Adventures in moving cross country- Volume 3 : A Trip to Michigan in the Winter

In order to maintain the delicate balance of familial bliss in the Brainses household, it is required that I take about a week away from the rest of the family and travel.  I will go at least out of state, and if lucky, out of country and usually in the Spring. This is not something that was planned, but this February marks the third year in a row and it's working out great. This year it was perfect timing to take my week away to visit my sister and then our new house!

My sister lives in L.A. and we made plans to visit Palm Springs for a fun weekend before I took off to Michigan. In early February.  Packing for this trip might have been the most challenging piece of the whole adventure.

Sunshine Sistertime!

My sister and I shared a lovely few days filled with 80+ degree days, delicious food, the best company and the Museum of Death.  It was also a great lead up to see our new house as my sister had just bought and renovated her house and I was able to get an idea of what the process was and how involved it could be.

I took a red eye from L.A. to Grand Rapids, MI and taking off in the early morning on the final leg from Chicago, it was exciting to see the snow on the ground. It was even more amazing to see the sheets of ice on Lake Michigan as we passed over it. One thing that keeps dominating conversations of the move is how bad the winters are going to be.  Fortunately, the extremely moderate climate of Eugene has primed me to be over the freaking moon about extreme weather.


Landing in Michigan was full of more snow and my mother-in-law, Cathy, picked me up.  I hadn't slept much on the flight, but it was so exciting to be in our soon to be new home and we decided that the day was young and we could make the 1 hour drive from Grand Rapids to Lansing to check it out.

When we got to the house, our first impressions were of awe in how HUGE it was. In Grand Rapids and in Lansing, I noticed how many more multi-storied houses there seemed to be in contrast to to the West Coast. Perhaps it's a heating thing.  Making it more efficient to heat more rooms by stacking them on top of each other.  Or maybe it's a space thing, with larger lots in the "wild west" and therefore, more chance for houses to spread out.  In any case, our house, with it's 3 stories, was larger than all of the other 2 storied houses on the corner it sits.

Pictures cannot do justice to the size of this beast.

The outside of the house seemed pristine as the red vinyl siding seems relatively new.  But as we got to the front door, the shiny veneer faded a bit as it was clear that the house needed a lot of work- like needing locks on the doors instead of just a padlock bolted to the outside. Getting inside furthered that feeling of entering a project that is really big and you just don't really know where to start.  Even with all the floor plans and videos I'd seen- it was still almost disorienting to be inside the house.

We started by walking around the whole house.  Then walking around some more and talking about what might go where.  Then finally, I was reminded that I wanted to take pictures.  Thanks, Cathy!

Going around the house and snapping pics was kind of hard.  How are you supposed to capture a whole room?  What are you supposed to focus on?  What makes a good "before" picture?  With a house so full of projects, there was plenty of things to document, so I did my best to just try to get as much as I could.

I'll go ahead and post as many pictures as I can in the next few volumes.  They will be divided into two categories: "My Favorite Things" and "This House has Issues".


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