Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nail-biting time!

Jeff has been doing a terrific job in the apartment search. Today, he found us the place we had hoped for, in a building in Union City, NJ, called Troy Towers. We had read about this building and how people had lived there for decades, they enjoyed it so much. Here's the Web site:

So we're applying for a 1 BR of about 675 square feet with a terrace and a view of the Manhattan skyline--all for $1,700/month, including all utilities! It also has a fitness center and swimming pool, it's close to transportation, and it's a short commute to NYC (about 20 min.). Unbelievable, for that price.

Here comes the nail-biting part: The co-op board won't let us know about approval until next week. Let's just say that if they don't approve us, we'll have a bit of a problem, since Jeff will already be back in SLO by then.

However, the agent--who has lived in the building for 19 years--says she's quite confident they will approve us.

And guess what else? It's a possible rent-to-buy situation, because the owner of this unit (which is on the 18th floor) wants to sell it. Prices there are quite reasonable. There's a 1 BR for sale right now, with a terrace, for $279,900.

Think good thoughts ...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Nervous stomach

Mary's stomach is churning while Jeff's back in the NYC area this week, looking for an apartment. When he signs on the dotted line, then she'll feel OK!

Jeff saw a nice place this morning in NJ, and a ferry station is opening right next door on March 1. It's also close to shopping, and a Trader Joe's is opening in a few weeks nearby. Sounds good, right?

Well, it's at the top of our price range, especially for the size: an alcove studio for $2050/month. But Jeff says it has a view of the Manhattan skyline, and it's an easy, easy commute. So it has potential.

Will post more as details arrive ... Stay tuned!

Monday, January 29, 2007

This is the week

In two major ways, this is the crucial week for us: First, our buyer has one more week to change his mind. Seems like 14 days to change one's mind, within a 30-day escrow, is pushing the boundaries--but that's the rule. So we're trying not to think about it too much.

Second, Jeff is on his way back east to find us a place to live. He was able to make a few appointments for showings and may try and set up a few more when he gets there.

We decided to target NJ within a short commute of the city, mostly because the rents are cheaper and the rental process isn't quite as crazy as Manhattan. Although we would meet this requirement eventually, to rent in Manhattan you have to show proof of income/employment that's 40 to 50 times your monthly rent.

Since we don't have employment there right now, that was an obstacle--even though we have everything else going for us, including good credit scores and cash reserves.

Jeff did set up one appointment to see a nice apartment in Riverdale, in the Bronx. But the others are in Jersey City and Bloomfield--although he wants to look in Hoboken, too.

Here are a couple of places he's going to visit:
in Jersey City:

in Bloomfield: (There are 2 apartments available--a 2 BR and a "penthouse," for $1850 and $2100, respectively.)

Think good thoughts for us this week!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

How many dollars does it take to move 40 boxes?

According to Allied, it takes about $4,000 to move 40 small boxes across the country! North American was a LITTLE better, at $2,800.

Jeff and Mary thought these figures were ridiculous, especially since the move included just one tiny piece of furniture. Literally!

Phooey on that nonsense. Budget Rentals, here we come: for a 10x6 truck with enough room in the cab for the cats (and us). The price is much better, at $1,300 plus gas. But we would have had to pay for gas anyway, since we were planning to drive our car.

It will be "Bye Bye, Scion XB" here in SLO, and "Hello, Budget rental truck" when we hit the road Feb. 22.

We will definitely miss our little toaster-like car. Rachel reminded us of what it was like when we first bought it. We were one of the first families in SLO to have one, and man oh man, did we get the looks! Everywhere we went, people stared and pointed at the car. People stopped us in parking lots to ask us what kind of car it was, and who made it. Fun times.

But we don't want to have a car anymore. In addition to using public transportation, we may subscribe to a service called Zipcar. Check it out: But no more paying for gas or car insurance! No more worrying about dings and dents!

We plan to enjoy the drive across the country, because it will probaby be awhile before we drive anywhere again. Maybe if we think really hard, we can imagine we're driving a convertible sportscar instead of a clunky trunk containing all of our worldly goods ....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

It's a new day

Don't you love hearing the rain at night? Because you know that, in San Luis Obispo, chances are that when you wake up, the rain will have passed and you'll be left with--is it even possible?--cleaner air than the day before.

We will miss the weather in SLO. As Jeff prepares to go to NYC this coming week, choosing which overcoat to wear in the cold, the reality of that particular adjustment is setting in. It will be especially interesting for Jeff, who spends so much of his free time riding his bike--even commuting to the office by bike.

Mary, on the other hand, tends to like to work out in the gym or just take a walk. And she also spent her early childhood in frozen Minneapolis--so maybe some of that tough Midwestern stock is still in there.

Then again, maybe not.

So when you're enjoying a mild SLO winter next year, think of us, OK? And we won't be hurt when you say, "Nah, nah, na-nah, nah!"

Friday, January 26, 2007

If I had a hammer ...

Trudging our way through these little repairs, we have some (nice) guys from Key Termite here today making a few fixes around the exterior of the house. Mary was hoping to make some phone calls this morning for a freelance writing project, but with all the hammering, drilling and sanding going on, she had to abandon that plan and write on the blog, instead.

(Wonder what that "thud" was outside? Better just to stay inside and avoid looking.)

We're not looking forward to having the house tented Feb. 15-17, mostly because we have to move back in for a few days afterwards. So if you call us after Feb. 17 and neither one of us answers, send the police to make sure we're still alive!

In the meantime ... Jeff is busy preparing for his trip to NYC to find us a place to live. He has a few appointments set up w/real estate agents. It would be great if he could get all of that done early in the week, so he could enjoy a few days of play. He definitely plans to see Rachel and take her out for sushi (at least once, maybe twice if she can cajole him!).

Whatever they're doing outside sounds like the drill at the dentist's office. Hey, where's the novocaine?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I tawt I taw a putty tat

First adventure with the kitties today ... taking them to the vet for shot updates and health certificates.

So Mary calmly puts Emma and Chelsea into their little carriers. No problem. Then Sophia decides the only way she's getting into the carrier is if she takes Mary's top layer of skin with her.

Missing her top layer of skin, Mary drives to the vet's office--only to find out that her appointment has been cancelled because a dog came in needing emergency surgery.

Can she leave the cats there? No--Mary wants to talk to the vet.

Can she come back tomorrow? No--she has appointments with a repairman and two moving companies Friday.

Can she come back later today? Crap.

So Mary heads back home and lets all cats, including the Sophia beast, out of the carriers, wondering if Jeff will still find Mary attractive when she's missing not 1, but 2 layers of skin.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The kitties ...

In case anyone asks, we have only 2 cats. We can't find a rental within 50 miles of NYC that allows more than 2 cats. Somehow, we're going to have to hide one of them while we move in--probably Emma, since she's so rotund she can barely move and utters nary a squeak.

What's it going to be like, driving across the country with 3 cats in the car--one of whom gets car sick (that would be Chelsea)? We have no idea. We're hoping the vet (we have an appointment tomorrow for all three to get updated shots) can give our eldest something to calm her tummy. We'll keep you posted on that major development. :-)

In the meantime, we have to buy new carriers, collars, leashes (just in case), and plan on some practice time in the car before we set off eastward.

The things we do for our furry friends ...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Escrow is officially open ... Yikes!

It just dawned on us last night that we really have only 30 days to finish everything around here. Guess it's time to roll up our sleeves and get going.

Luckily, we don't have too much to do, since we completed a lot of work before we put the house on the market. But that doesn't mean there aren't boxes to pack, belongings to toss/sell, kitties to get to the vet and, of course, a home to which we must bid a fond farewell.

Our next home--which we have yet to find, by the way--will look a lot different, to be sure: less than half the square footage (maybe a third!), in an apartment building at the center of the universe. The universe does revolve around New York City, doesn't it?

We realized a long time ago that "home" is wherever we find ourselves, as long as we're together. And as for the shrinking square footage ... well, thank goodness we get along!

Monday, January 22, 2007

We sold the house!

We signed the contract and, as we "speak," it's being delivered to the buyer. This buyer made us a very low offer in early December, and when we countered, he just walked away.

When we lowered the price a couple of weeks ago, we asked our real estate agent to call this fellow's Realtor and say, "We just lowered the price. If you could have gotten your client up to X dollars, we might have been able to make a deal."

So he came in with a new offer at that exact amount we requested, and he also made some changes to his offer based on our original counter. He really wanted the house!

We're going to be busy, busy, busy during the next 4 weeks. Lots to do, but the adrenaline's already flowing, so we'll meet our deadline.

No, we don't have a place to live yet.

No, neither one of us has a full-time job lined up.

No, we're not sure how we're going to drive across the country with three cats in the car.

But this is, after all, "Jeff and Mary's Excellent Adventure." So there have to be a few surprises along the way, right?

("Raiders of the Lost Ark" theme song plays as the screen fades into the next scene ... Stay tuned!)