*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 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 Take It As It Comes by J Roddy Walston and The Business from their album Essential Tremors. I heard this song on Conan the other night, and I reluctantly liked it (I resist grasping at my youth in unflattering ways, like with music that is clearly meant for younger people). I have yet to check out their whole album. It borders on alt-pop for me, but I did enjoy the singer’s voice, and the overall vibe. Check it out, and let me know how you like it.
During a recent walk-and-talk with the husband, discussing all the ups, downs, and turn-me-all-arounds of our sluggish house hunt, I got to thinking about death. Not death, exactly, but more like the stages of grief, and how similar they are to our search. As we began our process by first leaving our too-big-for-us house in search of a just-right apartment, we had high hopes for finding just enough space to live comfortably in the neighborhood in which we had already gotten a foothold. Well, it’s becoming evident that that desire is impossible, and that we can hope for maybe more than we have in our Pied, but not even close to what we had hoped for initially. At least not here (in the ‘hood, and surrounding ‘hoods). So if not here, where?
*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 Etta James‘ I Prefer You. I heard this on Pandora while unpacking and thought it was particularly appropriate for this next post. That said, I could really use some help in deciding what I prefer.
It’s official: we’re New Yorkers now. There are no more papers to sign, no more last minute projects, no more ‘oh, wait, where’s that going to go?’ We’re here, and we’ve got to make this little place our home. However, there’s still the matter of finding homes for all that stuff that made the journey from our (in retrospect) giant 1,926 sf house to our teeny, tiny, little Pied-à-deux.
I’m working on it, slowly but surely, tinkering, and rearranging things. Things that may still move some more, things that felt important enough to pack up and haul all the way to Brooklyn from Massachusetts, things that suddenly seem completely unimportant. Moves do that to you: you numb yourself to the disruptive and mind-altering power of a huge life shift, and just mechanically get through the process until it’s over. Well, that’s how I do it. Maybe that’s normal, too.