Dateline: Weinland Park

I almost said this was from my new “20,” but many of my readers may have come of age in the post-CB radio era, and never heard C.W. McCall’s one-hit wonder “Convoy.”  (A “20” is a location, in CB jargon.)  Anyway, this is the first time I’ve had the energy and the solitude necessary to type this, my first blog entry from our new home in Weinland Park.  (That’s the name of the neighborhood, as well as the city park.  We’re most definitely not living in the park itself!)

Weinland Park is the neighborhood bordered by E. 5th Ave. to the south, N. High St. to the west, E. 11th Ave. to the north, and the Conrail tracks to the east.  The statistics for this section of town are grim, but I know many people who remember when the Short North, which is probably the trendiest neighborhood in Columbus, was a neighborhood no sane person would venture into after dark.  Neither Olde Towne East nor German Village were always the yuppie paradises they are now.  Weinland Park has a long way to go, but it’s quite suitable to our–my–needs.

The arrow on this Google Map does not represent
our house.  This is the Weinland Park neighborhood,
with the A indicating (I think) the Godman Guild.

It is just north of Italian Village, and it is a nice walk, and not an overly long one, to the OSU campus.  At the same time, it’s not so close to OSU that we will have to deal with the rioting, empty beer cans, open containers, and public urination that come after every Buckeyes football game, whether won or lost.  We are in a half double, and the layout is quite similar to the Clintonville place we just vacated.

Most importantly, the rent is quite affordable.  High school home economics teachers used to tell kids that rent should never consume more than 25% of your income, and in the last decade or so, I have wondered whether or not that was realistic.  For the first time since I’ve lived on my own, I think that I’m actually going to be doing that.  In the next few months, Steph and Susie will be moving out, once our divorce is final.  Neither Steph nor I know how much I will pay in child support, but living here, I can realistically expect to maintain this half double as my bachelor quarters without breaking my bank.

Friday was the day of the big move.  Steph, Susie, and I spent much of the week packing, weeding out, and moving everything down to the first floor of the old place.  Steph went to Cincinnati for the weekend that afternoon, and I made the big move from Clintonville to Weinland Park during the evening.  My friend John brought his pickup truck, and in quite a few back-breaking relays, we moved the furniture.  Steve and his daughter Amelia (my companion on the “One Nation Working Together” Washington trip earlier this month) did quite well transporting my books and the other contents of my office.  We started around 6 p.m., and it was after 2 a.m. Saturday before I was able to say, “That’s a wrap.  Cut and print.”  Susie had made and collapsed into her new bedroom while John, Amelia, Steve, and I were still moving items.

As I observed on Twitter, any friend can help you move.  True friends will help you move bodies and books.

Soon after everyone departed, I fell asleep in my new bedroom.  I was so tired I fell asleep fully clothed (including shoes, watch, and glasses) on the mattress, and I was too wiped out to put sheets on the mattress.  It wasn’t until morning that I realized that the smoke detector in my bedroom is defective–it chirps about every 30-45 seconds.  I tried installing a new battery, which did no good.  I even called the fire department to ask their advice–they told me to speak to my landlord, which I did (via voice mail).  I was too tired for it to disturb me.  I think that Friday night-Saturday morning, I could easily have slept on a bed of nails, the way that Zen Buddhists have mastered.

My sleep was not long, because I had to be awake for the guy from WOW Internet and Cable to come and install the cable.  Steph crossed the threshold this morning when she came back from Cincinnati, and we’ve been unpacking and sending things to their appropriate rooms.

We don’t plan to do much entertaining, so the front room (the living room) has become my office, and the middle (dining) room is where Steph and Susie have set up their laptops, and where the TV and Wii reside.  Steph’s and my bedrooms are in the same locations as they were in Clintonville.  She has the master bedroom, and I have the middle one.  Susie’s back bedroom is flooded with light in the afternoons, and she has the most closet space.  (We estimated the house to be just post-World War II, which means the two bigger bedrooms have very narrow closets.)

Susie was quite ingenious.  Her closet includes steps to the attic, and the attic is permanently off limits.  At the top of the steps, there is a hatch that is closed up with a combination lock.  Since Susie’s dresser was falling apart, we left it behind, and Susie has used the steps to the attic in lieu of shelves.  She’s stacked her pullover shirts, underwear, socks, etc. on the steps as she would lay them out in drawers.

Another drawing card for me is the proximity to Sporeprint Infoshop.  (I’ve shared the link and sung its praises before, but I’m doing it again.)  Sporeprint events, such as the Really, Really Free Market and Food Not Bombs were what attracted me to the Weinland Park area initially.  I walked past Sporeprint’s E. 5th Ave. headquarters this afternoon, headed home after errands to Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, and someone there invited me inside.  I came home laden with bread, pastries, eggs, and a cherry pie.  And all I did was make contact and say hi.  I have long wanted to volunteer with Sporeprint, and I can do it, now that I’m closer.  It’s also a shorter walk home from any activities that occur at the Awarehouse, the bike repair bay/party hall in the alley behind E. 5th Ave.

I’m typing this at the worktable in the living room/office.  Both Steph and Susie are asleep in their rooms, and since I’m going to be working tomorrow, I should follow their lead.  The office is not set up yet–I still have several crates and boxes to unload, but photographs will be forthcoming once I’m finished.

This malfunctioning fire alarm causes me to be grateful for having narcolepsy.  Since I fall asleep easily, whether I want to or not, I should be able to sleep through having that thing going off all night.

Interesting acoustic counterpoint here.  I hear a long train on the Conrail tracks to the east of my house, and while I’m typing, I’m listening to Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” coming from the laptop.  The sounds aren’t all that compatible.

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Wondering If I’ve Decompressed Sufficiently

It’s 5 a.m., and when the little hand is on 8 and the big hand is on 12, I will be back to work.  I still don’t feel like I’ve had sufficient time to change gears mentally from the trip to New Jersey and go back into civil service mode.  Especially not helpful is the fact that I collapsed from sheer exhaustion before sunset, and remained asleep until nearly 4 a.m.  (My shuteye was minimal at the LRY Reunion, but I knew from the get-go that would happen.)

Here’s the group picture, taken after the Sunday brunch, before the lack of sleep caught up with everybody.

Monday was one of my cost-saving days, as was Friday.  (I chose those days specifically for the safari that just ended.)  I fully expected to be spending Sunday night on the bus coming home, but thanks to Julie and Marc, Susie and I were home just after 11 p.m.  I would have arrived back in Columbus around 11:30 Monday morning otherwise.

You’d think that the minute I saw the bed, it would be like someone taking the switch that powered my body and throwing it immediately to off, but that was not the case.  I was still wound up from the trip–the joy of reuniting with old friends, meeting some new people, etc.  So, I loaded the 90+ pictures that I took with my Kodak EasyShare C180 (a good digital camera, a rather simple Ph.D.–Push Here, Dummy–camera) to my computer, culled through them for the ones that would go on Facebook, and then scanned the handwritten entries from the weekend into Blogspot.

Jacques, his mom, and I went down to Mineral to deliver clothes and food to Feed My Sheep.  I ran on sheer adrenaline for most of the time I was stocking food boxes and helping to get them out to the front parking lot. I hadn’t eaten anything but two chicken-salad sandwiches I bought at 7-Eleven on the way down.

The trip from Columbus to Mineral is 75 miles each way, and that’s a milk run compared to the trip I just completed, but I found myself dozing off quite a few times on the way back.  I managed to stay awake until dinner, but I lasted less than an hour after the meal ended.  I need to realize that I’m not the type of person who can nap.  When I do nap (such as the siestas I take in the quiet-reading desks at the BWC Library at work), I never feel all that refreshed when I wake up.

My news is good footwise.  I wore the boot on the trip home, mainly because it would have been such a pain to pack it otherwise.  I haven’t had a Darvocet since the noon meal Saturday.  (We went on a hike around the camp property that afternoon, and with lunch I took a double dose, so I could stay ahead of the pain.)  I took the hike wearing a regular shoe, and I can’t really say I’ve felt much foot pain since.

Here is the camp map.  I think we covered about two miles in all.  I remember that three of us (Joan, John, and myself) were standing on Vesper Island and looking out at Lake Shawanni, and we saw Susie in the middle seat of a canoe with two other kids.  They were having a blast, but seemed to have a hard time synchronizing their paddling motion.  (I’m glad now that I haven’t shown A Place in the Sun to her.)

Where I spent my weekend.

The sun will soon be up, and I will probably be moving on sheer automation the first hour or so that I am back at work.  Something truly unusual: It looks like I’ll make it to the bus stop without having to make my customary Dagwood Bumstead sprint to catch it.

Hardly a Day of Rest

The last entry ended on a note of suspense, kind of.  When last we saw our fearless blogger and diarist, he was planning to walk from Fallis Rd. in Clintonville to his abode two miles south, all the while carrying a La-Z-Boy recliner on his back.  The recliner was in perfectly good shape, so no idea why its owner put it at curbside.

Well, I lasted about a block and a half before I aborted mission.  However, I didn’t think it’d be right to ditch the chair in front of someone else’s house, so I reversed direction and put it back where I found it.  My back made a crack sound that resembled a piece of firewood when you break it in half.
Now that that’s out of the way…

I am soooo glad that the weekend continues tomorrow!  This Sunday, which we’ve heard is the “day of rest,” was anything but.  Now that my new Hewlett Packard Pavilion Entertainment Notebook PC no longer sits amidst clutter, I am typing my first blog entry on it.  Susie must have been exhausted, ’cause I have my music on fairly loud (not wall-shaking) in my office, which is just down the hall from her bedroom, and she’s sleeping  right through it.  (I have Windows Media Player on “shuffle,” so it’s a tossup as to what will play next.  Currently, it’s America’s “Today’s the Day.” I’ve already heard Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s “Shadow Captain,” and LaBelle’s “Lady Marmalade.”)
The busy day began at 12 midnight, not at sunrise.  Midnight found me still hip deep (almost literally) in cleaning up my office, a task that I never truly completed since Steph and Susie gave up trying to use it as a sewing room.  The arrival of the new computer was also the excuse I needed to get to work and finally try to make the office neat.  I’m still Walter Mittyish enough to try and imagine this room many years from now, the entrance door gone, and a cable-thick velvet rope across the doorway, while tourists gape through the doorway to behold the room where HE wrote the…  As I was making this room presentable, I subconsciously had that in mind when I envisioned the finished product.  (TANGENT ALERT:  When my friend Robert Nedelkoff and I toured the Newseum in Washington in March, one of the exhibits we saw was the NBC News office of the late Tim Russert, Meet the Press host.  It wasn’t a pigpen, but there was clutter enough to make it appear that Russert had put in his share of long, sleep-deprived hours there over the years.  Ironically, the Newseum is now the site of ABC News’ This Week Sunday morning program.)

I had enough momentum going that I was reluctant to actually finish the task, even though I knew I was in the home stretch when I began taking bag after bag of accumulated trash downstairs to the big trash cans in the alley behind our house.  I was appalled at how many bottles of flat bottles of Caffeine-Free Diet Pepsi and Sierra Mist I found.  Thank God I don’t smoke, because I would have burned down any of my dwellings long ago.

It was still dark out when I decided to immortalize the moment for posterity.  That meant that I decided to christen the Kodak EasyShare C180 that came as a free gift with the computer.  I posted the finished products directly to Facebook, but I would die before neglecting my Blogspot readers:

The center of operations, featuring my new HP open
on the desk, and the usual overloaded bookcases.

Yes, Virginia, there were reference books before
Wikipedia.  Under Big Boy and the Smith-
Corona Galaxie XII manual typewriter, my New
English Bible occupies a carefully chosen spot.  It
is nestled in between The Art of Fine Words, a tribute
to Arthur Hopkins (1897-1965), who was The Harvard
Crimson‘s head linotypist for 36 years, and the Thorndike-
Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary.  My logic: The
first printers were monks who produced Bibles, sacred sheet
music, and illuminated manuscripts; the Bible is The Word; and 
the dictionary is all words.

I’m not sure if I tried for the juxtaposition of the
different types of notebooks here.  The plastic
drawers contain MP3 disks of various radio shows,
money order receipts, some rings I no longer wear,
etc.  The screen-saver is a rare picture of a smiling
Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), along with his then-captain, Christopher
Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), from “The Cage,” the original Star Trek pilot–
later incorporated into Part I of the episode “The Menagerie.”
If I look up, here’s what I see.  The headstone marks
the grave of my friend, Cincinnati-born novelist
Robert Lowry (1919-1994), and below that is a 1962
article from the University of Cincinnati News Record 
about his book Party of Dreamers.
Simple explanation for this picture:
This is the gallstone Dr. Campbell removed
(along with the gallbladder) at Grant Medical
Center last February.  I like it better where it is now.

I finally ran out of steam sometime around dawn.  I could hear birds singing outside, and it was just starting to get light outside, but not bright enough to shut off the streetlights.  I think meteorologists refer to it as civil twilight.  When I went to sleep, I knew it would only be for a few hours, because Susie and I planned to go to church–the first time services were at 10 a.m., something that will continue until after Labor Day.
Susie went to a friend’s house after the service, and I went to Kroger to buy an Entenmann’s cake for a party she and I were attending in the afternoon (going all out!).  My energy levels were beginning to flag, so I forced myself out of the house to buy bread and mail some letters at Giant Eagle.  It didn’t perk me up as much as I would have preferred, because the walk to the party seemed to take forever, and it was only a little more than a half mile from our house.
The party (especially the company) invigorated me quite a bit.  Good hosts, good people, good food, and good conversation all around.  Our hosts are dear friends, but this was the first time I had ever been to their house.  (Susie had been there before, several times as a toddler, and just last month for a baby shower, but it was my first time.)
Susie and I left the party to head north to our friend’s apartment to feed the cats, change the litter boxes, and make sure the two cats were fed and happy.  Susie and I did manage to arrive at Olympic Swim and Racquet for the last hour it was open.  I didn’t bring a towel or swim trunks, because I had no plans to get in the water.  Susie changed in the locker room and was in the drink the minute they blew the whistle to announce that kids were allowed in the pool once again (the last 15 minutes of every hour are for adults only).  I had brought my trusty portable office–the blue bag complete with diary, books, MP3 player, and Diane the microcassette recorder–along to entertain myself while Susie was in the pool, but I slept in one of the plastic deck chairs at poolside until someone came on the loudspeaker to announce the pool was closed for the night.
And now it’s midnight, and I’m wide awake!  I thought I’d collapse over the keyboard while typing this entry.  Susie has remained asleep, through comparatively high-decibel pieces such as Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” and The Edgar Winter Group’s “Frankenstein.”
I’m having lunch with a friend at 1 p.m., so I can theoretically sleep until 12:45 if I want.  I doubt I will.