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April 2017

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Well... if anybody's still reading, here's a catch-up post on what's up in the life of me, since it's been over a month since my last post. (oops)

First, this actually pre-dates my last post by a month, but since I forgot to mention it here... I have a new cat! Fiddler rounds out the kitty crew at four, taking the spot as Izzy's playmate, which was vacated when Bigfoot died. I adopted Fiddler from the Humane Society of Hamilton County, an excellent no-kill shelter in the county just south of me (where I work and where I used to live). He spent the first couple of weeks living upstairs while the other cats were downstairs, letting him get good and bonded to me and used to being here before introducing the rest of the crew. Then I let Izzy come up and she and Fiddler got a couple of weeks to become buds before Smudge and Gorby (sibling pair) were added to the mix. Izzy and Fiddler turned out to be the best of friends, and they play and play and play. Izzy has a waist again! (She'd been getting pudgy without a playmate.)

What's happened in my life in the last month or so... )

So that's my last month or so in a nutshell (and in pictures!). How've y'all been?

(NOTE: Picture links to Facebook are public links... no Facebook membership required. The Zoo gallery is on Flickr.)
Since I moved into this house, back in July, my primary living space has been the huge walk-out basement. My bedroom is down there, and my big-screen TV and comfy squishy sofas, perfect for lounging on with dogs and cats while working (or playing) on the laptop. There's easy access to the backyard, by way of the screened porch, and it's just an altogether more convenient and pleasant "critter space" than the upstairs. (It also allows me to keep the upstairs relatively cat-free, since I have friends and family who are allergic to the feline members of the Reddogs clan.)

Last night, having spent most of the day upstairs doing laundry and unpacking books and generally doing rainy-day chores, I headed down the stairs to grab a laundry basket and realized that the carpet looked funny. Then I got closer and realized the carpet was drenched. Oops! The basement was flooding

As I started the process of contacting the insurance company (who ultimately didn't cover it because it was a "groundwater incursion" for which I'm not covered) and moving furniture to the dry side of the basement, I also relocated all the animals to upstairs. The cats all got caught and stashed in the small bedroom, where they're safe from the possibility of escaping while workers are in and out of the house. Conveniently, that room opens onto the main upstairs bathroom, so I can go into the bathroom, close the hall door, then open the bedroom door to go in and feed/water/snuggle cats, letting the bathroom act as a kind of "airlock" to keep kitties from escaping.

Then I drug all the dog crates upstairs and stashed them in the master bedroom, which is my temporary sleeping space (on a twin futon... bleah) until the Big Noisy Fans are gone from downstairs and I can have my room back. The dogs have taken this in stride, 'cause they're pretty much just happy to be wherever I am, and they can still hang out in the living room with me (Thunder the English Setter looks very elegant sprawled on the leather sofa). The cats, however, are extremely unhappy about this turn of affairs. They're used to being able to sleep with me, and to snuggle against me while I'm working on the laptop. They do not like being banished to a single room, but we've got at least three more days of contractors being in and out of the house to finish drying out the basement and I can run the risk of freaked-out kittie escaping through an open door. :-(

I want my bed back... and my DVR (it's hooked up to the big TV downstairs)... and I want my house to not sound like I live in a wind-tunnel. But we can all survive a few more days of this, and the good news is that the water was limited to the floor... the walls aren't wet, and the carpet is probably okay (yay for really good water abatement crews!), and in a few days life will be back to normal.

Originally published at

Today was a landmark of sorts... it marked the first time that I've managed to mow the Whole Damn Yard at one time at the new house.

When I closed on the house, the lawnmower was still at (and still needed at) the old house, where it spent the next two weeks. Then it went off to the John Deere place for its annual servicing and they kept it for over a week before they kindly delivered it to the new house for me. Then I was busy with the actual, well, moving and stuff, and it was another week before I realized that OMG I'm going to need a hay baler if I don't do something about the yard!

The first mowing saw me getting through the top third, at the highest possible deck setting, which at least tamed all the part around the house itself. I'd started down the long stretch out to the road and the bottom fell out of the clouds and I mowed a funky twisting path back to the garage in the most direct possibly fashion. Whee!

The next mowing got me through the middle third at the high deck setting, and back around the house at a slightly lower setting. It was starting to look almost civilized, then we got a bunch of rain. Oops. And somewhere in there, the rocks for the firepit/drum circle got delivered, which involved a small Bobcat running around the bottom third of the yard making weird tracks and lumps and bumps all over the place.

Last weekend while my parents were here, I finally went out to tackle the back third for the first time. Discovered that there's a lot more to mow than I'd realized, as the creek does lots of little snaky loopy things, leaving me w/ all these little peninsulas to mow. Fun, but time-consuming! That also let me mow the fire circle for the first time, where I found that I did, indeed, leave myself room to mow between the inner and outer rings and around/between all the boulders (I'd made the circle too small at the old house and doomed myself to a lot of work with weedeater or pushmower when I couldn't navigate with the tractor).

Today, I bumped the deck down an inch, checked my watch, and went out and mowed the whole darn thing. W00t! I also moved the corner stakes for the soon-to-be fence in a couple of spots when I realized that I was creating spots that would be a bitch to mow. It should be tolerable in its current configuration. (There are some hills that can only be taken head-on, and the fence was going down one at an angle. Oops!)

I still need to spend some quality time with the weedeater, but hopefully I can manage that tomorrow after work, now that the mowing is all done!

(Afterwards, I rewarded myself by going, with [ profile] nycgadgetgirl and Snickers, down to the drum circle and fire spinning at White River Park in down town Indy. It was a gorgeous night for it, and it had been way too long since the last time I drummed just for fun.)
So... this whole move/paint/remodel thing has started costing rather more than I'd expected, and it's all gonna work out okay but I was about to be in a short-term cash crunch. Opened the mail today and there was an envelope from CDI, where I'd had my shoulder MRI done, and I thought "Oh good grief... we've been through this, darnit... I've paid you!" and one from my former mortgage company.

The first one had a $310 refund for an overpayment, and the second one had an almost $900 refund from my escrow account. Sweet!

Sometimes it actually pays to open the mail. :-)
This is the post I was working on when Bigfoot collapsed...


It's done.

All the stuff is moved.

I have the best friends ever. [ profile] min0taur, Sally WINOLJ, Michael (WI essentially NOLJ, since he has one but never posts) and [ profile] textdeviant spent the weekend helping me get the rest of the house packed up and moved, even though two of them are allergic to cats and pretty much everybody is allergic to dust (and OMG there was a lot of dust lurking behind and under furniture that hadn't moved in years!). [ profile] textdeviant fed us fabulous spaghetti and salads last night (and offered to feed us again tonight, but I think everybody was at the "I just want to go home and fall down" stage) which made all the difference in the world in being able to get up and work all day again today, but finally, it's done.

There's a full 10' UHaul in the driveway that needs to go back by 1:30 tomorrow. I'm fairly well resigned to paying for another day, and I'm fine with that.

The PackRat will get here tomorrow late morning or early afternoon. Bob the PackRat Packer will be meeting it here and will become Bob the PackRat Unpacker. Oh... my... gods... that man played three-dimension Tetris with my stuff and managed to fit an absolutely amazing amount of stuff into that 16' box. Worth every penny (and while more expensive than doing it myself, he and the PackRat were way cheaper than hiring a moving company). I hope _I_ never need him again, but if anybody in Indy is moving and needs a recommendation, I'll happily pass his contact info along.

Before leaving the house for the last time, I said my goodbyes to the trees. That's the one thing that makes me sad about this move... I'm very fond of my two huge maple trees and the developers will inevitably knock them down. So I spent some time thanking them for 12 years of not dropping branches on the house or the cars. Hopefully I can keep the maple saplings alive so I'll have some continuity from old house to new.

Tomorrow, I'm off work and the painters won't be here 'til later in the day, so I'm going to get up while it's still cool(ish) out and put the new cart together, then tow it around the yard while I (a) pick up sticks and (b) look for any protuberances that I need to not hit with the lawnmower blades. Once I've scoped things out, I'll make another pass at the mower deck's highest setting. That should be enough to make the neighbors happy and still keep me (hopefully) from hitting anything that I shouldn't. It'll be interesting to see how long it takes to mow 2+ acres!

For now, I've opened the boxes that were labelled "Now!" and extracted the cell phone charger, alarm clock, things needed for my shower in the morning, and I've fed and watered dogs and cats and walked the dogs. I think I'll see if I can get some sleep now.
Twice now I've rushed home from work, expecting rocks to have moved.

Twice I've gotten home to find the boulders still sunning quietly in the backyard.

Yesterday, the rock company guy called to say that his guys had been out and had decided they couldn't move the rocks with just two people.

Today, the owner came out, still with just one other person, took one look at the boulders and decided that they couldn't move them either.


So now they're coming back later in the week with the Bobcat (which would be amusing if it wasn't so expensive, because I told them that they'd delivered them with the Bobcat when I bought them several years ago). They'll scoop up boulders (they think the big one here weighs close to 500 lbs... I'm not remembering anything being over 400 in that lot, but I've slept since then so who knows) and then haul the boulders from here, the river rocks that ring the firepit itself, the two new boulders and the Bobcat all up to the new house and put them in place. This will happen... later. Not today or tomorrow. Retrieval of existing rocks may happen Thursday, but they said they could wait and deliver them next week if I needed them to (as he put it, "They don't need feedin' or babysittin' so they can wait a few days at the shop if they need to").

Oh, and another thing... the two new boulders, which he'd guesstimated at 1000 lbs and 500 lbs respectively? Deceptively heavier than they looked. 2700 lbs for the big one and 1200 for the smaller one. Eep!

At least with the Bobcat we'll have a chance of putting the big one exactly where I want it (and right-side up), since there'd be no real finesse if they were just dumping it off the back of the truck.

Having failed (twice) at moving boulders, I'm going to go move dishes and bottles instead. I have to run up to the new house, so I'm going to pack a load of kitchen stuff and take it with me.
Talked to the developers this morning, and I have through the weekend now to be out of the old house.

*huge sigh of relief*

Two days may not seem like a big deal, but with my boss out of town this week I can't take time off during the day, and trying to schedule movers for after 5 p.m. was proving problematical.

I feel much better now.
Gutters re-routed at new house so that water no longer tries to flood the garage during hard rains.

Finally remembered to pick up water softener salt... bought five bags and dumped three into the softener. Yay.

Sevin concentrate and a sprayer acquired. Not fond of chemicals, but the Japanese Beetles Must Die.

Beetle jump-started and delivered to ASG so they can fix the timing issue and make the Check Engine light go away. (Thanks to friend [ profile] creed3, who picked me up at ASG and delivered me back home!).

Way too many books packed. Way too many books still left. (Only half of one bookcase, though... all the rest are in boxes.)

Random linens thrown in the washer and dryer and then into boxes.

All the packed boxes (from this and previous days) moved to the Packrat now that I remembered to bring the handcart back from the other house.

Finished filling another box of linens and another box of clothes.

And at the new house... painting happened! (It's been wall prep for all this time... today, there was actually paint!) In the morning, I'm taking a Trooper-load of stuff to the house so I can see how the colors look on the walls. :-)
And this week, there's still a list...


* Pick paint colors for downstairs bedroom, purchase paint for that and for downstairs bath (bath colors already chosen)
* Select tile for downstairs bath (tentatively done)
* Pick light fixtures for downstairs bath
* Select flooring for downstairs bedroom
* Pack... a lot... dear gods I still have a lot of Stuff
* Drop push mower off for a tuneup and blade sharpening
* Call the movers and Packrat to schedule loading the heavy stuff and moving the Packrat to new house
* Call Comcast and cancel internet at old house effective July 19th.
* Call fence company and schedule fence installation (pending info on financing)
* Jump start Beetle and get it to ASG for timing adjustment and tuneup


* Finished mowing the yard at the old house
* Arranged to move firepit boulders (will happen Monday afternoon... must mark target locations this weekend!)
* Took the Big Scary List to Lowe's and got everything ordered/bought and delivery scheduled (my 10% coupon saved me about $240)
* Called Dish and arrange for satellite service to be set up at the new house (will install Sat. morning 19th)
* Stayed at new house 'til after dark and verified that solar path lights do indeed provide enough light
* Picked paint colors for downstairs bath, bought paint for den

On the packing front... about half the contents of the frig/freezer have been moved, along with half or more of the dishes. Hopefully I'll get most of the rest of that done this weekend while I'm running up and down the road. Over half of the books are packed and out in the Packrat. Maybe half of my clothes are packed. Bedroom 3 is completely empty except for boxes that need to move to the Packrat. Bathroom 2 is likewise completely empty. Tonight's project is to finish packing CDs/DVDs/etc. in the living room, and to finish packing the books in the living room. Then tomorrow I pack everything I can of the remaining two bedrooms, with an eye to, by Monday, being at the point where I can just sort/pitch and I can have friends help pack the stuff that must go. Otherwise, there's no way I'm gonna be ready to be out of here in a week, especially since I can't take any days off next week.

Also... the road to TinyLittleTown is astonishingly dark at night in the rain. Just sayin'.
I've been sitting on Big News for weeks now, but I couldn't say anything before now...

My sister Jenna and niece "T" are moving to Indiana to live with me while T goes to high school! How cool is this going to be?

Details, details... )

So change is afoot at Reddog HQ. I'll not only have a roommate again, but Jenna and I will be living together for the first time since she was fresh out of high school, and I'll have a teenager in the house, which is alternately exciting and terrifying. :-)

Timeline is that I've got 11 days to be out of the current house (*gulp* ... the new house has no paint on the walls... and the downstairs bathroom construction hasn't started... and I'm only about 25% packed!!!), so I'll be sleeping in the new house by the 18th. Then Jenna comes out from NYC the weekend of the 27th and has a little time to get settled in before T, who's spending the summer with her grandparents, arrives around the beginning of the second week of August.

Fun fun fun! :-)
I have... a shrubbery!

More to the point, I have a whole bunch of plants (including two boxwoods and a bayberry, which inspired a number of Monty Python moments over the course of the afternoon) now in residence at the new house instead of at the old house. The aforementioned shrubs, two regular peonies and a Japanese tree peony, one lonely purple coneflower (I'm not sure why none of the rest came up this year), a huge hosta (which will divide into four or five when it's replanted), four roses, including the killer carnivorous rose (which looks very naked all cut back), and about a dozen sedum.

Oh, and maples. We found four fairly substantial maple seedlings which appear to be seedlings from my big front maple tree. I don't feel particularly bad about the fact that this house is going to get bulldozed when I move, but I'm sad about the trees... especially the big silver maple, which has kind of been my special grounding tree ever since I moved in. So I have four baby maples to nurture and find spots for at the new house.

So now I have to finish packing and get moved to the new house, so I can start working on all the beds and find permanent homes for the transplants. In the meantime, at least they're in really good soil and all in the same area so they'll be easy to keep watered. :-) (Which reminds me... I need to water the baby maples, which are out front in a pot rather than up at the new place.)
I swear I feel like I'm moving backwards. I know I'm actually making progress, but boy the list of things that need to be done just keeps growing! Thankfully, I accomplished some things today that hadn't been on my original list for the weekend, so that helped me feel more productive!

Cut for the sake of the list-phobic )

Note to self: Remember to go to bed at a decent hour. Set the clock. Don't ignore it when it goes off.
I came to the new house today armed with the laptop, the cellphone, and a pen and paper, determined to slay the dragon which is Verizon's DSL activation.

Tried again to verify that their web-based activation system wouldn't work. It wouldn't. I could get there, but it would get halfway through the process and want to start installing software which I didn't want. Yay.

So I called Verizon, and waded through their byzantine menu system, which finally asked me if I was using Windows or Mac. I replied Mac and it promptly send me to Windows support... in India... over a b-a-d VOIP connection.


Wherein Debbie's patience is tested to the max... )

So I'm online from the new house now!

Now to lock down the wireless router, which is currently wide-open. Yay for functioning internet!
The DSL is alive at the new house, but I can't connect to it because they _insist_ that you run their stupid installer and it absolutely refuses to run on my laptop. Whether I download it or run it from the provided CD, it gets to the same point (checking for software updates) and just hangs there. System logs show tons of errors where the app is looking for files that don't exist or trying to access scripts that aren't configured correctly.

Of course, I _could_ have solved all of this with a simple phone call to support to get the user name and password set up, but since I keep forgetting to take a landline phone to the new house, and since I drove up there today w/out my cell, I'm still without working internet access up there. *sigh*

Oh well... tomorrow I'll remember the cell and hopefully I'll get a tech with a clue and we can get this all finished!

Wall colors picked for the living room, dining room, kitchen, laundry, upstairs bath and hallways
Vanity, sink, faucet, mirror and medicine cabinet picked for the downstairs bath
Shower stall size decided on for downstairs bath
Fence corners marked with stakes, quote received and approved
Quote received and approved for bathroom build-out
Quote received and approved for all interior painting

Still needed...

Paint colors for both upstairs bedrooms
Paint colors for downstairs bedroom, bath and den
Pick up paint for all of the above by Sunday while it's still on sale at Menard's
Tile selected for downstairs bath (tentatively done)
Pick light fixtures for downstairs bath
Flooring selected for downstairs bedroom
Arrange to have lawn tractor serviced (and possibly delivered to new house instead of back to old house?)
Arrange to move firepit boulders
Pack... a lot... dear gods I have a lot of Stuff
Take garden tools and gloves to new house
Drop push mower off for a tuneup and blade sharpening

There's more, but I'll get intimidated by the length of the list if I keep going. The above are the things I should actually do this weekend!
So... the initial quote to fence the new place (black 5' chain link, trenched in so the bottom 6" is buried) came it at almost $16k.

I don't have $16k to put into fencing, but fencing so the dogs can enjoy it was kinda the point of getting 2+ acres with the new house.

I have a fencing contractor coming out at 2 p.m. to talk to me about options, but I'm definitely open to suggestion if folks have found a less expensive way to fence effectively for dogs.

Fence needs to be at least 4'6" high, 'cause the Setter can clear anything less from a standing start (I'm not sure he _would_, but he could, and I plan to continue to foster so I have to plan for security). I'd prefer a built-in barrier to digging (hence the original plan to trench and bury), but can also deal with that on an ad-hoc basis if needed (chicken wire is my friend). The other goal is to wind up with a fence that looks appropriate and is as unobtrusive as possible. I've got 2 acres of beautiful rolling land across the street from a beautiful farm. I'd really like to not obscure the view or wind up living behind something that looks like a prison fence.

Ideas? Also, if you're in the Indy area, recommendations for fencing contractors would be appreciated! :-)

That was... interesting.

I left home this morning, planning to go to the office for a couple of hours and then meet my friend Steve at the new house, to see which of my various and sundry projects he was interested in tackling. (As it turns out, pretty much all of them, including the fencing, which just rocks!) I was going to be in Frankton for a couple of hours, then swinging back past the old house long enough to shower and change before meeting [ profile] poltr1 for an early dinner since he was in town (and by "town" I mean Indianapolis) for a meeting this afternoon.

I made it to work a few minutes early (miraculous for me on a Saturday), which seemed a good start. Spent longer there than expected and was running late, so I called Steve and let him know I'd be a few minutes late meeting him at the house.

Spent a couple of hours talking about what all I want done so that he can work up some numbers for me, and met the lovely older lady who lives nextdoor, then realized it was after three and I was going to have to rush to make it back to Indy. Hopped in the Trooper and headed south out of Frankton and realized the air conditioning wasn't working. No, wait... the fan's not blowing at all. And, hmmm... the brake and alternator lights are on, which is what happened when the serpentine belt broke, which was just a couple of months ago.

Oh dear. That's not good.

So, Debbie, what's wrong w/ your poor old truck now?? )

Big plus for the day: I have a new mechanic. Seems like a great guy, comes well recommended, and has certainly bent over backwards to help me out of a jam today. He'll be convenient from the new house, and having a good mechanic who's closer than Indy is a Very Good Thing (plus, his regular biz is a Mobile Mechanic gig, so if I get stranded at the house in Frankton, he can bring his truck full o' tools to the house!).

Other plusses: Having a chance to hang out w/ Jim, after having just met in passing a couple of OVFFs ago. Not being stranded on the side of the road, or having the Trooper out of service for days. Finding the handy O'Reilly's. Meeting another friendly neighbor. Discovering that Anderson (which has some kinda scary areas since the Delco plant closed and a bunch of people moved out) really isn't all bad, and has some super-nice people if I just open my eyes and look. Having time to just sit and read or work sudoku puzzles for awhile.

The only real downside? I lost four or five hours that I should have been packing.

You know, given the way my day could have gone once all the dash lights came on... I think I can live with that! :-)
I can't believe I forgot to post this yesterday...

The money for the sale of the current house came through right on schedule Thursday afternoon (they had to file the paperwork for all 18 sales before the developer's funding was finalized, then they paid all of us) and on Friday morning I closed on the new house. I take possession on the 27th (earlier if the seller is finished moving earlier), and on the 28th I'm meeting a friend there who's going to do a bunch of painting and other handyman chores. On July 4th, a landscaper friend is helping me relocate the roses and other plants.

Electrical work that was stipulated after the inspection didn't appear to have been completed, so the electrician was coming back yesterday to check on that. In the meantime, my world is full of boxes, and very confused animals (I have a box which is quickly filling up with dog toys... and unfilling... and refilling... Drummer has obviously decided that this is a fun new game).

Closed on the sale of the current house this morning. The "problem" neighbors (who had us all worried, 'cause everybody has to close before any of us get paid) have both closed already, so everything is rocking along on schedule!


Celebrated by stopping at Da Blue Lagoon for tasty Jamaican meat patties. Yum. Spicy meat and flaky pastry. Life is good...

There's a big shiny white box in my front yard, under the shady maple tree and pointed so that it's easily accessible from the garage or the front door. I'm excited, 'cause this means I can finally start getting stuff Out Of The House!