June 4, 2017

Saturday & Sunday  June 3 & 4

When this process started, I made a vow that I would not allow the house to own me as the renovations are being done. There was no visit to the house on Sunday, although I did stop in on Saturday, mainly to work on scale drawings of the kitchen. I need this so that I can demonstrate to the General Contractor what I want. As they knew in the Middle Ages, drawings are good for conveying one’s ideas to builders.

There has been some activity on Amazon, things I would never have imagined I would ever buy: 1) Hose and sprinkler 2) 27 Gallon Trash Can 3) Work Bench 4) Bat Door Knocker. None of these is applicable to to my lifestyle in an apartment. I have noted that my attention is drawn to more utilitarian things at thrift stores. One question, where do the garden tools go when someone breaks up a house?

Is it odd that one has 7 moving boxes full of drinking glasses? Made major headway on the packing thing. When the day comes, I want things pretty much done well in advance. The thought of panic packing un-nerves me. 

Yesterday two of my favorite people celebrated their birthday. June 3 is most definitely an auspicious day. Both dudes are hilarious, smart, intelligent and most importantly, kind.

Renovations and demolition start tomorrow, the EZ Box shows up, and Amazon promises all sorts of junk is going to arrive.

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

Most of the day was spent running errands and getting a massage. Popped off a dual artist posting for Facebook, Rogier van der Weyden and Hans Memling. Their saints and angels are so severe and their demons are fantastic. The 15th century was tough and I suspect they were pretty comfortable with the adversity of the times. The incredibly great masseur worked magic and rubbed out all of the stress from this week. I walked out of his office feeling like a new type of human. He looks like Jesus, but has the hands of God.

Arrived at the house around 3.00pm and spent the next couple of hours doing scale drawings of the two rooms which warrant a visual guide as to what will be happening. The Master Bath with Low tiles, and the splash back in the kitchen with Pewabic tiles, will know more Tuesday when the person in charge of “that” gets back from vacation. If you are not familiar with Pewabic Pottery, google it, they are both old [150 years this year] and new- being part of the Detroit Renaissance. Being alone in the house was a wonderful experience, no interruptions or distractions.

I was reminded of a book I have where one of the characters talks about how he cannot believe all the blessings God has given him, and isn’t he lucky? I have tried hard to be grateful in adversity; lots of trudging the road. Today when all is bliss and sunshine; piece of pie.

June 1, 2017

House Buying
The deed is done. I stand here with the smoke still coming out of the barrel and him lying on the floor in a pool of blood....................

Closing uneventful except I asked for a new survey 3 or 4 times prior to closing, and while they charged me for it, they never ordered it. Supposedly they are taking care of that now. I show up in nice shirt, long pants, dress shoes and a blazer. The lawyer is one notch above pajamas. Apparently, like the Catholic Church these days, you can show up dressed like a street urchin to settle a sale.

I have a toy office set up in the kitchen to keep the project going. The Genl Contractor arrive 1:45 with the locks and locksmith. They use keypads rather than keys so one must know the secret code[s] to get in. The locksmith reminded me of a blonde Edgar Allen Poe, petit, wiry, strange beady eyes and very tweaked. He does good work, so I guess any peculiarities on his part should be chalked up to his artistry. His boss said that Patrick was "different" but excellent. At least if I lose my keys, I can still get in.

Todd, the Genl Contractor, his boss, Mark, owner of the company, and I, the frightened owner, spent 2 and a half hours going through absolutely every little bit. New aluminum side shades for the back, like the ones Auntie Em had on the farm house, I asked for blue & white [my high school colors], dehumidifier for the basement,  correcting the drainage for the washer & dryer, they completely reconfigured and redesigned the access to the master bath to be ADA compliant, added little side shelves for the sinks, we are putting a fan out in the screened in porch, much discussion about the kitchen splash back [most of which cannot be answered without some info from the Pewabic Pottery people who struggle to return phone calls.....], mutual agreement that the swing arm for the TV is going to be expensive.. There was a discussion about what a crappy paint job had been done on the ceiling with satin finish paint, and we all know it should be flat matte. Exactly what is going on with the fireplace mantle, everything is more expensive than replacing it. A protracted debate about where to put the dumpster,  the ideal place is apparently directly in front of where the EZ Box unit is going to go.  Best reasonable guess is that it was a $5,000 additional expense day. Agreed to provide bottled water, chocolate, and will buy lunch on Fridays for the crew, starting next week. Wrote a large check           . 

Some of the local flora is attached. I now own a fig tree; memories of David Zehmer making her justly famous and fabulous aromas and fig preserves bubbled up to the surface. Final picture was a wise realtor who knows how toi calm the savage breast.


5-31-17 2 hr 4 min 48 sec
What could I possibly expect, that I would be invulnerable to Comcast’s incompetence? As I need internet service and an alarm system at the new location, and need to retain my service here at 8800 until I move, my friendly sales guy, Brian, told me I needed to start a new account and retain the bundle, which included phone service, at a significantly lower price. We agreed to terms and set up an appointment for June 7 between 1-4pm. I remember thinking at the time that I had gotten away pretty unscathed; 13 min 53 sec.
An e-mail appeared and advised I needed to set up my user name and password for the new account.  How hard could this be? Went in to set the account up and it asked for my CPNI number, a 4 digit code for the voice mail system security. Reviewing previous confirmation e-mails received, none of them contained this 4 digit code.
Foolishly, truly foolishly, I called Comcast. Between 4 departments, and 2 hours and 4 minutes and 48 seconds,  I finally connected to a guy who clearly understood what was going on and what I needed. He advised it would be 1-2 hours before the CPNI would arrive in my Comcast e-mail. It arrived, but in the wrong e-mail, they gave me the CPNI for the service I currently have. UGH!

I am getting stage fright about tomorrow.

May 29, 2017

In March,  I was sent the offer to renew my lease which ended in April. Having lived here for 39 years, it was time to take stock of my living situation. I had moved into Three Chopt West in May of 1978. At that time, it was a very good address and they were highly selective to whom they rented. The buildings had been built in 1962 and many of the movers and shakers of Richmond lived here. Built to the highest standards of the day by Stern & Arenstien. The rooms were large and bright, the appliances the best available, and the bathrooms tastefully done in a rainbow of colors. When I came to sighn the sublease, the apartment director at the time, Jane, looked at me and told me that if there was one complaint of any kind, they would throw me out so fast my head would spin. This was a nice complex and it was going to stay that way.

Over the years, there have been multiple owners of the property, some good, and some bad. Management of the property ranged from excellent, like Jane, to people who made white trash seem like the Vanderbilts. As time went on, the apartments lost their luster and it became necessary to lower the standards to ensure greater occupancy. Section 8 applicants were now accepted and while on the whole these tenants were fine, there were some who decidedly weren’t, like the young man who sped around the corner of the driveway, lost control of his vehicle, went airborne, crashed through a lower apartment unit window and landed on a mother and her 2 children who were lying in bed. The mother was killed. Shortly after this, one tenant knifed another, and recently there was a home invasion during which the drug dealer tenants were able to shoot at the assailants, kill one and gravely injure the other.

The purchase of the complex by one of the noted slumlords of Richmond brought new management whose aggressive pursuit of cost containment has led to many services being taken away from the tenants. Due to an insect problem, we essentially became our own trashmen as service was reduced to 5 days a week. Hallways littered with trash bags until the trash people pick them up is definitely a sign of sophisticated and elegant housing.
The place had really gone downhill. It was time, and so began my adventures in home-ownership.  I figured if I lived anywhere in the future, it would be from where I would be taken to the crematorium. It would be one floor, 3 bed, 2 bath, carport, built prior to 1970, brick, gas utilities, and hopefully not too done over.

My realtor and I looked at a number of properties, including one with an abandoned pizza oven in the basement, and happened upon 4415 Wistar Road. It had been on the market for a while, price had been reduced twice, and within seconds of walking into it, it was home. The house, built in 1969, reflected almost identical construction practice with my 1962 apartment, down to fixtures and tile used. It had everything I had wanted with some incredible pluses, the original pine kitchen cabinetry from 1969, new appliances in the kitchen, original wood paneling in the den/family room, and an 812 foot basement, ideal for storage and a home eBay business. There was a large screened in porch, and the yard was small and attractive.

Amazed at how ideal this property was for me, my realtor put in an offer and subsequently, after a long waiting period so that the current owner’s new townhouse could be built, we are closing on June 1.

This is the introduction to the blog that I hope will follow the events leading up to the moving in. Before I get there, there will be renovations and decorating. Many laughs, surprises, frustrations, surprises, and tears.