Friday, August 29, 2014

Homeless in Miami

We arrived in Miami on August 1, 2014, and for 12 days we were totally homeless!!! We had signed a lease on a condo and we thought everything was in order. But when we arrived we learned that the paperwork for our application to the condo association (like an HOA) got lost in the shuffle! Every following day was filled with hope that they would get to our paperwork and be able to give us the key to our place, but for 12 long days we were continually disappointed.

Luckily, we didn't lose out on the rent during that period. There were some other unintended benefits...

For the weekends where we knew there was no chance of getting into our place we booked a room through AirBnB. This was my first experience with this site, but it was great. The first place we stayed was just an extra room in a young couples condo. We stayed in touch with these guys, and a couple weeks later they bought a boat and took us out for a joy ride! It's good to have friends with a boat.

On another occasion we got put up by my uncle Mike in Fort Lauderdale, who had a friend with a unoccupied condo. The condo was a little warm at night, because the AC wasn't working properly, but we were right on the beach. I wish I could wake up to the sunrise over the ocean out my balcony window every morning! I'm really glad we met Mike and his wife Janice. They couldn't be nicer! On another occasion we hung out on the beach and did some paddle boarding.

Our nomadic period also helped us get better acquainted with the layout of Miami. I've never actually lived in such a large city, and my internal GPS doesn't work as well an Andrea's, so I really benefitted from all the time we spent driving around aimlessly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Germany Video

It took me awhile to put this together, and then it got locked up with our stuff while moving. So, without further ado.....

Ta Da!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Wagons East!

Before we embarked on our journey down to Miami, some friends arranged a Progressive Dinner (a.k.a. safari supper). If you've never heard of this, it's a dinner party across several houses, where each location hosts a different course. We had 5 houses spread across Fort Collins, and some great food.

Each house also provided some kind of alcohol. Eventually I got pretty drunk and started taking close up pictures of people's faces. Here's a good one of my officemate Gus:

There was also this gem:

The party was complete with a foosball game, with Steph giving the play-by-play.

Aside from all the festivities and goodbyes, we still had that looming responsibility of packing up all our sh*t! Moving is always hard and frustrating, but this move felt especially torturous. After moving my stuff into Andrea's apartment, we found out that we had messed up the move out date. So instead of staying there during July, we ended up staying with Andrea's parents. I felt bad intruding, but we ended up being glad tht it worked out that way.Aside from saving a little money, I also got to know Andrea's parents much better.

During most of July, we did not have a place to move into in Miami. When we finally found a place a signed the lease, we started to realize that we couldn't bring as much as we wanted. In order to decide what to leave behind we used a floor plan, like the one below, and made scale cut-outs of all our furniture. It was a tedious process, but it really helped us visualize how much space we had to work with. In the end, we ended up leaving our living room chairs and Andrea's dresser (which she was (and still is) not happy about).

To move our suff such a long way, we used a service called UPack. They offer a service kind of like PODS, but they also offer a service where a trator trailer is dropped off at your place, and you fill up however much space you need. You then put up a temporary wall (i.e. bulkhead), and they charge you based on how much space you take up. It saved us some money and was pretty convenient.

One last jog up to Horsetooth reservoir
After the trailer was gone, we said our goodbyes to Colorado, loaded up our cars and headed east towards Iowa. Andrea's family had planned a reunion in Fort Madison, so we stayed 3 nights at her uncle's house and I got to meet a lot of her dad's side of the family. Andrea's dad was one of eight kids, so the family is quite large. Andrea made me a Bartett-family-tree "cheat sheet" so I could keep all the names straight.

I've driven through Iowa before, but had only seen it from Interstate 80. This time I got to see a very different part of the state, and I was blown away by how nice it was. I always imagined it being a barren landscape of corn and soy bean fields, but to my surprise it was a lush paradise of rolling green hills. We spent most of one afternoon biking Fort Madison and got to see the huge prison that the town is based around, as well as some large houses and old factories. We even crossed the bridge into Illinois for a brief visit.

Another notable place we visited was a little place called Lost Duck Brewing. It looked like it might have some decent beer, however, I can confidently say that this place makes the worst beer I've ever had! We heard that the beer has always been terrible, but surprisingly, none of the yelp reviews mentioned the beer being bad. I righted this wrong by adding my own yelp review. I hate to say it, but it really plays into my personal stereotype of mid-westerners not knowing good beer (or food).

We left Iowa with several tearful goodbyes and headed to Nashville, TN to see some country music. The music doesn't stop in Nashville, and the musicians are some of the best I've ever seen. The next day we drove to Asheville, NC and did a mini brewery tour downtown. In many ways, Asheville reminded me of Fort Collins, CO. I could definitely see myself living there. We had originally planned to do some camping in the smokey mountains, but being in the car for so long was getting to our heads. So after Asheville, we decided to buckle down and head straight for Miami. Little did we know,  we would not receive a warm welcome..... (to be continued).