Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bonafide Iowans

The last box being unpacked, I am at last able to emerge from the cardboard time-warp in which I spent the last week, and tell you about our lives.

We're in Iowa! Isaac is getting his MBA here, so we're committed for two years.

Here's a general overview. Feel free to scroll through the headings if some of the topics seem boring.

New Couches and a Real Apartment

Our apartment has been a "real" apartment for over 40 years, but as we arrived without any furniture and lived that way for 5 days, then had 4 more days before our couches arrived and the last box was unpacked, our apartment felt more like a glorified camping spot than a civilized abode.

But no more! Here's proof:

Camber and Isaac on their brand-new couches. Well, brand-new on Friday. They've been sat on a few times at the time of this picture.

I include this picture only as a testament to my hardships of this week. Cabinet space in the kitchen is minimal, so getting almost every kitchen gadget and morsel of food into this room required several trips to Walmart, some black mold (ewwwww), a brief moment of crisis questioning modern prophets and their counsel to keep so much food storage, and several meltdowns (sorry, Isaac!).

Another view of our lovely front room (please note the natural lighting. We have sworn off basement apartments for life!)

Our office and the world's most complicated "some assembly required" desk. This took us about 5-6 man-hours to complete. (Let's call them gender-neutral hours, because I want a little credit in the assembly).

The adorable view out the back of our apartment. Iowa oozes green from every crevice. It's beautiful!

And last but not least, a tribute to my little brother: the very first decoration I put up. Justin, you are a handsome, handsome man.


I have a job! I start in two weeks, and will work on the cardiology and thoracic/vascular surgery floor at the hospital. For my non-medical readers, thoracic surgery basically involves anything in the chest--heart, lungs, esophagus, etc. Vascular surgery involves blood vessels--veins, arteries, stuff like that. I'll be taking care of patients after surgery and will get to learn a LOT.

A few weeks of unemployment gives a person time to reflect on the benefits of having a job. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss working!  I'm in a new place where I don't know very many people, being outside makes me sweat excessively, and touring the sights costs money or begs companionship. Even though I'll have unnatural hours (12 hour shifts, 2 weeks of nights every 6 weeks), I'm excited to come home feeling like I worked hard and accomplished something truly useful. I'm excited to have some structure to my week, and even a little sense of urgency to help me waste less time. I'm excited to feel like I'm progressing and learning new things--which is partly why I felt so attracted to the cardiology unit, even though it's a change from what I did before. And I have a sense of how profoundly difficult un-planned unemployment must be.

Iowa and all its quirks

-Everyone drives the speed limit. The speed LIMIT. Not five over, or 15 over like in Utah.

-90 degrees in Utah=a little on the warm side. Wear shorts if you want. 90 degrees in Iowa=Are girls allowed to sweat that much?

-Cicadas. Really loud background noise. All the time.

-Turns out that the old saying "when it rains, it pours" is not just figurative. I think it originated as a description of the weather patterns in Iowa.

-Carl's Jr. is "Hardee's," Dreyer's ice cream is "Edy's," and the local grocery store is called "HyVee". HyVee? Please tell me that's not named after a person...

-People are nice here! There are nice people outside of Utah!

-No Cafe Rio ANYWHERE. Chipotle, you're good, but you're not Cafe Rio. Panchero's, I haven't figured out what the difference between you and Chipotle is. Is life really worth living?

-Back to the HyVee--it has a large dining area and the most extensive deli and salad bar ever. If you want Chinese take-out or southern-fried chicken, it's all there. I think people actually go out to dinner at the grocery store. Huh.

-No sprinklers. Apparently grass just grows because it self-waters from the rain. I'm having a hard time wrapping my brain around that concept.

The Verdict

Good. Very good.


  1. Yay! I'm so glad you're all moved in and settled! And you have a job! That was really quick!

    Congratulations on Isaac starting school yesterday!

  2. Oh, P.S. I used to work on a vascular floor and it was interesting. Lots of diabetic foot ulcers though, which was kinda nasty...

  3. Welcome to the Midwest! I love it for many of those reasons you stated above. We've been living in the Midwest for the last 4 years and will be here for the next 4 years. I love the greenery, trees, and flowers, the NICE people (of course there are nice people outside Utah! I think the ward families are more like FAMILY too!), the parks, the historic places, the humidity in the spring and fall (warmer Halloweens!, less chapped hands, and silkier hair) but not the muggy summers and bone-chilling winters. The cicadas are only out for about 2-3 months, so you can just wait it out and you'll hear the birds chirping again soon enough. As for the Mexican food, you may have to make trips back to Utah to enjoy any of that. ;)

  4. Camber and Issac!

    Hey there, old friends. :) I found your blog through my friend Triana's...and it turns out that she's your friend too!

    Welcome to the Midwest! We have been here in Kansas for just over a year (Brian is in year 2 of 3 at the University of Kansas), and your observations are EXACTLY like ours! HyVee has the biggest salad bar I've ever seen... and the concept is still a bit odd to us. And, darn the lack of Cafe Rio! Our Costco does carry the uncooked tortillas, but that's only one of many components that have left a real void in our lives...

    Sounds like things are going well for you guys. Hope this finds you well!

    Alicia (and Brian) Mathias