Two weeks from today (September 30th), my wife and I will hopefully be the owners of a house. Whoa.
My great-grandfather was one of those people that no one ever forgets. Everyone knew him and he knew everyone. One of the nicest persons you would ever meet. The hardest worker you could find is what I always heard about him. For a 6-year-old at the time, he also taught me a very valuable lesson the hard way.
I don’t have many memories of him, but I have a few. I remember visiting him at work at a doctor’s office next to New London Hospital. He was a maintenance man there that helped maintain the facilities. He would often pick me up and put me on his riding lawn mower as we went around the yard there. We would also go to his apartment that he shared with the love of his life, my great-grandmother. The apartment wall was covered from floor to wall with pictures of family. Nothing meant more than family to him. I remember hearing his stories. About what, I don’t remember, but I remember sitting on his lap listening.
A long time smoker of Camels, he had quit smoking when he found out cigarette prices went from 25 cents to 35 cents. Right in the store, with my grandmother who happened to be tagging along, they both agreed to quit cold turkey. My grandmother is still here today because of their joint vow.
It was too late for him though. In 1989, he was diagnosed with lung cancer with only months to live. It devastated everyone. This man, who seemed indestructible, would only have a few months to live.
As a 6-year-old, I never experienced death before. My great-great uncle Alberton passed away three years prior, but I was just three. But my great-grandfather, I had real recent memories with him and I was about to learn a hard lesson about death. I was told he was sick because of smoking. I watched him as he kept getting more weak and sick. I wish I remembered the last time I saw him. I probably never realized at our last meeting that it was our last meeting.
He passed away on September 6, 1989. I woke up for my first day of first grade and my mom told me the news. I got the talk of how he wouldn’t wake up from sleep anymore and how he was in heaven.
As a 6-year-old, something about his loss shook me to the core. The first promise I ever made to myself I have kept and will keep the rest of my life: never to smoke. I’ve refused to do it in the face of peer and society pressure.
Thinking about it now, I am sure he would list this as one of his greatest legacies: the fact that someone he cares about never smoked because of him. He saved my life.
Never imagined how busy I would be when buying a house. Especially when the closing date of my condo and of the house we are buying are both on September 30th.
There are lots of details to keep up on. All of the real estate and mortgage related paperwork. Inspections, appraisals, the waiting game for answers to questions. Making a list of utilities, accounts, etc. that will need address changes or signups for. Thinking of what stuff we want to bring over to the house or get rid of. Praying that nothing like a hurricane or earthquake suddenly throws a curve ball.
It is very odd creating wishlists on various sites for various things I haven’t used in years that suddenly become a necessity when owning a house. Like a lawn mower and a snow blower.
Those of you who know me realize that I work a lot and that is probably an understatement. I rarely leave my desk at work for breaks, I am constantly thinking about it (especially since I am on-call 4 days a week), and it is really hard to hit the off switch. The reason why it is hard to hit that off switch is simple: because myself (and the rest of my colleagues) love what we do so much.
On Friday, I finished up my day and officially entered vacation mode for a week.
I don’t think I have ever looked forward to a vacation more than this one. The mental relaxation you get simply from turning off my work e-mail (and Boxcar notifications for our status page) is quite amazing. My aim is to totally recharge the batteries this week.
Saturday my wife and I visited my brother Justin in Burlington and helped him purchase his first new car. Wonderful time, although very sick of driving (three hours each way).
Sunday our nephews and my sister-in-law visited in the morning. My wife and I then went out and did some scouting of possible houses in the Manchester area that we are interested in.
Today my dad and I are going hiking somewhere in the White Mountains. First time we have done something like this together in a long time, maybe years. All I know is that it is supposedly an “easy” hike. His definition of easy is quite different from mine. We will see!
The rest of the week, I am most likely doing lots of genealogy research and working on fixing some things in our condo so we can put it on the market.
Living in the small state of New Hampshire all 28 years of my life, I just realized how little of the state I really have visited.
Outside of a couple of youth hockey games when I was 7 or 8 in Berlin, I never been north of the White Mountains. Never been in the Great North Woods, never been to Pittsburg, NH. Along the same lines, outside of visiting Keene every year or two, I have no idea what towns are around that city and what is in them. I don’t recall ever being in the Rochester area either.
Until four years ago, I had never been at the top of Mount Washington. Tomorrow, I am returning via a trip on the Cog Railroad, which once again I have never been on before. Afterwards we are going to the Mount Washington Hotel to have a late lunch. Only a few weeks ago did I see the hotel for the first time.