Monday, December 31, 2012

And we are still moving

Yesterday Marty loaded the truck by himself.  Host Pat and I helped unload.  I ignored the doctor's rule not to lift anything heavier than a feather.  Pat worked like a trooper too.  She will not need to go to her exercise class all week.  Well, as much as she carried up the stairs, she might not be able to go to exercise class. 

We were all pretty well worn out by mid afternoon.  But much more to do.  The stupid boxes do not unpack without help. 

Today Landlord Joe will be at the apartment with his guy.  The leaky sink is to be fixed.  The closet rod is to be secured, a few other things will be tended to.  Also Joe has to be there while the satellite Internet man hooks up the dish.  We are living in a registered historical house and satellite dishes can't go just anywhere.

More reports later this week.

Happy New Year.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Still Moving In

Warning: Blogger said spellcheck is not working today.  You all know I have spelling issues. Hope I guessed right.

We began cleaning and bringing small things to the apartment before Christmas.  Yesterday we hired the big truck, hired 2 day laborers, and had the landlord's broken refrigerator taken out and took my big honking one in.

Joe has a guy who does repairs/odd jobs.  We paid him to move our refrigerator out of the storage unit.  He and his son arrived with their truck and hilarity ensued. They try and try, and can't get it out of the unit.  They basically said it couldn't be done.  I told them it had gone in there, so it had to come out.  They finally get it into the hall and can't make the turn to the outside door.  Marty shows them another exit from the building.  At that point I left to be at home when they arrive.  It got worse.

They can't get the old refrigerator down the steps.  The build up of ice in the broken freezer is now melted and pouring all over the floors. At this point they call another guy to help them. They consult and decisions are made. They decided to go out the back steps, but first the back door and the screen door have to be taken off.  They didn't have to take the threshold strip off, it ripped right up when the refrigerator went over it.  Now to bring my huge beauty in.

They couldn't get it in the door of course.  They took the French doors off, took the freezer drawer out, and took out all the other drawers and the shelves.  I was afraid if they ever got it in the kitchen, they would never get it back together. Three and a half hours from beginning to end I finally have my refrigerator in the kitchen, back together, and it was running. Now we have to get the icemaker water line run.  That should be just as much fun.

While the refrigerator fun is going on, my team of movers are loading the kitchen with boxes.  They also are filling the apartment with furniture and lots and lots of boxes.  At one point I was walled in by boxes.  Our friend walked in with another box, grinned like an evil child, and left me.

The kitchen is coming together.  The bed is put together.  The living room looks like a real room.  There is still work to be done. Marty will make the last run with the truck this morning.  We know for the next couple of months we will rework how things are stored.  But we have a new place to live.  And it already feels like home.

Friday, December 28, 2012


We are still getting our apartment ready for us to live there.  We have cleaned, brought boxes and things that will fit in the car and put things up.  We have been working hard.  But Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we took off from the work and enjoyed the holiday.

For 30 +years we have gone into San Francisco on Christmas Eve to look at the Christmas decorations.  We walk through stores and hotels, and we gawk just like the tourists.  We stop to eat, walk some more, stop for drinks, walk, and then have supper. Lots of walking.   Sometimes we ride BART in and sometimes we drive in.  BART is the smart way.

When we got off BART, we walked through Bloomingdale's to get up to the street level. Very blingy.

Marty taking a picture of
                      decorated cable cars waiting to loads tourists for the ride of their lives.

Children looking at the windows at Macy's.   The SPCA had kittens in with the decorations.

                                                     The Christmas tree at Union Square.

This is a gingerbread/pastry masterpiece at the St. Francis Hotel.  I could have taken a picture showing the top, but the little boy wouldn't be in it.  He would look at his mother, then me, than point out the train, or something on the castle.  He was Christmas.

                                                               The top of the castle.

Bright shiny things at Gump's.
A girl can wish.
The family we are staying with told Santa we were at their house.  Santa brought treats and goodies for Marty and me.  Oh and of course there were goodies for our hosts. We had a lovely Christmas brunch with them and their friends. 
That evening we met our son Erik and his wife Jennifer at Skate's on the Bay and had Christmas Dinner. 
We had a wonderful Christmas.  Now to get moved in and begin 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Last Three Days

I have been in hell.  Three days ago my IPhone would not take my password for Yahoo mail.  Marty called Yahoo for me and they tried and nothing.  I had been hacked.  They recommended two Microsoft security  companies.  One takes your computer and phone for 10 days for X amount of $$$.  The second company does everything on the phone by remotely controlling your computer for X amount of $$$.  The service is good for a year for the three of us using the same Internet hookup. We went with the phone people.

Five hours later the tech has cleaned my computer, Marty's and our host's computers.  They have fixed the IPhone problem.  Great happiness.

The next day, 12/23/12 I changed my passwords.  We were out the rest of the day, but surprise I can't access my email.  Password rejected, not valid, does not work.  I am back on the phone that night.  Same tech gets me, he breathes a little harder, but was nice and polite.  We loaded and canceled the yahoo account 8 million times.  Never worked.  Another tech will call me sometime Christmas Eve.  I lost it.  Fix it now, he couldn't.  He wanted an expert IPhone tech to help me.  I insisted on the call being at 8:00 a.m. PST.  It is Christmas Eve, we have things to do.

I was called this morning on the dot of 8:00.  One hour later of doing everything I have done before, he took over my computer, did things to my Yahoo account, canceled my password, and we put in a new one.  Back to the phone.  We set up a new account again, and this time it worked.  Why, who knows?  Why did it not work the other gazillion times, no one knows.  It works and I am have quit drinking, crying, and screaming.

We are off to San Francisco to look at Christmas decorations. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Today is the day

Today Marty and I will pick up the keys to our new apartment.  They are letting us have them almost a week early.  We can measure, figure what furniture will fit where, put down shelf paper, and clean to my standards.  After Christmas we will start moving in.  I am excited and also really dreading all the work ahead.  Moving out was hell in August.  We were so tired.  Now we are reversing all we did then.  Better stock up on the Two Buck Chuck,

We have rented an apartment in a Victorian in San Leandro, CA. San Leandro is about 10 miles from where we used to live.  It has two BART stations and is between two Interstate Highways.  The town is charming and has added several good restaurants in the last few years.  They also have one of the best hamburger places ever.  There are good ethnic groceries, we will not starve.

We have the top floor.  The door on the left is ours.  We said no more steps but could not pass up this beauty.  The lit room will be our office/den.  To the right is the living room.
This is our bedroom which is on the side of the house.  Crown molding, picture railings, and molding around the windows.  There is a large closet.

The living room has a fireplace that has a gas stove insert.  The tile work is really pretty and interesting.  There are several patterns here.

The living room.  Nearly every room has a Hunter's Fan.  Again gorgeous molding around the room.

This is the banister above the stairwell.  This design goes down the stairs also. 

The kitchen has lots of cabinets for an apartment.  The door on the right goes to a covered back porch and the back steps.  We have a good sized pantry, room for the kitchen table, and room for some storage chests.  There is also a new gas stove.  I can make this work.

We have a big linen closet and another closet in the den.  For an apartment there is a lot of storage. 

We are anxious to get moved in and start the next stage of our life. I will post updates.  There may be whining too.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Weddings and Training

Monday I went to the Marriage Factory planning to perform marriage ceremonies.  I was asked to shadow 3 new volunteers and let staff know how they were doing.  I really wanted to do the weddings, but I am there to help out staff. 

Because they were with me, crazy happened:

One couple gave their rings to their four year old.  He put them in his pocket.  Time to give the rings to the couple, he can only find one ring.  His grandfather all but turned him upside down and shook him to get the ring.  It was caught in the pocket.

We met the next couple.  The volunteer and I walked to the elevator, and there is no one with us.  We go back and the whole group of guests and the couple are searching the lobby for the bride's ring.  It is gone, the groom had a hole in his pocket.  Luckily they found it on the floor at their clerk's desk. 

The first woman Q was very confident and did not really take well to suggestions.  I suggested that she needed to speak louder calling for the couple.  She told me there were very few people in the lobbies, volume was not needed.  She will find out, couples do not hear you even if you are next to them.  Oh, well.  She did well with the ceremony, but let one of the guests run the room.  That can't happen.   Q started the ceremony and the guest started posing the couple for pictures.  No, once the ceremony starts, no posing only real pictures.  There were other things, but overall experience will correct them.

The others forgot to introduce themselves, one forgot to do the ring ceremony, they didn't ask for the cell phones to be muted, but overall pretty good.  The biggest thing I found out, they thought they had to do the ceremony exactly as written. 

As you will remember there are only 3 legals sentences, all else is fluff.  They knew that, but when a couple had their own vows Q still did our traditional vows.  Talk about a really long ceremony.  I explained they could shape the sample ceremony to suit the occasion. 

I let them ask me questions.  I told them horror stories of things going wrong.  I then told them you have to be an actor, a host, and sometimes Mother.  It all about control and making the couple comfortable. 

I did do one wedding so they could watch me.  The bride was 10 years older than the groom.  They had known each other since he was born.  From the time he could talk he said, "I am going to marry you."  He would point her out to his friends and say, " That is my woman.  We are going to get married."  Then she married someone else, he was devastated.  He married later.  Neither marriage worked out.  They found each other, he was in Tennessee and she was in Oakland.   They are so in love.  Love was in the room. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


The leasing agency just called Marty.  We are approved for the apartment we wanted.  It is the top floor of a gorgeous Victorian.  We sign the lease on Monday and can move in January 2.

We are going to have stairs, lots of stairs to get in and out of the place.  There just isn't anything I would live in that was on the ground floor.  Other places were boring, ugly, dirty, unsafe, tiny, felt like a cheap hotel. 

We saw this shining marvel of beauty sitting like a jewel on its street.  I immediately fell in love with it. So pristine.  I wanted it.  Marty called to see it.  The agent didn't call back, Marty called again.  No return call.  He called her office and they said they would call her and she would get back to us.  Finally after two days she called (she had been sick) and gave Marty an appointment to view the apartment. 

Marty saw it while I was doing 12/12/12 weddings. We have lived in a lot of apartments and houses in 45 years.  He knows what I am comfortable in and what I like.  He took lots of pictures and said I would love it. I hope to see it on Monday. 

After the first of the year I will start volunteering with my first graders, I really missed that.  And I will be back to a regular schedule at the marriage factory. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

12/12/12 WEDDINGS

Yesterday I returned to the Marriage Factory after being gone for 4 months.  It was a wonderful reunion.  My first welcome  welcome backs were from the Alameda County Deputy and a janitor.  Then the clerks saw me and the shouting and hugging began.  I was so happy to be home.

It was 12/12/12 we had 42 appointments for ceremonies and we were taking walk ins.  Huge busy day for two all day volunteers and three part time volunteers.  We had three decorated rooms to use. We all were run off our feet.  From 8:45 to 4:30 we performed 75 weddings.  I did, I think 23 of them.  I could have done more, but I took breaks.  Joe our guest blogger did 35 ceremonies.  I don't think he ever sat down.  At one point someone asked me how many weddings I had done.  I told them around 9.  Marriage Desk Clerk D told me I had done 20.  Things sort of ran together.

We had long satin dresses, chiffon with hot pants under them, men in tuxes, and tee shirts and jeans.  Little girls in long chiffon dresses and sparkly shoes won everyones' hearts. We also had Christian Louboutin shoes, the red sole shoes. 

My very best moment:  As I pronounced the couple husband and wife, the official time was

12/12/12 at 12:12

I wasn't sure I could pull that one off.  Luckily the bride was a laugher (which is so much more fun than the criers) and we had to stop a couple of time to let her settle down and the timing went like everyone wanted. 

As I told Joe, I am back the crazy has begun. I had a witness with a cute guide dog in training. The printer jammed.  We had to do reprints.  One of our "wedding rooms" was a conference room.  It was decorated and really prettier than the real wedding room.  I went in for one wedding and there was a huge problem.  On the decorated wall a power point presentation was displayed.  I found the computer and started trying to shut it down.  Then I thought, no I am not an employee I shouldn't mess with a county computer.  But hey they should have shut it down.  I found someone to turn it all off, a switch on the wall.  This took time and put me off schedule. 

The worse thing that happened.  At the end of the ceremony the groom turned his phone back on.  He had a message from ADT that his house was being robbed.  He ran out and the witness and the bride waited for paper work and then took off on the run.  Now that is one I really have no ending.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Update on the HUNT

First, I am sorry I haven't posted anything for so long.  Nothing exciting or interesting is happening to us right now.  Now to the HUNT.

Every waking minute, it seems, we are hunched over our computers checking Craigslist. In the car, at restaurants we are on our IPhones checking Craigslists. Then we call to make appointments.  No one ever ever answers the phone.  Messages and emails are left.  If they call back the place has usually been rented.  Every now and then we do look at an apartment.

We went to view an apartment that was 700 square feet.  That is huge for a 1 bedroom in our price range.  It couldn't have been over 500 square feet.  I said it was small to the manager.  He said he had noticed the owner had put the wrong size.  So he couldn't tell me on the phone the correct size?

Yesterday we saw a really nice apartment: nice neighborhood, hardwood floors, fair sized kitchen with a gas stove, a little dining room, a garage, and on the ground floor.  One huge problem, closets or lack there of.  Bedroom closet would hold maybe 8 hangers and 2 pairs of shoes.  Hall closet would hold 3 pairs of shoes and 15 hangers.  No place for towels, sheets, vacuum sweeper, cleaning supplies, no storage.  I looked at the dining area and said we could get rolling racks and use it for a closet.  Wouldn't that be charming?

This morning we have an appointment in the next county.  The pictures are really nice, write up sounds good.  But who knows, some apartment owners write fantasy. 

Stay tuned.

P.S.  Tomorrow is 12/12/12.  It seems this will be a major day for weddings.  I am going in all day to perform marriage ceremonies.  I have missed being at the Marriage Factory.  I miss the staff and miss the warm feeling of love in the room.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Hunt is on

Craigslists for rent section has become our bible.  I am constantly on it looking for updates of apartments that appeal to me.  I call for appointments.  I email for appointments.  Many never send an answer.  It is a frustrating process.

We started physically looking for an apartment on Tuesday.  The pickings are mighty slim.  The first place we asked to see the apartment that had just been listed that morning.  It was rented.  The person never saw it, just pictures.  They gave a credit card number and it was theirs.  Never saw it.  Who does that?

The guideline for the first day was how far south of Oakland will we go.  After one afternoon, we knew we were too far south.  It took too long to get to where we volunteer, go to church, and where Marty works.  Great apartments, just not for us. 

Next up was San Leandro.  We lived there several months during our remodel.  A nice little town with a great library, some good restaurants, and lots and lots of apartments.  There were two duplexes that we wanted to see.  We went to the property management company to get the key.  The only way we could get a key was to pay $25 per person for the privilege of filling out an application.  Now applications always cost money.  But that is for a place you know you want to live in.  We haven't seen the places, and no refund.  They also wanted to see our Social Security cards.  The number was not good enough.  No one wants the card, just the number.  Guess where our cards are.  Safely locked up in the safe in the storage unit. 

We went to Social Security and ordered replacement cards.  I have to say how the San Leandro office was.  Very very helpful.  And not the strange clients that Oakland has.  Not a bad experience

We saw some awful places.  And we saw a place I could be happy living in.  It is even a ground floor apartment.  It is at the upper limit of our budget.  But there is hope that picky spoiled me can find a new home.

Until I find that place we will stay with our incredible friends

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Great Excitement

Monday, tomorrow, we are going back to Northern California!  Yes, there is excitement.  And there is a little fear.  We have to find an apartment/condo/duplex/whatever to live in.  There is not much in our price range in the rental market.  So I am afraid we will be living in a pup tent in the next county.

The first couple of weeks or so we are back we are staying with a friend in Alameda.  We will use her as a fine hotel and do our search.  Then the later part of December we will house sit for a friend in Concord.  She is having knee surgery and then will be in a rehab center.  She has had us "house sit" before.  When we moved in 2003 and couldn't get into our house for a couple of weeks, she took a trip and turned her condo over to us.

We are blessed with generous friends taking care of us. 

I will let you know how the search goes.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.