[In case you haven't been keeping up...TOP is on partial hiatus as Editor MJ moves from Wisconsin to New York State. Technical Editor Ctein has been filling in partially with columns and reviews of his own, but the site is being updated only intermittently. This is likely to continue until I am able to close on my new house and get the office set up again.]
The great relocation has happened. Finishing the packing and preparing for the movers was truly grueling and stressful, but Michael and Emily Ray of First Choice Moving came to my rescue and I ended up not having to move myself.
I had originally envisioned putting half my stuff in storage (which was accomplished) and then loading the rest into a 15-foot U-Haul Truck, putting my two largish pups in the cab with me, and towing the car behind.
I'm very glad that vision didn't have to become a reality. Michael and Emily and four of their employees helped me finish packing, and then we headed to the Public Storage facility at 7 p.m. on Thursday to get the rest of my things. Shortly after 9 p.m. a dim light went on in my brain, and I remembered something about the facility closing at night. So I called Public Storage's Customer Service Call Center and was informed that yes, the locked gate stopped working at 9. And we were still inside. The representative told me that it was "possible" she could override it. And if she couldn't? "It opens again at 6 a.m.," she said. "That's not long from now."
Sleeping in the back seat of the car the night before a 500 mile drive? Another vision I'm glad did not have to come to pass.
I slept at my friends' lake cabin that night—the scene of so many joyous gatherings with friends over the years. Come morning, I headed back to the old house to finish preparing it for the buyers' walk-through. I left them a card and a bottle of champagne in the fridge. At noon or so I'd finished the multiple jobs and errands and dumpster searches and went to pick up the dogs. I had taken them to Camp Bow-Wow for two days specifically to tire them out prior to the trip. And off we went.
Midway to Ohio I learned that the closing, conducted in my absence, had gone well.
The drive was exceptionally beautiful—the traffic was stop-and-go from O'Hare to the Indiana border—it took forever and delayed our progress significantly—but I-80 at the top of the state of Indiana is lovely in a lush Summer like this one. At least if you like heartland farm country, which I do. On the way to Cleveland the full moon rose straight in front of us and I composed a hundred photographs in my head, using the gradually brightening moon, the gradually darkening sky, and the ever-changing roadway and roadside scenery.
(I used my imaginary Fuji 50–140mm lens that I don't own yet. Naturally, it worked perfectly.)
Butters, Lulu and I stayed in a Residence Inn by Marriott in Mentor, Ohio, on Friday night. The dogs were great on the trip—well-behaved and docile—but Lulu couldn't help but be protective that night at the hotel, growling at at the muffled noises in the hallway and barking a warning every time she heard a muffled voice. When Lulu is scolded for barking she has a hilarious response—she barks with a soft, repressed "woof" that I swear is the canine equivalent to human whispering.
As soon as Keuka Lake came into view, all my worries vanished. Yesterday was a magnificent day, with bright sun, a fresh breeze, and high, brilliant clouds. The new place looked lovely, and the bank appraiser, whose services are the last thing holding up the closing, was waiting on the steps out front.
Driving around this area, I can tell you one thing for dead sure: I'm about to become a photographer again, in a much more serious way than I've been able to be for quite a few years now. This countryside inspires me, and I resonate to it. I see photographs everywhere.
So we're here, and everything has gone well so far. Now I just have to wait for the closing. In the meantime, we're at a rented lake house in the area for a week's vacation.
The hard part is over!
Mike the Ed.
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