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We made it!

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.

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Yay for Loki being postumously altruistic by proxy!

And congrats on finding satisfactory new digs too :)

Having done the whirlwind apartment-search-weekend-visit before (when my fiance and I were planning our move from NY to this area, in fact), I can sympathize with the stress. After you see fifteen or sixteen apartments in a row, they all start to blend together.

Your description of the Cary/Morrisville area is quite accurate, and I find it a little odd that I've never really thought about it that way before. Many, many Southern towns are the same way, so I suppose I'm just used to it. Cities that aren't full to the brim with trees have always seemed a bit depressing to me, but I was never really able to pin down why before. I guess subconsciously I just like feeling as though I'm living in the middle of farmland, except when I need to pick up some groceries, a new DVD, or some art supplies. ;) This area provides the best of both worlds, in that department.

Anyway, good luck with your packing -- may your boxes never be full and your bubble wrap be everlasting! (I'm sure it's an old Irish moving-day blessing, or something of the sort.)

I got that driving experience just winding my way back out of central Philly today. Skyscrapers! bustling markets! traffic! lights! row houses! people walking! ... and then, nothing. Still inside Philadelphia city limits, the (major-artery) street became ghostly. Lights were off, no one was out, buildings were spaced so much farther apart, trees looked unplanned. It could have been the outskirts of the Alabama town where I grew up. It really struck me at the time; felt like I was walking through a graveyard suddenly. *chills*

Triangle and the fun wherein

Heh, it really depends on where you are driving around Cary and Morrisville. I mean, Cary Parkway can be pretty crazy in the mornings, but not nearly as crazy as Davis Drive.

I was quite surprised to hear from jenwolf that you were moving down to the triangle area. Who knows, maybe at some point we can get together and discuss some details for MFF 2004.

Also, if you need any suggestions of good places for restaurants or the like, just shoot me an email.

Welcome, email or drop me a note if we can help with anything.

You're living in Cary, now?

I'm sorry.

Get used to soccer moms in SUVs riding your ass to high heaven. Get used to them not wanting to pass you. Get used to them screaming their heads off at you with their windows up. Get used to people driving in the passing lane, going thirty in a 55mph zone (and at least one of those people will be my stepfather). Get used to pickup trucks being the redneck sports car. Get used to people not being able to drive in any sort of weather at all. Get used to un-winters, shittily-stocked bookstores, and utterly disgustingly humid summers.

... :D

Oh, and, uh, to be fair, the coolest restaurant evar is in Cary -- it's called Lucky 32. Find it, eat there, enjoy.

Hey, the un-winters are FANTASTIC. :) Gimme a good snowfall that's gone three days later -- that's the way to enjoy the winter. I like still being able to take to the hiking trails without freezing my butt off. And plenty of sunny, blue-sky days in mid-January? I'll take 'em.

But the SUV-driving morons I'll grant you. Some of the roads around here are crappy, too -- in sore need of repaving and repainting.

Gimme a good snowfall, period! And while I'm wishing for things that'll only happen once in a great while, give me a good snowfall down there where the people don't think they can drive sixty on wet roads. ;]

Yeah, and some of the roads created/owned by developments are the worst. Ever been by a Torrey Homes development? *shudder*

*grin* I've had enough of heavy snowfall from my decade in Minnesota--a brief glimpse and then a melt is fine by me!

As for the SUV's and soccer moms, I figure it can't be that much worse than the influx of snowbirds down here in AZ--'long about October, suddenly there's this flood of elderly drivers viewing the road through the slit between dash and steering wheel, who either never go over forty or (more rarely) under ninety.

Every place has it's quirks...

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Sounds like a typical tacky tourist knickknack, but I keep picturing it as a saguaro with sunglasses, rather than a prickly pear.

Has anyone ever told you that your writing style is quite similar to Terry Pratchett's? Not that I'm necessarily saying anything about caliber one way or the other, just that I imagine that if Pratchett had a blog, it would read somewhat like yours.

*grin* It's been mentioned on occasion. Undoubtedly a lot of influence there, certainly...

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While I can't say I've read more than a chapter of Pratchett's writing (something I intend to fix the next time I go to the library, I swear. I was probably just too young to enjoy "Soul Music" the first time I picked it up), I'd have to say the difference is in that Ursula is an artist and Pratchett is an author. (Both primarily, I mean. I know Ursula writes and such, but primarily she's an artist.)

Pratchett creates word jokes; Ursula creates visual ones - so when she writes, it's more of a scene than a play on words. :)

Congrats on finding what you looked for. And you should really paint the gang of prickly pears some time. *grins*

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