Sunday, August 28, 2011

Expansion

After receiving widely positive reviews from critics and the public for our first attempt, Kira and I are pleased to announce that we have a second model of posterity coming to the market this Spring! We've listened to feedback from our biggest fans, closely researched what features are in demand, consulted with our chief production engineer (Kira), and feel that we are prepared to offer consumers a durable, versatile, and cutting-edge product at a fraction of what they might expect. As with our first model, the second will offer non-stop entertainment. Consumers will find that this new model will include all of their favorite features from the first, but will deliver them in unique and often unpredictable ways. Although we have not yet established the precise specifications of the model (i.e., male vs. female), we have voted that the new model will have a unique operating system. Our first model (currently running Avey 3.11) will continue to receive free periodic upgrades. Unfortunately, this news likely comes as a disappointment to many of our avid customers, as it is to be expected that many features of Avey 3.11 will be incompatible with the new operating system. Our programmers (Eli and Kira) will attempt to work out the discrepancies between the two, and hope that they may be more compatible within the next 16 to 25 years. After years of working with Avey 3.11, customers should expect a familiar level of user-friendly experiences with the second model.
Our new model is currently in approximately its 12th week of production, but customers may begin to reserve time with it now. You may also vote on the aesthetic attributes at this website.
Thank you for your business.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Plans

My vision of how the move would go:
  • 8/12, 9:00am - I'd arrive at the truck rental place. The man behind the counter would smile and welcome me, hand me the key to the truck, walk me through the features thereof, and I'd be on my way by 9:20.
  • 10:00am - finished with breakfast and other preparations, we would spend the rest of the day organizing the last few things, taking apart a few remaining pieces of furniture, and begin cleaning windows and sweeping floors.
  • 4:00pm - the help would arrive to assist with some of the heavy boxes and furniture, and some last pieces of detail work. We'd finish it up by 5:30pm, thank them and send them on their way with pizza. We'd spend the last few hours before bed reminiscing about the good times, and enjoying the company of family, laughing until we fell asleep soundly at about 9:00pm.
  • 8/13, 6:00am - I'd awake without an alarm, stretch for a moment, get ready for the long drive with a hearty breakfast, and load up the last few items.
  • Driving away at 7:00am.
  • Entertained by the engaging discussions on the radio and the invigorating music on my iPod, and put at ease by the comfortable seat and cruise control of the truck, with strong tailwind assisting us southward, the morning passes with ease - almost unnoticed. We arrive at our lunch destination early, find diesel gas at a startling $2 a gallon, sit down to a relaxing brunch, and continue to our destination.
  • Admittedly, by about 3:00pm our nomadic spirits are waning. We feel the excitement of a new place to live with a new chapter in our lives.
  • By 4:30pm, we arrive at our new home, find half a dozen strapping young men welcoming and eager to share the burden of unloading the truck.
  • Unloaded by 5:30pm, beds put together and paths cleared of boxes by 6:30. Eat a delicious home-cooked meal and to bed by 7:30pm with dreams of degrees and empanadas in my head.
  • 8/14, 8:00 - Avey wakes us, and we share a warm breakfast, relax a bit, and slowly begin to unpack before taking my brother to the airport with thanks for helping us with the whole trip.
  • Unpacked by 8/17, all loose ends tied, eager to begin classes on 8/22!
What happened:
  • 8/12, 9:00am - I arrived at the truck rental place to find that they did not have my truck ready. Someone had apparently removed the tow hitch with which I needed to tow our second car. They got me another truck. The guy gave me a hand hooking up my car, only to find that someone had removed the bolts that held a chain onto the tow dolly. Those are kind of important, so he spent the next 20 minutes finding replacement bolts. I drove the truck home without incident by about 10:00am.
  • We ran into several hurdles with the last stuff to pack, and apparently left too much for the day of.
  • Our family help arrived about midday, and were miracle workers in getting us up and going - the men worked on loading the truck so that the womenfolk could work on the cleaning. By about 5:30 the truck was loaded, and the house almost clean. We were so exhausted and scatterbrained, however, that we had a hard time tying up loose ends until very late.
  • I realized that I should shut off the gas to our hot water, but we all wanted to shower, so I went into the crawlspace after it was dark outside, thinking I would just go the few feet in until I could reach the light. I opened the door and shone the small flashlight we hadn't packed to find a big spider web blocking my way in (if you know much about me, I'm pretty arachnophobic). I clenched my teeth and went in anyway. I groped around for the light, found it, and pulled on the string, only for it to fall into my hands, broken. I opted not to freak out yet, and plunged on into the abyss to find the water heater, and shut it off. I then found my way back out, covered in dirt and sweat, with a little bit of my dignity left.
  • 10:00pm - We finished our showers and tried to sleep.
  • 8/13, 6:00am - after about 2 hours total of sleep, due mostly to my bed being packed, my sore body, and the anxiety of the upcoming trip, I rose as a zombie from his grave. I had a quick breakfast of donuts and milk, brushed my teeth, and started throwing last minute things in the car. Long story short, we were ready to leave at about 7:30am.
  • 7:30am - we discovered several problems with the truck. For one, I couldn't get it to start. It seemed like it might be the battery, so my brother and I started searching for it. we spent about 10 minutes looking and simply could not find it, so I called the truck's roadside assistance to be placed on hold for about 15 minutes and then told that we would have to wait for a tow truck for up to 2 hours. By then we had found the battery, and eventually got it started while waiting for the tow truck. We were on the road around 8:30am.
  • Oh, here's another problem we found with the truck. This is the chain from the tow dolly to the truck:
  • 11:30am - in my attempt to quickly get things arranged so that I could eat and drive, I accidentally plant my iPod earbud in my frogs' tank (it works fine now, but had to dry out for a few hours).
  • We made our first stop about 3 hours into the trip. I warmed leftover pizza in a gas station microwave and got back on the road, trying to make up lost time.
  • 2:30pm - far too close for comfort, I finally find a gas station just before Santa Fe. I fill it up amid a horrible hail/rain storm. During this, I discover that the truck will not start again. While attempting to figure out the problem, I get completely drenched from head to toe. I call Kira and my brother who are about 20 minutes ahead of me, tell them of the situation, and try what we did the first time to get the truck started. It does not work.
  • 2:45pm - I call the roadside assistance again, and speak to an operator who gives me his diagnosis of the problem (I knew he was wrong, but arguing wouldn't have gotten it fixed any faster).
  • 2:47pm - the gas station worker tells me I need to move the truck (hey, great idea!). I discover that their bathrooms are out of order.
  • 2:55pm - Get a call from the tow company. The gentleman tells me that his mechanic will be right out. Kira drives me to find a bathroom. We cancel the help from the ward we had arranged for unloading the truck.
  • 3:30pm - Gas station worker tells me I need to move the truck (Do you think I'd still be here if I could move the truck?).
  • 3:50pm - I finally changed my clothes into something dry, and called the tow company again.
  • 4:00pm - the mechanic shows up ("Sorry about that - I lost my keys").
  • 4:03pm - the mechanic smacks the starter with a hammer and the truck starts right up. He explains how to do it if we have the problem again, we thank him and head out.
  • 4:20pm - grab a quick dinner in Santa Fe and eat on the road.
  • 11:30pm - arrive in El Paso, defeated and drained. By the grace of God, my aunt and uncle had picked up our key for us, left us an amazing meal in the fridge, and set up an air mattress in our room. They also supplied us with toilet paper, disposable dinnerware, and many other essentials. We will forever be in their debt.
  • 8/14, 6:45am - after a few hours of sleep, my brother and I begin the slow, torturous process of unloading all of our worldly possessions from the truck into our new home.
  • 11:00am - with about 15 boxes left, the ward calls and asks if we'll still need help after church is over at noon. We also realize that we didn't let my grandparents (who live in town also) know that we had arrived. They came anyway and brought another uncle of mine to assist with some of the last things, and then they took my brother to the airport to fly home.
  • The rest of the afternoon - I got our beds ready, and tried to unpack some things. Kira tried to occupy Avey, who was anxious to explore this new state and the neighborhood.
  • 4:00pm - dinner at Grandma's. An exquisite break from the hectic ambiance of our new home.
  • The next week was spent slowly transforming our place into a home. During the course of the unpacking, we pieced together that we must have left several of our dishes in the dishwasher at our old place. We're attempting to recover them now. As of this post, we're moved in, but still have several boxes and a few pieces of furniture that need a place. Avey loves the pool:
I guess things don't always go according to plan. We're glad to finally be here, and looking forward to feeling like we're home. It has been so nice to have family here; I think we may survive. Now let us never speak of the last two weeks again.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A History of Moving

As are most things with the human race, moving is a constantly developing practice. It has gone through several changes over the centuries. I have been contemplating this odd behavior for the past few days, and I'd like to herewith examine the progress we've made as a species in the moving department.
  • As cavemen, moving was a non-issue. You'd pick up your blunt object, whack your neighbor with it, and start sleeping and eating in his cave. This may have been the simplest type of move humankind has ever known. Ahh, the good ol' days...
  • As nomadic tribes, moving was part of everyday life. You never really unpacked your stuff, because your stuff consisted mainly of a tent or similar structure, some furs, and some nifty bone or stone tools. This may not have been as bad as it sounds because you never expected to settle down either. I'm slowly beginning to surrender to this idea as well.
  • During the Dark Ages, people would pack all of their things in a small handbag by waving a magic wand and singing a bunch of nonsense words. Or so is my understanding from intense study of The Sword in the Stone. I would totally go for this method if I could only find my wand. I must have already packed it somewhere.
  • Around the 12th Century, you'd just drop all of your crap and try to get away from the Mongols. They were coming for you man, so you had to get booking. While this option had to be exciting and can't have involved a whole lot of preparation, it falls lower on my list of preferred moving options.
  • In 14th Century Europe (the time of the Bubonic plague) you'd sometimes die before you started packing, which saved a lot of trouble. Most people probably didn't move though, because they were trying to avoid human contact; as long as they didn't die where they lived, they were doing better than a lot of their neighbors.
  • 17th Century - you'd pack up only your most precious belongings, take a several-month-long cruise on a ship across the ocean, living off rancid food, unpredictable weather, and shipmates with horrible morning breath, only to reach your destination where you had to build your own dwelling and probably die there during the winter. I'm afraid I'm not much of a gambler, so I don't think I would have enjoyed this option either.
  • 19th Century United States involved a brisk walk for hundreds of miles in shoes that probably didn't fit right, decades before Dr. Scholl ever went to med school. The weather was harsh, the diseases were deadly, and the roads weren't paved. Many even had to pull or push the carts containing their possessions under their own power. I have nightmares after playing The Oregon Trail, so I probably wouldn't have done too well going this route in real life.
I suppose comparatively the present day practice of moving is significantly less of a hassle and risk of life and limb than it has been throughout most of history. I really shouldn't whine as much as I do, but I'll probably still let out a couple of whimpers and pouts over the next week. Please bear with me.