Monday, August 29, 2011


We've been in the new house about 9 days.  Today the last of our possessions from the 2nd and final POD(S) was unloaded and are now stacked to my chin in various places around the house.  Just when we had kind of broken through the previous wave of stuff to make the house look almost liveable, all the rest of our stuff got dumped in on top of it.

My conclusion is still that we have way too much stuff, though the two guys whom I paid to unload the POD today were very gracious and assured me several times that no, we don't have that much stuff.  They've certainly moved a lot more.  I didn't have any cash to tip them, but I gave them cold SOBEs from the fridge as they left.

I don't know how to write about the last couple of weeks.  There has been so much going on.
I have been completely overwhelmed by the fabulous family, friends, and neighbors who have let me cash in favors all over the place.  My family did more to help me purge and pack and entertain the kids over the past month than I could ever hope for. My friends have watched my kids, watched our plants, and watched our pets when asked on zero notice.  People have come through with us on favors and advice and tips that made my world much easier.  It kind of contrasted from the rather painful exit of our old house - which I left in kind of a hurry and didn't get to clean properly, then was lambasted by the new owners about my filthiness.  Our real estate agent on that end happily passed on the vitriolic comments from the buyers of our old house, how they were demanding pest bombs and $1,000.00 for professional cleaning.  She was calmly assuring me it was all my fault and advising me that now I get to pay to clean the house we left before she washed her hands of us completely.  The whole thing ended up as a very painful and unhappy situation on the selling end.  

Contrast that to our new house, where people have been friendly, gracious, and helpful!  The real estate agent for the new house has been like a sister, calling to make sure I haven't blown a fuse, and dropping by REALLY  NICE housewelcoming gifts.  New neighbors have assured me that THIS IS the best side of the freeway to live on, to raise a family on.  People here are much friendlier, and there are a lot more kids.  Yippeeee!  That's just what I was hoping to hear!!

Thing 2 is already fast friends with a little girl in her class who lives about 8 houses away.  She has had to totally make new friends each year of school as it seems each year only her and one or two other kids from the previous year end up together, so I wasn't quite as worried about her.  Thing 1 has never had to make new friends each year, as most of her group of friends has moved together each year, so she is unfamiliar with the starting over thing.  She confessed very unhappily last night that she's really struggling and is not happy.  She wants to move back to our old town.  She's generally shyer is less interested in the typical girl-princess-pink sort of stuff.  She's not quite athletic enough to just go hang out with the boys, and has been caught in limbo in between.  Today, however, she reported she had had a very good day, met a new friend, and seemed happy.

It seems one of the casualties of our move was most of the contents of our liquor cabinet. This happened in two phases.
First, in an act of complete desperation, as the packers were loading up our stuff in the old house (or should I say as I saw they were NOT putting our stuff on the truck) I started giving them stuff just to try and get it out of our house, particularly the alcohol in the fridge.  Also this stray bottle in the fancy green and gold cardboard cylinder that was sitting on the counter, whatever that was.  I do not drink, and don't know the first thing about alcohol. I just know that we have a bunch of bottles cluttering up my basement and fridge, that no one ever seems to drink.  If there's a party, someone brings over the appropriate bottle to go with what's for dinner, and an extra, that just gets added to the contents of our basement.  So I was giving away whatever I could.
Second, right after we moved in, I was downstairs in the unfinished basement putting something on a shelf, and nudged the wine rack on the same shelf.  It's a fancy wine rack that holds the bottles nose down at what is apparently the right angle to keep the cork wet.  However it is also the optimum angle for sliding right out of the wine rack if it is jostled the right way, to go crashing nose down onto the cement basement floor.  We lost four bottles of something or other that way.

Later as I was regaling some friends who had come up to see the new house with the story of how hard I am on the alcohol in the house, my husband got kind of an alarmed look and asked "Where's the Scotch?"
The what?
"The Scotch, you know, the bottle of Scotch we bought in Scotland?"
Ummmm...  Might it have been green, in a cardboard cylinder?
Welllll... I gave that to one of the annoying movers.
"...!!!!!!!  Are you kidding?"
"Honey, that bottle was at least 30 years old... maybe 40!"
What?  We only bought it, 12 years ago? and besides if you haven't drunk it in that long, who knows if you ever will! If you haven't used it, get rid of it, right?!
"Sweetheart...  (shakes head). I bought two bottles to give away, that was the one left.  It was 10-20 years old when we bought it. You pay more the older it is.  Scotch gets better as it gets older.  That was probably a $200.00 bottle of Scotch."


So in a matter of 1 week I singlehandedly decimated our stock of alcohol.  For a non-drinker, that's quite an accomplishment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


We moved out of our house today.  It was, in a word, Brutal.

The mover's estimate over the phone was 5 hours for 3 guys at $140 an hour.  It took closer to 10 hours.  And then, they told me I couldn't pay $80 a day to keep my stuff on the truck... I had to pay those same 3 guys $140 an hour to unload my stuff into their warehouse - they estimated another four hours.  With driving time that they also charge me for, the whole move cost me close to $2200.00.  And that's just to get my stuff on the truck and some of it in the POD.  To get it back from their warehouse they're going to have to load it onto the truck again, then bring it to me and unload it into my house.  It makes me sick just thinking about paying for it.

They also did NOT bring boxes.  WHAT?  No.  No boxes.  I TOLD them I hadn't boxed everything up.  They brought tape, and furniture blankets, and paper.  But no boxes.  When we ran through the boxes I had leftover from my boxing, they started just wrapping everything in shrink wrap. My husband and I watched in amusement as one of the movers wrap up a foam mattress topper in shrinkwrap.  We wondered why they weren't putting it in a box.  That was before the cold harsh realization hit, that I am paying these guys to hand carry out little individually shrink wrapped items that should be placed in big boxes. It wasn't until I approached one of them and asked if they had a box I could use to start boxing up my kitchen they told me they could order boxes from the warehouse, but they're very expensive.  Finally I figured it out.  I said "You mean I need to go buy more boxes from U-Haul?"  Yes. How many?  25 medium and 2 wardrobes.
I bought what they said plus 5 large boxes.  Then a couple hours later I had to run to U-Haul again for more boxes.  
Turns out I have 8 left over I can sell back...  But the whole thing was extremely frustrating and painful.  I was packing up as quick as I could, and felt like I was basically upending bathroom drawers into boxes.  Sorting it out once we get to the new house is going to be nothing short of a nightmare.  I'm seriously considering stirring each box with the handle of the toilet plunger to see if anything important rises to the surface, then just throwing the rest into the trash.  There is a convenient place on the side of each box for you to write what's in it for each of 4 moves. A painting of a happy lady tells me to "Recycle this box!!"  How in the world am I going to recycle it?  I am NEVER MOVING AGAIN!

Since Hubby was gone for the better part of the day today, he didn't get that desperate overwhelming feeling of wholesale dumping into boxes.  He assured me over the phone tonight it was worth having these guys move us, and it will be worth it on the other end having them unload the truck.  Which brings me to the other horrible thing about this move - How much freaking stuff we have!  We filled a POD with stuff last month when we were purging.  Then today we filled a 2nd POD, and the overflow filled THEIR ENTIRE TRUCK!!!  This wasn't just a little trailer truck, this was a whole MOVING VAN truck!  I don't get it!  Where did all that stuff come from, how did we cram it all into our little house, and how am I going to explain to my darling family that I'm not letting half of it into the new house!?!? 

It's going to continue to be a brutal week.  We are scheduled to take possession of the new house on Friday morning, when I get to supervise three men spending a whole day filling my clean empty new house with crap I'm not sure I want at $140 an hour.  I've got to purge, if it kills me.

In the mean time, the girls, the dog and I are homeless, bouncing from my parent's house 2 hours north, and the old neighborhood where I plan on taking the girls for a playdate while I sign on the new house.  Hubby suggested I get a hotel in town, instead of driving all the way up to my parent's house.  But I think I figured on the way up here I seemed to need some comfort and stability.  Even though my folks are out of town for the time I'm going to be in their house, I wanted to come somewhere familiar.  Just for a day or two.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It was a great party but I have no evidence...

Just one washed out photo from my phone.  My real camera battery died, and the charger is packed up in a box somewhere.  I've been using my phone for everything, and the memory is full.  It seems like I go in and erase 20 pictures, take two, and it's full again.

So all the evidence I have that Thing 2's birthday party was a roaring success is one photo.
And it's not of the 10 kids who came, or all the fun times they had... it's of the cake.  And I need to say the cake was even cuter than it shows in the picture.  It was just like a little stuffed animal on a tray.  Vanilla cake with strawberry filling. 

We went to Color Me Mine and the two girls there took care of us beautifully.  The other mom whom I'd asked to help out was pretty much my chatting companion while the kids all painted their little figurines.  Then had watermelon, carrots, and cheetos, then cut the cake and had presents.  It was glorious because it wasn't in my house.  All I had to do was show up and pay.

Which is good because I've come down with a nasty head cold.  I sound like a talking disposal and have a headache and am exhausted.

My mom and dad are coming tomorrow to help us box some stuff up to put in the 2nd POD that is now sitting in front of my house, POD VERSION 2.  The movers are coming on Tuesday, and Tuesday night we are out of this house and will drive north to stay at Grandma's while we wait for the closing of the Park City house.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Talapia Night

7:30 at night is not the ideal time to open the fridge and start trying to figure out what's for dinner.  
But hey, I Yam what I Yam.  And what I yam is not a cook.

 Yes, that's right, I'm not a COOK.

We eat differently when Hubby is in town.  What is for me and the girls a slap together catch whatever you can kind of meal gains more focus when he's around.  There are actually side dishes.  There is more of an attempt to have everything on the table when the meal starts, instead of a main dish surrounded by whatever I can think of as the meal goes on, prepared on the table as the meal is in progress... for example, a sliced apple.  Does anyone want some apple?  Apple, cutting board, and knife are invited to the table.  How about olives?  Yeah?  Okay, can opener, bowl, can, all come to the table.

The exception is Talapia.  Talapia is something the girls will eat but Hubby finds too boring and too fishy.  So we eat Talapia when he's not around, I have my fishy fix for the week and prepare a sauce that involves a little wasabi paste, mayonnaise, lemon juice and bread crumbs for myself and the girls get theirs baked with butter and salt, as naked plain white as the day it was born.  I usually microwave steam some broccoli - the only vegetable both girls willingly eat.  It's as close as we usually come to a real sit-down planned-out dinner when Hubby's not here.

Tonight caught me off guard.  Hubby is in town but is involved in a conference that is also in town.  I thought maybe we'd have pizza with our out of town guests, but surprise!  They're still at the conference. Hubby has to take the colleague he's been preparing with all afternoon that he'll be presenting with tomorrow back to the conference and pick someone else up from the airport and drop them off at the conference.  It's like he's not here, but he is...

So at 7:30 I'm opening the fridge... nothing.   Freezer.... Talapia.  At 7:34 I'm writing this as the Talapia does a quick thaw in the sink and the oven heats up.  We should be eating by 8:00.  Or maybe 8:15.  However there is no broccoli in the fridge...

Olives are a side dish, aren't they?


Surprise!  Hubby just called, he dropped off the airport buddy and is headed home for dinner.  Talapia is certainly better for his cholesterol than whatever he'd get from a drive up window, and I'm happy I didn't skimp on the overly large fillets that I'm heating up for the girls.  I'll just add some extra Wasabi to the side sauce.  Hopefully it will burn off the taste of the fish.

What's a water main?

Things were going along smoothly with all the house sales...

Toooo smoothly...

The buyer of our house had their inspection on Friday.  They spent a lot of time in our basement cellar space.  I wasn't too worried.  We'd had our own inspection just the week before.  No real problems, a couple of minor things but nothing serious.

I guess it is bad form to have the sellers there during an inspection, but we couldn't leave because Thing 2 was recovering from stomach flu.  I got to meet the buyer (a cute 30 something girl) and her (nice but businessy) agent and her (quite charming) mother.  The buyer had to leave shortly after they got here, but her mother stayed, and we got to chat.  Turns out the mother lives about three blocks away.  And the girl's brother lives about five blocks away.  And her aunt and uncle live in the neighborhood.  And her mother went to school with my neighbor three houses up.  Apparently the buyer grew up in a house not far from here.  She knows about old houses.  She likes old houses.  This house just seems golden for this girl.  All goes well.  They leave with smiles.

Then that evening I come down with the stomach flu.  From eight o'clock on, I'm hunkered over the toilet every hour for a few minutes, almost like clockwork.  Suddenly Thing 2's whining about stomach pain doesn't seem like pointless whining anymore.  I'm in agony.  My stomach is totally constricted.  It hurts too bad to sleep.  Hubby goes to the airport to get our houseguests from New Zealand.  He comes back and lets the kids stay up til nearly 11:00.  I'm in no position to argue.  All I can do is groan, and vomit.

My last vommiting session is around 2:00 am.  I spend all of Saturday whimpering and talking on the phone (things are erupting with my church calling since I'm leaving...  Crazy how they left us shorthanded for nearly two months when the other Primary counselor got another calling, but I haven't moved yet and they've already replaced me).  My stomach finally stops hurting enough that I can sleep.  While I'm lying in bed Hubby took the kids and our guests to Snowbird to ride the trams, and jump on the bungee trampolines, and listen to music.

I rolled out of bed Saturday evening around 7:00 pm.  My family was not back yet.  I could actually walk, but my stomach still hurts. I probably COULD go to church but I've already made arrangements not to... we'll let the new councilor dive right in.
I checked my email.  There was a note from my realtor saying the inspection showed a corroded main waterline that may or may not need to be fully replaced.  This could make the house unsellable.
What? WHAT?!?  Frantic emails fly off my keyboard.
A quick internet search shows me this may cost between $1500 and $5000 mostly depending upon how much digging it takes.  They suggest if I can operate a back hoe maybe I could save money by digging it up myself.  I am distraught. 
My good friend who happens to be the primary president calls to see how things have gone with the church stuff.  In talking to her, I tell her the water main news and she says they replaced their main waterline a couple years ago when a couple of their neighbors started getting swampy front yards.  She said it cost $3000 and took one day.   Later an reply from our realtor indicates this is probably what I can expect.  Okay, maybe we can get through this. 

The buyer is coming back with a plumber Monday morning to assess.  At best, this is something that we will just knock off the price of the house and the buyer can deal with it.  At worst the sale of the house will be held up while we deal with the water main ourselves, and she can just move in when it's all over with.  Either way I'm hoping that everything moves forward quickly.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Life In The Fast Lane

So.  Things were going along nicely.  We were looking for homes in Park City, and actually found one that kept rising to the top of our searches and we made a "Favorites" tag for it on the Real Estate lists.  However I was enjoying taking my time, looking things over, and considering all my options.  As is my tendency.
Then all hell broke loose when someone else put an offer on that house.  Suddenly we were in choose it or loose it situation.  It wasn't a tough decision, for about not terribly much more than we expected to get from our current house we'd double our square footage, go from .11th of an acre to 1/2 an acre, and Hubby would get a REAL office in the MIL apartment above the garage.  We put in a bid, the sellers threw out the other bid and accepted our bid.
This was all three or four weeks ago.  We got the mortgage paperwork ready to go to close August 20th to get the kids in school in the new neighborhood, then recently decided why wait and proposed closing August 12th.  

In the mean time we were in crisis mode to GET OUR STUFF OUT OF OUR HOUSE.  My darling sweet sister and my parents put themselves at our disposal and dropped their lives for several days at a time and came down to help me purge and pack.  We rented a POD (which required a permit, and a trip to the city engineers to rent the space in front of our house, and a trip to a barricade company to rent four flashing barricades for the four corners of the pod) and started to fill said POD with all of our immediately unnecessary yet precious possessions.  I figured we would have an open house while our family joined my larger family for our annual vacation to Jackson Hole.  All efforts were focused on getting our house ready for the market.  Thing 2 got her cast off during this time and I promised her that once the house was on the market I'd take them swimming and we'd have the rest of our summer to do all those things she was wanting to do.  Thing 2's birthday fell in this time period as well, and we negotiated with her to have her friend party in August, and her family party while we were on vacation in Jackson. She was excited about this, luckily.  
We had the POD for two weeks, in which time we filled it completely full.  Hubby arranged to be home the week that we left for Jackson and as a group we busted our collective butts and had the house ready to show by Friday July 29th, the day we left for Jackson.  The house was open on July 30th and 31st.  We had an offer for $10,000.00 less than our asking price waiting in my email on the morning of the 31st.  While I would love to get more, at this point I am so thrilled to have the house sell IMMEDIATELY I am disinclined to argue too much.  And they want to close August 17th.  Today, August 1st, we will accept the offer by the 5:00 deadline, but I'm waiting to see if there's a way to juggle the closing of the Park City house back a few days so we can do the closings on the same day, thus avoiding carrying two mortgages even for a few minutes.  
Though it wouldn't be tragic if we got the Park City house first, then were able to do a little painting up there and move some stuff up before our current house closed.  
In any event the usually lovely and relaxing Jackson Hole family vacation has developed something of a real estate haze over it for me.