A Heartfelt Public THANK YOU!

4d1317daee253e53c4bf568577c7ed6fOk, 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!

Travis, our youngest Son.  He's bashful!
Travis, our youngest Son. He’s bashful!

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!

Patricia, our Daughter-in-Law a.k.a Patty Rebel
Patricia, our Daughter-in-Law a.k.a Patty Rebel

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!

Our dear friend and Real Estate Agent!
Our dear friend and Real Estate Agent!

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!

David, Erica, Josh and Emma, quite a wonderful family

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.

Jimmie, our oldest Son
Jimmie, our oldest Son

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!

The Move! Part 2

Dawn of a new day!
Dawn of a new day!

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.

More boxes!
More boxes!

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!

More and more boxes
More and more boxes

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.

time-warnerFinally, 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!

Strange cable remote!
Strange cable remote!

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!

Erica and Dave; Travis and Patricia
Erica and Dave; Travis and Patricia

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.

More boxes!
More boxes!

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.

We did it!
We did it!

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!

The Move! Part 1

This was me by noon on the 20th of March.
This was me by noon on the 20th of March.

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.

Moving and storage truck!
Moving and storage truck!

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 1eff9f86da2d9e88fd9b01a49ff13888when 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!

Buried under but still not enough!
Buried under but still not enough!

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.

More stuff to pack!
More stuff to pack!

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.

This is me, I’m tired!
This is me, I’m tired!
This is Ramona. She’s tired too!

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!

Our New Temporary Digs!

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.

The Mansions at Canyon Springs! Our very own mansion!
The Mansions at Canyon Springs! Our very own mansion!

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!

The San Felipe floor plan. A mansion in an apartment.
The San Felipe floor plan. A mansion in an apartment.

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!

Tiny kitchen!
Tiny kitchen!
Big Master Bedroom
Big Master Bedroom
Entry, dining room, and living room.
Entry, dining room, living room.

Walk-in closet





Walk-in shower
Walk-in shower
Master Bedroom again
Living Room
Living Room
View of the golf course from the balcony

The Buyers Made Us Mad! Really Mad!

30774be5b50f86face945c34728eae51As 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 52bc7125b370e49f90483383e19d22a7we 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.

5963d8a446c9ecde814ffff1eddfbed7So, 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!

This is NOT me! I’m much skinner and don’t wear a tie! Oh, I have more hair, too!

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!

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!

Slam, door shut! Done!

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!

But of course, we sold the house!  Thank goodness!

Open House! NOT! and We Gotta’ Pack!

Our house in 2006. About 3 years old!

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.

We were just a little bit unhappy with the people buying our house.

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.

This is NOT my computer stuff!

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.

Sold! Yeah! Well Heck with It!

If you remember back where I wrote about the wonderful Wilshire Home which we just had to have, it came with a few strings.  One of which was that it’s current price wasn’t going to stay there for very long.  Andy Cobb said he was afraid that all the Wilshire Homes were going to experience a price increase in the very near future so if we wanted that house at the current price, we needed to sign a sales contract.  And, and, and (you know something big is coming), they were offering $22,000 in options for half price until the end of March!  So, we could get $22,000 in high quality options for only $11,000.  Now that’s a deal we wanted.

But we had to sell our house and soon. 297cbf1637e458a61534aef8104f2849Up until now, we have only signed a contingency type contract with Wilshire Homes that says we’re really serious about building a house and here is the lot we want.  Of course the lot we’re looking at is one of a few left in this subdivision and it’s also one of the few that was flat.  Some of the lots had houses with stairs to the front door so long and high up they disappeared into the clouds!  For real!  We weren’t doing that, that’s for sure.

In order to secure a suitable lot, we had to plunk down $1,000 knowing that this was a “premium” lot which would cost us another $3,000 if we decided to really build on it. I don’t know exactly what was really premium about our lot.  It just had a bunch of dirt, some scraggly trees and a few huge bolders sitting on it.  I guess it became premium when we decided that we wanted it.  That figures.

This whole house building thing isn’t cheap.  Any way, we got the lot and it has a “Sold” sign on it.   I’m not sure if we actually bought that sign for $1,000 or what?

Now back to our house.  It’s a Friday so we’re looking at this offer of $190,000.  We’re not going to reply until Monday just for the heck of it.  I’m doing my usual thing of building a spreadsheet on my laptop and putting in all the numbers I know about. I’m crunching numbers and emailing Erica asking about closing costs and stuff which she readily supplies.  I do some more number crunching and then talk to Ramona about what I’ve come up with.

MoneyOn paper, the numbers say that we have enough savings in the bank and enough future savings potential to handle getting into a new home.  They also say that our net proceeds from the sale of our house at $190,000 isn’t that bad and would make just about the same minimum downpayment I was planning to make all along.

We weren’t going to get rich selling this house but we didn’t expect that to happen anyway.  I figured if we sold now, we’d save the $11,000 in options and could lock in a fairly nice Wilshire Home sales price.  It wasn’t that we were giving the house away; we were getting less than originally thought but certainly enough to do what we wanted and that was buy a one story house. 33a91c9debb47fd32d8fee94ac32d71d

So, by Monday morning, I had told Erica that we could accept the $190,000 offer!  I think she was  surprised but she did think we were doing the right thing given some of the background on the Wilshire Home we wanted.

She conveyed our answer back to the Agent and buyer and we had a contact!  Great!  Our house is sold!

Well, kind of.  There is a 10-day period in which the buyer can walk away if they find out they can’t secure financing and or have other problems.  I wasn’t sure about that so we waited out the 10 days.

During that 10 days, Ramona and I got busy.  Hey, we were going to move, somewhere.  And that’s what we had to find out.  We knew we needed an apartment but not just any old apartment.  We wanted space and a nice place. So we did what we’ve done all along…we called Erica!

That young lady didn’t skip a beat.  In fact, she had already started calling around to some of the apartment complexes she knew were close to where our new house would be built. It wasn’t long before we were out looking at apartments instead of houses, this time.

We found the Mansions at TPC which were on Bulverde Road and very near our new subdivision of Bulverde Village.  We even went over there one afternoon at about 1 pm and checked out a small to medium sized apartment which we found to be OK but kind of high priced. Now it was nice, with granite counters and hardwood floors and stuff but it just seemed small and expensive.  I don’t  mind living fancy but I just don’t like paying for it.

While we were debating on whether to go this expensive route, Erica called and told us about the Mansions at Canyon Springs.  They had a similar apartment to the one at TPC but for about $300 a month cheaper.  We needed to look at this place tonight because they only had the one unit available.

Well, we jumped in the Tahoe and headed back across town in a hurry.  When we got there, we found a very nice apartment without all the fancy stuff but nice enough for us.  And the price was just about right.  So, we took it!

They gave us an address and even a unit number that night.  We could have the apartment starting on the 15th of March!  Wow!  We were really going to do this! I think we got a tiny bit ahead of ourselves right about here.

Selling the Homestead

Ok!  So we think we now know what house we want.  Actually, by now we MUST HAVE that Wilshire Home, Miami II floor plan.  It’s just like me buying a new truck, I gotta’ have it once I set my eyes on the one I want.  The problem is, it’s just like anything else you really, really want, you want it right now!  Unfortunately, we can’t buy it right now because we haven’t sold our house yet!  Help! Help!

Now we’re waiting on a buyer.  We talked to Erica, well she probably says we screamed at her, and tell her we need more people to see the house.  She tells me in her very nice way, that we’re going to have to drop the price in order to get some more people interested.  She thinks, and rightly so, that we’re losing a lot of buyers who don’t want to exceed the $200,000 threshold.

After thinking about it, which I do occasionally,  I agreed with her.  She had already done a market analysis of our area and told me before, that I should probably list our house at around $199,900 which I just didn’t listen to, until now!  It doesn’t take long for her to get us an amended sales agreement to re-list the house for exactly that, $199,900.

MLS logoNow we start seeing some traffic.  The Mulit-List Service (MLS) has this little Centralized Showing Service (CSS) or something like that, that sends you these nice emails asking if such and such can see your house between the hours of x and y!  When you get one of these, you’re really excited.  This may be your buyer!  So, you quickly punch the “Accepted” button on the email and then you actually read the requested appointment time!  Usually, they weren’t too bad.  We had previously told Erica that we would show our home anytime after 10 am and before 8 pm.  So most of our showing requests came in around 1 pm or later with only one at 5 to 6 pm.

Now, you have to leave the house during these showings.  The prospective buyer and their Agent don’t want the home owners standing around yelling “buy my house” so they want you gone.  Where you go is entirely up to you.  Luckily for us most of our showing were around lunch or dinner so we just went out to eat. Of course there were a few that were a little too early for dinner so we had to go to BJ’s and eat a Pizookie!

A Pizookie for those who have never had one, is a huge freshly baked chocolate chip 75544b95d4fd42661488467e3f1b47a4cookie with a ton of vanilla bean ice cream on top served piping hot!  It is way to delicious but way to good to not eat every chance you get.  So, while kicked out of our house on a few occasions  we had to eat a Pizookie and then go to dinner later.  That’s just the kind of trouble you have when showing your house.

While that was pleasant, finding out what happened while you were gone was sometimes just ridiculously difficult.  We certainly wanted to know if our house had shown well and if the people that looked at it were interested.  There is a feedback system built into the CSS appointment stuff, but we found that it’s really difficult to get Agents to actually provide feedback of the visit.  Usually, if you didn’t hear anything right away, that meant the prospective buyers weren’t interested.  Bummer!

4a7f347c4208f4ddcd062c1bb5d6bbeeWell, this dragged on what seemed like forever.  In one week in February 2013 we were showing our house every day!  Yet, we didn’t know who was looking at it or if they even did!  Sometimes we’d come home after being gone for two hours and not see any sign that anyone had shown up.  And we know that on a couple occasions the Agent and his clients just didn’t make the appointment time but didn’t bother telling anyone.  So, here you are, pretty excited about having a potential buyer in your home and trying to kill a couple of hours and then to find out that nothing happened.  Again, bummer!

Finally, we got a showing and the Agent told Erica that his clients were very interested in the house.  Whoa, “very interested”, that’s a lot different than just “interested”!  We’d never heard that before.  So, we wait until the next day and finally Erica calls and says, “You have an offer but you’re not going to like it!”, and, boy, was she ever right!  Holy cow!  Here our house was on the market with an asking price of $199,900 and the potential buyer comes in asking us to accept $180,000!  My wife and I thought they were nuts and I’m sure they were.  But, at least we had an offer.  Our very first one.

This opens the door for negotiations.  Of course we were not going to accept such a low-ball offer but we had to counter so we went back with $194,900 and thought that was a pretty good number.  Well, the buyer comes back with $185,000 or something like that and I’m getting pretty disgusted.  They aren’t even serious with a counter like that.  Still, after looking at our financial situation, we go back one more time with $192,000, bottom line and that’s it.

Well, you know we were pretty stressed out by then.  Here we were with an almost sold 5b6f0aee0de7f3446ac5ba9d54813c14house, wondering how quickly we’d have to move and also wondering where we were going to live if we sold the house.  I think we had to wait all night and late into the next day before hearing from the buyer’s Agent.  They said $190,000 was the best they could do and would walk away if they couldn’t buy our house at that price.  My wife and I were pretty disappointed to say the least.  Our first inclination was to just tell them to walk.  We couldn’t sell at that price, no way!

To Build or Not To Build!

On the other front, since we weren’t finding pre-owned homes meeting our desires, we started looking for builders.  Since we had gone that route back in 2003, it was an option that we could choose but we knew that it would just push our move into a new house down the road about six months or more.  We also knew that we would have to make two moves; one from our current home to an apartment and then to our newly built home.  It’s a lot of effort to wait on a house being built, but if you build the right one, you get what you want!

Erica said she knew of a few quality builders and asked if we wanted to look at building our new home. As I said, we had gone that route once and didn’t think it would be a problem if we could find the right floor plan. When looking for builders, it’s easy to check out floor plans on-line so you can pretty much see what the new house would look like. I can’t remember all the builders we checked but I knew there were a few but a lot of them weren’t building in the Stone Oak area or had limited lots available.

bf9db58f22467397028d1a8a133f5fe3Then we found Wilshire Homes. We had never looked at them before so we went exploring their web site looking first for the right area and then the right square footage. We found an area off Bulverde Road which is east of IH-281 and kind of out of the messy traffic flow. It seemed to be a good residential area and Erica said she knew one of the sale consultants in the Bulverde Village area which she would contact for us. Andy Cobb was the Wilshire Consultant who recommended we look at a Miami II floor plan and then visit in person the same house that was just being finished in another subdivision just north of Bulverde Village.

We drove out there some time in late December or early January and walked thorough61486b5d675c71b9702be04e4da076bf the Wilshire Miami II house that was just about finished. We were stunned! This house was exactly what we were looking for and the changes the owner of that house had made were exactly the way we wanted the house to be built if we could afford it. Here was an almost 2,900 sq. ft. house that was just barely over our budget and Wilshire was pretty sure they could build another one just like this one in Bulverde Village! This floor plan had four bed rooms and three and half baths. Plus it had a study, a mud room and a pretty good sized pantry. There was also a utility room that was almost as large as the one in our Fairlong Trail home.

I’m afraid we got hooked on this floor plan very deeply!

We Get Listed!

Home for Sale-1Ok. This is where it gets really interesting. Selling your home is a frightening and nerve wracking experience. If you’ve ever done this you should know.

We’ve sold many and had good luck and bad luck. Our last home sold in 9 days to a couple that wanted us out of the house as soon as possible, were willing to pay full price and were extremely nice about the whole thing. The house before that, we sold twice and still wound up giving it back to the bank! But, that’s a whole other story!
We put the house up for sale about the second week of January 2013. We knew that this was not the prime home sale period as advised by Erica, but she thought it would be best to get it on the market and start getting some interest. There were a number of other houses in our neighborhood that were also up for sale although none were as nice as ours. We had upgraded a number of features in our home when we built it including a full yard sprinkler system. I thought we should be able to sell the house for just over $200,000. I think Erica wanted to really list it for just under $200,000 but didn’t want to tell me to stuff-it, so our initial offering was at $204,990.
Home sales analysisErica did a number of calculations showing us how much equity we should receive once our closing costs were covered. At the current sales price, we would be receiving a generous amount which would have been nice. She also showed us our take if the sales price had to be lowered all the way down to $190,000. I didn’t think there was any way we could sell that low but after looking at her figures and knowing what we had in savings, it was doable, but barely!