Friday, April 4, 2014

A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy Three Is Moving!

A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy Three

You have probably heard from several sources to plan ahead when moving.  It’s never too early to start thinking about what to pack and how it will get to the new facility.  This past November, I was faced with three moves at the same time.  I will call my clients Lucy 1, Lucy 2 and Lucy 3. 

Lucy 1 lived in an apartment on the 15th floor.  The view was wonderful, the space was large.  But there was this pesky little issue of persistent leaks that the property manager shrugged off as a small problem.  But mold growing under the carpet for years, and several trips to the hospital were hardly small issues for my client, retired from her teaching position.  It was time for a move.

Lucy 2 lived in a maintenance-free townhouse.  At 89 years old, her memory was failing and she had caregivers coming every day to help her dress and eat.  As her disease progressed, it became clear to the daughter that her mother needed someone watching her 24 hours/day. 

Lucy 3 lived in development specifically for residents over 55 years of age.  The homes were single family, but maintenance-free.  A widow, she lived there alone, but had children and grandchildren in the area to help.  She was able to drive, but when her multiple sclerosis and the weather got worse, she was unable to go outside.  She had to rely more and more on others, and began falling more frequently.  When she fell, she couldn’t get up on her own.  She decided to move to assisted living.

Over the next few posts, I will tell the stories of each of my clients and the unique challenges each faced. 

Here is the story of Lucy 3:

Bedroom 2 Before Staging
Lucy Three is a widow who moved from her lake home in Wisconsin to a senior community for residents 55 years of age and over.  It was ideal for her.  There was no maintenance, and she could keep her independence because she was still able to drive.  Several children lived nearby, as did grandchildren.  She was able to function quite well for years, driving herself to doctor appointments or the dentist.  But as her MS progressed, she began falling more.


The community had an alarm system for health emergencies, which Lucy was able to use.  But when the falls became more frequent, she decided she either had to get some help or move to assisted living.  After weighing her options, Lucy decided to move to assisted living.  

Once the decision was made, the family sprang into action under my direction.  Rooms were measured in the new apartment, and floor plans drawn to see what furniture could go with Lucy.  In addition to the furniture, Lucy had to choose which of her personal belongings she wanted to bring with, as it wouldn’t all fit in the new place.

The family then got together to pack what Lucy needed.  As they packed, they sorted through the rest of Lucy’s belongings, claiming what they wanted.  The family also took photos and posted them on Flickr so the children who lived out of state could select what they wanted. 

Bedroom 2 After Staging
In Lucy 3’s case, the family overpacked, boxing items up that could have been left out for staging.  Also, they used the spare bedroom as a holding place for anything Lucy wasn’t taking with her, and was available to the family.  That’s what I was faced with when I came in to stage the home.

Lucy moved the middle of November.  I was to start staging the home soon after, but a toilet sprang a leak, and flooded the house.  Luckily, it wasn’t anything that moving the furniture and professionally drying out the carpet couldn’t handle.  The water from the master bathroom didn’t go any farther than the main bedroom and part of the living room.  Then the carpet had to be re-stretched. 

I awaited word from the family for when the rooms were ready again.  They put the furniture back where it had been, then called me.  My job was to clean out the front bedroom, pack up the extras, and stage the home.  As I was packing, I put aside some items I knew the family did not claim.  I dropped off a load at Goodwill after clearing out the bedroom.  Items that were questionable with the family remained boxed up and stored in the closet.

Once the staging was done, I let the family know it was ready to list.  This was early February.  I had time to move on to the next project.  Not!  The home sold in ten days!  So back to work! 

Living Room After Staging
The next task was to completely empty the house.  That meant the family had to pick up everything they wanted.  And I had to find outlets for the rest.  I called a dealer, Bob, who buys collections, to see his interest in the Lladros, Madame Alexander Dolls, and Wedgwood Lucy Three was parting with.  I met him at the house on a Sunday morning.  While there, he gave me the name of an auction house in Chicago that might be interested in the furniture.  I took photos of the furniture and sent them to the auction house owner, Roger. 

Bob bought the Lladros, Wedgwood and the dolls. Roger made an offer on the furniture, and I arranged it so he could pick up Lucy 3’s furniture the same day as Lucy 2’s furniture.  It would save him a trip.  He not only loaded up the furniture, but took most of the other donations with him on the truck.  It saved me phone calls to charities, and trips to Goodwill. 

Once all the big pieces were out, the family came and picked up their items.  My next task was to clean out
Dining Room After Staging
the garage.  I packed up the last of the donations in my car and then swept it out.  Then I ran a vacuum cleaner through the rooms, dusted the baseboards, window sills and ceiling fans and took out the last of the garbage. 

I dropped off the key with Lucy Three so she could give it to her real estate agent.  The house closes in April. Another empty house! Another success! 

Next? 



A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy Two Is Moving!

A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy Two

You have probably heard from several sources to plan ahead when moving.  It’s never too early to start thinking about what to pack and how it will get to the new facility.  This past November, I was faced with three moves at the same time.  I will call my clients Lucy 1, Lucy 2 and Lucy 3. 

Lucy 1 lived in an apartment on the 15th floor.  The view was wonderful, the space was large.  But there was this pesky little issue of persistent leaks that the property manager shrugged off as a small problem.  But mold growing under the carpet for years, and several trips to the hospital were hardly small issues for my client, retired from her teaching position.  It was time for a move.

Lucy 2 lived in a maintenance-free townhouse.  At 89 years old, her memory was failing and she had caregivers coming every day to help her dress and eat.  As her disease progressed, it became clear to the daughter that her mother needed someone watching her 24 hours/day. 

Lucy 3 lived in development specifically for residents over 55 years of age.  The homes were single family, but maintenance-free.  A widow, she lived there alone, but had children and grandchildren in the area to help.  She was able to drive, but when her multiple sclerosis and the weather got worse, she was unable to go outside.  She had to rely more and more on others, and began falling more frequently.  When she fell, she couldn’t get up on her own.  She decided to move to assisted living.

Over the next few posts, I will tell the stories of each of my clients and the unique challenges each faced. 

Here is the story of Lucy 2:

Lucy Two lived in a maintenance-free townhouse.  Her daughter had recently taken her car keys away from her because her memory was failing and it wasn’t safe to have her on the roads.  She was 88 years old when I started visiting her a few times a week to take her to the grocery store, to get her hair done, etc.  All those things she couldn’t do herself because she wasn’t driving any more.

Dining Room Before Staging
Over the next few months, her health remained stable, but her memory was fading fast.  She would forget to eat.  She didn’t know night from day.  She thought her bedroom was her house, and the rest of her house was the office where she worked.  She soon needed assistance 7 days/week, and someone to visit her every night to make dinner.

This went on with a bevy of caretakers over several months.  Lucy began getting more confused.  She didn’t understand why people were coming over when she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself.  She thought we were only visiting, and became belligerent when we tried to help.  After some serious episodes, her daughter, Lynn (the only child living in the area), decided to put her into Memory Care.

That decision was difficult enough for Lynn.  But then came the task of selling the townhouse.  It was full to the brim with family memories and loving knick-knacks – most of which Lucy couldn’t even remember how
Parlor Before Staging

she’d acquired.  The day of the move, November 1, Lynn and I took Lucy to her new rooms, stayed for lunch with her, then went home to pack up some belongings while Lucy attended mass at the facility.  We packed enough clothes for the winter months, and some personal effects, like photographs of the great-granddaughters she loved so much. 

The next step was to allow the family to claim what they wanted from the house.  Children came from out of state to pack up/claim what they wanted.  Then, with the help of the real estate agent, we selected those items that would stay in the house for staging.  I marked those items with painter’s tape.

Dining Room After Staging
A junk removal company, Ease Services, came to pick up the furniture we didn’t need for staging.  They took items in good condition to a charity.  Once the belongings were pared down, the entire house was painted and new carpet was installed.  Lynn had a handyman come and do some small cosmetic repairs.
I packed up the small items that we didn’t need for the showing, and with the help of Lucy’s daughter and grandson, the boxes got loaded and dropped off at a local donation center.  I used what was left to stage the house.  I brought in some accent pieces and colorful towels, and set the dining room table.  It looked like a warm, loving home.  

The house was listed on a Thursday.  By Saturday, it sold!  Yes, that quickly!  What did that mean?  The rest of the cabinets had to be emptied, and the furniture removed.  No rest here!  So the phone calls started again. 

Lynn had friends/family come in to take what they wanted/needed for themselves or children who were moving into their own apartments.  Lynn got estimates from moving companies for shipping her sibling’s items to her in Idaho.  Their brother drove up from Florida with a van to get his things.  Once we knew what was unclaimed, I finished emptying all the cabinets, garage, laundry room, etc., and boxed everything up for
Parlor After Staging
charity.

Ease Services came for a second load, taking the items we knew wouldn’t sell.  Then I called an auction house, who loaded up their truck the same day as Lucy Three's load, and paid Lucy Two for what they took away.  I finished cleaning out the garage, taking the garbage to the dumpster, and the last of the donations to Goodwill.  

The house was empty!!  The closing took place on March 28.  It was a real whirlwind of activity.  Thank goodness Lynn worked close to her mom’s house, so between the two of us, we were able to meet with drivers, repairmen, etc..  And although there were a few glitches, it all worked out in the end.  My final task was to mail some mementos we found in Lucy’s drawers to her daughter in Idaho and her grandson in Oregon. 

Lynn and I are going to dinner to celebrate! 

Click here to see Lucy One's Story
Click here to see Lucy Three's Story

A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy One Is Moving!

A Tale of Three “Lucy”s – Lucy One

You have probably heard from several sources to plan ahead when moving.  It’s never too early to start thinking about what to pack and how it will get to the new facility.  This past November, I was faced with three moves at the same time.  I will call my clients Lucy 1, Lucy 2 and Lucy 3. 

Lucy 1 lived in an apartment on the 15th floor.  The view was wonderful, the space was large.  But there was this pesky little issue of persistent leaks that the property manager shrugged off as a small problem.  But mold growing under the carpet for years, and several trips to the hospital were hardly small issues for my client, retired from her teaching position.  It was time for a move.

Lucy 2 lived in a maintenance-free townhouse.  At 89 years old, her memory was failing and she had caregivers coming every day to help her dress and eat.  As her disease progressed, it became clear to the daughter that her mother needed someone watching her 24 hours/day. 

Lucy 3 lived in a development specifically for residents over 55 years of age.  The homes were single family, but maintenance-free.  A widow, she lived there alone, but had children and grandchildren in the area to help.  She was able to drive, but when her multiple sclerosis and the weather got worse, she was unable to go outside.  She had to rely more and more on others, and began falling more frequently.  When she fell, she couldn’t get up on her own.  She decided to move to assisted living.

Over the next few posts, I will tell the stories of each of my clients and the unique challenges each faced. 

Here is the story of Lucy 1:

Lucy One lived in a suburban apartment building, close to the train, shopping and many amenities.  Physical limitations prevented her from enjoying most of these attractions.  However, the view west from her 15th floor apartment was unobstructed and breathtaking throughout the seasons.  The building had onsite laundry facilities, handicap access, handicap parking, secure access and onsite maintenance staff.

As I stated above though, the unit had one big problem – the sliding patio doors leaked, and when it rained, water came in.  At first, we thought it was only during heavy rains.  The water would soak the carpet and seep up upholstered furniture a good 6-8 feet into the room.  After a serious health scare, Lucy had a mold inspector come in to assess the damage.

New Kitchen Before Unpacking
Lucy was in the hospital at the time, so I met the inspectors and gave them access to the unit.  As it turned out, the problem was more extent than we imagined.  Even small amounts of rain were apparently getting through the door.  Mold can’t grow without moisture, and the amount present under the carpet indicated it had been there a long time.  The property manager agreed to replace the carpet, but never addressed the fact that the water was still coming in.  And as long as it still leaked, the mold would continue to grow.  My client decided, with the help of a lawyer, to walk out of her lease.
New Living Room Before Unpacking

She began searching for a new apartment—farther east and closer to the lake.  She wanted a view of the water now that she was retired and home all day to look out her windows.  Well, she found that view, but lost many other features of her old apartment.  Thus began my challenges as a move coordinator.

The new apartment was smaller, and different configurations meant furniture couldn’t be used as it was in the old place.  Lucy had some tough decisions to make.  What furniture/belongings would she take with her, what would she donate, and could she afford offsite storage for the rest? 

She directed me from her extended stay facility.  I would bring photos, and she would tell me what to do with the items.  After several trips, I had marked everything that would be trashed, and packed up what would be going with.  I also set aside boxes for donations.  Her brother helped in this process, taking many of the larger items to the dumpster and helping with packing.  He also brought some boxes to the new apartment before moving day.

Living Room After Some Unpacking
On moving day, the weekend before Thanksgiving, the movers arrived at my house to pick up a piece of furniture my client had had refinished.  They then went to the apartment, where my client’s brother met them to supervise.  The apartment and two storage lockers had to be emptied.  After the truck was loaded and gone, I went to the old apartment and did a final look-through.  It was not necessary to do a thorough cleaning, as the apartment was being gutted and getting a complete make-over.  (Mind you, my client had been living there for 17 years, during which time the building did nothing to update the space.)  But again, they were doing this with the door still leaking.  Good luck to the new tenants.

I closed up the old space, checked the mail for the last time and dropped off the keys. 

I didn’t go to the new apartment on moving day, but went during the week to unpack the priority boxes – kitchen, linens, etc.  Lucy was still at extended stay.  She moved in on Thanksgiving, and was able to enjoy a take-out dinner with her brother and his partner.  There were still boxes to unpack, but at least she was in a healthy environment – no water leaks, no mold. 

Kitchen After Unpacking
The new building and apartment presented challenges, though.  There was no handicap access, no parking for visitors, small elevators, and no garbage chute.  Lucy hired others to help with the unpacking. And while it is a work in progress several months later, it is looking much better!  Many of the boxes still there will be emptied as the rest of the furniture comes in from the storage unit.  I’ve taken in even more donations as we determine there is no home for the items in the new space.  Lucy has purchased organizing systems that will make the most of the space she does have.

Yes, we are still moving things around as we figure out the best configuration for her.  But that’s part of the process.  This was an unexpected move.  My client really had no intentions of moving at this stage of her life.  Yet it was best for her health.  And with proper planning and cooperation all around, it came together. 

If the sun ever shines in Chicago again, Lucy will see that magic place on earth where sky meets water – right from her window.

Click here to see Lucy Two's Story
Click here to see Lucy Three's Story

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Can a Puppy Be Organized?

Can a puppy be organized?  Of course not, you say.  It's a puppy!  And you'd be correct.  But what about his humans? 

Yes,they can, and they should be.  Why, you ask?  If you've ever brought a puppy home to a house that has adult dogs, you would understand.  Puppies can't just show up at your doorstep, and everything will be rosy, empty home or not. 

So when we decided to purchase a bloodhound puppy, we knew it would be a lot of work, both before he came home and afterward.  This wasn't our first puppy.  We already have three adult dogs, all of whom came to us as puppies.  Two grew up together (they were born in July and December of 2002) and one, born in January 2006, we introduced as a puppy to our then family of four adult dogs.  Two of those have since crossed the rainbow bridge.

We've had experience with dogs, both young and old.  So we know the basics.  We pulled out the dusty crate, grabbed the dog blankets, and found an old dog dish from a previous puppy.  We found an adorable bloodhound online in Louisiana.  Once we put a deposit down, we started looking at names.  Naming a dog is like naming a baby.  It has to be easy to say, not too many syllables, and easy to spell.  We like two-syllable names, because it sounds good when calling them in from the yard.  We also like names related to mythology.  So far, we have a Bera (Norse for spirited), Loki (a mischevious being) and Raven (a black lab mix.)  We scoured the books for an ideal name, but not many seemed right for a bloodhound or for yelling across the yard. 

So what did we end up with?  Belde.  It was against all our rules, but the perfect name.  It's an old Germanic Scots word for Bold.  A dear friend wrote a hound into her Tudor historical, but knew nothing about bloodhounds. So she interviewed me about our Marley (since passed).  Her dog was named Belde in the book.  She was sweet enough to mention Marley in the book's credits, so it seemed fitting that we name our new puppy Belde in memory of Marley. 

Name chosen, he was ready to come home!  He was supposed to fly in at eight weeks old.  So being born on June 27, he could fly out on August 22nd.  Simple enough.  We planned to take the day off work, if necessary, to drive to the airport and pick him up.  We waited and waited for a phone call with flight details, but it never came.  We learned a week later, that the sudden heat wave in Chicago prevented his flying in.  And it was supposed to continue for several more days.

Spontaneity is not my usual mode of action.  I'm an organizer, a planner!  What on earth made me suggest to my husband that we drive down to Louisiana to get Belde ourselves.  It was only a 13 1/2 hour drive, and the Labor Day weekend.  So we made the decision to take a road trip. 

It wasn't as easy as it sounds.  Having three dogs at home, we needed to see that they were cared for in our absence.  That should be easy since my younger daughter lives with us.  She'd be home, right?  Nope, she was going out of town on Saturday.  Back to waiting for a flight?  Thankfully, I have a lousy memory.  I forgot my older daughter was flying in from Buffalo on Friday night, and leaving early Sunday.  We'd be home just a few hours after she left.  The dogs would be safe.

Except we didn't plan on major thunderstorms blowing through Chicago on Friday, then heading east toward Buffalo - her spot of origin.  Her flight was delayed, then delayed again, then cancelled.  So was the next flight she was able to book.  Finally, all flights were cancelled for the night!  And we were already on our way to Louisiana by the time we knew this.  Those weren't the text messages we wanted to read hours from home and hours from the new puppy.

But luck seemed to be on our side for once.  My younger daughter, who was supposed to be out of town for the night, was coming home after her concert instead.  She would be there to feed the dogs and let them out.  We could relax, event though that we wouldn't see my older daughter before she had to fly out again very early Sunday - before we'd get home.

We put all that aside as we continued to drive.  Everything went well, until GPS and mapquest both took us off the interstate because the distance was shorter, even though the time wasn't.  We went through some pretty interesting neighborhoods - with doors locked! 

But we finally arrived at our destination.  We went into the house, where two puppies were running amok.  One was a Boston Terrier.  The other was much larger - a bloodhound.  As we watched the bloodhound get into all sorts of mischief, we realized he was ours!  It seemed we'd picked a lively one, even though he was yawning in his photo on the web site.

After signing paperwork and taking a tour of the yard to meet Belde's parents, we were back on the road.  Belde was a little scared of the cage at first.  But he settled down to sleep.  We drove, stopping every couple of hours along the way to let him out to do his duty and give him water.  He wasn't interested in food.  After we slept for a couple of hoursin a rest area , we were back on the road, finally pulling into the driveway about 8:00a.m. Sunday morning.

It was all unfamiliar territory to Belde.  He'd lived outside for his entire life.  Grass?  Stairs?  A doggy door?  Oh, but look at all those leaves I can eat!  And rocks!  What an adventure!

Then the fun came of introducing the dogs to each other.  We kept them all on leash that first day.  They were leary and curious at the same time.  Who was this intruder?  Who were these big dogs that looked nothing like mom and dad?  Why are they barking at me? 

Once inside, we kept him in his cage when the others were in the house.  We filled it with soft towels for sleeping and fuzzy toys for playing with and bones for chewing.  But we didn't want him to be in the cage all the time, so we brought a board in from the garage and put it up to block the opening into the living room where we spend most of our time at home.  At least he could get out of the cage more.  We eventually ordered a gate so he could see us, and we could see him.  It was also easier for us to swing open a door rather than step over a board. 

Add in visits to the vet, and visits to the pet store for puppy food and chew toys, it has been an experience.  A very pleasant one.  If we hadn't been prepared with his cage, puppy food, food dish, water dish, gates, leashes, and schedules, the experience may not have been as enjoyable. 

Training will be next, but that's a story for another blog...



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cleaning out the Attic

It started out as an Energy Audit...

When we had our new furnace installed recently, our HVAC guy suggested we get an energy audit done.  Our house has extreme temperature differences on the upper and lower floors.  Part of this is because it is a raised ranch, and the lower level is half underground.  So the basement will always be cooler.  However, the difference was over 15 degrees.  While we tried to keep the upstairs comfortable at 75 degrees, it was a chilly 60 degrees in the basement, where some living areas are.  Imagine wrapping up in blankets and sweaters when it's in the 90s outside!

We arranged for the energy audit, which showed leaks around lighting fixtures, doorways, windows, outlets, and the attic access.  After seeing the results, it was suggested, among other things, to add extra insulation to the attic.  The insulation already there was 44 years old.  Needless to say, it has seen better days.

So we scheduled for the company to come out.  However, it wasn't as simple as it would seem.  Our house, being a raised ranch, has no storage to speak of.  There is a small walk-in closet in the back that leads to an even smaller room where the hot water heater is housed.  All of our holiday boxes are stored in our attic with many other boxes of random items.  We had to empty out everything!

So on a nice hot day in August, we pulled down all the Christmas boxes (about 40), the Halloween boxes, the Easter boxes, 15 boxes of my daughter's stuff she packed up from her bedroom, and some random boxes of our own.  We couldn't pile them in the house, because the energy people had to get to all the windows and outlets.  So some went into the family room downstairs, and the rest went into the garage.  Yes, my car is parked on the driveway right now. 

Our plan was to put the boxes back when they were done.  However, the installers had other plans.  The new insulation is much thicker and increased by 12 inches over the supports.  The plywood floors, therefore, are twelve inches higher than they used to be. Now consider the slope of the roof.  Make your floor 12 inches higher, and you lose all the space around the edges, and have limited space in the middle.  We could never stand in our attic, but now we can't even stoop.  We have to crawl. 

That said, what do we do with everything?  We're not sure yet.    Right now, we are going through some of the old cardboard boxes, getting rid of what we can, then packing everything into new plastic totes with locking lids.  We bought clear totes so even though we will label them, we can still see the contents. 

We threw away empty boxes from an old computer and monitor, bags of shredding we were going to use for packing (but we never sold the house), boxes of packing paper and bubble wrap that had silverfish living in them, and some tattered decorations.  My daughter started going through her boxes, and out of the six she has gone through, she has four full ones full of donations. 

We are making progress, however slowly.  (Add a new puppy and skunks to the list, and life has been hectic.)  Our goal is to find a home for everything before it gets cold.  I have to get my car back in the garage for the winter.  At least we are down to five boxes left from the living room project my husband started with his new television.  I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Who Knew a New Television Would Be a Complicated Project?


So we decided to finally join the ranks of people who own flat-screen televisions.  We’d been putting it off for various reasons, except the one right in front of our faces - the entire house would be thrown into disarray. 

Why is that?  Because it wasn’t just about buying a television. 

Our old 29” tube television fit snugly into our entertainment center.  The wall unit was eleven feet long, seven feet tall and consisted of five separate pieces.  The center unit housed the television.  The other four units were a combination of open and closed shelving.  In all, there were 26 shelves loaded with photos, books, candles, magazines and knick-knacks. 

So when my husband decided on a 55” flat-screen television, I wasn’t thrilled at the idea.  Where would it go?  His answer was simply, “We’ll get rid of this wall unit and buy a new TV stand.”  Just like that. Which is what we did.

So one week before the new television was delivered, I taped up some boxes and started filling them with the contents of the wall unit.  As I emptied all the shelves, I went through the items.  Did we need it?  Did I still like it?  Was it timely?  I found some items to donate and others were trash.  Yet, I still filled 20 boxes.  And now, the boxes fill our spare bedroom

We took the old wall unit and television out to the garage.  (I made my husband park his car in the driveway for a week.  After all, he’s the one who wanted it, right?) 

When the new TV stand and television arrived in the middle of the Stanley Cup Semi-finals, he set it up.  All five shelves and two drawers of it.  It’s a great television, don’t get me wrong.  After all, who wouldn’t want to watch the Hawks and Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals in such clarity?  Patrick Sharp was life-size, for heaven’s sake!

And yet, where is everything going to go?  So far, I’ve organized my photo cabinets downstairs to make room for the photos.  We’re going to bring my lawyer’s bookcase into the bedroom to hold the books and some knick-knacks.  Baskets will hold magazines on the bottom shelf of the new stand.  Blankets will find a home on the rocking chair.  And eventually, dear hubby will put shelves on the empty wall space around the television for our framed photos and knick-knacks. 

Will all 20 boxes get emptied?  I hope so!  If not, we’ll donate what we don’t have room for.  After all, why keep something we can’t display and honor with the same respect and admiration we had for it when we purchased it? 

Happily, we found someone who wanted the wall unit.  He came and loaded it into his truck, along with the old television.  So hubby’s car is back in the garage.

It was a project, indeed!  Mostly on my part, even though I’m not the one who wanted that particular television.  However, if I have to be honest, I am looking forward to watching the 2013-14 Blackhawks season on it. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

THE LOGISTICS OF BUYING A REFRIGERATOR


So we were finally ready to buy a new refrigerator.  The old one was still working, but something somewhere was leaking.  It wasn’t the ice-maker because the line had been disconnected.  However, every day there would be dripping from the back under the freezer.  We finally resorted to putting large plastic cups under the drips.  But they filled quickly, froze up, then overflowed, sending water everywhere else into the fridge.  And that froze on the shelves in the back, so bottles and cans froze to the shelves.  I’d have to completely empty and clean it every couple of months.

Of course, that kept my fridge clean and I never had rotten food hiding in corners.  Still, it was a hassle I didn’t need.  So finally, we had saved enough to buy a new fridge.  We didn’t just go out and buy one, though.  We looked at sales papers, looked at stores, read reviews, etc.  And the features in a fridge now!  I remember seeing one at one point that had a television in the door!

After looking at all the styles, we knew we wanted a bottom freezer.  We also liked the French doors on top.  So the next step was measuring our space.  The size we bought would be determined by the space, of course.  We took our measurements and headed for the store.


We decided to go to Abt Appliance.  We took other store’s ads with us, so we had a good idea of what a reasonable price would be.  As luck would have it, we decided to shop on Customer Appreciation Day.   It was purely coincidence, but the deals were great!  After looking around, reading measurements and opening many doors, we decided on the one we wanted. 

Then comes the hard part - paying for it.   Not having bought a refrigerator in at least 20 years, there was quite a sticker shock!  Especially when you start adding in the extended warranty, water line, etc.  The nice part?  They would take away the old one free of charge.  AND they generated a customer number for getting a rebate on our electric bill for buying an energy efficient model.  All we had to do was write the number on a piece of tape and put it on the old fridge.  We scheduled a delivery date and left the store - with a mattress purchase too!  One stop shopping!

But we still had to go home and take one more measurement.  While we knew it would fit into the space, we didn’t know if it would fit into the house!  We don’t have sliding doors to the house, so it had to go through the front door.  And up six stairs.  We knew the size of the fridge with and without the doors and handles.  We measured the inside of our front door, and knew it would fit if we took the front door off the house.  We called the store back and told them to go ahead with the order!

The weekend before delivery, we started cleaning out the fridge.  I tossed the old food, especially the old stuff at the back of the freezer, and emptied the frozen cups of water.  The day before delivery, I took out anything that didn’t need to stay cold, like cans of soda.  I removed all the magnets and papers from the fridge, sad that the new one was stainless steel.  I have so many cute magnets!  But it looked so neat and clean when the door was empty, it was sort of nice to see.  We then moved a lot of the food to the fridge in our garage. 

The morning of delivery, we moved the rest of the food to the freezer/fridge in the garage, and were able to leave some on the back porch because it was below freezing.  Nature’s refrigerator.  We mopped up the rest of the water and wiped out the bins.  Call us anal, but yes, we cleaned the fridge before sending it to the landfill.  We wrote the rebate number on duct tape and taped it to the fridge on two sides so it wouldn’t be missed. Then we took the front door off the hinges, and removed the railing and the baby gate we keep up - for the dogs.  Anything to make the job easier.

Then the new one arrived!  They had to take the doors off the refrigerator also to get it in the house.  Finally, after removing ceiling tiles in the basement and running lines, all was set!  We had a new fridge!  We didn’t fill it right away, though.  We put ice cube trays in the freezer to make sure it was getting cold.  Then after a few hours, started putting non-perishables back, and finally brought all the food back in.  We were told not to use the first few batches of ice, so we just dumped them as they formed.  By evening, we had everything back in the house in our shiny new fridge! 

Afterward, I realized what a process it is!  It’s not like buying a sweater that comes home and gets folded and set on a closet shelf.  It takes planning, organizing and scheduling.  We were fortunate that everything fell into place.  We could have measured incorrectly.  We could have ended up with a leaky water line.  There could have been a scratch on the door.  So many things could have gone wrong--some under our control, some not.  And we were especially lucky that the old one hadn’t completely died, possibly spoiling food.  But by planning ahead, the experience was a good one!