Saturday, May 31, 2008

hoosier lottery

I saw these at a gas station a while ago but it didn't really click until I saw them again today at the Kroger: super cute tiny little lottery tickets in the machine next to the familiar scratch-offs - and they are as cheap as 25 cents! Is this gambling targeted at the the super-poor, or just fun offered up in the tiniest of doses?

Pretty wacky! Whatever it is, I think it's fun!

Indiana drivers' license and tags

Well, we made it to the BMV this week (Bureau of Motor Vehicles!) and got licenses and tags for our cars. We had to take a 50 question written test, which I didn't really study for much (Tris got a perfect score, I missed 4). But, the big news is our new license plate and drivers' license!



Yes, the license really is pink at the top, and yes, I do need to trim my beard. Haha.








There's only a back tag in Indiana, so now we both have big blanks on the front of our cars. There's also no annual car tax and no annual safety inspection! Hmmm... with no safety inspection, how am I going to know when it's time to get new brakes? :D

Monday, May 26, 2008

the indianapolis zoo

What better way to spend a breezy, 40% change of thuderstorms day then to go to the zoo? We were planning on going yesterday, but then realized that it was the Indianapolis 500 so we stayed south and went to the Brown County State Park.

We didn't quite know what to expect, having been spoiled by the National Zoo for the past 30 years, so we had our expectations low. The first and most obvious difference is the cost - National Zoo, free, Indianapolis Zoo, not so much. It's like $13 for adults, $8.50 for kids. So, we bought the annual pass, which gives us free parking and access for the special Halloween and Christmas events. Only $95, so it pays for itself after 3 visits.



The zoo is really great - very modern and updated with attractive enclosures and the smaller size wasn't actually a bad thing. They had all the animals you'd want, and because the enclosures and crowds were smaller, you got to get very up close to them. Plus, while there's some trade-offs (no pandas or aviary), you get other things (penguins, shark-petting and a dolphin show!).



Mark got to ride his first roller coaster, too! We were just able to convince the guy at the gate that he was 38" tall - thanks to some helpful coaching from dad on how to get up to the mark. He loved it and says it was his favorite part of the day (we're in the back row in the photo).



They also have a beutiful garden and butterfly exhibit next door (free for zoo members). The butterflies are everywhere and really do come over and land on you (just ask Tris!) and the gardens outside are excellent and inspiring.

So, a great day at the zoo - and only an hour away and no traffic at all, even on a holiday. Plus, we got to see the RCA dome, the new Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Indianapolis Colts and 2012's Superbowl XLVI), and Liberty Field, the minor league baseball stadium. Yay, Indianapolis, our new big city!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dean plays "on!"

Here's a quick little video for all the Dean fans:


It's Dean and Tris playing "On" - this game lasted for about twenty minutes before Dean finally got tired of it.... "Onnnnn!" In other news, Dean is now up to four teeth and at least twice that many steps (walking, that is - he can make it nearly all the way across the room now! Here comes trouble!)

Friday, May 23, 2008

eric's new job: week 2

Well, two weeks under my belt and things are going really well. I've been through a couple of production meetings, taken care of just about all the administrative stuff (signed up for benefits, etc.) and I've even gotten out on a shoot or two. I still need to find out about the free courses part of the benefits, though - I'm entitled to a free class (three credits) each semester. I'm hoping to take guitar in the Fall. Cool!

I also edited my first package and got my first screen credit! I shot and edited a short story about a local rock band recording a cover of Neil Young's Ohio at a local recording studio.

I'm getting comfortable in my surroundings, too. Still in temporary space as a larger office shuffle gets worked out, but I'm figuring out where I stand and I'm getting to know my "group" of people. The station runs on a semi-regular TV schedule, so things are slowing down for the summer, which is nice, so I'll be able to really start getting involved when shows get into planning mode for the upcoming Fall seasons.

Related to all this, I heard from my old job - the Planet Arlington shoots that I directed and edited for our Arlington in Performance program won a Telly Award for best Music Video / Concert program! Hooray! Go team Arlington!

b-town Chinese

Ok, so call me brave. I'm trying new things all over the place.

First, let's talk about Chinese food. I love chicken and shrimp fried rice. So, when Eric had to work real late on Tuesday, I thought, what a wonderful chance to try out some Chinese takeout! I went to campusfood.com and looked up Chinese and found four places. I picked the one that had both shrimp toast and combination fried rice. I also ordered a sweet and sour chicken with the sauce on the side for Mark. The ordering online experience was great, you just click on the item price and then you have a comment box for specific instructions, like, no pork & no onions and sauce on the side. Scheduled delivery for 6 PM.

My first clue that things weren't quite right was the somewhat Greek-looking man who delivered the food. I was very confused. Got the food out and opened the small box. Shrimp toast looked good. Excitedly opened the friend rice. Hmmmm. Friend rice isn't supposed to be a lump of brown sticky rice with spots of shrimp and chicken. Maybe they do this the Thai way, I thought. I then opened the sweet and sour chicken and laughed. Little chicken nuggets- looked good, but not at all done the Chinese way. Now, to get Mark some rice. The rice was in the little chinese container, but inside was something that I didn't expect. Basically it was clumped white rice that could have been cooked in my own kitchen had I turned the burner down too low and not cooked it long enough. Not sticky rice, not fluffy rice, clumpy white rice. Fortunately to my boys, rice is rice and it's all good.

So now I bravely tried the friend rice and it's not so much that it was bad but that it wasn't good. It was certainly made from that same clumpy white rice. It had chunks of dark chicken meat in it too. I couldn't stomach it and was really thankful we could all share the shrimp toast and chicken. I guess I'll try one of the other four next time!

we got the house!!

It's ours! We have an expected closing date of June 20th!!! Home inspection scheduled for next week- hooray!!!!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

20 mph


Not very common back in Northern Virginia, but I've been seeing lots of these as I drive around - either in neighborhoods or just for a small section of a 30 mph road as you go over a hill or past a side street.

a whole new set of grocery stores

Tris can post better on this topic, but I had a bit of an experience earlier this week. I got a gas card at work (for filling up our station vehicles when I take them out) and I opened my wallet to find a place for it. Over on the one side were all my grocery store Bonus Cards. So, one at a time, I took them out and asked a coworker if they had these stores in Indiana...

"Giant?"

"What?"

"That's a grocery store. You don't have those?"

"No, what kind of name is that?"

"Harris Teeter?"

"What???"

And the same for Bloom, Wegman's and Safeway. The only card we need to keep is CVS. Grocery stores here are Buy-Low, Save-a-Lot, Kroger and Marsh. There's also a Big Lots, Sam's Club, and Super Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

our new house!

Well, we got out bright and early yesterday morning to take a look at what looked like a very promising listing- and boy were we right! It's just the eclectic blend we are looking for. It's a full acre, but wide rather than long. The one side is flat and field-ish and the other side is hilly with a picnic table- very park like!


Great flat yard over here next to the driveway- perfect to extend the deck with a patio and put in a large vegetable garden.




Rolling hills!! Mature trees! Also, that is a little basement down there that has access only from outside. Perfect for a little workshop/storage room.

The house has a bit of a contemporary flair, with lots of wood accents inside. The deck has walkouts from the guest room, dining room, kitchen, and master bedroom.



Spacious kitchen that we will probably remodel right away just because it's too hard to do it once you are in. A new wall oven is really expensive, and the space for the one here is really small. It would be hard to cook in it. We really love how sunny and cute it is and think we might mimic the look in the remodel.







Indiana limestone fireplace in the large living room. Also, two of the outer walls in the back are Indiana limestone. Very pretty.

This is the living room from the other side, opening to the foyer and the dining room. The large upper windows look out to the south for lots of sun, which filters through the trees on that side of the property.




Formal dining room! With doors to keep the children out! I'm really excited about this. Maybe we would even use the dining room in this house?





This is the foyer, which has a large closet and doors to the living room and the guest room. We might give this room a floor facelift with the ceramic tile we have packed up.


The laundry room is off the kitchen. With a kitchen remodel, we would get the pantry out of the laundry room.






This is the master bedroom. Funky wood accents at the ceiling, skylights, it's a very unique room.













Two childrens bedrooms. The one has wood, the other has wood under the carpet. Generously sized for room-sharing.















Master bathroom, finally :) Nicely sized shower and two sinks.

Guest room, which will also have our freezer in it. Our freezer is smaller than this I think , so it shouldn't be as much of an intrusion on the space.
This is the big window in the dining room that looks out to the deck.


So that's all the pictures! We're really hoping they take our offer, it's just a bit off of list price and we should know tonight. We'll let you know!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

cascades park

We've been hearing about a big new playground up at Cascades Park, so we sought it out yesterday between Open House visits. It's awesome! Up on the north side of town, in a great big park full of trees, a wide shallow stream, and picnic tables.



Saturday, May 17, 2008

house hunt!

We met our realtor in person for the first time and went out, armed with a list of houses that we had been collaborating on for a while. In all we saw like eight houses, all very different, many really funky and unique.

The house we thought we liked was too small, the house we thought we wouldn't like turned out to be the best of the bunch. We saw a 1930's house with a steamy attic room and a root cellar, a way-too-much country themed house with the kitchen in a weird location, a house that was stuck in the middle of a remodeling (like, no kitchen or doors), a house with puddles of water and black mold all over the basement, an almost perfect house that had a horrible galley kitchen, and a house that didn't have a master bedroom (just three equal-sized rooms and a full bath!). Lots of variety, in conditions varying from falling apart to icky all the way up to near perfect. A couple weird ones with two kitchens or random bathrooms tucked under the stairs. Fantastic backyards, really cool basements, awesome garages. One even had a pool, a playground and a massive sandbox. We saw vinyl, wood, clapboard, limestone, brick, shag carpeting, pergo, wood stoves, gas fireplaces, propane, hot water heat, whole-house fans, sun rooms, patios, apartments, cedar closets... lots of strange and unique features! And on top off all that, acreage was from .3 acres all the way up to 2 3/4! And believe it or not, all these houses are priced around 150 - 180k!

So many choices - the variety is mind boggling! So much fun!! Oh, how to choose?

Here's a couple of photos (each photo from a different house):

photo update: the apartment

We didn't have our camera, computer, and little camera cable thingy unpacked for a while, so there were no photos to go along with our posts. But no more!

Here's a couple cute shots of our sublet apartment:



The courtyard



Tris in her "mini-kitchen!"



Yum, pancakes! Just like in Virginia!

Friday, May 16, 2008

our jaunt to the library

So, this morning we went to the library! There is one library for all of Bloomington, the Monroe County Library. There is another branch in Ellettsville. It is a state of the art facility, complete with self checkout and an excellent web interface. They have a more complete DVD collection than Arlington, they even have Dot and the Kangaroo- a little known favorite of mine from childhood. They also have all of my Ted Dekker books- including the ones that just came out in January that I haven't managed to get my hands on. So yeah, I love this library.

Even more so, though, I loved my going to the library experience. The library is downtown, fully in the middle of all the cool old city blocks. I expected some stress with getting there, but aside from circling the block four times until I realized that the library was right in front of me and not on my left or right, there was none. There was no one on my heels as I approached the four way stops bearing down on me in irritation at my confusion. No traffic to speak of on the entire ride. Don't get me wrong, there were people out and about, walkers, bikers, drivers, but everyone was moving at a comfortable, relaxed, "I have all day" pace. What a difference.

When I picked up my library card, the lady took plenty of time to explain everything to me and asked if I had any questions, patiently and as if she were truly enjoying this part of her day. After checking out our materials, we went out front and Mark got to climb and play on the concrete panda statues they have out front. The library fronts to the main road through the downtown, but it wasn't so busy that I would worry about letting him just play right there.

I really would like to give you some sort of equivalent or "combine this with this" example to describe what it is like here to you, but there really is nowhere in the entire DC metro area, or even in the surrounding areas, that is anything like it is here. We are in a city. I have all my shopping less than a mile from my apartment and there is a big downtown just down the road. I'm in the country though, the houses have land, the pace is slower and more relaxed. All of the anxiety I used to experience in trying to get out and do things with the boys in the morning is going away. It's easier here, no one huffs and shifts their weight loudly behind you if you have to dig through your purse or adjust the children in the cart at the grocery store. I can't wait to find our new house and put down some roots!

tris

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

eric's new job: day 3

Folks here seem cool. I’m meeting more of the people I’ll be working closely with, and people I met on day one I’m getting into more of a casual friendly rapport with. The total staff is close to like 60, including all the admin and traffic staff, a full-time studio manager, production manager, engineering staff, studio lighting guy, audio guys, etc. and a bunch of hourly students.

And all those people are well managed and organized, which is a new thing for me. The technology and scale of the facility is different, too – a huge studio and tons of gear and resources. And it's getting better - massive technology changes coming this summer – a full studio / control room / engineering retrofit and massive HD upgrades.

I'm learning the ins and outs of some of the organization as well – getting started with some understanding of office politics and who’s who and what’s going on – it’s like being dropped on Survivor island mid-season.

Today is our first studio production day. The weekly kids show tapes this afternoon - I'll just be hanging out to learn the production. I'm hoping to spend lots of time on this show, since I think it might be the best fit for what I like to do and more my style. We'll see!

-Eric

thwarted

So the trip to the BMV did not go as planned. We worked real hard to be prepared. Eric ran around at lunch to get a letter from the SSA verifying his social security number as he has lost his, I verified the paperwork we needed from the website, got it all together, had dinner on the table when Eric got home...we went right over after eating and got there at 6:15. They close at 7.

Unfortunately for us, they stop giving out written exams 1 hour before closing. Also, we have to have both cars there in order register them because they want to visually verify the VIN. Either that or we can take a form out with us to have a police officer verify the VIN, then bring that form back to register it. How very annoying and anticlimactic. Also, the fun green fields license plate I wanted is no longer issued, now it's just a blue one, and the animal friendly or the environmental one Eric liked is $40- a year. So we left with a highlighted sheet of paper showing us what documents we would need when we try again next week, all of which we already had with us in a neat little envelope ;) hooray BMV!!

On a happy note, our friends moved out but gave Mark a fun Sit 'N Spin that he and Dean enjoyed all afternoon. It's nice to feel part of a community. I have to prioritize joining Freecycle here, but keep forgetting as I only have about an hour during the day in which I can sit at the computer to do anything :)

tris

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

making friends

So i'm settling in and making friends. My neighbor across the courtyard has a 5 year old boy and watches two girls, 4 and 3. Unfortunately, she's moving up the street today, but only about 2 minutes and gve me her number so we can all go to the park up the street. It's weird getting used to the socioeconomic difference between here and NoVA. She kept asking me if I had a car and I was really confused because I thought she must be talking about a toy car for Mark. What she meant was that the neighbor above was selling her car for $700. It has a big dent in the side though, so she didn't really think it was worth it. When I told her we were shopping for a house and only here in the apartment for the summer ourselves, she suggested a place on the Southside that listed for $60K, although it did need some work. I think it's safe to say we are solid middle class here. What a difference! I love it. She is so relaxed and seemed genuinely happy. The neighbors were all out talking to each other from their balconies (it's only 2 stories) or front porch- I felt like I was in some kind of tv show.

This evening we're off to the BMV (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) to get our cars and selves registered so we'll have to see how different that is. I read on the website that the average wait time in February was 8 minutes. Tonight is the one night they are open as late a 7 though, so it could be the busy night!

:) tris

Monday, May 12, 2008

what kind of store is menards?

So, Menards is like Home Depot on steroids. Basically, Home Depot with triple the inventory, a pets section, a mini grocery store, a book store, appliances, massive garden center and full building supplies including roofing, trusses, building plans, playgrounds, and out-buildings. All pretty and nice and modern, too. Huzzah, my new favorite store!

-Eric

eric's new job: day 1

Well, today was mostly boring day one stuff. I got a parking pass, keys, an ID, drive space on the AVID network (two terabytes!), and an email account. My desk is temporary until some shuffling happens in another room down the hall (lame, because I really want to move in my junk and have some privacy... oh, and a phone!). I also got a more in-depth tour of the studio and scene dock space from the Studio Manager, Mike Gray. Super impressive compliment of equipment and facility - a 100 x 50 studio with 24' ceiling, hundreds of lights, a true scene shop with construction equipment, totally awesome.

Everyone is really cool so far, but I really talked to periphery characters today - the AVID administrator, the IT guy, the accountant, the engineer. Tomorrow I'll meet with one of the producers I'll be doing most of my work with and on Wednesday my counter-part videographer / editor will be back from vacation. He and I will hit the ground running with buddy-buddy shoots and edit sessions. By next week I should be flying solo.

More news as it hits and more details as I can manage.

Oh, and my commute in this morning was 10 minutes. I left work a little after 5 and it took me 15 minutes to get back home. And our apartment is on the opposite side of town from campus, outside of the city. Yay!

-Eric

Saturday, May 10, 2008

yeah, what he said

We're here! I'm on sensory overload. We were in the car for 6 hours today touring and checking out houses (only the outsides except for one that was left unlocked) on our list. It's been going well- we've crossed some off, found some to be as we expected, and gotten really excited about the potential of some. I have six houses I'd like to see with the realtor next weekend. (I'll probably need a quart of vodka to help me chill and sort through all that, but fortunately you can indeed buy hard liquor at WAL-MART here. Just kidding- about drinking the vodka, not about them selling it at Wal-Mart.

So, you're probably asking youself, what's it like there?? Let me tell you, the traffic, or lack thereof, is awesome. However, some people have gotten a bit annoyed with us and some rather unnecessary aggressive moves we have made probably just out of sheer habit. We have white trash neighbors who yell at each other (like YELL) intermittently all day. Probably not the most educated bunch, I mean how many adults live permanently in groups of 3 or more in 2 bedroom apartments that rent for $450. Golly, if I only had to pay $150 a month in rent I think I could probably just work at McDonalds full time.

We met the nicest lady at lunch today out in Ellettsville. There is this cute place called the Pizza Pantry that smells like fresh pizza and has been owned by a local family forever. The prices are low, the food is from scratch, and it's just about the cutest place we've ever been. Anyway, our waitress, Linda, was just so friendly, gave the boys pudding and chatted with us, I really can't describe to you how nice she was. Acted like she was my neighbor and she'd known me for years. Oh, and the Pizza Pantry? They also make some mean fried chicken :)

So that's where we are right now! Lots of unpacking to do still, but we have what we need and the rest is just down the street. I'll try to keep up with the posting so you can journey along with us!!!

tris

the new blog and entry #1: background information

Yay! New blog! Basically a nice way to stay in touch with family and friends without sending emails to everyone - wow, I'm lazy as crap! But, really, I think this is a very efficient way to relay information, send along links, and ultimately, get more information and content out to everyone who's curious about what's going on with our new "Indiana Life." Both me and Tris will be posting, too, so that's fun. And.... on with the blog! Entry #1: Background.

We moved ourselves, and I got the UHaul unloaded into a storage unit and our POD is sitting in a warehouse up near Indianapolis. We're in a sublet apartment for the summer (a grad student who went home) and it's nicer then I expected - except there's no dishwasher! Haha, I didn't even think to ask, so I guess I'll have dishpan hands for the next couple of months. We've been touring around town checking out houses we find for sale online (www.homefinder.org if you're interested), but we won't do any formal shopping with a realtor until next weekend - hopefully by then we'll know our way around enough that we can make semi-informed decisions about what we want to go look at.

I'll start the new job on Monday, so I'll report in again sometime next week with news on that side of things.

-Eric