Moving Update: Bad News/Good News (Repeat)

Last weekend, I drove about five and a half hours from Mason City, IA to Fargo, ND.

My mother-in-law offered me an impromptu, home-cooked meal in the Twin Cities, which of course I accepted and drove straight to Fargo, stopping in Osakis only to grab a few photos of the lake. It’s a beautiful, sleepy town located only a few minutes from the freeway.

If you need a break about half way between the Twin Cities and Fargo, stop here for lefse at Jacob’s Lefse Bakeri and drive-in food Tip Top Dairy Bar.

Check out my last visit here.

Red Pepper, Please.
I arrived in Fargo around dinner time.

I’ve talked a lot of smack about Red Pepper (a North Dakotan Mexican-style restaurant chain) but I’ve come around. After the long drive from Iowa to Fargo, all I wanted to eat is an Everything Grinder. My old apartment complex is located nearby so I make my rounds on foot to Red Pepper and Happy Harry’s, a short lived tradition.

Before you race off to try Red Pepper, remember you’ve been duly warned that microwaves are double-stacked along the back counter. The hot sauce is like a watery tomato sauce and it’s not that hot. The lunch meats are slimy and the taco meat is lukewarm. And if you don’t eat the sandwich right away, the soft bread becomes soggy. That being said, the grinder is the first thing I’ve thought of when I pulled into my parking lot from Iowa.

Also, I found a beer mug Jake had left in the freezer months ago and so it was a good night. Or a fine night. Ok, it was simply good enough.

Now I get the Red Pepper thing, North Dakotans. Now, I get it.

Bad News
The movers arrived bright and early the next day. I learned the moving contract discourages me from leaving the property, however, they let me run a few short errands throughout the day.

Jake remained in Iowa to finish his work week and attend the house closing. Soon before the appointment, Jake calls me with bad news. He was just informed the closing was postponed, again. 

To say we felt disappointed is an understatement. This was the second time this had happened due to reasons on the seller’s side or banking bureaucracy. We had to cancel the contractors, Internet installation, and cable installation and contact our relocation coordinator to let him know we may not be able to move all of our belongings into our new house as scheduled a second time.

This whole process was riddled with complications. However, we’ve worked a lot of gracious people along the way have pulled for us.

Good News
All of the employees from the moving company were a pleasure. They had great senses of humor and made me feel at ease. When I received the bad news we weren’t closing, I burst into tears as I told the leading moving woman. She was kind enough to let me cry on her shoulder, though she did give me a five-minute time limit. Not a joke.

Bad News
I spent the next day cleaning the heck out of our apartment. In the past, I’ve always cleaned well enough to get my full deposit back.

This time I was in for a rude awaking. My building manager showed up two hours early for the walk-through and dinged me for many things that I had never touched before at other places from which I have rented. Sure, I should have checked our old lease but I couldn’t help but wonder when “normal wear and tear” was no longer a thing.

“Did you know there’s a blue stain in the cabinet under the bathroom sink?” she asked.

“Um. . . it did contain household cleaners so I could imagine something happened to drip within the past two years,” I replied. She frowned and marked our cabinets “Unacceptable,” a.k.a $20.

Ending On A Good Note
I got to say goodbye to a few of the people who made my Fargo journey memorable (though certainly not all).

I bought this awesome mug at Unglued in Fargo.

I returned our modem and donated some clothes.

I saw one last movie at the Fargo Theater. It only cost $6.25 for a matinee showing of Blue Jasmine which was really compelling, by the way.

I visited one of our favorite restaurants in Fargo- Mezzaluna – and sipped a stiff martini with giant, blue cheese-stuffed olives.

I spent the night with friends who were kind enough to take me in when I had to check out earlier than expected.

I spent a lot of time at Atomic Coffee. Their spinach-spicy feta sandwich is the best.
I found a radio station that only plays Taylor Swift’s music. This means that I heard “Teardrops on my Guitar” every time I jumped in the car and sometimes twice in one car ride if it exceeded fifteen minutes.

Thanks for the memories, Fargo. 

Also, thank you to our Realtor, Brett Schoneman, our banker Abe at Wells Fargo, Fran at Carpet America, the lovely staff at Holiday Inn Express in Mason City, Bonnie our head mover, Brad our moving coordinator and our nice next door neighbor for mowing our lawn. 


  1. Sara Broers

    Welcome to North Iowa!

  2. Jen

    Thank you, it’s good to officially be here. Now, I can get a library card:)

  3. Beth Ann Chiles

    Welcome to North Iowa!!! Glad you are here!!! I am at the library often so let’s meet up sometime for a cup of coffee! They have a great little coffee shop right in the library!

  4. Anonymous

    Congrats on the new house!
    BTW, I love the Red Pepper’s hot sauce and even buy it at the store!

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