Week One

The day finally arrived when we moved out of the Chase’s basement into our own home. We met Michael, our realtor, at the house at 10:00 am for the final walk-through to make sure everything was OK. It was, almost. Sally noticed that one of the basement windows was cracked by the contractors who replaced the window well. (We found out the next day that they also broke a plastic drain pipe on the neighbor’s house.)

It’s a funny time. The house is almost yours but not quite. And it looks more barren than you’ve ever seen it before because the previous occupants finally got all their stuff out. (In our case, the previous occupants were a group of young women who taught at The Classical Academy. The owners bought it as an investment property and never lived here.)

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While the young ladies didn’t trash it and cleaned it well, they made some strange choices. For instance, notice the variety of bulbs in the chandelier in the dining room.

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Michael took us to the mortgage firm and we signed a million papers. The sellers agreed to pay to get the broken window fixed. We also got into a conversation about Lokal, the builders of the townhouse that ripped us off. Turns out they have a reputation. And now the word is getting around to Springs realtors.

We went to Noodles for lunch, then I took Sally back to Chase’s so she could pack and clean. I loaded the car with stuff and headed to the house. I spent the afternoon hanging in the kitchen while a carpet cleaner cleaned all three floors. This was our gift from our realtors, Denise, Nolan, and Michael. (Of course, the carpet got dirty again the next day when the movers marched in and out.) We spent a last night at the Chase’s to give the floor a chance to dry. This has been our home since December.

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On Thursday, Sally dropped me and the cats at the house. ABF told me the truck would arrive between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. I asked if they could narrow that down at all, but the woman said no. So I had to sit around the empty house again. The cats were nervous. Millie wandered around some before finding a hiding place on top of the kitchen cabinets.

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Lucy, however, stayed in her cage in the laundry room all day.

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The street in front of our house is a fire lane. I didn’t figure there was any way we could park a truck out there, especially overnight. I was planning on having it parked on the next cross street, two houses down, and having the movers carry all our stuff along the sidewalk that runs through our backyard. 

The truck driver actually called early and said he’d be there around 10:00. I was outside waiting for him to show him where to park when my neighbor wandered over. His name is Dan, and during the course of our conversation, I mentioned my dilemma with the truck. He said that was ridiculous—he’d left trucks parked in the street overnight and had seen other people do it to. Nobody seemed to care. Minutes later our truck showed up. I had it parked right in front our our house. 

Sally came by shortly after noon with Chick-fil-A for lunch—our first meal in our new home.

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I called the movers, who had been scheduled to arrive sometime between 2:00 and 5:00, depending on when I called to say the truck was there. As it turned out, they arrived at 3:00. Five young guys who set right to work. The foreman was friendly but the others were quiet at first. But by the end of the day, I had struck up conversations with most of them. A sixth guy showed an hour later.  For seven and a half months, I’d been mildly worried about the condition of our belongings in an unprotected truck sitting out in snow and rain and sun with temperatures from 4° to 90°. As I watched our stuff being carried into the house, my worries began to lessen. Everything seemed to be in pretty good shape. (There were a few dings and dents, but nothing was ruined.) 

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The piano was a challenge. It took four of the guys a half hour to get it down the stairs. At one point, at the bottom, I thought it wouldn’t make it around the corner and they’d have to bring it back up. 

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Our old living room couch, which Sally also wanted in the basement, wouldn’t fit through the basement door. There was only one mishap during the move. It was supposed to rain all afternoon and evening, but it held off except for one 10-minute stretch. During that stretch, a bin of my old paperbacks slipped off the stack and spilled out on the street. We gathered them up and I set them out to dry. One or two look a little older, but most of them are fine. I began to feel guilty as I saw the guys carry box after box upstairs. In my last house, I had the books stacked in the basement and then I had to carry them up two flights. This time, I had them all carried upstairs where gravity was in my favor. 

Near the end of the move, one of the guys asked me what I do for a living. I said I was a writer. He said, “Oh, that explains all the books.” I said, “Good, I’m glad something does.” 

They were done by 5:30, and our house looked like this.

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Sally found a couple of mixing bowls and made clam chowder for supper.

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We went back to Chase’s—they said there was no rush, and we believed them, but we wanted to get out of their hair as quickly as possible. But I underestimated how tired I was. As I began to carry boxes to our car, Tim suggested we stage everything upstairs. He, Young, Hannah and Sarah all chipped in and soon everything we had in the basement was in the living room. We made it home with a load. I set up the maple bed in an upstairs bedroom and inflated an air mattress for myself. 

On Friday, we got to work unpacking. This largely consisted of moving boxes so we could get furniture where we wanted it. An ABF cab came by and took the truck that held our stuff for so long.

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The sellers agreed to mud-jack the front stoop, which was slanted downhill. When the crew came and rang the doorbell, I stubbed my toe on a box. It soon turned deep purple, and it was three weeks before I could walk without pain.

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About that time, the Chases showed up with three vehicles packed with ALL the rest of our stuff. This was not part of the plan, but we appreciated it tremendously. We unloaded it all into the mess.

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Sally and I had hoped to paint one wall of our bedroom this day so we could set up our sleep-number bed. That wasn’t good enough for Young and Hannah. They helped Sally paint the entire room.

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While that was going on, Tim set up our computers and got them connected to the Internet. Beth had sent us some Chicago-style pizzas as a housewarming gift, and we enjoyed them with the Chases. When they left, I managed to get our bed set up and we crashed.

Over Saturday and Sunday, we made a lot of progress. Most of the furniture made it to it’s final resting place and we emptied a lot of boxes. Sally got the kitchen unpacked and I put my books in the bookcases. By Monday morning, when I went back to work, the house was functional, but there was still a lot to do.

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