Beth Macy

Settling in, except for the smell

Walden Pond at dusk

Walden Pond at dusk

The fam at Walden Pond, escaping the 93-degree Cambridge heat.

Will and his cousin Chloe (our first visitor!) at one of the Harvard Yard gates

Bike riding along the Charles. . . .

Oh, googlemaps, how we adore ye — even when you fail us.

We’ve meandered our way across the Somerville line with the help of not one but two police escorts. (Don’t tell Skip Gates I said this, but they’re nicer than you’d think.)

We’ve been to every Target store within a 10-mile radius.

Last night — in the most oppressive heat to hit Massachusetts yet this year (boy, we miss the ubiquitous Southern air conditioning) — we drove to nearby Concord to wet our stinkin’ bodies in Walden Pond, eat homemade chicken salad and imagine Thoreau, who most certainly did not have to tango with the Cambridge parking sticker authorities.

Speaking of our favorite Kafka-esque bureaucrats: They speak so softly through the plexiglass you can barely hear them, but they carry a giant, we’ll-tow-your-ass shtick. After spending more than $1,000 on Massachusetts insurance, registration and tags, we were turned away because we neglected to bring two pieces of mail to the office as proof of address — it didn’t matter that we hadn’t yet received any mail because we’d just arrived!

“How many Nieman fellows does it take to change a lightbulb?” my newspaper pal Matt Chittum wanted to know.

“Four. One to call Tom and three to audit a course about it.”

The part about calling Tom is dead-on. He’s already proved himself indispensable, installing closet lights, setting up e-mail so I can still use my same address, and helping me figure out how to manage my new Kryptonite bike lock.

He helped a stranded friend of a neighbor jump-start her car, and backed the lady’s husband’s car out of the drive because in all her Brooklyn-born years, she’d never learned to drive.

Not driving here is pretty smart, actually, which is why we’ve walked the 25-minute walk to Harvard campus twice already and taken the bike trail along the Charles to get our Trader Joe’s fix. Thanks to Sara and Chris and Connie for the awesome gift-card going-away gifts! (And to Ian, for the super-thoughtful subway pass!)

I’m writing from my desk, which is wedged between a bedroom wall, a dresser and our bed. Will’s bed is set up in the former dining room, which is also pinch-hitting as a home office for Tom. The eat-in kitchen, while suffering from a smell that no manner of mopping seems to get rid of — alas, it ain’t garlic — also holds the washer and dryer. Of course the princely teenager gets his own unadulterated space, something I think we can all agree is a very good thing, especially since we caved and got him a moving-guilt Xbox.

But overall, we are loving the smaller digs, less than half the size of our hulking Roanoke Ugly. There’s less space to clean, less stuff to manage, and it has a lovely 1880’s-era feel, complete with a great front porch to read the Boston Globe on and beautiful window lighting. It also happens to be downstairs from the wonderful Peter and Roz, who brought us Sam Adams beers the night we moved in and a thermos full of coffee the next day.

Orientation begins next week. We’re thinking of a weekend beach outing, maybe even a trip to see the Maine relatives and celebrate Tom’s birthday on Sunday.

Thanks to all of our great Roanoke pals and relatives for the fantastic send-off. We miss you already. And come visit, seriously. I’m sure the mystery kitchen odor will be gone before too long.

Tom’s on the case, after all.

Exit mobile version