Friday, September 5, 2014

Another Hilarious Move for the Family

Here is how it is supposed to go on move day.  Load your junk, drive it to your new place, unload your junk, and crash into bed that night exhausted.  That is for regular people.  When the Harrell's move, it never follows the script.  Instead our moves are hilarious chaos.  True to form, our recent move had a slew of hilarious moments.  Here are the top six.

First, this sure wasn't a corporate move.  Since we were on the hook for the bill and were only moving one mile, we (I) decided to save the money do much of it ourselves.  With the help of our free child labor and our trusty red wagon, we schlepped as much could.  Nothing was properly wrapped or even boxed for that matter, but we managed to get much of our junk over the rental.  We only called in the professionals, when we couldn't fit it in the minivan anymore.

Second, we need to work on our scheduling.  Self-moving had left us exhausted before move day arrived.  Then, problems scheduling forced us to book our move the first week of school. Who does that?  Heck, we were at meet the teacher night until after 9pm the night before.  Then, Comcast, with all their crummy customer service, came in and made things worse.  They forced us to switch our cable/Internet on the exact move day or wait 3-weeks with no service.  Scott had to babysit the empty new house for 5 hours waiting for the cable guy, who of course arrived after the scheduled window.  Despite all of our scheduling mishaps, the first half of the move went fairly smooth.  In fact, so smooth, the movers were determined to finish in one long day instead of two short ones.

Third, add a little spice to your move day with a trip to the ER.  With hard-working movers quickly started emptying rooms as I ran around trying to scoop up everything small we had missed. Out went the dining table and in I came, right into the heavy glass light fixture over where the table used to be.  How did I forget that was there?  Crap, that really hurt.  Then, I kept bustling along until I saw the look of horror one of the movers faces.  I had split my forehead open on the light.  A quick glance in the mirror revealed a trip to the ER was in my future.  I called Scott and screamed, "[Expletive] Comcast has to finish up now, I'm bleeding down my face!"  He came home and off to the ER I went.  Lucky the cut looked worse than it was.  I was home in just 60 minutes (probably a World Record for the ER).  A little Dermabond and a bit of a black eye, but mostly good as new.

Fourth, the kingdom was lost for lack of a screw.  As two of the movers made a trip to get the last few things at the old house, two guys stayed at the new house to assemble the beds.  That is until they realized the screws to our bed were missing.  After 30 minutes of looking, it was time for a trip to Home Depot.  With the store closing just a few minutes, it was a mad dash to get to the store.  Luckily Scott was behind the wheel and he drives fast.  Just in time, he and the movers grabbed the screws as Home Depot locked the door behind them. We were going to have a place to rest our head that night.

Fifth, after 11 hours of moving the truck will give up.  Here we were in the home stretch.  As the 9 o'clock hour approach, the guys loaded up the last few things by flashlight.  All that was left was a one mile drive and a few things to empty, when the truck died right in the middle of the road.  Now instead of finishing the move, it was time to call in a big tow truck.  As the 11 o'clock hour arrived, off went the broken down truck along with the last of our stuff.  We were so tired, we really didn't care.  Luckily, those last few items were delivered the very next day in a different truck, by the same team men who had worked so very, very hard the day before.

Sixth, nothing says housewarming gift like a sewer back up.  Yup, the boxes were still being unpacked, when the sewer backed up.  Just like our Easter Sunday sewer backup, it was once again on a holiday weekend. Once again, the nasty stuff was bubbling up in places it shouldn't.  Once again, we were forced to tinkle in the lawn until the plumber could fix the problem.   Happily, once again, it is fixed.  There are some more plumbing repairs to be made next week, but we are back to flushing toilets and running water.

As I write this, I have repair people working simultaneously on the washing machine, the ant problem, and the furnace.  The good news is by the end of today, we hope to have a fully functioning and pest-free home. As an added bonus, this is a rental, so we don't have to pay the repair bill. That is good news.

That is life in MomZania.

Friday, August 29, 2014

School, Moving, & Demolition - Summer is Definitely Over

Labor Day is upon us and another summer is drawing to a close.  Though with our lives running on the express track recently, the lazy days of summer are just a speck that is barely visible for the back of our train.  The last two weeks are a whirlwind of activity.

First up is the start of another school year.  Mick is a big-boy now, hanging with his sisters at the elementary school.  He is technically in "transitional kindergarten." However, he is in the same classroom as the older kinders and doing the same lessons, so it most certainly feels like regular kindergartn.  Jaley is in 3rd grade and officially an "older elementary kid," which means access to biggest and most coveted playground.  Sarah is ruling the school in 5th grade. It is her last year before the big transition to middle school and our ONLY YEAR EVER with all of the Harrell kids at one school.  It is already two weeks into school, but we aren't fully in the swing yet.  I have faith by June we will have our school routine perfected.

Next up is the start of our home renovations.  It is time to say good-bye to the atomic ranch and say hello to new plumbing, new electrical, and just about new everything.  Our permits were signed and sealed on Wednesday.  More importantly a Porta-A-Potty arrived today.  Nothing solidifies the start of renovations in the Bay Area more than a Port-A-Potty in your front yard. Construction (or I should say demolition) starts Tuesday.  In just nine short (hoping for short) months, we should be moving back into our home.

Last up is another move.  Yes, we have moved yet again - making a total of 4 addresses in the past 14 months!!!  This was a move into a rental, so we can actually start all those renovations.  Initially, we planned to live through our renovations, then we actually started listening to the advice of those around us.  It turns out it is pretty hard to live without things like plumbing and electricity.  So here we are in another house, this one odder and older than the one we are planning to renovate.  The owners are actually planning to tear down the whole thing when we move out and build something ground-up - that is just how old it is.  But as they say, location, location, location.  And this rental, has an awesome location, right by the school.  Plus, if they are tearing it down, I know the kids and I can't really damage anything.

And since every Harrell move is full of hilarity, I promise to share the trials and tribulations of this last voyage in a post soon.  Until then, know if we look out of sorts it is because we have yet to unpack most of our belongings.

That is life in MomZania.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Good Bye Buford, We Will Miss You

Today, we had to say good-bye to our fabulous cat, Buford.  We will miss him dearly, because he was one cool cat!

While we hate to see him go, we are enjoying remembering a few of the things that made him more fun and feisty than the average feline.  Buford joined our family way back in 1998 as a pound rescue.  A quick bath surprisingly revealed a rather good-looking, long-haired, red, tabby instead of the matted, grey cat we adopted.  That was just the first of many surprises with Buford.

Always an indoor-outdoor cat, and always super friendly, he was known for visiting the neighbors and "inviting" himself into their homes.  While most folks were kind enough to indulge Buford in his friendly visits, it got him into trouble occasionally, too.  One time he ended up locked in a new home for sale after he followed prospective buyers inside at a showing.  Another time he spent a day and a half in our crawl space when unbeknownst to me he followed me under the house.

Unlike some cats, Buford wasn't much of a hunter, always more of a lover than a fighter.  After he had scratched his way through the back of several couches, we decided his front claws had to go.  On the morning we were taking him to the vet, he showed up with his first (and last) mouse.  I guess he knew it was his final chance at hunting and he seized the opportunity.  The next day he was declawed and continued to be an indoor-outdoor cat until this very day.  Despite the dire warnings of one vet, he never had a problem defending himself without his claws.  Feral cats and neighborhood dogs simply didn't bother him; I guess they knew it was Buford's house and left him alone.  Of course, the lack of claws didn't take away all his spunk.  He managed to feast on a quite a few beta fish fresh from the fish bowl - sorry Mimi and Auntie Em.

And then there were all the moves.  Cats are notoriously bad at moving and travel, but Buford always took it in stride.  He was shipped as cargo, not once, but twice.  And then, there was the infamous move flight last year.  He was trekked in a car on not one, but two three-week odysseys when Scott and I were in grad school and too broke to pay to board him.  He briefly lived with my in-laws three different times and ruled the roost despite the fact they already had two cats and one Golden Retriever (Thanks again, Mimi and Poppa).  All told Buford had 10 different address during his 17+ years, and amazingly never once got lost (something we can't say that about Epy).

Best of all about Buford was his personality.  He never scratched a kid, despite having his ears and tail pulled many, many times.  He was fiesty when he was young and matured into an old cat who just wanted to be held, pet, and loved.  He would sit next to me purring for hours as I studied endlessly in nursing school.  Even when he was sick these last few months, he was still a kitten at heart.  The kids even had him chasing a bit of string last week.  And today, he was purring in my arms right before I took him to the vet.  Like I said, he was one cool cat.  Bye Buford, we will miss you dearly.

That is life in MomZania.