Upended Part Two: Crisis Ends and Work Begins


Well, I’m pretty sure the last week’s entry was more of a cliffhanger for me than for anyone reading this, but I figured I’d write the conclusion anyway. First, the news: we signed a lease for an apartment yesterday. I don’t want to brag, but that may be some kind of land speed apartment getting record. But this week has felt like it’s lasted about four months.

If you recall, Frank and I were informed last Friday morning that we’d need to vacate our completely awesome and underpriced Fort Greene home by mid-May. I was quite convinced that we’d never find anything even close to comparable to this place in our price range, and I was right nineteen out of twenty times. This past week has been spent standing out in the cold waiting for realtors, then being shown absolutely terrible apartments that we can’t really afford anyway.

I’ve got to say, New York realtors can be a pretty cold bunch. Especially when you’re looking for apartments in Frank and my price range. One guy was thirty minutes late, didn’t apologize, and didn’t get off the phone the whole time as he showed me and this other girl an apartment so small that the refrigerator was literally located in the living room. He later called and asked why I hadn’t shown up.

Another guy was completely racist and horrible, loudly reassuring us that even though “they” lived the housing projects across the street, we didn’t need to worry because soon the project would be replaced with condos anyway.

One woman had us stand out in the cold, dark winter night while we waited for more and more couples to come and see the apartment so she didn’t have to go up and down the stairs. Which is to say: it was very disheartening.

I have basically been a complete bitch to everyone I know for the last seven days, and spent every moment I wasn’t actively looking at a place or doing work hitting refresh on Craig’s List. Or dreaming about hitting refresh on Craig’s List. You’d think that my dreams would be about finding a place or something, but no, apparently my brain is way more literal than that.

I realize that this makes me sound like a crazy person. After all, we were given two months to find a place, so one would think there’d be no need to scramble. I have no excuse except that I really hate being unsettled about where I’m going to live. Also, Frank and I are going to California next week, so we really wanted to have this all sorted before we left. In New York, the warmer the weather gets, the fiercer the competition for apartments is. People hate to move in the winter, so you can get better deals.

Anyway, so Wednesday evening we got lucky. We met Sari, our broker, who was the complete opposite of all the meanies we’d seen and completely awesome. She’d talked the landlord into lowering the rent on one of the listings she had, and we were the first people to see it at the reduced (now in our price range) rate. And it was amazing. Just perfect for us: in a good neighborhood, large, sunny, quiet. The landlord is the nicest guy ever, and he’d even installed a cat door on the bathroom for some former be-catted tenants.

We immediately started the paperwork on the place. I think we were the only applicants, but because of how cool Sari was (example: she told us to buy credit reports online and print them out at her office so we didn’t have to pay the $40 for a credit check that her company charges) we saw it on Wednesday and signed on Saturday.

It is such an enormous relief to know we’ve got a home, and one that I am very excited about. At the same time, it’s impossible not to worry that we moved too fast. What if there was something better around the corner? What if there’s some flaw in the apartment we didn’t notice? It’s still slightly more than we wanted to pay per month, and there was a broker fee (though Sari, because she’s so awesome, only charges one month’s rent rather than the usual 15%.)

Going to the bank and essentially asking for your entire savings account in cashier’s checks is a little nerve-wracking, no matter how excited you are about an apartment. But, the deal is done. After we got the keys yesterday, we went and looked at the place. It was on a better block than I’d remembered. It got more sunlight than I’d expected (we looked at it at night.) I am, unfortunately, the sort of person that can’t make any decision without feeling a twinge that I’ve made the wrong one, but I think our new apartment is pretty kickass.

Now all we have to do is pack up all of our belongings, move them, clean both apartments, paint, throw my friends the bachelor/bachelorette party we’d promised before any of this happened, have a good time in California, and work at the major fundraising gala that I have at work every year. All by April 2. It’ll be interesting.