10 Mashiyyat 165 B.E. (Baha’i Calendar)
Soundtrack in my head: Steve Goodman, “City of New Orleans”
I’ve been so busy helping get this co-op started that I really haven’t had a chance to write much about it. I’m only finding time while on a train comin’ to Albuquerque.
There were two other adults in the house when I moved in a month ago. Now we’ve filled five rooms. In a nutshell, here’s what we’ve had to do: 1) move in and get ourselves situated, 2) clean up the mess left by previous occupants, 3) figure out how to organize our food buying, 4) recruit, greet and interview potential members, 5) acquire furniture—for weeks we ate our dinners on the porch until we finally got a dining room table 6) establish cooking and cleaning rotations, and 7) establish ourselves on the house credit union account and start figure out how to organize the finances. Among other things
For a while I was taking on the role of house membership coordinator, maintenance liaison, and house bookkeeper and the house’s MCC Board representative all at the same time. That’s a lot to take on. But now I have been able to delegate most of it, and for the moment, the only thing I haven’t delegated is the accounts receivable role (essentially, collecting rent from my housemates, figuring out what they owe, and depositing the rent checks).
I’ve been so busy that I only found time to post an update about the co-op when I boarded a train to Albuquerque on Saturday.
I scheduled this vacation months ago. I was going to originally go there for Christmas to visit with my father and relatives, but a co-worker with more seniority ended up taking the vacation days I needed i order to travel there over the holidays. So my father suggested that I come out for the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in early October instead and then my sister talked me into it. I bought the tickets in early July.
It wasn’t until the beginning of August that I realized I wanted to move into and help re-establish this new co-op, I’m now living in–and I made the move one month ago today. So the scheduling of this vacation was very fortuitous, because it is giving me a needed break right at the point I really need one.
It’s funny how train travel forces one to slow down—that’s one of the reasons I prefer to travel by train. It was a four hour trip to Chicago’s Union Station from Madison, and then I had a four-hour layover there before boarding the train for a 26-hour trip.
Some people would go stark raving mad at such an arrangement. But I love it. It forces me to slow down and enjoy the scenery. I have my books, my journal, and my laptop, and a beautiful view out the window. And plenty of good conversation.
I talked to an 87-year old man visiting his grandchildren in Kansas City. He got on at Fort Madison, IA, but lived in Fairfield IA for many years and talked about how a Hindu sect established itself in the area and ending up changing the cultural landscape of that small town. He didn’t seem bothered or judgmental about it, and it sounded like according to his account that there was minimal conflict. And in the dining car they seat complete strangers together because there are only so many seats. So I sat with two ladies from Toronto and an older African-American woman who lived for five years on an air force base in Okinawa. She had many fascinating stories and she and I shared Japan stories since I’d spent a little time there, too. Later I sat down to dinner with a man from Trinidad and Tobago who talked a lot about his country..
I woke up to see the arid flat plains outside of Dodge City, Kansas, and I actually found them to be quite beautiful in their own way. The plains became hillier as we crossed into Colorado, and then hills became mountains. Our train followed the old Santa Fe Trail through the Raton Pass as we crossed into New Mexico, and with the elevation being over 7,000 feet there, we saw some fall colors. (Up until this point, the only place I’d seen fall colors this year was in Wisconsin.) Then we went through some other mountain passes, and then, finally, the Sandia Mountains on the eastern edge of Albuquerque came into view.
So I’ll be here for a week. Today, my father, sister, her boyfriend and I will take the Tramway up to Sandia Crest at the top of the Sandias, and later on in the afternoon I will be getting together with a Baha’i friend I’m very much looking forward to seeing. I’m not sure I’m at what point I might find myself in a “relaxed” state of mind, but hopefully that will come shortly.