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!

23 thoughts on “star box

  1. Welcome to moving, no matter how YOU plan, the other half of the plan has to agree. Never met a contractor who really follows deadlines. SORRY. But as you said…great material for stories.

    • Oh, this whole wearing flip-flops in the bathroom to navigate missing tiles is definitely showing up in a future book. Same with living out of boxes for a week. But hey. I was a Girl Scout. And these are good problems to have πŸ™‚

  2. Ah man! How crazy. Glad everything is starting to settle down, though. Am quite envious of the walk-in closet!

    Does this mean you’re farther away from Molly’s Cupcakes now?

  3. That sounds like pure craziness. I have to move in August and it’s stressing me out majorly. There’s just so much to think about-especially when you don’t have the money to hire movers.
    Glad you got your dream apartment though!
    When was the possible Chicago visit again? Getting excited for the possibility.

  4. Susane!!!!!!! You are so good!
    Guess what? I read ‘Keep Holding On’, and FELL IN LOVE WITH YOU! πŸ˜€

    Um, sorry for the excitement, but well, you know how I am, don’t you ? πŸ˜‰ I just loved the book, period. And now, I guess, I’m in love with you too. ❀ (No creepiness, definitely)
    Good luck with your apartment. I know how it feels when the shower isn't working πŸ˜› When my parents bought the house, half of it wasn't even BUILT, so we spent nearly a month without water or electric supply. Trust me, I've seen it all πŸ˜›

    Waiting to see the pictures! πŸ˜€

  5. I was wondering why you’ve been MIA. Sounds like you’ve been dealing with a big ol’ headache. Just imagine how beautiful your apartment will look when it’s finished. I’m so jealous of your floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves! I would love to have that in my home.

    • What’s been getting me through this is visualizing my finished home. I can already see glimpses of its beauty. Washing the floors yesterday helped. They were crazy dusty with all the construction! Now I can see how gorgeous the wood is.

  6. Hahahaha! I’m sorry, but all your inconveniences are frickin funny. Hey, but now you have an entertaining story to tell all your house guests once you’ve fully settled!

    • Oh, all this is HILARIOUS. It’s like if anything could go wrong it did. Several times. My Internet was supposed to be working on June 28, then a few days later, then last Friday night. When I called after it still wasn’t working, they said someone would call me on Monday. Anticipating Internet service sometime in 2015.

  7. The next time my family moves, I am crossing my fingers we will have movers. This last move (only across the street) involved us doing pretty much all of it, with the help of 3 of my friends. And of course, I was solely responsible for my 30+ banker boxes of books. It was definitely a workout getting all of those books up the stairs.

    • Girl, I remember those days of lugging all my books up four flights of stairs! And of course I always moved on the hottest day of the year. I always felt so bad bothering my friends to help me move. These movers were crazy expensive, but even moving from one elevator building to another one mile apart took three guys seven hours!

  8. Sounds like a nightmare! Reminds me of that movie the Money Pit with Tom Hanks where everything kept going wrong. Hope your shower is finally fixed. One time my shower was plugged up so bad that I had to call in a plumber and the job ended up being more than a few weeks because of his busy schedule. Luckily I had a gym membership at the time so I just went there first thing in the morning, had a workout then a glorious shower. whew.


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