At the beginning of this week I made a two day trip up and back to my new place, to get some things taken care of (like signing the lease and getting keys at some point before I had a moving van at my back.)
On the way up, I stopped in the restroom at the West Virginia welcome center, and found a peculiar little fold-down plastic seat inside the stall, apparently to stow your baby while you're, erm, busy. I'm not saying it's a bad idea (actually it's probably a great idea for someone traveling solo with an infant), but it does sort of tickle me to think of putting a baby in something that strongly reminds me of a cup-holder on the side of the stall. (If the baby remembers any of this, it may require therapy later.)
I was interrupted in my musing by the guy in the stall next to me calling out "No more Wendy's for me!" To my relief, someone else answered him; he apparently had a friend in the restroom he was communicating with, and I was not expected to carry out a through-the-stall discussion of the state of his digestion.
Since it's summer, there is a small portion of the roads in the US which are apparently not under construction at this time. (I didn't seem to find many.) I ended up running a few hours later than I expected, but still had a chance to meet briefly with the Realtor in the afternoon and arrange to finish up in the morning. I got one unpleasant surprise: the apartment doesn't have air conditioning. (The things I don't think to ask.) Granted, for at least 9 months out the year, you'll have no use for it at all, and it turns out most places in the area don't have air conditioning. (Heating bills are estimated to run in the mid 200s a month in the winter in fact. All of this is fairly foreign to the boy who mostly grew up in Texas, even if he did go to school near Cleveland.) But I've never been a fan of the "sweating builds character" school of thought; I'd rather just be comfortable all 365 days, and it probably helps my allergies. I'll be looking into window units I guess.
I opted to head into Erie (the big city) and look for an adventure for dinner. I navigated some fairly run down streets for some time, but eventually found a reasonably nice area and even ran into the Quaker Steak and Lube, which I'd seen recommended. It was cute; it's all automotive themed, and the food was fairly good. I'll be back there again. (And it seemed to work out better for me than Wendy's apparently went for my stall-neighbor earlier in the day.)
The apartment is reasonably nice, although not completely ready yet. I'm a little disappointed that it seems to be creakier than I would have liked (you can hear people moving around in the attached apartments), but I think it will be OK. It's not only across the street from campus, but also a very short walk from downtown, which includes multiple bars and the requisite Chinese take-out place. A bit further walk even gets you some more restaurants and a video rental place.
I made a reasonably good attempt at sleeping, and took the next morning to get my mail held and arrange renter's insurance. (The mail, as it turns out, is actually delivered to a personal mailbox outside the door of my apartment. I didn't think the post office did that anywhere anymore.) I stowed some stuff I didn't want the movers taking in my basement and got the lease finalized. (Yes, the Realtor actually gave me keys and let me stay in the apartment before they had a signed lease. And after they told me it didn't have air-conditioning. They knew not their peril, even if they had a security deposit.)
And then turn right back around and drive another seven hours or so back again. To be repeated at least once next week with the movers this time. Urg.