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Flagstaff, week one

I seem to be just about settled in here in Flagstaff. I spent a few days here last week, but had to return to Tucson last Thursday to give my final exam, clean out my office, and run a few errands around town. I made it back to Flagstaff late last Friday night, so this morning marks my first uninterrupted week up here. The move itself was marked by chaos, and our well-learned lesson for next time is to move everything at once.

Heather moved up here to start her job in April, leaving me in what we thought was a skeleton house. Turns out we still had many carloads of stuff back in Tucson, and the preciousness of all of those things decreased rapidly as time to final departure decreased. In the last couple of days in town, we gave away everything that wouldn’t fit in the car: The vacuum, my old bike, the toaster, cleaning supplies, patio furniture, boxes and bags of clothing. If you entered my frantic orbit in those last days you were likely to find yourself saddled with anything ranging from planters, lumber, paint, computer speakers or a rug.

Our final furious hours at the house in Tucson were filled with a combination of tucking things into every last nook and cranny of the car, and doing a final cleaning of the house. When all that was finished we had a few minutes to wander our now-empty house for the last time. We did a lot there in three-plus years: Heather finished her MS and moved on to a great job, I made it through prelims, orals, and the foundation of my dissertation, and managed to co-author a couple of papers for publication. House-wise, we accomplished a lot, too: We did a lot of painting, made safe some nasty wiring, upgraded the kitchen and added light fixtures and fans, and—what I think we’re most proud of—put in a garden of native plants and flowers. We had a wet winter and spring, so after the garden started to bloom, we had three months of color in the front and backyards, plus the butterflies and hummingbirds that came to see. It took a couple of years for the plantings to really come to life, and we were glad we got to see everything finally bloom and fill out. After one last check of the lights and the doors, we locked up the front and hit the road. Leaving the house was sad for both of us. The sale closed last week.

After a solid week here I’ve found a pretty good routine. With my office here mostly put together I’ve managed to get quite a bit of dissertation work done so far: Some re-writing and organizing of chapters, and my next set of tasks are focused on assessing the state of my data and planning for the final (I hope short) push to complete surveys and other data collection. In the afternoons I take a bike ride in the national forest that starts a block from the house. It’s a hard life, yes. We’re expecting record high temperatures this week, possibly reaching 85 degrees. I love that part.

So, so far so good.