This week has been a blur. After literally years of thinking about it and planning for it, and after a couple of false starts, Play the Planet has finally taken physical form. It now exists in Russell County, VA, in the tiny town of Lebanon, on Monk Street. 55 Monk Street, to be precise. Here’s PtP HQ:
It’s almost nothing like I envisioned it would be. Older farm style house, yes, but it only sits on about three quarters of an acre of land, so far less than I had originally wanted. No matter. There’s enough here that we can make a solid beginning, and when we start to feel hemmed in by the lack of acreage, well…this is a sparsely populated county and there’s plenty of land to be found in the region, so we’ll add to our collection as we need to.
As I write these words, Play the Planet has had a physical footprint for a little over a week, and I have just awakened from my third night’s sleep in the new place.
We made a cash offer on the place, paying just under $100k. Of course, it needs work. The good new is, it’s got a new roof and the floors are amazing. The walls and ceilings…not so much. The plumbing has been (mostly) updated and the writing has too, but the wires were just run on the outside of the walls/ceilings and had conduit placed over them, so…substandard. There’s a lot of “stuff” to fix and work on here before we can actually say that the house is fully up and running.
Day one (Thursday, March 11, 2021), the actual day of closing, we didn’t do much. We both had packed carloads of “stuff” (mostly cleaning supplies to get the ball rolling), so after signing papers and handing over the biggest check I’ve ever had in my hands, we went to the new homestead, unloaded the cars, had dinner in town and then, made the two hour drive back to Woodlawn. Major accomplishments of the day were: Got the keys to the place and got power and water turned on. Whooohooo!
Day two (Friday, March 12) was hellish. It involved renting a 10-foot U-Haul, loading all of the small, non furniture items I own into said truck, driving it to Lebanon, VA, then unloading it in the same day.
Brutal, backbreaking work and we were both sore and beyond tired by the time that was done. We checked into an area hotel for two nights (no heat in the house, and no bed to sleep in even if there were). Major accomplishment: Got all of my non-furniture stuff moved into the house. Said a brief farewell to little Ghost, the kitty who died on the mountain and is buried under her favorite bush by the rental house. Miss you, Ghost. Wish you were making the trip to Monk St. with us.
Day three (Saturday, March 13) was a bit lighter. We both stayed in town, returned the truck and spent the day doing the initial unpacking. Also went bed and fridge shopping, arranging for both of those things to be delivered in the near future. Jennifer knocked the crap out of the “flourishes” someone thought were a good idea on the front porch, and began demo’ing various bits that we knew we didn’t want to keep around the house (including taking the thermometer from the funeral home off of the front porch!).
Sunday, the 14th, Day 4, Jennifer departed Monk St. for home and I departed for Woodlawn – it was time to get the cats. Movers were coming the day following and I needed to have the cats secured in a room here so they wouldn’t get loose. None of them could survive very long in the wilds, so that’d be a death sentence.
Four of the five came. Jack sensed something was up and though I didn’t want to, I had no choice but to leave him in the house by himself overnight, vowing to try again when I returned. Got the four cats (Bella, Izzy, Moxie and Patches) squared away in a room here, then drove BACK to Woodlawn to sleep and greet movers.
Monday the 15th (Day 5) – Just after having gotten out of the shower, I spied Jack sitting atop the freezer. Clad only in my underwear and 100% certain that I was about to be shredded mercilessly, I petted him, then got him by the scruff and wrestled him into the kennel. Didn’t sustain a scratch.
So, that done, I let him calm down and finished getting dressed, then loaded him into the car, greeted the movers and we all drove back to Monk St. The big accomplishments of the day were: ALL kitties accounted for and furniture moved in.
The movers, by the way, were from Landmark Moving Services (LMS), and Chris and Alex were FANTASTIC! A hard working duo that knocked that shit out in short order and made the entire process smooth and seamless. I took them out for a steak after and tipped them for a job well done.
In fact, I was so impressed with the job they did that when we found the “right” vintage looking stove for the place, I hired them again to go get it (will be arriving on Friday).
Here are the guys after a hard day’s work! (Alex on the left, Chris on the right).
Tuesday, the 16th (Day 6) – A day of pure unpacking and phone calling. I got a good number of the boxes in the library unpacked, and migrated my computers up to my new office in anticipation of getting the internet hooked up, which is happening Thursday, based on discussions I had today. We’ll be upgrading from 10Mbps to 300Mbps here. Sweeeet. In addition to that, the bed and two area rugs arrived today, so I spent my first actual night in the new place! A bit drafty with just one space heater (cats had one in their room and the third is still in Woodlawn), but doable.
Wednesday, the 17th (Day 7) – More box unpacking and got a FABULOUS gift from Jeff! A Nest hub, a nest screen, and a smart doorbell. Can’t put them to use just yet, but very soon! Made contact with a General Contractor (Mr. Kim Davis!) today and arranged to meet with him on Friday. The big deal for today was driving to Woodlawn for the last time, doing the final cleanup and saying goodbye to my old friend, “Big Mean Kitty” (BMK for short). A barn cat who would grudgingly let me pet him after giving him a plate of food. We had a good talk and said our farewells. Gonna miss that fuzzbutt, but wouldn’t dream of trying to take him off of “his mountain.” This formally closed out the first week at Monk St.
Thursday the 18th (Day 8) – Internet part one. Apparently, there’s no record that this house has ever even HAD internet connectivity, so getting it set up initially was a bit of a process. No matter. It’s underway and that’s a very good thing. Was SUPER sore today so didn’t get a lot done, but I started writing what would eventually become this blog post in Word, to be ported over to WP later.
Friday the 19th (Day 9) – Big, huge day. We have internet connectivity! And a new fridge. New stove arriving later today, and meeting with our new General Contractor, Mr. Kim Davis. And my legs and back are more or less working again. Taking a partial day off really seemed to have helped. Whew.
So that, in a nutshell, has been the first week (and change) in the new place. I’ll almost certainly have more to say about today’s events as they unfold, but that will be for the next post as we slowly bring the old house back to life. Much more to come and we obviously have a lot of work to do before we’re really ready to start “Playing the Planet,” but we’re several important steps closer now. Play the Planet is slowly rising on unsteady feet, but it’s getting stronger by the day.
Here are assorted thumbnail photos of the house and property taken by the real estate agent to give some sense of where we are starting from: