Quick Update and Pictures

Posted: August 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written.  Mostly because I’m not sure of what to say.  Documenting the mundane details of my life as it stands right now isn’t as exciting as it was to document the beginning of this new life.

There are some great things that have occurred since I’ve last updated this blog.  Laura and I have done a pretty good job of getting out of the house on Mondays (our Saturdays) and exploring this city.  So far, we’ve seen some interesting things, but for me the coolest place we’ve gone has to be the Truman Presidential Library.

As a political junkie, it makes little sense that I haven’t been to a presidential library before.  Reagan’s was the only one near where we were living, and while it would be interesting to see how they present the end of the cold war and the fall of the Berlin Wall it just didn’t hold much appeal to me.  Truman is a very interesting, if not controversial figure who interests me more.

The library is ridiculously large.  Oh, and the replica of the oval office?  So awesome I can’t even put it into words.  As West Wing fans, Laura and I were amazed to be looking into the reproduction.  Just an awesome experience.

Matt and Patty were here a couple weeks ago, and it was really nice having some old friends around to hang out with, have a couple of Matt’s homebrews (best batch he’s done yet by the way) and reconnect.

We finally got some pictures of the house taken:

The front of our house, we're on the 2nd story.

This obviously is the front of our house.  We occupy the 2nd story.  All of it.

This is a shot of most of our living room.  Notice the wall of books.

The middle 1/3 of the living room.  Those doors lead out to our balcony.

And here’s the rest of the living room.  Altogether it’s probably the same size as our entire apartment was in Flag.

The living room leads into our dining room:

Pardon the mess.

As you can see, it’s pretty large.

And this is a shot of the ridiculously small kitchen.  Not a big deal, as I’m pretty much resigned to cooking in ridiculously small kitchens.

Keep in mind, there’s still a master bedroom & small guest bedroom we neglected to take pictures of.  It’s an awesome house.

That’s all I can write for now, seeing as how I’m at work and supposed to be working on the new website.

It’s unbearably, unforgivably hot most of the day here in KC.  Just ridiculous.  I could probably fill up a swimming pool in a month just from the sheer amount of sweat that seems to escape my pores.  I’m not sure some days whether I’m going gray or if my hair is just becoming sweat stained.  It’s gross, and I’m not a fan.

Shockingly though, it’s done wonders for my complexion.  My nose doesn’t have that “small animals gnawing at it” look that it has since high school.  This concludes the “too much information” section of this post.

The past month has been about getting out and exploring the city as well as continuing the adjustment not only to city life, but to the pursuit of something like normalcy.  Laura and I have finally synced up our schedules nicely, getting the same days off of work in order to spend with each other and catch up on housework.  One of our excursions included a trip to the newest waterpark here in KC named Schlitterbahn.  They’re a chain originating out of Texas, the KCK location being their first outside of that state.  It’s still being built though, and only the first phase is currently operating… which I wish we had considered prior to shelling out 60 dollars for the experience of three slides, one ride and a “lazy river.”  It was fun, but extremely dissapointing.  Laura and I mainly hung out on the river, which was a fun experience.  The bad move on my part was suggesting a race around it late into the day, which we gave up on halfway after realizing that neither of us are athlete-level swimmers nor in the best of shape.  Like I said, it was fun… but not at all worth the price of admission.  Next time it’s back to Worlds/Oceans of Fun, which is cheaper and has much more to do.

I’ve also navigated the insane bureaucratic maze that entails registering one’s car and obtaining a driver’s license.  The details of this process have been documented in previous posts, but I will say that it is a process you should plan an entire day for.  Ridiculous, but it’s done.  The one extremely bittersweet moment for me was having my Arizona license taken from me, never to be returned.  That kind of made it sink in just a little bit more that I’ve left AZ.  C’est la vie.

Cooking has been a continued awesome experience.  There’s been a few dishes I’ve made that I’ve really been happy with, but none as much as this one (my minor changes included):

Cajun Seafood Pasta

Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/2 pound scallops
  • 1/2 cup shredded Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound dry fettuccine pasta

Directions:

  1. Cook fettucini until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, pour cream into large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until just about boiling. Reduce heat, and add herbs, salt, peppers, onions, and parsley. Simmer 7 to 8 minutes, or until thickened.
  3. Stir in seafood, cooking until shrimp is no longer transparent. Stir in cheeses, blending well.
  4. Drain pasta. Serve sauce over noodles.

 Seriously, make it.  It’s amazing.

Work is still work.  Got a small raise and promotion a week or so ago though, which is neat.

On the theatre front, the community theatre I found in Mission, KS pretty much only does musicals.  Looking elsewhere for the moment.

Our apartment is coming together nicely.  We received a dining room table, six chairs and a breakfast bar from Laura’s parents’ next door neighbors Lee and Ruth.  Lee is a master carpenter, and we sat around for about an hour talking about the trade while we were picking up the furniture.  He even agreed to take me around to some lumber spots he knows about so I can get started on the projects Laura has lined up for me.  Really nice guy.

We also purchased a table and chairs for our patio, which was a really nice acquisition.  I promise that pictures will be up soon, we just got the digital camera back so I might actually be able to get it done.

On the fishing front, lots of success with catfish from the pond by the house and Smithville Lake, but no bass yet.  Those catfish love them some stinkbait out here.  Haven’t kept any yet, but when I do I’ll let you know how they taste.

That’s all for now.

Life here in KC is starting to settle down into a nice steady routine.  Work consumes most of life at the moment for both Laura and I, which prevents further exploration of this new city in which we have found ourselves.  Not to mention, our opposite schedules make for a particular challenge in terms of actually seeing each other and communicating.  However, with her on her normal 10pm-8am schedule now, we’ll at least be able to see each other on our days off like we’re supposed to.

Homesickness has surprisingly not been as big of a problem as I was expecting.  Yes, of course I miss my friends and the nice little rut I had going back home in the mountains.  But having such a strict routine of wake up->work->get home->cook->chores->relax->sleep has been a lifesaver.  Not much time in there to get especially nostalgic.  Phone calls from dear friends such as Rabe and KYLE have significantly helped matters as well.  While I never thought I’d appreciate simple things like text message conversations and phone calls, things I’ve never really cared out before, they’ve really been helpful in this transition.

Work is, well, work.  The trucks come in, the trucks go out.  The elevator goes up, the elevator goes down.  The paperwork prints out, the paperwork gets filed… in?  That last bit didn’t work quite as I had hoped.  You get the point.  It’s monotonous, and usually slow, but the customers are 80% nicer than the crystal addicts back at Light Tech.  The main problem is that I was expecting to use my job as a way to make friends, but that’s just not going to happen.  Nothing in common with these folks.  So it goes.

I have made one fishing expedition in the last couple of weeks, heading to this absolutely amazing lake in Smithville named… wait for it… Smithville Lake (didn’t see that coming, did you?).  It is ridiculously huge, with falcons and cranes constantly overhead and ticks abundant in the grass underfoot.  The only downfall?  Jerk-ass boaters chopping the water and going full speed 20 feet away from the shoreline.  I doubt they were impressed by my Western curse word combining abilities (thanks again Padre), but after one pass they fortunately left us alone.  Although bass were jumping constantly, my new fishing buddy Mark and I were unsuccessful in our attempts.  It was still great fun, and I’m learning a few new techniques in my fishing skillbook other than cast line, wait for fish.  Playing with lures on the top of the water and that sort of thing.  It’s great fun.  We’re heading out again tomorrow to a different location, which will give me another chance to practice.  Oh, and there’s no such thing as <insert fish-type here> stamps or two pole stamps.  According to the Big Missouri Book O’ Fishing Regulations, you can have no more than five (FIVE!) poles in the water at once with a basic license.  That’s just absurd to me.  There’s also supposedly a couple of spots to fish at in the WWI monument park just a few blocks from our house.  If I can figure out how to carry my tackle boxes and pole while riding my bike, I’m totally hitting it soon.

I have found a little dive bar that suits my purposes for the moment called The Newsroom just a block away from the house.  I’ve only almost been thrown out once, thanks to my inability to keep my mouth shut regarding political discussions.  In my defense, they were talking about SB1070, and I did just move from Arizona, so I think it was within my rights to talk about it.  It used to be the hangout for the newspeople and staff at the Kansas City Star, but now it’s home to a bunch of unluckily lovable barflys who I think I could fit right in with.  Not looking for friends there, just cold beer and some sports on the television, which they have in abundance.

Speaking of sports, one brief tangent regarding Lebron James.  I don’t care that he left Cleveland, that’s how free agency works, even in a blighted sports wasteland.  I will say that the one hour special “The Decision” reflects everything that’s wrong with ESPN, sports coverage, the worship of athletes and the Legacy of Michael Jordan (namely, the idea of individual athletes being “brands”).  It was a wholly narcissistic pointless exercise that should never have happened.  Jordan, despite your feelings about him, made a much bigger impact with two words on a fax all those years ago.  Now we’ve got one hour sponsored specials for an 11 second soundbite in an attempt to create offseason ratings for the NBA, who are seemingly trying to copy the NFL’s model of making the sport a year long event.  I love basketball, but I need a break from it in the offseason.  Rant over.

Another thing I’ve found myself finally doing out here is the nightly ritual of preparing food in which to nourish and replenish our caloric reserves, otherwise known as “making dinner.”  Thanks to the internet, my big green binder of my Mother’s recipes, and our various cookbooks, I’ve managed to make a different meal 6 nights a week for the past two and a half weeks.  This includes my first corned beef brisket, which turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever made in my life.  Seriously delicious.  Queen Laura Beefisgross herself  even pigged out on it.  It’s nice most of the time to come home and cook dinner, other times it’s really annoying after a long day at work.  But I certainly enjoy having something mostly homemade each night, and my bank account also enjoys being fuller than it was in the past.

As I’m typing this at work, and time is running short in my shift, it’s probably time for me to stop blathering on.  Soon I should be able to finally take some pictures of our new place as promised oh so many moons ago.  However, next week brings the continued horrors of attempting to become a licensed, registered driver in the state of Missouri.  Stay tuned.

Two separate yet wholly related events at my new job have me questioning a great deal of ideas I had assumed about myself.

Three women, two of which interlinked and the other not, have made my mind reconsider notions about my core beliefs and the need to express them which I have defined myself through.

Exhibit A: A woman comes in to rent a truck today.  She is strong and seemingly self-assured.  She makes the decisions needed to rent the truck, until her “boyfriend” comes in.  He is verbally abusive in an extremely sly way and physically so in a more pronounced way.  He slaps and grabs her ass every time he wants her to say a certain thing in regards to renting the vehicle.  The strong and assured person whom I was dealing with melts away entirely once he comes in.  She refuses to make eye contact.  She has difficulty signing the paperwork, much less creating a polysyllabic statement.  She leaves, cowering as her “man” leads her away to the yard.

Exhibit B: A pimp and the women he controls come in to rent a trailer a couple days back.  One woman obviously has an old cigarette burn on her upper left bicep.  The other woman is barely 18, which I determine from the ID she gives me to rent said trailer for her pimp.  She is covered in tattoos and refuses to make eye contact.  Every decision regarding the rental comes with her, eyes cast downward, asking for the advice of her “Daddy.”  Literally, every time she addresses him, she says “Daddy, (truck rental information).  Daddy, (payment options).  Daddy, (other various information).”  The girl had just turned 18 in March.  I have nieces younger than that.

Sidenote:  The trailer has since been stolen and recovered in Minnesota; no suspects found.

I have always considered myself a strong, moderately outspoken proponent for equality in the rights of the individual sexes.  Yet, due to the requirements of my current occupation, found myself unable to act in a needed and positive way for these women who I have encountered.  I was unable to stand up for my beliefs due to my fear of losing my job or putting my employment in danger.  What does this say about me as a person?

The only thing I found myself capable of doing was later searching the missing persons reports in Kansas and Missouri for the young prostitute’s  (of which there can be no doubt that she was) name.  I felt powerless, and felt even worse due to the powerlessness that these women must have felt, which is obviously greater than my own selfish feelings.

My beliefs and principles could not override my desperate need to keep this job.  The last few days have not only been a blow against my presumed strength of will, but my ideals as well.  I have failed those who I thought I would stand up for.

This has been a harsh welcoming into what the world actually is.  Goodbye sheltered Flagstaff, hello real world.

Life is starting to enter a steady routine out here in the Midwest.

I’m extremely pleased at just how much I’ve cut back on smoking again (from 1 pack to 10 smokes a day) and how much I’m biking (not as much as I’d like, but on the days I do get out I’m riding between 9 and 12 miles a day).  My body is starting to feel good again, between the extreme amount of physical exertion and exercise I’m putting myself through and the serious reduction in alcohol and nicotine consumption.

The apartment is starting to take shape, I’ll put up some pictures as soon as we’ve got it pretty much set.

I’m still not completely satisfied with my job, but considering the number of jobless in this country I’m not going to complain anymore about it.  At least I have a job that pays a decent wage, even if it’s not exactly what I want to be doing right now.

I have managed to find a couple of small theatrical opportunities, one with a long-form improvisational troupe that performs in the black box downstairs of our local coffee house, and the other running light/sound boards at a semi-professional theatre a couple of blocks away.  Small steps, but steps nonetheless.

I’ve been managing to distract myself quite a bit with the World Cup, which has been outstanding except for the ridiculous calls that have afflicted seemingly every match, but none quite as massively as the U.S.  Just ridiculous, NBA-level horrific calls of epic proportions.  The U.S. has managed to overcome the awful reffing (which took away 2 goals in 2 separate matches) to win the group, which is absolutely amazing and will hopefully bring some more recognition to the beautiful game in this great country of ours.

I have managed to find an absolutely outstanding comic shop a few blocks away, and came away with not only a 40% “you’re a nice guy, and you’re new here, so I’m cutting you a break” discount, but with 2 out of print TPB’s I’ve been looking for: Uncle Sam (Deluxe Edition) and Animal Man: Deus Ex Machina.  Both are absolutely amazing, but I highly recommend Uncle Sam for any of you who are more liberally inclined.  I know it’s a comic book, but it’s a perfect example of the power that the medium has.

Like I said, this is simply a minor update, so I’m signing off for now.  But a larger, picturized update will be coming shortly.

Two things about June in Kansas City:

  • It rains.  A lot.  I’ve never been to Seattle, but I imagine this is quite like it.
  • It’s humid.  Apparently this isn’t as bad as it gets, but I’m thankful that I’m able to grow a goatee, otherwise the sudden onset of acne my constant sweating is causing would make me feel 16 again.

And a couple random thoughts:

  • People are nice.  Like, way too nice.  It’s like they’re waiting for one false move, then BAM!  Sacrifice the newcomer to ensure a good harvest.
  • There’s no community/amateur theatre.  None.  All of my research has turned up nada.  While I’m confident enough in my abilities to think I could get a couple roles in the professional circuit, my need for steady employment kind of hinders that, if not outright eliminating it.  I might need to find another creative outlet, or buy a video camera and start making my own stuff.  The lack of an artistic endeavor might be the first thing to drive me insane out here.

At any rate, as the checklist goes: get a place to live, move across half the country, get a job.  Two down, one to go.

The company which called me nearly immediately after I lifted the first box to load into the U-Haul in Flagstaff scheduled me for an interview Tuesday at 1:00pm.  I went in, turned on the charm I’ve honed onstage for the past many years and went in confident.  The interview lasted all of about 20 minutes, after which I met the owner, who promptly offered me the job.  In fact, he told me that I was starting today at 8:30am (6:30am AZ time… which I still say is the correct time.)

After rushing home to share this good news with The Wifey, I decided to go out and celebrate a little bit.  Of course, celebrating for me usually involves going to a hardware store, comic hunting and drinking, all of which I’m happy to say occurred in that exact order.

The folks at the hardware shop (3 blocks from my place) were again, as living up to the apparent Midwestern standard, ridiculously nice and helpful.  I’m afraid to drink the water out here, as I’m sure they’re pumping it with something to cause this effect.  It’s unnatural I tell ya.

Two big scores at the used bookstore in terms of comics: Batman #497, in which the Dark Knight gets his back broken by Bane ($1.00 ,valued between $6-8) and The Green Lantern Core #201 ($1.00, valued between $6-12).

The Wifey left to go to work her 4:30pm until 4am shift, so it was just Shylla and I for the evening.  We watched the debacle that was the Lakers/Celtics game, got a bit tipsy on good whiskey and hit the sack.  Big day today after all.

Managed to wake up at a respectable 7:30am (5:30am AZ time, which again is the only correct time) and got to work almost 10 minutes early.  Learned various boring job related activities that I  won’t waste your time with.  One memorable thing did happen rather early in the day though.

So I work (for now?) in a self-storage unit built in 1912 for the same purpose it’s currently being utilized for.  It’s 5 stories, with only very narrow stairs and a massive freight elevator able to get you throughout the building.  I had been trained on most of the building by the time the incident occurred, excluding the soon to be important “how to operate a massive freight elevator.”  Things got a little hectic, I helped by mostly staying out of the way and observing, when a woman came in and needed to hit the 2nd floor to grab a couple items from her unit.  Thinking that this customer simply wanted me to unlock one of the loading gates, my boss tossed me the keys to go unlock it.  Then we left the office and she made a beeline straight to the elevator.  She wanted me to take her to the 2nd floor.

Like me before today, you wouldn’t think it would be difficult to run an elevator, but you’d be wrong.  See, this is an elevator from freaking 1912 that’s been retrofitted with parts from the 70’s to make is slightly more up-to-date.  True, it’s only got 4 buttons (up, down, stop, and a final shiny one on the bottom that I believe sends you shooting through the roof into a magical adventure a la Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator).  True, I have overcome the genetic disposition to being awful with tools and machinery I’ve inherited from my Mother’s side.  However, this being my first day,  disaster must occur.

I managed to get the great creaking thing up to the 2nd floor, no problem.  I let the customer off, told her to page us when she was done (just as I’d observed my boss do) and thought “Hell, that was easy.” Then I pressed the down button in what seemed a natural response to the desire to go “down.”  Lurch, stop.  “Strange, ” I thought, thinking no wrong could occur if I simply pressed the button again and attempted to continue on my downward path.  It worked… for about 8 seconds when suddenly, kerthump.  No movement from the elevator, as I hovered in this monstrosity about 16 inches from the landing to the ground floor.  Push the button.  Nothing.  Push the button again, a little more frantically.  Nothing.  Look up at the pulleys… no cables.  The damned thing threw its cables as a safety precaution, obviously realizing that I had never run it before and that this was a good time to screw with the new guy.  For those of you keeping track at home, people are nice here… machines are bloodsucking demons from hell.

My boss comes out, likely curious to see why the hell it’s taken me 15 minutes to unlock a gate, then pauses at the elevator.  She looks at me, then the elevator.  I see gears turning in her mind, unlike the gear of the elevator.  She pushes the down button on the side of the elevator on the first floor.  Nothing.  “What happened?,” she asked.  I had no answer.  In my first 2 hours of employment in this city, I managed to break one of the single most important pieces of equipment at work.  I’m a mechanical genius, what can I say?

My boss calls the elevator repair people, who say they’ll be out there within the hour.  In the meantime, we’ve got three bays of people with various trailers waiting to get to their units.  They’re steadily getting more agitated as time goes by.  The elevator guy gets there, looks at the problem for 10 minutes, then says that he needs a second person to fix the problem.  It’ll take another hour.  Now we’ve got five people waiting to access and unload from their units.  Second elevator guy shows up, then a third.  We’re now on 3 hours of waiting for the elevator to get fixed.  I finally decide to get out of there before the owners change their minds and fire the guy who single-fingeredly stopped their business cold on his first day and go to lunch.

In one of the few bright spots to my day, there’s an amazing little restaurant called Succotash near my work that I popped in on.  Had the Smoked Salmon Benedict (which came with 3 Dolmas as a side) and was very impressed.  Check out the rest of their menu here.

Went back to work, still no elevator.  I attempted to slink around, sweeping out and mopping U-Hauls and trying to attract as little attention as possible.  Finally, I hear the elevator’s gears spin and sputter into life.  4 1/2 hours after I broke it, over halfway into my shift, it works again.  I didn’t break it beyond repair.  They let me keep my job… for now.

Of course, as nice as they were about this incident, I’m just not sure that this is the kind of work I want to do for the foreseeable future.  I know that I’m a degree-less neanderthal, but there’s got to be something out here that I can turn into some kind of career that I know I’ll be successful at.  I just can’t imagine that this is what the rest of my life will be… breaking elevators and sweeping out U-Hauls.  So while I’m definitely keeping this job, I’m not quite done looking for other employment I think.  While this causes a conundrum to me, namely that I’m not the kind of person who would normally just leave a job for one that seems more enjoyable (although I did once when I quit Light Tech for Theatrikos), I’ve got to find something that just feels right.  This isn’t it.  It feels like a stopgap, a platform job.  Something to get me by in the short-term.  Cause this isn’t how I want to spend the rest of my working life.

It’s all I’ve got right now though, so it’s my job.  I really hope something comes along in the next year or so though to keep me from wanting to bash my head in with a freight elevator.

Leaving Oklahoma City was much easier than getting into it, which makes me wonder why people even live there.  Based on my limited experience with it, it’s a third-rate city that’s not easily negotiable and had to steal an NBA franchise to even gain a professional sports team.  Of course, I’ll likely be heading back there once a year, seeing as it’s the closest city to me with an NBA franchise.  Oh well.

Upon crossing the border, I kept noticing signs informing me that the next exit was the last “free exit.”  Oh yes, time for the portions toll thing (or “turnpike,” which I ignorantly only thought existed on the east coast).  I would have been fine with it if I hadn’t had 4 axles on my 30 feet o’ vehicles, subsequently losing $12.75 of my rapidly depleting funds.  It wasn’t even completely well maintained in spots, making me wonder why I was even paying.  So it goes.

Once I left said turnpike, it was 100 miles and counting to KC.  I thought I was easily in the home stretch, until disaster in the form of Mother Nature and Zeus decided to get in my way.

Having been an Arizonan since birth, the only real experience I have with rain is in the form of El Nino and Monsoon season.  I had always thought those were bad storms.  Then I encountered the first major weather event of my tenure in the midwest, which had me calling Laura 3 times on the road asking her “what have you gotten me into?”

Imagine those obviously fake Hollywood “rainstorms.”  You know the ones I mean.  Think “Shawshank Redemption” once Andy *SPOILER ALERT FOR THE 3 PEOPLE ON THE PLANET OUTSIDE OF NORTH KOREA THAT HAVEN’T SEEN IT* escapes.  Ridiculous amounts of water falling from the sky.  That’s what I went through, in 30 feet o’ vehicles, on an interstate with a minimum speed limit of 40.  Not an easy final 100 miles to my new home to say the least.

Once I managed to get here, I got my car trailer dropped off at the U-Haul and booked it over to the apartment to try and unload the truck before the sky opened up again.  Laura had promised me help getting everything upstairs, but unfortunately in KC, as everywhere else, people bail.  This was my karmic retribution for everything I had ever bailed on in my life, I just know it.  So it’s just Laura and I, with a double-parked U-Haul, in the rain, hauling boxes up to the 2nd floor of a house.  Karmic retribution.  Had to be.

I got the truck nearly a third of the way unloaded, when whatever cosmic council decided “This poor guy has been awake since 4 in the morning, fighting through weather he’s never experienced and is now nearly single-handedly unloading a truck.  Let’s cut him some slack.” Just like that, the rain stopped and help arrived.  Thanks to the efforts of one Mr. Matt Sanchelli and my landlord Craig, we got everything up and into the apartment in just over two hours.  Not an easy feat.

While I was appreciative to have some company here after I arrived, I was not expecting so many people to eventually show up, and hang out until the wee hours of the morning.  Keep in mind, I hadn’t seen my wife in a week.  Unfortunately I had exactly 5 minutes of time with Laura throughout the majority of the day that didn’t involve unloading a truck, and got to sleep on the couch so that intoxicated people could sleep in our bedroom.  I did offer it, and would again, but I was still irritated.  I guess I’m just too nice or something.

So to provide the grumpy young man commentary: left a city I don’t like much (OKC), got on a turnpike that put me out nearly thirteen bucks, encountered a massive rainstorm, unloaded part of a truck with only the help of my wife until the cavalry arrived, spent little actual time with just my wife and slept on the couch after not seeing Laura for a week and sleeping in hotels for the past two days.

Welcome to Kansas City.

That said, everything’s been on the up-and-up since the day I arrived.  I’ve actually already made a friend, gotten a job interview and have fallen in love with the little section of town called Westport that we’re a five minute walk away from.  I might actually end up really liking it here.

Sunday we met up with Mark, an old friend of Laura’s and my new drinking and fishing buddy.  We went out for breakfast, and in an unexpected surprise, found a little New York style deli called d’Bronx that’s only a 10 minute walk or so from our place.  Actual corned beef, pastrami, matzo ball soup, and pizza.  Granted, they put cheese on their sandwiches, but it’s not a big deal to order one without.  Had a decent corned beef on rye and started to feel a bit more optimistic about living in this place.

Other things to love about Westport: An awesome used bookstore called “Prospero’s Books” that has a fantastic selection, little restaurants every other storefront, a greek restaurant called Jerusalem Cafe (I haven’t eaten there, but the sheer absurdity amused me), an Irish pub, a decent coffeehouse and the fact that it reminds me a little of downtown Flag.  Just enough to keep the homesickness at bay for a while.  Oh, and there’s a liquor store just down the street from our place that sells bottles of Powers and Paddy’s for less than $20 a bottle.  That’s a huge relief.

Laura had to head to work later on that day, so Mark and I hung out pretty much all day doing some necessity shopping, drinking beers at this awesome little dive called John’s, and partially arranging the apartment.  He’s a nice guy, and it’s been good having someone to hang out with so far in this city of strangers.  Friendly strangers, but strangers nonetheless.

Today was a bit harder since it was my first day nearly entirely by myself.  I got bored surprisingly quickly, and decided to take the bike out for a spin, which was a good decision on my part.  Getting to know my new neighborhood was a great experience, and with it being a nice (albeit humid, something else I need to get used to) day it provided a decent distraction for a couple of hours.  Even had a kid complement my bike.  No bike lanes out here, but the streets aren’t bad and motorists seem to be used to bicyclists in Westport.

Went down to our local market and had yet another “HOLY CRAP KC IS CHEAP” experience.  Ingredients for a semi-elaborate dinner (chicken stuffed with bleu cheese and tomatoes, cheesy cibatta bread, lemon-pepper asparagus & spinach salad) that would have run me 40+ bucks in Flag were less than 20 here.  The cost of living is just ridiculously low compared to the Ghetto in the Meadow, which will make my unemployment that much more bearable for the extreme short-term.

As for tomorrow, who knows what it will hold.  I have an interview tomorrow at 1:00pm at a U-Haul office for a job doing light handyman stuff, engine and truck maintenance and customer service.  Besides that it’s more unpacking and the first night without Laura, who’s working from 4:30pm til 4:00am.  But for now, I have a glass of McAllen 12 ($30 at the ridiculously cheap liquor store), a computer that works, a wife who loves me, and a cat that won’t stop begging for attention.  Life is much better than it seems here in a new city.