July 10, 2004
Well it is now official. We've moved. The Allied truck with 8,300 pounds of our stuff arrived at 8:30 this morning. Yes, eight thousand three hundred pounds. This was a welcome figure as the original estimate was 11,400 pounds. Between giving and throwing away stuff, leaving behind a refrigerator, washer and dryer, and selling the big screen television and its surrounding furniture, we managed to shed over 1 1/2 tons. Whew.
Our apartment is shaping up nicely now. All the major furniture is set, and a few boxes have been emptied. Since we've had our bed, office and kitchen set up for two weeks, we aren't under any pressure to unpack everything all at once. We did take a 10' truck full of stuff to our storage locker. In fact the driver's assistant rode with me to the locker and helped to pack it all into that space. Our garage is about 2/3 full of boxes. Tomorrow we'll start the process of finding the boxes we most want and unloading them inside. We anticipate spending several evenings doing a few boxes. We also suspect that our 5x10 storage locker isn't going to be enough. We will either get a second locker, or a bigger one once we have a better idea of what else will need to be stored.
We are using the second bedroom as a den/Lucy room, the office is setup in one end of the main room, with one couch and the overstuffed chair in the other end of the room. The room that is most complete and will likely see the least change in the coming days is our bedroom. We focused on it today so we have a comfortable retreat when the unpacking loses its considerable ability to amuse us.
Tomorrow we'll get the rest of the kitchen unpacked, and take another load over to the locker. On Monday we are going to get our Kansas driver's licenses. We couldn't do this before as we didn't have any of the secondary identification documents available until today. With our birth certificates, and $25 in hand, we'll be official Sunflower state citizens.
Michele's job search continues. She has applied to several diverse potential employers including a local community college, USDA, the Kansas City, Missouri school district, and a medical laboratory. Hopefully she'll start to hear back from her efforts soon. My job is progressing nicely. I'm working as part of a design team of 20 or so people on modernizing the entire application suite used by the Farm Service Agency within USDA. Over the next 6 months the project will double in size, and in a year the population is expected to be 300 or more. I think that I'm going to like this position.
We are finding Overland Park and Kansas City to our liking. There are some beautiful neighborhoods and parks here, and as we discovered last Sunday, parts of the downtown are very nice. There are blocks that need attention, but there is money being spent rehabbing and upgrading large sections of the core city.
On a final note, I heard from friends of mine still on the VCM project at DHS. It seems that on the Thursday before Independence Day, all the consultants on the project were told that Friday, July 2nd would be their last day. They were told to pack their desks and leave by 5:00 PM that day. Late in the afternoon Friday, some of the consultants were informed that they would get 30 day extensions while DHS "evaluated the situation." Obviously this is a major shift in policy at DHS. The VCM project was started in 1996 and has cost around 100 million so far. To abandon this effort less than 18 months from completion signals significant political change there. Michele and I feel that my departure in March, painful and abrupt as it was, may have been a blessing in disguise.