Fort-unately, time machines don’t exist.

Soooo. What’s new?

(Seriously. I haven’t had a spare moment to read blogs in about 10 days. I’ll catch up soon, I promise.)

When I last wrote, it was the morning after we arrived in Wisconsin. Everything felt very strange and overwhelming. I did not mention how I’d tossed and turned for hours on Wednesday night, exhausted but unable to sleep. I was feeling such a sense of what-have-we-done?! panic, I actually wished I could turn back the clock and undo everything.

Fortunately, time travel isn’t a thing. By Thursday, cooler heads had prevailed and most of that tension dissolved once we got to our new apartment. I’d been worried about maneuvering all our stuff through a twisty corridor and down a flight of stairs, not realizing there’s a separate, much easier front entrance. Tara, for her part, was afraid there’d be no easy way to park the U-Haul close by, and neither of us knew whether we’d be able to use the included garage for storage, and if so, whether it would be big enough to hold everything.

ALL of those things turned out to be non-issues. We met our landlord at 10 a.m. and started unloading the truck around noon. The weather was a real slap-in-the-face welcome to Wisconsin, too: sunny, hot, and humid. We were both dripping with sweat within minutes. But, unloading a truck is a lot easier than loading it. After five hours, we’d gotten 75% of it emptied, so we decided to call it a night.

We’ve got a bit of organizing to do.

Friday morning, we were back at it bright and early. Three hours later, we’d unloaded everything from the U-Haul. That was a great feeling!

The rest of the day was spent unpacking. We’d been going at it so hard for so long, we were famished and decided to check out El Patron, a Mexican restaurant about a mile away. Now, I’ve written before about our inability to find decent Mexican food in Rapid City, so we walked in skeptical. But a pitcher of margaritas and some mouthwatering fajitas and chimichangas later, all our fears had dissipated. This was some damn good food.

Even if they did serve a side of ranch with the tortilla chips. Because, Wisconsin.

Saturday morning, we still had a trailer to unload, but that didn’t take long. And, we were able to fit everything into the garage, saving us $150/month we would have been paying for a storage unit. In fact, there’s even an electrical outlet, so we were able to plug in the freezer. Which, by the way, we moved full of food, optimists that we are. Aside from a few melted ice cream bars, there were no other casualties.

Afterwards, we drove downtown to grab breakfast and check out Fort Atkinson (or “Fort” as the locals call it). This is quite a charming little town (population: 12,455) and it’s quickly growing on us. There are lots of taverns and restaurants, a bustling dinner theater, a bunch of parks, and the Rock River flows right through the heart of it all. For moving here sight unseen, we lucked out and chose a pretty cool community.

After a few hours unpacking on Saturday, we drove into Madison for the Taste of Madison food festival. The city is 45 minutes away, a straight shot down idyllic Highway 12, past your typical Wisconsin scenery: barns, corn, cows. And lots of greenery. Everything is green here, which is such a welcome change of pace.

The Taste of Madison lived up to our expectations. We spent two hours wandering around Capital Square, sampling various bites from the 100+ vendors set up there. After two days of heat and humidity, the weather was downright fall-like: overcast and cool. It felt wonderful. We had a great time!

Today, we had no trucks or trailers to unload. That alone was a novel concept! After breakfast, we set about unpacking some more. We’ve made decent progress, but still have a ways to go. I’ll share pics of the apartment once it’s all set up. Here are a couple from the outside.

It’s a pretty nice complex. We’re on the ground floor, and it’s partially subterranean, so pretty dark inside. Good thing Tara has grow lights for her plants. But the complex is quiet; even though we have somebody living above us, we never hear her. And we’ve made friends with Nancy, an 80 y/o woman who’s quite the character. She admitted early on that she’s lonely, and because we’ve taken the time to chat with her quite frequently, she’s really glommed onto us. But she’s sweet and I’m okay with that.

Today we drove into Janesville, where I’ll be working. My first day is Tuesday and I wanted to gauge how long of a commute I’ll have. It’s almost exactly 30 minutes, and another straight shot down Highway 26 past similar scenery, so that’s not bad at all. I’m the Senior Copywriter for a media company that does web work for a pretty varied stable of clients. The company is located in a refurbished tobacco warehouse that was built in the early 1900s, so I guess their nickname will be TobacCo. Pretty cool place; I can’t wait to see the inside!

After checking out TobacCo, we spent about $1,500 between Ashley Furniture, Target, and Panda Express. We bought a pair of recliners because we were unable to squeeze our very bulky loveseat into the apartment. For now we’re sitting on lawn chairs, ha; the recliners should be delivered on 9/13. We also needed a computer desk — my job is hybrid, so I’ll be able to work from home 2-3 days a week, and sadly, our old desk is the one thing that didn’t survive the move. She had a broken leg and had to be put down. We also needed a microwave and orange chicken. OK, we didn’t need orange chicken, but there are no Panda Expresses in Rapid City, so it had been years since we’d eaten there.

Lots to do still, but we are settling in nicely and quickly feeling at home here in Wisconsin. I’ll get back to blog reading soon, but if you want to fill me in on what’s been going on in your life, feel free to do so in the comments!

38 thoughts on “Fort-unately, time machines don’t exist.

  1. TabaCO, LOL. Okay, I want those cheese curds, man.

    Everything looks amazing. And I am amazed you moved yourselves. Andy and I moved five miles from a condo to a house and we hired movers when we were younger than you. (But we also spent the day before moving painting three rooms in the new house.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your microwave didn’t make the move, either? Panda Express is a “What do you want for your birthday meal” staple. (That and Rubios.) Orange chicken is everyone’s favorite. Well, I’m equally partial to beef and broccoli. Glad you’re settling in! How long before you invite Nancy over for dinner and drinks? Maybe a few other neighbors, too, as a reverse welcome to the neighborhood? Once we had new neighbors bring all of us banana bread! Tobacco building is cool looking. Love the pic of Tara next to the empty truck. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, that’s right. I have some vague recollection of built-in-microwave replacement woes, no?

        I meant the new neighbors brought banana bread to all the existing neighbors. It was quite backwards, but nice!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Now I sort of want ranch and tortilla chips, and a margarita of course! You too astound me with what you’ve accomplished in so short a time, but I am a firm believer in determination. How great to have a garage and no storage fees. That equates to more money for Trader Joes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I’m thinking “ranch and tortilla chips”…. “that does not compute” 😀 More money (and space) for Trader Joe’s goodies does compute! Did you get a chance to try those delectable Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Honey Mints (easy to remember the name, since those are the 3 ingredients 🙂 )?

      I’m awed that you moved a freezer full packed with food! From now on, you’ll be known as Super Swinged Cat 🙂

      Like

  4. That looks like a beautiful and atmospheric place! I love the sound of the food you’re finding and being a Washingtonian, I’m a fan of all the green. What an excellent introduction to your new state!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Ohmigod what have I done?!?!” Those words were uttered by me many times in the month or two after we got the cats. Happy that in both our cases we stopped uttering it and are super pleased with our life choices. Can’t wait to see your apartment pics!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m calling this a win. Still blown away you moved somewhere sight unseen but basement gloom aside, it sounds like smooth sailing. Good luck with your first day at TabaCo, hope your coworkers are good people who don’t eat ranch with their chips and salsa. Oh, the horror!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Once we loaded the freezer onto the truck, we ran an extension cord through the garage, so the food stayed cold until the moment we drove the truck to the U-Haul dealer and attached the auto trailer. It was unplugged in the back of a hot truck for a little less than 48 hours, but full of frozen food like that, stayed amazingly cool. It was a gamble, but I figured we had nothing to lose!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Cool. Now that you’re there I look forward to reading about your new job and town and apartment. As for ranch dressing with tortillas, not sure how I feel about that. As a midwestern, I say “sure” but there’s something unhinged about it, I’ll admit.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. At first I read this as you spent $1500 at Panda Express. Wow, that would have been something!

    Congratulations on your move and getting it done. The pictures of your new environs look lovely! And just in time for Taste of Madison which somehow is such a nice bookend to your post that mentioned the end of Bite of Oregon. 🙂 Love how you two know how to take a bite out of life!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bring a jar of Queso Blanco to the Mexican restaurant the next time you go. Set up a taste test with the Ranch dressing at the bar. Invite patrons to place their bets while you bet BIG on the Queso to win!!!

    Have fun on your commute tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Long three day weekend of drawing, my wife had planned to go to the Great Allentown Fair but she fell down two steps and messed up her foot. So it has been a bit of a nondescript few days off.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m a new reader and commenter who found you through my friends Suz, LA, River, and Ally. I live in Northern Illinois, and we travel to Wisconsin frequently, so I’m enjoying your posts. We love Madison and like visiting it every now and again. My brother attended UW-Whitewater, which is not far from Janesville and Fort Atkinson, thus your photos make me nostalgic.

    Welcome to Wisconsin! (I hope you like cheese. And ranch). 😂

    PS- The farmers market in Madison is really cool. I believe it is weekly and year-round?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you found me! I’ve seen your name around, too. I love cheese and ranch, so Wisconsin and I are a match made in heaven. 🙂

      We visited the Madison farmers market over the 4th of July weekend and were blown away by the sheer size and scope of it. I’m sure we’ll be semi-regulars!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ranch dressing at a Mexican restaurant. Say it isn’t so!
    You guys are amazing; you haven’t even unpacked, and you’re already exploring your new town.
    Thanks for making me giggle at your Orange Chicken comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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