Archive | November 2011

Garbage Day

Tomorrow is garbage and recycling day. Now, normally, I don’t get very excited about this day. To be honest, I think it is kind of a pain in the butt, dragging all my crap out to the curb. I think they should pay me in fact, to take away my valuable stuff! Yeah, I know you aren’t buying it.

So why am I so excited?!? Because I have a stack of cardboard boxes that is almost as tall as me in my garage, waiting to be hauled away! I have been slipping and tripping on it for a couple weeks now, as I try to get it out of my way. At times I’ve been close to killing myself, trying to crawl over the mountain of cardboard to get to something on the other side. Now unfortunately, the garbage company says I can only put out a 6 inch stack of cardboard pieces… I might try to push that a bit – would they really be able to tell if the stack were 8 inches high? Either way, my stack is too tall to get out the door in one week, but I’ll keep trying to get some order to my life! Let’s see, I’m 63 inches tall, so if I put out 8 inches per week, I would be done in 8 weeks! I’m only exaggerating a little….

In addition to the slip/fall hazard, I am also holding out hope that I will be able to park in my garage at some point soon. It’s November, after all, and it is cold out. And rainy. And it would be nice to have my little Honda all nestled into its warm garage spot at night. And I wouldn’t have to scrape any windows in the morning!

And if anybody needs boxes, please let me know. I am buried in them.

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Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday….

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and Jon and I enjoyed a very quiet holiday by ourselves. It’s not that we didn’t want to hang out with the family, but we needed some time alone to recharge and work on the house. I did cook a turkey, made roasted red potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots, stuffing and cranberry sauce. Dessert was chocolate cupcakes with blue and white frosting leftover from the party at work that we had the day before. Who says you have to have pumpkin pie?

We are getting down to the random stuff to unpack, which is hard. There is a lot of pondering about where binder clips should go, and where are all the other misc pictures at? It is a time to consolidate and get things organized that weren’t in the last house. I did get two boxes of miscellaneous items unpacked and put away! But it all takes time and is messy in the meantime. And Jon has a hard time handling messy. He tries to be patient, but it is really just too much for him. So I just have to keep working. At least all the laundry has been washed, folded and mine is all put away! Jon is still just moving his basket of laundry around – so I’m one up on him there!

I just got a past due notice from the garbage company for the service at the new house. Our first date of service was November 17th, the bill was apparently due November 20th, and the past due notice was mailed the 21st. WHA??? We didn’t actually even receive a bill before getting a past due notice – they say that they sent it out in October, before I even lived there – yeah, that makes a lot of sense…. Gotta love those monopolies – they can do whatever the heck they want! Ain’t moving fun?

Jon and I took a little getaway to a community famous for its antique stores on Sunday. We just needed to get out of town and get away from the house for a little while…. We were poking around the shops with nightstands in mind, not too serious about getting anything, and found ourselves in a furniture shop that was having a 50% off everything sale. They had all sorts of gorgeous antique furniture, and at half off, the prices were even reasonable! We ended up getting a early 1900’s commode (no, that’s not a toilet, it’s actually more like a small dresser) and a late 1800s cabinet in the Victorian style (although it could be up to the 1920s). The shop owner kept saying it was a radio cabinet, but since radio wasn’t commercialized until the 1920s, if that was truly its original purpose, it would have to be a later piece. I think it’s more likely it isn’t a radio cabinet at all – it seems too small to be able to house an early radio. But that isn’t why I bought it at all, so the original purpose doesn’t matter to me. It is simply a beautiful piece – and it has storage! Maybe one day I’ll take it on Antiques Roadshow and find out! Sorry I can’t post any photos yet – I can’t find the upload cable for my camera. Moving –so frustrating!

But now the Thanksgiving holiday and its associated days off are over, and I had to go back to work. It is going to be so tough with no days off for almost a whole month! It is almost four full weeks until Christmas days off – I do get spoiled in November…. Of course, I still believe that they should stack more holidays in the summer months. Who really wants 3 different days off work in November when it’s freezing out? I would make better use of a four day weekend in August. Until next time –maybe I’ll be done unpacking by then….

A Quiet Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost here, and the weather is absolutely crummy. Due to the terrible summer that we had, I’m heading into winter more pale than I’ve been in a long time. By the time the sun arrives again next spring, I’m sure I’ll look downright sickly (I already sort-of do). A nasty windstorm hit on Monday night in our area, making it really tough to sleep, as I’m not used to the sounds our new home makes, and every crash or bang made me wonder if a tree was going to fall, or a piece of the house was falling off. The home did just fine, which makes me feel a bit better as we head into another windstorm that is scheduled to hit tonight and tomorrow. It will be very wet, windy Thanksgiving. I’m perfectly happy to be staying home eating turkey and drinking wine.

This year Jon and I decided to stay home and forego the family Thanksgivings. After the turmoil of the last few months, and the exhaustion of moving, we are looking forward to having a quiet long weekend to finish unpacking, relax, and spend some time with just the two of us. I’m sure next year we will be back at the family weekend, but this year we just need some time to recharge.

I’m looking forward to getting things more organized and situated. And doing some reading and doing a puzzle and watching movies (as soon as I find that box of DVDs). You know, all the things that you do with your time off when you aren’t buying a new house and moving! I’m looking forward to having that life back! I do have a huge mountain of laundry to fold and put away (moving makes a lot of laundry…). And Jon said we could go and do some antiquing! Some time over the weekend hunting around in antique stores will do me good. With lunch and some hot chocolate in a little café, sounds like the perfect relaxing weekend.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Moving Day

Moving day has come and gone. The world has started to settle back down now, after picking up every single belonging we have, and carrying in into the moving van, and then back out of the moving van. It was absolutely, without a doubt, one of the most exhausting experiences I’ve lived through. Anybody who says you should move periodically to de-clutter, or just to have a new shiny place, is certifiably insane (sorry Dad, but you are nuts!). I hope to never move again! Actually, I hear that the military will move you for free (packing included). That might be enough to get me to join up. At the beginning of this process, Jon didn’t think it would be all that hard. I think he’s singing a different tune now….

I did have a good thought though as a result of all of this.  I think that if we want to rehabilitate criminals, we should just make them move.  From start to finish.  Packing the stuff in boxes, packing the truck, trying to get it all to fit, organizing so nothing scratches or breaks, taking it all out, moving it around, putting all the furniture back together, and unpacking all the boxes.  All day, everyday.  That should scare them straight!

I have a ton of appreciation for the souls that were willing to help. My parents. My friend Katie’s fiancée Brent, and their toddler (who contributed by picking up large quantities of pinecones and rocks, and dropping pinecones, rocks and Cheerios). Actually, she helped to keep smiles on our faces. My friend Shelley and her teenaged daughter (a teenager helped for the price of a peppermint mocha! Apparently the pull of not having to stay home with dad is strong…) And last but not least, our real estate agent Tom and his wife Bliss, who helped move furniture, boxes, and even helped to do a last once over of the old house before turning over the keys.

The weather held for the first day of moving, giving us blue sky and fairly warm fall temps to maneuver all the furniture out of and into homes. The second day made up for it, unleashing an all day fury of pouring raining and darkness. At least the hail waited until we had everything back inside. I suppose it probably didn’t matter if we were wet from rain or sweat. Although the fogged up glasses were challenging at times.

I’d be lying if I said there weren’t some meltdowns, and some arguments about how much stuff we have. And we still haven’t completely agreed on where some things will go. In the brain fog that was our lives for those few, Jon misplaced the brand new box of trash bags I bought. And when we went to the gas station to fill the rental truck before returning it (I was following in my car to pick him up), I completely forgot that I needed gas too. My warning light blinked on about two miles later.

The new house is in a constant state of flux. Boxes here and there, only to have different boxes in different places a half hour later. The garage has a semi-usable path through the maze of boxes, which are rearranged multiple times a day as we try to find what we need, or what we want to unpack next. The cats are adjusting. Martini and Oscar have decided they own the stairs. Martini asserts total dominance – she won’t even move when you go up or down over her, but Oscar chickens out when you challenge his domain. Oliver loves all the new windows to watch squirrels and birds from. And new cats in the yard below to growl at. Never mind that the other cat has no idea that Oliver is up there watching – he guards his territory anyway.

Thankfully, there have only been minor casualties from the move. A stoneware plate that emerged from a box with a crack in it, and a shattered mug, wine glass and crystal decanter, all dropped after being extricated from boxes. We sweep up and move along to the next box. Hopefully the rest of the boxes will be so intact.

When I’m not unpacking, I have a long list of places to phone with our change of address. I’ve gotten all the online ones out of the way first, because that’s easier. You don’t think about how tied we are to one place, and after 8 ½ years, that’s a lot of ties to untie. One day at a time. One phone call at a time. One box at a time. At least the wine glasses and wine are unpacked already!

A Home Buying Wine Tour

So, it’s one week until closing. We are just waiting, and getting the last bit of our packing finished. Our financing has been finalized for weeks, so other than packing, we really haven’t had a lot to do. Our buyer, however, is still not ready to go with her financing and it is making me nervous. Her mortgage officer is trying to reassure our agent that everything will be ready to go by closing, but I’m still nervous. I can’t understand why it should be taking so long if things are happening as they should. So, in the meantime, I’m trying not to think about it.  Yes, I’ll admit it – I try to be very organized about these things, and it annoys me to no end when other people are not, if it affects my world. And this certainly affects my world.

I have been a bit absorbed with this whole home process lately, and my wine and travel blog has been suffering. We haven’t had time to do much wine tasting! I’m looking forward to turning that around once we move and get some semblance of a normal life back. That said, we did do a local mini-tour last weekend in honor of harvest weekend with Jon’s mom and sister. We went to two local wineries – Willow Tree and Glacial Lake Missoula.

Willow Tree Vineyards is a new winery in the area, having opened their tasting room in April. As you drive in, it certainly doesn’t look like much. There is a ramshackle single-wide trailer on the driveway to the winery, and the winery itself is housed in a non-descript pole building. Which isn’t that uncommon for wineries in this area. Don’t let that deter you. Once you walk inside, the tasting room is tastefully decorated, with a fireplace, comfy seating, and a stand-up tasting bar. They also have had chocolates and cheese and crackers out each time I’ve been there, which is a huge bonus. I’m usually hungry in the afternoon, and the nibbles are great to hold me over until dinner. The co-owner is usually serving, and she is warm and friendly and knowledgeable about their wines. It is a winery where you feel welcome!

Willow Tree has several whites, including a Sauvignon Blanc, two vintages of Chardonnay and Viognier, and a Pinot Gerwurztraminer. My favorite of these is the Sauvignon Blanc, which has a crisp minerality that I enjoy. Jon likes their more heavily oaked Chardonnay. Willow Tree is currently having a labeling issue with the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency) on their “waiting to be released” Blue Heaven, which is a Blueberry Riesling. Yes, Riesling combined with Blueberry juice. We got to barrel taste it, and it was delicious. Which makes the fact that the ATF has now rejected 7 versions of the label especially frustrating for Jon’s mom and me, as we have to continue to wait to buy it! Willow Tree also has several good reds, including a Carmenere, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. Unfortunately, all the reds are currently sold out except for the Cab Franc. So, we are eagerly awaiting next year’s releases. What a nice problem for a new winery to have!

After we left Willow Tree, we headed out to Blaine to visit our favorite local winery, Glacial Lake Missoula. Tracey was holding down the fort with a friend, as Tom took a trip down to Oregon to pick up grapes. They are branching out and producing a Chardonnay and a Gamay Noir. I’m very excited about both. The Chardonnay will be another “enrobed” wine, which is Tom’s name for a white wine that is colored (and flavored) with the skins of red grapes. A white wine that looks like a red. And depending on the temperature you serve it at, it can taste completely different. Their current “enrobed” wine is a Marsanne, which is excellent, so I can’t wait to see what they do with the Chardonnay. And Gamay Noir is one of my favorite varietals, so I’m super-excited to try this one. Of course, as they are just crushing now, both wines have awhile until release. It is just so hard to wait!

I’m sensing a theme with this post. Waiting…. One of my least favorite things to do. Hopefully in one more week, the wait for the house will be over. Stay tuned.

P.S.  After posting this, I learned that our buyer’s loan docs are finalized and at the title company!  So everything should be good to go now!