15 02 2010

(Mid-Michigan Dining is now SW Michigan Dining….find the new blog HERE)

Well, this is it.  The end to Mid-Michigan Dining.  My last day of scheduled work in East Lansing has come and gone.  I have no idea when or if I will be back in the area, so I’ve decided that I’m no longer going to update here. 

It’s been a fun couple of years.  A lot happened to J and I while we lived in Lansing.  Of course, there’s the big one.  We got engaged and married while living in Mid-Michigan.  J told me the other night that while we’re long gone from our apartment (that we don’t miss at all), we still have the kitchen table where you she found a diamond ring hidden behind a card when she got home from the gym.  I was told we can never get rid of that table. 

There’s a lot I’m gonna miss about Lansing and, of course, a lot I’m not. 

As far as what I’m going to miss, just the location in the state.  I loved that we were pretty centralized to most of the big metro areas.  We were closer to Detroit and Ann Arbor than we are now.  I was much closer to work opportunities at Michigan State.  I spent a good portion of this basketball season at the Breslin Center and I loved every minute of it. 

One of the restaurants we’re really going to miss is Andy’s Deli in Holt.  Not only was there great food, but Andy was a good guy.  I never identified myself to many people, but Andy was one of the few who did know who J and I really are.  The only other people that I’m aware of that know my true identity is Runs With Spatula and her boyfriend.  One of these days, we will hook up with them for drinks or dinner.  Everytime it’s been brought up in the past, J and I have been busy.  We always felt horrible because we never really made any real friends in Lansing.  J’s job wasn’t conducive to socializing outside of work and since I didn’t work with the same people everyday, I didn’t really meet anyone either. 

The one semi-regular job I did have was working for the Lansing Lugnuts last summer.  It didn’t pay worth a crap, but it sure was fun.  I’m glad J and I do alright for ourselves and I was able to do something that I enjoyed doing even if I did only make barely enough to pay the rent.  Before the season started, I considered getting season tickets.  This way, I got to go to every game and actually make a little cash.  Can’t complain about that. 

I enjoyed living in a state capital.  When I worked in the media, one of my favorite things was covering politics.  I looked for whatever reason I could to get sent to Springfield.  Since I didn’t work in the press in Lansing, I didn’t have that same opportunity here, but I loved driving down Michigan Avenue and see the Capitol building in front of me. 

One of the things we both really miss is being close to a couple great outlet malls.  For a while, we made bi-monthly trips to Howell and just discovered the UnderArmour and North Face outlets in Birch Run right before we left.  We’ll probably make a trip there next summer anyway, but now it’s a 2 1/2 drive instead of an hour. 

We discovered Cottage Inn which, even though it’s technically a chain, became our go-to pizza.  We still order from Cottage Inn here in Kalamazoo. 

MIS.  I got J into NASCAR when we started dating and through her work, we were able to get hot passes for NASCAR weekend at MIS.  How close were we, J almost got ran over by Juan Pablo Montoya.  Seriously.  She jumped out of the way at the last minute.  he didn’t slow down at all trying to get back to his garage during Happy Hour. 

As for the bad.  Well, the job situation, obviously.  When I quit my job in Peoria to move with J, I never imagined I would still not be employed full time two years later.  I was told by more than one person that I was over qualified for the few jobs that I am qualified for.  No one wants to hire someone with six years experience when they can hire a kid from MSU for five dollars an hour cheaper.  I was seriously offered a part time job for four dollars an hour less than I was making in Peoria…doing the exact same job.  I was fortunate enough that I had a back-up freelancing.  It’s worked out pretty well, but, like everyone else, I’d like to do better. 

One of the big things I will not miss is the traffic lights in Lansing.  I hated driving around town.  It’s like all the traffic lights are temporary hanging over the middle of the intersection.  When you pull up to the line, you can’t even see the damn things.  You had to stop five feet short and hope it wasn’t sunny.  I was so happy to see Kalamazoo has permanent fixtures.

The Cedar Street exit.  I hated that thing as well.  I lived right off Cedar so I took that ramp all the time.  Someone was seriously drunk when they put that design on paper.  It got worse in the spring when the entire roadway was a series of giant potholes. 

I could go on and rail against our apartment complex who charged us the equivalent of four months rent to break our lease.  Who never fixed lights in the parking lot.  Who blamed us for our cars getting broken into….twice in four months…and when they broke into J’s, they didn’t take anything.  They just smashed the window for fun.  And who we’re pretty sure screwed us over big time on the water bill.  We were getting bills for $40-$50/month for water in Lansing.  Our most recent bill here in Kalamazoo, $5 for an apartment the same size. 

So, that’s pretty much the good and the bad.  It was a helluvan experience for the two of us.  When we left Peoria, we had just started dating.  It had only been seven months or so which surprised so many people.  By the time we left, we were married….only by a few weeks, but still married. 

For the wedding, J bought me cuff links.  One had a map of Peoria on it.  The other a map of Lansing.  Where we met and where we got engaged.  We always knew Peoria would be special to us.  Now Lansing will be as well.  We’ll always have the stories about how we moved together for the first time.  Braved a snowstorm in Indiana that dumped 19″ of snow in a couple hours to get home for a long weekend.  Our trips to Traverse City and Mackinaw Island.  Taking my parents to Canada to gamble.  Tigers games.  Spartans games.  And of course, that Friday morning in May when J’s mom thought she found a mouse because she was screaming incoherently in to the phone, but really, she was trying to say I had just proposed….in my own way 🙂

With that, I’m closing up shop.  The site is not going anywhere.  I still get just about as many hits now and I did when I was actively blogging and I’ve linked to this site from my new blog, SW Michigan Dining.  If you come here for the narrative, move over to SWMD.  And if you’re ever in our neck of the woods, you know where to go to find good eats.