austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Who's gonna speak for me

My father has been off for most or all of the weekdays the last few weeks. This is actually work-related for him: he earns a fair income doing the sorts of home repair and improvement that you can do without getting into stuff that needs building permits. Mostly this amounts to covering walls with spackle up to a depth of four feet -- he believes strongly in the applicability of spackle to most situations, including the need to replace dead batteries in a remote control, and he applies it with the enthusiasm of Strategic Bomber Command -- and then sanding it down and painting, but he'll get into stuff like replacing old insulation with that expanding foam stuff, replacing broken roof components, and redoing kitchen fixtures.

Anyway, the son of one of my mother's friends has gone off to China for a couple of years (to teach English, as it happens, the way people assume I did in Singapore), and so he abandoned his room, and his mother is shoveling it out and repairing it into a home office. It's unclear whether he was consciously aware of this, but he did have the theoretical chance to put things he wanted preserved in storage and didn't. Her house is in New York state, near enough that it's really just a couple hours drive, far enough that it's a nuisance to commute, so he's gone for a few days in a stretch, while my mother's friend kind of hopes this sets off rumors in the neighborhood.

I'm glad he has got the work that far from home since, well, we've been getting on one another's nerves lately and time away is good for getting perspective back. Although as it happens the ``workweek away'' ideal has been achieved only once in three weeks of trying, because he had a pair of doctor's appointments last Wednesday, one about 7 am, the other about 4 pm, both in the same town (though different places), and both in a town about an hour away from home. So he went out on Monday, came back Tuesday, drove back and forth Wednesday, learned the other appointment had been moved to the next week, and then went back up Thursday and back Friday. But the important thing is he isn't enduring the hassle of a long daily commute.

Trivia: The Pilgrims reached a treaty of peace and alliance with the Pokanoket leader Massaoit on 22 March 1621. Treaty negotiations may have been aided by Squanto's claims that the English kept the plague in barrels buried under the storehouse. Source: Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick.

Currently Reading: Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center, Daniel Okrent. 430 pages may seem like a lot to write about one skyscraper complex, but you must understand, it's in New York City. And, well, 30 Rock is a neat building. It's hard to imagine that one of the many architects responsible for Rockefeller Center also inflicted the Empire State Plaza on Albany.


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