And then there was hot water. Every time we flushed.

Probably the most, um, unexpected mistakes among all the things that went wrong once we got the gas turned on was that our toilet was running hot water every time we flushed.

But let me start at the beginning. We totally got gas meters last week! The gas authorization came through at the end of the last full week of July and as soon as we got the okay, I called National Grid. They set us up with an appointment for the following Tuesday.

We tell our contractor to make sure everything is ready for the meters to get put in and he assured me that would be the case.

National Grid rolls in on Tuesday morning (after a series of phone reminders that we need to be at the house or they will charge us for an uncompleted visit) and wouldn’t you know it – nothing is hooked up. Not the stove, or the washer dryer, or even the boiler or hot water heater. He also didn’t mark which meter was for which floor so the national grid lady couldn’t even hook up the meters.

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Didn’t think I’d be saying this so soon, but the steps are (have been) done (for three days now)!

I think we may have found the one reliable contractor in NYC.

Or maybe we are at the beginning of a streak.

It was off to a shaky start. We chose this contractor because he not only had reasonable rates, but because he was the only one who was actually using material that would make our front steps look like they weren’t just re-paved with new concrete. He said he could completely replace the old steps and put in new brick and granite tiles.

The shaky start was our healthy mistrust of contractors thus far coupled with the fact that he showed up almost 1.5 hours late to bring us the contract and collect the deposit. This was about a week ago.

When he finally showed up, we had already sent a series of annoyed we-are-leaving-in-exactly-3-minutes text messages.

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The Before/After Shots

A lot of friends have been coming through the house lately and I’ve found myself pulling up the before pictures a bunch recently just to show them where we started.

We’re not even close to done on the whole furnishing the house part, and believe it or not, we still don’t have gas (getting used to cold showers after that heat wave!), but I think the before/after shots are pretty dramatic so far anyway. Most the pictures are from various blog posts, but for my own sake, I wanted to see the visual transformation all in one place, i.e. to remind myself how crazy we were to start this in the first place!

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We’re done! (and by that I mean the contractors stopped coming every day)

It all happened while I was away in California visiting my family (and my lovely mother sending me back with 140 pounds worth of house stuff – three ├╝ber full bags to check at the airport – yay! (So now we have pretty much a fully stocked kitchen and bathroom situation and then some).)

Radiators got installed. Except one of the radiators was installed crooked and covering an outlet. So that needs to be fixed.
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Will we ever have hot water?? Also, the tree is gone!

There was something wrong with the plans. Again.

I’m getting used to the cold showers, I guess. We’ve also busted out the toaster oven, started looking up summer crockpot recipes, and making plans to grill a lot of chicken on our George foreman knockoff grill.

Once we got the news last week, we started making our adjustments.

We get word about a week ago from the plumber’s admin person (who has been nothing but right about the plumbing paperwork the entire time), that the plans need to be amended again – this time because the new stove on the second floor was drawn in the plans but not listed in the schedule.

We email the architect immediately, hoping its a simple fix. I get him on the phone with my contractor and my architect insists everything is fine and to go ahead with the inspection. We say okay as we look at each other skeptically. Fingers are mentally crossed.

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When it rains, it, um, floods

So we’ve now officially been in our house for over a week. Exciting.

Now we have light switch plates and kitchen cabinet handles. Still no refrigerator or stove. AJ Madison, which is based in Brooklyn, is going to take 2 weeks to deliver our appliances (they were ordered last week and we found out they won’t be delivered until the end of next week). Just found out from my contractor that the refrigerator is not in stock so they will wait to deliver everything.

So two stoves won’t really matter anyway because there’s still no gas (gas test was scheduled for today, hopefully authorization for meters will come in the next few).

But definitely a leaky front area of the basement. Currently, we have lined the floor with giant food trays to catch the water from who knows where the hell it’s dripping it just seems like its dripping everywhere.

Turns out we need to redo all of the concrete on the front steps because water is seeping through the cracks. Not sure why a completely cracked, leaky front stoop was not included in our renovation estimate, but there you have it. So that’s next on the where-are-we-going-to-find-$1,000-for-this-repair list.

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Everything but the kitchen sink

Well, we’re moved in. At least into one room. Most of the work should be done by the end of the week, appliances are on their way (our fridge is delayed because he wanted to make sure I didn’t mind the floor model from sears outlet. I don’t), gas inspection is scheduled for Monday, and countertops are in.

What else would be left to go wrong?

So the countertops are beautiful (black sparkly granite), which is the good news. The bad news of the day was that the granite cutter didn’t take into account the roundish edges of the sink we picked out an cut the hole too big.

I called my contractor as soon as I got his email.

What do you mean we have to pick a new sink?

I know, it sucked when I found out, ruined my day.

Yeah, well it ruined our kitchen!

I know I know.

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Home Stretch! + Why we don’t have hot water in the house yet

My Memorial Day weekend was spent studying for a test (taxation course for my certified financial planner designation, exciting times) and constantly being distracted by the urge to pack boxes and having prospective new roommates stop or Skype by.

We are moving tomorrow and I cannot believe how quickly it snuck up on us.

We bought our washer and dryer over Memorial Day weekend and they’re being delivered next week. I haven’t had a washer and dryer in my house in 10 years! I can’t wait to do so many loads of laundry without quarters.

I hounded my contractor to make sure we has toilets by the time we moved in (the plumber was only two weeks later than he said he would be on stopping by) and we got our toilets in yesterday! It was the only thing that would have prevented us from making the move this weekend. We could eat take out for a week and shower at the gym, but the no toilets thing would have been a deal breaker.

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How our new expediter already saved us thousands of dollars and will probably save us thousands more. Plus, lights!

Yep, he’s pretty much the best ever.

When we first met with him and he pulled up all the violations on the house, only five of the 10 had my name on it. The other five were from previous owners (including one from 2001!) and those were the ones with the big fines.

We asked him what he could do about getting these reduced (like our old expediter did for us when we originally closed on the house for the 24 violations the title company did fine) and he said he would look into it for us.

He came back with really good news – we actually were only responsible for the ones that were in our name (which the old expediter did say but didn’t stand by when the title company told us to clear them) so instead of owing $2,800, we only owed $580.

Already awesome start.

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We have electricity! And kitchen cabinets! Mostly!

It’s the small things ­čÖé especially after the bureaucratic saga we ended up having with┬áConEd to get said electricity.

It all started with the electrician who didn’t submit the paperwork until the end of February to get an inspection with ConEd in the first place. Then it was a matter of getting an inspection scheduled. That took a few weeks to get that done. That puts us at maybe the 3rd week of March.

Then the fun begins.

I keep asking our contractor what is going on with getting the electricity going in the house. He has been using a generator every single day to do all the renovations. He has his own incentive to get this going.  At this point, we need to get meters in the house to even open an account and turn on the electricity.

But his electrician is of course unclear. He keeps saying he has to wait until ConEd Energy Services gets back to him and I tell my contractor I will call Energy Services myself.

So I do. I find their number and call them. For the record, they do not pick up the phone 90% of the time. Pro tip: they get in at 7 and leave at 3 so if you call them at 8, someone almost always picks up. By 10 am, it’s over.

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