Wednesday, January 31, 2007

we're finally home ...

... and tired, but after finishing carrying boxes i just set up the internet and wanted to test it, hence this small post.

we have to go back tomorrow to our temporary apartment to do a little cleaning (and fetch the few final plants that haven't yet made their way back), but other than that, we're moved back. well, except for the oodles of boxes stacked all over the place. i guess it while be a little while before we're fully settled in again, but it will be nice to sleep in our own bed again.

oh yeah, and the repairs are almost almost almost done. i really want to be able to call everything absolutely completely done, but realistically, by the time i deal with the final details with the contractor and the insurance company and the bank and all of the associated bureaucracy and paperwork, it could easily be another month before all of the hassles are totally behind me.

off to bed, have to get up early tomorrow morning.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Still sick, but heading home soon

Unfortunately, Lorien and I are still both a little bit sick, so the Tahoe plans got fully canceled. Hopefully next weekend. I suppose I'd be more upset if there were actually decent snow this season, but the continuous sun day after day doesn't seem to understand that this is supposed to be the rainy season.

So we spent most of this weekend sitting around watching movies and eating comfort food. Unfortunately we didn't grab quite enought chicken soup from the freezer before the floors were completed, so we had to actually go out and buy some yesterday. It was okay, but it doesn't have quite the same love as homemade. Tonite we went back to the house for some more, figuring the floors had cured enough that they were ready to be walked on.

Speaking of which, the floors are indeed done. To the first order everything is now done, although there are a couple of minor things left that hopefully ought to get taken care of tomorrow. So we still are on track to be back in the house sometime next week, hopefully next Monday at the absolute latest even if some things go wrong and get delayed.

I think we have finally solved the mystery of Dirk's skittishness heading outside. After being very hesitant to head outside for quite some time, last night I let him out briefly and he took off. I wasn't able to coax him back in before we went to bed, even with some food. So this morning I headed downstairs to see if he was by the door wanting to come in. Indeed, there was a cat by the back door, but it wasn't Dirk. When I went to open the door, the other cat took off to the neighbor's yard behind us. A short while later, I was able to summon Dirk's return. So I think this other cat has our backyard marked out as his territory, which makes Dirk a bit nervous. And when he does head out, I think he takes refuge in the yard of our neighbor to the side. Anyway, soon we'll be back home and he'll be able to roam familiar territory again, which ought to make him happy.

And us too.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

sniff sniff

In a mildly unfortunate turn of events, Lorien and I have both managed to get a wee bit sick at the same time, for the first time ever. Well, not the first time ever getting sick, just together, that is. Well, unless you count our dual ear infections while on honeymoon.

Anyway, it's not too bad, and we're still hoping to make it to Tahoe this weekend if we feel better, as Lorien is eager to try out her new snowboarding equipment.

Lorien would like me to blame our collective colds on the cold spell we've been having here, which indeed has made things so cold that Dirk doesn't even want to go outside. And the California citrus growers aren't very happy, as you may have heard. I'm a bit more skeptical, on the whole "being cold doesn't give you a cold logic", but I suppose it does make you more susceptible to catching one.

Luckily we did manage to sneak into the house before the kitchen floor got finished to grab some chicken soup from the freezer. We've settled upon a policy of whenever we make chicken soup, to make oodles and oodles of it so that we have enough leftovers that we always have it "on tap" in the freezer just for such emergencies. Mmmmmm good......

Speaking of the floors, the repairs are progressing on schedule. Actually, from taking a peek at the house this evening, it looks like they might be totally done, but I'm not sure.

After the floors, there's still a couple of other minor things to get done, and a bunch of cleanup (refinishing the floors causes dust to go everywhere, which is why we had to move out), and then moving back. But, if all goes well, all of that will be done by the end of next week, and then we'll be back and done.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Empty Nest

Wow, it really has been a while since I've shared anything here. Sorry about that. I am happy to report that, after a very long time, we are finally reaching the end of the repairs to our house. For any of you counting, it has now been 14 months (exactly, I just realized) since our fire. I never imagined that this ordeal could possibly last so long. I'd always heard people complain about contractors, but kind of assumed that they were exaggerating with how bad it could be. Now I know better.

Shortly after the new year, we got everything packed up to vacate the house for the final repairs (mostly painting and refinishing the floors). Our original plan was to stay in some corporate hotel kind of place (but with small kitchenettes) in Emeryville (which is where I work), but when we stopped by to visit the place, it was a bit of a disappointment. We briefly considered another place that was a bit nicer (and about twice the money), but then decided that maybe we should just look around for a place that would make us a bit happier. We managed to find on craigslist a short-term rental on a 1 BR half of a duplex that's very close by to our actual house (only about 4-5 blocks away). It would be a bit cramped for the long term, but it's fine for the 3-4 weeks that we expect to be here.

Thankfully we had some other company to do the main work of packing up and moving most of our stuff into storage. But moving still was a bit of a pain. Partly because this company (like every other company we've dealt with) turned out to be a bit incompetent, and didn't really fully do the job that they're getting paid to do, so we ended up having to do a bunch of stuff ourselves anyway. And they didn't really have any way to take care of the growing collection of indoor plants that we have accumulated, so we ended up moving all of them to the new place, which was a bit of a delicate operation.

Even for a very short journey, Dirk doesn't like to travel, and he was a bit skittish at first in the new digs. He spent a lot of the first few days hanging out under the bed, but he has grown a bit more accustomed to his new surroundings and is now more relaxed. The backyard here is beautiful, with a number of redwood trees, some of them quite mature, and Dirk likes the opportunity to wander outside. That is, when he's not intimidated by the bitter cold that we've been experiencing lately. (We've wrapped our small lime tree back at the house in christmas lights leftover from the wedding to try to protect it against the frost.)

The painting at the house was finished on Friday, and the refinishing of the floors is scheduled to start tomorrow morning. If all goes well, that will be done at the end of this coming week, and the following week will be devoted to cleaning up and moving back. And then we'll be done. I'm fully expecting things to go wrong, because they pretty much have given any opportunity to do so, but maybe just maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised and 2 weeks from now we'll be back in our house and can get on with our lives.

I do have tons more to say, trying to catch up on the past 4 months when I've been a bit negligent in my blogging, but both Lorien and I (she's working now) have to work tomorrow morning (corporate America doesn't seem to feel that the achievements of Dr. King are sufficiently worthy of a day off), so I should be turning in. More to come soon...