duncandahusky: (HTML Husky)
Oh my, it's been a bit since I've actually updated this, hasn't it?

A quick recap:
Last Friday (8/28): Stayed in and had a relaxing night at home with [livejournal.com profile] takaza.
Saturday: Bummed around the house, baked some pain au chocolat cinnamon rolls (which were only partially successful - not enough cinnamon flavor), then enjoyed a fabulous party at [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah and [livejournal.com profile] calapurr's place.
Sunday: Bought shelving for the storage room under the stairs (which has been dubbed "The Harry Potter Room"), cleaned out the accumulated cardboard boxes from the move, and generally worked on housecleaning.
Monday - Wednesday: Work, then home improvement. Installed the shelves in the Potter Room, replaced the chandelier in the breakfast area, Dan whipped the garage into shape so we can park both cars in there (with the washer and dryer in there still! This garage is a lot wider than our last one!). On Tuesday night I grilled up some steaks for dinner on the patio, and it was fabulous.

Tonight I reclaimed the dining room, putting all the stuff that had been cluttering up the table there on the shelves in the Potter Room. Dan hung the track over the patio sliding glass door, but the panel blinds for the track are on back order and won't be in until sometime next week. We can at least hang up a sheet so no one can look into the place while we're gone this weekend.

And then there's the coming weekend. Dan and I are working a half-day tomorrow, then heading out of town to spend an awesome weekend at [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd's. Expect tipsy twitterings, amusing pictures, and a whole lot of fun to be had!

And now, dinner's ready!
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
Oh my goodness, that was crazy.

As most of you already know, this past weekend was Moving Weekend for us. We have moved all of five miles to the west to the lovely village of Volo, Illinois. Here's how it went down...

On Friday [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I took care of some last-minute packing after work then relaxed a bit until [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd showed up shortly after midnight.

Saturday morning the alarm went off all-too-early at 7 AM. We dropped Dan off to pick up the rental truck, then Ford and I dropped off the TV at the new place, picked up some doughnuts at Lovin' Oven, and sandwich fixings at Garden Fresh. By the time we got back, the truck was already half-loaded! The next few hours were a blur, but I am amazed and gratified to report that the following wonderful and amazing people helped move everything out from the old place and into the new place: [livejournal.com profile] brianblackberry, Ford, [livejournal.com profile] fuzzbear, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] grabstein_69, Ian, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] posicat, [livejournal.com profile] quickcasey, [livejournal.com profile] roho. [livejournal.com profile] shy_matsi, [livejournal.com profile] silverwind, Takaza's Mother, Takaza's Sister, [livejournal.com profile] tozier_wah, [livejournal.com profile] wolfbrotherjoe. We couldn't have done it without any of you. Thanks, everyone!

We wrapped up the move at about 5 PM. After everyone had rested a bit (and regrettably several folks had to take their leave), pizza arrived from Giordano's. [livejournal.com profile] aureth and [livejournal.com profile] jenwolf joined us after a long day of drywalling at their place, as well. There followed a memorable evening of friends, boozahol (who knew dirty martinis with pickled okra could be so good?), and much laughter. Highlights included Roho laughing until he couldn't breathe over a certain story involving skidmarks, Ford macking on Dan's mom (and getting shot down spectacularly), and a several things that probably shouldn't be committed to a public posting :-)

Sunday morning started slowly (for some reason...). Poor Ford didn't get much sleep the night before so I made sure he got at least enough sleep to function (though not quite enough, evidently). Once he was up and about we went out and had a nice lunch at a local Mexican joint, then did a bit of fake fur shopping at Jo Ann Fabrics. We stopped by the house to find Roho and Genet had come over with their Samoyed, Briana. We hung out there for a bit then Ford and I went over to the old place to pick up a few things that had been left behind; looking around the place and comparing it to what we're moving in to, I'm left with the indelible impression that our old place was, um, a bit of dump :-)

Ford hit the road from there, and I came back to the house and spent the afternoon putting up blinds in the living room. Unfortunately, as I was stepping around hanging the brackets, I stepped on one of the sectional sofa pieces wrong and it broke :( In talking with the guy who sold it to us, it'll be cheaper to replace it then repair it (and the quality will be better), so I ordered the replacement today. Ouch. Anyway, two of the blinds are up and I picked up the third at Home Depot during lunch; I'll be putting that up tonight.

We're awash in boxes, the garage is so full of stuff that we can't even park one car in there let alone two, only half the windows are covered, and there's no art on the walls. But you know what? It's ours. We have a home again.

Oh yes, and what usually follows moving? That's right, a housewarming party! September and October are a bit busy for us, but it looks like the best time for a housewarming party is going to be Saturday, October 24th. Look for more information as the time gets closer!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
I haven't forgotten that I'm halfway through my Pacific Northwest trip report, but things have been a bit crazy over the last few days. You see, on Friday, we bought a new home. Hooray!

Even better: initially we had planned on painting the lower level (living room/dining room/breakfast area/kitchen), plus the three bedrooms upstairs. It was looking like it was going to be a long slog of work (although the assistance of [livejournal.com profile] genet and [livejournal.com profile] takaza's mom would have made things easier), but on Thursday we got a call from the painting contractor who had painted the place initially. He does painting jobs in the evenings as well and quoted us an excellent price to do the painting for us. His timing was fortuitous, since the amount of cash we were supposed to bring to the closing was a lot less than we had initially expected, so we actually have the reserves to pay someone to do the work. Sold! Plus, we get to keep our sanity intact.

We celebrated on Friday night with Genet and [livejournal.com profile] roho by setting up some folding chairs in the breakfast area, ordering some pizza, and enjoying a couple of beers. On Saturday, we dove into the projects we had planned: I replaced the kitchen faucet with something a little better suited for us and I installed a ceiling fan in the master bedroom while Dan and Lydia prepped the garage floor for coating. On Sunday, I did some fabric shopping with Dan's mom and we picked out material for the curtains in the guest bedroom, then Lydia and Dan's mom helped us put down an epoxy coating on the garage floor.

So now we're into the home stretch before the big moving day on Saturday. Last night Dan and I moved all the boxes that we have packed down to the office, pretty much filling that room. Tonight I'll be breaking down the shelving unit in the garage and we'll be taking that and the chest freezer over to the new place. We've got some packing to do tonight as well - hopefully we can clear out a couple of closets and maybe a little more of the kitchen.

Oh yes, we also seem to have a washer and dryer that we don't need - the washer is a GE Model #WCSR2090G5WW and the dryer is a GE Model #DBXR463GG7. These have never been used, and they retail for $850 together - we'll be happy to sell them for $500 to whoever is interested.
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
Where in the past few years we've spent the weekend before Midwest FurFest working Windycon, this year we tried to take it easy. I met [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus down at the MFF storage locker on Saturday morning for some last-minute preparations. That was wrapped up pretty quickly, so it was back home to snuggle with [livejournal.com profile] takaza a bit and relax.

Sunday was nice and relaxing as well. Late in the afternoon we drove over to [livejournal.com profile] aureth and [livejournal.com profile] jenwolf's new place to help them offload all of their stuff as they move from Iowa back to Northern Illinois. It was good exercise and I'm glad we were there to help, though somewhere along the way I torqued my back a bit and I'm paying for it today. Ah well.

I'm boggling at the fact that we have only two nights left at home before we leave for MFF. Dan is working a half-day on Wednesday before heading over to the Westin, and I'll be leaving work between 2 PM and 3 PM and be down there about 40 minutes later. Wednesday night will be the annual Registration bag stuffing (and hot tub soak? hmmm...) and then the wild rumpus will begin.

Oooh, and I just got a call that the staff badges are ready. Sweet! Guess I'll be going down to pick those up on my way home.
duncandahusky: (License)
After work on Friday, we got a call from [livejournal.com profile] colliedoc: he was on his way up from his new job (yay!) until his car died and he was stuck in North Chicago, near Abbott Park. We drove down and picked him up, then proceeded over to Wine Knows where we browsed a bit and tasted some of the wines they had available. Straif picked out a Riesling, and I got a bottle of the 2005 Woop Woop Shiraz. We were then joined by [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] feren, and [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon and we went over to Lovely Thai for dinner. They happily served our wine with no corkage fee (!) and the seven of us had an excellent dinner with appetizers that came to $90. What a great deal! the wines were quite tasty as well, I might add. After dinner [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I took our leave from the rest of the group and went home to head to bed.

On Saturday, after a follow-up visit with my podiatrist (everything is healing nice, thank you!), Dan and I drove down to Naperville to help the folks at Ohana House move. We got in three trips between Oldhana and Newhana (heh) before it got too late to deal with things. their new place is quite fabulous, though I think the real winner is [livejournal.com profile] emrldgrrl, who got a snazzy studio apartment out of the deal :-) For dinner we went to a Chinese restaurant near Newhana that featured amusing patrons and a hostess/waitress who didn't speak much English but was certainly very fast! Dinner was quite tasty as well.

Sunday brought the Midwest FurFest staff meeting, which was rather productive. As we were eating lunch after the meeting we got a call from [livejournal.com profile] datahawk that there was a problem with the landlords of Oldhana and they might need to get everything out before the night was over. We hustled down to Naperville again to lend a hand, but the crisis was averted just before we arrived and they have another week to move stuff. As long as we were there, though, we packed a load of stuff and hauled it up to Newhana. From there we drove home (with a stop at Oberweiss Dairy, 'cause we had a hankering for tasty ice cream) then went off to bed.

Not too much going on this week except for maybe a trip down to Elk Grove Village on Wednesday for some factory testing of new equipment for my employer. And hey, we don't seem to have much in the way of plans next weekend. I'm sure that will change between now and then, though...
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Well, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I were supposed to go away last weekend for a relaxing mini-vacation together, but after evaluating our finances we decided that it would be better to postpone that trip until April. So what did we do instead?

I got a last-minute call for help from [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin on Friday afternoon to lend a hand with moving on Saturday morning. I got up far too early and headed down to the Chicago to help out. I learned how to remove the seats from the Element (man, that's easy!) and I was impressed just how much extra space that buys you. Because of the huge turnout of folks, I didn't have to do too much heavy lifting (many hands, light work, etc.) , so it wasn't an unpleasant experience at all. After dropping everything off, I headed back home and spent some quality time with my wonderful husband. Sorry, [livejournal.com profile] woodychitwn - I wish we could have made it to the party, but it sounds like you had more than enough fun without us. [livejournal.com profile] mirkowuff wound up crashing at our place for the night after he left Woody's party.

Sunday was all about Midwest FurFest - first the Board meeting, then the staff meting immediately after. Both meetings went quickly, and there's lots of good stuff on tap for 2007 and 2008 (yeah, we plan that far ahead!). We had a pleasant late lunch/early dinner with friends afterwards, then headed home. Dan napped a bit while I played some Okami (I'm just starting the final part of the game - maybe someday soon I'll break this addiction!). We were mildly annoyed when the basketball games pushed the start of The Amazing Race back by 40 minutes, causing us to miss about 15 minutes in the middle of the show. Fortunately, we didn't miss too much, it seems (mainly everyone attempting to get out of Johannesburg Airport), and I was more than satisfied with the results. I note that next week's episode is two hours long. Yay!

I'm working long hours this week, coming in each day at 7 AM so I'll be able to leave at 11:30 AM on Friday. We'll be heading over to Ann Arbor, MI for the Dorsai Thing, which should be a new and different experience. Other than that, though, it should be a boring week.
duncandahusky: (Honda Element)
Friday's here, and it's just when I needed it! It hasn't been too bad of a week, but I'm looking forward to the weekend and getting more stuff done.

On Wednesday, I picked up [livejournal.com profile] takaza from work. The blinds we ordered (for the stairwell, kitchen, guest bedroom, and Dan's office) had come in and were too heavy and bulky to carry on the train. We loaded everything up and headed over to Mitsuwa Marketplace. See, we found our old rice cooker in all of the boxes and Dan made some rice with it. Which burned, the way it always had when we used it before. This is just completely unacceptable, particularly since we make rice two or three times a week. Having envied [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus his nifty rice cooker, we went to Mitsuwa and picked up a Zojirushi Neuro Fuzzy rice cooker We even double-checked the price on Amazon, which I didn't realize offers a handy mobile interface. Surprisingly, Mitsuwa beat Amazon's price by a good $50.00, so we bought it on the spot, along with a good supply of sushi rice. Afterwards we wandered up to Wauconda and found a lovely coffee shop there, Honey Hill Coffee Company. The guy who owns the place is very nice, makes a good cappuccino, and they sell Intelligentsia coffee beans at a reasonable price. Oh, and they're open until 7 PM most nights. See ya Cafe' Barista, I've got a new local favorite!

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] posicat stopped by after work and he, Dan and I caravanned up to our storage unit in Lake Villa (though we were delayed due to a train accident). We stumbled a bit on the icy pavement, but we managed to empty almost all of our stuff out of the storage unit; there's just an office chair, a bicycle, and car ramps to be removed (both Elements and Posi's van were stuffed, so they just wouldn't fit). I'll be going by tonight right after work and grabbing those last few items. Once we offloaded everything into the garage, Posi and I went out and, um, donated a few items we didn't need anymore to the dumpster (Mom, remember that TV Dad got from a co-worker in Greenville? It's finally gone!). We got to Charcoal Delight five minutes after it closed at 9 PM, so instead we detoured around to Long John Silver's and got Dan the chicken planks that he loves. While we were gone, he was nice enough to move most of the stuff in from the garage and pull my car in off the street and into the garage. I love my husband! We ate at around 10 PM (ugh), and finally got to sleep sometime around 11. I'm dragging just a wee bit today because of that.

As for the weekend: I hope to put up some blinds tomorrow morning, then do a bit of shopping and prep for a party we're attending. It's a potluck, and I’m thinking making a couple of roast chickens. Sunday brings the Midwest FurFest post-mortem/staff meeting/what-have-you. I'll probably try to finish putting up blinds on Sunday morning before that. We're slowly getting the place together; Dan's desk is now in place in his office (though it's still frigid down there, and will be until the week of February 5, when they come to fix the window). Which reminds me, we need to find a way to seal up that window temporarily. I'm thinking a few more screws and some silicone sealant will do it. We still need drapes or blinds for the living room window, and to decide if we're going to drop the large chunk of change necessary to get a true blackout shade for the master bedroom. Wow, I'd forgotten how expensive fun home ownership can be (even if you're only renting).
duncandahusky: (Husky Sign)
Well, it does!

I'm getting frustrated because I don't feel like I'm getting as much done as I'd like in unpacking everything. I've done this often enough - 31 times, to be exact. To update that list, add: 2003 - N. Troy, Chicago, IL and 2007 - Holiday Ln., Hainesville, IL. Unpacking and getting everything sorted is always frustrating, and this time it's a bit worse since some of this stuff hasn't seen the light of day in three and a half years. There's a lot of "that should be here somewhere...but where?" going on.

Last night I alternated between doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, bringing up a few more kitchen boxes, fixing the Airport Express (took far longer than it should, and it's still not quite right), and helping Dan put together our new Hemnes dresser, which explains the pine scent in our bedroom. It took longer than we expected, and we finished up at about 11:30 PM. We still need to fully tack the fiberboard onto the back, but that seemed a bit much hammering to do at that time of night. I mean, I'd like to meet our neighbors at some point, but preferably not while they're shouting at me to keep the damn noise down.

I'd like to think that once we get a bit more of the kitchen straightened out the rest of the house will fall into place; with the TV unit in place, the living room is close to becoming better organized. That just leaves the upstairs bedrooms, which can be addressed next week, and Dan's office, which is going to have to wait until the landlord fixes the window (something that was set into motion yesterday - yay!). With luck, maybe by the end of this weekend we can get the main level put away, cleaned, and presentable.
duncandahusky: (Default)
Slowly but surely, we're assembling our house into a home. [livejournal.com profile] takaza worked half-days on Monday and Tuesday and put a little more work into unpacking; the guest bedroom is close to being usable, except for the lack of any window coverings, of course. That helps because it gives us a place to put stuff - the stuff we're not sure why we're carrying around, but it's gotta go somewhere.

Yesterday Ameritech SBC AT&T hooked us up, so now we have not only local phone service, but zippy-fast DSL as well! Unfortunately, after checking around it appears that the phone plates in the walls around the house are just that - plates, no wiring behind them. Wha?! This means we have one and only one active phone outlet, and that is in the kitchen. It looks like we'll be investing in a cordless phone jack so our TiVo can call out - the only reason we have a phone line, really, since we don't plan to give out the number. That what our cell phones are for :-) And speaking of the TiVo, it now works as well since the DirecTV installer came out and hooked that all up (never mind the stupidity involved in getting that done, something that required some new wiring, multiple trips, and lots of whinging on the installer's part). It all works now, which is all I care about.

Last night after work, Dan suggested we go ahead and hit Ikea, since there's a bunch of stuff that we needed. And so off we went to the Great Swedish Consumerism Temple, and we spent a heck of a lot more than I expected. On the bright side, we now have a light for the guest room nightstand, a replacement accent light to go over the kitchen sink (the replace "the pimple" contractor-grade light that's there), a low cabinet for our TV and A/V equipment, a new dresser (we left our old one that was falling apart in the alley and it somehow went away), a few other knickknacks. We looked at some of the blinds and curtains there, but couldn't find anything like what we were looking for, or that we couldn't get cheaper elsewhere. Oh, and the Ikea Cafeteria? Maybe it's good for breakfast, but for dinner? Bleah. Not recommended.

For tonight, we have our work cut out for us, as Dan is going to assemble the entertainment cabinet, I'm going to work on de-boxing more of the kitchen, and then we're going to both work on assembling the dresser. We'll continue our marathon of laundry, attempting to wash every blanket we own, and somewhere in there I'll need to cook dinner. On the bright side, I'll have more time to do all of this, since my commute has gone from 90+ minutes each day down to 10 minutes. The free extra time is a bit of a shock, and I'm still adjusting to it ("I've been home for an hour, we should be cooking dinner! Oh, wait, it's only 5:30...")

And one more bit of good news: I wrote to the kind folks at Intelligentsia Coffee, and they supplied me with a list of places in Lake County that I can buy my coffee beans. Life is good.
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
So, we were faced with a dilemma: Plan out our move, give a week's notice, and go about things in a scheduled, orderly fashion, or move into our new place in a rush, with only one day's notice to drum up assistance, and get as much done as we possibly can in one weekend. Because we are insane, we opted for the latter :-)

On Saturday, we met up with [livejournal.com profile] feren and [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon at our new place at around 10-ish. He had picked up a trailer (and therein lies quite a tale in itself) and I joined them in a ride back into Chicago. [livejournal.com profile] takaza meanwhile was joined by [livejournal.com profile] posicat, [livejournal.com profile] tybis, [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] colliedoc, [livejournal.com profile] nymphara, and Scott, and he led that contingent to our storage unit, where he had a rental truck waiting. Feren, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, and I emptied out the last of our furniture and 99.5% of our possessions from Paul's place (there's always those last few things you forget!), grabbed some lunch, then headed back up to Hainesville. Meanwhile, Dan and crew loaded about 75% of the storage locker into the truck, and met us back in Hainesville. There followed a massive unloading which took about three hours, slowed by the fact that both Feren and I had done bad things to our backs and Roho and Genet were still getting over the Creeping Martian Death Plague. Bless Tybis, Posi, and Scott - they shouldered the brunt of the heavy lifting and made sure we got everything into the house.

After we got the boxes put into the proper rooms, things kind of dissolved into a nice party. Dan whipped up some of the tasty garlic, mushroom, and butter mixture that [livejournal.com profile] wildmouse used to make (yum!), while Straif busied himself in our barely-unpacked kitchen making homemade pizza for everyone. Dinner was delicious, the booze did flow, Apples to Apples was played, and everyone had a great time. We got to bed at around 1 AM.

Today, Best Buy delivered our new washer, dryer, and (ginormous!) TV set. Everything was hooked up and tested, and! Posicat was kind enough to lend us the use of his van and his back ('cause my back is most certainly shot!) and we got the last of the "urgent" stuff out of the storage unit, mostly all of the kitchen boxes. We seem to have enough equipment for two kitchens, the result of slowly upgrading our kitchen over the years. This means there's a lot of stuff that we need to get rid of one way or another. More on that later, I reckon. Anyway, we got the sofa and the boxes to our place and stowed, then Dan and I dashed out to Sam's Club, Home Depot, and Jewel to stock the place with all of the things that a house should be stocked with. $400 later and we're close to having all the stuff we need, though we haven't yet touched important things like window treatments (the blanket tacked over the master bedroom window notwithstanding).

So where do we stand now? Well, we've got a hell of a lot of boxes to unpack. Dan's office downstairs needs a lot of work, and we discovered today that the previous tenant (who, it turns out, was foreclosed on and they pretty much trashed the place, which explains all of the new carpet and paint) broke out the window and fixed it by screwing Plexiglas over it - poorly. So there's quite a breeze coming in there, which explain why it's freakin' frigid down there. Our landlord (who bought the place from the bank and refurbished it) was unaware of this and will be taking a look at it tomorrow. There's a few other small issues, but nothing insurmountable.

Thanks so much to all of our friends who helped us out yesterday - you're all amazing, and we feel very lucky to have folks like you around us. To those who offered to help but couldn't make it this weekend, thanks anyway, and maybe we'll need you next time (may it be a long time coming!). And finally, many, many thinks to Linnaeus, who put up with us as tenants in his condo for over two years - your patience, generosity, and friendship were and are very much appreciated, and if there ever was a time there when it seemed that this wasn't so, I am very sorry.

And us? We're exhausted. My back is a mess, and Dan isn't doing too much better. But even so, we're glad to have our own place again. It's going to take a lot of work to get this place arranged to our satisfaction, but it'll be worth it. We'll announce our housewarming soon, I'm sure :-)
duncandahusky: (Default)
So...do you live in the Chicago area? Wouldn't mind lending a hand to help [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I move either this weekend or next weekend? Head on over to Dan's journal and vote in his poll!
duncandahusky: (Looking Up)
Property 2 it is. They say that the paperwork could be complete as quickly as this weekend.

Wowsers.

So much to do now. Appliances to buy, utilities to arrange, logistics to work out.

And a meeting to go to. Ack!
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
So, as I alluded to in a prior entry, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I are on the hunt for new digs. Once New Year's was past and we could focus more on finding something, we really started looking seriously. And what we're finding is...well, it's somewhat disheartening. A lot of it is just learning the realities of real estate in the Chicago suburbs.

Our original plan was to rent a house in the Wheeling/Buffalo Grove area. That would be reasonably halfway between employers for both of us (he works in Mount Prospect, I work in Round Lake). Unfortunately, in our price range in Wheeling and Buffalo Grove, a house is out of the question and the available townhouses are...underwhelming. Apartments are out of the question - neither of us wants an apartment. There's an unfortunate gap between Buffalo Grove and the affordable areas of Mundelein (well, not a physical gap, more of an economic one - that would include Long Grove and Hawthorn Woods, two very affluent towns). Mundelein and points north starts to get into difficult commuting for Dan, until Dan suggested that maybe commuting by train would be a good option. The Prospect Heights train station is a mile and a half from his office - walkable in good weather, and in poor weather he can either take a bus most of the way there or hitch a ride from a co-worker (plus, if he ever transfers to his company's HQ, they're right on the Metra line). So, this opened up everything on the North Central Metra line, including Antioch, Lake Villa, Grayslake, and Vernon Hills.

A little more searching, and now we've narrowed things down to two townhouses in Hainesville, just west of Grayslake, and about five minutes from the Grayslake train station. The two units have an identical floor plan, but here's the dilemma before us:
Property 1 - Nice upgrades, including some nicely-painted walls (not beige! yay!) and a Pergo "hardwood" floor in the living room/dining room. BUT...the owners want $3,000 deposit, in addition to first and last months of rent.
Property 2 - In the building next to Property 1. Completely beige, but newly repainted and recarpeted. $100/month less than Property 1. Possible to put in DirecTV, which is probably not possible at Property 1. A more reasonable security deposit, as well. BUT...the unit has no refrigerator, washer, or dryer (Property 1 has all these).

We have a call in to the Property 1 owners pointing out to them that their security deposit is way out of line, and would the consider coming down on it. They're on vacation in Colorado, though, and we don't know when we might hear back from them. In the meantime, we've put in applications for Property 2 and we're told that it will take about a week to process. We figured that should the Property 1 owners decide to come down on the security deposit, we can always walk away during the course of the application processing period. As for the appliances, well...Best Buy is offering 18 months same as cash. And that way we actually walk away with our own appliances (and get better-quality appliances out of the deal!).

As for the units themselves: they're cozy. The floor plan is three levels, with the top floor being the master bedroom and the guest bedroom, with a shared bathroom between them (the bathroom has both a shower and a tub/shower combo). The middle floor has a nice large kitchen and pantry as well as the combined living room/dining room. The ground floor is a two-car garage (with room for storage) and a small (10 x 10) office. After talking it over, Dan and I realized that the 2,050 square feet we had in North Carolina was far, far too much for us. Looking at how we live, this is a much better fit. And it's not like we're sacrificing that much space - it's a 1,500 square foot unit.

So now we're waiting to hear back from representatives from both properties to see what kind of timeline we're looking at. We hope to move smaller stuff out of our storage space during the week, and if all goes well, we could be moving the furniture from the storage unit as early as the weekend of January 20th. Don't mark anything on your calendars just yet, though - there's still several uncertainties to be resolved. I'll post more when we have something a bit more certain!
duncandahusky: (Looking Up)
So, it's been quiet here lately, and I hope to post a bit more than I have over the last few months.

Things are going OK at work, though the project I'm on is the kind of thing that seems easy at first but then grows in complexity and volume. I swear, someone at $employer must have a military background, because in order to get anything done you must first fill out form DR-CQ-271, followed by DR-CQ-272, but in order to that you need to fill our form DR-CQ-877, 878, 879, and 890 (all of which require the signatures of at least three separate people). I find it truly astonishing that anything gets done here - it's like work gets done in spite of the paperwork. That having been said, though, it's not a bad gig overall. Still no idea when (or if) I'll be hired on full time, but in the meantime, the pay is good.

When I get paid, that is. There was a bit of a screwaround a few weeks back when we found out that my contracting service sent my paycheck to the wrong address. That was followed by them having to FedEx my next two paychecks to me, plus my direct deposit was delayed by someone in their office mis-transcribing my checking account number. Theoretically, my next paycheck will be deposited tomorrow, if it isn't delayed by the fact that I had to bug my manager this morning to approve my timesheet from two weeks ago. And this will be only half a paycheck, since I didn't work last week due to the annual winter shutdown. Even with all that, though, our cash flow is good and bills will be paid on time.

Before I go any further I wanted to mention Christmas. Normally we would have been with my parents and my sister's family down in South Carolina for the holiday. Unfortunately, since I was uncertain of my time off until right before Christmas (they may have called me in over shutdown) and Dan didn't have any vacation to spare, we had to pass on the trip south this year. Instead, we spent Christmas Eve with [profile] takaza's mom, and Christmas Day with [profile] rohoand [profile] genet.

The Christmas Eve dinner is especially worthy of note. We took Dan's mom to Le Vichyssoise, a noted French restaurant just outside of McHenry. She had worked at Le Vichysoisse for twenty years as a bartender before quitting six years ago to focus on nursing full-time. Fortunately, the parting was amicable, which afforded us the opportunity for an outstanding meal. Dan's mom and I each had a couple of glasses of wine, an appetizer (my roasted-tomato-and-onion tart was excellent), and soup (my vichyssoise was also quite tasty). Following a tasty Poire William sorbet, compliments of the chef, they brought our entrees: steak au poivre for Dan, beef tourenados for me, and a scallops dish for Dan's mom. We capped the meal with a collection of sumptuous desserts, including the "Floating Island", a meringue floating in a vanilla crème Anglais drizzled with caramel, and I had a cappuccino.

I knew going in that this was not going to be a cheap meal; this is a highly-rated restaurant, the prices reflect that. Then they brought the bill: $365.00. I probably blanched a bit, but to my credit Dan said he didn't notice anything was wrong. I just calmly put my debit card back into my wallet and pulled out the credit card. When the receipt was brought, I swallowed hard and added a 15% tip (alas, the service waned a bit towards the end of the meal), bringing the total to $415. I was somewhat shell-shocked as we drove to Dan's brother's house to visit, and I'm sure the quiet hand signals between Dan and I as Dan found out how much the meal cost were probably quite amusing to see.

As we chatted with Dan's brother's family, Dan got a phone call (he was the one who had made the reservation). Apparently, they had double-charged us for the meal, and the final bill was only $183. Whew. That was more like I was expecting. I was chided by Dan's mom for not speaking up, but hey - that's not how I am. ("Oh my GOD! Look how expensive this meal is! This can't be right!" Yeah, that's real smooth). And yeah, pride probably played into it a bit too. Either way, though, I'm just glad that that things worked out. We left Dan's brother's late and headed up to Antioch, where we found Roho and Genet, remarkably, still awake. We chatted a bit then all headed off to bed.

Christmas Day was wonderfully lazy. We had a tasty breakfast, then watched some TV, chatted, and poked at our computers a bit. Genet and Roho had started a turkey brining the night before (yay for Alton Brown!) and I was able to help provide a few tips on cooking it. Genet did most of the cooking, but all of us helped out a little bit. The finished dinner was absolutely delicious, and it was really nice to spend the time with friends.

The following week was spent putting together the New Year's Eve party, which I already mentioned. That pretty much brings me up to date, except to mention what's going on right now. Dan and I are hot on the trail of a new place to live, with the goal of moving by the end of the month. We have a couple of places lined up to look at on Saturday, in Wauconda, Hainesville (Grayslake), and Antioch, and will probably be looking at more places on Sunday. The idea is that Dan could take the train in to work from Hainesville or Antioch, or have about a 40-minute drive from Wauconda. I feel kind of bad, because all of these put me at most 20 minutes from my work (and about 5 minutes in the case of Hainesville). That's the reality of what we can afford, though - things in our price range further south are either apartments (not what we want) or...unacceptable. Our hope is that we can find a place to live for a year and then, once we have a little more savings and better financial security, buy a place next year.

Oh, and a note to locals: yeah, expect that call for help moving something in the next few weeks :-) We'll give as much notice as we possibly can. And now, back to work!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Well, as I mentioned on Friday, I was hoping that we would be heading up to Antioch to hang out at [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet's place, and that's exactly what happened. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus and [livejournal.com profile] datahawk, as well. We celebrated [livejournal.com profile] takaza's birthday in grand style, with dinner at the local steakhouse, and cake and drinks and good conversation afterwards. It was a delightful evening.

Saturday morning we were slow to get started (as usual), but finally made our way over to our customer brunch stop, Las Vegas Restaurant, where we had a tasty meal. We then parted ways, as Dan, Paul, and I headed back into the city. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching stuff off the Tivo. In fact, Sunday was pretty much a copy of that afternoon, as I declared that it was too freakin' cold outside, and I didn't want to go anywhere. So we didn't! It was nice to have a quiet weekend in. We did get a chance to look at our financials, though, and talk about upcoming plans, and we did arrive at an important decision: we hope to move out to the 'burbs by the middle of January or so, probably somewhere in the vicinity of Wheeling or Buffalo Grove, as those would provide a roughly equal commute for Dan and me. Obviously, we haven't had a chance to scope out places yet, and it's up in the air whether we'll be renting an apartment, a townhouse, or a house; it all depends on what's available and what fits within our budget. Once we secure a place and a date, though, look for plaintive wails for assistance to be sounding loudly here!

Yesterday kicked off what promises to be a long week. Dan's North Carolina driver's license expired last week and he didn't have a Social Security card to apply for an Illinois license (he does now, having applied for one last week), but that means that until he can get to a Secretary of State's office he's without a license. I'm driving him into work each morning, which surprisingly only adds about 20 minutes to my commute - not bad at all, and the company is nice, even if we are minimally communicative at that hour :-) Yesterday was a pretty crappy day for Dan, so instead of him taking the bus/train/bus combination to get home, I went down and picked him up. A friendly face as you leave work is always a nice thing. We'll see if he needs a lift today - it's really not too far out of my way, surprisingly enough.

Looking ahead this week, we have my staffing agency's holiday party on Thursday (at Gameworks! Woo!), then someone's house (luke)warming on Friday, and on Saturday, Dan's employer's holiday party (dinner then a Second City show). We'll hopefully get Dan's license on Saturday, too, and maybe drop some stuff off at our storage unit, if we have time. And on Sunday, maybe we'll get to sleep in, who knows?

Back to this exciting training stuff...
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Well, I've been productive enough today, so I guess that means I have time to look back over the last few days and see what's been going on.

After a small series of scheduling snafus, I picked up [livejournal.com profile] lisagems on Friday and we met up with [livejournal.com profile] foxish to ostensibly start the moving process early in the afternoon. Well, that didn't happen, but we did get two loads of stuff moved over to the new place by evening. [livejournal.com profile] emrldgirrl was nice enough to pick up gyros for everyone and a very entertaining dinner at the new house was had. Still a lot of work to go on that, but they're getting there.

On Saturday [livejournal.com profile] takaza slept in until quite late, but he had had a rough week and was certainly due the extra rest! He and I ventured out into the burbs and ran some errands, in particular picking up a PCI wireless card for the spare desktop we keep in the bedroom for extra storage and emergencies - emergencies like Dan's laptop dying. Just because he was using it to make the MFF conbook, that's no cause for alarm, right? Ack! Fortunately, the card worked great and he is now on his way to getting stuff together for the book.

Sunday, I joined [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] siriuswolfstar and [livejournal.com profile] simbalion for lunch at the Lucky Platter in Evanston. I had the "Omelet #1" (artichoke hearts, goat cheese, avocado, and roasted tomato sauce), and it was just amazing! I loved the food there, and I'd love to go back! Afterwards, I gave Sirius and Simba a life to Beast Buy where we wandered among the slack-jawed and they picks up some needed items. On the way back to their place we stopped by Evil Squirrel Comics to say hi to [livejournal.com profile] woodychitwn, then had an interesting conversation about who can and cannot be considered a "hack" furry artist. The rest of the afternoon was spent lazing around the house and getting in some quality snuggle time with my sweetie :-)

Yesterday...not a whole lot to say. The usual job applications, grocery store runs, etc. Dinner was excellent, and I'll be posting that recipe shortly since I want to make it again. I did call in Dan's laptop to Circuit City's warranty program, since we paid for it after all, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the problems seem to be covered and they'll be sending a box to ship the laptop back to them for repair.

Today has been quite productive. Laundry has been running all day, and I have put in the orders for our sponsor gifts, Registration bags, and cloisonné pins. In a little while I'll hit the road out to the burbs to help out with the moving once again; I figure if I can't be useful here I might as well be useful somewhere. There's some other MFF-related stuff I need to do later this week. I'll probably talk about that more later.
duncandahusky: (Oh really?)
It was such a great weekend, it took me a day to recover from it before I could write this! (Or I'm lazy. One of the two...)

We had a fabulous weekend, though! On Friday I picked [livejournal.com profile] takaza up after work and we headed north to Antioch to hang out with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet. Traffic being what it is, our 6 PM arrival became 7:15 PM, but that's OK - we weren't in too much of a hurry and I always enjoy the time spent with Dan. We chatted a bit once we got there and then headed out to a Mexican joint that was...well, a wee bit underwhelming. We need to take R&G to the taquiera around the corner from our place for something a little more authentic. Following a stop by Armanetti's Liquors, we chatted for a while back at the house and tested some of the Tasty Beverages we had purchased. After a bit, I was shocked by the arrival of [livejournal.com profile] datahawk! Yeah, she lives there, but it's not like they ever actually see her :-)

The next morning was the usual slow start, but pleasantly so. Eventually we motivated enough to head down to BD's in Vernon Hills to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] feren, and [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon. Tasty stir-fried food was consumed and we had a great time chatting. Afterwards, we returned to Antioch for a quick stop by Antioch Packing House for dinner grillables, then a stop by the house for pit stops. As we were leaving there, I unfortunately managed to step approximately in the same place that Feren did and twisted my left ankle. I imagine I looked pretty impressive staggering around a bit before collapsing to the grass. Ack! I was still able to walk, though, so we pressed on, though somewhat slowly.

And press on we did, to Brightonwood Orchards! This fabulous place is just north of Richard Bong State Recreation Area and only about a 20-minute drive from Antioch. When we pulled in, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the orchard also had a winery! The winery made apple wines and hard ciders, and they had a tour - well, not so much a tour as one of the guys who makes the wines and ciders who just loves talking about it and showing off their shop. I took several pictures, some of which should amuse you homebrewers out there. After the tour, we had a great time tasting their wares and picking up a few bottles of the drinkable apple-y goodness. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] grabstein_69, [livejournal.com profile] silverwind, and their daughter Chayla right around then, too.

We walked (well, I hobbled) over to the apple barn where they had a respectable variety of heirloom apples. I grabbed a variety of different apples, though of course now I have no idea which are which but hey - it should be an unusual eating experience. As we were leaving I remembered that [livejournal.com profile] neowolf2 had mentioned how good Northern Spy apples were. I hadn't seen any on display, so I asked the cashier and she said they had some in the cooler. I bought four of them and tore into one as we were hanging around while Giles fed Chayla. OH MY GOD that apple was so good! Slightly tart, slightly sweet, and nice and firm. Just excellent, and very flavorful. I'm glad I bought them!

After the orchard, we had a nice evening relaxing back at R&G's place, enjoying grilled meat, mojitos, and good company. We capped off the night by surprising Roho with a birthday cake I had made the day before. Yay for surprises! The cake was tasty, too, though a bit dry due to a little overbaking. The dark chocolate frosting made up for that though. Yum!

On Sunday Genet made a tasty breakfast for us, then we said our goodbyes. Dan and I headed south, all the way down to Glen Ellyn, where we helped [livejournal.com profile] crim_ferret and [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin move some of their possessions to their new place in Naperville (if anyone wants to know where it is: Conveniently located just south of The Big N). Unfortunately, between the fact that my ankle was shot and we had an online Midwest FurFest staff meeting that night. we weren't as helpful as I would have hoped. We got some of their bookcases over, at least. We returned to The City by about 5 PM, which gave us time to grab dinner from the taquieria before the meeting. The meeting was moderately useful and mercifully short, and we spent the rest of the evening working on con-related stuff.

And Monday? The usual - apply to a bunch of jobs, go to the grocery store, run some errands, that sort of thing. Today was more of the same. You see why I don’t write much about my weekdays? They're boring as heck!

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