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A little this, a little that

“No, my last name has nine letters, and it’s S-C-H-N-E-I…”

This is a month between Places of Work; it’s not exactly a month of leisure–that would imply lolling on a couch flipping through magazines while my toenail polish dried–but it’s a month of vacation, in the more etymologically pure sense of the word (to leave, to depart).

Earlier today I was lining up a ticket to my MFA graduation next month (once I convinced an agent that my last name had nine letters; I was cashing in an unused ticket, or I would never have used a human); later today, after I get my ID card for My New Place Of Work, I am on the hunt for the perfect white ceiling fan. I may again end up at Dan’s Fan City, as I did for the room fan, since at least they will make a fuss over me and treat me like a customer, which is why I ended up at Rex Audio last night, buying a progressive-scan, upconverting DVD player. I tried buying a fan at Home Depot, but there was some widget I needed and I wasn’t sure I had the right one, and in half an hour, no one, but no one, could be found to help me. I left a full cart and went home to another chore: we emptied The Last Boxes! Yes, no unopened boxes!

What else? This month I’ve done everything from find and hire an electrician to do a pile of small improvements, track down a dealer for our kitchen cabinets (they are beautiful–light maple against black granite–and there’s this one gap that screams “fill me in!”), visit my mother, and conduct very deep and satisfying research on home entertainment systems. (I’m not a serious audiophile, but I am a gal who gets a little happy when someone says “banana plug.”) I’ve also exercised almost every day, and I feel it–things are not necessarily higher, but they are a little firmer.

(To digress on home entertainment systems: I’m still trying to decide if I should spring for in-wall 12 gauge, since I will be pulling wire for the rear speakers; I have a lot of 12 gauge on hand, but in this humid climate it might be worth it to get the sturdier stuff.)

In short, I’m doing all those honey-do projects that will become hard to accomplish once I start My New Job, and doing them at a pace and with a level of attention that is positively luxurious.

What is my new job, you have asked? It’s an extremely cool gig. Florida State University originally hired me as the ERM librarian, which I thought sounded fun-‘n’-cool, and is in fact still my position, in a way. But then the fellow who hired me got hired himself by a supercomputing center, and the next thing I knew I was agreeing to be Acting Director of Technology and Research.

It’s a big job, and at first I wondered how I would wrap my brain around it, but the more I hear about it the more it sounds like bits and pieces of every job I’ve had across two careers, with some new twists and curves to keep my middle-aged brain flexible.

I still hold out hope that one day I’ll be able to divide my time between library work and creative writing, so the fact that the job is “acting” keeps it in my comfort zone. But it’s also enough outside my comfort zone to intrigue me.

The people I met in my day-long interview sold me on the job initially. (I interviewed the day after we arrived in Tallahassee, on the heels of Ernesto and closed on the house; I looked terrific, if you go for that puffy-eye, wobbly-attention-span sort of thing.) I think that’s how it is with any good job. “What you do” is important; I was never that interested in aircraft maintenance, at least not the way I am interested in library technology. But who you work with will make or break a job–at least, it does for me.

I also like to be around people who have a little hunger. Sometimes in California I had the sense that everyone felt they were where they needed to be–not at FPOW, but just in general. Like, it’s California and we’re groovy, so we don’t need more than what you see here–and that includes people as well as things. I made some good friends and reinforced some older friendships, but in the larger scene I often felt expendable, if not imminently disposable. Tallahassee is a warmer clime in more than one way.

Anyway–that’s where I am these days: a desperate housewife, lavishing attention on ridiculously small details, and loving every minute of it. (I even plan to watch the video the last home owner passed on for our dual-fuel range; I’m curious to see what warrants visual instruction, particularly since I’ve already discovered that the “pro” burner can burn rice in less than five minutes–no mean feat that!)

I officially start 12/1, but I have a “soft launch” the week after Thanksgiving, to be a presence for the FSU Library director interviews, which is quite reasonable quid pro quo for some time off I will need to take in December. As most of you know, when it comes to my Places of Work, I generally draw a discrete and gentle curtain; but I promise you’ll hear about the good stuff. (I’m hoping to blog there, as well; I’d like to have a blog where every day I had either a picture of someone or something with a really great caption, or a 75-word observation or explanation of something worth sharing. But FRL will live on, as well.)

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