16 June 2010

A bunch of stuff

Naomi and Mei-mei

This is what Mei and Naomi looked liked a year ago today.

The picture is there only to distract you from all the mundane things that follow, but which are quite dear to me:

Readers of the blog will know that I have had a long struggle with the car we bought when we moved to the UK. I won't use the term 'bamboozle', but every step of the way with this car has involved somebody screwing me over, for a cumulative total of £300 or more as several of the problems that developed in the course of the car being 'fixed' are still present.

One of the constant problems with the car has been a smell of gasoline when the windows are open, particularly strong in the back. I have really noticed it this year, but I think we had the same problem last summer. Anyway, when I had MOT done on it in the autumn, the garage told me that I needed a new petrol cap and charged me some ridiculous amount for it. The problem of the gasoline smell persisted so I finally thought, I'll give the cap another shot and ordered a used one for our car model online for like £14. Well, it seems to have solved the problem, confirming my suspicion that garage screwed me. Several small problems persist with the car (mostly the inability of anyone to balance the tyres), but I think I will be able to have them solved when the car is serviced/ MOT'd in the autumn, at a new garage which doesn't seem to be screwing me over. We'll see though: you can't trust anyone in this world.

So having fixed the smell in the car, I cleaned it out and took some garbage away to the dump this morning. There is a bazaar this weekend that Japanese folk in Milton Keynes always do, so we will be selling some junk there too. It feels good to simplify and have the garage more accessible.

I had my final supervision meeting before my upgrade viva next week. It went well: my supervisors are pleased and seem to think I have matured as a researcher/ escape artist over the last year. My supervisor also mentioned that I might want to write an article in the autumn, something she has discouraged up until now. I think I have enough data and findings for a short methods paper, so we'll see if I can get it in a peer-reviewed, print journal. Need to have a print publication to please the gods who, apparently, are unable to use the Internet.

They (my supervisors, not the gods) also told me that I needed to take two weeks off in the summer: no work at all. So I am building a list of activities for our family to do during that time including:
  • road trip to Wales and Stonehenge
  • bike riding (lots)
  • running (lots)
  • reading Part 3 of Murakami's 1Q84 in Japanese
Otherwise, things just feel right. I'm not sure how else to describe it. At around 11:30 last night, I went out into the garden to smoke my pipe and look up at the stars. The lights were on in the house, giving the impression that there was some play going on inside with no actors. I paced around, smoking slowly, and thinking about how all disparate strains in my life unify every so often. Perhaps it's just that I'm not used to having a year of life without any major upheaval--it's been 8 years of big life events, one after another after another. Perhaps 2010 will be the year that nothing happens and I can just enjoy being alive and well fed.

Lastly, Naomi was crying and crying and crying around bathtime yesterday. I got impatient and just put her in, telling her that she had to stop if the bath was going to get done with any time soon. She kept crying for Mommy all throughout as I got progressively more and more frustrated. She got done and Yoko held her while I tidied up. Yoko told me afterwards that she is worried about going to school in the autumn and particularly having to speak English. I'm surprised that she's aware of it as a problem. I tried to reassure her at breakfast today, said that it would be fine and she would make a lot of friends and didn't she want to have a lot of friends? She said no and kept eating her toast. It's going to be a long three months, I think.
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