July 11, 2010: Liesl’s House

So my original plan had me leaving at seven thirty last night.  That did not work out at all.  There turned out to be a major issue at work and I ended up spending several hours camped out working on it from dad’s house.  That dragged on and on and it was after ten when I was finally able to run out, jump into the car and get on to the road towards Peekskill.  Much later than I had anticipated and so late that it is likely to impact my day tomorrow.

The drive itself went fine.  Driving so late at night generally means near-zero traffic and construction.  Even where there is construction there is no traffic so you go right through it and don’t worry about it.  It was late enough that I just decided to skip dinner as it was too hard to find anyplace that was open that would not take a long time to eat.  I was in a hurry to get down to the house so I drove pretty solid the whole way down to get there as quickly as possible.

It was three in the morning when I pulled into Peekskill.  This is only my second time back to our former home since we left here in December.  It is unbelievable that we have been away now for seven months.  It has been nearly three months since my last time stopping in.  I used to go through this when returning to the house in Geneseo to some degree but we never went very long without going back to the house.  In Peekskill we have been going some very significant time without coming back.  Dominica has not been back at all since we left in December which I find unfathomable.  Owning a home that you never, ever visit is a very strange feeling.

I got in okay and found the house was only eighty-one degrees.  Not nearly as warm as I had guessed that it was likely to be.  I got the air conditioning fired up right away and headed around on a quick inspection of the house.  For the most part things were in pretty good shape.  I got to check out the damage to the back door which was pretty extensive.  The outside pane of glass is all but gone, but the inside glass completely held so the issue remains relatively minor.  Nothing else was amiss downstairs so I headed upstairs.

The upstairs, while very hot, was in good shape.  I got the ceiling fans on, brushed my teeth, set up the CPAP and was off to sleep.  There is not going to be very much sleep for me tonight, I am afraid.  Tomorrow is going to be one busy day.

I only managed to sleep for about three hours.  I was up at six this morning and could tell that I was not going to fall back asleep so I just got up and started working on the house.  There is so much to be done that I am really not very sure where I should begin.  It is very overwhelming.

Dominica’s parents are on their way down to the house, expecting to around between eleven and noon, to deliver some furniture for Francesca that needs to come down on our truck when we have it come down and to help with some of the packing while they are there.

I tried to take a shower first thing and discovered that there was no hot water in the house.  That isn’t good.  So I went down and tried to adjust the hot water heater.  It had been set to vacation mode and I turned it up to a normal temperature in the hopes of getting it to fire up.  It kicked on and off a few times.  Not sure what that means.

I went outside and discovered that the grass is recovering nicely now that Oreo is not outside peeing on it every day.  He really did a number on the grass right in front of the door on both sides of the side walk.  The one side is nearly all recovered and the other side, while still having a huge dead area, has grown back in over almost have of the previously dead areas.  That is something that I had been pretty worried about so I am very glad to see that by next year this should be all but fixed.

Being in the house, especially now when I am all alone and have time to myself to just think about it, is very strange.  My first reaction is that this is a very nice house and that I really miss it.  I am tired of living in the apartment in Texas.  I don’t want to come back to New York, I just miss owning a house.  I have lived in apartments for so long and it is always as if your life is on hold when you are in an apartment.  Having your own house really feels different.  The house really does look nice with all of the paint that was applied just before we moved out.  It is hard for me to remember the house like that.  I knew if for nearly all of the time that we were there with different colours and brightness.

Being alone in the house is probably not good for me.  We bought the house in Peekskill for the sole purpose of Liesl being born there.  We wanted her to be a New Yorker, like her parents, and so we had bought this house for her.  We only lived in the house for a few weeks before Liesl was born and so the house has no memories that are not directly involved with preparing for Liesl’s arrival and taking care of her after she had arrived.  This is, effectively, Liesl’s house.

As I went around the house taking down Liesl’s pictures from the walls I couldn’t help but hear the echoes of her laughter in the house.  There is the spot by the fireplace where her swing was located nearly the entire time that we lived in Peekskill.  She just loved that swing.

And in the basement, there was my desk.  She loved to come down to the basement and crawl around from the mirrors on one side of the room down the “hallway” formed between the desks and either go under my desk or pop around the corner to see me.  She spent a lot of time playing down there while I worked.  That is where she first used my computer as well.

Up in her room there is her crib.  The crib that she almost never used.  Most of the time that we were living in Peekskill Liesl was sleeping with us.  There was a time period when she would nap in the crib and there were several months of her sleeping there, at least early on in the night but mostly she did not sleep in her own room.  It is so strange to think of her having her own room in that house.  She never really played in there.  Many a night Dominica or I would cradle little Liesl in our arms and rock in the glider to put her to sleep then put her down in the crib.

Even our room, when Liesl used to fall asleep in the chair in the corner with Dominica holding her or where she would stand on the head of our bed every morning to look out the windows and yell to the people getting into their cars and going to work in the mornings.  I had forgotten all about her standing there and yelling until I was here, in the house alone, today.

I found Liesl’s foam letters that were her very first bath toys.  I had found those at the grocery store and thought that she should have them.  She loved taking baths there.

It is amazing how many memories come flooding back when you go back to a house, especially when you are on your own, and have time to walk around remembering.  This house is full of Liesl memories.

I was pretty hungry having skipped dinner last night so I drove down to the Maple Ave. Deli which is just down the street and picked up some sandwiches and a pastry to eat.  That was very quick and convenient.  It also gave me a chance to tell them that I had moved to Texas – which would be why they have not seen me in many months.

I ate back at the house and then got busy on the packing for the day.  So much packing to do for a single day.  I got a few hours of prep work in on my own early in the morning.  The house was nice and cool and I had brought some plastic bins with me from dad’s house who’s purpose was to collect the little miscellaneous stuff from around the house that will travel back to Texas with me directly in the Mazda rather than waiting for the movers.  I have a number of delicate items that will go back in that way which is going to make the car very packed for the drive down to Texas.

Before Dominica’s parents arrived I ran out to Home Depot to pick up boxes and bubble wrap that we would need to get things packed up.  The house is pretty much empty already so much of this type of stuff has already shipped to Texas.

Dominica’s parents arrived at around eleven thirty.  We got their car unloaded and set right to work getting more packing done.  It was just about half an hour before the potential new tenant arrived at noon to meet me.  We had both wanted to have a chance to meet one another and this worked out perfectly.  We spent almost an hour going around the house and discussing what was going and what was staying, looking at stuff like the attic, working out schedules, etc.  It turns out that they want to move in faster than we had thought so getting the house emptied is going to be a bit of a challenge, I think.  We can’t get movers scheduled until the paperwork is all signed and the movers can’t move the furniture until the glass is all cleaned up which is scheduled for the fifteenth.

Dominica’s mom tested the range and noticed that there was no gas there either.  This isn’t good.  Why would the gas be turned off?  The electric is not turned off so the power company must not have shut us down – the payments are automatic anyway.  I can only guess that our agent turned it off for safety reasons.

Once she left it was back to packing.  Dominica’s parents stayed for several more hours and the house was almost done by the time that they had left.  I would never have gotten all of this done today without their help.  As it is we had decided to leave the television on the wall and have the movers take it down and pack it for us rather than attempting to do it ourselves but I still had just more work that I could have gotten done on my own before midnight and bringing the stuff down from the attic is really a two person job.

It was around four when I had the car all packed, the house completed and photographed to show to the movers and was on my way to head down to Philadelphia to meet up with Brian and to get ready for our trip.  It takes about three hours to get from the Peekskill house down to Chalfont, Pennsylvania where we were meeting.  I stopped in at the first New Jersey reststop for fuel and food.  Grabbed a quick bite of pizza and fro-yo.  The drive went pretty quickly.  The car is quite loaded.  This is going to be a challenge getting Brian into the car as well along with his luggage.

Once I got to Chalfont we unloaded the desktops and servers and spent about an hour doing packing logistics.  From the house we ran over to WaWa to get dinner.  Just as we got there we discovered an issue at the office and my boss called to have me conference in.  That ended up taking several hours of both my boss and I working on the issue with several other people.  Busy evening.  I was on both BlackBerrys constantly to be able to keep up.  Fortunately it worked out that I was able to do the work from the car so we sat at WaWa until we were sure that we could drive and then I just worked while we were on the road.

The drive down to Annapolis went pretty smoothly.  As we came through the inner harbor in Baltimore we saw a huge neon sign of what appeared to be a mustachioed Italian pirate.  We laughed for quite some time trying to figure out what that might have been for.  Why would someone pay good money for a four story tall sign that makes no sense at all to be erected.  That can’t be cheap.

It was just after eleven when we arrived at the Nicklin’s in Arnold, Maryland.  We did not stay up for very long.  We were probably off to bed around midnight.

Very few plans for tomorrow.  We will just be hanging around the house.  I am working all day tomorrow as usual so we really don’t have the ability to do anything too much.

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