ceebeegee: (Default)
Had kind of an awesome experience last night. I ran into one of my neighbors in the lobby—we’d chatted before at a building Halloween get-together. She and her husband are from Ukraine (I think, based on how they were talking, they are Russian-Ukrainian) and they were intrigued by my interest in and knowledge of Russian history. She invited me up and I met her son with whom she wants me to work on basic speech patterns (inflecting his voice, speaking more forcefully, etc.). In return he can teach me Russian (I can read a bit, but my conversational skills, other than basic phrases, are nil). The kid was amazingly well-read for his age and very intelligent. Anyway so she set out a whole Russian spread of food—toast, tea, honey, dates, nuts, caviar spread, the whole shebang. It was really pretty cool. I drank the tea through the honey, Russian-style—i.e., I put a dollop of honey on the spoon, ate it, and then drank the tea.

When I got home I added the Russian keyboard to my phone and texted her по-русски saying what a great time I’d had. Now all I want to do is add a Russian channel to my cable setup! It’s amazing how inspired I always am when I force myself out of my comfort level—I get nervous but then I’m like “hey, I can DO this. I can learn Russian, I can become fluent in French.”
ceebeegee: (Default)
Ryan came over yesterday and we did brunch al fresco. Mmmm, mimosa-hybrids (orange/mango/peach juice) and omelets with onions and avocados and provolone cheese YUM.

Afterward we went to Central park to kick the soccer ball around a bit. Ryan wants to get back into the sport and I of course am encouraging him! We worked a few drills--one-touches, give and go, trapping, etc.--and had a great time. (Last night Ryan sent me the cutest text: "Today was so much fun! Thank you!!!") This was actually good practice for me because...

I have a new job! Up til a week ago my assignment at Lazard was actually three assignments and one of them (two days a week) ended because the woman retired. So I had to make up those extra hours. Originally I was going to send out my resume--and I did spruce it up and write some killer cover letters--but one of the other people I work with her suggested to me that I apply at a company where her daughter takes soccer classes. I applied, went through several rounds of interviews and observing classes (and being observed) and such and well, got the job! I was very worried about the age factor but it doesn't seem to bother them--heck, maybe they think I'm more mature :) So I'll be working with kids anywhere from ages 2 or so up to young teens, teaching them soccer skills and basically encouraging them and indoctrinating them in the love of the game. Doesn't that sound perfect for me? I'm going to give them a shot for a season or so and see if I like it and want to stay on. If all goes well shortly I should be making even more money than I do at Lazard--most of which will go to my Roth-IRA, my savings and my mortgage, in that order :)
ceebeegee: (Coach)
So I'm thinking I want to install a ceiling fan in my beautiful apartment. I'd had this at the back of my mind for a while but I was in Lee's Art Supplies the other day and checking out their furniture and lighting section on the second floor. Their stuff is NOT cheap but my goodness, it's cute. Some great little furniture pieces which of course I can't afford...and some stylish modern ceiling fans which made me think yes, a ceiling fashion can actually be a design statement and not look like a discarded fixture from a closed Farrell's location. So many of them look so fusty and old-fashioned! But I want something sleeker, something like this:

Snazzy, huh?

I have some expensive stuff coming up soon (like my college reunion at the end of May) so this is on the back burner for now but I did a little research and it's about $400-600 to install a ceiling fan. Maybe by July or so. And I think I have to get approval from the building management. But anyway--fun to plan and contemplate! It's MY apartment so I can do ANYTHING I want :)


Sep. 26th, 2013 12:54 pm
ceebeegee: (Candy pumpkins!)
We have another building mixer tonight which will interfere with my preparations for the housewarming. I've bought a ton of stuff to prepare/make for Saturday including SIX seasonal items (all homemade, of course). Anyway I had to make something for tonight (no, I will NOT be buying a bag of chips like *some* slackjaw neighbors :) So I whipped up some pecan toffee. The recipe is actually quite easy and you don't even need a candy thermometer.

My Mom visited last week--she bought me a crockpot, very shiny and pretty and red. She's an amazing cook and is always encouraging me to cook more so together we cooked up a storm, including my making a chicken pot pie FROM SCRATCH. Believe it or not, I actually do not like chicken so when I make it again I will substitute scallops or something like that, and maybe some white wine. But most fun, on Sunday we made omelets and mimosas and ate them on the terrace!

Lookit! Brunch al fresco! On my very own terrace! SO MUCH FUN
ceebeegee: (Magical Dance)
I was going to order curtains online but couldn't wait--I went to Bed Bath and Beyond on Tuesday. The lined curtains I'd picked out didn't really work--they were lined but not officially "room darkening" curtains. So I went again yesterday and found some better ones and FINALLY this morning for the first time in weeks I did not wake up as the sun rose. I've been exhausted for weeks now because of this--yay! I can sleep! Kelly, I still would love to order curtains from you though--I can just buy one of those "room darkening" liners and attach them to the back to make them suitable for the room. Can I email you?

Man, this weather is pretty monotonous--if it's not raining every day, it's this oppressive PERSONAL heat. I have a soccer game tonight--it won't be too bad after 5, but I'm glad it's not in the afternoon.

Have been QUITE sick ever since Friday--today's the first day I haven't been coughing up a lung. I had a game Sunday and flat out told my team I am no good and should only go in for someone who's exhausted. I went in once or twice and it was terrible--I coud barely breathe, was gasping for air, there was so much congestion in my lungs. Monday I was especially miserable and probably should've stayed home but since I don't get sick days...it was also terrible because I had a weird incident in the morning. I have a *very* high gag reflex and certain things will trigger it--most notably bodily fluids from someone else. Vomit, urine, blood, phlegm, etc. Tatia had an incident with the litter box that morning and when I went to clean it up, I couldn't help it and vomited. What was even worse was throughout the day, every time I thought of it, I started to gag again. AWFUL. Between that and the exhausting coughing fits, Monday was pretty stressful. I've had this problem (gag reflex) since I was a kid but it's only gotten worse as I've grown older. It is mostly a mental thing--I try to fight it by thinking of something very different (lemons or citrus fruits, or ginger--just thinking of it--seems to help short-circuit the problem sometimes).

Re: the Martin verdict. I'm obviously very, very upset. I cannot stop thinking about it, this is a terrible tragedy. I think the jury really let Trayvon down, and that interview with the one who talked to Anderson Cooper--she sounds like a completely oblivious idiot. Who makes a fetish of how much they don't follow the media (uh, I haven't had TV for six years but I strongly doubt that the Today show didn't have ANYTHING about this case)--and then TWO DAYS LATER has a book deal????? This woman's husband is an ATTORNEY and she didn't know anything about the case? Really???? I call bullshit. I am wondering if she wanted to get on the jury.

Jesus wept. It's so depressing. How can you possibly justify not holding Zimmerman responsible at ALL? Not even manslaughter, really?
ceebeegee: (Beauty)
Not feeling so good today...I've had one of those awful summer colds--terrible sore throat off and on--for a couple of weeks now. I was thinking of picking up a game tomorrow but maybe I should sleep in. For some reason I have not had a really good night's sleep for at least a week--not sure why since I was finally able to put up curtains, even if they don't block out *all* the light.

I walked home via Madison Avenue last night--what a nice avenue! Has a kind of "neighborhood" feel, more brick buildings. And the stores! LOTS of retail eye-candy. Speaking of retail I needed to spruce up my wardrobe so yesterday I went clothes-shopping. Went to H&M first--UGH. Everything there was bland, dull, not cute or trendy at all, the *worst* color pallette, all whites and blacks and boring boring dull wan pastels. I literally found only ONE thing to get, a short-sleeved tailored white shirt. Then I saw Banana Republic and decided to pop in there for a bit--BAM, found 4 cute things immediately.

I had no idea BR had so many items with yellow (my signature color!)! The best thing was these were all massively marked down--40% on top of 40%. As with J. Crew and Ralph Lauren, BR's clothes are preppy enough that there is no fear of shopping the sale rack--the styles will not be outdated for a LONG time.

Got home and hit the gym--I started utilizing it a couple of days ago. There's some sort of deal with the fios box/TV in the gym so that's not working just yet but other than that it's tiny but perfect. It's got everything--a couple of treadmills, a stairmaster, bike machine, weights (both free and bench)--everything. And it's in MY building--I can go any time I like. I am so, so lucky. So far, I've only seen a few guys there! But I tend to go late at night, after 10.

I took pictures of my apartment last night and would've uploaded them but our browsers at work are old so the interface with LJ sucks. Maybe I'll just do it directly from my phone.
ceebeegee: (coach)
Did my first load of laundry in the new place Saturday night (don't *I* live an exciting life ;) Sooooooo nice to be able to do laundry that easily--no wrestling a huge bag down/up flights of stairs and across streets. No $15-20 a pop for every load, or else cram yourself into a tiny overheated room to watch your laundry while the Spanish TV blares. Nope, just grab your bin, step into the elevator, throw in your loads for pittance and walk away. SO EASY AND AWESOME.

One thing I am LOVING about the building and the neighborhood is how racially mixed it is. I have seen fellow residents of every color and race which is great, mainly in my building but also on the streets as well. I don't know if that's due to the building or if SpaHa is close enough to Midtown to be desirable. I don't think it's entirely due to the building--the other day I was walking to it behind a white couple who were looking into the doors and commenting on how nice it was (they eventually passed the building so it was clear they didn't live there). One thing I HATED about my old address was the racial dichotomy--I detested always being the only white person in our bulding/on our street (other than Anya, of course). I don't want to live in a ghetto--either black OR white. I want to live in a neighborhood that effing represents MANHATTAN. I want to have access to soul food, tacos and quesadillas (lot more Mexicans in SpaHa than Inwood which is primarily Dominican) AND awesome cocktails.

Tonight or tomorrow, I hope to finally use the gym. I am almost completely unpacked--I just have to put up a few more shelves (bookshelves plus I have to buy/hang some DVD shelves) and one more project--gotta replace my old computer hutch. I was considering putting up some glass shelves, attaching them to the wall, but I have to talk to someone at Home Depot or someplace like that. I'm a little worried glass shelves might be too heavy. But I don't really want to crowd what I think of as the "office"--there's a lot of stuff on the walls already there, I'm trying to keep the place as spare and cool as possible.

Oh, and I'm buying the painting of one of my soccer teammates. Isn't it gorgeous?

It's going to go in the "foyer." Very Manhattan!
ceebeegee: (Celebration)
As I said, I applied for an HPD grant: the main qualifications for this are you have to be a first-time homebuyer (I think) and you have to make under a certain amount. The grant will cover either your closing costs or your down payment (or at least help you out with it)--I'd already put down the down payment, so this would be put toward the closing costs. You have to jump through quite a few hoops for this grant--I had to take an online course for homebuyers, much of which I already knew about, and which took FOREVER, most of the week, to sit through. And as with the loan process and with the application for the building, you have to provide reams of paperwork. Luckily a lot of this paperwork is redundant. And after 2008's subprime mortgage meltdown I certainly understand (and appreciate, frankly) the need for meticulous due diligence. But after awhile I started saying "the next time I talk to Chase or HPD and they ask me for more paperwork, I'm gonna drop trou and show them my dick and say 'Because you've seen EVERYTHING else already.'"

The grant process ended up being pretty frustrating at times though--several times I'd have to send them stuff more than once. Why, I don't know, but it's annoying after emailing them XYZ, to hear several weeks later "outstanding documents include XYZ." ARGH. We actually had to extend the commitment--the original expiration was May 13 and they weren't ready yet, even though I'd sent them everything by the end of March. ARGH. Eventually the original closing date was June 14, and even that had to be pushed back to June 21. But finally it all happened, and I got an email the morning of, from Jason (my old landlord who was serving as my attorney on this) saying everything was covered so just show up with my checkbook and a photo ID. I was still nervous as I had little idea what to expect other than signing a lot of documents. I honestly felt as though I was going to vomit.

The closing went off great and Jason was right--EVERYTHING was covered. I mean everything, except for one $25 FedEx charge, for which I wrote a check. But I also got money back (I'd put down a deposit for the Offering Memorandum so I got that back, plus interest). Due to the peculiar circumstances of the building and its requirements, I also didn't have to pay a title transfer tax. So basically I walked away with an extra $75--plus I don't have to start paying off the mortgage until August. Not sure how that works but I'll take it!

I scheduled the move for Tuesday and hired movers. Griffin and Anya helped out quite a bit and I was literally RUNNING up and down the stairs (for which my calves are now chastising me). Griffin was the first friend of mine to see the new place and he was amazed. After we were done, we ate at a nearby beer-and-burger joint, did a little grocery shopping (there's a great store right on the corner with aaaaaaallll the artisanal ice cream and beers I could ever ask for) and then I started the dirty work of unpacking. As I unpacked I realized--the place is actually *bigger* than I'd remembered. (First time THAT'S ever happened since I've moved to NYC.) It's designed so intelligently that I'll have room for everything in the closets, etc. and I can keep the public areas very spare and cool and zen. AND I will *definitely* be able to invite everyone to parties (I'd worried with a studio that I'd have to really curate who I'd ask over, but it's a BIG studio). My favorite new discovery is the view--the night view is simply gorgeous. The window is huge and it looks uptown--there are several tall buildings 6-10 blocks uptown that overlook ours, plus the Metro North runs above ground there, so you have this constant glowing train passing by (but hardly any sound, the glass is very noise-proof), and of course glowing hi-rises in the distance. So, so beautiful. However I do need to put up curtains AS SOON AS POSSIBLE because the morning light is pretty strong--I've been clipping a comforter to the windows at night so I can sleep but that looks tacky :) Oh, it is all so beautiful.

I can't WAIT to try out the gym and use the terrace out back! And the laundry room! And the party room...

I've met a few of the residents so far--everyone kind of grins at each other as if to say WTH DID WE STEP IN IT OR WHAT. It's a co-op so we are all shareholders, and I would like to get on the board once I get settled. That's a ways off, as the building is only about half full right now. But I'd love to nudge them to develop/open up the rooftop sometime in the future--how awesome would that be, rooftop parties!

Can't wait to plan a housewarming party. I will post pics as soon as the place is cleaned up.
ceebeegee: (Celebration)
So, yeah. Big news last week--I bought an apartment in Manhattan. This is the culmination of an extremely arduous process (I've been in contract since the third week of January so it's been pretty much exactly six months) and I am VERY relieved it is finally over.

For awhile now (at least since 2009) I've been scrutinizing the subway dailies (AM New York and NY Metro) for those ads that appear, usually on Thursdays, advertising new buildings that are going up that have set-asides for people like me who don't make a ton of money. Most of these buildings are rentals and are usually called 80/20 (as in 80% of the apartments are market-rate, 20% are income-restricted). I *only* wanted 80/20 buildings--no Mitchell-Lama or any of that type of program. I think these programs work best when they mix income levels. When I see an ad whose requirements I satisfy, I send in a request for an application. The income restrictions may vary--some are as low as $23,000 per year (WHO the hell makes that in Manhattan? I honestly don't even get how they find anyone for those--people who make that little money would have a VERY difficult time living in the city) or maybe $33,000. Anyway so I've had my application picked a couple of times before this. This is when the fun begins, because they call you into an interview and you have to produce REAMS of paperwork to prove you are in fact actually qualified. I mean, everything--bank statements, paystubs, utility bills, etc. The first time my application was picked ofr a building, the ad was badly written and I actually did not qualify which was...well, very upsetting. Then a little over a year later I was contacted by another building. I actually made it all the way through and qualified but they ran out of apartments, so I was put on the waiting list. I knew THAT would never happen--the building is the Mima on 42nd St., a luxury building--NO ONE who was lucky enough to get into that one was going to be going anywhere for a while. So back to the drawing board.

Last summer I sent in an application for a new building going up in SpaHa (Spanish Harlem). But this was not a rental--it was for homeowners. I wasn't crazy about the location but I thought--a whole building full of homeowners? That seems pretty good, they will have a stabilizing influence on the block. So I sent it in and got back a letter saying where I was on the list. I'd found an online forum where posters were going through the same process so I monitored that. Finally in January they called me in for an interview. Representatives of the seller (the developers) looked through my initial papers and thought that I qualified and they showed me the apartment the same day. It's a studio on the 3rd floor--and I fell in love with it immediately.

Here is the website for the building: La Celia.

I'll post pics later but among other amenities my kitchen has a BREAKFAST BAR. Which means I can entertain! All new appliances of course, and the refrigerator is HUGE. It's split-side, plus it has an ice/water dispenser in the door. Also the kitchen is wired out the wazoo--SIX OUTLETS in the kitchen alone. Oh--and a DISHWASHER. Yay, no more scrubbing pots!!!

The one window is very large--4 panels across. also, two closets PLUS a linen closet which makes this Southerner very happy. Very nice treated hardwood floors. One unit for both heat and A/C which means no more Air Conditioner of Damocles dangling out of the window and blocking the sunlight. The bathroom has a pretty little shower stall with a glass wall and glass door. As for the rest of the building, there is a gym, a party/community room, a laundry room and a terrace out back. Basically it's gorgeous and I love it.

So I signed the purchase contract and then started the loan process. MORE paperwork--I was sitting with the loan officer for something like 2 hours as I handed over statements, etc. He asked if he could pull my credit, I said of course. Then his eyes widened when he saw my credit score--OVER 800. Oh my Lord. I really didn't know it was that high--yay! So I qualified for a shit-ton of extra goodies like a SONYMA loan at 3% plus an HPD grant to cover my closing costs (NOICE because closing costs can really rack up--anywhere from $8K-20K). The best part is that my monthly nut (mortgage plus maintenance fees) won't be that much more than I'm paying now for rent.
ceebeegee: (I can't take it any more!)

GOD.  If it's not one fucking thing, it's another.

Left the apartment today to see a klassily taped sign on the door, reading "Mailman doesn't have a key.  No key, no mail--return to sender."  WHAT?  There are so many WTFs in this--for one, the locks, such as they are, were changed months ago, like last fall.  Why is this NOW a problem?  Second, the landlord's number is RIGHT ON THE FRONT OF THE BUILDING.  Why are you involving us in this shit?  Call him yourself!  Third, you're throwing away our mail?  That's what it might as well be--return to sender?  Why can't you just hold the mail at the PO?  OH, right, because the mailman is an unprofessional loser. 

I called Jason's office and sent him a frantic email.

If it's not one thing, it's another.  HATE THIS BUILDING.

ceebeegee: (I can't take it any more!)
Anya's ceiling fell in this morning.

There's been a number of problems with this building ever since I moved in December of 2008. The main one is the door--the magnetized lock is easy to defy just by taping over the magnet, and there's an element in the building that just does not want the building to be secure. They are constantly breaking the lock. It's infuriating. Jason has tried to fix the lock and they've gotten worse--they literally rip out the wires. Immediately.

Another problem is the constant, disgusting litter. There are some real pigs in the building and they have no problem just dropping their potato chip bags, their banana peels, their Ensure cans, any old place. Klas-say! It's humiliating--I really don't want to live in a building with a bunch of pigs who litter. The thing is, Calvin also lives in Inwood just a few blocks away and I've been house-sitting--his building demographic is exactly the same as mine but that building is spotless. It's not about demographics, it's not about poor people or whatever. It's about pigs who can't be bothered to pick up after themselves. Jason had me put up signs warning people not to litter and some thug-ass loser ripped up the signs and left the pieces on the floor. Stay klassy, pigs!

Anya's ceiling has been leaking whenever it rained hard (as far as I know, this didn't happen when Lori was there) and one of Jason's contractors (all of them, without fail, do a half-assed job. Everything's tilted or not quite finished or something) has been literally just painting over the problem. So this morning the ceiling just caved in. So now there's a huge hole over the window--you can look up into the structure of the ceiling and see that they didn't really fix it. She's very upset. I told her to take pictures and urged her to ask for a rent abatement. Lori told me that Jason should move us to a nicer building for the same rent, although at this point I don't really want him as a landlord, as nice as he can be. He just doesn't care enough which is odd since I know he really wants to keep us as tenants. When I moved in he put in a new closet in my room (without my asking for it) and he's asked us to refer his building. Jason, if you want middle-class tenants you have to keep the place clean and PAINT it. It has to look decent, and secure.

GOD. SO SICK OF THIS SHIT. So, so sick of all this.

I have no idea why I have such colossally terrible housing luck. I pay my rent on time, my credit is good--why can't I just find a decent building I can afford, with a lock that works and no littering pigs, in a decent neighborhood?

So yeah, I'll almost certainly be looking to move AGAIN at some point soon.
ceebeegee: (I can't take it any more!)
Anya's ceiling fell in this morning.

There's been a number of problems with this building ever since I moved in December of 2008.  The main one is the door--the magnetized lock is easy to defy just by taping over the magnet, and there's an element in the building that just does not want the building to be secure.  They are constantly breaking the lock. It's infuriating.  Jason has tried to fix the lock and they've gotten worse--they literally rip out the wires.  Immediately.

Another problem is the constant, disgusting litter.  There are some real pigs in the building and they have no problem just dropping their potato chip bags, their banana peels, their Ensure cans, any old place.  Klas-say!  It's humiliating--I really don't want to live in a building with a bunch of pigs who litter.  The thing is, Calvin also lives in Inwood just a few blocks away and I've been house-sitting--his building demographic is exactly the same as mine but that building is spotless.  It's not about demographics, it's not about poor people or whatever.  It's about pigs who can't be bothered to pick up after themselves.  Jason had me put up signs warning people not to litter and some thug-ass loser ripped up the signs and left the pieces on the floor.  Stay klassy, pigs!

Anya's ceiling has been leaking whenever it rained hard (as far as I know, this didn't happen when Lori was there) and one of Jason's contractors (all of them, without fail, do a half-assed job.  Everything's tilted or not quite finished or something) has been literally just painting over the problem.  So this morning the ceiling just caved in.  So now there's a huge hole over the window--you can look up into the structure of the ceiling and see that they didn't really fix it.  She's very upset.  I told her to take pictures and urged her to ask for a rent abatement.  Lori told me that Jason should move us to a nicer building for the same rent, although at this point I don't really want him as a landlord, as nice as he can be.  He just doesn't care enough which is odd since I know he really wants to keep us as tenants.  When I moved in he put in a new closet in my room (without my asking for it) and he's asked us to refer his building.  Jason, if you want middle-class tenants you have to keep the place clean and PAINT it.  It has to look decent, and secure.

GOD.  SO SICK OF THIS SHIT.  So, so sick of all this.

I have no idea why I have such colossally terrible housing luck.  I pay my rent on time, my credit is good--why can't I just find a decent building I can afford, with a lock that works and no littering pigs, in a decent neighborhood?

So yeah, I'll almost certainly be looking to move AGAIN at some point soon.
ceebeegee: (Southwest cactus)
I've been buried in my apartment lately, ever since I cleared out my storage unit and brought all those boxes into the place. The living room has a bunch of boxes across the floor but is slowly starting to look habitable. We unpacked almost all of the kitchen stuff and that's starting too look pretty good. However, the kitchen is still a little underfurnished--we need a table in there, and the landlord mentioned putting a window into the wall between the kitchen and the living room which would be AWESOME for parties.

The bathroom is shaping up nicely--Lori and I are very much on the same page as far as decorating and neatness. We want a soothing, zen feeling to the bathroom--clean and fresh and as relaxing as possible. It is a beautiful bathroom, with very high ceilings so it doesn't feel claustrophobic. We've added some little candles and decorative soaps to the tile shelves in there, and put up some itty bitty, very colorful pictures to stand out against the clean white of the walls. It is *very* relaxing now; Lori and I have been just walking in and staring at it. So pretty! We still have to put up towel racks though, and we're going to paint the walls and put up a curtain for the window. I have a paint design in my head--rich blue (almost indigo) stripes, kind fo wide but spaced fairly far apart. I want a kind of fresh, Caribbean-port-town-circa-1800s kind of feel, like the colonial Bahamas.

My bedroom is almost there. I have put up many of my pretty little pictures and decorations and shadow boxes. I'm considering getting another computer desk that's perhaps a little taller with more shelf space. I *love* my closet--it is quite big and soooooo roomy! There's a lot of space on top as well, for my out-of-season clothing. Just being in my room and seeing all my stuff neatly laid out or neatly tucked away makes me happy.

I've really been burrowing in--all I want to do is get as settled as possible.


Dec. 2nd, 2008 05:45 pm
ceebeegee: (Red Heather)
I've been packing for the past several days, getting ready to move into Lori's and my new apartment. Originally when we signed the lease, our landlord asked us when we wanted to move in, saying we could move in as early as December 1st. Yesterday I called him, saying I would be coming by today to pick up the keys and he called the superintendant and then called me back saying "actually, the apartment isn't ready yet--they're sanding the floor and we haven't installed the fridge or the stove yet. How about this weekend or Monday?" Silence on my end. I said "uh, that's a problem--I really have to move in this Wednesday, there's no other opportunity for me until well into next week, and there's someone who's taking *my* place in my old apartment." We discussed solutions--he said I should buy a tarp to cover my things with, so when they're sanding the dust doesn't get all over my stuff. Privately I planned to buy a chain (I already have a lock) so I can lock my door when I'm not there. He gave me the super's phone numbers.

I called today around 1:00 to let the super know I was coming for the keys. Her sister answered and said she wasn't home, and that she didn't have her cell. I said "please tell her I'm coming by for the keys--I should be there around 4:00" and gave her my number. Fast-forward to 4:00--I'm standing outside the building, calling the super, who says no, she doesn't have the keys, the contractor has them (he forgot his own). Sigh. She calls him, he's on 145th St. (??) but is coming right back. He arrives around 4:30 and proceeds to tell me, using the super to translate, that the apartment isn't ready yet, and since neither of them heard directly from the landlord, they don't want to give me the keys. Do I have the landlord's cell? I do--I leave a message for him outlining the situation. Hanging up, we return to the discussion--the guy keeps saying the apartment isn't ready yet and I can't move in. He says this several times, notwithstanding my reply that I have no other option. Finally I tell the both of them "look, no matter what happens with the renovation, I *have* to move in tomorrow. That's final. There's no other option. I'll stay out of your way as much as possible but I have to move in." Arrrgh!!! Unbelievably frustrating. Why are you giving me so much grief about this? Especially since you obviously have been slacking off or the apartment would be ready on the 1st as we were told.

SO ANNOYING. Our landlord told us when we signed the lease, they were looking for a new super--I think I see why. I plan to call again tomorrow morning to clear things up. As though I don't have enough to do...in addition to getting a chain and a tarp (which I'd planned to do after picking up the keys, before my time was completely wasted). Cannot wait until this is all over!
ceebeegee: (Family)
The other exciting news is that...*drum roll* Lori and I have FINALLY found a place. We signed the lease last Friday and are moving in!

Needless to say, this is a huge, HUGE load off my mind. We have discussed this for a long time--over a year. Last spring I was prepared to get my own place but she didn't have the dinero then so we put it off til the fall. We were going forward tentatively (due to her situation) and then the fire at Chris's apartment happened. Mickey and I each came up with the idea of having him take over my spot, and after that I was trying to find a place sooner rather than later. Lori and I went to see several places together including one 2-bedroom in, of all places, Elizabeth's building. The apartment was gorgeous and I wanted to jump at it--Lori thought her bedroom was too small and wasn't thrilled about it but finally agreed. Then we spoke to the woman showing the place who said they didn't take guarantors (which Lori had to have). So the broker (who was hired by the landlord [Tesse's and Elizabeth's landlord]--I've never had to use a broker, and hope I never will) asked me if I thought *I* could qualify for the apartment all by myself. A $1650 apartment, on my income! I really wanted the apartment though, and even offered to pay a year's rent up front. She kept shaking her head and saying "no, with this landlord, it's all about the income. He's been burned--they've had to evict people." I know that the woman across the hall from Elizabeth and me, the one who let the mold take over the apartment, didn't want to leave and had to be evicted, and didn't Elizabeth say something about her ex-BF getting kicked out? Anyway, the whole thing was extremely annoying--not only do I have perfect credit and a high credit score, I can pay all that rent up front! Just ridiculous that that doesn't qualify me.

But it definitely turned out for the best in the end. Last Monday I saw an ad in CL for an apartment that sounded promising--2-bedrooms, $1400 a month, hardwood floors, being renovated, cats allowed. I made an appointment and Lori and I checked it out. GORGEOUS. An old pre-war building with a nice big lobby, marble steps on the staircase, 2 decent-sized bedrooms, a nice-sized living room, lots of light. We both immediately liked it and talked about it for a little while, and even picked out bedrooms.

Thursday I was on the phone going back and forth between the owner and Lori, trying to set up a time so that we could meet. FINALLY we hammered it out--2 pm the next day--and we showed up to meet the guy. He's an attorney on the Upper East Side and is...really cool. I liked him immediately. His mother works in the office AND they have a cat there! A big fat blotched tabby, just like Tatiana. Naturally I had to meet him. And when we walked in, they were listening to the Broadway cast recording of Rent. After the scrutiny I had to undergo for the other apartment, I was trying to explain everything to the guy (especially that I haven't had a lease in my name for over a year) but as soon as he saw my credit score and record, he waved me off. He said "I'm not a landlord, I'm an attorney. All I care is, can you pay the rent?" He approved us immediately and we chatted for a while, talking about logistics. I want (NEED!) to move in right away, but Lori wants to give her current roommate notice so she can find someone new. The landlord said "well, the lease starts on Dec. 1 and you've just paid the first month's rent--tell you what, whenever you move in, just prorate the rent, and apply that to January's rent." Oh my Lord! What landlord do you know would do that?! Lori and I danced out of there--we are SO excited! We started planning parties and furniture immediately. Mark your calendars for February 24, 2009 for our Mardi Gras party!

So I'm moving in right after I get back from Thanksgiving--Dec. 2 or 3. It's a bit hurried but hey, so have my last several moves been! As I said, the place is gorgeous and our apartment being renovated right now. Oh, and it's rent-stabilized, and we can sublet if we want. Eeeeh! My bedroom overlooks the backyard where there's a nice big tree that has beautiful leaves right now. And there's a fire escape off one of my windows so we can have a cookout! *And*--get this--my bedroom has French doors opening onto the living room! Now I can live out my Joan Crawford fantasy of accepting the Oscar in my bathrobe and maribou mules!

Oh, oh, oh and I forgot to tell you where it is--Inwood! Just one stop down, on Vermilyea off of Dyckman. Right by Fort Tryon Park!
ceebeegee: (Irish!)
After a Friday evening at the Piper's Kilt with Elizabeth and Tesse (and Elizabeth's friend), I went back to the apartment to finish packing, and got to bed around 2:30. I had to get up at 5:45 to deliver the kittehs via car service and then go right back to Inwood. Did so, then picked up donuts at Dunkin' Donuts and then got the truck and was back at the apartment by 9:15 where Jason was waiting and Elizabeth had made a big pot of coffee. Little by little my other elves helpers started arriving--Michael, Tesse, my friend Laurie, Duncan. Pretty much all of my stuff, except for my bed and my TV/DVD player, was packed and sealed and ready to go so the move-in only took as long as it took to pack it neatly and fit everything in. Then Jason and I went in the truck over to Mickey's place, where he was waiting to help us two bring it in. We were so damn efficient, we were done by the time Duncan and Laurie got there on the train. In fact Jason and I were already driving back the truck--we passed them on the street and told them to hang out at Mickey's (and now my) place and we'd be back in about an hour and a half, and I'd take them out for pizza and beer. Duncan and Laurie decided just to go back, so I ended up buying dinner for Mickey and Jason. As Jason and I drove back, I was commenting on how quickly we'd moved my stuff in--I said it was Aryanly efficient, after all, Mickey and I are blond. Jason said "well of course it was quick, you two had the Jew to order around."

After Jason, Mickey and I hung out at the Regal Beagle Dillinger's, I went back and PASSED OUT. Very tired. Staggered awake around 7:30 and started putting stuff away--continued this morning and most of the day today. I still need to install the A/C unit (and CURTAINS!) and shove a few things around but it feels a lot more cozy. Tatia has been delaing with the move with her usual aplomb--she's an old pro--but Tibby of course has been a huge drama queen. Still he's taking it better than the last two moves.

THANK YOU so much, everyone who helped me!! Jason, Mickey, Tesse, Michael, Laurie (though she's not on LJ), and of course Elizabeth--superquick and efficient, you guys rawk!!!
ceebeegee: (Default)
We had the Thyme reading Monday evening (which went very well) and Luke (Demetrius) had asked us over to his place afterward but he lived further downtown and I didn't want to get home late so I decided against it. As it was, I entered the building at 11:00--I skulkedwalked through the courtyard with my jacket hood up, falling in behind two guys who were obviously residents (they were carrying groceries and seemed like a couple). As we approached the doors I saw a guy waiting there, clearly without keys and waiting for a resident to let him in. The two guy residents unlocked the door, letting him in, and the security officers didn't stop the guy. I felt uneasy and lingered in the lobby to fake a phone call. After a couple of minutes, I started to walk toward the C elevator bank--and I saw the same guy lingering by the doors, looking around, waiting for someone with keys. And honestly, I can't swear it wasn't the same guy--it looked like him but I didn't look right at him because I didn't want him to look at me. I was absolutely furious though. FURIOUS. It was the lingering that pissed me off, I can't even really describe why. It just seemed so entitled or something--and why the hell didn't security see this? As I walked past the guy looked over at me, obviously thinking I would let him in, but I pretended to get my mail killed more time in the lobby, hoping he would be gone by the time I went back to the bank. This is what happened, and I got into the elevator alone. I rode up to my apartment, furious and very nervous. Believe it or not, I hadn't really been afraid until then--but if the guy can get in again...?

My dad showed up the next morning and we talked about the whole thing, looking over the lease for legal grounds to be let out of the lease early. I didn't see a specific security clause in the lease so I called Rachel, who said the landlord's obligation to provide security doesn't need to be spelled out in the contract/lease, that it's implicit in the relationship between landlord and tenant. She was all "if you sue him, it's a tort, not a contract dispute." I was relaying this to my dad, who said "tell her we'd like to hire her" and I passed this on to Rachel who said she actually hasn't been formally admitted to the bar yet, but she would be happy to give me any legal advice she could, and would give us referrals if we needed. We could've been Rachel's first clients! I thought about what I was going to say to the manager and then went downstairs with my dad to the manager's office, where we waited for at least a half-hour. Dude. Just...dude. Eventually we were ushered in to see the guy, where I told him about the incident the night before and said "I don't want to live like that, playing games in the lobby and pretending to go get my mail, just to feel safe. I'd like to be released from the lease." My dad said afterward that I did perfectly. Afterward we went down to Union Square to meet my brother and ate at the Shake Shack...mmmm, delicious Shack Shack burgers. (By the way, they have this HILARIOUS William Wegman art exhibit there on screens in the park, showing these park denizens (diners at the Shack, people sitting on benches, a Parks employee driving a truck) with human bodies, clothes and hands and Weimaraner faces. It's difficult to go into why it's so funny but it's brilliant. Check it out if you get a chance.)

Elizabeth emailed me from London, very graciously offering me her ginormous living room to live in for awhile. After the Monday incident I emailed back saying yes--I'm moving my bed and kittehs (and basic things like clothes, makeup) on Saturday, and moving most of the rest of it into storage until I find another place.

Tuesday I rode up in the elevator with the mother of a girl who lives down the hall--I've spoken with her (the girl) many times, and had her and her little brother and sister over for Halloween last year. I spoke with the mother privately in the hall, telling her what had happened and saying "just watch out for your kids." As we spoke another woman from across the hall came by and entered the conversation--apparently the detectives had been knocking on doors and interviewing the residents. The other said that she'd lived in the building for a long time and things like that "never happen here." But she also said there used to be a lot more security than there was now. The detective investigating the case had left a message so I called him back and we had a nice long chat. One of the first things he said was "that guy across the hall isn't too helpful, is he?" I said "uh--YEAH. Yeah. No, he isn't." He said the girls next door and down the hall had very nice things to say about me, all "she's so nice!" and "ooh, she's an ACTRESS!" I said "well, I like kids and have invited them in several times to play with my cats." He said the building is still in transition and the management is trying to drive out the criminal element, and he mentioned gang activity and drug-dealing. I suppose I'm such an innocent, I genuinely had no idea that was still happening in that neighborhood. He seemed a little surprised that I was actually moving--I said I was moving for several reasons, 1) the guy knows where I live and what I look like, 2) the recurrent security lapses, and 3) that fucking neighbor. If you can't even count on your neighbor to call the damn cops...well, that's not a place I want to live.

I went over to the precinct HQ last night to look at mugshots--man, there are a LOT of criminals in this city. It got depressing after awhile. Detective Perez's partner came over to meet me and said "man, that girl next door to you was singing your praises--she thinks very highly of you." I guess I'll see if I can say goodbye to her before I leave. The two detectives were saying how extremely fortunate I was--which I know, in a way, but I haven't been letting myself think about it too much, because I don't want to freeze up and feel too afraid. But they were saying the guy could've punched me in the face or knocked me out, or pulled a gun on me. Detective Perez also said "my superior and me, we think it was an attempted rape" which seems, well, obvious. They're going to try to get a good picture of this guy from the footage on the tape.

One of the people I work with has been really annoying about this, though--when I told them on Monday, she was saying things like "you should've kicked him in the balls" and "why didn't you kick him in the balls?" No, I should've done exactly what I did do--stay un-raped and un-murdered. She's a terrific person most of the time but I don't need to hear what she thinks I did wrong. On the other hand, one of the guys I work for was bragging about me yesterday to one of the other partners--he was talking about our annual summer outing and how usually we play softball but this year we played volleyball. He said "you should see Clara, she's very fierce when she's at bat." I said "well, I am extremely competitive in sports--I lettered in three sports in high school." Then he said "And last week she fought off a mugger in her apartment who pulled a knife on her..." The guy looked startled and said "Really?" I shrugged and gave him a brief rendition of what had happened.

Whew. The world is too much with us.


Sep. 16th, 2007 08:51 pm
ceebeegee: (Default)
Thanks so much to everyone who posted or called me--I love you all. This has been crazy. Duncan, sure, you can tell Tony.

Saturday I slept badly and woke up around 11:30, and didn't leave my apartment until 1:00. I saw that the floor outside in the hallway still had a lot of blood on it--I went down in the elevator and realized I had left my phone in the apartment so I stayed in the elevator and hit 19 again. I could hear someone had just walked into the elevator bank (on the ground floor) and I was hoping not to share the elevator with them but at the last minute, some guy stuck his arm in the doorjamb. I was annoyed. Of course it was a young guy--and he hit 19 (my floor). I start getting tense. We ride up in silence together and I decide to let him walk out first so I'm behind him. He turns left (i.e., toward my apartment) and I watch as he walks right over this messy, bloody floor without even mentioning it. He doesn't say anything to me like "man, what happened?" or "do you know anything about this?" even though it's obvious it's right in front of my apartment. Man, I have some prize neighbors, huh? This guy is from the apartment next to mine--I didn't recognize him but it's a biggish family--two little girls (with whom I've chatted on several occasions and who have played with my cats), two parents whom I've never met, and I guess this...son?

So I go downstairs to maintenance to ask them if they could take care of the floor. The guy was horrified and asked me if I'd told the manager yet. I said no, I assumed the cops had. He said he didn't think so and took me to meet him. The manager was also horrified and said "tell the cops we have cameras in the lobby and in the elevators." I said I had--he said when they call me back, give them his number and he said he was going off to check the footage of that night. Their concern was actually quite validating--the complete disregard from my damn neighbors had me wondering "did this even HAPPEN?!"

I leave for Thyme rehearsal. On my way I stop on 54th Street where there used to be a security store that sold pepper spray and mace but I guess the store isn't there anymore. I get through rehearsal and afterward walk over to the ER of Roosevelt Hospital. I wait a couple of hours (not nearly as long as I'd feared though)--Mike joins me to share the wait--and eventually see the ER nurse and doctor. The nurse is awesome--she's this 6-foot-tall Valkyrie with short-cut blonde hair and beautiful light turquoise eyes who's all "You fought him off! That must be empowering..." and the doctor is her exact opposite, this tiny Indian woman who looks no older that 17 who kind of gasps and says "You're so brave!" They tell me it's too late for sutures, that it would atually increase that risk of infection if they re-opened the wound to stitch it. They give me a tetanus shot and dress the finger, and give me a prescription for antibiotics. While at the CVS to get the prescript filled, I browsed the Halloween aisle and bought the October issue of Country Living and two bags of cotton candy and dark chocolate, autumn-colored M&Ms. Mike made the astute comment that Halloween magazines for me are like porn.

Mike and I get back to my place and I call my mother last night and tell her. I also cleaned the blood all over my foyer and Mike helped. I threw out the purse I'd been carrying on Friday because it was covered with blood. It made sick to look at it. My mother called me again today and tried to convince me to take sick leave to go down there for a week or so. I don't think I have sick leave although I probably have some vacation time accrued.

Patricia (Titania in Thyme) and Tesse both very kindly offered to have me sleep at their respective apartments and I decided to stay at Tesse's. Jason and Paula met Tesse and me up in Inwood and we went to Guadalupe's and hung out for awhile. I was exhausted and had to wake up quite early this morning for rehearsal this morning. Luckily the A was running express, even thought it wasn't supposed to be. At rehearsal, Kelly came up to me and said "this is from Letham and me"--it was pepper spray. Rehearsal went better than yesterday and afterward Patricia suggested going to breakfast. Even though I was exhausted it felt weird to be alone so I went to Galaxy Diner. Afterward I went back to my apartment and SLEPT. When I finally woke up I called my dad and stepmother and filled them in. My stepmother (who is a psychologist who's specialized in women's issues and I'm sure she's dealt with things like this) talked to me about my need to get away and asked me to think about going up there for as long as I wanted. I said I'd think about it, and my dad decided to come down here to stay with me for a little while. They were so sweet, saying I was still their little girl and family has to stick together and they wanted to help me.

Obviously I'm going to have to move. I'm kind of dreading the big "yeah, I gotta break the lease" talk with the manager.

I'm still just so tired. I'm not even that tense or paranoid, I'm mostly just tired.
ceebeegee: (Massachusetts foliage)
It's kind of cozy right now--it feels like fall a few weeks early, and the view from my apartment window, with the river in the background and all these cars with their lights on in the rain, is evocative. It makes me want to curl up and knit and bake a pumpkin pie.

Speaking of which, at my Halloween get-together (where we'll all watch thpooooky movies), I intend to make some pumpkin pie ice cream (with REAL pumpkin puree, from scratch!).
ceebeegee: (CAWFEE)
I was able to sleep some last night--the Terrible Tabbies were much quieter. But I did wake up around 5 am and couldn't get back to sleep. The apartment leaks a lot of light--the window is so big, it's difficult to mask the light completely. God, my ass is dragging today.

Mickey and Sami had their show at the Knitting Factory Friday which was pretty cool. I'd never been there before and I'd never heard Mickey's music outside of Apathy. Afterward some of us hung out and I got in a long, cool conversation with Silas, Sami's fiance and our Starveling. He asked me what Holla Holla was thinking about doing next--I said I had not thought that far ahead, and we kicked around some ideas. Of course I always like to do the comedies in summer, but Twelfth Night *is* done an awful lot. We talked about the Scottish Play, although my main objection to that is the same one I have to Lear--Holla Holla's mission is implicitly feminist (in part), and I don't particularly want to do a play that focuses so much on a guy, unless I cast that role as a woman. Silas and I talked about this--he said he'd seen a Lear where it was cast as a woman, which struck me as odd. I'm all about the recasting of men's roles with women, IF it works (heck, I'm playing Puck, and I'm dying to play Mercutio sometime) but Lear seems like a role that only a man could play. His ego seems very male (not to say women don't have egos--of course we do, it's just his seems particularly masculine); his testing of his daughters seems very male. OTOH, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes has Lear-ish echoes and has a woman in the Lear role.

Silas also said he wanted to show us what he could really do--he indicated he hadn't really prepared for his audition for Midsummer. I can't remember what his prepared monologue was, but I *do* remember his reading of Bottom's stuff--he was fantastic. I told him he had NOTHING to apologize for--he blew Jason and me away. He was also talking up the histories but I gotta say, the histories are not that interesting to me, except maybe for Richard III, 'cause he's such a badass. I like my highs and lows. I would LOVE to do The Tempest but--see objection above re: Lear. Maybe Romeo and Juliet...I *love* that one. But there are so few women's roles in it...I could cast Mercutio as a female, and...I'd have to reread it to see who else I might cast as a woman.

Melissa (our First Fairy), Jason, Chris and Mickey all descended on my apartment on Saturday for a production meeting/rehearsal. Jason and Melissa went over her FF stuff, and Mickey and I discussed the music, and Mickey gave me shit for not casting any guys as the fairies! Although, since Mickey is our new composer/accompanist, he will be onstage with Titania's court, and all bedecked out as a fairy. Heh heh heh...After Melissa left, I popped in my DVD of The Brady Bunch Variety Hour. Their reactions were gratifying--it's impossible to describe how truly wretched that show was. When it got to the part where Greg and Mrs. Brady sing "All by Myself" as a duet, all three of them visibly recoiled and cried out. The '70s were the high-water mark for bad variety show TV.


ceebeegee: (Default)

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