Charles Petzold

The Country-to-City Transition

September 3, 2006
Roscoe, NY

Tomorrow we make the end-of-summer transition from Deirdre's house in the Catskills back to our studio apartments in New York City — the word transition intending to denote something much less than a move but more than an excursion.

Although we make overnight excursions to the City during the summer, and we make weekend excursions to the house during the rest of the year, we need to make less-frequent transitions between the two locations primarily because of the cats.

Yes, it's all about the cats. Cats can easily stay by themselves one or two nights in a row, or even three, but four is really pushing it, and we try to avoid that. The other problem is that they don't like to travel. Vera's gotten more accustomed to it, but Noodles seems more neurotic than ever. The last time we took him back to the City, he stopped drinking water, and actual medical problems followed, which resulted in an $800 vet bill, and we prefer to keep those to a minimum, because after several large vet bills you'll be tempted to put a price tag on the cat, and that's quite unpleasant.

So, tomorrow's transition really means that the cats are going back to New York City, and we use the occasion to transfer other stuff as well, mostly books that we brought up here (or bought up here) fully intending to read but, alas, didn't quite find the time. Some of the books I'll be taking back to the city for (let's hope) autumn reading are:

The titles that are asterisked are in progress to varying degrees. (I tend to be reading more than one book at a time.)

And, of course, I have to weigh everything I intended to do this summer against what I actually got done. Finishing Applications = Code + Markup: A Guide to the Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation was the big accomplishment, of course. Any summer in which you can finish a book before August has to be considered excellent.

But I also wanted to finish my free on-line book .NET Book Zero: What the C or C++ Programmer Needs to Know About C# and the .NET Framework and that didn't get done, and I wanted to work on an essay about Charles Babbage, and that didn't happen at all. I got a little work done on an article for MSDN Magazine that's due September 15, but lots more needs to be done on that. I've been loafing around reading for most of August. On Tuesday I'll be back at my desk coding and writing. The summer's over.

Re-entry into New York City after a summer away can be difficult. All of a sudden there's a lot more noise, and a lot more people, and a lot more trucks and cars than you've been accustomed to. But it's worth it because it is, after all, the greatest city in the world.