Alright, here goes. I am going to try my best to stay motivated enough to write a decent post about my first week in San Antonio. I apologize in advance if I begin to skimp with the details, but my mental state has been slowly deteriorating over the last few days due to my lack of human interaction.
I have officially been in Texas for one week now – I won’t count my arrival last Saturday because I didn’t get into town until after ten at night. I made the drive from Colorado Springs to San Antonio in one shot. I made two stops throughout the course of the fourteen hour trip for gas and to use the bathroom. I left Colorado Springs around eight in the morning and made my first stop in Clayton, New Mexico. Clayton was a smelly and ugly place so I was quick to get back into my car to drive. My car was packed with only a few things really; most of the stuff would just be put into the moving truck after our house is closed on. I made a makeshift clothes bar from some leftover PVC pipe in the garage and hung all of my clothes on it. Everything else was just packed into a medium sized luggage and my backpack. For the drive I had packed some sandwiches, a bag of animal crackers, and two bottles of Gatorade. I also brought a couple of apples and bananas (I like to eat, eat, eat, eeples and baneenees) so I would feel like I was eating healthy.
After leaving Clayton it was only a short while before I hit the Texas border. I initially thought it seemed far too easy to have already arrived in Texas, but it didn’t take long for me to better understand how huge Texas really is. It took some adjusting for me to make the move from Massachusetts to Colorado – Colorado is approximately ten time larger than Massachusetts! So really, Colorado is quite a large place. But then to try and fathom that the state of Texas is two and a half times larger than Colorado? That’s just hard to comprehend without driving through it. And driving through it. And driving through it some more. There is a whole lot of nothing between some of the towns in Texas. There were periods of time where I was the only vehicle on the road for thirty or forty minutes at a time! Most of the drive was at 65 or 70 miles per hour, but as I approached some tiny towns that the highway crossed through the speed limit would momentarily drop to 30. Some of these towns (most of whose names I unfortunately forget) were miles and miles away from any real cities and it made me wonder what those people do to survive out there. For instance, I drove through Wingate, a tiny little town smack dab in the middle of nowhere as far as the eye could see. I honestly have no idea how long it would take for residents of that town to even get to a grocery store. Perhaps they grow their own everything? At one point during the drive I slowed down as I entered another similarly small locale. As I slowly cruised through town I noticed a man sitting out in front of his house – the first human being I had actually seen in any of the little towns I had driven through! It must have been just as exciting for him as it was for me because as he watched me drive by he began waving excitedly as if I were the first car to drive through his town in weeks. Part of me wanted to stop and say hello to this lonely man in his lonely town but the other part of me said that I would be a prime candidate for a missing person… So I continued on.
I also kept track of the temperature as I drove to San Antonio, which was progressively increasing the further south I went. The peak temperature my car showed was 120 degrees! I could not believe that there was a place so hot that didn’t include a harsh sandy desert environment. It was at this point that I considered turning back to Colorado and wondered what I had done by making this decision to move. I was curious as to what 120 degree temperatures felt like, so I opened my window and stuck out my arm to check it out. I was surprised that it didn’t feel nearly as torrid as I had anticipated. I rolled up my window and rethought my decision again. But I soon learned that there is a significant difference between the air temperature when you’re driving seventy miles per hour down the highway and when you are at a complete stop somewhere. Running low on gas, I stopped in Sweetwater, which is known as the Wind Turbine Capital of Texas and is also the home of the world’s largest rattlesnake roundup. I only know this because of the billboards I passed coming into town. I pulled into a Shell station to fill up and before I got out of the car I noted that the temperature outside was a balmy 108. As I stepped out of the car I was immediately overwhelmed by the most miserable, uncomfortable heat I had ever felt. Just hot. No moisture in the air. Just 108 degrees of unpleasant heat. I felt like my sneakers were getting soft on the pavement. It was absurd how unpleasant I felt and how quickly I began to perspire. I filled my tank as quickly as possible and after a quick stop inside the station to use the bathroom and to get a Dr. Pepper for a little caffeine pick me up I was on the highway again.
Not much else to note as it pertains to the actual trip. I arrived in San Antonio after dark so I didn’t even really see the city as I approached. The only other highlight that I saw was a property for sale somewhere along the way. There was a huge sign on the side of the highway that advertised an eight hundred acre property with a private hangar and landing strip. I thought that was pretty cool.
As for my accommodations, I am residing at the home of Adam and Nichole Myers. Nichole is Vanessa Leonard’s cousin and the Myers’ also attend the same church as Crystal’s mother’s cousin Elaine, who had offered her home to Crystal a few weeks back when she came out to look at homes. The Myers’ had a vacation planned that almost totally coincided with my housing needs so it was a perfect fit. I am staying here from my arrival to town on the 25th through July 7th when I close on our new house. They have been more than hospitable to me and more or less gave me free reign over their home while they are gone with the only condition being to feed their fish.
The Sunday after my arrival, after church, I decided to check out the location of my new employer. The campus is only ten minutes from my current living arrangements. The place is absolutely and ridiculously huge. I would later find out that the campus covers 286 acres and the building contain more than three million square feet of space. The next morning I was able to truly discover how large the place was – after finding the main entrance I was guided to the staffing department who soon thereafter whisked me and about fifty other new employees up some stairs and down a huge hallway that seemed to go on for hours. I was immediately reminded of an airplane hangar. There were tons of people walking this way and that, as well as a number of small golf cart type vehicles and adult sized tricycles cruising around. I tried to absorb everything I could but was quickly overwhelmed by the amount of goings on I observed. And this was only one floor of the building! I think there are five or six floors total in the main building. There is also multiple fitness centers, stores, and cafeterias including a Chic-Fil-A, Subway, and Wendy’s – right on site. I spent the majority of the week in a new employee orientation class where I learned about the mission, values, and goals of the company as well as the benefits offered. The benefits, by the way, are spectacular. On Thursday afternoon we completed the orientation and were picked up by another trainer specific for those working in the bank environment. I anticipate another six weeks of training for my particular job, which I will begin on Tuesday morning. All in all, I am quite impressed with the company, how they do business, and how well they take care of their employees.
I haven’t done anything else really. I’m not all that enthusiastic about going exploring only because it’s not as fun without someone to go with. On top of that, I don’t really know where to go! I am not feeling like a tourist, so I have avoided the Alamo so far. On Saturday, I decided to avoid the potential insanity that might come from sitting around the house by myself all day long. I picked a few random local businesses as an excuse to get out of the house but also as an opportunity to see the town. So I went to the following stores:
- Game Over Video Games – Specializes in retro video games and systems. It was fun to look around and reminisce.
- Thrift Town – Kind of like a Goodwill, just a little more dingy. Lots of odds and ends.
- Second Looks Men’s Clothing – This was a cool place. Suits, dress shirts, etc. all on consignment. Very inexpensive for very nice suits.
- Hog Wild Records – A (mostly) heavy metal music store. Great employees who just talked and talked and gave me a few new recommendations.
- King’s Court Frankfurter Express – Awesome! A real hot dog place with a nice assortment of dogs. All Vienna beef products too. I had a “Dogfather” – beef dog, sauerkraut, Texas chili, and bacon. It was really good. They also had Mexican Coke which added to the deliciousness of the lunch. The owner was really nice too.
After that I went over to the new house and met with our realtor to take a quick look at the house. I felt bad doing so because the owners were packing and stuff, but Crystal thought it would be a good idea to see it in person. So I did. What a nice house. I am excited to move in although it is so darn big – just under 3000 square feet – I don’t know what we’re going to fill it with. One thing is for certain… We will need a new couch because our current couch is going to look terrible in the house. Oh well. One day at a time.
And there you have it. I’ve spent the rest of my time watching movies or television – thank goodness for Netflix. That has certainly kept me entertained during these long days. Lots of Doctor Who. :) This coming Thursday is the closing on the house, assuming Wells Fargo does their job. Then, Saturday morning I go to the airport for the super early flight and meet with the family and the moving truck at the Colorado Springs airport where we will be headed back down to San Antonio as a complete family.
The end for now.