well, that didn’t go as planned

me and bob

Is what I thought after the house inspector called us and told us that our prospective home was not “inspection-ready”. He said he didn’t feel safe inspecting the house in its condition and told us that he didn’t know another inspector that would disagree.

kayaking in the hudson2

Free kayaking in Riverside park! Bob would say it was fun. I’d say it was scary-fun. 

See, when I told you this house was a fixer-upper, I forgot to mention how much fixing it needed (hint: a lot). This place has been  neglected for over a year. The basement is covered in mold. It’s really quite gross, not to mention toxic. Despite that, we saw the potential in this home.  We knew that the seller didn’t want to spend any more money on the house, which is to say he was selling it “as is” (which is the case with most short sales, I’ve learned). So we called a mold removal company to do a free estimate for us and it turned out that the price for removal was reasonable. We factored this into our low-ball offer and was SHOCKED when the seller accepted the offer. Immediately after, our lawyer was on the job of negotiating the logistics with the seller’s lawyer. We went back and forth, until we finally settled on a contract that worked out for all of us. Things were falling into place. Bob and I excitedly started picking up paint swatches at Home Depot and talking about how our dark brown couch would look great against a teal accent wall.

And then came the inspection. Or rather the almost-inspection.

kayaking in the hudson

Our pants were soaked! Hudson River-soaked. Blech. Oh yeah. These pictures have nothing to do with this post.

On Friday, I took off from work and rented a Zipcar to head out to Jersey and meet with the inspector. We were on the highway when Bob got a call. He turned the radio off, so I knew it was something important. All I heard on Bob’s end was “can’t inspect?”, “unsafe?”, “the utilities aren’t turned on?” and “so we should reschedule”. My heart started racing and I motioned for Bob to put the call on speaker. I heard the inspector say that in addition to some of the utilities not being turned on (which is crucial for a complete inspection), he didn’t feel safe being in a basement with the amount of mold present. He told us, “I highly doubt anyone would want to inspect this place without having the mold remediated first. It just isn’t safe to be in there for more than a few minutes. Even with a mask on.”  I was so distracted by what he was telling me that I ended up driving off the wrong exit. I was angry and lost, but mostly disappointed.

me and valMy lovely and beautiful friend Val is leaving me to go to Spain again. Sad face. But she’s doing awesome things over there, so I can’t hate.

This presented a problem for us. We had agreed to take care of the mold only IF we bought the house (obviously). Seeing as how we aren’t going to buy it without having a complete inspection first, it becomes a stalemate. The seller made it clear that he didn’t want to spend a dime in this transaction. But if the inspector is right and the house is in no condition to be inspected, then it can’t be sold. Our realtor then explained to us that we could perhaps use this reasoning as bargaining chip, although it isn’t likely the seller will budge. Not that I blame him. The mold is just a product of neglect over the past year and has nothing to do with him.

So I’m fully expecting his lawyer to come back and say, “No dice.”

val and tanya

Val and Tanya. Behind me (taking the picture) was the creepy guy who was following us all around the park for a good twenty minutes. No joke. He was a creeper, but we lost him eventually.

Things are a bit up in the air right now.

Here’s the other thing. Our rental lease is due on Wednesday. We need to decide if we’re going to renew the lease or not. Neither of us want to spend the amount of rent they’re now asking for. But we love Astoria and getting to spend more time here is something we’d both love to do.  But Bob also suggested moving back in to his old apartment, which is in his grandmother’s multi-family home in Maspeth, Queens. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper, so we could actually save some money. But the area isn’t as convenient and the apartment is a bit smaller, so we’d have trouble fitting all of our belongings and furniture. Also, the idea of moving into a place for the short-term seems so exhausting. What if we end up buying this place or even another one within the next few months? Moving twice in one year? I’d rather eat glass.

stoop kidsWe call this one Stoop Kids. Because quarter waters and dollar ices and Tropical Fantasy and greasy, buttered bagels, that’s why.

Update: I wrote this post a few days ago, though it was published today . We’ve since decided that we are going to renew the lease on our apartment and wait out the process with this house. If need be, we will break our lease and give them 60 days notice so we don’t risk losing our deposit or breaching our contract. Per our realtor’s and lawyer’s advice, we are going to hire a new inspector to take on the job, since it turns out that the original inspector recently had a health scare that made him a bit more nervous to the mold situation. Perhaps the damage isn’t as detrimental and the new inspector can do his/her job without health risks. Our realtor informed us that the utilities will, in fact, be turned on this time.

I knew there’d be bumps in the road and I was fully prepared to feel this way after getting too attached to a home. It doesn’t make it any less disappointing though. But! We’re not out of the woods yet. There’s still some hope and I’m clinging to it!

5 adorable and funny dogs to brighten your day

I am not ashamed to admit that every so often, I will type in “funny shih tzu”, “sleepy kitten” or “tiny pig”  into the Youtube search bar. I’m just a sucker for cute/heart-warming/hilarious/uplifting animal videos. But my favorites are dogs. Anyone who knows me personally (or anyone who has been reading this blog for a while) will know that I LOVE DOGS. I’ve recently bookmarked a few cute dog vids that I wanted to share in my Click On These posts, but there were too many so it gets a post of its own. As it should.

Prepare for your day to get that much brighter.

And the ol’ classic heart-melting combo: dogs and babies. If these don’t make you go “aaaw”, then consider yourself a lost cause.


how to catch and get rid of fruit flies // homemade fruit fly trap

How to Catch and Get Rid of Fruit Flies

What you’ll need:

2-5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (balsamic works well too)
Sheet of paper (or two)
Tall, clear glass jar or cup (use something with a mouth that isn’t too wide)

What to do:

1. Pour in the vinegar into a jar or cup. I used just enough to cover the bottom of the cup.
2. Roll the paper into a cone shape and place in a jar or cup. Use tape, if needed, to hold the paper cone together.
3. Wait for the flies to descend.
4. Empty out the jar by releasing the fruit flies outdoors periodically to once a day.

I always keep a lot of produce in the house, so there’s always a few fruit flies buzzing about. But last week I was faced with an unusually large amount of them, particularly swarming around my  ripe grape tomatoes. There had to be about 20-ish fruit flies hanging out by this little package of tomatoes and it completely grossed me out. I’d remembered this tip I learned from Youtuber Megan Elizabeth on how to get rid of them using just a few household items, so I decided to try it out. It worked! ALL of them were trapped in the cup within two days.

How to Catch and Get Rid of Fruit Flies.

A few tips and notes:

1. The hole at the end of the cone should be narrow so that the flies can’t escape.
2. The flies will try to crawl out by the sides, so you’ll want to make sure this area is secure.
3. Place the cup next to your produce or by the sink (or wherever you find them hanging out the most). You’ll catch more of them quicker.
4. Although this is considered a humane technique, you’ll have some casualties aka flies that got drunk on vinegar and drowned.
5. Our exterminator told us you would even use wine in place of vinegar. But then again why waste perfectly good wine?

click on these


  • It might be the end of summer, but I’ve still got beaches on the brain.

Happy weekend!

a portable crockpot that’s nifty for the office

Portable crockpot - perfect for offices

Occasionally, there’s a product I love so much that I feel the need to gush about it here. And for the record, no not a sponsored post. I just really dig this thing. It’s a portable food warmer that heats your food about 2 hours prior to eating. No more waiting in line for the microwave at lunch time. No more awkward small talk in the pantry while waiting for my food to heat up.  No more dried-out from-the-microwave pasta leftovers. No cold middles and piping hot edges. And I only paid $12* for it. Do I sound like an infomercial yet?

I’d highly recommend it if you work in an office and regularly bring lunch to work.

Portable crockpot

My favorite feature is how well and evenly the heat distributes throughout the food without drying it out. The quality of the food is much better in the crockpot versus food heated in the microwave. And I’m not gonna’ lie. I really like that that I don’t have to wait for other people to heat up their lunch first. When the hunger strikes, I just reach over to my crockpot, uncover and eat. Instant! Easy!

Portable crockpot..

Here’s how it works/how I do it: I keep the crockpot in a small desk drawer at my office and carry my lunch to work with me in containers.
About 2-4 hours prior to lunch time, I’ll transfer my food to the crockpot and plug it in to heat up. The container is rather compact so you have to be really comfortable having your food touch or overlap (I really had to wrap my head around this, as I generally don’t like my food to touch eachother)
Then serve/eat.
Rinse and repeat.

Click here for the product page on Amazon. [not an affiliate link]

*The price has since increased from when I last purchased. Also note, some colors are more expensive than others.

the weekend: governors island, etc. and a house update


I decided to take the day off on Friday at the last minute and I’m glad I did. It was one of those weeks at work that felt turtle’s-pace slow. Since we had to postpone our Charleston, SC vacation plans indefinitely, I’ve been using my PTO days sparingly and I’m mostly saving them for when/if we move within the year. That’s what’s so difficult about the unpredictability of a short sale.  We have no idea when we should expect to move. Though speaking of which, we got news last week that the seller accepted our offer! We just need the bank to sign and then we’re in official attorney review (negotiations about the condition of the house, time frames and whatnot). Our realtor is confident that the bank will accept the offer too, so it looks promising. The timing is perfect because the company that we’re renting from now just sent us a lease renewal contract over the weekend. They’re raising the rent up by $100! Pfft.  Oh! And we just now discovered what may or may not have had a leak in our coat closet over the last few months. And possibly some mold. So yay. We’ve since removed all of our belongings from the closet and placed them on top of our radiator in our already-cramped bedroom. What an eyesore. It’s like the universe is sending us signals to leave the apartment. Okay universe, I’m trying my best here! Tell the bank to hurry up and sign that contract!



Now on to more weekendy things. If I were to give you any advice about Governors Island, it is to go on weekday afternoon in the middle of September. The weather’s that perfect mix of warm and cool and the place practically belongs to you. At least, that’s how it felt for me and Bob on a disgustingly gorgeous Friday afternoon.


chris christie2

Oh hey, Chris Christie ( aka perhaps our soon-to-be governor)chris christie


But if you’re not going to visit, that’s fine too. You can live vicariously through these pictures and just admire those views. Most notably, the ever-elegant and shiny One World Trade, an appropriate and important visual reminder given the week in September.


We soared around the island on our rented bikes for a couple of hours and then laid out on the grass with our iced drinks and sandwiches. It was incredibly leisurely.

me and bob


iced tea

The rest of the weekend was pretty great too. We tried (and loved) the much-talked-about brunch at Sanfords, followed by an evening of the Mets losing (what else is new?) and some fireworks after the game. It was my first time in a long time at a baseball game and I have to say, it’s much more interesting to watch live than it is to watch on TV.

Admittedly, the promise of a fireworks show at the end of it was what really kept me going ;) I’m a sucker for an ostentatious lights show.

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