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!