Moving

Carrs in the car across the USA: Tornados, Volcanos and Floods

My wife and I just Prius’d acrossed the USA. Yes. I’m using Prius as a verb. After two successful cross-country trips (overloaded and overstuffed, might I add), I’m allowed to brag about my Toyota. Aren’t I?

Nine days, six stops. And affordable gasoline! Guess how much gas we spent?

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our most recent trip was actually a move: Rochester, New York to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho (or the close by Spokane, Washington, where I’ll be working).

That’s a bunch of map

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Rochester -> Louisville -> Nashville -> Memphis -> Kansas City -> Denver -> Yellowstone -> Ceour d’Alene

It’s a crazy mess of a road trip. I know. Here was the thought process:

Kansas City and Denver had family. Admittedly, Nashville was completely out of the way, but we really wanted to see it. And if we timed it just right, we could lock down two nights in Yellowstone. Louisville and Memphis were convenient stops in between.

Most nights we would camp, others we’d stay with family.

Little did we know what we’d discover along the way; little would we see out of our blind spots.

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A quick note on the photos: We shot hundreds, some with our new Cannon Rebel T5, others with our iPhones. My wife took all the good pictures. I took all the weird, squirrelly ones. Also, since there are so many, and we just go home, please excuse the lack of editing. 

Okay, so, you ready? Me neither. Let’s go! (more…)

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Final Semester Eve: A Terrified Toast to the Known Unknown

I remember finishing high school PE. That final time ever, you know? A 10th grader at Arroyo Grande High School, CA—sitting on a bench in a quiet locker room, closing my locker for the last time, holding my gross (unwashed) blue and gold garments in a bunch, thinking, Wow, this is the last time I’ll ever change back into my regular clothes after a PE course in high school.

Sentimental, I know.

But it was a big deal to me, back then. To be honest, I don’t even know why. I hated PE.

It was gross and awful.

In high school, once you learn the guitar, exercising becomes pointless.

Anyway, there I was. Just sitting there. Staring at my clothes. “Momentous,” I mouthed.

I did the same thing when the last episode of LOST arrived. Before the episode even aired, I became melancholic. Like, “Wow, this is the last time I’ll ever be disappointed by LOST.”

You get the idea.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I start my final undergraduate semester at the University of Rochester. It should be one of those momentous moments, you know. But I don’t think it will be.

Something’s different.

Maybe I’m just getting older and wiser. Or colder. I’m still terrified, certainly. Terrified about everything that’s coming. But ephemeral moments of sadness about things coming to an end. I don’t know. Just not my thing anymore.

Finishing college, for instance, it won’t grab me like other finishing moments have. That’s my prediction, at least. School, to me, is and has been nothing more than an incredible inconvenience. I’ve appreciated the experience, sure, but it’s time to move on. I’m 28, I’m working already, I’m proving myself to the (real) world every single day. (more…)

Starting Over in Flower City, NY

Lately, it has occurred to me that Rochester and I, maybe, perhaps, have got off on the wrong foot. It’s no secret my wife and I have been detesting where we live. We moved last August from the West Coast, and it’s just been… well… it’s been…  it’s been exhaustingly frustrating: rabies scare, smoke-ridden apartment, under employment, Polar Vortextation, stranded for hours because of shoddy mechanic work, knee injuries, rude strangers, us leaving every other weekend just to feel normal, underwhelming food…

And we’re not pessimists, I promise. We moved here with positivity and high hope. Like breakfast, we prefer the sunny side. Unfortunately Rochester had other plans. There’s this cycle. Every time we begin to think positive about where we live, we look up, smile at the sky, and then get crapped on by a metaphorical seagull (i.e., Rochester), crapped on right in the kisser.

But that is neither here nor there.

Like a rat in a maze hitting his head against the wall over (and over), I need a fresh start. SO here it is. I’m starting over. I’m giving Rochester another shot, a fair shake, a second chance, some water under the bridge, a lumberjack handshake, a cough syrup detox and other clichés…

And why not? It’s summer, the first day of summer; this is when you get to go outside.

Lake Ontario–give it another chance!

I remember the first time I saw Lake Ontario, my first Great Lake! What a sight. Immense and infinite. I couldn’t look away, and like an ocean, I desperately yearned to know its secrets. But then I smelled Lake Ontario. And then I saw the grossly polluted Genesee River endlessly dumping into it. And then I said, “Hmmm, that’s too bad. Guess I’ll never come back here again.”

Well, nearly six months later, Megan and I took a trip up to the lake, and, I have to admit, I had a wonderful time. The smell wasn’t bad (we weren’t as close to the Genesee), and I enjoyed the lake’s serenity. I skipped rocks like a boss (that is, a boss who skips rocks), and Megan found some neat “ocean” glass. The sun was out and the breeze was perfect.

photo1 (20)photo1-6The Food–give it another chance! (more…)

New York State: (Three Month Recap)

What a year it’s been! I woke up in Idaho on January 1st, drove to California where I lived for six-months, and then ventured to upstate New York where I’ll finish out the year. I say “I” but I really mean we. We means my wife and me (I). Yeah. That’s a lot of driving. Our Prius is a champ. I think I’ll buy my car a wizard’s cap for Christmas, considering he did such a good job leading us across the continent (like Gandalf!).

But New York. Man, sometimes, I still can’t believe we live here. New friggan York! What a long way from home. There’s good and bad, but we like it; Rochester is growing on us. Constant unfamiliarity can be quite exhausting, but we’ve been using our GPS less and less, so that is good. A big step to accepting a new home, I think, is learning the street names.

Without further ado, here’s my three-month recap (or review!) of NY State:

August

Humidity and lots of fruit flies. But it could’ve been worse. We came in on the tail-end of the humidity; we’ll have to wait till next year to fully experience it, I guess. With no jobs or school in session we were bored out of our minds! We were broke too. Moving is ‘spensive.

However, we did manage to see Niagara Falls after a terrible, no good-very bad day. Megan landed a job pretty much right off the bat! And speaking of bat, we woke up with a bat in our room and almost contracted rabies. August was… well, it was… a stretching experience. Oh, I also saw mewithoutYou (my favorite band).  (more…)

Ode to Toast

Just shy of a month since we rolled into Rochester, our poor, packed Prius carried everything she could across the continent, leaving everything else (everyone else) behind. What have I missed most? Good question.

My toaster.

Excuse me, toaster oven.

I’ve really missed my toaster oven. You see, I’ve never been a fan of microwaves. Some people say the radiation is dangerous and that’s cool. To me, it just makes everything taste rubbery and cheap. Microwaves are convenient; I get that, but convenient at what price? Rubbery everything?

Plus, it seems obvious microwaves are constructed and mass-produced for the weak. You would never see, for instance, a ninja using a microwave.

A plain toaster is fine for bread, bagels, and english muffins, but there’s no other options. What if I want to reheat my pizza? What if I want to create my own delicious cheesy bread with pasta?

Sure. I could use the oven. This is where you chime in: “Kevin,  you don’t care for microwaves, yet you’re too impatient for ovens.”

First of all, you are rude.

Second of all, you are correct.

The toaster oven isn’t just a convenience, it’s the greatest achievement of the twentieth century. My proof? Let’s talk toast.

A toaster oven let’s you see the bread toasting! You can flip the bread if one side is too dark and the other not so much. You can toast your bread with a chunk of butter on top (and watch it deliciously melt in to every crevice of grain and gluten). Best yet, the stressful action of grabbing a butter-knife to free a trapped piece of bread has become obsolete. I mean, you COULD stick a knife in a toaster-oven if you wanted to. Your call.

Estate of Mind

It’s been a month since I’ve had toast, you understand? I’ve been quite terrible. Megan and I are short on cash (and not as heavy on credit as we used to be) so every purchase requires frugality and great purpose.

I ask you this: what greater purpose is there than toast?

Don’t worry. The issue has been solved. Estate sales, my old friend, has relieved the suffering.

We’ve been hitting estate sales like they’re dropping dead. My first stop—every time I enter a specter’s house—is the kitchen. There’s rules though, like in Zombieland, to buying a toaster oven from a dead person’s house. You can’t just buy the first one you see.

1. Never pay more than $5 for a used dead-person’s toaster oven. You can find new ones for $20.

2. There’s a difference between dirty and decrepit. It’s not CAN you clean it, but rather, do you WANT to even touch it?

3. Test it on the spot!

4. If the house shakes as you start to walk away with the toaster oven, pay quickly and run out.

The toaster oven I found passed all four purchasing rules, so I’m golden. This morning I thoroughly cleaned it, cleaned it one more time, and then prayed for God to remove any lingering entities.

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Love

It’s amazing what we take for granted. I love you toast; I’ll never leave you again.

God Has Never Been to Rochester

“God has never been to Rochester,” said my friend, David. Him and his wife laughed in solidarity; I offered a nervous snicker.

Back in June, Megan and I flew over to search for apartments—at that point, the only people we knew on this side of the continent were these two people who have since left the area due to finishing school; border-lined waifs, we now know no one.

“God has never been to Rochester,” he said. The comment stuck. Sure, he was joking, but it stuck.

Where the hell am I moving to? Where am I taking my wife? These thoughts, until recently even, erupted from the shadows and followed me as such.

I remember driving around, on that same trip, witnessing a worn-down and bruised city. A town, much like Detroit, whose rarefied Kodak Towers have since fallen into the dreck, pulling almost everyone else with it.

Has God ever been to Rochester?

The Answer (It’s Yes)

In the four-ish days we’ve been here, the weather has alternated more than I can keep track: humid, rainy-as-Hell (umbrellas are a must), thunder and lightning, sunny-sky-beautiful.

Right now, it’s nice. The sun is out, a few clouds giving shade.

We attended a church today. YES, I know. Mr. Anti-Church went to church. So sue me (please don’t sue me). It was a Grace PCA church, recommended by Tony from A Way With Words—our only known soul on the East—and it was lovely. The people were wonderful, warm, and genuine.

I even liked the pastor. In our few minutes of conversation, I withheld my personal opinions about how he should find a different job.

Him and his wife were incredibly nice, as was everyone we met, and I think we’re going to go back.

Why am I telling you this? Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to write about changing the modern church, only to dive into its arms first thing?

I suppose you’ve got a point.

Rochester, NY, Baby

My initial worries of the area have since fallen away; I’m falling in love with Rochester. So far, it’s a great town with great people. We live in an area called East Ave (near/or Park Ave). It’s absolutely gorgeous. We ordered pizza the other night, and I almost couldn’t stop eating it.

Does the town still have its issues? Does it still scare me? Does driving here make absolutely no sense? Yes, but I love Rochester’s potential; I love its heart, and every day feels a little bit more like home.

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If you’d be willing: 

Continued prayer for friends, jobs, closeness to God, church issues, and cheap furniture.

Your thoughts?