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Updated: 12/23/04

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What's on the nightstand

by Austin Tappan Wright

"War and Peace"
by Leo Tolstoy

unpack, unpack, unpack

more daylight

Thursday, 23 December, 2004


Well, close enough to move into! And move we did - last Friday. I will work on photos this weekend (while we're at Chez Trauma), but here's the verbal description of the events:

Friday, Oh-Dark-Hundred. I was up early, finishing packing what I could. We hadn't time to tackle the kitchen, and there were several rather fragile items that I didn't want to trust to the movers which we put in one of the closets. Gary got up and we loaded up some essentials - and the cat. She refused to go in her carrier, so we just carried her in the car. A quick drive over to the House, and Suki was installed in the Master Bedroom for the duration. We put her food, water and kitty box in the bathroom - her own little kitty spa for the day.

Gary headed back to Base Camp (the condo) to coordinate with the movers and I stayed to organize and direct from the House. Cyrus and Shawn (tile) were already there, finishing the tile on the half wall of the kitchen and getting the kitchen track lighting in place. I unpacked and organized some room in the study for the movers and hung clothes in the closet.

When I returned to the Master Bedroom, I couldn't find Suki. I discovered that she had wedged herself underneath the dresser - I was afraid that she was stuck, but when I moved it aside, she scuttled right back under. Okay, be that way. For the next two hours she would only come out if I laid down and looked under the dresser, and even then she would slink out and go right back under.

Around 11:00, Gary called to say that Lowe's would be delivering the new washer and dryer, we I went out and opened the big roll up door. Well, I got it about 3 feet open and Cyrus did the rest. We just finished when the Lowe's truck pulled up. Two burly guys unloaded the appliances, brought them into the house and put them in the laundry room. The dryer is a gas dryer, so I had to have Bill (our HVAC guy) hook it up. He was already coming out to replace a piece on the hot water heater and get it hooked up, so I called to let him know I needed the dryer done as well. He said they were on their way there.

Comcast arrived to hook up the high-speed internet connection and the cable TV. After a review of the cabling they declared that we have the wrong cabling and it had to be rewired. Gary spoke to the on the phone several times, but they said they couldn't do anything and left.

Bill and his helper arrived around 12:30 and got to work on the hot water heater. I also showed him the gas log set we got for the den fireplace and he said he'd take care of it. They had to go get some hoses for the dryer, and as they left, the moving truck arrived. Three guys, one of whom has moved Gary to and from various residences for twenty years. We established the study as the place for everything that wasn't labeled and off they went.

It was rather like being an air traffic controller, directing furniture and boxes and helping Gary move some of the stereo equipment that he brought in the BMW. Bill and helper returned and finished the hook-ups. Bill handed me the remote control for the fireplace - push a button and the fire starts, and you can control the height of the flames and set a timer. Very cool.

Gary had to leave around 4:00 to pick up Josh at college, so I continued directing. The movers were done by about 5:00 - they did a super job and we haven't found any damage. And not expensive at all. Cyrus and Shawn were still working on lighting and tile, but I realized I hadn't eaten anything all day so I went to Standard Tap (a pub about two blocks away) to get something to eat. Gary was going to take the kids out for dinner after he got back from Muhlenberg, so I was on my own and we hadn't moved any food over to the House yet. It was nice just to SIT for a change. I had a salad with apples, goat cheese and bacon, and then a burger. It really hit the spot.

Back to the House - Cyrus and Shawn were just wrapping up. Shawn still needed to come back in the morning to do the grout, but the wall looks really nice. They left and I went upstairs to check on the cat. Still frozen under the dresser, but she was more willing to come out and began exploring a bit. Gary came home and we continued to unpack. We finally went to bed, exhausted. We kept Suki in the bedroom - not that she was planning to go anywhere anyway.

Saturday, Oh-Dark-Hundred. I slept fine until the cat wanted to be petted at 4:30 a.m. I managed to ignore her and go back to sleep until 7:30 - late for me! Gary was already up and had reassembled the bed in the guest room. I made coffee - we have a little kitchenette in the Master Bedroom where we have a microwave, little refrigerator, a sink and an "Insta-Hot" water faucet. It's pretty slick. I went and worked in the Master closet for a while. We have open shelves for shirts and things and I organized stuff so that it fit.

We hit IKEA at 9:45, just before they opened at 10:00, and had their $.99 breakfast. Eggs, sausage or bacon and potatoes. Not great, but the $.75 coffee is excellent. Not to mention the Lingonberry juice. The dining room faces across Delaware Ave towards that water where the rusting hulk of the SS United States is moored. We bought a shelving unit, some storage baskets and a big wicker trunk for Gary's scrubs, and looked at a couple of chairs. Next stop: Best Buy to get a new vacuum cleaner.

On to Pier One where we found two little nightstands to go in the Master Bedroom. They have little flowers painted on them, but that will soon change. Over to Linens and Things for, well, some linens and things. Gary found a great micro-suede duvet cover and sham set in dark green. Then to Lowe's to pick up some low shelving for shoe storage in the closet. We stopped at the grocery store and Home Depot to get a couple of things and then home. Whew!

The shelving unit is to go in the pantry in the kitchen. It was about an inch too wide, so I had Cyrus Sr take a half inch off of each upright and it fits perfectly! The two standards were $8 each and the set of five shelves was $40, so we have perfectly fitted shelves in the pantry for under $60 - not bad considering how much pre-made pantry units cost.

Gary had a Hanukkah party to go to and I decided to stay home and continue organizing. I headed over to another neighborhood restaurant, Abbaye, for a late lunch. It's another bar/restaurant set up - they (like Standard Tap) welcome patron's dogs, which I think is nice. Once you become "establishment" I think that goes away. I sat at the bar - there were several others there reading and eating - and had huevos rancheros and read "Islandia" for a while. Back to the house and cleaning/putting away. Gary came home and we did more of the same.

Sunday, Oh-Dark Hundred. I actually woke before Suki and bodily moved her on the bed so I could get up. I puttered around until Gary got up and we began in earnest. We went over to the condo and packed up several boxes of kitchen pantry items and brought them back. He had to go to a brunch with his kids, so I stayed at home and slaved. Well, actually, I headed for Liberties, yet another bar/restaurant in the neighborhood that has a couple of big TV's in the bar, and had some artichoke/spinach dip and buffalo chicken while watching the first half of the Eagles/Dallas game. (They were losing by one at the half when I went home, but manage to scare a win out of it in the end.)

More unpacking and cleaning the dust that has accumulated on every surface. Gary came home and we searched for the cat, who had disappeared. I feared that she had gotten into the crawlspace access behind the closet in the hobby room, and looked and looked for her. Turns out she was up in Katie's room - she followed me in and I closed the door. Once she was released, she promptly ran downstairs, and through the access panel into the crawlspace! She came out a while later covered in dust bunnies, but we have now made the hobby room off limits for her.

We went over to Lowe's around 7:00 to pick up a couple of things. It was really cold out, and in the ten minutes we were in the store, it began to snow. Horizontally. We dashed across the parking lot to Champp's Sports Bar for dinner. We had eaten there a few weeks ago and found that the food is surprisingly good for a sports bar chain, and the portions are huge. By the time we left, the snow had turned to freezing rain, so it was a treacherous commute home.

The rest of the week has been kind of a blur, with the exception of my trip to New York Monday morning when it was 11 degrees - before wind chill. Waiting in the taxi queue for twenty minutes, my eyes were tearing - and freezing on my face. The word of the day was "brutal." Since then, we've spent most evenings unpacking and moving stuff around and watching DVDs since we had no cable.

The cat has gotten comfortable with the house and based on the dusty little footprints on most surfaces, she quite enjoys the new "kitty jungle gym." Gary discovered that the cable guys were lookoing at the wrong cable, so he and Cyrus got it straightened out last night and we now have high-speed internet and about 300 cable TV stations. Woo-hoo!

Gary bought the little chairs at IKEA for the bedroom, as well as some tall vases with decorative plant/sticks for the corners of the room. He also painted out the flowers on the little night tables - they look perfect. He has a nice touch for decorating - the bedroom really looks nice. I'm going to try to hang the curtains from the condo in the den. We still have stuff in the old kitchen to move, as well as plants and things. Oh, and the fish pond.

[That should be interesting.]

Faithful reader and erstwhile contributor, Jon, offers this amusing story:

HOUSTON, Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- National realty expert Laurie Moore-Moore has been elected to the board of Stewart Information Services Corp. She replaces Gov. John LaWare, who passed away Dec. 13.

"Laurie has been an advisory director for Stewart for almost three years, and her perspective on the national residential real estate industry has been invaluable," said Malcolm Morris, Stewart chairman and co-chief executive officer. "Laurie is not only attuned to the real estate market and its direction but she brings great insight into what our best customers expect Stewart to deliver!"

Moore-Moore is founder and president of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, a training, networking and certification group. She is the co- founder and former co-editor of REAL Trends, a publishing and research company serving the residential real estate industry, and she also heads a brokerage industry CEO strategy group. Moore-Moore was chosen by The Real Estate Intelligence Report as one of the 10 people having the most impact on the residential real estate business in the last 25 years.

Jon writes:

Now, I am all for a woman retaining her maiden name if she so chooses but don't you think if your maiden name is Moore and you marry a Moore the hyphenated name becomes somewhat redundant, especially when the name is Moore?

[As John K said - twice - "Sometimes less is Moore."]

Had a fun Christmas lunch yesterday with clients. It was nice to catch up with folks, including Eva, who has just finished a major addition to her home. It was also nice to finally be able to say, "It's done!", when people asked about The House.


Quote du jour:

"A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life; he is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair, the rest of his days. "

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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