Archive for the ‘Settling’ Category

ReversExodus

Let me just say that even if you’re experienced at moving around, it doesn’t make it any easier. This August has been no exception. Granted, for the last 7 years I’ve been moving into a new residence around August, just like clockwork. However, those last 7 years had to do with school and work. This one was no different.

However, unlike the simple moves from Fort Collins to Golden, or from one apartment to another, the cross-country move is usually difficult, not only logistically, but just in general. With my graduation from the Career Development Program at work, my time in Alabama came to an end. Now, to those who would jump to conclusions, I’m not leaving my job, I’m merely transferring to a position in another state. And as luck would have it, that state is Colorado.

So this August I packed up my things and did the reverse trip of the move I made two years ago to live in Alabama. Of course, having had two years of a steady and healthy income, my worldly possessions weren’t nearly as compact as they were when I moved down there. To make things more complicated, paperwork issues made this a tight move; tighter than was comfortable for me. Everything worked out, but that’s not to say I didn’t stress out about it.

But the stress of moving aside, I tend to stress out about things that I have no control over. I stress because I have no control over them. If I could control them, then I would be certain that everything would work out. And yet, conservative communication from those who hold vital pieces of information doesn’t make anything better. Anyways, enough of my rambling: It’s story time.

A week after I graduated from the Career Development Program, I headed to Colorado Springs to secure an apartment. This alone made the transition to Colorado easier than the one to Alabama, because I knew where I was going to stay before I packed everything up and headed out the door. There’s a lot you can do ahead of time with an address.

In order to actually find an apartment, I made a spreadsheet of about 25 different options, of which 7 I decided to pursue. God blessed me with an almost outrageously obvious choice. Of course, this time when I was looking for apartments, I knew what questions to ask and what to look for, having had to put up with far too much in the past. At any rate, with paperwork signed, I headed back to Alabama to plan the rest of my move.

And this is where it began to get complicated. It seems that the dates that I wanted to move were far too soon to adequately prepare movers to move my stuff. Fortunately, God came through again and I had to make only minor adjustments to my plan. Of course, when situations arise that are off-book, I quickly made adaptations that didn’t really matter in the end. But at least I could quickly change to the circumstances.

So, the week of the move quickly came upon me, but not without its headaches at work. On the Friday before I was to leave, I was handed an outprocessing form from the organization that I started with two years ago. Considering that they should have known months ahead of time that I was not staying with their organization, this last second form to fill out irked me something fierce. What was described as taking “a few hours” ended up taking almost two full days to get signatures. The end result: they took away my work laptop and now I was headed to my new job with a literal clean slate and a blind sense of what to do next.

Now, on top of this paperwork at work, I still hadn’t heard from the people who would physically be touching my stuff. I had no idea who was coming to pack and load my things, and I did not know when they would even show up at my apartment. Fortunately, I had help with this move. While I was at work trying to get initials on a form, I got a call from my mom who was down in Alabama to help me move back. Apparently the packers were at my apartment. I quickly hurried home and directed what needed to be packed and what did not. I told them that I would have liked some warning ahead of time, so they made sure to get my phone number so that they could tell me when they were coming to pick everything up.

The next day they called and said they would be at my apartment between 8am and 9am. That evening I got another call from another phone number saying they’d be at my apartment at 8am to pick up my stuff. I thought this was merely a re-confirmation, but it wasn’t until the next day that I found out that it wouldn’t be that simple.

So, the day of the move my mom and I wake up and begin packing our vehicles with the important things that I need to move personally. As we finish up, a big truck comes by and two guys get out. 7:30. Half an hour early. Nice. When they get in the apartment, they ask if the packers left any paperwork for them. They hadn’t. This meant that the loaders had to inventory my stuff, which took some time, not to mention that they had to unpack what was already in their truck so that my stuff could be loaded onto it.

Similarly, they seemed to be taking their time getting this stuff done, which is not what I wanted when I knew that I would be spending the entire day driving. I have a one bedroom apartment, which should not take 3 hours to load. Of course, that’s not even the worst part of it. At about 9:30, the people who packed my stuff showed up. Considering that they were half an hour late from when they said they’d arrive, I wondered if they were even supposed to load my stuff. It seems that during the “peak season” of moves, which just so happens to coincide with my move, double-booking movers is not uncommon. Doesn’t make sense to me, but whatever.

The fortunate circumstance of having the first movers show up early was that they were actually going to move my stuff to my apartment in Colorado. Of course, this was after learning that they were told that it was going into storage in Colorado. I don’t know where they got that idea, since I’ve been telling the people in charge of my move that it was an apartment-to-apartment move. This is why it was fortunate that the packers showed up late: they were going to take my stuff and put it in storage in Alabama, which would have just made its transit even less expeditious.

At any rate, once we made it clear that they were taking far too long in moving my stuff out of my apartment, since I still needed to vacuum and turn in the keys at the front office, two more people magically appeared and the work was quickly done. I guess the lesson here is to make sure that you make it clear how pressed for time you really are.

With the brunt of things that are out of my control on a move out of the way, we hopped in the cars and drove out to Colorado. We couldn’t have asked for better driving weather or driving conditions in general. Since this post is getting a little long, I’ll merely close by saying that this decision to move back to Colorado was made many months ago, but I did not want to tell anyone about it until I had the paperwork that would get me back home in hand. I would hate to say, “I’m leaving in July,” only to leave a month later. Of course, as with any big life decision, this move has its pros and its cons. It’s just that the pros far outweighed the cons. Let’s just say, I’m glad to be back in my home state: it’s where I feel I belong.

View from the Apartment

And now that I just need to wait for my stuff to arrive, I’m enjoying the right choice in apartments. Not only is it literal walking distance from lots of shopping, but it’s so close to major roads that I can get anywhere in town quickly. And with lots of natural light, two-story vaulted ceilings, and a digital thermostat, what’s not to love? Of course, so far there have been no noise complaints on my part, and I think it may just stay that way. Besides, with a view from my porch that allows me to see almost all of Colorado Springs, how can I lose?

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BeneatHatred

Over the last four years, I have had the misfortune of living in many different apartments underneath many different people who do not understand that there are people living directly beneath them. I’ve hated being beneath these people, but now the hatred is beneath me. Now that I have finally moved to an apartment with nobody above me, I have some serious lifestyle changes that I need to make in order to comply with the unwritten laws of upstairs apartment leasing.

First of all, now that I live upstairs I will be literally and figuratively above everyone else in the building. This means that I need to realize that I am the only person who matters and that whatever I do should be accepted by those around me. If my actions are somehow jarring to others, I will merely tell them that they are intolerant, and that they need to keep their minds open to new ideas (i.e. mine). Rules no longer apply to someone who lives upstairs. Not the rules of the lease, not the rules of man, not even the rules of God. It is truly a life of freedom.

I am already a pretty big collector, but it seems to me that I now need to collect one more thing: bowling balls. Now, these are some very special items that I can’t just leave on a shelf to collect dust. No, I need to make sure that I take each and every one of them off of their pedestal and polish them regularly. Of course, with such polished bowling balls, I’m sure that I will frequently drop them on the floor. As long as they don’t go all the way through the floor, I think it should be OK. If the floor does get damaged, I’ll just get some sledgehammers and pound away at it until it’s magically remodeled into something much more stylish, like hardwood floor or tile. You know, those flooring styles that make the whole building echo with each step you make.

Of course, there are some aspects of upstairs living l am already prepared for. Being a bachelor means that my entire apartment can be my “man cave”. As such, I have already acquired some items that seem to be critical to life one story up. I’ve already bought a great stereo sound system, replete with an adequately sized subwoofer. If you can’t feel the action sequences of your movie at any location in your apartment, what’s the point of having a subwoofer? Similarly, I occasionally need to rock out, and I have all the equipment for the full band on Rockband 2. Nothing melts those daily stresses away like playing a kick-drum heavy drum solo on expert mode. But why stop at playing video games about music, when I can also play my vast music collection on the “11” setting during all hours of the day and night.

And yet, even though I have the equipment to rock out and enjoy movies, I’m still missing some important possessions for upstairs living. Most people would consider beer pong a basement sport. One of those things you play in someone’s garage or basement. But who wrote the rules on where it should be played? If it can be played in those locations, why not an upstairs apartment? All I really need is a long table, a bunch of cups, beer, 20 or 30 friends, and I’m ready to go. With the new hardwood or tile floors I’ve sledgehammered out, we should be able to catch the missed shots on at least the 14th bounce.

Even though I’m ready to embrace the upstairs lifestyle, there are some behaviors that I am unable to fulfill. Due to my allergy to pet dander, I can’t have a dog in my apartment. However, I may be able to find a hairless breed to take care of this requirement. Not that there’s much else I’d need to do after I got the dog. According to the unwritten laws, I’d need to lock it in the apartment all day, every day and never feed it. If you hear a constant whining from your dog: you’re doing it right.

Similarly, because of my choices in regards to the bedroom, I won’t be able to accomplish another one of those vital upstairs tasks. I may have a way around this issue as well. All I’d need to do would be to invite someone over to my apartment once every few days to jump on my bed and yell really loud. Of course, most people are so busy these days so I’ll have to schedule it for the early morning hours. Hey, I didn’t unwrite the unwritten laws, but I’m going to have to abide by them if I want to live upstairs. In fact, now that I think about it, the point about scheduling reminds me of another lifestyle change I’m going to need to make.

It seems to me that in order to live upstairs, one must be a nocturnal creature. This means that the times that the lease says everyone else should be asleep are the times that I am required to be awake. But what does one do in those night-time hours? Well, party, of course! I’ll get all the other upstairs people together nightly, or at the very least every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we’ll party until we are required to go to bed (usually around 7am). We’ll play beer pong, Rockband 2, jump around on my bed, do some strategic bowling ball drops and make sure to not feed my dog.

And yet, continuous partying is not the only way to stay in shape while living upstairs. Since I would never want to leave the wonderful world of the second floor, I would need to take up the ancient upstairs art of “pacing.” Who needs to spend hours on a treadmill going nowhere or hiking out in the dangerous and uncomfortable outdoors? Why do these things when you can use the happy medium of continuously pacing around the apartment! It doesn’t even need to be a big apartment. One bedroom is more than enough.
Lastly, I may have to make a physiological change to my routine. I usually tend to walk on the balls of my feet; since I’ve had years of ninja training to make sneaking up on people an easy task to accomplish. However, from what I’ve gathered about living upstairs, I’m going to need to change my gait so that I take every step with my heels. There’s no balance on the balls of your feet, so I’m assuming that the direct energy transfer from foot to floor of every step gives a greater stability. That’s not to say that I can’t get some heavy shoes to help with the transition process. If the pictures on my walls aren’t shaking every time I take a step, I think I may be doing it wrong.

In conclusion, these seem to be the attributes of someone who lives with their head in the clouds, one whole story above the ground. It must be nice to be able to get away with such a selfish, discourteous and inconsiderate lifestyle, and I’m certainly looking forward to it.

MusiCatalog

I’m not sure what it is about music, but I’ve come to associate certain bands or albums to sections of my life. Perhaps it’s a coping mechanism for me to get through some tough times in my life. Perhaps it’s a band that I really like and I just happened to listen to them a lot. Whatever the reason, I can’t deny that music is a part of my life. In fact, here’s a simple time-line of my life, represented in music:

– Birth to Elementary School: “Sabre Dance” – This movement of the final act of Aram Khachaturian’s ballet, “Gayane”, was what my family lovingly called “The Run Around Song”. This was the song that my parents would put on, or my dad would play on the piano while three high-energy boys ran around the house. I suppose it was a great outlet for our unending energy at that stage in life. All I know is that it was a lot of fun.

– Elementary School: Christian Rock – Before the time of CD players or mp3 players in cars, there were cassette tapes. At this point in my life, there were three bands that we listened to constantly while driving to and from school, or just driving around in general. Newsboys had “Going Public”. Audio Adrenaline had “Don’t Censor Me”. PFR had “Great Lengths”. I always associate these albums with this stage of my life, because we played these albums ad-nauseum.

– Junior High: “Speechless” – Still in the vein of Christian Rock, this album by Steven Curtis Chapman was probably one of my first CDs that I ever owned. As such, I still stuck to listening to this album constantly, also because it was the album that we listened to while driving to our Junior High basketball games. I’m not sure how much Mrs. Moe realizes how this album really effected me, because I still associate it with Junior High to this day.

– High School: Ska – This stage is a little more difficult to categorize, since there was a lot that I listened to at this point. I suppose that the two bands that I most associate with High School would be Five Iron Frenzy and The Aquabats!. Both bands have a distinctively Ska sound, and I was introduced to both of these bands around this same time.

– College (the Early Years): Motion Picture Scores – This stage actually started near the end of High School, but it wasn’t until I got my own computer and an internet connection faster than dial-up that this phase really took off. With the internet at my disposal, I found a lot of music that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. Some people question my obsession with Motion Picture Scores, to which I point out that it’s essentially my generation’s version of classical music.

– College (the Later Years): “This Providence” – If there was one album out there that helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life to that point, it would be the self-titled album from the band This Providence. At this point, I was rooming with a roommate that I could not stand, so my coping mechanism was to play my music loudly over my headphones, so as to drown his noise out. I came across this band because I had taken up making Anime Music Videos (AMVs) at this point, and needed a song with “Wolf” in the title. At this point, I ran across a sampler that I had gotten from my younger brother that just happened to have a track on it called A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing by This Providence. One listen, and I was hooked.

– The Relationship: Owl City – There’s just something inherently happy about Owl City that I was drawn to at this point in my life. It was upbeat, optimistic, and saccharine bubblegum pop. Something that I wouldn’t have normally listened to in the past, but my emotions definitely matched the music at the time. A funny story about finding this band: I was actually looking for a new album from one of the other artists that I have in my collection, when I came across Owl City. Quite frankly, it was the name Owl City that first caught my attention. It’s an awesome name.

– The Break-Up: “Armistice” – MUTEMATH‘s new album definitely got me through another difficult time in my life. The strange thing is that most of the lyrics from most of the songs actually apply to my life right now. I don’t necessarily like looking to deep into these things, but it’s undeniable that I can directly relate to what they are saying. Songs like “Goodbye”, “Backfire”, “Odds” and “Armistice” definitely have described my life in the last few months.

Anyways, now that you know my life’s soundtrack to this point, let me move on to the real reason I wrote this post. Recently, I decided to re-rip all of my music to my computer. Since my collection has ranged through many years of acquisition, some of the mp3s that I have are of low quality, because that was all that was available at the time. I also wanted a uniform file name system so that I could handle my music better. It took probably a week to do it, but I have completed my re-rip of the entirety of my music collection. During this endeavor, I took the time to update my spreadsheet with new information in regards to certain aspects of my music collection. If you know me, you know I love lists and I love stats. Especially for things that I am deeply involved in. So here is my music collection, by the numbers:

Data Size: 38,049,180,370 bytes (38 GB)
Albums: 498
Total Time: 26368.37 minutes (439.47 hours / 18.31 days / 2.62 weeks)
Total Tracks: 7773

Top 5 Album Counts:
1. John Williams (17 Albums)
2. James Horner / Hans Zimmer (12 Albums)
3. Danny Elfman (11 Albums)
4. “Weird Al” Yankovic (8 Albums)
5. Five Iron Frenzy / PFR (7 Albums)

Pie Charts

Showing distribution of the various Genres throughout my collection

Average Length of a Track of a particular Genre

Pie Charts (Soundtracks)

Showing distribution of the various artists throughout my soundtrack collection

For the Soundtrack pie-charts, I only chose to select the composers that had four or more albums.

 

UnattacheDecorating

Perhaps the prospect of living by myself that I had looked forward to the most was the idea of decorating my apartment. Up to this point, I had always lived with someone else and they would generally contribute to the feel of the place that I was living. With the other person out of the picture, I could finally decorate my place the way I wanted it to look. For about a year before I got this job, I had kind of been looking around at different styles to find one that I thought would look cool and fit my personality. Part of the theme of my apartment was already picked out for me: white. All apartments are like this, and I have come to accept it. Also, oak was another element of my theme that was inevitable, but acceptable.

Now that I had some money to spend, it was time to finish getting my apartment set up. There were a few things that were missing from my setup that needed to be added in order for me to feel at home. First off were some floor lamps. Lighting in my apartment is pretty sparse, and the main room is too big to be well lit with the available lighting. It was at this point that I found the Big Lots in town. This proved to be a most useful find, and I had wished that I had come across it earlier, because their prices are very reasonable, since they’re essentially selling overstock items. As a result, I was able to buy two floor lamps and the lightbulbs for said lamps for $30. Unfortunately, Big Lots didn’t have any end table lamps, as I needed one for my nightstand in my bedroom. This lamp was because the overhead light was too bright for the room, and I needed some subtler lighting for it to be comfortable and not dark.

Finally, yet another Craigslist find rounded out my main living area. I felt that I really needed a coffee table in front of my sofa, now that I had a TV in that main room. I wanted something to set the TV remote on, as well as anything I might have with me while watching TV. The person I bought my coffee table from really wanted to get rid of it, just because she had recently moved and didn’t have room for it. At this point, I figured out what the third part of my theme was. Part 1: white. Part 2: oak. Part 3: black metal. I had kind of figured that would be the case, as I had a set of shelves that were black metal, and my table and chairs were also black metal. To even out the oak, the floor lamps and the nightstand lamp are also black metal.

Now that the furniture was set, it was time to do something about these bare walls. I had already done something with one of the walls in my bedroom (I put up the love letters that my girlfriend has written me), but I needed something for the walls in the main part of the apartment. I started by putting up a corkboard / picture frame that I had gotten many years ago from an aunt who has recently passed away. The pictures in the frame were a bit outdated, since I hadn’t used it for a little over a year. Of course, the entirety of the spots are now filled with pictures of my girlfriend and I. On another wall, I hung my Bachelor’s degree. I kind of hung it higher than I would normally hang a picture, but I did this because I knew that I would put my Master’s degree in its spot, then move the Bachelor’s degree down a bit. Unfortunately, I just recently got my Master’s degree in the mail, which means I’ll have to send it to Fort Collins to get it framed the same way the Bachelor’s degree is framed.

Speaking of framing, the main wall that you see when entering my apartment was pretty bare. Despite the vent and light-switch and thermostat, it was not a pretty wall above my couch. Having been an amateur photographer for a while, I decided to get some prints of pictures I had taken over the years and hang them on this wall. Printing the pictures was the easy part. Since I have many good pictures, I narrowed them down to 16. Here’s where the problem is. One doesn’t realize how difficult it is to find 16 picture frames that are all identical in size, style and color while still remaining relatively cheap. Luckily, I did a little bit of compromise and used Big Lots to my advantage. What I found were some sets of frames. They came in two packs of one 5X7 frame and one 4X6 frame. There weren’t enough of one color for me to do all the pictures in the same color frame (which I would have liked to have been all black), but I was able to utilize another part of my theme (oak) and make it work. Now some of my best pictures hang above my sofa and give the apartment a very sophisticated, if not outdoors-y theme.

The absolute final piece (for now) of my theme was something that I had been drooling over for some time. When I moved into my apartment, I set up my desk and my computer to learn that my computer monitor didn’t really work for the desk that I now have. Since it was an old cathode ray monitor that was the original display for my computer, it was an unwieldy behemoth. So how do I remedy this situation? I buy the largest LCD widescreen monitor that I can find. Luckily, at 25″, it fits in the space on my desk set aside for a display with room on the sides to spare. Having gone so long without the latest and greatest monitor, I felt like I had earned it at some point. To top it off, I actually had the money to pay for such an item, so I let the endorphins flow once again as I made the “impulse” purchase. I wonder how I got along without it.

One of the final large white walls in my apartment has yet to be filled, but with my recent adventure for work, that may soon change as my career progresses . . .

TelevisioNuisance

For those of you who have been following along with this blog, you may remember that when my internet was installed it came with an extra charge for television, because (as the installer commented), “It’s cheaper that way!” Yeah, cheaper my foot. In order for me to stick it to the system, I decided that I needed to get a television so that I may watch said channels, instead of paying Comcast for something I would not be using. There must have been some sort of corporate conspiracy out there to keep me from successfully outsmarting the system, because it was out in full force the day I tried to get a TV.

As was the case with the majority of my household furniture, I had utilized Craigslist to a high extent and had done rather well for myself in the process (it cost more to move it than it actually cost). Therefore, I had decided to try my luck again on the site and went searching for a television. As luck would have it, I found something of interest. It was a fairly large sized, widescreen HDTV. I called my mom to see if the price was reasonable enough, considering that my family bought a new TV not too long ago that was also pretty nice. Soon afterward, I set up an appointment with the seller of the television.

In getting to know the town, I had done a lot of driving in the last week or so, but I never really went south of my apartment. Therefore, this trek out to this guy’s house was a nice chance to see the rest of the town that I hadn’t run across yet. The weather had finally gotten hot out and the humidity didn’t help much either. Needless to say, I was pretty excited to go look at this TV (which also had a DVD player that was separate that I could buy too). Not only was it going to be the largest television that I’d ever owned, but it was widescreen too. On top of it all, since I didn’t have to fit it to an entertainment center, it could be as large as I wanted it. But oh, how fate had a different idea on that day.

I’m not certain what I had going through my mind when I did it, but needless to say that it started the whole downward spiral of the rest of the day. When I pulled up to the guy’s apartment complex, I got out my phone and dialed his number. I wasn’t getting good reception inside my car, so I stepped outside to place the call, closing the door as I left. Unfortunately for me, I had just locked my keys in my car. People who know me know that I rarely curse, but this was probably the one situation in which I decided to scream it out (don’t worry, it wasn’t too bad of a word, and I was frustrated at the moment). The worst part about it was that my keys had everything on them. Car keys, apartment keys, lock box keys . . . pretty much every key I would need to run my life. And there they were, dangling in the ignition of my car. Thinking back on it now, I must have pulled them out a little bit to not have heard the alarm that my car would have sounded to alert me that my keys were not with me.

After trying the guy’s phone number a few more times, I finally ran into him. Apparently he was doing some power washing outside his apartment and couldn’t hear his phone. We went inside and he showed me the TV and DVD player. It was a nice TV, and as large as I had imagined it. I bartered him down about $50 and decided to buy the set. Then I asked to use his phone book. What was more fuel on the fire was that I had locked my keys in my car on a weekend. Apparently no one ever does this, because most of the locksmiths only worked on weekdays. At any rate, I found someone to come and get my keys out. As we waited for the locksmith, we loaded the TV into the back of his truck for transport to my apartment.

The locksmith finally arrived. Did I mention that it was really hot that day? 2 minutes later (and through a pretty neat process, by the way) I had arrived at a score of Cable company = $35 / Me = 0. The TV guy and I drove back to my apartment and we hauled the TV inside. Before I paid the man, I plugged in the TV to make sure that it still worked. I was glad that I did, as it had mysteriously stopped working. Sure, it was working absolutely fine when it was at his place, but once it’s in my apartment, no dice. I did a quick bit of internet research to find out that other rear panel projection TVs like this one all essentially had this problem at one point or another. Unfortunately, we had to load the TV back onto the guy’s truck and he took it back to his place. In the end, I guess I was pretty lucky in a few aspects, the main one of which was the fact that I would have been out quite a bit of money if the TV had decided to quit working a week from then. Also, this was a rather large television that I needed help moving. While living by yourself can have some perks, not having someone to help you move furniture is not one of them.

So, at this point I had spent my afternoon in the heat of the day sans cash from my wallet (which still hadn’t hit my first pay day yet) and running an hour late to a dinner engagement with some of my fellow coworkers. Yeah, not a good day for me. Still, I kept at it and probably a week later ran across a much more reasonable TV for $30. I went (back to the south side of town; weird, right?) and bought it and brought it home. I also single-handedly lifted it onto the top of my bookcase, at which point I realized that a TV that was any bigger would not be so easy to deal with. Unfortunately, I still needed some equipment, which included the coaxial cable to connect the TV to the cable and a universal remote to control the TV. That ended up costing me the same amount of money I had spent for the TV. Ironic, right? In the end, I feel as though getting a TV was worth it, because sometimes it’s nice to just turn it on and relax.

If this whole television fiasco has taught me anything, it’s that I’m not prepared for an emergency. I could have gotten my keys out of my car for free if I had my insurance’s emergency service number in my phone instead of inside my glove compartment. I could have gotten my keys out of my car for free if I could have gotten a ride to my apartment complex, borrowed the spare key to my apartment and found the spare key to my lock box which houses the spare key to my car. See, the main problem about Huntsville in these types of situations is that it is primarily a driving town. You can’t really walk anywhere, you need to drive. As a result, locking your keys in your car down here can be very panic inducing. Still, I learned my lesson. I put the emergency call number in my phone. I put my extra apartment key in a hiding place outside my apartment. I became prepared. Because I know that I never want to end up in a situation like that again.

SmootHousewarming

If there’s anything that I’ve learned this year, it’s that God is in control. I came to realize this around March of this year. Not only did I interview with the Missile Defense Agency (with no socks on, by the way), but I started my relationship with my girlfriend. Those two events were probably two days apart. When MDA offered me a position within their organization, with no other offers from any other company, I had to gleefully accept. Even though this meant moving to a new part of the country and leaving my girlfriend (of what would be 4 months once I got to Huntsville) behind in Colorado, I felt calm and excited about the whole experience. It was about April when I looked back on the year so far and realized that God was definitely in control of my life. I was thrilled at this revelation, because it meant that I didn’t have to worry about anything. If He got me into this situation, He’d be the one to keep blessing me.

So far, this had been the case with my trip to Huntsville. I’d essentially outfitted my apartment with furniture for under $1,000. My choice for the apartment in which I would live was made glaringly obvious (it is “Award Winning”, after all . . . at least that’s what their banner says). Now came the catch-all test of coordinating moving in with furniture arriving. Part of my plan for this to work was to find out how long the check-in procedure would take, then add 15 minutes to the time I told the movers to arrive. In this way, I would be provided with some buffer time to ensure a smooth transition.

It turned out that I didn’t even really need to do that, as I had forgotten that furniture movers will usually be late anyways. Still, with my check-in finishing a little bit later than expected, I was glad that I had the time buffer. No more than 30 minutes later, my furniture arrived. So, within the span of about 2 hours, I was almost entirely moved into my new apartment. Despite the stress that coordinating a early move in caused me, it turned out to be to my advantage.

Since I now had access to my apartment, my mother and I could spend the entirety of Saturday organizing all of my belongings and getting me all squared away. Part of this involved many trips around to local department stores. There are many things that never enter your consciousness when starting up a new domicile. Granted, I could still live, but it wouldn’t be quite as comfortable as it could be. Perhaps the most difficult part of settling in was getting all my furniture set up in a configuration that felt right. After a full day of coordinating and organizing, it was time for bed.

The front door to my new home (Photo courtesy: Julie Weilert)

The front door to my new home (Photo courtesy: Julie Weilert)

Sunday brought more tidying up and more organization. Sunday also brought the start of one of the longest processes that I am going through right now, which is finding a new church home. Still, I trust that God will show me where I need to be, as he’s made everything up to this point very obvious. By the time that Sunday night rolled around, I was ready to start my new job. I felt prepared enough and was excited to start my independent life. The only piece of my apartment that hadn’t been settled yet was my internet, of which I am thankful to have had my mother with me. As I was off at work on Monday, she could stay at my apartment and let the internet guy come in and hook everything up. However, the internet guy (as most internet guys do, I suppose) managed to get me to buy cable television too, because apparently it was “cheaper” if I bundled them together. Yeah, cheaper if I ACTUALLY HAD A TV!

Anyways, that’s a story for another time. There is a certain time where you feel like you need to go it alone. For the longest time, I wasn’t sure if I would have this feeling. However, there are certain things that my mom does that really made me ready for her to leave on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all the help that she has given me in moving down here. From food to buying the little things for the apartment to ironing my nice clothes, I don’t think I would have had the time or the resources to pull off a move to an independent life without her. Yet, as is the custom of children growing up, I felt that it was time for her to leave me to my life. I know that my parents are proud of me for all I have accomplished, but I still sometimes get the feeling that they are worried for me making a mistake at some point. Because of this, I get the feeling like they are not confident in their parenting abilities. I can understand this because as their firstborn, starting my independent life will be the true hot-water test to my upbringing. Even as it is, I think they did a fantastic job raising me and teaching me how to make wise decisions, and I trust that they will accept my decisions because of their rearing.

With the epic saga of moving to Huntsville now behind me, it was time to start what could become the last job I’d ever have . . .

VehiculaRelief

So, after one day in Huntsville, I had acquired a place to live. Now the rest of the pieces of residency would need to be put into place. I’ve been so blessed on this trip and Tuesday just kept the blessings coming (and not just because it was my 4 month anniversary). Now that I had an address, I could start by getting my car set for Alabama. As most people know by now, the Department of Motor Vehicles can be a very frustrating visit. Not only do you have to wait in enormous lines, but you could be doing a very precise order of events in the very incorrect order. Luckily, my blessing started before I even left the parking lot of the hotel.

Since my car is new to me, so much so that I had to get some 60 day temporary tags in Colorado just to drive it around a bit, I had been through some DMV frustration before. As a result, I tried to think back to when I just tried to get my temporary tags in order to remember the order of events I’d need to do in order to get license plates on my car. Luckily, I remembered that I should probably switch my insurance over from being covered in Colorado to being covered in Alabama. Because my new address was essentially written on a business card, there really was no official document that had my new address on it. However, in switching over my insurance (which ended up being much more expensive in Alabama compared to Colorado, thank you very much uninsured motorists . . . this I would learn later) I was able to get an official document with my new address. With insurance switched over, it was time to head into the lines of hell.

Again, most fortunately, the line at the DMV (or what most people know as the DMV. They have a different name for it down here that I can’t remember) was only 30 minutes, and I got my temporary Alabama driver’s license. Actually, the temporary license here is pretty neat, since it’s essentially a non-laminated version of my actual license. With this ID in hand, I went back to the library to get my official library card so that I could use their computers more legitimately. Next stop was the courthouse to pick up my new plates.

I am convinced that every town of some considerable size must have one-way streets, and Huntsville is no different. In fact, most towns exclusively put their one-way streets in the downtown area, which is the case here. At any rate, I headed into the courthouse after essentially filling a small tupperware container with the contents of my pockets (which is a lot of stuff, mind you). When I arrived at the office I needed to be at, there was absolutely no line, so I walked right up and started to fill out the paperwork. By the time I was done, a long line had formed behind me. Blessed! Luckily (as was not the case in Colorado) they did VIN verification at the courthouse, so I just needed to pull my car around to the side of the building, and I was on my way. By the way, (neat fact here) Alabama only requires a back license plate, so I’ve got the front license plate space to personalize my car a bit.

After that busy, but productive day, I came upon Wednesday. Essentially, I set up my internet to be connected on Monday (which came with 10 channels of cable television that I can’t currently watch) and I started some local banking accounts. Therefore, in the span of about 3 days (since I was done around lunchtime on Wednesday) I had taken care of all the important pieces of my move. That night, I got together with some of my colleagues who would be starting with me on the following Monday. I definitely feel like the Engineering crowd is my clique, as they are easily relatable to me, no matter their background or history.

With my apartment being ready on Saturday, I had a few days to relax and get to know the surrounding area, or so I had thought . . .