fresh and new

We would be moving towards wrapping things up here at Renovations Central if the ceiling  didn’t need to be skim coated again. Skim coating is a huge process that basically makes your walls and ceiling look brand new. No ripples from all the paint layers that came before you. No flaws in the walls. Just smooth, clean lines wherever you look. But the first round of skim coating left my ceiling looking a tad wavy. It sort of felt like I was living under water. Right when I thought I was done with the plaster dust and construction materials and plastic covering everything, my contractor agreed that the ceiling did not meet our standards. So I’m tolerating a few more days of the boys and the mess to make the ceiling look better.

Will it ever be flawless? No. But it will look fresh and new. Kind of like my new author photo. This one’s for book seven, which will be out in May.

Susane Colasanti

I’m a big fan of keeping things fresh. I like that there’s a different photo for each of my books. Each one captures a moment in time while I was still working on the book. Or at least a moment during the same year each book was written. Another thing that compels me to take fresh photos is the annoying fact that I don’t like any of them. I’m always trying to have one taken that I will actually love. Which is why it makes me happy to finally say that I love this one. This one looks like me.

Who took the winning photo? The lovely and mega talented Jayd Gardina. Jayd took the cover photos for Keep Holding On and the So Much Closer paperback. I’m extremely fortunate that she was able to fit me in. And this might be a huge secret, but Jayd is probably taking the cover photo for the new book, too!

TGIM goodness all around 🙂

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rumors

As I’m writing this, there’s a guy in the bathroom doing tile work and another guy in the living room repairing the built-ins. Staple guns and various saws are involved. I’m used to the noise by now. I would escape to the cute cafe across the street, but I have to be here to answer questions and stuff. I’m also eager to see if this rumor going around that my bathroom is going to be finished today comes true. Suspense!

One rumor that did come true today was the one about my stove arriving. Quick update on  what has affectionately come to be known as the Stove Situation: I snagged a floor model from this mom and pop place in the East Village at a significant discount. Waiting until August 20 for the new models to arrive from Italy sounded super fun and all, but I decided that I would really like to cook some pasta, please. So yay, my stove is in the house! It will be installed tomorrow. Then I’ll be so much closer to being a person who actually lives in her apartment.

Speaking of So Much Closer, I am beyond thrilled that Brazil is going to release their edition tomorrow. Does the cover look familiar?

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti, Brazilian edition

Readers from Brazil are so sweet and passionate. And my publisher is amazing. They made a fun book trailer, plus they’re doing some cool promotional stuff with origami:

Bem Mais Perto by Susane Colasanti

 

I love how foreign editions are highlighting the origami from the book. The Indonesian edition even features origami unicorns on the cover.

Rumor has it that my first four books will be released in Brazil within the next two years. Thanks to Novo Conceito for getting the party started!

dude, where’s my stove?

The good thing about buying an apartment and doing an almost complete gut renovation is that you get to select all of the shiny new things that will make your home beautiful. Everything from the floors to appliances to fixtures is your choice. The less than good thing is that renovations come with many opportunities for schedules to be delayed and communication chains to break down.

And stoves to get lost.

I ordered this gorgeous stove on July 11:

Fisher & Paykel stove

The sales guy told me it would be delivered on July 20. That’s what my invoice says, too. That’s the date I scheduled with the building and submitted a certificate of insurance for and arranged for a contractor to be here to hook it up. But guess what? The stove didn’t arrive on Friday. Even more hilarious is that no one knows where it is. I spoke to a manager at the store twice on Friday. He said he called the buyer and was waiting for a call back. When I spoke to the sales guy Friday evening, he told me the manager never called about the stove. And that he would call them on Saturday. But guess what? They were closed Saturday. Oh, and the sales guy sounded totally drunk on the phone and could barely string a sentence together. Here’s a transcript of the voice message he left me:

“Hey, how you doin’, Susane? This is [name of drunk sales guy] calling from [name of store that is supposed to be reliable but is showing its bootleg colors]. Um…okay [muffled nonsense]…well…right now? [prolonged sigh] The stove…the stove situation…um…right now? We’re not able to figure out when…approximately when the stove is going to be here because we have to call the [manufacturer] and [manufacturer] they’re closed today? I do apologize for the wait. You know. Um. They told me that I have to wait until Monday because it was a whole…pretty much process for them to get to [manufacturer] just to find out they’re closed today…”

Now it’s Monday. Everyone is open. But guess what? Still no answer. Apparently, no one can help me. And we still don’t know where the stove is. TGIM!

I could get really upset about my MIA stove. I could storm into the store and proceed to bust out a loud, cranky rant at customer service. But after living out of boxes for a week, after having boys with tools taking over my place pretty much every day, after having zero privacy and no bathroom door, after being on deadline with no chance to work, and after so many other things did not work out as promised…you have to laugh.

You just have to laugh. And smile out of windows that the sun shines in all day long. And thank the Universe that this big dream of owning a home has finally become reality.

Because the stove will be located. I will get to cook the large quantities of Quorn in my freezer (went a little crazy at Whole Foods after not having a freezer for nine years!). And eventually, one day in the very near future, my apartment will be done. A gorgeous new home that will be both a tranquil oasis for writing books and a bright, welcoming place for friends to chill. Thus, I am tagging this post as both a rant and positive energy.

Thanks for letting me vent, friendly neighbors!

getting there

We’re getting there.

That’s what I keep repeating to myself whenever it feels like my apartment renovations will never be finished. Which is, like, every day. Things are moving along. Just a lot slower than I’d hoped. One good thing that happened today was bathtub reglazing. That’s where they make your tired old tub look like it’s brand new. I was so impressed with the work. The bathtub is so shiny! And flawless! Much better than some other stuff that was damaged. Like how the delivery guys ripped a corner of my new couch. Or how some paint eater dripped on my new stainless steel refrigerator and removed a bit of the finish. I could be grumbly about those things. But I prefer to focus on the Big Picture. My place is looking gorgeous overall. The work will be done soon. The couch and refrigerator damage will be repaired. And I will be able to have nice things for the first time pretty much ever.

In the midst of the construction frenzy, I didn’t get a chance to tell you about a hot summer read you’re going to love.

My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

 

Fortunately, I was able to read My Life in Black and White months before it was released in June. What a powerful story. It was a total page turner – one of those fast reads where you can’t wait to find out what happens next. You should know that Natasha Friend is the sweetest person. She is truly adorable. Which makes reading her books even more satisfying. I was thrilled to provide a blurb for this book:

“With a perfect mix of emotional depth and intelligent humor, My Life in Black and White will inspire you to reevaluate what’s important in your own life. You won’t want to put it down!”

Also thrilling was finding these at Forever 21 today:

New Kids on the Block sweatshirts

It was not cool to wear a New Kids on the Block tee back in the day when they were actually popular. Apparently, they are cool to wear now. Or maybe it just wasn’t cool for me to wear my NKOTB tee. I was a super fan in high school. High school was too old to like them. The Girls Scouts in the troop I was a leader-in-training for were all obsessed. They understood me. But my love for Joey Joe had to be top secret in front of everyone else. Ours was a scandalous relationship.

However, my love for all the book bloggers who have spread the word about Keep Holding On is very public. Here are some new reviews for you:

Keep Holding On was also included as a hot YA read for adults in this She Knows feature along with Between the Lines by literary idol Jodi Picoult and her daughter, Samantha van Leer. Honored!

In other book news, Barnes & Noble Book Club asked me to write a guest post on how I learned to think like a teenager (hint: no learning was required). The Penn Gazette interviewed some Penn grads who are YA authors about the genre. You can win a signed copy of So Much Closer on Freado. And I have to give a shout-out to Justin for reviewing When It Happens. I love it when boys read my books.

home life

After a week of living out of boxes and another week of boys with tools taking over my apartment, I am finally starting to settle into my new home. A few nights ago was the first time I felt like I actually lived here. I was on my bed watching Pretty Little Liars on my MacBook Pro, looking out at the view as the sky melted into deep purple and city lights blinked on. The stress of having zero privacy, no Internet, tiles and a sink arriving broken into pieces, wet towels draped on boxes, and getting like five hours of sleep the first two weeks after I moved in melted away.

I am home.

My views here are pretty sweet. I have a wall of five big windows with southern exposure. Every day I notice new things. Like the building a couple blocks over with metal stars under its windows. Or the red brick tower with an ancient clock that stopped at 4:32. There’s even a water tower, with which I am obsessed. After 16 years of looking out back windows at gardens and courtyards in New York City, it’s refreshing to see big sky and have lots of light and air. I can breathe here. And the views from the rooftop are unreal.

Am I going to share before and after photos of my new place? Of course! But we have two or three more weeks of work to do before everything is completely finished. I’ve decided to share photos over several blog entries to show you each room separately. That would be better than composing the Longest Blog Entry Ever. Plus there’s lots to discuss about the journey of each room. And all the drama living with a team of contractors without a bathroom door brings.

This is the first day I’ve been able to enjoy my place without being on deadline. I do not recommend being on deadline, moving, living without a working shower for a week and having renovations of your apartment taking forever all at the same time. Just FYI. Living out of boxes was fun for a day. Sort of. By day four, I was over it. Good thing I strategically packed a week’s worth of clothes in my luggage. It felt like I was staying at a hotel. With, um, everything I owned in the world. Here’s what the piles of boxes looked like (minus all of my books, which I estimated comprise approximately 1/3 of everything I own):

The Boxes

Yesterday I submitted the revision of book seven, which will be out in May. Not sure how I pulled that off in the midst of chaos. The cute cafe across the street definitely helped. I escaped there for a couple hours most days for Internet and to work. It’s a relief to be getting back into a routine, like posting here (I think the last time I didn’t post for over a week was in 2009 when I was in Santorini) and going to the gym. Having the same instructors and some of my friends from my old gym at the new locations has been incredibly soothing. It’s scary to move a life. Even when that life only moved one mile. Familiarity has soothed me.

Now that I have some time to catch up, I’m loving all the reasons I bought this apartment in the first place. Enough closet space to buy things like the big Method sweet water refill bottle. Plenty of room to file more papers. Gorgeous new floors that don’t creak and are not slanted. Central air. Like I said, it’s all about the light and air. Breathing is a good thing.

Happy to be here. Happy for my new home life. Happy to share all the goodness this new chapter in my life brings with you.

star box

Every time I move, I carry one box with me in the truck. The box is labeled with only a star. What’s in the star box? Essential items I’ll need right when I move in like a roll of toilet paper, a shower curtain liner and rings, a towel, scissors and tape, and a bar of soap. The last thing I want to be doing in the midst of an unpacking frenzy is root around for soap at midnight.

I moved into my new apartment on Thursday. In case you missed the billboard I rented about it, I just bought an apartment here in downtown Manhattan. We saw each other for the first time on January 29, I closed on April 9, and renovations took way longer than expected. So long that they’re still going on. Which means I’ve been living with a team of Hungarian contractors for six days now. The bathroom has no door. We’re bonding.

To say it’s been a wild ride would be an understatement.

So much has happened in such a short period of time that I don’t want to overwhelm you with the Longest Blog Post Ever. Here are some of the highlights from the first week at my new place:

Day One

Arrive at apartment to swarm of activity. Five contractors, electrician, plumber, built-ins designer/installers, and my architect have a million questions for me. Crate & Barrel set up bed in wrong place. Floor is not washed as promised. Dust and drills and noise. Movers taking twice as long due to annoying set of stairs at service entrance. They inform me that they will have to charge me double. My friend Jim arrives to rescue me for a while. Bathroom still gutted except for toilet. Am grateful for star box with toilet paper. Am grateful for working toilet. Bathroom door was taken off. Almost walk in on one of the guys.

Day Two

Wash up at kitchen sink. Contractors arrive at 9:00 to work on bathroom. Am hoping that shower will be installed today as the weekend is coming up. Cannot unpack yet since apartment is basically a construction site. Sift through towers of boxes to excavate all the ones with books. Determine that about 30% of everything I own in this world equals books. Assaulted by cascading wall of boxes when a bottom one collapses. Am pinned against avalanche of boxes when doorbell rings. Refrigerator delivery. Excellent timing. Delivery guy helps rescue me. Plumber moves approximately one zillion things around in his schedule to install my shower. Contractors discover that drain is clogged at 4:55. Super refuses to snake drain, blaming contractors for clog. Stomach sinks at impending weekend with no shower.

Day Three

Saturday. No workers today or tomorrow. Also no phone service or internet. Verizon majorly effed up. Both were supposed to be working on day one. Borrow neighbor’s phone to beg for service. Phone gets turned on. Am informed that internet will not be working until July 6. “Even though I placed this order weeks ago and it was supposed to be working on June 28?” “Correct.” Living out of boxes is tricky, but was prepared to do so for a week. Times like these are when being an organization freak really pays off. My two-piece luggage set has week’s worth of clothes. Work on revision of new book. Not having internet is a good thing when on deadline.

Day Four

I know the drill by now. Flip-flops, navigate partially tiled bathroom floor, wash up at kitchen sink. Thankful that gym is a few blocks away. Go to the gym just to take a shower. Feeling much better. Fun dinner with friend at Chat ‘n Chew. Get lots of work done on revision. Can’t wait for renovations to be done so I can unpack.

Day Five

Breaking point. Have been telling myself up until now that it’s only one rough week and then I’ll have a beautiful apartment. That everything will work out. But even the power of TGIM cannot improve this horrocious Monday. Architect informs me that head contractor decided not to complete job as promised. Am on hold with Verizon for over an hour, only to be disconnected. Contractors open sink to discover it’s broken into pieces. Still cannot take a shower because shower rod hasn’t been installed yet. Am informed that we don’t have enough tiles to finish bathroom. About 25% of the wall tiles arrived broken. Wonder why these places don’t pack fragile items more effectively. Contractors have their equipment and materials and bags of garbage everywhere. Was only able to get like an hour of work done on revision all day. Proceed to have a meltdown.

Day Six

Wake up feeling much better. Contractor promised to have shower fully functional today. All remaining tiles will be placed and work will wrap up. Spend eight hours unpacking books, arranging them on floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves. This dream coming true makes me smile. Still have several boxes of books to unpack. Bathroom vanity and shower rod are installed. Plumber is my new favorite person. I actually hug him when he arrives. Contractors clear out all their stuff. They will return to finish bathroom when replacement sink and tiles come in. I have the apartment to myself for a few days now. Can’t wait to unpack. Arranging clothes in customized walk-in closet will be the highlight of my weekend. Oh, and having the bathroom door replaced.

So that’s where I am right now. Starting to unpack, working on this revision, and finally getting to enjoy my new place. It would have been sweet to move into the apartment all finished. But this wild ride has been an interesting challenge. And has given me lots of ideas for future book plots, which is always a good thing.

I promise to post before and after photos as soon as the work is done. Can’t wait to share them with you!