Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Let's Talk About Des Moines

Ok. Let's talk about Des Moines.

I know you're all dying to hear what it's like.

My mother in law said Des Moines reminded her of Silver Spring.... 40 years ago. I can see that. Even though the city is established, people do move at a bit slower pace here and our immediate neighborhood kind of reminds me of a bunch of cabins where my family used to vacation in "up-north" Michigan.

There are some REALLY nice areas with gorgeous houses closer to downtown Des Moines, where Josh is in school. Truth is, Josh and I almost rented a house in that area because when we came house hunting in May it was the ONLY thing we could find. The house was small, but it was completely renovated in a gorgeous neighborhood with tennis courts and fences. Hey, just because we're going to medical school here doesn't mean we have to slum it right??

Wrong! We're broke remember?!

We were leaving DC where we payed almost $1600 for a two-bedroom apartment. Now we were moving to Des Moines - where we figured we could pay half as much. And don't worry... we came to our senses. I only wanted that house because I was desperate to find a place before our trip to Des Moines was over. I'm a neurotic planner and the though of leaving the city without a place to live in 5 weeks was extremely unnerving. Thank Gd Josh found our house on Craigslist three days after we came BACK to Silver Spring. (Josh had to fly back to Des Moines a few days later to sign the deal...)

And for all who are curious, we're paying less than half the amount we paid at the Warwick for a three bedroom, two-car garage, full backyard duplex. Go us!

Ok let's talk about Walmart. I know every city has its "IT" place. Like in Detroit, it's the 7-11 on the corner of Lincoln and Greenfield. In Silver Spring it's that starbucks that's always crazy on the corner of Rockville Pike and Randolph. In Des Moines... it's Walmart.

Now this is where my snobby side is going to come out. I didn't even know where the Walmart was in Maryland. I always thought Walmart was a place to pick up soda and firewood when we were in "up-north" Michigan. But guess what everyone? Walmart is now my EVERYYYYTHING. There's a Walmart SuperCenter around the block from my house. And it's so ridiculously cheap!!! We get everything there - produce, groceries, baby products, school supplies, electronics, toiletries. Yup, we're one of a kind, small-town, can't live without Walmart hicks!!

This place is hysterical. You wouldn't believe the amenities in it. You could literately spend an entire day there if you wanted to. There's a Subway, a bank, a hair salon, nail place, portrait studio, pharmacy, and garden section. Ask my mother in law... she spent about 3 hours there EVERY DAY for a week.

And I'm sure you guessed it - it's open 24 hours a day. Lovely. When you have an uncontrollable urge to try out guitar hero in the electronics section at 3:30 am - you can go to Walmart. And believe me... people do.

To be honest, I know my way around the city really well. I work from home until about 1:30 so I have the entire afternoon to go exploring with Aviva. Obviously, I've been to every mall here (we alternate each mall about every 3 days). I'd love to say I go to the mall to shop, but it's usually so Aviva can play in the play area. (I use the word usually... because I can't lie completely). We've also been to the zoo, many parks, many libraries, many coffee shops, and many TCBY visits (that one's for you Tamar!)

I actually think I know my way around better than Josh.

The city itself is also really nice. There are a lot of attractions down town and of course, we love to visit Daddy at school. (Aviva's favorite part of DMU is the "mitochondria mist" which is a misty fountain in the front courtyard of the school. Seems like some very scientific people were involved in the landscaping at school.)

I can't believe my 18 month old will grow up and say that she lived in Des Moines for a few years of her early life. I really hope people don't look at her strangely (no offense Des Moiners out there). As Josh puts it, if you would have told me 5 years ago that I'd be in medical school with two kids living in Iowa, I'd probably laugh in your face. But here we are - big town Midwest/East Coast people who left a wonderful Chevra of young frum couples behind living in the Walmart-crazed city of Des Moines.

It's not so bad. We're liking the slow pace. I'm sure it won't last the rest of our lives...


Shira said...

It's nice to know your Walmart experience is a pleasant one. Going to the one here is like visiting a foreign country...or like ten forgein countries melted into one...kinda like the U.N. It is a ZOO, and none of the employees know where the heck anything is. You have to give yourself a lot of time to go there, and have lots of patience. Which is why I never shop there. Although you can't beat those prices....Also, go into your settings and edit the option for commenting to allow for more people without a google ID to comment!

Leor said...

I remember when I first went to Korea and we were driving on the highway and there was a Walmart. We had to stop just to say we were in the Walmart in Korea. They really are everywhere!

Rachelz said...

Malks- this is wonderful. Just as interesting and entertaining as I thought you would be. But homeage does need to be paid to the person who inspired you!!!

Miss you dear!

Rachelz said...

And by the way, um,, maybe y'all are just snobs in silver spring or in detroit, but we here in Chicago, not only know where our walmart is, but know how to use it.
Now, my friend Shira is right about the patience it requires, and don't ever think of going there on a Sunday. But the prices are ridiculous! Also it's awsome people watching.

deenie said...

Malks, you are truly amazing. High five to you for having to be a superwife/mommy. I give you lots of credit. Keep writing and inspiring. I love hearing about the hick life there in Des Moines. You go girlfriend!!

deenie said...

P.S. Post pictures on the blog!

Shosh said...

malkie - i love this, you are really a great writer!
but i must comment about walmart - the walmart you have is different from the one we have in chicago. ours is smaller and sort of gross, its not a super walmart, and doesnt have many groceries. I have been to des moines twice and the walmart is truly spectacular. i look forward to NCSY conventions in hic towns just so i can go to walmart. seriously everything is 88cents. its amazing.
and i must mention, your attitude about living in des moines is amazing as well....

mindy schachar said...

you are so cute malkie. i love the blog. i always ask shev and rach how you are doing. [i also love your facebook updates.] as far as walmart, oddly enough we have one 10 minutes away from my house. which i doubt most of the people living in woodmere know about. i actually stumbled upon it by mistake. i went inside but it was shady and gross but the one in upstate ny is awesome.

Arly said...

Hehe Malkie this is gr8! I didnt know you had a blog until Ari came to the restaurant last night and told me i had to read it! Walmart is gr8 - lol we used to go w. my grandmother all the time in balt- columbia and SS!

Bay said...

Oh my gosh! Sounds like a major party in Des Moines! This blog was a great idea! By the way, I happen to be obsessed with walmart because they have EVERYTHING you could ever need there. I was surprised at a walmart in the mountains over the summer, when I saw rolls of fabric on these shelves and an employee there to measure yards and cut it!
It was like being in a fabric store inside of walmart.
Besides for that I got Amram these 3 adorable outfits there for like 4 bucks each! Gotta love it :-)

Nechama said...

Hey malkie,
I just met your mom at One Stop buying some "jewish" food for you guys. She told me to check out your blog. Wow... you are brave and your blog is great. Keep it up and good luck with it all. Btw i also LOVE walmart... we actually have one in detroit too :)

Eliana Miriam Hoffman said...

This post reminds me of when I worked at camp and on our nights off there was nothing to do but pile in the van and go to Walmart. Not that I'm complaining. LOVE Walmart!

BTW, You know I was born in Iowa, right?