Monday, January 12, 2009

Central Illinois

Well, 2 weeks into residency we are adjusting well. I survived the first week in my new office pretty well. I didn't get lost any of the times I went to the cafeteria or conference rooms. The girls in my department have been very welcoming and wonderfully helpful.

Mike is still job-hunting. Just getting a call back would be nice... keep praying!

The boys are doing great with Grammie and Grandpa. Brandon has been the one to call more often, just needing to know what we are doing, if we like it, how is Buddy liking the area, etc. It's his way of being reassured.

We are still unpacking, although I definitely see that we are making progress. Mike has rearranged the 2nd bedroom to make more room for getting to boxes. So far nothing is broken... all the depression glass, china, trinkets, etc. survived intact.

We are adjusting to Central Time on the TV schedule. It is very weird that 8pm shows are on at 7pm, and so on. All three local network channels have news at 10pm, and then Letterman & Leno come on at 10:35pm.

Groceries are pretty close to the same prices as Oregon. Gas is about $1.87. Houses look a little lower than Salem, but we aren't looking much... waiting for the Salem house to sell... #2 item to pray for.

We are supposed to get a cold snap today... then another one late Tuesday/early Wednesday. By Thursday, the high temp is forecast to be 5 above zero!! It is much drier than Oregon so in some ways it doesn't seem as cold. We'll keep staying warm by the gas fireplace!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

I can't believe the whole month of December went by without a post... wow.

The Hawaii vacation was fabulous. I only got a little sunburned, and no peeling. I'll find the cord for the camera soon. Speaking of finding things, our move to Illinois has happened too.

We left Salem on Dec. 26th and headed south to Vacaville to stay the night with my brother's family. Buddy tried to drown himself in the pool (he's mostly blind and blundered into it in the dark), but we found him in time. The water was so cold, and he doesn't swim well. He was very happy to be held and dried, and then snuggle on the bed with us. No lasting effects.. except he is more cautious about stepping where the ground changes.. like from grass to cement, or tile to carpet.

Saturday, Dec. 27, we left Vacaville at 7am and drove south toward Bakersfield. We had one small adventure in that following the GPS unit (Rhoda) took us off I-5, across the freeway, down a local road for 2-3 miles, back across the freeway, down another road for 4-5 miles, and then back on the freeway. There was no construction, nothing to avoid... we just followed instructions. We could see I-5 all the time and kept thinking there was a point to the detour... but there wasn't.

At Bakersfield we finally turned east and went across the Mojave desert. There was quite a bit of traffic, but even more was headed the opposite way. Very uneventful... and quite chilly. I've only been through the Mojave a couple of times that I remember and this was the first time in the winter. We had one stop for gas where I had to wait in line for 30 minutes for the ladies room. No one in line was happy about that. We arrived in Kingman, Arizona at about 7:30pm... a long day.

Sunday, Dec. 28th, we slept in later and reaaranged the van contents quite a bit. It helped a lot to be able to see where things were and reach what we wanted. We drove due east and crossed Arizona and New Mexico that day. The weather was cold and sunny. We crossed the Continental Divide at 7,330 feet. We stopped in Tucumcari, NM for the night. Sunday's drive was only about 10 hours.

Monday, Dec. 29th, we left early and thought we would grab a quick bite of breakfast on our way out of town, or maybe at the next exit. However, we kept driving and driving and there was nothing! We crossed the New Mexico/Texas border and it was more desolate than the Mojave. The best thing about this part of the drive is that we were seeing amazing high-desert landscape. Several places reminded us of the cliff scenes in the movie Cars... the bluffs really did look like the fronts of old cars. We stopped briefly at the Petrified Forest National Park because Mike had never seen it. By the time we stopped in Amarillo, Texas, it was long past breakfast. After Texas was Oklahoma, and on to Oklahoma City, finally turning northeast toward Tulsa and then Missouri. We stayed in Springfield, MO on Monday night. Kudos to La Quinta hotel because they don't charge up-front for small pets.

Tuesday, Dec. 30th, was the final stretch. Our goal was to get to Bloomington by afternoon so we could pick up the keys to our new apartment. We made it by 3:00, and were at our apartment by 4:00pm. It's nice, fairly large and very beige. Everything is a neutral color. We went to Walmart for a few necessities, like a shower curtain and something to sit on, and some groceries. The only glitches we found were that the toilet leaks in one bathroom, and the tub drain doesn't work in the other bathroom. The tub drain shouldn't be too hard to fix... back to Walmart for some Drano.

New Year's Eve was very quiet and uneventful. We stayed up until midnight watching movies on the computer... and then I couldn't sleep. I stayed up until 2:37 this morning... reading by the fire in the living room. Life is good... our household goods get delivered tomorrow (Friday) so we'll have the weekend to get organized.

I'll post more soon with more thoughts and less facts.