I’m not sure why, entirely. They do wear light jackets; after all, you need something to keep the rain off, especially as (I’m told) Real Oregonians also don’t carry umbrellas. (And here I thought Ted was just being ornery all those years. I did see his father use an umbrella once though – in Thailand, to keep off the sun.) There is reason for it though; the reason was obvious yesterday when the temperature hovered above 50F (10C) all day, but even today, when it’s been drizzly and in the low 40s I was pretty warm after doing some errands in my own winter coat, even though I kept my coat open.
I’ve been being domestic lately; this morning I changed and washed the sheets on our bed, which I think have been slept on for a combined total less than two weeks, including both before and after the holidays. That may be a new record for me. I’ve done a bit of cleaning in the bathroom and kitchen and have compiled a list of meal ideas so I can just pick a few to get ingredients for when I go shopping. Next week, I plan to assay a chicken pot pie. Tomorrow will be chili, one of my specialties (today is mac’n'cheese, so Ted doesn’t get too accustomed to high standards).
The high point of today was my visit to the Hillsboro Main Library. Aside from one brief visit to the one in Eindhoven back in 2006 (during which I determined that their stock of books in English was fairly small, and anyway they were only open during my working hours) I haven’t been in a public library since moving out of the US. This is a good one, too; they have computers and events and all, but most of all they have books. Lots of books, and they’re renovating to make room for more. They’re part of a county-wide library system, so my card gets me into any of those libraries, and they can get books from each other without having to use ILL. It’s surprisingly well-staffed: a Welcome desk, a Library Card Services desk, a Reference desk, a Children’s Librarian and an Ask the Librarian desk in the Children’s section. Some of those desks were staffed by 2 or 3 people.
I think I got brownie points for enthusiasm; to get a library card you have to prove you’re a local resident and that’s difficult at the moment: we’re in a temporary apartment being rented by Ted’s company, and we don’t have any utility bills. Because we’ll only be here a couple of months, we had the truck and our driver’s licenses registered to our Eugene house. We ended up putting my phone account in Ted’s name, because we got a company discount that way, and those forms do have the address on them. I ended up taking one of those plus our marriage license to prove that I really am ‘associated’ with Ted. You’re really supposed to have a document with your own name and address on it, but when they checked with the supervisor, she said , “Well, she’s really gone above and beyond, so we should give her a card.” It wouldn’t have been a disaster anyway; they have stamped postcards you can send to yourself from the library, then bring it in once you’ve received it in the mail. (I think the concern may be less about the legitimacy of your residency and more about making sure they can get hold of you if you don’t return books or DVDs.)
I’ve also signed up to volunteer; I told them I can read aloud well (“well” may be an overstatement; I don’t do character voices, but at least I’m coherent and get the emphasis in the proper place) and that I’m good at research and with computers. Hopefully they’ll ask me to do something more interesting than shelving. I’m not great at that; I know how to do it perfectly but I tend to be inefficient because I keep stopping to read the books I’m supposed to be putting away.
After that I went grocery shopping, then, armed with the gas discount I get for spending money at the grocery store, went to gas up the car. This was the first time I’ve done that in this state when I was driving (well, once before but Ted was there and he dealt with it). Oregon is a bit strange: you can’t put gas in your own tank, but have to wait for an attendant to do it for you. I didn’t know what kind of fuel the car took, either, because it’s a rental and there was nothing to say, so we assumed 87 octane was OK. I also thought it was a bit strange that the attendant could use my bank card to pay without me putting in a PIN code; you don’t need one if you use it as a credit card (US bankcards mostly also serve as VISA charge cards) but it wasn’t clear to me if I’d need to sign or not afterward, so for security I did get out fo the car and enter my code. The gas station attendants here are not nearly as adorable as the teen-agers at the gas station we used to go to in Taiwan.
Otherwise, I’ve just been amassing words and meters: the former on my writing projects and the latter on the erg. I haven’t been getting huge numbers in each; having started Monday, I’m only about 4K words into my book on business processes, plus a few diagrams. (Funny how much faster blog entries are to write: this one is around a thousand words!) I’ve only been erging about 5km a day, due to some tendonitis in my right wrist. That hasn’t helped with all the typing either, though it isn’t really the limiting factor. I’ve also been spending time getting the document formatted and doing some research (hence the library visit).
I’ve also been spending time on house hunting. So far there’s one we like best, but they’re releasing townhouses in a complex a few at a time and the owners aren’t really responding to our realtor to see if we can get one with the features we want in the time we need it. There’s a second best that I’ll be taking another look at tomorrow, and a few more that might be OK. Once we get it, it will need to be furnished; we have a couple of chairs and bookcases from the other house to bring over, and after furnishing our flat in Taiwan we already have most of the kitchen gear and linens we’ll need, but we’ll have to buy beds and sofas and such. That should be fun, anyway.