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I'm in the HIZZOUSE!

Well, I've made the move. I'm in the New House.

My house.

My parents' house.

The reno is *almost* done (still working on the backsplash, doing painting touch-ups, etc., as well as beginning the fence) but *I AM IN*.

Unpacking will be a challenge, and take some time. 'Cause *this* time it's for keeps.

My cousin Jimmie was by the day I moved in (April 18), and said something that really touched me. He likes what I've done to the place -- for one thing, bringing it back from the brink, but an another, doing it with taste and a sense of willingness to put the bux in to do it right. He said, "Your father began the house, and you finished it."

Then I realized that the dining room table is now in the same place it was sixty years ago. (I still have mom's old dining room table, ya see, and this is where the table used to be. In this dining room. It's come full circle. It, like me, is home.

It took a day to get the internet up and running, and things are shaping up. All new furniture is on order and should be here in about three weeks -- window treatments in two.

Can you say "happy camper"? I knew you could.


For my friend, Sasha Khan


It's mine, all mine!

Gave 'em the big check.

Now I have the keys. :)

Tomorrow -- I call the contractor.

To quote Kosh: And so it begins.


Happy Happy Joy Joy

Well --

We close on the 20th.

The folks' old house is now MY house.


That House


Mom and Dad's house.

Had a contractor look at it to see what needs to be done, and told him what I *want* to have done. Apparently, it could potentially cost twice the purchase price of the house to do all that.


I signed the papers today. :)

Yup. I'm buying the 'rents' old house.


It's kinda scary, considering everything that needs to be done, but that place has potential, and I can see what it can become.

Off to the bookstore to pick up some books on kitchen and bathroom design. Oh, yeah.


Roller coaster week

Well the week started with yet another post office mix-up (the local PO thought mom's ashes were "hold for pick-up" and the cemetery was waiting for a delivery), we were finally able to get her to the cemetery on time for burial on Wednesday. There were a few family folks who came out, and a few of mom's old friends who I haven't seen for like 40 years. It was nice they came.

That went off without a hitch.

One quotation I leave with you: Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese-American poet, was a favorite of my Mom's. I grew up with a pile of his books all over the house, and don't know how many times I read them. I remember one line from one of them: "Mayhaps a funeral among men is a wedding feast among the angels." I like to think that's true.

On Thursday morning, I walked through a great house -- and that afternoon brought the opportunity to walk through the house I grew up in, and see if the owner was interested in selling... (he probably will someday, but he knows he'll never make back what he spent on it and what he spent on remodeling and updating it). Y'know, in the process of walking through it, I was.... cured.

The house still looked the same to me on the outside, but so many owners over the years have made so many major changes inside (removing walls, adding walls, shrinking a bedroom, adding a bathroom, cutting another bathroom in half, re-working other rooms, etc., that it is no longer "my" house. I don't think I could be happy there. I no longer want or need it. I don't feel pangs driving past it any more. It's now just a nice big old house I have memories of -- it's not a house I NEED TO GET BACK™ anymore.

And then this morning, my lovely and talented real estate lady called to drop another bombshell.

The deal to purchase the house on King Street (see a few posts below) has fallen through, and my offer is back on the table. And they've made a COUNTER offer to try to get a lousy extra $2,500 on my offer. WHat the hell? Compared to the fact that I'm probably going to be sinking its selling price into it again in fixing it, making upgrades, bumping out the back, putting in a garage, etc., what's a lousy $2,500 to get the deal rolling? I told her to agree, but to make sure she rolls her eyes when she says I agree.

And it's Friday afternoon, almost 5:30, and the bank is closed. I get the weekend to plot and plan, and schedule an inspection (which might still scupper the deal if it's insanely screwed up).

So, what have we learned boys and girls?

Moms apparently really *can* be guardian angels.



We finally found her. She's in Indy now, and being loaded on the truck SPECIALLY to get to Franklin tonight.

Here's the thing. The box was sent to Detroit (!) from Miami. Okay, Detroit is routing. I get that.

But, for four days, it sat there at Detroit. They just left it there. They usually ship out cremains immediately, but someone dropped the ball BIG time.

Someone finally noticed it, apparently, and shipped it out of Detroit LAST NIGHT (well, this morning) at 3am. They didn't think it was in Indianapolis (that was the second call to a post office I made this morning), but, surprise, it actually WAS there.

Of course, the lady in the Indy post office couldn't tell me this. As she pointed out, because MY MOTHER'S ashes were not addressed to ME, you see, legally they could tell me NOTHING. The ashes were going to the cemetery. So I had to call the cemetery to call them to find out. Basically, the cemetery had to run around and find out stuff that they shouldn't have had to deal with had the Detroit people not dropped the friggin' ball.

So. They're in Indy. They will be shipped out to Franklin tomorrow, I am told, (second-hand) which means the cemetery will get them on Monday. (Hey, the office is closed Saturday morning -- so even if they did "arrive" in time for the burial at 11am, there would be no one to sign for them.) Y'see, I could have driven to Indy myself to pick them up this afternoon. BUT I CAN'T SIGN FOR THEM. Of course someone from the cemetery could, but that's not their job, and they have a funeral they're trying to run today while dealing with all my crap. Dammit.

So I play my last ace. The guy at the post office here has been very helpful, and he's a friend of the guy who runs the shipping out of Indy. I called him and asked him if he could light a fire under them, and say, "No, no one is coming up from Franklin. This is a 'we screwed up and dropped the ball, we are going to fix it' moment. GET THAT THING DOWN HERE NOW." He said he'd try. Lo and behold, the thing was hand-carried to the next truck to leave Franklin this afternoon. Where it will arrive -- half an hour after the cemetery closes.

Okay, the universe wins, I give up.

The funeral is off for tomorrow.

People are being called. Dates are being shuffled. We'll try this again next time, rescheduling for later in the week (and hoping not to screw up too many travel plans) just to be safe.

Mom always liked to travel, but no one expected her last trip would be such a screwed up layover in Detroit.

I am reminded of the Emo Phillips line: "The way I understand it, the Russians are sort of a combination of evil and incompetence... sort of like the Post Office with tanks."

That's certainly true for the Detroit routing people. But the guys in Franklin and Indianapolis are great -- they went above and beyond to try to fix this. It was just ultimately unfixable.

Remember, boys and girls -- Mom pre-arranged all this so that the ashes would go right to the cemetery so I would have to worry about the hassles of dealing with any of it. Let this be an object lesson about trying to make things easy for folks.

I need a vacation.


Today's WTF moment brought to you by USPS

 Mom's funeral is scheduled for tomorrow.

There's only one problem.

Her ashes are not here.

It seems the post office has "misplaced" her. 

Yeah. That's right.

Her ashes were shipped registered, return-receipt, certified, on the 15th. They were supposed to have arrived on the 17th. They never did. 

Calls to the post office to track the number shows only that her ashes were picked up and logged in on the 15th. After that: POOF.

So.... I've been calling all over creation to find out what happened. Currently checking the Miami main post office clearing center.

And, no, I don't find humor in the concept of a "dead letter office." Later, I might. But not right now.

Hell of a week here in Indiana.


Well, poop.



Irish coffee for breakfast today. I am an unhappy camper.



Step one in home ownership is done. 

I put in an offer on a house today. My first house.

And not just any house.

Last October, I moved back to Franklin, which is the small town in Indiana that inflicted me on the world lo these many years ago. I've been in an apartment since, tentatively house hunting. 

Two days ago, my cousin called, and said that there's this house around the corner from him that I had to see. It was for sale. Corner lot. Half an acre. Huge fenced back yard, huge front yard, lots of full-growth, old trees. I was looking for a two-or-three bedroom house in the general 1,500-square-foot zone. This one is a two-bedroom house of 1,400 square feet. Close enough.

But here's the kicker.

My father, the architect, designed the house. My father and his contracting company built the house. And he built it for he and my mother to live in after they got married. It wasn't the house I grew up in -- that house is around the corner. This house is in the family neighborhood, though. Within a five-minute walk from the back door are five cousins and one aunt, and a metric buttload of houses designed and built by daddy-o. The rooms aren't huge, but they're quite comfy for a single guy with a lot of books. And the layout is very creative, with a pass-through fireplace in the livingroom opening also to an interesting space behind it. Stoked? You bet yer bippy I'm stoked.
As an architect, my father was ahead of his time. Sloping, flattish roofs; a fondness for huge; vertically mounted multiple windows; vertical or diagonal siding, and HUGE back yards. (My cousin thinks he was traumatized by growing up in an old Victorian house in the heart of Franklin which had no back yard, so all the houses he built for himself as an adult have back yards you could lose a baseball team in.) 

The house definitely needs work -- new roof, lots of cosmetic stuff, etc., but the bones are solid. Dad built 'em that way. A contractor working on my cousin's house was stunned to find the wall studs in the bathroom were redwood. NO ONE uses redwood for the inside structural stuff. Dad did. All over the place. Yeah, it's going to need a lot of work and fixing up, but this gives me the best combination of a house with great location, a great lot, a great design, and the option to virtually "re-equip" the thing to suit my own tastes -- flooring, wall finishings, etc. This last is something that I don't think I would have done if I had found a more "finished" house somewhere else. The only requirement I had for a house that it lacks is a garage -- but I have a huge yard to work with, and can put in a garage just about anywhere (There's a whole spate of the back-yard OUTSIDE the back fence begging for a garage and armour shop!) and potential entry from either the main drag off I-65, or the side street (can you say corner lot? I knew you could!). Oh, what I can do here....

The fenced portion of the backyard has a hot-tub (which is ratty and needs to be replaced), and is begging for a decked area and a barbeque pit. This place has soooooo much potential, and I love it.

I was really worried because there was already an offer on the house, but I went ahead and hit the bank and ran around and made it happen. This house has to be kept in the family. There is now an offer out there in my name. Now it is a waiting game, and I must wait for the bank to get back to me. 

So.... Wish me luck. I may be buying the folks' old house.

The bitch of it all? I can't call mom and freak her out with the cool news. She'd love it. I know she would.