While we worked on the house, the kids stayed with Grandma Alice and Grandpa Rick. Grandpa Rick had to fly out to help his parents on Tuesday, so it was left to Grandma Alice to hold down the fort. Her house was a bit of a zoo with her dogs Pixie and Possum as well as Chloe. A neighbor dog Lucy was dropped off midweek as well as an extra bird. With Grandma's two birds that brought the number of animals to seven. Connor and Paige love being at Grandma's and it was extra special with all the animals.
They went to school Monday through Thursday, and Thursday was their last day of school. As they got off the bus, some of the parents and siblings were waiting for them with water balloons, as is the tradition in SJF.
The kids took walks with the dogs and Paige doted on them and carried them around throughout the week.
Grandma had some art projects for Paige and she also took them to the library and got them a big pile of books to read while they were at the house.
Thanks to Grandma for helping the kids finish their last week of school at LPA and for having so many fun things to do for the kids.
Things had actually started much earlier than that. We had been packing things ourselves and selling odds and ends for weeks. To say it was difficult is an understatement. The kids were wrapping up their school year. I was working. Andrea was managing the contractors and designer at the new house.
Meanwhile, we ran in to a major issue on the Dumont house. The week before we were supposed to close on it, we found out that the survey showed our pool was encroaching almost 3 feet in to the pond easement. I freaked out, couldn't sleep, and did my research on the morning of May 18th, I talked to the HOA president who happened to drop his daughter off at the same bus stop as our kids. He told me there would be no way we'd close on the house, and that the process would have to start with the district engineer. I called the engineer and asked if he could review the drainage easement. Thankfully he was available and able to come out that same day. He advised me there would be no way we'd be able to close on the house any time soon though. I didn't give up hope and called around until I found a lady that was in charge of a CDD meeting that I'd need to attend to review the easement issue. She told me the meeting was the very next day on the 19th, but that there was no way we'd be able to close on time even if we did make the meeting. I kept the process moving though. I paid the district engineer $450 for his review and thankfully he said it wasn't encroaching enough to make a difference and that he'd recommend the district would release the easement to me. He put together his report that night and the next day he said he'd present it to the board at the meeting. I decided I'd attend the meeting and on the 19th, I got up bright and early and attended the meeting as well. Thankfully, the board did approve our request, and immediately after the meeting I contacted the lawyer who was assigned to the district and paid the secretary $600 for the required legal fee. The lawyer had done a similar easement release recently and he drew up the necessary document the same day and emailed it to me. Typically the document would be handled by the secretary of the CDD and she would set up a time to get the CDD president to sign and then send it to the HOA so the president of that group could sign. Instead, I printed it myself and we had our friend Gina, who is a notary, come over. The presidents of the HOA and CDD stopped by in the afternoon and at the last minute we realized we needed two witnesses, so Anna and Rachel came over along with their kids. It was a bit of a madhouse when everyone was there, but amazingly we got everything signed by everyone. I wanted to be done with it, so I took it immediately to the title office and within 24 hours of learning of the issue, I had gotten it completely resolved. We were VERY lucky on many counts. First off, that we knew all the appropriate people personally. Secondly, that the meeting had been on the 19th. The CDD board only meets 6 times per year, every other month. The next meeting would have been July 26th, which would have caused all kinds of problems with our closing. I can't even imagine how upset we'd have been if we'd missed the meeting. Thankfully I got involved and did everything I could to make it happen, although everyone I talked to said it wouldn't be possible. Also, thanks to all the people involved that went out of their way to help us out.
I've attached the survey of our house, which shows the released easement in the back.
In the end, by Thursday the 19th, everything was ready to close on our Dumont house. That next day, Friday the 20th, Andrea went out to the new house to check on the progress. We'd been so busy resolving everything with the Dumont house that we didn't keep as close of track of everyone. Our moving day was only a couple days away, so we were excited to see a lot of the work wrapping up. When we arrived we were dumbfounded. Many of the projects were not nearly completed and many of the contractors had been working on lower priority items. For instance, we'd insisted they finish the office in time for the move so that I could get my office furniture in place. We also wanted it all sanded and painted before the carpet was in. Instead, the carpet was in, but the walls were still untouched. The painters were there working on other rooms, and it was plain to see I was disappointed. I told them that on Saturday, it was critical that the office and bedroom closets be painted so we could move in our things. They were surprised and apparently had no idea we were moving in anytime soon.
I decided that I would have to spend the day on Saturday at the house managing everyone and cleaning up. On Saturday, early in the morning, I went out to the house and talked to all the workers as they arrived and got everyone moving in the right direction. I was starting to feel a little bit better about things. Everything was a complete mess. I decided to take it upon myself to throw out a lot of garbage. I hauled a number of things around to the side of house and started piling them up. There were two huge glass doors that had been removed from the cabana bathroom. I took one around to the side of the house and started carrying the second. The second door had a bar attached and I was holding it on one side by the bar. I think it put strain on the door, and just as I was walking next to the pool, the door exploded. I had a few cuts on my arms, but was mostly embarrassed and upset that I'd created more work. I swept the glass in to a dust pan for about 20 minutes and then one of the flooring guys suggested I use a shop vac. That worked wonderfully and it sucked the little bits of glass out of the cracks. I worked on the glass for about 2 hours and thought I was done. I put my left hand down at one point to prop myself up, and a sharp needle of glass went right in. I decided to go over everything 2 more times and after 2.5 hours I decided to be done.
After lunch, I came back and continued cleaning. Even after the workers left, I stayed and cleaned. I hauled junk and bagged it up. I vacuumed and cleaned until some time past 9pm and then went home. The next day, on Sunday, the house cleaners were coming and I was confident they'd at least be able to focus on cleaning instead of hauling garbage around.
On Sunday, the movers arrived to pack us. They were there for hours and hours and hours. I packed my electronics and my toys and they boxed everything up and got a lot of things like the safe and treadmill downstairs.
On Monday morning, after the kids went to school, we started loading up the truck. I anticipated it would take just a few hours and we'd be done some time in the afternoon. The kids got home from school, and we were still working. I took a couple pictures of them near the truck and a video of them running through the mostly empty house.
Grandma Alice and Grandpa Rick took the kids back to their place and then we continued working. The movers took much too long packing since I think they realized their truck wasn't big enough. They were careful, which was nice, but they were taking way too long trying to puzzle everything in to place to fit all they could. They filled the 26 foot truck and a pickup truck, and a small trailer. It wasn't everything though. We drove the first load to the house and started unloading. One of the guys went back to our Dumont house and loaded up the small trailer again while we unloaded. Even after that, there were still things that got left behind. We unloaded everything we could and worked until some time past 2am. They had to come back the next day on Monday to finish up. We unloaded the boxes in to the empty rooms, put the beds and ping pong table together, and wrapped up things so they wouldn't get dusty.
After the movers left, I tried to shower and there was no hot water. It was a rough end to the day.
On Monday, as the contractors arrived, Andrea and I started unpacking. At one point I realized I hadn't taken almost any videos or pictures, and Andrea went through and took a couple videos of the house under construction.
On Tuesday I called around and realized we were stuck with a crappy company for our gas. We had a buried gas tank, which was leased from a local company that had terrible reviews. I begged them to switch it back on, but they said they couldn't come out for a week and it'd be $175 to turn it back on as well. Ridiculous. Thankfully I found another company that came out the next day and installed a temporary gas tank. They agreed to dig up the other company's tank and install their own as long as we signed a 3 year agreement to use them for our gas. We were happy to get the temporary tank and are hopeful that we will like the new company. It was nice to have hot water in the house again.
As the week went on, we made progress every day, but as things went along we continued to run in to problems. For instance, the office got painted, but it looked horrible. We had to bring out the drywall contractor and painters to review everything and have it reworked. We had to cover our furniture and carpet so it wouldn't be ruined. Once that was redone, we thought I could set everything up, but the next day a plumber in the master bath broke a water line and water started going everywhere, including under the wall in to the office. We had to pull back the brand new carpet to get the carpet and pad dried out. As I write this, it's still not kicked back in.
The laundry room tile was crooked. The contractor who was putting it in got most of it laid, but we noticed immediately that the pattern was slightly angled. We debated what to do and finally decided it had to be redone. As a result, we still don't have a washer and dryer hooked up.
The built in wall unit in the family room got constructed and looked nice. Unfortunately it was pushed back in to the hole in the wall about 7-8 inches too far. I talked to them about it and it will have to be taken apart and reworked.
The counter tops went in and were finally done on Saturday. Unfortunately they had to make a cut for the stove top after the pieces were in place. I brought my shop vac in and we ran two vacuums at once to try and suck up all the dust. We got most of it, but it was a loud and messy job.
On Saturday afternoon, the kids moved in with us. We had most of their things unpacked, and have continued unpacking since then. Grandma Alice took a tour of the house and took a few panoramas of the messy house.
The weekend was Memorial day weekend, so we had an extra day on Monday to work as well. We continued unpacking and cleaning throughout the weekend. Today is Tuesday and most things are actually unpacked. I just watched the trashmen haul off a pile of boxes and garbage. Things are cleaner than they have been, but we still have a long way to go on the renovations. Hopefully this week we start to finish things. I haven't been so stressed out in a long time. I lost my temper a few times when things weren't going well. Andrea has been a positive influence and has been a big help as well. We're trying to enjoy things as we go, and hopefully every day from here on out will get easier.
Paige's Kindergarten graduation was on May 23rd, 2016. Only Andrea was able to go since I had to let the movers in and get the move underway. I was sad to miss it, but Andrea took a lot of pictures and videos. Paige had a wonderful school year. She had a few ups and downs, but overall we are happy with how it all went and with everything Paige learned. At the beginning of the school year we were quite apprehensive about her teacher Ms. Froehlich. We knew she was quite the free spirit and while fun, we were concerned the class would be a bit distracting for Paige. We were further concerned to find that Paige had double the children of a normal classroom and that Ms. Froehlich would have an assistant teacher with her to help manage things. The environment turned out to suit her perfectly and she blossomed in many ways through the year. She ended the year with a perfect report card, scoring the highest possible marks across the board. She scored extremely high in her standardized tests, and in reading is at a level where they'd hope most kids would be entering 2nd grade.
Anyways, back to the graduation. The kids all sang songs, everyone talked about the school year, and Andrea took pics of Paige with her friends.
Paige and Ella posed nicely.
Ella, Kennedy, and Paige all lived in SJF together.
Paige and VZ. It's short for a name I can't recall, everyone just called her VZ.
Paige with VZ, Olivia, and Ella.
Lakshmi and Paige were good friends by the end of the year. Paige liked to sit by Lakshmi at lunch.
Ms. Froehlich was such a positive influence on Paige and her focus on reading gave Paige a big head start. We are so thankful for all her work.
We took our last family picture at our Dumont house on May 23rd 2016. We got up early that morning to get the kids ready for school and to get things ready for the move. I set up a ladder out front and we used it to take a family picture. I took a last pic of the kids on the step in front of the front door and did a side-by-side of their first day of school pic. They've both had such eventful years at school and we are so proud of both of them.
Our neighbor Phil came by before we went to the bus stop and snapped another family picture a little closer to the house.
After the kids got on the bus, Andrea went to the school to attend Paige's Kindergarten graduation and I started getting things packed up and ready for the movers.
Today has been filled with drama. Paige has two front teeth coming in on the bottom behind her two front baby teeth. I noticed it the other night while brushing her teeth. The baby teeth were very slightly loose at the time and Paige was terrified to touch them. She's been very careful eating this last week and even had trouble biting a banana.
Today, she finally decided that it was time. She has been working on the teeth herself throughout the day and at random times will come to us freaking out and needing assistance. We've had to hold her quite a bit, wipe a lot of tears, and wiggle her teeth with her.
This afternoon I managed to get the left tooth really loose to where I even had it
upside down at one point, but it was just a little stuck. Mommy took
over and finally got it out. Paige ran to the mirror to check it out and then I got a few pics of her with her tooth.