Sunday, August 28, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, What's Next?

Well we have survived our first bad storm as homeowners. We ended up with a small amount of water in the basement and a large tree limb in the backyard. No other damage. And we never lost power.

We have been in our house two weeks now. But what an eventful two weeks it's been. We were here a week when Bob went on vacation. He had planned this trip for a year with a group of friends. And they had paid for the whole trip already so he couldn't really get out of it very easily. So with boxes stacked everywhere and some things still in the apartment, he left last Sunday. On Monday I hired two day laborers to help move the rest of the things out of the apartment. They helped with some of the work in the apartment and then came over here and helped sort through some of the boxes. That went pretty well.

On Tuesday I stayed home to work on unpacking. I was working away not really thinking of anything. Dakota had been out playing with the neighbors across the street. Suddenly he came in and said, "Did you feel the earthquake?" I thought he was just playing around. But when I stopped working and went on facebook, that was all they were talking about. Apparently there was a huge earthquake in Virgina that was felt all the way up here. Apparently it did some damage in New York City. I didn't feel a thing. I guess because I was walking back and worth I didn't notice it. I did notice a cabinet door that kept coming open. I guess if you were sitting down you noticed it more. I'm so unsteady on my feet that it would take a pretty big earthquake for me to notice.

Then on Thursday they started talking about a hurricane. By Friday, that was all they talked about on the news. A big hurricane was coming and it was gonna be bad. I sent a text to Bob to tell him that they may want to head home a bit earlier than they planned. Late Friday night I told Dakota that we needed to bring in all the things that had been sitting on the front porch. He was great about helping with all of that.

When I got up Saturday morning I turned on the news to see what the updates were about the hurricane. One of the first things I heard was that all mass transit was going to close down at noon. And that the bridges were going to close as soon as the wind speed got up to 60 mph. They didn't know how early that was going to happen. Now Bob and his friends had to cross the George Washington Bridge to get home. I sent him another text that the bride might close soon. He told me they were leaving New Hampshire then. Usually when they go on this trip they hang out until late in the afternoon before they start driving home. This time they left at 9 in the morning. All day long he would text for updates and let me know where they were at. The news kept getting worse and worse. But when I looked outside it was a beautiful calm day. It was cloudy but no breeze at all.

He finally got home around 4:00 in the afternoon. The skys were still calm. Well, the first thing that happened while he was unloading his stuff from the car, we got locked out of the house. The latch on the screen door decided to quit working on Friday. I had put a lego piece in the latch so it wouldn't lock us out but Dakota saw one of his precious legos in the door and pulled it out. We were locked out of the house. Bob had to put Kai through one of the windows that I knew was unlocked. (Because the neighbor had put Dakota through it the day before when the lock stopped working.) He then walked around to the back of the house to put his camping gear in the basement. That's when he noticed all the stuff in the backyard. While I had cleaned off the front porch, I had left three coolers, a watering can, two trash cans, a recycling can, and numerous flower pots in the back yard. So after driving all day, he had to bring all of this stuff into the house. He was not happy.

After watching the news, Bob decided that he needed to go get a pump for the basement. We called Home Depot to make sure they were open before he went out. But it was a waste of time. They were totally sold out of pumps. They were out of water also.

We kept watching the news all evening. But by the time we went to bed there was only a gentle rain and no wind. We kept waiting for the power to go out. We got up this morning to find that the rain had ended. But the wind was really bad. We put some of the bigger things back outside. But the small things will have to wait until tomorrow. He went down to check the basement and found one area had about an inch of water in it. He used the pump that we use in the fish tank to pump the water outside. It was small but worked great to pump out the basement. I'm really glad there wasn't any more water than that.

While Bob was putting the trash cans back outside, he noticed a large limb laying across the neighbors fence behind our house. He went out and pulled it off the fence. Fortunately it didn't really do any damage. The fence could be straightened back out pretty easily. So we now have our first supply of firewood. Yes I know, it will have to dry for months before it will burn. But hey, it's firewood.

I feel really lucky that our damage was so minimal. A lot of people that we know had a lot worse damage. So we have survived our first two weeks as homeowners. We have survived an earthquake. And we survived a hurricane. I guess we will do alright as homeowners.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Unpacking We Go

The last few days have been a whirlwind. We closed on the house Thursday morning. We moved the first things in on Thursday afternoon. It's been busy busy busy since then. By Saturday evening we had almost everything moved in. We still have a few odds and ends left at the apartment. But we have until the end of September to get everything out.

Right now we are tripping over boxes everywhere we turn. We finally tonight got the living room so that it looks like a living room and not a warehouse. Almost everything in the kitchen is put away already. The dining room continues to house a mountain of boxes. The mountain does seem to be getting smaller though. I think there is hope that we will eventually settle in here. I actually have enough dishes and things unpacked that I am going to try to cook dinner tomorrow night. It's really getting old ordering out every night.

I've had a great time buying all the little things that we needed for the house. My husband will never trust me to measure anything again though. I measured our bedroom as 11 feet by 15 feet. I thought that would leave enough room for the bed with a nightstand on each side and a little extra space. Well, he started to put the bed together and realized that it just was not going to fit. Apparently the room is only 8 feet 8 inches wide and not 11 feet. There is no other space the bed can go because of the radiator and the closet. Even if the radiator was not on the one wall, there would be no way to walk around the end of the bed. Remember I said the room was 8 feet 8 inches wide. Well our bed is 8 feet long. So I have a nightstand on my side of the bed. Bob will have to build a shelf on his side. You have to open the door and slide past it and then close the door to get in to bed. I'll try to post pictures soon so you can see how crowded it is.

The library upstairs is wall to wall books. Instead of stacking them in the closet like I told them to, the guys who helped us just dropped them in front of the door. So you can't really get in to the room. Anyway, the library will be the last room we put together. I had to stop calling it the Man Cave. Bob decided he didn't like that. Oh well. We do have 35 boxes of books sitting in the middle of the floor up there.

I'll take some pictures in the next few days and get them posted so you can see out new house. I totally love it here.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

We Got The Call

Tonight we got The Call we have been waiting to receive. Everything is finally in one place and approved for us to buy our house. We have a closing date of August 11 at 11:00am. It's really happening.

This whole experience has reminded us of another time when we were waiting for The Call. About 12 years agao Bob came home from a camping weekend and said, "I want a baby. I want a baby now." We had talked of adopting a child but had never really done any more than talk about it. So we sat down that night and started making plans. We thought we would adopt a baby girl from China. My husband had been to China with his best friend so he knew what to expect there. So this seemed a logical place to begin. After weeks of home inspections and interviews by social workers and gathering all kinds of legal documents we were finally approved. All of our documents were sent off to China. Now we had nothing to do but wait. I'm telling you right now that I'm not a very patient waiter. We had to wait for nearly a year. That's what the backlog was for people who were adopting from China at that time. Finally in February, 2002 other folks in our group began getting their referrals. But we still waited. Our agency called China every night for weeks to try to find out where our referral was. Finally someone said that we had been denied. They never gave a reason just denied.

We had to back off and regroup for a bit. We then decided to transfer all of our paperwork to Guatemala. Again we began to gather paperwork and start the process all over again. This time though we got a call before we even had all the paperwork ready. They had a newborn baby girl they needed to place. A couple had applied for two children and received referrals for a boy and a girl. They did not know that they would have to pay double for the attorney though so they decided they would only take the boy. This left the little girl with no placement. We quickly accepted her referral. In May we flew to Guatemala and spent a beautiful week with the most adorable little girl you have ever seen. The day came when we had to return home. But the attorney assured us that we would be coming back within the month to bring her home. Two weeks later we got the call that the adoption had fallen through. Apparently the grandparents did not know about the baby. When they found out, they wanted her. We were devastated. It felt like we had now lost two babies but we had no funeral for either of them. I still have the pictures of this little darling packed away. Six long weeks went by with no word from the agency. We finally got a call that they had a little boy. We decided to accept his referral. Now we had to wait for all the paperwork to be processed. In October, to celebrate our fifth anniversary, we flew to Guatemala again to spend a few days with this baby. I tried really hard to not get as attached as I had to the last baby. But I did. About six weeks later we got The Call. Dakota Garcia Was now our son. When could we come and get him. A few days before Christmas in 2002 we brought our five month old son home.
This time The Call was not about a baby. This time we were waiting for a call about the house we want to buy. But so much of the process has been similar. This time we had to find the house we wanted. We had to gather all kinds of documents. Then we had to wait for them to be processed. Then we had to get more documents and wait for them to be processed. And we have waited and waited. It seems like forever. But it really has only been a few weeks. We made our offer on the house on July 2. I am just so excited about this move.

With our first wait, I spent the time making baby clothes and buying baby furniture. This time I'm making curtains and buying things for the house. And packing. We have boxes piled to the ceiling in the dining room. One more week and it will be ours. One more week. It feels so much like that last week we had to wait to go to Guatemala. It seemed like it was an eternity. A week from today we will be homeowners.