I had this cute, June Cleever idea of how I would introduce us to all of our neighbors. Being the first to admit that I am not your typical domestic type, I am quite ambitious. I was planning on making a nice summer dessert and going from door-to-door, introducing ourselves.
What? No oven? What? No real sink? What? No clean dishes? Ok. So, we'll allow them to come to us. And so they did. Our neighbors on the right are great... real friendly, allowed us to meet there dog Blue (that had issues with the previous owners), and told us their renting history. Blue, in our household, is referred to as Michael Landon because of his amazingly black, glossy, and wavy tresses. The dude next to him has lived there for 50 plus years. He and his wife have a one-eyed dog named Cricket that they walk three miles a day. Starting at our house. He is a million years old and LOVES that D and I are here to make this house (which he, at one time, helped stucco). He finds every reason to stop by. To drop off saw horses to sugar ant killer (thank the Lord) to advising our landscape choices. We are covered in neighbors and ants, apparently.
Friday, May 23, 2008
NOW I remember the charm of Southern Oregon... sugar ants. They are brown, tini-tiny, and smelly... like a crushed battery or the inside of a flute case (nerd alert!!!). In the middle of the night, even when you have taken such pains as bleaching the counter tops, they come in droves. We tried bombs, bay leaves, love, and hugs... these ants don't care. They are here. The are non-discriminatory. They like cat food, coffee, Splenda, vinegar, mustard, EVERYTHING that humans like. All of the food (dry and or preserved) is now stored in our brand new Frigidaire. Even unpopped pop corn. Even baking soda. Lord, help us. After week two, it isn't uncommon for the first person up to exclaim (in vain), "Shit! Their in the (insert whatever here). Shit!" Welcome to my home! Can I offer you an ant martini?
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
We had our U-Haul up at our (we are forever indebted to you) parents-in-laws' home for over a week and were finally able to move in. The house was clean, our stuff was available, and Y'all was thoroughly over it. We backed into our garage and, thanks to my excellent labeling system, we got every box into it's appropriate room without a hitch. I had the boxes for our bedroom labeled so that we could know how to set up the room so it would be like we'd never left San Diego (for Y'all's sake mostly). We did so. And then promptly fell asleep. It was so foreign to go to sleep in a place that is our own and wake up in a place that is still so odd and messy. Ants were everywhere and we didn't understand why the water wouldn't come out of the tap. And you're looking at the same picture of our "yard" that I am right? Right! Pissed from the get-go.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Clearly, we had to clean our home before we could live in it. It was bug infested, dirty, ,unsanitary, and smelly. I took an entire afternoon to suit up and disinfect. We did bug bombs the day before and then I cleaned up the shrapnel. I bleached every surface, from ceilings to floor, and swept like I was getting paid for it. I was itchy from the rooter to the tooter and couldn't wait to move in. I wanted to have a home, a home we are now paying for, to live in. I wanted to watch t.v. like normal and enjoy coffee like usual. With the ants and the antennae, that just wasn't' meant to be.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Dustin, in all of his zealot-ness, started dismanting our kitchen. He started small enough with the side cupboards and those that hovered above the past and our non-existing stove. As one piece of siding started to come down, Dustin moved out of the way... so quickly that he head-butted the side of the kitchen door way.... which resulted in a nice cut. We decided it didsn't need stitches but that his sense of space may need a bit of an adjustment.
Friday, May 16, 2008
All we have ever known is renting. We have only had rent to pay and one, singular, uno bill to pay for "utilities" (water, garbage, electricity, gas, etc.) Sometimes, if I was lucky, those costs were wrapped into the rent price. But, I now know, that owning a home means that, in order to move in, one must set up each of those accounts and have one of those folks come to inspect the site. We had papers signed on Friday but still couldn't really live in the house until all the stuff was up and raring' to go. So I trouble shoot and call all of my local agencies, set up accounts, sign (more) papers, and set appointments. I am overwhelmed and yet very excited. This means I'm an adult right? I feel more grown up than I did on my wedding day. People are asking me questions that I don't know the answers to and I still have to make something up. How is your house heated? (Gas, duh.) How long have you lived there? (Technically or as per papers work?) Do I want electronic deduction or via paper? (How much is an average bill?) You can see where I am going here, right? A lot of newness in an era of unknowing. Wish us luck!
So we'd been in town for 5 days and still didn't have the keys to the house. I'll skip the boring details and get to my point here. When Dustin and I met with our mortgage broker and our realtor and title signing agent, we were both miffed and scared. Why had this taken so long? Why were there so many witnesses? Why did we feel 15 years old? Why is there so much paper work for home ownership and not for marriage or becoming a parent? The dinky paper cup of coffee that they offered during our meeting was like a slap in the face. What, I buy a home and all you give me is an ounce of coffee with crappy powered creamer? Where is the balloons and complimentary pony ride? I want my face painted and a back massage, damn it!!! At this point, after so many days of waiting, D and I agree that home ownership is rather anti-climatic.
Monday, May 12, 2008
It was a long drive. One that took us well over our estimation. We had left around 8 a.m. from San Diego and hoped to get into Grants Pass around 10 or 11 p.m. what with fueling up and eating and resting. But, yeah, no. It was just a bit past midnight when we drove over the border and we still had, at least, an hour to go. It was dark and scary (the hills were steep coming up and going down) and we had a U-Haul AND a trailer for our car. Lots of pounds to pull and huge tail wind happening. Amongst jokes and silence, I admitted my sense of relief that we were going "back home" even though we hadn't called Grants Pass that since 2001. Just seeing the silhouetts of the mountains as we desended into the Rogue Valley caused me to tear up. All that green and lushness! I couldn't wait for tomorrow morning so that I could see it all clearly! Dustin had asked several times during our trip if I still thought that we were doing the right thing. I had assured him that, yes, I did because I knew we both needed to hear that. Cut to our last few minutes of the trip, when reality set in, when I saw that we were going to be surrounded by family and friends that we hadn't seen in so many years and that we no longer lived in a big city with all of it's ammenities, I turned to him and said, "You know at some point, I'm going to wake up, realize what we've done, and blame you, right?" Silence. He said, "Yeah. And I am sorry about that." And then we pulled off the highway at our exit.
Now, to be clear, we both KNEW and ACCEPTED that we were getting into a fixer-upper. I mean, I knew that. Really. But there is something to be said about buying a home without ever having SEEN it in person first. My awesome ma-in-law (who also lives in Grants Pass) met with our realtor and had taken extensive photos and emailed them to us. We had proof of what we were getting in exchange for a low, low price. But. But. But. As we walked through our new home, Dustin exclaimed, "It's like being IN a video game," explaining how it was like walking through the pictures that we had only ever seen before. The details, like gigantic spider webs and odd smells and dried puddles and leaky toilet and faucets, were not ones that I recall in the photos. I instantly fell for the lil' house because, as D and I are wont to do, we adopt broken things and make them better. This house was no different. It needed some good mojo and we were the couple to do it.
We didn't yet have the keys or the paper work to confirm that we owned this abandoned peach colored shack, so we felt like we were trespassing. But we didn't need to have any proof that we had just relocated (not even 12 hours ago) back to our home town, other than the fact that we were still living AND talking to each other. We felt a bit entitled to explore OUR property and to look in the windows and to jiggle the door handle and to smell the lilac bushes. Our realtor, whom we had yet to meet in person after nearly 2 months of communication via cell phones, was to meet us later in the day but we just couldn't wait. So, we opened the chain link gate that held tight to the overgrown bushes and stumbled into our yard. Three words: overgrown, treacherous, and snake-ridden. The house be damned at this point... this yard was gross and embarrassing. If this was the outside? Then what was the inside? Oh, God? What have we done?
Sunday, May 11, 2008
I'll skip the packing day... for all of our own good. It involved far too many cuss words and angry glances that I would be comfortable posting here. Let's just get to the fun of actual moving, shall we? Dustin and I woke up, from sleeping on our floor where the kitchen table had once been, around 6 a.m. He went to get us coffee one last time from our favorite spot while I drugged our 6 year old cat for the trip. By the time he got back, Y'all was cross-eyed from the drugs and I was sweaty from the effort. We packed up the little bits and pieces that hadn't fit in the U-Haul the night before and got on the road. I was less tearful than I had anticipated. I was really relieved. We both were ready to get out of San Diego and into our first home. I had loved it for the year and a half that I had been there but it never did feel like home to me. I loved the surfing and the beach (just 2 blocks from our rented duplex). I loved the consistent weather. I loved the vacation vibe. Maybe I just didn't like ME there? Who knows? But it felt right to go. So go we did. We were on the road, Y'all in here carrier between us in the U-Haul cab, traffic whizzing by. Dustin cussing. Me ignoring and trying to be optimistic. Slurpee anyone? Snap in to a Slim Jim, D! Life is good! Promise.