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May 03

Of Troglodytes and Erudites

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As promised, now that the site is up and running, here’s a detailed update on what’s been going on for the last few months in our respective households.

A Tree grows in the Middle of a Sidewalk…

In honor of Ken’s 30th, I flew to Wisconsin for a surprise birthday visit. And when I say surprise, I mean I didn’t bother to tell him I was coming. I basically played it off like it was another Friday at work. Really, I got up at 5:00 in the morning to make my 8:00am flight out of Orange County. 4:00 CDT, I picked up my rental car from Dane County Airport and drove around a while to get my bearings.

The roads are definitely much different in those parts. It was reminiscent of driving around Northern Nevada where there are really no grids to the city, and no urban planning to speak of. It’s like the cities popped up and connected themselves via poorly maintained rural highways. And when I say rural highway, I mean they’re lettered, not named, and I never did figure out the infrastructure there… (In twenty years, I’m encouraging my children to go into civil engineering because if the rest of this country is like this area, they will be assured of a job after graduation, but I digress…) Much like driving in Reno, you learn to identify the major streets, which directions they run, and how they connect to other major streets and interstates and you find your way around. Praise be to the civil engineers for their finely tuned attention to street signs. At least I always knew where the capitol building and the campus were.

I managed to locate the apartment on my own, but without keys was unable to get in. Short of breaking and entering, it was better just to head over to campus and find Ken’s lab. This was at least easier than finding the Beltline, but I’ve never wanted to play bowling for undergrads so badly in my life. I know 5 year-olds who are more capable of crossing a busy thoroughfare than these pot-addled libertards. Maybe I’ve spent too long in California and now I’m just a car-cissist, but my finely tuned common sense says that you shouldn’t take on a piece of machinery roughly ten times your size without being absolutely certain that A) you do, in fact, have the right of way, and B) that I care that you have right of way. Whoops… there’s the car-cissist rearing its ugly head.

A few loops around campus, and a quick call to my buddy Drew for a quick direction check, I managed to locate the only damn parking structure on campus and Ken’s building. Forty minutes of waiting later, I popped around a corner to surprise the birthday boy on his way out of the building. He was not nearly as surprised as he should have been. How he manages to ruin every surprise I ever have for him, I will never understand.

I was, on the other hand, plenty surprised by what is to be my new home. It’s spacious! It’s well-equipped!

My God, It’s inhabited by the trogloditic reincarnation of Cro-Magnon frat boy.

Give a man a two bedroom apartment without female influence and it’s bound to get a smidgen untidy at times, but this was like a page out of the refugee frat boy play book. He never finished moving in from November. Entire boxes were still packed, camping gear had taken up residence in the guest room, the guest bathroom didn’t even have water to the toilet turned on, and the master bath did not register a human reflection in the mirror. He was possessed of two lamps, one of which contained congealed wax “lava” and water. Did I mention that there was a beer bottle in the bathtub?

There were no real cleaning supplies to speak of, but at this point, I’d been traveling for a solid eleven hours and I just wanted a pizza delivered and sleep. Check and check. We spent a few hours on Saturday running back and forth to home depot and target for cleaning supplies, housewares, and hardware.  The rest of the time was spent cleaning, moving things to the storage space, hanging pictures, cooking, and just nesting in general. There was even some site seeing and taste of the local fare in there too. By the end of the weekend we were exhausted, but it felt like home. Just in time to get on a plane to fly back to California.

It was short, but it was the best birthday weekend I’ve ever had, cleaning and all.

The quest for knowledge detours to sabbaticalville.

I graduated the day before I left for my trip, leaving me with a lot of much needed free time, and the need for a break. I still intend to pursue a degree in kinesiology and eventually a masters/doctorate in physical therapy, but  for now, I think it’s important to have a taste of normal life for a while and keep a low profile until after the wedding. I’ll investigate online classes sometime around winter 2011 if I get bored or come into a sizable grant/scholarship/inheritance to pay for tuition.

For anyone who was not already aware, Ken’s long graduate career ended back in November with a Ph.D., after which he moved to the great mudwest for a post-doctoral position. We expect that Wisconsin will be home for at least the next few years while he goes about his research. Feel free to Send Dr. Ken congratulations or well wishes via the contact links.

I like to move it, move it!

Actually, I really don’t. I’ve moved so many times in the last ten years that postal service must be mistaking me for military. However, sometimes tearing up roots and replanting them elsewhere is the lesser of two evils. In this case, California is a most pervasive evil and I’ve had my fill. We set my moving date to June 5th, at which time I will take my leave. I’ll miss the beach, the abundance of food options, and all the amazing people I’ve met over the years, but a distance of 2000 miles and two time zones is tough on any relationship and the maintenance of two separate households is not good for our budget either. We’ll be back at least once for some wedding related stuff and then again for the actual wedding. I’m sure there will be visits as well over holidays, in which case I’ll give everyone a heads up.

Of course, the lines of contact are always open in this age of inescapable technology and we’re only a phone call, email, or plane ride away. (As long as you give us the heads up first, we’ll have the guest room ready.)

And there’s the rub for now, friends. Stay tuned for tales of road trip terror…

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