Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Trash day...I mean Anniversary

So a little diversion from the normal drama of our apartment renovations and a humorous story to share.

If you can believe it, yesterday marked our one year anniversary. Seems like just yesterday we had all our friends and family together in the Berkshires and were partying away like it was 2007. Here we are, a year later, and to celebrate Amanda and I went to dinner at an Italian restaurant in the east villi age, a real Sicilian place similar to some that we found on our trip.

We ate an amazing meal, I started with prosciutto and fresh mozzarella, Amanda had the portabello mushroom, and for dinner she had salmon and I had Penne with eggplant and fresh mozzarella , just like they make in Sicily. We passed on dessert because we knew we had our wedding cake waiting for us.

This is the good part.

So it's a normal tradition to save a piece of the cake, freeze it and eat it on your one year anniversary. After the wedding, special care was taken to properly wrap and freeze the cake, and it has laid dormant in the Berkshires for the past 362 days. This weekend, Amanda's parents went up to the Berkshires, and brought the cake home for us. Sunday night, we put the cake into the fridge, to let it begin its process of thawing, and we figured that on Monday if we left it out, by the evening it would be ready to eat.

Then it dawned on us, to perhaps have the housekeeper take it out mid-day (since she'll be there anyway), so it's not sitting out the entire day. Amanda left a note saying, "please take the cake out of the fridge before you leave."

When we get home, we look in the fridge, and we see no cake. We look around the kitchen. No cake. Look in the freezer. No cake. The only thing we do see is a bag of trash that wasn't thrown out that is sitting on top of the counter.

"Did she throw our cake out?" we ask ourselves. Maybe she misunderstood us saying, "please take the cake out of the fridge before you leave." for "please take the cake out of the fridge and throw it away in the garbage before you leave."

So Amanda looks in the garbage bag, and sure enough, in a smaller Duane Reade garbage cake, is our butchered cake. We go through a series of emotions in the span of five minutes: Confusion, Anger, Denial, Pleading, and of course acceptance, followed by heaping doses of laughter.

But the story goes on...

So we eat the cake. (Remember now, that I have yet to even TRY the cake at the wedding, as Amanda and my Sister-in-law Rebbecca stole my piece). And for wedding cake it's not bad. For wedding cake that's been sitting in the garbage for a few hours it's not bad at all. I had asked for a peanut butter layer and i did get it.

Finally...we decide to throw out the cake. As we're cleaning up, Amanda finds a note that says, "Amanda, thanks for the cake." Turns out she mistook "please take the cake out of the fridge before you leave." for "Please take the cake out of the fridge before you leave, take some home for yourself, and then throw the rest out in the trash."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Home "On No You Didn't" Depot

It's time for Amma's first rant. Home Depot. Why, oh why, do you employ people who have NO idea what customer service is. Why do you have your staff wear bright orange aprons, trying to look like you can be found, when in reality, I can never find someone to help me in the store. Home Depot, why do your employees ALL not care about their job, making it VERY difficult for me to get anywhere with anyone. When I call your main number, why can't I press the extension I want from the very beginning-you make me wait until I hear the whole dang recorded message before I'm allowed to press my extension.

And where, oh where, is my beautiful white glass chandelier that you tried to deliver, but didn't, and then restocked it without calling me and now it's out of stock and you don't know when it will be in stock, and the manager is out today. WHY????????

Now, as my yoga teacher said last night in class, to surrender to the little annoyances and not let them ruin your day. So that's exactly what I'm doing. I know I'll get the chandelier somehow. I'm putting that out into the universe!

Renovations week 1.2

Some new pics from renovations.

The hallway already looks bigger!

At least now we have a pot to piss in. But where do we wash our hands?

New wall in the second bedroom.

Radiators will end up under window, opening up the room.

Monday, June 9, 2008


So much has happened in the past week it’s hard to know where to begin, so I guess I’ll just start where I can. This is not a very vivid or beautiful rendition of what really transpired, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

We closed on our apartment in the first week of May, and since then have been working hard to get started on our renovations. Amanda had gone away for two weeks for work and play and we got a little stalled while we were waiting. I went with our contractor to meet with two members from the board to show what we were planning on doing, and it was agreed that I needed to get copies of the contractor’s insurance, plus that of the plumber, and electrician as well.

We had run into a bit of a hold-up as our building had wanted our contractor to have Workman’s Comp, which he didn’t, although he did have liability insurance and has each of his employees sign an indemnification waiver in case anyone gets hurt on the job. There was some contention as to whether this was enough to adequately protect the building and it started to cause some hold up.

IN the meantime, we were trying to firm up our date to start construction, and were in a holding pattern as the building’s attorney and one of the tenants worked out the details. Valuable days were lost as our lawyer failed to contact the one tenant who has been a little bit of a pain. He’s a nice man but very anal and overly-protective, and on more than one occasion our contractor was not too happy.

We ran into problems b/c it was not clearly laid out before us what the rules of renovations were. In the beginning we were basically listed five bullet points, with no details and no information stating that we needed board approval on the work done. Amanda and I have always operated on a trust first theory, especially in something like this where we went through such a serious vetting process to get approved by our building, they basically know everything about us and our life situation. So it was frustrating that it appeared they didn’t trust us, and that we had to hold things up to get approval on work that was mainly cosmetic in nature. Now in retrospect I realize we could’ve been more organized, and I think I might have even dropped the ball on a few things that I promised, but none-the-less, the whole process almost got derailed last week.

I have to commend my neighbors for coming together to work with us to get approvals on our plans and accommodate us in a way that everyone felt comfortable and there were no hard feelings. After all, we do have to live with this people, right?

Wednesday night was our breaking point when we still didn’t know if we had approval or what they exactly needed from us, and the contractor is sitting there wondering what the hell was going on. We still needed to provide our board with the licenses from our electrician and plumber, and although we got the electricians, we couldn’t find the plumber, which just made us look shady. (Luckily we found out the next day he had just had dental work done and couldn’t get to the phone). Our board was getting uncomfortable and our pesky neighbor began to get offended by our insinuations that his obstinacy was the problem at hand. I had a nice chat with him on Wednesday night, settled everything, and agreed to come up with a plan to move forward.

By Friday everything was in good shape and we all agreed that if all the proper documents were signed we’d be great.

As of today, our contractor will be moving in his tools and equipment and tomorrow we begin demolition.

There is a much better story here to be told, but that comes when my book is written, as right now it’s a bit too painful to relive the past week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sure, A picture is worth a thousand words...

But a video is worth a million.

More to come, but let's just say that dealing with a co-op board is stressful.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The latest.

So we’ve been dealing with getting things in order for what we hope is our start date of next week, but we ran into some minor issues with one of our neighbors being a real stickler. Basically, he feels the need to be involved in EVERYTHING, which is annoying b/c he’s not even the president of the board.

I guess for me it’s an education b/c I’m definitely too nice and probably let myself get pushed around, and I’m discovering the difference b/w trying to be placating and also someone else crossing the line. There’s a difference b/w what is mandated by our board and what is mandated by this guy’s ‘comfortability’ level. It appears this guy has an opinion for everything. Our contractor calls him “Star Trek” because he appears to be on another planet.

That being said, we’re excited to get this project up and running. For our sakes, for humanity’s sake…let it begin now…