Saturday, November 14, 2009

A headache, but a fun headache....

Here it is! This little house is the newest reason for Billy and me to take near-overdose quantities of over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and analgesics at "o'dark thirty" in the morning. Our first house, beautiful, full of light, and for a good little while at least, a pain in the everything.

Mary Miltenberger, longtime family friend, said it best: "Owning your own home is a headache, but it's a fun headache." We moved to this home from a 1-bedroom apartment, using a 17-foot U-Haul. By the next day, everything hurt, right to the fingertips. So it's fair to say that by the time that only heads were aching, we were very happy indeed.

Within the first week, there has been a lot to laugh about. Much of this has been our minds playing tricks on our brains, thanks to sleep deprivation. We have thought we lost our kitchen sink (apparently neither one of us is good at maintaining relational positions in new places); searched for clothes and food by holding flashlights in our mouths (note to self: search for light switches and outlets during daylight hours next time!); and awakened in the middle of the night not only wondering where we were, but also thinking the house was aflame (wives, don't allow your husbands to play with fireplaces unattended!).

Life is good. And funny, when you are two dopes in a new house, on short rest as they say in the baseball trades.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hey! That's not one of my preferred TLA's!

Everything anyone ever taught you about clear communication and professional writing skills is correct. The thing is that attempting to practice the behaviors suggested in those lessons is highly irritating. Simply put, explicit and spelled-out is just not how anyone really wants to write when they're GSD or "getting stuff done". Left to our own devices, easier is better, and easy for me may not be easy for you: I'll write it fast now and go back and de-code later if I have to. Those of us who think at all, tend to think quick and think in largely idiosyncratic code.

This laziness-in-service-to-quick-thought has been a persistent pattern of mine (not, dear readers, an asset!) for years and years. It was an in-joke to those around me, even before I graduated college. There was an "Amanda-to-English" translation guide on one of my first websites, and the code my friends continuously worked to crack was called variously "CryptoWilloughby" and "Amandese" and "Amandisms."

Sadly, this affliction continues to dog me to the present, and I'm afraid it's maintained and even shaped in my everyday environment (it, and I, are caught in a behavior trap, to those who appreciate the reference). As a SpEd-BCBA studying for the NYS SBL/SDL credentials, I throw about TLA's (three-letter acronyms), not to mention the odd 4-LA and 2-LA (FLA? TwLA?) with the best and worst of "them." At work, we talk about FBA's, BIP's, IEP's, IFSP's, SEIT's, DTT, DTS, VB, VBA, VB-MAPP, DAR's, TPRA's, CABAS, NYSEd, the DoH, the DoE (that's Education, not Energy), NYC, NYS, BCBA's, BCaBA's, and the BACB, among many, many others. It's no mere alphabet soup: it's an invitation to acquired dyslexia. But at least in our own tight-knit little verbal community we have some idea of what we're all talking about. When a rookie doesn't know the TLA (2-LA, 4-LA), we gleefully teach the acronym, and, if necessary, the associated decryption and import of the vocabulary and referent associated with the acronym, and scurry onward.

Imagine my surprise to receive an email related to buying a house that stopped my eyes mid-scan of screen. It took me quite a while to get just half its jist. It said, in part:

"Then all conditions have been met for file to go to QC then CTC."


Like the Star Trek computer calculating pi, I began sifting through all the terminology I had been learning these past six months. What natural-language match could I come up with for "CTC"? Fine mind for science that I have, I gathered by its terminal place in the sentence that CTC must be the final step before actually closing on the house, so it must be more important than anything coming between now and the end of the sentence. Hmmm. C. Close. Aha! Clear to Close! Yes, that must be it. Attorney, mortgage guy, realtor, all week all anyone had said was "Clear to Close." Some status the mortgage bank gives before closing. Got that.

QC. Ahem. Quality Control? Dunno. Still don't know. Actually, still working on the assumption that it's a passing phase before the Clear to Close. Will find out sometime tomorrow, I guess. If it's not a TLA, then it can't be THAT important, can it?