Lindsey Kuper (lindseykuper) wrote,
Lindsey Kuper

It seemed like a good idea at the time

A few weeks ago, Alex oniugnip and I signed a one-year lease on a house in Sunnydale Sunnyvale, California. We picked Sunnyvale because it's in between Santa Clara, where my job will be, and Mountain View, where Alex's job will be. The place we found has most of the qualities we were hoping for: gas stove; allows cats; not in a gated community; older, but recently remodeled (so it's neither new-and-sterile nor old-and-falling-apart); walking distance from the Caltrain; and just over four miles and just under six miles from our respective jobs by bike. So, it's about the best we could have done. Ask me sometime about our surreal house-searching adventures!

Neither of us are really ready to go. I'm behind on work. Even more pressingly, absolutely nothing is packed yet. And yet, we're moving to California in exactly one week.

Here's how it's gonna go down: in two days, we'll take delivery of two 6' x 7' x 8' crates in which we are presumably going to ship our as-yet-unpacked stuff. The crates will be taken away on the 18th. At some point around then, someone else will arrive to ship our car, which turns out to be a thing you can do. Then, on the 19th, my parents will arrive; they're driving here all the way from Iowa in their pickup to help us deal with all of the furniture and stuff we're not keeping, which is most of it. Of our leftover stuff, whatever doesn't end up going to friends of ours will probably go to Goodwill. (To our meager credit, we've already taken one carload of stuff to Goodwill, and another carload is going shortly.) Finally, on the 20th, my parents will drive us, our cats1, and our suitcases to the airport. We'll arrive at our new place late that night, and our two giant crates will follow on the 22nd, with our car arriving sometime around then as well. At least, that's the plan, such as it is.

Naturally, I picked this period of chaos as an appropriate time to work on my dissertation.

My dissertation is going to be seven chapters long. According to the hilarious schedule I made three weeks ago, I'm currently supposed to have chapters one through four done, with chapter five being due next Friday the 18th and chapters six and seven (and hence the whole thing) due the following Friday, which is July 25th. This notion that I was going to send my committee a complete draft by July 25th2 was originally quite attractive because it would have freed Alex and me up to resume our old habit of participating in the ICFP Programming Contest, which starts that day at five in the morning, Sunnyvale time. What I currently actually have done is a patchy version of chapters one through three, with lots of pieces missing. It's looking less and less likely that I'll get a complete draft done by the 25th, but I think we'll still try to do the contest, in spite of the fact that by twelve days from now I am unlikely to remember how to use any programming language that isn't TeX.

(Update, August 14: I ended up skipping the contest to work on my dissertation after all, which turned out to be the right choice. Meanwhile, Alex and our dear friend Martin did the contest together and had a rip-roaring good time.)

Fortunately, my job doesn't actually start until the middle of September, so I'll have a couple of months for finishing my dissertation and remembering how to do other things, as well as figuring out how to live in Sunnyvale. The main thing I'm worried about is a bike commute that involves left turns across eight-lane intersections filled with upset suburbanites.

The thing is, here in Bloomington you can bike to work without being a Serious Cyclist™. I am not a Serious Cyclist: I'm slow, I don't carry a patch kit, and although I get a professional tune-up now and then, I don't personally do anything to take care of my bike aside from occasionally putting air in the tires. I don't think I'll be able to sustain this once my job starts, just as I won't be able to sustain my current work schedule of "whenever, wherever".

  1. We have, in fact, flown with our cats before; we brought them out to Mountain View with us for summer 2012, and neither we nor the cats were too much worse off for wear. I'm hoping it goes this well the second time.
  2. "They" say that you're supposed to provide your committee with a complete draft "six weeks or more" before the defense. But does anyone actually do that? When I originally suggested that I could provide a draft by July 25th for a defense on August 29th, my advisor said that that was better than "industry standard". How much time did other people who've done this allow?

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