Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lightbulbs and toilet paper

Here I am, burning the lining out of my stomach, drinking my second mocha of the day, in beautiful Buffalo, NY.  I had made happy plans to visit my favorite Buffalo coffee shop, Sweetness 7, on the west side, after dropping Ian off at work, and then indulging in facebook and blogs while drinking coffee unsullied by a Mr. Coffee instamatic, but alas, there was a problem with the internet there and the barrista who made my mocha had been so contemptuous, I didn't want to ask him what was wrong with their internet, especially when other people in the cafe were managing to use their laptops without problem.  It is clear that the mysterious malfunction of the internet is a sign that I am not cool enough for the west side coffee culture.  But then some  tourists from Nebraska walked in so I was no longer the most uncool person in the cafe.  How do I know  they were from Nebraska?  I don't really, but one of them was wearing an "Omaha" tee shirt.  They were unquestionably tourists.  One thing you don't see much of in Buffalo is tourists of any description, and especially not tourists from Nebraska, and certainly not on Grant St.  I hope they have a nice time in Buffalo and I applaud them for getting off the beaten path.

But all that did not solve my internet problem, so I finished my mocha and drove to a different coffee shop--one that is not rejecting me and my laptop--ordered a second mocha, and here I am writing.  We're spending much of our time getting Ian sorted out.  He left the summer dorms and is living in an enormous flat two blocks from campus.  The other roommates haven't moved in yet and the place is a typical boy's student apartment, i.e. appalling, although Ian is quite pleased with it.  The living room is nice, with a bay window and view of a beautiful old church, but the kitchen and bathroom are grubby--to use the kindest adjective--and I had to use all my self control not to drop to my knees and start scrubbing the kitchen floor. 

Meanwhile, he has a full-time job doing maintenence at a truly grim housing project-the "Shoreview" apartments-- on the lower west side.  He usually commutes by subway, but today I drove him since he spent the night with us at my mother-in-law's, where I did all his laundry--I was half-crazed to sort out all his dirty clothes.  He insists he's getting enough to eat, but he is as thin as a rail.  He asked me not to buy him anything, but yesterday I couldn't resist going to Wegman's and buying him sensible, practical things like toilet paper and lightbulbs and toothpaste and tuna fish.  Then after work I helped him move the last of his stuff from his dorm to his apartment, and was confronted with all the toilet paper, lightbulbs, and toothpaste I'd bought him the last time I was here.  I am accustomed to a household of six people, and am unused to the small quantities a single person uses.  Still, it really, really sucks to run out of toilet paper.

It's funny how much our lives have changed in the last year, when we were still taking family vacations as a group of six.  Now Ian  has his own life and Brigid is half moved out.  We will have only two children at home after August, which seems like an incredibly small family.    


  1. From four to two kids at home -- that is a huge change for you all. And here I am worrying about going from two to one, then one to none... in six years' time.

  2. Don't worry too much. Just after you've gotten used to being a small family group again (and the inherent chances for more intimacy *sob*) then they'll start moving back in and eating everything in sight.

  3. Maybe for Christmas you and the other families could each buy into maid service once in a while for the apt. You probably don't want it condemned with them in it. ;)