Friday, July 20, 2012

Apartment Living

We have officially moved out of our house after living there for 18 years.  The movers packed everything up on Monday and Tuesday, which turned out to be two of the hottest days of the summer.  The poor guys were dripping with sweat--which dripped on every surface they were near.  I don't even want to think about what landed on our mattresses and other items that were carried out.  (Thank you to my mom, my daughter, Anne, and my dear friend, Beth, who spent countless hours helping to clean my house after the movers got everything out.  I am truly blessed.)  Since the moving van won't arrive in Charlotte until Monday (I won't say anything about this whole moving process, except don't, under any circumstance, use North American Van Lines), we have three more nights of apartment living.

I've lived in apartments before, but I'd forgotten what it was like.  My memory has been refreshed.

Positives of Apartment Living

  • Decent workout facility
  • Pool that I don't have to maintain
  • Takes only thirty minutes to clean apartment from stem to stern
  • Valet garbage (set it outside the door and someone picks it up)
  • Have met a lot of interesting people

Negatives of Apartment Living

  • "Future Residents" parking spaces are normal size, but residents parking spaces leave no room to open the car door to get out.
  • Shrek lives above us and constantly stomps paces back and forth.
  • I can hear the guy in the bathroom next to us retching in the morning--is he getting chemotherapy or does he party a little too heartily?
  • The flowery smell in the hallway used to mask the garbage center smell is nauseating. (Maybe that's my neighbor's problem.)
  • We are on the bottom floor (street level is the third floor) and have to go outside to get cell phone reception.
  • We have four doors and a gate to go through to get from the parking garage to the apartment--a definite challenge when hands are full.
  • Weekend nights are loud with all the young residents.

I'm counting the hours until we get into the house.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

4th of July

For our first holiday in Charlotte, my husband and I decided to get out of town and check out the North Carolina countryside. I looked online, and since I love to hike, decided to go west to the Lake Lure/Chimney Rock area and then head into Asheville.

Lake Lure turned out to be beautiful. We had lunch at La Strada Italian Bar and Grill. Even though it was 90+ degrees outside, we sat on the veranda with views of the lake and mountains. I had the Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad with this incredible sesame-honey dressing. Yum!
Grilled Chicken Oriental Salad

They look pretty comfy sitting on seat cushions.

With our tummies full, we were off to Chimney Rock Park. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting. When I think of hiking, I picture Rocky Mountain National Park with remote trails. This was a little more touristy with staircases and an elevator instead of switchbacks. 

View of Lake Lure from Chimney Rock

Never-the-less, it was pretty. Of course, with the heat and humidity, we were sweating like pigs. My husband was less than excited about all of this "back to nature" stuff. He reminded me of our children when they were young and forced to hit the trail. He whined a bit but placated me. We ended the torture session with an ice cream cone. He was appeased. We continued on our way to Asheville. We had no idea what to expect, since we hadn't done our homework. Mike had read something about the Grove Park Inn. It's a beautiful resort that overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's rated as one of the top five spa resorts in the country.
The Grove Park Inn

Being the holiday, the restaurants were booked, so we had a couple of appetizers in the bar and then headed back to Charlotte. At one point, we came upon what, at first glance, appeared to be a major pile-up. Cars were in the ditches on both sides of the highway with people milling about. But no accident was apparent. It was the town's folk waiting to view the fireworks....hmmm...seems a bit dangerous to me, but this must be North Carolina!* All in all, it was a good day. We're enjoying exploring our new environment. My husband says our new adventure will keep us young...either that or give us gray hair.

*We have friends who were missionaries in Africa, and when anything strange would happen over there, they'd say, "TIA" meaning "This is Africa." I'll be doing a post soon about the strange things in Charlotte.)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Moving is Not For Sissies

Packing--it never ends. I had been packing since we sold our house in April and thought I was making good headway--until last Friday. Our plan was to be done and on our way to Charlotte by lunchtime. We were still packing at 9:00 p.m.

My hubby and brother moving the moose (minus one antler).

This is difficult to see, but a man on a scooter
 (the scout) came by and called a guy in a van to come 
check out our garbage.  Apparently, there were some "treasures". 

By this time, we were bone tired (we had started at 5 a.m.), so we decided to get on the road, even though we weren't finished.  (I'm flying back when the movers come and will finish packing then.  So, of course, all I can think about is what I have left to do and how I'm going to accomplish it in less than 48 hours.)

The trip down to Charlotte was long, but good. We spent Friday night in Ann Arbor. We drove through town and waved goodbye to the "Big House"--no more fall Saturdays cheering on the Wolverines with 110,000 like-minded fans. Saturday morning, we got a not-so-early start and drove to Columbus, where we had lunch with our friends, Toni and Jeff.

Toni would want you to know she didn't 
have power and couldn't do her hair.
Toni was our Katie's kindergarten teacher
and we've been friends ever since.

Three hours later, we were back on the road. Our original plan had been to have dinner in Columbus on Friday evening and press on for a few more hours. On Saturday, we realized that God had delayed us for a good reason. Ohio had been hit by terrible storms Friday evening and thousands were without power, including Toni and Jeff. We saw trees down and debris along the highways from Ohio to Virginia. As a result, the lines at gas stations in southern Ohio and West Virgina were horrendous. Unfortunately, they were hit with more storms on Saturday evening. I can't believe we never had a drop of rain the whole trip. We were blessed with perfect travel weather.

Crossing the Ohio River

We finally pulled into Charlotte around 1:30 a.m. Before we could fall into bed, we had to go to the airport to pick up Mike's car where he had left the keys to the apartment he's been living in.

Upon arrival to the apartment, I realized that in one month of living on his own, my husband had gone feral.  The toilet was so filthy, I had to clean it before I could use it.  That was my first "eww" moment.  I've had many more in the light of day.  Thankfully, someone invented cleaning products and sanitizers.  Welcome to Charlotte.