Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Now blogging to you from the middle of a different empty floor...

The phone service finally got turned on last night, before which I was having this floaty feeling of total (ha) disconnection--all these things I felt I needed to do but was sure I couldn't if I couldn't make a phone call, get online, whatever.

The furniture won't arrive until Friday so for the moment we're roughing it in our own apartment, the dog skidding and scrabbling across the hardwood floors. There are exactly three soft places in the apartment--her bed, our air mattress, and the welcome mat, and she rotates between them.

Chicago greeted us with two solid days of rain, but the weather has turned gorgeous today. Walking outside actually feels like September, like a real fall--sunny and moist but with just enough cool in the air to hint at winter, thick foliage everywhere, side streets nearly dark at midday.

We made the trip a day faster than we thought we would, stopping in Reno, Salt Lake City, and Kearney, Nebraska, where I stole a few online minutes in our room at the Best Western. The whole thing, to be honest, is a bit of a blur, as we were emphasizing speed rather than scenery, what with the trunk crammed with stuff and the stuff in the back seat threatening to topple on the dog, who was a model of canine patience, resting her nose on the armrest to get max air conditioning.

I think I lost about a buck on video poker at the Holiday Inn's casino in Reno, which was filled with middle-aged men with '70s mustaches and an Indian wedding party. In Salt Lake City we got to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rehearse and then sprinted across endless deserted downtown blocks to beat closing time at what turned out to be a delicious veggie-friendly dinner at a place called the Oasis Cafe, lots of blond wood and a health-food bookstore attached. We ate outside a McDonald's in Laramie, Wyoming in a stiff 50-degree wind so we could take the dog and avoid the football crowds. At the last rest stop in Wyoming local volunteers offered us free cookies and coffee, a trend continued all the way through Nebraska and Iowa. Robin took solace from road food at a Dairy Queen in Grinnell, Iowa. And despite dire warnings about on-street parking, we found a spot right in front of our building when we arrived.

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