Required reading


It's been a while since I've posted, but not without reason. I've decided to take our relocation search blogging on as a serious task. 

Let me say this first: I love blogs, but sometimes I find myself wanting a little more content. This is a silly example, but I was honestly interested in the reason behind the dearth of Frozen merchandise. (It's not like Disney to miss out on revenue, right?) So, I went searching and found myself wading through plenty of hilariously written blog posts and newspaper articles on the subject. The problem was, NONE of them even attempt to find the answer. It was all: "I need an Elsa dress! My daughter is freaking! Why can't I find one?!" And then nothing but a photo of a cute 3 yr old and a link to Etsy.

I did finally find a great article written by a Buffalo News staff reporter who researched,  interviewed, and found an answer. (unestimated popularity of movie, timing of Chinese New Year, and International Trade)

For our relocation blogging, I thought about just summarizing Detroit's Wikipedia page, driving thru each neighborhood and calling it a day. But, I'm not one to make it easy on myself and I'm genuinely interested in digging a little deeper.

Enter the above book that Marc has been telling me to read for the past 14 years. I dug through our bajillionty boxes of books and, of course, found it in the last one.

Here's the game plan: read a couple books about WTH happened in Detroit, talk to a couple different people on their direct experience, and write about it here.

I thought about changing my blog's name because now "86n' It" just seems sad and a little too fitting. Is their a code for restocking? That might fit better now.

After the overall Detroit writings, I'll delve into specific neighborhoods that have peaked our interest, giving you stats on size, populations, amenities, schools, as well as some history of the area. I'll write about my take and interview some people who actually live there.

Sounds ambitious right?
Just my style.

P.s. Frozen merch to be back in stores full force end of July and into August.

Relocating to Detroit: What do you want to know?


I've been hesitant to write anything about our move and life here for two reasons.

Latest Project: Science Tactile Graphics

First, life is hectic! Rental house is mostly in order, but work is busy and honestly, I'd rather be out exploring new stuff than sitting at my computer writing.  (Right now, I'm waiting for my second computer (nerd alert) to generate some 3D mill cutting paths (double nerd alert), so I have some time.)

Second, Detroit is tricky. It's huge, ridiculously diverse, and unbelievably complex. I don't have a handle on it at all, so I've been feeling reluctant to say anything. Who am I to write about Detroit? But then I got to thinking, who is allowed to write about Detroit then?  It is not like I'm going to act like an authority, I'm just observing and learning.

It seems outside people are really very curious about Detroit. It is hard to get a grasp on what it is really like with all the scary news reports, ruin porn photography, etc.  

So why not share my experience? Sort of what should be blogging is all about, right? Here goes:

After shipping our kids North with my parents; packing like mad for 3 days, being in limbo for 5 days, we finally drove North on I-75 to our new rental house in metro Detroit. I will be the first to admit that traveling to Detroit from the South it is not pretty.

My honest first thought was: "What the hell have we done?"

But as we got closer, the sick feeling in my stomach quickly turned into excitement.  I love big cities.  I grew up in a rural area, but have lived in Berlin, Philadelphia, and NYC. I love the energy.  The endless activities. The possibilities.

I had the usual observances:  Cars drive fast.  The roads are horrible.  People are very nice.  Food is great. Local beer is very good.

And the other ones:  Sprawl is real here.  Suburbs are nice and vast.  City itself is very complicated.  Some areas are desolate:  a single house amid nothing but overgrown lots and so many abandoned buildings.  But some areas are full of life:  from sophisticated office towers and the river park, to more DIY neighborhoods with community gardens and beautiful renovated brick apartment buildings.

From top of Renaissance Center (tallest building downtown)  looking at a huge urban surface parking lot on the left, Belle Isle in the Detroit River, and Windsor, Canada on the right.
Marc lived here until he was 26 and I've been visiting for 14 years, so it's not such a big shock to see the juxtaposition of nice areas to holy shit are we in a war zone?  That being said, driving to his parents' house in the 'burbs and occasionally hitting up Lafayette downtown isn't the same as living in Detroit.

The other day Marc and I were home alone working when the power went out, so we decided to start our neighborhood search.  We've already been to Royal Oak & Ferndale, both suburbs pretty close to the city, but decided to drive around Hamtramck (a city within the city of Detroit), Eastern Market, and the North End.  Then the next day, I took the girls "to the grocery", which was really a veiled plan to head to the Whole Foods near Wayne State and check out Midtown.

...And this is where I stop because 1) my cutting paths are done, and 2) I'm not sure how or what people are interested in hearing about.  This is lame, but help me out here:
(and feel free to elaborate or ask another question in the comments)

What do you want to know?

** Please note, If I do A or B, I'll still post about our rental. Option C is if you only want to see rental posts, none of our future location search.