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Gone Out
Moving house is eating my brain and taking up all my CPU. With any luck I will be back and posting properly after I've moved. The date is set for November 4th. Yay! Also, ACK!

Quick update on the State of the Phnee:

  1. I am trying to pack like the wind, and mostly packing like molasses uphill in January. Still, things progress.

  2. Sergent finally got his ultrasound done (God, that shit is expensive!), and the good news is that he doesn't have cancer or Cushing's. The bad news is that the vet couldn't tell what the hell is going wrong with his liver, so we've got him on some expensive medication for a month to see if that helps his liver a little bit.

  3. Octavia (my new kitten) got spayed the day before yesterday and is doing fine, except for how much she hates the Cone of Shame. It bends her whiskers out of shape and so messes with her balance and makes her walk funny. Poor kitty. I'm hoping to take the cone off in a couple of days, as soon as her surgical incision has healed a bit more.

  4. I was planning to maybe throw a small going-away party, but I realise now that I can't pull it off in the time I have, given all the work I still have to do. Sorry, everyone. Either you'll have to come to my housewarming in Ottawa, or else we can have a get-together the next time I'm in Montreal. Deal?

  5. Packing. ALL THE PACKING.

  6. Moving is hard. And stressful. And expensive. Boy howdy, is it expensive.

  7. Also, because I am a masochist, I've decided to do NaNoWriMo this year.

I am bad at anniversaries

Ending
Two days ago marked the third anniversary of the day I moved into this house. Now, in a little over two weeks, I'll be moving into the little house I rented in Ottawa, right near work. Whatever little money I make off the sale of this house is going to go into a savings account, and I'll be adding to it for the next couple of years so that I can once again afford a down payment on a real, owned-by-me house.

I'm going to miss this house. It was (and is) my first, and I love it a lot. It's really big for just one person, with lots of natural light and beautiful hardwood floors. I love my neighbours and the quiet neighbourhood, and the dog park that's a two minute walk away. I'm going to miss the space, the quiet, the security of owning my own home. If I could just uproot the house (and maybe the neighbours, too) and take it with me, I would likely do that. Alas.

It's a move for the better. I'll be close to work, and won't exhaust myself commuting 600km a week or more. I'll save on gas by being able to walk to work most days. The rent on the house will be less than what I was paying on the mortgage and renting the little room in Ottawa, too. Not to mention that the room I was renting was in Nepea'n, which made for terribly long commutes through rush hour traffic in the evenings. All in all, I'll likely end up saving a couple hundred dollars a month, which does add up.

In the meantime, I'm kind of feeling the financial pinch. Don't get me wrong, I have good problems. I have problems other people would kill to have. Nonetheless, my finances this past year have been stretched incredibly thin, when in reality I shouldn't be having this much trouble making ends meet. So starting in December, when I'll be moved and settled, I'm going to start a regime of personal financial austerity that's going to make the Europoean fiscal practices of the past few years feel downright spendthrifty. :P

Okay, maybe not quite that bad. But I still have a good nine months of pretty stiff expenses ahead of me. The big expense after rent is the car payments, which will be over in May, and the daycare payments, which will end in June. After that, the money that was going to those two things is going to get funnelled directly into paying off the debt I accrued in the last year doing house renovations and travelling back and forth to a different city. My hope is to get almost all of the debt paid off within about 12 months, and still put money aside for a down payment on a house in about two years or so.

In the interim, I'll be using thinkingoutlaw's book to help me be thriftier in the kitchen. Have you all seen it yet? It's pretty great, and on Amazon for a very reasonable price! Even if you don't have an e-reader. Well worth the read, if you're looking to spend less on food yet still eat delicious, healthy things.

For now, I'm trying to focus on packing up my house. It's going very slowly so far, but I hope to pick up the pace in the coming days. Since the movers are paid by the hour, I'll need to make sure that I "waste" as little of their time as possible. The plan is to put as much of my furniture as possible together in one room (probably the space I use as a dining room), and to stack all the boxes together in the living room. I don't want the movers having to trot in and out of various rooms in the house if they don't have to. That way the only extra movements they'll have to make will be to fetch the appliances from the basement and the glass table I have on my balcony, which I don't think I'll be able to move on my own to the front of the house. I can at least move the chairs, though. The hope is that, if I consolidate everything, it won't take them three hours to pack up the house. I'm already looking at about five hours of travel time, so I need to keep the loading/unloading time to a minimum.

I also need to deal with a million details. Cancel the house insurance, acquire rental insurance, switch over the insurance on the car, change my address with Canada Post, cancel the utilities, all that jazz. So much to do, so little time.

I will come back with other updates later. There are lots of things happening, but they don't belong in this entry.

You heard it here first!

Ahem
I have accepted an offer on the house. :)

Well, I accepted Tuesday, but I was still on my self-imposed hiatus from LJ and Facebook. Facebook especially. I wish there were a way to get only the good aspects of FB and none of the rage-inducing drawbacks. And no, I'm not signing up for Ello. The last thing I need is another social media site. God. If it weren't my main means of staying in touch with my friends and people in general, I might give up social media cold turkey. If I did that, though, I'd basically become a hermit.

Anyway, yes, house! The negotiation was a bit of a clusterfuck. My agent was dealing with the buyers directly until suddenly another agent insinuated herself into the process at the last minute (my theory is that she's a cousin of the buyers: they're all Romanian, and I know from Romanians. You always bring in family when you can.) and fucked the dog. She started by insulting my house, then insulted me by implying that I might somehow damage the house when I moved out, and capped it all off by presenting me with an offer of less than what I paid for the house. Or, I should say, she didn't even present it to me, just shoved the paperwork at me and forced my own agent to present the offer to me. Not exactly auspicious. She obviously didn't do her homework on the property, and then tried to blame my agent for her own ignorance and laziness. It was all I could do to keep a civil tongue in my head as I politely showed her the door.

The negotiations after that went back and forth for a while, until we hit a number that, while not great, is acceptable enough. I wish I were more excited about this, but her behaviour really soured me on the whole process.

I have until November 5th to move out, which gives me juuuust over a month to pack up my whole house and find a new place to live. That being said, the buyers have 10 business days to have an inspection done, and 12 business days to get approved by a bank. So, basically, anywhere between now and roughly October 15th this whole business could fall through and I'll be screwed yet again. So I can't sign a lease until I know for sure the house is going to sell, which means that any place I have my eye on could conceivably be taken away from me at the last minute.

So I'm in limbo. Again. I'm really looking forward to a time when my life will not be entirely dependent upon other people's whims and schedules. I am, you will not be surprised to learn, a giant ball of stress about all of this.

I was originally planning to spend the next few days recovering, but that's not on the books anymore. Instead I have two potential houses to visit (rentals, in case you were wondering), and my parents are coming for a visit, which, while delightful, is never a restful proposition for me. ;)

I think I'm going to leave this entry as is. I was going to go into other things that happened in the last couple of months, mostly health-related, but I'm A) tired and B) running out of time before I need to start doing my end-of-shift routine. So I'll get to that in a later post, I guess. I know you're all waiting with bated breath.

Chugging Along

Valar Morghulis
Sergent is at doggie sleep-away camp this week for the first time ever. The kennel took him away from me right away and didn't let me go see him in his new spot, which was probably better for him but not all that great for me. They have my phone number if anything goes wrong, but I'm hoping he'll adjust and not be too upset for the few days he's there. I'll pick him up Friday morning after work, and then we'll be off to visit fearsclave up in Group of Seven country for the weekend. Hopefully the trip to one of his favourite spots will lead to Sergent's forgiving me for abandoning him for several days. It will be a nice little mental break for the both of us from what has been a very stressful summer.

I got the bathroom and the kitchen cleaned yesterday, although I didn't have time to mop the floors the way I would have liked. The bedroom is still a bit of a disaster, and I wasn't able to put up curtain rods, since the Ikea kit didn't actually come with screws. Since when do Ikea kits not come with everything you need to finish your project, is what I'd like to know? Bah.

So the list for when I get back is as follows, in no particular order:

  • get the car stuff sorted out ASAP

  • get the key(s) back for the house

  • call the asphalt company to get the driveway paved

  • call the reno guy to come fix a small problem with the floor install

  • buy extra brackets and screws for the curtain rods

  • finish spackling the holes in all the basement walls

  • sand the basement walls

  • prime the basement walls & ceiling

  • paint the basement walls & ceiling

  • vacuum all the floors

  • mop all the floors

  • install curtain rods in the spare room & bedroom

  • hang curtains in the spare room & bedroom

  • install curtain rods in the basement

  • hang curtains in the basement

  • finish tidying the bookcases in the spare room

  • tidy the bedroom

  • organise the boxes & stuff in the basement

  • wash the cover of the sofa bed

  • stage the basement

  • stage the spare room

  • stage the living room

  • stage the bedroom

  • stage the bathroom

  • stage the kitchen

  • cull my clothes so that I don't end up packing stuff I don't wear anymore

  • mow the front lawn

  • mow the back lawn

  • get 1 more paving slab for the back yard

  • weed the front flower beds

  • weed the back flower beds

  • chop up the branches that were taken off the lilac tree a few weeks back

  • put out the chopped up branches for pick-up

I'm sure there's stuff I'm forgetting. I keep making lists and realising I've forgotten half the stuff on there. Looks like August is going to be a really busy month. I did ask for time off work, but even if it's approved it will be a tight schedule to try and get everything done.

I've run out of steam for this entry. May update again if inspiration strikes later. See you on the flip side, LJ!

So much to do, so little time...

I amaze myself
The move went.

There's still a lot of stuff hanging out in various parts of the house, but the plan for today is to get most of it collated and put in one spot (inasmuch as possible), so that it's out of the way and easily removed this coming week.

I had hoped to get the house staged for sale this week, but after removing a bunch of shelves from the basement wall (since they're not mine), I realised that that had left holes in more places than I'd anticipated. It boils down to my having to spackle, sand, prime and paint all the basement walls instead of just two walls, the way I'd originally planned. This is a multi-day job, and I am a total amateur when it comes to painting, so it will likely take me for-freaking ever to get it done.

Therefore, in spite of the heroic efforts of gats, tcaptain, and maya_banana, who all came to help me Saturday, everything didn't get done the way I'd hoped. On the plus side, we got a lot done, especially considering the unexpected extra work of having to remove shelves that weren't meant to still be there. We moved all my bookcases into the spare room, removed all the extra shelves, spackled pretty much all the holes, and primed one of the walls for painting. It's looking okay, even though there's still a lot of work to be done.

The upstairs is looking better than the basement, but I still have to mop all the floors, tidy the kitchen, bathroom and master bedroom, and try to stage it for sale. That's not going to happen today, alas, but I've already gotten started. I'm hoping that by the time I leave the kitchen and bathroom will be in good enough shape to show.

I also have to thank kittyfinn, who helped me more than I can say by putting me in touch with her friend G., who came over on 24 hours' notice and installed 6 light fixtures and a ceiling fan for me, and helped with a couple other small tasks that I am not very skilled at involving screwdrivers (not the alcoholic kind, I am totes skilled at those). Without him I shudder to think what the house would look like.

In short, my optimistic plan to put the house on the market in a week has been cancelled, replaced with a longer timeline of about 2-3 weeks. That should give me the time to properly prep the basement and stage the house so that prospective buyers will be dazzled by how gorgeous it is. ;) I also need to give the garden a lot of TLC. The grass is massively overgrown, and the weeds are trying for a takeover of the entire neighbourhood, I'm sure of it.

Okay, time to get back to work. I have to leave in about three hours, and I need to buy groceries before I leave, because I'll have the dog with me after that and therefore won't be able to stop in Ottawa the way I usually do. No leaving the doggie in the car on a hot day, after all. Oh, wait, no, I don't. I can buy my lunch at work tomorrow and go shopping in the evening after work. Excellent. That's a much better plan than my current one.

Here we go. See you on the flip side, LJ!

[insert subject line here]

Cats See Futures
It's quiet at work, and I have officially reached the so-tired-I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-myself level of tired. I haven't been able to properly focus on anything for... I've lost track of how long. It's unfortunate, but what can you do?

My calendar has filled up dramatically in a matter of days. Starting tomorrow practically every minute of every day this week is booked for stuff. Tomorrow I drive back to Montreal and have to stop at Reno in order to get refunded for The Fence That Never Was, and then I have to call the vet to book an ultrasound appointment for Sergent. The vet has changed her mind about deciding that he doesn't have Cushing's, but we can't rule anything out either. So this week I have to monitor his water intake down to practically the last molecule, then he's getting an ultrasound, and then I get to consult with a specialist in internal veterinary medicine to see what, exactly, has gone wrong with my dog's liver. Cushings? Liver failure? Something in between? Who knows? I'll find out within a few weeks, I guess. Tuesday I'm seeing toughlovemuse in the early afternoon, then heading into Montreal for errands, and having dinner with my parents. Wednesday I have more errands to run during the morning, am catching up lickety-split with a not-on-LJ friend on Wednesday afternoon, and then I'm meant to spend the late afternoon/evening with luvenditti. That leaves me with Thursday morning to maybe do some laundry and a few chores before I head back to Ottawa in the afternoon.

I'm looking forward to the day when the house will be sold and I'll be settled in whatever new place I've found, so that I won't have this ridiculous commute that basically robs me of two days a week. It will be nice to be able to sleep slightly more regular hours, since sleep tends to be the first thing that gets sacrificed on my commute day back from Ottawa. However, since that day has not yet come, I will simply have to make the current situation work for a little while longer.

In the meantime, I've been trying to make lists of everything I need to get done, and then I usually give up in despair when those lists end up not only longer than my arm, but longer than I can keep track of.
Part of me wants to just try to take this one day at a time, but I can't actually do that. The nature of my job, my schedule, and the way my life is going these days requires a lot of fairly meticulous planning, along with a fuckton of flexibility because things are changing at the drop of a hat. In short: ack.

Life can start getting less stressful any day now, thanks.

Fly-by Update

End of the World
Working a 78-hour week. 7 days, although one of those was a half-day (yesterday). Back home Sunday night, then I get a full day at home on Monday, then it's back to Ottawa for another 60-hour week next week.

So, yeah. Busy busy busy.

I have ten million things to do on Monday, all of them time consuming. No idea how I'm going to get it all done, but whatever, I'll improvise. I might be able to do some of them on Tuesday morning, too, before I get going.

There you have it, the main reason I haven't been posting: I am insanely busy. Also very stressed, but that's not new.

I hope the universe is treating all of you better than it's treating me these days. :)

I missed Canada Day

Clever Canadians
Well, I didn't miss it so much as I slept through it. Night shifts will do that to you.

Happy belated Canada Day, everyone! *cough*

I have at once very little and too much to talk about these days, so much so that every time I open up a new LJ post my mind kind of goes blank. Part of me feels guilty about making a personal post when I still haven't finished my June posts, and another part of me just doesn't even know where to begin with a personal post anyway.

*throws up hands*

Neurotic? Me? Never. :P

Tonight is my last night shift for the week. I'm heading home directly after this because the fence guys are coming at 7:00, and I am quite sure that unless someone is there to guide them with a firm hand, they will find more reasons to freak out and not build a fence for me. It's been three weeks now since the last time they were supposed to build the fence, and I'll be damned if I let this get put off a single day more.

On Thursday I have a guy coming in to install the new floor in the basement, which means that tomorrow (technically today, I guess) I'll be spending the day moving all the stuff out of the basement so he can work. Well, all the stuff that can be moved, I suppose. I can't move any of the appliances (too heavy), and there's the giant wall unit that will have to be taken apart before it can be moved. Also the turtle tank, though we can at least empty that and move the turtle as needed. There is so much stuff in the basement right now that it feels a little overwhelming, but I figure once I get started it won't be as bad as I imagine. I've always had the tendency to blow things out of proportion in my mind, after all.

I'm not sure how long the floor will take to install, but I'm assuming it'll be a 2-3 day job, given that there will be furniture to move around. That means that he will hopefully be done by Saturday, or Sunday at the latest, which means that the house can then go up for sale ASAP. If he's done on Saturday then I can get stuff settled back in the basement on Sunday. On Thursday and Friday, while the work is going on in the basement I'm going to do a big push to pack non-essentials and start the process of "staging" the house, to make it look as appealing as possible to potential buyers. That means de-cluttering the bedroom in particular, packing some of the books and organising the rest, and clearing up space on shelves and counters and such. Hopefully the buyers will be able to see past the piles of boxes and throw all their money at me. ;)

If the house doesn't provoke much interest right away, I will discuss painting with my real estate agent. I already need to paint at least one wall in the basement, and will probably need to fix/paint the back wall that Smudge damaged all those years ago when he used to use the wall as a ladder to climb up into the basement ceiling to hide. There are pretty deep scratch marks in the wall that I have no idea how to fix, but I assume putty and paint will be involved.

Long before the emergency in Moncton, I committed to three days of overtime next week. Just the thought of it kind of makes me want to weep from exhaustion, but the extra money will come in useful, I suppose. I just don't know when I'm going to get anything done. Even if/when the house will be empty eventually, I kind of have to be there in order to get work done. I can't paint the walls remotely, no matter how hard I try. ;) At this point, getting the house painted by someone else is pretty much out of the question, as I have officially run out of money for renovations/prettying the place up. If I can find inexpensive white paint I can do it myself, since I can't imagine it would cost that much to buy enough paint for the walls, but I can't afford to pay someone else to do it. *sigh* Why is everything expensive?

This weekend the dog goes back to the vet, speaking of expensive things. The good news is, he doesn't have Cushings. The bad news is that he has Something Unspecified going on with his liver, which means blood tests AND taking him to the very expensive clinic in Lachine for an ultrasound. This will let the vet determine (we hope!) if his high levels of ALP are due to a tumour or to something else or who the fuck knows. He'll also be getting the stitches out of his eyelid on Saturday, which will be good news for all concerned. Here's hoping that that's the last we will ever hear about this eye surgery, because there's been quite enough veterinary trauma to last me a lifetime this year.

I'm not entirely sure how Sunday is going to shape up. I think I'm going to have to plan to leave later than I normally would, since I'm going to be gone for a week instead of the normal four days. So I have to pack as much stuff into the four days I'll be home as I humanly can, to make sure that I don't fall too far behind schedule. Then I'll be home the following Sunday evening, all of Monday, and then run back to work on the Tuesday for another five day stretch. Good times. Basically, July can be summed up as renos-work-work-renos-packing-work-work-work-try to sell the house-work-work-packing-work. Or something like that. Possibly not exactly in that order, and maybe with more work thrown in there for good measure.

So that's the summary of the last few days for me. Nothing at all, except for worrying about work, the house, and the dog, not necessarily in that order either.

A little burnt out...

Lock The Universe
I have finally hit that wall I was afraid I would hit earlier last week. So most of my energy has gone into getting the dog to and from the vet, running errands, doing some minimal cleaning and laundry in the house, commuting, work, more errands, and a bit of personal writing that is not going to go on LJ ever.

Alas, that means that my actual LJ posts have suffered over the last week, and for this I am sorry. I will simply carry over the project into July and finish off the topics in order.

I have had my arm twisted into going to see the Sunset Ceremonies tonight. I don't really want to go, especially as I won't know anyone there, but it's honestly easier to go than to deal with the person in question's constant badgering and demanding to know <i>why</i> I'd rather spend time quietly in my room than go out in the midst of hundreds of people to see the RCMP Musical Ride. The guy means well, but right now I want to punch him in the face a lot. I don't think an hour has gone by since we started working together yesterday that he hasn't come to ask me about it. Am I going tonight? What about tomorrow? What route will I be taking? Do I want him to show me the best route home on Google Maps? Oh, and don't try to leave right away, you have to go see the stables. Etc.

INTROVERT SMASH. >_<

Anyway.

I'm sure it will be lovely. I've never seen the musical ride, so at least now I'll be able to say that I've seen it.

Behind, again...

I amaze myself
I spent most of yesterday out of the house, so I didn't write my June 24th entry. I have a busy-ish day ahead of me today, so I may end up lagging behind a bit on those lengthier posts once again. Bear with me. :)

Had a great day yesterday with luvenditti. We hung out, chatted for most of the day, and I got to see her new house. It's a really awesome house, for the record. If mine weren't so great, I'd be jealous. Then there was the traditional St-Jean Baptiste/birthday party at her parents' place, and I got to catch up with friends I hadn't seen in a very long time.

I left a bit later than I intended, and then got caught in a torrential downpour on the way back, so it took me a lot longer to get home than I would have liked. As a result, I am even more tired than I was before. Ugh.

My plans are all awry this week. I'm not sure how to fix all of it, alas. Mostly I just want to go back to bed and take a seven week nap.

Anyway, I will update a bit later, definitely by tonight. Stay tuned!

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