Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Tradition Continues

When I packed the kitchen at the old place I found my cookie cutters from long ago. I considered tossing them, since they hadn't been used in more than 10 years. But I have a new reason to make cookie cutter cookies.

I love this Grandma gig. I get to do all the fun kid-stuff again!

Red Wine and Chocolate

This year I surprised DH with a quilt.

Put it on me, Grandpa!

I don't have a full-sized picture of it quilted. I'll have to figure out where I can photograph my quilts here at the new house. You can read the back story here.

Christmas 2014

In the end it all came together. Two weeks after we moved in, family came and we celebrated Christmas in our new digs. What a joy! GS1 is 2 and half, so that added to the fun.

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Moving On - Literally

Enough with the drama.
It's sufficient to say we found a *local*, local moving company, and they were open half day on Sunday. They went out of their way to accommodate us, rescheduling another move to meet our deadline. My husband took another day off from work and we moved on Monday. It was a l-o-n-g day, but 10 hours later we were out of the rental. Oh yeah... and we never even saw the landlord. We dropped the keys in the mail. A week later we started to see headway being made.

Now I turned my thoughts toward family coming for Christmas on the 28. A Christmas to remember for sure!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

What Does Local Mean?

More than a month before the move my husband made an appointment with a moving company he found on the Internet called USA Local Movers dot com. They were slated to arrive Saturday the 14th at 9 am. That's why we'd tried so hard to get the new place ready.

Imagine how *SHOCKED* we were when they called Friday night at 5 pm and said they weren't coming. Say WHAT?!!

So I'm here to tell you, when a website says Local, please check the physical location. It turns out USA Local Movers is actually at the another end of our state. They said they could come on Tuesday. We were fit to be tied. Our lease at the old place expired Saturday and the utilities were being turned off. What the heck did they think we were going to do until Tuesday?

I'm usually a calm person, known to pretty much 'go with the flow' and keep things moving; but that day I reached my limit. I have never, that I can recall, given someone a piece of my mind, but you can be sure I did that day. And I promised USA Local Movers that I would tell everyone I met what kind of customer service they provided. Wow.

We made several desperate calls and a few friends with pick-ups came to help us Saturday. We made a couple of trips and set up our bed at the new house. We found out moving companies are closed on weekends. We scoured the Internet and the white pages looking for someone that was open Sunday. We worried the landlord would slap another month's rent on us for going over the lease date. We didn't sleep.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Make It Work

Over the next several days we traveled to and from the new house. Due to the record breaking low temperatures, the roads remained icy for weeks. They were passable for a few hours in the middle of each day. We were able to clean using snow melted in a pot on a borrowed propane camp stove. This also provided water for flushing the toi. Good thing we have camping experience!

We thought we were being proactive by turning off the water main at the end of Saturday work day. It helped - our house pipes didn't burst, but the pipe between the street and the house did. Then we were also without water. 

It was days before I could hire a plumber, get the water turned back on and return to meet the carpet cleaner. We didn't find out until later that this was the worst weather Brooktrails has seen in more than 20 years. We thought it was our inexperience in dealing with conditions that was causing our headaches. Welcome to the joys of home ownership... Yay.

Three days after we moved in I attended a Christmas potluck at the community center. People were welcoming and very friendly and EVERYone had a story to tell about the storm and its effects. Many people had broken pipes. Others had landed in snow banks and fared worse than we did. We had at least received the hospitality of strangers. Welcome to Brooktrails!

Saturday, December 07, 2013


You know that expression? "Best laid plans of mice and men." We'd planned a workday to prep for moving day where we would clean, shampoo the carpets and paint. We had friends and family that were going to come and help. There would be laughter, food shared and memories made...

Well not so much. The roads were bad so we didn't ask anyone to come that didn't feel up to it. It was /really/ cold in the house. We didn't have any hot water, so cleaning was a challenge. I heated water in the electric kettle, since the range was gas, still no propane. The guys prepped and painted. We were camping out in our new house, trying to get it ready.

Janine braved the roads and came anyway. Her cheerfulness was so wonderful.

 We made some headway.

Snow Day

These pictures taken by my son at the old house. He finally made it through to us, Saturday mid-morning. It helps to have 4 wheel-drive. We were able to meet the satellite installation tech, but the cleaning and painting we had planned was slowed down by the lack of heat in the place. The propane wouldn't be turned on for another week. The electric heaters kept the main room in the low 60's, so it was do-able.

It snowed, then rained, then froze. The weight snapped a large branch off the pine tree which broke the fence. But hey, it's not our problem because we don't live there anymore!

The starlings were still in the field out back.

I wish we'd taken pictures of the new house in the snow. It was so picture-postcard-pretty under the redwood trees; but our minds were set on overcoming some of the set backs we were having.

Friday, December 06, 2013


We received the keys to our new home Friday, December 6th at 4:30. "Congratulations!" The agent said it was the smoothest escrow she'd even been involved in. The lender also thanked us for being a pleasure to do business with. "You guys were great!" We were surprised, but I guess not everyone does their homework or turns in their paperwork on time. Things had gone so smoothly.

That afternoon it began to snow in our valley. Something it.never.does. And the new home is at a higher elevation. We decided we should risk the drive and at least take electric heaters to the house to keep the water pipes from breaking.


What was going to be a 'quick trip up the hill' turned into a long, surreal night. The storm made the roads almost impassable, because this area doesn't /get/ that kind of snow. We got to the house by the skin of our teeth, taking 3 times as long to get there due to nearly half a dozen accidents on the roads in front of us. All along the road side were abandoned cars, people who had slid off the road or gotten stuck.

When we got to the house the electricity was out and the interior was 36 degrees and dropping. Now what do we do? It turned out it was a power outage due to the storm, not the electric company forgetting to turn the power on as scheduled. A few minutes later, we had power. Okay, good. Let's go. We were supposed to meet our son at the old house who was driving up to help us with our workday the next morning.

We tried to retrace our tracks, but the road was too slippery. We were trying to climb a hill and the wheels just spun in place; then we started to slide backward down the hill. That was the worst moment. We crept back to our house, left the car and hiked to the house next door and introduced ourselves to our new neighbors -- who offered us a place for the night. They were listening to the ham radio and reports said road conditions were worsening due to the freezing rain. 

The area doesn't have cell phone reception, so my phone was of no use. Thankfully we were able to use the neighbor's land line to reach our son and let him know why we weren't going to be there and how to get into the old house.

Friday, November 29, 2013


We pre-packed for *weeks*; starting with the 'non-essentials' and moving inward. 20 years in that house, what a lot of *stuff*. Frank grouped the boxes in the garage by room.

Breaking down the guest room bed

But after awhile it becomes a challenge to continue to live in the old place.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gorgeous November

It's our rainy season but there's no rain in sight. Meanwhile, the *gorgeous*, glorious sunshine continues day after day after day. I've never seen such a golden fall.

Every year the vineyards are visited by large flocks of starlings. When startled, they rise in mass and swoop and undulate in an amazing way.

We call out, "Bird show!" 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mini Wisteria Stars

I decided I can't pack *all* the time - and we have 27 days left. I found the box in the garage that held the sewing machine, brought it back in and camped out in my own sewing room.

Nothing too hard or involved; just a little something to soothe. The sound of the sewing machine can be a comfort. I pulled out the bonus triangles from the Wisteria Stars quilt and just fooled around.

When I pre-packed the room I almost dismantled the design wall for easy moving. Glad I didn't! Block will finish at 5".

No plan right now, no goal. Just sewing.