Bella Rum

Image: Outer Banks, NC 9-11-11

T-minus 20 Hours and Counting

Terrible night last night. Can’t believe the time is finally here. Won’t know what to do with myself when this is over. There will be so much free time. Hope they can fix the A/C at the new house today. It’s raining. At least it’s cooler. Not in the nineties like the other day. Internet goes bye-bye tomorrow and goes on at the new place on Saturday. Hope Comcast gets it right. I probably won’t have time to post again until we’re on the other side. Remember when the astronauts went to the other side of the moon, and NASA told us there would be a communications blackout? Wish us luck.

Give Me an A. Give Me a C. Give me A/C.

Yesterday was a hot mess from beginning to end. I melted into bed at 8 o’clock. We worked in the heat all day. Exhausted, we finally left at 4 o’clock. We have become soft. How did we ever live without air conditioning? We never gave it a second thought back then.

We worked like Vikings yesterday. The painting is finished and looks great, our closets are mostly done and the kitchen is almost done.

So this is my horror story.

First Contact

Since we did not have the warranty information with us at the new house, we had to drive back to the old house. Relief. The warranty that came with the house did cover the air conditioner. One little problem. Our warranty company, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty, had not received the check from our title company. Malinda claimed it had been sent. I was skeptical because of an earlier incident with Malinda, but I now believe her… maybe. After forty-five minutes of confusion and frustration, 2X10 Home Buyers Warranty realized/admitted that the check was probably somewhere in their system, and agreed to cover our A/C

The Way It Works

You cannot just call an HVAC company of your choice to service your A/C. The home warranty company contracts a group of HVAC companies to do the work for them. They give you the number of a company, and you wait a half hour before calling them… in sweat-producing heat. This gives the home warranty company time to contact the HVAC first, and it gives you time to build up a head of steam, a win/win. Then you call and make the appointment. It’s $100 deductible.

The Snag

We returned to a sweltering house to finish painting and unpacking some boxes. We waited the requested half hour before calling the local HVAC company. NO answer. We left a message and our number and waited a half hour before calling again. This time they answered, and we were told that there would be a 9-day wait. That was not acceptable. We move in on Friday. We called 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty back, and told them. They gave  us the number of another HVAC company, and asked us to wait another half hour (in the heat) before calling. Red-faced and sweating quart-size droplets, we soldiered on. After another half hour, H called the second HVAC company only to be told that there would be (you guessed it) a 9-day wait. Do you see a pattern here?

Wherein We are Beaten into Submission

Hot and severely irritated, H called 2X10 Home Buyers Warranty back and gave them his opinion of how they run  their company and some very helpful tips on how they could improve it. He then told them that he was going to call his own HVAC company. He then called the company we’ve been dealing with for years. They apologized, explaining that they were positively slammed and may not be able to get to us until Thursday, but would try very hard to fit us in today. We were thrilled. We had already planned to wrap things up in this house today and tomorrow. So we won’t be over there anyway. They will call before they arrive, and H will meet them over there.

In case you didn’t catch the name of the warranty company, it’s 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty. We were told that we could submit the bill and “maybe” they would pay. What do you think the chance of that is? Not a chance in Hell, which, by the way, is no hotter than my new house.

H checked the mail at the new house. Our first piece of mail was from the ever lovely and always thoughtful Comcast.

… and the universe strikes back

I tried to be careful about how I worded the following sentences in the previous post.

“I believe we’ve made the right decision for this next phase of life. We both love the new place. It’s a peaceful place, and we love the nature that surrounds it.”

I didn’t want to sound too cocky, because I know how quickly the universe slaps back if you brag a little too much, get a little too comfortable, or feel a little to satisfied. No sooner than I wrote those words, we went to the new house and turned  the AC down. When it didn’t cool down in its usual five minutes, we figured it was taking longer because it was warmer last night. After a few more minutes, we knew something was wrong. Something was wrong alright. It wasn’t working…. AT ALL. We came back to this house to look for our warranty agreement that came with the house. We are not sure if the AC is covered. We think it is, but it’s written in such a way that we don’t know. H is on the phone with the insurers now. Update later. Fingers crossed.


More Minutiae

I have to tell you that I’m running out of gas. I’m ready for this to be over. I just want to be at the new house and left to my own devices: no demands, nowhere I have to be NOW, nothing I have to sign NOW, nothing that I have to scan and send NOW. We would have finished the painting days ago if we were left alone.

The doctor’s visit was a pain in the you know what. I had to wait. Then they had to change all of my insurance information and new address/phone information. I managed to get the new girl. I was very polite because I understood, but she took a full half hour to fill out two forms. It was excruciating… for both of us.

My doctor came in the examining room, sat down with his back to me, looked at the computer and said, “Well, of course, your weight is up there more than we would like.”

Excuse me!?

I said, “Of course, but I’ve lost quite a bit.” Nothing… and then, “Oh, yes. I see. Yes, that’s better. Well. Congratulations. That’s the right direction.”

Thanks so much, buddy.

Then H wanted me to get my INR checked, but I just couldn’t. When we saw how packed the parking lot was, even H said, “Forget it.” I’d had enough waiting around. I wanted to go back to the house and get down to work. I’ll do it Monday. No problems.

Today is the last day we will work at the new house. We’ll wrap things up at this house on Wednesday and Thursday. We still have a couple of things to take to Goodwill, and I have to pack everything that’s left in the kitchen. There isn’t much, but I’ll get everything but paper plates and plastic spoons and a couple of mugs. We already moved the top part of an antique hutch. The movers made us sign a waiver on our last move. They wanted no part of it. It has a large beveled mirror, and it’s an awkward piece.

I’ll do laundry on Thursday and pack it. I’ll fill our medication boxes this morning, and take the rest of our meds over to the new house. I wouldn’t want to lose track of them. There are a hundred little things like that, things that cannot be done until the very end… no matter how well you’ve planned.

I will never, ever accumulate this amount of stuff again. It feels so good to shed all of it. I feel like a crab when it sheds its shell, all soft and exposed, but filled with the knowledge that I’ll soon have a new shell that’s a much better fit.

We received the check from the auctioneer. It certainly wasn’t top dollar, but it was more than either of us expected. We’re happy with it. That’s what happens when you have low expectations. You’re pleased with the outcome. It was nice for someone to finally give us some money instead of the other way around.

How boring is all this minutiae? I bet you’ll be as happy as I will be when this is over.

H’s Medicare and supplement paid for his entire surgery. Yep. I can’t wait to see what they pay on my eye injection. I usually have to pay $350. I originally had an appointment to get the last one in April, but I asked them to push it up a couple of weeks into May because my birthday falls in May. I turned 65 a few days ago.

All of these nuisances are temporary, but I write about what’s happening around here, and this is it for now. I believe we’ve made the right decision for this next phase of life. We both love the new place. It’s a peaceful place, and we love the nature that surrounds it. It’s close to our doctors, hospital, stores, etc. Except for the two grackles that keep eating H’s suet, life is pretty good.

I shot some pix of the horses yesterday, but I left my camera over there. Soon.


Rabbits and Groundhogs and Birds! Oh, my!

Yesterday was a very productive day. I put shelf paper in all the kitchen cabinets and drawers and unpacked most of the kitchen boxes. It will be great to have the kitchen in order before we move in. We’ve moved most of the food from the fridge as well as the pantry. I haven’t unpacked all the pantry. H wants to do that. He’s over the moon about the size of the pantry and that old freezer in the garage. He found the owner’s manual. It’s a 1964 model – over fifty-years-old. It will probably outlive us.

Tony returned yesterday to put the new insulation in the crawl space. He’s one of the fungi guys, but he didn’t spray the chemicals. Another guy did that. He removed the insulation. H asked him to put down the vapor barrier, too. The buyers requested it after the home inspection. When the house was built, they left some bare places. Tony agreed to do it for $75. This is something H would have done, but after the face surgery and all of those chemicals down there, I asked him not to do it. I can’t imagine doing that job, spraying toxic chemicals all day long. It cannot be good for you.

We’ve almost finished painting two rooms. H did the ceilings. What a job that was. We finished two coats of cutting in, and he rolled on a coat of color yesterday while I worked in the kitchen. He’ll do the last coat today. Hopefully. We have a couple of other things to do, but he’ll either finish or make a big dent in it. I plan to work on the bathroom and our bedroom closets today. It would be nice to have our personal things in place before all the chaos begins on Friday. Things are shaping up.

It’s so peaceful at the new house. A rabbit was waiting beside the driveway for H yesterday morning, and we saw a groundhog just over the fence in the pasture. The birds have found the feeders. There’s also a pond somewhere back there. I imagine we will see a variety of wildlife.

I have an appointment with my doctor this morning. If he had emotions, he would be pleased with my weight loss, but he is devoid of human emotions. It’s an odd situation. He cannot hold eye contact and sits at the computer with his back to me most of the time. Then he listens to my lungs and heart and squeezes my ankles to check for edema, never looking at me. He does say hello when he enters the room and goodby when he leaves. I guess that’s something.


The Misery of Hell, or is it Only Comcast Again

imageWe came home from the new house on Thursday night to find that the DVR was screwy. What a mess. Comcast had disconnected our service and connected the new buyers service prematurely. That’s the short version. The DVR no longer had our recorded shows.

We knew from experience that a call to Comcast would take up an hour of our lives that we didn’t have to give at the moment. Last night, we finally decided to tackle it. H, who I’m certain is a direct descendant of Job, took the first round. I would like nothing better than to give you a blow-by-blow description, but you probably have other things to do this year. Suffice it to say that he was on the phone for over an hour with a man from India who was unfailingly polite and understandable, but could not fix the problem. He handed us off to a person in billing who was American and not as polite and eventually disconnected H, but did nothing to fix the problem.

H was ready to blow up the phone by then, so I tried. I got another guy from India who was also unfailingly polite, but I could only understand every third word he spoke. I had to reinvent the wheel and explain the whole situation again. I tried to tell him that he would not be able to fix it, but would have to connect me to someone who could, but he insisted that he would try. I went through the entire process again before he handed me off to an American who was both understandable and polite. I reinvented the wheel one more time. She understood, but would have to do some mysterious things that required her to disconnect us, but not to worry, she would call us back in fifteen minutes, and all would be resolved.

By this time we were curled up in the corner in a fetal position, muttering nonsense and licking our wounds. We went to bed, never hearing from Comcast again. Beaten into submission, we’ve decided to let it be. Sometimes acceptance is the only way.

Up on the Roof

Yesterday, H rolled some paint on the ceiling. He noticed an area that had been painted with a slightly different color paint. Suspicious of (scary music here) water damage, he went up to the attic. It was like the Sahara Dessert up there: dry and hot.  He found the corresponding area, and raked back the insulation with a small rake. He found a water spot. It wasn’t too large, and there was no sign of mold. Mold wouldn’t dare to live in such an arid place. And the temperature was Arizona hot, but you can understand if we are gun-shy.

We remembered the first day we looked at the house. As Marlene put the key in the lockbox, she listed a few things that had been recently replaced on the house. Ridge cap was one of those things. Apparently a leak was associated with that, but it didn’t do much damage. Whew?

H took his ladder yesterday and painted the ceiling. We’re painting the living room and the dining room, which will be the office.They are the two largest rooms in the house. Things would have gone so much faster if we hadn’t noticed the water damage. After we noticed it, we knew we had to prime that area, and paint the entire ceiling. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have bothered because the rest of it looked good. Stuff happens.

The finale of Mad Men airs tomorrow night. We came late to the party. A few years ago, after hearing everyone talk about it for years, we finally binge watched the first four seasons, and then continued with regular viewing. We enjoyed it.

Spoiler alert!

It looks like Betty has terminal lung cancer. I wondered when someone would finally be diagnosed with cancer on that show. They all smoke like they’re getting paid for it.

I plan to line the kitchen shelves today and unpack some of the pots, pans, mugs, etc. Friday is the big day.



I’m following a blog about the renovation of an 1825 Federal. I love renovation blogs. In the early years of married life, I fantasized about buying an old, dilapidated house in need of love and renovating it. I could see my future children playing on the wrap around porch and a row of ‘Niko Blue’ hydrangea mopheads growing along the fence. These days, the thought of buying and renovating an old house makes me hyperventilate. The fantasy is all but dead. Thumbing through magazines or reading blogs about renovation adventures is about all that remains of that dream.

We went to the new house yesterday. We got a late start because we had to get supplies and run some errands first. H pulled out the drop cloths and brushes, opened the paint can of Nantucket Dune from Sherwin Williams, and that’s when he realized that he’d forgotten the ladder. Do you know what that meant? It meant that he couldn’t cut in around the ceiling. I don’t do ladders anymore, so I do all the lower work and the trim. He does the roller and the up-high work.

He found other things to do. He worked in his garage, made coffee for me, and put the bird baths in the back yard. He’d already put one of our bird feeders by the back fence on Wednesday. He’ll probably take the rest of them over today. We plan to get an early start today.

We’ve learned that the new house cools off quickly because it’s smaller, and all the rooms stay about the same temperature. That’s a problem we’ve always had with two-story houses. The second floor is always warmer. We don’t have two-zone heating/AC in this house. It will be interesting to see how well the new house cools when the temps climb up to the nineties this summer. I’m also interested in the bill. I’m hoping it’s considerably less.

H packed all the canned goods, spices, condiments, cereals. Everything! When I wasn’t looking, he cleaned out the contents of the entire pantry. I asked him what he thought we were going to eat until next Friday. “Oops!”

Things are moving along. I guess I’m feeling some stress because H said I’ve been stranger than usual in my sleep: arguing with people, picking at imaginary things on my clothes, making odd movements in the air with my hands. He said it’s a little creepy. I guess I’ll be antsy about things until the final closing on this house. I well know that things can always go off the rails until everyone has signed on the dotted line, and that’s the nasty little voice I must hear when I’m sleeping.



Dropping Stitches

H’s stitches were removed yesterday and all is well. He’s still a little swollen and his smile is pitifully lopsided. His doctor said it would take four to six weeks for all of it to go away. The inside stitches have to dissolve.

I have to go to my poke-in-the-eye doctor this morning. My appointment is at 11:45 am, smack dab in the middle of the day. I hate appointments in the middle of the day. They ruin productivity in the morning and afternoon. Next week I have to go to my cardiologist. I cannot believe I managed to choose two doctors’ appointments that fall in the two weeks before moving. Of course, I didn’t know that when I made them. I tried to change one of them, but they didn’t have an another opening until September. Can you believe it? I’m going to check again today to see if someone canceled.

Yesterday, H filled my car and his truck with another load of garage stuff, and we made another trip to the new house. I think his entire garage will be transplanted after a couple more trips. We would have finished it yesterday if he hadn’t had the doctor’s appointment.

I want to go to the grocery store to get a few things to take to the new house. I need to get some healthy eats over there or I’ll start eating fast food, and you know what a slippery slope that is. Well, maybe that’s not a slippery slope. Maybe fast food is at the bottom of the slope. I took yogurt over yesterday, and I made a chickpea salad for today. I have to get shelf paper on my next trip to the store. It would be nice to line the shelves and drawers before moving day. There’s a Food Lion that’s only a mile from the house, and Kroger’s isn’t much further.

That’s about it for today. The painting begins tomorrow.

#2 Closing

The closing went smoothly. It only took a few minutes because the bridge loan closed last week. We only had to sign two papers. We spent most of the time discussing H’s skin cancer surgery. Both the closing attorney, Fred, and our Realtor were very interested and had lots of questions. Marlene’s mother died from melanoma, and anyone could see that Fred was an outdoor guy. He was fair and sported a golden tan. He was partially bald on top, and it was obvious that he didn’t wear a hat. The top of his head was as tanned as his face. I’d say he was in his late fifties and Marlene is 63. H told them that he had an exceptional doctor, and they asked how to spell her name. :)

H has an appointment with her this afternoon to remove the stitches. His doctor’s nurse told me that most of their patients used to be older, but they are getting younger and younger because of the tanning beds. The conversation turned to sunscreens. She was African-American, and with a shake of her head and  a knowing smile said, “You guys used to use baby oil and iodine, didn’t you?” When I do my top ten list of things I’ve learned, “white people should stay out of the sun” will be on there.

By the way, the closing attorney is very charismatic. He’s cute, too, but I’d take charisma over looks any day of the week. Charisma will get you what you want faster than looks any day. We’ll see him again at the closing of this house.

The twins gave us a wreath for our new front door. We both drove to the closing because H wanted to move his first truckload of tools and other things from the garage, and I wanted to move a few delicate things in my car. H’s new garage is three feet wider and three feet longer than his present garage. This makes him inordinately happy. There are not a lot of rooms in the new house, and it is less square footage. It is interesting where the builder decided to put the square footage. The guest bedrooms are smallish and the master is a moderate size, but the family room, kitchen and master bath are large and open. The master bath is actually larger than the bathroom in this house, large enough for easy maneuvering in a wheelchair, not that I’m planning on that, but my experience with Dad made me mindful of such things. The other thing that we found in this house that we didn’t see in any of the other houses was a large shower. While the house isn’t large, they used the square footage wisely.

The horse pasture is buttery yellow with buttercups now. I love buttercups. I’ve had a love affair with them since I was a little girl. My grand parents lived next door to us, just a short walk through a path. My grandmother died when I was only one-year-old, but my grandfather, aunt and uncle lived in the small two-story farmhouse with a porch that faced the river. The yard was a carpet of buttercups this time of year. I didn’t know back then that some people considered them weeds. I thought it was the most beautiful yard I’d ever seen. Maybe I still do.

A couple of you have made note that I’ve blogged regularly through this experience. I thought I’d tell you how I managed to do that. As you may have guessed, my insomnia has been relentless over the past few weeks. I usually wake around 3:00 am and record the events of the previous day. After our last move, I thought I’d have some horror stories to tell, but the worst of it was the fungi and having to endure people wearing a path through my house.

The work of packing and preparing for the move hasn’t been so bad because we started early. I’m sure that moving day will get to me. As I look at all the boxes stacked halfway up the wall in this large bedroom, I wonder how they will even fit into our bedroom in the new house. It will be one big, huge, colossal mess, but that’s okay. Once everything has been deposited in the new house, the movers have left and H and I are alone, we will begin the process of reconstructing another home.



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