Monday, June 30, 2014

Six Months In...

I totally missed it last week, but we've been Virginia residents for six months now. Still loving the job (I mean, REALLY); that hasn't changed any, at least not yet. Had my first feature article this past month (well, July; it's *past* for us in that it's on newsstands now). Starting to get used to the idea that I work in the gun business now, rather than in sales; that's a whole post in and of itself right there, but it's really nice not having to hide that I'm a firearms enthusiast. Heck, having my boss "like" my latest acquisition post on Facebook is pretty cool...

The area (NoVA). It's actually pretty comparable to Boston, in the sense that we are close to a large city with museums, sports facilities, etc. We're even the same distance from DC as we were from Boston, so if we want to go into the city for the day, it's entirely doable. One of the harder things to get used to is the concept of county - in New England, the county really doesn't do a heck of a lot other than run the prisons. Here, they're the only police force in our town.

Our specific area (our town + surrounding) is probably a little better than up north. There's a shopping plaza with all kinds of stores (including Lowe's, Target, a warehouse store, and numerous restaurants - and, most important to TheBoy, a GameStop) less than a couple miles from the house, and within a ~ 5-6 mile radius there are at least a half-dozen different grocery stores, a WalMart, and 4-5 gun shops. The only drawback is that we don't have tax-free NH only 20 minutes away any more...


Our neighborhood. Baby Girl G. brought up a really good point at dinner last night, and it's one of the first signs she's starting to accept our new home. She admitted that one of the things she didn't like about our neighborhood in MA is that there was only one other family with kids on our entire street (not entirely true; there were two families with babies/toddlers; but she meant her age). Here? There's a half dozen families with daughters her age within a five minute walk.

The houses are a lot closer together; that's taken some getting used to. Our closest neighbor was ~ 100 feet away; now it's more like 20. Interestingly, our street in VA has about the same number of houses as our street in MA; of course, the street in MA was easily 10X longer... I am *loving* the smaller yard, though. One hour from the time I unplug the mower (nuclear lawnmower!) to the time I'm rolling it back in the garage. I could barely do the trim in an hour.

The kids are at the age where they'd rather play video games or ride their bikes than run around in the yard, so we don't need the space, and it brings up another big distinction: Sidewalks. Up in MA, the only streets that had sidewalks were the state highways. The newer subdivisions had sidewalks, but they would empty onto busier streets with no sidewalks. Here? There are sidewalks pretty much everywhere except the highways. The nearby shopping plaza has a cinema - so TheBoy can ride his bike there or walk with friends.

The traffic. There's no question about it, traffic here stinks on ice. Dealing with the NoVA commute has been the single biggest downside of coming down here, hands down. My commute at my last job, even after we moved to a new facility further from my house, was about the same distance as my current commute. Distance. While it might have taken me 45 minutes on a really bad day before, that's a good day now. And I only live ~ 2.5 miles off the highway, with my work less than a mile off the same highway.

In a similar vein, I'm having to re-learn all the little shortcuts and good local rides on the Harley. It's a good thing. I found myself falling into complacency in MA, where I rarely rode my motorcycle because I'd done all the rides a hundred times. I rode to work maybe once or twice a year. I've ridden to work at least a dozen times in the two and a half months I've had the Harley down here. On the flip side, though, with the hotter temperatures and worse traffic it gets very challenging riding the Harley. I'm looking forward to October a lot more for riding...

The mindset. Obviously, this is another completely different world. We went to Home Depot over the weekend, and I had on a polo shirt with a gun company logo. The guy who helped us took one look, said "Cool. I have one of their rifles," and that was it. I met the father of one of BabyGirl G.'s friends, and he asked me what I did for work. When I told him I worked for the NRA, he mentioned that he was neighbors with an NRA employee, then proceeded to tell me about the guns he owned.

It's certainly not the main reason I moved, but I have to say, it's a helluva nice feeling to cruise Brownells and look at the shipping restrictions and not see my state listed any more. It's also nice to have ammo shipped right to my door (someone posted a link to in-stock .22 LR at Cabela's last week, and I was able to buy the one stinkin' brick they allowed and arrange to have it shipped!). I like being able to purchase new PMags, too... One of the interesting side effects of unfettered access to handguns and rifles alike? Paralysis by analysis. There's so much great stuff out there, I haven't the faintest idea what to get next. I've been slowly rebuilding the guns I sold before I moved, but after that, I have no idea...

We've got one more thing to take care of in MA: We're selling our camper. It's currently at my father-in-law's house, and we've got to figure out what we're doing with it (side note: any one interested in a camper, cheap? Here's the model; ours is a 2008 not a 2009 but it looks *exactly* like that one. Same size/weight/layout, everything). Once we take care of that, all MA concerns are finished. Still a couple things to take care of down here like find an orthodontist for BabyGirl G., but minor stuff overall.

Like the ad for a certain fast food place goes, when it comes to VA, I'm lovin' it...

That is all.

10 comments:

Peter said...

Jay, check your e-mail about that camper.

Dave H said...

Sounds like you're settling in nicely. Well done!

Just out of curiosity, how did you end up moving the Harley?

Bubblehead Les. said...

RE your Future Firearms Purchases: Uh, don't you get to test drive them at the Office? Also, since you live in a Free State, you should be able to find "Slightly Used" models on the Interweb and not have to worry about whether they are "Mass Compliant," eh? Just engage in FREE MARKET CAPITALISM, and you should be set.

Paul, Dammit! said...

That's great news- glad to hear you're settling in. I'm looking forward to my first real visit (other than the insane 5 day marathon move) to my new out-of-MA hometown this week.

LCB said...

If you go to DC, park-n-ride is a good way to do it. The metro system is clean and fast, and you don't have to hunt for parking.

Stretch said...

Driving in NOVA is a ... um ... er ... nope, can't describe it properly on a family site.
And wait until it snows. ABANDON YOUR CARS NOW!

Geodkyt said...

What LCB said -- if you're sightseeing in DC, take the Metro. Ditto for any recreational visits.

If you're shopping (for some unaccountable reason) in DC, drive.

When I was lugging a laptop to and from the DC office in a suit, 3/4ths of a mile to and from the Metro, I ended up sucking it up and driving. I got there about the same time, but wasn't bathed in sweat, and had my car handy to dump crap.

doubletrouble said...

Happy to hear it's (mostly) all good for you & the fam.
Our regards to all.

Ken O said...

Lurray Caverns is a must see. I also recommend Pig and Steak in Gordonsville. Hell, it's Ramadan, get you some.

I'll check my list, if I recall, one of my high school classmates is an extremely well educated, second generation orthodontist in your area.

(Yes I attended high school in VA and once rubbed elbows with the Groton girls)

PhilaBOR said...

6 months and still MA-rooned?