*Lyrics from Sara Bareillis‘ Many the MIles from her 2007 album Little Voice. This song was playing on Pandora, and then got stuck in my head (especially the ‘how far do I have to go to get to you?’) as we walked the little-over-a-mile from our current place to our new place, so it seemed fitting. One of the things I had on my wish list was a place to see the sunset from home, and now I’ll have that. And there are “too many sunsets I haven’t seen…”
If you’ll recall, when we originally moved to Brooklyn, it was into a very small flat that we affectionately called a pied-à-terre. At that time we still had our big house, and were actually using The Pied as a mini-home base, mostly so Jeff could work with his office mates in person, and go to meetings easily (and begin the transition of his work life). Once we sold our house, and needed to be down here full-time – and after we moved down one flight so that we could expand our living space to include a huge roof deck – we jokingly called the next flat the pied-à-deux (even though we know full well that’s not at all proper French). It was our second move in Brooklyn, and it seemed like the right way to describe our tiny 350sf (I had previously estimated it at 320sf, but it seems I may have left out the measurement of the bathtub, my office nook, and tiny kitchen closet) domicile that really wasn’t fit to house two adults for very long. Now that we’re leaving our mini-empire, I can’t help but want to name the next place our pied-à-trois.
Please, French people of the world (and Francophiles), don’t hate us for playing with the language. I am, in fact, beginning to learn French (slowly – je ne parle pas francaise très bien) and our new neighbors are from France (like, actual Parisians! I’ll get to practice my language lessons! gulp), so I have nothing but love for the French. Still, allow me to introduce you to our newest residence in our little string, the Pied-À-Trois. read on…
*Lyrics from Beck‘s Say Goodbye from his (their?) latest album Morning Phase. It’s a great album, very mellow and sophisticated. Really a nice offering. Check it out – if you liked Sea Change you’ll like this one.
So, remember how, regarding our house hunt, I was all ‘we’re just going to stay put, and be for now?’ Yeah,that lasted about three weeks. I mean, we’re ok here, we really are, but the selling season was in full swing, and it’s really hard to not look when you have an easy-to-use real estate app on your phone. At any rate, we both kept looking, and we both kept seeing things, debating things, and discussing our future (ad nauseum).
We bid on another apartment (that’s the third one, if you’ve been keeping track), and got pretty far into the process. We were one of the top three offers – a change from earlier situations where we were merely told we were in the middle of at least 10 offers – and we really thought we could get it. Until our competition decided to waive any bank appraisal or mortgage approval contingency from their offer. That meant that they were promising to pay a particular sum of money no matter what a bank said it was worth, and no matter how much money the bank would agree to lend them. That’s insane, by the way. And it’s the new NY normal.
*Lyrics from Hold On by Róisín O from their 2012 album, The Secret Life of Blue. I heard this song (easily the best from the album) in an Irish independent movie called The O’Briens, but I can’t recall if the movie was worth watching (watch at your own risk, but I recall thinking it was sweet, if predictable). At any rate, her voice is very pretty. And, for serious, the song lyrics are kind of right fucking on. This MIGHT be your life. Or, rather, my life.
Ok, well, sigh.
Here’s the thing: we’re no closer to finding an apartment to call our own than we were a year ago. The Brooklyn housing market, as I mentioned before, is crazy, but not regular crazy… it’s the kind of crazy that get articles written about it, that confounds (and, alternately delights) seasoned real estate professionals, and that create a sellers’ market of the sellers’ dreams (ten offers per apartment, please!). At any rate, over the past several weeks we did put in offers on a couple of places, and were promptly overbid. Like, by a lot. The price-per-square-foot is outrageous (some of that is city sticker shock) and steadily rising, but add that to the feeding frenzy of record low inventory, and you get bidding wars that are taking the prices anywhere from 4% to upwards of 13% over asking (asking price means very little right now). All of this is to say, we’re not comfortable buying (or attempting to buy) at the top of what we perceive as a real estate bubble (not to mention that we don’t have the buying power that many of our competitors seemingly have).
If the market subsides (which all indications say it won’t for some time), we’ll reconsider our position, but for now, we’re tabling the issue. Which really sucks. We might consider trying to find a larger rental apartment, but with summer on the horizon, we’re reluctant to give up our (very rare and private) roof access when there isn’t much public green space/park space to enjoy in the neighborhood. Our location is great for lots of reasons – proximity to Jeff’s office, restaurants, parking, etc – so, for now, we’re going to stay put. read on…
*Lyrics from Lately I by Faith Evans from her 1998 album, Keep The Faith (I can’t believe I actually own the record this song was on, and that I’m admitting it), not to be confused with Faith Hill, who is a completely different kind of artist (I do not own any of her stuff). Do you ever wake up with a song in your head that you haven’t heard in years and years, and suddenly it’s all you can think of? Well, this song has been ruminating in my brain for weeks. A combination of serious winter blues, fruitless and tedious house hunting, and maybe some form of mid-life crisis, and this song has pretty much nailed my mood of late. Depression, party of 1… as usual (insert Eeyore emoticon here). And, speaking of a completely different kind of depression, I stumbled up on a different song with the same title – Lately I by The Maldives from part of a No Depression festival. I’m not an alt-country fan per say, but I definitely would have rather had their song in my head than Faith’s (sorry, Faith).
If you’re anything like me, or if you live anywhere in the north eastern United States (or perhaps just all of North America), you’ve had a rough winter. Like, maybe the roughest ever. The sun never seemed to peek out long enough to get a decent dose of Vitamin D, and the cold, ice, and snow (and lack of shoveled sidewalks!) trapped us in our too tiny apartment for too many weeks. Add all this to an east-facing apartment and you’ve got yourself a tiny, dark dungeon for a home, and nothing but remorse for the lost glory of the home that once was yours. It hasn’t been easy, so I’ve been trying to lay low, and busy myself with anything uplifting that I can think of. Sadly, that hasn’t been much lately, but I did think of one thing to get me eager to get out of bed in the morning: art. read on…
*Lyrics from Moonbeams by Family Band from their album Grace and Lies. I heard this the other night while enjoying a mini bar-like atmosphere at home entertaining Jeff’s business partner for a casual dinner. He has some great music finds, and we often share in the spoils of his exploration. This song was on his summer mix (which I totally want, despite the fact that Jeff is forced to listen to it daily). Plus, the song (and video) sort of suits this post in its melancholy, romance, and oddness. It IS where I am.
So, ever since we moved back to the city full-time, we’ve been going back and forth up to Massachusetts pretty frequently for various chores: picking up my niece for a week-long visit (a happy chore, but still, a 6 hour trip back and forth); visiting our storage space looking for important documents (that I totally would have brought with us, but a certain someone who shall remain unnamed – uhem, cough <husband>, cough – thought that packing them and storing them at the bottom back of the storage unit was the most efficient solution); showing and selling the car. Basically, we’ve barely spent two weeks in a row in our new place, so finding that day-to-day rhythm has been difficult.
*Lyrics from Billy Ocean‘s 1988 hit Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into My Car. An appropriate opening for this post, though I cannot guarantee that polyester-taffeta wearing vixens will be included with the sale. Nor can I vouch for the presence of any car-wash employees dancing about with unexpected skill and precision. It was the 80s, and everything was awesome.
***UPDATE: THE CAR IS SOLD! THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO SPREAD THE WORD! ***
Ok, so, I’m using this little platform of my mine to try to spread the word: we’re selling our car. If you’re in the general Western Mass area, and need a car (or know of someone who does) please give us a shout, a holler, or an otherwise quieter form of communication.
Full details on this craigslist post, but general specs are: 2005 Subaru Forester, 5 speed, silver, 144K miles, well-maintained, great condition, great car. I wish we could keep it.
We need to sell quickly, so make us an offer.
*Lyrics from Frank Sinatra’s One For My Baby (And One More For The Road). This song pretty much epitomizes my feelings for these past weeks. Plus, who doesn’t have random Frank Sinatra songs rolling through their head, late at night, after a few too many glasses of wine? Lucky for me, I have a patient, understanding, and sympathetic husband who will play me songs while I weep in the middle of the night.
I’ve been remiss in filling you in on the progress at the Big House, and The Pied. I’ve been busy. I’ve been deeply sad. I’ve been just trying to get through it. I’m alive, so there’s that. And our house is no longer ours. There’s that, too.
*Alright, this one’s for the locals… you know who you are. Lyrics from Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. Journey (with Steve Perry) is my quintessential Massachusetts classic rock band. Go to karaoke here, go witness an entire bar full of people getting hoarse singing (badly in my case) along with whomever is brave and talented enough to cover this song. You will feel joy. You will be in Western Mass.
**UPDATE: We’ve added a credit/debit capability to our sale, so if you don’t have cash or checks, no problem! We’ll have a Square card reader with secure payment options – leave it to my savvy husband to sort that one out. Also, we’re going to be selling our grill (added to the big ticket items below). Hope to see you tomorrow!**
Whether you want to call it a yard sale, a tag sale, or a garage sale, we’re having one this Saturday. Forecast so far is good – hot, but good – so on we will press.
A smattering of the goods that will be available:
kitchen goods, linens, craft supplies, holiday ornaments, sporting equipment, lamps, side tables, sofa tables, indoor/outdoor tables, coffee table, bookcases, Haier mini-fridge, yard maintenance tools, vases, baskets, curtains, area rug, rug pads, fans, ladies’ shoes (size 8), suitcases, bathroom supplies, towels, bedding, art, movies, books, speaker stands, fireplace accoutrements, and the odd un-burned CD. (I’m certain I’m leaving somethings out, but you get the general idea.)
Big ticket items are as follows (I will update this list if anything sells via craigslist before Saturday):
- lawnmower – asking $75 or best offer (brand: Toro, gas powered)
- snowblower – 520E Ariens – asking $275 or best offer (originally retailed for $689 in 2008 or 2009)
- antique teak dining table/desk – asking $1000 firm
- solid walnut round coffee table – asking $700 firm – in good condition, retails new for $999
- media/TV cabinet – asking $650 or best offer
- treadmill – asking $750 or best offer
- grill, gas, Weber Genesis series (it’s the S-320, but it appears to be discontinued), stainless steel, with two propane tanks, and assorted accessories – $400 or best offer (this one hurts a little, it’s a great grill, but we just can’t bring it along)
If you’re interested in anything listed on craigslist, best to contact us through that route as Jeff is managing that part of the sale. Or just show up sometime on Saturday and fight it out with the rest of them.
Everything MUST go, so make us an offer. Hopefully we can’t refuse.
See you this Saturday, June 1st, from 9am to 3pm on Princeton Street in Holyoke, MA for our last hurrah. And let’s hope for good weather, shall we?
*Lyrics from Eva Cassidy‘s Songbird. One of the saddest songs I could think of, yet somehow beautiful, and sweet, and true. I think this song has become a dreaded ‘wedding song’ so now I can ruin it for everyone by using as my ‘leaving the only home I’ve ever known’ song.
**UPDATE: Rain date for the yard sale will be June 2nd, same time, same place. Something tells me that 49 degrees and raining won’t bring the shoppers out in droves. **
FYI: LOCALS We’ll be having a yard sale/tag sale/garage sale next Saturday, June 2nd, from 9-3pm, so come with cash, and don’t be afraid to ask for a deal. Everything must go. Unless we can’t bear to part with it, in which case we’ll be making the fool-hearty decision to store it in the hopes of using in the future. So, yeah, come by and talk some sense into us.
As the rain sprinkles down on the lush and green lawn, lilac scent still hanging deliciously in the air, I look around at the madness, clutter and chaos of our move, and sigh. We’ve spent nearly 6-1/2 years here, more than I can say I’ve ever spent in one spot – ever – and I can’t really imagine not having this spot to come back to. This house, this home, has come to represent a childhood dream realized: to have a place to call home was that dream fulfilled, and one that I am reluctant to give up.
*Lyrics from Goodbye My Love by Emilie Mover from her album Mighty Time. I like this song. I even liked the whole album when I spotify‘d it. But I wanted to choose a song that I wouldn’t hear on a regular basis to reveal this bit news. I made the mistake of choosing a song I loved for my post about losing Bec, and I still can’t hear the song without crying. So, sorry, Ms. Mover, I don’t think I’ll be frequenting this song, beautiful it may be.
So, recently I’ve been dealing with a slow, but painful transition. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis, maybe it’s just par for the course when you set out to reinvent your life, maybe it’s a symptom of accepting that your parents (and yourself, thusly) are aging, and we won’t all live forever. Anyway, no matter how you slice it, I’ve been blue. I’ve been sad, and I’ve been just muddling through.
Now, there is good news coming, so don’t fret, but it is bittersweet good news. We sold our house. Perhaps I should have written that like this: WE SOLD OUR HOUSE! We are currently under contract, and, barring crazy circumstances, it looks as if we’re going to actually close this sale, and finally move on from this stage in our life. So, even though we adore the new owners (neighbors of ours who just happened by on a walk on one of those first few warm spring days), we are (I am) so sad to let go of the house.