The Jersey Shore, Part I

Yep. I said it. We went. And no we did not see Snookie! Our friends E and J invited us to their parents’ place on Long Beach Island — Surf City, no less. Which cracks me up as it makes me think of the Beach Boys. And it was awesome. It is basically New Jersey’s version of Cape Cod – my favorite place on Earth. It was relaxing and fun, while we also did a handful of fun touristy things. It was the perfect opportunity for a little R&R after the crazy month we have had…. and of course, Big D had to whip out the camera at every occasion.

The first night we were there we checked out this sweet little amusement park called Fantasy Island where Little S had the BEST time.  We ate super delicious ice cream and rode some kiddie rides.  A perfect way to spend the holiday evening.

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The choo-choo train and the “BIG TRUCKS” were the favorites!  Little S is still not super keen on the rotating motion of the carousel so we enjoyed watching, but not riding it!

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Such fun and what a great start to the weekend…. Happy Labor Day everyone!

SOLD!

Well, its hard to believe, but we accepted an offer from the buyers and our sweet little house is officially SOLD! Somehow I knew that it would sell fast, since it is a pretty amazing house, but the online photos certainly helped. I told Big D I was having second thoughts after seeing the pictures, wondering why on earth I was leaving it! 🙂 But it just means we are that much closer to our next adventure in home ownership… Provided nothing goes wrong, we should close by mid-October and hopefully by then we will have found our next house so we will happily be moved in by Christmas!

MLSHouse1

Here are a few of the shots from the listing which I thought were particularly lovely…

 

 

MLSHouse9 Downstairs bathroom

MLSHouse2 Going up the stairs

MLSHouse10 View towards the bedroom

MLSHouse11 View from the stairway of the fireplace and windows

MLSHouse14 View of the bay window in the living room

MLSHouse16 Kitchen

MLSHouse21 Master Bedroom

MLSHouse22 Master Bathroom

MLSHouse26 Backyard

I hope the new owners will enjoy and love our old house as much as we did!! As much as I miss it, I am excited about the prospect of finding an awesome new place to make our own.

Piano Hijinks and An Offer.

Today was a little rough. The awesome piano purchase turned into a nightmare as trying to coordinate it getting picked up and into a storage facility was not working. We decided moving it into the apartment was probably not the best option. So then, we thought we could store it with E’s stuff but with the short notice, no one was able to easily meet the piano people at the storage facility. Without my car yet or the ability to get around, I was feeling very helpless to try to get things organized so I even tried to get the seller to give me my deposit back, but as I figured, he refused. Eventually, my Grama came to the rescue and offered to pay to have it stored for us since we cannot move it into the apartment as I originally intended. What a relief. So finally we arranged to drop the rest of the payment off tonight and then tomorrow the piano movers will pick up the piano and keep it until we are ready for it.

The day got infinitely better by evening when we received a call from our realtor to let us know that there we had a full price offer on the house. WooHoo!! The only catch was that the buyer wanted us to cover all his closing costs, which were quite high. Big D and I were so happy given the fact the house had only been on the market since Saturday. I wasn’t totally surprised as I loved our house (I’m not biased at all!) and I knew someone else would fall in love with it as well, but getting an offer in less than 5 days was pretty awesome, especially given our financial situation in having to carry the mortgage payments and our new rent payments in New Jersey. We talked it over and figured out our bottom line (aka what we really needed to walk away with for the down payment on our next house) and decided on a possible counter. We really didn’t want to let the offer get away but we had to be careful not to jump on the first thing that came along just because it came along… So we will see what happens!

Freezer Meals and Planting

Today was Big D’s first day, while it was just orientation, he was still understandably nervous and excited. We were both up by 5:15 despite not sleeping great due to Little S. I think things will get better once we settle in a bit but at the moment he is just having a really hard time going to sleep at night, thus we are not getting to bed until past 10 most nights. As my first day with the new place I really wanted to focus on the kitchen and living room since that is the main area we will be in with Little S and having a bunch of junk everywhere is not really conducive to 2 year old play. The cable guy came and gave us cable, Internet and phone service so that was lovely and now I can surf the web as needed. Got the kitchen cleaned up, all the pantry stuff put away and made room for the giant box is spices that I sent to myself from Alaska. Also got my succulents potted. I couldn’t bear to leave all my plants so I bagged up each of my succulents and mailed them priority on a big box! We bought a little planter and some dirt yesterday so I got them all settled in their new home today. And they look pretty happy!

Succulents

Also got a bunch of freezer meals made. Nothing spectacular, just meat (chicken, pork loin, and flank steak) and marinade for most but at least it’s done. I made a really interesting Mustard-Oregano Marinade for the pork and one with Hoisin for the flank steak.

Mustard Oregano Marinade

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

juice from one fresh lemon

3 t. minced garlic (or garlic powder if you prefer)

4 t. oregano

Those amounts are really approximations as I basically just threw in a dollop of everything and squished it around with the pork chops. 🙂 So feel free to add more or less of various ingredients to suit your preference.

Orange Hoisin Marinade

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup orange juice

3 T. soy sauce

1 T. ginger (fresh or powdered – whatever you have)

3 T. sesame oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

Again these are approximations as I threw my flank steak into a ziplock baggie and threw everything in and mushed it around.  I realized belatedly I did not have a mixing bowl in which to mix any ingredients, but this method worked just fine.

Stocked fridge

Also got the living room cleared out and moved all the miscellaneous junk to the bedroom. Now of course the bedrooms are a disaster, but at least Little S has a clear place to play with his trains and tracks. Tomorrow I will also attempt to deal with all of our clothes which I unloaded from the suitcases to try to clear out space. We ordered Little S a toddler bed as the queen sized bed in “his” room is a bit much at his age, but until it arrives he is sleeping on his mattress at the foot of our bed on a big mat. He doesn’t know it, but I bought some new Thomas &Friends bedding as a surprise when we get his new bed all organized. Thanks to Amazon Prime it should be here in a couple days! He also got a couple of new trains for his wooden railway as I have been feeling guilty about the craziness of the past few weeks and its effect on him. Just need to get through this week and finish getting the apartment organized and then it’s back to our regular routine!

Things are moving along!

A Surprise Purchase

Today we ran a ton of errands as E let us borrow her car in the morning while she worked. What a whirlwind! We hit up a ton of stores so we could make sure we had the essentials to get the apartment organized during the week since we will basically be without a car until next Tuesday. Tried to do a little unpacking and organizing, but was feeling a bit overwhelmed and exhausted. E came over for a bit and could tell I was losing it so just started putting stuff away to try to get some of the stuff out of view!

Felt good with all that we accomplished and as a reward we decided to look at a few open houses. Found one house that was really perfect, although a little close to some power lines and a little far from the train for convenient walking for Dimitri. There is not much we can do until our house in Alaska sells so for the time being we are just trying to gauge the market and get a feel for the area. Once our car gets here we will expand our searching to the Connecticut and New York areas, but I have a feeling we will end up finding something nearby.

The most random and exciting part of the day is I bought a piano! I have been wanting to get one for a while, both so that I could start practicing again and also so Little S could start learning when he gets a little older. Big D has also been on board, but it seemed silly and expensive while we were in Alaska. Sometimes things just happen though and we saw a little estate sale and wandered in and there she was!

Piano

It’s an old Wurlitzer but it is in terrific shape and the owners were motivated to sell. They had it priced at $500 but I got them down to $300 which is certainly a steal! I’m so excited, except that now I do not know what to do with it! I’m not sure that it will fit in the apartment and given that the building is old, E advised it probably would not hold up the weight. So I think our lovely little purchase will be going into storage until the right house comes along but I am over the moon excited. My Grama, who was a concert pianist in her day, and still plays beautifully, even said she might have to come visit and check it out! Funny how things happen!

Job #1 – Tackle the Kitchen

Today we got going a little later as Big D and Little S slept in a bit. Once everyone was up, and of course after a daily dose of Dunkin’ Donuts, we headed off to Costco to do some shopping. I am a big fan of buying in bulk and making up freezer meals for the coming weeks so I don’t have to do too much planning on the day of. My one major limitation is the fact the refrigerator in this apartment is like pint-sized compared to the one I used to have! As Big D has implied this might be good for me as I have a tendency to want to stock up like an earthquake may hit any minute! While emergency preparedness is no laughing matter, I probably could dial it back a notch. I am going to have to get used to this new Costco as it is still a bit different from the one I am used to but it was interesting to see some of the different products they carried compared to AK. It was all a bit hectic and I think I just went into autopilot and started grabbing the normal things as Little S has very little patience with shopping or outings of any kind after all the upheaval and I cannot say I blame him. Anyways, we survived unscathed and a few hundred dollars lighter, but somehow that is par for the course at Costco for us! Now at least I have a few essentials so on Monday I can make up a freezer full of yummy dinners. And I made a good dent in the kitchen clean-up so it was ready to house all the new food!

Kitchen - after

We ended the day with E and her family as we decided to spend one more night with them, having barely scratched the surface on the apartment cleaning. Another long, full, eventful day.

New Beginnings

Today was a day of new beginnings and our first as New Jersey residents. Little S kept us up a good chunk of the night due to his jet lag and being off his normal schedule, so while he and I slept in, Big D took a dry run to NYC on the train to make sure he knew where to go and how to get to his new job on Monday morning. It is hard to believe how fast this is all happening and I feel like it hasn’t really sunken in. The past few weeks have been such a whirlwind, I feel like I haven’t really had a chance to breath, much less process.  But like it or not here we are! After Big D returned we went to the post office to check our new post office box and a bunch of packages we had sent earlier in the week had already arrived so that was exciting. Then we decided to pop by the real estate office to see if we could get the keys to our new apartment.

Apt outside

One of the guys walked us over and I had to admit a sign of relief. It looked a lot better in the light of day and after being cleaned up a bit then it had a few weeks earlier.  When I first looked at it — it looked like this…

Apt Apt- Living room before Apt kitchen before Apt bedroom before Apt- 2nd bedroom before

Big D was actually quite impressed as he had not even seen it when I toured it and we decided we had to take it due to it being the perfect location, across from the train station and on Main Street, furnished and in our price range. As I try to keep reminding myself — it’s only short term and I think I can make it livable for our family… for the short term.

We had lunch at a cute little Lebanese luncheonette we discovered before heading to the local library to check it out and get our library cards. I am really excited about this library — I felt right at home from the moment I walked in which is funny because that’s how I feel in the small town library near our place on Cape Cod, but never really felt in Anchorage. They have lots of kid programming and the librarian told us about a “Newcomers Club” in town where they have social gatherings etc. to help people get acquainted. All in all I think I am starting to get excited about settling into a life here. Now we just need to get our new apartment livable…