Diary Excerpts from a Winter Move*

Where have I been?  I know, I missed me too!  We moved houses, which is one of the smartest winter hobbies we could imagine.  Here I share a couple of the highlights.

Best New Hobby Ever
Best New Hobby Ever

Day 1:  Closing (less than 2 weeks before Christmas—that’s the best timing because we were so bored that time of year)

After more than 2 hours of signing our names repetitively, and re-signing because there are variations of my name that were inconsistently reflected in 20 of the 150 sheets, we own a new home.  A second home, actually, because we have not sold our old home.  What can I say, we love a challenge!

We are ecstatic, despite our numb brains and cramped hands.  The kids are at school and we are enjoying the silence of our new, beautiful empty house.  Bliss!   

We plan to repaint rooms from colors such as olive and forest green, and, once done painting, live on air mattresses until the other house sells.  The former house will sell better with our furniture in it, we’re sure.  Sleeping on air mattresses will be fun, like camping out!  And it’s not like it will be for long, because the old house will sell fast once we’re not crumbing it daily with breakfast and life.  Everything is really coming together, we can feel it.  We will be settled in no time!!

Day 8:  Electric Avenue (Last Day with Kids in School Before Christmas Break)

AM:  Some cleaning has occurred, but because of last minute Christmas prep things, nothing has been painted yet.   We are hopeful that between ourselves and a professional coming over the next week, rooms will get painted.  Maybe even today, after the cable TV installation.  We switched to Evil Omnipresent Cable Company, because they wooed my husband with ridiculous promises like “cheaper monthly rates” and “free HBO” and “better reception.”  I tried to stay with the company we’d used at the other house, Overpriced, Slow and Sometimes Friendly Cable, but I could only promise “feeling like we’re not supporting The Man” for so long.  Especially after my husband found out Overpriced is one of the 10 largest cable companies in the US.  I guess The Man is everywhere.

PM:  Well, that was certainly a surprise!  The two fine professionals from Evil routed cable into our basement and everything was going fabulous until one ran upstairs looking exceptionally worried.  “Um, hey guys, did you ….have an inspection done?”

Our “new” house was built in 1902, with an addition in the early 2000s.  So there is a lot going on in here.  So, yeah.  We definitely had an inspection.

“I just got shocked.  I started to hook up your TV and I got zapped pretty good.  Did an electrician inspect the house?”

He leads us downstairs, to the finished basement in the newer section, and claims that our house has something called a “floating ground.”  His description indicates that it is a rogue wire that is “live” and I picture a self-propelled monster whipping between the walls, and having hidden from the inspector a couple of months ago, it waits to strike and burn down our wooden house.

“Watch this,” one man says, and he puts two cables together and claims that a spark appears.  My husband and I do not see anything, but hear a buzz.  “Look, I don’t mean to alarm you, but I have to call off this job.  My supervisor says I cannot stress enough the danger of this to you.  I can’t continue because it is unsafe.  I repeat, your house is a gigantic hazard.  If you see a spark or smell something burning, you need to leave the house immediately.  In the meantime, you need to call the city or an electrician.  Let me repeat:  your house should be abandoned.  In fact, I’m just going to stick a ‘condemned’ sign on your front door as I exit.  Is that ok?”

“Do you know any good electricians?” we ask, shaking in fear.

“Well, I used to be one, but I’m not licensed in this county anymore.  Here, let me try… [dials number on his cell phone]..oh, wow, I guess they’re out of business, serves him right, he was a jerk, my ex got me fired from there…yeah, I don’t really have an electrician for you.”

As the two men pack up to leave, the other man says, “You’re lucky you got us, some guys might have just tried to connect the wires, would have blown up your TV.”

I do feel lucky, having had these professionals’ opinion.  Truly.  Not sure how someone else would have hooked up the dangerous live wires, but ok.

The rest of our day was spent watching the city come out and verify this was not their problem, and paying money to a friendly electrician who proved his hypothesis that this was an Evil Omnipresent Cable Co. issue by showing my husband he could make the cable wire spark with another wire outside of our house.

Evil said they needed written proof from the city and electrician that it was safe to send their professionals out again.

So, to conclude…all in all, a great day.  Very productive.

It would be 4 days before an independent contractor was able to come out and remove some “jumper wires” attached to Evil’s wires, “from a long time ago when the wires needed to be slightly electrically charged.”  Don’t worry, this still doesn’t make any sense to me either.

It would be, well, never, until we got reimbursed for that electrician visit which was completely unnecessary.

Day 15:  Reality Bites (Even Water Hurts My Chapped Hands)

We have taken 3 days’ “time off” from cleaning  and painting to enjoy Christmas with the kids. All other hours have been spent working.  When I skip meeting up with friends for exercise, they are encourage me with “But I’m sure you’re getting your exercise working on the house!”, but a trip to the chiropractor confirms that this type of exercise—lifting, pushing, scrubbing, lifting and lifting is not the recommended kind for health maintenance.  And my husband’s right arm will only extend upward like he’s pushing a paint roller.

I watch my dog raise his leg repeatedly outside on the fence and wish that marking my territory could be so straightforward.  For us, leaving our mark on the house entails nearly fumigating ourselves with several rounds of bleaching the mildewy washer door gasket.  The same with several cleanings of former-owner’s-pee-stained grout.  And chapping my hands with all the washing of things and more things.  Did I mention the “easy” way to remove Contact paper residue from drawers is to douse the area with alcohol repeatedly?  And to clean what looks to be a grease explosion from a double oven, one uses water, Formula 409, and a razor?

The water, when it hits my hands…it BURNS.  That’s how chapped my skin is.

Look, I need to do laundry again!  And wash my hands before making dinner.

Did you know that Aquaphor and jojoba oil together take about 3 nights’ worth of applications to restore your hands from chapping?

Oh and the cable DVR’s motor sounds like a 747 engine.  Waiting for a service call.

*If you think this one is long, you should see the unabridged post on my blog.  I should just stick to unpacking.

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6 thoughts on “Diary Excerpts from a Winter Move*”

  1. I’m beginning to think that electricians get bonuses for scaring the pants off unsuspecting citizens. And nothing like an ornery inspector to brighten up the process. Hope you are completely settled and fire free!

    1. Haha, yes–no fires (knock on a lot of wood). And actually I think there is an association of people who try to scare you about your house, and that association includes electricians, HVAC guys (“you know how you’ll know when this water heater goes? You’ll know when there are 50 gallons of water flooding your basement, that’s how”), chimney cleaners who used to be firemen, and many others. Now just add cable guys to that list.

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