Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Day Early and Many Dollars Short

The recent run of Thursday night posts has been interrupted by this Wednesday night early edition.

First things first. Comments have been pouring* in regarding my hardware. Things like, 'This is sooooo amazing! How do you manage this phenomenal blog?!'

Brace yourselves... here it is - a 'self-portrait' of the machine that allows it all to happen. My laptop :

My Laptop Computer

I picked it up just over a year ago - and just in time, as those of you that remember my frustrations with my desktop PC may recall. It's held up well (it should've, it's only been about 15 months). I've got to get my arse in gear and get a backup program going, though. No way in hell I want to go through that nonsense again. Especially with everything I've dumped onto this puppy.

(Dell, please leave a comment if you'd like to use this photo for promotional reasons. Otherwise, I will own you if I find this anywhere near an advert)


Other than whoring out photos I find enjoyable, this post comes to you as the very first that's post-apartment and entirely home-owned. That's right. As mentioned last week, yesterday was the final day of my paid days at the old apartment. It's all mortgage ball-and-chain from here on out, baby! Bust out the pot noodle and let's celebrate...

One thing mentioned as I was going through the whole process was the timing. It's still working out pretty well in that regard. The upcoming weekend brings two, well-appreciated things. One - no previously scheduled events (visits, dinners, et al). Two - a Monday holiday. That's right. A three-day holiday weekend with no extracurricular activities to lend distraction. The opportunities are endless, as far as three days will take you, anyhow.

How much actually gets accomplished is up for debate but the stakes are high.


For one (here comes the Many Dollars Short portion), I stopped at Lowe's on my way home and put in an order for a new washer/dryer set. It was a bit more than I was hoping to spend - but their utility will prove invaluable in short order. Not to mention, the Lowe's Chick hooked me up by taking the 10% discount from my USPS coupon package without taking the coupon. No, I don't remember which Lowe's store it was. It may have been in New Hampshire? Sorry, can't remember... much too long ago.

Anyway, they're scheduled to be delivered sometime on Saturday, installed, and (best of all) the old units will be removed. Paah-tay! Can't wait.

I suppose these are the mundane things that home-owners get excited about. Washing clothes. Brilliant. It may seem like an inconsequential thing but, over the long haul, it definitely makes the day-to-day grind that much more simple. Clears the schedule for the more important items and events. And that's a fine development in my eyes.


Something else I'll have to learn to live and/or battle with is... the bugs. About two weeks after moving in, the stray black ant has been spotted. Sometimes by me, sometimes - as noted by the fixated stare - by Spinny. I've probably 'napkined' about 10 of them at this point. Nothing overwhelming - just something I never really dealt with in the apartment. Perhaps being on the second floor was they key. The folks on the first floor probably dealt with the brunt of the assault.

Tonight, however, was different. I found one of those slick, fast, creepy-looking silverfish looking things. Ewwww! Ugh - something about those filthy little critters gets to me at the instinctual level. They really creep me out.

Once I've got everything put away and the place is cleared out, it's gonna be bug-clearin' time. I can hope, anyway.


That's about it at this time. If anyone has any bug-killing tips, feel free to enlighten me. Other than that, a few more pics of the house from before I deposited my junk (and one in progress) :


Family Room
Family Room


Spinny Helping Unpack 2


*p.s. That's a facetious comment; no one has been asking about my lame-ass computer.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

And Down the Stretch They Come!

Another week, another step closer to making the break for good. The lease on the old apartment officially terminates next Tuesday - 20 May. (Cue Barenaked Ladies?) Things are on track for just a few more stops and 'old' becomes 'OLD', capital done.

The first piece of forwarded mail arrived at the new house today, which was a relief. I filed a change-of-address form on-line and was wondering where all my mail was. After checking the USPS site earlier this week, I was relieved to see that it usually takes 7-10 mail-days for the forwarding to take place. That explains the absence up 'til today. It should start flowing in like mad, now.

Tonight was book-keeping night, as I made a few more address changes for my banks and credit cards. I was relieved to receive my new car registration in the mail (and all-important sticker) with my new address intact, as well.

What also arrived in the mail, which kinda freaked me out a bit, was my first mortgage coupon. Holy crap! I've bought a flippin' house... That's it - no turning back, now. Why didn't anyone warn me!?

It's all good - but seeing that coupon, with that new monthly payment amount on it... aye-yi-yi! It'll be an interesting few months this summer as I adjust to the new budget. After seeing it in black-and-white, I know a few of the genius plans I had for this summer will probably be put on hold for a while.

Outside of that, things are absolutely swell. The house is still awash with boxes and debris that needs to be put away - but I've got all summer to do that (and it'll cost me nothing!)

No pics tonight; got going too late but I wanted to put something down to keep the post streak alive. Three Thursdays in a row. Gotta be a record for me, yeah?

More to come soon enough...

Oh, just one non sequitur - that song in the new Heineken TV adverts is quite catchy.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Seven Days Later

Just about 37 minutes shy, to the week, since the last post and things are moving along swimmingly. Perhaps if it was rough seas, a mangrove swamp, or oatmeal you're swimming in.

Actually, it hasn't been that bad. It's just taking me a lot longer than I had hoped to clean out the residual clutter from my apartment. I made stops on my way home last night and tonight - and plan on another one tomorrow night - to pick up a bunch of stuff. Luckily (although, I'm paying for it), I have until 20 May to "git outta Dodge" for good. It's also a huge benefit that my old apartment is pretty much on my way from work to 'the house'.

A big concern I have is ditching the three air conditioner units at the old place. Once again, timing is everything in that Saturday is Norwood's Spring Hazardous Waste drop-off day. The new house has central a/c so I won't be needing them - and I sure as heck don't want them sitting uselessly in my basement to deal with later. As luck would have it, I spoke with my landlord today and he has offered to take them there for me (along with a broken down gas grill and, possibly, an old computer monitor or two). That will be a huge help.

For my efforts, I managed to unpack the majority of my kitchen stuff tonight. Only one large box of pots and pans to go and that room is done. The unpacking, that is. I wiped clean the cabinets and put most of what I unpacked away - but I'm not sold on the placement. Hey, at least it's out of the way for now. I'll do some re-arranging later when I get a better feel for the flow of the kitchen.

One thing I realized (as I was packing, actually) is that I have loads of packing paper to dispose of. I wish I could recycle it - but it's more likely that it'll end up as simple trash out on the curb. I still don't know what the deal is with trash pick-up in these parts. Guess I better call Town Hall and find out. Add it to the to-do list, I suppose.


(Nerd Alert!)

I'm not sure what has compelled me to do so but I've created a spreadsheet to track all my home improvement and repair investments. Probably the excitement of owning a property as opposed to renting. Maybe I'll classify it as equity? Anyhow, I'm going to give it a go. It's possible that by the end of the summer I'll be so depressed with how much I've spent that it gets binned... but maybe not. It should be an interesting document if I keep it up. Looking back on the good ol' days. Nostalgia and that.

Here's what I've got so far :

May 2008
...May 01, 2008 - Shower Curtain/Rod - Home Depot - $23.19
...May 03, 2008 - Mailbox and Post - Home Depot - $99.69
May 2008 Total - $122.88

Fascinating, I know. You don't have to tell me twice. I'm a programmer. I live for nerdy shit like this.


After a full week in the new digs (and no strangers a-comin' and a-goin') the kitty is definitely feeling much better about things. She's been wandering about and enjoying the many ground-level windows. Although she hasn't spent much time there, as I can tell, I think the French doors in the mud room out to the back will eventually become a favourite spot. Those windows are really at her level.

She did enjoy the bay window for a spell earlier this evening. Here's the evidence to prove it :

Spinny on the Lookout

Spinny - What You Want?

Those windows, by the way, are currently painted shut. The home inspector told me a metal spatula would do the trick. Tried it. No luck. The spatula's edge (which I bought specifically for this purpose - oo! I should add that to the spreadsheet) was too rounded for the job. Another item for the to-do list.

Anyhow, she's been great. Still eating like there's no tomorrow but she seems happy. By this point, she probably has no idea she's ever lived anywhere else. Not true, I know - but she may as well. It'll definitely be the last place she ever inhabits. It's science.


Just for kicks, my bathroom sink - all 'arted' up in sepia tone. The masses are clamoring for house pics. Okay, one person asked. It's fun for me, though, so I'll happily oblige. Wait 'til you see my mailbox post. The Before and After pics will astound you!

Not Quite the Kitchen Sink but Close

Until next time. Viszlát !

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Success at Last

Unbelievably, everything has finally fallen into place. As I type this, I'm sitting in my new living room, in my new house, watching the Red Sox game on my new TiVo-enhanced digital cable system. Unbelievable.

Looking back on my previous posts, it was Monday 3 March when I first saw this house and put an offer on it later that evening. Here I am, 59 days later, settling in. It's freaky.

I won't bore you with the details of the frustration that went along with acquiring my loan. Suffice to say, there were a few things - one in particular - that were nothing short of maddening. That one thing had to do with satisfying the bank's requirement of ensuring that there was no 'structural damage' due to wood-boring insects (in this case, the mighty termite).

The crux of the issue was the bank needed proof that there had been no structural damage, yet they could not tell me, precisely, what form that proof should take. I'll keep it short and sweet and just note that it was all worked out. Albeit, literally, at the last possible moment but it was done.

I have to note that my loan was an FHA (Federal Housing Athourity, I think) backed loan - aka 'the Government'. So, I understand the added insurance they require to prove the house isn't about to crumble to dust. Additionally, it's an advantage to those who don't have alot of capital to put in for a down payment. Which is my situation. So, all in all, it really wasn't too bad. Just a bit of a distraction and point of frustration at some times - but as I sit here now, it's clear it was all well worth it.

Aside from that, I am amazed - pleasantly amazed - at how well everything has gone since the loan was approved.

The closing was scheduled for yesterday (30 April) and I hired a moving company to move me in today (1 May). Both events were executed brilliantly. Props to a friend who works for Gentle Giant Moving for hooking me up with a great experience. The three guys were in my old place at 9:30 a.m. and were finished unloading at my new place by 2:30 p.m. Excellent job. They left me with a customer service survey to fill out which is usually something I unceremoniously toss straight in the bin. This one, I'll be happy to fill out and submit. Now it's up to me to unpack everything and find a place for it all.

Another amazing event occurred when I called Comcast yesterday. Yes, Comcast. I spoke with a service representative, explained when I was moving, and where from, and he set me up with a relocation installation today. They had a local installation availability today between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. Perfect.

So, what happens? No - the technician did not show up at 4:45. He showed at 2:30. Literally as the Giant guys were hopping in the truck ready to pull away. He was here for about an hour and 45 minutes and when he left, my TiVo-DVR-Digital cable, internet, and brand new phone number were all up and running.

And here I am, about five hours later (after a trip back to the apartment, my first - of many, I'm sure - stop at Home Depot, and a well-needed shower), posting this fascinating story for your pleasure.

You don't need to say it; I know you're reading this slack-jawed with awe.


Outside of all that, the other wild card in the process is Spinny, my cat. She's an ol' vet at 14 (and having moved no less than four times before she was five) but after 9.5 years at the old place, I was curious to see how she'd adjust.

The morning, and afternoon for that matter, were pretty rough. Quarantined in this room or that for periods of time, I could hear her mews of protest, anxiety, and nervousness. So, like females are wont to do in times of anxiety - she ate. I don't think I've ever seen her eat as much - or as often - as she did today.

Alas, she seems content, as she's currently reposing in the armchair across from me taking a late bath.


At first, she was unsure of her surroundings. I know this because her first few spots visited were the corners of closets in various rooms. However, once I returned from my late afternoon errands, she began to explore a bit more. She seems comfortable now - as a wily vet would - and it appears she'll be back to her old self in short order.


Lastly, there's one glaring issue with my new home. There are no window treatments to speak of anywhere in the house. So, for the time being, I'll have to curtail my nightly ritual of the nude security check. No prancing from room to room, unclad, as I check that everything is in order. At least until I get some window shades.

So there it is. 59 days, start to finish. Unbelievable.