Monday, July 31, 2006

Back To It

We arrived about 7:00 yesterday and proceeded to order some Chinese food from "Timmy's Wok." The food was good, though not amazing. Mandy headed off to work this morning, and I've been spending the day cleaning and picking up random odds and ends that we need.

We are officially closed out of our apartment at Timber Ridge. The place was very good to us. It had all the things we were looking for in an apartment: Washer and dryer, garage, and a larger kitchen. Sadly, the timing was off and the jobs in GR were too far and few between. A couple can only live off of their savings for so long before they need to look for alternatives. On the other hand, jobs weren't the primary factor in moving. Mandy and I had long been considering trying out a new locale; one that has more opportunities for both tech and film. We're also getting sick of apartment living. All things considered, they are great if you need flexibility and have a high potential of moving around a lot. Being flexible is part and parcel of, oh for example, tech and film jobs. We know that moving into some kind of a more stable home is not too terribly far off in our future, and if we were going to get out of dodge and try out a new town or two, the time to do it is now. We're really getting to the point where we want to start investing our money in a living space rather than giving it over to an apartment complex. We spents several thousand dollars moving into Timber Ridge, paying rent, breaking our lease that we will never see again.

We look at this whole experience as a grand experiment in trying out new locations, meeting new people, and hopefully finding opportunities to better both our careers and our relationship. The odd thing about returning here yesterday was that the apartment contains our personal possessions but has none of the feel of home. This is always the case when I've moved into a new place. It takes time to adjust to the new layout, have a few friends over, and build a repertoire of memory that kind of serves as a shared history of the space. Then, after a while, it slowly begins to feel like home. With Timber Ridge, this took about three months - nearly the entire length of time we lived there. With Arbor Lake it never happened. With Bayberry it happened almost instantly...

(OMG!!!! When I hit the damn 'Windows' key on the keyboard on these crappy computers, my blog disappears. I've rewritten the next two paragraphs twice and now their gone again. I want to post from my own computer!!! ARGGHHH!!!!)

Quick Summary: The Internet rules! I miss it. I want the Internet in our apartment so I don't have to deal with people popping out of the gym, sitting in the chair next to me huffing and puffing, spraying sweat all over their computer. I should trip them as they exit the room and yank their their annoying pink iPods off their flabby arms and smash them to pieces with the heel of my shoe all the while cackling, "Whatcha gonna do about it, fatty???" But, instead, I sit here listening to Speed of Sound by Coldplay while typing and giggling to myself.
Anyway, I know the transition period will happen. It will take longer than usual due to obvious reasons like being in a completely new city in a different state. This week Mandy and I are going to start decorating and painting as we work to make the space feel less like a place where we eat and sleep and more like a place we live.

Pictures of the apartment are coming. I'll post them once our connection is up and running, so don't expect them before Sunday. Also, since this is a public forum, I'm not going to be posting any details about the apartment (like our address), so if you need any of that info, just email Mandy or I.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Leaving For GR

(Don't know why this went into draft instead of publish yesterday... unless I accidentaly hit 'Draft' instead of 'Publish')

Our short trip back was successful. We finished up with the apartment, went to see Phoenix which was a fun, albeit short concert, and had breakfast Sunday morning. Since we were not allowed to bring in recording devices of any kind, I don't have any pics to share. We're planning to leave here about noon and hopefully be back in Cin City about 5-6. I may post more when I arrive, but probably not.

Thanks for all the positive feedback about the blog. Many people I talked to this weekend mentioned having read it to see what's going on with Mandy and I. If you're a lurker (a person who just reads) consider posting a comment or two. It's free and you don't even have to register.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Saying Goodbye

The drive up was uneventful. We hit a little construction, traffic, and a thunderstorm, but nothing life-altering. The trip ended up taking about 5 1/2 hours, everything included. I think the 5 hour mark is a pretty good estimate for traveling between GR and Cin City. With gas, potty, and food breaks, people should be able to get from one place to the other in 5 1/2 to 6 hrs - for future reference.

Today, Mandy's Parents, Jess and Mike, and Mandy and I met for breakfast at the Gally Kitchen in Grandville. I ate a breakfast consisting of coffe and a breakfast burrito. It was good. Afterwards, Mandy and Jess headed off to go clothes shopping for Mandy's new gig ("The dress code here is buisness casual. Though, more buisness than casual.") while Mandy's Mom and I headed back to Timber Ridge to finish up. I dropped the entertainment stand off at my sister and bro-in-laws then headed back and finished moving everything into their truck. All in all, it took about 2 hours to finish the move-out. This was due. largely, to the fact that Mandy's parents painted, vacuumed, spackled, and generally did everything for us this past week. This, again, brings home the fact that much of this move would've been impossible withou their help. So, thanks again.

Tonight, Mandy and I are meeting up with friends and family to see Phoenix at the Intersection here in GR. This is a band that Mandy and I have been fans of since we first heard their single on a sampler CD picked while attending an Air concert at Clutch Cargos in Detroit. They are a kind of French/Funk/Rock band with a little retro-60s thrown in for kicks. Good stuff. Tomorrow we'll catch breakfast with some people, then head out of dodge around 1 or 2, to be back in town by 7-8.

We finally signed up for cable (Time-Warner has a monopoly in the Cinci area) and should be getting it activated next Saturday. Hopefully by then, I'll have a few small projects finished that will give everyone an idea about where we're living, what the apartment looks like, and (yes Dolemite) how the cats are doing. 'Till next time: Keep your SPAM in the fridge and your eyes on the prize!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Upward Bound

We're heading back to GR for a short visit this weekend. We'll be leaving here around 5 when Mandy gets out of work and drive up. Saturday, we're cleaning and getting done with the Timber Ridge apartment. That evening we're going to see Phoenix perform at the Intersection then do something with friends afterwards. Sunday we drive back. The weekend is going to be mostly driving, a lot of cleaning, and little Pheonix phunkiness. Since we're not going to be in town for long, we're not going to be able to make out to see everyone we'd like: I have a feeling this will be a theme whenever we come to visit. After this short visit, we're probably staying down here for a few weeks to get settled. This would be a good time for a visit, if anyone's interested

I don't know if we'll have a chance to post an update until Monday, but we'll try. I'll post pictures of the weekend and of the new place in Cinci when we return.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

About The Cats

In response to a comment, here's an update on the cats:

Mandy and I have had a little experience moving our cats around in vehicles. The few experiences we've had have been short, 15-minute trips to the vets. Also, during "The Great South Carolina Job Fall-Through of '05" the cats spent a couple months *interacting with (*read: hissing at and puking near) Mandy's parents cats. In fact, the level of hissing and puking and general stress may have been a contributing factor in the heart attack that ultimate claimed the life Mandy's parent's cat 'King Kitty.' During these short trips, that cats went absolutly insane. Leaping around the cars, howling, chewing hands, climbing under breaks and gas pedals. In response to the extreme ways the cats responded to our short trips, we decided to drug them for the 5+ hour trip to Cin City.

We doped the cats with veternarian-perscribed drugs aprox. 1 hour before we left GR. As we prepared to leave, Athena looked a little sleepy, but Ocyrus was still wide-eyed and fully alert. We packed the cats in seperate cat carriers lined with poofy towels and placed one in each car.

The drugs must have been mislabled, because they caused the cats to alternatly chew at the metal bars, burrow in the towels, and leap so violently against the tops of their carriers that they knocked the boxes off of the seats and pass out. While passed out, their mouths would remain open, eyes rolled back in their heads, and they would let out little whistling, yowling noises ever few minutes. After about an hour and half of this, we pulled off to a rest area to let them out of the boxes for a while.

While watching the cats stumble around like me after a few hours at Founders, we decided we should put them together in one car and leave them out of the boxes. It was decided that they should go with Mandy and I would take the boxes. All things considered, the boxes were definitely the better car-mates.

Mandy said they gave much less trouble once they were together and out of their boxes. They alternatly slept and howled the rest of the way to Cin City. For the next few days, they moped around the house and slept most of the day and night, coming down (or up?) from their drugs. They've now fully recovered, and are back to their usual shedding, annoying, and impossibly cute selves.

When, if ever, we take them back up North, we will not drug them. The drugs seemed to make them even more horrible to deal with then they were straight. Maybe we'll feed them a little Founder IPA or Dirty Bastard and play some Ween before we go. That usually puts me in a mellow, relaxed mood.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

At a Good Clip

Things are moving along really quickly. I went for the interview yesterday in Dayton and ended up getting the job. I went into our recruiting agency (it's same as Mandy's) and filled out the paperwork today. Two really cool things happen as a result: 1) I will get a sign-on bonus, just like Mandy and 2) we can each pay for separate insurance which lowers the cost by about 30%. The bonuses are especially helpful, as they almost totally cover the cost of breaking our lease at Timber Ridge and the cost of paying for the Budget truck. I noticed a comment from AK47 about a job in Blue Ash, so I'll have to look into that and see whether it'd be better to stick with the job I have just recently gotten. One thing is certain; after three solid months of job-hunting in GR with no results, we moved to this area and are both employed in less than 10 days. I don't if that's a credit to the can-do, don't-have-any-teeth spirit of the Buckeyes or a just a strange fluke, but it's pretty damn cool. I begin my job this upcoming Monday. For those of you who I am joining to see the Lips next weekend, don't worry. I'll still be there but the details of how and when are back in "under construction" mode.

Mandy and I will be heading back to GR this weekend (July 28th-30th) to finish cleaning up the apartment, turn in the keys, and pay off the lords and ladies of land. We'll head out of Cin City after Mandy gets out of work and be in town around 10:00PM. Saturday night we were thinking of hooking up with friends at Cambridge house for drinks and conversation and so forth. If anyone is up for it, or has a better suggestion, post it on the blog or call either of us. Next weekend, I'll be in Detroit for the Lips concert. After that, we'll probably be sticking around here for a couple weeks to continue our reconnaissance of the area. Mandy's parents are beginning their 'round the country Harley adventure this weekend and have plans to drop by our new place on their way back near the end of August.

Chad mentioned posting a list of the top 10 strangest differences between here and GR. This is funny because Mandy and I had already been compiling a list between the two of us. When we hit 10 on the list, we'll post it.

Umm. Anything else... We went to see Superman Returns yesterday in a large National Amusements theater. This is the same chain that ran Showcase Cinemas, the movie theater Chad and Pete worked at years ago. While Showcase will always have a safe nook in my heart, this theater will not. The tickets prices were reasonable for a matinee ($6.50) but here's the catch: You have to purchase the more expensive "Director's Seat" tickets to get benefits like seats that don't suck, refills on pop and popcorn, and your choice of seating in theater. Even McDonalds gives their patrons refills on drinks! In the words of Gob from the brilliant Arrested Development, "You ask the guy with the $5,000 suit to get a refill? COME ON!!!" I posted a review of the film on MindSplint, so check it out if you get a chance.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day Around Town

Short post today... at least for now. I drove out to Dayton to meet someone at 7:00AM this morning. Dayton is about 35 minutes from where we live, so the drive wasn't that bad. I met a recruiter from a consulting agency and then I had an interview at a place in downtown Dayton. It went well, and I'd say it's pretty likely that I'll end up getting a job there. I should hear something today.

Anyway, the recruiter took me out to breakfast at a Cracker Barrel. Then, this afternoon, Mandy and I were taken out by a couple recruiters from her consulting agency to a restaurant in town. This city is great! The people take you out for food all the time.

We're still trying to figure out what to do about our internet conncetion and getting our barrings about the city. Mandy starts her job tomorrow at 8:00AM, so send her happy vibes and cheerful thoughts.

If we make it back down to this little business center, we'll probably post something else, but if not, we'll post an update tomorrow. Thanks for the comments! It lets us know that some people are reading our ramblings.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tearful goodbyes...

This entire moving process has been all a blur. I can hardly believe we, and all of our stuff, is in our new apartment. The journey would not have been possible if not for my Grandpa Dudas, my mom and dad, and my uncle John and his girlfriend Suzanne. The rest of my family have also been supportive in shoving us out of Grand Rapids with a farewell party last Friday. Being breakfast people, Matt and I have fallen in love with Waffle Houses.

Today Matt and I went to breakfast with my mom and dad. The food was good, but the time was bittersweet. We would be driving back to our new apartment, and my parents would be riding back to good 'ole GR. I found myself to be quite overwhelmed, so there were no tears coming from my eyes (at this time). I do feel that my heart aches already in missing my friends and family, but my mind is set to jump into this new adventure whole heartedly. I look forward to the new adventures to come!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

We Have Landed

Mandy and I have arrived in Cincinnati. We are still unpacking and getting everything organized. We just got back from dinner with Mandy's parents and are heading back to continue to unpack. The apartment complex has a little business center that will allow us to periodically get online while we wait for our own high-speed connection to get setup. I am way too tired and stuffed to type much more, so I'll close with this: The people down here have no teeth.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Last day in harbor...

Today was the big move everything out of the apartment into the moving van day. Over the past few days Mandy and I have been packing boxes and generally getting our things ready to move.

We picked up the moving van from Budget about 9:00AM. For some reason, our reservation information got lost on the way from the webpage we entered it in and the place we picked the truck up from - so it took a little while to re-order everything. We ended up settling on a 16' van with a dozen furniture covers.

We met Mandy's dad and grandfather at our place at about 11:30AM and proceeded to load up the bulky furniture. After loading the bedroom, the monster TV, and some boxes we realized that there was no way possible to fit everything we own into the truck. We moved to sell the TV and our bedroom set (but we're keeping the mattress and box-springs). The TV has already been sold to the Sterks, who are movie-nuts and the bedroom set will appear in the GR Press sometime in the near future. On the way back from Cincinnati this past weekend, Mandy and I discussed getting rid of the TV and bedroom furniture and we figure this will be better in the long run. We don't own a house or plan on owning one for a while, so there's little call for a full bedroom set. The TV, on the other hand, will be replaced in short order by a snazzy new one. I'll post pictures when we buy it.

We ended up wrapping up around 4:30 and have returned to Mandy's parents to sleep the night away. We plan to leave GR tomorrow before 10:00AM and make the long trip to Cin City in time to catch our new landlord and sign the lease and pick up the keys. Sunday will be filled with unpacking and returning the truck.

Ironically, while checking my email today I found a recruiter looking for two QA Testers in Grand Rapids. The job is described as being a, "Progressive company, casual dress, and meals paid for on Fridays." Mandy and I have been trying to find ANY tech job in Grand Rapids for the past three month solid and the first one we see arrives the day we are moving out. At first, I was pissed. Didn't it just figure that a job would open up as soon as we decided to head out of dodge? It seemed I could actually see an old geezer with a crooked smile floating in the clouds laughing and repeatedly jabbing a giant, red button labeled "Screw Matt and Mandy". Then I realized, mostly due to Mandy's gentle reminders, that we aren't moving solely for a job. It helps, but it isn't the main reason. We are leaving to try out a new place, eat at new restaurants, meet new people, save some money, and work on improving the nuances of our new relationship as a married couple. Also, if he were up there, poking a fate button, there's no way we would've been able to find an apartment and completely move to another state in less than seven days. We would've been stuck at every possible turn, and the amazing people who showed up to help us move, give us words of support, and make promises to visit would've never materialized.

At any rate, we are both excited about the road ahead. The grand experiment begins in t-minus 14 hours, and we are giddy.

Thanks to everyone who's helped out this past week in there own, different ways. I'll post again when I have access to a computer and the internet (which is made out of tubes, I hear). Stay tuned!

(I'll post some pics as soon as I can unload them from the camera)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hello Cincinnati - Yet Again

In case you haven't heard, Mandy and I are relocating to Cincinnati, OH. We are there right now, as I type this. It's unbelievably hot down here (I keep hearing it's pretty damn hot up there too). We arrived yesterday (Sunday) and did a whole lot of apartment hunting today. We checked out some lofts downtown, a few apartments on the ritzy west-side, and some down-to-earth apartments on the North end. We ended up settling for an apartment not far from where Mandy will be working, and hopefully not far from where I will end up working.

I haven't been to Cin City in a while. The last time I headed down here, it was with Chad in toe as we went to meet the strange and enigmatic Kleiner to upgrade my delipidated computer. The area of Fairfield, which Mandy and I crused around this day past, was our destination. It's strange to see the area in the day time and with an eye that I might end up living in there parts for a while. For some reason, unbenounced to myself and everyone I know, Kleiner has dissapeared off the face the planet, so we haven't really had the means to look him up and invite him out for a beer. Alas. Maybe he'll resurface someday.

The people in the area seem really down-to-earth. We've had a few decent conversations with the locals including one extremely happy black man who yelled, as I scoured our car for our checkbook, "I just moved here from Holland Michigan! Move back! Ohio sucks!" The rest the natives have been more forthcoming and generally very pleased that there will be a couple of entergetic, young go-getters pracing about in their automated vehicle devices.

The hotel we are staying at, again, charged money for wireless internet access, so my time is limited. I will post a few random pictures when we end up back in GR and before Comcast comes and disconnects our cable.

From the (kinda) South. PEACE!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pointless Product #2

Here is the obligatory Homer Simpson Quote.

This is lifted straight off of (a much funnier and well-written blog than ours), but I had to put a post up about it. Is this a truly pointless product? Yes. Do I want one? Yes.

Instant Messenger Puppet

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Da Fort O' Jooleye!

I love the 4th of July. I'd rank it right up there with the likes of Halloween and New Years Eve as my favorite holidays. It attacks you with coolness on many fronts, flanks, and forts. First, everyone can agree to liking it. It happens right around the Summer Solstice, when the daylight is long and temperatures are up. It's also centered around a non-religious event - the Independence of the United States. Regardless of what stupid things we are doing around the world now, everyone can agree the founders were pretty sharp dudes - and they came up with an interesting way for people to govern themselves. Second, the 4th is a celebration of heat, sunshine, and charred food. Everyone (well, unless they happen to be slaves of the soul-crushing television industry) gets to take a day off and enjoy the summer in its purest form - free from the distractions and concerns of keepin' it real, so to speak.

Hurrah for the forth!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Run #2

Another strange week has passed in Grand Rapids. Life seems to whirling into one of the tempests that appear every now and again. People moving, people dying, and people dancing get sucked into the vortex to be flung about seemingly at random. When the storm and the debris settle, things seem normal, but altered in vague and profound ways. I think the microcosm of an individual's life is self-semetrical to the whole of society: The small-scale reflects and imitates the large-scale. This particular tempest doesn't appear to be concerned with the events of my life, but everyone's and all at once. Maybe these things are happening all the time, but only occasionally we rise above the water and see how chaotic and strange the whole dance of life really is.

I ran my second 5K run this past weekend - it was the YMC Buck Creek Run. Though haven't been training as agressivly as I'd like, I still did better than the 5/3rd River Bank earlier this year. I knocked a good 30 seconds off each mile.