Friday, May 1, 2009

The Germ by Ogden Nash

The Germ

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.
--Ogden Nash

I picked this poem today because I wanted something short and easy to find a picture for. We've been hearing rumblings about the swine flu, and I'm surprised at how close to home it's getting. My mom says that they have confirmed cases at a school in Elyria, Ohio which is in her Ward, and my sister in law says that Park City Utah schools are closed because of suspected cases. Pretty scary.

I wanted to post an update for my friends in California, and anyone else who follows my blog but isn't on my family email lists. Here is an email that Peter and I sent out last night that covers most of the bases:
Our new address is the same as the one we've been handing out, but now it's #3 instead of #4.

Our first apartment had so much broken furniture and such a bad smell that we got them to switch us to the apartment next to it. Its furniture is not broken and the apartment doesn't smell. Hooray! There is the sound of water running constantly somewhere overhead, but presumably this is a problem with an upstairs apartment and can get fixed sooner or later.

Tomorrow the POD is going to be delivered to Grandpa Holt's house in West Jordan between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. If anyone is around the area near 5:00 Friday or 10:00 Saturday morning and wants to help, call Karen's cell phone for directions! Unpacking it should go a lot more quickly than packing it did, but a couple extra hands will definitely help. We'll probably be moving the heaviest stuff (big
pieces of furniture) Saturday morning.

Elizabeth seems to be adjusting well to our new home(s) but she's waking up a couple more times during the night than usual. Hopefully with a better-smelling room and some of her own furniture she may be able to turn over and go back to sleep. She really enjoys having a large fenced-in grassy yard to walk around in. She likes to pick the dandelion stems once all the seeds have fallen off. We're right by the
big Provo library in the old Academy building, and there's a park a couple blocks away with a large installation of playground equipment. There's also a pool there with a water playground and two ginormous waterslides (like they should be in a commercial water park) that looks like it's getting ready to open up soon, so that should be something fun to do while we're here this summer.

Karen and I are tired from moving and from sleeping on bad mattresses. The air mattress we slept on the last week in our old place took a toll on us as well—Karen says she could not have taken another night of it. We are pleased to have arrived in Utah and that the trip went so well—Elizabeth slept all but about one hour of the drive.

I went to my new job at Brandon's house today and put in a good day's work, which was very satisfying. I started setting up the computer and then inventoried the boxes of books stacked in the basement.

Karen is looking forward to having real dishes, clean clothes, and Elmer's glue to fix the books that Lizbeth has been destroying. It will also be nice to go to our new ward on Sunday and see if we can make friends and find playmates for Elizabeth. says we are in the Provo 4th Ward, and the church building is two half-blocks away.


Peter mentioned the smell, but the words "bad smell" doesn't really do it justice. It smelled like somebody had wet the bed in Elizabeth's room, and probably the carpet underneath. It wasn't so bad when we had the windows open, but when I shut them at night (it gets pretty cold here), the stench was overwhelming. We tried just removing the mattresses, but that just spread the foul odor. The other maintenance problems were kind of overwhelming too. I wrote requests for the most urgent ones, and ended up with 19 workorders. There were holes and peeling paint (reportedly lead based) in the walls and ceilings and the light fixtures were literally falling out of them. The kitchen faucet dripped (and had mold underneath), one toilet wouldn't flush, one tub wouldn't drain, and the other wouldn't hold water in. The shower rod and most of the towel racks were broken or missing. Half of the drawers in the closets had lost their fronts which were sitting around with the sharp screws sticking out of them. Several pieces of furniture were broken in other dangerous ways. The couches had that sticky slightly feel of furniture where college guys have sat, sweated, eaten pizza, and wiped their hands on the cushions. The fluorescent lights in the vanity area buzzed, and the cabinets and drawers there couldn't be counted on to close let alone keep Elizabeth out. Somebody had stuffed a couple of rolls of old carpet and linoleum into the furnace closet making a horrible fire hazard, and on top of all that, there were ants!

The new apartment has obviously had a kitchen remodel recently, and the walls and ceilings have been repaired and painted as well. The furniture is obviously newer, and while the place still reeks of BYU student housing, at least it doesn't literally reek.

The drive went as well as could be hoped. We had to jump my car to get it started before we left Torrance (at about 7:30 pm), but it started up again every time we stopped on the way. I had to push myself to make it to Vegas, but once we were through the city, I had hit my second wind. We did end up stopping for about an hour in Mesquite to nurse Elizabeth and nap, but the cars had so much stuff in them that we couldn't lay the seats down so we didn't stay long. I thought we were going to make it all the way to Provo, but when we were still about an hour south of there, I got VERY drowsy and thought it would be best to stop and wake up. We went to a Burger King, ate some breakfast, and drank some caffeinated energy drink, and walked around a bunch before heading north for the last leg. I did give Elizabeth one dose of Benedryl as we set out from Torrance, but that lasted her the whole night, and though she woke up several times, she generally just fell back to sleep immediately.

Well, it's time to feed Elizabeth some lunch, so I'd better sign off. I want to write sometime about my feelings as we left our home, but I don't have time right now.


  1. Karen,
    its good to hear about your move, that must have been awful to arrive to such a nasty apartment. I am glad you found something better! I am also glad that your cars both worked well and you were able to arrive safely. We miss you here already!

  2. Thanks to both you and Peter for the updates. I'm glad you got into a better apartment.

  3. I'm glad you got to switch apartments! Much better.

    I'm excited for you all!

  4. Hi Karen,

    I'm so glad you made it OK and that you were able to switch apartments. The first one sounds unbelievably nasty. Thanks for both updates. Great things are coming!

    Love, Kathey