Tuesday, June 29, 2010

So Tired...

Pretty stream - much prettier if it didn't splash over the top of my shoes when I forded it...

You know what doesn't help when I am so tired? Having the computer crash in the middle of writing a post and everything getting lost...

The 60 hour weeks are really catching up to me here, but we're getting a break very soon. We'll be breaking from work beginning on Thursday, continuing all the following week, and then resuming on the next Monday. This is an official break - the office needs to get some preliminary reports in and get the next bit of work lined up. The good news for us is that the project is being extended, so we should have work through the end of July. August 1st we move to North Carolina!

Since the last post, we've moved from Owego, NY, back to Goshen, NY. We're in the same hotel as before. Living in a hotel you kind of get to know the handyman, the people at the front desk, the maids, etc. It's kind of like being back at home.

Lots has happened that I was too lazy to write about - we went to the Owego Strawberry Festival (fueled by too many strawberry daiquiris), and visited Ithaca for a day (gorges! Ah, I slay me) as well as the Skylands New Jersey Botanical Gardens. Luckily for me I have tons of pictures (uh, except from the Strawberry Festival - those all came out blurry for some mysterious reason). And we have been working. OH, how we have been working.

I need a vitamin water. I am addicted to vitamin water. I think I need an intervention.


Snake! Could be a rattlesnake - looked like one but has no rattle. I almost stepped on it - but I saw it in time. Can you see it?

My boss was like, "You like taking pictures. Take a picture of this moth." And I was like, "Ok." So here's a picture of a moth on the Trimble GPS.

Dig that hole, Leland

The best part of the week, Sunday lunch at this great French restaurant, Le Petite Cuisine, in Warwick, NY. We ate snails there. They are tasty.

We told them last Sunday that this was the last time we'd be there because we weren't going to be working in the area anymore, and they thanked us for our patronage and gave us a discount on our bill! I guess we're good tippers.

Goofing around in Owego

Leland stretching before the big run (note: there is no big run)

The bucolic little town of Owego, NY. Apparently it won some kind of "Coolest Small Town in America" contest. It's cute!

The bridge into town over the Susquehanna

Owego has an awesome little bookstore and here Leland displays his hefty purchase.

Oh, no, back to work! You can see the existing pipeline corridor that we're working along in the cut through the trees here (actual pipe is underground. You know, where pipes live). The pipeline is being widened.

The gorgeous view of a landowner who was angry at us until our boss charmed him into liking the idea of archaeologists on his property.

And this is what we've been trapped in for the past six days. Digging in the corn sucks. It's hot and the corn tries to eat you.

See? Deep holes! A meter deep, in fact. That shovel handle comes up to my chin, just to give you an idea of how deep that is. This area is on a floodplain, so there are lots of soil deposits to dig through here.

Stupid corn. The best sites are on floodplains, though (people tend to live by the water), so at least we have the potential to find some interesting stuff.

Us overlooking Ithaca. They have tasty Thai food there. Gorges!

And here we are at Skylands New Jersey Botanical Garden.

1920's era Manor House - once a private residence - at the heart of the Botanical Gardens. Like a Great Gatsby party waiting to happen.

Photographer fussily arranging specimens in the pond

So pretty!

The gardens were so peaceful and very well kept. And free!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Moving Day!

Yesterday we moved from Goshen, NY, to Owego, NY. Owego is just north of the PA border on the Susquehanna river, in the Finger Lakes region. We'll be here more than a week, but no one's really sure for how long. We were supposed to do some shovel tests on a nearby large field, but now that the field has been planted we can't dig it up. Instead, we're walking the surface looking for artifacts, which should take a few days but not as long as anticipated.

We're reaching the inevitable point of job insecurity that always comes with these projects. Rumors are flying - we've heard July 4th layoffs, and then most recently by the end of June. Talk of more work at the beginning of August, but we were planning on moving to North Carolina in August....

This project was supposed to be 4-6 weeks. I was hoping that we'd have something through the rest of the summer, but I guess it's my fate to be laid off in July. I've been laid off in July twice before! We'll see what happens. We've been able to save almost 100% of our paychecks and live off of per diem, so we have a bit of a cushion.

On the plus side, we're in a great hotel here in Owego. If you are looking for a place to stop on a road trip or something, I heartily recommend the Holiday Inn Express. We have two huge rooms with tons of space (Leland upon walking in: "we could have a dance party in here!"), including a full size refrigerator, kitchen sink, and stove with two burners. Flat screen TV, pool and lounge - and, of course, an actual hot breakfast. Plus the grocery store is right across the street! Shovelbum heaven.

Before moving we were driving more than an hour from Goshen into the Poconos, which is gorgeous country but, seriously, we need to discuss the definition of "mountain". Being more familiar with the Rockies or the Bighorns, I didn't even realize that we were in the mountains here. Seriously. After a week or so I heard someone talking about the mountains and I was like, "Mountains? Where? Oh, we're on one? Um... where?"

We drove through the Catskills on our way from Goshen to Owego, and I was much more convinced that these were actually mountains, although really they are still way too rounded and green on the tops. But if it makes you feel better, East Coast, I guess we can call them mountains. The drive was fantastic, over windy roads and through great scenery, and I could even sing at the top of my lungs to the my music because Leland was driving a company vehicle so I made the trip alone.

I'm excited to be in the Finger Lakes, as I've never been in this part of the country before. I'll try to keep posting pictures, but our new internet connection seems to hate Blogger picture uploads. Perhaps we'll try an internet cafe to get some pictures up

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

An Angry Rant

Things have been kind of boring lately, and I didn't want to post a lot of complaints about enormous rocks, heat, insects - you know, all the other stuff I've been complaining about. Wouldn't want to get repetitive.

However... I have something completely different to complain about tonight. Or perhaps to rant about.

You see, this evening Leland and I had our dinner completely ruined by a table full of shrieking, self-absorbed hipster assholes.

We went to a Mexican restaurant suggested by one of our co-workers. (Every dinner comes with a quesadilla, sopapilla, and shot of Tequila! We're in!) The restaurant was cute, with Mexican murals across every surface. But as the waiter led us to our table, a strolling Mariachi began to play.

Uh-oh. I thought. We're going to have to pay this guy to go away or we won't be able to hear ourselves think.

Also, there was a baby crying.

Uh-oh. I thought. That baby will be crying and it will be annoying.

Oh Anna of the past. You were VERY WRONG to fear the Mariachi. And the baby.

For you see, our dinner was ruined NOT by the Mariachi, but by our fellow diners! Other adults! Yes! A table full of people yelling at each other!

Not angry yelling (most of the time). Happy yelling. Joyful shrieking. Celebratory ululating.

Yes. Ululating. You know, that yi-yi-yi-yi-yi noise that the Mexicans make in bad Westerns. Which, of course, is the proper thing to do when one takes a shot of Tequila in a Mexican restaurant.

And not racist in any way. Because, as I heard you all loudly reassure each other, you are not racist. Therefore, you are obviously able to do racist things. Because you know better, apparently, which makes it - ok? Somehow the logic was lost there.

Speaking of knowing better, I would honestly have rather had the baby screaming. Babies crying are annoying, but you can't really blame the baby and I always feel so bad for the poor parents, who want the baby to be quiet just as much as or more than everyone else. YOU IDIOTS HAVE NO EXCUSE.

Oh, and I was mortified for mankind when you, Mexican-shirt Girl, started to make up names for the waiters (who were all Hispanic). "Tom! Tom!" Yelling at the waiter to get over to you.

And then your friends thought you actually knew the guy's name but weren't, you know, pronouncing it correctly or something, so everyone chimed in "Tomas! Tomas!"

"I just made up that name." You say, evidently without a shred of shame.

That's it. Off. I'm voting you off the planet. Preferably via some sort of cannon.

And the reason you wanted the attention of the waiter? They screwed up your friend's bill. And the appropriate response to that incredibly important and rare occurrence is for you, Aggrieved Party, to pout, call the waiters names, and threaten to not give them a tip. Loudly. Not that you have any other volume level, I just wish to reiterate that this entire drama was conducted at decibels that exceeded OSHA safety regulations for workers without ear protection.

All with a quivering lip suggesting you might cry - cry! - at any second. Listen. I cry a lot. Without any real solid justifiable reason, usually. And I have never threatened to cry in a restaurant because they screwed up my bill.

So when your friend's bill is screwed up, what do you do? Yes, you, Skinny Guy who Probably Has Ironic Tattoos. You're the man, right? I think that you should stomp to the waiter's station and bully the manager into giving your friend a 25$ gift certificate!

Obviously you share this opinion.

Glad you're mollified, Aggrieved Party. And so happy that now you want the staff to take pictures of you doing shots of Tequila!

Air-Raid Siren Girl With Voice Who Cuts Through Glass, you should get in on this picture! Quick, yell for one of the waiters to get in the picture with you. Yes, literally yell at him. Make up a fake name for him, and insist that he sticks out his tongue in the picture, as you are doing.

Continue to order the staff around as you maneuver your party into different poses. Pouring salt onto your hand! Licking the salt! Shot glass, poised at your lips! And so on!

Please, now flip through the pictures on your camera and discuss between yourselves - and, by necessity, the rest of the freaking restaurant - which of these photos you will put on Facebook. Yell at each other about posting pictures with alcohol in them, and struggle briefly (and LOUDLY) over the camera.

What the hell is wrong with you? I'm not a real big fan of child abuse, but I have to believe that if someone kicked your ass a little more often at a crucial time in your development, you might not be able now to fit your head so far up there! Can you even see that there are other people in the restaurant trying to enjoy their meals?

You're rude, you're self-absorbed, and you're intolerable. You ruined my meal, and even though I yelled at you as I left the restaurant (yes, I did), I doubt that any intervention at this point will have any effect on your behavior or attitude.

I know that when you tell this story in the future, it will go like this: "hey, remember when we were at that Mexican restaurant doing NOTHING AT ALL and some BITCH yelled at us for NO REASON?"

Just know that when I reminisce about this little episode in the future, my version will go like this: "hey, remember when those assholes were being epically loud in that Mexican restaurant and I BEAT THEM WITH A BASEBALL BAT?"