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We Didn't Move In

We didn't move in to our new house over the weekend and I am so tired, annoyed, spent, and tired again.

On Friday I stopped in to pick up the key, do a walk-through, and drop off a carload of stuff we'd been collecting from Target and Kohl's throughout the week -- new towels, shower curtains, that sort of stuff. I stopped in the leasing office, got the key, and drove over to our new parking space. I unlocked the door, admired the new flooring, and smelled a familiar, but unwelcome, smell. Cat pee. Pet odor, to put it politely. In the newly renovated condo we were leasing, they failed to rip up the old carpet and replace it with something less smelly. I went back to the leasing office. They said they'd clean the carpet that day and it would still be ready for moving in on Saturday. I wasn't optimistic. But I was tired of living in our hotel so I let myself believe that it would be possible to still move in on Saturday morning. And if it wasn't I'd stay at my dad's for a couple days and/or check into a different hotel if it looked like a long-term necessity, a hotel that was closer and more convenient to where we need to be.

On Saturday morning my mom came to the hotel to help Muffin and I finish packing our things and load them into our cars. Friends and family members gathered at my dad's house to await word from me as to whether they should start loading our stuff from his garage into their pick-up trucks.

We arrived at the condo and it still smelled. Back to the leasing office. There wasn't much they could do about it on a Saturday but they would rip up the carpets and we would be credited the rent for the days we're missing to next month. We drove to my dad's which is about ten minutes away. Muffin was riding with my mom so I took advantage of being alone to cry in my car. Mike was doing training all weekend and was out of touch. I felt horrible that I couldn't keep my promise to Muffin of finally having a real house to move into after about six weeks of transitory living. I imposed on friends and family members who had now wasted a Saturday morning. And I just wanted to unpack my suitcase and not have to pack it again for a long time.

Now, we have a cat, and while she's good about using the litter box, I can sympathize with having a cat who is not. Our cat is staying with my mom, not moving into the condo with us right away, and I refuse to move into a house that smells like someone else's pet. And when given the choice of a newly remodeled unit or a non-remodeled unit, we decided to pay the extra money per month for the remodeled one. I expected the carpet was going to be ripped up and replaced before the condo was deemed acceptable for us to move in to. I should not have found this problem the day before our move-in date. It's so frustrating.

I scrambled with phone calls on Saturday afternoon, rescheduling two deliveries and the cable guy that were due today. Today the leasing office should be calling me to say if they're starting on the carpet today or tomorrow. We should be able to move in within twenty-four hours of them starting; they do the job in one day. I'm hoping for Wednesday night in our new home, even if only our beds make it over there and we pick up the rest of the stuff from my dad's garage piece-meal over the course of the following days.

I wanted to be moved in this week. Muffin starts school next week and I wanted the time for her to adjust to a new home before starting a new school. She's being such a trouper and what makes me feel the worst over this whole experience is how much I'm asking of her to cope with things that most three-year-olds don't have to cope with. On the school questionnaire that asked if there are any issues the school should be aware of, I had a rather lengthy answer explaining our living situation and how she keeps talking about wanting to go home to Hyderabad. And when she's talking to herself she's started lapsing into Hindi. She has dentist and doctor's appointments this week and I still need to do some back-to-school shopping and plan lunches and snacks. This was supposed to be our back-to-school prep week and now I'm cheating Muffin of all that attention because I still have to focus on moving.

Mike will be home for the weekend and I am so looking forward to it.


Anonymous said…
I don't want to be pessimisic, but I have heard of situations where the cat pee soaks all the way through the carpet and gets into the subfloor/cement. I'm not sure what you need to do to make sure that the new carpet doesn't start smelling again after a few weeks...
Jenn said…
I've never commented before, but this post just brought tears to my eyes! I so feel for you, feeling like you're cheating Muffin of that adjustment week. We're moving overseas next year with our two little girls, and I know these kinds of things come with the territory, but that doesn't make it any less hard! I hope everything comes together for you guys smoothly. You are an amazing mother, and Muffin will benefit from the experiences you're giving her more than you can imagine. (I'm sure you know that!) I myself was a third world kid, who was "cheated" of things like you're talking about at times. I remember those adjustment times being the hardest for our family too. This will pass!
Stephanie said…
Anonymous, I'm aware of that and I've asked them to make sure they clean the floor underneath with some sort of neutralizer. I'll see how it smells after they replace the carpet and then take it from there, if we have to demand a different unit or something.
Stephanie said…
Thanks for your comment Jenn. I know that in the long run things will be fine and even in a few weeks we'll be better once we're settled and in the school routine. Handling the day-to-day things up until then is so hard sometimes, though.
Anonymous said…
Stephanie--I just want to give you, Muffin and Mike a great big hug. The expat life if so tough, for so many reasons. I know you have been doing your best since arriving back in States to make everything happen for Muffin but their is a crazy amount of moving pieces. Luckily, young children are very resilient. Hugs/kisses and attention are what she needs most right now. Please keep us all updated and KEEP WRITING. That alone might help you deal with the stress. We miss you here and want to keep up with how the family is reintegrating there. Hugs to you from Hyd!! Tracy
Just an FYI. "Nature's Miracle" is a wonderful product. It's available in pet supply stores and it gets rid of that cat pee scent. I heard about it while listening to a pet show on NPR and have used it for twenty years.

Good luck with your move. I hope it all finally goes well for you.
Kaley said…
Hang in there, it does get easier! Avery asked when we were going home to Honduras for at least the first 6 months, and she talked about how she liked her old school because everyone spoke Spanish and she missed her friends and on and on. It broke my heart! She has finally embraced living in SF and she loves it here now and I can't believe I will have to turn her world upside down again soon. Ugh. The hard parts of this life!! xoxo
Stephanie said…
Thanks for you comment, Kaley!

She had her three-year checkup today and a lot of what she's going through turns out to be normal for her age and development. I'm kind of relieved that not all of our difficulty is "our fault" for moving her; so much of it would be happening anyway. Even though I believe all my FS and expat friends that everything will be fine it was nice hearing it from a doctor too.

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