Saturday, May 30, 2009

This is Scott's Fault

We've been here about one week now. We're still alive, but very short on supplies. We've been trying to communicate with the outside world via this homemade transistor radio. We are almost out of batteries. If anyone can hear us...please send food. The natives have been wandering closer to our secret campsite. I fear that soon we will be discovered, and then our true identity will be revealed. Everything will have been for naught.  Wait. I think I hear someone coming.

So Emma has been detailing some of the early parts of our Ohio move.  But really this whole ordeal is my fault.  I can't outrun the truth.  Today was the first day where I accepted my responsibility for what I have done.  So like any adult would do, I took Emma out to see Honda.  

Plus I needed to see how long my commute is going to be.

We're currently living in the northwest area of Columbus. Technically we're in a town called Dublin, just barely outside of the Columbus city limits. We scoot out of our apartment and head over to I-270N. We're only on this road for one exit, then we jump onto I33 West. I'm fairly confident that 33 runs more North/South, based on my ability to read a map, but who am I to question these things? After about 20 miles, we see signs of civilization:

That's right, Honda has its own parkway. We continue onward. Before we get to Honda R&D, we pass the manufacturing center. This is the main manufacturing plant for all of Honda's North American operations. Everything that I will eventually design for Honda will get made in this beast of a facility. Parts are assembled in various plants around the country, but everything gets designed in my building, and then made here.

Honda Manufacturing is so big that it has at least 4 entrances. We drove past Gates A-D, but the biggest building is here at Gate C. And here it is:

This picture does not do justice to the sheer enormousness of the plant. Hopefully this next picture will help.

I'm not sure how big this actually is. I'm hoping they tell me that during orientation next week. But there are about 7 train tracks leading into the place. The light colored section behind the train tracks is a sea of Hondas ready to go somewhere else. Behind the car ocean is the plant itself. Maybe you'll just have to see this to believe it. Not the most subtle carbon footprint.

Finally we get to where I need to go: Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

Here is my business card (not to scale):

I can't get into the building yet because I don't have my employee ID yet. I decide not to rassle with the security, so this is as close as we got.

I'm pretty sure that the security was the same when I drove to Montreal a few years ago.

Hopefully I'll be able to give you some more pictures at a later time. The grounds are actually quite impressive. In addition to the main building, there is a lake with walking path around it, 2 tennis courts, a basketball court, gym, test track, car wash, and a full service shop to service employee's cars as well as do work on the race cars.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ohio Corn

Look, Dad!
This is how corn grows in Ohio!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Orchard, Dah-ling

Welcome to the Orchard, our new (temporary) home! In my head, I always say, "The Ooo-chahd," and flash back to that episode of Friends where Phoebe asks, "Where do you summah?" 

You know which episode I'm talking about. Don't pretend you don't.

Ahem. Moving on.
The infamous front gate. When Scott and I first arrived on Monday, there was no one in the office (Memorial Day) and the gates were open. We had been mailed the keys, so we blithely wandered around the complex until we found our new abode and let ourselves in.

We just as blithely left the (still un-gated) neighborhood, went out to dinner, and then nearly rammed into the now-closed gates on our return journey. It was a bit flummoxing.

Never fear. There's someone on call 24 hours to assist hapless gated-community novices like us. We discovered that we had, in fact, been mailed an access code. Which did, in fact, open the gate. We sheepishly puttered back to our apartment.

Our digs are up on the second floor!
Here's our lovely green front door.
And Scott looking out from our lovely balcony. I'm a little in love with this balcony. Might have to take it with me. Here's the view:
It doesn't look like much and that's because it isn't. We're really really in the middle nowhere here. Right now, the Orchard is at the very front edge of all the new development pushing out into the cornfields and Ohio wilds and whatnot. 

Which is fine with me because I like these trees. They make a really nice swishing sound. Especially when freak storms spring up unexpectedly at about 4:00 in the afternoon.
Right after I took this shot, it rained so hard that you could barely make out the trees. For about five minutes, anyway. And then the sun came out again. 

Oh, crazy Ohio. It's like we never left Boston.

In any case, we've been settling in very slowly the past few days. Unpacking slowly. Exploring slowly. Breathing slowly. Both of our instincts are to jump in and do everything right now and make it all ok as quickly as possible. So we're trying to, well...not do that. We're reminding ourselves that it's ok to take things slow and find a balance between being excited about our new home and really really missing our old home. 

Scott has also been practicing Midwestern driving. So far he's mastered the friendly wave ("No, you go first!") and is beginning to retrain his aggressive-defensive driving instincts. I'm rediscovering the things I love about the Midwest (big skies, Steak n' Shake, friendly strangers) and also the things that...I love not so much (strip malls every few blocks, driving everywhere, feeling like a black sheep). Meh.

So...slowly, right? One step at a time. Ok, now the sun is out. We're off to explore!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Boston to Columbus: The Drive

Driving. Lots of driving. That said, our days weren't so bad. We did a little jaunt out to Springfield on Saturday night, then 6 hours yesterday and another 6 today. Lots of breaks. Lots of scooby snacks. Lots of silliness. 

We stayed in Buffalo, New York, on Sunday night. Although we weren't downtown as we'd expected, our little off-the-highway Holiday Inn Express did have this in the near vicinity:
We could smell the doughnuts driving by, which of course meant that we couldn't drive by. I got a glazed sourcream doughnut. It was so deepfried and drenched in glaze that it actually crunched when I bit into it. Perfect.
Unfortunately, this was all that was left by the time I thought to snap a picture. 

I have no idea if Dickie's is an institution or a random find, but if ever you pass through Buffalo, I highly recommend it: Exit 1 off I-190. You can't miss it. (P.S. Then I'd also recommend continuing on to downtown Buffalo for the rest of your stay, because there wasn't much more going on for this little corner of town...)

Back on the road again this morning. Most of the time our view looked like this:
Not too shabby, though any view is bound to get monotonous after a while. Until you stumble upon something like this:
I think we need a closer look:
Let's discuss this for a moment, shall we? 

We've got Jelly Belly's, a favorite delicious candy, being advertised next to fireworks. Not quite sure how those two go together. And then there's a sign for Steak 'n Shake next to one for something called "Quaker Steak and Lube," which troubles me on many levels. And then in the bottom right corner, we are notified that this is really all just an "Attraction." Indeed. Indeed.

The Steak n' Shake, at least, received a thumbs up.
I do love Steak n' Shake and I'm happy to be back in the land where they are plentiful. I especially love that it hasn't changed one iota since it was my high school hangout. Normally that would be a negative, I know, but not in this case. Here's a hint: for those of you who've tasted my Crack Burgers, the ones at Steak n' Shake are near rivals. Right down to the "secret" dressing.

And right around noon today, we saw this:
Columbus or bust!
Cliffhanger for tomorrow: It's all fun and games until you get gated out of your own gated community...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Moving Day!

Hello from the Holiday Inn Express in Buffalo where the shampoo smells like vanilla frosting and the lotion is labeled "Soothe." Yes, please! But backing up a few days, we thought we'd bring you a few snapshots from moving day.

After being stuck in the traffic for most of the morning (we won't miss that!), the movers showed up Friday morning and got right to work packing, disassembling, and loading.
The crew was really really awesome. They moved too fast to get a good shot of them, so this is the only group photo. That's Todd on the left, then Mikey, then the boss man, Gilberto.
We really couldn't have asked for a better crew. Even though they had to work into the evening after getting off to that late start, they were chipper and careful and took time to chat with Scott and I. As stressful and emotional as it was to watch our belongings get packed away, the respect and attention these guys showed really helped set our minds at ease.

They finished packing up in a few hours and started loading the truck.
Although the movers seemed happy to let us hang out, it was pretty obvious that they had things well in hand. We were really just cramping their style, truthfully.

Since packing our own car didn't really have a lot of appeal...
...things quickly disintegrated into goofiness.
We even got a visit from our favorite neightborhood dog and dog walker. In the five years that we've lived in this neighborhood, this man has never made eye contact or smiled at us despite our escalating attempts to force his hand and the fact that his dog OBVIOUSLY wanted love from us. I surreptiously snapped this shot as the dog walker passed by (still avoiding eye contact as usual, of course).
So mysterious. So intriguing. We'll miss you, strange dog walker man! And your cute dog, too!
Thing were still a little slow, so we decided to do some pro bono modeling work for J Crew.
Until the paparazzi showed up, that is. No paparazzi!

All too soon, the van was loaded. That's all our stuff! It will be going into storage in Ohio until Scott and I find a place of our own. (We're in temporary housing provided by Honda until then. Thanks, Honda!)
Goodbye, stuff! See you in a few months. Eep!
And then it was just me and Scott in an empty apartment.
A very dirty empty apartment.
Guys, this still feels like our apartment.
It feels like we're just on vacation. It feels like we'll be back next week. 112 Bynner Street still feels like home.