Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life on an island

I realize I haven't been here long, so I am by no means an authority on what living on Wheeling Island is like, but I have made some observations about life on an island.

First, the one that makes me think flooding is a real possibility: all the houses, pretty much without exception begin about eight feet above the ground.  That is the first eight feet is comprised of some sort of block construction surrounding what I am assuming is a "basement" area.  Then the first floor is atop that, generally with wood frame construction.  Almost every house I've seen, including the one that contains my apartment, has at least ten steps to get from yard to first floor entrance.  Seeing as I live quite close to the water, I hope this does not become an issue.  On a positive note, all the water damage I've found in my apartment is on the ceiling, not the floor, suggesting it comes from the upstairs unit, not the river.

Also, it is quite strange for me to feel so constrained geographically.  I have already pretty much explored all of the island I am comfortable with on foot.  To get to a post office, I have to cross over into Ohio or mainland West Virgina; the same is true to get to a library or a supermarket.  I am able to get to Ohio by bike, so it is my inclination to go that direction.  To get to the other part of Wheeling, I have not yet found a route that does not require time on the interstate, so driving is necessary to get there.  In Madison, even if it took awhile, I could--and did--get pretty much everywhere I wanted by hopping on my bike.  Here I foresee having to drive a lot more than I am used to. 

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