Saturday, January 21, 2017

Getting Settled In

Monday 1/2/17

Cool morning, still cloudy, although the forecast was for sunny. 50 degrees when we headed off on the bike ride, kind of a small group this morning. Nancy and I did 8 miles and the temp had zoomed all the way up to 57 when we finished!

Back home for lunch, than over to the house to meet Alex to answer some questions on bathroom fixture placement.

Driveway almost finished, looks really good and grading done all around the house. Back home Nancy went to yoga here at the park, then we watched the Winter Classic hockey game from St Louis that we had recorded earlier in the day.

Tuesday 1/3

Nice sunny morning in the desert, a bit on the cool side, 40 degrees when we went out.

Nancy had her first Spanish class of the winter this morning and I moved the furniture and picked everything up to shampoo the carpets in the trailer. That took a good chunk of the day. I have tried to do it every year before we put the trailer away in the spring and it has kept the 12 year old carpet looking pretty good. It also helps that we take one of our Persian carpets from home and put it in the main area of the trailer.

After finishing the carpet cleaning I spent most of the rest of the afternoon balancing checkbooks and making sure the finances are all in sync. Coming to the finish line on the house there are a lot of bills coming due all at once.

Still unable to get approval from Pima County to get the gas service installed. Turns out the county inspector never made it out to the house due to the holidays! Bummer. Hopefully will get done today.

Paulette called and window treatments are scheduled for installation on Thursday. Still on track for the walk-through and hand-over tomorrow! Yeah!

Drove by the house late in the afternoon, driveway is finished and it looks pretty good, pavers look nice and it is not as steep as we were afraid it would be. Things are looking really good! Tomorrow is the big day!

Wednesday 1/4

Morning walk in the desert before breakfast, cool but pretty morning. When we get some clouds it really changes the appearance of the desert and the surrounding mountains.

Walk through on new house this morning! Yeah! Went well, things look great, a few odds and ends still need to be done. Guys are still working on the front sidewalk and steps to the the street. Made final payment and received the keys - it’s OUR house now!

In the afternoon we puttered around the house, took a bunch of interior pictures while it is all fresh and uncluttered (see previous post), and measuring things, Nancy started in on shelf and drawer liners in the kitchen and pantry. Then she went back to the RV park to study Spanish with her friend Carol.

The tile installers had left the excess floor tile in the garage so I loaded most of it up in the Jeep in the afternoon and took it to the self storage. That tile is HEAVY! Sure don’t want to move it again!

Brought back four boxes of SwissTrax for installation tomorrow.

Back home for dinner.

Thursday 1/5

Morning walk, then Nancy went to yoga here at the park. I met my friend Gary at the self storage place and we loaded up the rest of the SwissTrax in his truck and the Jeep and we spent the morning laying the floor in the garage. It went really smoothly, especially with Gary’s help! We got everything done except the edges that need to be cut to fit.

Nancy and I went into town to Beyond Bread for lunch, then a stop at Mark’s Ace Hardware for more shelf liner and a few other odd and ends we need for the house. I picked up a reasonably priced lithium battery jig saw to cut the floor tiles that need to be fitted around the edges of the garage.When you lay the tiles you start out flush with one wall and the door, but by the other side and the back of the garage there are usually spaces narrower than a full tile. Also need to fit around corners and the sink in the garage.

A stop at Trader Joe’s, then home for diner - second half of our lunch sandwiches.

Good Blackhawks game tonight, the recovered and won in overtime.

Friday 1/6

Morning walk and leisurely breakfast, mid-morning we went over to the house and Nancy got going on shelf lining in the pantry while I started on the garage tile around the edges that need to be cut to fit - slow going!

Off to BK Tacos for lunch, then we stopped at the self storage locker and loaded up most of the stuff that needed to go to the house. Nancy spent the rest of the afternoon finishing up the shelf paper in the pantry and sorting through all the stuff from storage.

Back home we had White Cane salmon on the grille, good stuff! Followed by a Blackhawks game.

Saturday 1/7

Regular morning walk and mid-morning I went over to the house to continue fitting SwissTrax tiles to the oddball shaped places. For some reason my brain was on vacation this morning, got one corner done after a few fits and starts. One tile I oriented, measured and marked. Then I went back to check orientation, oops, wrong! Remarked it, rechecked, OK, cut it and went to fit it and off by 90 degrees! What? 

About Noon I went over to the storage lot to check on the truck, no signs of critters and it started immediately. While it was idling I searched through the stuff in the truck - another treasure hunt!

Last spring we bought a small Southwest themed plaque for hanging keys by the back door at the 4th Avenue Street Fair and now we cannot find it! I was sure it was in the self storage, but we have not found it. Not in the truck, bummer.

On the way out Gary was in his garage so I stopped and chatted for a while, then a stop back at the self storage to double check, no sign of the key rack!

Then a stop at Samrose Market to have a propane tank filled and then back home for lunch.

Nancy and I did a thorough search of the trailer looking for the key rack, still no luck! Driving me nuts, I know I put it in the self storage locker!

Mid-afternoon we went over to the house and looked through the stuff we brought over yesterday. In one of the kitchen bins there was a dish towel wrapped around the missing key rack! 

We put the folding ladder with a towel over the top of it and put it in the yard outside the great room to get a feel for the height of the wall we are having built. John Herder says they are going to get started on it Monday! The wall will surround a flagstone patio outside of the sliding doors in our great room, it will also allow us some privacy when sitting here in the evening with the panel drapes open. Right now people are only 25 feet away and looking right in. Ninety percent of the house here have walls of some kind surrounding their front yards.

Later on I went to turn on the ceiling fan in the great room and it would not work! What?? It was working on Wednesday during the walk-thru so why not now? After a lot longer than it should have taken I finally figured out that one of the wall switches that we could not identify was for the fan! Oops.

Back home to our trailer for diner and a quiet evening.

Sunday 1/8

Both of us up early, too much on our minds I guess. Took a nice walk in the desert, breakfast and watched CBS Sunday Morning. Then Nancy spent some time on her Spanish and I went over to the house and worked on the SwissTrax floor. As I said before, the main area went down fast, put piecing the two edges and around the sink and the door into the house is a slow process.

I came back to the trailer for lunch and a nap, then Nancy’s friend Carol came by to study Spanish and I went back to the house for an hour and a half or so. Got the area around the utility sink pieced together. One leg of the sink would have been right in the center of a tile, but I discovered I could remove a foot piece from the leg, shorten it by a 1/4 inch, slip the tile under, and replace the foot on the leg! Done!

Monday 1/9

Off to the new house first thing this morning, SW Gas scheduled between 8 and Noon. Did some more work on the edge pieces in the garage, spent some time chatting with neighbors. Gas guy showed up, put in the gas meter and fired up all the gas appliances. Nancy did some more shelf lining.

Early afternoon we ran into town for lunch (and dinner) at Beyond Bread, a stop at Ace Hardware and the grocery store, then back to the house. Nancy headed back to the RV Park for a yoga class. I did a bit more work and headed home as well, then just as I got home I remembered that I left our sandwiches in the fridge at the new house! Oops, back to the new house, good thing it is close!

Quiet evening at the trailer.

Tuesday 1/10

WaterTec called yesterday to see if they could reschedule the water treatment equipment for afternoon, so I did not have to get over to the house at the crack of dawn. 

Nancy had her Spanish class this morning.  Mid-morning the young lady from Boerman Moving and Storage in Illinois called and said the van would be here Wednesday between 8 and 10 AM! Yeah, a day early!

I went over to the house and finished the last few edge pieces in the garage. The floor really looks good.

Guy from Triad Wireless came to install the WiFi. He said all the wiring was perfect from the roof into the house and around the various rooms, BUT … the access panel on the roof is just a flat panel. They need a “Wet connection box” to do the hook-up. Oops. Bet the Dish Network folks will need the same thing! Fortunately we had been working with Alex today on finalizing a few issues and designing the patio and wall that Herder is going to install, so he is going to work on the “wet connection box” issue.

Crew working on the paving blocks finished the front sidewalk and steps to the street and that looks wonderful. Herder’s crews are real artists.  This pic is standing in the street in front of the house. (Sorry abut the quality, should not have tried in the afternoon, front of house cases East)

Speaking of Herder's crews, when I laid the SwissTrax in the garage I started at the left front corner and worked back and across. When I got to the right side I needed to cut the first tile to fit a 6” gap. At the back of the garage the last tile had to be out to fit a 6” gap! Perfectly square garage!

Guy from WaterTec came around 3 PM and worked until 6:30! We are installing system that uses no salt and does not recharge. A recharging water softener uses around 40 gallons of water each time! A bit wasteful for a desert area. This alternate system is a bit pricer and does not actually remove the hard minerals from the water, just encapsulates and suspends them in the moving water. So if the water dries on a surface it will still leave a deposit, but there will be no clogging of pipes. Just means we have to dry the dishes every time, which we usually do anyway (we do not use the dishwasher).

Alex said that the crew would be at the house first thing on Wednesday to start on the wall. Initial plans called for removing the medium sized palo verde tree in our yard! We said absolutely not! Move the wall to fit around it. So we laid out the wall to dodge around the tree.

Wednesday 1/11

I headed over to the house just before 7 so I could be there when they started on the wall and protect the tree! Talked to the man who is digging the footings and the fellow that will be building the wall and laying the flagstone patio. He said he hopes to finish the wall by the end of this week!

Moving van showed up just before 8 AM so we spent the morning showing them where to put stuff, even stuff we forgot we had kept! Actually our furniture fits in much better than we had been anticipating. 

Movers finished about Noon and Nancy and I spent the rest of the afternoon unpacking boxes and putting things away. Got a pretty good start on the 142 (yes 142!) boxes that we packed! At least we got an extra day to get settled in. We are good in Desert Trails through Sunday morning, so we will stay here until we have the house all settled. So far nothing seriously damaged, a few bumps and scratches, but nothing of significance.

Nancy’s new clothesline from BreezeCatcher arrived today. She wants an umbrella style clothesline for the back yard and all of the ones we looked at were cheap and flimsy, with poor reviews on-line. Then we found BreezeCatcher, a lot more pricy, but really good quality and it looks like it will live up to the claims. Very well made with anodized aluminum brackets and strong supporting arms. Now I need to get the base secured in the back yard. 

Back to our home on wheels around 5, pizza for dinner and put our feet up! We are finding that ceramic tile floors are HARD! Yesterday I ordered some Wellness Mats to cover the kitchen work area. We also need to get some of our carpets down after we make a dent in the boxes.

Last week I put a notice on the Next Door Neighbors website for Tucson Estates that I had some boxes (the ones the floor tiles came in) to give away and all 14 of them were gone by the end of the day Friday. Today a guy from right down the street called and asked if I still had them. Well no, but I will have a lot more pretty quick! They are moving and he came and took all of the boxes we unpacked today! Easy way to get rid of them and helping a neighbor. Most of the boxes are ones we got from out next door neighbors in Geneva!

Thursday 1/12

Up fairly early again this morning, not doing our walks as we are getting plenty of exercise unpacking boxes and our dogs are barking!

After breakfast Nancy headed off to the grocery store, I loaded the bikes on the Jeep and took them over to the new house, then I stopped at Pedro’s Barber Shop for a haircut. Afterwards I headed back to our house through Tucson Estates I, when I got to the stop sign at Tucson Estates Parkway headed into Tucson Estates 2 Nancy was just coming in! What are the odds of that?

We spent most of the rest of the day unpacking boxes. Nancy took a break and went to Suzies Shear Artistry for a haircut as well.

Herder’s audio/video guy came by in the morning and put the “wet connection box” up on the roof. The installer from Dish Network came in the afternoon and installed a new dish - for free! Part of the “Dish Mover Package”, a pretty good deal.

By the end of the day I had the garage pretty much in order and Nancy has made a real dent in the kitchen. We have found most of the things we need right away.

Karen invited us over for a delicious lasagna dinner and we had a nice visit with the Karen and Gary and Karen’s mother. They had a tough week as Karen’s older brother passed away on Monday after a long illness.

Getting closer to be being ready, we plan on moving the trailer out on Sunday morning and spending our first night in the new house Sunday. 

Friday 1/13

Took our time getting going this morning, got over to the house mid-morning. Guys were already well along on building our wall! The antique copper slump block looks really good. A couple of the neighbors have complimented us on it already. 

Another day of unpacking boxes, probably more than half done. The house is actually livable now, but we will wait until Sunday when we move out of Desert Trails to actually settle in. Still coming back to the trailer for dinner and sleeping. I did make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and the new cooktop is really slick! Five burners of varying sizes for different tasks.

Nancy and Carol spent some time studying their Spanish this afternoon. Nancy will be missing her lesson this week to go to the memorial service for Karen’s brother. 

Saturday 1/14

Over to the Rec Center at Tucson Estates 2 first thing this morning for the monthly Meet & Greet and Community Forum. Then over to the house to continue unpacking. 

Made a good dent on the boxes stacked in the kitchen, then went to J. J. Cooper in Tucson Estates shopping center for lunch, then back to unpacking.

Yesterday we met with one of the ladies who do light landscaping in the area, a lot of people we know have used them. We needed to have our two large Palo Verde trees trimmed as they are growing kind of wild. They came by late this afternoon, were still trimming when we left about five.

Finished all but one or two of the boxes staked in the kitchen, got the kitchen and great room into some semblance of order so we can be comfortable when we settle in tomorrow.

Around five we called it a day, stopped at the storage lot and picked up the truck. My solar battery charger is working great. I started the truck earlier in the week and it was the same again today, cranked right over and fired instantly! 

Back to Desert Trails for the last night in the RV until next summer. 

Wednesday 1/18

Whew! Pretty hectic the last four days! Sunday morning it was raining off and on! The Trailer has been sitting here in Desert Trails five plus months and it rains the day we are loading up to move! And we get and average of 12 inches per YEAR here!

Anyway, we headed out about 10:30 AM and came over to the house. Spent the rest of the day unloading the trailer, hard to believe how much “stuff” we had crammed in there!

Light rain off and on all day. Finally finished up and moved the trailer to storage about 4:30. Nice to have the storage lot so close, only a mile and half from the house so we can run over easily to get things we forget. Back home for pizza and rest!

Monday we spent the day unpacking boxes and trying to get things put away. Tuesday morning we went across to the far East side of town to the memorial service for Karen’s brother.

On the way home we stopped at Beyond Bread and the hardware store (we must be their best customers this month!) Then we stopped at Karen and Gary’s to pick up Margo. Nancy walked home with her (we are just under a mile apart here in Tucson Estates 2) and we kept her for the afternoon. Karen and Gary came by late in the afternoon and we all sat and had a drink.

Thursday 1/19

Unpacking boxes, etc. Nancy did gat away to study Spanish with Carol in the afternoon since she missed her class on Tuesday.

The wall outside our sliding windows is coming along wonderfully. It looks really nice. The guys have been working steady most of the week inspire of the rain. The ground here turns into gumbo when it is wet!

Another pic facing into the sun, but you get the idea.

I spent most of the afternoon unpacking the things from our curio cabinet and putting them in the cabinet. So far nothing broken! Nancy is doing pretty much the same thing!

Friday 1/20

Spent a good part of the morning on the phone with AirBnB, PayPal, and Chase Bank! It appears that AirBnB has our account tangled up with someone else and when they make a reservation we get the charge! It goes to PayPal and then rolls onto the credit card! Fortunately this is the first day of our billing cycle, so we have a month to straighten it out!

The installer from Triad Wireless came today so we now have regular WiFi back (yeah!). We have been using our Verizon hot spots since we left the RV park on Sunday. Triad called this morning and said they could not do the install due to the bad weather! I pushed back and said it might be bad on the East side of the mountains, but all we have here is clouds and spotty sunshine! After a couple calls they agreed to send the guy out. When he got here he said it was raining so hard in the city that it was hard to drive, but as soon as he got West of I-19 it stopped. Screwy rain patterns here.

The Wellness Mats for the kitchen arrived this afternoon, make the kitchen MUCH more pleasant to work in and they look nice.

Saturday 1/21

Getting pretty well settled in by now, we have gotten back to morning walks. In seven winters at Desert Trails and walking almost every morning, the only wildlife we have seen in the desert is the occasional jack rabbit. The first morning we walked up onto the slope of Golden Gate Mountain we saw a deer crossing the trail ahead of us! Have most all of the boxes out of the house and things put where they belong (kinda!). A couple boxes left in our closed and the den. Yesterday I got a couple of our clocks hung up and running.

It’s been cool and rainy most of the week, high today of 49! It does seem to have cleared off today, blue sky and some white clouds. This is the mini rainy season - of course average total annual rainfall is just under 12 inches, so “rainy season” is a bit of a misnomer. Rain now however is good for the spring wildflowers, so it should be a pretty spring, which starts in February!

Lots of different noises in a new house. It is quite windy today and we are hearing wind in the chimney and rattling the various vents on the roof. One day during the week I woke up at 5 AM and heard water running! Oh, oh! Jumped up and ran around the house, nothing. Back in the bedroom I realized it was outside the open window! Water off the flat roof running through one of the clay pipes (scuppers) and falling on the rocks below! something new for us!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

It's Our House - And Here are Pics!

The walk through on Wednesday went well, a few items that still need to get done, including roll-out drawers in the cabinets in the master bath!

House looks great, driveway finished, front sidewalk still under construction. I'll post the last weeks activities later, but her are pics of the house:

This is the view walking in the front door:

Turning to the right this is the great room:

Turning more to the right the gas or natural log fireplace:

and how about that ceiling fan?! 60" in diameter!

Here's the view from of Golden Gate Mountain the great room doors, 16' of glass, the two center panels open to 8' wide. Golden Gate is 4,288 feet, we are at 

Looking back into the kitchen from the great room:

Nancy's pantry, this is right behind the refrigerator:

Then walking down the hall we find the guest room (took this pic and others yesterday, window treatments went in today, bottom up/top down roman shades in bedrooms and den): 

Next down the hall is the guest bath, zero depth walk-in shower:

Across the hall is the laundry room, that's the built-in ironing board on the wall, cabinet, counter and wash tub to the left with a window:

Next to the guest bath is the den, driftwood plank ceramic tile:

Then at the end of the hall is the master bedroom, with wood plank style ceramic tile, window to the right looking out at Golden Gate Mountain, master bath and closet to the left:

This is the master bath, another zero depth walk-in shower, Large walk-in closet that we will share to the left, w/c to the right:

Finally, my friend Gary and I spent the morning putting down the SwissTrax floor in the garage:

So that's the grand tour. I post my regular blog and some outside shots over the weekend.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Getting Really Close to New House!

Sunday 12/25

Delicious and delightful dinner at Karen and Gary’s last evening. Rainy evening and snow on the mountains East of Tucson. All of the mountain tops were snow covered, a pretty view driving into town this morning.

Joan, Nancy, and I went to the Lowe’s Ventana Canyon for a really nice Christmas brunch. Ate way too much!

After lunch we went back to our house on wheels and relaxed. We've been living in the trailer for more than a year now, since December 8th last year! Full timer RV'ers for more than a year, unplanned as it was. 

Monday 12/26

We stopped by the house this morning and the whole crew was there working away on finishing touches. John Herder was there and we discussed moving the front sidewalk.  Instead of going from the driveway to the front patio it will come directly from the street with a couple of steps since the driveway is a bit steep.

Crew is getting ready to put the pavers down for the driveway and patios on the East and West sides. 

We measured shelves in the kitchen and pantry so we could get shelf lining.

The three of us then went to the Desert Museum and then over to Beyond Bread for lunch before Joan headed for the airport (she will be back in just a few weeks.)

After Joan left Nancy and I stopped at the big Ace hardware on Campbell and stocked up on shelf lining material, then a stop at the Verizon store for a bit of a treasure hunt. Turns out that to apply for the rebate on Nancy's new phone we need not just the receipt (which we have), but photos of the bar codes on 6 accessories we bought! Oops, packaging gone. So we stopped at Verizon and took photos of bar codes on the items we bought. Had to stop at three stores to get them all, but the folks at each store were really nice, even though they were all busy!  Back home in the late afternoon.

Tuesday 12/27

Chilly morning, postponed our desert walk until later in the morning. Nancy did laundry in the morning and I spent most of the morning on the phone getting utility accounts lined up.

Stopped in Desert Trails office to pay rent and fax paperwork to moving company, Nancy discussed doing the Bopp Road cleanup in early February with Pericles. Nancy has been coordinating it the last couple of years and does not want to leave Pericles in the lurch with no one to set it up and coordinate the volunteers. We are so grateful that Andrea has juggled things around so we could stay here in one spot until the house is ready.

Did a drive by of the house, several crews working. Off to BK Tacos for lunch and then a stop at Walmart Neighborhood Market. Back by the house again, workers all gone so we stopped to check out the new patios. Pavers are in place on both the East and West patios and a small area outside the great room doors that we did not expect. The patios look real nice.

Conversations with a couple of the neighbors, seems this will be a regular occurrence here. Met the couple directly across the street for the first time. We have now met all of the neighbors around us. We have already spent more time talking to neighbors than we did on a year or more in Geneva!

Back home late in the afternoon. Blackhawks had a pretty bad game tonight!

Wednesday 12/28

A bit cloudy today, but a pleasant day nonetheless. Morning walk in the desert, then a leisurely breakfast. Headed out late in the morning. Stopped at the Tucson Estates 2 management office to straighten out a couple of issues with the annual rent for our RV storage.

Then we headed way up North to Anasazi Stone in Rillito at I-10 & Arva Valley Road. Went up Sandario Rd West of the Tucson Mountains instead of going over East and back tracking on I-10. Eastbound I-10 runs Northwest out of Tucson, so by the time I-10 gets to Arva Valley Rd it is almost due North of where we are. Only problem is the Tucson Mountains also run Southeast to Northwest, so you have to get West of them to get North.

Picked out a skid of flagstone to be used on the patio inside of our wall. We are going to have Herder build the wall and patio early next year.

As long as we were so far North we made a stop at the Tucson Outlet Mall in Mariana and then had lunch at the Cracker Barrel.

Nice drive back home, a lot of the road runs through Saguaro National Park. Swung by the house, about a third of the driveway pavers are in.

Thursday 12/29

Pretty much stuck around home today.Nancy went to yoga class, I did more contacts on utilities, WiFi, water softener, etc.

Blackhawks looked a little better tonight and managed to pull out a win.

Friday 12/30

Quite windy this AM, so we skipped our morning walk. The wind really kicks up our allergies.

Late in the morning we went into town. Had a free lunch at Culver’s thanks to Christmas gift card from Joan! Stopped at Cafe Roma and bought fresh lasagna for dinner tomorrow and several frozen meals for later on.

Back home I uncovered the Jeep for the first time in a week or more, been a bit chilly, and made a run down to the storage locker to pick up the vacuum cleaner so I can clean carpets in the trailer before we put it into storage. Also brought back the plastic top door halves, might make it a bit more bearable on cold days!

We drove by the house earlier, nothing happening today, guys on holiday. Screens are on, driveway still only half finished, big pile of sand, probably prep for the patio outside the great room.

Saturday 12/31

Mostly stuck around home today after our morning walk in the desert. Nancy did make a grocery run into town in the late morning. Cool and cloudy today.

A bottle of Prosecco and lasagna from Cafe Roma and old movies on TV! Nice New Year’s Eve! We made it to Midnight - Central time at least!

Sunday 1/1/17

Off and on light rain during the night but in the morning we had a rain free window to get our walk in. We saw the base of a most amazing rainbow out over the Rosskruge Mountains off to the Northwest. The rainbow disappeared into the clouds but the base was the widest either on of us had ever seen, maybe due to the low angle of the sun coming from under the clouds.

Back home for breakfast and Sunday AM TV, fairly steady rain most of the morning, cleared off around Noon, but stayed cloudy. Temps only into the 50’s. Late in the afternoon I loaded the bikes on the Jeep for tomorrow morning’s bike ride. Looks like it might be a bit chilly.

Big week coming up. Walk-through on the house scheduled for Wednesday! Once we get that done I plan on taking a full set of interior pictures. Will try to post them Wednesday evening.