Busy Busy Weekend!

After a long week of going to bed late because we were working on the house and getting up early to work, we were ready to collapse by the time Friday came along. Yet, we found out Thursday morning that James’ brother and his family as well as his sister and brother-in-law were all going to be town Saturday.  With everyone in town, the family was going to get together at James’ dad’s, but since it would probably be a while before everyone would be back in Illinois and able to see the new house, we decided to have everyone over to the new house for dinner Saturday.  Crazy, right?  Yes, definitely crazy!!

Friday night when we got home from work the house still looked like a war zone with tubs and boxes everywhere, a huge (and growing) trash pile, and bunch of stuff for Goodwill.  On top of that the downstairs walls were polka dotted with patches James needed to sand (and then I needed to paint), the upstairs still needed to be painted, none of the furniture was where it needed to be and some of it still needed to be put together!!  Lucky for us, even before we knew we’d be hosting everyone Saturday night, my mom had already planned on coming for the weekend to help us unpack and get things organized!

Mom got to the house a little before dinner and once we were done eating and opening our housewarming gifts (a beautiful dragonfly utensil holder and an alarm to let us know when people pulled up in the driveway), we all got to work.  It was crazy, but we were a sanding, cleaning, painting team and by the time we were ready for bed almost all of the painting was finished other than a few spots of mudding that had to dry and be sanded in the morning before they could be painted.  Saturday morning we were all up pretty early and after breakfast jumped right into getting the house and food ready for that night.  We finished painting, figured out where to put the furniture, put together furniture, hung the big screen TV and got the living room organized, started putting things away out of the tubs, hung some pictures, picked up, cleaned up, organized, cooked, and by the time family started arriving around 4:30-5pm the house looked pretty good and the food smelled amazing!  We also set up four card tables in a long row in the living room to imitate a dining room table and we decorated it for Halloween to help set the scene! To quote James as he walked around before everyone got there, “It actually looks like a home now!”.

James’ sister and her husband were the first to arrive and had ridden to the house with his dad and step-mom. After getting hugs and welcoming everyone, we were ready for a tour of the yard while we waited for his brother and family to get there.  We had a lot of fun showing them around and they also seemed to enjoy it a lot.  We had just finished with the yard and started on the downstairs when the rest of the family got there.  While mom continued to watch the food (which was pretty much ready) and little baby Judah, who was fast asleep, James and I finished the tour of the house and showed his brother some of the backyard.  Around this time everyone was getting pretty hungry, so after a brief prayer by Rachel, we piled our plates buffet style with noodles, mashed potatoes, roast, cooked carrots, cherry delight, and caramel brownies.  Everyone seemed to have a good time talking, laughing, and just enjoying being together!  After a couple of rounds of seconds for the dinner and desert, everyone was getting full and a little tired. We said our goodbyes and wished everyone a safe journey home.  Shortly thereafter, we also called it a night.  We were completely exhausted, but very proud of everything we had accomplished!

The next morning, I couldn’t sleep so I decided to go with my mom on her morning walk.  The day before she and Nelly (the family hunting dog who had come along for the weekend and who was also featured in some of our wedding pictures) had gone on two walks and had seen a deer and some pheasant, so I was excited about the possibility of seeing some wildlife on our walk.  We started by walking west along the creek and then turned north (where mom snagged a few ears of corn from the fields to throw along our property to entice the wildlife) and followed our property line back east towards the house.

Mom and Nelly in the corn field

We didn’t see any wildlife other than some sparrows, but we did narrowly escape falling into some of the bigger holes left from trees that had been dug up and never refilled.  We then kept following our property line past the house and along our lane to the more eastern side of our land.  We followed the trees and took our time, meandering along checking everything out.  When we got to what we thought was the eastern most property line we walked towards the field to look out past our land.  As we looked across the barren corn field I saw what I thought at first was a deer, but as I kept watching it realized it was a coyote!  It was a ways out in the field and I didn’t see it for long, but it was amazing to see right from my own back yard!  Mom, Nelly, and I then continued our walk, now heading back towards the house.

Once we got home, I made pancakes for breakfast and lemon poppy seed muffins for later that morning when Linda and Debbie (my Mom’s sisters) got to the house. Even after the walk, I was still moving a little slow from the day/week before, but continued to do some cleaning and picking up while Mom got her things packed up and James kept busy with fixing a blocked outlet in the big basement room.

[James: Okay, you don’t see how idiotic this was from the pictures.  When they built the house, they put up the framework for a wall between the small storeroom and the large storeroom and put an outlet facing into the large storeroom / utility room in the wall studs.  Somewhere along the line, they decided to put up paneling to separate the two rooms and instead of cutting a hole for the outlet, they just covered it up.  So there is a perfectly good outlet in a room that needs it that has been covered by paneling.  Then, because they needed an outlet on that wall, they punched a hole through the wall and ran a power strip and plugged it into another outlet facing the other direction in the small storeroom.  All this when they just needed to cut a hole for the existing outlet.  So that’s what I did.]

Around 11am, Linda arrived at the door with a festive rake decorated for the fall season as a housewarming gift from “the sisters”.  Unfortunately Debbie wasn’t feeling that good and couldn’t make it, but we gave Linda the full tour of the house and then walked almost the whole property with her (similar to what mom and I had done earlier that morning).  James had never walked the whole property, so he seemed to enjoy the walk as much as Linda did!

After getting back to the house and copying some of Linda’s pictures (she had pictures from our wedding in July and from that morning), Mom finished loading her things up and took off with Linda for some “sisters” time before heading home.

Wedding pictures from Linda’s camera! We hadn’t seen these yet!

James and I spent the rest of the day trying to take it easy, but still managed to mow the lawn at the old house, fill the car with more stuff from the old house that needed to come to the new house, and grocery shopping at WalMart.  All in all a VERY productive yet tiring weekend!

Can You Hear Me Now?

What to do about a phone has been a problem that I’ve repeatedly wondered about and researched many times.

At the Forsyth house, I had DSL from AT&T.  For about $50 a month, I was getting local phone service and high speed Internet.  Now that we’re in Argenta, that had to change.  AT&T doesn’t service the area, Verizon does. Verizon doesn’t offer DSL in Argenta.  You may remember reading about the lengthy search for Internet that ended up with us choosing Barbeck Communications and their broadband solution where they broadcast off the water tower.  That is costing $55 a month just for Internet service.

Kona is paying for a cell phone from U.S. Cellular, but it’s an area code 309 number and she wasn’t sure if she would need to switch carriers when we moved out here.  Most of her friends and family are on Verizon.  I have not ever been impressed with cell phones.  I don’t have one, think I’ve survived all these years and traveled all over the United States without one, and can probably get by a lot longer without one.  They seem like a big rip off to me.  Why does someone need to spend a minimum of $50 a month for phone service?  I make maybe 2 calls a week.  Verizon was offering a paygo plan where you only pay when you need it, but I still don’t like it.  Kona made the case that I could get stuck at the end of the drive and be a half-mile from home and need to get ahold of her.  She has a valid point, but I don’t want to spend that kind of money for the off-chance that might get stuck.

I’ve been looking at Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) solutions off and on and when we were up at Fry’s Electronics over Columbus Day weekend, we saw a whole bunch of stuff, one of which was a package called Ooma, which toted “Free Unlimited Calling” within the United States for only $220.  I had heard of other programs like Magic Jack, which they also had for $40 plus $20 per year after the first year, but those required a computer be turned on to make a call.  Ooma was a separate box that plugged into your high speed Internet connection and then you plugged your phone into it.  I researched VOIP and found that there were other companies, Vonage and Phone Power being the main ones.  Vonage wanted $25 a month and Phone Power wants $80 + $15 a month.  Best Buy had MagicJack, Ooma, and Phone Power.  After doing some research, I finally decided on Ooma.  Best Buy’s price was $250 for the newer, fancier looking model.  So we stopped Wednesday night and got one.

I spent most of the night Wednesday night trying to get it to work.  The first step was to get Internet into the office.  Since the wires were ran before the house was built, they had Cat-5 wire into each bedroom, but then they blew foam insulation into the walls, so there was no way I was getting another wire in there.  It meant taking off the telephone jack and replacing it with an RJ-45 connection for the network.  That technical job designed for the few trained in wiring was strangely easy compared to the next task – getting the Ooma, designed for the person who knows nothing, to work.

We have a static IP address, which is nice in some ways, but it also means that nothing automatically configures itself like with DSL or a cable modem, which use DHCP.  I managed to get into the Ooma box and run their web interface that configures the system and got that set up.  It didn’t like something and there was no Internet connection with it in the line.  It said it was connected to the Internet, but it wouldn’t let the computer get out.  So I couldn’t go online for help until I unplugged it and re-plugged in the router.  Finally, I got it to work by plugging it into the router (rather than in between the modem and the router), and thought I would let it sit there and do its thing while I went to bed.  It is supposed to download a firmware upgrade when you first plug it in, so I thought maybe it was taking longer than I had anticipated and read about.

When I got up the Thursday morning, it still hadn’t finished.  The Ooma logo was still flashing blue.  I got online and started reading the user documentation (it only ships with a quick-start guide) and found that you had to activate the Ooma device before installing it.  Why this was not on the quick-start guide I do not know.  And if it was on the quick-start guide and I missed it, it should obviously be in bigger, bolder, print somewhere.  Perhaps one of those separate sheets of paper that says “Warning! You must activate this device before installing it.”

[ Note: I went back and looked at the quick-start guide.  Step 1 is online activation.  But it was only in a box 1 inch high.  Easy to miss since there were no diagrams or other figures to look at ]

So I went online and activated it and picked a new phone number.  They only had one exchange available in the Decatur area and I was presented with a list of eight available numbers to choose from.  They were pretty much sequential except for the ones that had already been chosen.  It would have been nice to pick the one with the same last four as my current number, but I’m still undecided about whether to port that number over or not, so I decided to go ahead and go with one of those.  I sent Kona an email asking if she had a preference, but she was busy and didn’t get back in time to have input.  Her input, after the fact, was to pick the same one that I had picked, so that worked well.

After activation, the Ooma Telo configured itself and rebooted several times and then settled in and was working.  My first call was to Kona at work and then she called me back to make sure I could receive calls.  I saw the light on the Ooma blinking, but the phone didn’t ring.  I later found out it was because I had a powered telephone and it wasn’t plugged in, so it didn’t ring.

Finally, all is well.  The Telo is still in the floor in the computer room, though.  I had to unplug Kona’s network connection on her laptop to get it to work because I ran out of ethernet ports on the switch.  I went to NewEgg and bought some networking gear to get it moved somewhere else, but that will take several days to get here, so for a while, it may just stay there.

A few other notes about Ooma.  The “unlimited calling” isn’t really unlimited.  You can call anyone, but you’re limited to 3000 a minutes.  The company says that’s to keep people like telemarketers from abusing it and they have never kicked anyone out for legitimate residential usage.  Also, after the first year, you have to pay telecommunications taxes on it of about $12 a year.  Certain types of devices like satellite receivers, which need phone connections, don’t work with Ooma, you still need a land line for that.  I’m thinking that if we ever get to the point where we get satellite TV again, there has to be some way of ordering movies without having a land line — there are just too many people out there with cell phones only.

Ooma provides you with an online manager so that you can see your call log and listen to your voice mail.  That’s kind of cool.  You can even set it up to email you notification or the voice mail when you get one.  That might come in handy, especially since getting the Ooma device installed upstairs and still being able to use corded phones may be difficult because of the single wire ran to each room.  Ooma does offer a premier package with some extra features for $10 a month, but I’m not inclined to go with those.  I really don’t use the phone that much, but it is needed for people to get ahold of me.  The only problem now is that if we lose power or the Internet connection goes down, then we’re without a phone.

Moving Day with the Movers

Monday

Monday morning James and I both woke up feeling sore and exhausted, but managed to get ready and head to work for the day.  I found it hard to concentrate though because all I could think about was the painting that needed finishing and all the packing we had to do to be ready for the movers who were coming at 8am the next morning!  Unfortunately, the last meeting I was in ran 45 minutes over so we ended up getting back to the Forsyth house a little later than we had wanted.

We decided to only take James’ car when we went to the Argenta house, so we focused on filling it up with as much stuff as we could that needed to get moved before the next morning.  I had the dreaded “blue room” that needed two coats of paint and trimmed, so James dropped me and the stuff from his car off at the house and then went back to Forsyth to pick up some things from Menards (Yes, we’ve been to Menards every day since we bought the house) and pack the car back up with more stuff.  When he got back, he had taken the “Casey’s” way home and had stopped and picked us up ice cream treats!! I took a quick break and went back to painting the blue room (which by this time was almost the “yellow” room) and finishing up the master bedroom (peeling the tape from the trim, touching up the trim, putting outlet covers back up, etc…).  James also went back to work unloading his car for the second time that night, helping me pull down tape and touch up the now yellow bedroom (!!), and other miscellaneous things that needed to get done around the house.  We finally got done around midnight and didn’t end up in bed till 1am!

Tuesday (official moving day!)

My alarm went off at 5am, but I hit snooze and got in another 10 minutes worth of sleep before dragging myself out of bed to finish packing.  James also got up and went to the office to start the tedious process of unplugging everything and getting it ready to move (he wanted all of the computer equipment in his car).  It was hard to get going, but knowing the movers would be there in less than three hours and that there was a lot to do to the house to make sure it was ready was a great motivator.  As a testament to team work, both of us had showers and were dressed for the day, the house was ready, and we had time to spare before the movers got there!

Once the movers got to the house and I knew everything was progressing smoothly, I told James I was heading to Wal-Mart.  I had been putting of this trip since Sunday and we were down to no food for dinner or any fruit (which James goes through a lot of!).  I also had some additional household items I needed to pick up, like new sheets for the guest room, extra pillow cases for the guest room and master bedroom, and some extra cleaning supplies.  While I was there, James called and one of our neighbors saw that we were moving and asked if we were interesting in selling the house ourselves and if they could send one of their friends over to take a look at the house.  James said sure send them over and the guy actually came over and looked at the house within about 15 minutes. I’m not sure if anything came out of it, but even the possibility of selling was a good thing!

Anyway, I managed to get out of Wal-Mart and back home in about 45 minutes and what I found was extraordinary!  All of the furniture, outside stuff, and the hot tub were almost completely packed!! I barely had time to get something to eat and take a few pictures before they were ready to head to the Argenta house!

Once at the Argenta house, the moving guys were quick to get things moved to where they needed to go.  It was funny to see them rolling the hot tub, couch, and love seat down the hill to the downstairs back door.  The couch was especially funny to see because at one point it looked like they were going to roll it right into the pool!!  Also during this time the pool guy stopped by and got the pool ready to close for the winter.  The pool hadn’t been used all year, so it was pretty nasty, but the pool guy worked his magic and was able to get some of the bigger issues cleaned up so it would be ready in the spring for us to open it!  Some of these bigger issues were the animals in the pool and/or drain, including a baby mole, red snake, and two huge toads!  Other animals (or to be more specific PESTS) that we had to deal with were the Asian Lady Beetles!! They were swarming the house inside and out! By the end of the day we probably had at least a couple of hundred in the screened in porch!  Once they settle down and stop moving we’re planning on going around with the vacuum and sucking them up and out!

The movers ended up finishing an hour early and came in $200 under their original estimate.  James and I thought they did such good work that James tipped them $100 to split between the four of them.  The pool guy also finished up shortly after that, leaving the pool covered and all ready for the winter!  We continued to put stuff away and move things around until the Barbeck Communications guy got there to install the receiver for our Internet.  Strangely enough James actually had the guy as a student a number of years ago!  What a small world!!  Anyway, while the internet was being installed, the Culligan lady showed up and gave us a brief tutorial on our water softener and the safety of our water.  After everyone had finished up and left, James and I were ready to head back with James stopping at Menards and me stopping at Wal-Mart before meeting at the Forsyth house.  I got to the house before he did and was able to get some more of the kitchen items boxed up and ready to go.  When James got to the house he focused on getting all the clothes out of our closets (which took his ENTIRE car!).  We packed up some bathroom essentials and the kitchen stuff and loaded my car to head back home!

Once we got home, I finished making supper (I had pork chops cooking in the crock pot all day and made some noodles to put in the sauce with them) and we had our first “real” sit down meal at the house!  We then split up, with James going into the office to do some grading (he got the wireless working while I finished making supper) and me unloading everything from both cars! James took a brief break to attach the mirror to one of the dressers in the master bedroom (he had been using it at the old house without the mirror, but I really wanted to use the mirror in the new house) and then to admire it with me (I’m not sure if he’ll admit it, but I’m pretty sure he likes it!).  I finished unloading and putting away all of our clothes, which almost filled the closet in our master bedroom (*sigh* I guess this means no new clothes unless I get rid of some that I have!) and then finally headed for bed around midnight, which was about the same time James decided to stop grading for the night.  I think we were both asleep before our heads hit our pillows!

Painting and the Front Porch

After sleeping in a little Sunday morning, we got up and headed to Menard’s to get bookcases, rock for the entrance into the garage, sheet rock putty, a putty knife, light bulbs, and a new door bell for the front door.  We weren’t sure how much room all of this stuff would take, so we figured we get everything we needed then go back to the house and load both vehicles up before heading to the new house.  Amazingly, even with 5 bookcases (disassembled and in boxes), 4 bags of rock, and all our other miscellaneous goodies, we were still able to pack quite a bit into James’ car.  We also then crammed my car full, stopped for a quick lunch to go, and headed off to the house.

Once we got to the house, we split up and each worked on different things that needed to get done.  After taking car of the rock in front of the garage door (there was a big bump there because there wasn’t enough rock), James headed to the front porch to put the new door bell on.  Now this might seem like something little, but to me it was huge (like getting the “blue” bedroom painted huge!).

The second time we looked at the house (after we knew we were getting it), I was walking around trying to really take a look at everything and when I walked up to the front door I saw it… the dreaded doorbell.  It was awful, simply awful.  Here is this beautiful house and it has an icky $0.99 doorbell at the front door.

Original doorbell on the house

Original doorbell on the house

I immediately ran to get James and told him we had a problem.  He thought it was something really important (which in my mind it was!), so when I showed him the dreaded doorbell he looked at me pretty strangely.  Pretty much the same reaction I got from Liz when I went back to work and all I could talk about was the first thing we were doing when we closed on the house was changing the doorbell and painting the blue room!!

Anyway, so while James worked on getting my new doorbell installed, I swept the porch (the day before James had knocked down some wasp nests and hadn’t cleaned up the mess) and tried to knock down all the spider webs.  Once I was done sweeping and de-webbing, I went and got the glass panel that replaces the screen one in the front door, so James could switch it once he was done with the doorbell.  James finished up with the doorbell (YAY, it looks a 100% better!!) and then started switching the screen with the glass panel.  As he was doing this, I went and got some glass cleaner and started cleaning up around the porch and the front door.  I mentioned to James that in the spring we’ll need to find someone to come and pressure wash the front of the house because it was filthy and within minutes he was back… with a pressure washer!!  I didn’t realize we had one, much less at the new house, so I was really surprised, yet excited that he decided to just go ahead and clean everything off today.  Once James got everything cleaned, he put a little decorative table together that Ty & Austin got us as a shower gift (it hadn’t even been out of the box yet), and I finished everything off with a new “Welcome” mat and a few pumpkins!!  Overall a significant improvement!

The rest of the day was spent with me painting… and painting… and painting… and you get the picture.  I started with our bedroom since James had to patch up some damage to the walls in the dreaded blue room.  Everything just seemed to take twice as long as it should have, but eventually I got it done!  While I was busy with the master bedroom, James went around the house patching up other places where there were cracks in the walls or big holes from nails, i.e., basically creating more painting for me to do!!  He also went to Casey’ it pick up pizza for dinner, primed the walls in the blue room, and set up one of the new bookcases… he was a BUSY guy!!  I put the second coat of primer up in the blue room and did the trim, then we headed home so we could both get some work done!  Me – responding to questions from faculty and James working on his Calculus exams.  After finishing my work, I decided to get cleaned up and go soak in the hot tub before it gets emptied tomorrow in preparation for the big move Tuesday [Addendum – James also decided the hot tub was a good idea and joined me!] !  All in all a busy, but productive day!

The First Moving Day

Saturday, October 17, 2009, was the first real day of moving.  My dad came down to help with his truck and we filled it with things in the garage and a few bins that Kona had filled.  She had prepared chili and a roast to take to the house for lunch and we got there a little before 10 am.  We walked dad through the house and gave him the tour and then unloaded my car into the basement and his truck into the garage.  About the time we finished unloading, Kona’s parents showed up.  They had brought a truck and trailer down from Kewanee with a bunch (not all, her dad reminded me) of her stuff that was still at their house.  It was almost noon before we finished that unloading and then we decided to eat.

The three men then went into get our stuff out of storage at Northwest Mini Storage in Decatur.  We completely filled dad’s truck and the trailer and had one table, two doors, and a shop-vac to put in Kona’s dad’s truck.  Then we hauled it back and everyone helped unload them.  We put a lot of things into storage in the basement today.

While we were gone, we expected Kona and her mom to paint the “nasty” blue room, but when we got back, they wasn’t accomplished.  Kona couldn’t find the sand paper (she didn’t think to look in our car), so her she and her mom ended up walking the length of the property twice (since the house is in the middle, to walk from one end to the other actually requires covering the distance twice) [Side note from Kona – We also finished getting the master bedroom ready to paint and put away some miscellaneous things].

Once we got back, everyone helped to get everything unloaded and put away (including getting the guest bed put together).  By this point it was mid-afternoon and dad and Kona’s parents needed to be getting home.  Kona and I worked a little bit more on the house but we were pretty exhausted so we called it a night and on the way home made the first (of probably many to come) stop at Casey’s General Store in Argenta.  We each got an ice cream bar and a drink and were impressed with how much stuff they actually had in the store.  Then we meandered home, with a brief tour of Oreana where I showed Kona the first house I had ever lived in.  The shell of the house is the same, but most of the rest of the yard is completely different.  Of course, that was 30 years ago.

When we got home, we needed to get the house picked up so the movers can come on Tuesday and haul the big things, but what did we do when we got home? After I took a shower, we laid down on the bed and fell asleep for several hours.  The rest of the night was spent online filling out change of address forms at all the different places we do business with (and want to continue doing business with).  We came up with a list of 51 places we needed to change our address (29 of those were for James and 22 for Kona).  We managed to get 30 of them changed.  Some web sites were down for maintenance and other’s required that you contact them in person or by phone or fax (but then their fax machine wouldn’t pick up).  Of course, there are some places I don’t know if I want to change  the address for since they’re utilities for the Forsyth house and they probably won’t be carried over to the new place.

The Day After Closing

We knew that we would be going to the house to work on Friday night; so we loaded up the car and then went out to eat supper before making the trek.  We originally thought McDonald’s and then I decided on Pizza Hut.  We decided to go into Lowe’s first to check some prices and decided they were too high.  Then we went to Pizza Hut and waited to be seated.  Then we waited some more and finally a little more.  After about 5 minutes of this, we decided to leave and walked next door to Steak -n- Shake [Side note from Kona – At Steak-n-Shake the service was pretty quick considering the place was packed and the food was good!].

Then we went to Lowe’s where we spent $371 on a dehumidifier, paint supplies, and shower heads and then headed off to the house.  We unloaded the car and then prepared the “nasty” blue room for painting before calling it quits for the night about 10:30 pm.

Closing Day

The house is ours!!!

After Kona had gone to work, I called the painters that I called on Tuesday and actually got them to come out and take a look at the house.  They are Colorworks Professional Painting in Decatur.  Brandon came out and gave me an estimate of $1700 to do some minor repairs; caulk some of the windows; and paint the house, trim, picket fence, and shutters on the house in Forsyth.  I called Kona and she okayed it and so I called him back.  He estimates four working days (dependent on the weather) to get the house done.

Then I went into work and picked up Kona and we went to the closing at Brown, Hawkins, and Basola.  They’re the lawyers that Jim Cleveland uses for all of his closings.  Besides the lawyer, Kona and I, and the seller, there was also Jim and Taylor from Re/MAX and Debra from 1st Advantage Mortgage present. Taylor presented us with a painted paver stone with a house and The Jones’ printed on it as ReMax’s way of welcoming us to the new house.

IMG_0755

There was a lot of paperwork to sign.  A lot of paperwork.  Kona remarked that we’re not saving any trees.  There were even two times that I had to sign blank pieces of paper just because they were part of another form. I signed papers confirming my social security number, that all the figures they had given were correct, that the house had been inspected for termites, that we weren’t in a flood zone, that I didn’t need PMI or Escrow, and on and on.  I had to sign a paper each of the ways that I might sign my name (with middle initial, with middle name, without either).  Then I had to sign that paper certifying that those were the only ways I would sign my name.  I had to certify that I wasn’t the other James Jones in Decatur who owed money to someone and that I had never been married to Tammy.  We each started with a new pen and I was afraid my was going to run out before I was done.  I guess the lawyers wanted to make sure they earned their money.  Getting married was a whole lot easier than buying a house.

Then I took Kona by Jimmy John’s and showed her where they Arby’s on Pershing Rd was.  She only knew of the one next to Decatur’s North WalMart.  We went back to work where I crunched some numbers looking at the success (and failure) rate of students in developmental math and then had an hour long conversation between the math faculty here and an instructor at Cleveland State Community College in Tennessee about revising the developmental math program at Richland.  I finished up and stopped by Kona’s office before heading home and she looked at me strangely since I should have been done about 105 minutes before I showed up.  I left and went home and when she got home, she wanted to go look at the house while it was still light out.  I insisted on putting some things in the car because I didn’t want to waste a trip and so we made our first trip to our new home (as opposed to the house we were buying).

[Side note from Kona – What James left out was that when we pulled into the drive way and got out of the car he asked me what door I wanted to go in, the front door or garage door?  I told him the front door of course, so we headed around to the front and prepared to unlock the door to our new house!!  James opened the door, yet before I could walk in he swung me up into his arms and carried me over the threshold.  Very sweet and *very* romantic!!] We spent quite a bit of time there and I took a lot of pictures of the house.  Unfortunately, the house was empty, so there isn’t much in the pictures to show.  Still, we managed to find these pictures to share.

Kona was so cute.  She was going through the rooms saying, “The bed goes here, the long dresser and mirror go here, the TV goes here, …” [Side note from Kona – James was so cute, he didn’t even argue with me about where I wanted to put everything, which is completely out of character for him!]

We finally got home a little after 7 and Kona prepared some really good chicken, rice, and stuffing for supper.  I get leftovers for lunch tomorrow, which is good because those are often better than the food at the cafeteria at school [Side note from Kona – “often better than”??? “often better than”???].

One Day Until Closing

Wednesday morning began as most mornings, we stayed in bed about 20 minutes after the alarm went off.  Then after getting ready, headed off to work.  I began my day talking to my dean about the classroom evaluation of my Stats course a couple of weeks ago. The evaluation went well and then it was time to teach.

Every so often Kona would send me an email during the day, yet when 2:30 came around, we still didn’t know how much the check for the closing needed to be.  Remember, the banks close at 5:00.

At 4:10, I was done with classes and still hadn’t heard anything from the Realtor on how much we needed for the check.  I called them and they still hadn’t heard.  The banks closed in 50 minutes, didn’t open back up until the next morning at 9am (the time we were suppose to be closing on the house!) and the lawyers still weren’t sure how much money we need to bring.  The lady at the Realtor office called the lawyers and then finally called me back with the amount.  I rushed to the bank (luckily it’s only about 1 mile from Richland) and got the check.  When making out the check, the teller held down the shift-key and a “,” came out as a “>”.   Sine it was just for the amount of the check, I figured the lawyer would probably take it, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so they cut a new cashier’s check and I went back to work.

When I got there, there was a message waiting to call the realtor ASAP.  The lawyers were still having problems figuring out the numbers for the seller and so now they needed to move the closing back to 11:00 am.  Kona had an appointment at work at 11 that she had to reschedule, but now we’re on target for an 11 am closing.

Kona and I both had headaches, but we went shopping for some groceries and then came home.  When we got home, there was a message from the realtor asking if we wanted to go take another look at the house before we bought it and that he had to offer.  I had told Kona that was part of it and she didn’t believe me, saying I was the only person that heard that [Side note from Kona – I never said I didn’t believe James, I just said “I” hadn’t heard that.].  Anyway, he didn’t send an email or call Kona’s cell and by that point, we were too tired and hungry and didn’t feel like getting out again.  Kona fixed a quick dinner and we watched Moster’s vs. Aliens plus Bob’s Excape in 3D.

Two Days Until Closing

Tuesday, October 13, 2009, was mostly a “stay at home and recuperate” day for me, while Kona had to go into work.  I tried to find out how much money I needed on Thursday for the closing, but the seller’s information hasn’t come in yet, so I won’t find out until Wednesday.  This is probably the one biggest complaint about buying the house; not knowing until the last minute how much it’s going to cost.  I still have to get to the bank and get a cashier’s check, but I’m at work all day and the bank closes by the time I normally get off (since I have to wait for Kona to get done).

I also attempted to get an estimate on the painting the house.  The guy I called returned my call promptly and then said, “I’ll need to come out and take a look at it, let me call you back.”  That was before 2:00 pm and I never heard back from him.  Now he’ll call during the day while I’m at work.  It’s a big conspiracy by the phone company to make people think they need cell phones.

I did manage to complete a change of address form online for the post office.  They wanted $1 to confirm that I was a real person.  I did a “family” move for the first time ever in my adult life.  That was kind of cool.  I also figured that most of the stuff that Kona got here with her old name was junk and so I didn’t want it forwarded; she needed to tell people about her new last name if she wanted to continue to get it.  To help solidify that, there were four articles that arrived in the mail today; three of the four were to her with her old name [Side note from Kona – None of the three – actually none of the four – were anything I would actually want, so I’m fine with the old name not getting forwarded].

I was still sick, the cough deepening into the chest, the nose running continually in the morning until there was nothing left to blow.  Hopefully this won’t turn into what I had last fall / winter.  I spent six months with a deep chest cough and thousands of dollars with the doctor still being unable to determine what it was.  It eventually (in the spring) cleared up on its own, but I did find out I didn’t have asthma as part of the process. [Side note from Kona – I’m more worried that James and I are passing something back and forth. I was sick the weekend before last and still don’t feel like I’m completely over it (in fact my sore throat actually came back yesterday) and James started getting sick towards the middle of last week and seems to be getting worse.]

I did get out long enough to take pictures of the house to show a painter (should they ever call back) and to get the mail. In the evening, we watched three episodes of CSI to finish up the DVD for season 9.

[Side note from Kona – What we didn’t get done today (or over the weekend) was any packing! I’m starting to get a little anxious about the lack of packing that’s done compared to the amount that needs to be done, yet with both of us being sick we just haven’t felt up to doing much, especially tonight.  When I got home I had an awful headache and just generally felt like awful, so I made dinner and then vegged out on the couch with James (who also felt pretty bad), barely staying awake to finish season 9 of CSI.]

Three Days Until Closing – Matthiessen State Park

Monday, October 12, 2009, was the last day on our weekend getaway.  We both had off work because of Columbus Day.  We got up in the morning and Kona went down for breakfast, leaving me in the room to sleep a little bit longer.  I got up about 9 am, showered, and wrote on the website, and when she didn’t show up at 10 am, I went looking for her.  She was downstairs reading her Kindle, giving me a chance to sleep.  Checkout was at 11, so we went back upstairs and got ready to leave.

We decided to head south on IL 251 out of Rochelle, rather than going back to I-39 just a few miles away.  After a nice leisurely stroll, we ended up in Peru where we stopped at Arby’s and got lunch.  Then we snaked along the river rather than trying to take the main road back to the Interstate.  When we hit Joliet St, I turned right and it ended up being IL 351, the road that crossed the river.  We crossed over the Illinois and Michigan Canal and noticed a little park area with a lock and dam there and so we turned and went and looked. Sure enough, they had turned lock #14 on the I&M Canal into a park.  They had also restored the canal between La Salle and Utica and there was a boat where you could take a trip on the canal.  The next trip wasn’t until 2:15 and it was only 12:50, so we decided not to wait (or pay the $12 per person).

We then went back to Matthiessen State Park so that I could enjoy it in the fall.  Kona had bought me Muck Boots for the new house, but decided this was the time to give them to me so that our shoes didn’t end up looking like they did back in April.  [Side note from Kona – We had our Muck boots on to keep our shoes clean, but also decided to roll up our pants to keep them clean as well! Made for some cute pictures!] We had a fun time walking through the park and taking lots of pictures.

After spending several hours at Matthiessen, we took IL 178 south until it ended and became county road 44.  Then we followed it until it turned back east and we kept going south.  We were looking for county road 5 to get us over to McNabb, but we got to where we thought it should be and all it said was 17th ave.  Kona didn’t have her GPS out at the time, so I decided to go ahead and take it anyway.  About 7 miles later, we crossed the IL-251 and finally saw a sign that said “5”.

We ended up back at the really big tree.  It was dusk before and we wanted some better pictures.  It was still light out, but the sky was cloudy.  While we were on the corner taking pictures with the zoom lens, the owner of the tree drove by and stopped to talk with us a bit.  He told us that we could go up closer and get photos.  He’s had a lot of people stop by since the article in the Peoria Journal Star came out July 18, 2009.  The tree is even listed on the Illinois Big Tree Registry.

Then we headed home, stopping in Bloomington at Fazoli’s for supper, followed by Krispy Kreme and Starbucks for Kona.  It was about 7:30 pm when we got home and then came the task of unloading the car and putting all the photos we took onto the computer’s hard drive for storage.

All in all, it was a really good weekend.  We both had a blast despite my being sick most of the time.