It’s Really Done Part 2

We just received an email that the property deed, showing we are now the owners of the property, has been presented to the county recorder’s office and that the keys to the house are being brought to us by our real estate agent.

So, we are no longer homeless and we are now officially writing in the new chapter of “our life’s book”.

Tomorrow we will remove the camper from our truck and start bringing up our furnishings (and antique Jeeps) in a borrowed 25 foot (7.5 meter) trailer.

I am going to make sure I bring up the dozen *huge* pots in the first load as it is “about now” to be placing plants, like tomatoes and peppers, outside.

The Last 48

My mother in law likes to watch the television show, “The First 48” and that is where I got the idea for this post.

In 48 hours, we will be signing the papers to sell our home. Technically, the house is ours until the papers are presented to the government office responsible for keeping track of property ownership records, and this will happen on Tuesday morning. So, technically this is “the last 72”.

Since we will be leaving as soon as we sign the papers, I will go with the reality, and not the technicality.

I had “khaki diapers”…also known as a “marine brat”. The “brat” part was part of the vernacular (I hope I wasn’t a real brat) referring to children of US Marines. My father was marine officer and moves were a normal occurrence. For me, I was born toward the end of my father’s 30 year career in the marines and I only moved seven times in the first 18 years of my life.

Since then I sort of settled down, 10 years in one place, 10 years in another place and 23 years in the current home.

I’m hoping that we can live at least that long in the new place we are buying.

Less Than Two Weeks

In less than two weeks, we will sign the paperwork to sell our home. The next day, when the ownership paperwork is filed with the county government, the home will no longer be ours.

As we have been packing things, the home has been slowly losing its “personality”. I’m not sure how else to describe it except as personality.

VERY little is left in the home….I’m estimating it will take four hours to move the remaining “stuff” to storage and probably six hours to move the old vehicles to a friend’s home.

Signing the paperwork will be a bittersweet time. We will be leaving the place where we lived for 23 years and our daughter grew up. At the same time, we will be achieving a near life long dream.

Figured It Out. Maybe

I think I’ve figured out my sense of foreboding regarding our impending move to the “cold desert” and it was a dutch oven that made me realize what is happening.

Moving to a “cold desert” was the dream my fiancée and I shared.

The dutch oven was bought by my fiancee. We did a lot of tent camping (hauling it all in the car) and we wanted something more than just skillets to use on the Coleman stove. That was why the dutch oven came into my life.

The dutch oven was purchased from a “junque” (fancy name for junk) store for something like US$5. It had some surface rust, but was still smooth on all its surfaces–nothing that a bit if vinegar and seasoning wouldn’t fix–the bottom was flat, the lid fit tightly and there were no cracks in the cast iron.

The dutch oven was supposed to be a wedding gift to us, but it was given to me just before we left for the doctor’s office…where we found out that her cancer was “terminal”. The dutch oven ended up in a box at the very back of a shelf in the garage for seemingly “forever”. I was moving stuff in the garage when my daughter and wife found it. I told them the story about the dutch oven and my wife brought it in, saying it was a waste to not use it. I cleaned it up and have been using it on a daily basis since then.

Today I packed up the dutch oven into a very well padded box and I realized why I had the sense of foreboding.

My fiancee and I had goals that when achieved, would allow us to reach our dream. The dream was for her to have a pediatric medical practice in a small town in northern or eastern Arizona, anywhere in New Mexico, southern Utah or southern Colorado. These places are all in what I call the “cold desert”…the high desert.

My wife has always wanted to live in a small desert town that is not hot. It is essentially the same dream that my fiancee and I had. My wife and I, in about two weeks, will be achieving that dream.

Packing the dutch oven up made me realize that the move was reminding me of my fiancee, and this is something I try, very hard, to not dwell on. And, when I “overdo” it, I feel guilty because I don’t want my wife to compete with a ghost.

My fiancee was determined, almost desperate, that I “keep on keeping on” and continue to live my life. It took a while, but I did go on and I’m sure my fiancee would be both pleased and proud.

While I was packing the dutch oven, I realized that as long as I don’t compare the two people, and don’t continually do it, thinking about my fiancee is okay.

For what it is worth, thinking of my fiancee was actually helpful when my wife was undergoing surgery, chemo, and radiation for stage 3 breast cancer. I was able to draw upon my experiences with my fiancee to help my wife. If my fiancee could have communicated with me, I know she would have been proud of me.

Excitement, Worry and Possible Courage

Today, we drove to what will be our new home town and made an offer on the house we are hoping to buy. The offer was accepted, so we have somewhere to live “on the other end”. The sale of our current home will be complete at the beginning of May and the purchase of our new home will be complete 3 weeks later.

I have lived in the “hot desert” for almost 60 years…nearly my entire life. My wife has lived in the hot desert for 37 years. For me, city living has been the case 43 years and for my wife, 45 years. Before that both of us grew up in tiny towns out in the “middle of nowhere”.

We will still be living in the desert, but it will be a cold desert. Each year, the hot desert has one or two days below freezing and many days above 115F/45C. It has never been below 20F/-7C. The cold desert will have high temperatures, at most, around 90F/32C and many days with low temperatures around -5F/-21C. The lack of “water falling from the sky” is pretty much the same for both places…just a few inches/cm of precipitation per year.

While the move, and achieving a near lifelong dream is exciting, I’m also a bit sad. I will be leaving what I’ve known for my entire life for something new.

I also have sense of foreboding and I can’t shake it. I’m not even sure what it is that I am worried about. Is it ET’s (twin sister) leukemia and my not being as close as I’d like in case she needs help? Is it something else? Am I just imagining things? Am I just sad about leaving a familiar situation? I don’t know.

I do know I am worried about ET, but I don’t think that is all the worry that I have.

I guess courage is not a lack of fear and worry but forging ahead despite the fear and worry. So, I guess I’m sort of courageous.

Updates

ET has her first meeting with a hematologist/oncologist on April 13. We are both anxiously awaiting the results of that consultation. I’m not sure if she or I is more anxious.

I’m busy with getting the house packed up for the (hopefully it happens) move and that keeps my mind off of it, but, at the same time, having to do all this divides my attention.

Switching topics.

The freezer is now empty, and I just turned it off. The “computer room” no longer has the background hum from the freezer. The computer is convection cooled so it has no fan and I’m amazed at how quiet things have become. Also, since the freezer door is propped open, there is a cold draft coming across the floor.

The garage is nearly empty. I need to put together the hard top for 1964 Jeep and the soft top on the 1950 Jeep. Once that is done, they will be stored at a friend’s home. The 1957 Jeep truck will remain here until the last possible moment as it is the vehicle that is hauling everything to the self-storage units.

I stopped writing this post to work on the garage while the freezer sat, and I’m glad I came back in here because I noticed the freezer was starting to drip water onto the floor. The freezer had no frost inside the freezer compartment, so I’m guessing the water is coming from frost that built up within the door. Fortunately, it was a small puddle, and the floor is tile, so the cleanup was a simple 30 second effort.

The freezer is now in the garage where it can drip without causing a problem and I will remember this so the next time I unplug the freezer…I will be ready.

Real Estate Agent

We had a real estate agent come to our house on Saturday so they could offer an opinion on our home’s value and how to best market it to potential buyers

It looks like we have three options, and one is not recommended.

The first is to sell the house, as-is, to an investor and let them do the work before the re-sell or rent it . They will likely deduct the cost of painting and landscaping, etc. and then offer a lower price so they can make some profit when they resell the house.

The next option is to trim the landscaping, which I had planned to do anyway now that the bird nest is no longer in use (the baby birds fledged), fix the wallpaper seams, and then paint the interior of the home so that it will be more interesting to someone wanting to buy the home to live in it.

The final option is to do a complete remodel and make the home look as if it were brand new. The agent recommended against this option because the cost of the work would be more than what it would add to the home’s value. Also, when I checked, this would add about 3 months before the home could be listed for sale. I’m guessing all the long wait times are due to the waning of Covid “allowing” increased demands for home improvements mixing with a skilled working shortage.

My wife and I would prefer to sell to someone who will live in the home. Even painters have a waiting list–around 3 weeks–so we very likely will be painting the home ourselves. Painting is not so bad when the home is nearly empty. The only challenge will be two curious dogs. 🙂

Someone is Sniffing Glue

For the past couple of weekends, we have been driving around to look at existing homes and vacant land in the more rural areas of the state.

We set our budget at around $500,000.

The *only* property within the above price range was a 22 year old 1400 square foot single wide manufactured home on 1/4 of an acre. The pictures in the listing made it look wonderful and the photographer should be commended for their abilities. Unfortunately, reality was something different from the images.

The property has been on the market (with no price changes) for about 11 months and, according to the neighbors, the place has been unoccupied for over 3 years. One end of the structure has sagged by 8 inches. The roof is leaking, and one corner of the structure will need to be completely replaced because of the water damage. There is evidence of mice infestation (12 dead mice in a bathtub was a clue), with many holes chewed into the walls and a lot of insulation pulled from the holes. The septic tank has collapsed. There is no well. There is no electrical power to the property. The asking price for the place is $465,000!

We raised our budget to around $550,000 and there were three other properties in the new price range. All were in worse condition than the $465,000 one.

I mentally added up the upgrade/repair costs for each of the places and I came up with around $80,000 to $150,000 for the repairs to bring any of the places to even minimal living conditions. The prices include me doing all the work that I can do…roofing, wallboard, leveling the home, electrical wiring and so forth. I can’t drill a well, nor can I dig the ground for a new septic system so those would be left to the professionals.

The real estate agent warned us that this is the area’s slow season for property being put up for sale and that everything currently listed for sale was left over from last summer…and added that those owners were “sniffing glue or something”. She said things would improve in the next month to six weeks and to be patient.

In the meantime, we will sell our current home and then live in the truck camper for a while. When the right place does show up, we will be ready.

Busy

Sunday, I finished the service on the five vehicles and then I baked some biscuits for snacks for the music jam session my wife played at (and I watched) yesterday.

Two of the vehicles are modern, a 2018 sedan and 2016 one ton truck. These are easy; oil, oil filter, air filter, four or five grease fittings, check the fluids…done.

The others are all Jeeps; 1950, 1957 and 1964. The maintenance for these is a bit more involved.

These have what I called “armored toilet paper roll” oil filters. The picture is of a Fram C3 filter, which is what I used in the Jeeps and I think it’s obvious why I called it an armored toilet paper roll.

After removing the oil filter, a quart of (old) oil remains in the cannister that holds the filter and I pump that out with a small hand pump.

The old Jeeps also have oil bath air cleaners, which are cleaned instead changed. This process is not hard but does take some extra time compared to just changing the air filter. The other part that takes time is all the lubrication points in the old Jeeps. Remember I said that a new car has four or five grease fittings? Well, the old Jeeps have several dozen grease fittings and several places that need a drop or two of engine oil.

Again, it’s not hard. It just takes time.

On Monday we washed and waxed our Ford F350 truck and the camper. It took about 6 hours for my wife and I to finish the job. There is a lot of surface area on the truck and the camper! The wax hopefully will keep the USA desert southwest sun from damaging the fiberglass camper. We weren’t yet done for the day. On Saturday we rented yet another storage unit. This is one is climate controlled so I can store all the temperature sensitive stuff like film, very old books, my great-grandparents furniture and the computer stuff. After the Ford F350 truck and camper was finished, we took several items to this new storage unit.

Today (Tuesday) we, several times, filled up my old truck with boxes and antique furniture and took that to the climate controlled storage unit. I also built two shelves and took them to a regular storage unit.

Tomorrow I’ll take more temperature sensitive stuff up to the climate controlled storage unit. I’m getting anxious to have most everything out of the house and have a real estate agent come view the house. We will get their opinion as to whether we should paint the interior of the house. It’s not bad, but…. 🙂

A few years ago, we had installed ceramic floor tile throughout the house. With the area rugs packed up and nearly all the furniture in storage, there is nothing to absorb the sound. The house is getting very loud and echoey.

Our Daughter

On Monday, May 31, she will be leaving her home state (where she was born and has lived her entire life) to move to Michigan. She and her boyfriend will be driving his truck and her car via the fastest route possible to Michigan and it will take them through some fairly high altitudes in the Rocky Mountains..

We will be taking our two dogs with us and our dogs’ veterinarian recommended that we not subject our one (very) elderly dog to high altitudes. So we will be taking a different route that will be a couple of hundred miles farther. And, because traveling with 2 dogs is like traveling with 2 toddlers (bathroom stops, water stops, get out and sniff walk around stops, etc.), we’re expecting to take an extra day to get to Michigan.

They thought about taking our route, but they don’t want to be late for their new jobs.

They will be driving across country and carrying in their vehicles the few things that won’t fit into one of those small household shipping containers, so they won’t have room for camping stuff. She said they’ll be using hotels, but they will be eating only ‘energy bar’ and ‘sandwich’ meals to save as much money as possible.

It all sounds so familiar!

When I was one year younger than my daughter, my fiancee and I drove a VW bug across country to introduce each other to our extended families. Since we weren’t moving and not carrying household stuff, we carried our camping gear. Each night we tent camped and prepared our own meals so we could save as much money as possible.

My fiancee and I had a great adventure. Our daughter and (very serious) boyfriend will have a great adventure. My wife and I will have a great adventure.

On the way home, we will be both thrilled and sad. Our daughter will be assuming her place in the world, which is thrilling, but being half way across the country, we won’t see her as often as we do now…which will be sad.

But as I’ve said before, this is how it’s supposed to be.