… which of course isn’t true.  But really… he’s eight.  Sorry about the tree, Nate.

Tomorrow is our very first day of graduate student orientation activities!  All this week is pretty light stuff since it’s run by the graduate student body whatever and isn’t official university or department stuff.  Serious stuff starts next week with my manditory day-long TA trainings and the hopefully informative department introduction.  And I’m finally starting to get nervous!


We had intended on being in Davis fairly early this morning to meet people for lunch, but after my lack of sleep last night, we ended up sleeping in pretty late. By the time we were up, showered, breakfasted, and on our way to Amtrak it was past noon already, and it takes a bit of time to get out to Davis. Anyway, we got in about two, which was the perfect time for a hot dog with Francie, Emily and Andrew. We had seen a Food Network show which featured Pinks the night before, so I just couldn’t resist getting a spicy Polish with chili… mmm. The taste of LA.

Didn’t do much besides hang out in Davis today. We toodled over to our place to unload a few boxes to bring back home today, and met one of our neighbors in the process! Seems like a friendly lady, if a bit obvious about her concerns for keeping the neighborhood a quiet place. Anyway, we got to admire her garden and talk about the neighborhood kids (our neighbors across the street have year-old triplets.. egad!) and it generally left me with a warm fuzzy feeling about our new folks. We also decided to move to Davis sooner than later, as in moving our furniture before our junk instead of the opposite, which had been the plan heretofore.

So we’ve rented a U-Haul for Wednesday, and that will be the first night we all sleep in Davis. How wonderful! Only three more nights here! It’s a little sad how much I’m looking forward to getting out of El Cerrito, but the last month or two (perhaps since Memorial Day?) has been rather trying and I just have never really recovered the sense of safety and happiness my apartment had before that. I don’t want to lay all the blame on the neighbors downstairs, but their childish fighting certainly has a lot to do with it. I don’t know how our old neighbors were so quiet, but I never heard a peep out of them except the usual working-on-the-car noises, and the time they accidentally broke the window below us in the middle of the night (trying to let the cat in..). Sigh. It’s as if the new people do everything twice as loud and are half as nice. Davis. Three more nights!

I did freak out a little when we changed our plans, for fear that it’s going to be really hard to get that done. I think it’s more panic about moving so soon (or rather, at all) than anything else. I’m so tired today it felt like I barely got myself to Davis intact, let alone moved a whole apartment’s worth of furniture in one go. But I do want to be up there so bad, and I do think it’s going to be fairly simple to do so. As Lewis pointed out, it will be a lot easier to clean in here with the major items gone, and it will certainly be less messy in the new house if we move all our junk *after* our junk-storage has been placed and put up.

So tomorrow I think we’ll do some of the regular-type chores we need to do, like laundry, and going to the bank, and the dry-cleaners. Then we’ll drive a load of moving stuff up to Davis, and hopefully we can be back early enough to start packing the next load and breaking down bookshelves and junk. We’ll only have Tuesday thereafter to do so, and I’d rather like to have a head start on it before then. I should remind myself, though, that even if we have to do all that on Tuesday, it shouldn’t be impossible. We don’t have all that much furniture to break down. And I’ve already made a list!

Despite the noise downstairs (I think it’s mostly TV?), I think it’s time to capitalize on my level of sleepiness and nod off. It’s going to be a big week.

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