I love city living…


…but sometimes I could do without the apartment neighbors. Tonight, as I was watching The Amazing Race, i start hearing this really odd sound. Pause the TV to investigate, and discover streaming water pouring out of my bathroom ceiling. After numerous calls to the idiot doorman, who didn’t seem to understand that "call the super, I have an emergency" didn’t actually mean "wait 20 minutes and then come upstairs yourself to do nothing but stare at the bathroom ceiling (leaving the front door unwatched in the meantime) without even the super’s phone number", the super finally stopped by. He had already been upstairs, where he discovered that the brilliant upstairs neighbor had a broken showerhead that was spraying water all over the bathroom (and hence leaking into my apartment), and instead of getting it fixed, just let it keep leaking until it not only wore away at his tile floor and grouting, but came through my ceiling.

Yeah. sometimes I think moving to the woods with no neighbors for miles might be just the thing.

Then I remember that not having neighbors doesn’t rid you of household repair issues, and waiting 20 minutes for the super doesn’t seem so bad.

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Here’s another reason to stay in town…


You’ll have to excuse any random freak-outs over the next month. I signed my contract today and am now in escrow. Half of my life savings is now sitting in a bank account that’s not mine. I’ve never actually written a check with that many digits before…


Anyway. It looks like we’re going to get crazy rain and flooding this weekend, so I’m really glad that I have no plans to leave the house this weekend.

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Well this always makes for a nice Monday morning…


I’ve had insomnia all weekend, which is always an interesting change of pace. Last night (Saturday night), I fell asleep at about 4:30 in the morning. Woke up this morning at 10, and intentionally didn’t take any sorts of naps today, so that I’d have a chance in hell of falling asleep at a reasonable hour. Yet, here I am, writing blog entries about not being asleep.

Vicious cycle? just a bit.

I think part of my problem is my apartment layout – I live in a loft studio, so I have to climb up a narrow staircase (almost a ladder) to get to my bed. And I won’t go up there until I am absolutely, positively ready to go to sleep. And since I’m a stubborn, stubborn person, I pretty much have to be ready to collapse before I realize that it’s the middle of the night.

Hopefully this situation will change soon, as I’m getting significantly closer to buying a 1-bedroom apartment. I’m scheduled to sign a contract at the end of this week (or next Monday at the outside), and close around the end of April. Of course, there’s a few months of renovations to do (as it has been pointed out, the electrical is so old, that you can’t keep the lights on and blow dry your hair without blowing a circuit, so my computing habits would likely burn the building down without an overhaul), but I’ll definitely be moving to the Upper West Side by the time my current lease ends in August (I’m just ignoring the fact that I’ll be paying both my rent and a mortgage for a few months – no new shoes for me!). And for now, I’m spending my insomniacal hours obsessively figuring out where all of my furniture is going to go (Oh, the other part of the story is that I’m actually buying the apartment that my stepmother has lived in for 27 years – I’ve mentioned before that she and my dad are upgrading, and while they got the benefit of rent stabilization, I’m getting the benefit of their insider status, since their building went condo in 2001). I’m just about done figuring out the dimensions of every piece of furniture that I own.

One thing that’ll make the renovations easier – the contractors who have been pretty much living in the ‘rents’ new place will be done just around the time I close, so dad’s going to send them 5 blocks north to take care of things. It won’t be cheap, but at least we know they’re reliable. And yes, I’ll be living 5 blocks from my folks. Which should be interesting (to say the least).

And with that ramble, I’m going to climb up to sleep…

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Checking back in.


A whole week without blogging, even though I had access to a computer? Crazy.

I got back to New York on Tuesday night, after spending a few days in Vail with my brother. My attempt at skiing was futile, as a swollen ankle from falling down some stairs in Spokane (I know, nice move, and at a client’s house too!), combined with swollen feet from flying generally, made the rental boots feel like tourniquets on my feet and after half a run I was seconds away from taking them off and walking down the mountain in my socks. So I went window shopping instead (hey, it’s almost like a sport!).

Wednesday night, I went to a Jayhawks concert with some folks from work, and the rest of the time I’ve been dealing with apartment-buying stuff – meeting with mortgage brokers and lawyers and stuff. Hopefully I’ll be a condo owner within the next two months (I don’t want to talk about it too much, because I might jinx it). Back to work on monday, after catching up on the news and stuff…

Anyway, just wanted to check in an let y’all know I hadn’t disappeared permanently. Work should calm down a tiny bit after I get back (February is always the craziest month around there) and I’ll be a bit more human…

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They’re are almost here!


Even though I’ve been totally swamped at work (it seems to be a recurring February phenomenon), this weekend is shaping up to be an awesome birthday for me. For one thing, it actually falls on a Sunday this year, making the likelihood of having to work until midnight (like last year) pretty slight. And the Gates are going to open this weekend, so that’s going to be on my itinerary. I’m weirdly excited about it, and I normally don’t get quite this giddy over public art projects. Maybe it’s because the scale of the project is crazy (23 miles!), or that Christo has spent 20 years trying to get the thing done (and is paying for the whole thing), or that it’s orange, but I’m almost giddy with anticipation.

And I certainly don’t want to jinx it, but I’m in an apartment-buying frenzy at the moment as well. I got home last night and spent two hours photocopying tax returns and rent statements for my mortgage broker. So that’s exciting…

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Take the A train…or maybe not so much.


Thanks to a single fire this weekend, service will be out on the A and C trains for the next 3-5 years. Yeah, that should be fun for the commuters. Yet this only reduces the number of trains running up the upper west side to, well, several (the 1/9 up Broadway, and the B/D up Central Park West for starters). The upper east side? still only has one train (the extra narrow 4/5/6 up Lexington). And apparently always will, as whatever money the MTA thought was going to fall out of the sky to pay for a 2nd Avenue line (not to mention the west side extension, part of the olympic stadium/jets arena boondoggle) is now clearly going to go to fix the 600 signals that have been destroyed thanks to the fire.

And Curbed has some insight into the effect on the real estate market. Apparently it will suck slightly more to live along the route. Of course, in this town, that means that you’ll only be able to get 900K for your one bedroom walkup instead of $1.1 million. (I’ve been spending a little too much of my free time browsing the real estate listings recently – can you tell?).

There is always that forgotten middle child of the New York City transit system – the bus!

(I’ll admit that I actually love the bus, but I like it precisely because it’s so slow – I can usually read a full chapter or two of whatever book I’ve got with me on the two mile journey from my office to my home. And I only take the bus when I’ve got nowhere to be, like on my way home from work – If I’m in a hurry (like on my way to work), it’s all about the subway or a taxi)

And how about that. I just realized, looking at the date of the entry form, that today would have been my Mom’s 55th birthday. Happy Birthday Mom, wherever you are……

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Vacation planning (or non-planning, as the case may be).


So I started thinking about where I wanted to go on vacation this year, and I finally decided that this was the year that I was going to take the trip to the Galapagos that I had been thinking about for some time. I tend to not plan far enough in advance, so stuff like this is always booked by the time I get around to making plans. So I started pricing things out, like airfare and figuring out which dates would work best, and then I decided something.

This is the year that I’m going to buy an apartment (or at least the year that I try really hard to find something). As such, that tax refund that normally gets converted into the "really nice vacation" fund is getting dumped straight into the "saving for a down payment" fund instead. I’ll still take some trips, because I’m entitled to the time if nothing else, but I think they’re going to be more along the lines of the parents weekend house, or if I want to go diving, going to a place like the Keys instead of, say, Fiji.

I’m really not complaining – I recognize that this isn’t exactly high on the list of difficult choices that most people have to make. It’s just an adjustment. It’s probably more about adjusting to the idea of spending a lot of money on a very small piece of property, and transferring that anxiety onto not getting to see giant turtles this year.

Now I have to go obsess about the newest listings on Corcoran…

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This is pretty cool.


Find any address in the five boroughs.

Thanks to Curbed for the link.

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Pre-Thanksgiving Construction Update: There Goes the Sun.


Well, it looks like my idea to buy a new lamp was a good one, as the new floors are definitely being added. Check it out:

I was going through some of my old entries, and I came across the one with the letter from our management. I’m just wondering what happened to the supposed “agreement” in place:

…Per the agreement, the scaffolding should only be up for 47 days

Hmm. The letter was sent around in August. It’s now November. I’m no math genius, but I’m pretty sure it’s well past 47 days, and, as y’all can see from the photos, the scaffolding in the courtyard has only gotten more substantial.

[They] are recessing the walls in the courtyard.., which will allow more sunlight… It will be a nicer view out your window when all is said and done. [I suppose this should allay my fears about them adding 3 more floors to the building].

I guess I was a little too optimistic about that one!

I should also point out that since that letter was written, my building has changed management (again!). So there’s no one around to even enforce the supposed agreements, since they were with the old management company. Plus, I’m sure these guys have the permits in place to add the floors, and we’re all renters, so we’d simply be told to move if we’re unhappy. Oh well. Time to start obsessing over Corcoran.com again.

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Had a fun day yesterday, which involved getting a call from my cleaning service that my cleaning lady couldn’t get into my apartment. Apparently, the doorman had misplaced my spare set of keys. So not only is some stranger walking around with a set of my apartment keys with my apartment number on them, I was going to come home to an unclean apartment.

So when I got home last night, while my super was changing my locks, he told me that the building across the street was going to be adding three more floors. you know, that thing I was irrationally fearful of a few days ago. No more view (as limited as it was). No more sunlight. I’d say that this would finally be the thing that pushes me over the edge into buying something, but who am I kidding? I refuse to buy until the inevitable NYC real estate crash. I guess it’s finally time for me to invest in one of those "natural sun" lamps for my apartment. And perfect timing too, as my current living room floor lamp just died.

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