Archive for September, 2011

Houston to Austin

Saturday, September 17th, 2011
Melancholy

Melancholy

You may be wondering how I ended up in Austin from my last post.  I do realize that I tend to post my experiences somewhat out of order, however since I have not been big into blogging, I tend to share the experiences as I find both the time and the words to put to the blog for each experience.

I arrived in Houston on May 28 and started my new job on May 30.  Yes on a holiday, which also happens to be my birthday.  So to me that was a very awesome birthday present to have after such a long dry spell of unemployment.

After my two week training was completed, my roommates took a trip to Austin and San Antonio.  They were so excited about their visit to Austin that they decided they wanted to move there to continue their college studies.  Both are from much drier climates than I am so they did not appreciate Houstonian humidity the way I did.  To me it was what saved me from heat exhaustion in the triple digit temperatures.  To them it was like swimming through dense fog.

Shadow

Shadow

One of my roommates decided that I should also see Austin for myself and help in selecting potential apartments for housing.  Thus on the fourth week of my employment, I swapped a few days of my shift around to open up three days to match my roommate’s scheduled time off.  My roommate swapped one day to give a little more time.

Against the wishes of my roommate, I decided that I wanted to drive.  This meant getting the other rear tire replaced with a fairly decent used tire.  We left straight after work to take care of everything we needed and hit the road.  Arriving late in the evening at the hotel, we checked in to our room and searched the TV for something to watch.  Disappointed in the variety of entertainment after a short time, we turned to my roommate’s PlayStation for some Portal 2 multiplayer experience.  Then we retired for the night with a movie to fall asleep to  X-Men.

The next day we spent contacting prospective apartment managers for details regarding lease agreements.  We selected eight to check on, then went to the front desk to see if the clerk had any recommendations.  One of our selected stops was given a less than favorable neighborhood review, so we scratched it off the list.  Before lunch we traveled to the three most distant apartment complexes to the north of the hotel, returning to grab a bite to eat and cool off.  Back out into the heat, we visited the last four locations.  These were all south of the hotel and in close proximity to each other.  All looked nice, however one agent did not have a preview apartment available until the next day and was less than congenial with us.  We did not return to that location for a preview.

Before heading back to the hotel, we stopped for dinner and visited a nearby Blockbuster to check on PS3 multiplayer game rentals.  We found two games and my roommate rented them for five days.  We found Borderlands to be more entertaining than the other game and played several hours that night.  Then we fell asleep to another movie.

Our second day was more relaxing as we decided to drive around and explore Austin after our very productive first day search.  My roommate wanted to visit a Celtic shop and I found a Native American shop and a bead shop in the visitors guide.  We also drove up to the trail head at Mount Bonnell and hiked to the top to enjoy the view.  Then we returned to the hotel to eat lunch and cool off again.  Our afternoon was spent at Austin Park, earning tickets, playing miniature golf, riding bummer boats, and more. After eating some pizza at the Park and cashing in the tickets, we decided to return to the hotel and play Borderlands followed by the nightly movie.

Intending to return the games right before we left Austin, we did stop by that Blockbuster.  My roommate purchased Borderlands and found that the other could be returned at a Blockbuster in the Houston area. About halfway back to Tomball (Northwest of Houston), the tread on the tire I had replaced in Comanche separated.  While it was still drivable for a little while, it was definitely not going to last long.  Using my roommate’s cell I called around until I found a place with a Service Truck within a reasonable traveling distance.  The service truck arrived about an hour later and we were back on the road again.

Upon returning to the trailer, we found the Borderlands game was just not the same on the CRT as it was on the big flatscreen in the hotel room.  My roommate bought a flatscreen and finished the single player version of Borderlands a few days later.  The next payday I purchased two new tires for my truck and reserved the two used tires for potential future spares.  I also acquired a new cell phone.

Zipina

Zipina

A little over two weeks after our visit to Austin, we were transferred from the Houston office to the Austin office.  Now I had one roommate as the other had already decided to move in with her boyfriend in San Antonio.  We completed our packing, rented a U-Haul trailer and started loading it up. We did make one last recreational event the night before we left Houston.  The Dogz were playing that night.  I will expand that story in another post.

By the time we had the U-Haul all loaded, the sun was setting.  I was battling a severe headache or migraine – it was hard for me to tell which with the heat and packing.  We made a couple quick stops in Tomball and nearby for a few supplies and refreshments before we headed into the sunset.

A little over halfway to Austin, my roommate pulled over at a travel center and I followed with my truck and the U-Haul.  We parked off to the side and out of the way.  I took some medication for the headache and proceeded to work the kinks out of my neck and shoulders.  It was an hour before I was able to resume travel, however it was a little over an hour’s travel to the extended stay hotel.  We stopped once more just before our route change and checked GPS.  The last few miles went by real fast and we arrived at the hotel around midnight.

After checking in, we grabbed a few necessary items and hauled them up to our room, then crashed for the night. The next day we dropped by our work office and checked in.  Then we unloaded the U-Haul at a short term storage unit and returned the trailer.  Everything we’d use while in the room was either in my truck or in the hotel room.

The next three weeks in Austin were spent in that room while we checked in with the apartment manager we had selected and worked our shifts.  The deposit for that apartment had been amended making it unaffordable to us and we lost the deposit due to a loophole in their wording.  We tried getting into another apartment complex from our list, but they gave us a runaround before taking our application fee and telling us we were not approved.  They did return the money order and the first place referred us to an apartment finder.  The agent worked quickly to make arrangements to get us into a third apartment complex.  Three days later the lease was signed and we moved in.  In the end we paid about one and a half times our monthly rent for the three weeks in that extended stay hotel.

That was my welcome to Austin.

I do not have any photos of the fourth four-legged roommate, Madison the ferret.  She passed away in San Antonio earlier this month.  She was a very sweet, outgoing little white ferret of advanced age (2003-2011).