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    Monday, June 21, 2010

    a brand new chapter

    Considering its been *a month* (Sorry!!) since my last post about "stuff" going on related to the Escrow of my place & my (then) upcoming Move, and SO much has gone on since that time, I guess its time for me to write again and catch everyone up.

    If you've been following me on my Twitter updates (and or Facebook status updates), you already know the *Wonderful* News: Escrow Closed!!! :) (May 18th, actually - the day after I wrote my last housing related blog entry ;-).

    Now comes the headache(s) of meeting with contractors in earnest, making decisions on what improvements/fixes I can afford now vs what will have to keep for later, how I plan on organizing/arranging the place, etc....the Fun part ;-). Pictures from my planning trip (meeting with 2 possible contractors - painting & window treatments) on May 15th are now online at my Flickr account.

    Also - I moved out of the old place (completely!) on the Saturday, May 22nd, when I moved the stuff I still had at the old place (including my bed, desk, dresser, etc. - stuff not already moved to my temp. storage location) to my new place and started my temp. residence with my folks. (I'm not living at my new place till certain plumbing things are/were fixed, plus I get a opportunity to organize and start putting things away BEFORE I live there, which is something few people can do. :) Pics from that moving day (not many taken, as I was busy, are up on Flickr here). We went back to clean the old place Sunday afternoon and spend a few hours cleaning that place. My dad spent a while getting the yrs of built up gunk off the wardrobe mirror door track (which wasn't done before I moved in, I'd like to point out - so we left that in better condition than I received it in).

    The days following are starting to blur together a bit, but I know there were filled with lots of my day job work (during the days obviously) and trying to get down to the new place to work on things when I could, and also trying to catch up on stuff (other commitments I had) which I had fallen behind on (such as my share of the work for Costume College planning committee - I missed a few deadlines for turning in stuff from my dept. Whoops!)

    Plus I've been driving around to different stores trying to figure out what 'handy' organizational & storage solutions might best help me out as I start to unpack my kitchen, bedroom, & bathroom items. Heck, just window shopping for ideas takes time. Lots of time.

    Oh, and I also bought a new fridge. Yay! :) You know me and my love of cooking (and baking) this little splurge is great! Found a nice Whirpool fridge that's slightly larger than my (then-)current fridge (a 10 yr old Admiral) and was way more energy efficient. It was at Costco for a decent price, but Costco doesn't do delivery. So we thought about it. And next time we were at Lowe's for some other items, we decided to drop by their appliance section to check out what fridges they had and compare. (Mind you my old fridge was still serviceable, but with changing the door swing from one side to the other after 7 yrs of the door opening in one direction, the cushioned seal around the door wasn't springing  back into shape and forming a seal very quickly. So we were entertaining the idea of maybe it was time to get a new fridge. [Side note: the seal did spring back eventually - took a few days]) At Lowe's we found the exact same fridge that Costco had, but $100 more. Though they DID have Free Delivery, so that was a plus. We decided to ask if they would match the price...and after the Sales guy consulted his higher ups, they did! Woo-hoo! Same price as Costco plus free delivery? Awesome! PLUS since its more energy efficient, there's 2 programs I can apply to in order to get a rebate - 1st one was for SCE to take my old (working but not energy efficient) fridge away and I'd get $50 ; 2nd one was to see if the new energy efficient model was listed on the Rebate List (limited models) that qualify for another $50. And my choice of new fridge WAS on the list - so I could potentially get another $100 back on this deal. SOLD! :)

    Now to arrange for delivery, etc. They were out of stock at the time we were there, but were expecting in a new shipment and could delivery on Friday of Memorial Weekend. Ok. We're fine with that. Thursday night we get the call that the delivery window is during the afternoon. While I'll probably get off early for the holiday weekend, it most likely won't be early enough. But my mom was willing to hang out at the new place working on lining shelves (Yay, Thanks Mom!) and so was my Dad (his work is only a few miles/minutes away, so it was easy for him to go straight over to join my mom in the afternoon - Thanks Dad! :). I joined them when I could, but it was still late afternoon by the time I arrived. Only thing, the Delivery Guys hadn't shown yet. Turns out they were running late cause they had to make a delivery down in Laguna and got stuck in traffic on they're way back Northbound on the 5 Fwy. (Ugh!!). It did eventually arrive though (Yay!:) and while I was waiting I got to meet my next door neighbor, her almost 7 month old baby girl, and her husband. (I'm blanking on all their names right now, though. At least I know their faces! :) Very nice little family. :)
    So, new fridge is installed (all goes well, water line is even hooked up to a nearby valve just for such a thing - I now have a fridge that makes ice and has a door dispenser. Nifty!! That wasn't a selling point for me, but since it came with it, and with a water filter, cool :). The old fridge was moved down to my garage space to finish defrosting and wait for pick up by SCE. Only thing, I hadn't called SCE earlier in the week to schedule pick up so I called that day while waiting for Lowe's delivery to show - and got the run around. After calling the number on the flyer, I was told that this was NOT the right number, but here's another number I should call instead. Um, ok - strange though to not list the right number on the flyer (and I told them so). I dialed the NEW number and was told basically the same thing...though this time the number was for the local place they had contracted out to do the pick ups. So I finally call this 3rd number and was told that they're computer system was down and they'd take my name & number and would call me back when the system was back online and set up an appointment for me. (And they said they were open Friday evenings - calling late Friday afternoon by now - and Saturdays when I spoke to them). So I waited for a return call....and waited....and waited. Monday I decided to call to see if by chance anyone was there (even though a lot of businesses were closed for Memorial Day) - they were closed so I left a message. Tuesday morning - no return phone call, so by mid morning/day I place another call to this service and FINALLY speak to a live person who says they'll take care of me right now and get an appointment set up. Everything goes great until I find out that I have to have the fridge plugged in for 24 hrs prior (so that its working when the pick-up guy arrives and he can verify its a working fridge). Uh, oh! I had it moved to the garage (think converted carport). I don't know if there are any accessible outlets in there. Doh! Fortunately, it turns out that there *was* an electrical outlet that was in the back wall, kinda more near my neighbor's stall than mine (garages have individual doors, but no separating walls between parking stalls) and we were able to plug in the fridge. Yay! When the fridge guy showed up, he was able to stick his hand inside & verify it was working, and then proceeded to collect the fridge/have us sign off that he picked it up. Whew! :)

    Um, what else? Oh yeah, I also did my *final walk-thru* with my former landlord. That was bad. :( Very Glad my folks were there with me (as moral support, etc.), and when he started nit-picking about stuff...well, it all kinda went downhill. On the plus side, though - I'm DONE with him. Even got what's left of my Security Deposit back recently. (Note to self: deposit that check ASAP! :) At least he didn't take the WHOLE amount. And I don't want to drag this out any further by taking him to Small Claims for the items he shouldn't have charged us (they were normal wear & tear, especially since we had been a tenant for 5 yrs & the Lease said "broom clean condition" for moving out ). Anyhoo - its now done. BIG SIGH OF RELIEF!

    So where am I now with the new place? Well, I got some plumbing stuff done (no major stuff - wasn't touching the pipes or anything w/in the walls), but I figure spending some of small budget I had for improvements on plumbing stuff NOW was a good idea. So a couple of the things I did: swap out the toilet (I'm DONE with toilets that don't flush well) for a new one and replace the valves under all the sinks in the place. One was corroded so badly I couldn't have the water on without it leaking...and since I was replacing one I might as well replace *the rest of them* now so I won't have a future headache. I also got a couple of new chrome fixtures (including a S-neck extension piece for the shower head to raise it up higher - I can stand upright under it...yay! :).

    I also wanted to turn the upstairs (loft) "built-in entertainment center" into a closet. I was in the middle of getting quotes on various things, and thought I was going to use someone through work (handyman type of guy, not a general contractor) when an old friend (Julie) that I hadn't heard from in a while called me up to remind me that her hubby is a *licensed* contractor and could give me a fair quote (and peace of mind if I didn't already have someone that I could *trust* to do the work). Turns out her mom (hi Kay! :) had been reading my Blog and caught my mention in one of my earlier blog posts about wanting to do some construction type work. So, after thinking it over, the next day I called Brandon (Julie's husband) to set up a meeting for a quote. And you know what? I ended up going with him as my contractor after all. Not only was the quote w/in the range of what I was expecting I might have to pay (decent price), but it was nice *knowing* the person...and that the person doing the work *is a licensed contractor* who can handle any surprises that might pop up as the job starts. ;-).
    And as of last week, the demolition of the entertainment center & framing of the new closet being built in its place has started! (I was just over there on Saturday and saw the progress for myself :).

    So, since construction has started, I've slowed down a bit with unpacking since I don't want to take everything that's currently nicely sealed up in boxes and put it out on shelves/in the open where construction dust will accumulate on it. (I'm specifically thinking of *all my many books* that are sealed up right now in boxes even though I finally assembled my Ikea Expedit bookcase and have it firmly secured to the wall with earthquake safety screws ;-).

    In other news, I did order a new land line for the place to start service as of 6/1...a bit over a week later I found I still had no dial tone. Doh! So I called them up and they scheduled a repair technician to come out. I waited to hear that the guy had come out and the results of the technician's visit. And waited. I never did get the call saying the guy had actually come out and done anything, so I finally called them up. Turns out the guy HAD come out the day after I scheduled the call - and after a miscommunication with the first guy I spoke with that day at AT&T customer service, I found out (talking to the 2nd guy) that yes, he HAD repaired the problem and I should have dial tone. (Thank you, that's all I was asking for - confirmation someone had indeed gone out and I could go over & test to see if I had dial tone!) This Customer Service guy said the repair guy had 'attempted' to call me (and he noted he called the cell number) but was unable to reach me. I, however, did *not* have any missed calls from an unknown number (and I pointed that out the customer service guy - my first response to the fact he attempted to call me and didn't get ahold of me was 'which number did he call? Did he try the AT&T number being serviced, cause obviously I wouldn't respond on THAT being the one currently under repair, etc. But technician had noted he attempted to call the cell number listed. Weird.) So what do I find when I get to my place and see I have 6 MESSAGES on my brand new answering machine? The *very first one* is from the AT&T Technician Repair guy saying he had fixed the problem and my line should be working now. (Doh! LOL :) At least it really WAS working now.

    However, the downside to the fact that the new land line didn't start when it SHOULD have started means it screwed up the transfer of my DSL service (I use DSL Extreme) which was set to transfer same day. :( That meant I had to wait 7-10 *business days* to before they'd try again. And a week or so ago I finally got my email saying that they were re-trying to establish my Internet service and that (hopefully) it'd be active as of Wednesday June 16th. So when I stopped at my place Saturday afternoon I turned on my computer and checked to see if I had an Internet connection...and....Nothing :(. No Internet connection at all. Ugh! What gives? I then see that I have a new message on my voicemail....from AT&T (um, ok). From an AT&T Repair Technician, to be exact. And the really weird part about wasn't addressed to me but to someone named "Denise" and it was about an order for "R. Thelin" and installing a DSL circuit to go on top of the dial tone of my (new) land line number. (Yes, it was the actual number). And then he said he try calling some 818 number that was listed and hoped he could reach her there. (Note: I certainly don't have an 818 number :). So I'm guessing that my DSL company found they couldn't activate the DSL service for my new number because of a problem on AT&T's end and set up a fix with AT&T.  Not that I've had any emails or updates from them yet about this. :(

    Seeing as I'm planning on heading over to my new place tonight to do *a bit* more unpacking (after I finish writing up this blog post on my work's computer ;-), I'll check *one more time* to see if Internet is now actually on. (Doubtful, but we'll see. Fingers Crossed! ). If its still not on tonight, then it looks like I'll be contacting my DSL company to find out what's going on with my order.

    At least I've managed to get most of my kitchen unpacked and in a semblance of order (I'm currently working on organizing the pantry :), the basics of my bedroom in order (bed is assembled & made up with bedding, dresser is in place...though empty of clothing right now ;-), and my computer desk is where it should be (and desktop computer re-connected so I can at least turn it on...even if I can't get Internet to it). Oh, and a good chunk of my previously boxed-up bathroom items are unpacked...but I can't do too much more in there until the baseboards are put back in. (New ones need to be bought & painted & installed since the old ones were destroyed when they ripped them out when the new vinyl flooring was installed in the bathroom. Looks much better than the old stuff! :)

    And it turns out that my missing window screen on the lower window (between my staircase & fireplace) wasn't "gone" but just had fallen downstairs! A kind person walking by (neighbor perhaps) noticed it and brought it up to my door seeing that I was obviously there (windows & door open for airflow!). The one time I was down on ground level on that side of the house was during the Home Inspection before Escrow closed and I never saw it sitting there...but I wasn't looking too closely at the time (I was looking for the water main for my unit since I had no water and the home inspector was there). I'm so relieved that I don't have to go out and buy a new screen for that window! :)

    I did take MORE pictures of the place (and one small video) of the progress made so far. I'll get those uploaded to Flickr eventually, but at least for now I'm finally writing up this way overdue post about what's been going on! :)

    Ok. Must really finish this up so I can grab some dinner and get a *bit* of work accomplished tonight at the new place. :) I still have non-moving work to accomplish too (like Costume College prep stuff! ;-)

    So...Later Everyone!

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    Nom, nom, nom....Mother's Day cards are tastey!

    Nom, nom, nom....Mother's Day cards are tastey!
    Originally uploaded by marcailgaelyn

    So I *finally* got my couple of pics from Mother's Day up on Flickr. (About time too! :).

    To see the rest of the (small) set, you can go here: