Sunday, December 31, 2006

Back at last..... 

Taking a break from unpacking today to copy medical records for upcoming appointments with a new primary care doc and a new rheumatologist. I'm in a flare and have a hangover from Baclofen, so my fingers keep transposing letters when I type, but I'll do the best I can and make corrections as I go along. Am listening to one of the alt/modern rock radio stations (currently playing Blue October) on iTunes, one of the many perks of having a proper internet connection.

Let's see...I believe my last proper post was the day before we closed on the house? Well, about an hour after that post, I found out that the water heater in the house had died! We had planned to get a new one soon anyway since it had come with the house 30 years ago, so we agreed to split the cost on a replacement with the sellers.

That evening, Dan's parents gave us our Christmas present early....money toward a new refrigerator. Between them, money from my aunt and from my sister, we had enough to cover the whole thing, so we went shopping. We tried Sears first, but they only had high-end stuff and a very pushy salesperson who wanted me to buy Kenmore, so we went to a place called Karl's, where we found a nice simple small Whirlpool with 18.2 cubic feet and glass shelves, and we arranged for a delivery date of the 19th.

On December 15, Dan and I were to meet with the realtor at the house to do a final walk-through (ironic since I had never seen it before) at 11:30, an hour and a half before closing. Well, we got there, and the owners were STILL in the house, throwing stuff into the back of an open trailer! I think it was after noon before they were finished.

Needless to say, the owners had not cleaned anything since we'd made our offer. The kitchen and the bathroom upstairs were filthy, and there were large stains that looked like rust on the off-white carpet. Also, I was shocked to discover that even though the house contained 100 more square feet than our previous one in Denver, there were two more rooms, which meant every other room was SMALLER than what we'd had before.

Luckily, small though the rooms were, what was there was for the most part very cute, and there were some very nice updates, such as the backyard deck with built-in benches and the built-in desk in the back of the basement. And the promised improvements were all complete, including a new water heater and the downstairs electrical problems were corrected and a city inspector had signed off on them. So we were good to go, almost.

Problem was, our realtor didn't have the final figures for closing! So we couldn't get a cashier's check made out beforehand. We ended up going downtown for the closing convinced the whole thing would end up delayed, since I'd never been allowed to close on a property before without cash in hand.

But much to my surprise, the agent for the title company said we could just sign the paperwork, pop over to the credit union, and come straight back and drop off the cashier's check. Seems the rep for our lender had had a family emergency and had been unable to contact us with the final figures, but the numbers were there in the paperwork. So even though things were a little backwards, we DID close on time.

Afterward, I went back to my new abode with a folding chair and some reading material to keep me entertained while the water company came by for a reading and the carpet cleaners did their magic. I was delighted with the cleaners' results as they somehow managed to remove nearly all of the stains, and they got the whole house done in just an hour and a half.

So we were good to go for the big move in day, Saturday, December 16. We went over to the house about 9am with Chip in tow, and our friend Greg met us there to help Dan haul stuff out of the garage. I focused on unpacking rather than lifting or hauling.

But in addition to the rooms being small, because the house was built in the 1970's, the doorways and hallways were also quite narrow. This presented a real problem when bringing our furniture in. The loveseat recliner wouldn't fit through the door to the kitchen from the garage, nor through the sliding glass door in the dining area, and only with considerable difficulty through the front door after hefting it over the railing of the front porch.

We did somehow manage to get my six-foot tall bookcases into a back bedroom upstairs, but the entertainment center that was to go into the basement was too tall to fit down the staircase, so it ended up in the living room, and the shorter oak entertainment center was moved downstairs instead. The master bedroom was too narrow to have place the bed with the headboard against the only solid wall, so we ended up blocking the window and putting the bed in front of it. The china hutch would not fit anywhere except an upstairs bedroom, and the command center wouldn't fit anywhere except a corner of the basement.

And because of the unexpected re-arrangement of furniture, most of the boxes that went with those items ended up in the wrong place altogether. It didn't help that I had not packed all the boxes myself and so either didn't know or didn't remember what the contents were other than general descriptions like "books" or "office" or "bedroom". And some stuff I was specifically looking for couldn't be found at all, at least not initially.

My main task on Day 1 was the kitchen. I wanted to line the cabinets with shelf paper, but there was dirt and food residue on every stinkin' shelf, so I had to scrub everything within an inch of its life first. And there weren't nearly enough cabinets to hold all the kitchen stuff plus food, so I ended up getting rid of an entire set of china and a set of silverware and putting our food in the coat closet.

The bathroom situation also presented a problem. We went from three baths including a master with double sinks, plenty of under sink storage and a huge linen closet to one and three quarter baths with single sinks, very little under sink storage and probably half the linen storage. Also, Dan and I had double the bathroom stuff we normally would because we'd lived apart for six months, so we just crammed what we could into the master bath and stuffed the rest into a downstairs bath cabinet.

We had been especially spoiled in Denver to have a master bedroom closet as large as most people's bathrooms. So the items that had fit into that single closet had to be distributed amongst three closets upstairs. Dan's clothes ended up across the hall, and since the master didn't have any full length clothes racks, my dresses and long coats ended up in the third bedroom.

Luckily, we had at least the presence of mind to set aside "Open First" stuff so that by the end of Day 1, we had the bed assembled complete with sheets and pillows, a shower curtain and a set of towels for the main bath, and bowls and plastic cups for the kitchen. But even some of the "Open First" stuff got misplaced so that we didn't have scissors for opening boxes, silverware, basic cookware or the toolbox. And because I hadn't packed my own clothes, it took me several days to find the rest of my underwear, my sweaters and my warm socks.

One really cool thing that happened on Day 1 was the delivery of our brand new washer and dryer. There was a bit of a problem getting them actually into the house and into the laundry area, but the removal of a few doors took care of that. The only bummer was that we didn't have enough exhaust hose to connect the dryer and Dan's poor parents had to run all over town trying find the right length and type of hose.

At least Dan and I were homeowners again and got to go to sleep that night in our very own place. I barely remember anything about the evening because the pain and exhaustion were, to put it mildly, huge. But I did survive somehow.

The next day was spent with me still scrubbing kitchen cabinets and lining them with paper before putting dishes in. Greg came over again to help re-arrange and bring in more boxes. We had managed to fit both the microfiber loveseat/chair set and the reclining loveseat in the living room, but there was no room for the ottomans or Chip's kennel, and you couldn't recline the loveseat without smacking something, so the microfiber loveseat got hauled downstairs.

That night, Dan was hooking up the Mac when he discovered that the tower drive wouldn't fully power up! Great. So we ended up hauling it in to one of the two Mac repair places in town and getting a battery replaced.

On Monday the 18th, the cable guy arrived. The phone and tv installations were a cinch, but wouldn't you know that the only place the command center would fit was next to a dead connection? So the poor dude ended up stringing cable all the way across the basement and putting in a splitter so both the tv and the computer would work in the main area downstairs.

The following day, we had to have a radon mitigation system put in as the required radon test had come back just a tad over the limit. This was a fairly extensive project as it is installed next to the sump pump in the basement and fed into a fan and then tubing that leads outside the house. I was in major crash mode at this point and dozed off repeatedly on the couch during the three plus hours it took.

Fortunately, this was also new refrigerator installation day! Good thing I had purchased a small one because it was 31 inches wide, and the doorway it needed to go through was 32 inches wide, and the delivery guys had to take the kitchen door off its hinges. It was obvious that the previous owners had never once tried to clean behind or underneath the old fridge because the vents were completely clogged with dirt and there was a layer of old food, scraps of paper and kids' toys a few inches thick!

On Wednesday the 20th, I went to get a South Dakota driver's license. They almost wouldn't issue me one because I didn't have my original Social Security card on me! Weird because in Denver I was able to get one with a valid driver's license plus a copy of my birth certificate as proof of identity.

I spent the rest of that day and most of Thursday conducting business on the phone. Among other things, the check company had sent us new checks with a typo in the address, T-Mobile required me to send proof of South Dakota residency to get out of my contract with them since they don't serve the area, and my moronic second mortgage company took an automatic payment out of my closed Denver checking account even though I had PAID THEM OFF! So I had to re-order checks, send a fax from the only Kinko's in town to T-Mobile with a copy of my driver's license since they wouldn't allow me to snail mail it, and I had to request an "unauthorized ACH" form from my credit union and give written notice to the mortgage company to stop the automatic withdrawals.

Friday the 22nd and Saturday were spent updating the computer and unpacking. I now have iTunes 7 instead of version 4, which is a vast improvement, and OSX version 10.4.8. I was at least four updates behind on the operating system.

On Christmas Eve, Dan and I went to the First Congregational Church downtown because it had a convenient 6pm service. It was very nice, traditional readings from the King James Bible and all that. But a little too traditional a church for me to really fit into.

Afterward, we went to Dan's sister's house to meet with her husband, daughter, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, two nephews, mother-in-law and parents. I had never been there before and so got the full tour of their lovely almost-mansion which is twice the size of our house. We had some snacks (I was only able to eat some cheese, some meat and a few M&Ms) and then opened gifts.

I had planned on a quiet Christmas with Dan curled up on the couch watching movies, but we were asked to go to his sister's house again. We had a nice turkey dinner and opened "Santa gifts". We ended up going home early because Dan had a migraine.

Tuesday of last week was spent mostly resting as I was completely wiped out from all the Christmas activity. Wednesday, I had to go to the local credit union to get the "unauthorized ACH" form notarized and to Walgreens to get some meds refilled. Thursday was spent unpacking, downloading music (it only takes about 30 seconds per song thanks to the cable internet and updated iTunes) and taking care of more business via telephone.

Friday, I unpacked and cleaned a bit. I was FINALLY able to fit my rotisserie on the kitchen countertop. Most of my appliances are on countertops as there is no room in the cabinets.

Saturday, Dan and I had a "pre-New Year's Eve party". Greg and Angie came by, I made some gluten free cheeseburger mac, and we played a marathon session of "I Love the '80's" Trivial Pursuit. It was a close game, but Greg finally won.

And now here I am, on New Year's Eve, too tired to think of anything more to say except Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Rave of the Day for December 28, 2006: 

Got this funny off of Fibrohugs via Feathers. Not that any of these scenerios are at all familiar to me, heh heh.....


- You notice your tie sticking out of your fly.

- Someone uses your tongue for a coaster.

- You start kissing the portraits on the wall.

- You see your underwear hanging from the chandelier.

- You have to hold on to the floor to keep from sliding off.

- You strike a match and light your nose.

- You take off your shoes and wade in the potato salad.

- You hear someone say, "Call a priest!"

- You hear a duck quacking and it's you.

- You complain about the small bathroom after emerging from the closet.

- You refill your glass from the fish bowl.

- You tell everyone you have to go home and the party's at your place.

- You ask for another ice cube and put it in your pocket.

- You yawn at the biggest bore in the room and realize you're in front of the hall mirror.

- You pick up a roll, and butter your watch.

- You suggest everyone stand and sing the national budget.

- You're at the dinner table and you ask the hostess to pass a bedpan.

- You take out your handkerchief and blow your ear.

- You tell your best joke to the rubber plant.

- You realize you're the only one under the coffee table.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Rave of the Day for December 27, 2006: 

Came across this on David Baldinger's Cartoons & Stuff Blog. Thought it was pretty hilarious. You can either check out the animation via the link or just read the lyrics below. Enjoy....

Nuckin' Futs - A JibJab Year in Review - 2006


Welcome to our show,

We’re happy that you’re here,

To hear us sing a song,

About this crazy year!

There was violence in Iraq,

Trouble in Afghanistan,

And Brangelina had a kid and started their own clan!

Oh!-Sama hides!

Britney rides.

Saddam lost his case.

Remember when Dick Cheney shot that one guy in the face?

Phone call scans!

Liquid bans!

Chavez blew a nut!

In the year 2006 the world was NUCKIN’ FUTS!

Tom Cruise got the axe.

The Thai had quite a coup

I learned at Summer Camp,

Mel Gibson hates the Jews.

Haggard fell from grace,

Zarqawi bit the dust,

And the Google Guys bought YouTube for a couple billion bucks!


Did you hear?

This past year,

Castro nearly croaked.

And Ariel Sharon suffered a hemorrhagic stroke.


Tom Delay!

Freezers full of cash!

My Congressman IM’d me for a picture of my ASS!

Paris swore off sex,

Religious wars abound,

Kim Jung lit a bomb,

Somewhere underground.

E-Coli in our food,

Ken Lay died after trial,

Lance Bass announced that he prefers alternative life styles!


Did you hear?

This past year,

Rummy got the can.

The Dems took over Congress,

I don't think they have a plan!



Iran wants a bomb!

The way that things are headin’

Armageddon won’t be long!

It really won’t be long!


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rave of the Day for December 26, 2006: 

This funny I found on Fibrohugs, posted by Feathers.....

Twas The Day After Christmas

'Twas the day after Christmas, and all through the house,
Every creature was hurtin', even the mouse.
The toys were all broken, their batteries dead;
Santa passed out, with some ice on his head.

Wrapping and ribbons just covered the floor,
While upstairs the family continued to snore.
And I in my T-shirt, new Reeboks and jeans,
I went into the kitchen and started to clean.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the sink to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the curtains, and threw up the sash.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a little white truck, with an oversized mirror.
The driver was smiling, so lively and grand;
The patch on his jacket said "U.S. POSTMAN."

With a handful of bills, he grinned like a fox,
Then quickly he stuffed them into our mailbox.
Bill after bill, after bill, they still came.
Whistling and shouting he called them by name:

"Now Dillard's, now Broadway's, now Penney's and Sears
Here's Robinson's, Levitz's and Target and Mervyn's.
To the tip of your limit, every store, every mall,
Now charge away--charge away--charge away all!"

He whooped and he whistled as he finished his work.
He filled up the box, and then turned with a jerk.
He sprang to his truck and he drove down the road,
Driving much faster with just half a load.

Then I heard him exclaim with great holiday cheer,
"Enjoy what you got -- you'll be paying all year!"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Rave of the Day for December 24, 2006: 

Just a quick funny I saw on Fibrohugs today....

A blonde goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. She says to the clerk, "May I have 50 Christmas stamps?"

The clerk says, "What denomination?"

The blonde says, "God help us. Has it come to this?

Give me 6 Catholic, 12 Presbyterian, 10 Lutheran and 22 Baptists."

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Nice Rave of the Day for December 23, 2006: 

Found this while perusing the home page for my new cable internet provider. I found it inspiring because this woman has been through a great deal of tragedy in her life, yet her appearance in a Christmas movie at age 5 has helped keep her positive....

At 66, "Zuzu" Thinks Life Is Wonderful

I think I'll watch the DVD with Dan snuggled up on the couch tonight.

Naughty Rave of the Day for December 23, 2006: 

Got this joke in an e-mail from Laura. Too funny!

Three men died on Christmas Eve and were met by Saint Peter at the pearly gates.

"In honor of this holy season," Saint Peter said, "You must each possess something that symbolizes Christmas to get into heaven."

The first man fumbled through his pockets and pulled out a lighter. He flicked it on. "It represents a candle," he said.

"You may pass through the pearly gates," Saint Peter said.

The second man reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys. He shook them and said, "They're bells."

Saint Peter said, "You may pass through the pearly gates".
The third man started searching desperately through his pockets and finally pulled out a pair of women's panties.

St. Peter looked at the man with a raised eyebrow and asked, "And just what do those symbolize?"
The man replied, "These are Carols."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Nice Rave of the Day for December 22, 2006: 

This beautiful movie about the meaning of Christmas was sent to me by Joan. Feel free to share this with family, friends, your church, whomever.

A Silent Night

If this doesn't get you into the Christmas spirit, nothing will.

Naughty Rave of the Day for December 22, 2006: 

This actually aired on Saturday Night Live last weekend, censored of course. I almost didn't watch it because I thought I hated Justin Timberlake. But this little ditty proved to me that he actually has a sense of humor, even if I still don't care for most of his music.

WARNING: this version is unedited! Do NOT click on this link if you are easily offended!

Dick in a Box

Fa la la la la, la la la la.....

Let it snow, let it snow, let it....SLEET?? 

So much for a white Christmas! Guess I'll hafta settle for an icy one. Of course, if I were still in Denver, I'd be buried under two to four FEET of snow, so maybe I shouldn't bitch.

The move was extremely disorganized and a real roller coaster ride. I'd like to go into more detail, but I have a shitload of unpacking, software updating and recovering from the move to do before I can blog with abandon. I will, however, mention that yes, I did end up in a flare, and no, it ain't over yet.

I will throw in a couple of holiday Raves of the Day before I proceed with my software updates as an inadequate gift to my readers. Hey, it's the thought that counts, right? Well, maybe not.

If I don't get back here before Monday, Happy Holidays, everyone!

And peace be with all of you, always.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow.... 

Yep, tomorrow is the big day. We will FINALLY close on the house in Sioux Falls! Yayyyyy!

The current owners are running really behind (no surprise), so we won't be able to do our final walk-through until 11:30 tomorrow morning. Weird getting to see the inside of the house for the first time only an hour and a half before closing. I hope to hell they have finished all the improvements they promised to make.

Because I hadn't seen the inside of the house, Dan had to draw a sketch of it the other night so we could decide where to put the major pieces of furniture. I guess we didn't really need to get rid of the spare bed, the living room set and the extra recliner because they all would have fit in the new house. But then again, they would not have fit into the garage we've been using for storage, and we would have probably needed to rent a storage unit and pay more to the mover to transport them, which would have been more hassle than it was worth.

The living room will contain my Sealy loveseat recliner (how I've missed it!), the black microfiber loveseat/chair/ottoman set, and the extra ottoman. The main tv, the stereo, the main VCR, the laser disc player and the DVD player will also go in there as will the music CDs and DVDs. I think my lawyer bookcase and the audio cassettes will go in spare bedrooms.

There is a coat closet on the main floor, but it has been converted to mainly shelves. I think we're gonna switch it back to a coat closet because we have a ton of coats and no other reasonable place to hang them. As it is Dan's gonna have to put his clothes in a spare bedrom closet because none of the upstairs closets are large enough to all our clothes.

The master bedroom unfortunately is extremely awkward with no convenient way to put the bed against a wall with the small tv opposite it on top of the chest of drawers. One wall has a window, one wall has the bathroom doors, and the other wall has the closet, which has been converted to shelves and will have to be changed back into a closet. I don't really want to put the bed in the middle of the room and the tv off somewhere off at an angle, but I might not have a choice.

One bedroom is going to be a library. Both my oak bookcases, the lawyer bookcase, and the china hutch is going in there (it won't fit in the kitchen or dining room). Probably the corner curio cabinet will go in there if it will fit as well as my rocking chair.

One bedroom is going to be a scrapbook/project room where I will store all my photo albums and set up a table and chair as a work area. Yes, this is mainly for my benefit, but Dan is happy too because he's sick to death of my scrapbook clutter in the living room and would like it someplace where I can close a door and keep it out of his sight. I'll probably also store his uncle's photographs there.

The kitchen and dining area might be problematic because they are much smaller than what we had before. There is no pantry, either. I think we will store as much as we can in the cabinets and then get a free-standing cabinet that could substitute as a pantry and put it against the wall that separates the kitchen from the staircase.

The utility room is downstairs, and our new washer and dryer will go in there. I'm happy that this area is much larger than that horrible little closet we used to wash clothes in. There is even space to fold clothes and store cleaning supplies!

My command center, computer and one bookcase are going downstairs. If we need more storage for my medical records and office-type stuff, there should be sufficient room for a full-size filing cabinet. I'll be able to listen to iTunes while Dan watches TV upstairs.

The secondary TV and VCR will go downstairs, as will my Gazelle machine. Right now, we don't have any other furniture to go down there, but I'm sure we'll come up with something eventually. Most of the rest of the basement will be used for storage for now.

We'll have a back yard storage shed for the first time, which will be way cool as we now have two cars and will need all the garage space we can get. The back yard is not fenced, though, which is something we'll have to remedy ASAP. We'll also need to put a doggie door in the slider to the dining room.

We still haven't had a chance to go refigerator shopping yet, but we will before long I'm sure. After we get the fridge, we'll need to start saving up for a new water heater and a new central air conditioner. Right now, both those appliances work, but they came with the house and could die at any time (and probably aren't very energy efficient at this point).

Luckily, I don't foresee any other major expenses. All the other major appliances are reasonably new, there is adequate overhead lighting, and there are blinds on all the windows that will stay with the house. I rather hate the colors in the house such as the bright yellow kitchen and the green bedroom, but those aren't important enough to me to do anything about them right away.

It will be a bit weird adapting to what was someone else's house, but I still think we got a good deal considering our limited budget. There is over all much more storage than our previous house, so it should be a lot less cluttered. And the neighborhood seems nice.

And we edge ever closer to the end of the Great Moving Ordeal of 2006....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Observations about Sioux Falls.... 

Since my in-laws are out shopping, Dan's at work, and I don't have anything particular to do right now, I guess I'll list some of the things I've learned about Sioux Falls thus far:

You know how I mentioned yesterday that the Big Sioux River flows through town in a "U" shape so that in order to go from one end of the city to the other, you have to cross it twice? One cool thing about that is that there are parks on the banks of the river all over town, more parks than I've ever seen for a city this size. So no matter what part of town you live in, you're reasonably near a park.

Sioux Falls is not a random name. It actually does have a waterfall in one of its parks which is lit up at night. I want to go out there and take pix of it sometime.

Would you believe there are VW Beetle police cars here?? I wouldn't have believed it either if I hadn't seen them! I find this hysterically funny and don't think I'd be able to keep a straight face if one pulled me over.

Sioux Falls has more places to eat per capita than any city in the US. Perhaps it's a good thing then that I'm on dietary restrictions, heh heh. The local newspaper also pointed out last week that there is an unusually high rate of obesity here, which shouldn't be too surprising.

So far, I've been to The Outback, Red Lobster, Texas Roadhouse and Qdoba one time each. There is a Chevy's Mexican restaurant here that is supposed to have a gluten free menu, and I can eat at Chili's if I am willing to trust their ability to modify my order. But I'm going to try not to eat out too often since we're supposed to be on a budget.

I am getting used to the accent of South Dakooooota. It sounds vaguely Scandinavian in my opinion. I must sound pretty strange to people here with my Western twang and my habit of addressing everyone as "dude", but it's probably only a matter of time before I conform.

"Downtown" consists mainly of shops, the courthouse, a convention-type center and old churches. I don't think I've seen any buildings taller than 10 stories. I'm used to being able to spot downtown in a city from far away, but it's difficult here without any skyscrapers to use as reference.

For the most part, people here drive aggravatingly slow. But to be fair, the speed limit on almost all the streets is only 30mph, where I'm accustomed to 40 or 45 on side streets. It's not unusual, though, for someone to slow down in front of you without warning and maybe even come to a complete stop for no reason you can fathom.

There is no rush hour here. There is one consistently busy street in town and a fair amount of fender benders to back things up, but otherwise, you're good to go most of the time. I can't really say yet what the interstate driving is like as I've stayed off of them while I get the main streets figured out.

One thing that's really aggravating is that there are absolutely no signs posted warning you of construction ahead. Basically, they just shut down a lane or even an entire street on a whim, and you don't find out until you come right up on the cones blocking your way. Not cool.

Most residents I've talked to seem to be of the opinion that any temperature above 20 degrees constitutes "nice" weather. I'm barely able to handle anything under 40 or so. I wonder what the heck I'm gonna do when it gets REALLY cold here.

I have come to the conclusion that I am really a wimp. The few occasions I've had to be out when it was below zero wind chill, I was bundled up in a sweatshirt and thick jeans with gloves, heavy coat, winter boots and a hat. The women around me at the store, though, were wearing thin knit pants, high heeled shoes, and little coats maybe not even zipped up with no gloves.

That's all I can think of for now.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Went to another health food store in Sioux Falls today. This one was closer to where we are going to be living. It is more grocery oriented than the other two I've been to so far.

The cool thing was the HUGE amount of gluten free food they carry! An entire wall of it, and many of the brands I am accustomed to such as Kinickkinnick, Mrs. Leeper's, and Amy's. They had THREE kinds of gluten free pizza crust, including the individual-sized soft Italian spiced ones I love so much.

They also had some stuff I'm not used to seeing, like several varieties of rice chips, almond cheddar crackers, and chocolate peppermint soy milk (the last one is probably seasonal). I bought four packages of rice noodle soup and the almond cheddar crackers. I'll be back for perishables once we've moved into our new place.

Got kinda turned around coming back to the in-laws' house. One problem with the streets in Sioux Falls is that several of them won't connect you from one end of town to the other. This is because the Big Sioux River runs through the city in a "U" shape, and it would be too costly to have bridges across the river at every road that intersects it.

One thing I have found interesting is that people from South Dakota seem to be far more knowledgeable about Colorado than I am about South Dakota. The lady that owns the health food store knew all about the health food chains in Denver. When I had first met Dan, I had never been to South Dakota and didn't know anyone from there.

Our Sioux Falls realtor called last night and said everything seemed to be on schedule with the house sale. The final walk-through will probably be on Thursday. I may ask to wait until evening so Dan can go with me as he will be able to tell if the improvements the owners promised to make have been completed.

I am getting excited about moving in, weird because I know the physical exertion of unpacking will probably cause another flare. I don't care. I'm anxious to get this whole ordeal of the past six months behind me.

Need to log off for now.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Just four more days! 

Until we close on our Sioux Falls home. The closing will be downtown Friday at 1pm. Immediately afterward, I will go over to the house as am having all the carpets professionally cleaned at 3pm, which should give us enough time for them to dry before we start moving furniture in on Saturday morning.

Tuesday of last week, we went to dinner with our friends to celebrate Dan's birthday/our 10th wedding anniversary. We went to the Texas Roadhouse, which serves a delicious 6oz. filet steak just perfect for me. We talked for a few hours afterward.

Dan's car had to have the rear brakes replaced on Wednesday. I'm hoping that's the last of the car maintenance for awhile. I'd like to focus on things for the house and on paying down credit cards if possible.

On Wednesday evening, we went to dinner with Dan's parents, sister, brother-in-law and our niece at Red Lobster. Hadn't seen Elaina since before she could walk. She seems very mature for her age (she'll be 3 in February).

I think on Thursday I set up water and trash service and arranged the carpet cleaning. I know I got contact info for a new rheumatologist and a new primary care doc. Luckily, the rheumatologist had a cancellation, so I can get in to see him on January 5, and I'll make an appointment for a new patient consult with the primary care doc after I get moved.

Thursday evening, my brother-in-law and niece came by Dan's parents' house for dinner as my sister-in-law was working late. Elaina got to meet Chip, which was a bit scary as my dog has never been around kids. He barked at her and licked her toes, but at least he didn't flat out tackle her or anything.

Friday evening, Dan, his parents and I drove through some local parks to look at holiday lights. One park has a bunch of animated displays, and the other has everything draped in white lights. Took full advantage of the heated seats in the in-laws' SUV, heh heh.

On Saturday, the weather was unseasonably warm, so Dan and I took the Saturn and got gas and went to a car wash. We also went to the credit union and the bookstore, where I got a city map, an appointment calendar for next year and a book I want to review for But You Don't Look Sick as soon as I get settled in at the new house.

Saturday night, Dan and I did our own drive to see lights, something we did every year in Denver. I made my annual trip to Starbuck's for a mocha coffee, and we listened to the local station that is playing all Christmas music. We went to the south part of town where the new fancy houses are and ooohed and aaaahed.

Yesterday, Dan and I went to the UCC congregational church downtown. It's absolutely huge, built in 1909, and the congregation has been around since 1871. The service was even more traditional than at the other church, which is kinda cool at Christmas time, but I think during the rest of the year, I'll probably fit in better at the church we went to the previous week.

Last night, Dan and I did one more light viewing trip. We went to the house that has the largest individual display and drove through the nearby neighborhoods. I think at this point we have pretty much covered all of Sioux Falls.

This morning, I kinda crashed and was stuck in bed for nearly 12 hours. I have not been able to fight off the last of this congestion, so I went back to Walgreens for some more Claritin D. I don't want to be hacking up a lung during closing on Friday.

I also went to one of the other health food stores in town this afternoon. I plan to visit each one to see who carries what as there are no health food chains here. This store had a very nice manager and had all the Amy's brand soups that I like, so I bought a can each of Chunky Vegetable, Chunky Tomato Bisque, Cream of Tomato and Potato Leek.

There's lots more I'd like to blog about, but this is not my computer, so I shouldn't hog it all afternoon. The official hookup date for cable internet for my Mac is a week from today. After that, look out, world!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ah, that's better! 

FINALLY, good news to report from Sioux Falls. Things are falling into place at last. I was starting to wonder what I'd gotten myself into.

First, Dan and I went to church Sunday morning. It was a more traditional service than I'm used to, but I liked it, and the people there seemed nice. It's a tiny church, though, and it was filled to overflowing, but they are moving to a new location (I'm hoping it's a larger building) next spring.

I was too wiped out after the service to go anywhere else, so I just watched "Harry Potter" on cable and rested. Next week we're going to try the other United Church of Christ. It's a congregational church with two services.

Yesterday, I got word from our Sioux Falls realtor that the sellers of the house we're purchasing had finally given the utilities disconnect dates, so I was free to get things set up for Dan and me. We're getting our internet, phone and cable from the same company for a very reasonable price, and I've got the electric and natural gas ready for December 15. I still have to figure out who I'm going to use for trash service as there are about 30 companies to choose from (in Denver it was automatic and free), and I forgot to contact the water company, so I'll finish that up tomorrow.

I also got a call from the Denver realtor stating that they had final figures for the closing. It's $1500 more than the original number because the buyers had to forfeit their earnest money when they violated their contract by not informing us that they had changed lenders, loan types and that they would not be ready to close on November 22 as originally agreed. We need every penny we can get our hands on right now, so that was good news.

In addition, we got a check yesterday for the retirement fund we cashed out. We're using it to help with the down payment on the house we're buying. I'm hoping we'll even have a bit left over to pay down some credit cards since I charged the cost of the movers.

We also got some money from my aunt in Little Rock for our birthday, anniversary and Christmas. We're going to use it toward buying a new refrigerator. I think we can probably find one on sale since it is the holiday season.

I finally felt decent enough yesterday to leave the in-laws' house. I went out long enough to get a present and some cards for Dan's birthday/our anniversary. Then it was time to rest again as I was still coughing and congested.

Today was the big day.....Dan turned 36, and we've been married for 10 years! Dan has the day off work, so we ran some errands, and he gave me a Visa gift card, so I used it to buy a new swimsuit for aquacise and some fleece-lined sweats (all my other sweats are thin nylon or terrycloth, fine for Denver, but completely inadequate for the bone-chilling cold of Sioux Falls). Tonight, our friends are gonna go to dinner with us to celebrate.

This morning, after yet another delay with paperwork, we FINALLY got our closing in Denver! They wired our proceeds directly into our account here, which was way cool. Now we've got all we need to close on the house here on the 15th, which is an enormous relief.

Today was also the first day since I moved here November 26th that the weather was what I would consider comfortable. I think it got up to 40, a far cry from the below zero wind chills of late. But it may snow tonight, so I'll probably be wearing those fleece-lined sweats tomorrow.

The upper respiratory infection is subsiding, albeit slowly. I still have a cough, but it is less constant, and I finally can ease up on the consumption of Kleenex. I hope it disappears completely very soon.

Think I'll go find Dan and snuggle for a little while until time to go to dinner. It will be awesome when we've got our own place again.

Just ten more days.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Ack! The plague! Run away! 

Ok, maybe not the real plague, but that's what it feels like. Apparently, my four year track record of not getting so much as a cold bit the dust last weekend. I awoke Sunday morning with a scratchier than usual throat and more congestion than I'm accustomed to (I always have some anyway because of the Sjogren's).

Monday's business of standing in a freezing cold garage for five hours probably wasn't helpful, nor was the fact that I didn't have a real meal until 6pm because we needed to visit our insurance agent and go to the credit union to deposit my cashier's check from Denver before the close of business. By the time we got back to the in-laws' house, I had a sinus headache and the beginnings of a cough. And it went downhill from there.

Tuesday I didn't go anywhere except to take Chip on potty breaks, which was excruciating enough because the temperature was about 15 with 25mph winds. I tried to conduct some business over the phone. But when I tried to set up local telephone service, I was told that the current owners of the house we are buying hadn't arranged a disconnect date yet, so they couldn't get anything going for me yet.

I also got disappointing news from my wireless company. When I'd told them a few weeks ago that I was moving, they assured me that if I signed up for a national plan, which I did (two year committment), they'd give me a South Dakota phone number after I got there. But then I find out on Tuesday that they don't even SERVE South Dakota!

Wednesday morning, I woke up feeling like I was choking. My lymph nodes were quite swollen as was the inside of my throat, and it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I went to the pharmacy, but all the congestion remedies contained guaifenisen, which I'm allergic to, so I ended up getting some Claritin-D, which helped a tiny bit.

Thursday was even worse. My voice was gone, and I knew I needed to get to a doctor before I developed bronchitis (I have a talent for going from zero to bronichitis in record time). I went to Dan's doc, who stated that I definitely had an infection and prescribed anti-biotics.

Our second attempt at closing on the Denver house was supposed to take place Thurday afternoon, but I got a call from the realtor telling me that it was on hold AGAIN! This time, the lender's office in Texas was shut down due to an ice storm, and all their computers were down. So it was re-scheduled for Tuesday, December 5th, which is Dan's birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary.

Yesterday, the congestion in my chest loosened, which meant that I was coughing even more, but at least it was accomplishing something. I also went through two boxes of Kleenex, ewwwww! Every fiber of my being had cranked the pain up to 11, so I didn't even have the energy to get dressed.

I got a call yesterday from my lawyers' office. Seems the long-term disability company finally responded to their requests for information, and in return, I am to fill out an employment history form. Basically, the insurance company wants to see all the places I've worked so they can pick one out and claim I can still do that job so they can stop paying me.

Today, I was hoping to finally get out of the in-laws' house and take a look around Sioux Falls on my own, but I can't seem to go more than five minutes without needing a Kleenex, so I have to take it easy for yet another day. I'm very weak, my ears are congested, and I'm fibro-fogged as hell, so it's probably best that I not drive anyway. This is not exactly how I envisioned starting my new life.

If I am better tomorrow, Dan and I will probably go to church. There are two United Churches of Christ in Sioux Falls, and I want to visit both of them over the next month or so to decide which one would be best for us. We'll start with the one that says in their Yellow Pages ad that they are diverse, progressive and inclusive.

Oh, and the closing on the Sioux Falls house is scheduled for 1pm on December 15. That only thing that might hold that up is if the sellers' house is not finished yet. So far, I've not heard anything of that nature, so I'm trying to stay optimistic.

Staying optimistic. That's the hardest part right now. Maybe in two weeks I'll feel differently.


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