This was, to say the least, one of the busier weekends I’ve had in a long time. It was a very good weekend in many respects, not the least of which was actually (finally) getting my house. But it all kinda started this way...
Saturday morning, 9:30am. After staying up a little late to do more packing (with a lot left still to do), I arose a little tired, but excited to tackle the day. I had three basic things to do: Attend the Rocky Mountain Rail Society’s Annual General Meeting in the south end of Calgary, take possession of my house, and finish packing. Looks fairly simple, right?
But simple can be deceiving...
I arrived about two minutes before the AGM was to start. Not a huge deal — I wasn’t the only straggler, and we didn’t actually get going until about 11:10am that morning anyway. That gave me time to set up the laptop with images of trains and steam locomotives that I’ve been taking for the last year. (I’ve got quite a few of them now.)
I’ve never been to an annual meeting of any kind, and this was pretty much an eye-opener for me. Despite the fact that, amongst ourselves, the RMRS is pretty lax. We don’t have any hierarchy, we all joke/make fun of each other, bend rules to get things done, and avoid formality almost as if it were a disease. Until the AGM on Saturday morning, there was only one case I knew of where things were followed to the letter: Actually running 6060, at which point the half century of railroading rules and regulations take over, and are followed to the punctuation mark. The AGM was the second time.
The first thing I noticed was that certain people (the Treasurer, the Membership Officer, the Secretary, and some of the Directors) wore name plates. The meeting was ordered, directed by the Chairman (who was elected at the end of the meeting to President, our last president having fulfilled his term and stepped down), recorded by the Secretary, and everyone coordinating it by referral of title (e.g. "Mr. Chairman"), even by the founders and most senior members.
The meeting closed at 12:45pm, just in time for a catered lunch. This was great for me — I didn’t have a lot of food in the apartment, and I figured it would be a while before I’d be eating again (I had a lot of packing to do, and didn’t want to get too distracted).
The meeting having more or less wrapped up by 2:00pm, I hopped in my car and drove out to Sunnyside to meet up with Robyn, my realtor. When I arrived at 2:30pm, she was already there. We took quick looks around the house, seeing what was in order, and what wasn’t.
The main floor was in good condition. The floors were a little scratched (but to be expected with hardwood ... I need to refinish them in a year or two anyway), and the walls had been repainted (or touched up) where items had removed from the walls. In the kitchen, there were three things slightly amiss.
First, the hot water connection under the sink was still leaking (we identified this during the home inspection, and the previous owner was to have fixed it), there were still dishes in one of the cupboards (not sure if they’re forgotten or discarded), and there was a partially-assembled barbecue in the middle of the floor.
Yes, a barbecue. Robyn had said from relatively early in our home purchasing relationship that she’d do this, because I’d directed a couple of people her way. I’d always kind of resisted this generosity, mostly because I didn’t think I deserved it. But there it was ... in it’s partially-assembled glory (Robyn hadn’t finished putting it together yet).
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’ve got the best realtor in town.
We quickly toured the basement. A couple of boxes, but otherwise empty and no different than the last time I’d seen it. Nearly whacked my head again on the air ducts. (If I’m in there long enough, one of the things I’m going to do is drop that floor a couple of feet. Darren nearly decapitated himself when taking things down there on Sunday.)
The upstairs had a couple of problems. The first was a series of stains in the north bedroom which I couldn’t remember having seen before, nor did Robyn, and we know it wasn’t mentioned during the home inspection, so we wonder if the inspector saw them. (Mind you, the previous owner did have screens and furniture there, so it’s possible she hid them from sight.)
But the stains weren’t the worst part. As I looked just past the stains to the wall, I noticed a rather odd thing that ran right around the base of the walls. The baseboards. Or more specifically, the lack thereof.
The previous owner had taken them. To paraphrase Tom Arnold in "True Lies", what kind of sick freak takes the baseboards?!
That one had Robyn and I completely stumped. I had to laugh. I mean, they’re baseboards: Cheap strips of painted wood. I’m actually amazed she managed to get them off without damaging the walls. But now I have to replace them, and I don’t really have the equipment at the moment. And that’s in addition to all the other things I have to do around the house.
We adjourned outside to quickly inspect the exterior. I might need to paint this year, too. I’ll need to double check, but it should hopefully be not too bad. (Luckily, I don’t need to strip — all I need to do is paint over what’s already there.) The roof needs reshingling (but I knew that before) — if not this year, definitely next.
And then there’s the garage. I have a funny feeling the last few tenants haven’t even bothered with going inside it. The door lock is broken, the walls are rotting, the roof sags and leaks, and the concrete pad is pretty much gone. But it’s a single car detached garage. A couple months with proper construction should replace it without too much difficulty. For now, I’ll just keep an eye on it. But sooner or later, I’ll need to do the actual work.
Lastly, there’s the yard. The last owner was quite good at maintaining the interior of the house. The yard, however, was not her forte. Many parts are weeded over, saplings everywhere, and brown spots on some parts of the yard. It’s going to take a bit of work to clean all that up. I’ll leave the interior work until this winter, so I can clean that up now.
But hey, I wanted a bit of a fixer-upper to begin with. So in retrospect, my initial desire still gets fulfilled — by the garage, if nothing else.
A half hour after leaving, I was done. I had keys in hand, and was ready to return home and pack. The actual transfer of ownership, though, seemed lacking in something. Technically, all Robyn had to do was put keys in my hand. There was no fanfare, no celebration. Just "here’s your keys!". Mind you, Robyn was pretty happy about it. But after five months of waiting, it was anti-climactic. It was almost, I shudder to say, empty.
I returned to the apartment to resume packing and prepare for the move. But there was one thing I wanted to do first: Move Miao-Yin.