In memory of Maia Nielzichbacherott
On Sept. 16, 2011, I lost one of my best friends. Maia was a part of my life for such a short time, but she helped me get through a lot with moving to Savannah. She was my only friend here for a while, and I love and thank her for helping me though it.
Maia's digestive sicknesses took a nasty turn and the vet eventually boiled down her diagnosis to some type of cancer in the intestines. Keeping her alive with chemo was just not an option, so I had to make the hard decision of letting her out of her misery. I didn't do it alone, and I thank all my friends for helping me through the ordeal.
I decided to cremate her remains and bring her back to Columbia, so Allie, Jayme, Amanda and I could all send her off together. It was more for my benefit than for theirs, I think, but I got real closure spreading her ashes at the Big Tree in Columbia.
|Here's the Tree in April 2008. We didn't take any pics the day we commemorated Maia.|
SND Conference, Sept. 20-Oct. 1
I was lucky enough to attend this year's SND conference in St. Louis. The city was really the perfect place for it to be. Not only did I get free room and board, but I was also able to use my mom's car for the weekend. On the whole, I was a cheapskate, but I still learned a lot!
The panel that will stick with me the most was actually the first one I attended. It was about doing more with less in newsrooms that are dwindling down to a few designers. I learned about what the res of the country is doing and got a couple of ideas to bring back to Savannah, even though they probably won't work out because the staff is almost too tiny to function as it is.
I saw other seminars and learned a lot from people who have been in the business for a lot longer than I have. I actually talked for a while with the people at Gannett, who are consolidating their design into five design studios across the country. I was skeptical about the idea at first because it is so easy to cut off communication that way. Having worked in two traditional newsrooms, I had a lot to ask about. In this digital age, though, it makes communication that much easier. And they are trying to keep as many natives as possible in the studios so that the designers are at least somewhat knowledgable about the area they are designing a paper for. I do have to admit that I did have some ulterior motives for speaking with them, too. We'll get to that later.
My apartment saga
I moved into my new apartment in July. I had the highest hopes for it. I knew it was a lot older than my other apartment (more than 100 years older), but it was cheaper and in the Historic District. Then the first sewage flood happened.
I'm not going to get into the gory details of the flood or post pictures (ok, maybe just the one...).
|The nasty remnants of flood No. 1.|
The flood spanned three rooms and a hallway. That first time, the contractors had said that it had happened previously, too, and they would ask the property manager if they could run a camera to fix the problem. Manager said no, and it flooded less than a month later. And then less than a week after that.
After the third flood, my property manager got a quote from a water extraction company assessing the damage. It was at least $3,300 and included ripping up the baseboards and tile flooring to avoid mold and mildew form growing. Manager said no and hired people to clean the surfaces of the floors, leaving the water underneath to rot. Finally, though, they decided to run a camera to actually fix the problem rather than just clean up the mess. They left a hole in my floor for almost two weeks with a piece of plywood on top. After about a week and a half, they cut the plywood to fit the hole, but I still have no tile over it.
A blessing in disguise
So, given the things you have read already and what you may or may not know about my current work situation, can you guess what comes next?
During my 6 days off for Mizzou's homecoming, I was rented a car to drive up to Des Moines, where one of Gannett's design studios is located. I don't think they know how lucky they were to snag me, but the design director talked to me on the phone, and we set it all up. By the end of the day-and-a-half interview, they offered me a job. It was one of those interviews where you know they are going to hire you even before you talk with anyone.
The job involved me living and working in Springfield, Mo., for two months before I move up to Des Moines when the newspaper goes live at the studio. They'd pay my housing in Springfield for two months and storage for my stuff in the city of my choosing.
I didn't respond right away, namely because the signing/moving package wasn't anywhere near what I'd need to move across the country again. (You all know how that one turned out.) They gave me the weekend to decide if it's what I wanted. When the director called me back on Oct. 17, and I negotiated for twice as much for moving and even a pay raise. Then, I took the job.
That's right, folks, I'm coming back to the Midwest, and I couldn't be more excited. Everything seems to be falling into place. With all the crap that's been going on with my apartment, there's really no doubt that they'll let me out of the lease. And while I wish she were with me, even moving without a cat would be easier.
I keep going back to this quote on a magnet my mom gave me when I moved to Savannah a year and a half ago.
"Everything Will Fall into Place"
Life is life a giant puzzle. Though our futures may not be clear or turn out exactly as we expected, each of us has the strength inside to put the puzzle together — we just have to look for the right pieces. It may seem impossible, but keep striving. Life's pieces have a way of falling into place when you least expect it.
— Renee M. Brtalik