blog-O-rama archive
march 2003

ann maria bell

03/14 1:59

happy &pi day

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781 6406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231 7253594081284811174502841027019385211055596446229489549303819644288109 7566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664 8213393607260249141273724587006606315588174881520920962829254091715364 3678925903600113305305488204665213841469519415116094330572703657595919 5309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956735188575272489122738 1830119491298336733624406566430860213949463952247371907021798609437027 7053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812745263560827785771342 7577896091736371787214684409012249534301465495853710507922796892589235 4201995611212902196086403441815981362977477130996051870721134999999837 2978049951059731732816096318595024459455346908302642522308253344685035 2619311881710100031378387528865875332083814206171776691473035982534904 2875546873115956286388235378759375195778185778053217122680661300192787 6611195909216420198938095257201065485863278865936153381827968230301952 0353018529689957736225994138912497217752834791315155748572424541506959 5082953311686172785588907509838175463746493931925506040092770167113900 9848824012858361603563707660104710181942955596198946767837449448255379 7747268471040475346462080466842590694912933136770289891521047521620569 6602405803815019351125338243003558764024749647326391419927260426992279 6782354781636009341721641219924586315030286182974555706749838505494588 5869269956909272107975093029553211653449872027559602364806654991198818 3479775356636980742654252786255181841757467289097777279380008164706001 6145249192173217214772350141441973568548161361157352552133475741849468 4385233239073941433345477624168625189835694855620992192221842725502542 5688767179049460165346680498862723279178608578438382796797668145410095 3883786360950680064225125205117392984896084128488626945604241965285022 2106611863067442786220391949450471237137869609563643719172874677646575 7396241389086583264599581339047802759009946576407895126946839835259570


The arrival rate of books that I'd like to read exceeds my throughput of books, and has for many years. The inevitable conclusion is that the number of books that I would like to read but haven't read is heading off towards infinity, though it seems likely I will die before it actually gets there. I'm running into a similar problem with my blog, with ideas for things I'd like to write about arriving faster than I write about them. In other words, it's as I suspected --- my brain has an unstable pole, located on the right side of my brain, probably in the spot where I was supposed to store my multiplication tables, which explains why whenever someone asks me what 6 x 7 is there's a long pause while I add 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 in my head. Writing about the fact that I have too much stuff to write about only adds iteration to instability.

After a marvelous and unexpected brunch, my housemate Jason and I decided to walk across the ice to Picnic Point. 15 F? No problem, in comparison to the rest of the weather we've had this winter, 15 F only qualifies as 'brisk.' The walk to the stairs that lead down to the lake was pleasant enough --- but with each step we took down the wind blew harder. There were patterns of lines etched on the surface of the ice and shadowy fractures with a murky three dimensional geometry embedded in the ice, very pretty but probably not worth risking frostbite for. We made it about 1/16th of the way to Picnic Point before reason prevailed and we turned back. Here's Jason's assessment of our outing.

It was much warmer back inside Rivendell, but like so many things in life, the problem was not the level but the trend --- the furnace had stopped working and the house was losing heat fast. Wayne, the furnace dude, showed up about an hour later. Wayne is nice. Wayne is prompt. Wayne is competent. Wayne has developed quite a rapport with our beastly old furnace. We like Wayne. But we really would have prefered that Wayne not come visit us on Sunday afternoon. Especially since Wayne's last visit cost us $1700. Maybe in the future we can just meet Wayne at the bar for a couple of drinks instead of having him come see us at Rivendell.

Between the cold weather and the furnace repairs, not to mention the less than forward-looking budgeting process that was used last August to decide rents for the year, the Rivenbudget is under a lot of strain. The last financial report was grim, the cold and the price of heating oil has made a huge dent in our budget and reserves, and we're carrying debt that could make any future increases in interest rates quite unpleasant.

So what are we doing? Most of our big expenses, mortgage, taxes, heat, are non-negotiable but we're cutting back where we can. Previously, incidental purchases of less than 50$ were okay'd by a nod from the treasurer, now they require a vote of the whole house and are restricted to absolute necessities. We've also tapped into our food budget to make up for the higher than average heating bills, that means no more 8$ bags of frozen raspberries, fewer pecans, almonds and hazlenuts and finding the bottom in the bottomless canister of chocolate chips. We snuck in a 10$ rent increase, in the guise of an "high speed internet/cable tv" charge, but for many of the people living here, that just means 10$ less to spend on incidentals like movies and eating out during the month. Today Jason, Comella, Bill & I resisted the temptation to go out for sushi, and had leftover tomato soup (homemade by Comella on Friday night -- yum!) for lunch instead, that's 25 - 40$ that we didn't spend.

I don't see any 'recovery' in sight for the Rivenrecession, and if the price of oil or interest rates rise things could get worse. We're like a microcosm of the national economy --- except that no one at Rivendell thinks the solution is starting a war on another coop to get control of their heating oil reserves.

back to blog-O-rama home

more blog-O-rama
archive of february 03