Another glorious Saturday has arrived. Normally I spend much of my weekends playing games, although the past couple of weeks have been a little bit different. Since we decided to officially put our house on the market and see what happens, we’ve been making some changes throughout just to make sure everything is in top shape, in case a prospective buyer happens to come by. In fact, I spent almost the entirety of last weekend — from 6 p.m. Friday on — doing household work, furniture rearrangement and so on. Both Apple and I have been fairly busy with all of the cleanup and polish tasks.
We’ve been in this situation before, but back then, the process of selling our home almost immediately turned into an absolute clusterfrak. Our real estate agent was largely MIA, and when she did call or show up, she spent the whole time complaining in a patronizing voice that we should do this, do that, do some other thing. We nearly broke our backs trying to gussy up the house, redecorate everything and on and on, and what did we get for it? Jack. Shit. The market had only just then taken an absolute nosedive, and we should have realized that there was no chance in hell of us selling our house with 35 other cookie-cutter clones of it also on the market right here in our community. Our agent wasn’t interested in telling us such things, though, so she let us sit and spin until I just about fired her down into the fucking yard.
Our situation back then was largely the market’s (and our own) fault, but the real estate agent you choose to help you sell a property certainly makes a big difference. So far we’ve had a lot less stress and worry from the agent we chose. She works for the real estate agency that’s based right here in our community — and in fact is one of its most senior employees — so she knows the area inside and out. She gave us some suggestions on how we should dress up the house a bit, but it was all pretty sensible stuff, and none of this “Rearrange your closets!” and “Completely change the purpose of this room!” garbage that our previous agent stuffed down our throats. The market is also much better — prices have been fairly stable (if not slightly increasing) and we have only about a dozen homes competing with us instead of three times that figure.
Best of all, though, we don’t have some ridiculous, overpriced house being built that we’re gonna need to start paying for the instant it gets done, and absolutely no deadlines pressuring us into anything. I can’t believe how much bigger our eyes were than our stomachs (or our wallets) on that last house we contracted to build. Walking away from the down payment on that home cost us a lot of money that is making our current move difficult even today, but the alternative would have been the total ruination of our financial and possibly marital lives. On occasion I do have spurts of optimism, and I like to think that those actions merely opened the door for the opportunity that now lies before us, for had we gone ahead with our move in 2006, there is no way I would be in a position to move now — or ever, probably. We’d be trapped in this town for all eternity, either that or broke and destitute. (Or worse…both.)
Anyway, this weekend is shaping up to be much calmer and more relaxing than the last, but I still want to get a few things done. I’ll be stopping by a hardware store today with two home improvement tasks in mind. One, I need to clean up our lanai a little bit, mostly by hosing off the cement floor. This would be more effective with a pressure washer, which I do own — but the problem is, the outdoor GFI outlet back there is not working. It’s on a circuit by itself, and the circuit won’t stay closed. You throw the breaker on, and it just immediately trips. I’m going to try replacing the outlet, and failing that I’ll have to call an electrician in. If the outlet replacement doesn’t work, in the interim I guess I’ll try using a regular hose on the lanai floor.
The other problem we’re having is that there’s a chip about the size of a nickel in our bathtub, thanks to this idiotic, cheapo tension rod-based shower caddy we once tried to install in there. The thing proved too tall to attach in the only place we could stick it, and it promptly shot out of its emplacement and chipped the tub. I hear they make these “bathtub refinishing kits” that I should be able to use to fix it up, but this kind of work is definitely not my forte: wet sanding, prepping, painting and repeating…sounds like something I’m going to have a real easy time screwing up. But I might as well give it a try — especially since I’ve been having unusually good luck with home repair tasks lately.
Speaking of which, this past Thursday our garbage disposal decided to self-destruct. Not that I should really be surprised, I guess, because it was ten years old. The motor still turned freely, but it started pissing water out of the bottom of the unit — specifically, the motor housing — and since this is a sealed part of the unit that water should never get into, I deduced (with the help of a friend) that the disposal had rotted through inside. Greaaaaat, something else to replace before we can sell the house. But how am I gonna get it done? This sort of thing is really not my bag, baby.
Well, this aforementioned friend offered to come by on Friday evening and help me do the replacement if I went to the store and picked out a unit. So I headed to Lowe’s and found what was essentially the exact same Insinkerator disposal model as our old one. They call it the “Badger 5” now, but it was the spitting image of the old one with the same horsepower rating. It was the second cheapest unit on the shelf, too, so I picked it up. Unfortunately, my friend never showed up, never called and couldn’t be reached by phone.
Here it was 6:00 on Friday evening, and I decided that I was gonna have to do this job myself. So as soon as I got off work, I got to work under the kitchen sink. I decided to skip dinner — after all, if I found myself in need of some additional parts or something halfway through the job, I wanted the store to still be open. You know how this town is; everybody’s in bed by 9 PM and God help you if you need something after that.
In the end, I was lucky that I bought the same model disposal as our outgoing one. This made the replacement super easy, to the point where I was able to re-use the same mounting hardware and sink gasket that were already in place. Granted, what should have been a 30-minute job took me two hours, but everything was working perfectly in the end with not a drip in sight. Say what you will about the ponderous amounts of time it takes me to do certain things, but I’d rather get the job done right the first time.
I didn’t exactly want a food-choked, rusty disposal sitting around my house for a month, either, so the very next day we went down to the local recycle center and disposed of it (ha) along with a heap of old computer equipment, broken LCD monitors and other electronic crap that was clogging up my room. This also enabled me to really clean up my office so that it also looks like a serious, functional workspace instead of your teenage son’s room. I was also unfortunately required to remove and pack up the new air conditioning unit from my window, but at least now I don’t have any bugs infiltrating the room.
So, coming from these household successes, you can see why I’m optimistic about touching up a damn bathtub. How hard could it be, anyway.
At work last night, Apple and her friends got into a little “fortune telling” activity, and her fortune indicated that we absolutely needed to make this move to Texas, because it would make many aspects of our lives much better than they are today. I didn’t really need a fortune to tell me that, but it’s nice knowing that the mysterious powers that be are apparently on your side, too. Apple has a pretty fascinating history with fortune tellers — one of whom told her, long before she met me, that she would one day fall in love with a Western guy and move to a faraway place — so I hope this turns out to be true as well.
Now, for the fun stuff. A couple days ago, thanks to a 30% bonus credit deal at Gamestop, I traded in a couple of Xbox 360 games for one new one: Alan Wake, the long-awaited survival horror game from Remedy, makers of Max Payne. Last night I had the house to myself while Apple was at work, so I began by watching the 6-part “Bright Falls” prequel videos that were free from Xbox Live. They were far more impressive than I expected, complete with a very Twin Peaks, David Lynch sort of vibe. I then jumped into the game itself and played the first “episode,” which was very cool and certainly a fresh take on the survival horror theme. The visual effects were excellent, although some the models and textures seemed a bit dated. I also am not crazy about the way Alan narrates the pages from the mysterious manuscript; he seems kind of lifeless. In contrast, I found a couple of pages from an earlier manuscript that were voiced by James McCaffrey, voice of the original Max Payne, and nearly jumped for joy. Max is awesome.
Today, I’m considering stopping by Gamestop again to take advantage of another sale. This one gets you $40 off the western-themed Red Dead Redemption if you trade in two “select games.” I have two of the games on the “select” list, and one of them is incredibly old and likely not worth much, so this would appear to be a deal indeed. I’ve heard that my friend Forster just picked up RDR as well, and there’s some pretty cool open-world multiplayer to be enjoyed along with it, so we might give that a shot.
Also, Netflix actually sent us the Blu-ray of Avatar on the very first day they started offering it, so Apple and I will probably watch that as early as Sunday. Yes, we’re some of those weird people who never actually saw Avatar in the theaters — to me, honestly, it sounded like a rehash of a story that’s already been told six billion times. My boss saw it several times, though, and while he admits that the story is really not anything that new, it doesn’t matter because the way in which it’s executed is so amazing, you won’t care. Okay, I guess we’ll see for ourselves!
That’s it for now…the errand-running is about to begin.