...And we have liftoff.
Scott the Cable Guy (Time Warner contract technician) just left, and a speed test shows 41.51 Mbps download speed and 6.3 Mbps upload speed, so The Online Photographer is once again deserving of the middle part of its name—I am back on the Internet in Office 3.0, reassembled by lamplight last night.
I'd to thank everyone reading this for their tolerance and patience as I've struggled to get re-situated.
If you're new to the story and haven't been following along, I've been quite a nomad these past 18 months.
First, I bought my old-old house, the one in Waukesha, Wisconsin, which I'd previously rented. That's where I toiled for nearly nine years to establish this little corner o' the Web. Then, after three years of preparation, culminating in a resuscitated credit score among other things, I moved to my intended "last" house, also in Waukesha.
That was supposed to be the peak of the disruption.
Fortunately for me, but decidedly awkwardly, five days after I closed on Wisconsin House No. 2 I reconnected with a woman with whom I'd been friends many years before. She lived far away. This whole past year—August 27th to August 19th, when I was supposed to be settling into my old new house and getting back to work on TOP in a serious way, my life actually became more upended than ever, as she and I struggled with the deservedly dreaded "long-distance relationship*." Delta Airlines still sends me emails constantly, as if I am still its best friend. I should be part owner by now, is all I can say.
So, never one to be daunted, I did it all over again.
My second move in 12 months has landed me near, but not on, the shores of Keuka Lake. (Say "k'YOOK-uh.") Google it and hit "Images"—the views should make you feel happy. At the north end of Keuka Lake is Penn Yan, New York, and at the south end is Hammondsport. After some delays, I closed on the new-new house on Wednesday. Last night was my first night reunited with the pups, and my first night here. As I said, the Internet got turned on this morning.
As Telly Savalas used to say, I'm back, baby.
Well, almost. Getting there. I've only been here for a day. But after an extended period in which I've felt myself suspended in mid-leap (and mid-air), at least I've landed.
So where's "back"? I've never lived in the State of New York before. TOP Rural Lakeside-ish HQ is roughly equidistant from Ithaca, home of Cornell University, and Rochester, home of Eastman Kodak and Eastman House Museum. I'm a two-hour drive from Buffalo, New York, and Canada; 105 miles from Niagara Falls; 25 miles from Watkins Glen; and 45 minutes from the Pennsylvania border. Three hours east is the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and an hour and ten minutes away is the where Mark Twain wrote his most famous books (and where he's buried) in Elmira.
Famous landmarks are a bit thin on the ground out here—it is not a populous area—but the Finger Lakes are one of the most beautiful districts in the Eastern United States, drawing tourists by the coach-load throughout the short but intense Summer season.
I am all fired up to do workshops here. There are not a lot of a lot of things in this area, but brother and sister, there are pictures everywhere. I don't want to overpromise with the workshop idea, because I'm well aware that I've been quite bad at doing what I say I will over the past year and a half or so. (What can I say? I took time for my personal life. All work and no relationship had made Jack—er, Mike—me—a very dull boy.) Let's just say I will be looking into workshops very seriously and that I "promise" (that p-word again) to keep you posted as we go.
So, the upshot? It's a beautiful day. The dogs lie at my feet. S. will be here for dinner. As I sit here writing I think I'm as happy as I've ever been in my adult life. "Honeymoon period" it may be, but then, people should enjoy honeymoon periods, right? I'm seeing upsides in every direction I look with no downsides anywhere to be found. I feel more like myself than I have since I was 13 and riding a horse called Balderdash all over the Rocky Mountains at Lost Trail Camp.
Life is good and good for you in the Finger Lakes in August.
*...Which you've heard so much about. Lots of it bad, as in painful/hard/not exactly conducive to mutual happiness and smooth sailing. Much of which is true. No matter how much you like someone, making a go of it with a great distance between you is not ideal.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Carl Siracusa: "I'm sure your long-distance relationship was wearing. But take consolation in the fact that it could have been a lot worse. My wife—who is British—and I first met almost 20 years ago while we were both on the same tour in India. We then conducted our courtship trans-Atlantically for over a year, me from NY, she from London. Luckily we both had well-paying jobs at the time, so we could afford the airfares—plus the then-horrendous long-distance telephone charges. And bosses who didn't mind us taking time off to spend (very) long weekends together once a month.
"All our friends thought it was very romantic, but it did finally wear us down. I moved to England and we got hitched shortly thereafter."
Robert Roaldi: "We're never too old to completely change our lives."
Daniel Sroka (partial comment): "Never apologize for making your personal life a priority. Never."
Jim Wright: "Okay, I give up. What is the large device on the [low] table [on the left]?"
Mike replies: It's an AC regenerator. It takes line (mains) AC, converts it to DC, then reconverts it to AC...clean AC. No RFI, constant voltage. It's made for audio—it's a PS Audio Power Plant—but it actually has the most effect on video screens, especially TV. I certainly don't need it for this application—a Dectet Power Center would be fine—but I have it, so I use it.
Paul McGowan, the owner (and the "P" in the name) of PS Audio, is a photography enthusiast and occasional reader of TOP.
Gill R: "Long time reader, almost-never-poster here. Mike, I've been following your updates avidly and am delighted for you that you're all moved in. Your house looks gorgeous—and I would give my eye-teeth for an office that looked like that :-) . I wish you many happy years in your new home, and many happy years with S."
Mike replies: Thank you Gill.
Chris Y.: "I've been following this blog since way back—2006? and I knew your name from the magazine days...I think a lot of us readers are still trapped in old-school white collar cubicle-anchored jobs that would be unbearable without the Internet and blog presences like yours. Your written voice is like that of a friend who stops by to chat about our mutual interests; photography, yes, but also cars, coffee, music—examinations of taste in all these pleasurable things. As a bonus, we get to meet each other in the comments too. I am sure an untold number of us have followed this latest happy and constructive move as a vicarious one of our own. Your combination of instincts and hard work must point the way to some sort of 'new journalism' for these weird, great-unknown, big-bang feeling times. It looks like you've picked a beautiful spot. Please accept my own humble thanks. Long may you share."
Mike replies: Thanks very much for that extraordinarily kind comment, Chris. Made my day. And thanks to everyone for all the good wishes.