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With the help of several friends, for which we are super grateful (and will repay with lasagna as soon as we find our dining room table! :)), we have moved pretty much everything out of the apartment and into the house! And we’ve even slept there–twice!

That said, the contractors didn’t get the bedroom floors done, nor the living room floor, so our dining room is full of boxes and bags, as is the main room of the basement. We’re actually sleeping downstairs, for the time being. We can’t unpack until the floors–or at least more of the floors–are complete. So there is major disarray. Finding clothes to wear to work is going to be an adventure, for a while. (I’m only not wearing sneakers with this skirt because I correctly identified the box the Danskos lived in–it was not the box labeled “shoes,” by the way.) Also, until the sanding and application of harsh chemicals (to condition the hardwood) are done, we’re leaving the birds and chinchilla at the old place, which nobody is happy with. They’re all really cranky and kind of sad. Though we did bring the cockatiels to spend a few hours at the house yesterday, which they seemed to enjoy! There’s lots of construction-dust around the edge of the living room, which is totally unsafe and unsuitable for birds, so they enjoyed trying to escape our attention and eat that. :/ And they liked looking out the window at the birds in the trees around the yard’s edge. :)

Also, the appliances we bought from Lowes haven’t come yet. We’re going to have a fridge, washer, dryer, and dishwasher, all of which we picked out, which is exciting! (The range is going to have to last a year or two, before we can replace it, obviously; it’s on the list, though, because it and the dishwasher will clash badly. And because we think we like gas better. Anyway…) Because they had to get one or two of those things from the Lower 48, we’re still waiting to hear when they’ll come. It should be this week. Which is good, since I unplugged the old, stinky, scary fridge a couple of weeks ago, meaning that we don’t have any way to keep food cold-but-not-frozen, right now. All of our food is either room temperature or in the freezer. For our moving party, we kept beer in the cooler, which worked fine, but it’s not a totally workable solution for multiple days at a time, or for more temperature-sensitive foods.

When the appliances DO come, we hope the contractors are pretty quick about hooking them up. Right now, there’s a big hole in the kitchen cabinets, with power, where the dishwasher can go… but no plumbing hooked up. As for the washer and dryer, the hookups are in the wrong room, though we were assured it would be easy for them to move those. So it might be a few more weeks before we can actually use the appliances.

The kitchen is almost painted, though! Most of the walls are done, the ceiling is done, and the trim is done. We’ll have to go through with a tiny brush to fill in some spots, and we still have to do the area above the cabinets–we didn’t decide fast enough what color we wanted that to be–but it’s looking much more “us” (or at least “me”–though Dale likes it a lot, too :)), already! None of the other rooms are painted, though we did buy paint for most of them. Probably winter will come before we can get any real painting done, since we still have to repaint the old apartment to white by September 30th and, you know, unpack and stuff. And finish planning the wedding. And then HAVE the wedding.

… I’m a little overwhelmed, I admit. I’m very, very tired from running at full speed for so long, and now I’m extra worn-down from all of the allergies that came with the dust of moving. On the allergy front, I have to keep reminding myself, “I’ve spent hours and hours and hours inside this house–CLEANING this house, even–and I am not allergic to it. I am allergic to all of the dust we brought in with us.” That said, I think some kind of hydraulic oil or something got spilled in the basement room I’m sleeping in–it smells weird. I plan to empty it, clean the floor, and then put my stuff back in, tonight, I think. Just to be sure.

Poor Dale is tired, too, obviously, though I think he’s dealing better with the allergy side of it. His main approach, lately, is to curl up in a ball and try to sleep, whenever we stop moving for more than a few minutes at a time.

Did I mention that the basement windows got done? They did. They look pretty fantastic, from inside! And from outside they are… not bad. We should probably paint them, so they fit in better with the overall look of the house. (We have some of the paint they used on the siding of the house. I don’t think we have any of the trim paint, though.) I need to think of some short, [very-]low-light plants to plant in the window wells. I want to still be able to open the windows, but it would look nice to have something other than dirt there.

Also, we’ve gone walking around the neighborhood more times, since moving into the house on Saturday, than we had done at the old apartment in months! The only place worth walking from the old apartment was University Lake. (I could–and did–walk to work, but that’s not the same.) Near the new place there’s a grocery store–those of you familiar with Anchorage in general and Fairview specifically know the one I mean–and a Mongolian BBQ and what is, we’re told, one of the best steak houses in Anchorage. Technically, we can walk to the place with the best fried chicken in Alaska and also to a bar we like and a number of other spots in or near downtown, but those are much longer strolls… probably more like bike rides, really. (If you start counting things at those distances, the old place had a few more walkable spots than I’m giving it credit for.) But our first walk, post-moving-in, was to the grocery store, to find gear for hanging our pirate flag. We ended up using purple paper ribbon, for the short term, which makes a really satisfying noise in the wind. The grocery store didn’t have clothes line or any other more-suitable rope, and we (Dale and me, plus two of our friends) were very motivated, hence the kludge. We’ll buy thin rope at the hardware store… maybe tonight! Also possibly an American flag or something else more-suitable than the pirate flag alone. ;)

As first disasters go, ours was manageable.

So there I was, cleaning the upstairs bathroom, when I noticed a hissing sound. Our toilet runs, so I didn’t think a lot about it. But I turned everything off, made sure the tub faucet wasn’t dripping, and looked around…. and noticed a puddle forming between the sink and the toilet. I blamed the toilet, but couldn’t hear it making a sound. So I opened the sink cabinet.

And there was a giant whoosh of steam, and I could hear the water sound much more clearly. I kneeled down in the ever-growing puddle of water and tried to turn the knobs under the sink, but it was too hot, and I couldn’t see well enough (steam), so I ran around to the basement (after plugging my computer into the Ethernet cable, to text Dale via email–he was at the old place, packing, and my phone was with him–then connecting the house phone (glorious landline), to call him. When I looked down the stairs to the basement, to my dismay, I found waterfalls coming from several places in the ceiling.

I turned on the light, to see better, and when I was about to cross the puddle to the water heater, I looked up, and around, to see that there was water near the lightbulb and a plugged-in cord running through the largest part of the puddle… so my knowledge of the combined properties of water and electricity kicked in, and I ran back upstairs to turn off the basement breaker. Which meant I’d be operating in the mostly-dark, because the flashlight was still at the old place, too.

There was so much water everywhere, I guess I was looking for the water main. Or at least to turn off the water heater, so the water would cool down. So I did that. I couldn’t see, so I just turned the knob until I could hear the flame kick off, inside/under (? – I don’t know how water heaters are put together) the water heater. I couldn’t find the water main — this is a very high priority, now that the disaster is over, by the way. So I ran back upstairs to try turning it off at the sink again.

By this time, it had cooled off enough that I could feel around and turn off the valve. Which, blessedly, stopped the hissing sound and the production of steam. Thinking hard–because our towels were all at the old place, still, I tried to figure out what assets I had, to stop the water from falling through the floor–because, at this point, I needed to know if I had shut the problem down completely, or if I had just gotten the top half of it. There was still a waterfall into the basement, but then, there was also an inch or two of water in some spots in the bathroom. So, in a fit of genius–and with a short apology to the thrift store–I grabbed the draperies we’d taken down earlier in the day, and threw those on the bathroom floor. Then I grabbed the ones that I had piled up earlier–and that our contractors had placed tack strip on top of, thereby probably pre-destroying, anyway–and threw those down, too. Then I grabbed the two pink carpet squares we’d saved, to serve as a slightly-warmer standing spot in the basement kitchen, and I threw those down too. Because, seriously, what’s more absorbent than carpet?

And, finally, the waterfall slowed.

Then Dale arrived–so I guess we can time this whole disaster under 20 minutes–and assessed what he could of the situation, and we started the cleanup. His theory was that the flexpipe wasn’t used to being heated–he had just turned the water heater up from “vacation” to somewhere between “warm” and “hot,” earlier that day–and that we’re never installing any more freaking flexpipe, ever, in the whole house. He also pointed out that it was lucky I was there, that it didn’t happen after we gave up for the night. Our basement drain is a little uphill from the rest of the basement, it turns out, but we had a shop broom and a normal broom and got the worst of the water out.

Right now our yard is full of drapes. We’ve got a fan and a dehumidifier on the case. The basement had already largely dried, or was at least puddle-free, by the time we left last night. And we gave the contractors permission to turn on the power to the basement this morning, if they needed it.

So, now that this is all written, we’re going to stop back by and make sure nothing else blew up.

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September 2011