Monthly Archives: January 2012


So we flew home expecting to be sent to Phoenix on our return to California. However, two days before our flight back to Vegas we were told we’d be going to Hallock, MN instead. It’s funny- apparently they were going to send someone else from the Cali job there, but he threatened to quit, so they sent us in his place. Stupid games you can play in this company. From all the stories I’ve heard, if you threaten to quit when you don’t get what you want, chance are they’ll give in to your demands. The problem comes with the possibility that they’ll just reply “ok, nice working with you” instead. We’re not ready to risk this job just to go to Phoenix for a month. The downside with Hallock is that it is essentially in the middle of nowhere. Also, the population is roughly 950 people. Everything we’d heard pointed to it being really hard to find a place to live, so I was not looking forward to this move.

So we got back to Brawley and got all our stuff packed up. We ended up leaving on the afternoon of the 4th. We got as far as Holbrook, AZ the first night. It was really late when we stopped, and the first hotel actually kicked us out. It was so bizarre. We went into the office, and the guy asked for an address. I questioned back “why” and he basically went off on us, saying “haven’t you ever been to a hotel before” and some other stupid questions. I tried to hand him my ID so he could have the address, but he apparently would have rather had me tell him or something, and said “get out”. One of the craziest things to ever happen. So… don’t try to stay at the Travelodge in Holbrook, the dude is nuts. After that we got back in the car and drove across the street to another hotel, who seemed to be fine with us.

The next day we drove all the way to Colorado Springs, to stay with Dan’s aunt and uncle- Gina and Jason. We got in around 8:30pm, and basically had some food and talked for a while before heading to bed. The next day we decided to stay in the area, as my car needed an oil change and Dan’s alternator had been giving him trouble. So we took care of those and got to spend more time with everybody. We went to supper with his other cousin, Carmen who also lives in the area. Then we came back to Jason and Gina’s for dessert and played a game with them called “Wits and Wagers”. It was pretty fun.

The next morning we headed out again, and drove to Omaha, NE. Dan’s other cousins- Bill and Lacey moved there recently, so we found their apartment and stayed with them. We grabbed dinner at a nearby brewery then came back to the apartment and talked until way later than we planned to stay up. In the morning Lacey made a yummy peach french toast casserole. We hit the road again and headed east a bit more to find another of Dan’s cousins, Jeremiah.

Apparently he lives on a farm east of Omaha, and we needed to drop off his motorcycle, which we had rescued from a storage unit in El Centro. We found the place, met three of the dogs that also live on the farm- a retriever, a basset hound and a St. Bernard. We unloaded the bike and rearranged some of our stuff to balance the weight and were off again. It was a long day of driving, and we didn’t make it to Hallock until about 11pm.

We drove around town a bit, getting a feel for the three hotels there. Two are pretty run down and junky, but the third seemed decent. The price wasn’t too bad for a couple nights, but they didn’t offer weekly rates, which worried me, since most of the leads on housing seemed to come up empty.

Thankfully, Josh was able to find a two bedroom apartment in this 8-plex that a few other guys were living in. It’s nothing fancy- pretty dated, the carpet has lots of stains, and I even had to clean all the counters and scrub the shower tiles before we moved everything in. However, it’s a place to live with a kitchen. There is no way we’d be able to live in this town without a kitchen- there’s only two restaurants plus a gas station to eat at. That would get really annoying and unhealthy.

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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


end of 2011

I’ll start off with Thanksgiving. We ended up holding a gathering at Amy’s, (Zach’s girlfriend) house in Brawley. Tim fried a Turkey, and everyone else brought food and drinks. Everything was delicious and we hung out until pretty late at night. We sort of watched some football, but it was really nice outside, so most of the time we just sat around and talked out there. After it got dark, we mostly played beer pong and continued talking. It was pretty surprising to see Amy’s 17-year-old daughter playing beer pong too, but I guess since it was supervised, it wasn’t a huge deal. Definitely not something that would have happened at my house, but oh well. It’s interesting seeing how other people live. One of the cool things about all the travelling with this company.


December was a rollercoaster. It started off with the superintendent for the Brawley job encouraging anyone who wanted to take time off for Christmas as everyone was expected to stay thru January. Then about a week into the month, things changed. We were told that as soon as we returned from our vacation, we’d be off to the next job. Very stressful when they wouldn’t pin down where they wanted us to be. Dan had talked to another superintendent who was running a job in Ohio about heading there and he seemed like he wanted Dan on his crew. So we planned on that for a while. Then, soon before we needed to fly our drive out, the office told us that we’d be going to Phoenix instead. That was tough. It looked like we’d be close to home for a while and then instead they decided to keep us essentially on the West Coast. So we packed up some things, then got ready to fly home for Christmas out of Vegas.

On Thursday, December 15th, Dan finally got his appointment for the tattoo he’d been wanting with Corey Miller of Six Feet Under Tattoos. The appointment was for 7pm, so we hauled butt over to Upland as soon as Dan got home from work. We “checked in” at the shop then went to get some food. He ended up not getting to the back room until around 9pm, but finally he was getting prepped. Corey was nice, and quick. Dan’s whole tattoo took right around an hour and a half. He got an eagle feather with the initials “J” and “S” for his grandpa John Smits. The significance is that Dan was the dark-haired, dark-eyed grandkid among all the blonds of the rest of the family, so he called Dan his “little indian”. After it was done, we had to drive the 3 hours back to Brawley and get some sleep in preparation for our trip home the next night.


On December 16th, Dan got out of work a bit early, we finished packing up our suitcases and loaded the Civic and drove to Vegas. When we arrived it was a bit early for the flight, so we got dinner, figured out parking at the Luxor, where we’d stay after we flew back. Then we took at taxi to the airport, got checked into our flight and went through security. By this time it was probably 11pm-ish. Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until about 1:30am. Eventually we boarded and departed. I assumed I’d be able to fall asleep- not the case. I could not find a comfortable spot, and Dan only got sporadic naps. Finally we arrived in O’Hare after what felt like the longest flight ever, even though it was only around 3 hours. Before we could land, we got placed in a holding pattern due to a bit of snow hanging around. 

From O’Hare we found the train terminal for the Blue Line into downtown. We rode that until we were at a stop close to the Millenium Station, and then hiked the few blocks to there. It was snowing some large flakes now, which were pretty, but the wind was chilly. Definitely not used to the cold weather, coming from the warm desert! Finally we were able to board the South Shore train to Michigan City, where Sheena picked us up. Still not much sleep, though I got maybe a half hour on the train. We went with Sheenz to a restaurant for lunch, then headed to her place to hang out for a while. Around 5ish my parents drove down to get us, and we drove up toward G.R. On the way we decided to surprise my grandparents and aunt, which was fun. They definitely weren’t expecting us to show up like that. Then we left and got some supper with my parents. By the time we got home and settled, it was probably 10pm, it’s hard to believe we made it through the whole day with so little sleep. The bed felt amazing once we fell in.

The rest of the Christmas break was great. We got to see several friends, and both sides of my family. I dragged Dan to Brewery Vivant for drinks, which was fun. We also went to Craig’s Cruisers with my family- played laser tag and went on go-karts. The day after Christmas we went to Fred Meijer Gardens with Dan’s family. It was the first time we’ve been since the wedding, so that was cool. It was a nice sunny day, so we did a good amount of walking around the sculpture park.



On the 30th, Dan’s brother, Josh drove us first to the Livery in Benton Harbor for lunch, where we dropped of some beer for my friend, Sawyer, who brews there. Then we went back to O’Hare airport for our flight back to Vegas. It was delayed a bit, but in the end it was a decent flight. Still not fun because I had a bad cold and my ears wouldn’t pop, but finally we were back on the ground. We got back to the Luxor and headed up to the room which we were sharing with one of Dan’s coworkers and his girlfriend. After getting some food I passed out and Dan went to hang out with the other coworkers who were also in Vegas. 


 We had a fun New Year’s Eve. In the afternoon we drove over to go see the Hoover Dam. They have a cool new bridge that has a pedestrian area which overlooks the dam. Then we went over and actually walked on the dam itself and checked out the giftshop. It has some really cool examples of the art deco style of architecture and design.
We went to see Zumanity (one of the Cirque du Soleil shows) in the evening, then met up with the guys at a place in the Excalibur called the Lynyrd Skynyrd bar. At midnight they passed out leis and noisemakers and champagne. It was fun and thankfully the extra sleep the night before helped me feel almost normal again, though I still managed to butcher my feet a bit by wearing heels again. I really need to just not pack any when I go to Vegas. 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Uncategorized