Friday, April 29, 2011

Blogging from Home (& All Mine #2)

We've been online since Wednesday evening (thankfully!) in the new house, but the last two days were extremely busy, so I didn't have the time nor the energy to blog. Now that I have the energy now, but I just have to kick the inertia and do it (I only slept for about 4.5 hours because I got up at 5 to watch the royal wedding live). I know, silly... but I enjoyed it. Maybe I'll say more about that later.

For now, I'm happy to have the internet and the home in the same place! ;)

More later... In the meantime, another photo of the "All Mine!"  series:

I had always wanted to have bleeding hearts in my garden and now... I DO!! I'm thrilled and thankful for the old owners (before the previous ones, probably).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Considering getting wireless 3G or 4G cards

I want to try to write a post about how I have this feeling that I'm working too much, but maybe I won't get to write it, so here's for the record. I think I'm working too much right now.

OK, the last thing I wanted to say about the previous post before I go back to my lovely, but boxes-full and internet-less new house is that we're considering going totally wireless for our internet (which might preclude the voip home phone line , I don't know how these things work), but I'm afraid it will be too expensive and have data constraints. We should explore these options before the guys from ELPC come to do installation, right? Who says we have time? :(

I just think it would be dangerous to have internet access anywhere, anytime and not only at home and work (we currently have very limited, for emergency-only internet in our phones). ;)

Our New Foe Has a Name: Sprint

Once upon a time, my humble blog was the very first result on Google for "Verizon Sucks" (and I still think they did back then when we moved, but I'm back with them for as a wireless provider) & I'm not fond of Comcast's monopoly either. However, I never in a million years thought I'd be basically "begging" them both to please provide internet for my new address, pretty please!! because I already HATE the internet provider we're forcibly saddled with even though we don't even have service in our new house yet to begin with. (and that's part of the problem) I hear horror stories from whoever I talk to and K & I have decided to wage a war against this company even before we are officially their customers. Too bad I just found out, through Wikipedia, the new most "reliable" and certainly  most updated source of information in the world, it won't be an easy fight because another telecom "giant" owns our much hated local monopoly company.

Breathe, breathe, breathe. I'm telling myself right now. I'm so upset, having just called Comcast to disconnect the internet from the rental place on Friday. And I know it's a silly first-world problem, but still. The internet is my life. Not only am I hopelessly addicted ti ut because it connects me to my friends and family to all over the world, but also because it provides me with a cheap phone line in which I can make limitless calls all over the world (35 countries -- remember, we have family in Brazil, New Zealand, Canada, etc.) and now I would be even able to call cell phones in Brazil! (this is our voip provider). It is also indispensable for work because I communicate with my students at home, post their grades online and even do a big chunk of my instruction through Blackboard.

so... yeah, the prospect of having a really bad DSL ISP which I'm told breaks down with every strong storm (and you know there have been lots of storms everywhere in the country lately) just drives me insane. It doesn't help that since we began sleeping at the new house last Friday we have been going (sometimes very late at night) to the old rental place to go online and do some work and catch up on email and stuff.

Of course this is partly our fault because I could have set up an appointment with Evil Local Phone Company (ELPC) last week on Monday, but K wanted to make absolutely sure we had nowhere to turn to but them before we made it official. I called them last Friday and I have YET to hear back from them with a date for installation and when I can go pick up our package for self-installation at their headquarters. BLAH.

In conclusion: after an exhausting day tag-team parenting*, I'm still here at the university trying to tie some lose ends that require internet and writing this post... We will survive, but I knew it would be INSANE to move during the last week of the semester. I have oral exams to give (which will take many hours tomorrow and Thursday) and K is in the middle of an interview week with candidates to a 2 year position in his department. Then, I have to write two final exams over the weekend and give them on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

OK, let me get a grip and quit this whining. Now, does anyone know anything of what I have to do to try to FORCE this ELPC and its owner or partner Spring QUIT monopolizing service for this area (particularly because it is VERY, VERY BAD and within a few miles of other counties which offer other services)? Where do I start? Last week K called the FCC, which directed him to the local Virginia communications office and they assured him there was no monopoly. We'll have to start digging deeper. I wish I knew some good lawyers. ;)

* I drove our youngest son and 3 of his 1st and 2nd grade classmates to a field trip at a museum 2 hours away, then helped a bit in their tumbling class (in school), dropped the boys off at home, ate something super fast, dressed Linton for soccer, traded cars with K who was coming from the University and drove down here to show a film for my students while K took L to soccer and is now putting the boys to bed. (my parents are still here, but we only have two cars. At least they cooked for us and are helping us put things away).

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Just Ordered...

... this clothesline and I can't wait to go back to line-dried clothes! I've missed my old one a lot.

I just hope the person who comes to check out our washer on Thursday can fix it for good!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mine! Or... Dream(s) Come True

Long time readers will recall that back in 2007, when my husband got the "dream [pharma] job" that became the most disastrous job/thing that ever happened to us (good thing everything worked out just fine in the end) we chose a house to buy and then had to simply give it up because K's visa process was dragging on.

I was very disappointed, particularly because of the beautiful tree & flowers in front of the house. I documented my disappointment here. Then, I mentioned this post again when we were looking for a house and dreamed of having a tree with those beautiful pink flowers (can't find the post right now. Will come back and link if I find it).

Well... I don't know if it's the same tree (and it totally doesn't matter), but it's all mine (or, ours)!!!
Isn't that just awesome?  I can't believe how blessed we are. 
And that's not all, but I'll write more about the garden, the flowers, etc. in future posts. I'm REALLY tired, the moving went well, it's not 100% done yet, but it will soon be. I just hope to get through this week and next week (last week of the semester & finals), then it will be all OK and I will be able to truly enjoy the house.

The Red Wall is No More!

The second coat is not on yet, so the color is still a bit light, but by Thursday night already, the red walls were gone.

 I can't wait to see how my light colored IKEA dining table & chairs are going to look in this room!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homeowners.4 in 25 Minutes!

That's how long our closing took, definitely a record time! We were out of there by 9:30 and I'm going to have some time to prepare for class. Too bad I'd rather be preparing walls for painting right now... :(

Take a look at this wall color:
It's a nice color, but very bright and it's not "us" at all! So we'll be painting the dining room a dark brown color (from this zero VOC brand) called "Cloak & Dagger" -- I really like this quirky "literary" name. ;) We're starting tonight. Photos forthcoming.

Well, I'm sure glad this will be my last "House Hunting" labeled post for a long time! Phew! Now on to moving (I'm not excited about the moving part, only about the painting and decorating! ;)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back to the 20th Century! or Déjà Vu

First, let me tell you this story.

Back in 2001 we bought our first house in a small town in MA. In the days before the closing, when I was calling the utilities to have them started in our names in the new house I was appalled to find out that I could not have a regular phone company phone line and internet provider in that town because they had their own phone company! A local friend of ours explained that sometimes they referred to our new town as "old people town." :)

I had to drive down to the house where the phone company was located to start our account and I couldn't believe my eyes when the receptionist pulled out a form, inserted it into a typewriter and typed down our information! Then, she pulled out a print out with a list of four numbers and asked me to pick the last four digits of our number! So quaint! At least we had cable there which was not through the phone company and their internet wasn't that bad.

Fast forward to 2011, ten years later, and to our fourth house.

Well, well, well... last Friday I found out two very disappointing things when I was talking to the nice lady in the electric company:

1) In our new town there's no cable, only sattelite TV. This is very bad for our family because it completely rules out us having just a small number of channels for a small monthly fee, which is what we've been doing for over 10 years now. We don't watch TV, only very rarely, but that doesn't mean we don't want to have ANY access to it, particularly to PBS and the broadcasting channels. This was not the worse, though.

2) We cannot have cable (or, for that matter, fiber optics) internet either, only DSL, and there's only ONE ISP that monopolizes service in that area (we thought it was just our county, but it's actually several counties and going into the neighboring state). The problem is... we haven't had a landline for nearly five years now, only a "VOIP" phone line which allows us to make unlimited calls for over 35 countries & within the U.S. (including cell phones here) -- I highly recommend it! So it's in fact a double problem:  we need to have high speed internet (and of course we live online) and we don't need a phone line, but for DSL internet, we will have to pay to have a phone line (about 20 per month, in addition to the 60 dollars that they charge for their highest speed - 10 mb per second -- if we have a one year contract). This is all so incredibly annoying! BIG SIGH!

Seriously, had we known about this, we might have reconsidered buying a house in that town. Because as much as we love the neighborhood and the house itself, for the same money we could have bought a spanking brand new house 300 sq ft. larger than the one we're buying (but of course 10-15 minutes farther from the boys' school -- not a really big deal). Sigh again. We've decided we're going to fight this local phone company and try to bring some competition to the area, but we have no idea how exactly we can do this. K has already called the state communications department or commission, whatever it is, and they said that there isn't a real "monopoly," but we'll see! I don't mind collecting signatures, doing whatever it takes to get better internet service! After all... I live online, don't I?

Wish us luck!

We close at 9 tomorrow, then, I have to go teach, then K has to host an academic colleague and see his talk, which completely ruins our plans to get started on painting and other stuff at the new place. and next week will be CRAZY, with field trips for one of the boys, soccer games, lots of work events for K & I. I don't even want to think about it! :( But I know we'll survive. We always do. And... I KNOW -- nothing that I wrote here constitutes real problems. These are ridiculously preposterious first world troubles. That's one of the reasons why I hadn't blogged about this yet. Not with the latest events as well, but it was tonight or never, so I went for it. My apologies for being whiny, but even K -- who hates whining -- is upset with this situation.

What's been going on/ Afraid of moving

There's too much that I want/need to blog about and, paradoxically, that is keeping me from blogging. (very old problem)

Right now, I'm trying to get read to buy a house and move, but I keep thinking of the mother just who lost a 19 year old son and of his classmates who are heartbroken only a month before they were to graduate from high-school together. I missed the funeral this morning because I had to teach, but I went to the viewing yesterday so I could give my hairdresser a hug. So, so sad. I also talked to a few of the academy students and they are devastated, asking "why?" "why him? why now?"  I tried to talk to them, but it's hard to find what to say to them.

I'm also frustrated with the fact that I didn't do several things I'd been planning to do this semester (mostly to schedule a film or 2 for my students & the general student population). I NEED to make my language more visible and the one thing that I can still do is design a flyer to be put around campus. The new class I'm offering, on the other hand, is already full, because it's a general ed class.

Speaking of teaching, Anastasia has written a brilliant and provocative series of posts (yes, there are 7 of them so far, some short, but still pertinent) that has, as always, made me think and made me evn more upset than I already am about the whole system that keeps adjuncts in place. :( It sure is hard to keep at it with all this perspective.

I have to go now... on to a fitness class before I get to teach my own class.

Have a nice day! (and I began this last night, so I decided to keep the "time stamp")

Friday, April 15, 2011

No! Not to her! :(

Yesterday I picked up my boys from school after Linton's soccer practice and when we were driving home there was an accident on the road, which was blocked, and cars were turning around. An ambulance (sirens off), drove away and there were a fire truck and a police car with lights blinking on the opposite side, blocking the road to oncoming traffic. We waited in the line of cars that were turning around and drove up to it. Beyond a truck, we saw a motorcycle on the road. The young man who was taking care of traffic informed us that it would probably take a long time and that we should probably turn around, which we did, taking some country roads to get home.

Whenever I see an accident I always wonder who was involved in it, what happened, whether the person survived, and I pray for the person(s) involved even though my questions always remain unanswered. Well... today I got this announcement email from the church secretary which had a cryptic note at the end saying we should pray for such & such family -- the last names of my hairdresser and her sons. I called the secretary up to ask some questions about the schedule tomorrow and asked what happened.

It turns out that my hairdresser's son, a senior in high school, died yesterday in an accident on the very road we were driving on. I'm still utterly shocked. Losing a child is just unspeakably horrible, but this young lady, probably my age, or a tiny bit older (her oldest son is about 20-21) just didn't deserve that! She's divorced and is a single mother to her three sons (she has a younger one, probably on 8th or 9th grade). I can't believe she just lost her middle son in a horrible accident. :(

I can imagine the sheriff knocking on her door to give her the devastating news... while she was probably in her basement hair shop doing someone's hair. I just can't stop thinking about her. They live really close to us, in the development in the back of our house. I wish there was something I could do or say. I know I can cook and freeze some food for them... but I just don't know what to say in these moments. I'm glad she has a lot of very good friends who are most certainly rallying around her in this difficult time. We also know her eldest son quite well and I'm sure it will be easier for me to talk to him than to his mother. I just can't fathom what a mother feels at a moment like this... I'm just so heartbroken for her.

The young man who passed away worked in the boarding academy's kitchen under the guidance of my friend Mimi who works there. She must be devastated and I'll give her a call now. Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers! (and I'll update the post if I hear more)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Look at what we bought yesterday morning (these, including the ottoman below, which has four drawers):

I think I'm happy with our choice, although I never in my life thought we'd be buying leather furniture (I don't really like it at all, except perhaps when mixed with fabric like that). OK, my son wants to use the computer, so I have to be off. I want to come back and blog more later, though.

Did I tell you that I "killed" my laptop? (not really, but it doesn't do anything, even when turned on, it was after a glitch when I was doing a search online on google chrome). After trying to use K's netbook, I gave up and started using the desktop upstairs. Trouble is, this is also the guest bedroom and we'll have guests this weekend, starting tomorrow. So... not much blogging for me coming up :(

Monday, April 11, 2011

First Game, First Goal!

Soccer or, as we call it here at home, futebol, is the new family obsession. Even Kelvin has regretted not signing up and most certainly will next season/school year.

Linton still doesn't know much of how to play the game (and you can blame it on his dad who didn't get him started earlier) and he had only one practice last Thursday (since he was sick on the first practice of the season the week before) -- but that didn't keep him from scoring on his very first game! I didn't capture the actual kick, but here's the goal:

K is already thinking of keeping count of our "artilheiro mirim" (mini scorer)'s goals, no doubt hoping he'll reach Pelé's 1000 goals! ;)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Soccer Mom

Today I officially joined the ranks of the millions of soccer moms in this country.


I am happy for Linton -- he is as excited as can be and is so cute and serious during practice -- but I sure hate the idea of being "tied down" for 8 Sundays in a row. So, as K said on the phone to a fried today, we have mixed emotions about this milestone. ;)

Photos will be forthcoming. Meanwhile, here's my aspiring soccer player last summer (it's not his birthday, BTW):
Do your kids do soccer? How is it?

They're here...

My parents and my brother's parents-in-law arrived in the U.S. yesterday morning.

They are in Philadelphia at the moment, shopping (my brother's in-laws), sightseeing a little bit, and shopping some more (ah... you have no idea how those Brazilians shop in this country... it's a sight to behold, it's obsessive & compulsive, to say the least... sigh).

By the end of next week they'll be here (and we might even see them for a few minutes because we're headed for PA again tomorrow). It'll be nice to have them back, particularly because of the upcoming move! ;)
(I'm totally in denial about that, lemme tell ya).

One more post in today's line up, OK?

21 Years Together

I've recently blogged about this, but I wanted to register here that it was on April 7 that we "officially" started our relationship and became a couple.

I hope we can go out to lunch tomorrow to celebrate, because today was a beyond busy day involving attending conference presentations, teaching a class, running errands, picking up boys in school, going to a loooong conference reception and... I still need to finish writing my paper to present at 9 am tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Oh, and there are other things that I must blog today, so I'm coming right back. ;)

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

My Turn, or... Mamas Cannot Get Sick

Well, guess what? I have the sore throat that the boys had last week. Thankfully I don't have the fever, but I feel chilly and sleepy. As soon as we walked in the door from school I fed the boys a snack of bread & margarine and took to my bed, begging them to do their homework, practice their piano, and... most importantly, keep quiet and stop fighting & screaming at each other!

It's 6:22 pm and I'm glad to report that their homework is done & they practiced piano, but... do you think I got to take a nap? Think again. Linton needed lots of help, first with piano theory, technique and the lesson book, then with two pages of homework. Before he got started I did get to relax for about 20 minutes (even with Linton coming and examining me with his doctor play-kit), but that was it.

I have a headache, an earache, but I'm not so sleepy anymore. Worst part? I need to think of something to prepare for dinner and K has a honors dinner at the university tonight. I think I'm just going to bake a frozen pizza, but I'll try to take a short nap first. If the boys -- who are playing the Wii -- quit fighting (sigh). Well, at least, as I wished last week, my three boys are all well now.

P.S. Of course I have to teach tomorrow and attend a departmental conference as well as write a research paper to present bright and early on Friday morning. Excellent timing, no?