Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ready or not, here we come!

Tomorrow we pack our U-Haul. Friday we drive that U-Haul all the way to Brooklyn. Wowee! I can't believe its time! My mind has been a constant flurry. Do I have this? Does Laura? Do I need that? Can I bring this? Will I have too much stuff for the truck? The kind of worrying where you sit bolt upright in the night and have to hold yourself back from running and finding canned beans or toilet paper or a yoga mat to pack.

Mom and I went to Target tonight and I now have a broom and some curtains and rods and toothpaste and two collared shirts so I can go get a job. I've been temping this week at a Talbots and was able to give a woman there my card (thanks again Amy!!) because her cousin is a recruiter in NYC. Also heard back from a temp agency so I can go in first thing next week and get into the system.

After packing tomorrow we are having a goodbye dinner at Melting Pot and then we're off. Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

On your mark, get set, RENT!

We wake up on Friday thinking we have all day to enjoy ourselves now that the apartment hunt is finished. We are wrong. While I am in the shower, Laura hears from Dave the realtor who tells her we can get in to take some measurements and pictures if we can get to the apartment by 11:30. It is already close to 10 so we throw on some clothes and race to the train, no time for breakfast. We get to the building at 11:35 and wait on our stoop. Meanwhile Laura speaks with her dad who is on his way home to fax the necessary documents. While we are still on the stoop, Dave calls back and informs us that since everyone at the management office that rents the apartment is an Orthodox Jew, that office will be closing for all business at 3. Laura calls her dad back and puts a little fire under him.

The Super's wife lets us in to take pictures and measurements of the apartment. We measure, plan and photograph. We still love it just as much the second time. It really is terrific.

As we are coming out Laura gets another call from Dave who gives us an address for the management company, tells us to take a cab so we can get there by 2:30 and to hurry. We walk up to a busier street and try to catch a taxi for quite a while. It is now already after 2. We finally catch a ride and slowly inch our way toward the management office. While we are in the cab Laura realizes she doesn't have any checks to write for our first rent and asks if I can write a check for the whole amount. I certainly don't have that much money in the bank, after writing the deposit check the day before and am depending actually on $300 that Laura owes me to make up what is needed for half. We decide that I will write the check for the full amount and as soon as we leave the management office we will head straight for the nearest Wachovia, where we both bank, take the cash out of Laura's bank account at the window and deposit it into mine. Thankfully, Monday is Yom Kippur so the management company and the realty company won't be posting any checks until Tuesday.

We get to the management office with no time to spare. We rush in, sign the lease, reading bits here and there, and I write the check. I'm pretty sure we finished up there at 3pm. We go out into the neighborhood we just taxied to. Laura starts calling people to find out if someone can tell us where the nearest train is and we begin to walk. Unfortunately there are no Wachovia banks in Brooklyn. There are only maybe 3 in New York City at all and they are in Manhattan. We have 2 hours to get to one. We finally find the train and head in.

We still haven't eaten a thing.

We come out of the subway in lower Manhattan and follow streets to find the address of the first Wachovia but when we get there it is only an ATM. We are very tired and cranky. We go into the nearest business to ask where there is a whole bank and he waves in a general direction to his left and tells us we must take a train. We then circle the block looking for the train and find nothing. We ask some cops where the 2 train is and they give us a look like they've never heard of 2s or trains. We finally find the end of the line down by the Staten Island Ferry wharf and get on. The train sits for at least five minutes before starting because its the end of the line. In the meantime I've been calling mom to ask her to go deposit whatever cash she has just in case but can't reach her anywhere. We are extremely tired, hungry and our feet hurt. Finally we find a Wachovia bank and make the necessary transactions with fifteen minutes to spare. Whew! We hobble over to Papaya King and have hot dogs and fries.

After all that we took the train to Grand Central Station so I could look around. We then walked up Park Ave to Central Park, walked through the lobby at The Plaza and then went back to Drew's. Too much time sensitive drama. I'm glad its all settled now though. Sure hope I can find a job and make my rent by Nov 1!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Are we in heaven? Oh wait, we're in Brooklyn!

Here I am in the Big Apple. Yesterday was so exciting I hope I can accurately remember all the things that happened.

We got up as early as we could stand, showered and dressed in business wear. Laura had been up a while before me searching apartment listings and had a list of names and numbers for us to call. I texted all my New York contacts to ask which temp agencies were most respected around here. We had hoped to walk in and present our resumes with a smile and a handshake, but unfortunately all the agencies I called wouldn't even speak with us before we submitted our resume online. I'm not real happy about that as without the face-to-face meeting our Virginia addresses will make us seem crazy.

Once we were dressed and ready we walked over to Starbucks to get coffee and start making calls. We set up several meetings with realtors there and decided to head over to Brooklyn before making too many more.

After an uneventful train ride to Brooklyn we were in the neighborhood of our first apartment viewing. The apartment was on Empire Blvd . It was an ugly commercial street but it was very close to Prospect Park. It was next to some businesses like Western Beef and The Gaseteria. It was ugly. The building was non-descript at best, the apartment itself hot and tiny and the views were of a warehouse rooftop and a BP station. Yuck. We looked for less than ten minutes, thanked the guy for showing us and got going.

Laura called Dave, our realtor for the next apartment who told us he was busy at that moment but to hang around the neighborhood until he was finished with his appointment. We took a train over to Beverley Road and got out. The difference between this neighborhood and the last were like night and day. It was around 2:30 so there were tons of moms waiting on corners for different schools to let out. There were churches, houses, apartment buildings and lots and lots of trees! We felt right at home and marvelled at how nice it seemed, especially compared to dumpy Empire. We found the address easily. The building is a yellow 1920s looking apartment building on a wide street of other apartment houses, included one across the street with fairytale towers on its corners. Lots of charm and character already. Since Dave hadn't gotten back to us yet we began to walk around the neighborhood, looking for the closest market etc. We walked several blocks until we came into a vibrant West Indies neighborhood. Jamaican restaurants and food stands, a Caribbean fruit market, tons of Caribbean vendors and music that Laura knew from St Vincent for blocks. Clearly we were really excited. We stopped at a Caribbean indoor flea market and Laura bought a St Vincent bandanna and then we headed back to the building to meet with Dave. We were already in love though.

When we arrived back at the building there was a lost and sloppy looking girl milling about outside. Dave saw us and let us in the front door and she followed. She told him she thought she had an appointment to look at apartment 1G with someone and he directed her to the superintendent's apartment. We followed Dave to the elevator. The lobby of the building was huge, all marble, and had a fireplace. The apartment was on the fourth floor and it was beautiful. High ceilings, hard wood floors and easily twice the size of the first. It had two bedrooms, one of which was significantly smaller than the other but opposite the large bedroom was the 'living room' which was identical in size. The kitchen had more counters and plenty cabinets in it, the closets were big and there were four of them. The bathroom was a vision in peach and black tile. The windows faced the back of the building looking out over trees. We loved it. We wanted it. And just when we were getting really excited the lost looking girl wandered in. Suddenly I got very competitive because I didn't want anyone else looking at our perfect apartment so we went with Dave right away to sign the papers. We had to have it. Sloppy girl didn't deserve it.

So that, dear friends, is why we don't have ANY pictures of our new apartment on East 17th St Brooklyn.

We plan to use the living room as one of our bedrooms and the small bedroom as our living room. We loved our neighborhood, we loved our realtor, we loved life. We didn't love that girl. We followed Dave to his office where we paid a deposit, and had our credit run. We applied and paid and pending Laura's parents credit check we have it. We were on the edge of the seats in the office. It was so exciting and we were nervous. After that we walked around Brooklyn and saw the park and the library and got ice cream cones from the Mr Softee truck. Then we met our friend India for hamburgers and happy hour.

After all that we finally took the trains back to Manhattan and back to Drew's apartment. We were absolutely exausted.

Today we are off to take measurements and pictures and then have a little fun.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Q and A

I am starting this blog so that friends and loved ones can read about my big adventure. So here I go.

I am moving to New York City! That's the basic fact and I get a lot of questions about it that I will try and answer as best I can. Just so you know, I'm not a particularly gifted writer, and I don't have a lot of answers. But I will try.

Why are you moving now?

I have been living at home, in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia since I graduated from college in 2005. After graduation my mother became very ill and needed help around the house and since I didn't yet have a job I was happy to help. Mom and I are great roommates and I love living with her. I love my home, I love Virginia. In 2006 I found an amazing job as a teacher at an early learning center and excelled at that. I learned so much! Around Christmastime 2007 my mom became ill again and needed me even more than she had before. She lost the use of her legs and from then until April of 2009 she needed almost constant care. I was again very happy to help and be here for her. My wonderful and fulfilling job, unfortunately, didn't pay enough for me to live elsewhere so I stayed. It wasn't an easy time and during the winter of 2009 I made a decision that once mom was better I was going to try and do something else.

Are you moving alone??

No. My best friend and partner in crime Laura has just finished her two year service in the Peace Corps and that is another part of why now. She and I are embarking on this adventure together.

Where are you going?

We are moving to New York City.


Why not? We are looking for adventure and want to live where the life is. Its very expensive and moderately far from Virginia but we are young, adventurous, curious about the world and its people, single and we don't have any children.



Are you crazy?

That's debatable.

Where will you live?

I don't know. We are looking for places in the Brooklyn area. We haven't found a place to live yet.

Where will you work?

I don't know. I have a fantastic resume and some great references though. Do you have any leads?

Do you want another job in the childcare field?

Maybe but probably not. I loved my job. I was good at it and it made me happy. Sadly that kind of work is really low paid and there's not a lot of room for advancement. I wouldn't mind a job that deals with kids on an administrative level, like working for a non-profit for literacy or advocacy. I also might work in a portrait studio. I also might mop floors. It all depends on what jobs are available.

Will you miss me?

Very very much. Please come and visit us!

I hope that helps everyone. Any other questions feel free to ask.