Guys, it’s hot here. And by here, I mean in my house. You know, the one I just bought that probably costs more than all the other (owned) houses I’ve lived in combined. Yeah. Not happy.
Our swamp cooler is an ineffective piece of garbage. As I type, it’s 84 degrees in here. I have been running this g.d. thing all day, and it wasn’t hotter than 90. The humidity was low, too. I just don’t get it! We should in theory be able to keep the house easily below 80, if not below 75. We have tried everything to no avail. It’s just a hot, sticky mess in here.
Thank the heavens that we broke down and bought a window AC for our bedroom. I have been sleeping like a baby since we installed that thing!
Home ownership is not without its perils, particularly if you are fond of older houses with vintage charm (and vintage plumbing, electric, and ventilation). In just the past week alone, we’ve dropped nearly $1000 on repairs and immediately necessary upgrades.
First, it was the broken p-trap under the sink ($225). Then, it was the sub-standard swamp cooler that wasn’t cooling the house ($120). Then, our dishwasher decided it wasn’t going to really get any of our dishes clean if there was even a crumb on any of them ($500). The new dishwasher was supposed to come in today, but the installer wasn’t able to do anything because the valve from the water line to the dishwasher was not up to modern standards. There goes another $100+ bringing in a plumber, who will likely also have to tinker w/ our ice maker water line so that it actually, y’know, makes ice. This all does not include some electrical work that we will definitely need to do on the part of the house where our bedroom is. We went through hours of trying to remove and replace a GU10 halogen bulb in the bathroom light fixture, only to learn that the socket itself is faulty. Damn. It. ALL!
To be fair, we actually do have the money for all of this (and boy are we thankful). The irritation comes from the fact that we paid a lot of money for our house, and paid for every possible kind of home inspection before buying for the exact purpose of preventing the very situation we’re in. I’d rather sink that cool grand into a few nice excursions, dinners, or a vacation at some later date. Instead, we’re paying the price for the neglect and shoddy workmanship inflicted on the house by a few of the prior owners. None of this stuff came up in the inspection, which is all the more infuriating.
Now I understand why some people choose to be lifelong renters.
So, I have a bit of a morbid streak. Most people who know me have no idea (and would be totally shocked if they knew), but if there is some really weird, freaky thing related to dead people, I’m on it. Saints’ relics? Yes, please. Oh, you have the actual saint on display in your chapel? Oooh, cool! It’s not because I’m weird or crazy (no, seriously), but because I find the lives and their respective legacies to be super interesting. My dad was and still is an avid genealogist, and I think I get this tendency from him. Whenever I’m in any historic place, I think about what people were thinking when they were here, even if it was millenia ago (psychologist that I am). My spouse finds it a bit unnerving that I want to look at “dead people stuff,” but I can’t help my fascination.
There’s a really great hike in the mountains above Albuquerque where a plane crashed into the Sandia Mountains almost 60 years ago. The flight was going to Santa Fe, and somehow didn’t get high enough to clear the mountains. Apparently, it took days for crews to even reach the site. It’s actually a pretty sad story, as aviation accidents go. The initial report on the cause of the crash blamed the pilots, saying that they were in some kind of bizarre suicide pact. (No, I don’t find those interesting. They creep me the hell out!) The pilot’s poor widow got all kinds of hate mail and threatening phone calls, as she herself was grieving over the loss of her husband. Terrible stuff. They eventually determined that the crash was due to instrument error, thereby clearing the name of the pilots.
The wreckage of the plane remains up there, with a plaque listing the victims’ names and hometowns. It’s a sobering reminder that even though technology has improved dramatically since then, life can be utterly fragile. We’ll be hiking up there this weekend, and I look forward to seeing this iconic and odd place.
We knew before buying this house that we would be making changes. The master suite, in particular, just wasn’t us. There was carpet, lavender and magenta walls, a filter blocking the skylight…ewww.
So far, we put in cork floors (highly recommend) and started painting. Check it out!
Bedroom wall before
Bed and bath after one day!
What an amazing month it’s been. Between buying a house, moving, going on vacation, Albuquerque Beer Week (actually lasts two weeks…), and a Biblical-grade infestation of grasshoppers, May just flew by in an instant! The next couple of months will be full of good things like visiting friends, fixing up our new house, getting the rest of the awesome furniture we ordered, my birthday, and maybe some more regional travel. We found that now that we have a good bit of gear and some knowledge, camping can be a lot of fun!
Even though work continues to annoy me at times, I’m professionally satisfied overall. The awesome teacher training project I was involved with wrapped up last week, and I was asked by one of the teachers to join him on a research project involving gifted education. I got roped into teaching an online course for my current university, even though I swore repeatedly I’d never teach online again. I think being here and teaching a fairly easy undergraduate course will be better than teaching a graduate course for a university 1200 miles away. Also, I’m getting asked to join in on some really cool projects at work that really take advantage of my skill set and in some cases force me to learn new things. Now I’m just hoping that my hard work and initiative will be recognized with a bit of a raise and even a promotion. I passed my probationary review with flying colors, so I could in theory be eligible for a promotion and up to a 20% raise. Certainly not a bad thing.
Our trip to some of the National Parks of southern Utah was really something, even if we did cut our visit short by a couple of days. Hiking and camping in rain and lightning just sounded less than pleasant.
We began our trip staying in Moab, Utah as a base for visits to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and Dead Horse Point State Park. All offered beautiful vistas and lots of lovely red rock.
Park Avenue, Arches NP
Delicate Arch (4 stories tall!), Arches NP
Grand View Point, Canyonlands NP
We then made our way over to the southwestern corner of Utah to visit Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. We did Bryce in a day on the way in, and were treated to spectacular views and an amazing hike among hoodoos.
Zion was just phenomenal. Even the drive in to the park from the east entrance inspires a continual stream of, “Oh….WOW! Look! Duuuude!” We did the hike I mentioned a while back, and it was fantastic. The last bit was fairly challenging, but the view was so, so worth it!
View from Angels Landing
Sadly, the weather turned against us and we did not get to hike the Narrows. That and other things will definitely bring us back to the area soon.
The last couple of days of work before a vacation are a special kind of torture for me. I tend to ramp up my productivity a week or two before I know I’ll leave, so by the time T-2 days or so comes about, I have nothing left to do. I feel like I’m just here to say I’m here, and it frustrates me to no end. My house is literally a 5 minute walk from my office, and I’d so much rather be there doing things that need to be done. The problem with that is I have to conserve my leave for this upcoming trip. First-world problems, to be sure.
Also, work has been kind of stressful because all of us are picking up the slack for a (supposedly) senior colleagues who does not have his act together at all. I’m talking “urinates on himself and doesn’t bathe” kind of dysfunction. We’re all working on multiple projects with tight deadlines and high demands, yet he can’t seem to get out the one project he’s been assigned and he was supposed to finish over 6 months ago. It’s frustrating to see that I’m doing the work of 2 senior colleagues, and yet my pay is on par with lower-rank employees with lower credentials. I applied for a better, higher-paying position in a related department, and I wasn’t even interviewed. That stung. I initially wasn’t going to apply, but my colleagues urged me to. They said the search committee would have to be delusional not to consider me, given that my experience and credentials were exactly what they said they wanted. Even worse is that I may be expected to provide significant support to this person who is hired for the job. Add that to the fact that my boss has been out of the country for nearly 2 months, and it’s really hard for me to care too much. I figure as long as I get my work done well and on-time, I’ll be fine. That minimal standard seems to be too much for most of the people I work with.
The overachiever in me gets so demoralized when I operate on my typical schedule/work ethic, and don’t see any rewards. It’s exacerbated by seeing others underachieve and get the same or even more incentives than I do. I realize life isn’t fair and all that jazz, but it seems patently absurd to not do everything in one’s power to keep a good worker happy. I’ve already started considering applying for other jobs in hopes that I can use them as leverage in my current job (or an escape hatch if/when things get really bad).
I feel bad even posting this, given that it has so little do with the awesomeness of life in New Mexico. If anything, it makes me appreciate my time away from work even more. This vacation is going to be great!
And we are now officially homeowners. This weekend and during the week, contractors will be in and out making repairs, installing flooring, etc. I did some minor projects (take down a tacky door, remove shelving from bathroom, install new deadbolt) on Saturday, in addition to bringing in and unpacking boxes. We move officially on the 10th, and I hope to have things in order very quickly.
Work has been good, but quasi-stressful. That is really a post of its own.
Also, mulberry bushes are welcome to die in a fire. My allergies are in rare form. Between the dust in the current house and in our new house, I am seriously considering wearing a mask. I feel like absolute crap, and even left work early because my asthma was flaring up. And to think we moved here in hopes that my allergies would be better…