Monday, June 26, 2006

Weekend at the shore, or rather

just a weekend at the shorehouse, since the crazy amount of rain moving through the area day after day kept us inside most of the time. Even though we didn't set foot on the beach, I really didn't care. I still had a great time in Manasquan with Abbey, Adam and and rest of the shorehouse crew. I drove to Abbey's apartment after work on Friday, my first experience crossing the George Washington Bridge by myself. I've only crossed it twice since I've moved here and I can tell you that I'm definitely not a fan. Not because I'm scared of it buckling under too much weight and dying as my car is crushed underneath the water (although Abbey got me thinking about that by making a point to take the upper level in case that scenario ever comes true). I hate it because of the traffic. It's the one reason that my ride back home on a Sunday evening took an hour longer than expected. So frustrating.
Anyway, from Abbey's apartment, we drove together down to the shore. Followed by lots of beer, lots of laughing and lots of ants (which Abbey and I waged an aggresive war against). Just not a lot of sun.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Mets

I went to a Mets game last night after work with Abbey, Adam and Walt. It was such a sureal feeling driving into Queens, besides the traffic jams and angry semi drivers. (They are really aggresive around here). The best part was seeing the NYC skyline in the distance. Long Island feels pretty rural in some places, so it's easy to forget that I'm just a car ride away from all that. The game was great: lots of homeruns, which led to a Mets win. And the weather held out despite forecasts for thunderstorms. Most of all, I was just really happy to actually do something on a "school night" and see familiar faces.
On a completely unrelated note: I petted a llama today at work. A first. The lab has a market day every week, and today's attractions included two llamas. They're really soft, in case you were interested.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Domestic problems

Every time I think I'm actually grown up, something new pops up that I've never encountered before. And when it's all over, I think to myself "OK, now I'm really grown up." Last weekend's example: lighting the pilot light on my new stove. Let's start from the beginning. I was super excited for the stove's delivery, because 1) my old stove was broken and covered with rust and who knows what else from previous tenants; 2) it took at least a week of rescheduling delivery dates before it actually arrived, and; 3) I was getting plain old sick of using the microwave to cook everything. I come home after work on Friday and it's sitting there, sparkling white and brand new. I check the burners and warm up some soup. Perfect.
By Sunday, I decide to cook for real, and I "warm up" the oven. One problem, though. I open the door to put in my food, and there's no gush of escaping hot air. Nothing at all. And I notice a small sticker near the controls: "Important. Oven pilot lighting instructions located on inside of oven door." Sure enough, inside are six steps to a working oven, and to my dinner. Step number one tells me to remove the oven door by pulling it off the hinges. Simple, right? I think, you've got to be kidding. How in the world am I supposed to take off that thick door? I pull for a couple seconds, then call my mom. Pull a little more, and talk to my dad. I get a good grip and it finally comes off surprisingly easy. Out come the racks, followed by the metal bottom and I'm staring at the pilot, or at least it's what the instructions say is the pilot. Our family stove is electric, so my experience with gas stoves is minimal. This is probably why when I think of "lighting the pilot" I imagine the whole apartment exploding into flames. My mom apparently does, too, because she insisted I keep her on the phone line while I did the operation. We're probably both guilty of watching too many movies or special investigative news shows. "Did you know there's danger lurking in your kitchen? Tune in tonight to find out how to save your family from a killer oven."
I probably don't have to tell you there were no fires, not even a small poof as I held the match up to the pilot. Just a small flame that I never want to light again.

Friday, June 16, 2006

My blog turns one

It's hard to believe that I started writing here just a year ago because so much has happened since. During my first post, I was a fresh MSU graduate, back at home for the summer with my parents. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the last summer my family would spend together in one house. A year later, I'm living hundreds of miles away and working at my first "real" job. And so much more has happened in between. I've:
  • Worked at The Detroit News.
  • Watched my best friend move to New Jersey, my mom move to St. Pete Beach and my brother move to Orlando.
  • Covered a chemical plant explosion and a new "breed" of designer dogs.
  • Interned at Fermilab, in Illinois, and tried my best to learn about the world of particle physics.
  • Watched the MSU football team and the Pistons lose, again.
  • Saw my childhood house put up for sale.
  • Celebrated as my cousin Jakob was born.
  • Learned about neutrinos.
  • Moved to Switzerland for three months for an internship at CERN.
  • Visited Italy, France and the Netherlands.
  • Attempted, and failed, to learn French.
  • Ate a lot of cheese and chocolate.
  • Moved to Long Island and started all over again for the third time in a year.
  • Monday, June 12, 2006

    A look at Port Jefferson

    It was such a nice day that I took a walk downtown after work and took these photos.

    Sunday, June 11, 2006

    My NY mom

    Carolyn, who I worked with in Switzerland, is originally from Rocky Point, an L.I. town close to my apartment. So when I first found out I'd be moving here, she gave me all kinds of advice about where to live, what beaches to go to, and what places to eat at, along with the phone number for her mom. It's so helpful to have a native show you around a new area, and that's exactly what Carolyn's mom, Gloria, did today. We went to McNulty's, a privately owned, homemade ice cream shop that reminds me of Wally's at home. Then we walked around Cedar beach, which is on the sound. It was a beautiful, sunny day here, although really windy. Afterward, we drove to downtown Port Jefferson and walked around the waterfront and browsed around in some of the stores. It's really comforting to know that there's someone in the area to turn to if I need help. So, thanks, Carolyn, for letting me borrow your mom for the day. And if you ever move to the St. Pete area for any reason, I'll let you borrow mine.

    Friday, June 09, 2006

    The first week...

    went pretty well. My first couple days were really nothing but administrative stuff: filling out paperwork in HR, getting an ID badge, taking training sessions on everything from general safety to counterintelligence (can you tell it's a government-funded lab?) and waiting and waiting for a lab email address and log in, which finally came around 4 p.m. today. I'm super excited about having "actual" benefits now. Growing up with two self-employed parents, our family never had worthwhile insurance. Just the kind that's only good in the case of catastrophic accidents. So the thought of coverage on prescriptions and dental is really exciting. I can't wait to use it so I can marvel at the reduced prices. However, I'm not excited for some medical appointments I have next week. As part of new employee procedure, I have to have blood work and a full physical at the on-site clinic. The physical doesn't bug me much, but I'm always squeamish around needles.
    I'm gradually adjusting to the area. Long Island itself is difficult to describe. Parts are really developed with LOTS of strip malls. There are your typical stores, such as Target and Home Depot, but there also are lots of mom-and-pop-type stores. Other parts are really rural and wooded. The lab is on hundreds of acres of undeveloped land and I've already seen numerous deer, groundhogs and these strange prehistoric-looking wild turkeys. In a way, it feels like I'm in northern Michigan. And I'm yet to see the entire area East of the lab, where the Hamptons and vineyards begin.
    On Tuesday night, I hung out with Adam from Fermilab, who's at the lab for a week. We met his friend from Queens in Northport, which is another cute LI town about 40 minutes to the west of here. We ate at an Italian restaurant that was BYOB, which Abbey tells me is common in area because of the cost of liquor licenses. I would have loved to see someone bring in a case of beer to go with their pasta.
    No big plans for the weekend. All in all, it's been a smooth week and I can only hope that next week will be the same.

    Sunday, June 04, 2006

    My apartment

    Pieces of self-assembly furniture built: 5
    Number of really long sofas carried up the stairs: 1
    Hours spent in Ikea: 4
    Number of boxes moved from U-haul to apartment: too many to count.
    Result: Take a look for yourself.

    Friday, June 02, 2006

    I'm here

    I'm exhausted, but I'm here and it feels good. My dad and I left SCS yesterday with not such a great start. Just 10 minutes on I-94, I looked at the back of our rental trailer and saw the door slowly creeping up. I frantically called my dad's cell phone as I watched one of my wicker baskets filled with bedding bob back and forth. But too late. Just as my dad pulled to the shoulder, the basket flew onto the freeway, shattering, and I ran over my own sheets along with the many other cars in rush-hour traffic behind me. My dad was able to recover two of the sheets, but we lost one. It was pretty much smooth sailing after that. Pennsylvania was just as long, if not longer, as I remembered, and we drove through a strong thunderstorm that followed us to New York. But we made it.
    I really like my apartment. It's not fancy or anything, and it's not that big compared to other places, but it seems huge to me. I like having my own space, that is, my own space that's not one room or that I have to share with a crazy roommate. My apartment is in a small complex in Port Jefferson, which is a village on the north shore of Long Island. I'm really close to the downtown area of the village, where there are restaurants, cute stores, bars and the waterfront. (Hence the name "port.") From here you can take a ferry to Connecticut or a train to NYC.
    And I don't think I mentioned this before, but I really owe a lot to Abbey for finding this place for me. She's been such a great friend these last couple months (not that she hasn't been for many, many years). She drove out here from New Jersey twice to apartment hunt for me, plus she helped my dad and I unpack last night along with Adam and Mason. It's so comforting to know that friends are around.
    My dad and I have been super busy today, buying carpet and kitchen supplies and most importantly for the moment, an air conditioner. It is really hot and humid. Tomorrow we hit up Ikea.