Squaring Things Away

So tell me this: Is “Squaring things away” really a saying, or did I make it up?

According to my friendly neighborhood (Internet) dictionary, square has a lot of definitions! (12 adjective definitions alone.) And I liked this particular Internet dictionary entry because it even contained a section for verbal phrases! So, square away is actually a nautical concept, originating from the work of squaring the yards of a sailing vessel.

USS Yorktown
USS Yorktown, Patriot's Point – Charleston, SC

Wait, not that kind of ship!

Pride (schooner) – Charleston, SC
The Pride – Charleston, SC

That’s better! (The yards of a schooner or other sailboat like this are the masts and spars from which the sails hang, in case you did not know.)

Anyway, the other definition of square that really caught my attention was transitive verb form #6: “To bring into balance; settle.”

Now, doesn’t that just sound delightful?

I’ve been doing a lot of “squaring away” lately. I finished my Master’s of Science in Geography this spring, and I even went to graduation.

Me graduating!
Me graduating!

Karen and I moved into a cute little house, and we even save on the rent. Unfortunately, this also means I’ve had lots of smaller projects to square away added to my never-ending to do list. In the last two weeks, I made a guest bedroom (sort of) out of a junk room, cleaned for my parents to visit, and worked on Karen’s garden seemingly non-stop. Yesterday we had the beds tilled by a friend, and we have them completely covered in (free!) fertilizer.

Then there’s the little detail of planning a PhD program and dissertation. I’ve only gotten 7 of my required 9 hours of course work for the fall squared away at this point, but I’m thinking a Directed Readings course may fill the last two.

I am also making (very slow) progress on a dissertation idea, but I’m spending way more time trying to figure out what fieldwork will entail when I get to Oslo – only two more weeks until I’m gone for a month! The dissertation idea, at this point, is to somehow compare the skilled migration experiences and place-making processes of IT workers in Oslo with those in Berlin. Given all that Berlin has been up to lately regarding the Blue Card, at least this work is timely if nothing else.

So I’ve squared away a few yards, only to have the sails open on me elsewhere.

Sail. Sail thy best. Ship of Democracy.

2 thoughts on “Squaring Things Away”

  1. You should be writing essays! This one is terrific!!! I wouldn’t worry about the dissertation topic…it will come to you as you do your research.

    Like

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