Just pausing in the middle of the vacation posts to catch up with life as we know it. This may or may not be something I regret, given the state of the world. Sometimes it’s nice just to lose yourself in the broader fantasy of travel and not think about things.
But here we are.
1. I have now completed my taxes, which surprises me no end. Given the complexities of my income (which varies, sometimes considerably, by semester), the fact that I have two kids in college at the moment, and the fact that my mom passed away last year, I was expecting things to be much more complicated than they were. But most of the inheritance isn’t reportable to anyone other than the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (and that not until June) except for one bit that already had taxes taken out of it, and my mom’s accountant was willing to answer some questions for me which was very generous and helpful of her. So the whole thing only took two days of organization, profanity, visions of prison, and googling how to fake one’s own death and start over in a small Central American town as a bartender rather than the eight I was planning on. I’m kind of glad it worked out in the end, as I don’t think I could take the heat and humidity of living in Central America.
2. Everything went quite well until I went to file the tax forms electronically, which is how I discovered that the IRS still hasn’t processed my return from last year despite cashing my check. This makes the “submit your last year’s AGI” security feature unworkable, it turns out. But a bit of googling turned up a workaround, and now I can relax for another year, at least about that.
3. Kyiv still stands. In fact, the Russian military suffered a historic defeat there, which maybe someone saw coming but that someone wasn’t me. I fully expect the fighting in eastern Ukraine to devolve even further into barbarity than it already has, however, since at this point that’s pretty much the only path open to Putin besides withdrawal or being overthrown and neither of those is really on the table. But for the moment Kyiv still stands.
4. I made carbonara tonight, in an attempt to recapture some of the vibes from our trip. It … wasn’t bad. I managed to find the actual ingredients (pecorino romano, guanciale, fresh eggs, black pepper, bucatini since I didn’t have a thick spaghetti, and NO CREAM OF ANY KIND thank you very much) and I found a few recipes to compare so I could figure out amounts (none of them agreed on anything) as well as a few YouTube videos to see how it was done and it all turned out … okay. A bit salty, so if I do this again I will cut down on the cheese. But still good enough to count, I think.
5. Today was the “We’re about to head into the ‘1960 to the Present’ unit of US2 and you should be prepared to think for yourselves because it’s not my job to coddle your preconceived notions” warning that I now feel compelled to give my students, and it seemed to go well. They’re supposed to disagree with me sometimes – that’s how I know they’re thinking. We’ll see how it pans out.
6. This weekend was full of Lauren and her friends, which was lovely. When your child feels comfortable bringing friends by for meals and hanging out, it’s a good sign that you’ve done something right as a parent.
7. I have discovered that I am not hip and trendy enough to order food at some restaurants anymore. Specifically, the ones that have QR codes on the table instead of menus. The ones where you never actually speak to a waiter, you just download some random app onto your own personal phone that the restaurant is not paying for, figure out how to use it to place your order without training of any kind, and then receive random food because the servers have no way of knowing which person at the table ordered which food. Those. In fairness the food was very good and the dinner company was better, but until there is a cold day in Hell and I learn to like IPAs I would much rather just have a paper menu.
8. Home Campus is back to offering plays and musicals now, and a bunch of us from the campus went to see this spring’s musical on opening night last week. It was a lot of fun, and literally half the cast were my students at one time or another so that was nice – especially since one of them had graduated a while ago and it was good to say hi again. The world is opening up, at least at the moment. We’ll see how long it lasts.
9. I am now double-boosted since they’re offering such things to the Olds, of which I am one. It was easy – fill out the online form, print off the QR code (NOT the menu – different code), go over to the designated spot and let them do their thing. As usual I spent most of the next 18 hours feeling mildly fluish, my arm felt like I’d run bicep-first into a door jamb, and my 5G service did not notably improve. But I’ll take that if it means that my next bout of Covid is as mild as my first.
10. I voted in the local primary here in Our Little Town and none of the candidates I was voting against won, so that’s something I suppose. It took me and Kim two tries to find our polling place as it had been moved without our knowing, since we stopped subscribing to the local paper once we no longer had kids in the public schools, but it went pretty smoothly for all that. I always vote in elections. Can’t complain if you don’t participate. Not legitimately, anyway.
11. Speaking of politics, I am continually amazed at the sheer volume of direct confirmation that gets released almost daily about how treasonous the Trump Insurrection actually was, and I hope that appropriate consequences for everyone involved, right up to the top, are not too far off. As noted earlier in this space, an insurrection that is not punished is called a dress rehearsal. The American republic deserves better.
12. I have had “Nothing But Flowers” by the Talking Heads running through my mind for the better part of ten days now. It’s their best song as far as I’m concerned and as earworms go it’s not bad.