Returning to Huntsville, sort of

This was my first weekend in Huntsville without the boys.

A quick review: my sons moved back to Alabama with their mother last summer. Since then, I have been commuting about every other weekend to see them. This has been an expensive hassle, but it’s been worth it to spend time with them. Recently I started investigating rental houses, on the theory that renting a house might be in the same cost ballpark as renting hotel rooms and buying restaurant food. After some digging, I found that Zillow has a fairly comprehensive set of tools for searching rental properties, and that led me to Trish Hagin, a REALTOR in Huntsville. (Side note: REALTOR is always supposed to be capitalized. I only know this since my grandfather was one, but that’s no reason not to inflict my trivia knowledge on you.) Trish and her husband Jeff were prompt, personable, and effective; they helped me find a great place in a fairly new development in Madison. It’s about a mile from Matt’s elementary school, and within easy distance of David and Tom’s respective high schools. 

Last week, Tom helped me pack up two ABF ReloCubes. These are  6′ x 7′ x 8′ containers. ABF drops off the empties; you pack them with your stuff, then ABF comes to fetch them and deliver them where and when you tell them to. The first cube was around $2600; adding a second cube only added $900 or so. Compared to the cost of renting a truck, fueling it on a cross-country drive, paying for hotels, and taking time off work, the cubes were a much better deal, and ABF both picked up and delivered where and when they promised.

We stuffed the cubes full of all the stuff that had been in my mini-storage unit, and ABF had the cubes spotted in my driveway about 10:15 Friday morning. I’d arrived on the redeye about 30 minutes before that, met the leasing agent to get the keys, and welcomed a 3-man crew from the Huntsville “Two Men and a Truck” franchise. The movers did a superb job; I’ll be calling them back next time I need to move in metro Huntsville. Anyway, within a couple of hours, everything was out of the pods and in the house. I spent the entire rest of the weekend unpacking boxes, assembling furniture, buying supplies (you know, important stuff like diet Coke, peaches, and an HDMI cable). By the time I left, both bathrooms, the kitchen, and the laundry room were all functional, and I’d slept in my own bed (with clean sheets), watched some Olympics on the wall-mount TV that came with the house, and fired Comcast as a potential ISP because they took my installation order without bothering to tell me that they don’t serve my neighborhood. Speaking of neighborhood: my house is the one with the red rectangle. From my back porch, I can see a huge yard/pasture that has a couple of resident horses, a nice-looking pond, and a semi-rustic green sheet-metal barn. The street name has a large number of anagrams, but the best one is “Madcap Male Rest”, an eponym so good that I’m thinking of having a sign made.


Anyway, the house is just about ready for the boys; I need beds for Dave and Tom, and we need a sofa of some kind, plus a vacuum cleaner. The boys will be coming out for a visit in a week or two, and we’ll go back a couple of days early to get the rest squared away. I should note that at present I’ll be commuting to the house to stay with the boys; I am not, at present, moving permanently to Huntsville, although I’ve made no secret to my boss of the fact that my goal is to do exactly that.

It was very odd to be driving around Huntsville and Madison without the boys; I’ve gotten more used to being without them in California. Luckily I’ll be seeing them soon.

A few bonus observations:

  • The Huntsville Times Sunday sports section had no mention of the Olympics. And they wonder why people don’t read the printed paper.
  • We had a great thunderstorm Saturday afternoon, with huge raindrops and plenty of dazzle and boom. I miss storms like that. With the front and back storm doors open, I got a nice breeze through the house, too.
  • AT&T’s cell service in my neighborhood ranges from “not great” to “no service.” This is not encouraging. 
  • Everywhere I went– Costco, Best Buy, restaurants, grocery stores, the U-Haul place, the airport– I was reminded how friendly and open the majority of folks in Huntsville are. Not just the staff, either; the customers as well. This is a lovely contrast to some other places I’ve lived.
  • Fish tacos? Nope. Not a Huntsville thing.


Filed under Friends & Family

4 responses to “Returning to Huntsville, sort of

  1. Welcome back! FWIW, I had fish tacos today at Charritos on S Pkwy. Bandito burrito and Casa blanca will also serve them and are nearer to “Madcap Male Rest.”

    • robichaux

      Thanks, Rod! I will definitely check it out. Casa Blanca is my oldest son’s favorite so I will give that a try.

  2. Cool that you are going through all the trouble for your kids Paul. A lot of guys would not do that. I supported Missile Defense Agency for years and Huntsville has a lot of tech jobs. With your military background you could easily have your pick of jobs if you wanted to go that route.

    • robichaux

      Thanks, Mike. It turns out that there are lots of engineering jobs, but relatively few in areas I know anything about. I’m keeping my eyes open though.

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