Saturday was spent scrubbing every surface and cupboard and wall with some wonderful friends. Angela and Robin showed up first thing along with my sister Kelly. Kelly, the queen organizer, had made a detailed two-page list of everything to be cleaned and her housewarming gift to us was all the cleaning products we could possibly need. We worked on the kitchen first - Angela stretched to reach the highest shelves and even got just about right into the oven in her goal to scrub it clean. Kelly scrubbed walls and shelves so she could lay lovely fruit-themed shelf paper in all my cupboards, drawers and pantry. Robin patiently scrubbed walls, windows, and even crawled almost completely into huge dark cabinets. I cleaned out drawers, scrubbed cabinet doors, cleaned all three bathrooms, including all the toilets and also wiped down walls.
Meanwhile, Josh and his parents got to work on the yard. His parents had offered to do our landscaping and share some of the lovely plants from their backyard since they will be moving later this year and hated to leave them all. His dad quickly dug up the ugly cactus front the front walkway and his mom pruned our hugely overgrown rose bushes. They weeded, raked, and basically made the front yard so much lovelier. Josh was able to mow the lawn, clean the garage and thanks to our friend Jerry, was also able to trim the edges of the yard with a weed whacker.
Soon after Josh's parents headed home, our dear friends Melissa and Alicia arrived with little welcoming gifts and were prepared to immediately get to work helping us clean. They even took some time to run get lunch for everyone and decided to bless us even more by paying for it themselves, even though we had planned to pay. With their help added to everyone else, now also including Angela's husband Jerry and their son Michael, we were able to clean the entire house. Michael helped by scrubbing the banisters and some stariway walls, then protected us from the bad guys with a Star tours play gun we found hidden in a cupboard. Melissa and Alicia helped me to completely scrub the upstairs bathrooms along with mopping high walls and scrubbing windows. By 4pm, we had accomplished everything on Kelly's list - we were tired, sore and sweaty, but we were finished. On the way home, I had a bit of an emotional breakdown and just sobbed happy and thankful tears thinking about my wonderful friends who were willing to give up their day off to help me clean my beautiful, once dirty and now clean, house.
Saturday evening we celebrated our becoming homeowners with a big dinner at our favorite once-in-awhile restaurant Outback Steakhouse. Since my grandparents are visiting to help Mom & Dad while Dad is recovering from his surgery they were also able to join us along with my parents, and Kelly & David and the kids. We had a wonderful dinner (I sure do love their steak, bread, and broccoli) with wonderful fellowship. What an amazing God we serve!
Then Josh and I decided to head to PetSmart to buy a new kitten. We had always wanted another cat, but in our apartment we were limited to just the one. We really wanted an all white kitten since our cat Cyrano is all black and we were trusting that God would provide just the right pet for us when we were able to get one. Well, we got a bit more than we bargained for! :) There were two all white female kittens - littermates, about 9 weeks old and one was deaf. The pet adoption lady really wanted her to find a good home and though we intended to get just one, we decided why not? So Talia and Marilyn Monroe became part of our family.
Talia (closer to me) loves to snuggle and bite my chin (why?), loves to eat and often pushes her sister aside to have the food to herself, and can be a little whiny when she wants attention.
Marilyn Monroe is deaf, wears a pink collar with a bell, is curious and fearless, loves to attack her sister and has a loud purr which she does the minute you pay her any attention.
They have not been properly introduced to Cyrano yet, but they currently live in my closet and bathroom at the apartment so he can hear and smell them through the door. Once we are moved into the house, we plan to introduce them to him while he is in his carrier and then let them roam the house together. We will leave the kittens closed up in a room when we are at work or out of the house until we can trust them all together.
After church on Sunday, we were able to borrow a power washer from our realtor Rob and Josh spent the afternoon cleaning the outside of the house. I spent that time playing with the kittens and snuggling them so they could get used to me. This week we have spent time in the evenings packing more boxes, loving on the kittens and trying to get prepared for the big move on Saturday.
On Tuesday, we had the carpets cleaned. Though they ended up coming much later than expected, and it ended up costing more than we thought due to some very tough stains, we now have clean carpet throughout the house and it looks so much better than it had. Wednesday, Kelly helped us by packing all the guest bathroom and our Tupperware cabinet in the kitchen. I also packed everything else non-breakable in the kitchen and we took a load over to the house and spent some time putting it all away. So part of the kitchen is done, and Kelly got the upstairs guest bathroom completely decorated and pretty. Josh spent that time placing our computers, TV's and phones around the house in preparation for the Verizon guy to connect our phone, internet, cable and DVR throughout the house on Thursday.
We still have so much to pack and it can seem quite overwhelming to me at times. But, I spent yesterday afternoon packing the pantry and was able to put 4 bags of food aside to take to our church pantry and unfortunately had to throw away a lot of past-expiration date food (even back to 2005) as well. Josh worked on the kitchen making sure all the dirty dishes either went into the dishwasher, or he hand-washed it. Kelly came over and we took down all the pictures in the hall, dining room, living room and office and packed those up. Then we packed all the breakables from the curio cabinet in Josh's dresser drawers, using his clean clothes to cushion them.
Today we plan to pack up my bathroom and closet, the china hutch using my clean clothes in my dresser drawers, and at least the rest of the kitchen. His parents are coming over to help take loads of boxes to the new house and put things away. Josh will pick up the U-Haul truck this afternoon and our apartment neighbor Robby, who is a handyman, is going to help him fix some little issues around the house - replacing acrylic panels from the kitchen and bathroom light fixtures, buying new lightbulbs, fixing the downstairs toilet and some faucets that leak. Tonight our Bible Study group will help us with more packing, taking stuff to the house and putting it away.
Tomorrow is the big move and we should have 7-10 people there to help out. Due to prior plans, I will not be able to be there the whole time, but thankfully Angela has offered to take over for me and direct the movers as to where furniture and such will go in the new house. Josh will pick someone to direct movers in the apartment so he can pack the truck which he is very good at using the space wisely and efficiently. We hope to get it all done by the afternoon. We will spend our first night in our new house tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it finally feeling real...we own a house and we live in it, you know? :)
I'm sure over the next few weeks, months, and years we will find many things that need fixing, replacing, redecorating, etc but I still can't believe how quickly we became homeowners. Just 6 months ago I was so dead set against buying a house and didn't think there was any way we could afford it and why did we need to even try. But God spoke to my heart at a little church in central CA and reminded me that I needed to put all my trust in Him and that if it was time for a house then He would make it clear to us and He would provide a way. And oh how He did! We have been truly blessed and it's been so clear from that moment that this is what God had planned for us - every door opened and everything came together to become this miracle of a new beginning for us. I am so thankful and grateful and happy...God is soooooo good, all the time!