Upon our arrival to the new house here in Shallotte North Carolina, at 1:30 in the morning on Thanksgiving Day, we were exhausted and ready for only one thing: Sleep and maybe a hot cup of tea beforehand. It was only 42°F outside and we were looking forward to getting our pajamas on and curling up in a nice warm air mattress. But there would be some things to be done before that could happen.
Having bought the house from out of state, we didn’t have the luxury of having the keys handed to us, so the realtor just told us that they would leave the sliding door in the back unlocked and they’d leave the key on the kitchen counter. After I got out of the truck and straightened my back, I walked around the back of the house and entered through the sliding door on the back deck. I turned on the backyard light and the kitchen light and scanned the counters for keys. There weren’t any. So I went and opened the front door to and that’s when I saw a problem. The previous owners, bless their hearts (if you’re from the south, you know what that means), had one of those digital code type locksets on the front door. No key needed, but you needed a code. Which we didn’t have.
So you are asking yourself, “Well, you saw the house once before, how did you get in?”. Well, the first time we saw the house, we came in through the slider. We had never been through the front door, never even opened it. We’ll deal with this tomorrow.
After we got the dogs in the yard to do their business, we got our overnight bags, pillows and all the immediate essentials that one needs for a late night arrival, including the tea pot and air mattress. My wife and I would stay in our new home while April and Joe would go to a nearby hotel. As I was setting up the air mattress I noticed something. Although I had turned the heat up, I didn’t feel any change in temperature. It was nearly 2:30 a.m. now and the temperature should have come up. It was 53°F in the house…. still. Joe and I went outside to check the heater and nothing, it was coming on and running but there was no heat.
Wait a minute………
The previous owner (beginning to wonder about this guy) never paid his propane gas bill and the propane company put a lock on the gas tank. However, as part of the closing, the bill was to be paid in full and the gas turned back on. I went to the tank, opened the lid and saw that the lock was still on the gas valve. Did the bill not get paid? We were told it was. I would call the gas company emergency number in the morning.
Fortunately for my wife and I, there was a portable heater left behind and we turned that thing on as high as it would go. We gathered as many blankets and rugs as we could out of the cars and trucks and brought them all into the bedroom for us, the dogs and the cats. We closed the door to the room most of the way and the room heated up nicely to a perceived 70°F.
Thanksgiving morning I called the gas company and they sent out a technician who uncapped and unlocked the valve, replaced a copper pipe on the tank and turned the heater on. Heat began billowing out of the vents and soon the house was warmed up to 70°F.
We had to have the truck turned in by the end of the day Friday, so the unpacking of the truck began. The vast majority of the boxes would go into the garage until we had a place to put it all. The furniture came in, boxes labeled for certain rooms were placed in their designated spaces and by 9 p.m. Thanksgiving night, the truck was empty. Deb and I returned it the next day and I was glad to be rid of that big yellow whale.
But we weren’t done.
We still had a storage unit in New Jersey that was full of stuff and my Harley was still sitting on a trailer at my brother-in-laws house. Saturday morning, me, April and Joe were to fly back to New Jersey. Once back in the Garden State, I would pick up the next U-Haul 14′ box truck, drive to the storage unit where Joe and I would unload it into the truck.
That was the plan anyway………