It was also home to over 500 vehicles that have passed through my hands towards publication – almost all of them featured on this website.
Who knew that December 1, 2008 would have a profound effect on this professional life?
That day, I moved into the place I called home in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. My roommate/landlord was there to see me grow from some “project assistant” at a records management firm to a managing editor of a culturally-specific lifestyle magazine.
During that time, Victory & Reseda was born. It evolved from that home in Robbinsdale to our screens with stories too numerous to retell. It was also home to over 500 vehicles that have passed through my hands towards publication – almost all of them featured on this website.
We survived economic crises, a pandemic, neighborhood crime, hospitalizations, and life changes. We had our moments, but we made it through these past 13-and-a-half years the best we can. We lived in a shield that protected us from potential threats outside of those four walls.
I thank my friend Melodie and wish her all my best. I also wish her well for impending matrimony to Matt.
This year was a time for change. Not only to emerge from a serious hospitalization and a major job change, but to transition to a new home for the first time in over 13 years.
It was not the smoothest of transitions, but it happened. My body responded negatively to the machinations of the move. I pushed through and accomplished getting settled in with some teething issues at the new place in Saint Paul.
The home I loved into is a pre-World War I two-story home with a full basement in the West Seventh neighborhood of Saint Paul. It is an old house that is in continuous development. My space now includes a small office and a walk-in closet, along with a sizeable bedroom. The landlord is working on a new slab for 3-4 vehicles off of the alley, as well improvements to basement access, the kitchen, and elsewhere in the house.
I have been assured that our few blocks are a pocket of safety, actively patrolled by the Saint Paul Police Department. The city has a reputation for being “blue collar” and a bit rough. There are neighborhoods in other parts of the city that have that reputation, but there are also wonderful neighborhoods in Saint Paul, as well.
Comparatively speaking, I’m in a better area than the one I used to live in back in 2004-2005. Again, it is about perspective and relative safety.
Saint Paul does sport some positives. It is home of the National Hockey League’s Minnesota Wild, Major League Soccer’s Minnesota United FC, and Triple-A Baseball’s Saint Paul Saints. The city has a vibrant arts scene from full-on productions at The Ordway to small art galleries in Lowertown.
The city is also extremely diverse. It is also dealing with the aftermath of some forms of Manifest Destiny. The Rondo neighborhood was an African American enclave just west of the state capitol building. It was bulldozed over to create Interstate 94 running through to Minneapolis.
The city can also trumpet its stake in Minnesota’s Car Culture. While hosting one of the coolest monthly car events with Drive Cartel’s Cars and Crafts at the St. Paul Brewery, it is also home of John Wayne Pha’s newest venture, J.W.P. Automotive.
Relocation is physical. It is emotional, as well. This move was no exception.
Between the great service at U-Haul in Crystal with their 2021 Ford Transit 250 low-roof, long-wheelbase van available for the move, I was able to get everything into my new storage unit in an industrial area of Saint Paul. Getting into a five-by-eight-foot space was quite the feat. I know, my body told me so.
Yeah, I was hurting. I blame in cinch in my spinal cord up by my neck for the loss of energy and absolute soreness. When it was all said and done, I transferred some key items from the old house to the storage unit and into my new space within days. The later part was done with the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta GLI Autobahn I was working with later that week.
There are still some items I have to get out of storage. In due time, perhaps.
The big challenge is staying power. I am committed to at least a year at this location – and my storage unit. Let’s see how this move works out.
All photos by Randy Stern