Saturday, March 3, 2012


Yes, we raced the winter storm home.

We won.

It started raining shortly after we left Bethany, MO. The Super 8 Motel was nice, having two comfortable beds and a lounge chair. I enjoyed sitting back to read with my feet up and managed to finish the 3rd and last of the "Girl Who..." series. Steve hit the bed, intending to use the wi-fi later, but woke when I did the next morning instead. Breakfast was a choice of carbs, not even the hard boiled eggs of the last Super 8 we stayed in in Soccoro, New Mexico. It was further spoiled by the TV blaring all the bad weather news for where everybody was heading. It seems you had your choice that day: nasty snow/ice combinations or possible tornadoes. Time to hit the road.

We were in rain, as it turned out, the whole rest of the day. It tried to turn over to hard stuff a few times, iced the walkway of a rest stop before we used it, but we just kept pushing and made it to Forest Lake before we really saw anything white. Roads turned out to be fine the whole way, though we mostly stayed behind a semi with enough tires to kick up anything off the road before we had to travel on it.

1900 miles in three days. Uff da! I gave myself the next day off to recover. As it turned out, that was the day it really snowed anyway, more where we live than down in the metro. I mostly sat back and started catching up on recorded TV shows on the DVR box - over three weeks of them since I wasn't watching that much before we left, busy preparing for the wedding and the trip. Two of my favorites had their season finales (so far) that I've seen. Steve and I had a "Wheel of Fortune" marathon - made easier by skipping everything but the actual puzzles, leaving about 12 minutes of actual viewing time per episode. Mostly he's been in his room catching up on his shows, stuff I'll watch on occasion when there's nothing in the whole world better to do for a while, including sleep.

I've had two days back at work now. Last night was mostly spent driving home from Des Moines - something all too familiar, but I wasn't about to turn down the run to Des Moines. I'm working on playing catch-up on the bank account, since there's no such thing as a paid vacation when you are an IC working on commissions. I've spent time unpacking - to a point, hope to finish this weekend - figuring finances, going through emails that I've missed out on while on the road. Then there's the in-head time, spent in high quantities back in Arizona. Let's see, we'll do this with this room, change that one like so, dig out those and replant with.... And so it goes.

For the first time this winter there's enough snow on the ground up here to cover the brown grass. The roof melt is creating its usual icy patch right at the entryway, and we're finally starting to dig into the bag of ice-melt. The ice scraper has been getting a workout on the windshield and car windows. We now know the house across the street has been foreclosed on because there's a plow drift blocking their driveway - plus the little sign on the door, of course.

I can't help but wonder if this is - hopefully - the last such time we'll see this. Next week is supposed to bring 50's and melt all this, and after that, who knows? It still serves as a reminder of why we're turning into snowbirds. Memories surface of bringing the family back from 4 years in Georgia just in time for the winter of '81 with it's 16" snowfalls and cold temperatures, the constant prompter for the question, "We came back for... this?"

Meanwhile there's cleaning to do, and financing for the new home to gather. Yesterday I discovered what - yes, I know - I should have known, namely the penalty for early cracking of some of my different CDs. It changed my plans for which to cash in. For example, one will cost me a little over $100 on a CD worth about double of one that from a different bank but with a similar interest rate will cost $600. Guess which one I'm cashing in? This next week that's my first priority, since by the end of the week the purchase price plus add-ons minus deposit will need to be wired to the title company. I think the paperwork is all signed. I've gotten insurance on it - about a third of costs here. Taxes turn out to be just over a fifth of taxes on the house here, and due, not May and October, but October and March.

Then there's income taxes to finish, and lists to start actually committing to paper. In splitting up possessions between two houses, what to we move? What do we keep here? What needs to be bought, and when? There'll be more money available next March, so whatever can be postponed should be. That includes as many furniture purchases as possible, so the default choice for furniture is move it down there, replace as needed when we return here next spring. However, some things can be postponed long enough for us to shop estate sales down there and be picked up piecemeal. Then again, the good transportation will be the moving truck, and that's when there'll be helpers.

But there'll be moving costs: the vehicles, gas, motel rooms, meals on the road, and that's after actual packing materials. Who's going to help and how do we figure that out for both there and here, taking into consideration various work schedules?

Repairs, cleaning and painting will be needed in the new house, and which will wait and which won't? For example, one toilet leaks around the floor seal: this would be a perfect time to replace it with one with a higher seat so our knees won't need to be strained so much during use. No sense paying a plumber twice, much as I sympathize for their need for employment. Some exterior doors don't meet code and should be replaced. This is not such a big deal while the house sits empty, or while we're living in it, but should be tended to before we leave next spring, leaving possessions behind. Carpeting needs to be removed during the moving-in process, but the new floor coverings can be dealt with next spring or even the following fall: concrete and throw rugs is livable for a while.

Between the carpeting and the screens which need to be removed from the screen porch, converting it back to a covered patio, a dumpster will need to be procured while we're just moving in. It'll also hold some nasty cactus we're going to have pulled from the back yard as a hazard to both dogs and humans, in addition to being malformed and ugly. Conveniently, the screen panels in their frames will make great carrying slabs for hauling the stuff out to the front yard and tossing it into the dumpster, and we're already bringing down the long-handled gardening tools. That's on the mental list too.

Time to start writing it all down.

Maybe after breakfast.

And some more TV.


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