On August 8, we closed on our apartment. On September 1, we finally got into it and began to work--er, I mean to labor--on it. The timing of all of this was very interesting, actually. A short history follows, but, if you wish, you may skip straight ahead to the Labor Schedule.
We chose the apartment quickly enough (read about that stage of the process here), and went to Purchase & Sale fairly quickly as well. Then everything stalled: mortgage documents, owner-occupant ratios, lock-in periods, and flying faxes became the stuff of our daily lives. We went with E*Trade for the loan, finally, and overall we do recommend them. Hey, with a 5.38 interest rate, we'd recommend anyone! Seriously, E*Trade seems like they're no more hassle than any other company, and their part of the closing went smoothly.
The day of our intended closing, however, it was Robert and the seller who created more roadblocks for us: their squabbling and up-and-down negotiating over a rebate due to a small, lately detected (now fixed), leak in the roof caused us not to close until 5:00 in the afternoon. I almost went back to the bank to redeposit our obscenely huge cashier's check three times, but things ultimately went off without a hitch. Robert proved himself so obstinate--and keep in mind I say this completely complimentarily--that the two realtors, terrified the deal wouldn't happen and after six months they'd be left with nothing, each kicked in $75 at the last minute. Robert also managed to ask so many bizarre hypothetical questions (along the lines of, "What if it turns out we cheated on our taxes and misrepresented our income? Can our loan be taken away from us?") that our horror-stricken attorney--hastily reassured, by myself and our realtor, that Robert was just asking hypothetically, nearly lost his reputation for being the speediest at closings in his firm.
I personally enjoyed our closing immensely. I compiled a list of my Favorite Legal Documents as a result; the list includes such highlights as our Homesteaders' Application Form (yes, folks, we have finally arrived in the same league as Laura and Almanzo), the Hold Harmless Form (nice name, no?), and the AKA Form, on which I got to sign my name in many, many variations (with and without middle name, with and without middle initial, with first initial only, with first and middle initials, and then all of the above with my maiden name).
The closing over, we then proceeded to become landlords for 23 days to three college students, nearly all of whom very quickly moved out, and only one of whom actually used the apartment--in this case, as a storeroom for a bed and a few boxes of clothes--through August 31. When we picked up her final set of keys, on the afternoon of the 31st, the fun began in earnest.
Below is a calendar for the months of September and October. Each day in the past with an interesting story to tell has a page of its own with details of what we accomplished that day. Each day in the future has, on the calendar itself, a tentative plan for what we hope to accomplish then. Obviously, clearly, it-goes-without-saying-ly, these plans are subject to wild changes. But, since we have to be out of our old apartment by October 31st, there's a final boundary after all. Help from friends particularly skilled, let's say, in painting or plumbing or anything else or nothing at all is cheerfully welcome. We promise a part of our hall wall for the signatures, artwork, and inspired thoughts of all who help in the process. Heck, it's our own place--why shouldn't we write on the walls if we want to? We want our friends to share in the pleasure too, of course.
|1--Labor Day||2--Carpet Saga||3--First day of BU classes (no work on apartment done)||4--Appointments, Appointments: HVAC guys give estimates, and locksmiths change locks||5--Help Arrives (Christina's parents from NY, with cleaning power, power tools, and handyman advice)||6--Yay, Filth! (a not-so-gratuitous Tick reference and a day of thorough cleaning and ripping out of kitchens)||7--Hard Work with Mom and Dad|
|8--Old washer and dryer get sold; trash goes out; floors get ordered||9--Christina primes and paints; Appliance Arrivals: new range, new dishwasher, new trash compactor, and new washer and dryer from Yale Electric||10--Priming and painting||11--Jef helps rip up carpet strips, oil doors, supervise plumbing, and spackle||12--More Weekend Work||13--DIY Electrical and Plumbing 101||14--Painting, priming, getting rid of trash, and the beginning of cabinets|
|15--More kitchen cabinets||16--More kitchen cabinets||17||18||19--Robert leaves for England on a business trip||20--Painting and priming, and small catch-up jobs||21--ditto yesterday|
|22--Robert away (no work on apartment done)||23--Robert away||24--Robert away||25--Robert away||26||27--Fulfillment and Frustration||28--FF, continued|
|29||30--Pearl and I paint and stain|
|1||2--Robert and I move over some stuff for cabinets and closets||3--Unpack closets and put out trash||4--Plumbing and painting and everything else||5--PP and EE, continued|
|6--More moving over for cabinets/closets; put out trash||7||8--More cabinets/closets moving||9--Pearl, Jef, and I paint, fix stuff, and wait for floors (which don't arrive)||10--Floors actually arrive!||11--First pass at floors; other work continues||12--Floor mission aborted; other work continues|
|13--Columbus Day: Floors, finally!||14||15||16--Move over some kitchen stuff and boxes||17--Painting furniture and cleaning things up||18--Final painting, some moving, some moulding work||19--Cleaning and moving boxes, setting up, unpacking the kitchen|
|20--Throw out trash, move in kitchen||21--Finish packing||22--Finish packing up entire house||23--Gentle Giant arrives to the rescue||24--Mom and Dad's last (regular) weekend here: settling in and final touch-ups!||25--Settling in and sorting out||26--Arranging furniture and boxes|
|27||28--Fun stuff: Party prep!||29||30--Party prep!||31--Halloween Housewarming Party (Evite already issued)||November and beyond--Carpentry work (bannisters, shelves, molding)|
Looking back on it now, I don't know how we did this all. I was teaching full-time, in my first semester at a new job, trying to figure out a new program and new texts and new student demographics, and I was on the phone with editors about Marnie's and my book at the same time. In an average week in September and October, 2003, I figure that I spent 40 hours working on the apartment, in addition to work, the book, life, and sleep. Clearly we couldn't have done this without Mom and Dad and Jef and Pearl.
So now, as of November, 2006, we're still in our apartment, quite happily. Since our big two-month blitz of renovations, in no particular order, we've:
We're currently in the process of:
Future projects planned, as time and funds permit, include:
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Created: 9/3/03. Last Modified: 11/16/06.