Monthly Archives: May 2008

Goodbye, Lincoln

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It’s been a exhausting weekend for both Vivian and me, as we both moved out of our apartments completely this weekend and now have a two-bedroom home bursting at the seams with all of our accumulated stuff. It had for both of us to say goodbye to our old apartments. I’ve lived at Fountain Glen for six years now, which apparently is an eternity for an apartment. I’ve had a whole lot of memories of that little place, but hopefully many more in my new home in Omaha.

In the process of moving, I discovered the easiest way in the world to give away large pieces of furniture: forget about Goodwill and post the item on Craig’s List. Goodwill refused to pick up my bed frame because the drawer fronts were coming off, and Vivian couldn’t get them to pick up a perfectly good computer desk in Omaha on a Saturday. I thought both of our things would be headed for the dumpster when I tried Craig’s list. Within minutes of placing an ad for my free bed, I had a dozen or more people calling me wanting to pick up it. It was gone by that afternoon. I did the same with Vivian—I placed an ad close to midnight on Friday, and fifteen minutes later, a guy calls wanting to pick up the desk. Where charity fails, Craig’s List prevails.

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Before moving out, I had to stop by and say goodbye properly to Mike and Bekah, two close friends of mine since about the time I moved here in 2002. I’ve been able to watch their two kids Drew and Alexa growing up, and now they have a third one on the way. We used to see each other all the time, but now it’s going to be a rare occasion as I’ll be living fifty miles away. We spent the evening having dinner, then playing “airplane” on an old car seat outside and drawing with chalk on the driveway.

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On Saturday night, we attended Becky and Gabe’s reception at Chez Hay in downtown Lincoln. Becky’s been an estranged Jitterbug for sometime, and it has been fairly convenient for Vivian to drive down to see both me and her at times for a bridal shower or Mardi Gras party. We’ll hopefully be able to see her again soon, perhaps on a swing night at the Pla-Mor ballroom.

Moving on up!

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It was an historic weekend in the life of Matt Johnson. I just got a new job in Omaha, and after six long years of living at Fountain Glen, I’m finally moving out! A bunch of my amazing friends from the Omaha Jitterbugs came to help me move all of my worldly possessions into a fourteen foot trailer, then move them all up the World’s Most Annoying Staircase to our new second-floor apartment in Omaha. I expected the ordeal to take all day, but after just a couple sweaty, exhausting hours, we were stuffing our faces with Papa Murphy’s upstairs and then heading back to Vivian’s place for a celebratory swim. Every weather forecast had been predicting rain all weekend long, but the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It was one of those rare occasions when I was grateful that they couldn’t predict the weather accurately even one day in advance.

IMG_9521.JPGThe rest of our three-day weekend was about as nice as you could expect: dinner at the Brazen’s Head pub after our swim, then Lindy in the Park on Sunday. Cliff brought some great cheddar wurst dogs, and we got to have Ted and Wally’s ice cream afterwards. The weather went from cold and cloudy to hot and muggy within an eye blink. It makes you wonder what happened to spring.

I now have one more week to scrub down my apartment before turning my keys back to the management, and I have just two more weeks at Land and Sky before I start my new job in Omaha. Before long, I’ll be married. Boy, when things change, they change fast.

Signing the lease

IMG_9252.JPGVivian and I signed the lease on our new two-bedroom apartment last week, so now it’s official: I’m moving up to Omaha! It’s been an insanely busy week as I’ve been packing and digging through years of old stuff in my apartment. I’ve thrown out loads of old comics and magazines, I’ve donated dozens of books to our local library, and I’m still discovering more junk to dig through. It’s going to be a monumental challenge to cram all of this stuff into one new place, especially since we’ve discovered our new home’s utter lack of closet space. It’s all a part of marital bliss, I suppose.

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All this packing up means I’ve had to miss out on a couple fun things in Omaha, such as Eric’s first campfire party and an impromptu barbecue at Hugh’s. However, I couldn’t possibly miss the first Lindy in the Park of 2008! I drove up to the Gene Leahy Mall and enjoyed a couple hours of dancing with a nice big crowd. The weather was perfect for it, too.

Afterwards, Vivian and I dropped by Nebraska Furniture Mart to try out a Land and Sky latex bed. We dropped by the apartment afterwards to unpack a couple things and start filling out the “what’s wrong with this apartment” sheet for the landlords. It seems our previous tenants broke the garbage disposal by stuffing it with a number of foreign objects.

Apartments and Cheesecake

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It was a busy weekend for some of our Omaha Jitterbugs. They hosted a weekend of swing dancing and workshops from some Cowtown veterans: Peter Loggins, Mia Goldsmith, Shannon, and Bill Butler. Vivian and I just went for “regular old JNO” on Friday night, which happened to include a Jack and Jill dance competition, which was fun to watch. Afterwards, practically the entire Eagle’s Lodge wound up going to Village Inn. I squeezed into a table with Eric, Dan, Meg, Ben, Vivian, and our friend David from Sioux Falls. We also managed to fill three other tables with Jitterbugs that night. With this extra business, we’ll probably pull VI out of bankruptcy.

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Saturday was a pretty eventful day for Vivian and me. We took a look at a couple more apartments and finally settled on one to call our new home. We signed the application and should have a one-year lease all taken care of this week. It wasn’t an easy decision—every place we looked at had something to offer—but this our new home will offer the best of just about everything. We returned home for a private blues dance lesson with our friend David, and then Vivian made some yummy cheesecake for her mom for Mother’s Day.

We rounded off the night eating spicy breakfast burritos and watching The Village on DVD. That was a nightmare-inspiring combination if I’ve ever heard one.

Springtime birthdays

Spring is finally in the air as a long winter that made Narnia look downright tropical takes a backseat to warmer days. May is also a popular month for birthdays, it seems, as we had a number of them last night at Great Adventures batting around a piñata for Cinco de Mayo.

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I had quite a bit of fun with friends in Lincoln and Omaha over the weekend. On Friday, I went with Vivian to have gizzards for the first time at Popeye’s on Dodge. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of them, but they were quite good with honey (and very sticky). At JNO, we had a special jam circle for the graduating class of 2008, so I got a chance to take with a few of the lady seniors in our circle.

Saturday, Vivian and I took a look at a few more apartments. For some reason, the apartments just south of Omaha in the suburb of La Vista all seem to be much nicer and much less expensive that the older apartment in midtown Omaha. We both really like Applewood Pointe, though I was also quite taken by Thomasville. They had some great amenites, including an heated indoor pool and a huge gym, but little things like the large collection of Beer bottles strewn about the property (and some telling reviews online) led me to believe I was in the middle of college party central.

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After our apartment hunting, Vivian and I dropped by the Spaghetti Works in the Old Market to say “happy birthday” to our friend Robin. A bunch of our mutual friends showed up, and we got to stuff ourselves with pasta, salad, and birthday cake while snapping random pictures of each other.

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To work off our carbohydrate binge, we took a nice long walk around Heartland of America park after lunch. Spring was definitely in the air, and we passed by a couple birds who were on the nest. A large male swan (a “cob,” I’ve since learned) was fiercely guarding his mate (a pen), who was sitting on her nest by a stairway in the park. He was hissing at us when we got near, so we had to tiptoe around him carefully. We stumbled upon a nest of Duck eggs on the other side of the pond was well. Trees all over downtown Omaha were in full blossom as well, turning these formerly overgrown twigs into giant allergy inducing wondered. They filled the air with the sweet smell of springtime.

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Back in Lincoln, I got to celebrate a second birthday with my other group of friends from Bible Study. Sarah was celebrating her 24th down at Lee’s Chicken in West Lincoln, so I got to eat even more fried chicken with them. (It was good, but I think I’m pretty much done with chicken and all fried foods in general at this point.) Robyn was busy taking pictures with me, and Sarah got to have cake and ice cream with a sparkler in the center to celebrate her turning another year.

On Sunday, I went out again with the bible study gang to Schlotzsky’s for some more less-than-healthful sandwiches after church. I spent the rest of the day getting a head-start on packing up things in my apartment for the big move I’ll be making before the end of the month. I worked with the windows open, and it felt great to let a little of that fragrant springtime air into my apartment.

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(If anybody would like to help with my big move to Omaha, I’m planning on making my exodus on Saturday, May 24. We’ll have pizza afterwards for anybody willing to lend a hand.)