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August 28, 2008

Sold!

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Just before 6:00 pm this evening, we received the call we had been waiting for ... Our realtor in Minnesota called to say that all the papers had been signed and the sale of our house was now complete. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

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The house was on the market almost 5 months, we had to lower the price three times - almost 20%, and we had to throw in almost-brand-new refrigerator, washer, and dryer. I feel that the price we were paid was insulting to the house and its condition. But I am realistic enough to know that the value of the house is a function of what someone will pay for it. I wish its new owner well. He got a bargain. (Unfortunately, since housing prices here have not slumped very much, we will not likely benefit from the nationwide housing depression.)

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Although the feeling is only a few hours old, I finally feel the psychological freedom to allow myself to live fully in my new surroundings, without being encumbered by significant obligations 1200 miles away. The house was good to us. We were able to tweak it and shape it in some significant ways, and it worked for us quite well. My sincerest thanks to our realtors, who went above and beyond what was required, especially in the last weeks as the new owner was seeking FHA funding that required that additional repairs be made ... and to our handiest man, who made the repairs - and even camped out on the front porch, paint brush in hand, waiting for the inspector to return for the third time. (We recently learned that inspectors get an additional $100 each time they re-inspect a home. Doesn't take a genius to see why so many houses don't pass muster the first time.)

We had dinner with new friends tonight, and enjoyed champagne toasts to the sale of our house and to the beginnings of our new lives here. The chapter has been turned.

Posted by hgroteva at 11:04 PM

August 24, 2008

Friday Cat Blogging: No Peaceable Kingdom Yet

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This picture, taken last week, belies the level of serenity in the feline kingdom here. The MN tribe (pictured above; L to R: MacKenzie, Pookie, Shadow, Sadie) is as mellow as ever within its own boundaries. But the NM tribe is a bit more rambunctious, and there have been numerous border skirmishes among various, mostly female, parties. Sadie, the littlest, refuses to relinquish her status as alpha. Chloe deals with threat by appearing to be aggressive. Shadow's size can be intimidating, but he can also be scared into a corner by Chloe. And King Pookie is royally above it all -- he just lounges around and lets it all happen around him. It's pretty funny.

This is a pretty big house, so there's really room for everyone to have his/her own corner. The MN tribe have continued to hang out in the guest bedroom (see photo). Often, they are in their Tonkpile ... but once I saw them each posted at a different corner of the bed, as if to be protecting against incursions. I think they will all gradually settle down eventually.

New students start arriving this week. After 5 or 6 trips this summer (I lost count), I am glad to have my feet on the ground for a while. With a bit of luck, the sale of our MN house will close this week. I will post fireworks about that when it happens.

PS: I had intended to post this Friday...

Posted by hgroteva at 6:18 PM

August 2, 2008

Gifts for a Major Transition

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Dear Kai Miok,

Thank you so much for the wonderful gifts you chose for us, as we transitioned from your home to Massachusetts. We could tell that each present was lovingly wrapped and labeled by you. We were pretty distracted by the road trip and hotels, so our Herder decided that we would unwrap and enjoy the gifts after we made it to our new home. We had a very nice party - the mouse was fun to play with (although Pookie was above it all) -- we'll have to slip him some of that catnip! Anyway, thank you for being so sweet and for caring for us for the past 5 months. You have an open invitation to visit at any time.

Love, Pookie (candidate for President; D-Mass.); Shadow; MacKenzie; and Sadie (First Lady, hopefully).

P.S. On Tuesday night, we get to meet our 2 new tribe members (Dylan and Chloe) and Sierra, the barking one, for the first time. We will post pictures. It should be "interesting" for all concerned! We're glad that we have had almost a week to claim our territory in the new house and figure out where all the good hiding places are.

Posted by hgroteva at 7:22 PM