Attack of the Packing Monster


Maybe I haven’t done as much tonight as I could have, but at least some stuff has been accomplished. I’m actually pretty far along in the packing process, but there does still seem like there’s a lot to do. So tonight I took down light fixtures, packed up pet supplies, threw out a ton of old papers, mail and receipts and generally just putzed around the house. I half-watched some of Dancing With the Stars (I liked Mya’s dance best from what I saw) and the usual Monday night downer-fest cocktail of Intervention followed by a chaser of Hoarders as I did stuff.

I had to laugh out loud at the irony of standing in my pulled-apart kitchen, boxing things up, as Hoarders played out in the living room. I had a moment of anxiety when I wondered if I had too much crap, myself. Was I on my way to being a Hoarder, too? Lately, with my house looking the way it does, I really could be mistaken for a hoarder if the wrong person came by on the wrong day. Hell, I hate looking at the state things are in around here so much I just want to ignore it and watch TV or play on the computer or something. And I have to live in it. But, of course, I know things just seem really messy now because of the packing-thing. It doesn’t mean I have enjoyed it, though. I like having a clean house that skews more to the neat-side.

I didn’t write about it yet, but this morning I had a meeting over at the new house with the FHA inspector and the contractor. It was supposed to be the final inspection from the FHA, where they take photos of all the work done and sign off that all the things I am paying for have actually been accomplished. UNFORTUNATELY…

…all the things I am paying for have NOT been accomplished yet. The inspector estimated that the house was about 85% complete, and we need it to be at 100% by WEDNESDAY.

The thing is this: the contractor had 60 days from the day I closed on my house to get the repairs completed. That 60 day period is up on Wednesday. The contractor (John) who was at the house today with us was NOT the same pain in the ass, lazy guy I have been dealing with (Dan)… he’s Dan’s boss, from the sound of it. And John wasn’t very happy to take his first look at the work being done and see that at this point, it wasn’t finished. John explained that his company has completed jobs where an entire house was gutted and renovated in four weeks’ time, and he didn’t like the fact that my relatively-small job was still sitting there unfinished two days before the end date. I was so happy when John got on the phone and began cracking the whip with Dan and some other people he was dialing… I like this guy a lot right now. I believe him when he said to me, “We WILL get this all done for you before you move in, I promise. Even if it means I have to come out here myself and do it, it will be done.” He just had that air of authority that set my mind at ease. So different than Dan’s slackjawed staring and sighing.

There is one thing that I do have to do, though, by the final inspection: I need to tear down the old, rotting pergola over the back patio. The FHA requires that it be gone so I can’t wait anymore– I have to get rid of it ASAP. I had agreed to do it myself two months ago, because the cost of the contractor tearing it down wasn’t worth it– with that money, I ended up getting some more sheetrock work done inside. See, I was stalling on this one on purpose. I wanted to get my tax credit money back from the government and pay someone to build a proper covered porch in place of the pergola. If I left it standing until the day we began work on the new covered porch, I could get away with not getting a building permit because we would technically be “repairing the existing structure.” (This was what my friend John told me, and I have no reason to doubt him at all. He does this stuff for a living.)

But, sadly, there’s no sign of the tax check yet, so I can’t afford to have anyone build anything right now. I have run out of time, so the pergola has to disappear now, like it or not. And if it means I need to go to the hassle of doing the permit, then so be it. It’s probably smarter to keep everything on the up-and-up, anyhow.

I get to do some demolition work now! Yeah, I am planning to try to do this myself. With the help of my sister, that is. I need a ‘spotter’ to be there to hold up any big pieces of wood that I’m removing from the edge of the roof. It’s not going to be hard work, because the wood is already falling apart and it’s not built very well in the first place. We just need to remove some wood screws and then smash the thing up once it’s down, so that the contractor’s crew can haul away the debris at the end of the work period. Hence, the rush to get it torn down ASAP. I don’t want to miss the dumpster and then be stuck trying to get my friends to haul it away instead. I’m paying $600 for “debris removal” anyway, so why not make that fee count for all it’s worth, right?

Other than this stuff, I am so excited to move in. I’m really relieved that I feel this way. It’s been so long coming, and so many long months of stress and hassle, that it has often seemed like I would NEVER reach this point. I kind of inadvertently trained myself to not get too excited, too giddy about any of it. But now that the work is being done, and now today I have confirmed the moving company I’ll be using for Saturday (and I negotiated down the moving cost from $412 to $260, woo hoo! I am getting really good at talking these people down for stuff, after all of this) and everything is stacked around my house in Sharpie-marked boxes– IT FEELS REAL.

I have my OWN HOUSE.

Everything in it is WHAT I CHOSE TO PUT THERE. It’s in my style from the get-go and I am creating a home that will be uniquely mine.

That is pretty damn cool, when you think about it! I’ve come a long way from the way my life used to be when I was married. I’d never have had this freedom, this kind of opportunity, with a guy like him.  He needed to control everything, and his ideas were the ones we always had to end up going with. I compromised on a daily basis on everything from what temperature to set the thermostat at to how we paid off HIS mortgage. Compromised? Wrong word, actually… I gave in to what he wanted. Pretty much every time. It sucked so much. Sometimes I look back and realize in retrospect just how bad it really was. I’m kind of impressed that I stuck it out as long as I did, given the way I came to feel about myself, my life’s path, my place in the marriage, my worth as a human being, etc. When you constantly feel like your ideas, opinions, wants and NEEDS are crap, it tends to wear a person down to the bone.

But now?!

HOLY CRAP! Life is absolutely beautiful, in comparison!! Sure, I am stressed and dealing with the stupid depression thing, but I can recognize all of that for what it is. And I can see that my actual, daily reality is so much healthier, rewarding and fun than quite possibly any other time in my life so far. It’s because I know what I came from, what I had to get past and learn from, and I can appreciate the little things in a way I didn’t, before. Little things like knowing I can choose to put switchplates on my outlets that I have decorated myself, rather than having them all be plain, store-bought white plates, and no one will mock my decision (or decorations) or flat-out refuse to let me do it… that’s so cool! Until you’ve had someone dictating your life down to the smallest detail, you have no clue how fan-fuckin’-tastic it is to be free to do whatever you want to, I swear. I know that before I met him, I didn’t appreciate it the same way I do now.

I made two…OK, three…HUGE decisions in the past year that I will never, ever, EVER regret for as long as I live. They are:

1) Deciding that I wasn’t going to stay in that marriage anymore, and meaning it.

2) Deciding to adopt the little black Sheltie who was staring at me at the collie adoption event that one day in August.

3) Deciding to trust my gut instincts to act all ‘spur of the moment’ and bring that little orange kitten home to complete our family, even though I’d never had any real intention of owning a cat.

These three things bring me so much happiness!! Even on the crappiest of days.

(I’d say there are 4 things, and add the decision to buy this house, but time will have to tell on that one after I actually move in. Just to be on the safe side.)

Well, I have wasted enough time now that I feel it’s OK to “call it a night”, so to speak, and just get ready for bed. I just don’t feel like packing anymore tonight. I still have some time, and I know somehow or other, it will all get done. It always does. (Wow… I just counted, and this will be my TENTH move in the time I have lived in Arizona! No kidding. I’ve only lived here 11 years. So how the hell is this crazy number of moves possible?! No idea– all I do know is that they did happen. And that’s exactly why I am so sick and tired of packing and unpacking my shit!)


3 responses »

  1. I am very very proud of you, sister. You have had a really hard year but the fact that you haven’t let it beat you down or thrown yourself a pity party, I think that’s very impressive. There’s something to be said for making a decision and sticking to it, no matter how hard that road may be. And it’s all about to pay off, finally!! YAY!
    I’m actually looking forward to demolishing your back porch tonight. I got lots of aggression to let out!!
    Love you! Now to head to the italian market to barter for some wicker furniture. We are NOT paying full price, dude.

  2. This post just made me all kinds of happy. Because YOU sound happy and I love it! You have become the person you wanted to be all those years. Congratulations!!

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