Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Success in Georgia

We have just about used up our three days in Georgia now, and by all accounts, it has been a highly successful trip.

Objective #1: Find an Apartment

After weeks of online apartment hunting, we had basically come down to one apartment. If it looked good, we'd sign the papers on the spot. We went, and...well, it was okay, but not really fabulous. Not good enough to sign on the spot, though not bad enough to rule out immediately. After a phone call from an apartment locating company, we went to visit one other place. And guess what? We took it.

Here's the floorplan:

There is a slight difference between the picture and our actual apartment--the closet in the middle bedroom is about a third of that size, and the space left over is a cute little alcove with a window. That alcove will be part of the kids' bedroom, which I think they will thoroughly enjoy.

It's actually something of a miracle that we got this apartment. Turns out it wasn't technically supposed to be shown or available at all, but the man we first talked to hadn't gotten that memo yet. He showed us the unit, we agreed to take it, and then management worked it out so we could have it even though they had intended further upgrades or remodeling or something (no one will actually tell us why it wasn't open...). In the end, we have a great apartment for nearly $200 cheaper a month than we were budgeting, which saves a good chunk of change over the course of the next year and a half.

Objective #2: Register for Kindergarten

Remember all the pain and hassle of getting the medical exams and documentation all figured out for the Georgia school requirements? On Monday afternoon, we showed up at the health department to see if we could get the official Georgia forms. Upon finding out there was a 2 to 4 HOUR wait, we opted to leave the paperwork and pick it up in the morning.

We showed up half an hour before the office opened and waited in line.

After the office opened, we waited for another hour, paid $4, and then they just handed us the papers. Easy as that. All we had to do on this end was sit in a chair and read a book for an hour.

When that was done on Tuesday, we went and signed the lease for the apartment, arranged for the utilities to be connected and printed off a letter saying so.

And last but not least, we went to the school today. We filled out some paperwork, made some copies, and walked out the door with Audrey all registered for kindergarten.

That's one weight off our shoulders.

Objective #3: Visit GA Tech

We have driven down to Tech's campus once every day we've been here. We walked through the library, the bookstore, the ECE building. We picked up Chris's parking pass. And we walked passed several empty offices several times over.

The highlight of the trip was the two times we actually found an ECE professor in his office. One professor gave Chris a list of professors with projects going in Chris's areas of interest, and the other professor actually added Chris to his contact list of grad students. Chris isn't working for him or anything like that, but he will be notified of the meetings that his students have. Chris will be able to get to know other students, find out what kind of projects are going on, and eventually perhaps join in on one. It's a good start in getting a thesis project going.

And it rained the entire time we were there toady, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Unexpected Objective #4: Replace the Transmission in our van

That was a fun phone call. In short, the light came on, Dad took it into the shop for us in Salt Lake, they called back and said that we need to replace the transmission and two engine mounts. Sigh. It's going to cost us $4,000...good thing we got that cheaper rent. And good thing the new transmission is warrantied for 3 years or 100,000 miles so when it dies again we can get another new one for free. We'll last until Chris graduates at least, and then we'll have money for a real new van.

Objective #5: Don't die from stress

Well, so far so good. I was stressed enough that I now have three major cold sores on my bottom lip that have caused it to swell rather embarrassingly. Other than that obnoxiousness, we've survived. Chris has done it a lot better than I have, I will say, but we'll make it home. You know, in like four more days.

The real highlight of the week: a genuine Rhode Island license plate--on a car even, not a wall.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Stewart and the Stucco Moon

Before getting into the grand beginnings of Atlanta, here are two adventures I missed posting on Ben's birthday.

Adventure #1: Lunch

See? We ate lunch. It was delightful.

Adventure #2: Shoshone Falls

The benefit to not being the bride or groom in a wedding means that at some point, you are actually excused to leave. The benefit of not being in charge of anything means that when you leave, you can do whatever you want. So, we went to visit the waterfalls that, I assume, lent themselves to the naming of Twin Falls.

Also delightful. Now, on to more words and less pictures.

Adventure #Biggest Thing Happening Today

I can still count all the flights I've taken in my life on my fingers. Since it's not an entirely "normal" thing for me to do, I still get a bit nervous in airports. I love flying, though. Anyway. I documented the adventure.

Boarding the plane...

Heading for the runway...

And waiting in a line to take off with eight or nine planes in front of us and 13 behind us by the time we actually took off. We left 30 minutes late...

...which made our layover in Denver REALLY short. We walked off on plane, down the terminal, and directly onto the other plane. For my first flight transfer ever, it seemed relatively simple. The only downside was that we didn't have reserved seating so Chris and I ended up separated and we were both in center seats for a three hour flight, but guess what? We survived just fine.

I did have a nice man sitting next to me. I never caught his name, so Chris decided to call him Stewart. Stewart is a long time resident of Atlanta and gave me a lot of advice on where to live and where not to live. He also told me that he is so used to humidity that going to the desert makes him sick because he dehydrates so quickly. That's a different perspective than I keep hearing. Made me chuckle.

The best part of the flight was when the flight attendant said, "Get ready... Get set... Get off."

Once we landed and picked up our rental car, it was well past midnight. My first impressions of Atlanta? In the dark, it looks the same as Albuquerque. In the light, it is much, much, MUCH greener. I may be in love with this city already just for that. Notice the trees along the freeway--reminds me of Washington.

So far, it's not too hot, though there is definitely more moisture in the air. Someone at the bank told us this has been a "rare dry spell" and that she just can't get over how dry it is right now, other than the rain. I thought that was an odd definition of dry spell.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Mr. & Mrs.

Brandon & Heather Boldt

Married for Time and All Eternity
July 27, 2013
Twin Falls, Idaho


Look how many people love them already!

...insert Ben's birthday party here...

Finishing the night with a lovely and well-attended reception in Aberdeen.

There may or may not have been a few rounds of bughouse...

Brandon doesn't eat sugar, so they cut a watermelon instead.

Ben wanted some.

I just want to say, I don't think I have ever seen a happier bride. I've never seen a sad bride,  but I have also never seen a bride who just radiated happiness so much, for the entire day. Congratulations, Brandon. You've got yourself a good one.