Some Evidence of Progress

I didn’t kill myself trying to work all day today.  It is the Sabbath, after all.  But, we still got some things done.

It is unbelievable how much stuff we have packed into the motorhome.  This morning, we used a roll of kitchen trash bags to carry things into the house.  We carried and carried and carried some more.  Then we quit.  And we have not gotten it all yet. We drove the motorhome to the neighborhood RV storage lot and parked it in a very narrow spot between two others.  I had to try several times before we got it in well enough.

Our other task for the day was to put down the dining room rug so I would stop stumbling over it. I dragged the dining room chairs, the living room chair, and several empty cardboard boxes out-of-the-way and Andy helped me carry the table out.  We unrolled the rug, which is not the same as cutting a rug, and aligned it with the floor tiles. Then we set the table back in place and I put the chairs back in. If you ignore the pictures on the floor, the cleaning supplies on the cart, and the thrift-shop bound cardboard box, the room is beginning to look put together.

Here it is from the foyer. This is the first room with any semblance of orderliness and it is a psychological boost for me. We don’t have a light fixture in yet.

I have been working with Andy to get his library off the floor and on the shelves. I enter the title and author in a spreadsheet and he is putting them on the shelves in alphabetical order. We might be a third of the way through this project.

I usually make the bed very soon after getting up in the morning.  Andy distracted me this morning and I didn’t make it.  That is a sure sign that we’ll have company. I did finish the second half of my bed decoration though. That made me happy!  It is white tulle with gold stars.  The corners are plastic gold things people put around the base of a large candle. They fit neatly over the bedposts and hold the fabric in place. It will be a garland for Christmas.

I was puttering around, carrying things from one room to another when the doorbell rang.  I had to move the living room chair out-of-the-way to open the door.  It was Ted/Fred and Dee Kermode along with their friends and our new neighbors, Brian and Nancy Howard!   Both ex-boating couples have just returned from an RV trip to Alaska.  We had not met the Howards yet but knew they would be here soon. They came in a took a tour of the mess and my unmade bed.  I guess it was not too noticeable with the rest of the chaos.

Here is the status of our bedroom after we carried clothes and other things in from the motorhome.

It sure looks a lot like a college dorm room to me.  

I had a plan for two chairs and a coffee table in the bedroom next to the sliding glass doors.  I put the furniture somewhat in place and told Andy he could sit there to watch the golfers tee off when it gets too cold to sit outside. He loved the idea and said it would be a perfect reading spot too.  Then he suggested a small bookcase in the corner for our pleasure reading.

It will get better one of these days.


Unpacking Boxes, Washing Everything

It’s been ten days since I posted a blog update.  And, it has been a whirl of activity.  I have lost track of the days of the week and the date.

We took two days to drive to Sister Barbara’s house in Maryland. As before, we took a day of rest before moving day. Early Sunday morning, Brother-in-Law Tom, Andy, and I drove to Fairfax, VA to pick up the rental truck and then headed to Daughter Kathy’s house in Vienna. Kathy had already set out our furniture, lamps, and artwork in her living room. It was not too much, so we had it loaded into the truck quickly.  Tom was in charge of draping things with moving blankets and strapping them into place.

Our next stop was son Andrew’s house in Rockville, MD.  They had also set out most of our belongings in their driveway. He had also posted a Facebook picture of it as the status of his yard sale. That is what it looked like.  They had not brought out our china cabinet or bed.  I took the doors off and the glass shelves out of the china cabinet and removed the small drawers.  Then, the guys carried the cabinet out in two pieces. Tom and I disassembled the bed.  Unfortunately, we broke one piece of the canopy.  (Tom glued it back together when we reassembled the bed in Florida.)  Andy ordered a couple pizzas for us and we took a quick break from loading the truck to eat lunch.

Our last stop was Tom’s and sister Barbara’s house in Prince Frederick. Barbara did not have much of our furniture, but she did have some of her own that we loaded into the truck. Their three-car garage is full of “stuff”.  I picked out some tall chairs to set at our kitchen counter and some knickknacks Barbara had used to “stage” houses when she sold real-estate. The best thing I took was nephew Joshua’s bed.  Actually, it was my daughter Jennifer’s bed, since she moved out of the crib. When we sold the house in 2000, we gave her bed to Joshua.

Joshua did more than just sleep in that bed.  He turned it into an alarm clock backup.  He took the bed apart and mounted jacks on the back side.  Then he rigged a system with the alarm clock, I presume, that would lift the bed and dump him on the floor if he had not gotten up when the alarm sounded. I hoped he had the video of it in operation on YouTube but could not find it. Now the bed, without the lifting mechanism, is in my sewing room in this house.  Grandsons Owen and Cam are going to sleep on it when they come to visit. I had a bookcase headboard/nightstand but I did not take it because the room is small.

It was late afternoon before everything was loaded into the truck. We were anxious to get on the road and declined to spend another night at Barbara and Tom’s house.  As soon as we took off, we used the GPS to forecast when we might arrive at Bill Ellis Barbecue in Wilson, NC.  Boo; it was half an hour after they closed. We talked about barbecue all the way down I-95 but did not get any.  You can’t just stop anywhere when you are driving a big ol truck towing a car. Tom and I took turns driving the truck until Andy cried out for bedtime. We found a motel at the next exit off the interstate.

It was nearly dark when we arrived at the house on Monday.  Tom got a mattress out of the truck and slept on it in the guest room. We slept on the family room sofa-bed. We unloaded the truck in about two hours on Tuesday morning. Bring in and setting up beds was the first priority. Then I returned to the job of emptying boxes, washing contents, and finding a place to put things away.

This move was mostly about the dining room and bedroom furniture – and a truckload of odds and ends.  I love dishes and everything else to do with a dining room. I chose this house partly for the separate (mostly) dining room. This picture is weird. Our furniture does not look like that wood. The table top needs some work; I’ll adding refinishing to my to-do list.

We finally have our bedroom furniture back. Tom glued the broken piece of the canopy and it is barely noticeable.  We used the dressers as packing boxes and I had to empty all the drawers before we could put any clothes away.  Then, I vacuumed them with the hand-held. Clothes, boxes, bags, and laundry baskets filled with clothes are all over the place.

Brother-in-Law Tom, who is on vacation, works like a possessed demon.  He decided to stain two bookcases so they would match in Andy’s office.

This chair belonged to Gran Thorn.  It was old when she died maybe twenty years ago (or more). The fabric is at the end of its life.  The foam in the cushion has apparently been dead for some time.  It is crispy. A small tear on the front grew when the Stanly Steemer man was cleaning in and foam crumbs fell out and on the floor.

We took Tom to pick up a rental car and go visit some of his family for a few days.  I’m  not working as hard or as long now that he has gone.  I didn’t want to be a slacker while Tom was running around doing all kinds of things that needed to be done at full speed.  He even rearranged the boxes in the garage according to their contents.

I have been focusing on washing and putting dishes away for several days now.  I honestly don’t know how I accumulated so many sets of china.  I have two sets that I don’t remember ever seeing before. We are going to start using a different set of dishes for every meal.  All the dining room boxes were put in the parlor so we could put the china cabinet and table in the dining room. This room will probably be the last to get straightened out.

When granddaughter Elizabeth’s dresser broke, Andrew and Joanne bought her a new one.  I saw the old one in the garage and asked for it to use as a television stand in the family room. Making some repairs and fixing the paint is on the to-do list.  It already looks great on the opposite wall from the white kitchen cabinets. We don’t have a television yet.

The family room furniture was coated with a fine, brown dust.  It looked dingy and brownish.  After it was steam cleaned, it looks good as new again. I feel so much better now that the furniture and rugs are clean.

We unrolled the rugs when the Stanley Steemer men came to clean them and the upholstered furniture.  The foyer rug from our old house looks great in its new foyer home.

They put the living room, dining room, and guest room rugs outside where they could clean them easily all in one place. The living room rug is still out there because there is no room to put it in the living room. We rolled up the dining room rug and placed it in the foyer where I have tripped over it every time I go in the living room for more dishes, etc.  I even stumbled over it just walking by it to go out the front door.  At that point, Andy said we are going to lay it in the dining room tomorrow.

We are also still moving stuff out of the motorhome.  It is amazing how much we had in there! Andy said we could fill a house just with everything we had in the motorhome. The community only allows motorhomes to be parked in front of a house for a few days to load and unload.  Ours has been there way too long, but we have not had any complaints.

I am tired.

Moving Day

Today, we officially moved into the house. We are leaving for another truckload of furniture on Thursday.  While we are gone, our lease on the RV lot in the Ridgecrest Resort will expire. So today’s adventure was getting the RV ready for the road.  It is always a chore when we’ve been stationary for a long time. All went smoothly.  We hooked up the tow dolly to the motorhome and I drove to the house. Andy followed me in the car. The house looked small with the motorhome taking up the driveway and hanging out into the street.

I pulled Sao up close to the garage to minimize the walking necessary to carry things inside.

We spent the rest of the day moving from the motorhome into the house.  The first task was the food in the refrigerator.  Then the freezer. Next, I attacked the upper cabinets in the salon.  I would fill boxes with food from the cabinets and Andy carried them into the house for me.  Then, I would go inside and put things in the house cabinets. We used two not-too-big boxes so they would not be too heavy.

The biggest chore was my motorhome pantry, which is under the futon-style sofa.  Andy held the seat up just enough for me to take things out while not so high as to open it flat into a bed – with me under it. It’s a tricky proposition. That is where we store our Costco-sized packs of beans, broth, and canned tomatoes. I also store seldom-used pots and pans under there. You know, the monthly birthday cake pan.  The wok.  The sandwich press. It is amazing how much food I had under there. We could easily survive a month on it.  Then, there was also Andy’s emergency supply of maple syrup, five jugs no less.  You’d think we were running a bakery with the four large bottles of vanilla extract.  He puts that in his morning waffle mix and isn’t taking a chance on running out.

Under the kitchen sink was no better.  I had a bottle of every kind of oil I can think of.  That’s what happens when I try a new recipe I’ve seen online and it has some exotic (to me) oil as an ingredient. I also have four or five kinds of vinegar.  Oh, and there’s the olive oil for cooking, the more expensive olive oil for salads and other uncooked dishes. Then there is the bottle I bought at a grocery store in case I ran out of the Costco oil before we got to a Costco. And, let’s not forget my huge jug of coconut oil.  It’s yummy for sauteing chicken, by the way.

However, the pasta is my worst food hoarding sin.  I have two shelves worth.  It’s Publix.  They get me every time with the BOGO (Buy One Get One (free)).  Whenever they have a bin of pasta at the front of the store with the BOGO sign, I toss two in the shopping cart.  There is not a single place where they were stored in the motorhome.  Today I found spaghetti, lasagna, fettuccine, elbows, bow ties, rotini, shells, and even some fancy-bagged “handmade” pasta noodles in five different compartments. And I don’t mean one of each kind either.

In the midst of moving, about lunch time, we went to Subway for sandwiches.  My kitchen is too messy to fix lunch! After a quick stop at Publix for a few items (no pasta this time), we stopped in the community office to get our gate-opening passes for the car and motorhome. This errand took quite a while as there were multiple forms to complete and people coming in and going out with lots of chatter to distract us.

Andy brought our computers, and all their accompanying paraphernalia, inside and set them up in his office.  I guess I should call it THE office.  I even have a desk in here.

All the food is out of the motorhome as well as many other objects we happened to pick up and bring in with the food. Tonight both of us have made several trips to the motorhome to get a forgotten item that we need for the night. I can’t seem to remember two things for one trip.  One trip for the nightgown.  Another trip for my traveling toilet kit with all I need for the night.  Another trip for the phone charger.  Back out there again for my medicines.  Andy made as many trips as I did.I made one last trip – for our pillows.

We don’t have our bed yet.  However, our family room sofa is a hide-a-bed.  I had already laundered some flannel sheets I found in a box. When Andy was ready to go to bed, we opened up the sofa and put the sheets on.  Then,  I made one last trip to the motorhome – for our pillows.


Rick Griffen Came to Visit

Our first errand this morning was to get our auto and motorhome registrations renewed.  I usually do that online, but this time I wanted the paper faster than I would get it through the mail. We got there about ten minutes before the tax collector’s office opened at 0830. There was a long line in the parking lot. I thought we were going to be there for hours.  However, as soon as they unlocked the door, we all filed in to three receptionists who asked what our business was and gave us a number.  We took a seat and were barely settled in when our number was called. It only took a few minutes to pay the fees and get new registration cards.  Now we can get an Arlington Ridge gate pass for our car and park the motorhome in the storage lot.

I needed a day off.  Hours upon hours of dishwashing was killing my back. We sat outside with our coffee and watched golfers.  Andy fell asleep so I went inside to empty one more box.  I just couldn’t stand seeing it sitting there.  That box with the pumpkin suit turned out to be mostly kitchen things. I found a set of adorable, fat pitchers I don’t remember having.  And, at the very bottom of the box, there was a casserole dish I just love.  I had not thought of it in years and it was so nice to unwrap it – like an old friend and a present.  Andy woke up and caught me working.  So I sat back down with another mug of coffee. We sat on the front porch in our rocking chairs and waited for Rick Griffen to show up.

Andy gave Rick a tour of the house with an emphasis on the pile of books in his office. Rick retired very recently and has a similar pile of books at his house. Rick said he felt as though he had been here before, after reading my blog posts. He even approved of the new kitchen table arrangement. We had a great chat in the family room before heading out for lunch.

It was hard to get a picture without too much of the clean and dirty piles of stuff on the kitchen counter.

I have been wanting to try La Palma Mexican restaurant a bit north of here and Rick said he likes Mexican food too.  The decision was made and off we went.  It was delicious and all three of us enjoyed our meals.  There are dozens of Mexican restaurants in the area, but I see no need of checking out any more of them.

The waitress took our picture but we all turned out as silhouettes. A bit of Photoshop did not improve the picture much. At least we are identifiable now.

Next, we gave Rick the tour of our Village Green – cafe, bar, pool hall, banquet hall, movie theatre, craft room, library, card/game room, library, and swimming pools.  We skipped the exercise room and gym for fear of working up a sweat.

I so much enjoyed Rick’s visit.  It was fun to hear him and Andy talk about work and the people they both knew.  He also had some great stories to tell. I hope he comes back for another visit before too long.  We had an oil change appointment for the RAV4 and Rick had a long drive back to Jacksonville, Florida, where he is attending the Shock And Vibration Symposium this week.  I sure miss going to those.  Andy always attended the technical sessions and presented a paper, but I went sightseeing with the spouses. Great fun.

I took one last picture of Andy and Rick just before we left the house.

It was a very fine day off. Thank you, Rick!


Kithen Table

Every day is the same.  Get up.  Go to the house.  Clear the kitchen counter of yesterday’s hand-washed dishes. Unload dishwasher. Unpack boxes.  Wash contents by hand or put in the dishwasher.  Put fabric items in the laundry. Repeat.  All day.  I am down to one box in the kitchen.  It does not look like kitchen stuff.  The top item was daughter Jennifer’s Jack O’Lantern Halloween costume from when she was small. It would fit her children now.

I carry things from room to room. It seems that no box is dedicated to just one room. When I get to the proper room, I see something there that needs to go to another room.  Repeat.  All day.

Today, I opened a box labeled “baby linens” in the guest room.  Time for mom to pause and wistfully fondle the yellow crocheted blanket.  There was the small quilt with appliqued animals.  And two bath towels with a corner, animal head, hood. I miss my babies and am a bit annoyed with them for growing up.

I made spaghetti for dinner with a frozen container of sauce.  It was a struggle.  I didn’t have a proper colander and dumped the pasta into the sink.  Fortunately, I had cleaned the sink before I cooked.  We found an assortment of utensils to scoop it out of the sink and into the pasta bowls. I didn’t have a ladle to serve the sauce – or even a large spoon. When we finished eating, I decided to turn the table.  Literally. It seemed a bit awkward the way it was so we turned it forty-five degrees with one end close to the center window.  Now it feels spacious coming from the family room side,

and also spacious approaching from the kitchen side of the counter.  We can move it out if we need to seat more than three, but it is very heavy. The marble-topped cart is still unobstructed.  It is a little unorthodox and the table is not centered under the light fixture.  I’ll live with it a while and see how I like it.  Andy is delighted with it; he has a great view of the fourteenth tee from his seat.

There’s another project for me.  The table and chair legs have yellowed.  That job is probably going to be way down on the list of things to do.

I saw an odd box in the garage and knew exactly what was inside, without remembering how it got in there. I tried to carry it back into the house but was locked out. I opened the garage door and got back in the house through the front door.  I took it into Andy’s office and he opened it.  He remembered that the swordfish carving had been broken and didn’t think we still had it. Neither of us remembered that we had it repaired at Buck Woodcraft in Marathon years ago. The box had “Buck Woodcraft” packing tape on it.  We set it on the corner of Andy’s desk and I forgot to take a picture of it.

I’m tired.  We are going to take it easy tomorrow.  Going to the motor vehicle office to get new registrations for the car and motorhome at 0830.  Then Rick Griffen, a work associate of Andy’s is coming to visit late morning.  Then we need to take the car in for an oil change at 1600.  That leaves precious little time to empty boxes or wash stuff. Oh darn.


More Than Halfway Moved

We drove from Prince Frederick, MD to Mechanicsville, VA on Friday evening and got a hotel room near the Home Depot where we picked up our rental truck on Saturday morning.  Tom and I were both excited to drive the big truck. It took us about an hour to drive to our storage unit in Tappahannock, VA.  Daughter Kathy was there to visit and help us. The professional movers were half an hour late. We used that time to drag things out of the storage unit.  I had bought and set up some moving boxes to pack the odds and ends we have thrown in there over the years.

The movers were two big strong men.  We were in awe of all the boxes they could carry.  It took about three and a half hours to load the truck and we were on our way south. We made it to Wilson, NC in time for dinner at Bill Ellis Barbecue. We spent the night at a motel along the interstate and reached the new house at sunset on Sunday, October 8.  I backed the car off the tow dolly and Tom disconnected the dolly from the truck. We drove the car to the motorhome for a night’s sleep.

When we drove back to the house in the morning we could see that the Cranes had moved into 3737. Four of them were in the nook between the front door and the garage. They did not leave when Tom got close to take pictures or when Andy unlocked the front door.

Two movers arrived right on time. We had already begun unloading smaller items. We told them to put any boxes with Andy’s name on them in his office.  Boxes labeled kitchen and dining room were self-explanatory. I led them to the spots where I wanted the furniture placed.  Everything else (many, many boxes) went into the garage. They had the truck empty in two hours.

On Tuesday morning, we returned the rental truck and drove to Home Depot to buy ceiling fans.  I had intended to do that later, but Tom kept mentioning them.  On the advice of everyone who we talked to about fans, we got one for every room.  Tom spent the rest of the day installing them.  That guy really knows how to spend a vacation.

All I can say here is that it was a really nice house before the Misovecs moved in and trashed the place.

The family room furniture looks pretty good in the new family room. It held up fairly well in storage but is a bit dusty and slightly musty.  The cushions were somewhat squashed by things piled on top of them, but I think they will survive.  I’ll have them cleaned after the next load arrives so I can get it all done at once.

The kitchen table is a dilemma.  I turned it ninety degrees to make room for the tall table in the background.  I really love that marble top.  I may turn the table forty-five degrees to see if that fits better. I love my kitchen table too.  It’s where Daughter Jennifer did all her homework.

Tom was having a grand vacation installing ceiling fans.  This one is in Andy’s office.

There were so many boxes and pictures in the dining room that I didn’t know how we would get the furniture in. Tom rearranged it later to make room for the table and china cabinet.

Wednesday, Tom installed the last two fans, this one is in the sewing room.

I have Gran Thorn’s settee in the parlor.  Jane Moulton’s end tables flank it and Mrs. Evan’s coffee table is in front of it.  Daughter Jennifer has laid claim to the settee.  She’ll have to come pick it up to get it.  It is a lovely piece of furniture, stuffed with down.

I put Mrs. Evans’ desk in the front corner and added the chair Mother Moulton gave me for my birthday years ago.

When we were unloading the storage unit, I almost unloaded this corner cabinet.  It seemed too big for the small room. I did not care for it in the Moulton dining room but just love it in my parlor.  I’m so glad I did not sell it to the antique dealer in Tappahannock.

Back to the kitchen.  I decided I could not live without this marble-topped cart.  It has to stay there.

Andy was having quite a time of opening boxes of books and papers.  He found his masters and Ph.D. theses and diplomas. I put the rug from the boat salon on the floor, but he has not mentioned it.

No matter how many boxes I empty, there are still more.  I am washing all the dishes, pots and pans, utensils, and, well, everything. It was all clean when I packed it up seventeen years ago but has accumulated a layer of dust since then. It must be the newspaper wrapping disintegrating.

This is the view going from the laundry room to the garage.

I discovered three men outside digging a ditch and laying cable from the street to our house.

This is what the garage looks like from outside.

Once the fans were installed, Tom and I assembled the trellis.  He did most of it; I helped.

The trellis has had a storied life so far.  Remember we followed the UPS truck to ask if he had a package for us?  He told us he would not have delivered it if we had not stopped him because we did not have a house number at that time.  Then, a week or so ago, I caught John McDaniels, the construction superintendent, carrying the trellis to the dumpster (just in time to stop him).  He thought a contractor had left it in our driveway. Today, just as Tom finished putting the screws in the trellis, Andy noticed movement outside.  I opened the door to find a man digging a hole for our temporary mailbox with a post-hole digger.  I saw that he was driving an Earthscapes truck and asked him if he would dig two holes for my trellis.  He said, “Sure”. We had the trellis installed in short order.  I forgot to take my camera outside to take a picture so that will come another day.

Finally, Tom started acting like he was on vacation. We went to the pool for a few hours.  Andy and Tom swam laps while I lounged in the resort pool and hot tub. Tom is a graceful swimmer; he went to college on a swimming scholarship.

After his swim, Tom did the lounge-in-the-sun thing for a while.

Today, we worked in the morning. Andy unpacked books, Tom flattened the cardboard boxes for recycling, I unpacked kitchen boxes and washed more dishes.  Then we took Tom to Mellow Mushroom for a mighty fine pizza for lunch.

After lunch, we went back to the pool so Tom could act like he is on vacation some more. Andy does his laps with a mask and snorkel.

Tom was swimming with his sunglasses on.

We sat out back and watched the sunset over the 13th green.

Tom took a picture of us.

Moving Madness

Wednesday was as smooth and pleasant as could be.  We met John McDaniels, the construction superintendent, at the house at ten o’clock.  We went through the entire house inch by inch.  He was marking spots with colored sticky dots.  Things we didn’t see any problem with. He had red for drywall and blue for paint.  Or, maybe, that was the other way around.  He tested every window, blind, light fixture, water faucet (hot and cold) and all the appliances. He talked about everything we might need to know.  He made a list of things to be done and we signed it. We even got a box of pint-sized paint cans labeled, e.g. inside walls, outside walls, front door, inside trim.

Andy and I got sandwiches and Subway and then went to the sales office for the closing.  That was also extremely easy and pleasant. Sign, sign, date, sign, sign, sign, ……… We were presented with a gift bag with Arlington Ridge coffee mugs, key rings, car tag, etc.  Then we went to the community association office for our electronic keys for the amenities (clubhouse, pool, gym, etc.) We could not get a car pass for the front gate because we did not have a registration for the car.  I don’t know where it went, the last time I remember seeing it was when that guy ran into the side of the car in Marathon last winter. Maybe the policeman forgot to give it back.  Maybe it blew away in the wind.

Then we hit the road in a northerly direction.  Got well into South Carolina before we stopped for the night. Of course, we stopped at Bill Ellis Barbecue in Wilson, NC for dinner.  Finally, we reached Sister Barbara’s house in Prince Frederick MD somewhere between five and six this evening.  Bella, the Boxer, was SO HAPPY to see me!

We are here to pick up Brother-in-Law Tom, who will help us with the move.  We will head south as soon as he gets home from work tomorrow. We’ll pick up the rental truck and unload the storage unit in Tappahannock VA on Saturday morning.  I have two professional movers to do the heavy work.

I’ll give an update next time I have a chance.