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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Relocation - Phase I & II Complete!

I've decided to break our moving journey down into four phases. Yes, I'm a dork. But I need to do things like this to keep my sanity. We have 2 weeks before we move, and my mind is in a million and a half different directions. I bet you didn't think that was possible. Well, I assure you, it is. Holy shit.

Phase I - Which is completed, entailed applying too, interviewing for, and accepting a job in VA. That was completed a few weeks ago.

Phase II - Is finding a place to live in VA. This was, fortunately, completed 2 days ago on the 30th! I'll discuss below.

Phase III - This phase will be packing, actually moving to VA, and unpacking. Part of this starts now, with going through everything, getting rid of what we don't want/need anymore, and packing. The rest of it will be when we actually move, which is scheduled for November 19th. Once again, Holy shit.

Phase IV - This part encompasses actually starting at my new job, which will be a journey and a half. I will experience a whole slew of emotions, ranging from sadness of leaving Cael home with Matt (for the first couple of months, anyway), to nervous excitement to being overwhelmed. I officially start on December 3rd, with 1.5 days of orientation, and then I start in my department.

On our way to Va!
Stopping for a coffee, and Cael got a free
munchkin, which he loved!
So now I will update you with the journey Cael and I took earlier this week to VA to find a place to live. Last Friday, I started calling some places for rent. I came to the realization that I would have to see these places before making a decision to rent, so then the spontaneous idea of going down to VA with Cael on Monday came to light. And since I needed to get some pre-employement things done, such as a physical, I figured I could get it done then as well.

So I made some appointments with a total of 3 apartments, all complexes. Two of them really nice complexes - pool, playground, walking trails, dog parks, fireplaces in the living room, and gated access to the apartments. And all 2 bedrooms/2 baths. However, there was the threat of Hurricane Sandy coming up the eastern coast, expecting to make landfall on - yup - Monday. Taking that into consideration, in addition to having to get my physical early Monday morning, I decided to go down to VA on Sunday morning, and plan to stay until Wednesday, taking a huge chance that I may not be able to get anything done because of Sandy.

Cael relaxing. I gave him the bag of cheerios
to keep him quiet, which he
then emptied everywhere.
Well, Sandy hit hard. And without remorse. But that'll be another post. Fortunately, where I was in VA didn't get hit too hard. Just rain and wind. But I was worried I wouldn't get to view the apartments on Monday and Tuesday.

Well, come Monday, I had my physical, and met with HR to sign my hire letter, and other pre-employment paperwork. After that, Cael and I went to lunch at Denny's. My apartment appointment was for 2, so we had some time to eat. Well, then I got a call from the first complex, ML, that they were closing the office within the hour, and she asked if I could come by now. I told her I was just finishing lunch, and then I'll be on my way. I called my friends Ed and Stef, as they were going to go with me at 2, and they met me no problem to go early.

Now, the funny thing is, this is the apartment I wasn't planning on signing. Not sure why - probably because I was afraid it was too expensive. I don't know, it was just a feeling. The rent for this one was $1086, sans pet rent. Another complex I was looking at on Tuesday had rent as low as $766, so I thought I would like that one because of the price. But what I learned is you get what you pay for. Long story short, I'm so happy that I was able to make it there before they closed to view the apartment, because this was the one I ended up returning to on Tuesday and signing a lease for :).

Aunt Stef and Cael making faces at each other!
I didn't want to sign for the first apartment I saw, and I wanted to see the other 2 before making a decision. But since that was the last unit left, I gave her a $100 check to hold it for me, refundable up to 48 hours. Tuesday morning, I called the 2 complexes I was supposed to see, and the cheaper one informed me that the office was open, but that they weren't showing that day. Sucks to be you I thought. I was on a time constraint, and if you didn't have time for me to see your unit, I don't have time for you. I called the second complex, Brittany Commons, which was a beautiful complex (one of the 2 nice ones I mentioned, with the one I saw Monday being the other nice one), and fortunately they were still showing. But there isn't a doubt that I wouldn't have signed a lease for the first place if I couldn't see them all. I would have had to settle because of time limits, but it wouldn't have been a bad place to settle on. (Continued after photo dump)

I love that he's finally grown enough hair to do this!
My little Linus!

Getting ready to go home!
Helping mommy load the car up!
Home in time for Halloween! Even though
trick or treating was rescheduled because of Sandy.
Brittany Commons was nice, and the layout was very similar to ML. They had the same amenities as ML, but rent was a little more. However, Brittany Commons was a HUGE complex, having 500+ units, and it was right off a main road. ML has only 150 units in their complex, and it's "off the beaten path" so to speak. It's set back away from main roads, and you have to take 2 side roads off the main road to get to it. My decision was made.

Master bedroom
Our friends came with me to see Brittany Commons as well, since everything was closed due to Sandy, and they didn't have work. I was so HAPPY they came with me, because they asked questions I didn't even think about. They are definitely life-savers. So we all went to lunch, and I called Matt to discuss our two options. He left it up to me, and said he trusts my judgment (but also the judgement of Ed). ML was the fit for us, so I called and asked if I could come by and sign a lease.

So we all went over and I signed the lease. The unit is available November 15, so the rent was prorated for that month. So the total due at move-in, including app fee, pet rent, and one-time pet fee, was $1061. Our rent every month would be $1155, not including utilities or cable. With my salary, that's definitely do-able.
Living room
Now, about the apartment. It's a 3rd floor unit, and because of that, has vaulted ceilings. The balcony faces the woods, so it's completely private, which is a major plus for us. It's a gated community, has a swimming pool, dog park (which is AWESOME for the dogs, since they're going to be going through a big change from running freely outside, to being walked on a leash), 2 miles of paved trails with "doggie stations" for poop, and volleyball and tennis courts. Both Cael's and our bedroom have walk-in closets, and there is an extra, big closet in the dining room for storage. There's also a linen closet outside Cael's room, a closet when you first enter the apartment, and a pantry in the kitchen! No more storing food or cans on the floor in the kitchen! There's also a large laundry room with a washer and dryer. So we'll be storing our semi-new Samsung washer and dryer here until we have our own house and need them again. Those things are my babies, and I'm not getting rid of them. Not to mention we still have payments on them for another year. And one of my favorite things about our apartment, is there is a gas fireplace in the living room, with a built in table on top of it for the tv. It's going to be so nice.

Cael loved running around in the apartment. There was so much room, and we even lost him for a second. His bedroom is HUGE! He'll have plenty of room to have all his toys in there, so he can actually play in his bedroom. I'm so happy and feel so fortunate that I was given this opportunity for an amazing job, and therefore a better life for my family. Just a few months ago, Matt and I were saying to each other that we will never be able to get out of this apartment (and therefore his parents house), and we'll never get out on our own. What a different a few months makes.
Kitchen (And Cael doing yoga!)
Kitchen and pantry. And I love the sliding lights.
Kitchen again
Another view of the master bedroom and master bathroom.
Walk-in closet is behind the door.

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