Extra Heavy Special Delivery

I made kind of a crazy purchase for the new house. It was delivered last Friday via freight. The item in question is a ginormous Epson photo printer that can produce images up to 24″ wide and (get this) 44′ long. No, you didn’t read that wrong, I said 44 FEET. Needless to say, this thing is huge. Of course, like all things purchased online, I didn’t realize just how huge, despite reading the dimensions.

It was delivered via freight and when the guy started moving the pallet up the driveway, I nearly shit myself. The shipping weight is 330 pounds. The actual printer is 223. The instructions specify 4 people to lift it. Of course we didn’t have 4 people, just me and my husband. He uncrated it and put the stand together. It quickly became obvious that we would have to lift it from the pallet directly on to the stand, which fortunately had wheels.

My husband built a ramp over the stairs from our garage to our house and we managed to set it on the stand. All I can say is that it’s a good thing I lift weights regularly. We cleared out space in our sunroom for the monster and let it sit overnight to get up to room temperature. On Saturday my husband set it up and was able to start printing.

Oh, there were a few hiccups, but all things considered, it went pretty smoothly. We made a couple of test prints and they were gorgeous. We even found some old photo paper to use. The only bummer was when I went to order ink cartridges and nearly shit myself again. The cost for one set (11 colors) was nearly 60% of the cost of the printer. The printer comes with a set, but they are 1/3 the quantity of normal ones and the light light black was only half of that. After a couple of large test prints it was already reading low.

The beast is going to occupy an entire wall of the walk-in closet in my new photo studio. We added an outlet and internet connection to that wall to accommodate it and the closet shelving will be designed around it. Now I just have to figure out a way to pay for all that ink.

So Very, Very VIP

I attended a VIP event at the Arboretum last night with my mom. The event was a preview for a sculpture exhibit/sale that’s going on in conjunction with their spring flower show. I was invited by our conservatory builder, who has constructed a small, traditional style conservatory as part of the show. The event was a snore, but my mom had a great time.

This was largely due to the two glasses of wine she consumed in just over an hour. Sort of a repeat of her birthday. My mom is pretty hilarious dead sober and a little alcohol just puts her over the top. The event included some boring speeches about the featured sculptor (who’s been dead for 15 years, by the way), during which we hid out in an adjacent gallery and cadged appetizers from the servers.

I wanted to check out the spring flower show and the conservatory, so this was a great way to get that done without investing a lot of time. My mom’s hilarious flirting with the waitstaff was just a bonus. The flower show was a disappointment, but at least now I know it’s not worth going back to photograph. Consider the evening a win-win.

Big White Out

The forecasters finally got it right. The massive snow event did not just miss us to the north or south, instead it stalled out right over the Twin Cities, eventually dumping about 9 inches on us. It started at 9:00 am yesterday, so I was able to get through my personal training session, followed by a quick stop at the grocery store and still get home before any significant accumulation. That was lucky.

Then it really started coming down. I pushed the garbage and recycle bins through two inches of snow just after 1:00. Less than three hours later the tracks were completely obliterated. By the time the sun set, we had some pretty impressive drifts outside of the front door. This is the first significant snowfall we’ve been home for in quite a while.

Fortunately, we have plenty of food in the house and plenty of projects to keep us busy. I spent a good portion of yesterday afternoon taming the towering inferno of empty boxes that threatened to take over our house. Early this morning I shoveled a small space at the bottom of our drive to accommodate the trash and recycle bins. I’m pretty sure they don’t get emptied if they are buried by snow.

Our street was cleared early this morning, but our driveway is still buried as of noon today. Fortunately, we have no compelling need to leave the house. Our Cayenne could probably make it out, but I don’t want to test it. I can’t imagine much happened at our new home yesterday, anyway. There won’t be any trucks getting up our hill today. Temps are supposed to be pretty warm for the next ten days, so hopefully a lot of it will melt. Meanwhile, consider us snowbound.

From Hot to Cold

I’ve never been so happy to get out of the warmth and sunshine and return to the bitter cold. Nothing like three days of non-stop dusk to dawn cleaning, organizing and packing to make you feel like you had a real vacation. We managed to get through pretty much everything in the garage yesterday. I hauled eight big trash bags to the dumpster and several more to the recycle bin.

Midway through the purge, I got a call from my mom. She had tripped and fallen going into her house and ended up calling a neighbor to take her to urgent care. Turns out she fractured her elbow. I’m ashamed to admit I spent most of the call moaning about how shitty our week here had been. I just ended up making her feel guilty about hurting herself. I’m a total heel.

This morning I took three big bags to charity. Normally I would box those things, but I am scrounging every box I can find to pack up our stuff. I’m not too proud to admit I salvaged a flattened box from the street. I wish there had been some good ones in our recycle bin.

Our flight home was on time, the car started when we got to long term parking at MSP and our driveway had been plowed when we arrived at home. That’s the best day we’ve had in a week. So, despite the barely above zero temp outside, I’m happy to be home.

Highly Motivated Sellers

Yesterday might have been one of the most exhausting days of my life. Today wasn’t much better. I spent nearly three hours moving stuff in and out of our storage locker yesterday afternoon, while my husband was running errands and getting the Xterra emissions tested. My task included shifting nine extremely heavy solid wood doors from the back of the locker to the front, as we need to sell or donate them.

After we got home, we spent the rest of the day cleaning stuff out of closets, cabinets and drawers, throwing things away and packing boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. This involved a few thousand trips up and down the stairs. Our only big break was eating the late lunch/early dinner we had delivered. I crawled into bed at 10:30, physically and mentally exhausted. Then I woke up abruptly at 4:00 am, positive I heard a noise. Of course I had to creep downstairs to check it out. It took me over an hour to fall back asleep.

Today was lather, rinse, repeat. With an earlier start. By the end of the day I had hauled six big bags of garbage out to the dumpster. Dinner was another delivery, deep dish pizza this time. By 7:00 we were both exhausted and soaked with sweat, so we called it quits. Best shower of my life. Amazingly, the only big area we have left to tackle is the garage. So guess what’s on next morning’s agenda?

Well, One Thing Went Right

It’s been a rough couple of days. Wednesday afternoon we took our Xterra to the dealership to get whatever was tripping the “check engine” light repaired. Early Thursday morning we found out just how much that was going to cost. So much that they made my husband come back in and pay a deposit before they would order the parts.

Then on Friday afternoon we met with a real estate agent to talk about listing our house here. We found out that not only is it worth less than we thought, but she highly recommended we get it listed by March 1st. Gulp. Right after we finished that meeting, the dealership called to tell us the Xterra was ready to be picked up.

So we do the car shuffle and then head to a late lunch followed by a much needed gas stop. Meanwhile, I get a call from our builder following up on an email they had sent a few hours earlier regarding our flooring. One of the estimates was nearly double what they projected, so they were scrambling to come up with more cost effective alternatives. Unfortunately, nothing they proposed would save much and it would compromise the aesthetics of the house.

It wasn’t really a happy phone call. There might have been some harsh words exchanged. Meanwhile, we were driving the car around to get some miles on it before taking it back for the emissions test. My husband went to do just that today, while I spent a few hours taking everything out of our storage locker so we could pull out the hardwood doors we salvaged from my dad’s house when it was demolished. The only good news – the Xterra passed the emissions test and we can now renew the tabs. Finally, one small victory.

Don’t Drink and Shave

Monday morning we dropped the furry little beast off at the kitty condo for his boarding stay. Our flight to Phoenix was yesterday morning, so naturally I spent all day Monday power cleaning while we were temporarily cat-free. I actually accomplished more than I thought I would, so I was feeling pretty smug about it. I waited until after dinner to shower, since I knew the cleaning would leave me sweaty. Of course I had some wine with dinner, so by the time I got into the shower, I was feeling no pain.

Until I shaved my legs and learned an important lesson. It’s a really bad idea to shave after drinking. One half-assed swipe at the back of my calf left a trail of blood running down my leg. I never knew that a razor could qualify as heavy equipment. I won’t make that mistake again. It looks like really bad road rash. I guess I should be glad it’s too cold for shorts in Phoenix right now.

Speaking of Phoenix, we got to watch a drug bust in the parking lot of our condo complex right after we arrived. At first it just looked like a resident reporting an abandoned vehicle to the police, something that’s happened before. Nope, there were two people apparently living in the car and we later saw both of them handcuffed and sitting on the curb with what looked like a crack pipe on the hood of the car.

It made for an awkward exit from our garage when we left to head for the DMV. The police officer very nicely asked if he needed to move his SUV for us to get out. We just noped right out of there. Our first errand of the trip was obtaining a temporary permit for our Xterra so we can get it repaired and emissions tested without risking a ticket for expired tabs. That proved to be relatively quick and painless. Let’s hope it’s setting the tone for the rest of the trip.

Statistics for 2017

My apologies for yesterday’s rant. I just needed to get a few things off my chest before closing out 2017. I will do my best to maintain a more positive attitude in 2018. What I won’t do is commit to posting something every single day. It was a good challenge, but some days the pressure was overwhelming.

Here are some fun statistics for the year.

Total number of posts: 365 (duh, one a day). This blows away my previous average of just under 150 per year.

Total number of photos posted: 898. This is completely off the chain, as it very nearly matches the total number of photos I posted in the previous seven and a half years.

I will guarantee those are records that will stand unbested for eternity. I’m starting off 2018 with what is likely to be an extended break from posting. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Netflix awaits. Happy 2018!

The Last Post of the Year

Not with a bang, but a whimper. I guess I should have saved a couple of really amazing images for my final post of 2017. I didn’t. What I have left is just a couple of dead plants from the Minnesota Zoo. Nothing special, nothing extraordinary. I’m tired and my creativity is at a low ebb right now. I feel like I should be doing something.

And yet I’m bored out of my mind. I’m speed reading novels and binge watching Netflix. I haven’t worked out for almost four months. My stress level is through the roof and I’m back to the weight I was at before I started working with a trainer over five years ago. Our new home is scheduled to be on a tour in just over five months and a ridiculous amount of work remains. I feel like I’m losing my mind on a daily basis.

I have a cat that alternates between sleeping on my lap and trying to take a chunk out of my arm. I’m eating junk and drinking alcohol as a form of self medication. I have no one to blame but myself. End rant. Begin new year.

Every Day I’m Shovelin’

Yesterday we woke up to a little fresh snow. We’ve only had about six inches of snow so far this season and typically less than an inch has fallen at a time. Our biggest snowfall was only two inches. It hasn’t been enough for our driveway to get plowed, so I’ve just been shoveling it. And shoveling it. I think yesterday was my fourth time so far.

Looking on the bright side, the normal snowfall total by this date is about twenty inches. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m getting fresh air and exercise and saving money. We only get charged when we get plowed, which is surprisingly rare. Most services charge a fixed price for the season. The pay per plow deal has definitely been working in our favor over the past few years.

I did get my butt out of the house for a short photo op in the backyard yesterday afternoon. I can’t say it was anything spectacular, but I guess dead plants covered with snow is better than nothing. We are getting more snow this afternoon and the forecast is brutal, with high temps staying below zero for the weekend. We ran out for groceries and liquor this morning, so we are well stocked for battening down the hatches. Cue the Netflix.