For the next few weeks, we’ll be observing an anniversary: 10 years since we left San Francisco and moved to Ann Arbor. I’ll repost articles Frank and I wrote at that time for our Ann Arbor blog, aSquared. Bittersweet, very definitely they will be, bittersweet.
‘[It’s aSquared’s First Birthday … we’re celebrating by looking back at events from a year ago … skip these retro posts if you’re not into sentimentality.]
‘Well, it looks like this one saw me full of anxieties about leaving San Francisco for Ann Arbor:
‘Scenes from a farewell dinner for Frank with his colleagues
‘A lovely scene tonight as Frank’s co-workers treated him to a delicious pizza dinner and cake to say farewell. They’re a wonderful set of people, gracious and unpretentious and the evening was quite enjoyable. I was a bit too tired to fully enjoy it, I’m embarassed to admit, but it was both touching and bittersweet and yet another goodbye-to-San-Francisco moment. Many thanks to Mabel for hosting the event and doing such a fabulous job with preparing delicious food for us.
‘And then I came home. And here we have it … that overwhelmed feeling that hits every move. Overwhelmed by the sheer physical task ahead of me … moving all I own down to a truck to be driven across the bay and loaded onto a trailer for cross-country transport. Then unloading everything into the new home.
‘I’m not really that great with adaptation. Never has been my strong suit. As a matter of fact, it’s my old nemesis. And this is the beginning of that bugaboo.
‘And as my old nemesis, it’s a very familiar feeling. One which I know I will have and one which I know what it will feel like and one which I know how to fight and one which, thank goodness, I know will not last long.
‘I guess tonight’s problem is simply fatigue. I’ve been packing an entire two-bedroom apartment, throwing things away, scrounging boxes, running all the myriad errands all over town, handling all the logistics of finding an apartment, closing out the old one, switching off utilities here and turning them on there, another ‘plane trip to Detroit, job interviews, handling the last-minute and therefore urgent needs of my three clients, comforting the dog, packing up my fleet of airliner models, arranging moving trucks and trailers, saying goodbyes, traipsing around all over the bay area for final look-sees, last visits to the doctor (good news there … my health is excellent), mourning the imminent absence of the great and wonderful San Francisco fog from my life, finding another auto insurance carrier after GEICO wanted to increase my six-month premium from $638 to $2,594 (!), putting a new spare tire on the Jeep, inspecting it, changing its oil, washing it and lubing it and cleaning it out, reassuring friends and relatives and explaining why-oh-why, spackling nail holes in the walls, cleaning the grill and scrubbing the balcony, cleaning, arranging, numbering boxes, painting the rust spots in my medicine chest, final vet visits for a very discombobulated beagle, who knows exactly what’s going on (he’s done this 14 times before in a mere nine years of his life), and comforting said beagle by giving lots of snuggle hugs and assuring him that his own private patch of ivy awaits him out his back door, that there will be plenty of snow to romp about on in just about 3.5 short months and that yes, indeedy, he’s going to just love Michigan.
‘Which is pretty much where I am. I’m looking forward to the trip. I’m looking forward to the beginning of a new life in a new city with Frank. The townhouse we’ve rented is fabulous … in other words, it’s all good. I’m particularly excited to take in Yosemite again, and the new (to me) country up and over to Lee Vining, down to Bishop and Vegas and joining the Mother Road at Kingman.
‘I can’t wait to see my native state again. From border to border, New Mexico makes my soul and spirit resonate … it vibrates in me with a hum and excitement … it revives a connection that has been there since birth. I can honestly say that, as far around the world as I’ve travelled, few (if any) places on the plant make me as truly happy as the Land of Enchantment makes me.
‘I’ll also enjoy showing Frank, I-40 virgin, what America is really like … that it’s not George W. Bush’s Amurrica, that it is, in fact, a vast and exciting and varied and colorful and wonderful place … peopled with the occasional fascist nut, but , hey, no place is perfect, right? Keep the radio off the AM dial and stop and take plenty of pics and … enjoy … the experience. A New Mexico sunset. The cool piney altitude of Flagstaff. The folks of Oklahoma. The Lisa Marie, Elvis’ DC-8, sitting in a park at Graceland. The Ryman Auditorium. And so on. The trip will be simply fabulous, as will the commencement of our new lives in a new city, state, time zone and mentality. It’s all good.
‘It’s just that here at 11:45 p.m. on the last night before the deluge, I have to rearrange all the boxes and furniture, load up the kitchen stuff, pack the fragile pics and posters, disconnect a huge home theater system and 46-inch TV … and make changes to a project for a client and start another one for her, pick up moving equipment at U-Haul, wait on a glass company to fix a chip on the windshield of the Jeep, meet with a client and then start hauling everything down the hall to our one-week temporary apartment.
‘It’s a long, exhausting, sometimes nightmarish thing, is moving. I have to say that this one, other than the physical demands on me, is turning out to be less problematic than the other 15 I’ve done myself since April 1994.
‘Let’s keep our fingers crossed. Until I’m standing underneath a waterfall in Yosemite and then crossing the Nevada border a few hours later, it will be hard to believe it’s going to happen.
‘And yet, two weeks from right now, we should be sleeping in … Oklahoma City, OK. Whaddya know?
‘Good night, ya’ll.
‘—Posted by Steve at 03:12 | 05-Aug-03’