01 August 2013

I Live Here Now

Hello from Michigan, my friends. We arrived safely on Friday, unpacked by Sunday, and got Internet on Tuesday. Even though all the boxes were unpacked by Sunday, the place wasn't really organized, plus we picked up a few boxes we'd been storing at my parents' house since last summer, so we've spent the last few days organizing the apartment. Matt has discovered the ability to list books on Amazon.com, so we're making a few dollars and clearing out at least a few dozen books. I have lots to say, but I'll try to keep things down to 10 "quick takes."

1. Moving Day - Chicago
The guys who loaded up the truck in Chicago were incredibly amazing. Two friendly, polite guys arrived on time and worked fast (it took them three hours to carry everything down a flight of stairs, make two u-turns, carry the stuff 1/2 of a city block, and pack it on a truck). They did an amazing job loading up the truck and nothing broke during the drive. I did tear up doing a final walk-through of our apartment and when I caught the final sight of the skyline in my rearview mirror as we left town. Even though we'll visit, I'm sure, it'll never be the same.

2. Moving Day - Michigan
The drive was incredibly smooth. Abigail, the kitties, and I arrived at our new place around 7:10, about 10 minutes before Matt and the Uhaul. 10 people we know and didn't have to pay met us at the apartment and had the truck unloaded in less than an hour. Within another hour, all furniture was in place, put back together, the bed and the crib were made up, and people were eating pizza. We got to bed, completely exhausted, around midnight or so, but I couldn't fall asleep, so around 1am, I got up and unpacked some more boxes.

3. Michigan
We live in a small suburb just outside of Lansing. Although it's only about 15 minutes away, the lifestyle is very not urban. There are about 6 radio stations that our car can find in our parking lot - three of them are country and two of them are Christian. Every third car in the grocery store parking lot is a pick up truck. Housewives go grocery shopping in sweat pants and 65% men go in something camo. And, I swear, a few of the people at the store the other day were strung out on something totally not-legal. We're a world away from Chicago. This place is very similar to the one I lived in during the second half of high school, which is where Matt spent his entire life. I spent about 3.5 years in a rural environment total, and the last stint was in 2007, before I got married. I don't really like it here. I'd rather live in the city and vacation in the country.

4. The Apartment - Living room
I don't really like our apartment. Would you like a tour? Don't mind the boxes and leftover mess, and I didn't shoot anything in the kitchen/dining room because that's where most of the mess is.

The living room:

You can use the kitty as a reference point as she didn't move during the photoshoot. It's much, much smaller than our previous apartment, though it does have an extra bathroom and a laundry room. We are finally on the main floor and I love being able to load up Abigail in the stroller in the apartment and just walk out the door. We overlook the parking lot as it was quite a bit cheaper and we're all about saving money by living here. Also, we don't have a balcony/patio or anything, as that was more expensive as well. FYI, facing the parking lot sucks because it means the parking lot faces you. It is amazing to me how many people will just walk by and blatantly stare in the window. I'm going to have to look into getting some sheer curtains for privacy.

We did have to spring for a 4th bookshelf. We dumped a fair number of our magazines and left all our kid chapter books at my parents house (for when Abigail is old enough to read them), otherwise we'd need a 5th. If we could utilize the bottom shelves, it would relive some pressure, but putting Abigail's toys on them means we don't have to have an additional piece of furniture in the living room to store them (IE a toy chest or some such deal). Our living room is pretty small, but it feels very cozy. In Chicago, it was easy to just rope off entire rooms to prevent Abigail from reaching them, but not so much here. So we're trying to find ways to baby proof items in a room instead. Bungee cords on bookshelves are pretty effective. It's probably cut her destruction rate by 85%.

5. The Apartment - Abigail's room

The second bedroom is smaller than I remember it being in the model we toured, but I think it will be big enough for two kids if we're ever blessed with a second baby. Although hard wood floors were prettier and easier to clean, it is nice having carpet in the bedrooms. I think Abigail is a big fan too, although she's pretty miffed that her grocery cart doesn't roll very easily on the longer carpet. Abigail gleefully scoots around from her room to the living room to the kitchen and also down the hallway all day. I think she's trying to reconcile that all our stuff is here but our house is different. For the first few days, she was so occupied by this conundrum (and the unregulated access to the bookshelves) that I almost forgot I had a kid!

6. The Apartment - My room

Yes, we still use upside-down milk crates as nightstands. We have a master suite and it is my favorite thing about this place behind the laundry closet room. It's luxuriously huge. Both bathrooms, in fact, are gigantic. So gigantic that if I ever get a china cabinet to display my perpetually packed china, I'm going to have to put it in the bathroom because they sucked out every square foot of space they could from the living/dining room and put it in the bathrooms. All three of us plus the two kitties could easily sit in one and play monopoly in the event of a tornado. We also have a walk-in closet. The closet is as big as the bathroom. The closet and the bathroom together are probably as big as Abigail's room. It's almost embarrassingly huge. 

I don't have photos because these aren't very clean yet, all thanks to the big downfall of the gigantic closet: it's pretty much the only one. Abigail's room has a standard-sized closet and there is a small front closet in the hallway (go figure), but that's it. So I honestly have Christmas decorations and sleeping bags stuffed in the master closet. 

7. The Apartment - Overall
I don't really like it here. I don't like the rural area, I don't like the apartment, I don't like how quiet it is out here, I don't like the way there is never natural light in the kitchen/dining room, I don't like how we have to use the car to go anywhere, I don't like that there is no cell service. But because we're stuck here (for at least a year, hopefully two), I'm trying to focus on what I do like. We never hear our neighbors, we live practically across the street from a Mejier, which is pretty much the greatest grocery store ever invented (and it's open 24 hours, which is really handy when you discover at 11pm that you bought the wrong size bungee cords), we live on the ground floor, no one in this complex has probably ever been robbed, we live close to 1,000 free babysitters, we have a master suite, and we have a damn laundry room.

8. The Apartment - The laundry room
I gleefully do laundry at all hours of the day and night in whatever clothing I happen to be wearing at the time and without putting on shoes. And if I'm busy when the cycle ends, I just let the clothes sit in the machine. I'm pretty excited about it.

9. My Mother
I'm pretty sure my mom won the lottery while we were in Chicago and is determined to spend the entire jackpot on her only grandchild.

A belated birthday present, which was planned to be belated so that we wouldn't have to move it from Chicago to Michigan.

This was a "just because" present. There isn't an hour of the day that I don't trip on a ball now.

I actually bought her these. On a shopping spree. With my mom. The same week we got to town. I'm re-living my childhood through Abigail with that My Little Pony.

But I tease. My mom's love language is gifts and she's been looking forward to doing a little splurging on Abigail since we announced back in November that he got a job in Michigan. Abigail's been enjoying the attention. And the toys. 

10. Tonight
My incredibly thoughtful husband is giving me the most amazing two-part gift starting tonight. He booked me a one-hour massage at a spa. I don't think I was supposed to find out about it, but when we sat down with our planners to compare schedules, I saw my name in his planner " 6:45 - Jacqueline's time." Appointments after 4pm get a free glass of wine. Part two is on Tuesday, but I don't know what it entails. I'm pretty stoked. This is just what I needed after another stressful move.

11. Bonus Quick-take
This is a screen shot of the available wireless networks in our complex. Somewhere in one of these identical, nondescript buildings is a person I must meet.


Cam Wollner said...

Okay I totally want to trade houses with you! You see Paul and I have this debate. He likes the city. And I'm like "oh-my-goodness-you're-gone-all-day-why-do-you-care-where-we-live" because I want to live in the middle of nowhere (there's a town about 15 minutes east of MSU that we can kinda agree on). But we're stuck for at least a year plus a bit more. I'm just not a city girl!

We definitely have to get together now that you're here! I've been obsessing over getting this house clean and the upcoming school year and over sewing to pay bills this month, but we all totally need to get together soon!

Holly M said...

Welcome back to Michigan! I'm glad you guys had such a uneventful trip :-)