Thursday, June 30, 2011

"Playing" with the new toys

My dad and my sister gave us a brand new lawnmower for a house-warming gift.   It's red and shiny.....Hubby's "mid-life crisis" machine!   (cheaper than a Ferrari!)

So even though I had thought to myself that it would be nice to just relax for one night and give my poor body a rest, Hubby really wanted to use his new lawnmower.

I gave it a whirl

But I spent most of the time while Hubby was mowing using the power hedge trimmer.  Come to find out, we have eleventy million shrubs in our yard, each one begging for a haircut.   After trimming 6 or 7 of them, my arms were shaking and my fingers were cramping.   I figured the rest will wait until tomorrow night....or over the weekend......or next week.

I couldn't take a picture to show you of the beautifully mowed lawn, cause Hubby actually finished it after dark!

This is one strip mowed down the middle....just so you can see how badly it needed a mow.

I'll see if I can get a picture in here tomorrow of the newly mowed lawn.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time to Settle In

The big move is over.   All our worldly possession are now sitting inside our beautiful new house.  Time to settle in.

Wow.    What a job!  I can't understand the people who are all unpacked with pictures hanging on the wall, etc, before they get back to work on Monday.   I was lucky I could find some clothes to wear on Monday morning, and that I had enough dishes and pans out to cook us a decent supper.   (on a gas stove, BTW, which I haven't used for about 30 years.)

We've found the few "kinks" already in the new house.  

1)  There is not enough room in the kitchen cupboards for both dishes and food.   The cupboards are high.  The top shelf is useless, except for possibly things you use once a year.  Where did the previous owners put all their stuff?   So Hubby's first remodeling job is to make the front "coat closet" into a pantry by putting shelves in.

2)  There is exactly ONE outlet in each room!   Again, where did the previous owners plug in all their appliances, lamps, clock radios, etc?  Everything is plugged in with extension cords which, besides looking messy, is very dangerous.   So the next project will be adding some outlets to each room.

We made our first foray into Lowe's.   Thank God for all our family and friends who gave us Lowe's gift cards for my birthday and for a house-warming gift!   We got wood for the pantry shelves, and a new medicine cabinet.   Hubby and I are both thinking of taking the day off tomorrow!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Big Move

Finally, finally the day(s) arrived!   Hubby and I were up early Thursday morning to go and get our truck at Budget at 7am to start packing the condo.   Except........we got there and they did NOT have a truck for us.  The truck that was meant for us had no brake lights.  (a minor inconvenience as far as I'm concerned!)   They had a very cavalier attitude about it.  After a bit of a hissy fit.......we walked out and called a different company (GOD BLESS PENSKE) and started packing.

Our poor condo looked like a storage unit filled with boxes.

After four hours, and lots of heavy lifting by me, Hubby and my absolutely wonderful daughter Jamie.....the condo looked like this:

And the truck looked like this:

My only regret is that I did not get a video of Hubby and Jamie squeeeeeeeeezing the old dilapidated couch out the condo door, sliding it down the stairs, and LOGROLLING it out to the dumpster!   One of the funniest things I've ever seen!

The truck stayed at my son's house while Hubby and I stayed at the Marriott......ahhhhhhhhhh.............

And on Friday, after lots of signing of papers, we brought the truck here.........our new house!

 God Bless my family and friends who came to help us move.   I wish I'd taken pictures of them all.   I have to give props to Jamie and Kara, who brought in both armoires, the boxspring and mattress, and also put the bed together!   My brother John and  sister-in-law Ruth were there to help me move for the second or third time in my life.   And their daughter Laura "had so much fun!"  helping us move!

Others came to help, but got there after the truck was already unpacked.  Thanks to friends Sylvie, Kay and Jim and my son Doug.   I wish I'd taken a picture of us all squeezed in amongst the boxes while we stood around with pizza and beer and sodas.   It was so exactly what I pictured our move-in to be.  Hubby made a toast to the family and friends who filled our kitchen!

Of course, Hubby sat around while Laura did all the work:

Only kidding......Hubby worked his butt off .  I've never seen him so tired!

Our new home kind of looks how our condo did at the end...........full of boxes.........but we'll get them unpacked soon and make our new house look like a home.

And here's just a small sample of our and my Dad, who came over to see the house, visiting on our front porch.   It's already starting to feel like a home.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's a GO!

Finally  got the OK today for the closing on both house and condo on Friday!!    After three days of stress and constant phone calls, it's happening!!!

Hopefully our cable will be hooked up on come back to see pictures then!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup.........or the house closing

I wish we still lived in the days when you could drive someplace out West....look around......see a nice plot of land and say, "This here is mine".........and build a house.   So easy.   Yes, backbreakingly hard to clear the land and physically build your own house, but so much easier on the psyche.

Now, you have to start out with the Real Estate Agent.   Sure you can try to buy a house without one, but it ain't easy.  

Actually, you have to start with the Pre-Approval.   So we get the bank involved right at the beginning.  With Pre-Approval in hand, you have a better shot at getting an offer accepted.

When you find the house of your dreams, your Real Estate Agent has to negotiate with their Real Estate Agent. And you can't just sit at a table or call on the phone and do like American Pickers - "What are you thinking on this house?   180K?  How about 160K?"    the other guy says, "That's a little low.  I could do 175K."   

No, you have to fill out 2 hours of paperwork for a P and S (Purchase and Sale agreement), sign it and initial it in 57 places, then fax it to them, they make the counter-offer, with more initials and signatures - back and forth and back and forth until you're dizzy.

Now the fun begins.  You have to have the Home Inspector come in.........and wait for his report with baited breath.   Is the house in good shape?  Will he say it's got big problems?    His report has to get to the bank.

Then you visit the Mortgage Broker at the bank.  Another 2 hours of paperwork to fill out.   She actually said to me, "We'll walk you right through this like a dream."   HA!

Then the Assessor has to check the house out.   And make the Real Estate Agent go over there to take ONE picture inside the house.   He loved that.

There's the call to the Insurance Company for a binder, and the sincere hope that the information somehow makes it to the bank.

In between all this, you have to deal with the other side of the coin, which is the sale of the condo.  Condos are even more involved to sell than houses, because you have numerous calls to the condo board, a 1 1/2 drive to get paperwork, which cost us $75 and which I'm pretty sure they didn't give us everything we needed.

Right now, three days before our supposed closing, we are still waiting for a closing appointment.   The lawyer for the house closing called and said she got the OK To Close from our bank.   Hurray!

BUT......we can't schedule our closing for the house until we have a closing time for the condo.   So I called the lawyer's office for the condo closing (of COURSE it's not the same lawyer!)   and she said she's waiting for the Condo Buyer's mortgage company to give them the OK To Close.

What's holding them up?   Who knows!!  SHE doesn't know.  She told me I just have to wait until she hears from them!   UH UH!!   Nope!

I called my Real Estate Agent, who will call the Condo Buyer's Real Estate Agent, who will call the Condo Buyer, who will call his Mortgage Company, who will hopefully call his Lawyer's Office and give the OK To Close.

Got that?  Me neither.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Moving is Messy

This weekend was the big push for packing.   If we close on Friday......which, BTW, we have NOT gotten firm confirmation on........then this was our last chance to have full days to pack.   Everywhere we look are boxes......and stuff that still needs to be packed as soon as we find more boxes!

Hubby's room "all packed up".   He did a fantastic job, considering his usual mode of packing is to throw everything in garbage bags and toss them on the truck.

I'm hoping I haven't forgotten anything important.    Our crazy-ass plan is this: 

  Finish packing every possible thing except our bed and other needed stuff on Wednesday night.   I just found out that my son and daughter-in-law will take the cat for the duration of the move, which will be a godsend.  Our alternative was locking him in a room, because he's an indoor cat and would surely escape while we move things in and out.

Pick up the truck at 7am Thursday morning.   Load the whole thing up, thankfully with the help of my daughter Jamie.   She's between her school job and her summer camp job, and is nice enough to give up one of her precious three days off between the jobs.

Hopefully finish by mid-afternoon, drop the truck in my son's driveway so it'll be safe overnight, go to the local Marriott and clean up, go to Shirley to see a friend's show and stay at the Marriott Thursday night.

The plan (in my head) is to close on the condo on Friday morning, close on the house sometime after that, and then drive the truck over and start unpacking.   Whoever shows up to help on Friday afternoon/evening will be such a blessing!

If all goes well, we'll be sleeping in our new house Friday night.   Getting from here to there will be the exhausting part!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Boxes, Boxes....anyone got boxes?

Jerry Seindfeld does a bit on his TV show about boxes......that when you're moving, there's an insatiable need to find boxes.  Until you die, when you finally find the perfect box.

Right now, all I want to do it find more boxes.  We need big boxes for the light stuff, small boxes for the heavy stuff, and approximately 22 boxes from the liquor store just for my hubby's LP collection.

So right now, our living room looks like we've just had the party of the century.   We've got vodka boxes, whiskey boxes, wine get the picture.

Because liquor boxes are the best.  They are heavy duty, and most of them have great handles on the sides.  A friend of mine suggested them for Hubby's LPs, and I thought it was a great idea.

In our town, we have a State Liquor store, and they have hundreds of empty boxes piled all over the place.  I walked in and started pulling boxes off the pile, looking for ones that seemed the right size to fit LPs in. 

The lady at the counter FREAKED!   "Excuse me!!! M'am!!! DON'T TAKE THOSE BOXES!

Er.........okay.   "You can take the ones from the edge of that doorway to the edge of the window."   Er.......okay.

I took a half-dozen, and Hubby quickly filled them.   He went back, and was accosted by the same employee.    And when I went back again, and started to take some from beside the counter, I was told in no uncertain terms that "Those are MY boxes and you can't have them!"

After we move, I'm going to bring all the boxes back to her...including all the ones we got from any other place.   She can have them as my gift to her.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gotta Love Craigslist

I decided that it would not be in our best interests to bring our truly disgusting couch and recliner chair with us to our new house.

It seemed like life would be that much easier if we just dumped them, and brought new furniture directly to the new house.

It never even occurred to me to look for new furniture at a regular furniture store.   Just from the ads on TV, I knew that what I wanted would cost us between 1K-2K.   Way too much on our "just bought a new house budget."

Besides which, my philosophy is that there's just too much "stuff" in the world.  I truly believe you could close all the retail stores, and people could live for a long, long time just on the stuff they trade or buy or sell with other people. 

So I checked out Craigslist and sure enough, just in our area, and just in one day of posting, there were a half dozen couches and chairs that I felt were good enough to investigate.   Just ONE DAY of posting.  

I found one I particularly liked......actually, it's the exact couch I would have bought if I'd gone to a retail store......and I called, made arrangements to go look, and Hubby and I drove about 1/2 hour from home to go view it.

A six-foot couch and a love seat, in deep olive green micro-fiber....perfect worn spots, no holes, etc.   And the people are willing to hold onto it for the two weeks until we move.   $250 for both pieces. 

How can you possibly go wrong?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Spreading out my stuff

One of the most exciting things about our new house is contemplating being able to spread out. 

 We really don't have a lot of  "stuff"....not like a lot of people do.  I think it really looks like more stuff because it's all so compacted.

Everyone knows Hubby has a lot of stuff.....but seriously, all his stuff has been compacted into a tiny 8'x10' room.   Can any of you say that you could fit all your stuff in a room that size?   I'm talking ALL your stuff.  

I don't have a lot of stuff right now simply because there's been no place to put it.  I don't have a room like Hubby does.  I have a closet, which houses all my clothes.   And a few drawers or cupboards.   But no real space.

So I kind of gave up sewing cause I had a table-top machine that was too much trouble to drag out and set up on the kitchen table every time I wanted to sew.

And I kind of gave up scrapbooking for the same reason.

In the new house, I'm going to have a room ALL to myself.   I can set up a table and leave my sewing machine out.  I can get some scrapbooking supplies and organize places to keep them.  

I hope having some room to spread out encourages me to get back into the projects I used to love.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another Happy Birthday

Yes, it was my birthday yesterday.   I did have to work in the morning, but Hubby eased the pain by bringing a dozen red long-stemmed roses, some fat-free cupcakes and some strawberries to my workplace.

And as usual, I wanted to go to the beach to celebrate.  I had heard about a place in North Hampton called Fuller Gardens, and since it was so close to the ocean, we figured that would be a good choice.  When we got there, we were told that the roses were not in bloom yet, and since the roses are the main attraction, they would let us in for half-price.

They had some beautiful statuary.

And a very lovely Japanese Garden with a Koi Pond

All this will be roses in another two or three weeks

The Azalea and Rhododendron were blooming

 And the most gigantic purple irises I've ever seen

The ocean is a short walk away

So we decided to go.   We'd driven along route 1A many times, and kind of noticed people walking, but never really realized that there was a sidewalk for miles along the ocean.    So we walked...........

And did a little resting on the stone wall

Then we headed to North Beach in Hampton and did some more walking along the beach.  The tide was low, but the sand was still wet, and cold enough to make our feet ache.

And we finished off our day at my favorite seafood place, Brown's.    When we got home, we had the cake Hubby had made me.....strawberry with real strawberries in the filling.

The perfect birthday.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Let's Keep those Dollars Rolling in!

Since I seemed to be on a roll with the money situation, I figured I'd help myself and do a little work to save us some more money.

1)  I ordered my Penske truck, using my 12% AAA member discount, my $25 AAA employee discount, and my $25 gift card I got from the Penske Mystery Caller.

2)  I called Comcast to find out about switching my service from the condo to the new house.   I explained that $125 a month just wasn't in our budget anymore, so my Comcast associate, "Paul" dug around and found me a "special" that will give me internet and cable for TV (the TV at a plan one step higher than we're at now) for $80 for the next 12 months.

3)  I called Verizonwireless to see where I could save some money there.   After putting Hubby on the plan a couple months ago, we started out at 700 minutes and $90/month.   Not acceptable, since we use less than 200 minutes combined a month.   Last month, after some cajoling, I got someone to give me a plan of 550 minutes for $70/month.  Still kinda high.   So yesterday I called again and asked for an even lower plan.   The lady explained to me that the 550 minute plan wasn't even supposed to be offered any more, and she couldn't give me anything cheaper.  HOWEVER, she did notice there was a special for a free month with a 1-year contract, and since I just started a 2-year contract, she could give me a month for free.  TA-DA!

4)  The new house has a brand spanking new water heater, which we were informed was being leased for $18/month.  They presented it to us like we would be taking over the lease.  I called the company, and they said the lease was under the name of the present owners, and was non-transferable.   The present owners must pay the rest of the lease.  The new water tank will not be repo'd.

5)  We were unsure whether the owners were taking the fridge and washer and dryer.  I've been looking on Craigslist, and was finding fridge's for $200-$400 and washer/dryers for $300-$500.    I called the real estate agent to ask him if he could find out for sure if they were taking the ones in the house, before I go out and buy something.  He said he'd just been contacted by the seller's agent, who wanted to know if we wanted to buy all three pieces for $250.   SWEET!   I said yes!

It's almost getting too good to be true.   I feel that large elastic band of life streeeeeeeetching to the point where it's going to let go and ZING me right in the head.  I hope I have a long time yet before that happens!