Oct 10, 2011

Back With Scars to Show

It has been weeks since I posted here. For one, we moved apartments and didn't have Internet access for a full week. But more importantly, every time I sat down to write anything, all I could think to say was, "I'm so overwhelmed, I don't know what to do." My stress level was at a solid nine because finding an apartment in New York City is like this really fun roller coaster. Because roller coasters are fun, right? That's what I hear. I've never been on one because I don't need more fear and uncertainty in my life. BECAUSE I LIVE IN NEW YORK, where you can't be certain about anything, especially where you are going to live in a month. 

Anyway, we found a great rent-controlled "Junior 4" apartment in Riverdale, a lovely quiet neighborhood in the Bronx near the Hudson River. The demographic skews about 60 years older than our old 'hood, which means it's quiet at night. No drag racing. And no crackheads. Because we live at the top of a really big hill, and crackheads, if anything, are lazy. They will choose to punch a lady in the face at the bottom of the hill every time. We don't even have a gate on our fire escape (please don't come kill me).

But it came down to the night before we had movers booked, and we still didn't know whether we had our new place for sure. We'd signed a lease after much delay. But still no keys. Our guarantor had to work out his concerns with the forms (in New York unless you make a million dollars a year, you need someone to sign in blood on your behalf). We kept packing though because the movers were coming, and new tenants were moving into our old place within days. I had Manhattan Mini Storage bookmarked on the computer in case we had to call them at the last minute to see about moving all our stuff into a giant locker and staying with friends. See what I mean about the roller coaster?

Our broker (yes, in New York, RENTERS need brokers. You have to pay a full month's rent for the opportunity to see three apartments and get an application. Our broker was great, and we don't regret working with her, or paying her fee, which she discounted — probably because we were so pathetic. But I still resent a system whereby renters have to pay to see available apartments. The only other choice is being scammed on Craigslist) reassured us. Then finally, at 6 p.m. Wednesday night, we were told it was ours. The broker would pick up the keys in the morning for us, no problem. 
The movers were on time, and worked quickly. But we had more boxes than my husband had estimated, so not all our stuff fit in the truck. And then a monsoon hit. We waited it out, and the movers left to head to our new place. My husband and I had borrowed a neighbor's car for a few days, so we crossed the street to pack in our computer and a few belongings we didn't want in the hands of the movers. But when Ryan leaned over to open the back hatch of the Volvo, his backpack split open and his laptop plus two file folders fell into a foot-deep flash flood that was racing down Riverside Drive. The computer and the file folders were gone in a heartbeat, under the car and then down the street. Ryan ran through the water and caught the file folders, but the laptop was nowhere to be seen. He took off down the length of the street, which was lined with submerged cars, all the way to the giant pool that formed at the low point near Broadway. I looked under the Volvo, thinking about how heavy this old laptop was and how it couldn't have gone far. Halfway up to my knees in dirty street water, I got a long stick and started poking at the piles of leaves trapped behind the tires, thinking maybe the laptop was also trapped. I came around the car and there it was, behind the right front tire. I pulled it out and let the water drain. The battery was gone. (Elsewhere in the city, all the sewing bloggers I read and love were having a great time at a meet-up I missed. I'm still sad about that).

The following day when we were cleaning out the old place, the police detectives who were on my case called to see whether they could come over and swab me for DNA. The guy who punched me had blood on him when he was arrested. I guess it wasn't his own. It would be great if he had my blood on him. That's unequivocal evidence. So they came to our empty apartment. It seemed so fitting that on our last minutes in the old place I would give evidence to help prosecute the guy who had effectively run us out of the neighborhood. They were so nice, it made me cry for the 10th time that day.

We've been in the old place now for a week and a half, and are still unpacking. We haven't hung a single shelf or picture. We still have to rummage through boxes whenever we need something. And everything with a pipe has busted in the first week we lived here: the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, the tub, the shower. No one has lived in this place for six years, apparently, so everything needs to be fixed. Our new super has spent so much time in our place that my daughter renamed all her baby dolls "Juan."

This past weekend we flew to Kansas City for a family wedding. Of course our flight was cancelled, because that is the kind of luck we've had this past month, and the only flight we could get was out of Newark NJ, which meant a $110 cab ride. Someday soon my stress level will return to normal, I hope.

On a more positive note, the dresses I made for the wedding (including my Perfect Fit Bombshell Dress) turned out absolutely amazing. Here's a preview (I'll be blogging them more in the days to come):


  1. I missed your posts!Glad you're getting settled. Better days ahead! Hugs xo

  2. missed your posts too - i'm a new reader but delighted by your work and in awe of a mummy who does so much. glad you made it to a new home. feel sure you'll find a bit of sanity there, when the dust settles. best wishes from london

  3. People sometimes mention that in films set in NYC, the city is almost it's own character. What I have learned from living here 12 years is that sometimes that character is an asshole.



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