Friday, July 27, 2007

settling in and backyard birds

I've been in Pullman for nearly a month. A month from now, classes will have started and I'll be buried in academic endeavors once more. I've bought all my books and am going to start reading on August 1st. That's also the day I switch from being an employee to a contractor at my job. All that really means is that I don't have to sit around waiting for work to come in, disallowed from wandering very far away from the computer. Instead, I'll get up and do work in the morning and then if there's an emergency and I'm not in class I'll get called to do it. That's a huge difference [and we rarely have emergencies]. Of course, so is the salary. :) But it's cool... long as I sell my house, which has yet to sell. I know it's only been a month and it's not a seller's market, but it's freaking me out just a little bit. I can probably muddle through to the end of the year paying a mortgage and HOA fees for an empty condo, but that would wipe out all my savings. Then again, it's almost all interest and I'll get it back in taxes. Sigh. Whatever. I just need it to sell. Anyone want a nice 1BR condo in San Jose with all new appliances in a quiet, safe, gated community? Just holler. I have one. Comes with ducks, occasional geese, squirrels, and a lot of birds if you put out a feeder.

But back to Pullman. My duplex is craptastic in its college-town kind of way, so I like it a lot. It's very spacious and even in the 90+ degree heat that's been here for almost the entire month, I've figured out how to keep it relatively cool. I will very likely be here as long as I'm in Pullman. The only downer is the old fellow next door. He's a perfectly nice old fellow, legally blind but gets around just fine, and he's quiet, and he's lived in the other half of this place for something like 15 years. And he's a heavy smoker. I knew this going in, and when I talked to the people who lived here before me they said that they could only occasionally smell the smoke because recently the landlady triple-insulated all the common walls and such. But on certain days, depending on the breeze, his carcinogens invade my space. Living in California probably made me ultra-sensitive to smoke, since there's very little of it in public spaces in California (unless you're standing near a certain Medievalist in the SJSU English Dept!). So on some days my apartment smells like Renuzit "Sunny Laundry" air freshener plus smoke. Oh well. If that's the only negative I've encountered so far here, I'm doing ok.

The dude's smoke hasn't kept the birdies from visiting my feeder. Indeed, the paranoid birds are much less paranoid now. In addition to the very common black-capped chickadee, the feeder also has attracted the red-breasted nuthatch and the common robin. I've seen upwards of three birds on the feeder at one time so I think they've gotten used to it and me. There are two squirrels who take turns at the squirrel feeder (a bowl of seeds just for them so they don't bother the birds), and the other day I saw a rabbit in the yeard in the early morning. The cats are happy to have KittyTV back, even if it's not to the same extent as the wildlife preserve that was my patio in California. The local magpies swoop over the yard and hang out in the trees, but they haven't eaten from the feeder. I think it's too refined for their tastes; they prefer the neighbor's garbage can.