fanlain is much better than I am at blogging in realtime. I can only offer a retrospective. We managed to do the things we came for, which is find a place to live and buy a car. Actually, we only planning to reserve a car being currently shipped, but then we found out that someone else's deal on a blue ("Seaside Pearl") Prius with the package we wanted (AM) fell through, so we stepped in and picked it up.
The whole financing deal felt weird. You give them a small amount of money down, sign some forms, and you get a car. In our case, we nearly skipped the money down part because the finance guy at the dealership forgot to take our cheque, and we only remembered while walking out to take this photo. I suppose in some sense, they really win, since we didn't so much get a car but a bunch of pieces of paper. (The car will sit at the dealership until we come back in August.)
We also managed to find a place. We looked at about 10 places in total, some of them fairly nice, while others were cleary a dump, and finally settled on a townhouse that's not too far from campus, but not too close either. I like the idea of a townhouse because it makes a good intermediate step before buying a house, which we will likely do next year. And with no downstairs neighbors, I can keep playing DDR! The lease signing was a little painful; we had to read and sign more documents than for the car purchase, but I guess that's what you get with a lawyer-happy nationwide management company.
Tomorrow we get to wake up way early and drive our rental car back to O'Hare (which I discovered is not a convenient airport for getting to U-C) and fly to Toronto for nearly a week. We still have a lot on our todo list, and I suspect this will remain the case for the near future, but it feels good to get a couple of these big ticket issues out of the way. Now, once my visa paperwork clears, I'll be really happy.