July, 2007

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The Movers

Sunday, July 8th, 2007

The movers were supposed to come today, but they did not. When we called the moving company to confirm the time of arrival, they seemed to know nothing about it. They called us back and told us that they would be delivering Andrea’s stuff next week.

We found out that Andrea’s stuff was loaded and then trucked to Rhode Island (where the company is based). They obviously drove past Connecticut to get there. They then unloaded everything and it sat for a couple of days. Then it was loaded on a truck and taken to New York for another move, then to New Jersey for a move to Georgia, then back to Rhode Island where it was unloaded again. It now needs to be loaded once again for delivery to our new home.

Moving companies are such shady operations. If anyone is reading this and is planning a long distance move, DO NOT USE PAUL ARPIN VAN LINES!! Maybe that will help take one of these shady operations out of the loop.

The move wound up costing us three times what we thought. We originally were going to rent a truck ($800) and use three men from a moving company to load every thing in Peoria ($600) and then three guys here in Connecticut ($600) for a grand total of $2000. When the moving company told us it would cost $1500 to move everything, we decided that was the best way to go. Then, when they looked at everything in the storage area, they said it would cost $2500. Okay….I can handle that because they are handling everything. Then when they loaded the truck they said $3000!!!! Double the original estimate!

I guess I’ll just have to pray for the souls of these poor guys that rip people off so much. I have to admit though, that they were the only ‘bad’ people that ran into during the new home purchase.

A Mid-Summer Vacation

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

With the purchase of our first home behind us, the itch to travel started to creep up on us. We have already started our Fall vacation in September, so it can’t be anything too big. We decided to do a four day round trip driving vacation to Kentucky. However, the movers had a different idea. We need to stay close to home and so we decided to do day trips.

Day 1

Andrea has never been to the top of New England (Mt Washington), so I decided that we would go there. I looked at the forecast and today seems like it will have the best weather up there. We drive up through the most celebrated mountain pass in the east, Franconia Notch. We then took the Cog Railway all the way to the top. We worked our way home through Vermont. I had wanted to take Andrea to this wonderful restaurant that is on a mountainside over looking a beautiful lake near where I went to college. However, the restaurant was closed, so we ate at a Chinese restaurant in St Johnsbury, VT before heading home.

Day 2

We decided to head back to the mountains today. We drove to the Norman Rockwell museum where we were disappointed to only find about 20-25 of his paintings. After a visit there, we drove north into Vermont, passing the highest point in Massachusetts. Once in Vermont, I sought out some Vermont Cheese Curds because Andrea is always talking about how good the Wisconsin ones are. After finding some, and stopping for lunch at what has to be the furthest east Tastee Freeze, we headed towards Mt Equinox.

Thomas Merton once said that there are no coincidences, only connections and I think he must be right. The road to the top of Mt Equinox (the highest point in southeastern VT) is a toll road and so we stopped at the gift shop, at the base, where you pay your fare. I noticed flags from many different states and countries and so I enquired about them. I had also noticed some decidedly Catholic books on display in the gift shop as well. I learned that property on which the mountain lies is owned by the only Carthusian monastery in North America. What a treat! Of course we didn’t go to the monastery (though we could see it at one point), but just being there was such a treat.

We worked our way home in the late evening. Even though we were staying at home, it was beginning to feel like a vacation!

Day 3

We headed towards the ocean this time. The goal was to visit the highest point in Rhode Island and then go to the Touro Synagogue in Newport. However, our plans changed when I discovered that I forgot my NPS Passport, which was the reason that I wanted to visit them. I collect passport cancellation stamps as a record of my visit to all the NPS sites (there are 390 of them and I have been to 250+). The visit to Rhode Islands high point was kind of neat, though no real climbing was required. Every time we visit a high point, I always say “it’s all downhill from here!”.

After the high point, we drove along the Rhode Island coast and worked our way back to Connecticut where we had some great seafood on the coast. Then, we headed home to prepare for the movers arrival the next day.