Debrief and Decompression

On Saturday, I finally jetted out of the East Coast madness aka my visit with the parentals. Holy crap, that was a long-ass week. I’m telling you: I can’t spend longer than 5 days with my parents. It’s just too damn hard tackling an endless list of things to do while also being nagged nonstop. Fuck man, just like some Rover doggie parents, they are quite particular and intense.

On the morning of my departure, I still had a shit ton of space left in my suitcase, so I tried to fill it with fragile belongings taken out of storage in my parents’ basement: not super important or sentimental stuff, but I figured if I don’t recover any value for these items via Operation Downsize, I might as well risk personal inconvenience and possible damage to shuttle things home where we can use them. So I crammed in some nice wine glasses (gifts from our wedding), Murano glass tumblers, decorative glass fish, a vintage Apple PowerBook 150 (circa 1995) for my EBay store, a Chinese basket, etc… To my surprise, everything but two wine glasses survived! Sometimes, I impress myself. Haha.

After I was all packed up, we headed over to the townhouse, where construction had started a few days earlier. The contractor put down the luxury vinyl flooring in the kitchen. It’s crazy all the new building and construction materials that have become available over time. Back in the day, the options were either hardwood, tile, or vinyl. Now, they have cork and bamboo and engineered woods, plus this deluxe vinyl that’s actually set with real grout between the tiles– it’s super durable but has the look and relief of real tile. The contractor also planned to install some new dome lights and start on the spackling/drywall repair. We’re on track for listing by the end of July! Meanwhile, for my parents’ house, Dad is now aiming to get it on the market in spring 2017 instead of August 2016. Based on the advice of two realtors, there is still a ton of work beforehand: lots of downsizing/clearing out the extraneous stuff plus kitchen updates and bathroom renovations. In reviewing all the comps in their price range, their house is in great condition but the interiors are definitely outdated, which translates to “poor showing” status.

In the final days of my stay, I def clashed with my parents over their continued resistance and overall inefficiency with this process, but at the end of the day, this is their house and these decisions are theirs to make. I made decent progress but at this point, the best I can hope for is that they wear themselves out trying to do everything without professional help. Then,I’ll go in, cherry-pick the items to keep, throw those items into storage or ship it to CA, and bring in the estate sales people to clear the place out. The realtor says houses of this size typically sit on the market for 6-8 months. So at best, Operation Downsize and Operation Overseas will still take well over a year.

After stopping by the townhouse, we headed straight for the airport. Despite my vow to stop arriving at the airport so damn early, I was with my parents after all, which means I still got to BWI two hours ahead of my flight. It was a full flight, and as I came down the jet bridge, I was horrified to see a huge pile of strollers, baby seats, and carriers. Sure enough, as soon as I boarded, I could see why. This flight was like 30% babies and toddlers. Thank goodness I replaced the batteries in my noise-cancelling headphones. Of course, as soon as everyone boarded, there was a mechanical issue, so we sat on the Tarmac for over an hour. Ugh. Air travel. So unglamorous.

During the flight, I was pretty pooped, but I tried really hard to stay awake so I could get back onto my west coast time zone. To keep myself awake, I tried to move the brain with Sudoku. I suck at that shit. Then, I tried the crossword puzzle. To my amazement, I actually completed the whole thing– first time ever in my life!!

I then reviewed my gigantic to do lists bc I’m an ESTJ and that’s the kind of shit that I do. Overall, I made inroads in several key areas. Yes, my list is categorized. Here’s a flavor of my tasks for the parentals.

Tech support
Replaced bedroom CRT with grandpa’s HDTV: added new digital box, paired remotes, adjusted picture
Troubleshot internet/phone issues with Comcast. Negotiated $100/month discount on bill
Replaced batteries in cordless phones; deleted unaccessed voicemail messages since 2013
Set up Comcast email account to check voice mail remotely and manage robocalls
Showed dad how to forward home phone calls to his iPhone
Set up multifunction machine to scan documents and print wirelessly
Set up home security camera monitoring
Reformatted old laptops and sold them on eBay
Troubleshot wonky garage door opener

House Cleanout
Took pictures of furnishings and free stuff for inventory, Craigslist, and Freecycle
Freecycled: lawn mower + plow + sweeper, waiting room chairs, old stereo, a gabillion baskets, boxspring/mattress, office chair, printer, etc.
Organized piles in garage for staging waste, e-waste, recycling, and donations
Sold grandpa’s car

Vendor Meetings
Met with realtor for townhouse renovation and primary residence walk-through
Called auction house/consignment shop
Met with estate sales team
Got quotes for dumpster rentals, storage pods, movers, and shipping to CA
Met with AAA agent to get info on tours and trip packages

Dad’s friends
Dad’s former office manager (and friend)… She has known me since I was a kid!!
In laws
Day trip to Gettysburg, PA

Email correspondences
Documentation/record keeping
Digitized important files
Credit card application
United change fees
Driving Miss Daisy

There’s still a lot to do, but I’m taking a break and returning my focus to real estate class.

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