Inhuman Swill : Scattered Notes

I am told there are two seasons in Chicago—winter and construction. Well, construction season is over.

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If you visit Chicago by car, please note that it is illegal to fail to display a front license plate. If you drive a car like the one we occasionally borrow from the in-laws, souped up with a special turbo grille in front that doesn't allow for a license plate, you just might get a $50 ticket.

We did.

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Shelves finally up and filled
As we unpacked all the books and shelved them, I also LibraryThung them all. (That's the past participle of the verb to LibraryThing.) That is how I know we have nearly 1,200 books in our collection. Not a huge number by some standards, but significantly smaller than the number of books we had two moves ago. Between giveaway parties, library donations, and Strand sales, we've unloaded at least half of our books in the past two years.

Oh, part of the process of shelving the books was installing the shelves themselves. We picked up three big new bookcases for the main rooms from Ikea, but in my home office I hung the custom shelves that have moved with us, again, twice:

Hey, if you're on LibraryThing too, let's be friends.

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It's amazing what a difference it makes when a city agrees to stash its garbage out back in the alleys instead of out front on the sidewalk.

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It was an interesting conversation in a staff meeting at work the next-to-last week of June. "So," said my boss, "you'll be in the office on Thursday the 28th, I hope? Please say yes."

Laura and I were moving from New York City to Chicago on Saturday the 30th—our sixth anniversary—and I thought I had already been pretty clear that I had to take both that Thursday and Friday off. I was keeping my job, and once we were in Chicago I would resume work as usual, except I would be working from home. I was using vacation time for the move.

I considered what to say. People are used to me being kind of an asshole at the office; I rarely hold back from saying what I think, or so my coworkers seem to think, and I believe they find it amusing, annoying, and scary in about equal measure. "The movers come Friday morning," I said. "My wife has been doing the lion's share of the packing, but if I don't pitch in in a big way on Thursday, she'll kill me."

"What if we'll kill you if you don't work that day?" said another of my coworkers. We did have a lot of tough deadlines coming up.

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William Shunn

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