Monday, July 19, 2010


Our house is officially no longer our house. Our buyer signed papers this morning. We had an odd signing schedule due to some deed recording legality which I don't really understand, nor do I care about it. The upshot was that our closing was moved to today from this past Friday, but we pre-signed on Friday. Our buyer began moving in at 9am on Friday (with our permission, of course!), but she did not sign papers until today. But living in the house for three days apparently did not scare her off, b/c she went through with it. It helps that she, too, was homeless as she sold her house (and papers were signed on Friday).

Our brains, or at least mine, are fried. Last week was truly the most stressful moving week we've ever had. If it could go wrong, it did. Even little stuff. And it was one of those weeks where you just keep thinking that something has got to just go right, even something little, but nope. Even our closing wasn't issue free as the settlement company forgot to have us sign two documents, and they remembered after we were an hour down the road towards the beach - at rush hour. Our awesome realtor worked it out for us to continue on to the beach, though, and made arrangements with a local realty office for us to sign out here. It's so nice to be out at the beach handling such tragic issues as one twin taking the toy truck away from the other one, or the three year old standing on the beach screaming b/c she doesn't want to walk, while staring at the three adults holding: two babies, three beach chairs, beach umbrella, inflatable pool, three beach bags, four towels, and one bag of sand toys. Truly tragic issues going on.

I'm confounded at how difficult this move has been. Since I'm on a list kick, I've been thinking about how many times we've moved. This move will be, in our 14 years of marriage, our 7th military move (this includes two military moves in Key West as we moved in, moved out due to hurricane damage to govt house, moved back in to govt house, moved out of govt house to Blacksburg, VA), and we've lived in 9 houses (including three apartments in San Diego / Coronado, and the hotel suite we lived in for six months in Key West - if it's more than three months, it counts as a house!). Nine houses in 14 years - that is just plain crazy! When we get our stuff in Italy, it will probably be ruined. Our moving company did not send enough crates for our load day, and told the crew they'd send out another truck later in the day. That didn't happen. So with the rest of our stuff sitting in the front yard, one of the movers had to make a three hour roundtrip (beginning at 5pm) to trade in the full crates for some empty ones. Thirty minutes before the truck returned at 8pm, the pretty, blue skies opened up and rained all over the stuff in our yard. It was so torrential, and accompanied with horrific, close-striking lightning, that we could not even move it inside. Nathan watched with complete glee, I'm positive, as the sofa he detests sat in the rain. It was covered with a tarp and sitting at the end of our neighbor's front pathway, which she had just had redone, complete with a concrete pour that afternoon. We watched as all the concrete washed out of her pathway right to our sofa. I think I heard Nathan actually chortling. He really, really hates that sofa. And when the new crates arrived, and the crew informed us that there wasn't enough room for the rest of the stuff and the sofa, meaning the sofa would have to go on the back of the flatbed (it's still raining at this point), I think Nathan might have actually laughed out loud. Meanwhile, the mover who went to get the fresh, new crates didn't think to cover their sides, so our wet stuff was loaded onto wet crates at 9pm, too late for me to call the military office who handles these types of issues. An inspector went out to the warehouse the next day for me and confirmed that yes, indeed, our stuff was "slightly" wet. The moving company assured him they would repack it, call me to let me know they'd done it, and then I could send out a new inspector. They didn't call me, so I talked to the head inspector today, and he said, "If they said they were going to do it, then they'll do it." I was astonished as in our week long dealings with this company, they did absolutely nothing they said they were going to do. I shared this information with him, but he assured me they would have done it and who I needed to call today at the company to talk to. I called, left a voicemail at 9am this morning, and surprise, surprise, did not get a call back today. I'm shocked, really. The written word may not be conveying the heavy sarcasm I feel.

I'm off now to see if the local bookstore is still open. I don't really know why as I brought about 20 books with me, but I did notice they're having a book signing this Thursday. I'd like to see the book and get the details. Then I'll spend the next five days going to the beach, riding by bike around this adorable, beach town, and playing with my niece and nephews.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Still no passport

So our countdown is really on now. Five days before the movers show up, 10 days until we sign closing papers on our house, six weeks before we actually cross the pond...maybe. To use a phrase I'm growing to hate: there's a small catch. My government passport has not arrived. You may recall, my regular passport had to be sent in with the government passport application, thus, I have no passport. No red one, no blue one. Which means I also do not have my permit/visa/whatever from the Italian consulate allowing me to move to their country (that the internet says takes up to three months to get). The lady handling my passport application has not returned Nathan's phone calls or emails in the last week, which frankly, is quite worrisome to me. In addition, the lady (perhaps a different lady? I really don't know) who is supposed to be scheduling our flight to Italy has not done so, nor is she returning Nathan's phone calls / emails. If it's not the same lady, then I'm sensing a real trend here. Nathan's response to my daily inquiries is that it's the summer season when everyone is moving overseas, so our "handlers" (my phrase, not his) have us on the backburner. But I'm a firm believer in the whole squeaky wheel cliche - be polite, but very, very squeaky.

At this point, we still have no clue whether we'll fly commercially (yuck - can you imagine the search we're going to have to go through with TSA on one way tix to Italy; we'll have to wear the good underwear that day) or on military transport. And if it's military transport, will it be the rotator flight out of VA Beach? In which case, we're going to be fighting for a hotel reservation with holiday vacationers having a last summer hurrah for Labor Day weekend at the beach (can't stay on base b/c of the whole dog issue...again; if that dog weren't so darn cute...).

Logistically speaking, I'm already exhausted with six more weeks to go. We have managed to avoid homelessness thanks to the kindness of relatives (and relatives of relatives). We sign closing papers next week and go to the condo of my sister's in-laws for the weekend. Nathan will return to DC and stay with my cousin and his family for five nights while I remain at the beach with my sister and her kids. It will be very 1950s with the women and children out at the beach colony for the week while the men are slaving away in the hot city and driving out on the weekends (as a note, my sister and I will be caring for a very active three year old and twin 17 month olds, so while we will be having picnics at the beach literally, figuratively, it won't be any picnic at the beach). The following week, Nathan & I (and Scully) will stay at my cousin's house. Then off we go to visit dear friends in Roanoke for a weekend before returning to take up occupancy in an adorable rental here in Old Town for the month of August. But for now, off to sleep, where I can dream about logistics, sleep fitfully, and then wake up at ODark:thirty, resulting in a complete crash on the sofa about 3pm until the dog shoves his nose into my face and whimpers b/c he has to go outside.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Nathan's Pics

Here are a few pictures from Nathan's trip to Naples last week. His favorite area of Pozzuoli is not included. I'll add one from that batch later as those pics are on a different computer that I don't feel like turning on right now.

This is a view from Monte de Procida of the islands of Procida (foreground) and Ischia.

In downtown Naples

In Capri

More Capri

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One Load Gone

We will post some photos of Nathan's trip to Naples soon. We have not had a chance to even sit down and look at them together yet. Maybe tonight. If one of us doesn't fall asleep at 7:30 as has happened quite a lot lately.

Our first load of stuff has been taken away from our house. Gone, gone, gone. I love it. This pack-out is destined for long-term storage. Really, it does beg the question, if we don't need it for the next three years, why do we need it at all? I have had that refrain running through my head for the past week as I've been squeezing my way past piles of stuff in every single room (I had to pull it all out of the basement and unpack it from my completely unsuitable for a move storage bins).

I had a great pack-out crew with only two incidents. The first was I spent the entire day going from room to room saying, "I would like that put into a box." The crew just was not using boxes. Lots of things they just wrapped in padded paper. So odd. All became clear at the end of the day. As I signed off on the paperwork, the crew boss showed me where he inventoried the # of boxes used, and said, "I didn't include the boxes you added at the last minute b/c you'll get charged extra." What? We don't pay for our moves. I never even thought about the crew just trying to save me money by using less boxes. So kudos for their thoughtfulness, but this is my seventh, military move. Boxes keep things from getting broken or going missing, and boxes cost a whole lot less than having to pay for something missing or broken. Next time, I'll alert the crew ahead of time. This is never anything a crew has ever worried about before.

The second issue was a biggie, and also a first for me. I had a pile of framed artwork headed into storage on one side of the living room. On the other side of the living room are the pieces we're taking with us. The crew packed the right pile, but I kept noticing one particular piece was not packed. I kept moving it to piles of stuff waiting to packed, telling the person packing an area that it needed to be packed, etc. At the end of the day when I did the final walk-through to make sure all was packed, I noticed a familiar frame sticking out of the pile going to Italy with us. Sure enough, when I go over and start flipping through the art, hidden amongst all the rest are two pieces that had been in the stack to be packed, one of which was the piece I'd been taking to the crew all day long and reminding them to pack it. And these two weren't leaning in the front as if someone placed them there and forgot them. No, they were tucked in amongst a pile of about 20 other pieces. They hid them from me so as to not have to pack them! How crazy is that. My only guess is the last art box packed was full, and they didn't want to use a new one for only two pieces. It all goes back to the box issue!

The "big" move begins a week from Monday. It's a three day ordeal, then a day to clean the house, and on July 16th, we will hopefully be signing our settlement papers on the house. The buyer won't actually sign her bits until Monday as there was some scheduling issue with the title company. Since we're off to the beach on Friday, our realtor (we loved our realtors, the Blumel Adams Group) arranged for us to sign ahead of time. We're still waiting on the appraisal to come back, so we're not in the free and clear yet. This area is really tricky with appraisals, so I'm basically turning into a complete basket case after having almost zero anxiety on the whole house selling issue. I hope we get it soon and can at least move forward, whether it's good news or bad news!