Monday, March 31, 2008

'It's the right place'

Andrew, Kissy Missy and I ventured into the Great White North over the weekend, and Andrew confirmed for himself what he already thought he knew: He's committed to engineering at Michigan Tech.

Andrew fills out the inevitable paperwork as the day begins in the lobby of the Rozsa Center, Tech's fabulous performing-arts center. The Rozsa Center has the largest stage north of Midland. Engineers in costume, eh?

Andrew toured the buildings, met people and had a chance to explore the place. On the right is the R.L. Smith Mechanical Engineering building, the high-rise where Andrew is likely to spend an immense amount of time over the next few years. It houses Tech's world-class mechanical engineering program.

LinkIt's spring, so the cars frozen in over the winter are beginning their emergence. Actually, this is a piece of professional public art, created in conjunction with Tech's famous Winter Carnival. The whole story of the frozen car is here.

Now, Michigan Tech's student body is only 21.3 percent women, according to the university's public relations office. How does it happen that Andrew ends up having lunch with three women?

He's comfortable on the campus, even a campus where this is what "spring" looks like.

While Andrew was touring the campus, Kissy Missy and I took in some of the sites. We went to the Library. Capital L.

The Library began life as a student bar in the late 1960s. According to its menu, it was a beer and peanuts-on-the-floor
kind of place.

These days, it's a whole lot more upscale. It's a brew pub with a nice menu. It's a little pricey, and I don't think it's much of a
student hangout any more.

The professors and the parents, however, really, really like it.

Over on the other side of Portage Lake is Hancock. That's not a sidewalk; those are stairs leading down to the Lift Bridge.

I'm just glad the minivan had good brakes. Going up the hills was enough to make Kissy Missy scream a couple of times.

And the snow has melted back considerably, eh? Yes, this is "melted back."

Andrew had the chance to meet with a staff member at Mont Ripley, the ski hill owned by the university. He learned the facility hires committed, passionate, expert skiers as staff members - and they get season passes.

Andrew took a dozen runs down the hill and pronounced it "fantastic."

It was a 943.5-mile round trip, Friday through Sunday, but Andrew was in his element.
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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Minden and München tour the new place

Nice counter! Is this where the goodies are going to be? Where are the kitty treats?

This is a great place for a sink! Nice wraparound counter, nice cabinets.

But you have to show me how to turn on the water.

Oooh! A gas-fired fireplace! Flip that switch on the wall, so I can stretch out and relax in front of the fire.
These are great! What do you call them? Stairs? And you got them for us? Almost as much fun as Cedar Point!

Yep. I love stairs. I really love stairs. Watch for me on the stairs. If you trip over me and hurt yourself, you'll deserve it for tripping on the cat.

A window just isn't complete without a kitty. Could you turn up the sunshine, Dad?

You know it's a home when the cats are in the windows. We'll let you live here, too, Dad, as long as you don't get in the way.


The first load moves into the new townhouse
long after dark on Day One.

After years of hoping, hundreds of hours of work, months of delays and glitches and just plain weird stuff, we have a new home, a new address and perhaps for the first time ever, a home that actually reflects who we are.

It's a townhouse in town. It's brand-new, fresh, clean and terrific.
The move into the place actually came on Feb. 22. The deal for the house was complex and out-of-the-box. The real estate market has been awful, as everyone knows. But the developer of the condominium townhouses came up with a deal: An independent appraiser would set a price for our house in Lake Isabella.
Megan and Robert move my
grandmother's antique dresser.

We would market that house aggressively for 45 days, and if at the end of that time, the house was unsold, he would buy it. He gets out from under a high interest rate construction loan. We get a new home. This is, however, pretty far out of the box, and it took months for the developer to get the financing together. It finally came together.

Furniture, equipment and general debris
get loaded from the Lake Isabella house.

We proudly put the old house on the market in September 2005.
Ahem. The market tanked. The house just sat there. When this deal came along, it was too good to pass up. At one point, we were to close a few days before Christmas, and I declared that the first thing we'd do would be to put up a Christmas tree in the balcony over the front door. That closing date didn't happen, but I was able to keep my promise: The night we moved in, the Christmas tree went into the balcony over the front door.
Dad and Kissy Missy look on
as Robert finishes placing the
Christmas tree in the balcony.

There have been all the dozens of little things to take care of as we've moved in - including a misbehaving furnace, satellite TV (I will NOT use cable), WiMax Internet (I will NOT use cable), and the everyday stuff of living. The living room and garage are piled high with stuff. The first part of putting away stuff is to figure out where "away" is, and sometimes that's tough. All in good time. We're home.
It will be a very nice living room
once it stops being a storage shed.