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.

Death Star Light

No question, this is a Star Wars fan house. So when Marc and I saw this light at IKEA, we knew we had to have it. Plus, the boob light over the dining table was just not going to cut it.

It is part of IKEA's PS 2014 collection which is part of a special series designed by 20 designers. This light fixture's designer is David Wahl, who admits:
"...The inspiration for the pendant lamp came from science fiction and videogames. The main idea is that the customer can change the shape of the lamp shade and the light output by pulling the string."

It looks pretty amazing at night too. 


And because nothing is ever easy for us, even in rentals

This is what I found when I went to turn off the breaker before swapping the light out. Only 2 labels. Ugh. Time to try them all.

Girls were sleeping, so Marc and I quickly did some walkie-talkie style cellphone conversation:  "Now?" "no", "Now? "no", "Now?" "yes" 'ing and got it turned off. Disturbingly, it seemed like half the lights in the house also turned off. That can't be good.

Anyway, I had to work quickly before Franca woke up and freaked out that the nightlight (aka bathroom light) was off. A quick trip to the garage for new wire caps, some cursing at dropped screws and basta! it was installed.

Check out this table also from the IKEA PS 2014 collection.

I need it! Sadly, it is not sold online and not available at our store.

Bummer. They say the inspiration was dim sum containers. Pretty cool.