in the house/projects!

Hello!  Long time, no see!

We closed on our house in Rochester mid-November, and closed on our house here in East Hartford last Monday (12/9).  I didn’t share much here on the blog while it was happening, because things got complicated and frustrating, and it looked like things might not work out (with either house!).  But, thankfully, we were able to both sell our old house and buy our new house!

Last Friday, Alan took the day off.  We rented a U-Haul, and moved our furniture, most of our tools, and a bunch of boxes that we never unpacked from our first move in September.  We’re not completely out of the apartment: that is the topic of the second half of this post.

This past Monday (12/16), the previous owner, Angela, who had lived in this house for either her entire life (of 70+ years) or at most of her life, came by to tell me about the house and the landscaping.  I was holding my breath and waiting to start on projects until after that visit.  I didn’t want her to come by and for her beloved home to be torn up.  So now it feels like I can really do things around the house, like strip the wallpaper that is in every room.

wallpaper  |  Eliza Everyday

 photo courtesy of the real estate listing for the house

And as I mentioned above, we are still not completely moved out of the apartment.  So right now I have four priorities:

1. move out of the apartment

2. get settled in the house

3. begin projects around the house

4. study for the CT bar (which is in about 2 months!)

It’s much more fun to begin projects around the house than it is to move the last bits out of the apartment, or to dive into Admin Law.  But it is much more important to get out of the apartment.  The sooner we can vacate, the sooner they will re-list our place.  If they can find a tenant to move in, we can stop paying rent!  It’s also very important that we get settled in this house.  It took me years to feel settled in our Rochester house (don’t move right as you start Law School, if you can help it!), and we lived in half-unpacked stasis in the apartment for the past three months.  I want things to be put away and organized and tidy here.

I want to both document our progress, and share it with you (and keep myself accountable), so I’m going to post some before and after pictures.  This will cover points one through three above.  First up is moving out of the apartment.  After we finished moving big stuff last Friday, this is where we ended up:

apartment before  {Eliza Everyday}

apartment before  {Eliza Everyday}

apartment before  {Eliza Everyday}

 

These pictures don’t show the upstairs (which is about the same in terms of chaos, but half the size of the downstairs), or the kitchen (which is tidy, but not packed).

After an hour of work this afternoon, here is one “finished” corner:

apartment after  {Eliza Everyday}

 

I’m boxing things up, recycling and tossing as much as possible, and getting things in order.  I’m also bringing a carload of stuff back to the house every time I go.  My goal is to have the apartment boxed up and tidy, so that I can more easily bring things to the house, and so that if I need Alan to help me he won’t have to spend time packing, just moving.  I’m going back this evening to work on another corner, and I’ll update this post with another picture tonight.

Update: here is a pic from Wednesday

20131223-084228.jpg

Well, I’m going to do some tidying/settling here, as well as put a coat of paint on the kitchen cabinets.  The kitchen is currently quite chaotic, but that is a topic for another post (tomorrow?).

 

 

Oh, and I will finish my house-cleaning mini-series, eventually.  Hold on, it’s coming!

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waiting, again

I am on hold with Connecticut Natural Gas.  This is the third time I’ve called.  Apparently when they pull up my social security number it has my maiden name listed.  So they’ve requested that I fax over a copy of my social security card, and my marriage license.  I filed my name change with Social Security four years ago.  Sigh.

So I faxed it yesterday, but apparently it didn’t go through.  I found this out after waiting on hold for more than an hour.  The representative said to “just call back real quick” after I faxed it.  Ha!

It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t have prepaid cell phones.  It’s cost me at least $10 to wait on hold so far…

 

We’re also waiting to hear about the offer we made on the brick house.  We weren’t planning on making an offer so quickly, but someone else made an offer, so it was now or never.  I love that house, and I’d be thrilled if our offer was accepted.  There are lots of other houses for sale in the area, so we’ll be okay either way.  And every time we make an offer, we get closer to having all the paperwork and such that we’ll need eventually, so that’s good.

 

I am also packing boxes this week.  It’s not difficult, but it’s been hard for me to do.  I don’t know if it’s the symbolism of moving, or the heaviness (literal and metaphorical) of all our possessions, or what.  It’ll all get done, because it has to get done.  I think I’m going to conscript my friends who come over for Ladies’ Night to help me wrap and pack dishes :)

 

I’m still on hold…  I just hope I can get through before they close for the day…!

 

Update: 25 minutes later, I’m still on hold.  But at least I can find some humor in the situation.  Instead of playing their desired message (something like: “your call is important to us; please stay on the line”), there is a computer voice that says “CNG message 2 dot wav,” which obviously the file name.  It’s pretty funny.

 

 

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yard sale & farewell party

So things are happening fast around here.  We spent the summer noses-to-the-grindstone, anticipating Alan’s dissertation defense.  That was the big deadline, the big finish line.  Then, all of a sudden, it was over.  We went to Utah, we came back, I was sick.  And now it’s one week before Alan starts work!  When did that happen?!

We had been planning on hosting a yard sale Saturday the 17th.  I was going to spend last week preparing: sorting through stuff in the storage areas of the house (porch, garage, loft, basement), pricing items, setting up.  Instead, I rested and tried to recover from being sick.  It seemed like the yard sale was going to have to wait.

Thursday morning I woke up feeling better.  I hadn’t felt good in nearly two weeks, and the energy was stimulating.  I decided, in bed before I even got up, to do the yard sale.  I’d have two days to sort and prepare, but I could do it!  My mom came over Thursday to help, and Alan didn’t go in to work on Friday.  (He finished the changes necessary to his dissertation Thursday, so he’s kind of done.  He will clean out his office, and he wants to spend some time training group-mates on some laser stuff before he leaves.)

Saturday we woke up early (5ish), and set up the yard sale.  It was quite a success!  Let me tell you what we did, what worked, and what didn’t.

 

1. I read The Joy of Less a while ago, and had a great mentality when sorting our possessions.  Instead of asking myself “am I willing to part with this?”, I asked “is this ‘treasure’?”  I didn’t decide what to sell, I decided to sell everything, and then had to choose what to keep.

2. I priced things low.  I advertised the sale as a “nothing over $10” sale.  Some people got really good deals on the items with the highest value.  I ran out of $0.25 and $0.50 stickers first, because I priced things so low.  I wanted things to be gone, I didn’t want to get the most money for each item.  I didn’t want anyone to want something, pick it up, and think it was too expensive.

3. We sold home improvement supplies.  This was Alan’s idea, and it worked great.  We sold the faucet we bought and never used, and the left-over chain link from installing the gate across our driveway (40 feet for $10).  We sold PVC pipe ($0.25 to $1.00 per piece) and green-board ($0.50 for partial boards) and cement-board ($0.25 for partial boards).  We sold partial cans of spray paint ($0.25) and wood stain ($0.25).  It was a good portion of the sale, and it attracted more buyers, including people just driving by the house who stopped.

4. We advertised on craigslist and gsalr.com.  In fact, I put up the gsalr.com ad first, and it had an option to cross-post on craigslist.  I still had to make the craigslist listing, but I could cut-and-paste some nifty html from gsalr.  It made the craigslist ad look nice: it had a map and a nice font.  It was easy and free.

5. I advertised for no early birds.  I don’t know if this made a huge difference, but it helped me not get stressed out when setting up.  In the ad I mentioned that prices were tripled before 8am.  That kept people away!

6. I made really legible signs.  I read some advice to simply make signs that say “yard sale” with an arrow.  I used some foam-board we had, and a huge magic marker.  I made the letters six inches high, and the arrow was seven inches high and 15 inches across.  We put out five signs.  Two were double-sided, so they could be read by traffic going either direction.  They went on the main roads leading to our house.  There was a single sign that pointed to our house if you came via a side street.  And there were two signs right in our front yard: one on the left and one on the right, for traffic going both directions.

7. We had a cooler of bottled water and ice.  We sold the bottles for $0.25.  It wasn’t a huge draw, but we did sell some bottles of water to people who didn’t buy anything else!

8. We had lots of change (probably too much).  We withdrew $150 from the bank: 5x $10, 10x $5, 30x $1, and two rolls of quarters.  In retrospect we probably needed 5x $10, 5x $5, 15x $1, and one roll of quarters.  I had priced so many things at $0.25 and $0.50, that I felt the need for nearly a hundred quarters.  But I didn’t think about the fact that most people would buy more than one thing.  Plus, I’d often round down, to make people feel they were getting a really good deal.

9. I kept the change in a carpenter’s apron.  It kept the money on my person, and it was easy to pull out change.  It was also easy to switch the apron between me and Alan during the sale.  I handled most transactions, but I also left the sale several times to pick up more stickers (see #2), and to pick up some lunch.

10. We set out everything for free after the sale was over.  I put a curb alert on craigslist, and we told the neighborhood kids everything left was free.  They were so excited.  Their parents probably weren’t thrilled that they brought home so much junk, but it was fun to watch.  I did pick out a few high priced items that didn’t sell: a clarisonic mia face washer, a pair of unworn dansko shoes, and a nice coat Alan’s never worn.  We’ll bring those to Goodwill, along with anything that was left.  I think we’ll have just one box worth of stuff for Goodwill.

 

We made over $300 at the sale, which sort of surprised me.  (I say “sort of”, because I kept an inventory list as I priced the items, and I entered it into Excel.  I knew that the sum of what I had priced was over $300, and that surprised me.)  I said to Alan several times before the sale that I was most excited to get rid of so much stuff.  Making money was secondary.  Yard sales are such a win-win!

 

We held the sale from 8am to 4pm.  At 6pm we had some friends over for a farewell/congratulations Alan party.  I knew I’d be tired, so I planned a super low-key party.  I cut up a watermelon and a pineapple into wedges (finger food!), and set out the leftover bottles of water (#7 above).  I asked people to bring soda, beer, or chips/dip.  We ordered six pizzas, and an hour-and-a-half into the party I went out to buy a box of ice cream sandwiches.  We ate in the back yard, sitting on wooden arm chairs Alan brought from the house (we sold almost all our outdoor chairs that morning!).  It was the best party I’ve thrown in a while.

Our friends from church came (as well as my parents), and it was really great to sit and chat.  Most of the people had been in the first Small Group I joined, five years ago when I returned from China.  That’s where I met Alan.  That group has since dissolved: people got married, and had babies, and moved on from just being “young adults.”  It was so, so nice to be together again.  We talked and laughed until it got too dark to see anymore.

The reality that we’re moving has only just sunk in.  Alan’s first day of work is a week from tomorrow.  A week later the cats and I will join him.  There’s still lots to do, but it’s all very exciting!

 

 

P.S. Today is our anniversary–four years!

 

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