We have an announcement.

Our neighbor and fellow blogger Amy gets our belated congratulations today, having delivered three weeks ago, at the advanced age of about 87, her 25th child. It is, as Luca Brasi would say, a masculine child, and quite the cutie. Lucky, lucky her. I’m singling her out today, as opposed to three weeks ago, because I liked her use of the Victorian phrase “my time of confinement” during the last weeks of her pregnancy, and I’m going to steal it.

Today we celebrate the end of our time of confinement. After months of bush-beating, my husband has a job, and a good one. In Detroit. Whither thou goest, etc. etc., so we are moving, one of these days. To Detroit. OK, the suburbs. But the metro area. We are leaving the mid-size city for the big one. We are embarking upon a midlife adventure. Maybe we’ll see Eminem at the supermarket. Maybe we’ll get punched in the stands at the Palace. But at least Zingerman’s will only be in the next county, instead of the next state.

We are insane, I thought last night, from approximately 12:34 a.m. to around 2 a.m. That shows you what middle-of-the-night thinking is worth — nothing. Because in the rational light of day, everything about this move makes sense, and everything about our current situation makes none. In the crazy time of the middle of the night, fear reigns. It’s scary to move when you’re middle-aged, to start over in a new place, but we gotta. We haveta. We wanna. Change is good — this is something I learned last year. It’s going to be good. Or at least better.

But before we close on a Michigan house that costs three times more than this one and commands taxes in the 10-times-The Fort range, we have to sell the one we own. Which is why we spent the weekend cleaning like maids on meth — we had our first showing today. I have no idea how it went yet, but I was absurdly pleased yesterday when our Realtor told us not to change a thing about the place, admired how well it “shows” and booked a photographer to take interior shots. Of our decorating! It was like getting an A+ on an exam. Alan spent the day doing a final cleaning and dressing the sets. For example: Last week I idly mentioned something a New York magazine editor told me about the fine art of writing cover lines — nothing spurs newsstand sales like the words “you” and “now.” As in: FIVE CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE NOW TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE FOREVER — NOW.

In the kitchen, the cookbook holder now holds a book, cover out: “The Best Recipe.” He explained, “I want them to see the words ‘the best’ when they walk through the kitchen.”

It’s subliminal. I assume the heavy artillery — the banana bread-scented candles, “Kind of Blue” murmuring on the kitchen stereo and cut flowers — will come out later.

Alan starts his job up there after Christmas, but I’ll be here until the joint sells and/or we run out of money to sustain a two-household family. I gave notice yesterday, along with another 20-year vet who started the same autumn I did. Forty years of institutional memory will walk out the door hand-in-hand. He’s headed south, I, north. We’re both pretty excited.

Wish us luck or warn us away.

Posted at 7:16 pm in Uncategorized |

29 responses to “We have an announcement.”

  1. Maureen said on December 7, 2004 at 7:42 pm

    Congrats Nancy & Co. I don’t have any profound words of encouragement or warning, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be the first offical nn.com post. As they say in my parts, Via Con Dios.

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  2. Paul said on December 7, 2004 at 8:18 pm

    Congratulations and best of luck.

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  3. James said on December 7, 2004 at 8:42 pm

    Congrats and best of luck!

    Uh… You will be able to deal with living in a blue state and not a red one right?

    And drop me a line if you have problems coping with that daylight savings time thing after being a hoosier so long…

    Seriously… we’re so happy for y’all…

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  4. The Other James said on December 7, 2004 at 8:48 pm

    Good luck!

    You’re not planning to discontinue the blog, I hope …

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  5. brian stouder said on December 7, 2004 at 8:54 pm

    Good luck to you both, and congratulations to Alan!

    I hope the new position he has utilizes his talents; I recall lucid N-S pieces by him, as for example his long one on 1940’s Ft Wayne and the bypass that we bypassed.

    So now y’all get to be big fish in a BIG pond!

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  6. brian stouder said on December 7, 2004 at 9:01 pm

    By the way, I AM baking that Indiana Sugar Cream Pie, as posted by a loyal NancyNall.com reader, and repeated by founder and spiritual leader of this place….and it has about 10 minutes to go in the oven, and it smells heavenly!!

    I suggest you bake one when you have the Sunday open house for prospective buyers!

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  7. Mindy said on December 8, 2004 at 9:12 am

    Congrats and best of luck on your impending change of scenery. Your absence and bloggage on life in the Fort will be sorely felt.

    As for the banana bread candle, there’s an alternative. The next time you’re preparing a roast or chciken with all the trimmings, save the stuff that usually gets thrown away (fat, skin, onion peels and ends, carrot and potato peels, celery leavings, etc.) and freeze it in a clearly labeled ziptop freezer bag. When you want to add a homey touch or disguise the fact that dinner came from Cracker Barrel:

    Aroma Only (Main Dish)

    1/2 cup Bisquick

    1 cup water

    1 1/2 cups frozen garbage

    salt, pepper, and desired spices

    In a mug, make a paste with the Bisquick and water. Add desired spices. Place garbage in center of a large piece of aluminum foil. Pour paste over garbage. Wrap and poke about six holes in the top of the foil. Bake in a 300-degree oven until the aroma starts to waft. Reduce heat to 250 and waft up to four hours. Discard when scam is over.

    Dessert can be feigned in this manner as well. Use fruit peelings of any kind, omit salt, pepper and spices, and add one teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar to the paste.

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  8. 4dbirds said on December 8, 2004 at 9:37 am

    Best wishes on the move and the start of your new life.

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  9. Danny said on December 8, 2004 at 9:54 am

    Nance, best of wishes to you and yours. Don’t worry about a thing. It is ALL going to work out just fine. I mean it.

    Do not indulge the night fears. Have faith and do things that enhance your ability to sleep soundly. Go to bed early even if you are not tired. Increase your workouts. Count your blessings, they are many.

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  10. Randy said on December 8, 2004 at 10:07 am

    Fantastic news, Nancy.

    It makes me happy to see people at any stage in life willing to pick up stakes and start something new. In my job as an academic advisor I see too many kids in their late teens and early twenties who have already decided they’ll never ever leave the place they were born, due to fear or a lack of curiosity. I’m not sure which is worse.

    Anyway, all the best to you and your family. Can you switch roles with Alan now and be the one who keeps the home fires burning?

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  11. danno said on December 8, 2004 at 10:19 am

    Good luck with the new life, Michigan seems to be calling you and yours. I may be making a transition myself soon. Just bidding my time until Mitch (Daniels) and Pat (Miller) decide what they are going to do with us Commerce workers. Change is not always pleasent, but typically it is a good thing. Right Martha?! Keep up the excellent blog work!!! BTW, you need to write a book.

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  12. John said on December 8, 2004 at 11:07 am

    Book? I can see it now…

    “Nancy Nall:The Early Years”…from high school sex parties to the exploits of a college newshound.

    It practically writes itself.

    Anyway…good luck on the move and some finger crossing for moving your house.

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  13. danno said on December 8, 2004 at 3:45 pm

    My question is, who would portray her in the made for TV movie ‘Nancy Nall: The Early Years’?? Talk amongst yourselves…

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  14. brian stouder said on December 8, 2004 at 3:52 pm

    Jeanine Garofalo has the right lilt

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  15. Dan McAfee said on December 8, 2004 at 4:34 pm

    Congratulations, Nancy & Alan. I’m sure you’ll both be successful in your new digs.

    I was stranded in Detroit once, our car broke down on I94 on the way to a Mandy Patinkin concert and Triple-A never showed up. A kind-hearted tow-truck driver finally stopped to see if we were OK & he took us to a hotel… we managed to Taxi-in and see Patinkin, so it wasn’t a total loss.

    Hope you can find a writing gig, Nance, (beyond NNC) soon.

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  16. The Other Nance said on December 8, 2004 at 4:54 pm

    That’s great news, Nance! Wishing you all the best in your new adventure! Keep us posted…

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  17. Richard N. / Toronto said on December 8, 2004 at 5:19 pm

    All the best!

    Hey, now you’ll be able to see the good news and Olympic coverage on CBET! Just avoid This Hour Has 22 Minutes, though I may be the only Canadian who loathes it.

    Cheers, Richard N. / Toronto

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  18. amy said on December 8, 2004 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks for the congratulations. I think I can force my aging enfeebled hands to type to the end of this post…

    And mucho congratulations on the move. It sounds great!

    But won’t you miss —


    Never mind.

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  19. Janet Dahl said on December 9, 2004 at 10:59 am

    Congratulations- Detroit is a wonderful place to live. I grew up there, my family remains. Though I am in Chicago, I still miss a zillion places….mostly food related. Two metro papers (though merged) to offer your amazing talents to! They would be so lucky………

    Much luck..

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  20. Marci said on December 9, 2004 at 12:52 pm

    Good luck, Nance!

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  21. elaine said on December 9, 2004 at 3:43 pm

    Alan & Nancy, congratluations to you both for taking a brave leap.

    We will miss you in the Fort.

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  22. Connie said on December 9, 2004 at 4:25 pm

    Many congratulations. I look forward to hearing your comments on deciding which suburb in which to live!

    I’ve made two major moves in the last 7 years (southern Indiana to Minnesota to northern Indiana) and don’t envy you the misery. I always wish for the magic moving fairy to come in and wave her magic wand. And that was with a fully paid pack and ship deal both times.

    Best of luck.

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  23. ashley said on December 10, 2004 at 1:10 am

    To prep for living in Detroit, I suggest you start reading the collected works of Donald Goines.

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  24. Dorothy Michalski said on December 10, 2004 at 9:19 am


    You and I are the same age. And I’ve picked up and moved twice in less than 3 years, after spending my first 44 years where I was born. It was an adjustment at first – but now I’ve come to embrace the adventure of a move! We went from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, then this past September moved to Greenville, SC. It’s lovely here. Our kids are both in college (Penn State and Ohio State) so this recent move only impacted myself and my husband. We THINK we are set for a long stay here, but are willing to consider all options if we have to move in 2-3 years. I’m convinced attitude has a large part in the adjustment phase. So good luck and don’t worry – everything will work out eventually, and you’ll find lots to be happy about! (p.s. Don’t forget the St. Joseph statue thing in the front yard!)

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  25. John said on December 10, 2004 at 10:50 am


    If you haven’t had the chance yet, brow beat your hubby to take you to the Lake Lanier Tea House up toward Tryon, NC. It’s kind of out of the way, but well worth the trip.


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  26. Dorothy said on December 10, 2004 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks John we’ll try to remember that. I like tea – how did you know! No coffee for me. Just like the smell of it. I thought Lake Lanier was in Georgia, though? I went via motorcycle with my bro-in-law once years ago when they lived in Chamblee GA. Maybe the lake stretches that far?

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  27. Howie said on December 16, 2004 at 9:32 am


    Congratulations on the new beginning.

    I’ve read your column since it’s debut, which has been twenty years for both of us. You’ve been a minor influence (don’t want to give you too much credit) in my life from high school to college, and after 10 years of wandering, as a citizen of my home town again. Mostly, I’ve appreciated your storytelling and perspective-taking ability, and also how you once printed my teenage comment about Frankie and Weird Al Yankovic.

    I wish you the best in blue state life, maybe it will be better for you there. But I prefer to look at the bad sides of both colors. Keeps everything in perspective, and reminds me to trust something besides politics.

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  28. John Oliver said on March 2, 2005 at 2:32 am

    As a native of Tryon NC we will welcome your visit here. You are correct there is a Lake Lanier in Georgia both named for the great southern poet Sydney Lanier. who spent his last days in Tryon. Our lake Lanier is much smaller and much more beautiful. You can dine at the tea House while watching the sun set over the lake and western blue ridge mountains. You will dine on simple fresh fare prepared by chef Clarence.

    there is no menu. Enjoy a great southern tradition that has been going for 75 years.

    John Oliver

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