It all started on a wonderful and exciting late November afternoon when I received a call from HarperCollins offering me a job. With a job, I could move into the city on my own rather than a tiring and slightly against-the-rules arrangement of commuting from CT and staying with my boyfriend in his subsidized grad student housing. Since I had been trolling Craigslist for ages (like, since April because naïve-me thought I’d have a job by graduation in May), I knew what was out there, what I could expect to pay, and where I wanted to live.
I jumped right into viewing apartments that I had found listed on Craigslist and through my boyfriend’s school. Some were small, some were in sketchy areas, some involved climbing far too many stairs, one was seemingly being rented out by an Eastern European prostitute for an alarmingly large amount of money. Some were also big, beautiful and out of my price range (why, oh why, did I ever let myself view apartments that I knew I couldn’t afford?). But then I found a room in a four bedroom apartment for a reasonable price and close to the subway, grocery store, and bank. There was a dishwasher, exposed brick and one and half baths! I had found my apartment. I went home for Thanksgiving with the promise that I could meet the other roommates (only the girl moving out had been around when I viewed the apartment) and if everything was okay, I could move in. The day before I was supposed to meet them, though, they emailed (very rudely) that they had found someone else. My ‘dream’ apartment was snatched away from me.
So I had to jump right in again, this time viewing apartments after work. It was exhausting. I was adjusting to my awesome new job during the day and running all over my neighborhood during the night. Eventually I found another four bedroom place, slightly further north than I wanted, but with a huge kitchen (great for my baking!) with a dishwasher and dining nook, two bathrooms, great light and near the subway. I viewed it twice before deciding it was right for me. But it was, and is. The floors are tilted, the subway might rattle and the radiator might clang, but that’s city/old building living! And besides, I realized the other day that if I wanted to become a recluse, I could spend my entire life on my block- there are three pizza/Italian restaurants (including one of the best in the city), three Chinese food (one part sushi) places, a Mexican restaurant, an Irish pub, a burger joint, a deli, a grocery store, a liquor store, a laundromat and a dry cleaners all on my block. There’s even a consignment store if I get desperate for clothes. Not bad!
So this was right before Christmas. I got my keys, but didn’t plan on moving in until after the New Year. I didn’t have any furniture after all, and didn’t relish the idea of sleeping on a leaky air mattress when I could share my boyfriend’s comfy bed and well furnished apartment.
Returning to the city just before New Years, I headed to Ikea after a half day of work to get nearly every piece of furniture I needed. It went smoothly, until I got lots of sass for needing help getting huge and heavy pieces of furniture from the warehouse onto my cart. Geez, my boyfriend would have been there to help me if he had been in New York City, but they can’t possibly expect every weak (that’s me) or average-strength girl (or guy!) to bring someone to help them! Although it was a bit frustrating (and the lines were long), I successfully bought my furniture and set up delivery for the next day.
Fast-forward to the end of the next day, Ikea never showed up. Turns out one hour after my delivery time slot was over, the delivery driver was still four hours upstate. I was NOT happy, but rescheduled for later that weekend. They made me wait five and a half hours the second day (the delivery time slot is four), but my mattress, box spring, dresser, nightstand and bookcase were successfully delivered.
Then there was the issue of actually putting together the cheap Ikea furniture. It went smoothly, although I was warned about couples getting into “Ikea fights.” There was a little disappointment when I discovered that my dresser couldn’t fit into the closet like I had hoped, but we tucked it in the other closet (yes, I have two closets in my bedroom) and we were all set. But then we got to the bookcase. Since my floors tilt in every direction imaginable, it was important to secure the bookcase to the wall. But what we thought was a stud behind my drywall turned out to be a brick wall. A frustrating setback, but at least a trip to Home Depot a couple days later solved that problem.
And then there’s my absent desk. I want one like this, which is similar to the type of desk I had in college. But I cannot afford a Pottery Barn price tag (duh), and you would think that cheaper retailers would sell something similar. Not true. I thought I had found one I liked from Target, only for my boyfriend to look at the measurements and point out that it was a kids’ desk. Ooops. And then I found another at Staples, only for it to become backordered (and possibly discontinued) the moment I tried to order it. I would love it if anyone had ideas on where to find this (seemingly simple) desk.
The following weekend my boyfriend and I did an exhausting but luckily easy transfer of all my stuff that was still at my home in CT. We took the three-and-a-half-hour door-to-door train up Saturday night, loaded my mom’s car, drove the two hours down, unloaded my belongings, drove two hours back, and then turned right around and took the train back into New York. From start to finish, it was a twenty-four hour process. Yuck. But it’s been nice having ALLLL my clothes in one place and my books and cooking supplies and (I’ll admit it) stuffed animals. It’s beginning to feel like home.
So that’s about where my apartment stands. Are you exhausted? I know I am! But don’t get me wrong, either; as tiring as this process has been, I am SO happy to be able to officially call New York City home. And it has been fun picking out comforters and curtains and my aunt and grandmother made me beautiful pillowcases that brighten up the mostly white bedroom. Everything is nearly settled and I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turned out…or the fact that it’s almost done!