Saturday, September 06, 2008

Moving Update

So. I got the key to my home on Thursday afternoon, but already had the hotel room for the night. Since the new house wouldn't have hot water until Friday sometime, we decided to stay at the hotel Thursday night. Still, I enjoyed my afternoon in my new home. I set up the internet and phone services while I was there, and later Eric and I brought in the temporary mini-fridge. I left Cody the Car sitting happily in the garage.

Friday morning, bright and early, hubby-Eric and I returned to Stepford House, and he dropped me off and went to battle his students' apathy. Alone in the new house, I plotted out the day. The Natural Gas guy was due sometime between 8am and 5pm (yeah, that was the window they gave me). The locksmith was due around 10am. The carpet cleaner would be coming around noon. The DISH network dude was due between noon and 5pm. I also wanted to figure out how to get into my mailbox, a locking type down the street, and figured I'd ask the locksmith.

First to arrive was the Natural Gas guy and his wonderful dog. The dog stayed patiently in the truck (the window was rolled all the way down, so he could've jumped out if he needed to... and the driver's side door was left open too) while NGG took the cap off the gas meter and made sure the flow was going safely. When I made a comment about how simple it was to just cap the meter, NGG grimaced and said that some people take the caps off themselves, thinking to get free gas. That often leads to really bad moments, including explosions. After making sure the gas was flowing, NGG started up my water heater. He told me how, when the new type of heaters had just gone on the market about three years ago, he'd accidentally blown one up by striking the starter a few too many times. I found myself stepping further away from him while he worked. After he got that going, he explained about air in the pipe from long disuse, and how it would probably take several tries for us to start our furnace once the weather becomes cold enough to need it. With all that done, he left and I sat down to wait for everyone else.

I spent a couple of hours doing further research into the appliances we need to get, then the locksmith arrived. He rekeyed the two locks I wanted done, and advised me to not bother rekeying the garage since we plan on putting in a garage door opener very soon. When I told him about the mailbox, he said the best thing to do would be to catch the mail carrier with the door to the box open, then take the lock off from the inside. He could sell me a new one cheap, and I could replace it myself. He also said something about left-handed and right-handed locks, but I didn't understand him. That would come into play later.

Since I needed to watch for the mail carrier, I set up a chair in the garage and read from Eric's Olympics book while keeping an eye on the box. The realtor arrived, and I gave her one of the new keys so she could let the cleaners in Saturday morning. Then I was alone for a bit until Carpet Cleaner man arrived!

The carpet of Stepford House had a number of very obvious stains. It was also just plain dirty, despite the efforts of someone who had vacuumed it at some point. So CC came out to save the day. He started in the upstairs and worked his way down. Unfortunately, while he was there, the DISH network guys arrived.

Luckily for the DISH guys, the dishes and cabling were already installed in the house. Unluckily, they had to be VERY careful on the wet carpet. Still, despite this, they managed. One of the guys was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Will Work For Anime" so I casually said to him, "I don't have any anime, how about some Shojo Manga?" His eyes nearly popped out of his head, and he geeked out while around me for the rest of the visit.

After carpet guy finished, he showed me what his cleaning had picked up. Among the general dirt and grime he also pulled up several ink stains, grease stains, food stains, and at least three instances of really ground-in gum. There was also one stain he could not conquer, and he tried every single item in his arsenal to defeat it. But in the end, he left it with a garbage bag on top and some long-term treatment, hoping that a few hours of that would clear it up. I was more than satisfied.

While the carpet cleaner was finishing up, and the DISH guys were still setting up the receivers, I spotted the mail carrier and rushed down the street to explain to her what was happening, with a statement that showed I was buying the house in my hands. She handed the mail to me, showed me my box... but we couldn't get the lock off without a wrench or pliers. So I ran back to Stepford House and asked all three guys if any of them had a wrench or pliers. The anime guy had a universal tool with pliers, so I borrowed it and ran back to the mailbox. Between us, the carrier and I managed to get the lock off and I happily relaxed for the first time all day. I gave the pliers back to anime guy and told him he'd saved the day, which apparently made his day.

When I asked the carpet cleaner if he would take an out-of-town personal check, he said, "Of course! We're not in Seattle."

After the DISH guys left, I decided to tackle a handful of problems. Number one was the mailbox lock. Number two was the garage, which badly needed sweeping. Number three was the latches on the garage, which looked like they could be fixed with a wrench and a mallet. So I went down to ACE Hardware and got a broom, a mallet, and a wrench. I checked to see if they had the postal locks available, but they didn't, so I went back to the locksmith. A lady helped me, and everything went smoothly.

Once I got home (squee!) I fixed the garage latch (simplicity itself!). Then I took the new lock and the wrench down to the mailbox. On the way, I met the next door neighbor to our left (if you are on the street looking at the house). Her name is Sandy, and she and her husband retired to Eastern Washington after years in Puyallup, and love it. Her son and his family live on the other side of their house.

And so I continued to the mailbox. After about ten minutes of fiddling, I realized that the new lock turned the wrong way. I had trouble wrapping my head around it, but eventually I understood what I needed to ask at the locksmith shop, and headed back, sunburned but wiser.

Back at the shop, I explained the problem to the same lady, who was as flummoxed as I was. While we were chatting, the locksmith from the morning came in and pointed out that my old lock had an L on it, and the new one had an R on it. I needed a new L lock. Oh. So that's what he meant when he said "left-handed". I apologized profusely, but the lady said she was glad because she'd learned something and she apologized to me for selling me the wrong thing. Then I headed home (squee!)...

Poor Eric was waiting. He didn't have a key to the house. He didn't know where I was. I explained it all to him, then we went down to the mailbox and fixed it together. YAY! We can have postal service now! After fixing that, we went home and swept out the garage together. Good grief! There was a LOT more dirt on that floor than I realized. I pulled Cody back into the garage, then Eric and I went out to order our new appliances.

Between ACE Hardware and the Locksmith is the Sears store. It's tiny, but it's also the closest major appliance dealer around. So I decided to go with them and researched our appliances VERY heavily. I knew exactly what I wanted and had written down the Sears order numbers for them. We found the guy who I had met on my first Sears scouting trip a few days earlier, and started the process. As we did the order, my brain started to wander and misfire, and I couldn't seem to think clearly for more than a few seconds. At some point I realized I hadn't had lunch yet, and it was now close to 5pm. I mentioned this to Eric, who decided to take me on an emergency protein run as soon as we finished at Sears. We got the delivery set for Tuesday, and then Eric got me down to the A&W for a hamburger.

Whew. And that was what I finally managed to accomplish yesterday, once I finally had a house to work with. Today we're in Bothell for an Oz event. We just sent my Mom and sister off with two more carloads of stuff to take to Stepford House. The cleaners were due to arrive this morning, and the realtor was supposed to let them in. I get to pay the cleaners when I get home. We'll be back home soon, but there's a lot left to do today.