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Good morning, moving day!

4 Aug

It’s moving day! Hooray! We’ll just park the POD…

… Damn it.

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Plant seeds, add fertilizer

30 Jul

So we’re here now, but our arrival is being dragged out like a William Shatner death scene… which I suppose might be helping keep it from overwhelming us, so I probably shouldn’t complain.  I hear gift horses have halitosis.

Chandra’s WA plates expire next week, so some of the stuff you might usually try to deal with in the tail-end of your moving-in process is instead the prelude for us (no, not Honda Prelude, that was my first car).  Here in VA I’ve noticed they like to do things in person, and require lots of runaround, forms, etc.  Cases in point: they won’t let you do things online, as when they gracefully acknowledge the complete lack of any online listing of state-approved inspection locations for the multiple required inspections, for example.  Instead they show a picture of what the sign looks like, so when you’re driving around your town you know what to look for in the window of the car shop.  Works great if you already live here and know where to check… otherwise, not so much.  The parking permit we needed for the PODs delivery couldn’t be done online or over the phone either, and required a couple hours in city hall, multiple signatures from different departments, and would normally then be mailed to you in a couple weeks.  Please explain to me how this is supposed to be the standard procedure for people moving here; you have to be here to get the permit, which is then mailed to… where, exactly?  When?  Even the Kindergarten registration had to be done in person.

Their in-state tuition rules suck too, which I’m having to pay for big-time; actual time in state residence doesn’t matter, you also have to prove that you did not move to the state with the intent to go to school and get in-state tuition.  Guilty until proven innocent, and having been accepted almost two years before I came, that’d be a hard case to fight.  In many states, I’d be getting in-state tuition my second year, just for having been living there a year.

So here, in order to get new plates, you need to do inspections, fill out forms, prove residency, and get in-state Drivers licenses first- those in turn requiring Passports, Social Security cards, copy of Lease or other proof of in-state residence, etc.  We got the drivers licenses taken care of today, although the real cards won’t be ready for a while.

Does VA really not want more people?  They do seem to make it more of a pain to move here than I remember WA ever being.

We’re staying at an extended-stay hotel suite, which is both cheaper and nicer than most of the straight-out hotels we’ve been in this trip.  No pool or free breakfast, both of which Moon mourns, but having at least one door you can close is great, as is the kitchenette and free laundry.  Even with the suite setup I still sometimes have to take someone outside, so as to not wake the 5yo we’re trying to get to sleep on the fold-out couch in one room, or the other twin who’s starting to fall asleep in the other.

Cruising the hallways

Our free time, as such, is about setting up utilities installations (which can be just as difficult and bureaucratic as the government agencies, which makes me suspect cultural rather than official causes), trying to remember what all to change the addresses and phone numbers for online (and just beginning to memorize the new info after repeated entries on forms), trying to keep up with existing accounts (our between the POD shipment, hotels, gas, etc the AmEx bill this month makes me want to cry) figuring out registration and schedule for my courses (still working on that, thanks to some apparent conflicts in what I was told to do), and otherwise tying up the loose ends of a string we don’t even really have fully in hand, yet.

Best laid plans of mice and men…

30 Jul

And sometimes, even the shoddy plans we make go awry. No Montauk, just South to North Carolina where it was inexplicably cooler than Virginia (Where the temp hovered around 104).  That heat and humidity we were forgetting back in Colorado is here with a vengeance.

Here are some photos of time with Grandpa in the triangle area:

In a strange limbo now, a time of bureaucracies and city permits while we wait for our lease to start, prepping for the move.  Feels so close and yet so far.

Things Left Un-Blogged

15 Jul
  • The Flat Tire.  On a related note, Tomichi Tires in Gunnison, CO is awesome.
  • The Tornado.  Spotted out the window while driving to Denver, CO.
  • Being on my own with the kids for a day and a half in Denver, CO.  Funny how there is no time for blogging when that happens.
  • The change in route that has us going through:
  • Kansas.  Flat.  108 degrees.  Evil.  Enough said.
  • No functional internet in Kansas hotel.  Enough said.

Enough for now, hope to see you next in Indiana!

Lessons Learned

25 Jun

Have kitties, will travel.

  1. Today, we traveled about 400 miles. Castor and Pollux would like you to know that they are done after slightly less than 300 miles.
  2. Check the contents of your MP3 player before just letting it shuffle songs, lest NIN’s “Closer” come on.  Oh, the lyrics you never want to have to explain to a five year old.
  3. The Thomas Condon Paleontology Center is an amazing rest stop to take while traveling across Oregon.  Clean restrooms, with changing tables, are just the beginning.  We managed time watching the paleontologists at work through windows in the center, plus a walk through the museum exhibits of fossils they have found.  Moon even scored some coloring pages from a friendly Park Ranger (“Look mom!  Bunnies used to have long tails!“).  Outside, you have sweeping views of the Painted Hills, and birds have built small mud-nests into the sides of the building itself.  The Center is only open 9am – 5pm, and the fossils are almost all mammals — kids looking for T-Rex will be disappointed.  The only complications for our group were the lack of crawling space (9 month olds do not seem to be their target audience), and making sure the kitties stayed cool in the parking lot (we lucked out with the overcast day).
  4. Remember when your hotel was a place to relax and unwind after a long day of travel? Yeah, that was before you were spending your time trying to keep infant twins who have been cooped up in car seats all day quiet for the sake of your neighbors.  Please get sleepy soon, little guys!
  5. Hey look!  Time change! We just lost an hour.  I have to get up earlier tomorrow morning?

12 hours or so later, we made it to Idaho.  Next stop, Utah!

Reliance on Technology

17 Jun

This blog might end up being less dynamic than we’d hoped, once we hit the road…

We’d been planning on picking up new phones before we left, as our two year contract is up.  Mrs. Damn has decided our next phones should be the new iPhones, which granted, would let us keep in touch, upload content, and heck, even edit videos and upload them from the road (presumably not while driving.  Of course not, officer…).  She’s had a mostly positive experience with her Apple laptop, and is now a devoted fan of them- especially the AppleCare protection plan.  That and her appreciation of the closed system/moderated app store seems to be the main selling points for the new iPhone over, say, the cheaper ($150 each on Amazon) Driod Incredible– but I could be missing something.

Unfortunately, things kept getting pushed back.  We waited on the announcement of the new phones, as we knew they would both open up new options and drop the price on the existing iPhones when they came out.  Then we waited for the pre-order deadline, figuring we’d have them shipped to us en route.  Then their servers and phone numbers couldn’t handle the rush for the trendy new phones.  Then they had to push back the delivery dates and make them tentative instead of guaranteed.  Plus the online ordering system would only let you ship and set area codes according to the billing address on your credit card.

So now I’m not sure… I have a feeling this means we won’t get new phones until mid-July or probably early August, when the new iPhones become more readily available in stores.  In the meantime, we have phones that can handle email but not web browsing or other fancier features.

Not our phones.

I’ll admit in addition to the blogging and general memorabilia appeal of being able to take & upload photos & video, I was set more at ease about our trip by the thought of being able to access maps, GPS, look up hotels, search for the next restaurant via voice commands, and all those other modern marvels that come with the current batch of mobile devices and applications, and I’m starting to worry more and more about how we’re going to fare on the longer stretches between havens (La Pine, OR to Gothic, CO being the first of several of them).

At the same time, I have to mock myself somewhat for feeling dependent on expensive new technology I haven’t ever even had yet.