Cross Country Update

March 28, 2008 at 7:35 pm (Uncategorized)

Somehow, we started this trip on a high note, and today, three nights into it, I’m sitting on a chair in a “Quality Inn” in Jamestown, ND, wondering if I should sleep with all my clothes on.  I yelled at Lola when she began carpet snurffing because I can’t verify the sanitary condition of the carpet.  Thankfully, they have internet, but I’m confounded why anyone would want to live in North Dakota.  We, and by we I mean Tom, have battled strong side-winds all day long, sleet, hail, rain, and now snow.  This place sucks.  Oh, but we did pass a billboard in Bismark for a Starbucks, so at least they can claim that.

Anyway….lot’s to catch up on.  This will be a lengthy post as I have nothing else to do and am jet-lagged from crossing two timezones in two days and am not hungry for dinner.  So go get yourself some popcorn, I’ll wait.

The packers came out on Monday.  It was exactly like they promised – a crew of three spent the day packing our stuff and we weren’t allowed to help.  There weren’t even questions I could answer, they just packed everything that wasn’t plugged in or potentially hazardous.  To stay out of their way, I sat in the bedroom and began re-reading Harry Potter 7.  Toward the end of the day, Tom and I went to sign papers and by 6 p.m., Wendall and his crew were gone.  This is what the place looked like.

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On Tuesday, Wendall came back with the truck driver and the truck driver’s son and the three of them had our house packed and on the truck in about 6 hours.  Damn.  They were all very nice.  Amelia, our snotty neighbor, couldn’t resist a few jabs.  We had warned the truck driver that she might screech because the truck was blocking her driveway, although I was hopeful that she would realize this meant that we were hours from being gone forever.  She didn’t fuss too much about that, just enough to let the crew know we weren’t exaggerating.  But, she did make some comment about whether they could pack us, Tom and me, up in the truck and drive off!  First, the comment doesn’t really make sense – once all our stuff is gone, it’s not like we’re going to hang around an empty house just to annoy her.  Second, this is not the first time she’s attempted to badmouth us TO THE PEOPLE WE HIRE.  Um…I just don’t get it.  I thought I would send her a Christmas card letting her know how happy we are that we moved away.

The buyer came out on Tuesday for the final walk-through and that was a pain in the butt.  He brought his inspector back with him!  Even though we had sent him the receipts for all the work we did.  In the end, he and his agent continued to make a fuss about the Studder vent in the new bathroom and the agent was making comments like “oh, the papers haven’t gone to the courthouse yet, we can still stop this” so we had to call out a plumber and have the vent extended through the roof for an additional $350.  It was extremely aggravating and here’s the why – a Studder vent is perfectly acceptable to vent into the attic space and is used when the angle is too tight to extend the vent through the roof.  In our case, it was likely that the non-English speaking plumber’s assistant was too lazy to do it the regular way and put the Studder vent in.  But, it is perfectly legit anyway.  However, the dumbass buyer and his agent were calling plumbers and asking in a general fashion if Studder vents were acceptable – and of course the plumbers were telling them otherwise – they could get a job worth $350 for a half-hour’s work.  And of course the dumbass wanted a licensed and bonded person to do a job that would take Tom $20 to fix.  We are so over this buyer.

This buyer, who is an Asian Project Manager at Boeing, owned a house once before, a brand new house he lost in a divorce.  So of course he likes our house because it feels newer, but he expects it to be pristine and it’s 40 years old!  Also, he has expressed that he has zero interest in learning how to do routine house fix-ups – he “hires” people for that.  Anyway, the house is his now and he’ll find a few things wrong when he moves in.  Hehe.

On Tuesday, Bill Brokaw had surgery on his shoulder – his Rotary Cuff that he injured back in August.  It was supposed to be an out-patient surgery but when they got started, the damage and subsequent arthritis was so bad they had to admit him.  Of course that made the actual surgery longer and poor Judy was left hanging in the waiting room and nobody knew nothing.  Not fun.  He now has to keep that shoulder completely immobile for 2 weeks.

Wednesday we left for Spokane.  We got a late start because our radio stopped working and we were trying to figure our why and what to do about it.  As it turned out, we couldn’t get into either a Nissan or the local Car Toys in a reasonable timeframe, so we drove to Spokane without a radio and stopped in at their Car Toys.  When Tom installed the XM Radio, the clip holding the radio to the power source broke, so the nice guys zip-tied it back in for $22.  Sure beats waiting 2 weeks and $250 later for a refurbished Bose radio from Nissan.

Suzy, Tom’s mom, recommended a B&B in Chewelah, and it was really nice.  We were the only ones there.  They normally don’t take dogs but made an exception and we kept the dogs in the entryway to our room.  The B&B was done very tastefully in a log cabin style – except instead of round logs they used log boards.  But there were tons of windows and the house was on a hill overlooking the valley.

Did you know that the telephoto lens I was complaining about DOES have an auto-focus button?  Yeah, thanks Dad!  Anyway, here is a shot or two from outside our room.  Those horses were way far away.  At least 4-5 acres away.  They had gotten some snow right before we came and it snowed a couple of inches overnight.  The B&B had a really comfy bed, nice bathroom, and stellar breakfast.  Kind of raised our expectations for the trip.

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After breakfast, we went back to Suzy’s to let the dogs blow of some steam before getting into the car.  Suzy’s new dog, Sam, is a dauschound chi-wow-wow mix and is 6 months old.  He and Spice got along just great.

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Lola, she preferred to huddle at my feet and watch.

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Spice got so hot she was eating snow.

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Eventually Lola decided that maybe playing wasn’t such a bad thing.

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Except that she got ice-balls really bad.  We had to melt them off with hot water.

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Wonder Dog!!

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We headed over the Rockies yesterday and the roads were pretty good, but it snowed almost the entire time.

We made it to Billings last night.  Today we got to Jamestown, which is half-way between Bismark and Fargo.  From here to Farmington is about 350 miles, so tomorrow shouldn’t be too bad.  Tom is an excellent driver.  I have driven very little so far because I don’t go as fast as he does.  And I only go as fast as I do on bare, dry roadways, with the sun out and the wind still.  That happened for about 2 hours this morning.  The dogs have been excellent.  At some point I expect them to refuse to get back into the car, but they have just been great.  Lola has spent just about the entire trip in my lap.  But I understand – when we take the curvy mountain roads at 70+ mph, she doesn’t have the body mass to keep herself from being flung about the car.  Leaning up on me, or asleep with her head in the crook of my elbow is much more comfortable for her.  Spice has been comfy in her bed in the backseat.  At one point today she was upside down.

The motels are another story.  With all the noise in the hallways, and the potential for other people, she has kept up that constant low growl in the room.  This morning it started at 6:21 a.m.  I would make her sleep in the car, but judging from the state of the bamboo we brought it us, she might freeze to death.  Or wilt.

That’s the update for now.  We’re officially homeless but really looking forward to getting out there and getting settled in.  But for right now, I’m going to go check out the bathroom here and see if I need to get some Lysol before bedtime.

I’ve put the whole set of pictures of the dogs playing in the snow on Flickr if you want to see the rest.

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