1. And now we are five. Thanks to a series of implausible events, we are now hosting a foreign exchange student. Fran is from Belgium and has been staying with some friends of ours for the last couple of months. She’s been with us for about a day now, and so far it’s working out well! We knew she’d fit in here when she settled in on the couch and started reading. She’s one of us!
2. Things I currently know about Belgium: a) it’s where Kevin De Bruyne is from, and yes I realize that I’m probably one of two dozen people in America who know or care who Kevin De Bruyne is but there you have it, b) it’s got two main groups of people in it – the French-speaking Walloons and the Dutch-speaking Flemish – and I just love those names, c) Brussels is where the European Parliament is, and d) it has the world’s best chocolate. Things I will know about Belgium by next summer: a) a whole lot more.
3. It’s 60F here on December 4 and that’s just weird. That’s about 15C, and that’s equally weird only in metric. There should be snow, or at least the possibility of it. As it is we’re expecting thunderstorms. In December. In Wisconsin. Good thing the climate isn’t shifting, because otherwise? I’d be worried.
4. Tabitha has now been accepted into two colleges, with one more application in and a handful yet to submit. It’s becoming more and more real now – next year she will be away, and that will be very strange. I just know I will not handle that well. And when Lauren does the same thing four years from now? Yeah, well.
5. We went to see Murder on the Orient Express last week. Having never read the book or seen the previous movie, I have nothing to compare it to. But it was an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours, and I hope that Kenneth Branagh’s mustache goes on to have a fruitful career of its own.
6. Autoplay video ads are the scourge of the internet and any website that employs them should be immediately hacked and replaced with cat photos. Static cat photos, all laid out right there in front of you, because any website that requires you to view a slide show or click to see the rest of the article should be immediately hacked and replaced with dancing hamsters.
7. The Cards Against Humanity people are having more fun than should they probably should with their crowd-sourced effort to put obstacles into the path of the ill-thought-out and unworkable border wall that our current government is planning to erect as a distraction from its crimes. They bought some land on the border with Mexico with the express intent of refusing to allow any wall on it, and asked for donations to cover it. It seemed worthwhile to me. So far we’ve gotten an endearingly offbeat sort of a map of the land, a letter from their attorneys promising to use every legal tool to draw out the eminent domain process as long as they can, some stickers, two small sets of game cards, and the possibility that those who support such a wall will be irritated and inconvenienced, which isn’t bad for a $15 investment. They even built a trebuchet on the land, so it will be well-defended.
8. I desperately need to deshambleize my office, as it is not only stuffed to the gunwales with books, notes, and other varieties of paper, but also now houses Kim’s office for the duration of Fran’s stay. Unfortunately, the default setting of my office is “shambles,” so I’m not sure how this is going to work.
9. One of my long-term projects has been to try to get some handle on the basement, which is currently full of Stuff. As a show of good intent, I spent some time last week building shelving units and setting them up along the back wall. These have been designated as the Tool Area, as we have a large and motley collection of tools from various sources and it’s getting hard to find things that I am pretty sure we have. Right now I’m in the “it will look worse before it looks better” stage of the project, where I pull everything out and sort it into piles. Oh well. Eventually it will work, and then we’ll actually know how many tools we have.
10. It is December, so I will now acknowledge the existence of Christmas.