Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Day Before

Now it's a matter of mere hours: in 18 hours, we will be boarding the plane to San Francisco, and anything we've failed to wrap up in the States will have to stand, wither, or find us. We've finally and absolutely sold the Camry to a very nice couple, and the last of our property left the apartment last night. We had a going-away party (Reb posted it on Facebook, I posted it on my favorite BBS) at Nye's Polonaise Lounge yesterday evening, and we were delighted with, surprised by, and touched by the volume of attendance. I certainly felt loved at the end of the night, and I'm glad I didn't just slip out of the country with a few curt farewells transmitted electronically and in general.

We had a nice breakfast with our former landlord and current friend, Phil, and settled up with him: we received our apartment deposit and had brunch at Cafeteria in Uptown. He ordered the Night Train Chicken and Waffles to satiate both of our curiosities--the super-cute waitress assured us it was delicious, and it was so. Now we're back at Rebecca's sister's house, getting our bags repacked, preparing the boxes of materiel to be mailed to us in Korea once we have a mailing address, doing laundry, separating the storage items from the donation items from the trash.

Sorry if my writing is wandering all over the place. My thoughts are scattered and I'm deeply nervous about getting everything done. So much so that I was unable to consume even half of my breakfast and had to focus on keeping everything in my stomach. I know for a fact that we will be on that plane tomorrow evening, no matter what, but I have a burning, urgent sense to complete as many tasks as possible, tie up all my loose ends, before we head out. Rebecca has the most work to do, reorganizing her property as well as all the abstract, financial, technical records she keeps track of. I used to do this for myself before I lived with her, but I guess I didn't show enough initiative in getting my hands in that kind of accounting because the poor girl is in charge of it entirely, which means she's also in charge of remembering who has our address, who will send us stuff, who expects money from us, etc. That's one thing I'll have to change when we start over in the States again, years from now. There are a lot of things I'll change about myself when we return.

But I'm just nervous now. I'm writing to hopefully get my thoughts in order or provide some short-term direction, or at least to vent the stress building up in me. So badly, I want to help out and receive a to-do list of things I can systematically knock out. That's what I'm best at. There is no such list, however, and the most immediate things are matters only Rebecca can manage. I'm trying to pick her brain for busywork I could accomplish that might be helpful in some small way, a game of degrees and percentages, hedging the odds, and like that.

The future posts will be more interesting. I'm e-mailing this to my blog to see how the formatting will turn out, though there really can't be a situation in which I can only send out e-mail and not access my blog proper.

Listen to me, I'm babbling.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Starting the Journey Out of the Country

Location: Highland, St Paul, MN, USA
I guess I should start updating this, since it's going to be my publicly accessible travel journal. Of course no one will see what I write in my plain black Moleskine, not even my own wife, and that will come in handy.

So, I guess it's Wednesday? We spent our first night out of the apartment last night, staying at Rebecca's sister's house. Deb and Tom went on vacation to Israel and we were in charge of watching their teenage son, so we're cashing in the favor chip and staying with them for four nights until we fly out of the country. It's really not equivalent: Rebecca and I are endlessly charming and attractive, and we don't produce horrible smells out of innocuous regions of our bodies. Our cats are staying here until my mom's house is open and ready to house them, which will be our final night in the States: we'll bring Toki and Bella down to Apple Valley, stay the night to help them get settled, and then 7pm the next day we will be off to San Francisco, the first of three legs of our journey.

Our old apartment's almost completely empty. Today we emptied the dining room, yesterday we cleared the office, bathroom, and bedroom. Huge piles of trash have gone out, huge boxes labeled "Solid Waste" are waiting to be carted off, and piles of furniture have been hauled to the curb with an accompanying "Curb Alert" message on Craigslist. We gave all this crap away for free: a loveseat, several bookcases, a few computer desks and chairs, carpets and rugs, all sorts of stuff. If we would've sold it, it would've been quite a bit of money, but right now we're extremely detached from physical possessions and only too eager to give to people the property they think they want, property that otherwise would go to the landfill, I guess.

We sold the car yesterday. I didn't think it would go so quickly, but Rebecca's gearhead friend insisted a '99 Camry with 47K miles would move pretty swiftly. In fact, several people called and texted at the same time, and two people showed up yesterday morning. We sold it to the first people who showed up, even though the second guy arrived with $5,500 in cash. That's how in demand this vehicle was. Wow! But at least that's done.

Friday evening's the going-away party for friends. Saturday the buyers will pick up the car. Sunday we are doing nothing not family-related and camping out at the airport. Further bulletins as events warrant.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Exploring the Skyways Yet Again

I thought about attaching this to 365XN, but instead I'll leave it in this blog.

Today saw me undertaking a new undertaking: exploring the entirety of the Skyway, areas known and uncharted. I have a Skyway map (I capitalize it even though it's not supposed to be, I guess) and thought that I should traverse every branch and corridor before I leave this fair city once and for all.

I took pictures of myself at salient junctures but in no way is this intended to represent everything in the Skyway. When I found something unusual or significant, I took a shot of myself in front of it. The Skyway map was flawed, also, in that it doesn't account for a little appendix by the bus station, and it lists the passage through the Marriott as complete when actually it stops at the elevator bay.

After that, it is the failing of Google Maps to not update and show the new Target Field location, which is a fairly significant landmark in Downtown West and the Warehouse District. Consequently, I had to tag a photo of me walking in several lanes of traffic, when actually I was safely ensconced in the Skyway beside a huge parking ramp.

And I really only got to walk through just over half of the Skyway network, in total. I got a lot done, but not nearly enough, and I anticipate adding to this map in the next two weeks. After that it will be impossible for me to complete.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spam Still Amuses Me

Is it not true that part of the comedy of first-generation spam/phishing techniques is that their translation to English is so poor? If I were substantially less corrupt, I could hire myself out as a copy editor for spammers and receive a cut of their earnings from the bank accounts of the shamefully naive. It almost sounds appealing, phrased like that.

This is what my beloved Yahoo* account yielded me today:

Anti-Terrorist and Monitory Crimes Division. 
Federal Bureau Of Investigation
J. Edgar. Hoover Building, Washington D.C

Your card was hold in our office due to Money laundering certificate , we are ready to take you to any length if you failed to proof the legitimate of the card you are about to receive. As a Federal Commission we are here to protect your interest and the interest of all the United State citizens as well as this great Nation. You have been investigated as the beneficiary of the said funds that is why you are in touch with the FBI for a solid proof before the funds will be release to you.