So ends an extremely interesting (and expensive) extended weekend.
My drive down on Friday was thankfully uneventful. I was too keyed up to handle much excitement at that point. A great deal of traffic was negotiated at high speeds, gravity was defied (coming up that darn hill), ID cards were flashed, official paperwork was acquired, ownership of the vehicle and possession of insurance were proven, a great deal of navigating was done on the fly, speed bumps were conquered, and then I had finally . . . driven onto base and found the hotel. I knew it was going to be a long day.
David met me there after class, looking incredibly spiffy in his black and khaki everyday uniform. We checked in, dropped our stuff, then immediately drove off base and back down that hill in search of the housing office. Getting there proved chaotic at best; the right lane has a bad habit of turning into an exit with little to no warning around here. But the GPS saved the day once again, at least three times actually, before we finally found the place. The staff were very friendly and straightforward once we got there, but they declared it to be too late to do any touring of the vacant houses. We thought the hour and a half left before closing would have been plenty of time, but nobody asked us. They printed a list of possibles for us, encouraged us to poke around a bit (but not too much), and then closed for the weekend.
Waiting out the weekend for normal business hours in our situation was rather like being put on terminal hold on a prepaid phone; our minutes were burning rapidly. The budget didn't really allow an extended stay, but we decided to bite the bullet and keep me there through Sunday night in the hope that we could tag-team it Monday and just get the job done. We used Saturday to run errands, peak in some vacant windows, and spend some of our Target cards on survival gear like an air mattress and all it's accessories. David is plagued with exams this week, so he spent most of Sunday studying. Sarah probably should have been studying, too, but we had some time to catch up.
Monday dawned bright and early at 5AM. I dropped David off at his building and then went back to pack up the room. I put the TV on out of sheer boredom and was informed that the rain was in route once again. Serious rain. No one told me this was the rainy season over here. The clouds would be rolling in today, and Tuesday would be all about thunderstorms. It did not bode well for driving the length of the bay back and forth over the mountains, and the sleepover money had run out.
Breakfast was prepackaged bagels and muffins, courtesy of the hotel. I called the housing office and scheduled a tour for 10:30. I checked out at 9:45 and was then officially homeless for the duration. I drove back out to the office, with only one wrong turn this time. A nice representative took me for a tour of the four possible homes we were interested in (i.e., the ones that were ready NOW). Five minutes per location, twenty minutes and we were done. The guy actually made the comment that he had never finished a tour that fast. Really, there wasn't much to inspect. They were all exactly alike, except for a few obvious details. The first had nice cabinets and new carpet, but we would be requred to have it professionally cleaned before we left; the second was hardwood with nice new floors in the kitchen and bathroom; the third was hardwood, with ugly tile floors in the kitchen and bathroom; the fourth had a nice kitchen, an ugly bathroom, and smelled like toxically fresh paint. I liked the second one, no contest. I promised to return with the husband later that afternoon.
For the rest of the day, I was essentially living out of the car. I wandered around and did some bargain hunting at Ross, did some necessary shopping at Target, topped off the gas tank, drove back to base, wandered around the PX, sat in the food court, then returned to the car and rummaged through my collection of paperwork, said a rosary, munched on granola bars, cleaned the rear-view mirrors, and did whatever else I could to pass the next two and a half hours. David turned up as soon as class let out, and off we went once again. By this time, I had that drive pretty much figured out. They were ready for us, and got him to sign the line where he was supposed to. However, there is apparently a third phase of paperwork we hadn't counted on, and (lo and behold) it was too late to do it today. They were very willing to do it tomorrow, but David had a horrible exam scheduled, I had no place to stay the night, and I certainly wasn't going to drive anywhere through the thunderstorms. It was raining already, and there was some doubt that I would outrun the storm at all. We scheduled our last meeting for Wednesday, I dropped David back on base, and took advantage of a sudden break in the clouds to make my escape.
On the whole, much quality time was had, and I'm glad this was all arranged as quickly and efficiently as it has been. It was still quite an adventure, though. I am back in Cupertino now, at least for one more day. Then we can do it all again. ^_^