Now we’re all caught up. What you have been reading about are the events that have taken place since way back in December of 2012 when we first decided to sell our house and find a new one. Boy, what a decision that was. But, it was one we felt like we had to make sooner or later or should I say, the sooner the better or I could just say “Boomer Sooners” and just shut up!
Anyway, this is a post about what’s coming up, as far as I know. Right now in mid-April, wow, it’s already 15 April, we’re waiting for the builder, Wilshire Homes, to call and ask us to come and see the newly drawn floor plans and discuss them with the construction manager. This meeting is supposed to ensure that he knows about all the changes that we wanted made and that the right changes have been actually incorporated into the new designs. This is not a bad idea. We did make some slight changes so we want to be sure they get it done right.
The only thing is, we’ve been waiting for this meeting for about a week. But, like I said, we need to make sure we get this done right because we only get one chance.
Today, Andy Cobb, the Customer Service Representative, we’ll call him our Salesman, called to say the new blueprints came in but they were wrong! They had put a wall in the wrong place and the construction manager knew it right off the bat. So back to Houston they went for a rush re-do. Now we wait some more. I think we’ll be doing this a lot the next six months.
Once we see and approve the new floor plans, I suppose they will actually begin doing something with the lot. Right now it’s just a vacant lot with a “Sold” sign stuck near the front. Hasn’t changed since we saw it the last time.
Of course, once they start clearing the lot, then comes the foundation. Here they put in all the plumbing and stuff that has to come up from the ground and then they pour concrete around sandbags and stuff that make up the foundation. Don’t know how long that takes but it’s done pretty quickly.
Once the foundation is set and we can walk on it, we’ll really get a good idea of how much square footage we’ll actually get. Then they’ll start putting up the frame. This is the confusing part because I have no idea what boards go where so I hope the construction guy gets it right. Oh, we’ll be able to tell where a wall is and a door goes but it will be fun to just see the framing go up and imagining what a finished room will look like.
After most of the framing gets done, the roof will be put on and then it will look like a house, almost. They should be putting the insides of the walls together, in other words, putting up sheetrock and stuff like that. They’ll start hanging some doors and it will begin to look like a real house.
I have no idea how long it will be between these steps but it could be a week or up to two weeks depending on the weather and some what on materials. Once the walls are up then they should start bringing in the cabinets and setting the toilets, the shower and the tubs. All the hardware, faucets and stuff should come next. The light fixtures will start going up and the A/C unit will be installed. Of course, by now, CPS and SAWS should be out to turn on the electricity and the water.
By now we should be close to mid-Aug, we hope. They’ll be calling us out to start looking the house over to make sure we see the right things being done. I think they will also call us to look over the framing but I’m not sure. We get to walk through our house and see it almost finished. They’ll be working on the yard now and putting in the sprinkler system and maybe planting some trees. If we have to have stairs from the back patio to the yard, they’ll be built now.
Finally, sometime in mid-September, we’ll get a call asking us to come check out the house after we’ve had our own inspector do his inspection. All the things he found will be noted and we’ll walk through the house with the construction manager marking down things we see that need to be fixed. Most of this stuff is cosmetic. Then, about a week before closing, we’ll be invited to take a final, fantastic walk through our newly completed house. All the granite countertops will have been installed, all the appliances are now in place and every thing is freshly painted and brand new.
Shortly after that, we’ll go to closing and we get the keys! Hurray! Now it’s moving time again!
So, that’s how I see things happening through most of the summer. I’ll keep writing about our experiences but only as they happen so don’t expect something every day.
Oh, and a special thanks to my beautiful wife, Ramona, who has expertly proof-read each and every one of these blogs before I can release them. You wouldn’t want to have read them otherwise.
We’re almost caught up to today. All the excitement from the listing of our house, the house hunting trips, the sale of our house and the MOVE is winding down. That’s a very good thing. I’m not used to so much excitement and most of what we’ve experienced in the last month, I can gladly do without, thank you very much!
As I write this on 7 Apr, we’ve been in the apartment for a little over two whole weeks! Wow! Doesn’t seem that long. Still, we’ve had time to go through every single box in this apartment several times trying to find the stuff we need. Most of it has been kitchen and bathroom stuff. Which brings me to a good question. Who packed all of our toilet paper in a box and didn’t label it! Not nice!
We did find almost everything we need to start feeling comfortable here. Since we have two bathrooms, Ramona has staked one out and I’ve got the other. We’ve got the master bedroom all set up and the closet has most of our clothes hanging up. We’re not really sure where the rest of our clothes might be; hopefully they are in storage! Sunlight coming through the bedroom windows takes getting used to.
We don’t have curtains hanging in the master bedroom but we do have window blinds. They are pretty good at blocking out most of the sun, but it does get much brighter in this room than it did at our previous house. Doesn’t bother me; I can sleep through anything.
I’ve got both our desktop computers hooked up and running as well as our Internet and wireless system working fine. We have this large cut-out in the small wall separating the living area from the dining area and it has a shelf just about the height of the love seat. I’ve got a huge power outlet surge protector thing on the shelf. It has about 100 plug-in places and I think we’ve got something plugged into every socket! I’m afraid the apartment management is going to come to our place and ask why we’re sucking all the electricity from the entire building!
And of course we have our living room already set up when they moved the stuff in here. As I wrote before, Time-Warner cable is providing our tv service. They have about a trillion channels of which I think we’re watching about three; HGTV, Sci-Fi, and Channel 12 News. Most of the time in the evening, I’ve got Netflix running through our Apple TV do-hicky (scientific term) and we watch what used to be on TV that was good. We can watch “Magnum P. I.” starring Tom Selleck”, “Voyager” a Star Trek series, “Amazing Stories” a real old show, and a bunch of others. This stuff sure beats what’s on TV now days by a long shot. We are here!
We have actually been out of the apartment exploring our new surroundings. This part of San Antonio is really new to us since we usually avoided coming here because of all the traffic. We’ve found that you can avoid a lot of the traffic if you do your running around outside of the normal commuting times. We’ve found a huge HEB (grocery store), McDonald’s, What-A-Burger, Willie’s Ice House, MooYah’s (hamburger/hot dog place), IHOP, the bank and the post office. Wonder why most of the places we’ve found are food places?
We’re also about 10 minutes away from our new house or at least the lot it’s going to be built on. We visited it yesterday just to see if anything had been done, like clearing the lot of boulders, bushes and a few scraggly trees. Well, they’re all still there. It still looks like an empty lot with a bunch of scraggly trees and boulders sitting around. Andy Cobb said he’d be calling us every Monday with a progress update. It’ll be interesting to see if he calls tomorrow.
So, that’s kind of where we are. Getting settled in and now just waiting for the new house to be built. This is a nice place to wait, real dull and boring but compared to the past month, let’s keep it that way!
[Editor (Me): This is my version of what happened because I’m writing the story. If Erica or Ramona have a different version, don’t believe them. I write almost the truth most of the time.]
I’m going to have to back up a few days and tell you about our visit to the Wilshire Home Design Center. We did this on 19 March, a day before our move. This is part of the initial home building process and can be really, really fun if you don’t think about the costs! I say that because this is where you get to pick out all the materials that make up your house. No two houses look alike even if they are the same floor plan built by the same builder. At the Design Center, you pick the color of your bricks, the stone and the paint for the wood trim and just about all the interior colors and stuff. And that’s just the start.
We had an appointment for 1 pm which we promptly made and were greeted by one of the Design Consultants. This lady guides you through the myriad of choices that you have to make in order to get your house put together. We had invited Erica to come with us since she hadn’t had the opportunity to actually go through this process. And, much to our pleasure, Emma also came to help! Uh, I hadn’t thought that it might be dangerous to have three women picking out stuff for our house! Oh, and there weren’t any price tags on this stuff, either!!!!!
One of the things that is stressed before you go to the Design Center is that you are paying for the time you spend there so it’s not like you can just wander around and google at all the different materials hanging on the walls. Additionally, you might not be the only customer they have to help during the day so, they prefer you come ready to make decisions and most of all, pay attention to what the design consult is talking to you about!
Well, the first thing she said got my attention real quick-like! She said, if we want to change the standard stone to something else, which we did, the upgraded mortar would cost us an additional $2,000! Yikes! Here we were only 5 minutes into our two hour session and we’d already added 2000 bucks to our house cost! It didn’t get any better, that’s for sure.
After choosing what we wanted the outside of our house to look like, we then moved into the back of the design center and really started picking out stuff. We had our choice of kitchen cabinets, light or dark wood, different stains, and a whole bunch of stuff. Then came counter tops. Do we go with the standard or upgrade our granite. How about floor tile and then carpet. How about a regular carpet padding or do we want to get an upgraded and cushy pad? Man, there was so much stuff to choose from that I figured we’d be there for the next two weeks! I couldn’t tell one carpet quality from the next nor could I tell what granite looked best with the cabinet color we picked out. When I’m in a kitchen, I’m looking for food, not how it’s made. I was totally lost.
Luckily, Ramona and Erica were there and they knew exactly what they wanted. As soon as the design consultant said pick something out, I grabbed whatever was closest to me that looked kind of nice, I guess, and said, “That’s my choice!”. Of course Ramona and Erica couldn’t and wouldn’t do that. They would kind of look at my choices, wrinkle their noses and then walk around picking about 10 different samples of the same thing, then talk about each one and finally, finally, say they liked this one the best. Usually, it was the first one they looked at or even some times it was the item I picked out in the first place! Ha!
While Erica and Ramona were busy picking stuff out, the Design Consultant would arrange everything on this huge table so they could see how all the colors fit together. I didn’t see anything. We had a door cabinet, a hunk of granite, some slabs of tile, and a patch of carpet all laid together and I thought it looked like a pretty good pile of stuff. Still, the Design Consultant, Erica and Ramona were all oohing and ahing about how great everything was going to look together. Of course Emma did the best; she was watching a movie on the iPad which was a lot more interesting that what I was doing!
Actually, I was interested in the stuff we picked out. Quite a bit interested because everything tagged higher than Level 1 meant that this item was an upgrade and would cost extra. Remember when you go to the ice cream place and ask for a 10-scoop cone. They quietly mention that the extra 9 scoops are going to cost extra but you don’t pay any attention to that! Well, same thing here. I’m not sure what exactly Level 1 stuff was but we didn’t have a lot of it. We had some Level 2s and 3s and I know that granite counter top was a Level 4, yikes! I did tell the Design Consultant that I wanted the fattest carpet pad they had so she grinned real big and grabbed what probably was a Level 300 piece of foam and said this stuff was the best! Ca-ching! $$$$
Did I mention there was another Design Consultant setting at a desk with a laptop in front of her listening to all our conversations. I finally figured out that she was recording everyone of our selections and racking up all the prices. I had no clue how much this stuff we had picked out was costing us. I knew that we could get up to $22,000 worth of options for only $11,000 but I figured there was no way we were going to spend $22,000 in options anyway!
With the Design Consultant leading the way, we finally got all of our options picked out. Some had to be priced by their construction people since we asked for a change in the basic floor plan. There were also some other things that had to be priced out so we couldn’t get a summary of all our options until we met with Andy Cobb at Wilshire Homes on the 23rd of March. I was kind of wondering just how much all this stuff was going to costs. Instead of wondering, I should have been worrying!
Still, Erica and Ramona had a blast picking out everything. It was like being in a candy store for them. They have a good eye for what goes together and what doesn’t. It’s part of the house building process you have to do, so you might as well have fun doing it. I walked out of the Design Center feeling like we did pretty good and I think our new house will look great. Ramona also thinks it’ll look great and now she can hardly wait to get into it!
We finally met with Andy on the 23rd to go over our options list. When he called to set up the appointment, he said he was surprised by the list we generated! He didn’t explain what he meant by that so I was really, ah, intrigued, by the time we got there. He handed us two sets of papers, one just had all the options from the Design Center and the other was the home contract with the base price of the home and all the options listed together.
Well, I headed straight for the bottom line! Lord have mercy! Ramona and Erica, not me, had racked up $68,000 worth of options! Of course, you subtract the first $11,000 (those were my options and they were free) and that still leaves $57,000 in options! Ramona and I both agreed, we’d have to trim this back quite a bit! So, we got to work. Nice, expensive walk-in shower. NOT needed!
One of the first things to go was a $3,900+ walk-in shower! Now I knew we had seen a real fancy walk-in shower at one of the models we visited. And it was nice, but for $3,900; it wasn’t that nice. The standard walk-in shower is really nice also, so we told Andy to get that out and put in the standard. He can do that by just lining through an option item. We went on down the list and crossed out a few more items, but when we got right down to it, there were a lot of stuff that only cost less than $500 and deleting that little doesn’t really do much to the total cost of the house. No, your house payment over 30 years isn’t going to change much even if you drop it by $5,000. So we decided to bite the bullet so to speak, and just deleted some other stuff we really didn’t feel strongly about and just stopped.
So now we know the total price of our new house. Our budget died with the first Wilshire Home price increase so we weren’t paying much attention to it anyway! We wanted this house to be really, really nice and I think it is going to be just that. Sometimes you just gotta’ do what you want to do and pay the consequences. Even though this new house is going to cost us a little more than we expected, we know what our limits are and we’re just fine. Anyway, we can blame it all on Erica!
Oh, yeah, yesterday, the 22nd of March, we closed on our Fairlong Trail house. We handed over the keys and got a big fat check for our part so there’s some money in the bank already to pay for this wonderful, brand spanking new house were going to get built very soon!
We’re slowly getting things done and one of the biggest thing to do is move. I’m not looking forward to that day! It’s going to be a lot of hard work. More on that later.
Before I get into moving, we did have to do one small thing prior to our actual move. We had signed a 30 day contingency agreement with Wilshire Homes and now that 30 days were up. We needed to either sign a real sales contract or do another contingency. On the 9th of Feb, we decided to sign a sale contract for the Miami II house! All that really meant is that we could now lock in the current price of the house and then get ready to pick out our options (upgrades).
Unfortunately, Andy Cobb, the Wilshire sales rep. informed us that the house we wanted just had a new price increase! It went up a total of $10,000 due to lumber costs or at least that’s what he told us. Well, that just about blew the whole thing!
Still, we went ahead and signed a contract at this new price because again he was saying that another price increase could be coming in as short as a month. Now I don’t know if he was just blowing smoke or not. I do know that a lot of houses in the area we’re going to build are not cheap. I suppose they could raise the price anytime they wanted and we wouldn’t know why but I told Andy that any other price increases would just push us out the door. He assured me that if we signed today, our price would be locked in even if a price increase on all the other Wilshire Homes was announced tomorrow.
One of the things that attracted us to the Wilshire Homes was that a lot of their standard features had been upgrades in our recently sold D. R. Horton home. Things like granite counter tops were standard for Wilshire but we had to pay to upgrade to Wilsonart in the D. R. Horton home. Tile in the entry and wet areas was also standard where as linoleum was standard for D. R. Horton and it cost us a bunch to upgrade to tile. Our floor plan had a three-car tandem garage, i.e, one car could park in front of another with the back two side-by-side. I can’t remember all the other standard features that we recognized as upgrades in our previous house but Wilshire Homes also didn’t have a problem with changing the floor plan like moving walls and extending areas. Of course they would charge you for doing so, but they would do it. If you wanted a wall moved or put up in a D. R. Horton home, it just wasn’t allowed. You gotthe standard floor plan with no changes.
So, we changed ours to give us some more room like we wanted. If you look at the floor plan on the left and focus at the word “Breakfast”, you’ll see a window there and an open space between Bedroom 2 and the three car garage. We had seen an almost finished version of this floor plan with that space filled in so we wanted to do the same thing.
Ramona needed a sewing room so instead of just trying to adapt one of the bedrooms, we would take out the wall of bedroom 2 and move the tandem garage wall back a ways to give her a really nice large space. Plus she would get some more storage space so all of her stuff wouldn’t just be sitting out in the sewing room.
I also got part of the space in the garage to use for storage which was just perfect. I only have one vehicle so I certainly didn’t need space for three cars but I could use storage space.
So, here’s our version of the Miami II floor plan. This is going to be great! Look at all that storage space in the garage. And Ramona’s sewing room will be a perfect setup. Not only is this house going to be huge but it will have all the rooms we’ve really wanted but never really had in our other homes.
Notice that the Guest Bedroom, bedroom #4 is a completely private suite with it’s own bathroom and walk-in closet. I haven’t figured out how much I’ll charge people to stay there! It’s gotta’ be a bunch since we’ve gotta’ pay this place off someday!
So this is the house we’re going to get built and live in for a long time. It’s probably our very last house and I think we both know that. We don’t think it will be too big because if all our family and friends do really want to visit, then we’re going to have the room for you. That’s an open invitation to all of you reading this. Come September or when ever we move in, you all have a place to stay if you want to visit San Antonio.
And I probably won’t charge you anything! Ramona wouldn’t let me! Darn!
Ok, I don’t want to get all mushy and stuff but I need to take the time to say a special thanks to those who helped us during our moving ordeal!
I hope I’ve given you just some idea of how terribly tired Ramona and I were when I just had to call in some help. I don’t usually do that because I know most people are busy working and doing whatever they need to do to take care of their own family. When I worked, I know that when I came home I was usually tired and just wanted to sit down and relax for the evening. It was very hard to blast me out of my recliner after I had ate dinner. I just hate calling anyone and asking them to interrupt a well deserved rest period to come and do some more work. So, again, I only did it because Ramona and I were absolutely ready to fall on our faces and would not have gotten everything done in a month, much less two days!
But, call I did. I called my hard-working youngest Son, Travis and he called his equally hard-working, but Roller Derby tough wife, Patricia. They came over as soon as possible and really, really did a lot of work. They did it without question and without complaint. Travis repeatedly told us that we should have called them earlier, like a week earlier, and they would have come then. I’m sure they would have but I didn’t and now we’re desperate! Travis and Patricia packed boxes and boxes. They loaded those same boxes in Travis’ truck and Pat’s car, stuffing them full. All this time, I’m running around taking care of other stuff but knowing that at least Ramona isn’t home doing everything by herself. I don’t know what we would have done without Travis and Patricia’s help!
We owe you dinner and a lot more. We’ll get the dinner taken care of soon, when you guys can make some time in your busy schedule. You just don’t know how much we feel we owe you, especially you, Patricia. You’re a little bit new to our family but I’ll tell you right now, Travis picked a winner! While calling on Travis is payback for changing all those dirty diapers he made a long time ago (whew wee!), Patricia doesn’t owe us a thing but she sure has won her way into our hearts. We just love her to pieces as we do both of them. It’s wonderful knowing we have such great kids all grown up and acting like wonderful adults!
Now about our new friends, David and Erica. I don’t have many friends and that’s the truth. I’ve got relatives and Ramona’s got at least a million cousins but I at least don’t have a lot of friends. But, the two we have just found are diamonds!
Erica is our real estate Agent because we asked her and I know she’s going to get a big fat commission or at least a small part of a big one because I’m paying it, but she has earned every penny of it and more. Going way beyond what an Agent does is what made her our friend. She’s talked to us, counseled us, emailed us, called on the phone and goes with us to every thing we’ve done on this house buying journey. Her expert advise is absolutely spot on and worth every dime. She is one smart lady. But, for her and David to come to our house and help us fix the house and then pack boxes is something we never, ever expected. No way, no how. But that’s what they did. And we never asked them to do any of this. These really are special people. We owe them a lot but right now we’ll just have to settle by letting them know we send them our love and really believe we are special people because we got to know David and Erica and of course Josh and Emma.
Oh, and by the way, we have adopted David, Erica, Josh and Emma. As far as we’re concerned, they are part of our family now and for as long as they want to be.
I’m not going to leave out Jimmie, our oldest Son. He’s got a very busy job and I know he was waiting on an important phone call that didn’t allow him to get away until very late. But he still came to help and did quite a lot unloading three vehicles. So, thanks to him and again we certainly appreciate your pitching in.
Alright, I hope I got all you sentimental people out there blubbering by now. You can wipe your tears and get back to reality. And unfortunately, for our kids and friends, we’re not finished moving! We stil have to vacate this apartment and move to our new house some time in September, we hope. And although I have recovered some, I never want to be that tired again, so I’m telling you now, we’re going to need your help again!
And the best thing I can ever write is that I know everyone of you will be right there helping us just like you did before! What a great bunch of people! We are truly blessed!
Dawn of a new day! Man, we gotta’ get busy! And we’re still tired!
We get up and head to breakfast at What-A-Burger. We swallow that down and head to the house. It’s really not even a thought that today may be the last day we’ll ever be in this house we’ve lived in for over 9 years. All I can think about is that it better be the last day or I’m going to be dead!
We get there and start right back where we were last night, packing boxes! I believeRamona’s in the kitchen and I’m somewhere trying to figure out what will go in a box and what won’t. The Monster Mover guys call around 9 and ask if they could postpone until tomorrow! Either they were way more tired than us or just dumb! We told them no way because we had to be out of the house today! They then asked if we had everything packed? I think they thought we had stayed through the night just packing everything that we should have packed a month ago. Nice try guys but we wanted to live through the night so we had to get some rest too. Finally, they said they’d be over at 9:30 or so.
We’re back at it again, packing and packing. I never saw so many boxes and had so many fights with boxing tape. We had this stuff on spools we got from U-Haul which was just fine as long as you made sure the end of the tape didn’t fall back on the roll. If it did, which it always did for me, you’d never be able to find that end again! Never! I swear I spent more time looking for the last end of the tape and scraping around the roll over and over again. I was getting to the point that I was going to just fill boxes and let somebody else tape the dang things shut!
Around noon I sit down and look around! It’s looking pretty bleak! We’re still packing the kitchen up and the movers are still hauling things down from upstairs that they missed the day before; like my entire dresser! Oh, and by the way! They managed to pack my suit case and put it into storage! Now, both of my suit cases were sitting right next to each other full of clothes but they took the small one that had all my underwear in it and stuck it in storage! Why! Why! I’m not telling you what I’m wearing today so don’t ask. I’m so stinking sweaty right now that it doesn’t matter how my underwear is doing! And not only did they put my underwear suit case in storage, they took our entire laundry hamper full of dirty clothes and stuck it in storage also! Whoo, stinky!
Fortunately, when they went back to the storage place overnight, they got my suit case out and brought it back this morning! We’ve not found our laundry hamper! As I said, the movers don’t read what’s on the boxes. They just move piles of boxes from one place to another!
Again, as I sit there, I finally realize that we desperately need some help! I hate calling people to come and help us move because I know how much work it’s going to be for them. And, not everybody is retired! Most people have to go to work in the day so they certainly don’t look forward to going to someone else’s house and helping them move! But, I’ve got kids, two Sons who I spent about 18 to 20 years raising. I figure, one way or another, it’s payback time.
So, I called Travis who as usual working his plumbing business making money like he’s supposed to do. I tell him that we need help! I gently tell him that his Mom and Dad are gonna’ die if we don’t get some help and could he bring his truck over to help move some of these boxes that aren’t going to make it into the movers truck. As usual, he says sure he can do that but he has one more job he’s got to do and then he’ll be over. I tell him thanks but he doesn’t know how much I really, really appreciated his “volunteering” to come help. I believe he calls his brother, Jimmie who, unfortunately is waiting on some bigwig call at work and won’t be able to make it until very late if at all.
Around noon, the movers tell me about 5 times, they’re ready to go to the apartment with everything they forgot from yesterday. I tell them that we still got more stuff for the apartment but they kind of indicate that they need to get back and load up for the storage place before midnight. I think they knew we were not going to get everything packed up or at least that’s the way it looked to them.
I also had to meet the Time-Warner Cable guys at the apartment for a 1 to 4 pm installation appointment. When we made the appointment we figured we’d be all done with the move and sitting comfortably in the apartment waiting for them to give us TV, Internet and our phones! Boy, were we crazy! So, I head over to the apartment with the movers. Once again, I’ve got my truck full of stuff and I’ll have to unload it before I come back. I can barely see Ramona in amongst all the kitchen stuff. She’s got boxes all around her and trying to decide what to pack next. I know she’s about as dead tired as I am.
I get to the apartment and the movers start hauling stuff in again. Pretty soon I tell them to just stack the boxes in the front room next to the wall. I have no idea what’s in most of the boxes since I didn’t pack them and some weren’t even marked other than “Apt”. They do a pretty quick job of emptying their truck and I don’t have the heart to ask them to help me empty mine! I should have, stupid me! That’s what I get for feeling sorry for people! I’ll never do that again! They leave and now I’m waiting for the cable guys. I go to my truck and carefully open the back window to see what’s fallen all over the place! I’m getting smarter! I can now open the lift-gate with nothing falling out and I start hauling stuff upstairs. I say “stuff” because right now I could care less what it is. I’m hot and sweaty and dead tired so I just don’t care.
Finally, at 1 pm the cable guys comes in. He gets right to work hooking up the TV’s. He asks me for a remote to turn the TV on and I kind of give him a dumb stare because I have hardly any idea where the remotes to any of the TVs are right now. Then I remember I put them in one of those tubs that splattered all over the concrete yesterday so I successfully track one down. But fortunately, both TVs we brought to the apartment are the same brand, Samsung, so the same remote works for them. The cable guy gets the TV working and then starts on the phone. He asks me where the phones are and again, I’m real good at giving dumb stares right back. I’m think I heard something like a phone rattling around in one of the boxes I just brought in so I tear it open and wow, there’s a phone. I hand it to him and he has the nerve to ask me if I have one that’s charged up! I tell him, sorry, every thing I have, including me are about dead!
So he kind of moves slowly away from me and goes into the computer room. He’s hooking up the Internet and asking if my computer has been hooked up yet! Again, I go with the dumb stare and he just turns around and says, “Ok, that’s all I need to do!” Then, THEN he has the audacity to show me the Time-Warner remote control! I mean, this thing is grey and has 500 million tiny button all over it. He goes on to show me how to access all the thirty trillion cable channels in HIGH DEFINITION and how to get in on all the latest movie offerings and a whole bunch of other stuff. I think I dozed off after the first couple of words.
Well, the cable guys leave and I go down to the truck and finish unloading it. I don’t have any major mishaps which is just amazing. Once again, I call Travis and tell him that I need him to come to the house as soon as possible. He says that’s what he’s planning to do and Patricia will be coming over as soon as she gets off work. Praise the Load and pass me a pillow!
On the way over to the house, I get a call from Erica. If you remember, she’s the one that is responsible for getting all of this started. I mean, if she hadn’t been so good at getting us a buyer, we wouldn’t be moving from our home! And we wouldn’t be so tired! Yeah, let’s blame Erica! Anyway, bless her little heart, she says she’s coming to the house to help pack! She had already done a bunch of work the other day and was coming to do more. I think she has some kind of ESP and knows when her friends (and clients) are about dead! Still, for whatever reason, she’s again volunteering to come and do some hard work!
By the time I get to the house, Travis, Pat and Erica are all there and I can see a glimmer of hope on Ramona’s face. The ladies have really dug into all the kitchen stuff! Stuff is flying into boxes so fast that we’ve just about run out of boxes. So, since I been driving, they tell me to go get some boxes and I also have to go pay for the additional storage space we had to get yesterday.
Once again, I climb in the truck and set it for autopilot! Next thing I know, I’m walking into the U-Haul place asking for two bundles of boxes, the brown kind with handles and two rolls of tape, the sticky kind! The guy at the register kind of looks at me a little strangely and promptly charges me for two bundles of boxes and two sets of anchors! Now in my tired stupor, I just pay the $157 and ask them to load the boxes for me which they do. I didn’t look at the register tape or I probably would have known that I wouldn’t pay $30 each for 2 anchors which I didn’t want in the first place! With that done, I cruse over to the A-1 Storage and ask the guy for my additional bill. I pay that and then head for home where ever that is?
I get to the house and find that things are finally, finally getting done. Travis and I are upstairs really cleaning it out. We’re grabbing boxes and just “gently” throwing stuff in them and taping them shut. By now, everything is going to the apartment because the movers have left with everything that wasn’t in a box and I know they are not coming back! We get the upstairs cleared out and I start running the vacuum cleaner. That was kind of dumb on my part because I knew they were going to just be ripping out this carpet as soon as we left. Still, we don’t like leaving a dirty house to anyone.
Back down stairs, Patricia and Erica are really helping Ramona finish off the kitchen and pantry. Travis is stuffing boxes into his truck and I’m stuffing everything else in mine. We’re also stuffing stuff into Patricia’s car. Finally, we get everything possible loaded in all our remaining vehicles and we still have stuff in the garage. There’s trash and a magic trash can and a few other odds and ends but the house is finished! And it’s only 9 pm! Holy Moly!
We all pile into our vehicles and head for the apartment. Travis is starving as are the rest of us so he volunteers to stop for some grub on the way over. Grub is what tired people eat because it don’t matter what it is by then! We get to the apartment and Pat, Travis, Ramona and I are hauling stuff out of all three vehicle while we’re also trying to eat our grub! Surprisingly, Jimmie finally makes it over. He’s also here helping us unload all three vehicles. That sure was good timing on his part but it sure was getting late.
I’m staggering down the hall on each trip. I like our new apartment but I don’t like the fact that it’s at the opposite end of the hall from the elevator. It’s the 21st Century, where’s my moving sidewalk hallway? I’m finally sitting down in a chair in the apartment and someone says, “That’s it. Everything’s here!” I’m not sure where here is but I know one thing and that’s that I’m so tired being dead would be a vacation! Ramona is feeling the same thing although she would have stated it much more eloquently!
The kids finally leave around 10:30 pm, I think. There is a 10 pm quiet time policy for the apartment complex but that policy obviously doesn’t apply to Travis! He’s about as noisy as can be just saying goodbye!
There are no words to describe how tired Ramona and I were the night of the 20th and21st of March 2013! We have never, ever, ever, been so tired as we were those nights. There have been times when I thought I was tired but they were not close to how tired I got on those two days! And you guessed it, those were the days we moved from our house to our apartment! Those two days seemed like they lasted a month. I though we would never get moved. If it weren’t for our family and friends, I think Ramona and I would have just died right there in our old house on that blue carpet!
For one thing, I never realized how much stuff we had and then how much stuff we hadn’t put in boxes by the time the movers showed up. I had called, or Ramona did, to have a couple of moving and storage companies come to our house and give us an estimate of their costs. One company we had used in 2003 marched right in, did a quick inventory and sat down with us to find out what we wanted done. Well, I wanted them to do some packing but I didn’t know exactly what, I wanted them to move part of our stuff to an apartment and move the other stuff into storage. We wanted a controlled environment storage which means it should be indoors to stop the bugs from getting into everything.
Well, this guy was busy writing everything down and then sat there and told us right to our faces the it would cost us around $5,000 for them to do the work! And, he was pretty sure it would cost us another $5,000 to move us from storage and the apartment to our new home in September. Holy Cow! $10,000 just to move a house full of furniture from one place to another in the same town? He said that this was just a preliminary estimate and he’d send us the actual estimate in a few days. This is the same company that moved us twice in 2003 for about $3,000 total! Talk about inflation! I sure wasn’t going to pay that much for a move. I’d rent a U-Haul and do it myself if that’s what we were going to pay. So, needless to say, when I got his email of the actual estimate, I hit the delete key real fast. Felt real good, too!
I then called Monster Movers because Travis recommended them and had used them when he moved to his new house. They promptly sent me an email saying their rate was $95/hour. They would send out a truck with three guys and however many hours they worked times $95 and that would be my bill (plus tax, of course!). I asked about packing and they said they would do it but again it would be in the same $95 per hour charge. We really didn’t discuss the details but I hired them anyway to come and get us moved on 20 March. I also asked for a few boxes and some tape just in case we didn’t have enough. Ha!
In the meantime, Ramona and I were packing boxes. I mean, we packed a lot of boxes. We had them stacked in the upstairs hall, in her sewing room and in my computer room. We packed so many boxes that we ran out. And we still had a ton of stuff that needed packing. I didn’t realize how much stuff we still had to pack. I had no clue!
So here comes 20 March and the movers show up. They are ready to pickup everything that goes to the apartment first and then come back for the rest of the stuff to go into storage. Well, let me tell you right now that we didn’t have any where near everything ready to go. We made a mistake and threw a lot of our boxes all together even though we had very clearly marked either “Apt” or “Storage” on the box. So when when I was showing the young man around I would point to a stack of boxes and say, “This all goes to the apartment.” or “This all goes to storage.”, he just nodded and got his guys to start loading up.
Unbeknownst to me, none of his guys were reading anything on the boxes. If they were told that stack of boxes was going to the apartment, everything in that stack went to the apartment. Likewise, everything in a stack called storage, went into storage! While these guys were loading up the truck, Ramona and I were madly packing other boxes.
I mean we hadn’t finished even packing her sewing room, hadn’t even touched the kitchen, the pantry and none of the linen closets or none of our clothes closets! We still had clothes in some of the chest of drawers, clothes in the laundry hamper and cleaning supplies, bathroom supplies all over the house and not in boxes.
I gotta’ tell you about our new friends, David and Erica plus Josh and Emma. They came over to our house this morning to repair part of the house that the new buyer still didn’t quite like. I don’t know why they did this but they did. David got up on the roof and beat the heck out of something that must have fixed it. While he was doing that, Erica got in the middle of the sewing room and started packing stuff in boxes. She’s quite good at this! Even Josh and little (big girl) Emma where pitching in and helping wrap things. I also had help from Josh and Emma picking up stuff from the floor in my computer room. That stuff was so far down on the floor that Josh and Emma, being closer to the floor, were a natural for helping pick it up. All of these precious friends worked for quite awhile before they had to leave. We cannot express our heartfelt thanks enough for their help in getting our house cleared. This is truly what friends do!
Needless to say, Ramona and I were still very busy! Finally, at about noon, the Monster Mover guy says he’s got everything ready to go to the apartment. I said fine, I’ll take you over there and then come back. At the same time, I’m loading everything I could from my computer room that I wanted at the apartment. My Tahoe was loaded. And I was tired.
I drove across town to the new apartment wondering how were we going to get everything done today. I knew full well that the movers hadn’t taken everything that needed to go to the apartment; we were still packing some of it! I had a strange feeling that we were in deep trouble.
Anyway, the movers got to the apartment and started getting everything up through the elevator and into the rooms I pointed out. They were pretty quick about this which was good since I’m paying $95 an hour! It took them about an hour and a half to empty the truck and then I had to go down and start emptying the Tahoe. I had some heavy stuff but fortunately Ramona had the foresight to buy a couple of “bag lady” carts from Amazon and I was using them as much as possible. I don’t know how much weight they’re supposed to carry, but by now I really didn’t care. I loaded everything I could on each cart and pushed them to the apartment.
Of course, I had to make a huge mistake in not looking in the back of the Tahoe before I opened the lift-gate door! Some of my “expert” packing tubs had fallen down against the door while I was driving and I didn’t have sense enough to check to make sure it wouldn’t fall out as soon as the door was opened! Well, just about everything fell out right there on the concrete drive! I had two boxes full of electronic stuff, hard drives and other special junk and that stuff all went flying! I was lucky a car or truck wasn’t coming by because they would have just crushed everything. So I bent down to start picking this stuff up and I almost fell flat on my face! I’m not the most graceful creature around and I was so tired that standing up was getting to be a chore. Anyway, I finally got all the parts and pieces picked up and back in the tubs and carried it all into the apartment.
I then drove back to the house to find Ramona knee deep in boxes in the kitchen. We continued working until around 5 pm and I decided we had to stop for awhile. The Monster Mover guys (young men full of energy) were getting tired also. They had just about loaded everything that was to go into storage but we still had a lot of stuff to pack. So, I told the guy in charge to find out if they could come back tomorrow! He told me that was an excellent idea and called his boss to get the OK. He said they would be back at 9 am to finish loading anything else that needed to go to the apartment and then make another run to storage tomorrow afternoon. Shortly after that, they left. I got a call from their manager letting me know today’s bill was a little over $900! That really ain’t bad considering.
I also get a call from the movers telling me that the 10×15 storage unit I had leased from A-1 Storage was too small! Fortunately, the storage guy had a vacant 10×10 that he leased to me that wasn’t far from the 10×15 unit. I got a good deal on the original storage unit and he gave me the same kind of deal on the smaller unit.
Ramona and I are now very, very, very tired. Believe me, it takes a lot for Ramona to get tired. She usually goes a hundred miles an hour while I’m clipping along at a good 15 mph! Sometimes I feel like a Gerbil trying to keep up with a race horse! But tonight, we’re both dead tired. We have to stop, go eat something and then get some rest. I made sure the movers had re-built our bed in the apartment but I was ready to fall on the floor if necessary.
We both get a nice hot shower and hit the bed. I slept pretty hard but I think Ramona was too tired to get a sound sleep. It was pretty tough laying there realizing that tomorrow we were going to have to do it all over again! I really, really didn’t know how we were going to get it done. We HAD to be out of the house by the end of the next day. Our closing was at 11:30 on the following day so we couldn’t still be clearing out the house!
Bouncing back again to our successful apartment hunting, we found a very nice apartment in north San Antonio. We wanted to be near our new house while it was being constructed. Of course our builder probably didn’t want us that close but we were going to be living in this area sooner or later, so this was a good time to start.
We’re living in a Mansion! Yeap! While our house is being built, we’re living in a 1,300 – 1,400 square foot mansion. That’s what the name on the sign says as you drive through our automated gate. It’s pretty fancy to say the least. Oh, and I have my own private golf course out back. I can sit on my balcony and watch golfers that I’ve allowed on the course play during the day. Yes, It’s nice living in a mansion!
The Mansions at Canyon Springs is in the Stone Oak area of San Antonio. This apartment complex is one of about five or six in this same area. Our’s isn’t the most expensive nor is it the cheapest; it’s just about right. We had a few requirements that I didn’t think were unusual but they did take us a few attempts to find. We wanted a walk-in shower in the master bath, we wanted two bed rooms, a master and a computer room, and we preferred the place not to be real dinky. I mean, we’re used to the wide-open spaces of our house so we sure didn’t want to be cramped up for six months. And lastly, I wanted my beloved Tahoe to have some kind of covered parking or even a garage! Real normal requirements, right?
I did mention before that we did look at one other apartment before settling down in the one we now have. It was nice and had a garage but you had to walk up a flight of stairs to get from the garage into the house. Not going to do that! In fact, our new apartment has an elevator! Our mansion is on the third floor in building 6, so we had to have an elevator or an escalator or some kind of teleportation device to get up here because I wasn’t walking up any more stairs. Our covered parking is right outside the building entrance and there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of parking. Of course, since I don’t go to work like every one else around here, I have my pick of parking spaces by noon. So far, I haven’t gone down to the parking area, just to move my Tahoe closer; I might do that during the hot summer but nah, probably not!
Here’s our mansion’s floor plan for those interested. One thing we’ve noticed right offis that it’s quiet around here. To me, that’s kind of surprising because I think every apartment in this building has at least one dog! There are big dogs and little dogs as well as big people and little people living around us, but they are all surprisingly quiet. That’s very good.
The only downside to our mansion apartment is that it has a tiny kitchen and laundry room. The laundry room is actually very, very tiny but it will do for the next six months. Everything else is just great. Our living room has our two recliners, a couch and a love seat arranged so we and our guests can watch TV. Our dining room/area is very accommodating for our table and four chairs without getting in the way. The computer room is just short of huge and works just great. I have my and Ramona’s desktop PCs both set up and running with room to spare.
Then there’s our master bed room; it is huge! I don’t think it’s quite as big as the master bed room we did have but it’s pretty good size. Our king sized bed fits very nicely and I even have a chair on the side. We’ve got a chest of drawers and a dresser along one wall and a bank of windows completing that same wall. The walk-in closet is very large and since we didn’t bring our winter clothes, it swallows the few clothes we do have. The master bath is not the biggest but it has a walk-in shower which is long and that’s what we wanted.
All in all, this is a very nice place to spend the next six months. We could even entertain guests although you might have to sleep on the couch. Oh, we do have two bathrooms so that shouldn’t be a problem, either. But, it would probably be best if you waited until we move to the new house to visit since I tend to get on peoples nerves when I don’t have adequate space or at least that’s what I’m told!
As I mentioned before, we’ve been waiting on the inspection report. Here’s where the inspector tells the buyer what is wrong with our house. He doesn’t say what has to be fixed nor does he recommend how things get fixed. It’s just a report on what’s not quite right with the house.
Now, I know our house isn’t perfect (even though I told them it was! Ha!). Nobody’s house is perfect even on the day it’s finished being built. Any homeowner soon realizes that there are things that constantly need fixing in a home. Our home also is about 10 years old. That’s not real old for a house, but it has seen some weather and things have settled just a little. So we knew there were going to be things that needed fixing.
Of course the buyers didn’t like the blue carpeting! We certainly couldn’t understand that. It was a very nice blue and it was wearing well. They had asked for a carpet allowance of $5,000 which we said, “No!”, not at the price you’re getting the house! If blue was good enough for us, then they could live with it or change it themselves. I understand they are going to rip it out as soon as they move in. Ok, it’s your house then. Do what you want, even if it is stupid!
But, as for the other things on the inspectors report. Most of it was cosmetic. We knew we had to fix a wall in the guest bedroom that had a crack in the wallboard caused by a closet door that swells and gets stuck in the summer. We had planned to fix that all along so it wasn’t anything we didn’t expect. Then there was something about cracks in the ceiling along the wall in the guest bathroom. This we’d never seen and still can’t figure out what they’re talking about. There were also a number of loose boards and missing caulking on the outside of the house. One board looked like it was cracked and probably should be replaced. It was pretty high on the side of the roof above the garage and wasn’t going to be easy to reach. We looked at the 13 items the buyer wanted fixed and decided that we would fix everything inside the house (10 items) that needed fixing and just forget about the minor stuff on the outside of the house. Even the buyer’s Agent told the buyer that the outside stuff wasn’t deal breaking and didn’t needed fixing.
So, I marked through the three items we felt were cosmetic and sent the report back to the Agent so his buyer could see what we agreed to do. In the mean time, we had a handyman come and start working on the inside repairs. As minor as they were, he charged us only $150 and did a pretty darn good job; a lot better than I would have even if Ramona would have let me!
Then we heard back from the buyer’s Agent. It seems that they buyer was throwing a fit because we had refused to fix everything on their list. Even with his Agent telling him that it wasn’t necessary to fix those things and that no house is perfect, this idiot buyer kept insisting that he wanted EVERYTHING fixed or he was walking away from the deal! When I heard this, I was pretty steamed!
Here we were in the middle of trying to pack up and move having already committed to an apartment and now the buyer was threatening to walk away over some minor stupid cosmetic stuff on the outside of the house!
Erica had called us on my cell phone about this situation one evening while we were out shopping. My first reactions was to have her go back and tell the buyer, “Goodbye! Come back when you get some common sense!”. But, Erica had the fortitude to let me calm down and then we reasonably discussed the situation. It’s nice to have people like Erica around!
David and Erica are our best friends! Part of our family!
We decided that David, Erica’s husband, could come over and fix all the outside stuff without much problem. He’s handy with a hammer and he’s still young enough that he can get around a roof without killing himself. Now, I don’t know if David knew that Ericahad volunteered him for this work without telling him first, but I figured that was his problem. Good to have David around! Anyway, that was our plan so she could go back to the buyer’s Agent and tell him we’d get the outside work done.
Next thing I know, Erica is calling me back saying that the buyer’s Agent is so sorry that his client is acting like such an idiot that he, the Agent, is going to reduce his commission by $250 which he figures will cover the cost of getting that outside work done! Well, that’s a miracle that Erica has never seen happen before. She says this Agent is known for squeezing every last dime out of everything so this is really unusual for him. I don’t care as long as some body but me is paying for it! So, there!
Later, Ramona and I decide that David shouldn’t have to work on our house on his day off. So we called our handyman and ask him to come and see what needs to be done. He says he can do it all for under $200 so we put him to work again. That should take care of that!
The 10 day wait period is now up! Our buyer is stuck buying our house or it’s going to cost him a bundle. If he tries to walk out now, I not only get his $1,000 in ernest money, but I can sue him which I certainly would do. That’ll teach him. If it hadn’t been for the fact that we wanted to get in on the Wilshire Home discounted options and that we had already committed to an apartment, I would have loved to tell the buyer that we weren’t selling to him, no way, no how!
Well, we’ve sold our house that we’ve lived in for the last 10 years. It’s hard to really understand what that means. It does mean that we’re moving in the very near future and we’ve got a lot of packing to do. We start thinking about all the things we need to get done and it’s getting a little frightening even to us who have been through it before. I think we have a little over a month to get every thing done and move to an apartment. Our closing date is set for 22 March and there doesn’t seem to be any reason why it won’t happen on that day.
The first real hint that we had sold the house was when we were notified of the house inspectors visit. That came within the first 10 days. The buyer wanted to find out if there was anything wrong with the house that should be fixed before they were fully committed to the deal. I already told them the house was perfect, but for some reason, they still want to inspect it! I guess I can understand this a little, and it’s a customary part of the process. Once again, though, the owners, that’s still us, have to leave for the two hours the inspector is there. So, off we went but I don’t remember if we went for another Pizookie or not. We should have!
We come back home right at two hours later and our garage door is wide open. We don’t see any other vehicles around so we park in the garage and head for the door to the house. It’s unlocked! Wow! It looks like the inspector just left our house wide open and unlocked! Good thing we came home as soon as we did. Ramona was pretty upset so she started calling around to find out why they left our house like it was. Of course, we called Erica, not because she had anything to do with any of this, but because she knew who to call directly to get some answers.
It wasn’t too long before Erica called us back and said that the inspector didn’t leave the house open. Apparently, the Agent and his prospective buyers were also in the house which was unknown to us! It is believed that they left the house open thinking the inspector was still around! Stupid people didn’t have enough sense to check to make sure. It’s just a good thing we live in a very nice and secure neighborhood and that a break-in probably wasn’t really going to happen with the house open for just a short while. Still, that was pretty irresponsible for people that should have known better. I think Erica chewed the Agent and the Inspecting company out royally on our behalf letting them know we were plenty mad. We heard everyone apologized quite a bit but not one person called us and said anything to us directly. Pretty sorry bunch of people if you ask me!
So now we’re waiting on the results of the inspection.
I’m packing as much as I can in my computer room. I’ve got stacks of stuff in the closet already in tubs and boxes but I’ve got to get the book case empty and put that stuff into boxes. I also need to tear down my computer equipment but I can’t get to a lot of the cables since they’re behind the computer tables. Still, I pack as much as I can.
Ramona is busy trying to get her sewing room packed. She has a ton of stuff in the closet and tons of other stuff on small book shelves that need to be packed. It seems like she fills one box up and there’s still the same amount of stuff left to pack.
Right about here is where I think we lost track of just how much work was ahead of us. I should have called in every one I knew to come help us pack but I just didn’t think it was necessary. No, I just didn’t think, period! Moving all the stuff you’ve accumulated over 50-60 years is really a major under taking. Our house isn’t small and we’ve got it pretty much filled. And, I’ll have to admit, I’m not as young as I was in 2003. Heck, I was only 53 then and as spry as any 70 year old! Now ten years later, I pretty much feel like I’m about to hit my 110th birthday! I don’t have the energy to be packing stuff all day so the time just kind of went by a little too quickly for us.