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.
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!