What are we reading: Summer reading time!

Atomic Habits.  About changing habits.  It was ok, nothing really new, but pretty good.  Maybe I’ll re-read it at some point.

A Quiet Life in the Country, by T. E. Kinsey.  It’s the frothiest of English country-house murder mysteries, featuring a sassy rich titled widow and her even sassier lady’s maid.  They both have hidden depths and are very good friends.  They fight crime!  #2 also really enjoys these (and has purchased and read 4 of them in the past two weeks!).  But note– if you’re the type of person who wants to be able to figure out who done it using carefully hidden clues, this is not your series.  It is more Ngaio Marsh (giving you the necessary info near the end) than Agatha Christie.

The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders: Very good!  Highly recommended.  Found family; mostly female characters; convincing bad guy; excellent world-building.  This is for you if you like Dune, or if you want to like Dune but can’t get through Herbert’s writing style.

The Shadow Glass by Rin Chupeco.  This is the third book in a trilogy I’ve been reading from the library and I want to like it… but it has too many italics.  Hard to get through.

#1 also attests:  Before you read Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure, make sure you have plenty of bread and the meltable cheese of your choice.  #2 had to stop reading it in the middle because she was on a plane and could do nothing about the craving.

A wicked kind of husband by Mia Vincy wasn’t bad (despite the hero being kind of a jerk and the heroine being an unappreciated doormat).  If there were more books available I would probably read them, but I’m not going to great lengths to remember the author.

City of Lies by Victoria Thompson was a fun PG 13 con book.  It read more like a YA historical novel than a romance or mystery, but I am eager to get the next book from the library.

Talia Hibbert continues to make me sloppy cry on airplanes with her Damaged Goods novella (tw: rape as a back story, though not shown graphically) (Well worth the 99 cents it cost!)

I deleted: A Night of Angels:  A Magical Holiday Collection.  Most of the novellas were pretty awful.  Never Dare a Duke by Meara Platt was not great– I am not crazy about engaged people who entered into the engagement of their own free wills cheating on each other instead of having a conversation to break it off (not a spoiler if you read the about, which I apparently did not prior to putting the book on my amazon wishlist).  The Duke’s Hidden Desire by Gemma Blackwood was well-written but I’m so tired of the brooding jerky hero and the perfect heroine.  Perfect heroines deserve perfect heroes!  Grumpy Fake Boyfriend by Jackie Lau was ok for a read but not rereading.  I did not finish A Fallen Lady by Elizabeth Kingston– stick to checking out the next book in the series from the library.  It is much healthier.

I am not sure how many older Jayne Ann Krentzes the local library has that I haven’t read.  I’ve been cranking through them pretty thoroughly.  One of these days I will have to look at their website and possibly put things on hold.

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Getting rid of the ice maker and replacing it with a new cabinet: Step 1 (after initial payment) of the kitchen process

It’s been a long time since we decided to pull the trigger on updating our kitchen.  Much and not much at all has happened since then.  Much in terms of spending money and having lengthy email conversations with a home depot “designer”, but not much in terms of oh, anything actually getting done.

So, step 1 was to get an initial measurement, pick out a countertop, and lock in a price, which we did.  We chose from among many marblish looking quartz options, going with white arabesque, bullnose, 4cm, in the end.  That was the end of January/beginning of February.

Then we were told to purchase all of our appliances.  We did that too.  We got a metal sink with a fancy faucet and a new garbage disposal.  We went with a gas stovetop.  They’ve been sitting in our dining room in slightly open boxes since mid-February.

Then we had several months of back and forth with a really annoying emails with a home designer who would not listen to us and didn’t believe what the initial templaters had told us that we would be able to keep our fancy glass cabinet or that we wanted to replace the ice maker with shelves and not drawers.  He was either trying to upsell us or he was just incapable of communication (a white dude with an American accent, in case you’re wondering).  But we needed to get rid of the ice maker and replace it with a cabinet before we could set up measurement (templating) for the countertop and appliances to be put in.  (Why don’t we want an ice maker?  Mainly because it takes more electricity than the rest of our appliances combined.  But also because we’re not huge on entertaining like the former owners of our house were.)

See the ancient electricity sucking ice-maker?

Once we realized that Home Depot couldn’t handle custom cabinets, we called the place that originally put in our cabinets back in the 1990s (the previous owners kept good notes), but they of course no longer carried that model.  But they recommended a local custom guy who could copy the design and get us a cabinet any size we wanted.  This process took several weeks of back and forth communication as the cabinet store had to check on things and was only open 10-4 on weekdays.  Once we got the contact info of the cabinet guy, it moved much faster.  Though first DH pulled out the ice maker and realized we’d need to plug off the water tube to it and he didn’t want to do it himself.  The plumber came over right away and charged their regular fee plus a few dollars for parts and (this is important) TOOK AWAY THE ICE MAKER (yay!!!!!!!!!!).

 

Look! Shelves are possible!

The custom cabinet guy came and put in the new cabinet and moved around the door on the cabinet that hides the garbage pully-out thing that we never use because I think cabinets full of garbage get disgusting too easily and are hard to clean.  And I came home and saw this and freaked out.

That blue piece of painters tape is DH figuring out measurements to see if it's possible to replace the garbage can cabinet with a standard-size cabinet-- it wasn't.

This is the uncanny valley of cabinets. Just looking at it makes me feel creepy (and no, it isn’t the lack of paint).

See, all the other double cabinets in the kitchen (and there are several of them) face each other like these are facing each other, but they are the Same Size.  I had a small meltdown texting one of my friends while I waited for DH to come home.  Turns out DH and I had a miscommunication– he had asked me if I wanted this cabinet to be a standard size or if I wanted it to match the size of the smaller cabinet and I had not realized that was what he was asking.  After a lengthy problem-solving session (in which we strongly considered paying the cabinet guy to come out again to redo the entire thing) I realized that we could make this problem go away if it was more different.  Because the problem with the uncanny valley is when things are just a little off.  If they’re a lot off then you can mentally tell yourself it’s meant to be that way.

That turned out to be an easy fix.  We put the other cabinet back the way it was before and filled in the new hole and painted over it.

This doesn’t bother me at all! The doors are different sizes, they’re not facing each other like all the other doors, and they have different sized spaces around the edges. No more uncanny valley!

Whew!

Then we contacted the home designer to set up templating, and it wasn’t completely clear but it seemed like he’d agreed.  The last straw with was him getting DH’s (common) first name slightly wrong, getting it confused with a similar name.  “He doesn’t have any attention to detail!  And it has been MONTHS!” I complained to DH.  That and we’d asked him to set up templating on Friday and it was Wednesday and we hadn’t heard a peep from him (possibly he set-up templating for someone with a similar but different first name?).  So we asked his supervisor if we could switch.  And we got switched right away and the new designer looked through our stuff and said it looked like we just needed to set up templating.  And we updated her on our custom cabinet and asked about the glass cabinet and she agreed with us that the countertop templaters would let us know if we needed to replace it.  So then she set up templating and after she did that she contacted us to let us know when the guy would be coming (he came and the actual replacement should happen 3-4 weeks after we finished paying– which we’ve been having trouble doing since we have to talk to a specific person at our local Home Depot to pay and her schedule doesn’t match ours… he said we could keep the glass cabinet no problem, just as the pre-prder measurement people had told us, but if there was a problem we could replace it after the countertops were put in).

Our next step with the cabinets will be to get new knobs (either expensive indigo painted ceramic to play with the line around the backsplash or less expensive burnished metal to look classy), but first we’re going to get the countertops so we can buy some sample knobs and how things look.  (DH is leaning towards the indigo because it’s more exciting and I am leaning towards the metal because we are not exciting people.)  I think I will also replace the green gingham shelf liner with something in a matching indigo even if we end up with silver knobs, but I haven’t seen one that I love yet (plenty of great contact paper designs, but I want liners that don’t have a sticky back).  We’ve got time.

How much did the custom cabinet cost?  $275 for the cabinet.  $4 for replacing the round on the bottom and the nails to put it in.  The paint was leftover from when we had our kitchen painted three years ago so I’m not counting it.  Getting rid of the ice maker and fixing up the plumbing was $88.25 ($85 fee for coming out and $3 for a cap– they took the ice maker for free).  So… something under $375 for the entire process.  And worth it!  I am so glad that ice maker is gone even if we never put anything in the cabinet.

What do you think?  Am I the only person that second to last picture bothers?

Link Love

Some places you can donate to help women get abortions and here’s some more.  You can also donate to the ACLU or NARAL if you’re interested in the court cases (I gave to both this week).  If your state legislature is in session, the best thing that you can do is find out what abortion bills are up and call your state legislators to tell them what to support or to vote no on (I did this this week, and yelled at my state legislator for voting the wrong way!).  Celeste Pewter has some information.  It looks like Missouri just passed a ban on Friday.  If you live in Louisiana, call your senators about their heartbeat bill.  Senator Warren has suggestions for how to fight next wherever you live in the US.  If you live in Massachusetts, call your state legislators about getting those old anti-abortion laws that RvW invalidated off the books.  If you live in Texas, tell your house rep to vote against SB 22 which makes it illegal for cities to partner with planned parenthood.  If you live in a state that has already passed one of these horrific anti-abortion laws, call your legislators to find out how they voted and then either thank them or tell them you’re angry.  No matter where you live in the US, something can be done by you this week to fight.  Please let us know in the comments about what’s going on in your state, or what you’re doing nationally– it will help other people reading to find out what needs to be done and what they can do.

Also if you live in Texas, SB9 which restricts voting rights got moved out of committee in the House (it already passed the Senate), so call your house rep to tell them to VOTE NO.  My friend from Texas says you can also call the calendars committee and ask them not to schedule it to the floor.  

This thread explains how a single scam artist named Gregg Cunningham and his mega-church affiliates has used the anti-abortion movement to scam millions of dollars from evangelicals across the world… and how they pay protesters.  (Those accusations of democrats having paid protesters when they don’t– that’s because a lot of anti-abortion protesters actually are paid.)  It seems like a paranoid conspiracy theory, but there are actual receipts in the thread from reputable sources.  They’re really not trying to hide it.

Women are already being punished for controlling their bodies even after RvW.

Forced birth advocates and the misogynist playbook of the past

Maureen Johnson talks about being shamed by her insurance company because she had to get a pelvic examination after getting into a car crash.

Educated people who can move out of the South will.

Offered for your consideration

Thoughts on bad husbands, activism, and what we can all do that matters

Why have no control levers been made for women’s hands?

The best episode of yo is this racist

The one simple trick to solving the climate change problem is to elect democrats

Kids in America are missing school because they can’t afford toothpaste and tampons (Action:  donate tampons to a local food pantry or school district– our middle and high schools both have a pantry where kids can get hygiene products and they’re always asking for menstrual products, but people prefer to buy them deodorant.)

Writing romance novels in a tough year

Freedom to dumpster dive

Why so many rich kids eventually come to enjoy the taste of healthier foods

I would eat this

The great Ohio key fob mystery, or honey, I jammed the neighborhood. (Also an example why it’s good to still have actual keys, not just fobs.)

Hedgehog with socks

Ask the grumpies: How do you feel about poetry?

Leah asks:

How do you feel about poetry?

#1:  I am a big fan of doggerel.  Also patter.

#2:  I have no particular feelings about poetry. I’m not into it, myself…  I just… don’t really care about poetry.

#1:  Though you do know some of the more famous poems, at least enough to have written this lovely apology to Jenny Joseph .  And this link love of yours from 2014 was super impressive.  I have no doubt you will someday do your own take on This is Just to Say if you haven’t already.  Even though you’re not on twitter.

#2 says, YOU wrote all those things!!!

#1 I would have remembered writing when I am an old tenured woman.  I have never had any desire to dye my hair purple!  Or any color (other than getting highlights at the Vidal Sassoon school as a favor to a stranger in graduate school).

How do you feel about poetry, grumplings?

RBOC

  • Another unexpected death this year… Werner Troesken passed away last September and I just found out. I feel like I was just talking to him about being interviewed by reporters about Flint.  (He’s an economic historian with an amazing book on the effects of lead solder in water pipes.  Other fantastic books about segregation etc. as well.)  People are dying too young.  I had never met Devah Pager or Alan Krueger (though I have read so many articles by both and had seen Krueger give talks), but Werner I knew and liked as a person.
  • It’s a little weird seeing old “faces” on the internet and remembering when everyone was saying, “NOooooo do not do that stupid thing with your money”… and then they did anyway, and now the thing that everyone said could happen did happen and the person is in bad shape because of it.  I think it’s more sad than schadenfreude, but also, do not do stupid things with your money.  And don’t be a jerk when you ask people for their advice and don’t like what they say.
  • DC2 fractured hir wrist in two places falling off the monkey bars.  :(
  • One of the things I hate about being a woman is how journal editors and occasionally referees will use any even marginally related previously done paper as evidence that the paper I’ve submitted is not novel.  Even if all it does is use a related novel technique looking at a completely different question.  Or uses the same dataset for a completely different literature.  When I’m refereeing guys papers that never ever gets said by the other referees (or me).  It’s like the initial assumption is let’s find any reason to reject, even a flimsy one.  It’s such a hard bar to pass.  Women’s papers have to be more than perfect.  I see this in refereeing all the time and it’s so unfair.  I hate it when it happens to me.  And big name guys can submit stuff that does the most minimal of lit reviews and provide no spec checks and somehow their stuff gets sent out and negative referee reports often get overruled.  It is just unfair.  And I’m not good enough to get over that hurdle.  I can’t get the line just right.  I put so many checks in footnotes.  And it takes me forever to do all the checks I need to put in in order to get the paper not rejected by an editor and to get the writing so it is concise but also contains enough material while also not having so much people overlook things (I have not managed this balance yet for all reviewers), and by the time I’ve done that, someone else has published something marginally related, and that’s enough of a reason not to accept what I’ve done.  So why did I bother in the first place?  And when the paper is finally accepted, there’s enough cut out to publish a second paper in another journal.  Though it has to be a lower quality journal because, of course, I already used that dataset or looked at a different subset or whatever.  FML.
  • our local library’s opening has been delayed until September.  Apparently the city counsel delayed ordering furniture and are now at the end of the furniture buying queue behind all the school districts.

I need an Activism Pep-Talk

It is really hard staying active for longer than two years.  Especially after working overtime and way out of (my) one’s comfort zone prior to an election.  Last year from January to the end of December I gave myself a rule that I would do one political action every day and if I didn’t make a phone call or write a letter or campaign or register people to vote or protest, I would donate $25 to a political cause.  This past semester I was overloaded with service and behind on research and teaching a prep I hadn’t taught in a decade and I gave myself a break.  I was tired and everything was so overwhelming.  I didn’t stop completely– I probably averaged one action a week, give or take.  But it’s been hard.

I’m not the only one, I know.  My regular twitter feeds have toned down the encouragement to protest (wandsci a notable exception!). Our local indivisible group has dissolved. My activism page is out of date.

My favorite actions newsletter stopped sometime last winter.  I haven’t found one that I like as much.  I could just go to 5calls everyday but it’s challenging to remember to do that and to get up the energy to do it.

There’s just fewer nudges in my life and less stuff making it easy to just do something.  It’s hard to get up the willpower to get over the bigger hurdles.

But it is important that we not give up.  This is a pivotal time in history.  We are in a constitutional crisis with the executive branch denying the congressional branch its powers and the senate refusing to step up to try to enforce them.  Record numbers of truly evil people who do not believe in the personhood of women or minorities are getting confirmed as judges, meaning that we will not be able to trust our judicial system to save us.  Voting rights are being stripped.  Children are dying.  States are positioning themselves to overturn Roe vs. Wade with some of the most restrictive anti-woman legislation in half a century.  We Cannot Give Up.  We Must Fight.

We need to put pressure on our elected officials at all levels.   Locally.  At the state level.  At the federal level.  We cannot let things stand.

Whenever we get complacent, they take more of our rights away.  They try more things.  When we fight back, they ease off.

So, summer is starting.  It’s time to devote some time to activism again.  This summer, starting today, I am going to try to go back to doing something every weekday, whether it be a call to my state legislators or my members of congress or writing postcards to voters or donating to Raices Texas where they’re working diligently to keep families from separation or swingleft or indivisible to take the senate and the presidency in the next election or organizations that help keep people being allowed to vote like fair fight in Georgia where a stolen election emboldened the Republican party to criminalize a woman’s right to her own body.  I don’t think a person needs to do something every day, but I find it easier to do a little bit every day rather than doing a bunch all at once.  My DH would do his actions early in the week to get them over with, back when we were getting a weekly newsletter.

I need help.  I need to feel like I’m not alone.

Help me.

What can we do?  What do you do?  What works for you?  How can we move forward and fight?  Is anyone else trying to be politically active this summer? 

Link love

New Georgia law criminalizes abortion, subjects women to life in prison, etc.

This week there was a shooting near a school (no kids were hurt) that caused a lockdown at the school which proceeded to have a fire.  What do you do when there’s a fire in a building under lockdown for a potential shooter?

If the whitehouse prevents congress from getting evidence of corruption from Trump, they can still get evidence from the people bribing Trump.

What happens when a teacher at a broke middle school in Texas goes to ask for money.

Gay Mag

So… if you’re curious how many links #1 sends #2 compared to the number that #2 sends #1… this week is evidence, I think.