Friday, August 8, 2008

Moving Out, Struggling In

No, I have not been on vacation. Or sabbatical. Or hiatus. Or even a work conference (though that did occur during my absence from my blog). No, I’ve been doing something much, much worse. Moving! That’s right. We finally went ahead and bought a house. After 5+ months of searching, much arguing and quite a few tears, we finally offered (twice) on a house on the other side of the valley. After an initial outright rejection, and then a few counteroffers, they finally accepted and it was a done deal. We are definitely paying more than we started out wanting to spend, but we also have more house than I thought we’d get for the money. So since the beginning of July, I feel like I’ve been lunging forward, head first, at breakneck speed through life, with no way to stop it or slow it down and no way to protect myself from any danger that I may literally run into on my way. It’s definitely not been the most pleasant experience in my life, but someone told me moving is the third most stressful thing that people go through. I believe it. Throw actually buying the place you’re moving into on top of that, and I think it ranks right up there toward the top. (I think #1 is death of a family member, so I am not so presumptuous as to assume my suffering has been worse than that!) And suddenly it’s August.

There are a ton of things that I need to write about, and my time away has certainly not been for lack of material. But I think I’ll just start with the most obvious thing: the move. While packing happened a little at a time over several weeks prior to the move, we were no where near ready once the day finally came. And boy did it come - in a whirlwind! We moved an entire household in two and a half days, and then spent the remainder of the third day cleaning the old residence. The good news is we got our full security deposit back. The bad news is that the new house has a garage and a spare bedroom packed wall-to-wall and nearly floor-to-ceiling with boxes and totes of various sizes, shapes and colors waiting to be unpacked, and the remainder of the house is cluttered with random full boxes, empty boxes and miscellaneous crap strewn everywhere. My fourth day away from work was spent unpacking as much as I could, but by that time the work had seriously slowed, as all my help had fled town (or, for some, back to their respective CLEAN residences.) No one room is, as of yet, fully unpacked, and certainly not fully functional. I made a very large dent in the mess in Sweetpea’s room the night before last, and unpacked probably six or so boxes just in there. I still can’t figure out how I had all that stuff packed into her tiny little bedroom. Or, for that matter, why a 4 ½ year-old needs that much stuff!

I am happy to report that my injury count as of right now is only limited to 9 bruises, 2 scratches and 1 broken nail. Ok, 10 bruises if you count the one on my cheek, but that one wasn’t my fault! That happened when Sweetpea decided to stand up all of a sudden and rammed the crown of her skull into my cheekbone. Ok, maybe 11 if you count the one I’m pretty sure I gave myself the night before last while trying to get an exceptionally large, but thankfully empty, box down the stairs, and dug the corner of it into my leg when it suddenly caught on the railing. Even so, any of you who know me well know that that’s pretty good considering the massive undertaking that was move, and the potential it had for injury. Especially since I can’t seem to walk through a doorway or get up from a desk without giving myself a bruise somehow, and at no time have less than two bruises somewhere on my body. My sister calls me a klutz, (and I’m not convinced she means it with love!) I disagree with that turn of phrase. I say I am hyper-focused. Meaning that I am generally so focused on what I am doing and where I am going that I don’t pay attention to what might be in my way, even if that something is a very large desk or even a wall. I regularly walk into walls, sometimes hard enough to knock myself backwards. One of my former co-workers got so used to it, he didn’t even look up anymore when I would ram into the door frame of my office – though he did glance up still when I would fall OUT of my office (don’t ask how I did that, because I don’t really know.) My mom tells me I’ve done these things since I was a child, and blames my near-sightedness for the problem, even though I wear contact lenses. Hey, what can I say? The shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and it seldom matters to me if there is some other object in the middle of my straight line.

There have been some bad things we’ve had to deal with with the house. The former owners left a lot of the house still dirty. The furnace room, which doubles as a storage room, was actually left with a large pile of dirt and debris piled in the middle of the room. We found out, too, that that pile contained left over DeCon from the apparently former rodent problem they had in the house. While the inspector told us there were no mice or rats in the walls, it’s not so wonderful to find old DeCon floating around a room these people used for food storage, and in which we intended to keep the cats’ litter box. My cats are dumb enough they’d eat that crap. So we had to clean that up. The “craft room” was also filthy, and it looks to me like these people hadn’t vacuumed any room in the basement (which contains two bedrooms, the furnace room and the craft room) in several years. Plus, instead of leaving the garbage cans out for the city to pick up on trash day, they hauled them back behind the fence still completely full. To top that off, we are still finding odd items they left in the house. It’s become a little like a treasure hunt, with little things popping up here and there: a dining room table; a very old, very large chest of drawers; a workbench in the garage (ok, these three we knew about since they asked if we wanted them); a bookshelf; a whole set of cast iron pans plus two broiler pans in the oven drawer; a pretty hand-painted crafty shelf still hanging on a wall; a brand new oil air freshener in a linen closet; a shower curtain and liner complete with starfish hooks still hanging in one bathroom; curtains still hanging throughout the house; a quilt hanger still hanging on the wall; a small plastic trash can – full of trash, of course – under a bathroom sink; a child’s book on the back of a toilet; two unopened glass bottles of Coke from the 2004 Men’s College Basketball Final Four tournament; lots and lots of old Time Life magazine covers, including one from the assassination of JFK; and what seems like hundreds of pennies scattered throughout the house. While all of this is technically a breach of contract since they were supposed to have all items removed and the house clean and free of debris, I figure there’s no point now in screaming foul. Because what will be done about it? Nothing, as far as I can tell.

In addition we’re finding other things we’re not pleased about. The kitchen cabinets were not leveled and evened out when they were set, so the opening for the fridge, while standard size across the top, is approximately a ½ an inch too narrow across the bottom. Thus the cabinets on one side have to be moved, and we cannot install our microwave until that has been taken care of.

The house has two sliding glass doors, one of which was supplemented with a removable additional pane of glass with a pet door on the bottom. It was this addition that contained the locks, and how the door got past the inspector. When we moved in, we discovered that the addition had been removed, and suddenly the door doesn’t lock at all. The other door, which opens onto a balcony from the master bedroom, somehow managed to get past the inspector unnoticed, but it doesn’t lock either. Come to find out now, the doors are old enough that the home improvement stores not only don’t carry handles and locks to fit them, but also no longer carry the parts needed to retrofit them. So now, while two new doors were on the agenda to begin with, they have been moved up in priority.

We also discovered that the house has Hobo spiders, which, of course, is the part I am the LEAST happy about. My sister killed one in the basement the first night we were there, my mom scared several out from around the house in both the front and back yards while sweeping the patios, and I discovered one of their funnel webs in one of the bedrooms in the basement. I’ve killed several spiders since we moved in (but didn’t get close enough to find out their type), I had terrible, horrific nightmares both Sunday and Monday nights, I pick anything up that’s been on the floor in the family room with my fingertips and shake it out, and I’ve as yet only ventured once more into the basement. Again, how do these things happen to me? Me, Mrs. Mega Arachnophobe, moves into a house containing not only spiders, but spiders that can be extremely damaging if not deadly. It’s got to be karma. Maybe someone’s getting even for all those spiders I’ve killed over the years. After all, my mantra is “no spider lives in my house”. Or maybe Murphy has a more twisted sense of humor than I thought. Whatever the circumstance, I now have to have an exterminator come to the house and spray. With Hobos I’m not taking the chance with any store bought pesticide or spider bomb. I’m calling in the experts! We’re on the schedule to get sprayed for what looks like the beginning of next week. Until them I’m having an awful time relaxing in the house, and I’m counting the days until they all are dead.

So, I will try to post pics of the house as soon as I can figure out how to photo shop out the huge, cartoon-style numbers of the address nailed to the very front of the house. After all, there are some people who read my blog who I DON’T know! And while I seem to have no qualms in sharing every other detail in my life, as well as every thought that seems to come into my head, I’d like to keep my address a secret from those I don’t know. Wouldn’t want any stalkers you know. LOL! Anyway, a preview of coming attractions: pics of the new house, pics and stories from my trip to San Francisco for a work conference, pics and stories of our back-woods Jeep adventure in June, and several pics of cakes plus maybe a story or two. Stay tuned!

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