Taken about a month after we moved in (a little over 3 years ago).
I am living in a home that will soon be another’s. It hit me last Saturday afternoon, when the realtor came in to show the apartment to a few prospective renters. Despite all the problems we’ve had with this place—constantly clogged drains, leaks, sudden water temperature changes, neighbors, dealing with the management company—I’m going to miss it terribly. I have loved living here. I love the open layout. I love how the sun pours into the apartment in the late afternoon. I love the area, which is quiet, clean and close to the park. But most of all, I love the memories that we’ve created here. Here is where Bob proposed to me, where I’ve made countless special occasion dinners and where we’ve built a home for ourselves (our very first one together, I might add). We’ve celebrated many occasions, like our housewarmings, New Year’s nights and most recently, our after-holiday party with close friends in which we revealed some big news! This apartment will always have a special place in my heart.
Watching these people walk through and assess what is still our home made me feel strangely territorial but I also wanted to sell them on the perks: “The parking’s not too bad around here”, “The area is quiet and nice”, “The bedroom gets so much sunlight!”. It was like a little tug-of-war in my brain.
Yes, this place will be missed. But I have one foot out the door. I’m ready to move on to the next. It’s funny because about a year ago, I probably would have left kicking and screaming, but now so many things have changed. It’s not just about the trendy or fun neighborhood to live in anymore. Now that we have Bebop and a future home to save up for, it’s about practicality. I know it’s best for us to save money and to live closer to some family, which is exactly what we’re doing. I believe we’ve made the smart decision and that outweighs staying in a neighborhood that we love for the vibe, walkability, food and bars but is rapidly increasing in popularity and price. Plus, our future digs have been painted to our liking and cleaned thoroughly and that’s just kind of exciting for me. The old place was dark and very brown and now it’s light and clean, giving it a more open feel. The baby’s room is a pale grey, which is the perfect complement for the light pink accents I have planned for it. I will get that dream nursery for Bebop after all! In the grand scheme of things, freshly-painted walls aren’t terribly important but they sure do feel good.
In about two weeks, we’ll be saying goodbye to this place for good. I’ve been taking random pictures around the house—mess, flaws and all—just to keep my memory of this place alive and documented. I’ll look back fondly at our time here. I’ll romanticize about the good ol’ days when we were just “kids” and say things like “Things were so simple when we lived there”, “I miss being able to walk to the train station or the grocery store”. But I’ll always remember that our new place will be the source of more wonderful memories and one day I’ll look back at it just as dreamily and think the same exact thing: “I miss that place”.
We’re going to be leaving our Astoria apartment—assuming everything goes according to plan—by the end of the April. And since the apartment that we’ll be moving into hasn’t been lived in for a good amount of years, we’ve been spending our weekends at our future place, throwing out old furniture, posters and anything that Bob left when he moved out about 4 years ago. It’s an old apartment and we won’t be changing all that much to it, but the things that we will be changing, like the color of the walls and replacing some small furnishings, are going to make it feel fresh. We’re also going to hire people to give the place a deep scrubbing before we move in and this pleases me to no end. Moving into a squeaky clean home is going to feel so good.
Bob says I was way too happy to be throwing out his old posters. He was right.
In the meantime, we did a pretty good job getting the place into shape and figuring out what was staying, going or heading into the basement for storage.
I started out really strong initially. I was going through old drawers and shelves, while asking Bob “Keep or trash?” It was mostly trash which I was thankful for, especially since Bob has a tendency to hold on to things that, in my opinion, aren’t worth holding on to. Then I started taking pictures of myself in a new pink lipstick that I’ve been wearing every day since I’ve bought it. I LOVE the color and how it really helps to liven up my face a little bit, especially when paired with my favorite Tarte blush (A bit off-topic here, but I kinda’ love giving out makeup recs). Then a few minutes later, my mid-afternoon nap because, you know…pregnancy. I crashed on his mother’s couch next door and woke up to find that Bob already did most of the work. Sweet.
Bob’s old office and soon-to-be Bebop’s room. Before it was his office, it was his cousin’s room, whom at the time was just a baby, hence the baby blue walls and pastel accents. We’ll be leaving this room as is. UPDATE 03-13-15: we WILL be painting this room after all (which I’m terribly relieved about, if we’re being honest)!
But I came back with a renewed sense of energy and was ready for discussing my favorite topic – paint swatches! Shockingly, Bob and I quickly came to an agreement on colors. Now if we can just agree on a name for the baby…
We’ve made a lot of progress with the new place, but there’s still so much to do in the next few weeks. We’ve got piles of books and clothes for donations and garage sales. We have a perfectly good desk that Bob is dying to give away and a few other smaller things. But like I’ve said in previous post, it feels so freeing to start getting rid of stuff. Of course, we’ll acquire a bunch of new things with the baby, but we can at least enjoy a few weeks of our new home, clean and junk-free!
We’re so close to this thing I can almost taste it.
A few weeks ago, right after the first inspector told us that the house could not be inspected unless the mold was remediated, we attempted to renegotiate a lower price with his recommendation in writing. We figured the bank might be more inclined to accept if they saw the words come from a respected inspector. It took a couple of weeks for them to get back to us, at which point they rejected the new offer because they had stipulated early on that the house was to come “as is”. Fair enough, but we had to try anyway. We weren’t all that surprised by the rejection and decided to proceed with the initial accepted offer, which was still an amazing price. We also decided to go with a new inspection company, one that agreed to inspect even with the toxic mold present.
Now it’s a matter of turning on the utilities inside the house, which has been a ridiculously slow process. Since the house has not been lived in for over a year, the utilities have not been in use, however it’s something we need to complete a full and thorough inspection. I don’t know why, but it has taken several weeks for them to just activate the electric, gas and water. Personally, I think that this should have been done ages ago. Then again, I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes and what the potential holdups are, but it’s still frustrating to wait on other people when you’re raring to go.
The other day, I got word from our realtor that she just needed to confirm about the water being turned on and then we’d be good to go for the inspection. I’m really nervous about it because our buying of this house hinges on the inspection. If it turns out it needs more repairs than what it’s worth or what we can afford, then the deal’s off. This worries me because this house is our only prospect. It is the only place we’ve seen that meets our specific criteria. It’s tough to look for a home when you’re not allowed to be flexible, but that’s where we’re at right now. And if it doesn’t work out, then we’re going to revisit the idea of moving in with Bob’s mother and grandmother temporarily (if they’ll have us, of course). Like I’ve stated before, the upside is that we’d be able to save more money and perhaps be able to afford a better property down the line. The downside is that this area of Maspeth isn’t very convenient when it comes to public transportation and grocery shopping. But we will make it work if we have to.
Normally I don’t care about getting gifts for Christmas, but this year I’m feeling a little greedy. I want this house! A place to call all our own. A home to grow in. Somewhere we can stretch our legs. So I’m hoping that this holiday will bring us festive fun, joy and most of all, a positive inspection report!
Fingers (and toes) crossed.
Little by little, I’m introducing toxin-free items into my home. I’ve slowly phased out my nonstick pans and you might remember that I like to use this container for work lunches. It’s been a long process and there are still some things that I haven’t yet parted with (i.e. ammonia cleaners), but all in time I hope to turn our home into a healthier place to live.
After I noticed some coffee stains on my teeth, I started to research which straws were safest to drink from. Most plastic straws are not made to withstand heat, so some of that plastic melts into the hot liquid, transferring those particles straight into the drink! I then found these which are BPA-free, FDA-approved straws specifically made for hot beverages. Presently, it has all good reviews.
At the same time, how do you write a scathing review about a straw? The drink doesn’t come through the straw fast enough! 0 stars!
Initially, it’s a wee bit strange drinking hot coffee through a straw, so it takes some getting used to. Though after a short while, I’ve grown very comfortable with it.
Now…about drinking my beloved red wine through a straw? Well, I’ll have to wrap my head around that one.
We Bob is organizing our new bookshelf (which came from here). He enjoys it, while I enjoy not doing it, so it works out well for both of us.
Our house is a giant mess of books.
It’s kind of cute watching him so focused on putting the books in order by last name, genre, size or however he’s doing it.
These kinds of moments (you know, the kind where he’s actually cleaning and organizing) don’t happen very often, so I’m reveling in it and occasionally throwing him a “good job” while I type this from the couch.
I could get used to these kinds of Mondays.
And I couldn’t be more relieved!
After weeks of Bob and I disagreeing on the softness, firmness, textures, styles and sizes of many a sofa, it was starting to look like we were going to have buy two separate ones for each of us. You should have seen us at our first stop. Our poor saleswoman was following us back and forth across the showroom, while we played a round of “I like this one!”, “But I like this one”, “But this one’s better!”, “No, this one’s better!”.
After a few stops all around Queens, we got to Raymour & Flanigan, where our very nice, non-pushy salesman showed us our new not-too-soft, not-too-firm microfiber chocolate brown sofa.
Here’s me, while Bob is in the background doing all the important paperwork. Or maybe he’s yawning? Or singing into his fist? Not too clear on what’s happening back there.
We celebrated with a super fancy lunch of White Castle burgers and onion rings. It’s our happy food of choice.
“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” – Maya Angelou
After any kind of day, whether it was stressful or wonderful, when I finally get home, a wave of relief pours over me. I don’t have one of those apartments you’ll find in any fancy interior design magazine. We’ve got $5 blinds, chipped dishes, no table chairs and a sofa we both have grown to despise. My point being that aesthetics have little to do with it. It’s a feeling. A kind of safe, untouchable feeling.
I like to be a homebody. When feasible, there’s one day out of the week, that I absolutely must be home all day. Small errands are allowed like grocery shopping and things around the neighborhood, but for the most part, I’m home. It’s the most relaxed I am all week. And I need it because I believe that it has a restorative effect, like sleep.
“My home…It is my retreat and resting place from wars, I try to keep this corner as a haven against the tempest outside, as I do another corner in my soul.“ – Michel Eyquem De Montaigne