Throughout this process and the last two months, I've sworn up and down that I'll never move again. It's too much work and the process is nothing but a huge pain in the neck. However, I do have this to say: If I ever move again, I'm hiring movers again in a heartbeat. Best decision we made in the entire process.
Sunday was the annual Foley Family Christmas Party, and it was, as always, a great time. It's so much fun to get together with the family and exchange stories and presents and play a rousing game of Apples to Apples or Man Laws & Women Rules or Mafia (though not this year because Brian and Robyn were on their cruise....losers). Graham has some really terrific cousins, and everyone really gets along well, which unfortunately can't be said for every family. I'm glad his mom and her four sisters have such awesome kids. It certainly makes for a fun party!
As we were leaving on Sunday, Awesome Aunt Gail asked when--not if, but when--she could come over to help us pack on Monday. She showed up with her daughter Liz, and the two of them, along with my mom-in-law, sis-in-law (Mary), and Graham were packing machines. I was pretty useless. I was feeling crummy and achey and headachey and was starting to get overwhelmed. By the time dinner rolled around, I had a fever and was really starting to dread moving the next day. Graham ordered me to bed and I didn't really nap, but I did stay warm under the blankets and rest up. I was feeling okay by evening, and thanks to some instant soup from mom-in-law, I was feeling better about moving the next day.
On Tuesday morning, the movers arrived at about 10:15, took a quick look around and asked questions about what was going and staying, and then they just started hauling stuff out like champs. It was really amazing to watch. In two hours, the apartment was empty, and after a short lunch break, the movers met us at our house and in two more hours the house was full and they were back in the truck and on their way back to Orland. Crazy! I will always, always use movers in the future (IF I ever move again). Hell, next time I might even hire someone to pack for me, too! I don't care how much it costs. Not having to do it myself: Priceless.
Over the weekend, we unfortunately found out that the fridge the sellers left in the house didn't work. The compressor had pooped out, and since the machine is around 30+ years old, it was cheaper to buy a new fridge instead of trying to fix the darn thing. So, after the movers left, we went shopping and got ourselves a new fridge for the kitchen and a washing machine and dryer. We knew the latter two appliances weren't staying in the house, so we were expecting to replace those. The fridge was one of those happy accidents that happen all too often with homeownership.
I wasn't feeling awesome, but I was feeling much, much better on Tuesday night, and Wednesday morning was a complete 180 from Monday and Tuesday morning. When I woke up, all three appliances had been delivered already (thanks bunches, Grants!) and were nearly ready to use. The washing machine isn't hooked up yet...the hose they had was barely long enough to reach where it needed to reach, so they're coming back tomorrow with a longer hose, free of charge. AWESOME. I can wait to do laundry. It's never been a favorite chore of mine, anyway.
All day Wednesday was spent arranging and unpacking. On Tuesday night we rearranged our living room, so that was mercifully done, and the bedroom was kind of a hodge-podge of furniture and boxes. My kitchen? Not even close to being done! It was driving me crazy. Thankfully we'd had the smarts to get our bathroom set up and ready to go before the move, or it would have been a long, bad day.
Our house (SO cool to say that) has two first floor bedrooms, but we're using one of them as a formal dining room. Right now, it's also our staging area for the boxes that are yet to be unpacked. We spent a lot of time in there on Tuesday and Wednesday looking for things we needed and wanted. After a really long afternoon of hunting down boxes, I had my kitchen ready to go. That room is still a mess, but at least I was able to get the kitchen set up and organized.
Wednesday night we set up our Christmas tree! It was hurting both of us, but Graham especially, not to have a Christmas tree up this season. It was really disheartening to come home to our apartment and have it dark and sad looking, without even outside lights to make it look festive. While we don't have any outside decorations this year, we've got our tree and some indoor decorations to make our home feel like we've been here all season. I love looking at our tree, and seeing all our ornaments really makes it feel like we've made the right decision to build a home here and start our family on the right foot. (Don't go reading into things, folks! We've still got a lotta living left to do!)
On Christmas Eve we did a little more of the same. Unpacking, arranging, calling AT&T and asking them why our house phone line wasn't working....the usual. Graham and his parents moved a lot of the leftovers from the move into the house (the movers didn't grab anything that wasn't boxed) and we had a few more boxes to dig into, but ultimately it was a good day. We went to 4:00 Mass at what is most likely our former parish. I always love Christmas Mass at St. Turibius. The church is decorated beautifully, and the music and sermon really get into the heart of Christmas. There's no mention of money or donations, no talk of better serving the parish, just a good and spiritually fulfilling sermon with a great message. It's exactly what a Christmas Eve Mass should be.
After that, we drove around our new neighborhood and looked at the lights. These people really know how to deck their halls! Lots of lights and lawn decorations and all kinds of things to look into for next year. We made sure to critique the houses we saw, and we talked about the kind of outdoor decorating we'd like to do next year. Once we came home, I made dinner and I made cookies while Graham watched "It's A Wonderful Life" on television. After cookie baking, we watched one of my favorites, "White Christmas" on the couch with the lights off and just the tree lit up. Gorgeous!
Christmas morning was great. It was very, very chill. We laid in bed, watched "A Christmas Story" (one of my favorites, but I was drifting in and out of sleep and Graham was making a concerned effort to watch the movie and enjoy it), and then decided to open gifts. We "hung our stockings by the chimney with care" on the fake fireplace that was left in the basement. When we walked downstairs to see what Santa left for us, we got a big surprise. All the rain we got on Christmas Eve, coupled with the melting snow and still-frozen ground left a lot of seepage in our basement. Not a fun way to begin our Christmas! Graham spent a good 90 minutes working on water. We opened gifts, and it was a welcome distraction.
I spoiled Graham this year, and given all the stress we've been under I'm really glad I did. He's earned his Christmas, I tell ya. This year, Santa brought him a gps (woo, Tom-Tom!), a digital camera (I'd been eyeing that since late July), a neon Cubs clock, a Cubs garden gnome, a W flag (it killed me to buy so much Cubs gear), and a Pearls Before Swine day by day calendar. His stocking was filled with his favorite candies and a Christmas cd, and a Peanuts ornament and a Cubs ornament.
He spoiled me, too! I got a Barefoot Contessa cookbook--I love Ina Garten-- and an ebelskiver pan and cookbook for puffed pancakes, a gorgeous emerald and diamond necklace (he was paying attention when I was looking in the jewelry store!), both Glee soundtracks, and my yearly "Gone With The Wind" ornament, along with a shoe ornament that says, "If the shoe fits, buy it!" I like to think of it as my motto for life. When all else fails, at least you'll have cute shoes!
I made gingerbread panckes for breakfast (which was really more like lunch after our morning and late start), and after a couple showers and a Nutcracker ballet marathon, we spent the evening with his parents and sister. We had a delicious dinner, exchanged gifts, and oohed and aaahed over our new Weber grill from his parents. Summertime, you're welcome whenever you want to show your face 'round these parts! Now that we have an outdoor cooking aparatus, I'm really looking forward to dinners outside followed by some mean margaritas.
Now, it's 12:42 a.m. on December 26th and Graham is still down in the basement mopping and shop-vacing up our water from this morning. It's finally stopped seeping in, but there's just enough water down there to make this Christmas pretty low on the "Best Christmas Ever" list. The next few days will be fun, and we've thankfully got another week off before we go back to work, so we're sure to accomplish lots of unpacking and have some fun times while we're at it.
Once again, Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope you had a lovely day with those you love.