Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How long does it take to fix a water treatment plant anyway?

See, if it were me, I'd just be down there with some duct tape and maybe the leftover tube of caulk that a handyman left in our apartment in Chicago and somehow made the move to Nashville with us, and it would be all jerry-rigged in no time. Hey, is jerry-rigged racist? It sounds like it's about the Germans, and they just got a shout-out in my last blog, so I'm going to call it even.

Anyway, we're still supposed to be conserving water by trying to use half our normal amount, which is difficult when you already take 5 minute showers, don't water your plants and haven't washed your car in the five years you've owned it. This weekend it involved not showering for three days, grilling out and eating on paper plates, which was kind of like camping so that was okay. On the other hand, we already had dirty dishes in our sink when we heard about the shortage, so now we have an ant problem that I've been solving by obsessively wiping down the counters with paper towels and putting everything edible in ziploc bags, so between that and the paper plates and plastic silverware, we've really just replaced a small amount of water with a very large amount of paper, so all of you out there who are "learning lessons" from this water shortage and thinking about carrying your new practices on into life after the flood, goody for you, but I'm looking forward to not having to take the trash out three times a week.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Things to Do in Denver When You're Only Half Dead

So, as a reward for all my hard work and also the insect genocide whose carnage is still visible in my laptop screen, I got to go to Denver and hear people almost as pretentious as myself talk about things that should be interesting to me, like achievement gaps and tracking and forecast modeling and whatnot, and I imagined someone other than myself sitting in that airport shuttle listening to the people all around her droning on about their local school context and the vagaries of job-hunting with a PhD and feeling very energized, but instead I felt tired and wondered whether I had passed my econ final, which I turned in in outline form, rather than essays, because I ran out of time, and I know what you're thinking, which is "She writes outlines? That implies she organizes her thoughts!" But you should realize that blogs are different than PhDs, or at least I hope they are, because otherwise all this nonsense isn't really worth it, since I already have a blog.

Anyway, all I got to see of Denver was downtown, with the exception of the shuttle ride to and from downtown, during which I decided that the rest of Denver looks a lot like the town I grew up in, which is to say short, quaint to outsiders, and covered in dust from the feed mill and canning factory. Downtown, on the other hand, was boring, as downtowns usually are, and mostly populated with other conference-goers, wearing their badges around like it would get them a better table at the TGI Fridays. Houseboy and I are walking folk, so we walked about 17 miles and saw most angles of downtown, I think, the very best of which was this place called Cafe Berlin, which is the best German food I've had since living in Minnesota, where even the Hispanics are German. They apologized profusely for making us wait for 5 minutes at the bar for a table, but at the bar they had this:

Which is a LITER of beer, and they recommend you pair with a Schnapps, so we did, and then ordered mushroom cutlets and dumplings and something meat for Houseboy and some spatzle and then the resident German Mother-type yelled at us for not finishing our spatzle and offered us more beer to help with the problem, which it did.

So, all in all Denver is all right if you avoid the people with PhDs and hang with the Germans, which is just a good rule of thumb in life as well.