Wednesday, April 30, 2014

On the Road Again Part 2

When last we left off, we had made it to Savannah, GA. 

8:00: Enjoyed complimentary breakfast at the Marriott. Silently judged the misspelling of 'Sugar' on a sugar bottle. (It was labeled 'suger.')
8:45: Drove downtown and wandered around briefly to take some pictures. I've posted all the noteworthy ones on Instagram. It was OK. Probably not as cool in the early morning as it would be at night. The next time I find myself there, it's probably worth going on a ghost tour so I can get more of the history. 
9:15: Back on the road. I drove over an extremely tall bridge that went over the Savannah river that forms the border between GA and SC.
9:17: In SC! Finally!
9:19: Things already are much more green and lush and noticeably prettier. I drive through a nature preserve to make my way back to I-95.
10:00: I stop and gas up...and the gas is $3.55 - a full $.33 cents cheaper than it had been in Miami. Not bad. While in the store to buy a water bottle and some life savers, I notice a local newspaper. The main headline: "And that's when my dryer completely exploded..."
11:00: I make it to my turn and head up to Columbia.
12:00: I stop at the temple. It's microscopically small and on a very very small bit of land. I feel sorry for people who get married there, because there are no temple grounds. And I'm not just exaggerating. There. Are. No. Temple. Grounds. There is a tightly fenced-in sidewalk area. If you tried really hard, you could probably get a close-up picture at the south side of the temple. The scenery would be a big white wall behind you. I wonder why they didn't build on a spot with more grounds?
12:15: Back on the road to Greenville. There are hills!
12:45: OK I now realize I am slowly driving up a mountain. There are a lot of hills, and the altitude is steadily increasing. Scenery is great - lots of trees and still very lush!
1:30: I make it to town. Hooray!

The rest of this would involve me getting lunch and settling in at my palatial imitation extended stay apartment, but I'll spare you those thrilling details. So far, the city is like an A, the job is a B (has some issues but nothing that can't be solved) and my wife is an A+. She has handled the entire move all on her own while I've been up here. I head back down to Miami (on a plane) again tomorrow to help finish the move and bring everyone else back up! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

On the road again

I left for SC this morning around 8:30 or so. What follows is a brief travelogue, so far.

9:14 AM: Still in the Miami area. I know, because people are still trying to run me off the road.
9:30 AM: I finally make it to the I-95, where I will spend most of the following 2 days. I've driven on it to St. Augustine before - it's always under road construction, and is extremely straight and lacking in topography. This should be fun...
10:00 AM: Still on I-95.
11:00 AM: Still on I-95.
11:45 AM: I pull off and gas up and get some lunch. I have no idea where I am. I consult the map app and find that I am close to Cape Canaveral and Coco Beach! Maybe I should detour and have a fun beach drive!
12:30 PM: I wasn't as close as I thought I was to the beach. It is very stop/go/stop/go. I eventually pulled over and went and looked at the beach. It has waves! This is dramatically different from all of South Florida, in which the 'waves' at those beaches are smaller than what you can create by tossing a toothpick in a bathtub. I snap a picture, sigh, and go back to the car.
1:15 PM: I'm in Cape Canaveral! I wonder if I will see any spare space shuttles!
1:17 PM: And I'm done. The freeway takes you swiftly away from anything interesting in Cape Canaveral.
1:40 PM: And I'm back on I-95.
2:40 PM: I make it to Jacksonville. My brother on the phone tells me to pull over and shop. What he doesn't know is that I'm at this point miserably car sick and the only thing keeping me from losing my $5.00 Wendy's lunch from earlier is the steady hum of the AC and the very dramatic reading of the BOM by the audio book guy, who really gets into it, especially when the Zoramites have anything to say.
3:30 PM: The guy I'm replacing at my new job calls me to go over all our transition stuff for the hand-off. Apparently he has scheduled a meeting with me for this time. I tell him I am driving and we make plans for Thurday/Friday in the office. Nice guy. But somewhere in this phone call I crossed over into Georgia, which is something I wanted to document or at least notice. Oh well.
4:30 PM: Georgia is exactly like a 'brown Florida' but with 2 billion times more Waffle Houses.
4:31 PM: By 'brown Florida' I mean all the grass is dead and brown, whereas everything in Florida is deep green. Thought I'd clear that up.
5:30 PM: I get to Savannah and at this point desperately need to use a restroom, having not realized that I've been drinking non-stop since Cape Canaveral. Unfortunately, I find that there are NO GAS STATIONS AND NO BUSINESSES OF ANY KIND ANYWHERE NEAR SAVANNAH, GA. The entire city is really old buildings, most of which appear to be museums or parking garages. There is no parking available anywhere in the city - it's all in garages. I drive for literally 1 hour before I finally find a gas station that doesn't look horrifying. It is literally the first business I come across that seems safe to enter. I've never seen anything like it.
6:30 PM: I decide to stay in a hotel about 14 miles back towards Florida, in the wrong direction, as the hotels in downtown Savannah are extremely pricey. Unfortunately, at this point I am totally done, so I scrapped my plans to wander around cool/spooky Savannah and take pictures and go on ghost tours and instead treat myself to an $8 club sandwich at Perkins - an East Coast version of Marie Calendars. I stumble back to my hotel, type this blog, and drift off to ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz84222222222228288888884f89phf9p9258h87f90hy)T$!$Y!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sweet Carolina, bah bah bah

And we're back! And moving again. This time, though, it's different: we intend to stay.

Readers of the blog may remember that I almost got a job in South Carolina a few years ago. Things didn't work out and I wasn't able to accept the job offer, but those same people stayed in touch and, when the person I would have reported to in 2012 resigned last week, they called me and asked if I would be interested in his job - which happens to be the exact job I have today in Miami.

General reaction has ranged from supportive (5%) to the kind of reaction one would give if you found out your friend announced they were going to invest their life savings into getting plastic surgery to look like Clint Howard (95%). Why leave Miami when I have such a great job and great boss, who has been so good to me? It's a tough call, to be sure, but I'll try to explain.

First up, crime. Let's look at the crime rates in both areas really quick. Here's Miami:

OK, seems straightforward. 4800 violent crimes a year, and about 3x the national average. Now let's look at Greenville:

48 violent crimes, and almost half the national average? Ok, so maybe Greenville has a slight edge. But that's just one factor. What about economy? Florida is a tourist's dream! There's got to be a great economy there!

Oh. Well, Greenville can't be any better, though, right?

Well, alright, so that's another factor. But, OK, housing has to be the most important, though, right? How far can your dollar go? A major metropolis like Miami has to beat out a hole in the wall nowhere like Greenville. Let's see what $190,000 buys in each place. First up, Greenville:

OK, so for $186,990, you get 4 beds, 3 bath, 3500 square feet, and the lot is about 2/3rd of an acre. 3500 square feet!? Who wants to clean that much house? Not me! The house is also literally 15 minutes from my work. Let's see what that money buys in Miami!

For just $3,000 more, you can enjoy this palatial dream home on 'Dildo avenue,' a mere 90 minute drive from my work, and bask in its luxurious 1,489 square feet. The home is only about 50 years old, whereas the Greenville house was built in 2014. Anyone can tell you that they don't make em like they used to! This Miami house has withstood the test of time, with only minor mold damage to show for it. For the adventurous homeowner who likes to 'spice things up' a little, it also features a see-through bathroom!

Closed in-bathrooms are for prudes.

OK, but these homes probably have much different schools. Miami has millionaires everywhere-that tax base has got to be worth something! Let's see what the Greenville home's schools are like!

OK, so maybe they got lucky. How are Miami's schools?


OK, how about politics? Political alignment is important, and affects what your quality of life is like. 



OK, but people. People are important! What kind of people do you find in South Florida?

And what about South Carolina? What kind of people do you find there?

Weather! How about weather?

OK this is just getting silly. Everyone knows that South Florida is a natural wonder. People flock from all over to experience its beauty!

But South Carolina is a back-woods redneck haven! You'd have to be inbred and stupid to go there!

Aarrgh! This isn't fair! You're just cheating now, and picking out things that are great about South Carolina with all the things that are bad about South Florida!



Look, I know my boss is great and this company has been excellent to me, but take it from me: there are some major drawbacks to living here. We can't live here forever. Our best housing option is to go nearly broke renting a $2100 a month town home. No yard, still a really long commute, etc. I love my boss but there are great bosses in many places, and my new boss requested me by name. We feel like this is the right thing to do, and we feel like this is the place in which we can finally settle down.

Fingers crossed!