by Dennis Ernst • March 07, 2018
Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice. "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you." Such is the motto of the state of Michigan.
I was born in the pleasant peninsula, and spent 17 years there as a student. When I was finally free from scholarly pursuits I entered the workforce as a medical technologist. Three years later, at the age of 25, I looked at the peninsula about me and promptly moved to Indiana.
For the record, I have nothing against peninsulas or the Wolverine State (in which only one wolverine has ever been spotted in the last 200+ years). It was just a case of curable wanderlust. I simply wanted to live in a different, but not too distant, state. I moved and was cured. I've been a Hoosier ever since.
In October of 2016, wanderlust struck again. Not me, this time, but while sitting on our deck one evening, my bride made a two word announcement that would change my life forever: "We're moving." There were lots of reasons, both mysterious and spiritual, but the sultry summers and stagnant air of the Ohio Valley are the easiest to explain. Lovey craved a cooler climate.
Never mind that my roots have been in Hoosier soil for 36 years, and that I had planned on living out my days in the home to which we had just finished ten years of renovations. Happy wife, happy life, they say. Besides, I have the luxury of being able to work from anywhere. Just give me a desk, a PC, and a high-speed Internet connection and I'm good to go. Keeping our Indiana office open and staffed is a no-brainer. It runs like a fine Swiss watch whether I'm there or not. Regular visits would be necessary, but as Director, I can do what I do no matter where I call home. Put a lake out my window and that's even better.
Over the next 13 months we conducted an exhaustive search for our next forever home in the four states that were calling to us the loudest: Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the state in which only one wolverine has been seen in the last 200+ years. We registered on the usual dotcoms---Trulia, Zillow, Realtor, LandAndFarm and multiple state-specific realtor sites---took three house-hunting road trips, logged thousands of miles, and toured 29 homes---some in less than ten minutes.
On January 3, 2018, we closed on our new northern home and took immediate possession. We wanted a cooler climate, and that's exactly what we got. When the Mayflower truck arrived the next day with all our possessions, it was 5oF with a wind chill of -15 and a foot of snow on the ground. The crew of three from Louisville, Kentucky, some 600 miles in latitude to the south, were literally and figuratively out of their element. So were we. To make matters worse (for them, not us), their truck couldn't get up the snow-covered driveway, so they had to walk all of our worldly possessions from the road to the house, all 13,000 pounds of it. It took eight hours, five breaks, and two servings of Lovey's world-class chili to finish the job. They're not likely to forget the haul any time soon, but they never complained. (For those of my readers with wanderlust, we highly recommend Mayflower.)
We've been in our new state two full months now. We didn't settle in Minnesota, the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." It didn't have one with a home in our price range that appealed to us. We didn't select a home in Wisconsin, either. With a state motto like "Forward," how does one make that their next stop? Nor did we settle in Maine, the Pine Tree State, although we nearly did. The state motto "dirigo,"(Latin for "I direct") just doesn't have the charm of the motto where we now call home.
Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice. "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you." After 36 years, I've returned to the land of my birth. The climate in the northern part of Michigan's lower peninsula is nothing like where I grew up and more like another planet than what I'm used to. So far, we've seen 15 nights of sub-zero temps, 9 days of single-digit highs, five snowfalls totaling 19 inches, a flock of pine siskins, and not one wolverine. I suspect all of that is our new normal for winter. When the summer comes, I'm sure I'll look around this peninsula and find it to be quite pleasant this time. After 36 years, a person looks at things differently.
Especially now that there's a lake out my window.
Dennis J. Ernst MT(ASCP), NCPT(NCCT)
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