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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Drive to Miami, Part 1

So, it’s Friday night and I’m in DC taking it all in. The drive has been quite a trip, literally. The 96 hours that it took for me to go from Miami to Milwaukee to Washington, DC were too eventful and stressful for my liking.

It all began last Saturday night when I met a friend in Coconut Grove for a night out in Miami before I left and began my drive. The night started at Sandbar, an apparent UM haunt. It lived up to its billing as a place for cheap drinks, good specials, and the clear Coconut Grove equivalent of Thirds. I’m not sure how often I will be able to frequent to the bar, but it looked to have some good affordable food and certainly is a place to have a good time. My friend showed me around the neighborhood, pointing out the best restaurants and bars. I must say that one of the highlights were the alcoholic slurpees that come in 5/6 different flavors and can be mixed and have a shot added to them. She even introduced me to some French guys who work for a good French restaurant in Coconut Grove that I plan to try within my first few weeks in Miami. All in all, it was a great night out and made me even more excited for my move.

Speaking of my move… Sunday proved to be quite eventful. I had an early flight out of Miami to Chicago that tested my ability to quickly recover from a late night out. As I learned yesterday, I’m not quite the same young man that I was a few months ago, but that’s another story. The flight to Chi-town was basically on time and pretty smooth. However, when I landed at O’Hare, my connecting flight to Milwaukee had been cancelled. American Airlines couldn’t reschedule me until the next morning, which simply was not going to work. They told me that my bag would be released in Chicago because my connection was canceled, but as I soon learned, that did not happen. Instead, my bag never came out and the American Airlines Baggage Service personnel politely informed me that regardless of my travel plans, my suitcase would travel to Milwaukee on the next flight out. At this moment my only concern was hoping that my suitcase made it to me ASAP and finding an alternative way to Milwaukee. Luckily the relatives I was meeting knew of a bus that would take me right to their town. I guess everything happens for a reason, but this really made everything a lot easier. So, I got to Racine, WI, met my relatives, and crossed my fingers that my bag was coming soon. To make a long story short, and trust me, it is a long story and my relatives are a bunch of characters, my suitcase did not arrive until almost noon on Monday. A night without my bag is nothing, but given that I wanted to be on the road much sooner than later, it began a large speedbump.

Anyway, now it is Monday morning and I arrive to the dealership when my Uncle’s car has been since early May. Getting the keys and car was easy enough, but when I tried to start the car, nothing. The service guy gave me a jump and I was on my way. Sounds good, right? Well, I got about a mile down the road and noticed that the speedometer and odometer were not functioning. I turned around and went right back to the dealer. The service guy was a little more than surprised to see me back so soon, let alone at all. After an hour, it became clear that it was a bad speed sensor, a $200 repair. Ugh. Well, after leaving the dealer for the second time, the car was finally all good and ready for my drive. A few hours later, my suitcase arrived and I loaded up the car and off I went.

The drive from Southwestern Wisconsin to Bloomington, IN. was fun. I got on the road, had lunch at a pancake house, encountered Chicago traffic, and drove through the flat Indiana corn fields. Getting to Bloomington was great. I had driven a good 6 hours by myself, bonded with my car, and realized how valuable my GPS was to me. It was all good. Bloomington was a lot of fun and a good night out.

Tuesday was an eventful day to say the least, and it all began with a 6AM alarm. Up and on the road, I began my day-long trek to Philadelphia. It was extremely uneventful until. Pennsylvania. Despite the beautiful topographical changes from flat fields to rolling hills to mountains, rivers, and forests, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. I will say that the bridge into Wheeling, WV is gorgeous and something everyone should get to see. That all said and done, once I got into Pennsylvania I let my mind wander and was caught speeding at 75MPH in a 55MPH zone. This was my first speeding ticket and the officer took his time, a good 20 minutes, researching my clean record before giving me a $160 speeding ticket. The best part was definitely his comment that if I don’t pay the ticket or contest it, that my license will be suspended in 10 days and that county will come looking for me. I can’t wait to mail that check. Ugh. After the citation, it was smooth sailing until Philadelphia traffic. I got to the infamous Bodzin’s apartment not quite 12 hours from when I left Drew. We quickly donned our baseball gear and headed off to Citizens Bank Park. I love the game of baseball and most of the time love going to games, especially when my team is playing. The Giants unfortunately lost, but the stadium was great. It really is one of the nicer parks in Major League Baseball and was designed and operated for the fans. That is the mark of a great park. In terms of all of the stadiums I have been to, this one ranks near the top. The lone black mark for the night was one fan’s rather offensive and derogatory name that he yelled to me as I was walking to my seat. Oh well, Phillies fans are still Philadelphians, no shock there.

Wednesday was a short drive down to DC, and I have to say it felt great to be home.

That’s it for part 1 of my drive to Miami. Part 2 will be in a few days once I get to Miami and am settled in my apartment. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Healthy Shot Across the Bow

This post started out with one idea, but then due to the timing, my move to Miami, the Law Preview course, and just getting busy, it is a jumble of things about what’s been happening to me lately.

1) Over a week ago now, I got the results of the blood work I had done as part of a post-college physical. I will just say that they were less than stellar and forced me to look in the mirror. They weren’t horribly terrible, but I shot across the bow. Four years of drinking excessively and eating whatever whenever, not only added inches and pounds, but it resulted in some higher than ideal numbers. The solution? Significantly less sugar and carbs. Sounds super easy, right?

I’m sorry to report my friends, it can be that easy. Cutting out carbs and unnatural sugars isn’t especially difficult, it just takes time to adjust to. I know that the result will be better health and the more than likely loss of a few pounds, but that would be a very very good thing. I readily admit that I was glad to graduate from college and move home for a few months because it meant a severe diet change. I barely drink at home, certainly now that I’m watching my dietary intake closely and now am barely eating carbs, especially bread and chips. Oh the fun that all of this brings. Haha

I will say that it has been a refreshing two weeks to just eat super healthy and barely be tempted by those evil evil carbs, potatoes. I’ve got blinders on and my goal is just to get the numbers down, be healthy, and do me and see where that takes me.

2) I spent all of yesterday traveling from Albuquerque, NM to Coral Gables, FL. My flight from Atlanta to Miami was delayed 2+ hours because of suspect weather. I will put this more clearly. There was some rain and lightning near the Miami airport so after holding over Tampa and Naples, we flew to Sarasota to refuel and fly to Miami to hover there for another 45 minutes before finally landing at MIA. It all seemed ridiculous when they were spotty clouds and rain over Miami, but safety first!

3) The Law Preview course began today and so far so good. It felt a little weird being in a classroom from 7:30AM-5PM, but woe is me. The professor today was a little guy, but it was a lot of fun and very interesting. It’s nice and reassuring to be in this setting and enjoying law school material. I can’t predict how the rest of the week will go, but I am looking forward to it.

4) Start watching the show Big Brother on CBS! I am not a big fan of reality TV (except for cooking shows), but I make an exception for this one. It gets very strategic and really is telling about how people cope with each other, different personalities, and being away from tons of creature comforts for a long period of time.

If you are unfamiliar with the show, they lock 14 people in a house and the last one to be evicted wins. It sounds simple, but each week someone wins Head of Household (HOH) and nominates two people for eviction. There are other competitions to decide on what people can eat for the week and who has to take cold showers. Someone wins the Power of Veto and can save the eviction nominees, and on live TV (Thursday nights) the houseguests not nominated for eviction and not the HOH vote to evict one of the nominees. It is NOT a simple game. It takes a lot of strategy and manipulation. My very good friend Kelsey turned me on to it two years ago and I am ADDICTED.

So far, we are only a week and a half in to the season, but it is already developing into a great one! It is on three days a week, which is a lot, but it has to be with everything they compete for and all of the changes and manipulation. My favorite BB members are Jeff and Jordan (J/J) and they seem primed for a deep run!

If I had to make a prediction right now, Cassi will be evicted this week, hopefully Dom wins HOH and puts Brendon and Rachel up for eviction. That would really flip the house upside down. Personally, J/J should have nominated R/B this week after Dom won the POV and saved himself and Adam. This all probably confused you, but if you follow this blog you won’t be.  I’m not sure who yet will win, but I have a feeling that it will be Jeff, Dani, Shelly, and perhaps Adam or Porsche in the final 4. I can’t see Brendon or Rachel getting that far with all of the enemies Rachel has made in the house. If someone is smart, they will get Brendon evicted first because that will set Rachel off and she will either leave or become such a problem that everyone will evict her.

Anyway, that’s it for me. I need to do some review for tomorrow’s class on Torts, probably connect with my realtor and go eat some dinner. Laterz!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Law Preview: Preparing for Future Torment

I can’t say I’m noticing it, but with each passing day, I am one tiny step closer to beginning law school. It’s an interesting feeling. I know I am ready for it to begin and excited about my road trip and move, but it can’t seem to get here soon enough. Well, that’s not entirely true.

Next week I will be in Miami for a Law Preview course. This is an intense week long course where I will be exposed to all of the courses that I will take as a 1L: Civil Procedure, Torts, Contracts, Property, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, and Legal Research & Writing. I think it will be very beneficial to have a head start going into law school. Specifically, it is giving me experience reading and briefing cases before my classmates. Now, I don’t know if that in itself is the advantage, but the week long course will certainly be an eye-opening learning experience. My plan is to be a sponge and take as many notes as possible so I am that much more prepared.

Preparing for this course has been quite interesting. They send you a large thick book full of cases and other pertinent information and it is my job to brief them to the best of my limited ability prior to the course. I am over halfway through all that and each day is its own challenge. The first few days were a breeze; it was fun reading all of the cases and trying to brief them accurately. As the days have worn on, my motivation seems to wax and wane with my energy level and mood. I still have a lot to do for my move, so that is slowing me down. Fortunately, the one constant is that I enjoy the different cases, which I will assume is good because law school is going to be a lot of case reading.

All I know is that I am more concerned with my move than this course or law school. The condominium association wants a background check on me and three references as part of its application process. That is a lot if you ask me. They have my credit report and a signed lease. An escrow letter showing that I have money for the security deposit and multiple months’ rent.  It all seems a tad much, but none of this compares to the test that I will have to take on the day I move in so they know that I understand all of their rules and regulations. Oh boy is the move becoming more than I bargained for.

All of this to simply apply to the condo association is giving me some trepidation about purchasing furniture. I don’t want to jeopardize anything until I know I have the place for sure, 100%. This all has been very enlightening and in a way is forcing me to “grow up” by doing all of this on my own and experiencing this for the first time. Thankfully, there shouldn’t be any problems being approved by the condo association and I would be surprised if I do not pass their test.  All in all, these next few weeks are sure to be educational, quite the experience, and fast moving.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Road Trip!!!

So my last post was disappointingly weak, I’m working on that.

I hope ya’ll had a delicious and patriotic 4th of July! I’ll update with photos of my grilling from the holiday weekend and this coming one next week.

As I move closer and closer to leaving Albuquerque for Miami, I am putting the final touches on my road trip that will take me from Racine, WI to Coral Gables, FL. Here is where my travels will take me:

Day 1: Racine, WI to Bloomington, IN
The first day of my trip will be very low-key until I reach Bloomington and my friend Drew. As it looks now, my step-dad’s cousins will help me get going in the morning by taking me to the dealership. I am fortunate that they live in the same town as my uncle, who’s car I am taking. I left the car at the dealer in May and will have to go there to pick it up before I can get on the road. That shouldn’t be too bad, but then I have to double back to my uncle’s condo to pick up my stuff and one or two small boxes of stuff I have to take to DC for my dad, brother, and me. My goal is to be on the road and through Chicago by noon. I do not want to stop for lunch or gas until I get through The Windy City. My thinking is that it makes more sense to get through the city with the most traffic this day as soon as possible. I’ll be doing my best to go to Gary, IN before I stop so if anyone knows of any good places to eat south of Chicago or in northwest Indiana, please send your recommendation my way. This 6 hour drive will culminate with spending the night with my friend Drew in Bloomington, IN where he is currently beginning law school at Indiana University.

Day 2: Bloomington, IN to Philadelphia, PA
I am not looking forward to this day. It is just over 12 hours from IU to Philly. I can do the drive, that’s not the problem. The problem is that the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants begin a 3-game series against the Phillies that night and I want to be there. That means I need to be in Philly by 6PM, ergo, I need to be awake and on the road at 6AM.  Sorry Drew, I’ll take however much sleep I can get, but I think I’ll be up early to begin driving through Indianapolis, Dayton, Columbus, Wheeling (WV), and Harrisburg that day. Again, if you know of any good eats along that drive, pass the good word on to me. Hopefully I make it to Philly on time and can go to the game. If not, I might just have to stay an extra day to see them the next night. The real concern right now is where I am going to stay in Philly, so Bodzin and Manny, you need to let me know if your couches are available for a night or two that week.

Day 3: Philadelphia, PA to Washington, DC
There is absolutely no hurry on Day 3 to get going. Whether I stay in Philly for a day or drive to DC, I’m going to be sleeping in and getting as much rest as I can. I don’t mind sleeping on couches; so this shouldn’t be a problem. The drive from Philly to DC should only take 2.5 hours depending on traffic. I’ll make this drive after the morning rush-hour so as to avoid all traffic along the way. To spite my brother, I just might stop in Baltimore at Attman’s deli for a delicious pastrami sandwich before heading south on I-95 to Georgetown (I’m a good Jewish boy).

Day 4 & 5: Georgetown
The plan is to spend 3 nights & 2 days on my brother’s couch at 3509 O St. NW in Georgetown to kill time during the drive, to see him, catch-up with DC friends, and to spend a few long long days at The Tombs making up for my lack of drinking since graduation. I did go and have a drink there for 100+ days in a row. I just hope Greg, Rachael, Fish, John Q, and the rest of The Tombs staff will be as happy to see me as I will be to see them. If you're going to be in DC at the end of July, let me know so we can make plans. I would prefer to not spend both of these days completely alone at the Volta pool.

Day 6: Washington, DC to Cary, NC
On Saturday morning, with just two days left in July, I will lazily get up, recover from the night before, grab some greasy brunch, loads up my car with everything I stored with my brother, and make my run south. My stepdad’s sister lives in Cary, NC and that will be my rest stop Saturday evening. I am really looking forward to seeing her and her husband for the first time in a few years. They are a real couple of characters and it will undoubtedly be a lot of fun to hang out with them. This is only a 5 hour drive, so once again, there’s no hurry, especially as it will be the end of the month and every county cop along the way will be looking for me (lead foot and out of state plates). One of my goals for the trip is to make it all the way to Coral Gable without any tickets or fines; tolls are ok. If I can do that, I will certainly be buying myself a drink Monday night in Coconut Grove.

Day 7: Cary, NC to Jacksonville/Orlando, FL
So, Day 7, the last day of July is still up in the air. I know that I will be driving along the Georgia coast and into Florida on I-95, I just don’t know where I will be spending the night. I have a friend in both Jacksonville and Orlando, so if I can’t squat in Jacksonville, then I’ll be off to the city of Casey Anthony and Disney World for a night. Orlando is a bit out of the way, but not too much and I would enjoy seeing JR, so Meghan, it’s up to you where I sleep that Sunday night. I want this to be a very relaxing and enjoyable road trip, so I’ll go wherever the road, my car, and my friends take me.

Day 8: Northern FL to Village of Kings Creek Condominium in Coral Gables, FL
Whether I leave from Jacksonville or Orlando, the last day of my road trip will involve 6 hours or less of driving, especially if I do it as planned and arrive in Miami in the middle of the day. I expect that this will be the bittersweet leg of the drive. I know I will be excited to get to Miami and move in to my apartment, but it will also mark the end of my road trip and turn the page to the next chapter of my life. I must say, I am really looking forward to this day.

Total Trip: >2,250 miles & >30 hours of driving. We won’t even try to predict the number of Red Bulls, water bottles, and Big Macs that will inevitably be consumed during this trip. I will keep track, receipts and all, and blog about it once I get to Miami. 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Post #7

I’ve been slacking on the posts, I know, and I apologize. What can I say? It happens.

I’ve been doing some thinking and I have about 4-5 posts, including this one, in mind, so there will be a bunch of posts in the next week or so. That said, here’s what I’ve got:

About six months ago I had the enlightened thought that this summer I would take the time to send messages to a number of people that I have lost touch with over the past four years. In college I did a poor job of staying connected to a number of people who have been good friends and meant a lot to me. I’m not saying I have ever known, but those people who were important and played a role in who I am.

I could drone on and on about this or that, but rather I’m talking about something that means a lot to me. I know I have been pretty bad at staying in touch with some people since I went to college, and I want to change that. There’s no way to make up for lost time, but it’s the effort that matters. I can’t decide if I need to try a carrot and stick approach with myself and whether or not that would even work. Instead, I think that I need to take the rest of this summer and be much more productive than I have been. I’ve enjoyed relaxing and enjoying my time at home, but as that comes to an end in two weeks, I’ll be right back at work. There is no time to slack and let these things slip through the cracks. I want to do this. I need to do this.

In news about my future life in Miami, I closed on a one bedroom apartment in the last 24 hours and will be living alone in a 700+ sq. ft. apartment near the Dadeland Mall in South Miami. I’m only 3 miles from school, making my commute short and easy. The biggest question I have left is what to furnish my apartment with.
I know that this is a short post, but I promise more in the coming weeks. You can blame it on the fact that I slept on the couch all week cause the A/C was broken in my room.