Mike, a former project manager for his career, is also the project manager for our trip planning. That said, because of the realities of each of our current job situations, as a practical matter, I’m the one running point on getting a lot of this done. I am realizing, more and more, that I need to make a master to-do list of the stuff I need to get done/make sure other people get done. Here’s an initial stab at the list, organized into broad categories of (1) Preparing the House; (2) Other Preparation; (3) Bat Mitzvah; (4) Planning the Trip (Domestic); and (5) Planning the Trip (Int’l).
Right now, most of my focus is on preparing the house, as realistically that needs to be about 99% finished by April 1st. The photo above gives you a taste of what we’re facing. That’s the kids’ playroom — and that’s after Elizabeth did yeoman’s work organizing the playroom back in November.
One thing I’ve realized in this process is that it’s a good thing we’re forcing ourselves to do this, as parts of our house were starting to look like they belonged on an episode of Hoarders.
Preparing the House:
- Add central air (we got this done two summers ago – yay) — ✅
- Replace cracked boiler (also done two summers ago) — ✅
- Replace semi-functional at best dishwasher — ✅
- New Roof — ✅
- Plumbing work — ✅
- Connect 3rd floor bathtub return to bathtub
- Fix constantly running master bathroom toilet
- Fix leaky plumbing in master bathroom shower
- Fix leaky master bathroom faucet
- Fix powder room not properly flushing toilet
- Fix powder room sink
- Replace leaky kitchen sink sprayer
- Obtain estimates from roofers, painters, carpenters, etc. — ✅
- Hire roofers, painters, carpenters — ✅
- Exterior painting & repairs — painter/carpenter is hired and in progress.
- Still need to get a separate estimate for garage door repair/replacement and for installing a new functional garage door opener.
- Yard —
- Need to do a fair amount of work to clean up the garden borders/lawn.
- Need to come up with a plan for how to handle the vegetable garden.
- Obtain advice from realtors specializing in house rentals whom we might use. — ✅
- Master bath shower renovation — in progress.
- Sufficiently fix up three-season porch to ensure that it isn’t a hazard/turn off to potential renters — in progress (at least it has a ceiling again now after a leaky roof caused the prior ceiling tiles to fall down).
- I bought a new storm door at Home Depot.
- I bought replacement floor tiles at Home Depot.
- I laughed when the worker at Home Depot greeted me with a smile and “You again?” this afternoon.
- Order and take delivery of POD storage unit for cleaning out house in preparation for painters to work and ultimately for showing the house to potential renters. — ✅
- Prepare first floor of house for painters to work inside. — ✅
- Sort and organize all books located in library. Mike and I realized that we’ll be in really good shape if we ever get divorced, as we took the time to sort the books into “his” and “hers.”
- Move all folding bookcases located on first floor into POD.
- Pack and move 34 boxes of books into the POD.
- Move all of the kids’ chapter books from the dining room (where they were formerly located on folding bookshelves) to the library, as the kids aren’t yet ready to kiss their books goodbye for a year.
- Clean and organize all non-book stuff in library (remove 99% of it).
- Clean, organize, and remove clutter and extraneous stuff from living room.
- Empty my great-grandparents’ dining room “breakfront” of the insane amount of china, crystal, glass, serving bowls, etc. we’ve collected over the years. Sort out what can be sold vs. what needs to be packed. Use insane amounts of bubble wrap to wrap breakable glassware and crystal.
- Move all contents of breakfront to garage (for sale) or POD (for storage).
- Pack up about five million picture frames.
- Yell “Julie, get your butt down here” about five thousand times in the course of a weekend.
- Prepare second floor of the house for painters to work inside. OH LORD HELP ME I HAVE NO IDEA HOW WE WILL EVER GET THIS DONE.
- Buy and be home for installation of new kitchen fridge, as ours keeps randomly leaking large puddles of water onto the floor despite numerous visits from repair folks.
- Coordinate multi-family yard sale with neighbors.
- Do our wills. Yes, it’s bad that we’re both attorneys and we don’t have wills in place, but at least this is forcing us to deal with that.
- Passports — at some point I will pull out Julie’s current passport picture for your amusement, which is, trust me, the WORST passport photo you’ve ever seen (of an otherwise super-cute kid). So far, we’ve obtained new passport photos, but we haven’t gotten around to a family trip to the passport office from hell over in Clifton, yet. Given the current political situation, however, this has moved up my list as a priority.
- Ensure all bank accounts, etc. are in order (this is mostly done now).
- Sell my car (not until I stop needing it in late June).
- Sell the 1996 Volvo with a broken odometer we inherited from Mike’s mother (our babysitter is taking this off our hands). Okay, it doesn’t actually have only 36,000 miles on it, but honestly, I suspect it doesn’t have a whole lot more.
- Figure out how our snail mail will be dealt with for the next year.
- Ensure all bills that will still need to be paid while we are gone are on auto-pay.
- Work on finding someone to act as a property manager for our house who can be trusted to handle any emergencies if we’re off in the jungle and unreachable.
- Figure out connectivity while we’re gone.
- Solidify home schooling plans.
- Well, we have a date: November 18, 2017.
- Elizabeth is hard at work preparing for her Bat Mitzvah ceremony with our new young cantor, who is happy to continue her tutoring via Skype/FaceTime once we leave on our trip.
- We made a guest list. It is HUGE.
- We have the synagogue reserved for a party afterward, but the current iteration of our guest list won’t fit in the synagogue.
- Honestly, when it comes to planning to the party, I’m still playing ostrich on this one, but I need to stop doing that – FAST.
Travel Planning (Domestic):
- We’ve begun shopping for RVs. We realized pretty early that renting an RV for 5 months is cost-prohibitive, but we should do okay buying a used RV and then reselling it through an RV dealer willing to handle sales on consignment (believe it or not, I learned about RV consignments from my work as a litigator, where, thanks to my efforts, my large corporate client found itself the proud possessor of a Class A RV). We know that we want a Class C RV (built on the body of a Ford F-450 or similar, with a sleeping area over the driving compartment). Ideally we’ll find a bunkhouse model.
- Plan itinerary. This has been generally done. I do need to start booking some reservations at the more crowded locations, but a lot of this will be game time decisions, I think.
Travel Planning (Int’l):
We started doing some research, but there’s still tons to do and nothing is booked yet. We do have our tentative itinerary mapped out. Oh, and Mike read a book about Australia called “Grit,” which he thought was hilarious.