How do I even begin to describe the last three days? Well, I don't have pictures yet and if you're brave enough to read this whole thing, you'll know why. They'll come soon enough.
I need to preface this story with a few concerns I had before coming to San Leandro. The whole reason why we're out here is for me to do my Suzuki training and because an apartment had opened up on the waiting list we've been on since October (for when we move here in the fall), we decided to stay here instead. Because I'm nursing Sophie I was worried that my class would interfere with her feeding schedule. (I use the term "schedule" very loosely.) The days are broken up into a 4-hour class, followed by a 1-hour break, then another 2-hours for observing lessons. Sophie is just beginning to go 3 hours between day feedings, so I had a brilliant plan to pump breastmilk a day ahead so she could eat during my long class session. I had some that I had frozen, so we put it in a cooler with an ice pack until we got to San Leandro and I could stick it in the fridge.
Well, assuming we would have a fridge was my first mistake. We got into San Leandro at about 8:30 PM on Monday and went directly to Damian's office (our manager). We read through all the contracts and rules and he made a comment that the guy who lived in the place before us had cut about an inch off of the bottom of some cabinets so he could fit his fridge in. (Instead of unscrewing them from the wall and moving them up.)
I said to Damian, "Oh, the guy brought his own fridge?"
"Ya, none of the aparments are furnished."
"You mean appliances, too? Like fridges, stoves and stuff?"
A few minutes later in the conversation, I also found out that it didn't have a dishwasher or a garbage disposal either. That was a shock. This was the first aparment I had lived in that didn't have at least a fridge and a stove. We expected that we would provide our own washer and dryer, but this absolutely floored me. Then I thought about the breastmilk in the cooler and panicked a little.
We walked into the apartment and the first thing I noticed was the ugliest carpet in the world. Everywhere. That was really disappointing to me because I had expected hardwood floors. The unit we saw last summer had lots of hardwood and the guy who lived there said that most of the units have hardwood or a combination with carpet. Ours has all carpet, except for linoleum in the kitchen and bathroom. On the bright side, the carpet was really clean. Damian had shampooed it twice and made sure the whole apartment was spick and span. This is actually the cleanest apartment I think I've moved into. I don't feel like I need to wipe anything down. That night we set up Sophie's bed and our air mattress and started to talk about how the next day would go, with me driving back and forth and him taking care of Sophie. I was really worried that she wouldn't be satisfied with the milk that I had saved for her and that she would be screaming here at home with poor Steve totally helpless and unable to feed her more. That on top the need we had to find a fridge and stove as soon as possible, plus the slight anxiety I had about starting (and finding) my Suzuki class and being in a city where I didn't know my way around, just broke me. I burst into tears for a few minutes, and then I was better.
Tuesday morning I started my class and Steve stayed home with Sophie to do some appliance research. We decided that instead of using more of our savings to splurge on new appliances that we would get some decent used ones and save some money. So Steve hunted on Craigslist that day and we found a decent Whirlpool gas stove that someone was giving away for free in the area. YAY! That was a good start!
This morning Steve rented a truck to go pick up the stove and to go to San Francisco to get his scooter. We figured since we only had the truck until tomorrow morning at 7, we should probably look for a fridge, too. Steve was still in San Francisco when I got home from class, so I jumped on Craigslist and found a guy who was selling a fridge, a washer/dryer set and a BBQ grill. All for $700. Not bad at all. Everything was Kenmore and in really good shape as far as I could tell from the pictures. The next few hours went like this:
5:00 I emailed the guy and asked him for dimensions.
6:00 He emailed me back with dimensions, so I called Steve and we decided we would take the whole lot. (We'd been talking about getting a real grill when we got here since we use our little one so much.) I emailed the guy back and told him we wanted to pick everything up tonight, if possible.
6:45 No response from the guy yet. He lives about an hour from where our place is and about 45 minutes from where Steve was. Because we had to pay for the rental truck by the mile, we decide to both start driving up there from where we were and meet in the hopes that he'll write us back with an address within the hour. I set up my little command station in the passenger side of the car which included a map of the bay area, my laptop equipped with my nifty little Sprint card, and my cell phone. Both plugged into an Ac/DC adaptor so I wouldn't lose power. I opened up my Gmail account, so I could watch for his email while I was driving. (Hey, it's not that dangerous. All I had to do was hit F5 to refresh the page :))
7:15 Running around Target trying to find rope, which I didn't end up finding.
7:45 Driving on the freeway, halfway to where Steve and I had planned to meet. No response from the guy yet, so I start praying in my head that this will work out because we had decided against buying brand new stuff. I'm sure the Lord smiles on frugality, so I thought He should smile on us, too.
7:50 Received the following email from the guy:
"Sorry. We just sold the washer and dryer, and actually need the refrigerator until next week."
My first thought was, "WHAT THE?! When you pray really hard for things, they're supposed to work out!! And I'm 30 minutes from home for no reason!!" I wasn't blaming God or anything. I was just upset.
8:00 Met up with Steve and we talked about what we should do. I suggested that since we've got the truck, to try to find a fridge right then. I start looking at Craigslist and found a fridge and a washer/dryer set. They were listed by different people, but both were within 10 minutes of where we were staying. We arrange times to pick everything up, then we took off back where we came from with Steve leading the way with his trusty little GPS to both homes. (It was about this time that Steve informed me that we were out of minutes until Sunday.)
8:30 Picked up the fridge.
9:15 Steve dropped me off at home so I could feed Sophie. I was so proud of her. She slept through all of this and went 4 hours before she was hungry again.
Now it's 11:45 and Steve just got home with the washer and dryer. They weren't in as good of shape as we expected, but they'll work fine.
I got to thinking about all of this and the first thing that occurred to me was that we spent $525 on a fridge and a washer and dryer. If that other deal would have gone through, we would have spent $700. We ended up spending $175 less and maybe God was telling us we really didn't need a BBQ grill right now.
Another thing that occurred to me was how awesome technology is. In a matter of a few hours, we were able to get three major appliances in two cities in about three hours. And we did all of this remotely and wirelessly. I would like to thank the laptop, Sprint mobile broadband, the cell phones, the AC/DC adaptor, the GPS and Google Maps.
Kip knew what he was talking about.