These commando find-a-place-in-two-days raids that you gotta make when you're moving across the country are exhausting, and not exactly easy on the 'ol stress levels, but having done it before, at least we know it's possible. You just gotta throw yourself into the abyss and hope the realtor gives in before your stomach lining does. And we found a place--a duplex, rather than an apartment--which is a hair larger than our current apartment and has quite a large bathroom and oversized deck, all of which is a good thing--my container gardening tendencies started up upon seeing the deck, and really, when was the last time you heard someone say "This bathroom is entirely too spacious, damnit!"? Rent's only about twenty bucks more than we pay now, although of course having a house neccesitates exciting extra utilities, like gas and sewer and trash. Woo, I say!
The Triangle area is interesting. We're in Cary, and mostly that and Morrisville and a little of Raleigh were what we saw on this trip. The most interesting thing about the city is that it doesn't appear to be there. Phoenix, St. Paul, Salem, the cities I've lived in--you drive through 'em, and you're in a city and you can look around and see the city. Phoenix is very flat, and made primarily of one-story buildings, so there's a lot of hard blue sky, but nevertheless, the whole city is laid out around you on a very precise grid, and you KNOW it's there. Can't miss it. Barring the mountains, there's rarely a point where you're suddenly in open desert, and they don't have much in the way of tree cover. (This is not really Phoenix's fault, I hasten to add--palm trees, while elegant, do not exactly obscure much at ground level, and cacti, despite their many virtues, were never meant to form hedges. Occasionally someone will cajole some prickly pears into it, but they usually manage to look as if they have gotten together to plot something nefarious, and may, at any moment, rip up their roots and go mug a saguaro.)
Cary, and the rest of the Triangle that we saw, isn't there. They have thick trees lining all the large roads--thick trees pretty much everywhere, for that matter--and even in winter, when half of them don't have leaves, you literally can't see the city for the trees. You're driving along, you'd swear you're in a rural area about to hit farmland, and suddenly a strip mall blossoms in front of you. Where'd it come from? And two minutes later, you pass the intersection, and the development falls away on both sides, and you're cruising through trees dotted with the occasional Archetypal Rural Business (You know--"Ol' Red's Car Repair, Tack, and Notary" or something) and you'd swear that you're fifty miles from anywhere again. There's an entire city--several of them--lurking in that area, but it's a good solid lurk with lots of cover. This is a place that has heard of centralized development and wants no truck with it.
The rest of the time was spent hanging out with Kathy and Dave, who rock mightily and were very helpful (even to the point of hanging out while paperwork was signed and bank accounts set up, a tedious process for those involved, let alone those who aren't.) Saw ROTK again. Still a great flick. Came home. Flights were mildly turbulent and very foggy, but uneventful. No delays.
So now, we've got a week to set up all the utilities and so forth, and--more importantly--to pack the house up. We're currently maybe a quarter packed, so it'll be an exciting week (and by exciting, I mean I'll be playing connect-the-dots with my ulcers, but hey! Only a few more weeks to health insurance! Bring on the stomach acid! Muahahahh!) Predictably, my in-box was jammed with more work offers than I've seen in two months, all of them for we'd-need-it-now stuff, all of which had to be declined with regrets--I know my limits. And if you're a freelancer, saying "I'm sorry, I can't get this done in this time frame, I'll have to decline," is fairly respectable and does not negate the possibility of future work, but "Hey, uh, sorry, I didn't get it done by your deadline, whoops," usually means that you can kiss your ass goodbye with that employer. Learning to turn down work is a hard part of the job, since it takes so long to GET job offers in the first place! But them's the breaks.
And on a touching, if somewhat sad note, I was flipping through the mail that arrived while we were gone, to find that my vet had made a donation to the Phoenix Zoo vet care program in Loki's memory. I can't honestly say that Loki would have cared much about the animals at the zoo--cats are a self-centered lot by design, even the good ones, and I just don't think his rather limited sense of other would extend to giraffes and whatnot a few miles away, but since mine does, and I do care, and would be glad to think that somewhere a javelina got an ingrown toenail fixed (or whatever) because of my cat, it was a very kind gesture. So that was nice.