My brain doesn’t have room for anything else anymore


I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that the kitchen won’t be done before I move in. Among other things, my plumber found out today that his father died, necessitating him traveling to Poland(?) next week. Which sucks. for him certainly more than me. And of course I can’t really complain about it because, really. His dad died. I managed to keep my moment of selfishness about the whole thing between my dad and myself. My dad who keeps trying to get me to postpone for a few weeks, apparently not realizing that…

  • …I’ve already shut off my phone, electricity, mail, newspaper, etc. in anticipation of the move
  • …I’ve signed a contract with the moving company
  • …I scheduled the week off of work months ago, because summertime vacations are at a premium. And everyone else in my group scheduled their vacations around me, just so I could move
  • …oh yeah, and my lease is up. I’ve already given notice, and they’ve already hired their own contractors to renovate this place as soon as I move out so that they can rent it as soon as possible. Nevermind that I don’t exactly have another month of rent and mortgage in my budget.
  • …I really really want to move already.

Given that I don’t actually cook, I think not having a kitchen for a week or two is not exactly the end of the world. Pretty much everything else is on track to be done, or close to done. Tomorrow the building plumbers are actually changing out the old building pipes, so that’s one more thing done. Oh, and I was up there tonight, so…more pictures:

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Moving along


I went up to the new place on Monday night to check on progress and take a few more pictures. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to the fact that everything won’t be done when I move in two weeks (two weeks!!), largely because they won’t be able to come in and measure for countertops until just a few days before the move. And installing the kitchen sink (which I ordered on Sunday) requires the countertops to be there. But almost everything else should be able to get done in time.

So, on Monday, I took these photos (which have already been overshadowed by the fact that they painted the bedroom and the bathroom today):

Oh, and did I mention that I kind of have outdoor space? The apartment actually overlooks the roof of the building lobby, so while I don’t technically have a patio (and I do technically have to climb out the window for access), I have this lovely patio-type area right outside my living room window that only I and the guy in the apartment on the other side have access to:

So this afternoon I left work early because I wasn’t feeling well, but did manage to stop off at PC Richard on my way home, because my plumber needed more information on my stove. So here’s a picture of the back of the stove, which apparently does have some room for the gas line to be hidden behind while the stove is still flush with the wall:

And now for the real prize. On my way home I saw what was quite possibly the ugliest car I have ever seen in my life parked in an outdoor lot on 23rd Street. I had to stop and take a picture. And when I did that, another person stopped and copied me because it was just. so. hideously tacky:

That’s right – it’s a Gucci emblazoned Cadillac Escalade.

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The renovations are finally moving ahead, starting next Tuesday morning. It took forever to get the contractors to send me the correct insurance information, and then another two weeks to get the condo board approval (which, in real time is actually quite fast, but given my schedule, felt like forever). That finally came the other day, so there’ll be actual progress shortly. which means more pictures at some point.

So, in light of all of this, I make plans to take the bus to Ikea tomorrow (free shuttle!) to finally purchase my kitchen cabinets. But when I get online to check availability, every item I want to purchase is marked as not available. So I call customer service. And the first guy I speak to is completely unable to help me (kitchens are "beyond" him – you know, the guy who is the customer service representative at the Ikea shop by phone line). Apparently, even though the kitchen items appear in the catalog, with model and order numbers, they are not actually orderable anywhere but in the store. And if they’re not in the store, well, nobody knows what happens then.

The third person I spoke to was actually able to help me. Apparently the items are available in the store, they just get marked as not because the fronts are custom (sort of), so they have to be put together before the base cabinet with the birch door is actually considered in stock. And apparently they can order them for me if need be. Now how hard is it to actually get the first guy who answers the phone to know that?

I can never understand when stores seem to go out of their way to not let me spend money in them. It’s not like I was trying to buy a $20 lamp either. Anyway, buses start running at 10 tomorrow, so I’ll be visiting lovely Elizabeth, N.J. in the morning…

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The kitchen was ripped out last week, so I’m really committed to this whole renovation thing – then again, I did already buy new appliances that are sitting in a warehouse somewhere, so I probably should have come to that realization a few weeks ago.

The fun part of this visit was actually that there were several open houses in the building at the same time, one of which was in the same "line" as my apartment. It was interesting to see what they did to renovate – in particular, they took down the wall that separates the foyer from the living room. I actually thought that it lost something in the transition, because you don’t really get more living room space, but you lose the sense of having another “room”.

New pictures below – the folks have moved out, all remaining furniture is stuff that they’re leaving for me (which is all pretty cool stuff). Combined with my apartment full of fairly nice furniture, and I don’t need to buy a thing on that front. Hope you all enjoy the gaping hole that used to be my kitchen (oh, and my friends who came to see the apartment this week):

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Meet my new apartment…


Last weekend I did manage to get up to the new place so that I could measure a few more things and take a few pictures. At this stage, my parents were in full-on pre-packing mode – in other words, they were throwing out years of accumulated junk (have I mentioned that my stepmother moved in in 1978?!). They’re actually moving to the new, adult-sized apartment tomorrow. That’s my long-winded explanation for all of the boxes and such in the living room.

So here’s a little tour:

And for the plans…We’re going to rip out the entire kitchen, replacing the wiring, plumbing, fixtures, appliances. Pickle and restain all of the apartment the floors, scrape/plaster and repaint the walls…
well, to start at least…

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this (two) week(s) in the sideblog.


really really late edition…

  • People are freaking out about the crazy weather in the midwest, but I distinctly remember that it snowed well into May back when I was in college in Buffalo. Why do I remember this? Because I had to warn my parents before they drove up for my mid-May graduation that they needed to bring snow-appropriate clothing. (Mon Apr 25 2005 3:56 PM)
  • I’ve got less than 48 hours to go until my closing, so can someone explain to me why I felt compelled to read this horrible article about closing disasters? (Mon Apr 25 2005 3:17 PM)
  • Man. Posting a ranty rant on my blog just seems so lame compared to one woman’s actions after a bad haircut (Fri Apr 22 2005 4:10 PM)
  • So I started reading GwenWorld recently, and she seriously rocks. (Thu Apr 21 2005 3:26 PM)
  • My apologies for the lack of updates. Between the beautiful weather and my apartment-buying/renovating fixation, I’ve spent quite a bit less time on the internet than I normally do. (Mon Apr 18 2005 2:08 PM)
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It’s done…


Closed today. Everything went swimmingly. It took forever, but that was just because I had to sign or initial about 100 documents, in quadruplicate. Property transfer documents, first mortgage documents, secondary mortgage documents, and checks. Lots and lots of checks. But (other than my own lawyer’s fees), I don’t have to pay any more money until June. So that’s good. And getting paid this Friday will help pay the current rent, without making an even bigger dent in what remains of my savings (otherwise known as the "renovation budget").

Everyone there said it went pretty much as smoothly as it could have. Checks were all made out to the right people, in the right amounts. The biggest issue? That one of the checks might have been for a little too much money, in which case I’ll get a refund. Oh, and the title company guy kind of got worried when he found out that my parents are still occupying the apartment, since he got an affidavit of vacancy. But he was told by his higher ups not to worry, because they’re my family, so I can treat them as guests rather than tenants until they finish moving out next week.

I’m about ready to fall asleep now, totally crashing from the morning adrenaline rush (and coffee! I never drink coffee), but I’ve got a conference call until at leat 8pm tonight, so I’m propping my eyes open with toothpicks for a few more hours.

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20 hours…


Yeah. I’m not too obsessive-compulsive.

I’m waiting on the message from my lawyer as to what checks I need to pick up from the bank in the morning. I’m completely distracted, work-wise (although my recurring insomnia may help in this regard, as I’ll clearly end up awake until 2am reading the quarterly report I need to read for tomorrow).

A friend of mine at work had his closing yesterday, and it went smoothly. That makes me feel better, until I start thinking about irrational odds and how his smooth closing will somehow mean that mine will be more complicated. Yeah, I know, it makes no sense, but that’s where my head is.

I keep having these fiscally-related nightmares about some closing cost that I didn’t anticipate which will screw up my renovation budget. Again. This makes no sense, as the estimate is currently lower than what I was expecting.

All of this, of course, is why my blogging has been completely sporadic and inconsequential lately. Social Security? filibustering? I just can’t get interested in any of it (in no small part because the weight of popular opinion is actually so clearly on the Democrats’ side on both of those issues). What can I say. I’m apparently self-absorbed. I know, that’s shocking, coming as it is from someone who publishes even her most inane thoughts on the internet as if others would actually be interested in them.

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Looking forward to my money pit…


Only 5 days left.

Before we head up to Westchester tomorrow afternoon (or really, this afternoon at this point), I’m going to take my dad to ikea for the first time (I didn’t think we got off on the right foot today, when he said he was still up for our trip to "nokia". hee). Hopefully, we’ll pin down some cabinet styles and whatnot. Measurement-wise, I know exactly which pieces I need.

One of the benefits of a 35 square foot kitchen? Once you put in the appliances, your cabinetry is pretty much dictated by the tiny amount of space left.

Then, I called up my new building management to find out what they were going to need when I did the renovations (one of the *great* things about apartment living? All of the board rules you have to follow to get anything done). Turns out that if I want to install anything new in the kitchen, I have to completely upgrade the plumbing (which we planned on doing), and the electric (which we totally didn’t). Don’t get me wrong – we planned on having Cityelectric come in and test all of the lines, and possibly add an extra circuit if needed, but we weren’t going to completely redo everything. So now it’s looking like the kitchen is going to eat up pretty much all of my renovation budget. Which means, on top of everything else, a possible loan from the bank of dad, which I was really hoping not to do, even though my dad and stepmom were the ones to initially suggest it (they’re of the mindset that it’s better to get as much done as possible before I actually move in, because it’s twice as hard afterwards).

Hmm. I guess it’s better to find this out now. I think part of my anxiety is that I won’t find out until Monday what my final closing costs (taxes, fees, etc.) are going to be. Once I know that, I’ll actually be able to figure out what my renovation budget actually is.

OK. I’m obsessing again. ‘night.

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New Category!


Since it appears that my obsessive tendencies have transferred from politics to real estate, I thought I’d start a new category to commemorate. I close next Wednesday morning on my new place (a day earlier than originally scheduled!), and I’ll be spending about 3 months renovating (including ripping out the entire kitchen – fun!). Thankfully, my dad has been in a constant state of house, apartment and office renovation for the past two plus years, so, aside from being ready to rip all of his hair out, he’ll be pretty darn helpful with the corralling of contractors and such. Plus, he did go to design school, so he’s pretty good at telling me when my color schemes are going to look like crap.

I’ve made mention of the apartment buying in some other posts, but it’s usually an afterthought to writing about something else. Now I can completely fixate on it for your reading pleasure (or, more likely, exasperation). I’ll be moving over some earlier posts, including the construction related stuff from last year (and I do plan on posting some more pictures – there are walls now!), as well as some of the other, more tangential, real estate stuff that I’ve written about in the past.

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