Friday, August 22, 2008

Getting a lot done (I'm so tired....)

I have to keep reminding myself that I have just grounds for feeling so tired.

1. I've moved to a new time zone: one hour difference, but it doesn't get dark here until almost 9 pm so I am really not winding down for bed time as I should.

2. We keep staying up late watching the Olympics. Staying up until midnight here is like staying up until one am Texas time...and I usually am in bed by 10. Why do I do this? Why should I care if a teenager can walk on a board or a guy can swim really fast? I don't know these people; I should just turn off the TV and go to bed.

3. I haven't had a work-out in over a week. The more I don't work out the more tired I become. And sitting on the couch for four hours a night watching TV is not helping. Nor is sitting on the couch blogging helping either.

4. I have put my house up for sale and moved about 2,000 miles away from home. 'Nuff said.

5. I will start a new job in about nine days. I haven't even met my boss yet in person.

6. Hart spends the night running in circles on our bed like a track star. He uses our heads as hurdles. I don't want him watching the Olympics anymore.

7. Tiggie spends the night stalking Meowsie. If we lock him in our room he spends hours scratching furiously to get out. Meowsie has now been locked in Jeff's room at night, after Tiggie went into Jeff's room at 4 am and launched an all out attack on Meowsie. Cats screaming next to you at 4 am is a horrible way to wake up. Jeff has told Tiggie that he does not like him. Tiggie doesn't care.

8. Everything that is mine is in two duffel bags and a back pack. I don't want to unpack because I don't want to repack in a day or so. Finding undies is a challenge.

Everything I own is wrinkled...and we keep meeting with a real estate agent that looks kind of like a teased hair apricot blond version of Reba McIntyre, with a boob job, three carat diamond rings, and she wears sleeveless turtleneck shells with pearl and diamonds stitched on them. Her arms are fit. Her jeweled sunglasses coordinates with her outfit each day. And she wears high heels that are gorgeous.

I am slumping around in wrinkled white crop pants, black and white striped cotton tee shirt from Walmart and black Crocs. I feel like a Raggedy Ann doll standing next to "Real Estate" Fashionista Barbie.

I'll be danged if I'm going to break out my professional wardrobe just to drive around town and to be getting in and out of cars in 95 degree heat. Instead I just dig through the duffel trying to find something both cool and nice looking. Since I can't really come up with anything that looks uber glam and cool both, I opt for cool and comfortable.

I try to not wimper too much before we go to meet with her. No more than 20 minutes in a fetal position in on the bed. Honestly, at age 54 you'd think I would do better than this. I keep telling myself: I am still on my first marriage. I don't have to color my hair or get a boob job. I have an advanced degree.

The real reason I am sniveling is because I am exhausted. I don't want to sit in the back seat of her Mercedes and listen while she chats with my husband. I feel like a kid. She asked what I do for a living. I told her I was a librarian. She didn't say anything more to me. I felt like my coke bottle sized glasses just got thicker and "Dowdy" got stamped on my forehead..

At least I am not dripping with sweat because of humidity.

I am seriously thinking of buying a couple of whopper CZ rings to wear when working with real estate agents. I am definitely going to start wear my Master's degree ring. Maybe she "earned" trophy wife status jewelry; I earned some important jewelry along the way too.

(I keep reminding myself I wouldn't be this bee-itchy if I wasn't so tired. I miss my chummy Jersey girl real estate agent back home)

9. We are trying to figure out what apartment to rent until the house sells. We looked at one complex on Sunday. It was nice, and had apartments that are already furnished. On Monday we look at another complex that had waterfalls and ponds, and a club house to die for, but the apartments were unfurnished.

We spend time on Tuesday looking at other complexes. Another complex was perfect, but no cats were allowed and oh...nothing available either.

We decide to just go with "nice" just because the idea of arranging for furniture is exhausting. It is exhausting to consider moving the cats again, and then again when the house sells in Texas and we buy a house here and move again. It is tiring to decide if an extra hundred or two hundred a month is worth spending when we don't know how long we will be in the apartment and still making mortgage payments on the house.

10. No offers on the house in Texas. I try not to think about how long it will take. We have lowered the price 10K. I try not to think about how low it might have to go. Or if the price might actually be perfect, but the right buyer just hasn't come along. Or...????? Average days on market for Riverchase is 60 days. We are at about 45.

We decided that taking control of some of our situations would make us feel better. We decided that we would go and to rent the furnished apartment on Wednesday right after we took a "look and see" at some real estate, just to get a feel of areas and to see what various price points might look like.

That was to happen on Wednesday. The agent set up showing at about six houses based on certain specifications, (price, location) and off we went.

Looking at houses is so interesting. One lovely house had smoked mirrors flanking the fireplace, gold veined mirror ceiling in the inset above the dining table, more gold vein mirrors in the inset above the BED; and (wait for it) gold veined mirrors above the huge tiled jacuzzi tub in the basement.
We nicknamed it "The Swinger House"; it also had a huge granite steam shower and sauna, and a gorgeous water fall feature in the backyard...oh it was so tempting to take pictures!!! Totally affordable, but no views (save views of yourself) and a slightly busy street.

My must haves in a house are:

1. Quiet street,
2. Mountain view.
3. Two car garage.
4. Master bedroom in the back. (I hate fussing with window curtains when I pop in to change my clothes.)

Anyway, we looked at split levels where you walk up steps (I'm afraid of steps outside in snow...) and where the front door opens to a set of stairs going up and another set going down. That kind of first view feels like bad fung shui to me. Not that I know a lot about fung shui, but I do know when something makes me feel confused and that sort of half way up/halfway down totally loops me.

All six houses: No views....I am so disappointed.

After seeing all the houses the realtor had scheduled we were driving back through a neighborhood and passed a small red brick ranch style/ramble house with dead weeds in the front yard and a For Sale/make offer sign in the front yard.

Our agent asked if we wanted to take a look at had but a one car garage, but would we like to take a look just for the heck of it?

It was priced originally out of our reach, but was heading for foreclosure.

Nice quiet cul-de-sac street. That was good.

Plantation shutters...another plus.

The agent opened the door. We saw hardwood floor.

A cute kitchen....

And then this:

The agent went "WOW!"
We all went "WOW!"
I can already picture having my morning cup of coffee at my round breakfast room table, and having dinner looking out over the valley floor, the city lights twinkling in the distance.

Does the Master Bedroom have a view too?
Yes it does.....from the WINDOW SEAT!
I love window seats!

These windows face north, and frame where the storms come in.
I love storm watching!

Last October I said I felt we would be in SLC by next October. And in my mind I could see myself sitting on a deck, feet propped up, looking over my toes at a mountain turning purple in the twilight.

I think this is the deck and mountain that I was seeing....

The deck view look over the city, downtown and the valley floor.

We told the agent to get the details on the house, and the next day (Thursday) we went back to take another look with Jeff and with a contractor. We wanted to get some prices on some minor changes (making a second upstairs bedroom into a walk in closet, much to Jeff's disgust-too "Texas" for his taste), adding a shower to MB powder room, plus adding a carport.

The owner is two payments behind; he is willing to lease the house to us until our sells. Today we will meet with the agent again to work though more details. It isn't a done deal yet, but it is a strong possibility.

We will wait until we know before we make any moves to lease an apartment. Jeff is graciously amendable to us staying with him until Sept 1st, at least, which would be the likely move in day on the house.

So yesterday we were very, very excited.

We weren't even planning on buying until after the first of the year, and definitely not until our house sold. But if we can lease, and have the lease payments come off our down payment...I think we may have a great option.

Plus another house in the neighborhood that is smaller and NO view is going for the same price as this one.

OH my GOSH...the VIEW!

Enough about why I am tired. I am still tired, but very happy too.

Here's a photo journal of the rest of the week:

I am a sucker for how mountains look in the sunset. This is the view over Jeff's fence on Monday evening.

Tiggie continues with his snoopervising duties.

Jeff and Bernie played golf on Monday at Jeremy Ranch Country Club, as part of a fund raiser for a children's charity. I drove B. there, and it was my first time navigating around the area on my own. Driving on winding mountain roads in a rental car is nerve wracking!

Jeff played golf Monday, Wednesday and Thursday for his company.
What a life.
And these golf tournaments give great gifts to the players too!

One of his coworkers broke her ankle on Sunday, so B. was drafted at the last minute to make up the foursome.

Mowsie is being an absolute gentleman about having two Texas yahoo boy cats in his house. Old Tiggie tried to put the bite on him and just got a mouthful of Mowsie fur for his efforts.

If Jeff is not fond of Tiggs anymore, well, who cares. Tiggie is able to make friends elsewhere as needed.

As is "Old Elevator Butt" Hart. The boys seem to enjoy company!

The tight dahlia bud was at this stage on Tuesday.

Bernie's bonsai's arrived safe and sound. My few straw hats arrived tweaked out of shape; I spent some time steaming the bents and crumples out of them. Note to whomever: U-Haul boxes do not stand up to UPS shipping.

I shipped my African violets in a glassware box, the kind of box with dividers. It came with styrofoam sleeves that were just perfect to slip over the plants. I transplanted the plants into large plastic dixie glasses to make them lighter for shipping.

They were in route for five day...and look: the plant still has flowers even!

I had filled the box with styrofoam peanuts on top of the plants. I thought I mention how I shipped them just in case anyone else out there needs to ship plants.

Jeff has new tile on his floors.
Tiggie approves.
The old linoleum was a mottled gray that went well with Meowsie's coloring.
Tiggie coloring is much better, don't you think?
A tree with leaves that are snow white on the underside.
I must get a book that identifies area trees, flowers, butterflies and dragonflies.

Purple red leaved trees are everywhere, and they bore a walnut sized red fruit that has mostly been dropped now. I tasted one; it was a delicious, sort of like a plum.
And the dahlia opened on Thursday.
An interesting cloud, the only cloud in the area, hovering over the montains.

Yesterday it was 98 degrees out. Perfect weather to shop at a ski shop sale.
We got four knitted beanies and a pair of ski pants for B.
Great prices. Glad I don't ski! Too cold in winter on the slopes, too hot in summer in the stores...

We got a great dinner at an Indian restaurant; there are great little hole in the wall restaurants all over SLC. Then we went back to the house to watch the sun set from the deck.

Click to enlarge this picture and you can see a sliver of silver on the horizon to the left of the mountain. That is the Great Salt Lake simmering in the distance.
Just as the city lights were coming on, B. stood up to look at a gap in the siding, commenting it might need a bit of repair. He touched his finger to it, then yelped: He got stung by a wasp.
B. is allergic to bee and wasp stings, so we headed right out to find an urgent care or hospital. I was so thankful that we came across an Urgent Care that was open right away. He got the shots needed to keep him from going into shock, and after a bit we headed on home.

We will meet with the agent again today to work out a few legal/technical details. I have no other plans for the day; tomorrow I might go to a home improvement show.

Or sleep in all day long....

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Leaving the old, going to the new.

If you have ever left for a long vacation you know what a ton of work it is to get packed and ready.
Knowing strangers will be parading through your house while you are gone kicks the stress up to a whole new level.

Add moving to a new city with your two cats, well, that is the just absolutely mind boggling.

Consider my mind to be boggled.

Saturday August 15th we had to move all our patio plants out to where the sprinklers could hit them. The house sitter would be in and out, so it was important that they not die in the heat.
Ugh. The patio looks so bare without them!

We got them all moved, and then the biggest rainstorm of the summer began. It rained and thundered all day.
If only rainstorms were both regular and predictable, the plants could have stayed right where they were.

The Aunt Lou begonia was in full bloom still, the blossoms now are pale pink.
Isn't that odd?
They have been a deep rose pink the whole time we've had it on the patio.

I couldn't resist taking several shots of the flower clusters.

As I was shooting, my camera was fogging up in the humidity.
Sweat was running down my face and making it impossible to see what I was doing. I need to report that fact in this post lest someday during a cold Utah winter I need reminding of what we have left.
The humidity has also been dissolving the tree stump that we called Tiggie's "Stump of Consideration", because he would always wander out into the yard and then sit on the stump with his ears swiveling slowly, like he was considering what he should do.
I guess it really is time to go when your Stump of Consideration is crumbling.

It is sporting mushrooms, and decaying pieces are chunking off.

It wasn't raining outside when this was the weather report.
I don't think steam rooms even get up to 73 % humidity.
Yeesh. Yuck. Ewww.
And we were mopping and dusting and vacuuming, and trashing and packing etc etc....sweat pouring off us, our tee shirts soaked through and through. Even with the air conditioning on!
A two shower day...and one quick bath splash before I went for a quick pedicure and to ship off a box of hats to Utah.

When I returned from my errands I stopped and took a picture of the sign at the entrance of our subdivision. The sign was new a few years ago. I like the way that name sounded, which was good: Kingwood people always are asking what subdivision you live in.
We got a last minute surprise: Luggage now is also measure a new way. We had to squish our duffel's and tape the ends like sausages to meet the requirements. I came pretty close to using all allowable 70 pounds per duffel.
There's all we're taking. We took them to the airport early so we wouldn't need to check baggage with the cats in tow.

Back home the humidity continued to swelter outside. The 74 degrees inside meeting the temperature outside = fogged windows throughout the house.
Our "to do" list was done as a photo finish, The cats were drugged, the taxi arrived. and lickity split, we were GONE.
I had grabbed my back pack, purse, camera case, and cat carrier. Half way to the airport I realized I could have but TWO carry-ons.
The purse was divided up between B. and my backpacks, and the camera case managed to be crammed in as well.
Those Dell lap top backpacks are AWESOME! Whew...I didn't think I could put one more thing in, but it all fit.
The boys chilling in the Continental Airline's President's Club.
We had free drinks; they didn't serve anything that interested the cats.
(They deserved some kind of treat for going through security in our arms...)
The next big adventure: Continental had called earlier in the day to say Bernie was being upgraded to first class. B. didn't want us separated, so he declined the seat.
They had already sold his regular seat!
We tried to buy an upgrade for me.
No can do: Policy says only one cat in first class.
OK...B. told them to figure out how to get B. back in coach.
B. spent almost an hour on the phone to make that happen.
They said it was all fixed.
We walked to board with our pre printed boarding and pass and they once again announced Bernie was upgraded. At this point I didn't care if we were separated on the plane.
I got settled with Tiggie in the coach section while B. got settled with Hart in First Class.
Suddenly the policy change.
Tiggie and I were called up to First Class!
The boys very first (and hopefully LAST) plane trip, and they get to go FIRST CLASS!
They were so out of it, I don't think they even noticed. Hart meowed for awhile, Tigs was silent.
The flight left on time at 9:45 pm.
We got pretzels, and no movie.
Big whoop-de-do.
At least the seat was bigger.
Oh, and the boys got their First Airplane Trip flight wings from the flight attendents.
(I wonder what they will wind up doing with them.)
Then...I could see mountains below lighted by a full Sturgeon Moon. (I had just read what a full moon in August is called.) What a beautiful way to arrive at 11:57 pm.
I was born at that time...I guess this was the start of new life.

Jeff was there to help us with the luggage; we waited together while B. got a rental car.
Lots of people admired our kitties on the sidewalk! I am SO proud of how they did on the plane!
An answer to prayer for sure.

We got a litter box ready in the guest room, a bowl of water and a plate of food. The boys came out of their carriers and got right to investigating.
They ate, used the litter, drank some water and settled in like old hands at this traveling and visiting family stuff.
Apparently the grey chair in the guest room now belongs to Tiggie.

Hart kept checking the door...Meowsie was on the other side.

It's always wise to mark corners with your cheeks.

The next morning Meowsie was locked up and the boys got a chance to explore.
Hart had never seen stairs before and held back on going downstairs.

Tiggie marched down them like he owned the place.

He got busy snoopervising....

Then Meowsie came downstairs too.


We explained to Tiggie that that "thing" was his nephew Meowsie.
Tiggie's ears were back...he apparently didn't realize Meowsie was that big!

While the boys were sniffing around, I went outside to explore the garden. Jeff had a new fence, and a tree that formerly had blocked the mountain view on the other side of the fence was now gone. I loved seeing the mountains in the morning!

Jeff's flower garden.
Strawberries, berries, tomatoes and basil patch. With a couple of irises throuwn in for good measure.

The miniture rose bush had a web on it that had captured droplets of water.

A few larkspur were blooming.

The gladiolias stole the show though. You can see them glowing in the sunshine from the living room.
The garden looks so different from the last time that I saw it, back in December when it was covered in snow.

The dahlias are blooming as well. I can't wait to get a garden of my own here!

Back inside Tiggie and Meowsie were still sorting out who was the Alpha cat. They were very polite about it though. No hissing or growling, just some very slow walking and raised back hair.

Tiggie went upstairs and pooped in Meowsie's litter box.
I think that kind of says it all about who is the Alpha cat, doesn't it?
I don't think they will likely cuddle together, but they are cool about sharing the condo for now.

Tiggie then got back to snoopervising the bathroom.

I have never seen him hang out around a sink before!

Now Hart and Meowsie had a totally different meeting.
Meowsie was just sitting in Jeff's room, minding his own business while Tiggie checked the rest of the house out.

Hart decided to explore Jeff's room, and WALK RIGHT PAST MEOWSIE!

I mean, he walked not more than eight inches away from him, sauntered right by him, and was sniffing around. When Hart turned to walk back out of the room he about had a heart attack: There was this ENORMOUS GREY thing staring at him. How could he have missed THAT when he walked in the room?

Apparently the best face save was to just walk carefully by Meowsie and leave...quickly.

In other news: Jeff's new motor cycle: A Suzuki Boulevard. Yes, he has a helmet, and gloves, and has taken a two day safety class and passed all the tests with flying colors. It is a good looking bike, even if I don't particularly want to ride on it myself.
Jeff had gone to church early. After he got back, we took off to look for apartments to rent. B. had identified two that would 1. take two cats and 2. allow a short term lease and 3. had a unit available.
And be reasonably priced and near work too.
Only one had a rental office open on Sunday, but it looks promising. We'll try and see the second one torrow.
We are trying NOT to think about what it means to drug and transport the cats yet again.
I wanted to get a sense of where the apartment is in relationship to where I will be working and where Bernie will be working. He will be working near the airport, I will be working within three block of the center of SLC.

We stopped to look at where I will be working, and I was quite taken by how beautiful the zinnas were out in front.

I can't wait to grow zinnas next summer!

I will be working here as the librarian at the headquarters of a century old UK company that operates 14 massage colleges in eight states. It is a degreed program; like any other college it must be accredited, and that means having a library.
I will be in charge of building the libraries for each of the school.
We went inside to check it all out...and since it was Sunday, and clinic day, we were able to sign up for massages.
Since I am faculty, both mine and Bernie's will always be free!
That's right...a one hour massage for free every Saturday and Sunday.
Family member's (such as Jeff) will get massages for $10.
Friends will be $18.
So when do you think you want to come visit us?
While we waited at the school I got complimented by a nice gentleman on my hat.
I think Utah and I are going to get along just great hat wise.

We drove around the area of the school. It is in a very interesting and artistic area, quite nice, with eccletic restaurants and galleries and shops and just a block from the huge SLC public library! It might even be possible to take the Trak train to work...wouldn't that be cool?

A house nearby had an Open House sign, so we stopped and look. It had a lovely English garden with golden dragonflies darting through the flowers.

The golden wings...smaller than the brown one that was in my yard the other day.

The golden looked like a royal upgrade...reminded me of Anne McCaffrey's Dragon Riders of Pern books, where the dragons came in brown, green, red, blue, and the most important ones were gold.
Have you ever read her books?
They are a real fantasy treat.

Next to the dragonflies were old fashioned hollyhocks. Another flower I intend to grow next summer.

My job will require my presence 30 hours a week. I will have all the usual school holidays off, plus three weeks vacation a year.
I think I will have time for gardening.
And I think for blogging too.
It is now almost 10 pm Utah time, and in two hours I will have had my first full day in my new state.
I can't believe my first day is over; I already love it here!
(PS: THANK YOU to all of you who prayed that our flight with the cats would go smoothly. We have been rejoicing all day about how well they did, and my finger where Tiggie bit it is doing just fine too. Now all we need is for our house to sell...keep praying all of us who need to sell houses soon!)