Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Atlanta Chronicles

Having just moved to a new city, it seems fitting that I would document my acclimatization to that city. While some people are well versed in cross-continental moves, it is a wholly new experience for me. Of my near 28 years of existence, 18 of them were lived in the same house. And until three weeks ago, I had never changed cities. So, although my readers may not be interested in Atlanta per se, it seems pertinent to catalog an event as monumental as my moving across the country. And so begin The Atlanta Chronicles…

In this first edition of TAC, I shall address the subject of the weather. A hackneyed topic of conversation to be sure, but one cannot speak of comfort zones—nor the breaking through thereof—without confronting something so rudimentary. Atlanta has proven to be no exception. It’s humid. Very humid. And this is something I’m still adapting to. Whenever I step outside, it feels as though I’ve entered a sauna. Oddly enough, I find it cooler here than in Salt Lake City, but the moisture makes the air thick and unpleasant. On a handful of occasions, I have gotten out of a nice, air-conditioned car only to have my eyeglasses immediately fog up, which can be quite a nuisance. Furthermore, I feel like I’m sweating a great deal more than I did in SLC. But does this make sense? Intuition suggests that heat would influence sweating more than humidity would, but Atlanta seems to prove otherwise. If you’re scientifically inclined, please feel free to enlighten me.

Apart from the extreme humidity, Atlanta has also introduced me to severe thunderstorms. Now, the meteorologists in Utah were known to issue severe thunderstorm warnings from time to time, but they apparently have quite a different conception of the word “severe” than Atlantans do. The best way I can describe the Georgian thunderstorms I’ve experienced thus far is to say this: imagine the sound of empty freight train cars dropping from the sky. Going for accuracy over poetry, I do believe this captures the essence of it. The disappointing thing is that, when the sky goes gray and the rain begins to fall, my brain is accustomed to expect a crisp, cool breeze when I walk outside. But it remains muggy, and then I feel gypped. Looking at it from behind your living room window, Atlanta does a pretty good job of emulating Seattle. Stick your head outside and it’s a brutal reminder that you’re far from the Pacific Northwest.

Luckily, our apartment has central air. The outside world has little bearing on how comfortable we feel inside our home. Prior to the move, I mentioned this as a key incentive to embarking on this adventure. Now that I’m here, I’m all the more convinced that central air alone has made the move worthwhile.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Greetings from Atlanta!

At the risk of repeating myself, “Greetings from Atlanta!” This post will be nothing more than a postcard of sorts to let y’all know that Eddie, Melanie, and I are doing just fine. We’re settled in, we’re safe, we’re healthy, we’re happy. In order to get this message to you (and to do some other highly important things), I’m relying on my philosophy department computer lab (correction—philosophy graduate student computer lab … I’m in the big leagues now!). My home Internet service won’t be active until this weekend, at the very earliest. But once I’m all setup at home, I’ll post much more regularly. Honest.

In the meantime, here are some of my first observations of, as the hip people call it, ATL:

1. The water tastes fine here. Not that I heard it didn’t, but you know how different water can taste from state to state. Earlier this year I experienced the rancid taste of Arkansian water, and given its greater geographical proximity to Georgia, I was a bit worried that Atlanta water would taste just as nasty. But, I’m very pleased to say, our Georgian water has no noticeable taste to it at all—which is just the way I like it.

2. Georgians are quite friendly. At least when it comes to those persons working in the customer service industry. I’ve yet to chat it up with strangers, but when I’ve been dealing with people on a professional level (whether bankers or fast-food employees), I’ve found them to be extremely pleasant. Utah may have a reputation for churning out super-congenial personalities (think Osmonds), but Georgia has quickly charmed me.

3. Georgians love their chicken and waffles. I’ve never seen so many varieties of fast-food fried chicken. Church’s Chicken, Popeye’s Chicken, Mrs. Winner’s Chicken, as well as the more nationally recognized KFC (which, believe it or not, made its debut in my hometown of Salt Lake City). And there are others I can’t even remember. Almost equally as prevalent is the number of waffle houses. Foremost among these is, coincidentally enough, Waffle House, a restaurant chain whose myriad locations outnumber Georgians at a ratio of about 3:1. Atlanta even features restaurants that specialize in both chicken and waffles. So, if you get a hankering for either (or, better yet, for both) these foods, just let me know and I’ll setup my guest room. Of course I won’t give you my address, but you’ll be in my thoughts nevertheless.

4. Atlanta is not nearly as intimidating a city as I had expected. Coming from Utah, I expected Atlanta to feel threatening on many levels. I expected to feel overwhelmed by the traffic, by the crime, and by the sheer magnitude of the city. So far I have not felt any of those things. While the downtown traffic (including the most central parts of the Interstates) is undeniably tedious, it somehow manages to keep itself moving. It slows down—way down—but I’ve never seen it altogether stopped. That’s something. And if you stick to the belt route, traffic is even more tolerable. Whenever I’ve needed to, I’ve been able to go from one side of the city to the other within 25-35 minutes. I wouldn’t have expected such. Downtown Atlanta also houses the city’s most seedy-looking areas, but I’ve yet to run into a neighborhood that fills my heart with anxiety, much less terror. Now, I realize I’ve come to these conclusions rather quickly, and I’ve yet to try anything adventurous enough to really prove myself wrong. Yet the fact remains that I feel much more at ease here than I would have expected. And I wager I’ll only feel more and more at home as time goes on.

So there you have it. Those are my most immediate and initial impressions. There’s plenty more I can write about, but don’t expect anything before next week. I promise I’ll write then. In the meantime, thanks for checking in…

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

One Week and Counting

One week from today, Melanie, Edison, and I will be moving to Atlanta. It’s that close. It’s that unbelievable. We’re not nearly as packed as we should be. The four weeks or so since Eddie made his post-utero debut have kept us plenty busy. On top of providing for our newborn, we’ve been: switching out our health insurance, reserving hotel rooms, filling out forms for students loans and graduate assistantships, faxing and mailing those forms, hunting down proof of my immunizations, canceling our local phone service and other utilities, figuring out how to forward our mail when we’re not sure of our forwarding address quite yet, etc. etc. It’s surprising the work this move entails that doesn’t involve packing boxes.

Luckily, we’ve had a lot of support from family and friends. People have been kind enough to bring us dinner—lasagna, hamburgers, lasagna, meatballs and rice, lasagna, pizza, and lasagna, for example. With the support of loved ones and the passing of time, I’ve actually started to feel like I can handle this whole fatherhood thing, let alone the move. The first couple of days of Edison’s life, before we had even left the hospital, I was filled with monumental anxiety. Now life almost feels normal again—a vastly new and improved kind of normal, but normal. And though everything will change again next Tuesday, I’m actually kind of excited. It’ll be nice to de-junk, which moving always encourages one to do, and I’ll be thrilled to live in a new apartment (for various reasons attested to in posts past). Despite the fear of Southern humidity, the prospect of a Georgia apartment equipped with central air is much more titillating than my Salt Lake City apartment, which features a semi-functional air conditioner that cools—at best—most of one room.

I hope this won’t be my final post before embarking on this journey. Once we lave Salt Lake City, I’m not sure how quickly I’ll have Internet access or the time to write. But surely I’ll do my best to chronicle the adventure. For now, I hope everyone is enjoying August. More importantly, I hope you’ll enjoy these new photos of my son.

Eddie’s favorite sleeping position involves crossing one leg over the other. If he’s asleep (and not in our arms), there’s good odds you’ll find him striking a pose similar to this one.

Edison at his monkey-ist.

Purely of his own accord, our sleeping baby took on a pose that demanded we grab the camera. Only his drying umbilical cord—admittedly somewhat ghastly—would prevent an observer from being all smiles.