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Moving and penguins

8 August, 2010

Mobbed by Penguins

Girl Scholar asked for the penguin story, so I will tell it. It is an odd story, as no actual penguins were involved in it, and yet, there was, by the end of the evening, great assurance that we would, indeed, be mobbed, or mugged, by penguins.

This year at Leeds, I stayed in Oxley Flats. Unless I am wanting to share a bed with someone there, I do not ever anticipate this changing. Best conference dorm accommodation around, I say. I was told last year by the amazing Dutchwoman that that was where to stay, and she’s right. Well worth the extra £10 a night, if you can afford it. So I checked in. And got a bunch of paperwork, including one which mentioned that we should please to keep our windows closed whenever possible. It said something along the lines of: “Danger! A masked band of pigeons have been entering rooms looking for food!”

Yes, Pigeons.

When I got to my room, there was another sign.

But somehow, when I was at a party held in the flats, trying not to be intimidated by the fact that I’d even been invited because I was surrounded by Big!Scary!Names!*, the scholar with the flowing tresses and I were explaining to someone about the dangerous pigeons, except that, when I said it, it came out “penguins.” It caught on, and there were penguin jokes for the rest of the evening. Apparently, medievalists would much rather imagine penguin banditry than pigeon muggings!

Meanwhile, in ADM land, the kitchen is almost finished being unpacked. There are a shiny new fridge and stove, and the plumbers are coming tomorrow at 7 am (eek!) to plumb the gas line (and fix a leak, which they don’t know about). On Tuesday, if all goes well, the stove will be hooked up, and I will indeed be cooking with gas! The new furniture is in the living room, and today I will be able to put the TV on the mantel — this seems a bit high to me, but opinions all pushed for not putting it directly in front of my non-functioning fireplace. There are boxes to unpack there, and I shall need to buy some shelving and a coffee table or ottoman, because there is nowhere to put my feet up, dammit! Upstairs is still a disaster area, and I am somewhat dismayed to find that the litter box must remain in my office (hence the sweeping of much more cat litter than I’d like), because: a) the basement needs a dehumidifier, and that means leaving the door closed; b) the door to the basement is hollow-core, so not great for installing a cat flap, but also; c) I need to figure out how to install a cat flap so it’s almost flush with the floor so that the aging Mr Soppy can get through easily, as there is not a lot of top step on the other side of the door, and finally; d) the basement is dark and scary and unless I want to get some lights that remain on permanently, Mr Soppy seems very distressed at climbing the stairs at the moment. His vision seems to have deteriorated in the past couple of months. Anyway, today we hang curtains, and tighten up the bookshelves in the office/guest room, which is very large and comfortable.

Huzzah for DIY Grrl and her wife, the Coach, who are coming to help today!

*Actually, they are all really nice people, even though they are intimidating intellectually, and I fear their questions at conferences. But it’s possible that people dread mine, too. Still, I am intimidated and also, now that I know them and have been let in, so to speak, I feel tremendously obligated to produce good work. Which is really not a bad thing. I’m sadly motivated by trying to live up to imaginary standards I project on others – this is one way in which the dread Imposter Complex can work to my advantage!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 August, 2010 3:42 pm

    The pigeons-penguins slip is exactly the kind of slip I'd make. And I also then have a running joke about it. I think we should keep this one up, if we can.It kind of reminds me of a conversation I had in college with an Englishman and and Irishman (no, this isn't a "…go into a bar" or "…are in a boat" joke). One of them used the phrase "turn up for the books" and I asked what it meant. Only, to their ears, I said "turnip for the books," after which one of them launch into what sounded like a very learned discussion of the use of dried turnip slices for bookmarks. I believed him for long enough — he did this with a *very* straight face — that they *mercilessly* teased me about this for a very long time after.To this day I still don't quite get the meaning/origin of the phrase "turn up for the books"!

  2. 8 August, 2010 10:11 pm

    As to the latter, oddly it's not in Brewer's Phrase and Fable but this site produces the following:"Turn-up for the books, a – piece of good fortune, usually unexpected."The books are those in which bookmakers keep a record of bets. Something that happens (turns up) unexpectedly is welcome to bookmakers because few people will have bet on it and not many winnings will have to be paid out."I'm not sure my sense of how it's used fits that it's always specifically good fortune, but otherwise that matches my understanding of it.

  3. 9 August, 2010 2:15 am

    Dr. V, I am all for keeping it as a joke — because we may find ourselves in situations where it's apropos 🙂

  4. 10 August, 2010 5:16 pm

    Btw, I apologize for my seeming allergy to verbs in my first comment. It was supposed to say "I'd also then have a running joke about it," because at this point I don't, so yes, conditional is necessary here. And also "he launched into…a learned discussion." Sheesh, what is wrong with me.And Jonathan — well sure, go look it up, why don't you! 🙂

  5. 11 August, 2010 1:51 am

    I knew what you meant. And that Jonathan — always being the smart one!

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