Ten months, 180 blog posts, 150,000 pages views.
Songs came to my head today.
What a long strange trip it's been.
Magical misery tour (which is a parody song by National Lampoon of The Beatles -- as well as the alternative title one of my journalism professors gave to a feature story about my friend Pete and I hitting all the dive bars in Eau Claire).
Don't get me wrong, I'm not leaving you, dear and faithful readers. These moments allow for retrospection.
And it's not done yet. I have much learning to do on my job. The community must be studied. Negotiations for an address -- an actual address -- must be finished. Then I have to find a way to get my stuff here under the cheapest possible circumstances.
I cannot, however, use a negative song for this 10-month trip. I have learned so much.
Just when you think your job is good and the money will continue, it won't. We live in a brittle economy and one bump can make you fall off your horse.
And when you don't know what the hell you're going to do next, friends and absolute strangers will reach out to you. Before this trip, I struggled with asking for help. Since then I've learned how to do that but I've also found friends, strangers and even folks across the country will reach out.
There have been struggles I have not written about -- because I was embarrassed. Sleepless nights married to sleeping a week. A loss of appetite that still struggles. My hairline. And I'm still embarrassed. Give me some time to explain later on.
But the biggest lessons I've learned are 1.) keep breathing, although the breath might be shallow; and 2.) keep moving forward, even if the steps are small.
I've often written I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth, stealing that from Lou Gehrig.
Saturday, after going into work for a while, I had little to do so I drove to the Lac Courte Oreilles casino, even though I don't like gambling and stuck 20 bucks into a poker machine, the kind Jim Herman taught me how to use.
Within five minutes, I hit four aces and won $250 bucks.
The philosopher Prince once said, "'Cause my momma didn't raise no fools." Rather than continue playing, I cashed out and drove to my current hotel room.
Given recent luck, I think I should get some lottery tickets. Please advise.
Peace and prosperity unto you my brother and sisters -- particularly when the road is long.