Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fully Functional, Almost 

Why haven't I posted on the adventure of moving, you ask? Okay, so maybe given my recent lack of posts in general you haven't been asking, but I'm on vacation this week, so you'd think I'd be posting. So why have I not? Because the cable was installed on Monday and worked for a short while, then fritzed. I called Comcast on my cell phone, because the phone wasn't working either. The phone wasn't working because we have Verizon but the previous owners apparently switched to RCN for their phone and RCN screwed up the wires, so Verizon had to come out on Tuesday to fix all the connections. So back to Monday afternoon, when I called Comcast on my cellphone to have them come back. They said he'd be back by 7:00 pm. At 8:00 pm I called, and they informed me that he had called at 7:20 "to confirm the appointment" and since we didn't answer, he figured we weren't home and he cancelled the visit. Yeah, they called the Verizon number which I had told them wasn't working and that they should call my cell. So we got cable scheduled for today. Everything appears to be working now: phones, Tivos (some reprogramming yet to be done on one...) and broadband. Of course, now we've got Sears coming on Monday to look at the dishwasher that isn't dispensing soap and is probably 20 years old, and the gas dryer that takes 2.5 hours to dry a load, and which is probably 25 years old. We got the GMAC warranty on various appliances and home systems, so hopefully these two appliances will be beyond repair and we'll get new ones for the price of the deductible!!!! I can hope, anyway.

So, now it's back to the unpacking. We've installed a pot rack, new lights and shelving in the kitchen, and I'm about to return to the downstairs pantry to move the shelf that the previous owners for some reason had almost at ceiling height. Not very practical.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 3:43 PM
Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Big Day! 

The big day has finally arrived, and we'll be leaving the apartment and the trashy neighbors and their adolescent thugs, and movin' on up to the north side. Spackling is done and the packing is done except for some electronics. The Girl is up, we're both showered (note the time of this post, and it's Saturday, and there's no golf involved) and ready to go. I'm hitting the electronics (no Battlestar Galactica for me until the tv's are hooked up at the new place), and The Girl is heading out to procure us some breakfast and coffee beverages. McDonald's Newman's Own for The Girl, Starbucks eggnogg latte for me. Yum!

The cell phone is charging, so I'll post up some moving day progress photos throughout the many-hours long event. We have a binding estimate with the movers, so if it goes over their estimated 10 hours, our cost doesn't go up. They arrive at 8:30, so hopefully we'll be done by 6:30 this evening. Then it's off to a fondue restaurant for yesterday's birthday!

Signing off from the awful neighborhood forever...

Posted by Beth Henderson at 6:35 AM
Thursday, November 16, 2006

Home Depot - Supervised Visits Only 

The Girl has declared once and for all that she's never going to Home Depot by herself again.  She bravely volunteered to go at lunch today, despite multiple past frustrating experiences, to pick up some spackle and a small putty knife for the various nail and screw holes in our rented walls.  I convinced her, in good faith, that these were very common items and anyone in the store could tell her just where to find them.  Turns I was sort of right.  Four different people told her just where to find them.  Of course, they each had a different answer, and the answers weren't as clear as they perhaps thought.  The two she relayed to me made sense – one sent her to sheetrock and one sent her to paint.  She couldn’t find it in sheetrock, and then it turned out that paint is a four aisle section, but she finally found a little kit there. 

So she got the items, and now I can go around and slap a little cover up on all the wall blemishes before tomorrow evening, when the landlord is coming by.  Then we can focus on the discussion of the security deposit and the final month's rent.  The property management company guy tried to convince The Girl that we weren't getting our security deposit back because we had not prepaid the final month's rent, so our security deposit went to that.  Of course, they didn't say anything six weeks ago when we sent October's rent along with a detailed letter explaining our recollection of events.  So last night we went home and sure enough, there's our rental agreement that we've kept safe for the last three and a half years, and there's the summary of payments.  At the time of signing, we paid a half month for first month's rent (we moved in on the 15th), a full month for final month's rent, and a half month for security deposit.  She rang him right back and left a message about this.  Funny, he hasn't called back to apologize.  But we've got the signed paperwork, so we'll be looking for 3.5 years' interest on the final month's rent, plus return of the security deposit plus interest after the landlord signs off on the condition of the place (which is better than when we moved in). 

This morning I loaded the kitties up for the Meow Express to my parents house for safekeeping during the scary move, then I drove over to the house to load a cooler's worth of frozen items from the apartment freezer.  My mom has applied lovely light colored marble print shelf liners to the kitchen shelves and drawers, and my dad has done all sorts of little things, including building a whole new drawer to fix the one the sellers broke.  The trunk from hell has been sifted through and the surviving items are packed, and the contents of both our desks are boxed up.  Still have to get the speakers off the walls and pack up the electronics, and also the remaining pantry goods, and that's pretty much it!  Tic-tock – less than two days to go…

Posted by Beth Henderson at 1:45 PM
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kitchen (mostly) Done, Trunk Tonight 

Last evening The Girl continued the packing up of the kitchen, then I continued the continuance after I got home from class around 9:30. I finally gave up and went to bed around 11:30, but by that point all the upper cabinets were packed and drawers were packed, along with the stand mixer (my god that thing's heavy) and assorted small pans, strainers, tea (I used that to pack around the stand mixer) and all the stuff from the bulletin board that is the refrigerator. You know, the thousands of magnets and little scraps of paper (okay, I threw out lots of the scraps of paper). I think of all of it, clearing off the fridge made the biggest impact. What's left are the ongoing use items and the food.

On deck for tonight: The Girl will pack her desk and barrister's cabinet, and I will weed through and pack up the trunk from hell. This is an antique, brass plated, round-topped steamer trunk that The Girl's mom gave me, and it's stuffed full of, well, my junk. Shorts that are too small, goalie equipment, photo albums that have yet to be loaded with photos, VCR tapes, audio cassettes (no eight tracks…), etc. Middle Sister peeked into it while she was packing the rest of the basement, consulted with her friend and they both decided that I would have to do this one myself.

Tomorrow: I will take down the speakers that are attached to the walls and pack up any non-Tivo related electronics. DVD players, VCR (for Julie's drumming videos – she also has drumming DVD's), printer, scanner, etc. The Tivos and cable boxes have to stay intact until Saturday morning, so the Friday night shows will record. Can't miss Battlestar Galactica!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:04 AM
Monday, November 13, 2006

Massive Packing 

Big, big progress on the packing front this weekend, thanks to the generous efforts of Middle Sister and her friends (the same ones that visited Biggest Sister and me at the Wellness Village during the Avon Walk this year).  The guest room is now a wall of boxes (pictures to be uploaded later) of both our clothes, books and tchotchkes from the upstairs rooms.  We also put out three more bags of clothing for the Vietnam Veterans Association this morning, plus 5 boxes and several bags of discards to the curb for trash pickup today.  The basement is fully packed and stacked, including all the shelving units being disassembled, with the shelves in a stack and the connectors in a well-marked box.  Some sculptures, various bits of athletic and beach equipment (field hockey sticks, tennis rackets, beach table) and the remaining dining room chairs have been transported to the house, just about everything that was attached to the walls has been taken down (shelves, spice racks, CD cases, etc.), the cabinet doors have been reinstalled in the kitchen and the missing hardware has been attached to the lower cabinets.  No, they're still not painted.

Still to go: take down the speakers from the walls (6 altogether) along with all the wire, finish taking down the office shelves, pack our desk contents, finish off the kitchen, and spackle in all the nail holes in the walls.

Countdown to the big move: FIVE DAYS!  The movers will be arriving Saturday morning around 9:00.

We're hoping the management company can meet us at the apartment Sunday afternoon, as we're going back Sunday midday to do the final post-move cleaning.  Then once they've approved the condition in writing (we want our security deposit back), we'll return the keys and we're done with the place!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:21 AM
Monday, November 06, 2006

School Marches On 

I've submitted my registration forms for my final semester. I'm happy to report (very happy) that I'll only be taking three classes next semester rather than four or five, and will only have to go in three nights per week rather than four. I haven't had Tuesday nights off since my first year. And only three classes? Wow! I actually only needed four measley credits to graduate, but in the evening division we have to take a minimum of nine (eight if you get special dispensation, but who has time for that?), and all my required courses and categories (like public law, seminar, etc.) are done, so my only limitations were the extremely small (again) course offering we in the evening division are given.

So next semester it's:
  • Employee Benefits Law: This course deals with the fast-changing subject of employee benefits law (well named then, eh?). The collapse of large corporate pension plans has resulted in the recent passage of the Pension Protection Act of 2006, which amended ERISA (the major federal law governing employee benefit plans). The course will examine the regulation of pension plans and welfare benefit plans under ERISA. Topics to be covered include litigation involving breach of fiduciary duties of disclosure and prudent investment, employee remedies for denial of benefits, and preemption. Other important federal laws affecting employee benefits also will be discussed.
  • Taxation of Business Entities: Compares and contrasts the tax treatment of the various legal forms of business organization. The main contrast is between the double-level tax treatment of regular C Corporations and the single-level treatment of S Corporations, partnerships, and the relatively new limited liability company. The course takes a transactional approach and covers the formation, operation, and liquidation of the various business entities. This course is intended for students who are interested in specializing in tax as well as students who have an interest in a general business practice.
  • UCC - Sales: Devoted mainly to the sale of goods under Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code. Major topics include the scope of Article 2, formation and modification of contracts for the sale of goods, implied terms, warranties, risk allocation, excuses for non-performance, and remedies in the event of breach. Each student is expected to acquire a mastery of the guiding principles contained in Article 2. Because Article 2 covers sales to consumers as well as commercial sales, the course includes an excursion into the law of unfair trade practices. The course also covers selected themes from Article 3 (negotiable instruments), Article 5 ( letters of credit), Article 7 (documents of title), and Article 2A (leases of goods), providing a brief introduction to these topics. Material covered in the basic course on Contracts is reviewed to a limited extent to highlight the changes made by the adoption of the Uniform Commercial Code. The subject matter of this course is heavily tested on bar examinations. Knowledge of the law of Sales is very helpful for lawyers advising on commercial transactions or engaged in commercial litigation.

A three-class semester is a good time to be taking the Taxation of Business Entities course, as it's apparently a real bear, but worth the effort. My Personal Income Tax professor, who is a self-confessed tax law addict, has already offered to provide assistance to anyone who would like it during that class (it's taught by someone else).

In addition, I signed up for my senior photo session! My pictures (in street clothes and also in cap/gown) for posterity will be snapped next Tuesday before class.

In current semester news, Negotiation continues to kick my time resource ass. Every weekend I have a choice - do I prepare for Negotiation, or do I prepare for my other three classes? Or in the case of this weekend, do I take the MPRE and then prepare for the big move? In either of the last two options, I then end up where I am now: up at 11:05 pm getting ready for tomorrow's Negotiation.

Tic-toc, tic-toc. It's November. Yikes.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 11:02 PM
Saturday, November 04, 2006

Let the Purchases Begin 

After the MPRE I rang up The Girl and we both headed separately to our new house, on which we closed earlier this week in a flurry of signatures and checks for large amounts of money. My parents, who have barely been able to contain themselves while waiting for a chance to tour the place, were also going to meet us after they finished watching the candlepin bowling on tv and then having a little lunch.

But first for me was a stop at Target. A short while later I emerged with a vertical bike rack (the bikes hang horizontally, but one goes above the other), a two bag golf rack with shelves for shoes, balls, etc., an electronic stud finder that also senses live wires, a multibit ratcheting screwdriver, some C batteries, a box of Duraflame logs (for our two fireplaces until we arrange for a delivery of firewood) and a pair of work gloves. Whee!

House accomplishments today:
  • Assembled bike rack
  • Assembled golf rack
  • Loaded golf bags, shoes, and balls on golf rack
  • Unloaded folding bike from car
  • Put toilet paper in all three bathrooms
  • Programmed thermostat for the coming week (see below)
  • Removed all child safety annoying thingies from cabinet doors
  • Tested door keys and gave one to parents, who have volunteered for cat feeding duty and any other needed coverage (such as meeting window repair people, etc.)
  • Determined who gets which side of the garage, and distributed garage door openers accordingly
  • Washed child-sized handprint off inside of living room window

A good day, I think! The thermostat is really cool. It controls the heat and air conditioner (obviously), and you can set it for every day of the week, with changes for morning, day, evening and night. So you can have it be cooler at night while you're sleeping, then warm up in time for when you wake up and take your shower, then cool off during the weekdays while you're at work, then warm up again for the evening, then cool off for overnight, but then on Saturday and Sunday you can have it warmer during the day than during the week. Plus you can set different days of the week for different patterns, like if you're going to work from home on Wednesdays or something. I spent a significant time getting it just right.

On the way home we stopped at the U-Haul store and waited for a really long time behind a very nice woman who just moved here from Ohio and was returning her truck with her mother. We all had Starbucks beverages and were gossiping about the couple that had been in the store ahead of all of us. The annoying couple had three small children, none of whom had on coats even though it was 44 degrees outside and the parents had nice warm fleecies on. They (the annoying couple, not the nice woman and her mother - their only issue was that they had left the furniture dolly in the driveway and blamed it on "because we're chicks") had a long tale of woe for the poor clerk who was on by himself, listening to them tell about how one truck broke down and they don't have a contract for this truck because U-Haul's fax machine broke but the manager said don't worry and wrote something on a piece of paper but he no longer works for U-Haul and I don't care to remember the rest of it.

Anyway, we left there with a bundle each of small, medium and large boxes plus four wardrobe boxes plus a china box and china packing set (foam envelopes, dividers, etc.) plus a two-wheel hand truck (ours to keep, not rented). Most of which is still in the cars because after a day like this (don't forget, I had a high stakes exam this morning), we were too tired to haul all that shit into the house. It can come in tomorrow, when we're being joined by four friends (two couples) and my sister for a big ole packing party!

Speaking of which, I have to go sort through my closet and pull out items that are being donated to the Vietnam Veterans' Association, who came last Monday and took away a mountain of boxes and bags of clothing, sheets/blankets, dishes, glasses, etc. that we don't need. They're scheduled for another pickup on Monday.

Tomorrow: Packing, packing, packing and moving oddly-shaped and/or fragile items out to the house. Anything that will either cause the movers difficulty or that will make us worry if the movers are being careful.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:41 PM

MPRE - Done 

Today I took the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, aka the MPRE, aka The Ethics Test. In Massachusetts you have to have passed this exam before you can take the bar exam. So yeah, kind of important. I've managed to squeeze in a Barbri review class and some practice exams, in between work, school, Saturday bar review classes and buying a house. Little things. So off I went bright and early to Boston College Law School, one of the Massachusetts testing sites. I got there nice and early, and it said the exam was at 9:00 am. About 8:15 I went in, only to discover that the check-in process would begin at 9:00. Since we couldn't have anything with us, I wasn't about to sit in big room with nothing to do but stare at the walls, so back out to the car to listen to NPR. Then back in at 8:45. There I discovered a few NESL classmates among all the many, many test takers, so we chatted until 9:00, when the proctors informed everyone that we had to gather our stuff and go out into the hall so we could check in with our admission tickets (including 2x2 photograph) and IDs. Then we were pointed to specific seats by another proctor.

Okay, I've got my seat, I've got my admission ticket, I've got my four sharpened number two pencils, and they're handing out the bubble sheets. Oh crap. I left my fleece jacket on my seat when they originally sheparded us out to check back in and be assigned different seats. My keys are in my fleece jacket. Oh crap. Where's my jacket? Is that it on the half wall at the back of the room where everyone had to put all their stuff? Maybe the proctors swept the room when they cleared us out. Yeah, that's probably it. How will I get it back when I'm done? I guess I could just go to that jacket when I'm done, but what if it's not mine? I guess I'll just tell the proctors. I'm such a space cadet.

This is what was going through my head all during this exam that I have to take and pass before I can take the bar. Nice.

Then the little proctor boy starts reading the instructions for the bubble sheets, but he's only pausing like 10 seconds between each section, and I've got nine bubbles to fill in for my last name alone, plus now we also have to fill in a little rectangle for every blank space, so everyone's got to fill in a whole bunch of bubbles and boxes, and I keep hitting the one instead of the zero on my zip code and social security number because the zero's at the bottom instead of at the top even though zero is lower than one - Dude, slow down!!!

I finally caught up, but clearly I wasn't the only one who fell behind because when we got to the instructions about the back of the sheet, some other woman raised her hand and asked where the booklet number is that has a set of five boxes on the back in which we're supposed to write it, but the exam number on the front of the exam is six digits, and the proctor boy looked annoyed like, "Christ, I already instructed you on that, weren't you listening? You expect to be admitted to the bar and you can't even follow a freaking instruction?" and then pointed out (apparently again) that this is the tiny little number at the top of the booklet, above the bar code. Well maybe if you had stopped long enough to let us fill in the seven thousand bubbles on the front of the sheet we would have heard you when you were pointing out where to find all the tiny little reference numbers.

And where's my jacket? I need my keys! Oh, time to start the test. At 9:45.

11:15 and I'm done. I think one or two people finished ahead of me. Back to the back of the room, hope it's my jacket - yay! Oops - proctor boy is flagging me back. I forgot to sign the bottom of the bubble sheet, because I was so eager to get on with my life. Which today meant the first post-closing visit to OUR NEW HOUSE!!!!!

Posted by Beth Henderson at 7:13 PM