It's been about a month since I last wrote. Kate and I have been busy, busy, busy that whole time with moving in at the new apartment. We're finally done, so I'm taking the time for a quick note.
We have a pretty nice place now. The living room has a futon set up as a couch, coffee table, TV and stereo, and a tall ``cat tree'' for the cat to climb on. My desk is also in there. The kitchen table straddles the dividing line between the living room carpet and kitchen tile. There's not much to say about the kitchen. We do have a nice rug and lots of nice pots and utensils.
The bedroom, next to the kitchen, has our bed and a small end table on each side. On the near wall are two tall bookcases, one for me, one for Kate. Next to them is the large walk-in closet, which the cat seems to regard as her room. Past the closet is the bathroom, and along the far wall, under the window, is Kate's desk.
If we walk back into the living room, then out the front door, we're in the garden. Kate's mom flew in a few weekends back to help us plant it. It went from dirt patch to a beautiful garden in just about one day, thanks to her. Near the gate is a stone bench with an inlaid stone mosaic, and in the center is a matching inlaid stone birdbath. We also have a bird feeder, a birdhouse, and wind chimes.
Of course, there are plenty of flowers, too. Pots of bougainvillea on trellises line the fence. Daisies and marigolds and snapdragons and red and yellow and white and pink short and tall and ground-covering and bushy flowers whose names I don't even know are scattered throughout. Decorative stepping stones make it easier to water the plants. Flower boxes sit under the windows. Our small gas grill, bicycles, and chairs sit on the concrete patio next to the garden.
Kate and I were both worried before we started, both about the move-in process and, afterward, whether it would be difficult living together. Now that we're finished moving in and have lived with each other for a few weeks, I can report that it's been easy so far. I'm looking forward to the rest of the year.
The move has slightly lengthened my daily commute. I'm still riding my bicycle to work, but now it's about 20 minutes instead of 10. I could take a shorter route, but that would involve taking busier streets, especially Page Mill between Alma and El Camino, where bicycles are definitely not welcome during the morning commute. Instead, I take California Avenue, which includes a bike underpass that has a fairly steep slope. I just shift into first gear and pedal up. One day, in fact, an older guy I passed on my way up yelled ``You must have fifty gears on that bike!'' I took it as a compliment, since my commuter bike actually only has 7 gears (and a single chain ring).
The worst part of moving was cleaning up my Stanford apartment. The main problem was my former roommate Bernard's terrible lack of cleanliness. He left the entire place filthy and stuck me with having to clean it, which took two or three days of effort. He also left eleven big boxes of papers. He had told me that he would leave ``four or five'' boxes, and I'd promised him to take them to the apartment of a friend of his. I decided that he'd broken his promise—to clean the place—so that I was under no obligation to keep mine. I emailed him about it. For all I know, his boxes of papers are still in his bedroom, and he's still getting charged $175 a day for ``unauthorized occupancy.'' Fine by me, since he screwed me so badly.
The best part of moving was being able to get a cat. In the months before the move, we went to countless cat adoption fairs and pet stores. In the end, we settled on a calico with an orange mask from the Homeless Cat Network. Her name as given by her foster owner was Hazel, but after living with her for a few days, Kate suggested naming her Peanut because of all the comments she makes from the peanut gallery, and the new name stuck. As you'd guess, Peanut meows and makes various other funny cat sounds pretty often.
Kate flew off to Wisconsin on Aug. 21 to go camping with her family and go to a jazz festival in Madison. I miss her, but she'll be back on Sept. 2. In the meantime, I'm definitely getting a lot more done on my own little projects.