Finally feeling comfortable

Well, I’ve been here for two weeks now and I feel as though I’m really starting to get settled in. I’m becoming more and more comfortable with both my situation and my surroundings. I’ve managed to keep in good touch with many from back home and my friends have been gracious enough to listen to me ramble and babble when I call them (I spend so much time alone that I sort of pounce when I get the opportunity to talk to a friend). Work is going well and my responsibilities are growing by the day. Today, my co-worker, whom I’m sort of shadowing and working alongside on a project, gave me the ok to pursue a project that I think will really benefit our program. Originally, the “project” was his idea, but he was going to implement it on a much smaller scale. As we discussed it, we realized it would probably be wise to invest more time up front to make it more universal and robust a ways down the road. So, I’ve been given ownership of this task and I think it will allow me to impress my superiors… and impressing the bosses means good reviews and possibly a nice raise next year.

The pile of papers, receipts, instruction manuals and miscellaneous stuff on my counter is slowly disappearing. Mostly, it’s disappearing because I’m able to consolidate things or throw stuff away or I’m mailing of envelopes stuffed with some of the receipts and UPC symbols for rebates. This weekend, I’ll probably start working on tearing down the box-fort I’ve built in my “dining” room. I’m really starting to get annoyed with everything being in such disarray, but there’s not much I can do until I get my furniture and the claim has gone through for my busted computer desk, so I can replace it. I’ve been learning patience for a while now and this is another situation that is affording me the chance to hone my patience skills.

Metroid Prime

I went to Best Buy last night and exchanged an ethernet (10/100)-to-USB adapter for the GameCube game Metroid Prime. When I was a kid, I really enjoyed the metroid games and I was glad to hear that they’d made one from GameCube. I was prepared to buy it because of the purely nostalgic draw it had for me, but once I read some reviews on it, I decided I had to buy it for sure. So far, it’s a very fun and involved game. I’m impressed with how similar it is to the other metroid games, even though it’s been “upgraded” for GameCube. Although it’s in 3D, it feels and plays very much like its predecessors. Anyway, I’m enjoying it and I’m glad to have something to kill some time.

Netflix back online

I subscribed to Netflix a while ago, but I put it on hold for the past month or so as I moved from Florida out to Texas. Now that I’m here and settled, I’ve reopened the dam and the movies are already flooding in. Soon, I hope to get back to watching “old” stuff (I’m pretty sure I left off in 1942 with Casablanca), so I can continue my education on the history of movies.

I’m going to try to get some sleep now… I hate feeling so tired for the first four hours of work every day.


Plano: Day 14

Things are starting to slow down and my daily expenditures are becoming more reasonable by the day. I just wish my furniture wasn’t 3 weeks away, but I’ll take whatever stability I can get at this point.

TiVo up and running

After “borrowing” an ethernet (10/100) to USB adapter from Best Buy this weekend, I’ve gotten TiVo to download the drivers needed to use the wireless USB adapter I bought for it. Sow now, it downloads the daily updates over my DSL connection instead of requiring a phone line (which I don’t have). It sounds trivial, but having it up and running leaves one less thing to worry about and it’s nice that I did it wirelessly since that leaves my entertainment center essentially independent of anything else.

Back to workin’ out

I took about five weeks off from workouts before last week, but I kept last weeks workouts pretty easy, so I wouldn’t strain anything. Today’s workout was a full one and it went well. I felt good–no soreness or unusual pain–and I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine. I haven’t really thought much about my goals, but right now I’m focused on getting back to where I was a couple months ago. I figure I’ll be there in about four more weeks.

Dining in

I’ve eaten only a handful of meals outside my apartment since I got here, and I’m liking it very much. Not only am I saving money (lots of it), but it’s nice to completely control what and when I eat. Of course, most of my meals are already pseudo-prepared–for instance, I ate a Skillet Sensations tonight–but at least I’m choosing exactly what I want and putting something on the stove or whatever. That’s a big step for me.


I’m watching a rerun and the last guest was some kid who wrote his own fantasy book that’s been published. I can’t help but wonder if 1) the kid was homeschooled and 2) if he has any friends. I think even Dave was uncomfortable interviewing him. In his spare time, he paints, does are and makes his own knives, swords and chainmail. Apparently, he’s made his own forge, which he uses for making these useful things.


Plano: Day 12

I did a whole lot of nothing today. I went to Best Buy this morning to get an ethernet to USB adapter, so I could put TiVo on my network until it downloads the drivers it needs to use the wireless adapter I bought. While I was at Best Buy, one of the employees said, “Man, we need to get you a special discount or something… you’re in here all the time!” I replied, “I just moved here from Florida and it seems like I need something else every day: a cable, an adapter, a GameCube, whatever.” Anyway, I realized I’m in there entirely too much if employees are starting to recognize me. But, I’ll have to be in there again in a few day anyway to take back the little ethernet to USB adapter, so I guess they’ll be seein’ a little more of me.

Emotional Transition

I’m not sure what’s up, but this transition hasn’t been as difficult as I’d expected. The first couple days were rough, but not even as rough as I thought they’d be. Then, I guess I just got so busy I didn’t really have time to think about transitions and who I missed and what was going on in Florida. Anyway, I’m expecting it to hit me pretty soon, so my weblog will probably become bogged down with flowery rhetoric and depressing psychobabble. Fortunately, I’ve got enough stuff to do to keep me busy for a while.


I woke up at 8:30 this morning, even though I went to sleep at about 4 last night. So, I took a nap this afternoon, but I’m still tired. I think it was that I had caffeine with dinner, but I’m not sure. Anyway, I figure since I’m tired already, I might as well go ahead and get to sleep, so I don’t have another ridiculously late night. I think one of the most difficult things about my transition so far is adjusting my sleeping patterns. I have the hardest time getting up at 7 am, but I can’t seem to go to sleep before midnight (usually closer to 12:30). Something’s gotta’ give.


Plano: Day 10

Best Buy hook-ups

I made my daily visit to Best Buy today and bought about $240 worth of stuff. Well, I say “bought”, but what I mean is “got”. Turns out the TV I bought just went on sale (both in store and online) and it’s about $200 less online (where I bought it), than it was two weeks ago, when I purchased it. Well, I was able to get store credit for the difference and, since I happened to be buying a bunch of stuff anyway, I went ahead and applied the store credit. Also, I got $30 in rebates with the stuff I bought, so it turns out I got $240 worth of stuff for about 10 bucks. Incidentally, I also got a Best Buy Rewards card… I wish I’d gotten it before I spent a couple thousand bucks on stuff there. I think I can get some of those purchases “retrofitted” onto my Rewards card, but, for most of it, I’m up a creek.

Not much else goin’ on

I spent some time on the phone with a friend tonight and played Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 for the rest of the evening. I know THPS3 is old-school, but it was only $15 and seemed like a good game to get for my first.

I’m going to try and get to sleep early tonight. We’ll see how that goes.


Plano: Day 5

I’m almost done with The Magician’s Nephew; I figure I’ll be through it tonight. I can already see that, as soon as I’m done with it, I’ll be compelled to begin the next book. This is some good stuff.

My TV got here a couple hours ago and, as I expected, it’s good ‘n’ big. I was going to get the smaller version of the same TV, but Best Buy didn’t have it in any of their stores around here and they couldn’t deliver it (“limited delivery area” for that particular TV or something). Anyway, I decided I’d just go ahead and get the bigger version. I figure it’ll be a little more fun anyway.

I tried to play around with the DVD-player/TiVo I bought, but I can’t use it until I perform the initial setup on it… Problem is the initial setup requires a phone line, which I don’t have. So, I’m trying to think of a way to get to a phone line that I can use for an hour while plugging my TiVo into a television, so I can see what I’m doing. I’m still not sure what I’ll do.

I let those jokers at Best Buy talk me into buying the super-expensive Monster Cables (component video and RCA audio) rather than the cheaper Acoustic Research versions of the same cables. After thinking about it and talking to friend, I’m going to take the unopened cables back and get the Acoustic Research ones instead. I doubt I’ll be able to tell the difference in quality, but I’m sure I’ll notice the difference in the quantity of money in my bank account.

In a little bit, some friends are driving over from Ft. Worth for some lunch and then they’re going to help me decide what furniture to get. After three straight days of browsing furniture stores, I’d experienced information overload and couldn’t seem to make a rational decision. Hopefully, some objectivity and good taste will help me decide on something.

All done with Book 1: The Magician’s Nephew

I’m through the first book and that leaves six more. I really enjoyed re-reading the history of Narnia (I had read this book when I was 10 or so, but didn’t remember much of it) and I’m excited to re-read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe over the next few days. What a good use of my time.

Furniture bust

Well, after a few hours and several stores, I decided on a furniture set I really liked. I had actually been looking at the set for a few days, trying to decide if I liked it and what color I’d prefer. This afternoon, I decided I did like the set and that I preferred khaki (over olive and cherry). About 30 seconds after I’d declared my decision to my friends, a salesperson walked up and said, “Oh, you like this set? It’s been discontinued. I think they’re all out of the khaki loveseats.” Of course. The one color of the one set I decided on is discontinued and can’t be found anywhere. So, I’m basically back to square-one. I’m headed back there on Monday to see if they found any of those loveseats, or if maybe one of their warehouses is holding one or couldn’t deliver one or something. It’s all wishful thinking, mostly; I essentially have to just be patient and hope that a local store gets something that I like in soon. Until then, I’ll keep using my leather office chair for all my sitting needs.


I’m going to a Vineyard church tomorrow. I don’t know what to expect, but I hope I enjoy it and meet some people.


Plano: Day 3

Well, a new day has begun and it didn’t begin with a neighbor banging on a wall or the lawn-maintenance people doin’ their thing. Unfortunately, it did begin with a few hours of tossing and turning since I seem to be having trouble sleeping soundly. I’m hoping that I’m just not used to my new environment or something, but I might be breakin’ out the Tylenol PM pretty soon if this restlessness doesn’t subside.

I’m about to head out to buy more stuff. First, I’m off to the furniture stores to see if I can make a decision on some stuff. I think I’ll go with a set at Rooms To Go, but I’m having a little problem over there: I’m considering two sets. The “nicer” set is a little more expensive, but a lot more comfortable and it looks a bit more casual (which is what I’m after), but it only comes in three colors–khaki, olive and cherry–none of which is very appealing. The khaki and olive are not only ugly, but too light and would show dirt after about four minutes of use. The cheaper set (cheaper by about $300 American) has better colors (I guess)–both much darker versions of khaki and olive–but the cushions feel like they’re actually rocks wrapped in fabric. The fabric is kinda’ strange too, because it has that suede look (the one where you can write your name with your finger, then erase it with a swipe of your hand). But overall, the set is decent looking. The good news is that I found a dining room set (table and four chairs) that is reasonably priced and the wood matches the wood for the “cocktail” tables and end tables of the two living room sets. I’m going crazy just writing this junk.

Then, I’m off to Best Buy. I decided I’m going to buy a DVD player/TiVo combo by Toshiba. It looks like it’s the best of both worlds (it’s the 80-hour version of the TiVo and a decent progressive scan DVD player with all the standard outputs) and it works out to be a little cheaper than buying a DVD player and TiVo separately. I guess intuition says it should be cheaper to buy them in a combo deal, but that isn’t always true with new technology. The rule of thumb with new technology is: the newer and/or more convenient, the pricier. I’m also getting a little TV stand for my new TV.

I’m off to read a little more about Narnia, then I’m braving the furniture stores.

TV up and running

I had my cable turned on a couple days ago, but hadn’t been able to watch any TV since I don’t have one yet… until I was looking through a box of computer junk and stumbled upon a TV-tuner card that I borrowed from my roommate a while back. It took a little doing (the card was made back in ’98, so it was tough to get it to work with Windows XP), but I was able to catch Must See TV tonight and I’ll have something to do tomorrow night as well.

Phone home

I’ve been spending a lot of time (mostly at night) on the phone with friends and family from back home. I think it’s necessary that I keep in touch with those who are close to me, so I can maintain my grip on the reality that exists outside my little world here. Also, I just really enjoy talking to people from back home and it’s nice to hear familiar voices.


Plano: Day 2

I haven’t been this exhausted in a while… I didn’t sleep well or long last night, thanks to my own restlessness and the lawn maintenance guys. I woke up pretty early (around 9) and got back to running errands, making phone calls, browsing–furniture, mostly–and buying stuff for my apartment. I’ve spent about $150 at Target over the past couple days and I still haven’t even got pots ‘n’ pans and things like that. All I’ve bought is various soaps, stuff for the bathroom, a Foreman Grill and some other little things I needed.

Seems like furniture shopping’s a little trickier than I’d hoped. I’ve been to a few stores and none of them have exactly what I want–style, color, comfort, price–but all of the stores have some of what I want. I guess compromise will be the name of the game and it ain’t gonna’ be as cheap a game as I’d hoped.

My cable’s turned on, but I don’t have a TV yet, so I’m enjoying looking at the little black chord coming from the wall. I don’t have any idea when my internet will be turned on, so that’s making it even more difficult to do all my shopping and furniture buying and such. Also, I have about 15 “anytime” minutes to get me through next Tuesday (although the weekend will be free, so I’m having a hard time getting a hold of everyone I need to and I’ve been ignoring a lot of calls during the day.

As I’ve driven around Plano, I’ve noticed things that remind me of home and I’m thankful I’m so busy because I’d probably get pretty down if I allowed those things to cause me to stop and think about what I left behind. In fact, even this blog entry is more of a voluntary distraction than a necessity. I find myself taking solace in the fact that I know I won’t be here, doing this, forever.

The Chronicles of Narnia

I finally bought the box set at Christmas Conference, but I wouldn’t allow myself to begin reading them until I was here in Dallas. As I suspected, I’m already having a hard time putting them down; I had to pull myself away to go brush my teeth a little while ago. I’d forgotten how much fun C.S. Lewis’ stories are to read and I’m already totally engrossed in the plot. I’m surprised how similar the basic premise is to Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings stories: people touch gold rings and suddenly disappear; other people look after those with the rings.

Anyway, I’m really looking forward to plowing through these books as I’ve been anticipating it for some time now.

Buying stuff

I’m glad I left a week buffer before my start-date to do some shopping and furnish my apartment. Already, I’ve found I haven’t enough time in the day to run all the errands and buy all the stuff I need. I’ve been to Target several times and I browsed several furniture stores today. Best Buy is my new home-away-from-home and I spent a good deal of time looking at stuff in other electronics stores (although, surprisingly, Best Buy has the best prices on basically everything). The thing that is most difficult about shopping right now is that I don’t have an internet connection, so I can’t do the research I usually do. It’s rare that I’ll buy something without spending a fair amount of time browsing the web for specs, reviews and bargains; but, without an internet connection, my only recourse is to drive around looking for stores that might sell the stuff I’m after. I generally have a pen and paper in hand and I just write down whatever I need to remember that piece of furniture or electronic thing, so I can make comparisons later. It’s painstaking, frustrating and pretty imprecise.

But the most frustrating thing is that I’m buying only the things I think I’ll need to feel at home, but I still feel like I’m just blowing money. I mean, I’ll be bringing home a decent paycheck soon, but I’m definitely already spending some of that money before I’ve earned it. I’m not accustomed to spending money I don’t have, but I guess it’s ok to make an exception in this situation. I’m trying to exercise as much self-control as possible, so hopefully it’ll pay off.


I’m realizing how fortunate I am to have a large group of friends thinking of me back home. I spent quite a while on the phone tonight with several people and I felt very encouraged while I spoke with them. Some friends, I was just shooting the breeze, seein’ what’s up back home; some friends, I was asking for advice on whether to buy this or that; some friends, I was looking for pointers to help me make this transition as smooth as possible. But all my conversations were encouraging to me and made me thankful that I have such good friends who care about me and are praying for me. I’m sure their prayers and concern will make this time much easier for me.