, , ,

(Yes, I went with the oxford comma in that blog post title. What can I say? I’m a fan.)

So after a fairly quiet, stable year in the Clutterbuck-Cook household, the year 2014 has decided to whup us in the ass. As regular readers know, the first four months of the year have seen us trapped by the polar vortex, making the decision to move this summer, blindsided by the sudden death of my grandmother, the spraining of Hanna’s ankle, the death of my in-law’s elderly cat … not to mention a particularly busy winter/spring at the MHS, the Countway, and all of our regular life activities.

Golden retrievers Addie & Josie swimming in Lake Michigan
 (photo by Mark Cook)

We’re ready for a vacation! 

Thankfully, we have one coming up next weekend in Brattleboro, Vermont — we’re already looking forward to the darkness and the quiet and the tasty foods to be found at the Brattleboro Co-op … not to mention the maple lattes from Mocha Joe’s and the popcorn from the self-service popcorn machine at Sam’s.

Meanwhile, here are some life updates from our recent adventures in what I like to call “adulting.” You know. That thing where you have to get up in the morning and leave the house to complete a series of tasks, some of which you look forward to and some of which you don’t.

  • The new apartment search has started in earnest as spaces with July and August availability come on the market. We looked at, and put an application in for, one two-bedroom space last week that turned out not to be as cat-friendly as advertised. The landlord got cold feet on pets altogether and our agent was quite put out by the way he jerked us around. We agreed! The search will continue, and we know the right space is out there for us. When we find it, you’ll hear about it here (well, probably first on Twitter).
  • We’ve had two library assistants turn in their resignation this spring, moving on to a new chapter of their professional and persona lives (congrats to you both!). They will be missed! Their recent/impending departures have meant that my work life has been consumed recently by scheduling and hiring tasks. I’m looking forward to our being fully staffed again.
  • This year marked the first time Hanna and I got to file a joint tax return (yay for a post-DOMA world!), which I think actually ended up costing us a few hundred dollars more in taxes than we would have paid if the government refused to recognize our marriage — a few hundred dollars I was happy to pay. I just wish I could earmark it all to provide Medicaid coverage for newly-insured folks who are benefiting from Obamacare!
  • Following the filing of taxes, I was able to renew my income-based student loan repayment plan at a slightly lower monthly rate (because they now take Hanna’s loans into account looking at our household financial profile). I said it on Twitter and I’ll say it again here: the education funding system is broken, but standing here and now amidst the rubble I sure am glad that government-funded loans with affordable repayment options have made my professional life possible — so yay big government! 
  • Last Thursday I attended the first of four sessions in a Homebuying 101 course offered free (thanks to HUD funding — yay big government!) by the City of Boston to prospective first-time home-buyers. This is purely exploratory at the moment, since Hanna and I plan to rent for another 3-5 years while we contemplate the pros and cons of buying. But I’m nerdy enough to find it interesting anyway, and the course also certifies us to apply to the city for grants toward a down payment and closing costs if we buy within city limits.
  • Having presented my current research at the BC conference on March 29th, I am not returning to encyclopedia articles for the summer — on such topics as Phyllis Schlafly, Suburbia, and the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. 
  • Over the summer, I’m planning to use some vacation and comp time to experiment with what I’m calling Project Fridays — a day away from the library to pursue research and writing. It’s part of a socialistic plot I have to carve out meaningful life activities around wage-work over the next few years.
And that’s about where we stand, folks. As I type this it’s raining outside instead of snowing and the magnolia buds are fat on the trees outside our living room windows. Spring is here again! Whether you celebrate the thawing of the northern hemisphere through Easter, Passover, or some other tradition, I hope you enjoy the return of light and color in this changing of the seasons.