Thursday, November 6, 2008

The home stretch

I write from the Delaware trailer. My eyes fall on the reassuringly familiar sights they expect. To my left is the view out the big window to the water. Just in front of that is the TV on its stand, and the comfortable thrift store furniture arranged near it. The green curtains we hung so excitedly four summers ago are still on their rods. If I walk into the dining room and the adjoining kitchen, everything is in place, except that the dining room is full of boxes in various stages of fullness. All the dishes are still in their cabinets and the little wheeled work island Steve made is where it's supposed to be.

All of this will change over the next two days. Today I'll pack the entire kitchen except for what we'll need to eat until Saturday night. Always remembering that when we finally move here we'll be consolidating two houses, I'll decide on what should be stored and what can be given to the thrift store.

Tomorrow we will spend several hours with the builder, who will present his final proposal. It will include a detailed price list of every choice we have made: exterior treatments, wall paints, carpets, tiles, appliances, light fixtures, deck railings, the bamboo floors and stairs, the stone fireplace facing. It will list the cost of paving the driveway and landscaping whatever grounds we end up with; in short, we'll have his grand total for key-ready construction of our new house. After that, we will shop this package (except the final cost) to other builders to see if they offer a lower price. We've enjoyed working with Dale, the designer, and his construction company very much. He's taken a personal interest in the house because it's been a stretch for him, a challenge. He's proud of the ideas he's come up with to create a very nice but unobtrusive house on a tiny lot. We'd love to go full circle with him and let his company do the construction, but we owe it to ourselves to see what the marketplace has to say. If we get a lower bid from elsewhere, we'll ask Dale if his company is willing to match it, and if they are, we'll still go with them. If not, we'll shake hands with Dale and invite him to the housewarming.

Saturday, most of what I'm looking at now will go. All the furniture will return to the thrift store from whence it came. The stove, refrigerator and hot water heater will be uninstalled and taken to the storage shed, to be sold, along with the window air conditioner (we hope), on Craigs List when we're here for good. (We'll keep the fridge, though, which is new and will work well in the garage for overflow from the kitchen.) The TV and its stand, along with a couple of fold-up rocking chairs, will spend the last night here with us so we can watch The Wire DVDs while we eat a pig-out pizza from Vinny's off paper plates. Our last supper.

Saturday night will be last one this little trailer will enclose anyone in its ancient arms. Sunday morning we'll deflate the airbeds, pack the bedding, the TV, its stand, and the rocking chairs, and we'll be off, first for one last visit to the storage shed, and then back to Virginia. One day in December, we know not yet which, this cozy little place, so full of happiness and plans, will cease to exist but for a photo album and our memories.


Mim said...

Awwww.. your post is nostalgic. Change, demolition, packing up!
You seem to remain organized and on task. Yes wouldn't it be nice to go with Dale, your designer. Maybe his price will come in lowest.
New post on Bailey...he had surgery. He might make it.
And your post yesterday I totally agree with.
Hope the next two days aren't too hard.
Are you taking lots of pictures.
I so enjoyed the pictures you sent me awhile back of your place.
But I feel sad for you as you pack up and go forward although it is exciting too.

Ralph said...

I don't think I could maintain my sanity through this kind of proess without some organization, Mim. Other people can hold everythng off until the last minute, but not me....

We already have plenty of pictures of what the place looked like completely lived in, and how it was before we fixed it up. I don't see much point of taking pictures of it empty, so the next big photo opp will be the demolition, and we will ask the contractor to schedule it when we can be here.

Linda (SE PA) said...

Wow... You sound so calm and together. I agree, organization is the key factor - have a good working plan, execute and then sit back.

I sense tho that there will be some sadness in your hearts when the demolition happens. Now, that requires video footage - a photo at least.

Enjoy your weekend.

Looking forward to hearing how the meetings work out.

Ralph said...

You're right about the video footage, Linda. I hope to share it, but I've been prett unimpressed with what blogger does to videos. We'll see....if vids fail, at least I'll have a picture or two to show you.

Kat said...

Be careful when you put my room away. I'd hate to see one feather ruffled!

Eclecticity said...

It will be fun to go with you guys through your transition. I know that was one of your points in this blog! Pictures! Yes! Thanks for sharing. E.

Ralph said...

Kat, you have our solemn promise that the only changes to your room will be improvments, including a bigger size and its own deck. Same color, same bedspread, same fish, both glass and stuffed--and a few flamingo figurines throw in, as well!

Anonymous said...

We decided to build our house owner contractor. Only because I work in Real Estate and knew all the good subs out there and it did save us 15 to 20%. I will admit it took longer; our dry wall contractor was arrested and jailed a week before he was scheduled and that created a string of problems (hey who recommended that jerk?). And the appliances were dented when they arrived; tile guy, best in the business took two weeks instead of one week; so you're probably lucky to go with who you have a relationship with as contractors here in Florida really turned both Ann and me off. Their bids were so different and it didn't make a whole lot of sense when questioning the differences. So we went it alone and had a wonderful earth mover guy who did the setup in three days. We couldn't believe what the house footprint looked like. Scary!!!

Nan said...

I can feel that you are savoring the last of what you know of your Delaware trailer. I know you are imbibing every detail so that it will be able to be retained as a thought/image/feeling you can remember once it is gone. And you are moving on... with feelings of some sadness and loss and some excitement for bigger and better things. I guess for me that cliche "home is where the heart is" is really evoked in this post.

I sometimes visualize the homes I have lived in over time. It is a very nice nostalgic practice. Somethng about each place is still present for me.

Have a good weekend.