Thursday, June 19, 2014

I almost labeled this 'a sarcastic home tour.' I got an email the other day from someone asking me to post a tour of our apartment. I was drinking coffee at the moment - hot coffee, and it most definitely came out of my nose. We love this place. We love our neighborhood. We love living here. It feels like a dream come true every morning that I wake up here, but it isn't home yet. We haven't had the energy or finances to make it home yet, but it has some fantastic potential. I can picture it all and that's what keeps me from ugly crying in our living room floor on our only piece of furniture.

At random intervals through out the day, our goings-on (going-ons?) are accompanied by the background noise of an annoying car alarm, but not just any annoying car alarm.

This has become our reality. The first time we heard it, we looked at each other with stunned faces and shouted 'IT'S LILY'S CAR ALARM!' and ran to the window. Why we ran to the window, I'm not sure. We couldn't see the car. Our view never changes. It's always this. . .

. . .or this. . .

. . .or this.

And yes, our windows are extremely dirty.

After we'd heard the alarm a handful of times, we started to get annoyed and talk about how pointless car alarms were. Now you can find us standing in the kitchen, cooking dinner, woo-wooing along with the car alarm. What city living does to people is quite fascinating. You just have to embrace it all to stay sane.

Three weeks after we moved into the apartment, 48 hours of unending torrential rain made it's way through our ceiling. It was like the diamond cave in The Rescuers. We had almost every dish out of our cabinets and scattered around. It got so bad that we had to call the super and even he was a bit worried and brought us a five gallon bucket and a bag of thrift store t-shirts to put in the places we had run out of containers. We laughed it off for the first few hours, but started to get worried when chunks of plaster started to fall from our ceiling. The holes are still there a month and a half later and plaster sporadically falls from the holes. We usually just look up, look at each other, and shrug. New York City landlords are quite fascinating too. I say all of this for the sake of transparency (and a tad bit for humor). Moving to New York City always sounds glamorous, but for the majority of the people that move here, this is what your beginning is like. Almost anyone you talk to can tell you, with a smile on their face, about their first small, probably-should-have-been-condemned apartment and first year or two of struggling. It's sort of a rite of passage. I can't with any conscience argue for New York City with anyone. My love for this place is irrational. The fact that anyone moves here is irrational.

Our floors are fascinatingly uneven. When Evie pours her blocks out all at once, they scatter and roll in different directions (mostly under the couch, of course). We like to laugh about this too because it also reminds us of Lily and Marshall's apartment they buy. (If you couldn't tell yet, we're big fans of HIMYM.) You could probably start at one end of the apartment and roll to the other side on a skateboard without ever letting your feet touch the ground. Ev likes to build 'tall towahs' with her blocks. You can watch her try to set one up, have three blocks stacked that continue to fall, look intently at the floor, then move it all to a different (flatter) spot because she's figured out the floor must be crooked.

Every night, at the same time, the people up stairs watch the news at what I'm sure is the highest volume level their TV reaches. This annoyed us for the first few weeks we lived here. Now it's become a sort of comfort. All is right with the world if the news comes on upstairs around 8:30.

The state of our furniture is amusing. Our bedroom looks like a campground - two mattresses pushed together and a bike propped in the corner. Our living room has a couch in it, a poor couch that has been through so much. We bought the old girl four years ago, right after we were married, living in an apartment in Birmingham smaller than a single room in this apartment. It has traversed it's way across the country twice and lived in four different houses and is mauled by a baby daily and needs replaced badly. In said living room there is also a plank of wood set on two sawhorses to serve as my sewing table. No, I'm not kidding. You can't make this stuff up.

Three of the most important things that I noticed our first day here, all of which have to do with my love for Breakfast at Tiffany's: We have an intercom box thingy that buzzes people in. I can never hear anybody on the blasted thing, but it makes me happy. Sometimes I won't be expecting anyone, but it will buzz and I will press the talk button, 'Hello?' then I will forget to press the listen button and wonder why no one is responding, so then I hello them again - I don't know why I bother because all I hear is 'wahh wahh wahh wuh wah,' like Charlie Brown's teacher. So I hope it isn't a serial killer and push the button to let them in anyway. I hold it for a whole ten seconds or something because I never know how long it takes for someone to open the door and every time someone buzzes me in the door locks again just as I pull on the handle and I have to annoy the person with that dreadful 'buzzzzzz' again. Why isn't the listen button just built in you ask? Who wants to talk without listening immediately afterwards? Who knows. Anytime I need buzzed in (I've said buzz so many times, I'm wondering if there's a different technical term for it?) I always want Alex to yell, 'HOLLY GORIGHTRY! You distuhb me! You must get another key made!' and then I will respond with, 'It won't do any good, darling. I'll just lose them all!' Sometimes he plays along, but most of the time he looks at me like I've finally lost it and asks, 'What is that from?' just to annoy me.

In our lobby there are tiny mailboxes all in a row. Someday soon I will hide my lipstick in there and paste a small mirror to the back, even though I hardly ever wear lipstick. We've lived here for two months and have gotten approximately three pieces of mail, so I called the post office to see what the deal was. The slightly loud and rude lady asks me if my name was on the mailbox. I said no because I've never had to write my name on any of my mailboxes before. It has my apartment number on it after all and some foreign guy's last name on it who lived here before us, so I guess that can be confusing, but HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT?! It seems she thought I was as dumb as a rock for not putting my name on the mailbox and expecting to get mail, but we keep getting mail for people who don't live here anymore, so what's up with that? My grudge for the USPS worsens. 

We also have a fire escape. A few days after we had been here and Ev had fallen asleep, we decided to climb out our window and sit on the fire escape so Alex could smoke a cigar. I don't know why he sporadically thinks smoking a cigar is a good idea because I always ask him if it was good and he always replies with, 'Eh.' Anyway, sitting on the fire escape scared the living day lights out of me and I was a nervous wreck the entire time - but to complete the Breakfast at Tiffany's dream I've always had in my head, I'm determined to curb my fear and play Moon River on a ukulele out there, even if it's only once. I'm also determined to one day own a claw foot bathtub couch and keep my phone in a suitcase.

Showering here is like showering at Summer camp. You never know what's going to happen in that shower. You get the temperature just right and then a squirrel climbs up the rain gutter or a pigeon lands on the roof and it's gone, your perfect temperature has now turned to boiling with no warning whatsoever. The water doesn't change like this at any of the sinks, however, so we're thinking of changing the handles. It probably won't fix anything, but it will make is feel like we're being proactive. Also, whoever hung the curtain rod for the shower curtain hung it just a few inches too high, so it's impossible to find a curtain long enough. We've given up and just let water drip off the bottom of the curtain wherever it wants. The bathroom is completely tile after all, which is strictly a New York City thing. No where else that I know of do people tile the bathroom completely. I believe they would have tiled the ceiling if they could have.

After we had lived here for a few weeks, I got bored and decided to clean the stove knobs. They were plastered with other people's food gunk and I thought I would soak them and scrub them with washing soda. I scrubbed all the numbers off and it's made a new game out of finding the right oven temperature when you want to bake something. Now that we've figured out some of the temperatures, the husband decided to muster up his worst handwriting and take a permanent marker to the knob.

Our fridge is an 'apartment' sized fridge - not mini, but not full sized - but it's in a full sized hole. Our kitchen is seriously huge for a NYC apartment, so I wonder, do they only sell apartment sized fridges in this city? Is that why our fridge is thrown in this full sized fridge hole all willy nilly like? We obviously had a full sized fridge in our house in Albuquerque and it was always full, even if we didn't have anything to eat. It has now become one of the greatest mysteries of my life because this 'apartment sized' fridge is never full. It's impossible to even fake it being full. We bought $250 in groceries almost as a test and that didn't even fill it up. I'm constantly wondering what I did with all that prime fridge real estate back in Albuquerque.

Our super's name is Sammy and he is a black man that only speaks Spanish, which really threw me off the first time we met. Ev thinks he's the best thing since sliced bread. Anytime we go down stairs, 'Where Sammy? Where Sammy, Mama?' If she happens to see him she chuckles and says, "Saammmmaayyy!' and he chuckles right back. The lovely man also carries the stroller up the steps for me anytime he can and that's pretty much the sweetest thing you can do for a Mama in this city.

Thank you for touring our lovely abode. Souvenir pictures can be purchased at the booth on your way out.


  1. Hello Andrea! I'm visiting from the Mom Lovin Hop on Root and Blossom. Thanks for the tour! I'm a huge fan of NYC! This tour of your home was adorable. I was just there in Feb for my 50th Bday! Check out my four part series on my whirlwind weekend all the way from Portland, Oregon.

    I look forward to reading more about your adventures.
    Be Well--The Lady Kay

  2. I love this glimpse into your life! Thanks for sharing! Sounds beautiful and perfect.



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