Move to rapid city

When we vacationed in Rapid City last summer, I didn’t expect we’d be living in Rapid City the next year. But that’s what has happened.

Let's go to Rapid City!

The Preparation

The trip began a day earlier for Amie and the boys. Amie picked up her mom at O’Hare around 1:00 p.m. and they immediately drove to the Wisconsin Dells. I’d meet them there the following evening.

Overall, the stay at Mt. Olympus Resort in the Wisconsin Dells was a bust. The hotel was sub-par, the pool was two miles away, and the check-in and hotel were not the same building. Amie might give it a 2/5 if she’s feeling generous. Next time we’ll book the Holiday Inn.

While they spent the day wandering the resort, I was steadily finishing the packing and cleaning. My Uber driver got me to the U-Haul depot early and I waited for them to open at 7:00 a.m. The U-Haul attendant, when she learned I was driving so far, picked out another truck with better tread. Thanks!

Before all our stuff is gone. There's a funny philosophical reflection towards the end. Graham and Amie think so at least.

With the truck secured, next was loading it. Dolly helpers arrived at 9:30 and the four of us hustled to get everything packed by 11:30. I can’t recommend Dolly enough, thank you so much!

Another two hours and our condo was clear and clean. All except the television wall mount. Kati Ray drove me to Home Depot to buy the right tool bit (I must have packed it), then brought me back; after a rain deluge.

And now after everything is out of our condo.
Coffee, check. Snacks, check. 21ft U-Haul packed solid with all our earthly belongings, double-check. Ready!

The Drive

The drive was graciously uneventful. Knowing our history, to have no significant travel problems is a miracle. Thank you for your prayers! I listened to The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson almost the entire way.

Best part about the new home? We have our own tree.

The First Week

I drove up to the house minutes before the walk-through inspection. It’s been a crazy purchase since we’d never seen the place in-person, not even our realtor!, and now I would see it just a couple hours before signing the purchase agreement. The previous owners had cleaned nothing. At least they’d left their washer and dryer. This far along I didn’t know what we could do about it so, when Amie arrived just before 3:00, we drove to the title company and signed everything.

In the morning, with generous help from Amie’s family, we unloaded the U-Haul and began to clean. It didn’t take long before we were cursing the previous owners. Every project they’d ever done in this house was of poor quality and never finished. Paint sloppily dripped on floors and tile, baseboards fastened but not painted, wall patches never sanded and not matching the wall texture. We knew they’d had trouble with renters and moved back into their home to make repairs, but we didn’t realize how badly they would suck at it. Seriously, Graham could do a better job. But that wasn’t the worst of it.

We had hoped it wasn't a fixer-upper. Guess we were wrong...

Amie’s dad rented a carpet cleaner and we set to work on the living room, master bedroom and basement bedroom. The next day, the smell wafting from the basement confirmed why my allergies were abusing me since we arrived; the room reeked of pot. With no other recourse than to tear out the carpet, we got to work on our first renovation less than three days after arrival. It was utterly disgusting. From what we can gather from the soft drywall and red dirt, not only were they smoking pot, they were also growing it.

Our allergies improved significantly after the carpet removal, but we found another problem. Broken asbestos tiles. So now we’re taking every remediation step to seal the tiles. Maybe one day we’ll have a guest bedroom; it’s going to be brand new by the time we’re through!


We’ve been here less than two weeks and are starting to settle a little. Most of our stuff is still in boxes because we’ve had so many urgent projects before we could even think about putting stuff away. But we’ve explored the neighborhood, met some neighbors, driven up into the Black Hills, and… caught COVID.

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