Drywall, aka “rock,” has commenced at our new home. Why do they call it rock? It’s short for Sheetrock, which is actually a specific brand of drywall. It’s a Kleenex kind of thing. The drywall guys are swarming the house and the music has changed from Russian to Mexican. I felt sorry for Vladimir, who was working alone on the second floor, tiling our laundry room.
The regular tile guys are gone, having completed everything except the laundry and bathrooms. The wiring for the bathroom floor heat has been installed, but with a one man crew, it’s going to take a while. Apparently, only Vladimir and his son Victor, who owns the company, do the sloped and/or heated spaces. So the drywall guys are staying out of those areas for now.
Given the speed with which they are working, I don’t know how long that division will last. Yesterday was only their second day and the basement was nearly complete, along with a significant portion of the first floor. Hanging the drywall is fast work and I think there were six guys doing it.
The taping, mudding and sanding is much more meticulous work and likely will involve a different crew. That process will take weeks and the house will be pretty miserable to enter while it’s in progress. Yesterday was bad enough, with just the residual dust from cutting the drywall. The effect of hanging it is transformational, though. It’s finally starting to look like a real house.
We went shopping yesterday. Our original goal was to purchase just one mirror, at Design Within Reach. We had seen it some months ago and the store was having their semi-annual sale, so we decided to just go and pick it up. Didn’t quite work out the way we planned, but things rarely do these days.
First of all the mall was crazy busy and it took us a while to even find a parking spot. Next, we found out that not only did they not stock the mirror (or anything else, for that matter) but they had a ridiculous delivery fee. I guess they expect you to get a whole truck full of stuff, not just one mirror. So I felt the need to find something else to purchase. We settled on a set of four red chairs for the conservatory.
Next we decided to head to Peter’s Billiards to check on lead times for ordering our pool table. Again, we picked out the table quite a while ago, but had no need to order it. The pool table needs to be in the house for the start of the show on June 8th, as the staging company obviously doesn’t supply one. Peter’s was also crazy busy, because they were having a sale. A huge sale.
We ordered the table and then we ordered a sofa for my husband’s study. As we were walking to pick up a copy of the order, I spotted a counter stool that was perfect for our new kitchen island. So we ordered four of those as well. We got a great deal on the pool table, a small discount on the stools and zip on the sofa. (It’s one of those brands that’s price controlled)
In the end, a very expensive day. But it’s nice to be in a position to finally order actual furniture for the new house. We probably won’t be getting anything else for the house right now, since my husband will be building a couple of things (our bed and dining room table) and we want to see how it’s staged before we get any living room furniture. But we do need to look at furniture for the conservatory. I don’t think the stagers are going to know what to do with that space.
We had another realtor set off our alarm in Phoenix on Monday morning. The panel is ten feet from the front door and it’s on a 60 second delay, so I’m not sure why they are having such a problem with it. I’ve confirmed that our realtor will be there for the inspection and appraisal, so we don’t have this problem again. The listing has officially been updated to “under contract,” so we probably won’t have any more people coming through. The Monday showing was scheduled before we signed the sales contract.
We’re flying back down to Phoenix in a week and I’m busy making a list of all the things we need to get done while we’re there. I’m trying really hard not to have a panic attack about it. Meanwhile, on the home front, our fur baby is back to his usual crazy antics. He seems to have recovered completely from his cold in near record time. Plus side – less long naps on my lap, minus side – back to being bitey.
The tiling of our new home is almost complete. Basement and main floor are done and covered with paper. We actually got a small bonus area of tile, as they mistakenly did the working garage mudroom. It’s only about 100 square feet, but they are going to eat the labor cost and we just have to cover the tile, which is cheaper than what we would have paid for epoxy. Grouting of part of the second floor was being done yesterday. The only areas not tiled are the (heated) bathroom floors and the laundry room.
Most of the interior doors have been installed. More drywall was delivered yesterday, although they have yet to start actually installing any. Hopefully that will start next week. We are buttoning down a few final selections. We picked the granite for our dry bar yesterday and we’re visiting a few tile stores this afternoon to finalize the guest kitchen backsplash and bathroom tile. Three months to the finish line.
When I picked up Ripley from boarding last Tuesday morning he was totally fine. He even snuggled with me later in the afternoon, forgoing his usual “I hate you for abandoning me to that evil place” snit that lasts for a day or two after he comes home. He sneezed a bit more than normal on Thursday, but I chalked that up to my cleaning and stirring up dust before leaving for Phoenix.
By Friday it became apparent that he was under the weather. The sneezing was frequent and explosive. I called the vet Saturday morning to see about bringing him in, but based on his symptoms they didn’t think it was urgent, so I made an appointment for Monday afternoon. By late Saturday he was spraying when he sneezed, rubbing his nose frequently and napping on me for longer and longer periods.
Our sweet little fur ball picked up a cold while he was boarding. I felt terrible for him. There’s nothing worse than a poor little defenseless creature who feels miserable and doesn’t know why. It wasn’t a fun weekend for either of us. Monday morning the clinic called and asked about his symptoms. Since he was clearly suffering from a cold and not displaying any significantly worrisome symptoms, they advised that it wasn’t really necessary to bring him in.
It was a relief, because Ripley hates getting in his carrier and I really didn’t want to stress him more while he was sick. I ran the shower extra hot and long yesterday to help his sinuses. It seemed to work because he hung out in the bathroom until the middle of the afternoon before coming to take a 2+ hour nap on me. Ripley’s definitely taken a turn for the better this morning. He ran around like crazy, ate half his breakfast and then disappeared. I predict a quick recovery.
In an act of serendipity, we managed to set off our alarm here on Saturday afternoon. The door from our house to the garage doesn’t shut tightly and it blew open slightly while we were parking the car. Apparently the monitoring company here has different standards for false alarms, because they called the house and left a message, but didn’t require a call back. Not sure how I feel about that.
After a somewhat sleepless night on Saturday and some deep conversation over Sunday morning coffee, we decided to accept the offer on our house in Phoenix. Getting completely out by April 9th will be a huge stretch, but then we’ll be finished and can fully focus on our new house. We made a few minor term changes on a counteroffer and sent it off less than an hour before the 6:00 pm Sunday deadline.
The buyers signed the counteroffer less than an hour later. So, I guess we’re doing this thing. Unless they find something in the inspection that gives them pause. Which is unlikely. The buyers had listed their current home just a few days before viewing ours and had an offer within days. The April 9th close date is being driven by that offer – they want to sell their current home and buy ours on the same day. So unless they find something “unfixable,” I don’t think they are going to back out of the deal.
The only things that I see as potentially derailing the deal would be concerns about the HOA (doubtful) or the termites (slightly less doubtful). Now we have to wait on the inspection and appraisal. Meanwhile, we are heading back to Phoenix again at the end of next week. Even if this deal falls through, we have plenty still to do there.
I was in the kitchen this morning when the phone rang. The caller ID listed a number from Paradise Valley, Arizona, so I answered it, fully expecting to be tormenting yet another real estate agent trying to get the listing for the non-existent house on our empty lot. Nope. It was the monitoring company for our alarm in Phoenix. Yikes.
Turns out, a realtor was showing our house and didn’t deactivate the alarm quickly enough, thereby setting it off. The alarm company called the house and talked to her, but they needed our security code to verify it was a false alarm. Lovely start to the day. Despite my pledge to avoid manual labor, we did sneak a little in, clearing out our mudroom, as it will be temporarily serving as the art storage room.
We had a lovely dinner and settled in for an evening of binge watching, when I received a text from our Phoenix realtor. The couple who had viewed our house that morning had fallen in love with it and wrote us a full price offer. Only one tiny hitch – they needed a close date of April 9th. Gulp. So we haven’t even recovered from our last round of brutal effort on that house and now we are facing getting completely out in five weeks. And they don’t want the furniture. My mind is reeling.
Our trailer unloading efforts on Wednesday afternoon were limited to removing the artwork, which will be stored in our house. We both crawled into bed before 8:30 pm. It seemed like a really great idea, except we were both up and wide awake slightly after 4:00 am the next day. Ripley’s schedule is officially a mess. Once it was reasonably light outside, we unloaded the big chair from the trailer. It gets to sit in the garage until we do some rearranging in the house.
We brought the boxes to our storage locker and unloaded them before stopping by our new home to check on progress. Our timing proved to be fortuitous, as they were just starting to install the interior doors and we had some tricky trim issues to resolve. Our massive front door had also been delivered and installed. The floor tile was finished on the main floor. It was great to see all of the progress.
Today our primary task was to return the rented trailer, but before doing that, we used it to take a large upholstered chair to a charity organization. Conveniently, the trailer return location was just blocks away. Donating the old chair made room for the big chair we brought from Phoenix, so we were able to move that into the house. Now that we no longer have to deal with the trailer, the Xterra can be parked on our patio and we can reclaim the garage. Tomorrow is the 23rd anniversary of our first date and I am declaring a moratorium on heavy manual labor for the day. I think we’ve earned it.
The six days I spent in Phoenix ranks as the most physically and mentally exhausting period of my life. At the end I got to fly home, First Class. My husband preceded my arrival by four days and was now faced with a thirty plus hour drive home, pulling a trailer. So I got off easy. By the time I left for the airport at 4:30, it was obvious my husband was in no shape to start the drive.
Instead, he parked the car and trailer back on the street and finished cleaning up a few things around the house. After eating, he took a hot bath and crawled into bed around 8:30 pm. He woke up early the next morning and was on the road by 4:30 am. I was able to track his progress via his iPhone. Gotta love technology. I wanted to make the drive with him, but we also wanted to minimize the amount of time we needed to board Ripley. Given how much his departure ended up getting delayed, we made the right choice.
I ran by our new house Tuesday morning, before picking up Ripley from boarding. As usual, he was a little clingy and needy. So other than a few essential tasks (taking my mom to her orthopedic appointment and helping our friend get his Xterra off our patio to make room for my husband’s Xterra) I spent most of the day being a playmate and nap pad for our little fur baby.
My husband intended to make at least one overnight stop on his journey. But, it turns out that sitting and driving is a lot more restful than what he was doing for the previous ten days, so he never really felt tired enough to stop. He pulled in just after noon today, approximately 31 1/2 hours after starting. Now we get to unload and find somewhere to put all this stuff.
Yesterday morning we had cleaning people scheduled to come to our house at 8:00 am. We also had a plumber scheduled to arrive between 8:00 and 10:00. Why? Because we discovered on Saturday that we had a small leak in one of the pipes connected to our water softener. We also had an ongoing issue with a small leak in our kitchen sink, which my husband was originally going to fix, but he ran out of time.
It turned out to be a good thing that we called a plumber, because the small leak in our sink was actually due to a crack in the disposal and it needed to be completely replaced. He also replaced large sections of pipe going into and out of our water softener. Apparently the plumber that installed it did an shit job. So, $800 later, we were leak free. Fortunately the plumber arrived just as the cleaning crew finished, so they didn’t have to deal with the water being shut off.
Next up was the realtor and the photographer. We had staged everything that was going in the trailer in our garage, so the inside of the house was clear for the cleaners and the photographer. Loading the trailer took way longer than expected, which was the theme for the week. I ran a car load of stuff to our storage locker when it became apparent that not everything was going to fit.
I am not exaggerating when I say that we finished loading and locked the trailer about an hour before my cab to the airport was scheduled to arrive. I straightened up what was left in the garage and hopped into the shower. My cab showed up ten minutes after I got dressed. Talk about cutting it close.
It wasn’t bad enough that we had tickets to the shit show, we were seated in the poncho section. Everything seemed to be conspiring against us. First, my flight to Phoenix Tuesday night was late. Not because of an issue with Delta, but because the Phoenix airport had a runway shut down due to construction, so they were delaying inbound flights. When I finally arrived at the airport just after 11:00pm, it was a total zoo. My husband was waiting in the cell phone lot and he said people were trolling for spaces.
I spent Wednesday packing while my husband patched and painted walls. Thursday afternoon we went to pick up the rental trailer. Then we headed to a home improvement store to pick up some pick sheets of styrofoam insulation that I would be using to protect the paintings. We took the only through road to get there and the traffic was horrific. We soon found out why, the road was completely shut down about two miles from our destination. No warning, no signs, just flares and a couple of cops standing there and not bothering to direct the chaos as vehicles lunged to the left or right.
We caught a break on Friday, as the road resurfacing for our condo complex that had been scheduled for that day got postponed until March. It saved us because our alternate plan to park the trailer in the garage Thursday night turned out to be impossible as the trailer was roughly an inch too tall to clear the garage door. Early Friday morning there were a couple of dumpster divers in a broken down truck parked in our lot most of the morning. After they left we parked the trailer and loaded the less valuable/fragile items.
The original plan was for my husband to leave Friday morning. We quickly realized that wasn’t going to give us enough time, so we delayed it to Saturday and then Sunday. Everything took longer than we thought. I had to pack 25 paintings and each one took at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, my husband ended up having to paint the entire garage because the touch-ups were glaringly obvious, giving the walls the look of a bad rash.
Our meals consisted entirely of food delivered from one of two nearby pizza/Italian restaurants, with the exception of one nice dinner at our favorite fish place on Thursday. By this morning, it became apparent that we would not be able to get the trailer loaded and my husband on the road today. I had a quick dinner with a friend and brought him back a sandwich to eat while I packed the last couple of paintings. Tomorrow I fly home. Not sure how we’re going to get this finished.