Well folks, another year has passed, so its time again for another update, yeah and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too.
The first few months of 2008 were spent with us realizing that we were getting tired of apartment life, especially 2nd floor apartment life. Not to mention standing outside in the cold waiting for Oakley to stop wandering around instead of using the facilities was getting old. So, that led us to start looking for someplace new. There was a period that we were considering buying some land and building a small shed, but that didn’t pan out, which was for the best anyways(more on that later).
Some very good family friends that I brought to the marriage happen to own some land just a little ways out of town, on which they have a house, and a guest cabin, that sits empty most of the year. They offered to let us use the cabin for the summer, until we found another place. So, we spent the summer on the Boardman river, surrounded by state land, and a mile down a seasonal road. No television, barely any radio, no neighbors, and we could just let Oakley out, it was awesome. We had bonfires at night, listened to coyotes howl, slept with the windows open and listened to the river, again, awesome. Two bear sightings, some grill tools moved across the yard, but all in all, a great summer.
During that time, I was watching the classifieds and craigslist.com for a place to rent, after looking at a few and being disappointed, we found one in early August that fit the bill perfectly. We could move in at the beginning of September, it had a large fenced in yard, and the landlord was actually excited about Oakley (interesting huh?). Even better, it had a woodstove, and it was small and open enough that you could heat the whole house with it. So that explains away August. I bought a chainsaw, we borrowed Al’s (the Pope, Sr.) flatbed trailer, got a permit to get down trees off of state land, and we played lumberjack almost every evening and on weekends. To top that off, I bought an axe, that huge pile of wood that we had collected, had to be split, so I got out the lawnchair, got a cold beverage, gave Hannah some pointers, and Oakley and I supervised.
After about 30 seconds as foreman of my new jobsite, my superior notified me I was being relieved of my supervisory duties, I would be splitting while Hannah stacked and Oakley would supervise. That worked out well, we got most of it split before we had to move. Ah, moving, we’re getting good at that I tell you what. The house needed some attention, which a thorough cleaning and coat of paint would make a huge difference. So with the help of our parents from both sides, and a brother and sister-in-law (there is also a sister and brother-in-law who’s help/been helped move ratio is sorely one sided, though the good doctors shall remain anonymous), we got started on the painting, and moved everything to the garage of the new place. I left that part out didn’t I? Our new rental has an insulated two car garage, allowing Hannah that much more room to store new essentials, like more paper. So after getting moved in, a few weekends worth of continued cleaning, unpacking, and generally getting settled in, we felt like we had a new home.
Oh, we should backtrack some, we left out some of the summer’s adventures. While last summer was wedding and other celebrations, this summer would take a more somber tone. Mom had found a new hobby, even took a liking to it so much that she entered some craft shows. Did well enough that she decided to enter more, see where this is going yet? So there were a few weekends that help was required, some others that we’ll use for bargaining later on, and some were, seriously, just for fun.
However, one of these missions proved fruitful. A good friend of Mom’s, Alisa, was visiting at one of the show’s that was in Charlevoix, which Hannah and I were also, um, attending. Well, Alisa works at Edward Jones, where she started as an on call assistant. She knew some of the EJ offices in Traverse City, and thought it would be something that Hannah should look into. So, Alisa made a couple of calls, and shortly thereafter, Hannah started working as an on call assistant at some Edward Jones offices on the days she wasn’t at the scrapbook store. Due to the nature of the business, there is a rather extensive application process, it even involves getting fingerprinted, which Hannah still claims she hasn’t had done previously.
Back to the end of September, it was Friday, I had the day off, we were headed to West Branch, it was sunny. Anyways, I got a call from my boss, letting me know of some news firsthand before I saw it on the news, that Tower Automotive would be closing its Traverse City plant by July of 2009. So that put a damper on the weekend, not to mention the feeling of home, since finding another job in engineering in TC isn’t likely. But its not all bad news, I still have a job, and yet again we are viewing this as an opportunity, I can go back to school for that liberal arts degree that I’ve always wanted, wait, no scratch that, I can get a job outside of the auto industry, because so far, that hasn’t panned out too well, at least from a steady employment perspective. On a serious note, I know that it’s a rather disheartening scenario, and thank you to those who already know and have been supportive, those of you who haven’t, please know that we are doing fine and still have our chins up.
I’ve had a few phone interviews, but no leads, but also, as you are aware, the economy has only gotten worse, so things are tightening up everywhere, but I’m hoping after the first of the year more companies will start hiring again. I’ve got some prospects, and as of right now I still have a few months to find something.
In the meantime, right before Thanksgiving Hannah upgraded her employment status with EJ to part time, working two days a week at a nice office here in town, so we get to carpool a couple days a week, when she can fit me into her scrapbooking schedule.
We had the Pope family up for Thanksgiving this year, which there was snow on the ground for, and it has snowed nearly every day since then. Before the first thaw that took some of it down we had almost three feet of snow in the yard. Our shoveling skills are getting finely honed to say the least, we just need to rig Oakley up to a plow, then we could start hiring our services out. The woodstove is working out great, there were a few days in the beginning where we were still figuring out the delicate positioning of the flue and damper that yielded a living room that was 87 degrees, but we’ve got that steadied out now too. There hasn’t been many new developments since the fall, just snow, lots of it.
So, that’s it for another year, happy holidays, peace out.
Dustin, Hannah, & Oakley
PS: Oakley put filet mignon on his list, after such good response last year he thought he would at least try for the upgrade.
PPS: Hannah has a blog she maintains, check it out at: www.thehallecks.blogspot.com
PPPS: For those disappointed that Oakley is not in the picture this year, the attempt was made, he didn’t want to participate, citing a “bad hair day”.