Random Blog A Musing Farf: August 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Now this is more like it. Husband and I got back on the horse last night (so to speak) and attended an open house for an apartment just a few blocks from where we live now. They served us wine. It was awesome. And, the selling broker knows Sister from childhood and we all went to Hebrew School together. Nothing like a little Jewish Georgraphy to get the good will flowing.

Oh, and the apartment was pretty cool too. It has a full time doorman, 1100 sq. feet of living space and a 2000 sq. foot roof deck, which is shared between all tenants. It is also just a block and a half from Sister’s apartment and if I look out the bedroom window, I can see her building. I like it even better than the last apartment we saw, except that the second bedroom is much smaller than I would like. But, as Husband points out, we want to discourage guests and once we have a baby (no, I am not pregnant, but one day maybe….) it’s not like we will have a space room anyway. Besides, the living room is huge and can easily accommodate an air mattress. But, I digress….

The kitchen has more storage space than Husband can even dream of and I love the washer/dryer. The only renovations needed are a new coat of paint, some cosmetic work on the bathroom and maybe built-ins in the living room. I would also like to build a closet into the wall between the foyer and small bedroom, but that’s not important. You can check out the floor plan below….

Despite the small second bedroom, I really like this place and feel like it could be home. But, I have learned not to get excited about apartments since they seem to easily slip through our fingers and into the hands of people who can offer more money and present a better overall financial picture (i.e. more likely to get co-op board approval).

We’re going back tomorrow to take another look and figure out the right amount to bid. I refuse to get overly excited, but I can’t help picture it with new bathroom tile….

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Well, we didn’t get this apartment either. Sigh. Maybe I can pitch a tent in the dog park if we don’t find anything by the spring. That way the dogs have a yard in which to play and I have a place to sleep that does not break the bank.

What is so annoying about not getting this apartment is that we bid *over* asking price and offered to remove the mortgage contingency from the contract and we still fell short. Yikes. I though the market was supposed to be in the tank.

Really, we are not asking for much – just a spacious kitchen and washer/dryer hook-up in a pet friendly building for an affordable price. Our needs seem simple but are harder to attain than I would have thought.

Husband has announced that we will be homeless in a few months. While I don’t think that is necessarily true, I am frustrated. The apartment we saw was 5 blocks from where we live now and I absolutely love, love, love my neighborhood. We are going to see a place tonight that is 20 blocks away, but that is so far and not nearly as nice on the place we just lost out on. Sigh….

Hopefully, this becomes one of those stories where we laugh about how we almost ended up with a crappy apartment because we didn’t know better but were so happy to have lost out because a really cool place fell into our laps, although right now I seriously doubt it….

My apartment is covered in dust. It is just filthy. And the worst part is, I have been cleaning non-stop. No, Husband and I are not slobs, it’s just that the building next door is being gut renovated and the outside is being redone, so dust is flying everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

The doors and windows are shut tight, but despite this, there is a layer about a centimeter deep all over the dressers, cabinets and furniture. There is also a much thicker layer all over the backyard. And it’s not just fine dust that can be easily wiped off. It is cake-y and goopy and makes you slip when walking in socks. I hate it.

Worse than the mess is the unknown quality of the stuff: The building next door is more than 100 years old and this dust could have asbestos or lead paint in it. Worse than gross, that is dangerous. I called the management company of my building since they are supposed to be on top of this stuff, but of course, no one returned my call. Sure, what do they care? By the time I develop lung cancer or something equally as scary, I will have moved away and the cause will be impossible to prove…

No one who sees the dust can believe that we really had the doors and windows shut, but the dust particles are really small and it’s not like the apartment is airtight. And the guys who work next door wear masks.

And, even worse is that we have the dogs. Tiki and Cody are home all day today with the dog walker and are breathing this potentially toxic dust into their little puppy bodies. I am so angry and there is nothing I can do except pray that we win the bid we put in on an apartment a few blocks away so we can move….

Sunday, August 26, 2007


It’s 5am at home. Two o’clock in the morning in Long Breach, CA, where I am currently in town for the wedding of Husband’s college roommate. This is the second weekend in a row that Husband and I have attended a wedding and for now at least, it’s the last one for a while.

I am tired. I worked all weekend remotely from the hotel (that you Small Liberal Law Firm for reimbursing me for the internet access that is allowing me to write this) while Husband reminisced about college days and fraternity pranks. I only knew a few people at both weddings and spent most of both weddings alone. Last weekend Husband was the wedding photographer so he was busy working and this weekend, he hung out with college friends that I have only met once or twice and with whom I don’t really have much in common.

I want to be home. I want to be in my own bed, listening to Tiki the Wonder Dog groaning in his sleep. I want to be woken up by Cody jumping on the bed to kiss my face and reluctantly jumping off when Husband mumbles something about it being too early to be awake. I want my teddy bear and blanket (yes, I still sleep with both) wrapped around my head so that when I wake up, for the brief moment before I remove the blanket from my face, I wonder if I have gone blind during the night.

Is it possible to be homesick after only being away for a weekend? Despite the fact that this trip was three days long (and I am often away for so much longer at a time) I desperately want to be back with a longing that is strange to experience after only a weekend. I miss the way the air conditioner does not quite cool off the bedroom and how the rain on the window in the guest room sounds like a steel drum. I miss sitting cramped with Husband on a small corner of the couch, fighting for the smallest space, while the dogs lay stretched out across the cushions. I miss being home.

So, as I get ready for bed and hope that Husband doesn’t wake me up when he finally gets back to the room, I eagerly anticipate getting home tomorrow. I look past the morning we will likely spend at the pool and the long plane ride to the moment I turn my key in the front door of the apartment and hear Cody whining and Tiki pacing, waiting for us to come inside. And then I repack my pack to head out again next weekend…

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Ummm, I thought it was supposed to be easy to buy an apartment. Isn't there a mortgage crisis that hit Manhattan? I figured that we were going to have it easy. Sellers would great us at open houses with iced tea and bundt cake. They would beg us to buy their apartment. Not so.

Just a few hours ago I wrote about the awesome apartment that Husband and I found with the help of our equally as awesome broker. We saw, we fell in love, we put in a bid slightly under ask. Then we sat back and allowed ourselved to make fantasy renovations and dream of having two children who peacefully shared the second bedroom. I even already like the colors on the walls.

After we put in the bid, the sellers asked us for a little bit of information about ourselves in order to make sure we could pass co-op board approval. We both came off sounding smart, well rounded and quiet. The perfect neighbors. I marked up the floor plan with notations as to where the furniture would go. I ran through the pros and cons of having the couch on the east wall of the living room. I dreamed of owning my very own washer/dryer unit.

And then the bombshell from our broker. There were two other offers. TWO! How dare these people? I saw the place first. (Seriously, we were the second showing) and yet the greedy sellers still want to have an open house on Sunday. Clearly, they don't need tea and bundt cake.

So, Husband and I will sit around tonight with our check books and try and determine how high we can bid before throwing in the towel and hope that they can't secure mortgages. Grrr.

The atricles and stories keep coming about the softening housing market and how people can't give away houses anymore. Too bad that sub-prime mortgage crisis has not really hit the NYC real estate market, and if it does, it may be too late for us since we have to move by March 1st.

And so the apartment hunting continues. We lost the last place we liked because the broker tried to pit us in a bidding was against other buyers and, in figuring the cost of renovations, we were talking about numbers so far outside our price range as to be absurd. But yesterday our totally awesome broker sent us a listing only 5 blocks from where we now live. And it is 1000 sq. feet. And they allow dogs. We loved it before we even saw it.

For those of you outside NYC, let me explain that a neighborhood is like its own little town. To move a mere mile (22 blocks) from where we now live would have meant a change in the gym we attend, restaurants from which we order, day care where we send the dogs and a new cleaning woman. And really, it’s the last that gets me since Jacinta predates Husband and he is well aware where he would come out if I were forced to choose between them. But this apartment is 5 blocks south and only ½ a block from Central Park. And it’s closer to the good dog park. And its ½ a block from the same subway I currently take to work. Same take-out places, same gym and still an easy walk to Sister’s apartment.

So, we saw the place last night and even though it’s not perfect, it has tons of potential. We could open up the kitchen and build out a kitchen table. The second bedroom is big enough for 2 children to share and, while the bathroom is small, there is a huge linen closet and…wait for it…. I can hook up a washer/dryer. No small thing in this city. Also, the apartment comes with a storage unit in the basement and, although there is currently a waiting list, there is a locked room for bicycle storage.

Oh, and you can’t tell from the floor plan, but the master bedroom has a walk-in closet that we would turn into an ensuite ½ bath and then we would just build back to back closets along the wall the adjoins the two bedrooms. Viola, we are back to the 1.5 bath just like we have now. We would also redo the kitchen and bathroom, but the appliances and set up as they are now is totally livable and we could make changes as we can afford them.

By the way, this is not the actual floor plan and the apartment we saw is way cooler and has a front hall closet, but this is the closet thing I could find.
I am a little sad to lose the use of my awesome grill and backyard furniture, but they can go into my parents’ basement for a few years until we one day have our dream house in Connecticut. And it’s pretty exciting to think that we may actually have our own apartment!

Now onto the bidding process….

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


It’s amazing the way you become an expert in things without even meaning to do so. First, there was SCUBA diving. I love diving and took as many classes as possible in order to make myself a better diver. Then, without thinking about it, I started to notice when other people had equipment on incorrectly and was able to coach someone though a panic attack and perform an attempted rescue of a drowned person without having to think through the steps. Even though I have not been diving in a year (the fault of my work schedule, lack of funds and just overall busy-ness), people still will email me dive-related questions and I answer them.

Then it became reproductive rights. I volunteered with Haven Coalition and learned about fetal development, methods of termination and all the ways that birth control can fail. People from all over the country contacted me about how to set up similar groups and I was interviewed for a documentary. I recently received a call from a young woman receiving a PhD in Public Health who wants to interview me as part of her doctoral thesis. (I referred her to Haven’s current coordinators). My last OBGYN knew who I was before I even had my first appointment and spent the entire time telling me how much he admired what I was doing. Weird.

And now, it is dog training. I sit on the Board of NYC Shiba Rescue, Inc. (I love writing “Inc.” since thanks to the hard work of the fine people at Bingham McCutchen, we are now officially incorporated in the State of New York!) and part of my job entails writing to people who have dogs with behavioral problems. Some of the problems are easy, like offering a puppy a chew toy after removing him from your table leg. Some of the problems are hard, like what to do about a dog with such severe separation anxiety that it can’t be alone for 30 seconds. But I love this new part of my job anyway. And, because I can’t do anything half-way, I am enrolling in a dog training course offered around the corner from my apartment where I will be trained as a dog trainer. The added bonus, of course, is that you practice on your own dog so Tiki and Cody will get lots of training reinforcement. And, if Jenna agrees, then maybe I can work one on one with people who are thinking of giving away their dogs to rescue before the problems escalate to the point where they feel that is the only option.

I love learning new things and I love teaching others about the stuff I am learning. Plus, its even better when you pick up knowledge just doing stuff you would want to do anyway…

Peg found this very cool site that rates your blog. I had to copy her. And imgaine my surprise to know that despite all my talk of abortion, I am appropriate for all. Yippee.

Friday, August 10, 2007


On Monday night, Sister and I walked from 99th and Riverside (where we saw and ultimately rejected a potential apartment for me to buy) and stopped in the mid-80’s to catch our breath. It was suffocating hot and I commented that I thought I had lost about 10 pounds in sweat, which would have been fabulous if it had been true since I really do need to lose 10 pounds. At that point, Sister grabbed her belly and told me to look at how fat she had become. (Note: Sister has no belly and I am sure this was all a ploy to make me fell better about my own march up the scale). As we sat on the street and compared belly fat, we pledged to eat healthier and try and lose those last 10 pounds.

And for one day I really followed through on our pledge.

Then came the Great Transit Meltdown of August 2007 (not to be confused with the Great Transit Meltdown of January 2007 or the various Great Transit Meltdowns of 2004-6), which ironically happened the day the local papers all ran headlines about raising subway fares, but I digress…

Anyway, Great Transit Meltdown of August 2007 was by far the worst in recent memory. Husband and I left the apartment at 8:15am and walked to our usual subway through conditions not usually found outside of steam rooms. Oscar was there, but instead of giving out papers, he was directing people to use another train since there was no service on the B and C lines. Hot and cranky, we walked to another subway line but help little hope the trains were running since the bus lines looked to be 40 people deep.

Imagine our surprise when we got to the 1-train stop at 79th street and were told the trains were running express to 14th Street. Yippee. Both Husband and I could take that train and walk with only a slight delay to our respective offices. So we entered the platform. There was no air conditioning and it was even hotter than it was outside. People were packed onto the platform and men were literally taking off their business shirts and walking around in undershirts. We waited. And waited. The promised train did not come.

Husband gave up. He went home, sat in the air conditioning, bought a donut and iced coffee and has a relaxing morning. I hate him.

Since I am terrified of my direct supervisor and never know what makes him angry, and since I had promised to come in early, I decided to stick it out. Three trains passed before there was one I could squeeze onto. My train, which thankfully did have air conditioning, pulled out about 20 feet and stopped. We waited for over an hour without moving. A nice man gave me his seat, which I in turn gave to another woman. I said a little prayer of thanks that I had worn flip flops and not high heels. The air conditioning turned off and I slowly began to melt. The man next to me was sweating profusely and, if there had been a spare inch, I would have wriggled away when his sweat began to drip onto my head. I wanted to vomit. After ninety agonizing minutes, the train pulled into Penn Station, 40 blocks from where I started. A ride that normally takes 5 minutes and a walk that would have only taken an hour. I was still 20 blocks from my destination and with the bus lines now 60 people deep, I began to walk.

And this is where it hit me: I deserved a Frappuccino. And not some diet version. I deserved a grande, java chip frap with extra whip. And you know what, walking to work for those extra 20 blocks suddenly seemed a lot more appealing and delicious. And those additional 460 calories I ingested? So worth it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


recently posted about knowing people who are very different than you and still maintaining friendships with them. This is why I love her: When it comes to the fundamentals of what makes a good friend, we both agree it has more to do with respect and a common understanding that they will take your side in a public fight, even if they think you are completely insane. Would Suzanne beat the crap out of someone because they yelled at me for brining my dogs into Duane Reade with me? I know she would. And would she also privately assail my lack of understanding that not all New Yorkers love dogs? In a heartbeat.

My friends come in all different colors, political affiliations and levels of socially acceptable drug use. I would never stop talking to Dee because she uses cocaine the way most people enjoy wine. Tad was my opposing counsel at a former job and I think he really believes that people should be fired for coming into work 7 minutes late, but I like him anyway. I just would never want to work for him. And Mara is way more liberal than I am but I still love her just the same. I take pride in my diverse friendships and think they help me be a better person. But I am unable to make the same leap in apartment hunting that I do in friendship.

Call me racist. Call me classist. Call me any variety of –ist and I will not deny it. I want to live somewhere where the people look and think like me. I want to live in a neighborhood filled with nice Jewish families (not too religious!) who send their kids to the JCC after-school program and know where to buy the best lobster bisque. I want people my age, people with my income level (well, okay, with Husband’s income level) and people who wear Ann Taylor and Banana Republic to work. I don’t want to live in the Morningside Heights of 10 years ago, I want to live on the Upper West side of today. And so Husband and I have trouble finding an apartment.

If it were up to me, I would never move. I have a backyard and live in one of the best school districts in Manhattan. I can walk to the subway in 5 minutes and live near two different subway stops. But it’s not up to me. Landlords keep raising the rent and really, with supposedly falling housing prices (everywhere but here!) we really need to buy a place.

So I read the names on the buzzer and look for “Cohen” and “Schwartz.” I roam the hallways of buildings and look for mezuzahs. And I hate myself for doing it.

But you know the great thing? My friends accept this about me. Stacy thinks my inexplicable need for a homogenous living environment is absurd and offensive, but she has offered to pound the pavement with me any weekend I choose and help me scope out buildings. Sister sends me apartment listings from various websites and Kir put me in touch with her coworker’s friend’s dogwalker’s uncle (or something like that) who may be selling a place in my neighborhood.

So as I continue to enjoy my diverse friends in my homogenous neighborhood I need to remember that these are the same people who could be living next door to me in my eventual new neighborhood and embrace the likely change. And who knows, I may find that one day my neighbor defends me to a co-op board before privately berating me for letting the dogs pee on the landscaping.