Thanksgiving was supposed to be our first big holiday in the new house. It was going to be the holiday when we asserted our adulthood in the family, hosting Abby's side from Tennessee, North Carolina, and Maryland-- maybe even Georgia-- and finally getting everyone back together on Turkey Day for the first time since her Aunt Linda died in 2010. Since then, the family hasn't even seen each other, let alone gotten together for Thanksgiving like they had for decades. I was lucky enough to take part since we started dating in 2000, and knew we would be the ones that'd have to take charge if it was to continue. Well, tonight we had a great Thanksgiving dinner in Silver Spring, but alas, it was just the four of us using a Groupon to eat sushi.
Packing up was supposed to be exciting, putting everything into boxes and loading it into the Prius, bringing it up a little at a time as rooms finished up. Bigger furniture would go in a rented van, or maybe we could coerce my father-in-law to come up and let us use his pick-up truck. Room by room, we'd watch the house empty out, and the bungalow fill up. We'd have a smooth transition, hire a cleaning crew to go through the house, and turn over the keys to our new renters. We'd wave, maybe take a few pictures, and drive the fifteen minutes up to our new place, where we'd walk in, turn out the lights, and go to sleep. Well, today we spent the day packing all right, but the boxes are being stacked in the attic and in the dining room, and the furniture's going to move into the basement, along with us, in less than a week.
We were supposed to be done already. We were supposed to be SO done already that our loan has already expired. Our cabinets and our appliances and my grandma's piano and dining room table and everything else is just sitting. Waiting. We're not that much over budget, but we'll be paying more than $2000 a month more than we thought we'd have to be paying from now until we move in, because we aren't able to refinance our loan until the house is done (about $500/month), we're going to have to pay to store a lot of our stuff that won't fit with us in the basement (about $200/month), and we're going to have to pay rent to our new renters for renting out our own basement from them ($1300/month). The clock is ticking, the wallets are emptying, and I just don't feel our contractors give a crap.
Sure, they're nice. Sure, they have great answers for us when we have questions. Sure, sure, sure. But I'm just done with this process. Done. Abby used to ask me how much money we had in the bank, just to make sure. (We figured we had enough saved to go two years on the process without moving in; it will be 18 months this week.) Now I'm nervous, even though the situation hasn't changed. All along, even with my apparently unrealistic goal of Labor Day, and my secondary goal of Halloween, I hadn't thought we wouldn't be in the house by Thanksgiving, and certainly we'd be in by Christmas, no? In August, when we were complaining nothing had been done while we were in London, our FHA inspector said there was probably a month's worth of work left. It's been three months now, and our contractor is now saying there are two months left. Two months. That means we won't be in by Valentine's Day either.
Our renters are being extraordinarily nice. They were supposed to move in before October 1, but ended up moving into the basement on November 1, and we let them stay for free. But they need the place now, and even though they're telling us they won't move upstairs until we're out, and they're fine with living in the basement, enough is enough. Our contractors may or may not be screwing us, but they're not about to screw my renters. The buck stops here, I guess.
I agree with Abby that it'll be an interesting experience, living in our 600-square-foot basement just the four of us, in the winter, at Christmastime. After all, we lived in this house for two whole DC winters without heat, pre-kids. Fancy camping. But I want to be an adult now. I paid people to do this project. I paid to keep my family in this house. I want the work done. I want my renters happy. I want my kids to have Christmas in their new bedrooms, and open presents under the 12-foot tree next to their new fireplace. I want to be hosting Thanksgiving. Like an adult does. Tonight. Now.
And I can't. And it sucks. Thanks for Nothing.