Deja U-

This morning felt uncannily like Sept. 1 all over again. There we were, parked in front of our apartment complex garage with a U-Haul truck, chatting up a forgetful octogenarian. The only difference? We were loading the truck instead of unloading it. Oh, and it was about 60 degrees colder.

There’s that David Byrne song again. Same as it ever was, same as it ever was.

Eat Your Heart Our, Robin Leach

A couple of weeks ago, Tara came up with the bright idea of renting a U-Haul trailer to take some of the bigger items in the garage over to our new house. It’s an in-town move and just a few miles each way, so it made perfect economical sense. But then we had sleet, followed by freezing drizzle, and – the icing on the three-layer cake, if you will – topped with snow. Towing and navigating a trailer would have been a dicey proposition. Then, Tara came up with the even brighter idea of renting a 15′ truck instead of a trailer.

“We won’t have to drive to Nebraska to pick it up, will we?” I asked. Guess that wound is still fresh.

Luckily, the trip only took us five minutes this time versus three hours. We’d originally planned to do the move on Saturday, but decided to wait a day given the treacherous road conditions. This turned out to be a good plan.

I’d already had my share of ice. Friday, I loaded up my car with smaller items from the garage and made a couple of trips to the house. But our driveway is steep and was a solid sheet of ice. I salted it as best I could, but it was so slick, when I got to the top I began sliding backwards. I didn’t panic and somehow managed to stay on my feet. You can see my “tracks” below.

Kinda funny in retrospect, but not so much in the moment. I was sure I was going to fall on my ass and maybe break a bone or two.

At that point, I decided to turn on the heated driveway. I did mention that feature previously, right? The guy doing our inspection said they are so rare, the only houses he’s ever seen with them are million-dollar mansions. I can only surmise that, given their advancing years and the steep slope of the driveway, Dick and Carol decided to dip into their kids’ inheritances and have one installed. I have to admit I was pretty skeptical that it would even work, but within 90 minutes, it had loosened up about 2″ of solid ice enough for me to be able to attack it with a shovel.

Gotta admit, I was impressed. We had about an inch of snow Friday night, so we turned it on again Saturday morning and it melted it all. No shoveling required. It seems a little over-the-top in a Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous kind of way, but I’m not complaining. That thing is going to be a godsend.

Instead of emptying our garage yesterday, we ran to Home Depot and Target for paint and supplies and started on those projects. Thank god we got samples for some of the colors we were unsure of, because as much as I like flamingos, I do not want a pink basement. This was supposed to be closer to a brick red.

The house is obviously a work in progress and will be for some time, but that’s why we have this nice little overlap between our lease and mortgage.

Eek! A Mouse!

This morning we grabbed breakfast and then picked up our U-Haul bright and early. I’m sure our neighbors didn’t appreciate the noise, but c’est la vie. That’s apartment livin’ for you. Nancy, our elderly neighbor who once confused a garden trowel for a potato masher and is a confessed hater of trees, naturally came over to talk. She was surprised we were moving and happy to hear we had bought a house, even though we have told her these things twice already. Poor Nancy. She kept offering to help, but the woman is 81 years old. Did she really think we were going to have her schlepping 50-lb. boxes up the ramp of a U-Haul?!

We ended up making two trips to the house in about five hours, filling the truck both times. We made a pretty good dent in the garage, too; a lot of what’s left can be shuttled over in our cars, and we’re hiring two movers for a couple of hours to take the biggest, heaviest items over.

There was only one little hiccup we had to contend with. As we started sorting through our belongings, we noticed evidence of mice. This is really just a polite way of saying there was mouse shit all over. They’d gotten into a bag of black oil sunflower seed we’d stupidly stored away. Even worse, they made themselves right at home. Chewed through a bunch of books and clothes, making little nests. And then when we pulled open the drawer of a nightstand, we found the little rodent asshole culprit.

When Tara saw the mouse, she let out a high-pitched shriek. Followed a moment later by another one. I was so stunned by this turn of events, I burst out laughing. What a cliché, right? Screaming over the sight of a mouse is like slipping on a banana peel. It’s something you only ever see in a movie. I certainly didn’t expect it from my wife, who is as strong-willed and badass as they come. I’m surprised she didn’t leap atop a chair or try to swat it with a broom or something.

Isn’t it great how, after nearly 10 years of marriage, your partner can still surprise you?

At one point the damn mouse started climbing up the wall of the garage. I didn’t even know they could do that! I chased it into the canvas cover of my smoker. Perfect! I grabbed the cover and marched outside to the middle of the parking lot, confident that I’d finally outwitted the stupid varmint. I shook out the cover, he fell to the ground…

…and immediately made a beeline right back into our garage. Never mind the little patch of woods he could have scampered off into. We ran after the asshole, but who knows where he ended up. Final tally:

Mouse: 1
Mark: 0

Sadly, we had to throw a bunch of things away. Some paperback books, blankets, clothing, bedding, even our giant sock monkey.

It’s best if you don’t ask.

Mouse terrorist aside, the move went pretty well. Sure, I’m sore, but not nearly as much as I was following our move from Rapid City. There are no muscle sprains this time, so that’s a step in the right direction.

Lots of work still to do, of course. We plan to head over to the house every day after work this week, mostly painting. We need to get that done before the flooring is installed, approximately six weeks out. The nice thing is, once all the painting is finished, we can move in any time.

Trust me, spending hours at the house and then coming home to this tiny subterranean apartment with rodent-infested garages and tree-despising neighbors on the verge of dementia isn’t going to cut it for long.

56 thoughts on “Deja U-

  1. To hell with the mice and the ice… you have a heated driveway! I’ve never known anyone who had a heated driveway. That’s like wearing mink lined underwear and using diamonds for checkers. Holy Hell man! You are living the dream.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a heated driveway. How does it even work?! Coils, I suppose. I’m also sure it costs an arm and a leg in electricity, so most of the time, we’ll still rely on the snow blower and shovels. But on the laziest (or stormiest) of days, yeah…we’ll just flip that switch and let ‘er do the work!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Heated driveways are usually done with a series of cables imbedded in the concrete though there are mats as well. When you reach a certain age? It will pay for itself with all the chiropractor appointments you’ll skip.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s no chance of some weird electrocution possibility is there with that driveway? I know- stop being a pessimist Deb- but that’s a lot of water in various forms to put over a really large electrical heating unit…and wires do fray sometimes especially if you missed one tiny mouse baby hiding deep within a box.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did a bit of research on this and there are virtually no safety issues with heated driveways. The only real drawback is the cost. And because you’re cutting back on the amount of salt and ice melting products used, you’re helping out the environment. Win/win for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never heard of a heated driveway in my life–but then they aren’t needed here. Mice are such pests and destroy whatever they get into. Sorry that you lost some stuff to the little rodent(s).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Where there’s one, there’s probably a bunch. But we took away their food source and most of the places they’d bedded down in, so hopefully that’ll solve the problem. Granted, a little late…


      1. Maybe you should just make a little home for him, perhaps a cage, and let him be your pet. Keep him all warm and snuggly with your lava lamps and records nearby. Train him to join your card games and drink Bloody Marys. You never know, Mark. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess when they say “make tracks” they didn’t mean slide marks like in your driveway? So impressed you stayed on your feet. And a heated driveway. Wowza!

    Love that Tara can still surprise you and that you two are well on your way to your beautiful new home!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The heated driveway is a godsend! I would kill to have one here, as our driveway is long and steep. I have no idea what they cost or how they work. Maybe it’s installed before the actual driveway is put in?

    Ugh on the mouse. They are so gross. We get them in our basement and had one due in our furnace air cleaner last month. Don’t ask.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did some research and, while the cost obviously depends on the length of your driveway, it looked like the average installation price is between $13K and $16K. Definitely a luxury (though a great one if you can afford it).


  6. I have never heard of a heated driveway, but it’s clearly brilliant. Mice are inevitable–you will need some murder mittens for your new place by next winter for sure. (Just make sure those are indoor murder mittens since you’re near a bird/ wildlife area.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Murder mittens? Are those a real thing??

      Oddly enough, we never had a single mouse in Rapid City. Vancouver, WA was another story. I used to deal with them all the time. During one particularly bad stretch, I killed 13 with peanut butter-laced mousetraps and a 14th with a broom in the sink. That one was the worst.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That sweet little mouse was looking for a warm spot over winter, and he heard you had a heated driveway! WOW. I’ve never heard of that, and what a great asset it will be for you guys.
    *Suz googling air-conditioned driveways* NOPE. No such luck here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Especially a giant sock monkey gifted to Tara by my daughter. You just can’t replace priceless memories like those. Stupid mice.

      I guess I only thought I mentioned the heated driveway before, because it seems to be news to all my readers. My bad!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A heated driveway! Oh you buried the lede. My goodness, that is impressive. As for the mouse… mice are not my friends and I hope you only meet the one. Glad to know you’ve moved in with relative ease.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my experience, there is never just one mouse. I’m hoping the others scampered away instead of, you know…hitchhiking their way over to our new place. We checked all the boxes and bins very carefully before transporting them over, but you never know.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The heated driveway is absolutely awesome. What a difference that would have made for us over the years, especially at one location where we had a l-o-n-g driveway. I’m not a big mouse fan at all (aside from Mickey). In any event, the new home is coming along as the painting is well underway and soon you’ll be in it full-time!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had no idea that you could even get a heated driveway, that sounds like the perfect touch of luxury. Go Dick & Carol indeed!

    For one moment I thought that book was called Bob & Carol and Dick & Alice and I wondered. Except it turns out Dick was Ted. Never mind… nothing would’ve surprised me if that had indeed turned out to be true and Dick & Carol were the inspiration for a novel 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have been told that one of the perquisites of living in downtown Kalamazoo is that you can continue to take outdoor walks because the sidewalks are heated. Could be something to consider if I ever take a tumble on the icy sidewalks in my current complex, or if I really do follow through on the threat to actually take a walk outdoors at anytime in the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. There are very few snow days in Greensboro, NC. I never heard of a heated driveway. At my age, I can’t shovel even just a few inch snow from my driveway. Can be snowed in for a few days and that can be a very serious inconvenience. A heated driveway would be a wonderful blessing but it’s not gonna happen.

    Liked by 1 person

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