Kathleen and I are in the process of moving at least some of our stuff from our house in Elkhart, Indiana to our two-bedroom apartment in Bloomington, Illinois. On Tuesday, we rented a cargo van from Enterprise, loaded it up, and drove to Bloomingon. After unloading it, we stayed the night, drove to Davenport, Iowa, where we loaded up an antique bed (1920s) along with a lot of books, papers, and VHS tapes. The next day we drove to Bloomington, nearly exhausted ourselves moving the extremely heavy mattress and box spring, and then drove back to Elkhart.
We're still in the process of getting the Elkhart house ready to sell. Right now, it's a moot point. We paid $68,000 for it in 1989, and owe about $60,000 now. Given the fact that there's a house with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a swimming pool listed for $59,000 in this town, we'll likely be stuck with mortgage plus rent for some time. Who knows, maybe a ticket clerk position will open up in South Bend in the meantime.
Elkhart, as Ground Zero of the Recession, is getting nationwide recognition. An Elkhartan was recently called by a charity asking for money. She said, "I'm from Elkhart." That was enough for the fundraiser to cease and desist. Our daughter Sarah, who is an instructor at the University of Maryland, asked a a prospective student where she was from.
"I'm from Portland, Maine," said the student. "Where are you from?"
"I'm from Elkhart, Indiana."
"THE Elkhart?" asked the student.
Iowa has been in the news lately because the state Supreme Court declared the state's marriage law unconstitutional, opening Iowa to same-sex marriage. In Iowa, a constitutional amendment has to be passed by two consecutive legislatures and then submitted to a popular vote. That means the Court ruling will probably stand until at least 2013. And it seems likely that the people of Iowa won't amend the constitution.
Once upon a time, Iowa was one of the most conservative states in the nation. But starting in the 1960s, it's become more and more liberal. My theory is that those right-wing Iowegians who used to vote for the likes of H.R. Gross moved off to places like Orange County, California. Yes, Gross's successor in the House, Charles Grassely, beat incumbent Senator John Culver in the 1980 campaign and has won re-election ever since then. But Grassley faces strong oppostion from Bob Krause next year.
Since the Iowa Hawkeyes didn't even make it into the NCAA this year, I'm happy to see that there will be a Big Ten team in the NCAA championship. I won't be watching the game on Monday, which is a good thing for the Spartans. Whenever I watch a game, the team I'm rooting for almost always loses.