Monday, March 24, 2014

A new chapter – part I

Week 1 in the new house is in the books. And my, what a week it’s been. Let’s rewind to the middle of last week and I’ll fill youse in on the week that was…

Tuesday night: Mommy B and I packed up my mom’s car and my dad’s pickup truck with as much stuff as we could and made a few trips to the new house. Luckily, it’s only about 6 miles away. We signed an agreement allowing us to store things in the garage before we actually closed on the house in order to get a head start on the moving. We knew that if we didn’t begin taking things over before the big day, we’d never fit it all in one U-haul truck. So Pops and Tatsy played parents for the kiddos that night while we took 3 loads each to the new house. Oh, and since I happened to be celebrating my 2nd Annual 29th birthday that day, Mommy B surprised me with a six-pack and had pizza delivered to the new house while we were unloading. It was kind of weird having a delivery guy show up to a house that we did not yet own or even get in the door. At least he didn’t have to walk very far to the garage where she had set up a table for us to celebrate. She’s always full of surprises, that one. And that’s why I love her.

Wednesday night: Mommy B and I get home from work at our usual times and take a load over to the new house. We decided since that night would technically be the last night we all were going to sleep at the old house we would bathe the kids and put them to bed. It only seemed right. AmIrite? So after the babies went down and Tatsy resumed her babysitting duties, Mommy B and I emptied our own garage and put as much stuff from inside the house into the cars and filled the garage at the new house. After a couple more runs, we called it a night.

Thursday: We both took the day off work to take the kids to school and get everything packed up. After a lovely breakfast at IHOP, I drove the 26-foot U-haul to the old house and the movers arrived shortly afterward. We spent the next few hours loading the truck with as much stuff as we could. The two moving guys were excellent – quick, efficient, communicated with each other the whole time, and didn’t damage any of our furniture. After packing up the U-haul and taking a couple more carloads over to the new house, our old house was completely empty. We met up with our agent at the new house for a final walkthrough so we could see what kind of shape the house was in after the previous owners had left. I was expecting the worst in hopes that I might be pleasantly surprised… and boy was I. Not only had they patched all the holes in the walls, but they had also sanded and re-painted all the rooms except two that they didn’t have the paint for. The house looked immaculate, which only heightened our anticipation to get moved in. The husband even left us a note explaining trash pick-up schedule, extra keys, new garage door opener and their phone numbers. We felt so welcomed even though no one was there, and it was right then I knew we had made the right decision on buying this house.

After the walkthrough, we decided to go get the kids together and bring them back to the old house one last time. This way they could not only run around in a big empty house (which is fun in and of itself), but also to visually see that their old house was empty and that we “no longer lived there”. I don’t know if Aiden really understood it but Alli seemed to grasp the concept, especially when she saw her empty room. We had been explaining to both of them for weeks that this day was coming and that we’d be moving to a new house soon.  They had both seen the new house before, so I’m hoping that they put the ideas together. We told them that we’d be spending the night at Pops and Tatsy’s house for a couple days until we were able to get moved into the new house. They kind of liked the idea of a slumber party, so we just let them roll with it.

After taking them to my parent’s house, getting them bathed and in bed, Mommy B and I made one last trip the old house to make 100% sure we had gotten everything out and to take one last sentimental trip around the ol’ homestead. And wow, was it emotional. From the moment we walked in and saw the house looking like it did the day we moved in 6 long years ago it was a tear-fest (especially Mommy B). We slowly walked around the house, reminiscing on our fondest memories from each room. We recalled the week we spent sitting on our patio furniture in the living room after we sold our couches too quickly and our new one hadn’t arrived yet. There was the flooring we replaced in the powder room, decorating our bedroom and hanging the family pictures in the hallway. I pointed to an empty spot near the kitchen where our table once stood and said with a lump in my throat, “That’s the spot where both our children ate their first meal of real food.” I had to wipe my eyes on my sleeve. There was the wainscoting Scarlett chewed up (that I fixed), and the stain on the hardwood floor around her water dish (that I didn’t fix). There was decorating the nursery, then decorating Alli’s room, then redecorating the nursery, then decorating Aiden’s room, then changing the nursery back into a guest room. Mommy B and I remarked how much time we had spent in that room, feeding infants and rocking them back to sleep. I had to bite my lip to avoid a full-on meltdown. There was the spot on the wall where for a while only our wedding pictures hung… but they didn’t have to feel lonely for long as pictures of children quickly filled in around them. There was our bedroom, which needs no explanation. Over here is where our first Christmas tree stood, and over there is where both kids took their first steps. If you look out back, you’ll see the dog’s holes and the extra fence Pops had to install to keep her out of the neighborhood retention pond. If you look out front, you’ll see the little palm we planted when we moved in now becoming a tree. We thought about taking it with us, but decided to leave it as our little mark on the neighborhood. It’ll be cool to drive by in a few years and see how it’s grown, much like the family that planted it there. After checking all the rooms and wiping our tears on each other’s shoulders, we locked up the house for one last time and said goodbye.

We were physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. We wanted nothing more than to head to my parent’s house and hit the sheets. But we couldn’t… we both laid in bed staring at the ceiling thinking about how much we still had to get through over the next 3 days.

Friday: We eventually dozed off, but it was short-lived. Anyone who has lived in Charleston during spring knows what time of year this is: Pollen Season. Well, staying true to form in being my little Mini-Me, Aiden’s allergies flared up and he awoke at 1am coughing. We tried everything – cough elixir, milk, readjusting him, you name it. Nothing worked. I hadn’t packed many clothes for our short stay at my parent’s house, so there I was walking into Harris Teeter at 1:30am holding my dad’s shorts up so they wouldn’t fall off, no socks in gym shoes and wearing a jacket 3 sizes too big. I returned with some Children’s Benadryl and proceeded to hold Aiden in an upright position in my parent’s living room while he coughed his little lungs out. He eventually tired and I was able to lie him back down for a bit, but by 6:30am or so both kids were up and ready for the day. Aiden didn’t seem all that worse for wear, but Mommy B and I were. Closing was at 9am, so we schlepped ourselves into the shower, got dressed, dropped the kids off at school and headed to the attorney’s office.

The buyer had done a walkthrough that morning and had found the water stain on the hardwood (darn you, Scarlett). At this point I was so over the entire process that I told our agent I was not going to pay for anything else to get fixed. We had already addressed every single item on her inspection report without question – you don’t get to have another inspection the day of closing, sorry lady. Our agent informed us that he would take care of the matter separately so as not to hold up the closing process. We actually signed all our paperwork before she even showed up, so we exchanged handshakes when she arrived and saw ourselves out. We needed to run to the bank to get our closing check for the new house anyway, so we decided to take our time and enjoy being “homeless” (and debt-free!) for a few minutes. We then went back to the office and signed our lives away to the bank closing on the new house… ah, what a feeling! We exchanged pleasantries with the previous owners, Craig and Erin Wattie, telling them how gracious they were to leave the house in such good shape. They were very friendly and seem like a couple we would really get along with given the right opportunity. They have two children as well, just a few years older than ours. Needless to say, they already had the bedrooms decorated in a way that will make Alli and Aiden’s transition into the new house that much smoother. Everything went off without a hitch, we said our goodbyes and we made our way back to my parent’s house. It was a combination of elation and exhaustion as we drove home, but we were both definitely glad that part of the process was over with.

Even though all I wanted to do was take a nap, I knew that our time without little ones around was running out, so we decided to fight the fatigue and head to the new house to officially begin moving things in. And that is exactly what we did for the rest of the afternoon into the evening. My parents picked up the kiddos for us and took them back to their house so we could continue working. We basically emptied the garage and began unloading some of the larger items out of the U-haul.

With the babies in bed and Mommy B and I unloading everything we could carry ourselves, we called it a day to try to get some sleep. We switched up the sleeping arrangements that night in hopes that if Aiden was up all night coughing again, he would only keep me up. Luckily, that point was moot as he slept through the whole night. I was running on fumes by the time I finally went to bed, but I knew I was going to have to rally fast as the next two days were going to be busy. We still had 2/3 of a U-haul truck full of heavy items left to move in, and no movers coming to help out (Johnny Thinwallet here said no). I had one friend coming to help out, and perhaps another if needed – but most of the heavy lifting was going to be on me. No pun intended. It had been a long few days, and there was still much work to be done.

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