Wednesday, November 28, 2018

And just like that...

...we've moved! We were able to close the door to our rental house for the last time and drive away Monday afternoon. We did a lot of cleaning there to leave it in as good a shape as possible for our old landlord. Even though he didn't do the kind of maintenance he should have, he gave us a safe, affordable place to live for 8 years and is a basically good and kind man. We are grateful. I cleaned the inside all afternoon on Sunday,  and on Monday we paid Stanley Steemer to come out. While they cleaned the carpets we cleaned and swept the garage and Gregg trimmed the front hedges. The next morning we sent the landlord a thank you card with a note inside explaining that we'd bought a house and moved. We included a check for December's rent with an some extra cash added on to pay for damage George did to the garage wall. We wanted to make sure we did everything the right way so we could leave with no bad feelings or regrets.

And here we are! We're not even halfway unpacked and the house is crowded with boxes and pieces of furniture we have to decide what to do with.....and the garage is full of stuff....and the aquariums, while up and running, are not aquascaped at all yet...we have a million things to do, but we're so happy to be done with the move! It's a huge relief. We're taking a day or two to rest and catch our breath before we tackle the 1001 tasks still ahead of us. We're worn out and deserve a small break.

And we keep finding things we love about the house! So far (knock on wood) all the surprises have been good ones. I think this is going to be a nice home for our family! 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Almost there...

Getting moved in to the new house has been a LOT of hard work. We're not quite done yet, but by Monday night we will be. Monday afternoon is when we have Stanley Steemer coming to clean the carpet at the old house, and while they're doing that we'll be doing our last few runs to the trash dump. That evening we'll finally be able to lock the doors and leave the rental house for the last time--what a relief that will be!

Of course, there's still going to be a lot of unpacking and cleaning at the new house. I'm glad now that I didn't have time to clean and shine the floors beforehand-- with all the foot traffic moving in entails, it would have been a totally wasted effort. There are boxes and clutter everywhere, and stuff we haven't figured out the placement for yet is just sitting in random corners. We have beautiful new area rugs still in their plastic wrappers, and a brand new tv stand in the box needing to be put together. Right now all of our time and energy at the new house has focused in on getting the two 120 gallon aquariums up and running. The fish are all in small holding tanks at the old house, and those still need to be taken down and brought over, too. I hope we never move again, and if we do, I'm going to refuse to have any part of taking aquariums with us. This makes the third time I've had to help lug buckets of substrate, and gear, and even (god help me!) boxes of rocks. It's exhausting, especially with all the other heavy lifting moving involves.

Although I have to admit, the final results are beautiful in the home. We've hit on the perfect spots in the new house to show off the tanks. They're going to look really, really good!

The dogs have been unsettled. Ginger, especially, looks at us with big reproachful eyes and it's pretty clear she wants to go back home. George has been glued to her side for the most part. They both spent a little time playing in the back yard yesterday, but when it got late in the day they both seemed ill at ease. I guess they need time to adjust.

Mad at us...

Marco is taking it all in stride. He's a bold little guy and enjoys change and novel situations. He has been talking a little more than usual since coming over here. His version of contact calls within the flock (for security) happen to be in English!

So that's where we are at the moment. Crazy busy, but getting the job done! I've been too tired each night to open the celebratory bottle of champagne sitting in the fridge, but tonight may be the night!

We're so happy to be here.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Marco speaks his mind.

Life with a parrot can be a lot of fun, but it can also be really, really irritating. One of the worst habits Marco has is occasionally letting fly an ear piercing shriek when he's not getting his way. It's terrible in both pitch and volume and will make your ears ring. Gregg sometimes loses his temper when Marco does it and gets mad enough to curse at him in response. (In fairness to Gregg, it really does hurt your ears, and Marco knows we hate it). We've always tried to keep the cursing down around him, since he talks, but we're not always successful.

For the past 2 weeks, we've been packing and moving boxes to the new house during all of our spare waking hours. Marco has been increasingly badly behaved due to less attention than normal, but it can't be helped at the moment. It's pretty obvious he doesn't think much of the moving process, which was confirmed for us last night.

Gregg and I were loading boxes from the den into the garage where my car was parked. We walked back and forth past Marco's cage with every trip outside, and he watched us with a keen eye. When we were almost loaded up and ready to leave, Gregg walked past Marco's cage with the last two boxes. As he passed by, Marco yelled out: "FUCK YOU!" in a perfectly clear voice. Oops!

I must confess, I laughed so hard I ended up leaning against a wall for support while the tears rolled down my face. Gregg was notably less amused!

Three more days.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Getting there....

I hope this is the last time we have to move. As thrilled as we are with the new house, getting all of our stuff over there and our services switched over is hard work. I hate the moving process!

The house wasn't cleaned very well by the previous owner. I'm still working on cleaning from top to bottom in every room. The kitchen and bathrooms were my first priority, but everything seems to need and baseboards and cabinets and doors, and to top it all off the seller even left half a dozen bags of trash in the garage that we had to haul off to the dump! But the house is prettier than it seemed now that layers of dust and grime have been knocked off. 

In addition to cleaning, we've been moving carloads of boxes over every afternoon. Today is the first day we can also use Gregg's truck, since it rained the first four days of the past week.  We also had to buy and arrange for delivery of a new refrigerator. It's been endless details to be attended to, but I'm happy to be racing towards our official move in day.....this coming Wednesday. We have a local moving service coming to take our furniture and large/heavy/fragile things early that morning. Our first full day in our new home will be Thursday,  which is Thanksgiving! Once we make it to that day, all that will be left to do is a final good cleaning of the house we're leaving. By the time I go back to work the Monday after Thanksgiving break, the move should be a done deal...just over one week from now!

Regular blogging should resume shortly thereafter! I can't wait to settle in and have time to catch back up with you all.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

At last!

As of Thursday afternoon, we are officially homeowners!

Our back porch (before the previous owners moved out)
We have a lot of work to do. The house is in need of painting, inside and out. The yard needs work, too, especially around the property lines where things are very overgrown. There are several small things in the house that need repair or replacing, but it's mostly cosmetic stuff that we can do ourselves. Most of all, our new home needs a thorough top to bottom cleaning--that's on my agenda for today. But it's ours!

After a good cleaning, we have to start moving our things in earnest. We have movers scheduled to come on Wednesday, Nov. 21 to take our furniture and any large, delicate items. That night will be our first time sleeping there, and we'll be officially moved in. The next day is Thanksgiving, and we have so much to be thankful for this year! Our only regret at this point is that we can't call Gregg's mom and tell her all about it. We know she'd be absolutely thrilled for us, and it was her inheritance that made it possible for us to buy it. That would have made her so happy. I want to cry when I think about how I wish she could come see it, and how much fun we'd have sitting on that back porch in the summer drinking wine and talking. Such is life, I suppose. Joy and sorrow all mixed up even on the happiest occasions.

Speaking of moms, my mom has been really supportive and happy for us! That makes me happy. She's been saying for years that she wished we could buy a house and stop "throwing away money" on rent. She was thrilled that we were able to get reasonable mortgage payments and only a 15 year loan. As soon as we finish moving in she wants to take me shopping for a housewarming gift from her and my dad. I don't care about gifts, just the fact that she's so supportive is a gift in itself.

Well, off to the house to begin my day of serious cleaning! Have a good weekend, everyone!

Monday, November 5, 2018

This week

This is going to be an eventful week. Today we have early dismissal at the school for parent-teacher conferences, and the principal already said that as soon as the students are gone the secretary and I can leave. I'm excited about that because I have to make about a dozen phone calls this afternoon, scheduling utilities to be turned on at the new house.

Tomorrow is Election Day (go vote!) and so there's no school. For my non American readers, many schools are used as polling places which is why it's a free day. I plan to get up early, vote, and then I have an appointment with the eye doctor. After that, the rest of tomorrow will be all about continuing to pack.

Thursday is our closing day, and will be the day we officially become homeowners....just in time for...

Friday, which is my beloved Gregg's birthday!

Whew! I'm going to be a busy girl!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

All Souls (part 2)

Yesterday I shared this on our school's Facebook page. I was touched that some of the students brought in photos of the two local police officers who were killed in last month's mass shooting.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, flower
In honor of All Souls' Day, our Spanish 1 students brought photos of lost loved ones to put on the classroom ofrenda, including photos of our lost law enforcement heroes here in Florence.
What is remembered, lives.

Friday, November 2, 2018

All Souls

Sharing (with permission) for my American readers...

On this All Soul's Day, this came through for me -- I know I will take my rebellious grandparents with me.

 When you go to the polls on Tuesday, November 6th, don’t go alone – take your ancestors with you.

Take with you the ones chained in the bottom of a slaver’s ship, who survived the terrible journey, who suffered the lash, whose families were torn apart and yet who fought to stay alive, so that you could be here.

Take with you the ones who crossed over from the frozen Siberian wastes into North America, who came here first, who worked with the spirits of the land, and who were almost wiped out by the invaders, who struggled to keep their cultures alive, so that you could be here.

Take with you the ones who sailed the Pacific in outrigger canoes, guided by the stars and tides, who survived the coming of disease and those who would destroy their culture, so that you could be here.

Take with you the ones who escaped famine, war, pestilence, pogroms, Nazis, Communism, hatred, and tyranny, who boarded ships, who scrimped and saved to make the journey, who cried and bled and suffered and did without, so that you could be here.

Take with you the ones who struggled to have the right to vote –those who were bludgeoned and had fire hoses turned on them, those who were arrested, those who were murdered in cold blood, those who chained themselves to the White House gates and were jailed and force fed, so that you could have the right to vote.

Take them all with you – hear their whispers, their cries, their shouts in your ears to stand up and be counted, because you stand upon their shoulders and without them you could not have the freedom to cast a ballot, to make your voice heard, to stand up and be counted.

Sharon Downey

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Welcome, November!

November 1st

"November is the aging year, a woman whose Springtime children have grown and gone their way but whose hair is often spangled, whose gray eyes are often alight, and whose dress of grays and browns is neither dour nor dowdy. November is berry-bright and firelight-gay, a glittering night, a crisp-blue day, a whispering wind and a handful of determined fence row asters.

November is the lithe hemlock in a green lace party dress, and a clean-limbed gray birch laughing in the wind. November is apple cider with champagne beads of authority; it is a gray squirrel in the limber top of the hickory tree, graceful as the wind;it is a doe and her fawn munching winesap windfalls over a Berkshire hilltop, and a woodchuck sniffing the wind and retreating to his den to sleep till April.

November is a rabbit hound baying the hillside; a farm boy in a canvas coat and a red cap, the 16-gauge in the crook of his arm, on the hills of the upper pasture; a grouse bursting from underfoot with a roar of wings and rocketing into the thicket. It is hog butchering and cracklings and sage and pepper and fresh sausage. It is a fox barking in the starlight and an owl in the old dead popple asking midnight questions. It is high-heaped firewood and leaf-banked walls and buckwheat cakes for breakfast.

And November is the memory of the years. It is turkey in the oven, and plum pudding and mince pie, and pumpkin and creamed onions and mashed yellow turnip. It is a feast and celebration; but it is also the remembering and the Thank You, God, and the understanding. That's the heart of it: November's maturing and understanding."

Hal Borland

"Sundial of the Seasons"
November 1955