The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men/Gang aft agley.
-Robert Burns, On Turning Her Up in Her Nest With the Plough

Seriously? Seriously?! Can’t anything work like it’s supposed to?
-Jason and Colleen, On Moving Down the Street

The movers came on a Monday because we couldn’t get them on a Saturday or Sunday. They took Declan’s crib apart because it wouldn’t fit through the door otherwise. They would have put it back together before they left but we had another guy laying down carpet in Declan’s room at the same time and he wasn’t finished by the time they were finished. So the crib, in pieces, sat useless in the main room as the two of us went off to work. Because, remember, it was Monday, and pretty much everything was still in boxes or in pieces at that moment.

Maybe you recall our house came without appliances. Maybe you recall our house was built in the 1950’s. These are two crucial facts for the next part of our story.

See, we bought a refrigerator but the delivery guys couldn’t hook it up because our kitchen is full of two prong outlets and modern appliances are three prong. No big deal. The adapter was simple enough to find at Home Depot.

Not so the other adapter…the one to hook up the water line with the refrigerator hose. The delivery guy did tell me the converter I’d need and even wrote it down. But 5 trips to Home Depot and, like, 12 Home Depot employees later, I still didn’t have the right match. Annoying, but whatever. It was only for the ice maker and filtered water, right?



We ordered a microwave at the same time we ordered the refrigerator. It was supposed to arrive at the same time, too, but it didn’t show. We thought maybe it was delivered to the store instead of our house. Nope. We checked the order status. It said “delivered.” Still no microwave. Days passed. Nothing. Then I got a call at work one night from some random guy. We live at 4233 E. Cambridge. This guy told me he lived at 4233 E. Windsor, a block to the north. He said he had a box with my name on it. “I think it’s your microwave,” he said. “I’m going to leave it on your porch.”
“Great!” I said. “Thanks!”
He was brusk. “But I’d call UPS if I were you.”
“No kidding,” I said, trying to be conversational. “I wonder why they delivered it to wrong address.”
“No, I mean you should ask ’em about the box. It’s all damaged. Big hole in the bottom.”
Oh. Fantastic.


Going without a microwave for 4 days wouldn’t have been such a big deal if the one appliance that came with the house had worked.

This is a gas stove. Brand new. Pretty nice. With no microwave, this is where we figured we’d heat up our food. But we turned the knobs, tried to light the burners. Nothing.

Colleen checked the pilot light. No signs of life. She called her Dad (I am DEFINITELY NOT the speed dial option you want when something is broken or not working). “Sounds like your gas isn’t on,” he said.

Oh. Fantastic.

Well, that would explain why the house was frigid (for Phoenix) and the tap water never seemed to heat up.

So no stove or microwave to heat food. No warm water for showers or baths. And oh yeah, this:

It’s an impaling stick. Don’t trip at our house.

It was starting to get a little ridiculous. Especially since the house had been vacant for a year and was dusty beyond all belief. Declan, who’s still crawling, looked like a miniature hobo, or maybe like the chimney sweeps from Mary Poppins. We tried as best we could to clean him. But he’s not, as you might imagine, a fan of cold washcloths on any of his extremities.

From the beginning, we had a lot of laundry to do because everything was either filthy from the floors or tucked away in some box. The good news is: the washing machine we ordered was delivered right on time. The bad news: the dryer wasn’t. So laundry was an option at our house, but not a good or convenient one.


I should mention at this point that we still had the keys to our apartment. And yes, we even had them legally. We had to give two months notice to move out of the apartment complex and because of the timing of everything, there was some overlap. For another week, we have access to both places. Thank goodness. That’s where we’ve been doing our laundry.

And there has been A LOT OF IT. Declan, let’s just say, has been having some “stomach issues” and “digestive complications.” The “digestive complications” have been going everywhere, usually in the middle of the night. We (stupidly) only have 2 sheets for his bed and 4 pairs of pajamas. There were a couple of nights when the only clean sheet or pair of pajamas was in the dryer at the apartment. So I would make the 3-minute drive in the dead of night, pull the laundry out while Colleen nursed/distracted Declan, and then I would come back to the house and change what needed to be changed while rubbing the HolyShitICan’tBelieveThisIsOurLifeRightNow out of my eyes.

It has all been a blur. A long, dirty blur.

So with the dirtier than usual laundry and the additional diaper-related trash, the smell wasn’t so great inside Casa Berry. And there was yet another reason for this. The one appliance that we needed but didn’t buy was a dishwasher. We figured dishes by hand wouldn’t be too bad for awhile. Sure, the water feels like tiny icicles stabbing you as it runs over your dried-out, dishwashing hands. But we’re tough. We can take it. The problem (and here’s where we get back to the smell) was the garbage disposal. It wasn’t working, either.

I didn’t realize this at first and dumped food bits down the drain where they stayed and bathed in stale, dirty water that eventually backed up and gurgled to the surface like the purple goo in Ghostbusters 2.

So dishes by hand in the cold. No showers. No easy way to cook. Basically just like that “camping in nature” thing that people claim to enjoy.

But back to Declan’s crib. It was in pieces from day one. And I had no idea were the instructions were. Probably in some box. Maybe accidentally recycled. Maybe intentionally recycled in the false hope that I would never have to build another crib again. Regardless, I would have looked up the directions online but (wait for it) we don’t have internet service because we bought the one house on the block that strung cable (against safety code) above the ground and down into the power box rather than underground and up into the power box. Cox (the communications company out here) won’t hook it up until they dig up our yard to run the cable properly underground. And even that has been delayed because Cox isn’t going to lay the cable line down until after the construction team building our laundry room does some demo work and THAT project has been delayed by the city permitting process.

But back to Declan’s crib again. I had no instructions. Every Allen wrench I could find was the wrong size. My screwdriver was stripped so it was doing no good. And since the crib had to be assembled in Declan’s room, I had to try to do it while he was napping in another room…and he didn’t really nap that first week.

So those were the best laid schemes and the corresponding complications

Here’s where we stand now: The crib is back together, thanks to my dad who came up for a visit last weekend. The gas is on, and with it, we have hot water and a working stove. The microwave showed up at our doorstep, in tact and working, despite the box looking like a munitions testing site. Kayla and I made one final trip to Home Depot and, against all odds, found the right part to hook the water line into the refrigerator. The garbage disposal wasn’t broken. It just needed the right Allen wrench to give it the right twist. Declan’s stomach issues have passed. We’re still doing laundry at the apartment but the dryer is on the way. Cable and Internet will hopefully be a reality before the 2016 election, but for now we are enduring an Elmo DVD on loop with at least a tenuous grip on sanity.


In short, we’ve turned the corner. We love our house, in spite of the problems listed above (some of them admittedly self-caused) and are looking forward to planning a housewarming party. Just don’t hold your breath. You know what happens with plans.