Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nightmare on Pine Street

June 1 is the start of hurricane season in Florida, and we already got our first bad storm (which threatened to become a tropical storm before it wimped out and decided to be a little less menacing than was predicted – all bark, no bite). But last year on this date we faced a storm unlike any other we have ever seen – a storm that revolved around moving into our 80s money pit of a house. Of course we didn’t know it was a money pit at the time we moved in … no, we’ve spent the past year figuring all of that out … but we should have seen the events of June 1, 2010, as some sort of red flag as to what was about to come before us. Because, let me tell you, before the garbage disposal caught on fire, the septic tank blew up, the air conditioning busted and plagues of fleas, flying ants, wasps and giant spiders invaded the house there was far worse drama – the ordeal of moving into this house in the first place.

As you know, when shopping for our house we looked at quite a few that weren’t exactly gems. And while ours looked good to us at first glance, we were unable to attend our own home inspection due to the fact that we were overseas at the time – so my Dad attended in our place. By the time the results of the inspection trickled down to us we were several layers removed from the inspector himself but we got the gist – some minor problems and a couple of slightly bigger ones, and the homeowner would have to fix the latter before we moved in. And she did (based on the number of “small” problems we’ve had to deal with since moving in I shudder to think how bad it would have been had the “big” problems not been resolved). But then the closing came so fast and we had spent most of our time out of the country between when we learned the house was ours and when we signed the papers ... and a few small facts in our contract seemed to go unnoticed – like the fact that, even though we were closing on the house in May, we didn’t actually get to move in until June 1.

To be honest, we did need the extra days to pack up our old house, a task we had woefully neglected for far too long. But it did mean we had to do some frantic rescheduling of moving trucks and cable company visits, rethink our strategy of painting as much of the house as possible before moving in, and somehow figure out how to do a complete move during a work day, instead of over the long Memorial Day Weekend as originally planned. The fact that I had used up all my vacation time on our European vacation meant that I did, in fact, have to work on moving day – June 1. And, as if that’s not enough to figure out, I also had already signed on renters for the house we were moving out of – and those renters were moving in on June 1. Somehow we did it – hired a moving company to pack and haul away our belongings just in the knick on time as our renters pulled up in their own packed moving van. Me rushing to the house during my lunch hour to meet a cleaning company I hired to clean the place for us since, obviously, I didn’t have time to do that myself. And quickly rushing over to the new house to tell the moving company where to put our stuff … but that’s where it got really tricky. You see, the woman we bought the house from – the one who built all this extra time into our contract so she would have lots of time to move herself out – was still there … and so was her stuff.

Confused? So were we. But it seems that the moving company she had hired stood her up. They just didn’t show. And because it was a holiday weekend prior to this she had been unable to find another company to come help her. And so we did what any sympathetic new homeowners would do – we kicked her out. But we were kind enough not to throw her belongings out on the front lawn. Instead we moved them all into the garage and told her she could come back for them later (which, it turns out, was about 2 weeks time). With the chaos and confusion of moving so many belongings around in various directions in a limited timeframe it looked, and felt, like a hurricane of epic proportions had hit our home (not to mention that fact that my lunch “hour” was now completely blown).

And now it’s been a year since the nightmare on my street (which isn’t named “Elm” like in the horror series but is coincidentally named after another tree – Pine). And through every storm we’ve weathered since then (literal or metaphorical) I always think back to last June 1 and laugh. Because if we somehow pulled it off on that day, we can handle anything. So bring it on First Day Of Hurricane Season! You are no match for us!

p.s. If you’ve missed the stories of what’s gone down on Pine Street in this last year you’re missing out. Thankfully I’ve chronicled many of them right here on this blog – click the links to your right and enjoy the memories!

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