I will spare you some of the details, such as broken toilets (shipping toilets is a problem,) and $2,500 in electrical work. Why would you you put an outside outlet without GFI and the weather proof cover? Why? Why would you do this 8 times? So here is an abbreviated version.
In the end, we decided with concrete floors, which we were told would look like natural stone tiles. We chose this, because that’s what was originally in the house and because all of the tile installers are booked up due to Houston post-hurricane recovery.
So we had two points of contact on the floors: D the Owner and J the Foreman. Originally we were supposed to have moved in on the 18th, the date which D swore up and down that we would make. We set everything up. We packed everything. We left ourselves just enough stuff to survive. The kitchen was down to one pot and two pans. Gordon had two pairs of sweatpants and four T-shirts. On 16th, I texted D to check on the floors. I didn’t get a response, so I sent Kid 2, who had already moved in, to check on the floor. She sent me a picture. Feet and feet of grey bare concrete. Nothing is done. No pattern, no color, nothing.
I told her to go find J. She found him, called me back, and reported that J and D are fighting on the phone.
Me, via text: D, the floors are not done. We are moving in two days. We are not upset, but we need a realistic move in date.
D, after a long pause: Twenty first?
Me: Let’s make it twenty second.
This is the further we can push the move, because Christmas is coming and we have to have some time to unpack, and there is no way to have Christmas in the old house, because everything is in the fort of boxes in the garage.
It must be said that my nerves are really frayed at this point. Christmas is a big deal in our house. Not so much the gifts, although, the gifts also, but the dinner, the family thing, the tree. My birthday is on New Year, and for me the tree is everything. Since I was a kid, I loved the whole Christmas thing. (It was New Year Celebration in USSR, because we weren’t big on religion, but it was basically Christmas.) Now the Christmas is in limbo. There is no tree. There is no anything. We are doing very abbreviated gift giving: a few small items, but each of the girls is getting one large present. Kid 1 requested a Nintendo Switch with 2 games and Kid 2 asked for Michael Kors purse. The gifts are bought. Most of them are wrapped. The Switch was purchased weeks ago and is sitting in our closet. But there is no floor in the new house and everything is hanging by that string.
Gordon calls the moving company and they are apologetic but they can’t move the date. The move has to be cancelled. We freak out a little bit, call around, and find a different mover. An estimator comes out, gives us a quote, and we shake on it. We go down to the house, meet with Spectrum tech again – it took four visits to get internet turned on, meet with electrician, bribe J’s crew with a Christmas bonus, and discover that Haverty’s delivered the furniture but didn’t put it together. We had ordered two tables, one for the kitchen and the other for the dining room, because our old table is beat up and too big for the kitchen, but too small for the dining room. We call Haverty’s, they apologize and set a new appointment for the 22nd between 3:30 pm and 4:30 pm.
Then we drive back up to go to Costco, because we are having the traditional family dinner of prime rib and lobster tails, which we do exactly once a year. The kids and boyfriends are coming. Their friends are coming. The boyfriend parents were invited but cancelled. So we get a box of lobster tails, sparkling cider, and prime rib. We also stop by Petsmart and buy disposable litter trays, new dog and cat bowls, litter, and other pet necessities.
It’s moving day. We get up at 6:00 am. At 7:00 am the movers show up, look at our stuff – by the way, their guy had done a walk through – and they are like, we’re going to need a bigger boat, so they go to get a second truck. They start loading. They load until 2:00 pm. At 2:00 pm, we leave and go to the house, because the Spectrum dude is coming and Haverty’s installers are going to be there to to put together the tables. We tell the movers to take everything.
So we load the four dogs into the car and the four cats. The cats are in cardboard Petsmart carriers, because we only have less than an hour and a half to go, and space in the car is tight. Ten minutes into the drive, Oliver opens his carrier and makes a break for it. For about fifteen minutes he rides on top of Batty’s carrier chilling and looking outside the window. We are on the toll road, going 80 miles per hour. I look over and Oliver has gathered himself for a leap aiming at his favorite person’s – Gordon’s – head. He jumps and I snatch him out of the air with my super-human reflexes and stuff him back into the carrier, and then hold it closed. Thirty minutes later, he sticks his paw through the air hole, hooks my left hand and sinks the claws in. I yell. He lets go and sits the rest of the time in the carrier hyperventilating.
We get to the house. We walk in and D and J are waiting for us. Here is the thing: they made a great pattern on the floor. The pattern is awesome. But then they slabbed texture on it to make ti look like natural stone. The texture is NOT awesome. For me the floor is about a B-. It’s not bad, it’s just not what I would’ve preferred, but it’s definitely better than it was. Some rugs, and we are good.
Gordon walks in.
His eyes do that cold thing, and suddenly Sgt. Gordon makes an appearance. For those of you who have met my husband, you have never seen Sgt. Gordon. It’s a very rare sight these days. It was a rare sight while he was in the military as well, although I’ve seen him occasionally. Once a soldier made an inappropriate comment to me, and my husband looked at him and then asked him a question, and the soldier backed all the way across the motorpool into the cage. But nowadays, Gordon is a gentleman of leisure, as he likes to refer to himself. So the contractors are not expecting Sgt. Gordon, and both D and J get that deer in the headlights look. Gordon is not happy with the floor. He starts asking pointed questions. He doesn’t like the answers he is getting. In the end, I step in and pay them, and they escape, no doubt very relieved.
I could’ve made a bigger deal about all of this, but the floor is of solid quality, they worked hard, and cosmetic alterations can be made later.
The Haverty’s guys put the furniture together and it looks lovely. They leave.
We wait for the movers.
Finally around 6:00pm Gordon calls. They stopped for dinner. We had ordered pizza for them, but no big.
The movers arrive at 6:30pm. And then they moves us in. Slowly.
By 1:00 am, it is evident that the adjustable bed will never function right again, as we tell them to just put the mattress on it and get out. They finally do. We fall on our faces and pass out.
The next morning, we frantically unpack. The cats are not down with the change. They are following us around the house, screaming. Del the doberman has a mental break down and carries a piece of meat we gave her as a treat in her mouth for two hours while making circles.
We have six people coming. I’m patting myself on the back for all of the preliminary shopping, when Kid 1 calls. Her boyfriend’s parents are coming. The more the merrier. I take the box of lobster tails out of the freezer to thaw in the fridge, and notice on the side of it it says eight. Eight lobsters. Ten people. Crap.
While I try to digest this sudden development, Gordon comes into the kitchen, looking green. He can’t find the Switch.
We drop everything and start frantically tearing apart the boxes in the garage. We go through all of the medium boxes. Kid 1’s gift vanished.
Kid 1 arrives with two friends, and they attack the kitchen with swifters and cabinet liners. Everything is super dusty from the floors being done. All I can think about is that there won’t be a gift for her under the tree. We don’t even have a tree, but there won’t be a gift there. Gordon and I confer and agree that the gift was probably left at the old house somehow. After the kids leave, we jump into the car, drive all the way to the old house, stop at Costco, buy second box of lobsters, and get to the house. We turn it upside down. It’s basically empty, except the movers inexplicably left my big recliner. Why? No idea.
No Switch. We are so screwed.
We own up to Kid 1, who takes the news with unexpected maturity. She doesn’t need a gift, she is an adult anyway, and most importantly we are all going to be together on Christmas. I get off the phone and Gordon and I open every single box in the garage and recheck them.
Kid 2 and her boyfriend are dispatched to obtain the tree by any means necessary. Kid 2 assures me that it will be okay because she bought Kid 1 a pair of $70 Kendra Scott earrings. I confirm that earrings arrived. For once, I know exactly where they are. They are on top of the big grey plastic tub in the master bedroom.
Kid 2 arrives with a fake tree. They scored a deal on it and it’s prelit. We put it together and it’s gorgeous. I light the wax melting thing with Christmas tree scent and decide that the holiday might not turn out badly after all.
Everyone comes for dinner. We have:
- prime rib
- lobster tails – by the way, I opened the box that said 8 and there were 12 in there, but at this point I don’t care
- crescent rolls
- tempura shrimp
- mashed potatoes
- marinated mushrooms
Everything needs to be done in the last 45 minutes so it’s not cold. I am scrambling. Finally we serve dinner. It is lovely. The prime rib is medium rare, the lobsters are delicious, everything is good.
Midway through it, Kid 2 asks me to go get Kid 1’s earrings, because everyone is going to open a gift on Christmas Eve. I go.
The earrings are missing.
It’s a tiny green bag. It’s NOT THERE. I saw it, I held it in my hands, I put it on the tub and it is NOT THERE. The only place it can be is the garage, so Gordon and I excuse ourselves and run in there, to break down boxes. Kid 2 panics and dumpster dives to see if it was thrown away.
We do not find it.
Kid 1’s boyfriend’s parents thank us for the lovely dinner and leave.
Kid 2 is crying quietly off by herself. Kid 1 is assuring us that she doesn’t need gifts.
Christmas is ruined.
Gordon steps in to fix things, because that’s what he does, and reorders everything.
It’s Christmas. Kid 1 calls and asks quietly if there are any gifts at all under the tree for her. I say yes. There are at least two. I know what one is – a cute kitty bowl. I don’t know what the heck the other one is and my Doll 10 cosmetics I bought for her are stuck at a mail hub and weren’t delivered. I am just so done by this point. Kid 1 perks up a little and says she is en route.
Kid 2 opens her big gift. It’s the purse she wanted. She hugs the purse. At least one kid is happy.
Gordon is in the garage, looking through boxes and he finds the earrings. They got somehow caught in wrapping paper. Everybody does a happy dance. Kid 1 arrives, opens her earrings, and loves them. Kid 1 is happy. Kid 2 is happy. I am beginning to breathe a little bit.
I go to the kitchen to throw together left overs for lunch. Kid 1 opens the next present and then she says, “Mom! the Switch is right here!”
We had put the Switch and the games in the box, wrapped it in the old house, and forgot we did it. We had brought it over and put it under the tree, not realizing what it was. It was there the entire time.
Roughly a hundred things had gone right and wrong. Had to call Spectrum again, but yay, we finally have working phone service. Had to call a septic dude. He will be over today “sometime.”
The animals have calmed down.
We have found the HEB, our landmark Texas grocery store. It’s small, but it will work. The electrical work on the house is two thirds done. But we still have no desks for our office and our work computers are down, so we have no MS Word, no Photoshop, and no anything. If we manage to get somewhere today with buying desks and setting everything up, Innkeeper will be posted on Friday. If not, it will be after New Year’s.