That was a stressful, up-and-down week. We got barraged with good news and bad news, randomly, from all angles, and without letting up. Now that it is in the books, though, we have a strange sense of calm. House stuff is largely complete (floors chosen, appliances in the works, loan applied for, etc, etc, etc) and we're actually startlingly ahead of the curve on the wedding front - so much so that tonight we just hunkered in and watched a movie.
We're also getting to 'lasts.' Thursday evening was (perhaps) our last Constant Buzz at Dom's, our last sit-down btb, and today our last Blimpy Burger. Triple with egg and onion on kaiser. Orange soda. Awesome. I'm not thrilled that we're getting down to our lasts in Ann Arbor, but at least they're fun.
The open-ended items on our to-do list are starting to converge. Tasks are approaching doneness. Each cluster is spiralling inward toward completion, towards being checked from the list. But this has taken two days - albeit days with a dance lesson and perhaps not astonishingly early starts or long lunches with classmates or casual dreaming about floor coverings or making (and eating) key lime pie.
Two weeks from now we'll be on the lawn at the Inn eating ice cream. Bring your appetites, we'll bring the cones. I'm really, really excited.
A highlight from Top of the Park was one of the few non-tasks over the past two days; Strange Fruit were up on their bendy fiberglass poles for 20 minutes of mind-altering performance art that was simply outstanding. OUT-STANDING. Wish you could have been there. Afterwards, "Happy Feet" had us chuckling into the night and thinking about global issues, equally.
Before and after our sojourn to the festival we worked. Worked on packing, worked on details. Today I spent nearly five hours on the phone, prepping for calls, coordinating carpets and linens and photographers and EZPass tags. Jenelle was at it, too, working food and dance lessons. It's like some great organizational Shel Silverstein poem exploded into our lives over the past few days. Questions lead to more questions, but there is no questioning that doing laundry and purging rooms and closests a) take time and b) can be checked off lists with some finality. To summarize: the reality of an upcoming wedding, an unfinished house with unfinished financing, and an ever-shortening window of time to deal with all three is setting in.
On Friday we went to Lansing to visit relatives and do some crafting, both of which were a total success. It's always fun to hear about how people are doing and share their favorite hobbies. Jacqueline's basement is a wonderful place to be if you have a scrapbooking need, as well as being cool and comfortable. For lunch we all visited a new place in Lansing - Vinaigrette's - for a wonderful array of premium (and I mean premium) salads. It was a real treat to have a salad whose last bite was as good as the first. Back in Ann Arbor in the evening, we hit bustling Main Street for a pickup at Moosejaw and then headed home, conked from a long week.
Saturday started with a trip to Ross for a conference call with some folks (more to follow) and then continued with a few errands in the State Street area. In the afternoon we cleaned 409B a bit, played hoops at Wheeler Park, and listened to APHC. Then more errands, including Washtenaw Dairy, before the jaunt to Belleville, where Ollie has been cowering at the window as fireworks boom in the distance.
The call that started our day was follow-up with the representatives of the developer who built our new house:
It's not totally finished inside, but it has everything we had ever hoped for (and some stuff we didn't even know was possible) except for the brass light fixture in the dining room which is builder-spec hideous. I'm reserving details for people who come and visit... burgers and roasted asparagus for day-trippers and late-night sundaes and blueberry waffles for overnighters.
posted at 10:17 PM - comments
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Facebook.com relays news today that one of the three blind mice from the early days of painting is in Australia. Sydney, Australia. In front of that high-fallutin' Opera House they've got. Others are lost in Shanghai, in India recovering from "Delhi Belly" (one wonders but not too hard), or starting work in bustling cities, but I wouldn't switch places with any of them. Yesterday we stepped off a plane in Detroit and beautiful doesn't begin to describe the weather since. Blue sky, bright green trees, puffy clouds, and a breeze that can only come from a cold lake; it's summer in Michigan and there's nowhere I'd rather be.
posted at 6:56 PM - comments
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Our last day in the Lehigh Valley before arriving on a permanent basis in a few months... we think. Blackout curtains meant we overslept a bit, then ran ran ran all the day long, getting a mailbox and pumping gas when we should have been having bags scanned and shoes removed by TSA. Fortunately, they were understanding, ABE is small, and we even had enough time for Subway.
In Michigan, Jenelle headed out for the evening with MBA ladies, leaving me for Top of the Park. I saw The Great Outdoors and ate Stucchis. It was the bachelor life in the coolest town and Jenelle with friends; a good day.
Back in the Lehigh Valley shopping for dwellings. Much has changed but, simultaneously, much is still the same. We had a few premonitions last summer that the housing stock in the area might provide a challenge, which is being borne out first-hand today. There are a busload of townhouses available, though, so we're pursuing that angle fast and furious. We had dinner with realtor and licensed assistant this evening, and tomorrow it is go time - a full docket of house showings.
posted at 10:22 PM - comments
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Jenelle's last day of school was Friday; we celebrated by visiting our favorite southwestern cafe in Ann Arbor - Prickly Pear - for dinner. There were two festivals going on downtown, so after eating we checked out both the Green Fair and the first night of Summer Festival 2007's Top of the Park. Saturday we spent doing nothing, out and about, doing errands, making szechaun noodles, exercisizing around the Towers, and listening to Prairie Home. Sunday (today) was a day for packing and making noodle salad and then a canoe trip from Argo to Gallup with, and a Section 3 barbeque hosted by, Rachel. In the late evening I caught up with parents about recent activities and future plans, with strategies for both.
Now we're off to the PA, to try our luck at buyink a house.
After the go-go evenings we've had this week (Red Hawk & Dom's avec 'Constant Buzz' on Tuesday, pool mini-party on Wednesday) it's kind of nice to be at home with kitty and salad for dinner and exercise tonight. Jenelle spent the day wrapping up UHS stuff and I tagged along for a bit of the heavy lifting. It's odd for her to be the first staff member ever to leave University High, but to a person people are sad to see her go and emphatic that she'll be missed. That's the way you want to leave.
posted at 9:00 PM - comments
Be afraid for the future.... I am helping Jenelle clean up her classroom today and on top of her piles of projects was this final project, worth up to 100 points: "To Kill a Bocking Bird." I figure that in about five years some of these folks will be entering the job market. Yikes.
posted at 8:52 AM - comments
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Things were ticking right along today - I'd replaced the rotten, decrepit sill of a window, had a daquiri/swimming party with friends, and helped Jenelle with some wrap-up stuff on her last day with students - when Excel screwed me. It had, apparently, crashed the last time it was closed. It recovered files (beuno) and I chose the second most recent, ie pre-crash, version. It was listed as roughly 90 minutes older than the most recent. Instead, it was over a month old and I spent a couple of hours trying to rebuild the data housed there. Aaaaaaagggghgghghhghghg this is insane! Why does Excel eat my files?
posted at 11:33 PM - comments
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A few years back I lamented that it's rough when you have to leave a place with no time to say goodbye; this summer I'm having the same experience but with lots of time. Tonight Jenelle and I are going to Red Hawk for something of a send-off for Steve and Alicen, who depart for Minneapolis in the morning. It's amazing the myriad schedules and agendas, start dates and moving schemes that we all have, but ultimately we still just wish safe travels, happy arrivals, and a reunion at the Big House for our friends.
I'm elbow-deep in website(s) today. My great angst revolves around the 24-72 hour waiting period required before a URL becomes active; how is it possible that in the most computer-driven part of the computing world it takes overnight to set up a website?
Saturn announced this week that they are going to be putting Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys in virtually all of their showrooms so customers can cross-shop the Aura more conveniently. Chevrolet will repeat the move when the Malibu lands in the fall. I'm sure Detroit nemesis Thomas Friedman thinks this is a bad idea, but this is a marketing language that real people connect with and understand. Plus, the Aura will hold up and, if fit and finish is decent, the Malibu will change opinions about the whole brand. It's gutsy and brave; the stakes are high and somebody at GM or McCann/Erickson just raised them. Ohhhh! to have been a fly on the wall in that meeting.
There's a certain comraderie in the post-MBA/still-in-Ann-Arbor leisure class. Mike, Evgeny, Rachel, and I had lunch at Cottage Inn this afternoon and it was really nice to catch up and hear what people have been doing and will be doing. Visa issues continue to dominate the discussion whenever a non-US citizen is involved... rightly so.
Sunday was a chill day; Bill & Sharon departed early for points north and we had a whole day without much of a plan. We threw the disc and ran around until we were both quite dripping, then swam in the pool. No matter where we wind up I think it will be hard to duplicate the Mitchell Fields, HT pool 1-2 combination. There was leftover Macaroni Grill food for dinner, and we made a pilgrimmage to Washtenaw Dairy (a first migration for Jenelle and I) with Rachel for a kiddie-sized ice cream cone, then to see "Knocked Up." I had cupcake ice cream, which was out of this world good, then the reality of the movie brought me back to earth as fast. It was funny, but almost too real to feel like a movie.
I've been working on another website today - pretty extensively. I'm at that dangerous point in life and free time where the idea of taking graphic design classes continues to seem like a good idea. I was always a little bummed that the course at Ringling School in Sarasota filled before I could get in line; one day I'll learn the color wheel and complimentary and monochromatic color schemes. In the meantime, neutral colors and gray lines work pretty well.
People who blog on a professional basis often use inline text boxes to quote other bloggers - or, God forbid, traditional media - and I got an email that I thought merits same.
Corey, Hi. I did not forget about you! ... You did an excellent job of organizing the content and working with the theme from the Art on View folder. I have placed it on the development web server so you can see how it looks 'live' (sic; URL withheld) ... Hopefully, we will have the site launched by the end of next week. I will send you a formal announcement. ... Thanks again for all of the time and work you put into this. I know how time consuming these things can be and I am personally grateful for the work that you have done. The site will be an asset to the school as we work to let people know about the wonderful art collection that we have here.
There you have it! Weeks of work, really, and I think my biggest contribution to the Ross community (other than a fever for all things Michigan) is ready to go. Bet your bipee I'll post the link here when it is live for the world.
Over the past couple of days I've been taking my DIY home improvement summer extravaganza to Sterling Heights to help future relatives with a minor bathroom remodeling project involving new tile, wainscotting, a new vanity, sink, medicine cabinet, mirror, and molding. (After two days I think it is imperative that all prospetive grooms spend a dozen hours in a small, enclosed space with their future fathers-in-law and a minimum of three power tools.) Seriously, it was pretty fun and, as always, a good way to learn and feel rewarded for real work done.
Socially we've been pretty active, too. Thursday night was something of an Ann Arbor reunion for remaining MBAs who are still/back in town, held at Rachel's place. Friday we went to Johny Dearborn's house in (where else/you guessed it) Dearborn for UHS poker night, where I won the second table by amassing a huge war chest and then buying out the remaining players.
Today Jenelle has a Spanish PRAXIS exam and she and Sharon are going dress shopping; I'm considering passing on the latter in favor of an as-yet-undetermined Option 2. It's a beautiful summer day, so I'm sure that something will come up.
The next day in a string of odd, free-time days when lists of activities are generated after they are accomplished. I read - Architecture of Happiness this time - and worked on wedding trimmings... check. There were some move/house/relocation tasks to get accomplished... check. I heated up some lunch and ate it... check. I scoured the internet for things of interest... check. I ran the cat like it was my job and his... check. I developed a massive, planet-sized craving for Frosty Boy... no check. Well, at least the evening has a plan.
posted at 3:49 PM - comments
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
When I first got to Ann Arbor, one of the things that I was most intrigued and impressed by was the Survival Flight program, whose aircraft flew (and fly) over my building at regular intervals. For some reason I was in awe of Survival Flight, amazed by their comings and goings and the work being done and how each flight meant lives changing. Today there was widespread news of a Survival Flight organ transplant trip gone horribly, tragically wrong. Even though the steady thumping of rotary wings continues - I heard several of the Bell 430s today - it is very strange to think that sometimes the lives changed are those of the flyers and flying doctors who hope to only bring about the good changes and make the most of the bad ones. Six people died in the crash last night, doing everything we as a civilization know how to do so that one life might be spared. That's something to be in awe of, for sure.
posted at 9:35 PM - comments
Monday, June 04, 2007
This weekend was a solo, recreational trip east for me to meet some friends and have a good time. Justin flew out from the yoop and Nick down from the CT and we met and went to a race.
The weekend started Friday evening in DC, where Justin and Anthony and I had a great steak and grossly overate. We found a patio outside at the 4Ps and enjoyed a nice summer night. Saturday we met Nick at BWI, then drove on to Dover. We gained a lot of respect for NASCAR fans, because after the Busch Series Dover 200 we were pretty full of racing action - it's much, much louder in real life. After the race we headed to Annapolis, where Constable coordinated our social calendar and a good time was had by all. Sunday it rained, which was probably OK. The out-of-town guests had planes to catch, so we retraced our steps, ordered a pizza (online!) and laid low in the afternoon. That's what I can say; what I can't is just about everything else, because, as we all know, what happens in Annapolis stays in Annapolis.