May 27, 2008

Moving Day!

I have to start this blog entry by sending a huge THANK YOU out to Vicki, Joe and my parents. Without their help Saturday, we would not have gotten as far as we did with the big move to Elk Grove.

Moving day was a success. While everything took longer than expected (doesn’t it always?) and there are still small loads to be made ( besides the cleaning portion of moving out), we did manage to fill the U-Haul as full as one can only imagine and successfully push the Camaro out of the old garage and into the new one. We even hit up the nearest Chinese food restaurant after the move for a nice family dinner. The Bamboo Inn was great, so we have one cuisine checked off our list of good local restaurants to find (now if we can just find a good Sushi place).

The move was an exhausting effort and while Cameron and I had planned to go back to Fremont for another small haul on Sunday, in the end we determined we deserved to be a little lazy instead. We spent Sunday napping and unpacking.

We did go back to Fremont Monday. I needed to be dropped off since my car was still in Fremont and I’m working in the office Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Cameron used the trip wisely to grab computer equipment, which I believe he has since set up.

Last night, I worked on clearing out as many rooms as possible, making an organized mess in the family room. It now composes of things still in need of boxing up, trash, recyclables, cleaning supplies and ready-to-be-hauled off to Elk Grove piles.

Also last night, my girlfriend Steph, who lives in Santa Cruz, came over to watch one of the saddest movies we’ve both ever seen. We expected “P.S. I Love You” to be sad, but not as sad as it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great movie, at least by chick flick standards, but don’t expect it to be a pick-me-up type movie. I have to say, I do like the twist at the end. Normal chick flick standards would have sent it the other direction, but the direction it took, I’d say is the best. You’ll have to watch to movie to understand what I’m talking about. Don’t forget the box of tissues!

Tonight, I’ll try boxing up as much of the still-needs-to-be-boxed-up piles as I can, while also getting a jump start on some of the cleaning. I also still need to clear the office and guest room of any lingering items.

Once I’m done with work tomorrow, I’ll head home to pack up the Tahoe with as much as I can, along with the cats and Melody.

It doesn’t quite feel like we’re there officially for me yet. It was weird sitting at the house on Sunday, knowing we were in Elk Grove, and not having any friends around us. Only spending two nights before returning to Fremont can’t be helping my not feeling real notions either.


Love always,
Sarah

May 20, 2008

Adventures in Moving

I woke up Sunday wishing I could sleep more. Have you ever woken up with one of those drowsy headaches – you’re not hung over, but you feel it cause you’re so exhausted. Yeah, that’s how I felt. But we had to move on. Cameron had arranged to have his mom, Vicki, and stepfather, Joe, to drive down from East Biggs (a tiny town between Yuba City and Chico) with their truck so we could get a good load moved to the new house in Elk Grove. And a good load it was. We were able to move all but two packed boxes, a TV and the spare bed, but we still have a long way to go all the same. Luckily, I picked up more boxes from my parents, which Jake welcomed.


Isn’t he silly?! Not exactly a great helper, but entertaining.



As for how our animals are going to handle this move, our expectations are this: Kelsey will hide the first day until it’s time for bed and she gets to cuddle with us up on her bed, (she thinks our bed is hers, she’s just nice and lets us share with her). Jake will be more curious than ever and will probably exhaust himself sniffing every inch of the new house until he collapses, which will be our bed as well. Melody should be fine with it as long as she’s inside and under foot at all times. She is going to have to learn to take the stairs a little slower than what she’s used to – they’re a little tighter than the old stairs.

This week is going to be a busy one. We’ll be busy packing the rest of the house and getting all the necessary stuff done for the move. Wednesday we’ll deliver another load and get Comcast set up. The big move is Saturday. Can’t wait! We’ve got a few people on stand-by that have said they would help with the move – we’ll see what tune they’re singing when we know how the weather is going to be. Luckily the new house has AC!

So I’ll conclude with some pictures of our new home for the next year:


It’s pretty cute from the front


When you walk through the front door, this is the view


The kitchen is a little small, but at least Cameron will be able to see the back burner of the stove when cooking at it


The master bedroom is in the front with a nice window


And the master bath almost has my dream tub – at least it will be a better soak than I can currently get in Fremont.


Love always,
Sarah

May 19, 2008

Weddings Galore

I don’t think we could have crammed more into a weekend then we did this one and we even added a half day to it, starting Friday afternoon, sort of. I was in Chico for a doctor’s appointment and working remotely for the whole day while Cameron took a half day and drove up to Placerville to take part in our friends’ Jonny & Anna’s wedding rehearsal activities.

We were supposed to meet in Elk Grove with Angela at 7:30 PM to sign the lease and conduct the move-in walk-through. Like any other wedding rehearsal, it ran late so I did what I could without Cameron (everything except sign the lease for him) and luckily, Angela was staying late to fix a sprinkler in the backyard, so she was still around when Cameron was able to get over to the house. He quickly signed the lease and grabbed me for our next stop of the evening – we didn’t even have time to walk through the house so at this point Cameron had yet to see inside of it.

After what seemed like an hour-long drive we made it to Ione, CA – a very small town to the southeast of Sacramento. Our friend Mackenzie was throwing our friend Greg (her husband) a surprise birthday party that evening since his actual birthday was the next day and would be shadowed by Jonny and Anna’s wedding activities. On top of that, we had two other joyous reasons to celebrate – our friend Lynde’s birthday had been Thursday (reason number 2) and her boyfriend Matt had decided that was the day to propose (reason number 3)! We now have another wedding to look forward to in the future. Congrats you two!

We had fun talking with friends at Greg’s party. The evening was perfect – after a hot day, the evening was warm but with no mosquitoes. We didn’t get back to Matt & Lynde’s until 3 AM. Cameron was up and out the door Saturday morning for pre-wedding activities in Placerville at 8:30! Matt, Lynde and I didn’t have to leave until 10:30 AM.

Jonny & Anna’s wedding was quite the event, much larger and more formal than Cameron and I prefer, but perfect for them. It was a full catholic mass so there was a lot of standing, sitting and for some, kneeling. I have to say it was a little long for the many flower girls and ring bears – after about 20 minutes they got antsy and started going in and out of the ceremony hall, which was somewhat distracting except for the happy bride and groom. Those two only had eyes for each other on this day. All in all, it was a beautiful ceremony. Anna was the traditional beaming and beautiful bride and Jonny couldn’t have looked happier as he watched his bride walk down the isle.

After the ceremony and pictures, we headed off to Gold Hill Winery, located in Placerville (a town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas and on your way to Tahoe if you take Highway 50 – I think, I wasn’t driving). It was a beautiful setting, despite the unexpected and unseasonably hot weather. Even the Bay Area was thrown into a heat wave last week, with Fremont reaching the high 90s and the Valley in the low 100s. Luckily, it’s since cooled down a little and the Bay Area has its coastal breezes again. We even had fog this morning.

After catching up with some people we haven’t seen in years, one dance and a delicious piece of cake, Cameron and I headed home. When we finally got there it was 12 AM and we were done in. Stay tuned for Sunday’s events.

Love always,
Sarah

May 14, 2008

Success!

Good news! Cameron and I secured the rental we were looking at. I got the good news this morning. We’re working on details right now – like when we meet with our new landlord to do the walk-through and sign the lease. We’re running into timing issues because of our commitments to Jonny & Anna’s wedding this weekend and Angela’s commitment to run in the annual crazy Bay to Breakers run in SF. As it looks now, Friday night will probably be the time. Once the walk-through is completed and our signatures are on the lease, we’ll get the keys. We plan to do the largest portion of the move over Memorial Day weekend, but we’ll bring a load with us when we gets the keys and possibly Sunday. Any one with muscle and is willing to help us over Memorial Day weekend, we’d appreciate it. Consider it a birthday present to Cameron. We’ll even provide you with a Memorial Day/Cameron B-day BBQ when it’s all over.

There’s a ton to do between now and then, like getting the house packed up, scheduling Comcast and the phone company for set-up visits, etc. I’m sure I’ll be busy tonight, Sunday and next week with all of this, but the initial headaches will be worth it. Now I just need to get more packing supplies – I’ve already gone through the bubble wrap, packing paper, boxes and popcorn we had on hand and of what my parents donated to the cause.

Yippy! We’re that much closer to being closer to family and friends!

Love always,
Sarah

May 12, 2008

Update

Melody did very well tonight during her meet and greet with our potential new landlord. We had a nice conversation with Angela and handed over our applications, along with a check for our background checks. We're proceeding optimistically, as I am continuing to pack up the house with as much ferver as I can muster after a day of work. We should know more tomorrow - Angela is reviewing the applications tonight and said she would call tomorrow. If all goes well, we could have the keys this weekend.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Love always,
Sarah

Weekend Adventures: On with the Rental Search

While Cameron had skydiving plans Saturday that he couldn’t change, I went from going up to Chico and helping my wedding florist out with Mother’s Day deliveries (I worked for her back in college) and getting some other wedding stuff done, to searching for rental properties available for immediate move-in in Elk Grove. When I left work on Friday I only had one appointment ste-up to see a rental and about 10 I was going to conduct drive-bys on and check out from the outside and the corresponding neighborhoods. By the time I went to bed Friday night, I had 5 appointments and 3 properties to conduct drive-bys on. Saturday came early and as soon as I arrived in Elk Grove after dropping Cameron off at the DZ (Drop Zone) in Davis, I was going from appointment to appointment. I finally had some time for drive-bys after my 11:30 AM appointment.

That’s when I came across a property managed by the home-owner. It’s a cute two-story house with an adorable little porch (so many possibilities for holiday decorating) on a street called Starfish Way.(Sorry, no picture, left the camera at home). The homeowner happened to be there cleaning up the yard as I was driving by. I stopped and asked if I could see the house. The house was clean, with relatively new carpet, and cute. It had a nice backyard and seemed to be in a nice neighborhood. The only drawback I could find was that it’s smaller than what we are used to, but something I felt Cameron and I could live with. We don’t intend to rent for years to come – just long enough to get settled into Elk Grove and the new job, not to mention get through the wedding and then have enough time to properly shop for a home.

After Angela (the owner) showed me the house and yard, we chatted about her rental conditions. My first question for her was her animal policy. Luck was on our side – she’s a huge dog lover and has allowed previous tenants to have dogs, breed not an issue – her last renters had two pit bulls. Her only caveat is that she needs to meet the dog first to know the dog’s general temperament. A bonus is that she lives in Hayward, a city just a few miles north of Fremont. On my way out, I grabbed an application.

I picked up Cameron later that day and drove him by the house to see the neighborhood. I got Cameron’s ok, and we have since spoken with Angela and arranged to meet her this evening for her to meet Melody and hand-off the applications and proper paperwork to proceed with renting through her.

What I like most about this property is that it is owner-managed and it shows. It’s been well maintained, much better than the rental property down the street from a large Elk Grove rental agency, which looked warn down. That property is pretty much the same house as we are looking at with Angela but looks much older. My gut feeling is that if we were to rent that house through the big rental agency we would get into the same issues we are currently experiencing in Fremont. With Angela, I feel we’ll have a much better renting experience, which will hopefully be our last experience.

I’ll keep you all posted on the progress. Hopefully Melody will be on her best behavior tonight. We’re meeting at Lake Elizabeth to take her for a walk, which should help, being that it is neutral ground. Plus, she got a bath last night so she’s all fluffy and smells nice. If all goes well, we’ll be moving to Elk Grove Memorial Day weekend!

Love always,
Sarah

A Change in Plans

House hunting sucks when you’re pressured for time and anything decent you find you’re forced into a bidding war. House hunting should not be restricted with time pressures. It only adds stress, stress Cameron and I don’t need. Our wedding is less than 3 months away. Cameron is busy with his new job and with finishing up his masters. I’m busy with Wedding crafts, packing up the house while also maintaining it and fighting the weed war in our front and back yards – not to mention I do work 40 hours a week at a more and more demanding job. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job, a first in a long time, but with everything else going on sometimes I have to choose where my energy goes and since my job pays the bills, it’s the first to receive my energy rations.

Thursday we spent what feel was another wasted day house hunting. What this all boils down to is why we made a big decision Thursday night. Cameron and I have decided we just don’t have the time or energy to buy a house right now. The pressure was forcing us to push the limits of what we can afford and what we want to afford. After consulting with our advisor (thanks Dad!) we have come to the conclusion that we just need to move to Elk Grove and the quickest, most viable solution to do so is to rent. Can’t say we’re thrilled about renting, but it’s what will get us there now and help get rid of some stress. We’re now on the hunt to find an open rental and can only cross our fingers that we don’t end up with a landlord like our current slumlord. We’re aiming to find something where we can move Memorial Weekend.

Wish us luck!

Love always,
Sarah

May 9, 2008

La Fondue

Dinner at La Fondue was fantastic! Cameron and I only wish we had gone there sooner and been able to enjoy the restaurant a few more times while we were here living in the Bay Area. That’s one thing we will miss about the Bay Area – the availability of great food and the food variety. We’re huge on sushi, but the times we’ve tried it in Sacramento, we haven’t been impressed. We have a little restaurant down the road from us that we frequent often; so often that we get complimentary edamame and they know our drink orders by heart – no need to ask us when seating us. We even have our own booth there!

Any how, back to La Fondue. We did get adventurous and tried the “Wild Thing” combination dinner. These four-course dinners are designed to feed 2 people – I think if you paid for two extra salads, they could really feed 4.

The meal started off with our salads. After we completed this course, our waiter prepared a sharp cheddar, bleu cheese, sun-dried tomato and beer melty mix at our table as our appetizer fondue. Here’s a pic of me trying to get the melted cheese to let go.

From there we were brought the main course – the Wild thing platter. Starting at the bottom left, here is Alligator, Buffalo, Crocodile, Ostrich, Venison, finished off at the top left with Wild Boar meat.

I quickly discovered that alligator and crocodile, while not fish themselves, definitely carry a fishy and salt-watery taste, not to mention the meat is very chewy. I credit the chewyness to these retiles’ lack in fat – they are all muscle. I didn’t like it enough to get past two pieces of each, so Cameron finished these selections off for me. My favorite meat from the selections was the buffalo, followed by the Wild Boar. Cameron and I expected more out of the venison, but as he informed me, it tasted farm-raised and therefore lacked the wild flavor. The ostrich was pretty mediocre; I don’t even remember how it tasted now.

Because it’s fondue, you “get” to do some of the cooking. I let Cameron take the reins for cooking our meal.

Like the little kid spatula?

The last course of the meal was of course chocolate! We chose a mixture of milk chocolate, mascarpone and peanut butter. We enjoyed dipping strawberries, cherries, marshmallows, bananas, and even cookie dough balls in this mixture. Overall, I had a nice, quiet birthday, which was well overdue considering how busy we have been and are going to be over the next couple of months. Cheers!


Love always,

Sarah

May 7, 2008

Wedding Details & Happy Birthday to Sarah!

The Wedding Invitations are out! We actually sent them out last week - ahead of my May 1 deadline. I know many of you are now receiving them. At the bottom you may have noticed a very long URL to our wedding web site, which is sponsored through The Knot web site. Since it is so long, and most of you who read our blog, probably already have the blog bookmarked, we thought we would provide a quick link from here to The Knot site. You can click on the headline of this post to get there, or you can click the link under our picture.

We will be updating the Wedding web site to provide some more information "about us" and provide a link back to this site. And yes, I know what is written in the "How we met" potion - our story of how we met is pretty lame, we met in school. Nothing really exciting there, so we had fun creating an "alternate" how we met and tried to cram as many fairy tales in it as we could :).

As for what is going on in our lives right now, today is my birthday. We're not doing anything too exciting - just like every other day, I'm at work. I am excited about dinner tonight. Cameron is taking me to a restaurant I have been dying to try since we moved here and I first heard about it - La Fondue. You should check out the menu. It has alligator, crocodile, venison and bison on it! I'm not sure we'll get that crazy, but I'll let you know :).

Tomorrow, after working in the morning, we're headed to Elk Grove for sanother round of house hunting. Kim sent us some listings last night and they look promising. I'm sure we'll find something just as good as the last house at the right price soon.

Love always,
Sarah

May 5, 2008

Bummer News and Weekend Adventures

Cameron and I received bad news on Thursday. What we had been led to believe by the Meritage Homes Sales Representative to be a done deal regarding the house we thought we had bought (even our realtor, Kim, was under the same impression), turned out not to be the case. The builder (Meritage Homes) has decided they aren’t making enough money on the sale, and have rescinded the purchase agreement, returned our deposit after they had already cashed it and are upping the price to a price we’re not willing to pay. So the hunt is back on. Cameron and I were not in the best of spirits at the end of last week, but we’ve finally decided it wasn’t meant to be and we know there is a house out there for us at the right price. Only issue now is we’ve lost a week where we could have been hunting and are under a bit of a time crunch to find a place soon. Kim is working hard for us and is now first visiting homes that meet our needs on her own to ensure it is in good shape before taking us to see it. We’re still moving forward with the packing up of our home while we continue the search. I guess the saying “what seems to good to be true” held true this time. Not exactly the experience you want as a first-time home buyer.

After receiving this news, Cameron flew off to Vegas for our friend Jonny’s bachelor party. Not exactly what he wanted to do after having our dreams crushed, but he came back in decent spirits last night, just overly exhausted. Seems the boys stayed up ‘til dawn each night. Other than that, what happened in Vegas has stayed in Vegas – not that I want to know what went on any how. As long as Jonny had a good time, that’s all that matters. Now the boys can start planning Cameron’s bachelor party, though I doubt another trip to Vegas is in the cards.

While Cameron was MIA in Vegas I spent Saturday with the girls. The day started off with picking up Alyssa, our friend Jeremy’s girlfriend (and what a wonderful girl she is) and driving the two hours to Sac to pick-up Lynde. From there we drove to Yuba City for Anna’s bridal shower (yes, she’s bachelor Jonny’s fiancĂ© and they get married in two weeks! Hurray!). The theme of the party was Tea party. The food was great with little tea sandwiches (crusts cut off, of course) and the cutest little chocolate mice! They were so cute, I found the recipe here and ….


A picture for you, too!

The travel to the shower and the shower took up most of the day. We stopped in Roseville on the way home to have a late dinner at my fave restaurant BJ’s Brewery. I didn’t get home until after midnight, but the day with the girls brought my spirits back and was worth the late hour arrival. I slept in late Sunday before proceeding with laundry, cleaning, packing and crafting. I’ve almost got everything done for the wedding on the craft front. I’ll take some pictures soon and show you!

Love always,
Sarah