Archive | October 2011

The Top 10 Suckiest Things About Moving

In honor of buying a new home, and staging and selling the old one, and the insanity that we’ve gone through between then and now, I thought I would try to define the worst parts of this whole process.  These are in no particular order, because I think they all suck pretty equally.  Feel free to disagree, or suggest your own!

1.  The miscellaneous boxes.  You know the ones.  You pack the whole box of dishes, and then you find the two that were hiding in the dishwasher.  Or the whole box or garden tools, then you find that one trowel in the yard.  So you end up with all these boxes of odds and ends!

2.  The strangers coming in your house.  Even if you aren’t there, it feels so intrusive!  They look in your cupboards, and critique your decorating style, and when you come home, you know they were there…

3.  Staging.  Everybody knows that when you put your house on the market, you have to make it look like a trendy, stylish person with absolutely no stuff lives there.  Which means you have to pack most of your stuff. So when you want a specific book to read, it’s packed, and when your sis-in-law calls looking for a specific recipe in a cookbook you own, it’s packed.  And that puzzle you were working on is packed too!

4.  Inspections.  Enough said.  I think I’ve blogged about annoying buyers and annoying inspectors enough already!

5.  Knock down, drag out arguments.  Jon and I have argued more in the last few months than we ever have.  Which box should that widget go in with… how many art prints can I put in one box… And would you please take the hoses off the faucets and wrap them up to be moved already!?

6.  Kitty PTSD.  Kitties are very sensitive, and ours don’t really like these new developments.  They fight more among themselves, and they really hate that I leave all day to go to work.  They are looking forward to this all being over too. 

7.  The illusion that you can organize.  You know that the packing never really ends until the last day, when you have the truck, and you can just throw all the rest of your crap in there!  So until then, you try to figure out a way to make this whole thing organized, but it is really just a unattainable dream…

8.  The waiting.  After you go through the financing hurdles, inspections, appraisals, etc., there really is nothing more to do but wait.  So you imagine what life will be like in your fantastic new house, but your buyer asked for such a ridiculously long close that you still have several weeks to go.  Which means the kitties have to have Kitty PTSD for that much longer…

9.  The Beg and Plead.  We all hate it.  Helping people move.  If you say you like it, you are either lying, or crazy.  I’ll let my therapist sis-in-law try to figure out which one.  But when you move, you have to throw yourself on the mercy of your friends and family, because you can’t even come close to lifting your half of the China hutch.  And lugging those dressers up the stairs is beyond your 5’3″ frame’s capacity.  Yes, I’ll admit it, I have weakling arms.  Thanks in advance to all those willing to help!

10.  The exhaustion.  When you add it all up, this process is exhausting.  I’ve fallen asleep on the couch when on a packing break, and getting out of bed in the morning has been a lot tougher lately.  I’ve had a brain fog that is not typical for me.  The half marathon I did last weekend was a walk in the park compared to this!  I’m trying to keep my eyes on the prize, but after this I don’t want to do this again for a VERY, LONG Time! 

The Countdown.

The countdown is down to 15 days. That’s if our home closing date remains the same. After asking for a very long closing, because our buyer couldn’t possibly give less notice to her landlord, she is now asking to move closing up. Ummm hmmm. Yeah. Since we were locked into such a long closing with the sale of our house, we had to have the same, long closing with the new house we purchased. So, although we would love to move up the closing, and even questioned our buyer about it at the time we put her offer in, it is no longer up to us. Gotta love first time homebuyers! I can say that now, because I’m not one!

So for now I’m assuming 15 days, and trying to push to get everything packed and wrapped up prior. There really is no drawback to having everything done early. Jon has a fire lit under him now, and is fully on the “git ‘er done” bandwagon. We packed and cleaned quite a bit this last weekend, and after work for the last two nights. We need to still do some stuff in the garage, but the house is mostly done. I say that, but those misc. items go on forever! We’ve been moving boxes out to my parent’s pole barn as temporary storage, because I’m concerned that with both closings on the same day, it will be tough to get everything into one truck, and we won’t have the luxury of going back and forth between the new place and the old.

However, moving everything twice has its own set of issues, and my parents have been very generous about the thrift shop we’ve set up in their pole barn. Fortunately, they aren’t looking like they are close to trying to EBay my collectibles to pay for rent on the storage unit. YET…  At this point, I’m thinking I need to have at least one kid, so I have someone to sucker into cleaning out my house when I die. I haven’t been able to successfully talk my cats into taking on the chore, and there is that thing about them probably kicking over before I do. I wonder if there is another way… 

Maybe it seems evident, but I just need to point out again, this whole process sucks! These people who get really excited about moving, well, they can only be described as clinically insane. There should be a diagnosis in the American Medical Association’s Guide to Mental Illness for this. Fortunately, my sanity might be mostly restored in about three weeks. You have to give us a little time to unpack!

The Trail Half Marathon… aka Bataan

Saturday my friend Shelley and I participated in our second half marathon.  It was a fundraiser race, so it was for a good cause, but we knew that it would be challenging.  They advertised it as a challenging, trail race.  They should have advertised it as a hike straight up and down a mountain with a half marathon mixed in!

It rained most of the day on Friday, and poured all night Friday night.  It was raining so hard that it woke me up a couple of times.  Saturday morning dawned dark and dreary, with no end in sight to the downpour.  I think Shelley and I both strongly considered bagging it, but nobody wanted to admit that to the other.

I should point out that we aren’t hardcore runners.  We mostly walk our long distances, with a bit of jogging mixed in.  When we got to the race, we discovered that there were only three walkers (two runners decided to walk too, after they realized how grueling the course was).  So we go up to the start, and the downpour resumed with a new ferocity (thanks, just what we needed).  And they’re off!  And all the runner-folk ran away and just me, Shelley and Susan remained.  The photographer thought we were quite the novelty- he took lots of pics of us (you know… because we are slow and easy to capture on film).  Funny though, he didn’t use any pictures of us in the feature article in the newspaper!  Walkers are not news, I guess.

So, pretty soon it is just the three of us communing with nature on our walk/jog.  One runner did limp by the other direction, but he came by us again momentarily ( maybe he just needed a band-aid from the aid station).  The first 20 minutes were actually quite pleasant.  And then the torture began.  The hills, oh the hills!  They were sleep and muddy and slick, with roots in the middle of the trail and large slick rocks to navigate.  We clambered up one hill, only to find another at the top.  Everytime we leveled off or went down a bit, we were soon on the way back up.  That torture went on for the next, oh, say 4-5 miles.  An asthmatic’s worst nightmare, really.  The 5 of us (the 3 original walkers and the 2 ladies who thought better of their running plan) were all together for quite awhile, picking out way through ankle deep mud and sliding down hills only to go up another one.  It would have been quite a nice hike on a sunny day with a picnic lunch at the top. 

But, no, there was no picnic lunch.  The organizers swore that the course would be up until all racers were finished (they knew they had a few walkers).  I confirmed this, not once, but twice in the days before the race.  But, after we reached about mile 6, the volunteers began abandoning their stations… and taking the water with them.  Yes, you read that right, I completed a grueling half marathon with no water past mile 6.  That was not fun.  The only upside was that I was out on the course for more than 3.5 hours without having to pee!  Yep, that dehydrated.

So, since the volunteers were tearing down and abandoning their posts, it was really quite a solitary race for me.  I pulled away from Shelley and Susan about mile 6 in a desperate attempt to put a quicker end to the misery that was this race.  I didn’t even see any baby squirrels.  I was probably panting so hard that they felt it was best to hide when they heard me coming a half mile away.  I did a lot of jogging, and passed a lot of runners (going the other direction) who were closing in on the finish line (at some points you doubled back on the same track so I passed lots of people who were miles ahead of me) – I was still in mile 6 or 7 at that point.  They were very encouraging – about every 2nd or 3rd runner told me I was doing a great job.  They were probably all thinking, I’m not that fast but at least I’m not as pathetic as that chick!  Talk about depressing!

I met a nice lady with four whippets out for their daily stroll out in the back trail system.  That was somewhere between mile 10 and 11.  We did some chatting about how many runners had fallen down.  At least I didn’t fall down!  But I was a bit jealous, because she got her picture in the paper and she didn’t even do the race!  See, told you, walkers are not news…

To make a long story short, I survived.  At 3 hours 41 minutes, not my best half marathon time, but this will probably be the most memorable half marathon I ever do.  I will remember it as the race I beat two half marathon runners in.  Yeah, remember the two ladies I mentioned before who were planning to run?  I beat them!  I’ll remember this race as something akin to the Bataan Death March, without Japanese soldiers and guns pointed at me.  In another week, I might be able to climb a flight of stairs without screaming muscle soreness in my quads and hamstrings.  And shins.  And back and core muscles.  Oh yeah, my right pec muscle hurts too, for reasons I can’t explain.  And something tells me, Shelley won’t be pushing me to sign up for this one again.

Sit Still!

I’m sitting here with Oliver, who has really wanted to be a lap cat lately.  However… Oliver has a hard time sitting still.  He has the kitty version of ADHD.  So he steps on my bladder, on the computer, and on whatever else I happen to be working on or sitting with.  I know he’s just excited to sit with me, but geez, just chill!

Now, as we speak, here comes Martini.  Will she lay down on my legs, or will she kick the crap out of Oliver?  So far, so good…

So tomorrow, my friend Shelley and I are scheduled for our second 1/2 marathon.  I am positive that it will NOT be our most pleasant race ever.  The weather is supposed to be rainy and today was really rainy and windy.  I haven’t been training for it, so we’ll see how it goes.  It’s for a good cause.  I’m already looking forward to the lunch, hot shower and the nap that comes afterwards!  Wish us luck, and if you see us lying face down on the trail, please pick us up.

An Appraisal and Fifty-Seven Packing Boxes

Hopefully we are coming to the end of the home purchase transaction. It has been a long tiring road! We are waiting for the appraisals to come back and a re-inspection on the house that we are selling (DAMN dishwasher!) Then we wait. Well, and we finish packing. I have already signed, scanned, faxed and emailed enough documents to last me a good long while.  More repair people have been to the house in the last month than in the previous 3 or 4 years combined (why is it that we spruce up our houses to sell them?) Our savings account, I admit, has taken a bit of a beating too, as we get things in order. We just have to get through these last few weeks until we close and can move!

My kitties are feeling a bit anxious and unsettled as well. Oliver, who has never been much of a lap kitty, has been wanting to sit on my lap every chance he gets. Which I love, except when he is standing on my bladder. It makes Jon laugh because he says Oliver is almost as big as me! It is certainly tough to have both Oliver and the laptop on my lap at once. Martini has been letting him sit with me for awhile before she comes and boots him off my lap. She really is a bully, but it is pretty comical to watch a 7 pound cat intimidate a 17 pound cat! They have their system. Although the other day, she did let her guard down and let Oliver sit on my lap with her. That was a sight to see, but I couldn’t get a picture.

In packing news, we are almost down to the miscellaneous boxes. You know the ones. When you run out of the big stuff to pack, and all you have left is all the random stuff that never really has a good home. The junk drawer… that shelf above the washer and dryer…. I stand in the house staring, thinking of what I can possibly pack next that would make any sort of sense in a box together. I know it will get to the end and I will just have to shove some things in a box somewhere. I was trying to avoid that, but I guess we will just be heading across town, so that will have to do. I’m down to mostly the essential stuff, the stuff I think I might need in the next 25 days, which makes it tough to pack those items. What if I have to dig it back out?

I can barely remember the days when I lived in apartments and moved every year. I can no longer imagine a world where it took me three days to pack and move. I feel like I have been working on this for weeks, and I still have weeks to go! Apparently Jon isn’t as effective at breaking our glassware as I thought he was! I do hope that we are nearing the end though, because to be this tired for much longer is not something I’m looking forward to. But I guess I have to remember that since we decluttered the house to put it on the market, I haven’t been packing as diligently as I was, so no wonder it is taking awhile.

Even Jon has been feeling nostalgic for his things that are packed away and inaccessible. I would so love to do a puzzle, or pick any book off the shelf to read. I only kept a few books out – so when I finished the book I was reading on Saturday, I was at a loss for what I will read now. Jon keeps watching house hunting shows on TV, and has pointed out that it is nowhere near as easy as they make it look on TV. Poor guy – he is a home-buying virgin no more. I’m sure he would have loved to remain in ignorant bliss.

25 days until moving day! I can make it to the end of the tunnel! Just as long as we remember that the couch has to go out the front door and not the back….

Inspections, Inspections, So Many Inspections!

We are working through the minor issues that the inspection revealed on our current home. We spent the weekend doing some work and hopefully will be able to wrap up all of our fixes within the next few days, at nominal expense. The stress of it all will hopefully go away then, and I can get my life back! Because we spent our weekend working on the house and really not having any time to ourselves. I can’t wait until this is all over.

On the home that we are buying, the required fix is a bit more extensive, so we don’t know yet what’s happening there… Our seller is still deciding whether she wants to try to tackle the repairs. She has a couple more days to respond.

I suppose I should look on the bright side. Since undertaking this home selling and buying project, I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about roof crickets, plumbing, how to install a deck, and current building codes. And I learned that I don’t ever want to do any of that work for a living. I like my cushy desk job. And I suppose I should quit complaining that they blast the air-conditioning and make my office too cold, because I could be spending my days under houses, in the middle of winter, or in the heat of summer. It bears mentioning that crawlspaces are NOT good for my asthma… or my claustrophobia.

Meanwhile, our wine shipment from Chehalem is due to arrive fairly soon. Can’t wait! That gives me something to look forward to, even if most of our time is spent dealing with homes and home fixes… Something about Chehalem wine to soothe the soul! Of course, it does make me regret that we haven’t had the time to head down to the Willamette Valley lately. Since we decided we were going to try to get our house on the market and get a new one, pretty much every waking moment has been dedicated to it. And many of my non-waking moments too, worrying about every possible thing that could go wrong and all the contingencies…

So when our shipment arrives, I’m going to try to set all house drama aside, for just a little while, as I ponder which bottle I want to open. Ahhh…