Today around noon, we’re turning off the internet. Gasp. I know.
We have to return the box to the cable company and the only way to do that is either in person or by having a technician turn up and unplug it. I mean…really? There’s not a way to just mail it in? I guess I should be thankful that I have the option of dropping it off.
Anyway, the plan is to drop it off, pick up the truck and come home. We’ll finish packing the kitchen and the bathroom tonight and then on Thursday, well, Thursday we load the truck. By we, I mean Rob and me and a passel of friends. It’s supposed to be cool tomorrow.
Friday morning, we head out on our grand cross-country adventure. I’ll be tweeting and updating the blog from the road thanks to my handy phone.
But my big focus when I’m not driving is to finish the novel. I’m in good shape to have the first draft wrapped by the time we roll into Portland.
So, that’s what I’ll be doing this week. How about you?
I am sitting in the moving truck on our corner, waiting for the street sweeper to come through so that we can put the truck right in front of the apartment. In case anyone is wondering why we picked a Thursday to load out, it’s because of opposite side of the street parking. Aside from things we need tonight, everything is in a box, packed and ready to go.
I am, of course, melancholy about this. At the same time, I’m anxious for it to be over. It is interesting watching the people from the truck like this. I walk down this street all the time, but never watch my neighbors. I will miss the broad mix of people and cultures that happens in New York. I love Portland, but it is going to feel awfully homogenous when I get back.
We hadn’t planned on stopping in Milesburg, but we were delayed getting out of the City this morning which pushed our arrival in Bradford, OH to midnightish. Not okay. We were also so fatigued from loading yesterday that collapsing into a heap in a hotel sounded better than collapsing in a heap with the truck.
Why are we so beat? Well, after the lengthy loading of the truck, yesterday, we had to stop, twice, to repack parts of it today. The roads in Manhattan are extremely uneven and all the bouncing caused my sculpting wheel — two discs of solid steel — to fall onto one of the wardrobe boxes, collapsing it and knocking over several other items.
And then the washing machine started to walk. Now, if we thought it would actually get to Portland on its own, I’d totally let it out to walk. Not likely to be the case though, so we stopped to buy straps. We got it a little more secure, but it was raining, so we couldn’t do as much as we’d like. Tomorrow, we’re going to pull some things out and really strap it down.
Marlowe has been traumatized by the whole thing. He’s never liked loud noises and there are many things that sound like ferocious growling when you’re on the road. He seems a little better now that we’re in the hotel.
We have spent a very pleasant evening at the Scalzi home in Bradford, OH. This was my first time meeting Athena who is clearly her father’s daughter. Garrulous and charming as only a Scalzi can be. Also…only 10? The man is going to be in so much trouble when she hits the teenage years.
Today, in general, was much more pleasant than yesterday. Rob and I slept in to the comparatively late hour of eight and then took our time to correct the packing mishaps from yesterday. Being leisurely in the morning made us both feel better, I think.
We trade with driving, two hours on and two hours off. I spent time reworking an earlier chapter to insert a scene and then corrected for the new scene by adjusting dialogue and reactions in later chapters. I also finished Chapter 16. So, while I didn’t get a huge wordcount in today, I feel like they were very productive words.
The only downside to today was that the inverter’s outlet loosened so I lost power to the computer while we still had an hour of driving left. Rob thinks he’s fixed it for tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
Oh, and for the Scalzi readers, yes, he did make stew and yes, it was quite tasty.
We stopped today with the Valenti family who we know from our time in Iceland. The driving was good today, so we took time to have a picnic at one of the rest areas and still arrived by 3:30. It has been wonderful to have time to visit and catch up.
Edited to add:
Here’s what my twitter stream looked like for the day. It gives you a sense of the rhythm.
07:54 We left @scalzi’s house at about 7:30 this morning. Had a lovely evening last night. #
We had originally planned to push straight through to Denver today, which would have meant leaving insanely early and then arriving at midnight. At some point I think Rob and I both realized that this is, in many ways, a vacation and decided to slow down. In Denver, we’ll be staying with T. L. Morganfield. The last two nights have been so enjoyable that we wanted to arrive early enough to actually visit with Traci instead of heading straight to bed.
The change in schedule was agreeable with her so, as we were traveling today, I looked up Bed and Breakfasts in the area. We’re at the Black Swan Inn. Normally they cater to hunters who come out to shoot clay but we’re the only ones here tonight. It is quiet and beautiful.
Black Swan Inn provided us with a lovely breakfast this morning and then we hit the road. For the most part on this trip, Rob is doing more of the driving than I am to give me write. My goal was to have the first draft of the novel finished by the time we hit Portland. I think I’m going to be just shy of that, which is fine by me. I’m in Chapter 21 right now out of a projected 23 or 24 chapters. If I’m very focused in the truck tomorrow I should finish 21 and get a good start on 22. We’ll see how it goes from there.
This evening we’re at T.L. Morganfield‘s home which has given us the opportunity to meet her husband and kids. The interesting thing about knowing writers is that we tend to see each other at cons divorced from our real life. Actually getting to stop in and spend time with online friends makes, I think, a stronger connection to their writing life. For instance, Traci has an office that is very jealous making. It has a walkin closet for books.
Today was largely uneventful as we left Colorado and headed up through Wyoming. I cranked out story and got about 5000 words written. Things were fine until we got to Utah.
There’s this dinging noise that our truck makes when the temperature spikes. How do I know this, you might ask? Because it happened when we hit the hills leading into Salt Lake City. Thrice, in fact. Rob had checked the fluids before heading into the hills, but that didn’t stop every light on the dashboard from lighting up. The third time we called the truck rental company and talked to roadside assistance. They are going to get us in with a mechanic tomorrow, but won’t know what appointments are available until seven am.
Needless to say, Rob and I did the only logical thing. We coasted into SLC, to Beth Wodzinski’s house, where she and Sean Markey had arranged for us to meet up with some fellow writers at a local pub. We got to see Eric James Stone, Sandra Taylor and Chris Hansen.
And now, I’m going to turn into a pumpkin so that I can get up in the morning and talk about the truck. We’d just better not have to reload the thing.
We had to stay one more day in Salt Lake City, because the truck broke down. I can’t feel bad about this because I am very fond of Beth and Sean. Getting another day to hang with them does not suck.
Plus, I finished Glamour in Glass moments ago.
Now, by finished, I mean that I’ve got the first draft and that I need to go back and fill in the bracketed sections, tidy up the loose ends, and file off the rough spots. But structurally it is all there and it is completed first draft.
So, we spent Day 7 of the move in Salt Lake City yesterday and aside from the frustration that nothing was happening with the truck, it was a really lovely day. To sum up yesterday, here are my twitter posts from then.
16:36 In other news, just talked to the truck place and they haven’t even looked at it yet. sigh… #
17:23 Visited Gilgal Garden with @seanmarkey and Rob. Really interesting. #
21:37 Truck update. Needs a new radiator cap. They’ll pick that up tomorrow. Hope to roll by noon. #
Now, I do need to stress that Budget’s customer service has totally rocked on this. Tricia, the woman who was on call when we had trouble Wednesday night got up at 7:00 am to call the repair shop to make sure we could get in. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t still on duty from Wednesday.
Anyway, after not hearing anything today, I called the truck rental place at 10:00 this morning. They needed to “check on” the truck. About half an hour later I found out that they were just getting to replacing the radiator cap and told us to come on down.
Amazingly, the truck was ready when we got there, we loaded up our luggage and the cat and were on the road by 12:30. Not that far off our original estimate.
We were on the road for about an hour and a half when the engine overheated again. In the middle of nowhere. We called Budget, who again, were totally on top of things. The gentleman I spoke with found the closest shop, patched us into a conference call and we were on our way.
Backwards, admittedly, but only 20 miles to Tremerton.
Here’s the only serious bit of miscommunication. They didn’t accurately describe how tall the truck was. It wouldn’t fit into the shop. Now, the folks there tried gamely for an hour to figure out a way around it and talked with Budget to see if there were any options.
The only choice? Drive back to the next town, Ogden, and a shop that could accomodate us. Utah Truck and Trailer Repair rocks. I mean, these guys are great. They offered to drive to us to repair it, with the caution IF we could get the truck to them, it would be a more efficient and faster repair. It was a half hour drive on level ground, so we chanced it. Since the overheating only happens on an uphill grade, we thought it was fairly safe.
We arrived and they put the truck straight into bay.
This was a mistake on our part. We should have pulled Marlowe out of the truck first. The noises were so deeply traumatizing to him that he buried himself under the seat. I had to fight to get him out and into the carrier so I could take him to a quiet place. Er. Quieter place.
The diagnosis is that it is probably the radiator fan clutch.
The problem is that this is Labor Day Weekend. The UT&T folks are willing to work tomorrow, they just don’t have the right part. He’ll know by noon if he can get it, but his initial parts search only turned up one place that carried it.
So, basically, he’ll know by noon if he can get the part closer. Otherwise, they won’t be able to ship it until Tuesday.
Which means we’d be here for another week.
Oh, don’t worry. I’m going to talk to Budget tomorrow, but I’ll wait until I know what is happening with that part. Meanwhile, Rob and I have the jacuzzi suite at the hotel and I’m going to take a good soak in the tub.
May I start by saying that the entire staff of Utah Truck and Trailer is wonderful and that Chris, in specific, saved us. As you might recall from our last thrilling installment, because of the holiday weekend, there was serious concern about finding the part. Not to be thwarted by a little thing like that, our hero spent the morning on the phone calling stores trying to find ANYONE who was open and would carry the part.
She was facing a dire landscape as business after business failed to answer their phones or didn’t have the part. Then, in a stroke of inspiration, Chris had a mechanic pull the fan clutch from our truck instead of relying on the VIN number. Behold! The fan clutch had a different part number on it and she found one a mere thirty minutes away.
This wonderful woman got in her own car and drove to get that part for us.
By three-thirty they had us on the road again.
When we got to the hill that did in the truck last time, we climbed it with no problems. We had a safe arrival in Meridian, ID with no trauma.
Except for Marlowe. He’s still not excited by the whole truck thing.
We have finally arrived at the Chelsea household, were we will stay until we find an apartment. So, the roadtrip portion of the move is finished.
Driving into Portland from Idaho was strangely nostalgic for me. Back in my puppet theater touring days, I was on the Idaho tour for three years. The whole drive yesterday and today covered territory that I was thoroughly familiar with. If there was an elementary school in Idaho, I performed at it. We’d drive back and forth between the states about every two weeks, so this was like coming home in many ways.
Next, comes the apartment hunting saga.
What? I hear you say. Wasn’t this a houseswap? Why aren’t we going back to our Portland house?
The answer is fairly simple. Even before we did the swap, Rob and I had been talking about moving into an apartment and renting the house out. It was more space than we needed and would give us an opportunity to find a place that suited both of us. I owned the house before we got married, you see. We’ve never done that typical married couple thing of finding a place together.
Today Rob and I walked up to Alberta to Fuel, which was my favorite coffee shop when I was living here before, and had pastries and coffee while surfing apartment listings. Besides price, we have a very small list of hard and fast criteria.
We’d like to be able to walk to the grocery store and be close-in so getting downtown is easy. Architectural charm would be nice. But most apartments can get eliminated by lacking a gas stove. We like to cook and neither of us wants to go back to electric.
We only looked at one today, it is Labor Day after all, but we have three appointments set up tomorrow.
This evening we walked up to McMennamin’s Kennedy School to see Up which was as wonderful as everyone has told me it was. Loved it a lot.
I believe we saw seven or eight apartments today. Only one of which were we both excited about. Of course, someone else is in line for it. Two of them would work as fall-back apartments. The rest were no goes. Workable, if we had to get something and get it now, but not otherwise.
If we drop the “must have a gas stove” requirement, the field widens. We’re giving ourselves a little longer with the current criteria.
My feet are tired.
It’s also been interesting what things each of us sees in the apartments. I respond to views. Rob responds to ceiling height. He notices how many outlets are in each room. I notice how the windows open.
Did I mention my feet?
When we got home, -e-‘s friend G– was here with her son. G– it turns out is a fantastic baker and had turned up with homemade bread, quiche and a loaf of banana bread. -e- made a salad. We contributed cheeses carefully aged in a vintage ice chest and agitated in a large truck for ten days.
(Tor Books — August 21, 2018) Continuing the grand sweep of alternate history laid out in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars. Of course, the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, […]