Today I will finish getting us out of the lake house. I know. I can’t believe it either. We’re still not out.
I am heading over at 5:30 AM to work. I have worked sixteen-hour days for a long time now. I think I have about four hours of packing and schlepping left. The office, the attic, the basement. My prayer is to get it done by 10 AM, when I believe the tour of the place is planned.
Yesterday I worked steadily all day but unexpectedly my teenaged helper Nick did not arrive until noon. I had to leave at 2 PM. However in those two hours he, Lucy, and I managed to move items from the garage to reach the desirable pieces, carry my mother’s heavy secretary upstairs to our room, and carry our chest freezer out of the lake house basement. Having the latter two big jobs done is a huge weight off my mind. The only really heavy item left is DH’s old TV. I imagine I can get it down the stairs one step at a time.
In the midst of everything I received a call from the bank. I was grimy and sweaty and standing in the lake house woodshed at the time. The appraiser wanted to come out to appraise the new house for our mortgage.
I squeaked in fright.
“The house isn’t quite finished?” he asked.
Hmm. No siding. No finished porches, no side porches built at all. No finished bathrooms. No counters. No cabinet pulls. No closets. No finished interior stairs. Only half the interior lights, doors, and doorknobs. No tiled floors. No exterior painting.
I didn’t know what to say, so I told him I would call him back.
When I spoke to him, my builder was not troubled. Nick is a sunny optimist by nature. “The only things left are the little cosmetic stuff, and the siding. That shouldn’t count for an appraisal.”
He looked disconcerted. “Oh, well, that will only take a few days.”
I called my mortgage officer. He too was initially unworried. “Nick tells me that there’s just a short punchlist left.”
Apologetically I recited the list.
“Oh, wow. Hmmm. That’s quite a bit different. Let me talk to my underwriter, who is my superior, and I’ll call you back.”
I unloaded the most recent haul of boxes and drove to a farm an hour away to pick up my new foster bull calf. He’s a Milking Shorthorn cross, copper red with a pink nose. He’s also very tall. At two days old he could barely fit in the dog crate. At the moment, unoriginally, I’m calling him Big Red.
The bank called back on my way home. The appraisal has to be delayed two weeks. I am supposed to “light a fire under” my builder and get all the rest of the work done by then. It’s going to be very tight to meet our closing date of August 13. If we don’t meet it, there will be a stiff financial penalty. Stay calm, I told myself.
I unloaded Red at the barn, raced into town to pick up the dogs before the vet closed, and then came back to guide Red through his first nursing on Moxie.
After two days of bottles, Red was slow to catch on. Patiently I milked a teat in a stream over his muzzle and lips. He bucked and reared to get away but I held him tightly. For ten minutes we struggled. I would stuff the teat into his mouth and he’d let it lie there, the milk drooling out. At long last the penny dropped. Milk! It comes from here! It’s a milk bar! His tail lashed with delight. He was so excited that between ecstatic suckles he kept dropping the teat and then searching for it all over the rest of her body in a frenzy of sucking. Is it her elbow? No. Is it her brisket? No. I’d haul him back to the proper position and he’d suckle some more, quivering with joy.
I had been too busy to drive to the city to get a shower curtain rod. (Perhaps tomorrow.) Once the barn shut for the night, Lucy and I drove to the lake house for a last wash before a late supper. Now I’m heading back to pack some more.