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Steve & John's West Coast Move
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One of the first lessons San Fransisco teaches is that there is always something better. Go over the next hill and there's a better view, go down the street and there's a better restaurant, go to the next bar and there are better looking guys. So it is with real estate. We looked at a few open houses today so we'd have some alternatives if there are problems with the SOMA place, and of course we saw some that we like a little better. Is a bird in the hand worth the uncertainty of another bidding war? Is 300 more square feet worth $25-50 thousand more? For now, we are answering "No", but check again after we see the SOMA place again tomorrow.
The inspection didn't show any major issues. We'll ask the sellers to fix a security problem with the door to the patio, but basically we're going to go with the unit.
I'm not sure if it's a good or bad sign, but this evening we talked about construction projects we could do - expanding a closet here, re-configuring the traffic pattern there, etc. The incentive is that if we can add some extra storage, we may not need to rent a storage unit.
Part of the experience of moving is always the purge of possessions you no longer use. It's not really about the stuff itself, it's more about the admission that you won't do this or that enough to justify keeping this item or that and that process shapes what your life will look like in the new place. We just did all this a year ago when we went from a 3 bedroom house with basement to a 2 bedroom condo. The table saw and the guest room bed both went away. Now we have to try and fit into less than half the square feet of the house we were living in just a year ago. What else will go - the rest of the power tools or the homemade wine, the mousepad collection or the neon lamp? There will definitely be a storage unit for some months.
One more look at the loft yesterday - our agent wanted to check one thing in the inspection. Later, John called to say the mortgage broker may be ready to close this week. That means we could set up the utilities, etc. before we go on vacation. (In January we booked a cruise - Venice to Barcelona - starting later this month. It is not an option to cancel it).
Then I had to fly to Dallas for a meeting today. Strange to be flying through rather than to Denver. There was a major weather delay around Denver, so I didn't get to Dallas until almost 3AM. I was tempted to spend the night at home, but decided it would really push things in the morning. Lesson learned - don't take the last flight out when there's a change of planes involved. It's rare to change planes from Denver for one of my business trips; guess I'll have to get used to it.
I got home from Dallas to find our friend Jim (who is housesitting for us) having difficulty breathing. After a call to 911 and a trip to the emergecncy room, we discovered that he had had a mild heart attack. As I write this, he's in ICU. The whole "closing on the SOMA place" seems fairly remote, although I know I need to deal with it. Thanks to our friends Norm and Ron who helped me get his car out of the 2 hour parking zone.
I'm letting John deal with the SOMA loft.
John signed all the paperwork for the loft in SOMA today (Friday the 13th!). Strange the way they do closing in CA - first the buyer signs, then the seller signs, then the bank sets a closing date. We're used to all of it happening at one meeting - you walk in with a certified check and walk out with keys. Anyway, the real closing will occur sometime while we're on vacation.
Jim is looking better today. He's also discovered he's diabetic. He's in ICU, but the prognosis is good.
We packed up some of the breakables last night. I keep wondering how we accumulated so much stuff, even after we did the major downsizing last year. We had lunch with a friend who moved from Denver to Detroit a few years ago; his partner referred to looking at a "small house - only 2400 square feet". I laughed.
Tomorrow I go to Sioux Falls and a week from tomorrow we're going on a 2 and a half week vacation. Ordinarily I'd be excited about the vacation, but right now all I can think about is how much we have to do to get ready for the move. The good news is that we'll be refreshed and ready to tackle the actualy packing and moving when we get back.
What a busy week. I got home from Sioux Falls and immediately went to dinner with some friends from Tucson who are in town on business. Friday we had lunch with friends from Detroit and met with our Denver real estate agent (the condo still hasn't sold - we're starting to talk about renting it although the rent will not cover the mortgage). Saturday we went to a birthday party for the wife of one of my lifting partners. Sunday we had brunch with former neighbors who have moved to Portland and then high tea with other former neighbors. In between it all, we did manage to pack for the trip this week.
In other news, we actually closed on the loft in SOMA this week. Now I can start doing change-of-addresses. It feels good to know that we have a place to go to when we move. John got estimates from the movers and they're a little less than we budgeted (something is finally less expensive than we planned), so we're going to have them pack; that's a big relief. Jim went home from the hospital last night, so we don't have to worry about him while we're on vacation. And my niece in Florida had her baby - I can just imagine her being 9 months pregnant and not having any power for A/C at home because of the hurricane.
We're finally getting excited about the trip. I think we will need it. At 75 cents per minute for internet on board the ship, there will probably be no more updates until we get back.
We just returned from our vacation to find that we have someone ready to sign a lease on the Denver condo and someone else who wants to look at it again on Monday for a possible offer. Despite the jetlag, we're feeling much better knowing that we won't have to come up with full mortgage payments and condo fees for both units.
Of course, the reality of just how much we have to do in 11 days is starting to set in. We can't take down pictures, empty cabinets, etc. before Monday because of the scheduled showing. At this point I have about 3 'to do' lists. One of the weekend tasks is to consolidate them so we know what we have to do each day. It's going to be a crazy week and a half.
We've decided to rent the Denver condo. The rent won't cover the mortgage, let alone the condo fee, but I think we'll come out better in the end if we wait until the market is better to sell it. Now I'm doubly glad that we didn't get some of the more expensive places we looked at in San Francisco since we're going to be paying two mortgages.
I feel like there is more that I should be doing as far as packing goes, but since the movers will also be packing us, we only have to pack up the things we want to take in the car and the small trailer we're renting. We've taken everything off the walls and started to patch the holes. Basically, I'm running out of things I can do to prepare for the move. I'm an action person - I don't handle unproductive waiting well.
The hard part of moving is realizing that we're not going to be seeing some of our friends as much as we do now. They've had three going away gatherings since we got back from vacation and there are more planned for the rest of the week. We are blessed with amazing friends. I didn't realize how much we had touched some of them. It humbles me.
We had a flat tire coming home from a friend's Rosh Hashanah dinner. Not a great way to begin a new year. We were planning to take one of the cars in for some maintenance today, so we just need to add tires to the list.
We've been invited to a party by our new next door neighbor the day after we get to San Francisco. We're not even there yet and there's stuff on the calendar.