These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, October 20, 2006

swimming at the deep end now

i'm in an area of the pool where my feet don't touch the bottom of the pool. they can't. i try to stand up straight with my 5'9 stature, but to no avail.

actually, looking down i can see the black strip running along the bottom of the pool slipping downward at an odd angle, deeper water?

yep, that's what it is. i'm swimming ok. arms arent' getting tired and no charlie horse yet. hope i don't ever get one.

yesterday we closed on our house. i have not blogged this process and only briefly mentioned it once. i felt it wasn't time yet. i didn't want to jinx it and i guess, frankly, didn't feel like discussing the process on here. and i still won't because it's really boring.

owever, we'd been looking off and on for something since before fall. actually we'd been looking around neighborhoods for homes during our walks all summer long. it didn't get serious until we found the one we eventually bought.

the house is two streets up from where we live. and even though it technically is farther from work, snce it's in the middle of the block, it ends up being almost the same distance.

an appealing factor, too, was living next door to dawn's nieces and their mom. the girls were excited that we were interested in the house and as things gelled, they were thrilled about it.

it's a five-bedroom home, even though some of the rooms are smaller, probably for office space, in our case, anyway. but the three bedrooms upstairs are the living areas. one of the bedrooms has two rooms in one. you have to enter one room to get to the other. the living and dining rooms are big. very big, actually. plenty of space for furniture.

last weekend we went to an estate sale and got great deals on two rocking chairs. we have four now and they'll be perfect for the house. we also bought a dresser, which will be great for the bedroom and another dresser-like piece of furniture that can fit in well in the ldining room. so we've filled up what we can. the only problem is the kitchen table. ours is waaaaay too small.

we're going to need a bigger table (to quote a similar line from a famous movie). but i guess it'll come in time.

the house is a fixer-upper. it does needs lots of cosmetic work, as i like to put it. the exterior will need new windows and either painting or new siding (then painting). the interior wll also need painting. it's painted but we want a different color, brighter. we're pulling out the carpet in two rooms that is yucky.

for the most part, the house is in good shape. the bathroom, which is in the back of the house, it the room that will need the most work. it will need a new toilet in time. i'm not happy with what's there. also, the shower will need new tiling. just lots of odds and ends.

the front yard is small, but the backyard is huge. if we had kids it'd be perfect for backyard football. although i do have to say, we need to trim large branches from the tops of the trees to get more sunlight into the yard. that will come in time.

and so we will be moving soon. we'll be out by the end of the month, just in time for all hallow's eve.

siobhan rules.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

i'm really 5'9

lately i've been evaluating my height. it started with my great ability to appear about 5'7 or so. i'm a sloucher.

i've noticed that i not only slouch, but i also have my head pushed out, so taht i arrives where i'm going a few seconds before the rest of me. dawn pointed this out to me the other day.

when i walk to work, i place my work bag on my right shoulder and i'm off. as i'm walking, though, i feel the upper part of my body ahead of the rest of me. if someone watches me from one of the houses to either side of me, bent over and walking rapidly i think if i'd see someone like me walking i'd definitely point it out to others and thenlaugh at the silliness of it all.

so i have made concerted efforts to stand up straight, shoulders back, neck upright, spine erect. but it's hurts right in the middle of my back. i'm so used to slouching that my back isn't used to supporting my body properly.

i think the history of the slouch started when i lost my sight. i tried to see things and instead of bringing them closer to me or simpling bending over, i'd slouch down then as my sight improved, i still kept up the habit of slouching down to see things.

i notice this habit wheni'm washing dishes or cooking food. once, when i stupidly poured water on hot grease in a pan, i forgot to do this. good thing. when the water hit the hot grease it splattered up and peppered my arm. for days, i had these nasty marks on my right arm. can you imagine what would have happened if i'd had my face near there? it would have been akin to what happened to george on 'seinfeld" whenhe burned his hand on the iron.

so i stand in front of the mirror, sideways, andlook at how far bent forward i am. it sickens me. i put my hand on my back and gradually straighten up. that'sa lot of straightening i have to do. sometimes i feel that maybe i'm six feet tall after i straighten up. but i hightly doubt that.

i'm going to have to walk around theoffice and home with a book on my head to make sure i straighten up. so don't ask me if you see me this way.

so i am 5'9. take my word for it.

i know this is a dumb blog entry. i had good intentions when i started this then it meandered into babbling. i feel like o. not making any sense.

Monday, October 16, 2006

what's in a name

ok, so i was bored sunday night and started messing around online, looking at whatever struck my fancy. it started with a quest to try and find lost friends by going to the whitepges. it turned up some possibilities.

then i decided to check my name to see if how many (joke) there would be in my state. turns out there was only me. disappointed but happy to be one of a kind up north, i got to thinking of my name.

i've always thought my name was weird. it has never rolled (no pun intended) off my tongue easily. when i pronounce it with an accent, it's not too bad. when i don't, i mumble it and i often have to repeat it, lest people think i'm raul -- which happens more frequently than i'd like. at least that's a name. i'd also get this variation that i absoluately hate. it's hard to spell out, but i'll try. it's goes something like ro-y-el (you have to say it with a spanish accent and really pronounce the "y" in the middle. i had this phys. ed. teacher and a teacher's asst. who would pronounce my name that way. don't know why.

up here, i get a lot of "roll." and that's ok. a friend at the office has gotten to calling me "rock n' roll" on occasion. so it's cool.

i've seen a dutch surname up here. it's roelofs. i suppose it sounds similar to my name minus the ofs at the end.

so, anyway, i got curious and asked geeves the origin of my name.

turns out there are two variations, french and tuch (of all things). i like the french meaning. the french meaning of my name is "rock." i dig that, man. the dutch origin is from roeland, which comes from roland. but there is no origin. don't know where it comes from.

while talking to dawn this weekend, she told me she'd seen my name onlin and that it was popular during a certain decade.

one of the web sites i went to showed my name, french meaning of rock and that it was number 969 or something in the top 1000 boy names for the 1960s. before that decade or since then my name has not cracked the top 1000 of boy names.

i missed the '60s by two years. however, my parents felt strongly enough about it to name me that also, during that time others must have felt the same way. i graduated in a class of 92. you might get two ro three johns or roberts, jims, joes in a class. but what are the chances of having more thanone roel? well, in my class there were three of us. but my name wasn't restricted to my grade. grades above me and elow me have roels in them. my brother's class, two years younger, has at least one. one of my classmates has a father named roel. so it's been around for some time.

despite some people i've spoken with up there, who hear the name for the first time who say they think it's cool, i have a hard time with it. as i said, when i roll the "r," there'sno problem. when i soften it, it's end up spilling out of my mouth in anodd manner, like i'm mush-mouth or something.