Thursday, May 31, 2012

Lessons Learned

How does anyone do it?  Moving, I mean. The movers give you a "window" of when they will arrive with your stuff. House closings are "fluid" and will "happen when they happen" which tends to make planning the movers a bit difficult. Our movers arrive today and will be delivering our stuff to our new home (theoretically) next Thursday. I felt like things were well in hand, taken care of, and completely controlled. And then the mortgage lender emailed. This is the same mortgage lender who sent us a loan commitment letter telling us that everything was fine and that we were "all set" in terms of the loan. Now, the latest snafu brings up the whole merged credit report that was supposedly taken care of in April. If you recall, I found out that my credit report had been merged with someone else's. When I called the credit agency in question, they were incredibly helpful, super nice, and saw their error right away and spent an hour on the phone with me fixing the problem. We notified the creditor that it had been fixed, thinking that the situation was behind us. Now, all of a sudden, they claim they have ordered a new report and that a mortgage from this other person's report is still listed on my credit. Once again, I call the credit reporting agency and they assure me that it is completely off and that the last time they show anyone requesting my credit report was in April. Now we're being told by the lender that if it isn't "fixed" the loan is off. Off? Excuse me? The movers arrive TODAY! We are moving on SATURDAY! They are notifying us of this 4 days before we are supposed to close on the house?  Why was this not something that was brought to our attention earlier? Now we have a conference call in exactly five minutes to attempt to clear this up. And when does it need to be cleared up to satisfy the lender? Today. Specifically, this morning as they won't be "available" this afternoon. My stomach is in knots. I didn't sleep last night. So what lessons have I learned?

1. Never move from one house directly into another. Move from a house to an apartment (even if it's for a few months) to another house. Yes, that really makes it a pain with the actual move of your stuff, but evidently that doesn't matter to the lender.

2. Never move into a house before you begin your new job. Evidently, the fact that Nate is ending one job then moving then starting his new job creates a "special circumstance." Avoid all "special circumstances."

3. Have a gajillion dollars in savings to pay for your move because paying interest isn't enough for a bank...they will have you pay fees out the wazoo as well.

4.  On second thought, Never, Ever, Ever Move!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Horror Stories

Why do people think it is a good idea to share their horror story with you before you go through whatever they have experienced? People preparing for surgery, usually get to hear the horror stories of how when the other person had surgery the doctor cut off the wrong limb, left a sponge in their body that caused a horrific infection, or some other horrible thing.  What I have had the joy of hearing the past months are moving stories. No, not stories that move you emotionally and have a powerful message....but stories regarding a move from one place to another. Specifically, stories regarding people's previous experiences with moving companies. How are these helpful to me?  One person shared how their mover "disappeared" for two weeks with their stuff and there was no way to contact them. (AKA: pre cell phone days). We just came from having dinner with another couple who shared their story of how the movers didn't show up on the correct day and when they did, they pulled up in front of their neighbor's house and they had to walk uphill both ways with snow up to their shoulders and ...... you get the drift. The story continued to grow to the point where their furniture was not delivered until a month after they moved. I left the dinner thinking that the only way I'll ensure that my belongings make it to New Haven in a timely manner is to ride in the semi truck with the movers. The moving company has assured me that I'll be able to get the cell phone numbers of the drivers and that will make communication so much easier. However, according to my doomsday dinner buddies, the mover that picks up your belongings isn't the same mover that will deliver your belongings. So, how will having Mover A's phone number help when I need to talk to Mover B? This question and many others will hopefully be answered tomorrow when I call the moving company.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I Declare!

I tend to be a very passionate person. I will make declarations and vows with every possible ounce of sincerity within me at that particular moment only to not follow through, give up, and conveniently "forget."  For a perfect example, you can look at the myriad of diets and nutritional declarations I have made in the past. I have gone "vegan" (it lasted all of one week and by the end of that week I was so hungry all I wanted to eat was the most disgusting processed animal food imaginable - it didn't matter what: cheese whiz, pepperoni slices, deli meat, bacon, you name it...I wanted it badly!), vegetarian, gluten-free, carb free, fat free, and every other type of "free" you can think of only to jump off the band wagon as quickly as I jumped on. As I'm dealing with yet again, another complete and utter failure with the 17 Day Diet which in other words could be named "Carb Free/South Beach/Atkins." I'm frustrated with myself. However, this morning I have taken some time to evaluate my situation. I think back to when I lost gobs and gobs of weight and think about how that worked. I increased my vegetable intake dramatically, I ate in proper portions and tried to limit my number of processed carbs. I just ate smarter. I didn't technically eliminate anything. I still went to Happy Hour with my work friends and ate chicken wings and drank beer. I just didn't feel the need to eat I read yesterday in the June Shape Magazine that in looking at a variety of different diets that limit things: carbs, fat, etc. they all will work to some extent because what it comes down to is eating less calories leads to weight loss. I'm tired of making declarations and promises that I will let go by the wayside. I'm tired of craving/eating junk and then dealing with the guilt and remorse afterward. I'm tired of beating myself up internally every time I fall off the bandwagon.

The problem, however, is that I've declared this once before. In fact, I must admit, I have declared to not declare. There are probably some blog posts in my history that do just that. But, like most people that want to lose weight immediately and can't afford surgery, I get sucked in by the claims of losing 15 pounds in 10 days. I start fantasizing about how that's all I really want to lose anyway! And I could do it in 10 days! I ignore the voice that reminds me that I've been losing and gaining the same 15 pounds over the past 3 years and I declare that I will never eat _______________ (fill in the blank with the name of whatever food you will currently vilify) again!

So, I'm going to attempt to leave this roller coaster/misery-go-round and just be for a bit. I'm so busy with the move, living in the "Land O' Boxes", having a to-do list as long as my arm that I just focus on that for awhile and leave the other alone.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Race For The Memories

I ran a race yesterday - a 10K. The setting was absolutely gorgeous. The charity supported was the Alzheimer's Association. And it was an absolutely miserable race. I am learning why they say that 40-50 degrees is the perfect running weather. It was 62 degrees when I finished the race and I could've sworn it was 90. It was "hot" and humid. But the worst part about it is that the race coordinators forgot (how ironic is that?) to have a water station at mile 3. They had a water station at mile 1.5 and I had about 3 oz. of wonderfully cool water at that point. I was running to get to mile 3, where I assumed that there would be another wonderful station of refreshment only to find that it was the turn around spot and they just made a hand motion to let you know that you were to turn around at this point. So, I had to wait until I got back to mile 4.5 to have another few ounces of water. I was dehydrated and miserable. After crossing the finish line I drank 32 oz. of water in one fell swoop and ended up moaning, groaning, and sharing with Nate how I was seriously going to throw up for the next hour and a half. He enjoyed that exchange a lot, I'm sure!

I have not picked out a race for June yet - nor for any of the other months (except October, of course). New Haven is quite hilly in nature and there will definitely be a bit of adjustment to running in a hilly area. Of course, that will also help with my overall fitness and conditioning. June seems so crazy busy, I just don't know where I'm going to fit in a race. Ideally it would be the last weekend in June, as I believe that's the only weekend we don't have something going on. Now comes the job of finding one!

On the packing/moving front things are progressing quite well. We're getting more and more packed - although there always seems to be a "bit more." We need to focus on getting the garage packed up as well as finish packing the pictures. June 2nd will be here before we know it! To think that in 2 weeks we will be in New Haven for good!  I'm so excited!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Phone

I am not a phone person. I don't like talking on the phone - never have and don't think I ever will. The longest phone calls I have are with my mom and my sister and I tend to keep others shorter to make up for the time I'm on the phone with them. There are times when people call and I just look at the phone and think, "there's no way I can pick that thing up and talk to anyone right now." So to be stuck on the phone for hours is a nightmare I'd just as soon avoid. Yesterday, unfortunately, was a time that couldn't be avoided nor ignored any longer.

With Nate working, I decided that I should call all of the utilities in Michigan to get them disconnected and also call all of them in Connecticut to get them hooked up. I began at 8 am. My first call was to Comcast. We had heard that it was possible to transfer your service so you wouldn't need to disconnect one and connect another. However, I have since learned that only works if you are moving within a state. Because we are crossing state lines we do have to disconnect service, return the equipment to our nearest Comcast location and schedule new service to be hooked up in New Haven. I talked with 4 different people during this phone call and when it was finally scheduled for June 7 from 9-11 am, I received a confirmation e-mail detailing that it would be set up on Saturday, May 19 from 11 am-1pm. Of course, I did not read the email until I was on hold with the second company for an inordinate amount of time, and of course, it was a "" address, so I had to call them again.

The second phone call was with the gas company which actually has a letter of apology on their website,and a repeating message of apology as a part of their "hold muzak" apologizing for how long their customers are having to wait on hold for assistance . They are blaming this on a new phone system they have recently set up. I finally did get through to a customer service representative, James, who put me on hold for the longest time until I accidentally hung up trying to see if we were still connected, which led me to need to call back and go through the whole process again with Stuart.

The third phone call was to the electric company who claimed that someone had already set up an account for us and wondered who had called them. I asked if they had any sort of connection to the gas company and they said, "oh yeah....we're owned by the same company." If that is the case, and they use the same database, why oh why did I have to call both individually to set up service? Couldn't one call have sufficed?  My other question is if they are owned by the same company, could they not just go by the same name?  One thing that was different about this call was that about every 30 seconds there was a loud and sharp "beep" that would ring through my ears.... quite pleasant, I assure you.

The fourth phone call was to the Regional Water Authority. If you recall, I began my phone calls at 8 am. I placed my phone call to the regional water authority at 11 am. I had not moved from my position nor had I done anything other than make some posts on facebook while I was on hold with the various companies to help vent my frustration. My ear felt warm - and if I do end up with brain cancer from holding the cell phone to my head for hours on end I will know who to sue. So, I placed the call to the regional water authority at 11 am. Throughout my time of going through their automated menu and sitting on hold they continued to warn that they were experiencing a "high volume of calls" and that I should not hang up. Well, I certainly didn't want to endure what I went through with the gas company so I kept telling myself that hanging up would only make me have to go through this all over again at some other point. So, I continued to hold. At 11:45 (yes, that's right.....FORTY-FIVE minutes on hold) they said they were transferring me to someone who could help. I was so relieved to finally be almost finished with this ordeal. A very friendly woman answered the phone and as I told her why I was calling I realized that she was only typing a message to the water authority. At the end of our conversation she said, "ok, I'm going to forward this message to them and they will call you back as soon as they are able." Excuse me?  I sat on hold for 45 minutes to be transferred to a call center?  If I think about it logically, I guess I'm glad they did that so that I didn't have to call back at some other point and go through the whole process again. But, I didn't hold out too much hope that we'd have running water once we were in the house. Each hour ticked by incessantly with no return call from the water authority. At 6:20 pm the phone rang and it was Sharina from the water authority. I was so shocked I exclaimed quite boisterously that I was so glad that she called back. After she chucked over my reaction, she explained to me that there had been no need for me to call. In CT the closing attorneys contact the water authority and the account is automatically transferred into the new owners' names. I have gotten very used to Michigan where everything is privatized because the government can't afford to control anything. In CT, it seems that the taxes actually cover something other than the legislators' salaries. It is the same thing with the trash as well - no need to set up a new account. It's all covered by our taxes. I'm trying to not  think about the time that I spent on hold with the water authority when I didn't have to do anything in the first place. I'm just glad to have it finished.

And I apologize to my sister who called later on in the day and I just couldn't bring myself to pick up the phone. Please understand that I'm just trying to avoid the additional radiation exposure.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Whirlwind and Evidence Thereof

When I say things are crazy busy, you may think that I'm just trying to make excuses for not posting a gazillion days. However, it truly has been a whirlwind. Let me give you some evidence of this whirlwind I'm riding.

1.  Evidence #1: The Living Room
As you can see, The living room is almost completely filled with boxes and furniture. The furniture we are giving to a friend, the boxes are in various stages - completely packed, taped, labeled and ready to be loaded on the truck (that's actually the largest number of boxes that are strategically placed closest to the bookshelves. There are about 4 boxes that are nearer the furniture that aren't filled yet or need to be sorted through.

2. Evidence #2: The Schedule
 A. Trip to Connecticut
       - April 28-May 5 - We saw 24 houses in 48 hours, made an offer, accepted a counter offer and had the house inspected all in one week.

   - May  8-9 - Take cats to the vet and get shots, microchips, and Xanax for the trip. Literally.... we'll be giving Buddy Xanax so that we will all remain sane during the 12 hour drive.I wonder if cat Xanax is the same as human Xanax?????  This may be something we need to consider! ;)

  - May 7-11 (am) - Decide that this is a perfect time to go on a new diet - The 17 Day Diet and see what it can do for us. It is set up in 17 day cycles that start with very low carbs and works more in each cycle.  Quotes from Nate:  "Is this a woman's diet? Shouldn't I be able to have more?" "Is this all we're getting?"  "Ummm..... is there going to be a dessert?"  "Is your stomach constantly growling because mine is?!"

   -May 11-13 - Go to Ft. Wayne for Mother's Day and a final trip before we move. Spend quality time with family and friends throughout the 2.3 days there.

    - May 11: 5:30 PM - arrive in Ft Wayne. 6:00 begin stuffing tortilla chips in my mouth at an alarmingly rapid rate to make up for the lack of carbs this week. And proceed for the next two days to eat carbs whenever possible to make up for the deficit.

    - May 14-18 -Have friends come over and pick through our belongings and take things they want/need.

   - May 19 - 4PM - Farewell party at a friends

   - May 20 - Jenna's next 10K race

   -May 21-June 1 - Pack furiously - Trying to make sure that the things we take with us in the car leave enough room for 3 animals as well. So, we need to pack like we are going on a week's vacation and take our pets with us.

   - June 2 - Movers load the truck.

   - June 2nd night - sleep soundly (???) on the floor with three animals

  - June 3rd - get up refreshed (????) and ready to go at 4 AM to drive to CT in time to drop the animals at the kennel for a few days.

   - June 4th - the house in Ypsilanti closes in the morning. We either:
                        a) Wait around in New Haven pacing and wondering and hoping everything goes well
                        b)  We take the train into NYC for the day and try to enjoy ourselves.

    - June 5th -We close on the house in New Haven in the afternoon to allow for the proceeds from the MI closing to be wired and received. We also pray that the moving truck does NOT arrive in the morning! We actually would like it if they arrived around day 4 of the 2-8 day window.

 During all of this, I am still running 3 times per week for training, and lifting boxes (er, I mean "weights") 2 times per week.
Is any other evidence needed to verify our "whirlwind?" Yeah, I didn't think so!