It is, as of today, fifteen days to closing on our new house. I'm trying very hard not to freak out over this. It's an incredibly possitive thing, but I can't help but feel some nervousness about the whole affair. If an apartment sucks, you can move into a new one. If a house sucks, it's a lot harder to get rid of it. I don't think that's an issue with this place, but it's still a huge responsibility that I'm not entirely sure I'm ready to handle.

It doesn't help that this morning I turned in the sixty-day notice on our apartment. I meant to do it two or three days ago, but I could never remember to print out the letter and take it home. I asked Jessie to write one up for me last night, and that one turned out a lot better than any of the ones I had managed at the office. I'm not sure what the legal situation is regarding moving before the end of a lease, but if everything goes well then we'll be into our new place by February 1. We're kind of committed now.

Everything with the house itself has been going well. I've got a new phone number scheduled for installation, the broadband line is under order as soon as the new number goes into effect. The water and electric and sewer and
other bills are all set to switch to my name on the nineteenth. I haven't yet put in a mail forward but that's on the list for the beginning of next week. All I really have left is to get confirmation of the insurance policy to the mortgage company and to get the settlement check from the bank.

I worried for a while that I wouldn't have enough for the closing costs, but as it turns out we've got enough to cover it and have enough left over to buy the refrigerator we're going to have to replace when we move into the house. The current owners want to take their current one with them. They're leaving us their washer and dryer, though, which is good. It means I'll be able to get all my laundry done at once.

The one big sticking point with the house that still remains is, in fact, not at all attached to the house, in a literal sense of the word. The garage is a detached building that, when the inspectors examined it, showed heavy signs
of dry rot and age, and probably would need to be demolished at some point to make room for a new one. When the current owners offered to make repairs to the property to clean up the inspection report, neither they nor I suggested doing anything with the garage, as it's old and run-down and would eventually be handled in the manner described above.

A week ago, of course, the city of Pottstown said that the garage needed to be properly sided and wasn't up to the city building codes, and that there could be stiff fines for not following the codes and getting this work done.

This has created a bit of a jam. The current owners don't want to sink a thousand dollars into a house they're leaving in two weeks. I don't want to pay a thousand dollars to fix a problem that should have been handled by the previous owners. The realtor says the charge is bunk but can't suggest any method of resolving it short of either accepting the responsibility or telling the current owners they have to solve it. I've opted for the latter,
for now, but I don't want to lose the house, so if they flat-out refuse to take care of this, I may have to cover it on my credit card.

This does not make me happy.

As it is, I'm putting a lot on the cards that I didn't want to have to pay that way. I've got one of my cards to within a thousand dollars of its limit trying to make sure I've got the money in the bank to cover closing. I've got to replace the refrigerator before we can really live there comfortably. I'm buying Eric's Volvo the day after closing and that's going on an access check. I'm going to have to pay two months' worth of rent on the apartment as well as the mortgage because we won't be ready to move this weekend. I do not need this added expense.

The only thing to do, then, is make sure the current owners cover this.

I hope this resolves itself soon. I don't need this hanging over my head.

I never posted a report of my Thanksgiving, which is odd for me because normally I like to talk about it. It's the one holiday of the year that I celebrate actively, for reasons that I know I've covered before. Joanne, Kelly, Julia and Tanya all showed up for a visit, some staying longer than others, and I made homemade stuffing and mashed potatoes, as well as broccoli which hardly anyone touched. At least, I know I didn't have any. I went off the diet
during Thanksgiving so I could enjoy my third-generation stuffing: 

  • One pan cornbread
  • One loaf white bread, toasted
  • Two sticks butter
  • One bunch celery
  • Three medium red onions
  • Chicken broth

Dice toast and cornbread into a large container. Chop celery and onion, add to a pot with butter and saute for ten minutes, then add chicken broth to cover and simmer until the celery is soft to the teeth. Combine all in pot to bread mixture and stir, adding chicken broth until the bread and cornbread begin to combine into a slightly lumpy mixture. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes before serving.

The potatoes recipe I got from SusanDeer, who in turn got them from a website, but the website calls for too little extras in the potatoes, so Sue adjusted it and I've done a bit of tweaking myself: 

  • Five pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and de-eyed but not peeled
  • One cup heavy cream
  • Eight ounces sour cream
  • One bunch chives
  • Garlic to taste
  • Two sticks butter
  • Chicken broth

Dice potatoes and and put in a pot, adding chicken broth to cover. Bring to a boil and let boil for fifteen to twenty minutes or until desired texture. Remove from heat and drain, saving liquid. Combine potatoes, cream, sour cream, garlic and butter in a container and mash until slightly lumpy. Finely chop chives and add with two tablespoons of reserved broth, then stir until well-blended.

I also made egg nog again this year, the recipe for which can be found in last year's Thanksgiving entry, but I used rum instead of brandy and I didn't put any Splenda in it. This, in hindsight, was silly, because I went off the diet for everything else and ended up buying egg nog at the store so Joanne could have some of it, because she doesn't like alcohol.

Still, this means I have egg nog to drink.

To complement all these lovely sides, Joanne made an excellent brisket, which I didn't get to enjoy nearly as much as I would've liked, and Tanya brought a twenty-pound turkey, which I managed to undercook by not pushing the meat thermometer far enough within when checking for doneness. I also managed to screw up the gravy, which seems like a pretty silly thing to botch, but I managed. Now, however, I remember how to do it, so I should probably write it down as well but I'm going to be stubborn about this one and not do i, so I can mess up again next year. 

Call it a Thanksgiving tradition.

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