Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So that's what that thing is for ...

With the invention of the CamelBack and other ingenious (although nasty-tasting) hydration devices, I was beginning to think those little deely-bobs on bike frames would become extinct. But today, I was feeling quite virtuous (there's that word, Val) and decided to ride my bike to the grocery store. [Of course, I opted against riding uphill to the Safeway and instead took the flat-ish route to Vitamin Cottage/Natural Grocer. My laziness cost me at least $20 extra in the high-end organic super-duper groceries. But anyway ...] After stuffing my backpack full of goodies, I realized I did not have room for the bottle of wine I planned to purchase. But no worries, "old" technology to the rescue:

Glad to say I made it safely home, although I dodged every bump possible to ensure that my precious cargo did not shatter.

Pourquoi France?

Or is it, Pourquoi la France? Either way, I realize we never really explained what the heck we are doing selling our house and moving. Well, if this isn't reason enough:

(I mean, come on, isn't that beautiful and quaint and everything the French Alps should be?) I'll see if I can come up with a better explanation. Mark is actually better at explaining all this, but he is off to help Max install wood floors in Suzy's condo. Soooo, here goes ...

It all started at Thanksgiving, when we were getting ready to break the news to my folks that we were seriously considering moving to Tasmania (yes, in Australia). Before we had really broached the subject, Mark got a call from Neil "Willy" Baxter from somewhere in France. Willy had been living in the town of Samoens, France, off and on for the past two years and he thought it had great potential for some business opportunities, not to mention property investment. Mark and Willy have wanted to work together for ages, so perhaps this was the big chance.

Mark was intrigued, as was I (not only by the thought of moving there but also by the idea of finally getting a First World vacation, with real toilets and showers and everything!). So we immediately made plans to visit in February. Once there, we fell in love with the town. Mark and Catherine and Willy have been hammering out their business plan ever since. Essentially they will be running a high-end tourist operation geared toward Europeans (mainly the strong-pound-loving Brits).

The paperwork is being completed this week, and then Mark will apply for his visa. The plan is to be there by September (perhaps Mark might go sooner). In the meantime, we will most likely be living in Dallas once the house is sold (more on that subject to be posted soon). Yes, Dallas ... in the summertime. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

And the most important question:

Yes, Kai will be going with us. (Doesn't he look just thrilled at the prospect?)

However, we are torn as to what to do with little old Chester. Anyone want to give a loving home to our most adorable eighteen-year-old cat??

Monday, April 21, 2008

Where are the Joffes, indeed?

My goodness, has it really been 10 days since our last post. Time flies when you are floating down the river! Our trip down the San Juan was great, although not quite the totally relaxing experience we were hoping for. A freezing first night in camp after a 10-hour drive was not exactly welcoming, but Mr. Sun came out and warmed us up during the rigging of the boats. The first two days on the river were spectacular. Lots of drifting and floating and beer drinking and sunning. Aaaahhhhh, heaven! And the food was all delish!

On Day 3, however, the Evil SOB Wind came from downstream and would not let up, not even for a second. So what was supposed to be our easy, don't-even-put-the-oars-in-the-water day became a horrendous 9-mile slog down the river. Thanks to all the men (and Liane) for getting us downstream!! I hope someone got pictures of our five-boat barge!

Then the next day was over before we knew it and it was time to derig. The trip home started out fine, but once we hit Moab, we discovered that the mountains between us and home were being hit by a spring snow. James and Mark were our champions and got us safely over two passes, all while towing a 16-foot trailer. We were in bed by 4 a.m. Thursday. Today, Monday, I feel like I am almost recovered from the ordeal, and I didn't even drive or row!

But, really, it was great and a fantastic group of people, including two stellar six-year-olds ... yes, you, Katya and Pearl.

Pearl and Katya
(and Chris and Greg)

For now, I must get back to work.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Unveiling

Well, I though I had a minute to upload some of our piddly photos, but time ran out. Instead we have our official listing that makes our house look spectacular, in my humble opinion. Actually it looks way bigger and way better than I could imagine, and I live in it. So ... check it out. Our real estate agent hasn't input all the details, but it looks pretty good to me. Anyone in the market for a move-in-ready home in Lakewood, CO? Close to the open space. Super easy access to the city and the mountains. As they say, location, location, location. Mark has already "shown" the house tonight to people who were snooping around the foreclosing HUD home next to us.

It's 12:30 a.m. Saturday and we are finally home from a crazy day of prepping and cooking for the river. Probably no news from us until we get back. Have a GREAT week everyone and hope it doesn't snow/rain on the dock installation all you Green Pond folks!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Another quickie

Work is done, the house is pretty much clean (steam-cleaned the carpets and then Kai came in with muddy paws ... rascal). Now I'm working on the menu for our big river trip. As of Sunday, we will be here (the Goosenecks section of the San Juan River in Utah):

doing a lot of this (i.e., relaxing)
I'll see if I can finally post some pictures tonight in between making salsa, chili, chicken, etc., and packing up our gear.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Just a Quickie

Photos are coming, really they are. Just not tonight. If anything, I'll be able to post a link to our site soon enough. The house is clean and barren and has had its photo shoot. It goes on the market on Friday. Eek!

Back to work work.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Almost there

I know you are all waiting with bated breath about how everything is going. How did you survive 5 days without a post from the Joffes? Well, we have been busy, busy, busy. So busy, I haven't had a chance to download any after pictures. The weekend was a painting party. Sometimes a painting panic. So much work to paint a house. Neighbor Bill did a fantastic job, even with his two sorry assistants (Mark and me) trying to keep one step ahead of his magic painting gun, taping, masking, sanding, caulking. But it all came out well. All that's left is to finish off spraying the interior doors and then stain the front door. Somehow we will get that done today and get all the doors back in their respective places (which will be tricky, as they are now all white rather than some dark brown, some splotchy white, and some unfinished wood).

We did take pictures, and I will get those up soon. Wednesday is P-T-H-O-T-M-Day (put the house on the market day), so all must be finished by then. Then the next posts will be about the joys of floating down the San Juan with a Tecate in both hands and good times around the campfire. Aaaaahhhhh, so looking forward to it, but no idea how we are going to get from here to there in just 5 days!!

Happy New Beer's Eve!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

To Live and Die by the List

Whew, another day down. After a lovely breakfast with Neighbor Nel and Neighbor/real estate agent Peggy at Newbarry's Cafe, it was right into the thick of it. I was determined to pare this down:

Don't know if that will come out in a larger version, but that is our list--color-coded, even! Gray is for Mark, blue is for me, and red is for Neighbor Bill the Painter. (Black is TBD.) The trouble with this list is that it is not getting any shorter. Everday we check things off, and at the end of the day, I go to my trusty laptop, delete all the completed entries, and then add about 5 more entries for each deleted one. I am bound and determined to keep it all to one page, even if it requires 6 point type and no margins.

Note: Yes, I have many more entries than Mark, but his are "big" jobs, like climbing on big, tall ladders and scraping caulk into the cracks and seams of the soffetts. Mine entail cleaning the stove and fridge and ever more painting!

Tonight I get to go through all my CDs and magazines and figure out what to get rid of and what to keep (almost everything is in the former category). Our house is rapidly losing any personality, as we take down family photos, get rid of knick-knacks, etc., etc. It's kind of sad to see, but I know we'll be establishing our personality in another home soon enough.

Today's wouldn't-it-be-nice invention: a self-cleaning fridge. I would happily remove all my food from the fridge if then, after that, all I had to do was seal it up and push a button to have all the gunk and who-knows-what-all-else removed. Of course, it would also be nice if the self-cleaning part of our oven actually worked rather than making this horrific grinding noise when I turn it on.

(Yeah, poor me. Having to suffer through the horribleness of actually having to scrub something to get it clean.)

Speaking of cleaning, tomorrow is a big day: We actually have a cleaning lady coming in to get this place immaculate. We aren't quite ready for her, but we are certainly creating a big, big mess for her to work on. I'm even resisting the urge to clean the house so that the cleaning lady won't see how dirty it is.

Well, off to purge some more.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Laissez les bon temps rouler

Man, oh, man, it is always a party at the Joffes. Tonight we had Neighbor Bill over here helping Mark prep the house for painting. Scotty's neighbor Jess's brother, Chris (who I believe might be from New Orleans and who has some wonderfully hilarious stories--he's even got a funny story about a box of rags--but who is also taking 6 hours to complete a job and now he's coming back tomorrow), is trying to get the downdraft vent for our new stove working and venting outside. Mark has been pounding and scraping away (in between various phone calls and answering Bill and Chris's questions). I was either up on the roof scraping out the gutters or down in the basement painting more walls.

Good times, let me tell you! So I'm taking a break to fill you all in on the fun. Don't you wish you were here (we do!!! .... more slave labor).

Pizzas and Dr. Pepper are on their way, although I might be opting for the Corona with lime at this point.

Here are some belated photos (rated PG for partial nudity and man-on-man gyrations):

Friendly neighborhood slave labor

Mark said he was grinding away so hard
he didn't even fell Paul, uh, grinding away behind him.

Paul and Max enjoying the (ahem) view.

Not quite finished, but purty, ain't it?