Wednesday, November 22, 2006

New Addition

(Warning: no poker content here. Just cute fluffiness.)

Here is the latest addition to my household:
She is 2 months old, and is light grey with a strange pinkish-orangish tuft of hair on her neck and paws. As you can see - her eyes are a very intense blue. She bounces around the room endlessly and doesn't stop purring - way too cute. I've always had cats (have one other one currently) but have never owned one as a kitten, so it is pretty exciting for us over here.

Jess and I are looking for names, so feel free to suggest something. If we use your suggestion, you just might win something - ya never know.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Moving sucks, just so you know

I've received several emails and instant messages over the past week asking where I disappeared to, so following is my (very long) story. I wasn't ignoring y'all, really.

For the past five/six days straight I have been helping my ex-husband move out of the house that we recently sold. Even though I haven't lived there for 6 months I volunteered to help - I mean really, how bad could it be, right? Lift a few boxes, walk up and down a few flights of stairs - not a big deal. Oh how very, very wrong I was. Two words: Murphy's Law.

According to the terms of sale on our house we had until Friday at noon to vacate. Since we started moving stuff on Tuesday evening (Halloween) we figured we had plenty of time, even though he has a million items. Though normally we would hire movers in a heartbeat, this time around all of his possessions were going to four different locations - his new place, storage units, my house, etc etc. Way too difficult to coordinate that with movers, or so we thought.

Big mistake.

As it turned out, the few people that we had lined up to help were unable to at the last minute (with actual legit excuses, mind you) so we were pretty much left to do the entire thing between the two of us in nothing more than a cargo van.

Wednesday rolled around and we spent the entire day packing up stuff, sorting, and managed to get some stuff out of the house. Our spirits were still quite high considering the amount of work that was left to do, but we decided to call it a night at 1:00 am and get an early start the next day.

I only managed to get about 4 hours sleep before my 7:00 am alarm went off, but went back to the house with the intention of working straight until everything was done. At the time I kept thinking that I would be able to sleep all day Friday, so it didn't really matter how long it took for us to finish. Oh if I only knew...

Cargo vans are great for moving things, but they have a limited capacity which naturally means that many more trips are required. Our day was spent sorting what furniture/boxes/items went to which location, loading up the van as full as possible, driving to said location, unloading van, then drive back to the house. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Did I mention that his new place is up a flight of 16 stairs which includes two 90 degree bends?

Did I also forget to mention that it was freezing fucking cold outside and snowing? Black ice on the streets and sidewalks? Wind chill factor in full swing? How silly of me - must have slipped my mind - it was oh-so-forgettable, after all. (Yeah right.) Dressing in layers was mandatory - for those of you who live in warmer climes you may not realize that when you enter any house or building you have to strip off about three layers otherwise you sweat to death within minutes, and when you set foot outside again you gotta toss it all on once more. Do that every single time you have a load ready to take to the van and you are quadrupling the time it takes to move anything. Also you can't get your feet wet, gloves have to be worn, and God forbid you get a chill because you can't afford the few hours that it takes to get over that.

I also neglected to mention the distances we had to drive. The storage locker is about 20 minutes from the house, when there is no traffic. In rush hour, it takes about 45 minutes each way. My house is about 15 minutes away, and his new place is downtown - again about 20-25 minutes away, but over an hour in rush hour / crappy weather traffic. I'm sure you get the idea - every trip took a very long time.

Anyways, as I had mentioned we started at 7am on Thursday. 19 hours later we were nowhere near finished. I came home at 3am and slept for 2 hours before I returned to the house at 5am on Friday. We now had six hours before the official walk-through with the new owners. Fabulous. By 7am we phoned our real estate agent and told him that there was no way we would be finished by 11. He called their agent and no one seemed to be overly concerned so we figured we had bought ourselves a few more hours - mistakenly thinking that was all we needed. I scheduled my parents to come over and help with some of the cleaning while Bill and I reworked our strategy.

Naturally our first priority was to get everything out of the house so we decided to double-up on vehicles and get a cube van from U-Haul. At least that way everything could sit in the truck until we were ready to unload it, and the new owners would be able to get into the house on time. Sounded like a great idea, but as (bad) luck would have it U-Haul was out of cubes so we were stuck with another cargo van. Granted, it was certainly better than nothing, but didn't solve our dilemma.

The new owners finally showed up at 1:30 for the walk-through, and we apologized profusely for not being done. They assured us that it wasn't a problem, they just wanted to get in and paint a few of the rooms since they weren't actually moving in until the next day. We were so relieved that they were that cool about it, but we knew at that point there were still many hours of work left to do. After making a few desperation calls to friends and family (no one was available - damn people with real day jobs) we knew that the situation wasn't going to improve and we had to just suck it up and keep doing what we had been doing. For a while all seemed to be fine - they were working upstairs while Bill and I were in the basement. They even offered us beer (which we refused) and helped us with the odd thing, and in return we offered them a few items that were still in the house - an extra fridge downstairs (which they didn't need) and the stereo system with build in speakers upstairs (which they happily accepted).

At about 4pm we had to make our second-to-last trip to the storage unit and told them we would be back in about 1 or 2 hours - depending on traffic. It ended up taking three hours (since we had a quick bite to eat as well) and when we returned there were a few additional people in the house including one of the new owner's Mother. Well - Mom wasn't too happy about us still being there and decided to be a downright bitch. She kept going on and on about several things including the extra fridge that was there, asking how we were going to get it out of the house, and making sure we weren't planning on leaving it in the back lane. Over and over and over. Seriously. We assured her (as pleasantly as possible) many times that we would have it removed - she didn't have to worry, but the woman could not let it go. She literally wasted at least an hour of our time with all her questions, (not to mention her 1.5 year-old granddaugter that was running around the basement in our way) so Bill was finally so pissed off (especially after she threatened to call her lawyer if we did leave said fridge there) that he went across the street and asked one of our neighbors if we could borrow his garage overnight to put the fridge into, just to get it out of her way. Fortunately we have the best neighbors in the world there and he not only let us use his garage, but came over and helped us wrap up the last of the moving.

At 11:00 pm we walked out of our house for the last time. 11 hours late, but finally finished. Absolutely exhausted, yet totally wired. There was no way in hell we were going to unload the two vans until the next day, so off to the pub we went. Many beers were had, shooters were bought for us by our regular bar staff. We finally relaxed, knowing that we could sleep in until whenever we wanted the next day. Time crunch was over, so life was good. Or not....

We got back to my house at about 3am after closing down the bar. (He was crashing on my couch for the night so we could go unload the vans the next day.) I am pretty sure I was asleep within seconds of my head hitting the pillow, and considering the drinks I had plus just pure exhaustion, I was pretty amazed when the phone woke me up the next morning - normally I would sleep right through it. Call display told me that it was U-Haul, so I brought the phone out to Bill and he started talking to them, asking if we could just keep it for an extra day. They said no, they were fully booked, and if we didn't have it back to them by 9:30am (It was 9am then) it would cost us $100 for every half-hour that it was late. (A little overkill on the incentive, no?)

It took both of us a moment to put this all into perspective. We were a.) slightly hungover, b.) hadn't slept for more than 9 hours total over the past three days, c.) could barely move and d.) the van was full.

The van was full and we had 1/2 hour to return it! Jesus!

I raced to my daughter's room and woke up her and her friend who had stayed over, and the four of us unloaded that sucker in record time. Actually, the girls did most of the work - they seriously kicked ass. No complaints, no whining about being woken up, nothing. They just said ok and got busy. Damn do I love 'em. Bill sped off and I followed minutes later to drive him back, collecting the girl's McDonalds breakfast orders first.

Amazingly enough he showed up at U-Haul only 10 minutes late and didn't get charged any extra - not even for the shortage of gas in the tank - he was unable to fill it up after leaving his wallet behind since he was in such a rush to get there. Anyways, we picked up the breakfast and decided to offer the girls some cash incentive ($50 each) if they would help us finish what we had to do that day. They were thrilled - money rules at that age for sure. We were just so thankful for the help because at this point it was difficult enough for either of us to just stand upright for any period of time.

So on very little sleep and slightly hungover, we proceeded to get almost everything else wrapped up on Saturday. The girls helped us straight through until 8pm so we dropped them off at the movie theater and finished the last of it ourselves. (We doubled their expected salary to $100 each because they did such an amazing job.) It took us until midnight to wrap up what we could do that day, and when I got home I didn't check my email or anything - I collapsed into bed and didn't move for 12 straight hours. Sleep has never felt so good.

What a hellacious experience. I didn't even mention locking ourselves out of the cargo van, losing my house keys, or the renting of the second storage locker since the first was overflowing, but I think you are probably already cringing enough for one day. Now I think I may head back to bed for a few more hours sleep, since just writing that made me tired.

Have a good day. I know I will, anything is going to be an improvement over the past week.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

For Peyton

Just a quick reminder to all: if you haven't already, head over to the ForPeyton site and check out the auction items listed there (and below). If you are unable to bid on one of the auction items, please consider making a donation directly to the family. Go now! Seriously!

Poker Table signed by over 30 professional poker players

Greg "Fossilman" Raymer Package - includes autographed fossil & t-shirt and PokerStars tote

Autographed Mike "The Mouth" Matusow basketball jersey, XL

The Real Old Testament DVD