Sunday, July 08, 2007

More buses...

We've taken the bus a lot lately. Today, we took it to our other house in Riverwest. But before we did that, we just missed the bus, so we had to wait 25 minutes. In the sun. With little shade. But we had cold water (with lemon, even).

We got to the house and found our miracle man, Steve, already there. The place is looking great. I can't believe we couldn't move back in. That's what kills me.... We met the woman who owns the house across the street. She's looking out for us. And so is the guy next door, who hasn't liked out previous two tenants, but then again, neither have we.

We had an appointment for someone to see the house, but they spent about 2 minutes inside and then let us konw that they really wanted something more modern. Okay. We've got someone else set up for tomorrow that sounds promising, and the woman across the street has a friend who is interested, but can't afford the rent we want.

The good news, we got to use our transfers to take the bus back - we just made it under the time wire. It's the little things that are important, right?

Car Shopping

Looking for a car wihtout a car is challenging. Yesterday, we took the bus, two buses actually, and then walked a mile to the Honda dealer. On the way, we passed all the other dealerships and thought maybe we shouldn't even bother ith a Honda if we had to walk so far (and it was 94 degrees out).

We got to the Honda dealer. They introduced us to Brett, a former financial planner, now car salesman. I thought there was an obvious answer to the most obvious question, but Ronnie was the one who asked it. "So why did you leave financial planning?" Brett replied that he's in a band and needed to be able to travel. I'm pretty sure he just wasn't good at it.

We asked to drive a Civic and a Fit. Reality check on the fit - he said no one test drives them and that there's a 6 month wait and that they are selling for $750 over the MSRP. I asked why their website said they had two in inventory, and he said they were sold. That's annoying.

So we were left with a Civic. He couldn't find the keys to the red one we wanted to drive, but found the keys to a beige one. It had no gas in it, so the three of us got in and drove next door to the gas station. He then said, "Why don't you guys drive around and bring it back when you're ready?"

Ok. We had introduced ourselves but not given him any real information. No driver's license, no phone number, no nothing. But here were were driving this car around. I thought that given our walk, one of us should should drop the other off at the Toyota dealership and then just head back when we returned the car. Or at least we should pick up lunch or something.

Test drive over, we walked down to Toyota. There, the salesman sat in the back seat when we drove the Corolla and the Yaris. He didn't seem particularly rattled by either of our driving. I think we just didn't try hard enough....

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Back on the Bus

I had to go to both the library and the bank today. The catch - they're in opposite directions and I don't have a bike lock. Well, I have a bike lock, but I don't have the key to bike lock, so I may as well not have a lock. But I digress.

It's a hot day out and I was willing to ride to one location (and back) but not both. The library is a much shorter trip, but there's no where to leave my bike while I was in the library. I would be able to bring my bike into the bank (to the lobby, not all the way to the counter), but I still had to get to the library.

My choices:
  • walk to the library and back. Get my bike and go to the bank.
  • bike to the library and back. Walk to the bank (~2.5 miles one way, and it's really hot out)
  • bike to the libary and then to the bank (again, it's really hot out)
  • walk everywhere -doable, but I needed to make sure that I had time to actually walk to the bank before they closed.

And then I hit on solution number five.
  • walk to the library and take the bus to the bank.

This proved to be the winner, and, because I got a transfer and was efficient in the bank, I got a bus back about 15 minutes after I got dropped off. It was the same bus driver and he looked at me a little funny, but he was pretty funny-looking to start with.

The buses here have what I like to call Bus TV. They might call it that too, I have no idea. It's a screen that has local news, weather, and a map of the bus route and where you are at any given moment. The map is only helpful if you know where along the route you have to go, but it's a nice feature.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Shorewood is going to the dogs

There are a lot of dogs here. Thankfully, unless you see the actual dogs, there is little evidence of their existence outside of a big dog bowl of water outside of most of the stores. I was out for an early bike ride today and on my way back, the dogs (and their owners) were coming out for their morning walks. At dusk tonight, I went for a walk, and there they all were again, going for their evening walks.

In some cases, it was not clear who was walking whom.

Monday, July 02, 2007

other good things about Milwaukee

Phone numbers are generally only seven digits. It's unusual to hear someone first give a different area code.

The grocery stores sell whitefish.

People who have been here for generations have serious accents.

The temperature in the summer (at least so far) is usually in the 70's.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


We're living here right now sans automobile. I think we could mainly get by without one, but it would be more convenient if we had one. For a while now, I've been interested in buying a hybrid for our next car. It's less about saving money on gas and more about using less fuel in general. But they are SO expensive! And I wonder if the same energy costs go into manufacturing them as go into other gas guzzlers.

Right now, we're using the hybrid model of walk/bike/bus. I somehow convinced Ronnie to go out for a walk tonight. It's actually kind of cold out, but 2 miles later, you don't notice it so much. And yesterday I took my bike out for the first time. It's generally flat around here, but the small hills that there are, are long! I should have gone back out today, but I can still feel yesterday's ride in my rear end. I also tried the bus. It was pretty easy to use, clean and my only complaint was that the driver didn't wait until I sat down (with my groceries) to start moving again. It's a good thing I hadn't bought eggs.

Trader Joe's

There is a Trader Joe's in Milwaukee. And it is good. It's not within walking distance, but the bus goes there pretty quickly. And three blocks away is Schwartz's. One of the last independent bookstores around. We walked over last night and hung out for a while. I can see that happening often.

The apartment is sort of starting to come together. Slowly. If living among too much stuff constitutes starting to come together. We haven't hung any pictures yet. I'm waiting to finish moving furniture to do that. And it turns out there's a reason (actually two) I have crappy phone reception in my office - solid, old construction on the house in general, and probably too many layers of old lead paint in between the main phone and the office.

But again, the good news is that Milwaukee has a Trader Joe's....