August 2007

Today we meet with the Early Childhood Liason for the Arlington School District. Thomas is now registered and we feel that he has an even better educational plan than he did at Quincy. He is still in a substantially separate classroom with full days Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and a half day on Tuesday. But the great thing is he is now getting three, instead of two, 1/2 hour speech sessions each week. On the downside, I don’t think they have specific music therapy (which was tricky with him anyways) and they don’t specifically work on toilet training (they provide support, but don’t do the coordinated potty times like Quincy). All in all we are quite happy, plus we have the option that if we feel he needs additional services we can send him to a regional cooperative school that is even more intensive. He will start on Monday, September 10th.

Also, we picked up the keys to our new apartment today. We both have this weekend off, so we are planning to start moving then, although whether or not we are to the stage of getting a truck and moving furniture is still up in the air.

And I got my first paycheck from Tufts today! It was a beautiful thing to check our bank account this morning. :-)

We have found an apartment and are signing the lease on Monday. My morning commute will go from 17 miles (from one side of Boston to the other) to under 4 miles. We are going to be on Massachusetts Avenue which, as Erik likes to point out, puts us directly overlooking the route Paul Revere took from Cambridge to Lexington. (We’re about 3 1/2 miles from Lexington Green). We still have our current apartment through the end of September due to when we gave notice, so it will be a long, drawn out move. I’ll try to keep everyone updated as to when we will be primarily in the new apartment. If in doubt, cell phones will be the best way to contact us — we haven’t decided yet if we are getting a landline right away at the new place.

I am hoping to finally get a hold of someone at the Arlington school district tomorrow so we can finalize Thomas’ transfer.

The benefits of my new job just keep rolling in. This weekend I was able to leave work at noon and we spent the evening on Cape Cod with Erik’s sister, Stacy, and her family. They had rented a cabin on a pond, a fact Thomas enjoyed tremendously. Unfortunately, we forgot to pack his swim diapers, so after a while in a regular diaper that quickly swelled to many times its usual size, we decided it was best to let Thomas play in his birthday suit instead. He is such a little fish! Stacy and Jon took us out to dinner where Erik got his first of many lobster rolls for the weekend. Interesting enough, everyone I mentioned our trip to commented that Cape Cod is full of mini golf and ice cream stands. This is very true, and in most cases they really add to its charm.

Saturday morning we said good bye to Stacy, Jon and Will (who is SUCH a cutie pie!) and drove out to Provincetown. Then we drove back to First Encounter Beach which was much more just a beach than a historical site and then down to Hyannis.

From Hyannis we drove to Sandwich where Erik once again proved his tremendous memory by finding the Thorton Burgess museum from his recollections from when we tried to go there two years ago. For those of you unfamiliar with Burgess, he wrote a ton of children’s folk stories featuring Peter Rabbit and Old Mother West Wind and they often explain how animal got this or that trait. My dad read them to me when I was little and the stories (and the trips to the library) are among my absolute favorite memories of childhood. The last time we tried to go the museum was closed, but Saturday we were finally able to see it and we got Thomas a t-shirt (unfortunately the smallest size in stock was 10-12, so its more of a nightshirt at this point).<img src=”Rabbits” alt=”” /><img src=”dcp_0019.jpg” alt=”” />

This past week was my first one working full time at Tufts. It was GREAT! I love my job — even if after only five days I’m already behind. Actually that is mostly because there are a lot of people out for the next few weeks and not a lot of student help, so I’m still doing some reference request work and covering the front desk.

On other fronts, Erik is starting to adjust to being home with Thomas much more. Unfortunately that means he also is in charge of the apartment hunt and the packing (which can be difficult with a three year old under foot) We are waiting to hear back on a place in Arlington Heights. Hopefully we will know tomorrow if we got it and then we can start Thomas’ school transfer in earnest.

On Friday Thomas was eating a donut. He was holding half of it, so it looked like a cresent. He then held it up between his ear and mouth and started saying “telephone, telephone.” It was very cute and a good sign since it was an example of imaginative play.

Well, it looks like we are going to try to move sometime within the next three weeks. It has been building for a while — the cramped quarters, Erik being jumped on his walk home, my job being in Medford — but within the last week our neighbors have had two bikes stolen off the back porch (one in broad daylight while they were eating supper) and we’ve had at least 15 yellow jackets in our kitchen. The yellow jacket situation seems to be under control — our neighbor and landlord sprayed the heck out of it and filled in all possible holes in the wall, but we still ended up spending last night in a hotel due to the fumes. Anyways, it looks like one of the towns next to Medford — Arlington — has excellent schools, so we are going to try to move there before the new school year starts. That way Thomas doesn’t have to change schools part way into the year. Alas, it’s never boring around here.

It has occurred to me through a few conversation that it is quite likely that most people have no idea what me new job is. The short answer is that I’ll be organizing the permanent records of various university departments and making sure they are available if the department needs to look at them.

The long answer is that when a department determines that they have records they want/need to keep to a long time they will send them to the archives. I will then go through them and accession them (meaning give them a location code and make sure they are in good boxes). Eventually, I will process the accessioned materials (meaning go through them and determine if they are in an order, if not, put them in order, make sure they are labeled and housed appropriately and enter the information into our database) Some records archivists also work with departments during the process of determining what records are permanent and which need to be destroyed after a certain period of time. I won’t be doing much of that — the records manager handles that and he is giving the departments the tools they need to make those determinations themselves. One other really cool part of my job is that I’ll be writing up the department histories for our database and these descriptions will also end up as part of the Tufts Online Encyclopedia. So that’s more or less what I will be doing as of Monday.

As many of you know, before we could head out for the Martzahl family reunion and our week-long vacation in the Midwest, Erik had to work the Harry Potter party at his store. All in all it went well (although the one at my store in Braintree was WAY cooler with lots more people in costumes running around). I’ve included a staff picture from the evening although I chose to omit the picture of me and Thomas — it was taken very late at night at point when Thomas was completely wired and I look the part of a witch just a bit too much to let that picture out.

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To answer the obvious questions . . . Yes, we did drive straight through from Boston to Wisconsin after being up the whole previous day. Yes, we know it was dumb. Yes, we know we are far too old to ever try that again. Although the drive did allow me a 300 page start on Erik in Deathly Hallows — not that it mattered since he still finished it before me. GRRRRR.

Once in Wisconsin we attended my family reunion on Sunday (since I don’t know if all the people in the pictures from the picnic are okay with being posted on the web I have not included any of said pictures) and spent Monday with my mom, stepdad and my grandparents. Part of that day included Thomas’ first trip to Chuck E. Cheese. It was lunchtime so it wasn’t too loud or crazy and Thomas really enjoyed it.

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On Tuesday we spent the day with my dad and went to a great park in Oshkosh. Here’s a picture of us on the little train that runs around the park.

<img src=”Train ride in park” alt=”” />

We spent Wednesday with my grandparents and got to see lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. On Thursday we headed out. After a quick jaunt north so Erik could see the football stadium in Green Bay, we headed to see House on the Rock in southern Wisconsin (as featured in American Gods by Neil Gaiman). I had been really excited to finally see it — previous trips there had all ended in wrong turns that ended up in Wisconsin Dells), but in the end found it a little creepy. Lots of manniquins and dolls and not a whole lot of context. Erik, on the other hand, felt a unique draw to someone who collected a bunch of stuff and built a huge house to showcase it all in — imagine that. :-) Here is a picture of Thomas and Erik in front of the indoor carousel. It has over 250 figures — none of them horses (the horses are stuck on the walls through the rest of the house — creepy!)

<img src=”House on the Rock ” alt=”” />

Unfortunately, midway through the House our memory card on the camera maxed out, so there are few pictures of the next few days. We ended Thursday in Peoria. Erik has been bugging me to see Bradley for a while and he’s finally seen it. We got in rather late and had a really hard time finding a hotel so all we did was drive through campus and I didn’t get a chance to see anyone. (I kinda wanted to see how Bradley Hall has been remodeled). But we did go into the B&N I used to work at and that was kinda a surreal experience.

Friday we went to the Lincoln museum and library in Springfield. There is a display in the library showcasing the Illinois Poet Laureate, Kevin Stein — he was one of my professors at Bradley. From there we went to the Superman Museum in Metropolis, Illinois.

Saturday was a quick self-guided tour of the entrance to Mammouth Caves, and on to Pittsburg.

<img src=”Mammoth Caves” alt=”” /&gt

We got home late Sunday having been caught in horrible traffic through much of the state of Massachusetts and a freakish thunderstorm. The goodwill and politeness of the Midwest stayed with me about two days until a horrible person pushed her cart between me and the butter at the grocery store and I was filled with the nearly uncontrollable urge to hit her. It was then that we truly arrived back in Boston.

After a long day of playing at school and a special trip to the wading pool along the Charles River, somebody just needed a nap.<img src=”dcp_0007a.jpg” alt=”” />

I got the Records Archivist position! I start August 13th. I’ve given notice at Borders and Erik is going to cutting back to part time at his store. His manager was really great about trying to work with him, so hopefully he will continue to be able to work there, take over primary care of Thomas and we’ll be able to see each other a bit more. My classes start the week after Labor Day, but DCA is very flexible about my hours and making sure I can finish my degree (one of my classes is actually being taught by my boss). So, there is still a lot of time managment ahead of us . . . but at least our finances are going to see an upturn and that will alleviate a lot of stress right there.

Full details on our trip to Wisconsin (with pictures) will be coming in the next few days.