The Before Pictures

I can’t believe I haven’t posted any yet, so to make up for it, I’m going to post a bunch. Also, everything is taking FOREVER to get done so we’re trying to not let the magic of owning a house die down too much while we’re trying to get the architect to send us his drawings that he already sent to the head architect to approve without showing us first because it doesn’t really matter what we turn in the first time because they always reject it the first time anyway (whaattt??).

Aaaannyway, the following pictures are the house we just bought/took out a mortgage for/have $140k in renovations to get through. Just to warn you ahead of time though (and any young viewers you have with you), it is NOT pretty.



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Just made our first mortgage payment today!


Today was pay day and the very first thing I did was transfer money from my checking account into my mortgage account. Since everything is at Wells Fargo, it really was just like transferring money from one account to another. It was a pretty crazy moment. A really grown up moment. Ha. We have a mortgage. Too bad we still have rent. Hopefully that ends sooner rather than later.

In other news, my expediter assured me that all I needed to do was write a letter that says we are going to take care of the issue and to just put a hold on the contractor the city is planning to send. Oh, and we have to notarize the letter. Then mail it to the expediter to send to the Department of Housing Preservation.

In further news, still no architect drawings. We started this whole thing before Labor Day and still no architect drawings. Which, when they are done, we also have to notarize. Then mail to the expediter to submit.

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Thanks for freaking me out, department of preservation and demolition

I get home today, hungry as all get out, on the phone with the architect, who catches me keys in hand. He is going over the final details of the drawings with me before he finishes it up and lays out the rest of the process. Get the asbestos report. Sign the paperwork. Get it notarized. Check check check.

He thinks (optimistically) that it will take 2-3 weeks after we submit to hear back from the DOB in Brooklyn. We say good night and I start heating up leftovers.

I rifle through the mail as the food is sizzling on the stove. A watched pot and all that.

Oh, one of my roommates says. You got an important letter and I put it over there – he points to the table – so you would see it.

It’s a letter from the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development.


Certified mail…

The letter is taped down with very strong strips of paper…


I rip apart the envelope and the words “Demolition Unit” are the only words I care about.

Um, what?

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The Exterminator

This was a busy week in renovating. None of the renovation parts have actually started, but hey, we’ll take what we can get.

On Wednesday, we had an asbestos inspector come in and take samples from our walls (8 of them) to see if we have asbestos. Apparently he took a hammer to the walls to get the samples, which, for anyone who just went and googled “asbestos” because they were not around for the big asbestos scare in the 80’s, is a big no-no if we did have asbestos because it’s when the walls are broken up and the filaments get in the air that asbestos is a danger to your health.

Um, fingers crossed.

On Friday, we had an exterminator come out to set traps for the rats. He was, as my boyfriend recounts, very Russian. My boyfriend almost lost it when they started talking about squirrels:

Russian Exterminator: So you know, we can eexterminate enythingg, rats, tearrmites, cockroaches, squeirrels.

Boyfriend: Squirrels?

RE: Yis, squeirrels.

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So the craziest coincidence happened in Central Park last week

It was my birthday last weekend and also happened to be the closing weekend of Into the Woods at Shakespeare in the Park so I told my boyfriend that’s what I wanted to do for my birthday. I love that musical and I love Sondheim and I love the Delacorte Theater.

For those of you who have never heard of Shakespeare in the Park, it’s a program put on by the Public Theater in New York where they run two free plays – one in the first half of summer that is a Shakespeare production, and the other in the second half of summer that is, well, something else. Tickets are first come first serve, which I found out meant that we were going to be camping out in the park at 6 am to get them.

We dragged ourselves out of bed at 5:00 am on September 1st, re-packing the picnic basket full of Whole Foods treats we had shopped for the night before (also part of the birthday festivities was going wild in a grocery store – we definitely bought $20/pound salami and chipotle honey turkey and hit up the antipasto bar like we were going to be camping out for days).

We get off at the Natural History Museum stop on the C train and decide to follow a man carrying a folding chair. He was surely going to be waiting in line for tickets with that determination and paraphernalia.

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Taking measurements in the rain

Today the architect went to the house to actually do the whole measuring look around thing.

He and my boyfriend met at 6pm with flashlights. That’s what happens when you need to look at a house whose electricity isn’t turned on when the sky is already dark at 2pm.

I got a text that the architect ‘did his thing’ and the next step would be getting an asbestos inspection. I still have to look up what asbestos is but apparently it’s really bad if you have it. And it costs $300 to inspect. Plus $50 for every sample they take.

It will be officially 30 days after we closed this Friday, 9/7. It feels like we’ve done so much and nothing. The house is still trashed. There are still rats running around everywhere. We haven’t been able to break any ground.


We did get all our environmental board fines in order (paid the last one today!).

We do have an expediter.

And an architect.

And a proposal.

And a timeline.

Sort of.

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