45-52-2013: Remember When??

November 11, 2013 – It’s been a crazy hectic week. On October 31st we took possession of our new home, and it’s been non-stop ever since.

On the 31st we discovered that the previous owner really didn’t clean house, much, at all. The bathroom and kitchen were, to put it mildly, disgusting. So it took us most of the day to really clean them up well.

On the 1st, we waited half the day for the cable/phone/.internet guy to arrive and hook us up. That’s when we really started to discover the quirks of buying a home built in 1951. All of the phone plugs are raised, not flush mounted, and half of them are duds. The Shaw guy pointed out the ones that were functional, not many. We discovered that half of the light switches are upside down, and some we still haven’t figured out the function of. A number of power outlets don’t work or are wired wrong. We already knew the electrical panel was old and outdated and would need to be upgraded, but that’s down the road, although probably not far once we get the stereo and computers hooked up fully. Half the lightbulbs in the place were either missing or blown. And neither bathroom has a fan. For the master bathroom we open the window and turn on a little plug in fan that is perched atop the medicine cabinet mounted on the wall. It works for now. That bathroom is slated for demolition anyway.

Between 2009 and now, the previous owner replaced the oven, and ruined it. My guess from looking inside was that she didn’t know that on self cleaning ovens, you never put tinfoil in the bottom. She totally destroyed the bottom surface. The closet door was sitting inside the closet, she said she didn’t like it (it’s fabulous), but after futzing with it for a bit, our guess is she or her big dog knocked it off and she couldn’t figure out how to remount it.

That’s just a little bit of the grocery list. Let’s just say that for all it’s fabulousness, it will be a work in progress for some time.

So we had a truck booked for Saturday the 2nd to empty out the big storage locker we rented in May to house some things we decluttered from the condo, and to hold all the things I brought from Prince George when we closed out Mom’s house. We also took some things from the condo, and half emptied our long term storage locker. The smaller locker houses all of Kirk’s tools, Christmas stuff, etc. The goal was to empty both and not have anything offsite. If it is hidden away for years, we obviously don’t need it or have forgotten its existence…in which case, we obviously don’t need it.

Oh, did I mention that Saturday was the first heavy rain in months? It was the first fall/winter storm to really hit Vancouver. And it started the same day we chose to move. Figures. So it was a wet miserable day, but it was still made fabulous because we were finally getting into our dream home.

So a monsoon couldn’t dampen our spirits. ๐Ÿ™‚

We picked up the truck at 8am, and went non-stop for the day, returning the truck at 7pm. And in there we got a message from our realtor – could we meet another agent at the condo at 11am Sunday to show it to an out of town couple?

Wow. I mean, the place looked like an explosion had gone off in it. The computer cabinet and the entertainment units were pulled out from the walls with wires hanging from them everywhere, the mattress was off the bed, plants and kitchen stuff were everywhere but where they should have been, and the place was literally filthy from traipsing in and out.

So after we dropped off the truck, we went back to the condo and cleaned and tidied for another couple of hours and put the place back together again.

Saturday was the first night we slept at the new place, and I say that with total sarcasm. None of us slept. When we brought the cats in, the very first thing Loki did was shoot straight up the stairs and onto the breezeway wall. By the time we got up there he had snaked his way around the window ledge to the other side, 16 feet over the living room floor, and was deciding what to do next.

Loki is neither small, nor coordinated, and I could just see him trying to turn around on the ledge and knocking himself to the floor far below. So I leaned out over the pony wall, Kirk hanging onto the back of my jeans, and I grabbed the cat by the scruff of the neck and hauled him the five feet back over the empty space.

A giant urn now sits in the way so he can’t do it again, and we aren’t sure how to resolve the issue, so the urn stays for now.

As a result, we didn’t trust the animals to roam until they had discovered some boundaries, and we locked them into the bedroom with us. And they roamed all night.

Sunday morning came out bright and sunny and warm, of course!. We met the agent and the couple and let them in, and as I walked away from the door I hear “Oh wow! This is wonderful!” “Look at the backsplash!” And a fe other exclamations of delight. Made us feel good. We’ve been starting to wonder. No one is buying anything right now, and you can’t help but wonder if the place you put so much into over the years is less than you thought it was.

When they came out, they stopped and asked us a number of questions. They were surprised at how long we had been there, and said we had kept it up beautifully. Nice to hear, we really do love that condo. Then they left to see a number of other places.

And we went back to moving.

Since then we have heard that of all the places they looked at, ours came out on top and they are highly interested. However, they have an investment property at Wall Centre that they bought, but now don’t want to live in as they don’t like the area. So nothing on paper yet, no offer, but who knows. We will stay hopeful.

Sunday night was a bit better, though the cats still hadn’t settled down. Milo seemed particularly stressed.

I had mostly taken the following week off. I say mostly because it was DFO Learning Week and there were four half day courses that I had signed up for, and my brother came to town on Wednesday. So although we got a tonne done over the week, there is still so much to do.

The last major hurdle was to get two heavy pieces out of the condo. Two things we simply can’t move ourselves. We are selling most of the furniture once we sell the condo, we’d already had a new bed frame installed at the house, but there are a couple of things we can’t leave behind.

One is a massive, gorgeous, and thoroughly overpriced, computer cabinet that was in the bedroom. It was great because it didn’t look like a computer cabinet. It looked like a great big hardwood wardrobe. And it is solid, one pice, and incredibly heavy. When it was moved into the condo, the movers brought it in inch by inch using shoulder harnesses.

The other is our washing machine. I know, you probably wonder why anyone would keep their washer in this day. Just leave it behind and buy a new one. Not a chance, we aren’t even sure we could get a replacement. It took six months to get the one we have in and I have never seen another one at any appliance store since. It is a washer dryer all in one unit, from Europe. Clothes go in dirty and dry, clothes come out clean and dry. It operates on 110V, doesn’t require venting (it operates on a condenser system), uses 75% less energy and 75% less water, contains it’s own heating unit, and weighs about 350lbs.

So it was coming with us!

We booked movers for two hours to move just those two pieces. It took three hours.

The washing machine was a piece of cake for them, although we held our breath as they slipped it into the laundry spot and it cleared the narrow spot by just millimetres!

Then there was the cabinet. It took a fair effort to get it out of the condo, but it was getting it into the house that was the feat! It had to come in the front door, turn a sharp corner and go up a set of stairs that has a landing halfway up, turn another corner, then along the breezeway, and another tight corner into the second bedroom – now office.

It took them close to two hours to do it. And I’ve never been so grateful for a piece of furniture being cocooned in blankets and plastic wrap. It was an exercise in perseverance that they actually got it up there. We had to pull the handrails off the wall, and there are enough dings and scrapes that we went and bought paint and have some work to do on the staircase now. But after pulling off the rails I actually decided I like it better without them. But what a mess to clean up now.

In the end they got it up and all of us were cheering! It cost a small fortune in moving costs for two pieces, but it was less than 10% of the value of those two things.

And that cabinet will never, ever come out of there. At least not in one piece.

We thought we could ignore the motorcycles and leave them be until we got the garage better sorted out. Turns out that isn’t going to work either. A notice came from the Strata indicating that the garage is to be pressure washed tomorrow and everything, including all vehicles, must be out. So on top of a mess, a garage full of everything, and so much to do, we needed to make room for the bikes up at the new place, at least for a day or two.

And so the hardest parts are done now. All that is left at the condo that we want to keep are the sofa and love seat, a chair, the big cat tree, some books and artwork, and some clothes and things left in closets and cupboards to keep the place looking and feeling a bit lived in.

Many people wondered why we took a week off to move. Well, there is all of that stuff about classes last week, but it was also a complicated move, and one filled with emotions. As I pick through boxes of things of ours, and of Mom’s, and of my Grandmother’s I pull out the odd item and scratch my head wondering why I packed it up in paper and boxed it away. Many things came with me as a result of grief, and the period in between has eased some of that, so I am now able to part with much that I know I will never use. Sets of dishes, I kept one to use on holidays and remind me of other times and people. Teacups and saucers, I kept two or three that hold cherished stories of when I was a child having lunch with my Grandmothers. A bowl, a key, an ornament. Only the special ones that have very specific meanings.

And I know that as time goes on I will whittle those down too. I am sentimental, but not to the point of hoarding. I hate clutter.

Mom once came to the condo and pointed at something she had given me. She said “Oh Paige, why do you still have THAT!?” I replied “You gave it to me!” Her response was “Well I didn’t mean for you to keep it forever!”

That was Mom, she believed in acquiring things, enjoying them for a time, and when their time was done, let them go and enjoy different things.

But there are always things that you hang onto for no rational reason. Like this Orange Crush bottle from the 1940’s, I just. . . like it, and apparently so did Mom.

On this Remembrance Day, take the time to Remember those who gave their lives to give us ours. But let that include those closer to home too.