A virtual tour!

Now that the furniture is put together and moved to it’s new home, I asked dad to take some pictures of my new apartment. Granted, these pictures show my apartment without anything on the walls and I still have unpacking to do, but it’ll give you an idea of how things look.

This is my fancy new living room. I need to get a real coffee table, or another side table to push together and make a faux coffee table. Behind the little black desk, is a coat closet. I’m also thinking of moving the desk to my bedroom as a dressing table and just putting a book shelf and white board on that wall to hang keys and leave reminders.

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Here’s another view from the living room. You can see the cute little kitchen nook, there’s great afternoon light coming on from that window. Also, my tv unit which lacks a tv at the moment. I’m going to have my old laptop there so I can watch internet tv and stream from netflix. hooray!

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Your basic kitchen, with my spiffy $8 microwave and functioning applicances. πŸ™‚ Oh and Charlie’s food bowls in the corner.

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My office. πŸ™‚ Aside from the lack of wall decorations and my books needing to be put on shelves, it’s also complete.

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My fabulous bedroom and bed!

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Finally, my bathroom. You can also see Charlie’s litter box room (also know at the water heater storage and another small closet).

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That’s all for now. πŸ™‚

Happiness is…

– having my own living room.
– having my own kitchen.
– having my own bathroom.
– having my own bedroom.
– having my own office!
– having 4 closets and too much space!!!

I’m so glad to not be riding in a car. Yesterday dad and I arrived in Ellensburg around lunch time. I met up with the apartment manager and got my keys to the apartment. Then dad and I went to lunch at the pita pit, woo! From there we picked up the rental van and decided to head to seattle/ikea. On the drive over there, I called Charter Cable to see about setting up internet. The first time I called, I spoke with some really nasty woman who quoted me crazy prices. This time, I made friends with a guy named Travis. Travis told me I could get the speed internet that I want and cable tv for a cheaper price than just internet. Yay! I made all the arrangements to get it hooked up, but Travis told me it would be two weeks, unless someone cancelled. WELL, about 15 minutes later, Travis called back and Charter is coming out on Monday to set up cable and internet. Now all I need is a tv. Minor details, lol.

Anyway, dad and I made it to Ikea with a specifc mission. I feared that the mattress and couch I wanted would be sold out, so we went and purchased those items first. The only thing they didn’t have was a mattress for the futon, so I ended up buying the next step up, which worked out for the best. After loading up the car, we went back for round 2!

Three hours later, we left ikea with enough furniture to fill my apartment and most importantly, a mattress for my bed and a mattress for the futon (dad’s bed for the next week). We arrived back in Ellensburg around 10:30, came home, unloaded just the mattresses and crashed. Such a long day.

Today we started the day in downtown, checking out the local farmers market. I didn’t buy anything this time, but there’s lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and flower options. Unfortunately it stops for the winter in October. After the market dad and I went garage saling and found a microwave for $8.00. I brought it home, windexed it and now it looks almost new. We spent most of the afternoon assembling our boat load of ikea furniture. Charlie loved it! He was constantly in the middle of things, but I think he’s adjusted to his new home and enjoys looking out the windows and exploring.

Anyway, my apartment actually looks like an apartment. Almost. I need some decorations for the walls and curtains, etc. to finish it up, but I’m happy. πŸ™‚ I’ll post pictures tomorrow, once I have some daylight to take the pictures in.

We also went to Fred Meyers, which I’m glad I discovered. It’s sort of like a super wal-mart/target — part grocery store, part kohls. It’ll be great in the winter when it’s apparently ill-advised to travel to Yakima (because of the bad road conditions).

I think tomorrow will mark my first laundry experience here, as well as a trip to Yakima. I need to try and find a tv and also go to target. I haven’t decided how I’m going to arrange and organize my clothes yet, and I think I need to see what ideas target has first.

I can’t wait to go crawl into my brand new, freshly made bed!

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Happiness! πŸ™‚

[almost] Home, Sweet, Home.

So close, we are so close.

Our scheduled arrival time in Ellensburg, WA is 1:15pm. We still have to make it through the remaining bit of Montana, cross over the skinny part of Idaho and then Hello Washington!

I realized yesterday that I’ll never again complain about how long it takes to get to Tallahassee from St. Pete. I say this because even FLYING it takes longer to get to Washington than it does driving to Tallahassee. It takes a whole day of flying to get to the other side of the country or about 5 days of driving. Ridiculous.

Also, I’ve concluded that road trips are quite unhealthy. Think about it, spending 8-10 hours in a car for X number of days, eating fast food and not doing much. Ugh. As much as I’ve enjoyed seeing the country via car, I feel gross because of it. I’m going to be eating super healthy and running/hitting up the gym as soon as I can just to recover from this trip.

I learned lots of new interesting facts yesterday and saw some cool stuff. Out of boredom I started researching (with my handy-dandy iphone) hay bales, snow fences, and state facts as we were cruising through the various states.

I found out that the round hay bales that I keep seeing everywhere compress the hale more efficiently than the square ones and weight between 700-900 pounds. I’m still trying to figure out why the farmers leave hay pelts all over the ground after they’ve baled the hay. Anyone know?

I saw my first snow fence, which is put up along the highway to prevent the snow from blowing onto the roads. It creates a snow drift and is sometimes used to create a water reservoir in the spring time. Sometimes ski resorts use them to control the snow. Interesting, huh?

We also saw gates that occur every so often to shut down the highway in the winter if the road is snowed in. That’s something I’m definitely not used to seeing.

The state dinosaur of Wyoming is the triceratops. Seriously. I’m not joking.

While in Wyoming dad and I saw oil being drilled and oil derricks, which looked like something out of Star Wars and made me want to watch one of those movies. There were also Exxon oil refineries, coal mining areas and coal being transported by train. Lots of trains!

Oh and there were bunches of wild antelope all along the highway.

In Montana we saw a recently extinguished wild fire. I found out that it happened last week, it jumped from one side of I-90 to the other and might have affected our trip if we left a week earlier.

We haven’t seen hardly any cops this whole trip, literally maybe a handful. Yesterday we saw our first cop and saw him pulled someone over. It was a highlight of the afternoon.

And Yellowstone National Park covers three state, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

I’m looking forward to being home. Even if home means someplace foreign. I’m sure that by the time I get all my furniture and start putting up pictures and decorations, it’ll look and feel like home.

The agenda for tomorrow is IKEA, Seattle, Target and assembling LOTS OF FURNITURE! Weee!

Picture update

Too tired to blog. So here are some pictures!

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Mt. Rushmore. Rapid City, South Dakota.

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Drilling oil in Wyoming… oh and antelope hanging out next to the highway.

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We are spending the night in Butte, Montana. Next stop… ELLENSBURG!

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Goodnight and sweet dreams. πŸ™‚

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Are we there yet?

I’m feeling pretty antsy right now. We got on the road about 7:30 this morning and it’s 6:41 pm, well it’s actually 5:41, since we just crossed into mountain time, but whatever. I drove for a while this morning till dad got bored being the passenger. Since then I’ve gone through a dope-ass mix, several mixes from the box set of awesome, and the in between the lines mix. I’ve read more of my sookie stackhouse book and starred out the window. I’m bored. I’m ready to be in the hotel room, eat a hot meal and watch GLEE! Oh goodness, I’m very much looking forward to Glee premiering. If you don’t know what it is, go check it out on Fox.com. It WILL be the new hit show of this tv season. Woo!

Yesterday we drove through a whole slew of states: Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. We stopped in Kansas City, Kansas and stayed with the parents of someone who works at Poynter. They were very hospitable, opened up their house to us, had a delicious meal prepared and pretty much gave us free rein of the house. I also slept the best since I left for Ellensburg over a week ago. I’m ready to have my own bed, with my comforters and pillows and wonderfulness!

One of the aspects of this whole move that I’m looking forward to most (and is consequently stressing me out the most) is furnishing my apartment from scratch. I think I have the whole money aspect figured out.Β  It’ll be a first, having brand new furniture and a say in how my apartment looks. I’ve always lived with people and had to make decisions on interior design together. I’m also dying to have my own place, my own home to come to after work/school. Hooray Independence!

My camera decided to go on strike yesterday afternoon. I’m none to amused about it. I tried to turn it on and nothing. Zip. No action. No lens extending to prepare for picture taking. I haven’t completely lost hope, but it doesn’t look good. WHY?! The camera is less than a year old and survived a half marathon and other crazy adventures… come back to life! I guess I should be thankful that at least I have a camera on my iphone that takes decent pictures, so if it is kaput, I won’t be completely cameraless.

Today we’ve covered the rest of Kansas, Iowa, maybe Nebraska and South Dakota. Let me tell you, there’s not a lot out here to look out… just CORN. Seriously. LOTS AND LOTS OF CORN.

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Occasionally we saw some sunflowers, some random statues, and plenty of cheesy billboards. We actually decided to stop at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. We didn’t go inside or anything, just took pictures outside, since Charlie was waiting in the car.

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Also what’s kinda neat is when we got to Sioux Falls, SD, we turned onto I-90. We’ll be taking I-90 straight into Ellensburg. So we spent most of today on 90, and all of tomorrow and Friday.

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We’re trucking along to Rapid City, South Dakota, where we’ll stop for the night. We have to figure out how to sneak Charlie into the hotel. Also, since it seems like we’re going to arrive just before sunset, Mt. Rushmore shall been seen in the morning, I suppose. Tomorrow looks like another long day, with just under 10 hours from Rapid City to Missoula. Friday will be short, only 5ish hours, and with the time change to Pacific time zone, we actually gain an hour.

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Are we there yet?! Please? Seriously. My bum has gone numb. Let me out of the car!

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GooGoos and Illinoise!

I’m currently updating from the road! Right now we’re cruising along I-57 in Illinois, listening to the Illinois CD courtesy of L and I’m trying to update my flickr account.

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Yesterday we only drove for 5 hours, from Otto to Nashville, TN. Dad and I got to Nashville, dropped off our stuff at the Schwartauhaus and then headed downtown. We ate lunch at the fabulous Which wich? They have such delicious food. I wish there was one closer to me. Dad even said it was worth the 5 hour drive. Then A, T and myself took dad down to Broadway/West End, where we walked along the road checking out the honky-tonks and taking pictures.

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In the evening, there was a small dinner party, a sort of send-off dinner in my honor. It was A’s family and her friends, who I’d say were also my friends. Dinner was yummy and the conversation was funny, thought provoking, awkward, interesting… I thought it was a great night.

Plus, it’s awesome that T is living with A’s family. Oh and T gave me two crafts of sand straight from Jax Beach, as well as a spud for good luck in Idaho. So awesome. I’m definitely going to have a “Florida” themed room in my new apartment. Maybe make it my office?

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We are currently searching for lunch. I think we’re only a couple hours from our Kansas City, Kansas destination for tonight. We’re ALMOST half way there. Hooray!

Welcome to North Carolina!

We completed day 1 of driving today. Right now I’m blogging from my favorite place on earth, our house in Otto, North Carolina. Since the house remodel, it changed into this very cozy and comfy place to live. I loved the place before, but it’s luxurious now!

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I said my goodbyes to mom and H this morning and that was really hard. I’m not one to cry, but I definitely was doing everything in my power to keep my composure. I’m sure if I cried, they would have cried and I wouldn’t have been able to handle that. It STILL hasn’t sunk in, but I do keep telling myself that I’ll be home for christmas in just a couple months. No biggie.

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Also, totally randomly… I realized how thankful I am that since I was home, I could be around for part of H’s high school career, even if I am missing her senior year. AND, that she and I were able to do Team in Training together. It still remains to be one of the best experiences of my life and I got to share it with my favorite [only] sister.

Nothing exciting or noteworthy happened on the drive up here. Dad’s done it so much recently that it’s boring. I usually sleep or read the whole way up, although I did drive almost half the time today. I’m glad I could give dad a break and drive on roads that are new to me. I even drove the car all the way up to the house, which freaked me out. The roads are tiny and one car took a turn too fast and came into my lane. Scary. We also found out that Charlie travels fabulously! He explored the car a little and looked out the windows at first, but then decided to curl up into dad’s lap and ultimately spent most of the trip on a pillow between the driver and passenger seats. He didn’t whine or get car sick, just curled up and looked adorable.

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The car packed and loaded. I’m wearing my sweet highlighter treasure island shirt, a gift from my darling sister.

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Charlie and I cruising along the highway. πŸ™‚

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Adorable.

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I used to anxiously await seeing this sign as we drove to North Carolina, it meant that we were ALMOST there!

I have a couple pictures of the road trip box of super awesomeness, so here you go:

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I’m looking forward to listening to the Tennessee CD. Both Florida ones and the Georgia one worked perfectly. I have amazing friends.

Tomorrow the [more] exciting part of the trip begins, since it’s uncharted territory AND I get to visit A. Yay!

Last night in Florida.

My life, memories, clothes, books, even cat are packed into my little ford focus and starting tomorrow morning, the biggest part of this adventure begins. It hasn’t hit me yet. The fact that I’ll never live in this house again… never be a Florida resident, that all my friends and family will be here and I’ll be in Washington. So weird! It hasn’t hit me. I wonder when it will all click. Hrm.

I wanted to do one last blog update from my childhood bedroom in Florida before I officially hit the road. Pictures and more information will come soon.

One quick teaser:

I seriously have the most amazing friends ever. EVER. Do you understand? Best friends EVER!!!

C came up with the idea to create a trunk full of Florida mementos, mix cds to be opened and listened to as I cross each state line, food, postcards, letters, etc. She created a secret facebook group and had my friends mail her the cds and letters, so I have contributions from a variety of people. It’s amazing. I’m so incredibly overwhelmed. I’ll post pictures and details as soon as I can.

Goodnight, sweet dreams. Next time I update I will either be on the road or at the first stop of Road Trip Adventure 2009!

First Impressions (and a play-by-play).

I love first impressions, or more specifically, looking back on my first impressions of people and places after I’ve become familiar with them. I say this, because I just returned home from my first taste of Ellensburg and Central Washington. I’m so excited about this move. I admit that there was a part of me that feared I’d hate the town and school, and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself, since I’m committed to being there for two years. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem like it’ll be the case. Instead, I’m more concerned with not wanting to leave after I finish my masters. But that’s two years away and I have plenty of time to experience lots between now and then.

I want to write about my trip and thoughts, so that once I’m familiar with everything Ellensburg has to offer, I can remember what I thought of it at first sight.

Day 1:

Flying to Washington from Florida takes an entire day. What an exhausting adventure. Mom and I got to the airport about 6ish in the morning. Our first flight was at 8:30am, we flew to Nashville and actually met up with Ashley, who drove to the airport to hang out for an hour. From Nashville we flew directly to Seattle-Tacoma airport, I need to remember to bring a pillow or one of those weird head U-shaped things next time. From the airport we picked up a rental car and headed towards Ellensburg. The drive reminds me of the drive from Vancouver to Whistler; extremely scenic, surrounded by mountains, water and green trees. One thing that mom noticed, that I failed to notice was the lack of billboards. Maybe Washington has some law against billboards but there weren’t any along the interestate. Also, the speed limit for trucks runs about 5-10 mph slower than that of cars. It’s awesome. Compared to driving from St. Pete to Orlando, it was heaven. No aggressive drivers, no crazy truckers changing lanes erratically and an overall scenic drive.

After checking into the hotel, mom and I drove over to the apartment complex. We could only see the outside of the building, but from what we could see, it’s a nice and clean apartment. I have a second floor, corner apartment. I think it might mean that I have a bit more space than the other apartments. Also, there should be less noise than the other possible apartment locations.

From there, we went down main street in search of food. We ended up at the Ellensburg Pasta Company, which was okay, but not wonderful. Then we wandered around downtown, taking pictures and looking at the local stores. Mom commented that I am moving to Franklin (North Carolina). In some ways, she’s right. Ellensburg is very much a small town, it’s not a city by any means. There seems to be two main roads, Main Street and University Way. You can drive to anything within 5 minutes, which is convenient and should help save on gas. But, unlike Franklin, there are plenty of activities going on, such as Friday art walks, a film festival, winter hopfest, a rodeo, and a lot more. I’m looking forward to experiencing the small town lifestyle. I love North Carolina, it’s my favorite place and I actually wanted to find a grad school there, so Ellensburg seems perfect for me. Plus, I’m thinking that I’m going to have so much school work, that I’m not going to have a lot of time to get bored anyway.

Day 2:

We made an impromptu trip to Roslyn, Wa. It meant a lot to my mom because she used to be a huge Northern Exposure fan and it’s the town where they filmed the show. The town literally consists of a single street with shops on it, but the random trip showed me that there are lots of cool little towns and places to explore all around Ellensburg.

Next on the list of things to do, sign a lease! The apartment I’m renting is very basic. It’s a little on the small side and only has one bathroom, but since it’s just me, it’ll be perfect. The pictures on the website showed this horrible 70’s-tastic carpet, but thankfully, the carpet in the apartment turned out to be plush, brown carpet that I actually really enjoy. One thing I didn’t notice right away, is the fact that none of the apartments have air-conditioning. As a Floridian, it’s impossible to fathom, yet I don’t think it’ll be an issue. Since I’ll be on the second floor, I can leave my windows open and create a nice cross-breeze. I love fresh air and the weather isn’t that hot most of the year, so it should help keep my energy costs down. Also, not to worry, the apartment has central heating for the winter months. ItΒ  will come in handy, since I was told that there is generally a foot of snow on the ground for five months out of the year. Oh my.

Other pluses: The laundry facilities seems clean and like a fun place to meet people. Next door to that, there’s a lounge room with big tv and a fitness room, so I can workout and do laundry. All around the complex there are picnic benches and outdoor grills. I’m really impressed by the apartment managers. It seems like it’s going to be a clean, quiet place to live with staff to take care of whatever issues arise. I’m excited. πŸ™‚

The productivity continued after lunch, with many errands on campus. As I took care of errands, I also explored the campus. CWU reminds me a lot of FSU in that it has pretty brick buildings and green grassy areas, but there are places that are also rather modern. The student union and rec center/gym seemed more like UCF’s. I am very happy and feel like the school will be the perfect place to spend the next two years.

I also accomplished a lot in the afternoon. I went to student employment and filled out the forms for my assistantship. Dropped off a direct deposit form at the cashier’s office, so my financial aid and loan money will go straight into my bank account. Hooray! Then I stopped into the financial aid office to verify that I’d taken care of all possible paperwork. From there, I went to the graduate studies office (which is located on a half-floor, it’s very Harry Potter-esque!). I turned in my employment receipt and double checked with the woman who does all the coordinating for all the grad students, that everything is completed. She looked over my file and said I was on top of everything and gave me some tips for succeeding in grad school. She’s very much all business, but she kept repeating that if there is ANYTHING that I need during my time at CWU, come back and see her. She can help with ANYTHING and ANYTHING can be fixed. I love the supportive environment!

For dinner mom and I discovered the Palace Cafe and Saloon. It’s weird, because from the outside it looks closed, but inside it’s a cute little bar/restaurant. If you go on a Sunday-Thursday afternoon/night, they have a $5 menu, which is FABULOUS! I had the most delicious burger, fries and corn on the cob!

Day 3:

Seattle!

I discovered that driving in Seattle is super stressful. It took us a bit to figure out the whole parking situation, but ultimately found two hour street parking. More than anything though, why doesn’t anyone talk about the HILLS in Seattle? Seriously, I don’t know why people make a fuss about SanFran’s hills after seeing Seattle’s. I’ll never drive a manual car there, that is, if I knew how to drive a manual.

Anyway, mom and I went to Pike Place market, drank some original Starbucks office, some daily donuts, saw the fish guys and explored the market. I really wanted to buy one of the bouquets of flowers. If dad and I end up at the market, I’ll surely buy one for my new apartment.

After the market, we went to Ballard, to see the locks and salmon. From there we went up to Queen Anne’s park, where you can get an overview of the city. It was an amazing view. There also happened to be a movie filming that day, so we stumbled onto the set of The Details with Tobey Maguire and Kerry Washington. Neat. πŸ™‚

That pretty much concluded our exploration of Seattle. We took the car back to the place and went to the hotel.

Day 4:

We spent the whole day traveling. The only highlight was our luggage didn’t make it onto our plane and arrived at the house about 1am last night. Other than that, it was just a long day of traveling.

I’m glad to be home, but ready to start the road trip part of this adventure. After seeing how gorgeous Washington is, I’m excited to see what the rest of the country looks like!

I also added a link to my flickr account to the right —–>
I’ll update it with pictures from the roadtrip and Ellensburg.

Exhausted, but very happy!

I really want to blog. I really should blog. I’m just way too tired. Today was a fabulous day. Visited Roslyn, Washington. Signed my lease. Love my new apartment, apartment complex and management. Discovered two new restaurants, both cute and quaint with tons of personality. Walked around CWU campus for the first time. Loved the campus and the people. Got everything on my list of things to do accomplished. Everything is in order and all set for when I move here and start school. Ate a delicious dinner consisting of the best burger I’ve ever had (and I don’t like burgers), amazing french fries and juicy corn on the cob. Came back to the hotel and here I am.

I fell in love with Ellensburg and Washington today. πŸ™‚

I posted pictures to flickr, so check them out here. I’ll double post some, hopefully on my next update.

http://www.flickr.com/katecwu