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Thursday, August 25, 2005

Still Here

Yes, we survived the move. The day of the move itself--our anniversary, August 13th, as it happens--was pretty terrible: a U-Haul truck without air conditioning, and then a rainstorm to give us a respite from the heat just when we arrived in Macomb and needed to unload the truck. It was a long, sweaty, dirty, damp, miserable day. But did we really expect anything different? It's a rather humbling and sad thing to see all one's worldly possessions--all the clothes, furniture, books and boxes--shoved, like a jigsaw puzzle, into the back of a moving truck. You keep thinking it won't possibly fit, that you've got too much, that life has grown too complicated....but since you've got no alternative you just keep at it, twisting things this way and that, throwing stuff out at the last minute, and then suddenly it's done: your whole material existence has been reduced to a 24' by 11' by 9' space. And then, of course, you get to drive it somewhere, open up the truck, and let it all tumble out again, in a (hopefully unbroken) mess. Even under the best possible driving and weather conditions, I don't see how moving yourself could ever be a joy--and the larger your family, the less joyful it becomes. I don't have any deeper desire at the moment than for the job here at WIU to work out, and that is solely because the idea of moving again next summer gives me a headache.

I love WIU so far--the faculty and staff have been friendly, outgoing, and involving. I even liked orientation, if you can believe that; I just sat back, inundated with handouts and schedules, impressed that a regional university like this could have so much energy (and, not unrelatedly, sufficient money and organizational know-how to put that energy to productive use). I really can't say anything about my classes so far, except that I need to re-acquaint myself with teaching large sections, of which I have several. We also like Macomb, so far; as we'd hoped, we've obviously learned a few tricks over the years, and so acclimating ourselves and the kids to life in a small city, even smaller than Jonesboro, hasn't been hard so far. There's a lot of fun little things to discover around town, and we've been busy discovering them. (While there aren't any bike paths, there is also sufficiently light traffic that quite a few people ride their bikes everywhere, and I'm anxious to get mine back on the road after having been in storage for most of the last three years.) The girls are enjoying school so far, and our local church has been very welcoming. All in all, if we can blot out the memory of the move itself and ignore the unfinished and bothersome remnants of such all around us (the boxes that we really ought to unpack, but just don't have the desire to; the long list of things we probably should complain to the landlord about, but instead will probably just live with), we should be fine.

As always, there's a lot on my mind, and a lot I could write about. But don't expect anything here until after Labor Day--still too much work to do at home and the office, plus the upcoming APSA conference I need to prepare for. (I've organized a panel on conservatism which will feature Henry Farrell, John Holbo, and Scott McLemee, so I'm sure I'll want to say something about that on the blog afterwards.) A shout out to William Polley, an economist and fellow blogger who also began a new position at WIU this year, and has been kind enough to share his knowledge of the Midwest with me on a couple of occasions as we've made out transitions. I've been here less than two weeks, of course, so what do I know? Still, I think WIU and Macomb is going to bring some good opportunities our way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrats on surviving the move. WIU has a size and general profile similar to my alma mater, Western Washington University, and if it's anything similar in character I'd say that's a very good sign.

I wish I could have arranged my life to attend APSA this year; I'd love to see that panel. It's quite rare to find a panel where you know all the participants have such creative, quick, and fair-minded intellects--indeed, such knowledge would probably be almost impossible to acquire absent blogs. I hope you'll all have full reports. 

Posted by djw