My Things Arrive...

So the moving truck showed up yesterday. I guess that means I should'a blogged about it yesterday, but I was exhausted by the end of the day, even though all my things fit in this tiny U-Haul. The best part was someone else drove it and unloaded it. And, they put everything right where I wanted it :-) It's the only way to go.

It was like Christmas morning... a REALLY long Christmas morning. This was especially true of the items from the kitchen because in Columbia I was renting a room in a house and kept my kitchen items stored in the garage. I really did unwrap things that I didn't remember I owned. 

I have all the boxes emptied and out of the house except one. MAJOR progress! However, while it all may be unpacked, it is definitely not put away. There are two reasons for this. The first issue is that my closet here is dramatically smaller than my closet in Columbia. That's okay because I have too many clothes and my closet is in desperate need of a purge if not a downright overhaul. 

The second issue is that I did not move my desk from Columbia. It wasn't so much a desk as two base kitchen cabinets and a Formica counter that I moved from my townhouse in Archdale, NC. It was time to retire it so when one of the movers offered to take it off my hands, I agreed. That, of course, means I need to find something new.  Insert Craigslist advertisement here! I love Craigslist. I know I know... some med student in Boston was killing people he met on Craigslist, but I have had tremendous success shopping on Craigslist. I found my Columbia casa on The List. Today, I found my new desk... (and a "project" but more to come on that later). Love it!

The best part of Craigslist is that you talk to people... and I have been in need of people to talk to.This desk was from a very nice girl (she is about my age, but married with 3 kids...that always blows me away!) who invited me to come to church with her on Sunday. She is from "back east" (Ohio) and moved here in college to play basketball for Oregon State. When she heard I was new to Corvallis, she immediately declared herself my "first friend". Of course, I have already met some great people that I am going to be working with at OSU so I am willing to call her my first non-OSU friend. Hopefully the first of many friends to come! 


Lessons from Columbia

Three years ago next week I moved to Columbia, Missouri, to begin work on a PhD. Immediately I didn't like it. I missed ACC sports. The Midwest was vastly different from the Southeast where I grew up. Sweet tea was not readily available. I didn't know anyone. My family was 850 miles away. I began to notice that I was going whole days without speaking to anyone... well, anyone except the poor clerk at the store who got my life story when she asked "how are you today?" There were many evenings spent wondering "What am I doing" or "how I could give up friends and family for this?"

Less than a month after I got to Columbia I had pretty tremendous back pain, ended up in surgery and, amazingly, friends sprouted up around me like Forsythia blooms signaling the end of winter. I suddenly had a network of supporters who rallied around me. They cooked, they doggysat, they allowed me to live with them (Thanks Amy), they packed/moved everything I owned in an afternoon, they covered my classes, they even tied my shoes (thanks again Amy). From that moment on... Columbia was home. Friends started sprouting up in ANOVA class, at church, and around the office.

Fast forward 3 years and the sadness I feel at leaving Columbia is hard to describe. In my head I know it would not be the same, even if I stayed, because Columbia was never intended to be my home. It was intended to be a stop along the journey to teach me not only academic but life lessons. I have made some great friends in Columbia. (Ironically, many of them are not there anymore either or won't be there in another year or two.)

I have learned a lot about myself and those hard learned lessons from Columbia have made the move to Corvallis a little smoother. I still think I have gone about 48 without talking to anyone (except those poor store clerks), but I know that means it's time to put in a call to family and friends (and hope they call me sometimes, too). I don't want to have another back surgery to find my Corvallis family. I know I just have to be patient and I will find them, just below the snowy surface, waiting to bloom.


Money Money Money

The best part about not roadtrippin' anymore is that I have stopped spending $120 a day on fuel. However, the money hemorrhaging has not stopped. First, there was rent for the new apartment, then the cost of a summer parking permit and, of course, the cost of restocking my modest kitchen. That is not the end, however. While the moving truck is scheduled to arrive on Monday, there are plenty of things I do not own because I didn't need them in Columbia. In fact, when the truck arrives the only things headed for the living room are a coffee table, an end table and my TV. So seating is a problem....

I thought I would start small:  A bookcase to hold the 9 cartons of books that will be coming (and that doesn't include the books for the office). It was one of those build-it-yourself jobs.  I think it turned out well. And, today I picked up the barstool since my apartment has the little bar area.

The bookcase went so well that I got ambitious and found a small console table for $25 at Fred Meyer so I snatched it up assuming it would go as smoothly. INCORRECT ASSUMPTION! It was made in Vietnam and required much more complex tools. In fact, as good as it looks in the entryway here... the top is not technically attached and will not be until my real tools arrive on the truck.

So.. combine that lack of seating with the boredom of nothing to unpack and not officially being on the job yet and....ta da..shopping spree. Behold my first ever new furniture (ignore the hideous pillows on the couch... they will be finding a new home). The couch is great.. for sitting and napping. It is firm enough for my bad back so I love it. The chair is even better. It swivels!

On a lighter note... I STILL love the Murano and spent the afternoon babying it with an oil change and a hand-washing to remove the bug population I collected in my 3,000 mile journey. Hopefully this time it will take me a little longer than 2 weeks to require another oil change.


Idaho and Oregon

Idaho gets credit for the scariest signs. There were warnings for snow, high winds, deer crossings, animal migration areas, dust storms, severe storm area, ROCK, report wildfires, and areas to pull off and put chains on your tires. I had no idea that Idaho was so tough. And... I saw my first tumbleweed!

Then, on to Oregon.  I stayed on the western side Oregon when I came to interview so seeing eastern Oregon was an experience. It is pretty in its own way.

But it just kept getting prettier the further west I traveled. Gorgeous!

Once I arrived in Lebanon, I had a great dinner and a tour of the farm...complete with sheep feeding and raspberry picking. The weather still has me in awe and I slept like a rock with the windows open and temperatures in the 50's. Betsy and her dad David are letting me crash for a few days... since my stuff is somewhere between here and Missouri. Thanks for the hospitality, Hartleys!

Today was filled with the necessary evils of relocation and hiring. I signed the lease on my apartment and unloaded the stuff from my car. I then met up with Sara (our department's secretary) and she made my day by walking me from place to place on Oregon State's campus so I could get my ID card made, pick up my parking permit, meet with a benefits rep, shop for office furniture at surplus, and try out some pizza.


Catching up

I am in Oregon. I have been so busy roadtrippin' and visitin' that I have fallen down on my blogging duties... So let's get caught up, shall we? Tonight's installment:Wyoming and Utah.

First, Wyoming which I drove most of Sunday. I think I could use less than 20 words to describe Wyoming along I-80: wind turbines, snow fence, tractor trailers, buttes, rocky hills, and yellow fields. Actually, I think the GPS unit pretty much sums it up. Straight for miles... but at 7000ft above sea level.

Actually, I am being harsh. It was really gorgeous in places. See.... this is just a random rest area along the highway. This might be my new desktop background.

Then came Utah...

Oh, Utah. Absolutely gorgeous. I came into Utah thru Bear Lake and up through Logan Canyon (which had a fire while I was there, but I am not brave enough to take pictures while looking up and driving thru a canyon).

And of course, the best part was seeing the Lawver gang. We grilled out, poked around downtown Logan, took a tour of Bluebird candy (that'll make you NOT want to eat any Bluebird candy), saw the Pepperidge Farm factory, went to Gosner's (with the crazy boxed flavored milk), got some ice cream, and made a stop at the old fashioned soda shoppe for an Ironport and cherry cokes, or in my case a vanilla Dr. Pepper. YUM!

Thanks Lawvers! Tomorrow.... Idaho and their scary signs and my arrival in Oregon. For now its off to bed as I try to adjust to Pacific time.


Wild Wild West

I was a tourist today. Well, first I drove from Grand Island, NE to Cheyenne, WY, (insert obligatory sign shot here) but then I was a total tourist.

I am talking guided tour of the city with camera in hand and, if I owned a fanny pack, I might have rocked it today.  Did I mention the tour was on a trolley? Cute, right?

I got to see all sorts of things, including:

The Cheyenne Frontier Days Arena and Museum. CFD actually starts next Saturday so I was a little early, but I remember watching videos of "The Daddy of 'em All" when left with a substitute during ag class. At the museum there was a statue to Lane Frost who died during the rodeo in 1989. The story was retold in '8 Seconds' with Luke Perry. I need to watch that again.

I did a drive-by of the Wyoming State Capitol Building

And, like the true plant geek that I am, I ended the day walking around the Cheyenne Botanic Garden...enjoy the photos.  I will also admit that I thought the Cheyenne area was going to be more mountainous... I was wrong. I will get to the mountains tomorrow as I drive through the Rocky Mountains to visit the Lawvers' in Logan, UT.


Somewhere in the middle....

So I left Missouri this morning a little after 8:30 (*tear/smile*) and got in about 7 solid hours of driving. By my calculations...I am somewhere in the middle of the country. To be more precise, I am in Grand Island, NE enjoying the pool, some internet and not being in the car for a while. I even hope to get in some reading for fun.

Back to today's journey. I passed through Iowa....

After stopping in Council Bluffs for some lunch and gas I made it to Nebraska...

(Yes indeed, I am snapping these photos while driving.. this one on a bridge. I know "Not safe" so don't tell my momma.) I have learned, however, that I like one thing about Nebraska... the speed limit.

Well that, and the fact that agriculture is alive and well in Nebraska. And, for those who would like to live vicariously through me as I travel across the country in a Nissan Murano, this was my view all day....I-70, I-29 and then I-80 AKA... Corn Corn Corn Corn 

If you have a free moment... check out the tune by Haywood Banks. It has been in my head all day.


Just a quick note to let readers know I am hitting the road today. Hoping to drive out of Missouri and cross most, if not all, of Nebraska. I will try to post tonight from my hotel room.

A special thanks to Claire, Sara, Mike, Jonathon, and Heidi for a fun "last supper" at the Rome, dessert at Yogoluv, and one last episode of 'The Office' - ("That was an overreaction"). I am going to miss you all..... until you come visit!


14 down... 33 to go

Hours, that is. I spent 14 hours in the car yesterday as I returned to Missouri from visiting friends and family in  North Carolina. I had a great stay and got to see lots of friends and family. I am still working on taking my camera with me to things so no photos, but here are the highlights:

First, I made my group take a new family picture so I would have them with me in Oregon. Not too shabby.
A quiet night with my mom and dad.
Gary's and Stag-n-Doe and El Amigo and, of course, Bojangles. (I used that graduation giftcard from Amy and Becki.)
A pedicure with Mom, Melissa, and Desiree.
Reading (and napping) in a porch swing on a Saturday afternoon.
Babysat Emmy and Katie-bug.
I watched my little brother graduate from the police academy (and since it's Facebook official I guess I can also share that he and his wife are expecting their 3rd kid in 3 years to make me 'Aunt Misty' again).
I had lunch with Sheri (and a tour of the barn).
Gossiping over some Elizabeth's pizza with Brittany & Michaela.
Car shopping, dinner and lots of catchin' up with Leigh.
A cookout with Liz & Grover, Dave & Tracy, Jeff & Joy, Jamie & Tim and all the kids.
Swimming with Desiree & Curtis --3 times
Three weekends of Sunday night (homecooked) dinner and beating Curtis at Wii bowling.
Seeing the Mt. Zion Church family and the crowd at China Grove's Friday night farmer's market.

Oh and I bought a sweet new (to me) ride. This baby was fabulous as I traveled yesterday and should make the next 33 hours of driving fly by. I am leaving Friday to complete the road trip to Oregon and begin my new job. I will go a total of 2,389 miles in 8 days.

On a side note, I normally listen to my Zune on long trips (but didn't see it while packing and accidentally left it in NC). Since I have been borrowing the parents' car between spring break and now (for my dad to fix the air conditioning) I have had SIRIUS satellite radio (Awesome!). As I made the trip yesterday from NC to MO without either of those options, I was forced to listen to regular radio with commercials and traffic reports and DJ's and call-in contests... EEEWWWW. I felt like Leroy Jenkins as I stabbed at radio station buttons to avoid a run in with Lia, Delilah, or John Tesh.. Have no fear: The Zune has been recovered and overnighted to Missouri so I won't have to travel again without it.  I am spoiled and I like it that way :-)