Thursday, March 27, 2008
Another Shift

I went over to the new house tonight to put down my deposit on the room. So it's all official -- before a week is out, I'll be living in North Portland, near the intersection of Interstate and Alberta.

My new housemates are Bob and Kim. Bob is a friendly bulldog of a guy, stocky, not very tall, round, with a goatee and tats all down his forearms. Kim is his almost-wife (they're marrying in July), a quiet, mousy hippie-ish chick who was wearing something that was a bit like a sari/caftan cross and baking banana bread the first time I met her. They have a big, affectionate dog named Dexter who's still half puppy, and who is, in Bob's words, not merely smart but "calculating."

I hung out with them for an hour and a half or so, doing the getting-to-know-you thing, talking about nothing in particular. Mostly we were comparing notes on British television and various movies. We all have a lot in common. Kim was distant at first, but as things progress she seems to be warming up gradually. They've gone to some lengths to let me know that I'm free to use as much house space as I want, even giving me license to request rearrangements in the kitchen and main common room. I thought that was nice of them, and I find it a reassuring gesture.

I believe it's all going to be cool.

The only hitch is that the girl who's moving out is being a little slower about it than anticipated, so I'm going to be stuck with one big-ass moving day where I have to get everything out of one room and into the other. I'm not looking forward to that part. I also have to go buy a mattress that day -- I'm too old to spend much time sleeping on the floor. And moving is always expensive; there's always crap you have to go buy to make a new space work. Hopefully it won't be much this time, or at least not much that I need urgently.

Still, I find myself a bit sad about leaving this house -- it's become very comfortably familiar, and I was incredibly fucking lucky to be able to land in such a hospitable spot right away. Having a comfy little nook has made all the difference to my stress levels during these first six months, making it relatively easy to make the transition to an entirely new city. I hope I still manage to keep in touch with these guys after I move; I owe them a fair measure of gratitude. I should probably think of something nice to do for them as a goodbye -- what do you do to say "thank you" to two guys?
1:16 AM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Sunday, March 23, 2008
Little Girls With Cameras; Floppy Genitalia; and the First Black President: One Week In Portland

Actually, nothing much happened on Monday and Tuesday. I worked on Monday, and on Tuesday I just sorta puttered around. I splurged and made beef stroganoff for dinner. It was really good.

I spent Wednesday afternoon with a dozen 9- to 11-year-old girls, helping them make a video. This, if you've never tried it, is actually pretty fucking stressful. I'm doing it on behalf of the local film group I've been working with, and for the benefit of another non-profit that's kind of like positivity training crossed with the Girl Scouts. They try to teach young girls how about constructive competition and social ethics and stuff like that -- that's what I gather, anyway. Sometimes they bring in a local "artist" (scare quotes intended to signify that I can't quite bring myself to take that label seriously when applied to me) to introduce the kids to their medium. So we're making a video.

The whole thing has actually been kind of a clusterfuck -- communication via the group's office has been really poor, meaning that on a weekly basis I get some kind of difficult surprise. Nobody knows who I am or why I've arrived, the facilitator for the group (who's actually pretty sharp) hasn't been apprised of the project in any but the most abstract terms, the schedule's never been properly hammered out, etc. When I first discussed the project with the non-profit's coordinator, we agreed on five or possibly six sessions; when I finally met with the group for the first time, the facilitator had only alloted three. A session is 90 minutes, so that would leave me with four and a half hours to devise, shoot, and edit a couple of minutes worth of video with a bunch of little girls, to a degree sufficient to impart some sense of what filmmaking is about. If we were a trained and well-tuned production unit, that would be tough. Given that we were a bunch of little girls and me, it was impossible.

So I managed to coax another session out of the facilitator. So now I have six hours. Which is still impossible, but at least it's 33% less impossible. Or something like that.

So far I've managed to keep things on track -- the resulting film is going to be a total dog's breakfast, but they're all like ten, so they won't care. One little girl was acting as the "cinematographer" (seriously, I gave her my camera, showed her how the fluid head and record button worked, set the rest on automatic, and let her do whatever she wanted) another was the "sound designer", and two others directed. The footage that resulted is, in cinematic terms, unsalvageable. But they had fun, and they'll love it no matter what it is, so I'll just slap some fancy-looking titles and credits on it and they'll be convinced of its awesomeness. Ten-year-olds are easily manipulated.

At least, I hope they are.

I do this because I strongly believe that media literacy is every bit as important as basic literacy and numeracy, and even a brief introduction to the process can only help to arm these kids with some of the critical tools they need to navigate a media-saturated society. Any contact with filmmaking, any demonstration of the fundamental difference between reality and the constructed, edited image, can help these kids begin to deconstruct the onslaught of messages pushed on them in any given day. Even a taste of filmmaking can help them become more critical, thoughtful media consumers. Plus, I'm going to get paid at a rate almost three time my hourly wage at Fnorders. I'd have done it just for the money, really.

Anyway, after a couple of hours wrangling a bunch of squealing little girls (and watching them handle my camera without benefit a safety net), I was eager for some grown-up social time. The back story for this one isn't worth going into; the point is, I went out with a few peeps from work on Wednesday night. It wasn't the group I'd anticipated, but that may have been just as well -- the crew ultimately assembled consisted of a gay guy, a bi guy, a straight guy, and me. We went first to a gay bar apparently well-loved for cheap drinks, and then went to the other gay bar. The one with the strippers.

I'd never actually seen real strippers before, and it wasn't anything like I expected. I'd been around a few naked strangers, mostly in the context of a film shoot, so I knew that after the initial curiosity wore off it just became part of the background color, part of the ambiance. What I didn't expect was the tone of the performance. Maybe it's different when it's men stripping for men -- it wasn't at all the hyperactive, "oh my god, we're being so naughty!" giggling of a Chippendale's hen party. It was more like a locker room, except that checking out another dude's junk was openly encouraged.

There's a funny little mini-routine that every stripper went through at the beginning of his act. He'd come onstage wearing some variation of thin, clingy shorts that did almost nothing to conceal his anatomy. He'd squirm around on stage a little in an approximation of rhythm, though it's nothing I'd call "dancing," until finally he'd tug at his waistband, glance down, and give his audience a look that seemed to say,

"Oh my god, guys! Come look what I just found in my shorts!"

It was that feigned surprise that amused me, as if he'd merely been casually checking the status of his lower abdomen and had never dreamed that he'd find a penis attached. If he knew he was worth money, he'd keep his shorts on (for the most part) and only grant glimpses to men who came with bills in hand. If he seemed a little less confident, he'd get out of his tiny costume almost immediately and start wagging his tackle around like the arm of a kid in class who really, really wants the teacher to call on him. Even when they weren't on stage, the strippers milled around the floor and made a lot of "accidental" contact -- there was a lot of casual brushing-against going on. The gay and bi guys I was with took their turns at dollar-tucking, and more than once encouraged me to have a go. I declined, not out of prudery but rather disinterest -- the performers were beautiful, no question, but I argued that women just aren't wired that way. At least, I'm not. I can appreciate an attractive male figure on its aesthetic merits, but there's no erotic charge in it. Dicks all look pretty much the same; the draw comes from the person to whom they belong. And money wasn't going to get me any closer to that.

The coolest thing, though, was the reaction of the straight guy to all of this. He hadn't given the slightest hint of discomfort with the prospect of going to a gay bar with queer co-workers, or even at the prospect of other dudes waving their dangly bits at him. There was no obvious sign of awkwardness or insecurity in his demeanor. He was a little wide-eyed, maybe, taking it all in (errr... maybe that's not the best way to put it, but you know what I mean), but with an overall attitude of openness and receptivity (but not, y'know, like that.) I'm probably about to completely mis-characterize the poor guy, for which I hope he'll forgive me since I don't know him at all well. But my first impression of him was total farm boy, like Timmy from "Lassie" all grown up. I don't believe that's actually true, mind you, that's just how he comes across. Which is a roundabout way of saying, we'd have understood a certain amount of unease on his part, and I was impressed that he was so willing to roll with it. At one point I even looked over and saw him talking -- in a way that I can only describe as very "guy-like" -- to the buffest stripper of all, the obvious Alpha Male, the Stripper King. I couldn't hear their conversation over the music, but even the stripper had ceased to flirt and was just standing there in his banana hammock, talking as if about football. I pointed the scene out to Bi Guy and we both sat and watched and grinned until Straight Guy came back and said, "he's actually a really good guy!" And it was the most awesome thing I'd seen that whole day. He earned a good deal of respect from me with that one.

Thursday was uneventful.

Friday, I dragged myself out of bed at 5 AM to go see Barack Obama speak. The wait outside was long and cold, and people got grouchy after an hour and a half or so, though in the usual Portland style it was expressed more as vague bitchiness than outright hostility. I saw one of my co-workers in line behind me, and at least one other was present. Faced with a choice between a close seat behind the podium and a far-away seat that faced it squarely, I opted for the far seat.

I don't actually have that much to say about the speech -- I don't know how I could gush about Obama much more than I already have. It was damn good, and it still had a great deal of life and immediacy in it for being a well-worn stump speech. Even though I've heard him say a lot of those lines before, it still sounded if it was being said just for us. The thing I had to notice, though, was that I have never before imagined, let alone seen, the collective response of a crowd to any other politician. Years ago I saw Bill Clinton speak in Hot Springs -- his home town, mind, where I was living the year he was first elected -- and even that easiest of audiences didn't respond the way Obama's did in Portland. The only word that can approach description is "apeshit." The crowd went completely, unashamedly apeshit. They gave Obama not merely support, they gave him love. It was beautiful.

The week also saw a few anti-war protests of various sizes -- they all occured while I was at work, but for the first one I got to hang my head out the loading-dock door and watch as the protest went by. It looked like fun, and it was finally a glimpse of the "Little Beirut" I'd been led to expect.

I hope to make this coming week fairly low-key; I'm pretty tired. Next week I have to move, so if I'm going to rest, I should do it now. I'm not looking forward to dragging all my stuff around again, but at least this time I should be able to move in properly and set myself up the way I'd like. It also means a new round of living-space negotiations, but that's unavoidable. I just hope I don't have to do it again for a while.

So how was your week?
10:38 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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A Pointed Non-Post

I wrote a post about Easter, but I don't think it's very good, so I'm not going to publish it. Meh.

I'll write another post about other stuff forthwith -- I've had my most "Portland" week so far -- but I have to put in a few hours at work today, so it'll have to wait.

Check back later.
1:48 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Thursday, March 20, 2008
Unhappy Anniversary


And so, we enter the sixth year of the second war in Iraq.

Coalition fatalities: 4,300*

US armed forces fatalities: 3,992*

Total US armed forces casualties: 33,306 *

Average number of Coalition deaths per day: 2.35*

Cost of Iraq war so far: $ 504 billion and counting**

Predicted length of time the war would last, according to Donald Rumsfeld: "Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that."***

Weapons of Mass Destruction found: 0

I'm so tired of writing this post every year.

(* source 1)
(** source 2)
(*** source 3)
3:41 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Things I Love

Hey, you know two people I love? Harlan Ellison and Patton Oswalt. Y'know what else I love? A blog post in which Patton Oswalt talks to Harlan Ellison and about Portland.

Someone needs to set off an Ambition Bomb in front of Powell's.

Yeah, and line up some of those KFC Famous Bowls for those sad, pathetic losers! Am I right? C'mon, am I right? Haw haw!

(Seriously, though, I do love Patton Oswalt.)

Anyway, you know who else I also love? Barack Fucking Obama.

Join Barack Obama at a Stand for Change Rally in Portland on Friday, March 21.
Stand for Change Rally with Barack Obama

Memorial Coliseum
300 North Winning Way
Portland, OR 97227

Friday, March 21, 2008
Doors open: 7:30 a.m.
Program begins: 9:30 a.m.

EEEEEEEEE!! Barack Obama's coming to Portland! He's so dreamy.



Oh god, oh god... okay, I don't have to work Friday morning, but still, shit, I'm going to have to be up at like 6 AM to even have a shot at this. Why, Barack? Why 9:30? Portland doesn't even roll out of bed until 11 at the earliest, what were you thinking? And I have to be at work by noon -- can we have this wrapped up within two hours? I'm going to be pissed if I stand around for three or four hours and then don't even get to see my boy Baz. Fuck, that means I'll have to make sure to take my lunch. And I'll probably have to take my breakfast, too. Friday's going to be a long-ass day.

PS: Yes, I've already got my ticket reserved.
5:41 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Sunday, March 16, 2008
Hey Fuckhead

Yeah, you, the little po-faced balding guy with the mustache and the stick up his ass. C'mere for a minute.

You came into our store this evening to buy a DVD. I was up at the front of the store, working at the register. As I puttered around, I heard a call come over my walkie from the back. "So, according to this guy buying La Vie En Rose, we're all stupid. Thought you'd want to know." I figured you'd be coming my way shortly, and not five minutes later you appeared.

Over the course of our brief exchange, I learned a few interesting facts:

1) We alphabetize foreign film titles in a way you don't like. Specifically, we alpha-ed your selection by "La" rather than "Vie". "La," you said, was an article in French (which, in fact, pretty much all of us already knew), so this was similar to alphabetizing a title that begins with "The" in the Ts.

2) That's stupid.

3) The guy who helped you is stupid.

4) I am also stupid.

5) Also, I am a robot. A stupid robot.

6) Because I'm so robotic and stupid, you see no point in talking to a manager, contrary to my polite suggestion.

There was some other random abuse in there, but that was the gist of it. The only real problem was that you wouldn't fucking get over it and leave -- you just stood there, going over and over how stupid and robotic we all were, whining about a corporate decision about alphabetization.

I have a few points to make in rebuttal.

1) It's true that strictly speaking, La Vie En Rose should probably be alpha-ed under 'V' according to standard French usage. However, given that we're in a predominantly English-speaking country, our company has had to weigh the risk of assuming that our typical customer has a working knowledge of French articles against the possibility that some pedantic douchenozzle might get sand in his vagina over a minor deviation in usage. Apparently they've chosen to risk your ire in the hope that the other 99% of our customers might be able to find things on their own.

2) Most people, having not found the title under "Vie" probably would've just tried "La" next.

3) If they still couldn't find it, we have staff available to help you. Amazingly, in spite of his stupidity, our stupid, robotic staffer managed to find your selection easily according to our normal alphabetizing system.

4) At that point, even the most egregious assbag would've noted to himself our obvious stupidity and gone about his business without making a special effort to harangue both the staffer who helped him and the otherwise-uninvolved employee who rang up his purchase.

5) It was in your best interests that I was being so robotic, because had I ceased to stick to my script, the things I'd have said to you would've made you much angrier than my indirect non-apologies.

6) If you got the feeling that I was being faux-politely dismissive of your concerns, that's because I was. My robotic script is the tool I use to scrape you off the bottom of my metaphorical shoe.

7) I pray that medical science eventually finds a way to extract that tree branch from your rectum; but I hope the splinters it leaves behind keep you squirming until the day you fucking die.

This guy wasn't the first to comment on my supposedly crushed soul, though he was the first to get in my face about it. Yes, I have a little script that I use to get through each transaction without missing any of the details, and yes, it's pretty soulless and automatic at this point. If it seems routine, that's because it is indeed a routine for me; I no more attempt to put my soul into every customer interaction than I try to put my soul into every dish I wash. Like any prostitute, I am paid to be nice to you; but like any prostitute, that doesn't extend to any offer of genuine intimacy on my part. I owe you no fragment of my real personality or persona. I may, if I feel like it, or if I catch a whiff of genuine commonality, address a customer not as Retail Amy but as Real Amy. But I'm under to obligation to do so. I have to be polite, and I have to be attentive, but I don't have to give you any of myself. I don't have to care about you, I only have to pretend that I do.

But I'll give you points for style -- you delivered your accusations of my roboticism in a flat, deadpan monotone without any obvious awareness of the irony therein. You rejected any possibility of lateral thinking in favor of a futile feedback loop, and you refused to acknowledge the humanity of the people who were trying to assist you, expecting us to conform to your precise expectations

But I'm the robot. The stupid, stupid robot.

PS: And finally, thanks to the customer who drooled on my arm this morning. That made my first hour of work extra-special.
12:13 AM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008
It's Over, Babe

Hillary, sweetheart, we're finished here. You asked us, and we said no. You've lost. It sucks, I know; you're a Clinton, and you don't take defeat well. We all know how badly you wanted to make history, how much you wanted us to hear you roar, how much you wanted to rub Bill's nose in it. We all feel your pain. But seriously, it's time to stop.

You've lost the state count. You've lost the popular vote. You're so far behind in the delegate count that it's now all but mathematically impossible for you to even catch up, much less overtake. Yes, you got the "big" states (well, except Texas and Illinois, and Florida which doesn't count and Ohio which technically you split 50/50), and we know you've still got a bare lead in superdelegates, and gosh, that's all just amazing and historical in its own right, and we're all awfully proud of you. But now it's time to go back to New York and shut the fuck up already so we can get on with more important things. Please, babe, don't keep riding this until you leave us with nothing but bitterness and resentment. It'll take a little time for hearts to mend, but we could still be friends. Don't ruin it, sweetie, please.

You go, girl (back to New York, I mean.)
1:50 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Sunday, March 09, 2008
Okay, Dude, Seriously, You're Starting To Freak Me Out

Yesterday, at work, I was making my normal rounds, pulling a cart full of books around the store and reshelving them. A guy walked up to me and asked me where the metaphysics section was. I led him over to it. "Are you looking for something specific?" I asked, as is the standard procedure. "Yep, here it is!" he said, taking a book about the Mayan calendar and the impending end of the world off of a display, seemingly at random. Ohhhhkay then, I said, and I walked away.

My next stop was the graphic design section. I hefted a few books back onto the shelves, turned around, and that guy was right behind me. "Oops, sorry!" he said and stepped aside. After that was travel, and after reshelving half a dozen I turned and there he was again at the end of the aisle. He wasn't exactly looking at me -- he looked like he was trying very hard to look like he was looking at something else. Then off to the computer section, and when I was done, there he was again, looking sidelong in my direction with a semi-smile. At that point I went back to the info desk and the safety of my fellow booksellers. I've learned better than to do anything that might encourage a customer. (If you ever want to know where that weird, overly-cheerful but obviously hollow tone retail employees use comes from, it's the product of a constant tension between having to be friendly while discouraging unnecessary contact.)

Then today, the same thing happened again, except this time it was at the supermarket. As I walked in, my path crossed that of some random dude, and we both hesitated before he made a sweeping gesture and said, "after you." I thanked him and went about my business. A couple of minutes later, I passed him again by the juice, and he gave me a big, shit-eating grin. The third time, he actually stopped and moved straight into my path to intercept me, trying hard to make the eye contact I was trying just as hard to avoid. At that point, I aborted the mission and headed for the checkouts. There's an exceedingly fine line between flirty and creepy, and it exists solely within the female mind. Neither of these guys ended up on the right side of it.

Which isn't to say that the line is an impenetrable obstacle. I can admit to some playful teasing back and forth with a guy at work, of exactly the kind I love best -- mock abuse with the goal of seeing who can be the most offensive without actually offending anyone. In fact, the whole vibe at work is very much like that, with everyone pretending the greatest hostility toward the co-workers they like the best. I receive and issue a great many threats of grievous bodily harm in any given week. My theory is that it's the natural counterpoint to the fake friendliness we have to display toward the customers. If we must be friendly to people we don't like, then we'll be playfully mean to people we do like.

In other news, I guess I've decided to take the place with the expectant couple. I met them again this afternoon (after a solid week of consideration), and while I'm a little anxious about the unknown, just about everyone I've talked to about it has told me to stop being silly and just take a good offer. The couple seems to actively want me there, so that can only work in my favor. I'll be making the shift in a couple of weeks. It will, at least, be good to finally be in a place for real -- it'll free me up to think about other things. I'm assuming at this point that I'll be at Fnorders through the summer (with, perhaps, a six week hiatus while I do the summer film education thing -- the good thing about Fnorders is that once you've been in, you can always go back. Having put in almost six months now, it can serve me as a continual fallback position whatever else I attempt to do.)

It has also occurred to me that if things pan out the way I expect them to, the just post-summer (and around the time the sprogling emerges), I might now be perfectly set up to try for a gig that would entail a lot of travel in the fall. I thought about doing it this last fall, but wanted to spend some time getting to know Portland first. Now, however, I might find myself with a job I don't mind leaving for a few months, and a rent I can afford to cover even while I'm away. And it would get me out from under the first months of new parenthood, if that proves to be an issue, while seeing a good deal of the earth's surface and getting some badly-needed professional experience under my belt. Of course, things may go completely differently, and that would be fine, too. Either way, by the end of the summer finding a better job is going to be at the very top of my list. I can't afford to live on my meager paychecks forever.
8:51 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Sunday, March 02, 2008
I Hate Big Decisions Like This

I went to see that couple about the room today, and came back feeling optimistic but confused. It's a very good spot with a few significant drawbacks. The challenge for me is to figure out honestly whether all the good stuff justifies the not-as-good stuff, or whether I should just keep looking. I'm wavering back and forth -- one minute convinced that this is exactly the right place for me, and the next minute thinking I'm fucking crazy for even considering it. So I'm opening it up for public discussion.

The good:

- it's a good house, in an up-and-coming part of town, spitting distance from the city center. It's an easy stroll to Overlook Park, which I've been told is one of the best views in Portland. It's a pretty vital section of the city, and one of the fastest-growing districts since it has so much going for it. It's definitely a transitional neighborhood, but one that seems to be headed strongly in the right direction, while still retaining the funk that makes it attractive (and financially feasible.)

- it's a short block to the MAX stop -- barely farther than I currently live from my bus stop, and I can see my bus stop from my front door. That's a major connection to to the rest of the city, and makes travel by public transit that much more pleasant.

- it's stumbling distance to the city's only good Tiki bar (so I've been told), which is fucking awesome. I loves me some fruity cocktails with little paper parasols in them.

- it's a decent room, and my own full bath, for less than what I'm paying now. It's sunny and bright and quiet. I have access to a huge, finished basement for other things, and was invited to put bookshelves or other furniture in the downstairs living room at will. They said they wanted someone who would make the house their home as well, and were happy to make space for me. That counts for a lot.

- I liked the couple who're renting the room. They said all the right things without my having to ask, which tells me that we're all on the same wavelength where cohabiting is concerned. And we're into a lot of the same stuff, had some common ground from which to start building. That's a good sign.

- the male half of the couple works at the nearby crunchy local organic supermarket, and tells me that on a frequent basis he arrives home with crates full of free organic produce. He says he brought home 60 pounds of oranges last month, most of which was rendered into a constant supply of freshly-squeezed OJ (they have an electric juicer.) Over the summer, there'll be more locally-grown organic veggies than any two human beings can eat, and that I'd be welcome to as much of it as I can stand to eat. He also told me that his employee discount extends to his household, so I'd be welcome to use that as well. Nearby are dozens of good little restaurants and ethnic food stores, an Italian bakery, etc. Free groceries + discount + lots of local resources = happy kitchen.

- he's also a former chef and he regularly cooks. A lot. The female half is into canning and preserving, so there's a shiteload of jam and pickle put up. And I can have that, too.

- the landlord lives next door in a big old Victorian house (very similar to the one I'm looking at), and according to the couple he's responsive, but not intrusive. In several years of living there, they've never had any problems with him. That's good.

- they've got an awesome dog, which I consider a major amenity. The landlord is dog-friendly, and the possibility of getting another dog later on is always welcome. And I've always wanted to get a dog.

- they'll be living almost entirely upstairs; they've even got a separate sitting/TV room up there. The kitchen will be the only place where our paths cross much.

- they've got a fucking ginormous back yard, as well as a greenhouse.

- and the big one: in time, the house might become, from a renting perspective, my house. The couple told me that over the next year they're planning to begin the process of buying their own home, and that their ideal is to find a housemate who might eventually take over the lease when they move on. At that point, every significant potential negative factor evaporates, and the situation becomes almost insanely ideal. I could move to the upstairs to the master bedroom/office/sitting room/bathroom suite and settle in for the long term in a pretty sweet location. I would also end up with rather more responsibility, but not that much -- it would be like all the good parts of owning a house with very little of the bullshit.


The not-as-good:

- dude, that's a big-ass back yard, and the tenants are responsible for keeping it mowed. I would be part of the effort. Ugh.

- the female half of the couple was a little cool. Not unfriendly, but seemingly sizing me up. She warmed up a bit as we talked, but she didn't strike me as someone I'd choose as a friend otherwise. I think, though, that we'd get along fine. I've certainly managed to get along with less-appealing roomies.

- they're having a baby, for fuck's fucking sake. Even the guy admitted that if our situations were reversed, he'd be disinclined to move into a house where there was soon to be a new baby. They said that they intend to go to every possible length to keep the baby thing from infringing on my life downstairs, and that I would be in absolutely no way responsible for any aspect of routine baby maintenance. But I know that it's only reasonable to expect some direct baby fallout. The kid wouldn't show up until August, which would give us a while to get used to each other before everything turns upside down, but by then it would be too late, because...

- if I moved in, they're asking for a year's commitment. Mostly they just don't want to have to deal with finding another housemate while they endure the first six months of new parenthood, which is entirely understandable and a request that I would feel honor-bound to fulfill were I to sign on. But that means making a year-long commitment to living with someone else's pregnancy and then the presence of an infant to which I have no other connection. (God, would they want to have the kid at home? They're totally the type to go that route -- I should've asked. But I can hardly think of a more awkward question to ask a potential housemate; "not that it's any of my business, but were you planning to actually give birth here in the house?" It's one thing to ask if someone smokes, but something completely different to ask if they plan to pass a placenta in the upstairs bedroom. It makes my brain squirm just thinking about it.)

So, there it is, as best I can figure. Thoughts, opinions, advice are extremely welcome.
10:10 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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Saturday, March 01, 2008
Oh! Hey!

I almost forgot -- today is this blog's fourth birthday! Jesus f-ing Christ, not even I can believe how much absolute horseshit I've pecked out in four years. This is my 1,097th post, and I'm less than 20 hits away from 80,000. So start hitting "refresh," damn you! I want to get to 80K before the day is over!

I'm going to see some people about a room in north portland tomorrow -- an easy walk to the MAX and about four major bus lines, walking distance to a good supermarket, and a quick bike ride to beautiful N. Mississippi Ave. It's a good-sized room with its own bathroom (sweet!), a doggy in the house, and all for less than what I'm paying now. And the couple who own it sound really cool, too.

There's a catch, of course. And that catch will be squeezed out into the world through the female half of the couple's vagina in late August. I don't quite know what to expect from sharing a house with an infant -- it could be absolutely the worst, stupidest thing ever, or it could be okay. Apparently the room is on the ground floor, and 3 AM crying fests would be taking place on the upper floor, so it's not like it would be in my face. On the other hand, it's a baby. And I'm me. And I don't have any problem with babies, don't really find them too bothersome, don't even particularly mind the smell or the constant presence of moisture... but I'm me. Which is to say, not exactly the most naturally maternal person in the world. But it's not like it would be my baby, and I wouldn't be responsible for it, or at least no more responsible than any functioning adult is responsible for any babies that happen to be nearby. Though I'll probably need to make sure we're all clear on that when I meet them tomorrow.

Still, a baby can't possibly be worse than living with Ulrika the borderline-retarded Swedish housework nazi. At least a baby won't try to order me around (and I'd like to see it try.)

Advice from baby-veterans would be very welcome.

And I've been incredibly tired this last week -- dragging myself out of bed every morning, in spite of a solid eight or nine hours of sleep. I don't feel bad otherwise, so I don't think it's an impending illness; but I'm always so sleepy. I need to take one of my days off this week and just stay in my room napping. Maybe that would put me right.
10:40 PM ::
Amy :: permalink
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