Life and Times

Life and Times from 2017

Life and Times from 2016

Life and Times from 2015

Life and Times from 2014

Life and Times from 2013

Life and Times from 2012

Life and Times from 2011

Life and Times from 2010

Life and Times from 2009

Life and Times from 2008

Life and Times from 2007

Life and Times from 2006

Life and Times from 2005

Life and Times from 2004

Life and Times from 2003

Life and Times from 2002

Life and Times from 2000

New House

Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4

Part 2

Then finally, on July 29, we toured the house that I would eventually buy.  I had a good feeling about this house from the moment that I saw the listing for it online, because it seemed perfect.  If you’ve ever seen the movie Mrs. Doubtfire, this was the part where Robin Williams‘ character Daniel Hillard finally gave his ex-wife a good nanny persona, after portraying many crazies prior.  “In for the kill,” as he said.  The house was beautiful.  It had a dormer at the mezzanine level.  It had wood flooring on three levels.  The kitchen was modern, and had a built-in breakfast bar.  Subway tile in the kitchen and upstairs bathroom.  Nice colors throughout.


The house, with a massive tree in front.

The house, with a massive tree in front.


The living room, unlike others that we saw in this neighborhood, lacked a fireplace, which opened up a lot of space.  The living room, unlike others that we saw in this neighborhood, lacked a fireplace, which opened up a lot of space.

The living room, unlike others that we saw in this neighborhood, lacked a fireplace, which opened up a lot of space.


Kitchen with breakfast bar.  Lots of cabinet space.  Kitchen with breakfast bar.  Lots of cabinet space.

Kitchen with breakfast bar.  Lots of cabinet space.


Master bedroom and mezzanine.  I had the exact same dresser, and so it was good to know that it fit quite well in the space.  Master bedroom and mezzanine.  I had the exact same dresser, and so it was good to know that it fit quite well in the space.

Master bedroom and mezzanine.  I had the exact same dresser, and so it was good to know that it fit quite well in the space.


The basement bedroom was the only room that I wasn't thrilled with.  I wasn't a fan of the trim, as it didn't match the rest of the house, and that chandelier was just plain ugly.  But light fixtures and paint were easy things to change.  The basement bedroom was the only room that I wasn't thrilled with.  I wasn't a fan of the trim, as it didn't match the rest of the house, and that chandelier was just plain ugly.  But light fixtures and paint were easy things to change.

The basement bedroom was the only room that I wasn’t thrilled with.  I wasn’t a fan of the trim, as it didn’t match the rest of the house, and that chandelier was just plain ugly.  But light fixtures and paint were easy things to change.


By the time I got through looking at this house, I knew that I wanted to make an offer on it.  We did the paperwork, and sent it in.  The whole time, I was thinking, this house is too nice.  Someone else is going to get this house.  Then, surprise: my offer got accepted!  As this was a short sale, it meant that we would have to get third-party approval for the sale before we could proceed, and that would likely take a while.  I didn’t mind, because in any case, it meant that my time at Hewitt Gardens Apartments would at last come to an end, even if it took a little longer than I might otherwise want.

Then, in late September, the sale was approved by the seller’s bank, and it was off to the races.  We did the home inspection through Pillar To Post.  The inspector took Elyse and me through the whole place, showing us what he was inspecting and why, what we needed to look out for, and what things we probably should get fixed.  I learned a lot about what comes along with being a homeowner that day, but I was up to the challenge.

We did a final walkthrough on November 8.  Everything looked good during the final walkthrough, though we did note that a toe board was missing beneath the sink that had been there during the showing.  I asked about it at closing, and as it turned out, that toe board had gotten broken, and was discarded.


Elyse points at the chandelier in her new bedroom during the final walkthrough.

Elyse points at the chandelier in her new bedroom during the final walkthrough.


Closing was on November 9 at Lakeside Title up in Columbia.  That was a straightforward process, but felt overwhelming and a bit mentally draining, signing so many documents.  But in the end, I had the keys to a house.  After closing, we went to Walmart to get a few things for Elyse.  She wanted a beanbag chair for her room, and she also got towels and a few other odds and ends to outfit herself since she was moving out of her parents’ house and needed her own stuff.


Welcome home.  I thought that a Wheelock 7002T on the breakfast bar was a most fitting way to show that the house was at last mine.  Welcome home.  I thought that a Wheelock 7002T on the breakfast bar was a most fitting way to show that the house was at last mine.

Welcome home.  I thought that a Wheelock 7002T on the breakfast bar was a most fitting way to show that the house was at last mine.


Elyse with her beanbag chair in the otherwise empty living room on the night after closing.  That beanbag chair was, at that time, the only piece of furniture in the whole house.

Elyse with her beanbag chair in the otherwise empty living room on the night after closing.  That beanbag chair was, at that time, the only piece of furniture in the whole house.


Brian later came over to see the place, and I got this photo of them looking down from the mezzanine.

Brian later came over to see the place, and I got this photo of them looking down from the mezzanine.


So now that the real estate transaction was done, it was time to make the place home.  I had the Verizon Fios guy scheduled for the 15th, and the movers were scheduled for the 16th.  I also had an air mattress delivered to the house, since Elyse would be getting my bed.

Meanwhile, as a matter of cost savings, I was responsible for moving my own wallhangings and electronics.  I would take care of both of those prior to the big move.  But first, before I touched anything, I wanted to document the apartment as it appeared in its final configuration.  Something to remember it by, I suppose.


My bedroom.  I was still using my old denim comforter from college, though it was starting to look a little worse for wear at that point.  My bedroom.  I was still using my old denim comforter from college, though it was starting to look a little worse for wear at that point.

My bedroom.  I was still using my old denim comforter from college, though it was starting to look a little worse for wear at that point.


My bedroom closet.  I had some old, obscure things hanging on the wall in the back of my closet.  The idea was that I would enjoy them because they had personal significance, but no one else would necessarily appreciate them.

My bedroom closet.  I had some old, obscure things hanging on the wall in the back of my closet.  The idea was that I would enjoy them because they had personal significance, but no one else would necessarily appreciate them.


The bathroom.  That room had my first LED bulbs in it.  Rest assured that I took those bulbs with me when I left.

The bathroom.  That room had my first LED bulbs in it.  Rest assured that I took those bulbs with me when I left.


Hallway between the living room and the back of the apartment, with my ATU poster and a painting that I did in 1996.

Hallway between the living room and the back of the apartment, with my ATU poster and a painting that I did in 1996.


The kitchen.  The kitchen.

The kitchen.  The bulletin board ended up in the kitchen when I redecorated in 2014, the microwave changed in 2011, the dishwasher was replaced in January 2014, and the faux-wood floor was installed in February 2016.  That wood floor, which was peel-and-stick and applied directly over the old floor, didn’t wear very well, as parts of it were starting to lose their adhesion by late 2017.


The living room.  The living room.

The living room.  Note the new couch, in service as Elyse’s “nest”.  Elyse, meanwhile, didn’t want to move from her nest for the photos, but agreed to let me photograph with her in the shots.  Elyse did that pencil drawing of me in 2015.  I had originally intended to hang the drawing up somewhere, but standing up on the table ended up being its permanent location.  That corner as a dining area, meanwhile, never really lived up to its full potential.  I tended to eat in front of my computer, and so it ended up becoming a junk corner.

The living room.  The living room.

The living room.


My desk.  The fire alarm that I normally kept next to the printer is missing, as it was already at the new place.

My desk.  The fire alarm that I normally kept next to the printer is missing, as it was already at the new place.


Then, that night after work, was perhaps the most emotionally draining event of the entire process: removing the wallhangings.  Even though the final decor was only there for the last three years (of ten), it really defined the place and gave it character.  I was surprised about how hard that was to complete, because that, more than anything, represented the dismantling of my home of ten years – even more so than the actual move a few days later.  I suppose that it’s because even though the furniture was still in place, everything looked very different afterward.


No more closet decor.

No more closet decor.


No more mirrors, no more Dinosaur Canyon, no more threatening letter, no more diploma, and no more Power Ranger.  No more mirrors, no more Dinosaur Canyon, no more threatening letter, no more diploma, and no more Power Ranger.

No more mirrors, no more Dinosaur Canyon, no more threatening letter, no more diploma, and no more Power Ranger.


All of the decor from the bedroom piled up in the living room.

All of the decor from the bedroom piled up in the living room.


The hallway is bare once again.

The hallway is bare once again.


No more bulletin board.

No more bulletin board.


The mirrors around the kitchen are down.

The mirrors around the kitchen are down.

The mirrors around the kitchen are down.


The pile is a little bit bigger now.

The pile is a little bit bigger now.


Elyse suited up to join me in removing the wallhangings from the living room.  Yes, she really did wear a hard hat and safety glasses.

Elyse suited up to join me in removing the wallhangings from the living room.  Yes, she really did wear a hard hat and safety glasses.


A very blank wall where the three long frames were once displayed.

A very blank wall where the three long frames were once displayed.


Elyse removes a photo of the Washington Monument, creating another bare wall.  Elyse removes a photo of the Washington Monument, creating another bare wall.

Elyse removes a photo of the Washington Monument, creating another bare wall.


No more Mars Cheese Castle, and no more Coke bottles.

No more Mars Cheese Castle, and no more Coke bottles.


One more bare wall, which formerly held photos of the Asbury Park Heating Plant and the Maryland Midland Railway.

One more bare wall, which formerly held photos of the Asbury Park Heating Plant and the Maryland Midland Railway.


The pile.

The pile.


And then there were two.

And then there were two.


Unscrewing the fire alarm from the wall, leaving only the anchors in place.  Unscrewing the fire alarm from the wall, leaving only the anchors in place.

Unscrewing the fire alarm from the wall, leaving only the anchors in place.

Unscrewing the fire alarm from the wall, leaving only the anchors in place.


The Metro map was the last thing to come down.  I put that up shortly after moving in, and it was there for the whole ten years.  I was surprised to find its outline on the wall after I removed it.  I suppose that's what happens when something's been hanging in one place for a decade.  The Metro map was the last thing to come down.  I put that up shortly after moving in, and it was there for the whole ten years.  I was surprised to find its outline on the wall after I removed it.  I suppose that's what happens when something's been hanging in one place for a decade.

The Metro map was the last thing to come down.  I put that up shortly after moving in, and it was there for the whole ten years.  I was surprised to find its outline on the wall after I removed it.  I suppose that’s what happens when something’s been hanging in one place for a decade.


It really doesn't look like home anymore.

It really doesn’t look like home anymore.


I didn’t sleep very well that night.  Even though I was sleeping in my own bed, in the same place where I had been sleeping for ten years, it didn’t feel like home with the wallhangings down.  It felt more like I was spending the first night in a new place.  Then the next morning, we brought all of the wall decor up to the house.


Bringing the big Metro map into the house, along with the other wallhangings, on the morning of November 13.

Bringing the big Metro map into the house, along with the other wallhangings, on the morning of November 13.

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Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3 – Part 4

Part 2