As of this weekend, it’s official: My parents have moved from an idyllic 18th-century farmhouse on the shores of Cayuga Lake to a quiet house closer to the city of Syracuse and my sister. The new house is all the things the old one was not: It’s new(er) construction, so it’s got modern heat, windows, appliances, and air conditioning. It’s one story (with unfinished basement) so there are no more creaky stairs to navigate. It’s built on a flat piece of land, so there’s no need to brave a steep icy driveway to get the mail. It’s heated with natural gas, so there are no more astronomical oil bills. It comes with an HOA, so the lawn, plowing, and outdoor maintenance are all covered.
I’m thrilled for them, because as quirky and wonderful as that old house was, it was also sucking them dry. The new house should be much easier and inexpensive to live with, which is everything they need right now.
As a result of the move, Thanksgiving is on hold for 2015. Which, given the year we’ve had, isn’t such a bad thing. The opportunity to have four empty days with my girls is what my little family needs right now. We’re going to order Pho from a local restaurant, hole up under some blankets in our PJs, and watch lots of movies together.
Meanwhile, I’m installed in a new office at work, where we’re deep in the middle of a renovation project. Eventually, I’ll be in an open-plan office setup, with low, modern walls and lots of natural light, but I’ve got two more moves ahead of me–another temporary space, and then to my final location. For everyone else, this is relatively easy, depending on how many books they’ve collected over the years. For me, it’s a lot more complicated, as I’ve got an entire filing cabinet full of camera gear, as well as two photo suitcases and four tripods that I’m responsible for. My graphic designer needed two crates to move his office; I used twelve.
I’m going to miss having my own office; I did have the chance to request one with the move (management has its advantages) but decided I’d rather be out on the floor with my colleagues than trapped in a box, where I tend to hibernate. This way I’ll stay on my feet and keep moving, which is what I should be doing.
In 2003, Jen took me to explore a funky little settlement of buildings alongside the Patapsco River outside of Ellicott City, and we spent a couple of hours crawling around exploring them. I posted some pictures on my site, which longtime readers may remember.
Today, on our way back from a client pickup, I made a detour down that same street to see if Finn and I could find the house while the weather was warm. Nestled into the hillside under a sea of brambles, all of the structures still stand, worse for wear but intact. Finn and I climbed over nettles and under creeper vine until we were inside the main house, and her inquisitive nature took over. We started trying to figure out what the buildings were for, how long they had been there, and who had built them.
I’m still unclear myself. The buildings are too small to be inhabitable, and there’s no evidence of insulation or interior finishing. The exteriors are all constructed with a high degree of quality. And the masonry alone must have taken years to plan and complete. Sadly, it was so overgrown, we didn’t see any of the riverstone decorations that were clearly evident 12 years ago.
Finley’s pretty sure there’s a chicken house and a donkey stall and provisions for other farm animals. I’m not as convinced, but somebody obviously had a vision for the place. I’d love to dig up photos of what it looked like in its prime.
WRI is modernizing its 10-year-old offices in order to accommodate the multitude of new hires we’ve taken on. When I first came on board, I had a spacious office of my own, which I shared with a pair of file cabinets and tons of photography and video equipment. When we hired a web content manager and a graphic designer, I traded my oversized office for a smaller one so they could double up with room to spare. I’ve been in that office ever since, and I’ve grown to like it. I knew, however, it wouldn’t last forever.
Yesterday I packed all of my gear into about ten large crates, slapped labels on them, and walked out the door. On Monday they should all be stacked in a smaller office on the other side of my floor, which I’ll be sharing with my graphic designer for eight weeks. Then we move somewhere else for the next eight weeks while our new offices are completed, and we’ll finally be home–in an open floorplan. This doesn’t bother me as much as other people, who (presumably) have never worked in that environment before, but I’ll miss the ability to shut my door to shut out the people who come to bother me every fifteen minutes.
We’re all coughing here at the Lockardugan house. It seems to be something allergy related, at least for Finn, who has been on a one-two punch of Zyrtec and a nasal spray to knock back a horrible pneumatic-sounding cough. Jen started with a sore throat last week. My throat started hurting last Sunday and has developed into a serious cough and a two-octave drop in my voice. Zyrtec seems to be helping me too.
I finished the front walk last weekend, after a couple of weeks off. A quick tug with the tow strap hooked to the Scout made short work of the tall hedges on either side of the concrete, and the rest of the brick went in pretty easily. I had a bunch from this batch crack pretty easily, so I may need to make a return trip to Second Chance in the spring to replace them, or use commercial brick instead. Either way, I’m glad to have that done before the snow flies.
Last week was a blur of activity, most of which I can’t remember. I spent a lot of time putting out fires at work, staying on top of my class, and trying to get as much time in with the family as possible.