The contractor comes tomorrow and the renovations of the apartment officially commence! I say officially because the boyfriend and I spent 4 hours yesterday taking the tile off the walls of the bathroom (aided only be some instructions on the internets. We are handy people), but Day 1 is really tomorrow when the pros come in and start knocking down walls. Clearly this blog is sorely in need of updating on a regular basis and I would like to have a record of the renovations and this whole process, so the blog is going to temporarily become a renovations blog. There are still things which much be purchased, so any and all suggestions are welcome.

Now without further ado, let me introduce you to the apartment (apologies for the berry pictures – I have not been able to locate my card reader):

THIS is what the apartment looked like when the tenant was moving out:

Kitchen:

Living Room:

Bathroom:

Check out all these tiles in the bathroom:

and picture them covering ALL the walls.

They were not in great shape:

Now for the bathroom, AFTER:

Look at all these tiles! And, shockingly, we got most of them off intact. I was proud of us.

And here’s the living room post-appliance and cabinet delivery (not much visible difference there, I know!):

You may be asking, where is that all going to go? (at least that’s what the Boyfriend was asking.)

Check back tomorrow night to see!

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So today is the big day where I finally get to tell you what exactly it is that I’ve been hinting about for the last couple of months. I suspect some people may have guessed or put two and two together as they wondered why exactly it is that it is March and I am still essentially squatting in the Boyfriend’s apartment (those that guessed we were moving in together? Hahaha. Not so much. But that is another post for another day.)

So this is it: I am buying an apartment!!!!

And we are closing in less than an hour.

Obviously, I’ve wanted to tell you all about this sooner, if for no other reason than that DEAR LORD this has been a process, including dealing with incompetent sellers who take a month (A MONTH) to return the signed contract of sale, a tenant who enjoyed playing fun games like locking the top lock so the appraiser couldn’t actually get in the apartment (that was a fun $75 fine), and brokers who hid the fact that the tenant had a 60 day notice clause in her lease and said notice could only be given on the 1st of the month. (Surprise! Even though you all came to agreement on Dec. 2, we can’t give notice until Jan. 1, so the soonest the tenant wil be out is March 2! Oopsie!), BUT with all these fun little hiccups, I didn’t want to push my luck and jinx everything. Now, though, I have the keys and, even though the last 24 hours have been full of the ridiculousness that has characterized this whole process, I feel pretty comfortable spilling the beans. No celebrating just yet, but I feel like that’s close too.

But let me tell you about the last 24 hours…I hired a lawyer who was recommended to me as competent by a friend who said that said lawyer (“Urkel”) who is generally awkward and twitchy and likes to talk about how he is looking out for me because he thinks of me as a little sister, but then fails to back that up with action. Urkel has been promising all week to send the closing breakdown, but didn’t finally send it until about five last night (it is always somebody else’s fault and NEVER Urkel’s) and that is when the fun really started.

In retrospect, I think that between me, the Madre and the Boyfriend we could have handled this just fine without Urkel, but everyone said that I needed someone who was familiar with New York co-ops and the process and the law, so I retained him in a burst of “better safe than sorry” logic. I have no doubt that we are, in fact safe because Urkel is generally competent, but sorry is another question entirely, because, frankly, dealing with Urkel makes my head hurt.

So anyway, as it turned out, Urkel had made some mistakes. There were small ones (none of his math actually added up) and big ones (he got the purchase price wrong on the final documents and these documents cannot be changed. So now in all the filings while I (we-my parents helped SO SO SO much with this, but it is technically my apartment) paid X for the apartment, it appears we paid X + $3,000. Luckily, this doesn’t really have an effect on anything, but STILL). He also sprung on us that, OOPSIE, even though he had assured us that the sellers would take a personal check, it actually has to be a certified check and that’s not a problem, right, when you are writing the check from a brokerage account, OH WAIT. Yes that actually is a wee bit of a problem.

But bygones. We sorted that out (with no help from Urkel). Then, my favorite: it turned out that even though Urkel told us he held firm and got reimbursements from the sellers for the $75 fees from when THEIR tenant refused to let the appraiser in, it turned out that he is a big old WIMP and basically convinced my broker to reimburse me out of pocket. Obviously, that is not how these things are supposed to work.

As a result of these issues, we spent about five hours trying to call Urkel, but he was clearly avoiding us. The Madre sent Urkel an email detailing the issues. It was pretty calm, although she did end it with “I am disappointed with your handling of this matter.” The result of THAT was me getting a call from my broker at 10 to midnight saying that Urkel was “scared” and that could we please, please let the reimbursement thing go because it was totally cool with him.

SIGH. Clearly, some people do not have the personalities necessary to be lawyers.

And, seriously, to those of you out there who have taken PR, doesn’t that just sound like a bad PR case? “Lawyer is called before the Board for because he screwed up and then avoided client calls for five (5) hours because he was scared.” Clearly Urkel has forgotten everything he learned studying for the MPRE.

But anyway, we did everything settled and we CLOSED and as of Thursday around four pm, I am now officially a homeowner (well, co-op owner if you want to get all technical about it). Now the real fun starts-fixing everything up to move in! I’m hoping to document the process with pictures here so stick with me. I hope to get some “before” pics posted in the next few days.

*Also, as you may have figured out, I started this post on Thursday on my way to the closing, but while at the closing got an email asking me to come into work. I went straight there from the closing and then didn’t leave until about 1:30 Friday. I proceeded to go home and sleep for about 17 hours before coming into work this morning. Oh, the very exciting life of a corporate lawyer! Besides, it is letting me be a homeowner, so I can’t complain too much. 🙂

I can spend the exact same amount on lunch in the supposedly subsidized work cafeteria and at Pret and get more and much more delicious and healthy food at Pret? Because, let us be honest, Pret is far from cheap.

(Or how fifi got caught between the two)

As you may recall, I was in DC last week. Saturday morning, the boyfriend started blowing me up with texts re: his conviction that a mouse (or mice) had taken up residence in his apartment. I’m not sure what gave him this idea in the first place, but the result was the Oreo trap. Apparently, before going out Friday night he took half an Oreo and placed it in the center of the kitchen counter and when he woke up Saturday morning, the cookie had been moved across the counter and had been nibbled.

Knowing that the boyfriend had done some serious drinking with his friends Friday night, I did question whether the culprit was really a mouse or if it was the drunk boyfriend, but he remained convinced and insisted that we needed to deal with this immediately. And that is where things started to go downhill, as they often seem to do between the boyfriend and me these days.

Now I understand that not dealing with the mouse/mice was not an option because said mouse/mice were not just going to move out on their own and, if allowed to remain, would like bring more of their mouse buddies to hang out. I also understand that having mice is not particularly sanitary, that mice can spread disease, and I would prefer not to feel like our food sources are under seige. So I get all that. I’m not trying to make them my pets (even though they don’t seem to be the big aggressive whatre-yous-talkin-about NYC mice I had been warned about, but more on that later).

After the boyfriend refused to go adopt a cat (Hello? Problem solved), I told him that I wanted to get humane traps, the ones where the mouse goes in, generally lured by some delicious peanut butter, and a door slams down behind him and he hangs out until you go set him free a few miles away (true story- that is how my dad, who is awesome, dealt with the mouse in our basement. And it worked).

The boyfriend refused. He consented on the no glue traps thing, because those are just torture, but I really think that’s more because he is irrationally afraid of mice and rodents in general and coming across a live (and presumably angry) mouse would be more than he could deal with. When he lived in Hell’s Kitchen, he somehow managed to trap a mouse under a bowl or something. He then retreated to the couch and called his sister to come and deal with it (and she did – this should tell you something about their relationship). Anyway, he refused to buy the traps, or even the ones where the mouse runs in, gets zapped, and you don’t have to see it because they work on “the mouse’s natural curiosity” (no it’s the peanut butter) and the boyfriend was not willing to bet on that. So even though I told him I was not comfortable with the oldfashioned snap trap because I think they’re cruel, guess what he came home with. Yup. Awesome.

And, he made it very clear that because of his aforementioned mouse issues, if he did catch something, it would be on me to deal with it. Again, awesome.

He set up the traps with peanut butter and Oreos and labeled the kitchen the “kill zone” (Seriously. He made a sign.) because apparently that made him feel better about the whole thing to make it a joke.

However, it quickly appeared that we had some literate mice, as the traps sat undisturbed until Tuesday. Which, of course, I was fine with. Then, the mice started to outsmart the boyfriend. We woke up Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to the bait in the traps gone and the traps untriggered. This may have amused me.

Thursday morning he left to to South Carolina to golf with a friend of his from law school. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s when the mice got stupid/cocky. I was watching Project Runway, minding my own business when…

SNAP.

Crap. (If you follow me on twitter, you know this is when the meltdown began).

I had come to terms with the traps because I genuinely believed we were never going to catch anything. The boyfriend’s landlord was coming in the morning to look for holes and plug any he found and I thought that would be the end of it. And I did think I was going to be able to deal with it(I have disposed of many gifts of moles from the cats over the years), but when I rounded the corner and saw the poor little gray lump on the trap (on the counter no less), I just couldn’t.

I was so mad at the boyfriend for putting me in the situation. And even more so when he laughed and was like: “Pretend I’m C (black cat) and I brought you a present.” (This may have been when I told him that I f-ing hated him. No judgment).

Long story short, I was attempting to man up (and figure out what I could use to knock the trap into a bag from preferably an arm’s length away) when the boyfriend called and told me that his friend who lives a block away was willing to come deal with the trap and the mouse. I do generally try not to be so over the top girly, but it was late and I was tired and emotional and so I took him up on the offer. And, really, it was much easier this way. I would have made a big production of it, whereas Shawn just picked the trap up WITH HIS BARE HAND and threw it in the trash. Clearly some people are just more constitutionally cut out for dealing with these things than others.

The landlord did come Friday and plugged the holes so hopefully we can put all this behind us now. Otherwise, the boyfriend might just come home to a cat.

Even though I just got the BlackBerry a week and a half ago, it was not holding a charge the way it should. Everyone I know who has a Berry can go days without charging, so the fact that my Berry could only go four, five hours without flashing the yellowish-green light of death and cutting off my email and internet access was not so good. Also, although I’m not doing it now and really would like to avoid doing so whenever possible, there will be times in my legal career when I am at work ten, twelve hours and a BlackBerry that doesn’t hold a charge is just not going to cut it.

So, of course, there is no way to remedy this without actually going to the Verizon store. I did call though, just to be sure, and the tech on the phone told me it was no big deal, they would just switch out the battery at the store.

And I went. They were understaffed, as always (I love that they waste one person checking people in. I can use a cell phone. I can check myself in). The tech guy I got was trying to juggle two customers at once and he was super-snotty from the start. I explained that my Berry was not holding a charge (super nicely, of course) and I got this in response:

“Well you’re syncing your email to your BlackBerry. You cannot expect it to hold a charge if you do that.”

Seriously? Because, if I’m not mistaken, syncing email is the whole f-ing point of the BlackBerry. I am not carrying this thing around for fun. I am carrying it around so I can get my work email at any time and as soon as it is sent and received.

I pointed this out to the tech guy (again, very nicely!) and we finally agreed that we’re would just try a new battery and see if that made any difference (even though he assured me it will not). Whatever. I still got my way and got my new battery.

Although the tech guy did have to have the last word: He told me that even if it wasn’t the email thing draining the battery, it was surely the fact that I have the Berry set on vibrate.

OF COURSE. Why didn’t I think of that???

God, I don’t want to be here. I want to be home.

Shit is about to hit the fan and I am too tired to deal with it.

But what else is new?

Things are kind of in turmoil on this end of the blog. There’s more than this, but the biggest issue is that I start work in under 2 weeks and I have nowhere to live. I have pounded the pavement, looked at a ton of apartments, wasted 9 days, and…nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I helped the boyfriend search for his current apartment (which, for the record, I actually found so I am seriously considering evicting him and taking ownership) and it was not a fun experience so I had an idea of how much this would suck this time around going in. That said, we found his apartment in Spring ’08 when the market was much different than it is now (example: boyfriend signed his lease for 1 year, paying $2200/month for a jr. one bedroom in which the “bedroom” and “living room” are 17′ by 10′ TOTAL. He is now paying $1800/month. Much more reasonable. FOR NEW YORK) and I really thought I’d have better luck this go round. Instead, I’m seeing the same crappy apartments we saw then (literally THE SAME APARTMENTS). I tried using a broker that a friend recommended, but that didn’t work out because, despite me telling him “absolutely nothing above 34th or on or east of 2nd” (because 2nd in this area is pretty sketch, people), he keeps sending me emails with “great” apartments for $2500/month on 39th and 2nd. Awesome.

Yesterday, he upped the ante by saying he placed one of my soon to be colleagues in a building on 38th and 1st. Because clearly that will entice me to take an over-priced apartment in a location I do not want to live in. FAIL.

However, I am a soon-to-be 27 year old soon-to-be lawyer starting her career with nowhere to live. I suspect that is an even bigger FAIL (let us just say that the parentals are none-to-thrilled about this turn of events because, in part, the current plan is for me to stay with the boyfriend until I find a place and “what will the pure and innocent Bro think about his jezebel sister shacking up with her boyfriend before marriage???”*^). At this point, I want to hole up in my room in my parents’ house, beg the firm to let me work from here, and never ever leave.

Sigh.

*HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. This is the boy who was dating at least 2 girls at once this summer. I don’t think me crashing with the boyfriend is going to corrupt his morals, but that’s just me.

^Interestingly enough, what the parentals don’t understand is that neither the boyfriend nor I are particularly thrilled about this turn of events, but that is another post for another time.