552 miles... 1 million more smiles.

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Saturday, December 17, 2005

Last Post from the Peach State

We're about to pack up the computer and shove it onto the U-Haul... Let me tell you, so far this has been quite a misadventure in moving. I'll continue the saga of the apartment quest and the U-Haul hell story once I get hooked up in Florida. I don't know when we're going to have internet access (In fact, I'm not even sure I'm going to have a phone for a while), so it may be a while.

Thanks to everyone who came and hung out with me on my "last night in town." Technically, tonight is my "last night," but we still have a lot of packing to do.


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Monday, December 12, 2005

I'm back!!!

Sorry about the recent lack of blogging. I've gotten virtually no packing done since you last heard from me. I have managed to wrap Christmas presents and throw out some junk (trial size bottles of shampoo, expired vitamins, hair highlighting kits, etc.).

The big news? When we finally do get everything packed up, we have a place to put it. That's right, I found an apartment. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy.

I arrive in Ft. Myers Wednesday late in the morning. I drive to the first apartment complex I was considering (the one closest to the airport). I can't find it. I drive in circles for about half an hour. I finally call them, and find out the complex has been converted to condos. Damn.

There are about six decent apartment complexes between the airport and the hotel. I stop at all of them. Every one is booked solid. Some have openings coming up in mid-January, some have apartments available in mid-February. Some have no openings coming up in all. Double damn.]

I arrive at the hotel. They let me check in early, which was nice, but other than that, the hotel (Ft. Myers LaQuinta) was a bit of a dump. My shower was missing tiles off of the wall, and the refrigerator was held together with duct tape. This is not a condemnation of all LaQuinta inns... I've had some very nice experiences at some of their hotels. The Ft. Myers LaQuinta is not one of them. But I digress.

I grab the area apartment guide and the phone book, and start calling every apartment complex that is within my price range. Even the scary looking ones. And there's NOTHING available. Anywhere.

When I made the plane reservations the week prior, I honestly thought that the three days I'd planned would be way too much time, and I'd be stuck there twiddling my thumbs. Not so.

The Chamber of Commerce had provided me with a list of rental realtors. I started calling them. The majority only had three-bedroom vacation rentals available, typically in the range of $1,800 a month to $1,500 a week.

Did I mention that it's "High Season" in Ft. Myers right now? Families are heading South for the winter. If you had a small apartment available for rent, wouldn't you rather rent it out for $800 a week rather than $800 a month? You better believe it. So finding an apartment this time of year is NOT easy.

We were really hoping to pay less than $700 a month. I know, that's pretty optimistic, but consider the fact that Cory still doesn't have a job. Consider the fact that I'm not getting a pay increase. Consider the fact that we only pay $615 a month right now for a two-bedroom, 1200+ square foot townhouse. We decided that a one-bedroom apartment would be fine, as long as we could find one for less than $700.

I kept trying to call realtors until closing time at 5pm. I finally found a one-bedroom house in Lehigh Acres (the next town inland) for $750. And the realtor wasn't sure if the landlord would allow a cat.

After a few hours on the phone crying to everyone I know, I finally decided to just start driving. I wrote down the phone number on every "For Rent" sign I saw. I had a crappy late dinner at Steak-n-Shake, and went to bed.

The next morning, I worked the phones for about two hours. I finally found a realtor with a pair of small one-bedroom apartments (both less than 700 square feet). Both were out of our price range... but not by a lot. ($750 and $725. And at this point, under $700 was starting to look like a pipe dream.) I went to see the first one that morning. It was tiny. Think of a shoebox. A shoebox with hardwood floors. It already had a washer & dryer, which meant we'd need to pay for a storage facility to stow ours. But it was directly across the street from my new job, which made it a lot more appealing. I put it on the "maybe" list, and made an appointment to see the other apartment (on the other end of town) the next morning.

I visited the TV station, talked with my new boss, and he and his assistant spent about an hour brainstorming for me, thinking of apartments where former employees had lived, people they knew who were realtors, doing google searches, etc. They came up with a few more leads for me to follow, and I was off once again.

Another complex was going condo. Another one had remodeled and the prices went up by about $250 a month. I headed to the realtors they recommended, and they had nothing even remotely close to my price range. Then I called one the numbers I'd copied down the night before. Jackpot!!! A one-bedroom apartment for $650!

I was only about half a mile away, so I drove there immediately. Cute house, cute neighborhood. I walked in, and almost got knocked over by the stench of cat piss. I wasn't sure if it was coming from the apartment, one of the neigbors apartments, or from the landlord, who was wearing an adult diaper (yes, I could tell. I'm not going to go into details, but needless to say, it was a little disturbing). He was very sweet, though, and I didn't want to offend him by telling him that the apartment reeked. I looked around, and it stunk even more when I got inside the apartment. I literally gagged several times. I couldn't get away fast enough.

...Stay tuned for Part II.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Monday Madness

Oddly enough, this week's Monday Madness is all about moving. Interesting, huh?

1. When is the last time you moved? Three years ago, Cory and I spent his birthday moving into our current townhouse. It was just an across-town move.
2. How many times in your life have you moved? We moved at least a couple times when I was too little to remember. When I was three, we moved to Michigan, and when I was in Junior High School, we moved across town. I moved to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for graduate school, and moved once in my two years there. After that, I moved to Kirksville, lived in three different places, moved to Ottumwa for three months, then moved back to Kirksville. I moved to Columbus four years ago, and moved once since coming here. And in two weeks, I'll be doing it again. So, that's at least fourteen times, right?
3. In your opinion, what is the worst thing about moving? I'd like to say that it's leaving my close friends... but to be perfectly honest, the worst part is that sinking you get when you realize that you have way too much stuff, and that you've severely underestimated the amount of time, effort and money that it's going to cost.
4. What is the most exciting thing about moving? When it's over.
5. If you've lived in the same place all your life, do you plan to move in the future? This question certainly doesn't apply to me.
6. Do you WANT to move somewhere else; if so, where? To be honest, I don't know where I want to live when I "grow up." I guess I'll just find out when I get there.

I expect participation this time, people!


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Monday, December 05, 2005

Pot Dealer

Oh, I did accomplish one more thing today. I'm officially a professional artist. The pottery studio had a big sale this weekend, and I put some of my crappy little pots up for sale. Sure enough, somebody actually bought some of them. When I checked this morning, I'd sold about $45 worth of pottery. Not bad, right? Of course, it didn't pay off my pottery studio dues... nor did it pay off the pottery classes I took a year ago. In fact, I spent more at the pottery sale than I earned.

I've got to get a handle on this income-outflow issue one of these days.


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Packing it In

Okay, so I got no packing done today. But I did accomplish something. I wrapped Christmas presents. That's kind of like packing... I still had to put things in boxes, tape them shut, and label them, right?


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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Wasted Opportunity

I was so excited to get some actual packing done on Saturday. A busy day of college football meant that we had no 6pm newscast (unfortunately, nobody bothered to tell the poor production staff, and they all showed up for a show that didn't exist).

Unfortunately, CSU had a 1pm basketball game. And a 3pm basketball game. And that meant that I had to spend much of my afternoon shooting hoops... and not in the fun way.

We did manage to get some packing done between trips to the Lumpkin Center. We spent about two hours wrapping up all of our dishes and glassware.

Right now, I feel like I'm just wasting time. I'm sitting here, waiting for the ACC Championshp game to end (it's well after midnight, and our 11pm newscast won't start until after the game is over). Yeah, there's stuff here that I could probably do, like clean up my desk, or start packing away my personal items. But if I load up a box here, that just means I'll have to take it home. And the last thing our apartment needs right now is more crap in it!

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

18 Days and Counting

Have I mentioned how much moving SUCKS???

Every time I walk into this apartment, my heart sinks. Not because I'm going to miss it-- but because I have way too much crap!

So far, I've managed to do very little. I've cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer, cleared out the cupboards, packed some pots and pans, cleaned the oven, and taken down the curtains. Last night, I went through old pictures and threw out the doubles to clear some drawer space. And that's it.

I know what you're thinking. They're not leaving for 2 1/2 more weeks! Why is she freaking out about the move?

Because I don't think I'm going to get a single day off between now and then... except for the three days I'm taking to go to Ft. Myers and find an apartment.

Maybe every day I should list the things I've accomplished on this blog. That way, you can all keep me in check!


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