Sunday, October 01, 2006

Brain Dump

I know I promised more routine updates once things calmed down, and you would think that eliminating the 60 hours or so spent every week working and driving back and forth to work would qualify as "calming down." Well, you be the judge.

Friday, September 22 - The Anniversary Date of our New Life.

Short day at work because a) I needed to get my butt over to the American Legion hall for the showing at 3pm prior to our auction at 5pm, and b) what are they going to do; fire me? Anyway, we were both pretty nervous about the auction. Even though we filled a 24-foot moving truck with stuff, it just didn't look like that much once it was at the hall. We were also a little nervous about what things were going to auction for. Auctions are unpredictable; if you get the right people there, you can make a mint. The wrong people, you give a lot of stuff away or take it back home. Given that we had no way to haul much of anything home, that meant giving away anything that didn't sell. Now personally, I wasn't doing this to make money. I was only interested in reducing volume. But we fronted the auctioneer $1,000, rented a truck for $85, purchased trigger locks for all the guns I was selling, etc., and it would be nice to at least make that back so we weren't effectively paying people to take our crap.

I've always had the attitude that if you expect the worst, you will live your life being constantly and pleasantly surprised. I went into the auction figuring we could consider ourselves lucky to break even and everything over that would be gravy. To make a long story short, we went home with a lot of gravy. Like, $3,600 worth of gravy. All for a truck-load of junk, most of which hadn't seen the light of day in years.

We were happy, to put it mildly, but we also didn't get out of the hall until after 10pm, which meant we didn't fall into bed until sometime around midnight.

Saturday, September 23 - Our First Day of Freedom

So of course we were up by 7am to get to one of Debbie's nephew's last football game of the season. They won (way to go, Ashton!!), which, if I heard right, made them undefeated for the season. Debbie's mom bought everyone lunch at a local diner, then we headed for home. We were planning on working on the packing, but we decided we had eaten too much and watched Fantastic Four instead.

Sunday, September 24

I was up early again, for no apparent reason. Debbie was still in bed, so I figured it would be a good time to catch up on all my internet stuff. Yea. Right. Not even close. Not only was I way behind on everything, I was working from the lowest circle of dial-up hell. So once Debbie was up, we decided to do something more constructive than stare at a computer screen upon which nothing was happening, and go into Traverse City and shop for "Arco Supplies" (everything from rain gear to finger condoms). We came home from TC, unloaded, re-loaded with other stuff and headed into Kalkaska for my youngest grand-niece's 1st Birthday Party. My sister and her husband were up from Alabama, so that was pretty much the day. We did get home in time to start watching Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, but we both fell asleep about and hour or so into it. And yes, we realize we live a very exciting life.

Monday, September 25

I'm not sure what good it does to quit your job, then get up every morning at the same time anyway. Today we had doctor's appointments and car maintenance. After my flu shot, tetanus booster, and blood draw, I felt like a pin cushion. Once we were back at the house, we made good progress on turning the piles of debris into somewhat better organized piles of debris. We now have four piles going in the living room: The first is a pile of things we want to take with us on our first trip down to Florida, then out to Arcosanti for the five-week workshop. This pile must be very small as it all has to fit into the Durango. The second pile is stuff we will most likely take back with us when we come back to Michigan around Christmas when we hope to be in our permanent apartment at Arcosanti. The third pile is stuff we will send for once we are better situated. The fourth pile is stuff I suspect may never make it out to Arizona. We worked steady until dinner, then ran into town for a few more errands, then back home for dinner and the rest of Fellowship of the Ring.

Tuesday, September 26

Yep. You guessed it. Up at the butt-crack of dawn. We spent the entire day sorting, cleaning, packing, labeling, and stacking. We ended the day with dinner and a movie (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers).

Wednesday, September 27

Up early and packing, but for a different reason. Debbie was scheduled for some cruise classes in Chicago on Thursday and Friday, so I figured I would drive her down there, then spend a couple days bumming around Chicago while she was in class. We were mostly packed and were just starting to load the car when I got a call from our auctioneer asking if we would come into Traverse City to pick up our check and sign some final paperwork. Of course. I can change plans pretty quickly when serious money is involved. So we finished loading the Durango, then headed for Chicago via Traverse City. We arrived at our hotel around 6pm, and spent the rest of the evening walking around the area, grabbing some BBQ for dinner, then going to bed.

Thursday, September 28 - Chicago

Up at 5am for our commute into Downtown Chicago. We didn't have any real problems other than figuring out how to get into the building where Debbie's classes were being held. We eventually found the parking area and ditched the car. Debbie headed to her class, and I hiked to the nearest bus station and grabbed a ride to the Shedd Aquarium. It's been 20 years since my last visit and much had changed and a lot of new stuff added. I enjoyed it, but I guess I'm just not one of those people that can do this sort of thing alone. I kept catching myself turning to point out something to whoever was with me only to find no one there.

I was done at the aquarium around 3pm, and the weather was absolutely beautiful, so I decided to hoof it instead of messing with the bus. It took me five minutes less time to walk than to ride the bus. Score one for the Arcosanti concept. I hung around the lobby until Debbie was done, then we were back out in Chicago commuter traffic and heading back to our hotel. Dinner at the Olive Garden near our hotel finished up the day.

Friday, September 29 - One Week Anniversary of Our New Life

And I was up at 5am for a repeat performance of annoying Chicago commuters. Instead of spending the day wandering around by myself, I just hung out on a comfy couch and caught up on some reading and making some notes for this entry. As soon as Debbie was done with her last class, we headed straight for Michigan and arrived home (at least for a couple more weeks) around 1:30am. The power was off when we got here, so we knew that the sun didn't shine much (if at all) the entire time we were gone. Is there no sun in this cursed land? And whose dumb-ass idea was it to run a house on solar power in a place that can go weeks without seeing any direct sunlight? Oh. Right.

Saturday, September 30

I actually managed to sleep in until 7am today. We took our time getting around in the morning, then headed into town to make several bank deposits, and buy some groceries and the last of our Arco supplies. We came back to the house with the intention of doing some more packing, but after looking at the half dozen piles of stuff we were planning on giving to people, we decided to spend the rest of the day playing Santa Claus. We didn't make it back to the house until after 10pm. Debbie went straight to bed, but I wasn't really tired, so I decided to do this instead.

See what I mean about "calming down?" Next week for sure....

Some random notes:

I want to know in what universe that honking your horn at someone that is sitting at a red light has ever aided in moving traffic. Every cab driver in Chicago does this. Whenever you see a street scene on TV or in a movie and there is this background noise of random honking, that's cab drivers just making random noise. The really funny part is that when they have a reason to honk, they don't. Cut off a cab and nearly run him into a parked car (which I did) and they won't touch the horn. They will loudly curse you in Arabic, but never the horn. But if you are sitting in front of one in a line of stationary cars at a red light, expect to get honked at two or three times before the light turns green. Maybe the major cities should follow the example of the town in Georgia that made punching someone for burning a flag a $50 ticket, and make punching a cabbie for superfluous horn usage a $25 or $50 fine.

While living in Flint and working in Detroit, I only wanted to get out of the city. Now that I've spent a couple days in Chicago after living in a rural area for seven-plus years, I can say without a doubt that I still have no desire to live in a city. That isn't meant as some generic city-bashing comment. I understand enough about economics to know that without the cities, the rural life I've been living would be impossible. I can also appreciate the role cities play as reservoirs of culture and science that just cannot be supported in a place like Traverse City. All I'm saying is that it just isn't for me.

Will Chicago ever finish building that damn expressway? They were working on in when I was there twenty years ago, they were still working on it when I was there ten years ago, and they are still working on it with no end in sight. This has to be some sort of all-time record for the biggest waste of taxpayer money and commuters' time in history.

Best line I heard the entire time I was in Chicago, spoken in the Shedd Aquarium by a woman my age while looking at an enclosure containing bright yellow poison dart frogs: "Look at those! They almost look real!"

A thought occurred to me watching preschool kids operating the computers used in the various displays at the Shedd Aquarium: If you think computers have radically changed things, just wait. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

OK; it's now very AM on Sunday.


GreatMatt said...

Thanks for the stuff. The vanilla wafers were a huge hit with Kaitlin. :-)

TAMMY said...