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.

Whew! Just reading that made me exhausted & I spent the last week and a half doing almost nothing but read, sleep & watch tv. It's been rough, but sometimes I just have to tell all of those chores, "No, not gonna' do you." It helped that the kids spent most of the days at their dad's. I was tempted to think I was experiencing a form of depression... but I really don't think I was. I was just being happy being the laziest I've been in decades. AAAHHHHH.

Have to go back to work tomorrow & I never did get all of the papers graded... but the done stack is bigger than the to do stack. But the to do stack is the harder to grade essays & are actually older assignments. Shame on me for being to lazy to grade hard stuff.

I have to go do inservice training for a new program that is replacing the English 11 curriculum for most of our students because they read way below grade level. I did spend 2 days helping re-plan the normal English 11 curriculum for January through the state assessment in early April. Though I'll still be teaching "English 11" it will actually be 2 very different classes. plus the AP I already do... oh joy. 3 lessons to plan... Only redeeming thing is the below grade level is already planned, I just have to learn the computer program & study the books. Oh, joy.
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