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4:51 am EDT        45°F (7°C) in South Rockwood, MI

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I’ve been denying you, my loyal readers, the pleasure of keeping up with me (yeah, right wink) for the last four weeks now. As usual, this has not been out of any sudden streak of sadistic attitudes toward my readership, but rather way too much shit to do. For lack of time, I obviously can’t mention every little detail of the last month, but I’m certainly going to hit upon all the highlights.

Three weeks ago tomorrow, on Friday, October 5, I had to go down to Fort Wayne, IN, to attend a “safety meeting” put on by the company for which I now work. This six-hour meeting in a hotel conference room covered a number of topics besides safety on the road and at loading racks; we also went over things like the new health insurance plan for 2008 and various corporate numbers provided by the bean counters. I actually drove directly to Fort Wayne from work that morning, generally following Interstate 75 and U.S. 24 to get down there; upon arriving, I checked into a Motel 6 room I had previously reserved and got a wee bit of sleep before the meeting. I would then drive back late Friday night, checking out of the motel early to do so.

Ever since this post, I swear I’ve been developing an involuntary mental disorder related to the Michigan football team. For lack of a better name, I am going to call it “schizo-Lloydia” — the damn-near schizophrenia brought on in Michigan fans by the utter inconsistency of the Wolverines under Lloyd Carr. After the disasters of the first two games, Blue has now won six in a row, most recently beating Illinois 27-17 this past Saturday night in Champaign. This team can go from suffering one of its worst beatings ever against Oregon, to dominating Notre Dame and Penn State (with the defense, at least), to struggling to beat Eastern Michigan, and can then turn around and hang up 48 on Purdue — I just don’t fucking get it.

This schizo-Lloydia really covers the last few seasons as well, and doesn’t just apply to this year. We can go from two consecutive Big Ten championships to a 7-5 season, only to turn around and win the first 11 games of 2006 before losing the last two in spectacular fashion. Hell, we can even see schizo-Lloydia within individual games; the aforementioned victory over Illinois saw the Wolverines use for an extended period something Lloyd almost never uses — the shotgun formation. That kind of play-calling, going to the air so much, is very un-Lloyd-like.

The mental fog of schizo-Lloydia will hopefully be lifted in November, as the team hits its tough run that month: at Moo U, at Wisconsin, and that “school” down south at home, in that order. Although we’ve beaten the Sparties five in a row, and although they have been embarrassed in a few conference games this year (most recently by that team down south), who the hell knows which Michigan and Moo U teams are going to show up November 3 at the cow pasture called Spartan Stadium. That being said, the game to watch is shaping up to be the annual grudge match with that team down south, on November 17 at the Big House; Michigan and that team down south are the only two undefeated teams left in Big Ten conference play.

Within the last week, I’ve started buying a ton of shit for my apartment — to the tune of almost $6,000, in fact. Last week, I went up to the nearest Circuit City store, about 10 miles from here in Taylor (more on distances to stuff in a few paragraphs), and laid down $700 and change on an Onkyo home-theater system. It’s a kick-ass 7.1 channel Dolby Digital system, and I put it to its first real test on Monday and Tuesday while watching the Michigan-Illinois football game I had recorded to my DVR — nothing like almost being right in Memorial Stadium. smile

Tomorrow, I will be getting a delivery of most of a nearly $5,000 order of furniture for the unit. The order consists of a sofa, recliner, and cocktail table for the living room, and mattress set, bed frame, nightstand, and chest for the bedroom. Everything but the bed frame shows up tomorrow afternoon; that will come in a couple of weeks, when the retailer receives another shipment. With all of that here, that should be about it for any huge purchases of anything, save some winter gear I need to get so I don’t freeze my ass off dropping diesel in January.

As I mentioned two paragraphs ago, I have been coming to find over the last three months living here that South Rockwood is truly in the middle of fucking nowhere. I can literally count every business establishment within a mile of me on one hand: one gas station, a mom-and-pop diner, a bank, and a very small office building of some sort. A supermarket and a Rite Aid store, neither of which is open 24 hours, are the only other useful things within a slightly expanded radius of here. You want to order delivery or take-out at 2am? Sorry, but you’re shit out of luck. (Even during daylight hours, most of the well-known national pizza chains are no closer than Flat Rock, five miles (8 km) away.)

The nearest store of any kind that is open 24 hours is a Meijer (similar to Wal-Mart, but more or less Michigan-only) located about eight miles (13 km) away in Woodhaven. If it’s a 24-hour pharmacy you’re after, you can go 10 miles (16 km) northeast to a Walgreens in Riverview, or 12 miles (19 km) south to another Walgreens in Monroe. The nearest hospital is seven miles (11 km) away in Trenton, which wouldn’t be good if I ever have some kind of medical emergency at home.

I don’t know how the hell this village gets away with calling itself a “suburb” of Detroit; it seems more like a sleepy little country hamlet that sits 10 miles from anything. You really do have to go at least as far north as Woodhaven, if not all the way to Taylor, or south to Monroe to find signs of life and civilization. It’s not that that’s all bad, and I’m not sure I’ll feel forced to move elsewhere at the end of my lease (I do really like my apartment unit and community, even if not the greater village around it), but it does get annoying having to go 10 miles away to do anything.

Let’s see if I can return here in a little less than four weeks next time, eh?