Sunday, July 29, 2012

Walkin' The Mile...

Actually we walked about 4 miles today, but it seemed like so much more than that!  We have had a wonderful relaxing day and for a change, we are not running ourselves ragged like we do on most vacations.  We are here in Washington, D.C./Arlington, VA for the inurnment (i.e. placing an urn in a niche at a cemetery) of Cowboy's grandmother who passed away in March.  She is being inurned at Arlington National Cemetery.  Tomorrow is the service.  Today, we met with his birth mother, uncles and their spouses at the National Museum of the American Indian after navigating the DC Metro.  That is impressive in and of itself.  I am fascinated with all things history, as is Quin, so we spent a lot of time at the American Indian museum and next door at the National Air and Space Museum.  We could walk for days and not have time to see it all, so we pretty much wandered around and visited with the family as we went.  We had a great time over lunch just catching up with everyone.

Stromberg Men

Eventually each couple went their own way for an afternoon of downtime, and later meeting up for dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery.  

Quin, Ingrid, Leif

Tomorrow the cousins join us for the service at the cemetery.  We are hoping to go a couple hours early to visit the JFK/RFK memorials, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the other highlights of this amazing place.  I know it will be a somber day.  It is going to be tough for everyone to say good bye to Wanda.  We only knew her for a few years, but she was certainly a special woman that we will never forget.  Later in the day we will have dinner with the close to 40 family members attending and in the evening will get a private tour of the  Eisenhower Executive Office Building (formerly the State, War, & Navy Building).  It now houses the ceremonial office of the Vice President, among other executives.  Quin's ancestor, Richard von Ezdorf was the primary interior designer.  I believe that throughout the years a lot of his work has been painted over, changed, etc. but was reclaimed not too long ago.  Looking forward to the family history lesson tomorrow!

Now our dogs are tired and I am hoping to get in a few minutes or so of reading time and to catch up with Olympic happenings.  We'll actually get to sleep in a bit and for that I will be very grateful.  We have made it through another homeless day, and another day closer to our new home.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Here's The Thing About Adventures...

Here's the thing about adventures....nothing is really planned and when you plan something, you don't expect that it goes the way you think it will.  And true to form, most of what we had planned this week....our first week of "The Adventure"...didn't go quite as we expected.  And with a healthy attitude of letting it all roll as it comes, we had very few meltdowns.  OK...*I* had very few meltdowns...The Cowboy never has a meltdown.  

We officially moved our bodies out of the house on Monday night, staying with dear, dear friends.  (Thank You, Zs!)  We spent our evenings saying good bye to as many as we could, and packed late into the night.  We had packers/movers at the house early in the week and by Wednesday afternoon....all of our worldly possessions, minus what we could pack into our little cars, were in storage.  We had a painter/handy guy patch/paint the walls where there were nail holes left behind.  Let me tell you, it pays to label paint cans and to keep a list of the colors you use throughout your home.  It saved us in many cases, but where it didn't...well...let's just say, it can be difficult to match a color, especially if you do something like a denim look on the walls.  You just can't successfully patch holes on a wall that has had some specialty painting technique.  As cool as it once looked....I don't think I'll be doing that again..ever.  Because of this, the painter took a lot longer than he should have.  Our fault, really, not his....he did a great job matching color/technique...but it looks somewhat patched...I cringe thinking of it.  

This doesn't looks so bad in person...but it is far from perfect.
I hope the new owners decide to strategically place pictures on this wall or just paint over it.
But I think this is one of the features they liked about the house, as they are renting it to 
college age guys.

The cleaners were there a lot longer than we expected, but it worked out okay and the house was cleaner than it was the day we moved in.  The carpet cleaners were late getting there making the Cowboy late for work and I had to take off to track them down, but again, we rolled with the punches and the carpet looked great.  Friday night, we shared a bottle of wine and said goodbye to our house that we made a home that became a house again this week...and now we look forward to our next home.

The last time my car will be parked in front of this house.  This is the first home we owned together.

Another unexpected thing that came up was when some jack hammer knocked off our mailbox...luckily our next door neighbors happen to be the best darn neighbors ever.  Since this happened after all our worldly possessions were out of our house and packed away in storage....we had no tools to fix the mailbox.  But our wonderful neighbor, who has done so much for us, came to our rescue one more time.  

Thanks, you jack hammer!  We appreciate it!

Harleigh, our bulimic cat, has been coping better than we expected.  I thought she'd be traumatized....

Proof that Harleigh can sleep anywhere.  She is unfazed!

Notice the tags/collar she is wearing.  She has never had a collar...but we had her chipped and got her a collar, on the off chance that she decides to venture out without our notice during this ordeal.  Cowboy wanted her to have a collar with a bell...she got a bell.  Really?  Mr. Manly wanted the cat to have a tinkle bell around her neck.  Are you kidding me?  He wasn' we bought it for her.  She hated it.  It scared the crap out of her every time she moved.  She would run through the house trying to get away from herself, nearly ramming herself into walls at speeds she hasn't moved to since she was a kitten.  She hid from us under the bed, scared of what fresh hell we'd put her through next.  We had to squirt her with water before she would come out.  She eventually got over it and it has helped us find her in interesting hiding spots in our friends house now.  Who knew that man was so smart?  (okay, I did, that's why I married him!)  Now she just scratches her neck constantly.  If you didn't know better, you'd think she had fleas or something.  No fleas...just a bell...around her neck...

We are now on a week of vacation, more or less.  Quin's grandmother passed away in March, at the beginning of this whole moving ordeal.  Now as it's coming to a close (more or less), we will officially say goodbye to Wanda, as she is being inurned at Arlington National Cemetery this week.  Our trip out here to DC went well, and we ran into Quin's Uncle and his wife who were on the second flight of our trip.  We had an enjoyable evening catching up with them over dinner and will see more family tomorrow for a bit of sightseeing together.  There were some initial plans for dinner, but nothing was once again, we rolled with the changes and continued with the adventure.  

Now we are relaxing in our hotel...which is our home for the next few days.  I think this is the first time I have been able to sit down and not be continuously thinking of something that had to be done before we were officially homeless.  I enjoyed the day of travel, because it was an excuse to put on my noise-cancelling headphones (Dear God, thank you for Sony and their wonderful noise cancelling headphones.  It makes flying enjoyable!) and read.  Hours upon hours to read and escape.  And with that...I think it is time to escape again.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

One Last Night

One last night in this house we've made a home.  One last night to sleep in my own comfy bed for many, many weeks.  One last night to kick my sandals off and be relaxed in my home in Colorado.  One last night to breath in the mountain air from the deck built by my husband (and our friend).  One last night of comfort for Harleigh....our traumatized bulimic cat that truly runs this house.  One last night of memories to be made in this house that we've made a home.

Tomorrow begins an adventure that will last a couple of months.  One last day for the packers, then everything moves to storage.  One last week to say goodbye to our family and friends (friends are the family you get to pick).  I appreciate our dear friends who will let us crash at their place this week as our home becomes a house, that will one day be someone else's home.  I apologize in advance to our dear friends who will let us crash at their place this week for any inconvenience we may cause them.  We truly appreciate them, more than they will know.

One last night.....

Texas, here we come!

~ Teri

Monday, July 16, 2012

Goofy Golf and Sugar Comas

We took a break from packing and organizing things (no we didn't....because in our heads...we're still organizing, making mental notes, etc) to have dinner with friends on Saturday night and family on Sunday night.

I also took my car in to get an oil change and $900 later (and lots of labor, parts for a dozen different things) is in great shape for a road trip to San Antonio...except maybe the tires.  They could any time....another mental note to decide to chance it or drop another $400+ for new tires.  Mechanics say they're fine for the trip - but just telling me that one is about to wear out means I will not forget that and drive for 15 1/2+ hours with a clenched stomach wondering when the tire will go.  It will A) blow out 45 mins outside of town in the outer realm of hell away from any semblance of cell coverage while my BFF and Princess Harleigh shoots me looks in the 98 degree weather of the New Mexican desert that would turn us all into ice, or B) not give me one problem, but will have my stomach in such knots  the whole way there in fear of what ultimately won't happen, that I'll need the jaws of life to pull me out of the car because I'll be in a permanently rigid state that no human could get me out of.  New addition to the ever growing list of things to be done before I leave...consider new tires.

I have officially set up mail forwarding to take affect next week, leaving me cold and clammy over the thought that it may be a few weeks before I can get my weekly copy of Soap Opera Digest.  Since I will likely miss some episodes of Days Of Our Lives, I will have to depend on SOD to keep me up to date on the happenings in Salem USA.  God forbid I miss Stefano's return...because you know he never really dies....

So this weekend we had our last dinner club with two great couples that I will sorely miss.  I'm trying to figure out a way to continue it by forcing them to come to San Antonio every month...I'm sure they won't mind the month payment to American Airlines.  The theme of the night was Cuban and we had an awesome dinner then went out into a field behind our host/hostess' house in Black Forest to play Goofy Golf.

Appetizers:  Marinated Peel and Eat Shrimp/Bruschetta
Dinner:  Cuban Lime Chicken, Saffron Rice, Black Beans, Potatoes
Dessert:  S'More bars...not so Cuban but was perfect after a night of Goofy Golf

Goofy Golf:  Using putters, we aim for an agreed upon stake in the yard...
First one to hit the stake determines the next stake aimed at...
You can steal/trade with someone else's ball 2ce per round.  Kinda like a white elephant gift exchange...with golf balls.
Much cheating ensues...except for me...I NEVER cheat...ok once...ok a few times...always....

The Cowboy and I were in charge of dessert.  Which means, I planned and made the dessert.  Cowboy drove me to the store to get the ingredients...and watched me make it.  I made S'more bars...because you can never have enough S'mores and it is my birthday month (my damn birthday).  I got the recipe off of a website I found on Pinterest and true to fashion...I didn't follow it.  I used it as a guide.  Mine came out gooey-er and kinda like a molten lava mess...because we didn't let them finish cooling...because they were S'mores..who wants to wait for that chocolate-y goodness to cool?

I took pre-made sugar cookie dough and mixed with graham cracker crumbs.
Then I put half of the mixture in the bottom of a foil pan.  I imagine a wider pan is better than the small one I used - would be more bar like and less like a thick pan of goo (but it's yummy goo).  But I didn't want to make too much for just 6 of us, even though I used the same amount of ingredients.  (That's the way I do math...I never said I was good at math)

Then layer with Hershey's chocolate.  No other will do!

Then comes the marshmallow creme.  By accident I found that if you punch a hole in the paper cover on the jar, in altitude, the stuff oozes out of the jar giving you a bit of a pour effect that keeps it from being messy, at least initially.....

Then it gets messy, and sticky...but it wasn't that bad.  Run your knife under very hot water before you dig into the jar....then it glides on....
Put the other half of the cookie mixture on top.  Rolling it out like pie crust will let you put it on easy.  I don't do easy, I do I added it on top of the marshmallow cream in sections and patted it all down.
This is what it looks like when it's is a gooey mess of choco-mallow-graham loveliness with a side of homemade vanilla ice cream.  When the rest of it sliced like a bar dessert...and was equally as yummy...

We took the left overs to my in-laws for dinner Sunday night.  I didn't bring any was gone.  It was good.  Now I'm trying to recover from the sugar coma that was this weekend.  I'll recover while the movers pack our house and the drywall guy starts covering the nail holes in the wall and any other little maintenance things that need to be finished up before we leave.  And I'll work....must work to pay for those tires...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Six Degrees of Separation or How Bizarre is That?

We had some unexpected company today.  Not totally unexpected....but pretty close.  The buyers of our house stopped by unannounced.  They had scheduled with our Realtor to come by to see how to work the controls on the "as is" hot tub, then we got a call back that they had to cancel.  Apparently they were freed up after all, but couldn't get a hold of our they just stopped on by.  Luckily it was late enough and we both had showers and coffee...however, the house was a mess because...we are moving and packing.  Still, it felt odd, as if I needed to quickly stage the house for "potential" buyers.

They are very nice people.  A lovely couple not much older than ourselves who are buying the house then renting to their college son and his roommate.  No wonder they don't mind the "as is" hot tub.  While they were here, we went through all of the things we do to the house throughout the year, to make sure that it's snug and tight.  I think they were impressed with our regular maintenance routines and the upgrades that we've done and why.

While I was talking with the wife, she asked me where we were moving, because they new we were moving to Texas.  I mentioned that we're moving to a little town called Helotes, TX just outside of San Antonio.  I noticed the wife smiled oddly when I mentioned it, but she just mentioned that she had a son that lives in San Antonio.  I thought that it was an interesting coincidence.  Later when all four of us were talking, the husband asked me where we were moving and once again I said Helotes, TX.  He started laughing and said that was where his son lived and that he and his wife/family just moved there about 2 years ago.  Talk about six degrees (or two maybe in this case) of separation.  That is just bizarre.  Helotes is a SMALL town on the outskirts of San Antonio.  A beautiful town on the edge of Hill Country.  Of all places for there to be a connection between us and the buyers.  The husband and his wife go down a couple times a year to visit.  They said that if we wanted to leave our info with them, they'd be happy to bring down anything we might "leave behind".  How sweet.....but we won't be leaving anything.  If for some odd reason we do, my in-laws visit much more often than twice a year...we'll let them schlep anything we need.

I kinda have mixed feelings about meeting them.  They were just wonderful people and they have given us no grief over anything throughout the sale.  After the inspection, the list of things they requested of us was quite small and all simple things like labeling paint (which was already done, they just didn't look at the cans well) or closing out a permit we didn't realized had never been finalized.  They are paying their own closing costs and did not ask for any kind of financial allowances or warranties.  If I had met them in a different setting, I would think we would be good friends.  But they are our buyers.  I feel very good that we have created such a nice home, and are leaving it to people who will equally take good care and continue to upgrade and keep things well maintained.  The little fear in the back of my mind is that if we strike up a friendship and something goes wrong with the house after we are gone, they may make comments about it to us or try to cause us grief.  But since they didn't ask for a warranty, once the sale is is is their issue, not ours.  I don't think that would happen...I don't think they are the kind of people that would do that...but one just never knows.  I saw the movie Pacific Heights (excellent drama/thriller)....I'm only so trusting.

More hurdles passed...more to come I am sure.  This weekend we are continuing to pack/organize the personal items we plan to take with us.  Monday the packers will be here again to do another large amount of the house.  They'll basically get everything except what we need left to finish out the last week of our stay in this house.  Then it will be theirs...not ours...we'll be homeless...but just for a short while.

Tonight we are having our last "dinner club" get together.  Two other couples and ourselves get together monthly and pick a theme.  The hosts makes the dinner/sides, one couple does appetizers and one does dessert.  We visit, have a glass of wine (or two....yep..more)....visit, play some games, eat, and just enjoy each others company.  These are the times I will sorely miss when we leave...but the memories will last a lifetime.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Damn Birthday

Today is my birthday and as I've been saying for weeks, it's not just my birthday, it's my damn birthday!  ;-O  By the time you're my age, it is no longer about balloons and presents and all day's actually just getting through the day and smiling at the end and having a reason to enjoy company with family and friends!  I had a great day and a wonderful evening and now I'm about to enjoy the last of it with the Cowboy relaxing in front of the TV.

We had packers come today and they killed it!  They packed the one room I thought would take craft room, with all kinds of Girl Scout crafts and my endless shelves of scrapbooking and stamping supplies. They also finished the other 2 spare bedrooms.  All in less than 6 hours...and it was CHEAP!  It's all easy from here on out.

We also had an electrical inspector out....apparently we had an old permit that we pulled years ago when we upgraded our electrical panel and somehow someone failed to get the inspector out a last time for the final inspection.  The problem with that is the code as changed and now there are a few breakers that need to change out for a new that needs to be changed before we can call that complete.

Princess Harleigh was none to happy about all of the strange people coming and going.  It takes a few days of you being in the house before she decides that it's safe to come out from hiding and visit.  So she spent the entire day hidden in the couch.  I don't know how she does it but not only does she hid behind the couch, she actually gets IN the couch.  By mid afternoon, I think she was dying to come out and started peaking her head out.....and as she often likes to do she stared at the wall for a while.

What is she staring at?????

For dinner tonight, the Cowboy and my BFF took me to Mona Lisa's Fondue.  Locals will know or at least heard of Mona Lisa's.  It is a wonderful fondue place, in an older building in Manitou Springs, Colorado in the foothills outside of Colorado Springs.  Unlike most fondue joints, you grill meat at your table rather than deep fry it in oil or bouillon.  I say it's healthier but when you combine that with cheese and chocolate quit worrying about the calories.  Cowboy and I have been going there for our anniversary since we've been married.  We've maybe missed one or two years, when we've been out of town for special trips.  I wanted one last time there before we moved.  We had such a great time of conversation and we laughed til we cried at times.  I don't think any of us had our phones out at any time, with calls and text messages being ignored.  My father-in-law would be proud (he loves to tease anyone who sits at the table and plays on their phone).  

My damn birthday may almost be over, but we'll celebrate into the weekend.  Just because.....

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Homeless No More

Maybe I just had to blog about it...

Late last night, just as I was shutting down the computer, I saw an email pop in from Hotel Planner, a website I used to put in a "bid" (similar to Priceline) for a hotel room with our specific needs, dates, etc.  I had received a couple of emails with hotels that responded that were either over priced or likely from a crack house area of town.  I really had become so frustrated that I was just glancing through them and not really reviewing anything.  This time, I did and one caught my eye, mainly because I knew that area of San Antonio where the suites were and trusted it, and the price was below what we were looking for.  So as of this morning, we have secured a place that has a kitchenette, a separate bedroom from the living room, a couple of desks and kitchen table, will allow Princess Harleigh (with the cheapest pet deposit yet) and the bed is a king size bed.  I like my space when I sleep and so does the Cowboy.  He tosses and turns too much!  Another hurdle passed!

Today we had the heater and AC guy out to do a last servicing of the system (request from buyer) and the buyer's appraiser came out.  Of course the appraiser came at the worse possible moment.  I think a lot of people believe that since I work from home I sit in front of the TV with my laptop in my lap surfing the internet while watching Days of Our Lives (Do I dare admit that I DVR it and watch later?  Will Stefano once again come back to life like the phoenix rising from the ashes?  Did EJ kill Stefano, or was it Lexie on the eve of her own death?  Will Maggie and Victor be seen again or have they gone on a 6 month belated honeymoon?).  Even when I tell service people that come to the house that I'll be on conference calls or working, they seem to be oblivious and frustrated if I don't respond to them immediately.  The appraiser came when I was on a conference call, trying to make a cup of coffee, texting with my project lead, and entering my expense report.  At the same time, I was getting emails from the manager of the hotel I secured (and which is what I really wanted to concentrate on).  The appraiser came in the kitchen and while on the phone (politely) told me to exit the kitchen so that he could get a picture.  After I was off the phone I realized the mess that was the kitchen counter.  I hope the buyers won't see that...I am sure they will....the trash hadn't been taken out, dirty coffee cups (plural) on the counter, (clean) dishes in the sink and and several bags of potatoes (small bags) strewn across the counter.....I was mortified.  The buyers will think we're hoarders.  I straightened it up some before he left so he'll at least think I try to keep it clean.  And I finally got that cup of coffee about 2 hours later and I never did get to finish it.  Working at home is not all that glamorous, it does have it's good points at times...but it really is as hectic as if I was in the office.  I just don't have to deal with all the noises and annoyances of being around others while trying to concentrate, like listening to the guy in the next cube scheduling his colonoscopy IN DETAIL, or the guy in the next row dealing with his sinus issues (I won't even go into detail on that one).

Tomorrow the movers come to do an initial packing, they'll be here early.....ugh....and probably for most of the day.  An inspector is coming as well to sign off on a permit that we apparently never got completed.  Thinking I should take some pictures of the house before things come off the if I don't have enough pictures of the house from the last 11 years.

The Cowboy and our friend Shawn rebuilding our deck

Monday, July 9, 2012

Living In Limbo

Returning to blogging once again....during the middle of our chaos.  The chaos of a state to state move.  We have been oh so lucky to have so many things about this move from Colorado to Texas to be timed so well.  During the middle of the Colorado wildfires, a change in department for Quin at work, and a very hectic work/travel schedule for me, we were somehow able to sell our little house on a busy street.  Our house backs up to a fairly busy street that became our nemesis.  This street was not nearly so busy when we bought the house and we never dreamed it would be such a negative strike against us for a future sale.  My Aunt Pam would tell me "it only takes one offer".  Indeed...and that offer came this past month.  We literally had two more weeks left to receive an acceptable offer or we risked losing the house we were building.  When the Cowboy got a call from our builder that "things had been going well and we are ahead of schedule", we started to panic and decided we just needed to move as much out of the house as possible.  During the middle of moving things out, we received an offer and now here we are....packing.

An important part of this move has not been timed perfectly, but almost....unfortunately it is off enough to cause a little anxiety.  We will be homeless for about 6-8 weeks as we close on one house and await the completion of construction on another.  We were hoping to find some inexpensive temporary housing in the form of a furnished apartment in San Antonio that we could rent on a monthly lease, but apparently an affordable one is unheard of, unless you consider $4000+ affordable.  We do not.  We do have family in the area to fall back on, but are still hoping we can find a place to hang our hat and let Princess Harleigh "have her space".  We have looked into everything imaginable including RV rentals and vacation cabins (they make the $4k seem reasonable).  The extended stay hotels that we considered "reasonable" (actually there is only one that is available) looks like a working meth lab and front for a business of ill-repute.  We are hoping to get a favorable response from a bed and breakfast business that has a carriage house that could be ideal.  It merely depends on whether their current tenant happens to vacate on time.  We are approaching it all as an adventure, and think we may just roam from family member to family member and see what last minute hotel deals we can get along the way.

In the meantime, we have begun the packing process and have found what we believe will be an awesome independent mover that has so far been very attentive and helpful.  His company will do the bulk of the packing and we just need to get things prepped for them to make the whole process go smoother.  We have also deemed meals from here on out to be "Project: Cleansing of the Fridge".  I told the Cowboy not to expect any normal matter what time of day the meal of the moment will be a hodgepodge of items left in the fridge/freezer and all meals will be served on fine paper and plastic ware.  I do draw the line at coffee....the coffee cups are not yet packed and the Keurig machine is not yet out of my reach.  So tomorrow's breakfast may consist of clam chowder, asparagus, and Blue Bell ice cream.  Dinner tonight is almost normal....a one skillet meal with hamburger, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, sunburst squash, and red bell peppers, borracho beans cooked in chipotle olive oil and Mexican seasonings and a little masa flour slurried on top.  I think I'll call it an inside out picadillo tamale  That's about the last normal grouping I have.  Tomorrow is looking like crab cakes and cinnamon rolls.

Now it's back to packing....wishing I could just box myself up and ship on out!  The rest of our stuff will follow, I'm sure.  The mover just came by to look at the house...again...and we dropped a bomb on him, I think.  I believe he was expecting to just pack up the valuable/breakable stuff...the stuff that we'd make him liable for.....we're packing 99% of it.  I have a feeling he left the house a hoopin' and hollerin' as it seems that with the wildfires, his business fell off a bit...I guess some people were rethinking moves here or something.  I'm happy to help the local, independent business person...especially if it saves me all the work!

Princess Harleigh!