It’s departure day! Despite yesterday’s surprise twin tree takedown, we worked our way through the pre-trip checklist for the 8 week sojourn and the car is packed and ready to go. We planned to leave at 6am, but Asplundh needed the driveway and we couldn’t leave our cars on the street, so we are here to the end.
Buttoning up for an extended adventure required advanced planning with home security and landscape maintenance being top of the list.
Research is part of our DNA, so Eric went to work analyzing how to secure the house and landed on the state-of-the-art smart NEST system. He turned the 1950s mid century into a modern, connected, bundle of supersight and security. We have cameras and alarms surrounding the property with all-angle visibility from our cell phones. Cameras indoors to capture unwanted visitors and speak to them in live time letting them know we see them and the cops are on the way. Everything is controlled by the iPhone, including the thermostats, lights and internet. Router goes down? No problem, we have remote reset with neighbors and kids as the back-up plan. We stopped by the local police station to let them know we would be away in the event of catastrophe, like fire or a giant tree falling on the house.
It was difficult for Eric, but we had to trade DIY for DIFM yard maintenance and hired a local, family run crew that does many homes our neighborhood. After watching them for the past two months we likely won’t be mowing, raking, blowing, bagging, edging, weeding, mulching ever again!
Hold mail is a bit trickier than we expected. According to the USPS, you can hold mail for 30 days or provide a forwarding address. We needed 60 days. We went to the post office to rent a PO Box, but then found out you can fill out multiple yellow Authorization to Hold Mail cards. Hoping that will work, but to be safe, we moved everything of importance to e-delivery – bank, gas and electric, communications, etc.
Turned off the water, disconnected the washing machine, changed the hot water heater to vacation mode, shocked the hot tub and put it on eco-mode.
The fun part was working our way through the refrigerator/freezer, one featured ingredient at a time. I felt like I was a daily contestant on Chopped. Google different combinations of ingredients and find meals you can make with what you have on hand. Sweet potato, kale, fish found this soup. Frozen blueberries, buttermilk, rolled oats found these muffins that we converted to a loaf. This homemade granola is better than anything you buy in a store. I modified to just walnuts and pecans, cranberries for raisins, grapeseed oil for safflower. You always have to make substitutions, but the internet will help you with that. If you are out of soy, you can make an alternative. We were out of options last night, ready to order pizza, but decided to make it work with frozen pineapple, corn and lima beans and a can of golden mushroom soup by modifying Campbell’s Polynesian Pork Chops. Who says you can’t sub frozen veggies for pork? Have to admit, that one wasn’t very good.
Our preparation helped take worry off the table, with peace of mind that our home will be just as we left it.