Entries Tagged as 'NYC'


The night air is redolent of it, them.

Ok, so we’re not in Manhattan anymore.

Sitting here, checking my email before going to bed, the full moon rolling past my window, I became aware of a distinctly suburban, even rural, scent: skunk. It had been mentioned by my neighbor that we had skunks nearby. He was going through a litany of resident wildlife, varieties of insects, snakes and furry creatures. I believed him, but really paid it no mind.

Tonight though, I was transported back to the home were I grew up. We were by no means out in the sticks, but back then, before those cookie-cutter, pre-fab communities started mowing down the corn, there were plenty of fields and forested areas nearby. Our yard was regularly visited by skunks, racoons and pheasants. How cool it was to look out the kitchen window and see a pheasant walking through the yard. Alas, no more. Too much development. Too many ugly houses displacing the fields and forests and the creatures that live therein.

I guess up here, in The Bronx, these creatures have had plenty of time to acclimate to their competition and usurpers. Boldly they go, roaming about by night, mindless or rather, not minding, the nearness of humanity. In fact, as evidenced tonight, thriving on it.

There are some stray cats in the neighborhood. People leave piles of cat food in the street, by the curb, not in the middle, not as some cruel ploy to get the kitties flattened on our lovely dead-end street. Now truthfully, these cats probably would do much better eating the wild game that I’m sure abounds up here; mice, rats, what have you. But humans, in their often misguided desire to be kind, persist in their foolishness. The cats certainly don’t mind.

Nor do, it appears, the racoons.

Tonight, smelling that long forgotten perfume of startled skunk, I decided, perhaps foolishly, to take a brief walk outside and feel out the nabe. It is so quiet up here. It was quiet, relatively speaking for Manhattan, in our old Inwood nabe, but nothing like this. Up here, it’s crickets and night birds and wind. Frighteningly similar in atmosphere to where I grew up.

Having had my fill of the night air, I headed back to the apartment. And there they were.

Two enormous racoons, happily chowing down on the kitties kibble. They were, to say the least, unfazed by my presence. We looked at each other and then, having acknowledged each other, they returned to their dinner and I to my home.

If one is to judge the coming winter by nature’s signs, that these racoons have put on so much body fat by late July should indicate that we’re in for a tough one. More likely though, it bodes nothing; they’re porkers ’cause the food supply is easily come by; an unwitting donation by humans doing “good” deeds.

I think I’m gonna like it here.


Sphere: Related Content


One day left.

We’ve taken the rugs up to the apartment. The floors look beautiful.

Jamie is disconnecting the computer so we can take it up to the new place ourselves. He is not going to hook it up again in a timely fashion so I guess I’ll write again on Tuesday with a report of the rigors and horrors encountered on Monday.

Going to pain the baseboards now.

(It’s now Friday. I’ve just re-read this and while I’m sure it did indeed hurt the trees from which the baseboards were made, I had no hand in their mutilation. I did, however, would the above had read, “Going to paint the baseboards now”, make them pretty. k. 7-27)

Sphere: Related Content


Two days until the move. Too many boxes. Too stupid.

It’s two days until the move. Tomorrow (Sunday – day 1), our Godson’s family is picking up the steel kitchen baker-type shelves (3) that I hate to give up, have no place for in the new place, and in the end, am happy are going to someone we know.

They have also kindly offered, they have a truck, to cart some stuff up to the new place for us tomorrow, in advance of the move. This is great; we’ll take up the rugs, probably the refrigerated stuff, maybe some other things. Tim, Deana, Olivia, our Godson Zane will get to see the place for the first time. And we’ll all get to see how the refinished floors look.

This is all happening at 8AM. I know, no deliveries on weekends. Technically, I guess that this will be a delivery, but really, it’s more of a drop off. I feel fine with this. I see no possible upset occurring. I could be wrong. Life goes on.

So, boxes, boxes, boxes. I mentioned before that our living room is a maze of boxes. It is now more so. One must weave to get from the kitchen to the bedroom, like wading down a particularly rocky, meandering stream. Now we’ve got to figure out what’s going to the apartment in the moving van, what’s going to the apartment in the truck we’ve rented for Monday, and what’s going to the storage space. That should be fun.

Too stupid. Yes, I did about the dumbest thing I’ve done in ages today. Jamie found our old Palm Pilot and we decided to get rid of it. But what of the data still resident? The CC #’s and personal info? Jamie suggested a hammer, but both of those are up at the new place. I took the case apart and pulled out the board thinking I’d pry the chips off and mash each one with a scissors or something. Then I saw my high-powered creme brulee torch. Oh no I didn’t. Oh yes I did.

I took the torch to the board, frying the chips and couplings and all that lay resident in that particular Palm neighborhood. As Jamie came running into the kitchen yelling, “What the hell are you burning in here?!”, I also realized that I had released a ton of toxicity into our immediate environs. Jamie quickly opened the windows and set up the exhaust fan and we went to the room farthest from the toxic carnage and hid.

We both felt pretty physically crappy after that little scheme of mine. Hopefully, it didn’t take too many years off our lives. We are all entitled to a few incredibly stupid acts in our lives, I think the burning of the motherboard constituted the use of two or three of my gimmies.

So later this evening, not having enough toxicity in my system, I decided to clean the bathroom one last time before the move. Now my lungs are filled with Palm innards and Tilex fumes. I think I’ve done enough damage to myself for one day. Hopefully I’ll wake up tomorrow.


Sphere: Related Content


Three days until blast off from Inwood, Monday being day 0, moving day, blast off.

There is still much to do in the new place. This week has been frustrating because, if you’ve been reading you know, the floors are being refinished and we haven’t been able to get into the place to do anything.

I ran up to the new place today to collect the mail (more final season of Deadwood discs from Netflix) and hopefully sneak a peek at the floors. Alas, the floor guys had the door taped shut to keep the fumes from seeping out into the hallway, so no visual updates on the interior of the apartment.

Today is beautiful, coolish with very little humidity, that’s a nice change from the last few extremely humid and rainy days. That should help the floor drying/curing process along nicely.

It’s my Summer Friday off from work (every other Friday, in exchange for working an extra 45 mins the other 4 days of the week) and I should be finishing the packing. So far, I’m not doing that, although I expect to do some packing when I finish writing this so I don’t feel that I’ve been a slug for the entire day. On the other hand, I kind of feel I deserve to give myself a day of sluggishness after the last few weeks. Sometimes you must give yourself the gift (sin) of sloth to stay sane.

The maze of boxes that is our living room is a quietly smirking reminder, though, that indeed, I should be adding to the cardboard confusion. Ok, ok, I’ll finish the kitchen; all the heavy things, the small appliances and such that are the bane of a mover’s life.

Hopefully I’ll have the kitchen packing finished before Jamie gets home. He won’t mind if I haven’t, but I’ll project my guilt at not having done it onto him and we’ll both be cranky. Funny how guilt works. You cast guilt away from yourself, trying to make it someone else’s issue so you can be free of it. “Stop making me feel guilty about…” It’s almost always our own issue, and most of the time, imagined, without cause or need. Although, never feeling guilt would be worse because sometimes it is indeed warrented. Better to find a happy middle guilt ground and try to discern what of it is deserved (and act to resolve/restitute/reconcile) and what is simply ego-driven self-flagellation (and just get over it – there are far better ways to use your mental ectoplasm).

Well, this post has spun off into onion-peeling. And now, I can either finish packing the kitchen of my own, happy volition because I want to get it done, or I can sit on my butt and play happily with the Wii.

And I’m not going to make Jamie make me feel one way or the other about either of my choices.

The countdown is on.

Sphere: Related Content


Ok, so Jamie and I suspected it wasn’t allowed, the Co-op has house rules on this sort of thing, but we scheduled our refrigerator delivery for this past Sunday. We were desperate to get as much done before this week, the last week before the move, the week we are not able to get into the apartment because the floors are being refinished, so we broke the rule: No deliveries on weekends.

So, when you place an order with Sears for delivery, they give you a date, but the time is not announced until the day before the delivery. We knew the frige was coming on Sunday. We knew we had to take off our apartment door so it could fit through. (Yes, it’s big; lovely, stainless-steel, side-by-side, and big. We cook… a lot.) We had a notion we were breaking the house rules, although we weren’t positive. What we didn’t know was when the thing was arriving.

Saturday evening we found out. Our delivery window, as I previously mentioned, was between 7:45 & 9:45 AM. Not great, not great at all. Nothing like trying to sneak a hulking machine into the building in the quiet, early Sunday morning hours.

We got up at 5:45 so we could get to the apartment by 7 to get ready for the delivery. “5:45?” you say. “I thought you were only 15 minutes from the new place.” Well indeed we are, but the subway was running oddly due to track repairs and we thought we could stop by Dunkin’ D’s to grab a quick coffee and breakfast croissant and mentally prepare ourselves. But no. No it didn’t happen like that. Why?

At 6:45, as we were sitting on the 1 train, waiting to go “express” to our stop, the delivery guy called saying, “Just wanted you to know that we’ll be there in 10 minutes.” 10 minutes? That, for the mathematically challenged, or just to drive home a point, would put the delivery time at, oh, 6:55, or nearly a full hour before the earliest point in the delivery window. Prompt? Overly so.

Jamie explained that we were on our way and would meet them in the lobby.

We arrived shortly thereafter at our station, hurried up the street to our building. I to the apartment, Jamie to the lobby. I wildly removing screws from our front – steel – door, Jamie escorting the delivery men and refrigerator up in the elevator, all the while explaining the need (as if it needed to be explained that one should be extremely quiet, or as quiet as one can be whilst lugging a refrigerator, at 7AM on a weekend) to be quiet. The quartet of Jamie, deliverymen and frige processioning through our doorless doorway. The frige placed gingerly in its proper kitchen space. The brief whine of the screwgun (not brief enough and oh so loud) as the doors were attached. The departure of the deliverymen with the old hulking, non-functioning machine with, once again, Jamie as escort and door-opener. The replacement of the apartment door.

All very smoothly done. Except… Jamie informend me that as the delivery truck was pulling out, our Co-op board president ran up chiding him, “Bad, bad. No deliveries on the weekend.”

I was horrified. Nothing like making a good impression with your Co-op board. Well, we did what one does with that kind of embarrassment, we laughed at ourselves. Nabbed, indeed. And we decided that we would do no drilling that day.

A while later, at breakfast, I queried Jamie further about the incident. “Was she in her nightgown?,” I asked. Jamie looked at me curiously. “No, she was dressed for running, she was out jogging and just happened to be coming back to the building as the truck was pullling away.”

I explained that I had a picture of her flying out of the building, robe aflutter, hair streaming behind, fire issuing from her nostrils. Although, in the light of understanding, that did seem absurd because she is quite a lovely woman.

No, Jamie explained, it was nothing like that at all, while she did indeed say, “Bad, bad. No deliveries on the weekend” it was said in a gently chiding, non-threatening, but still blush-inducing way. Pshew.

As Jamie said, we have now played our Mulligan.

And we have now rescheduled next Saturday’s delivery of our couch and missing Ikea sink (more on that in another post) for a week day.

(Some new pix added to the Renovations Gallery.)


Sphere: Related Content


ting. Painting. That’s what Jamie and I have been doing since Saturday. Lots and lots of painting.

Saturday we primed, hellish, described in the previous post.

Sunday, Monday and today were spent throwing our varied and wonderful pallet up on the walls. A color sampler is found below on my shorts.
Kirk and Jamie's color pallet on Kirk's shorts.

One might, if one were of a cynical and undaring turn of mind, ask upon entering our apartment, “Where’s the hookers?” We, however, love the color scheme. One o’ these days I’ll actually get some good pix to prove it looks, well, really cool.

Three cheers for Benjamin Moore Aura paint. Beautiful. Low VOC’s. Works like a charm, although the “1 coat” promise is a bit off. The problem could, however, lie more with the finish we chose – eggshell – which we’ve been told is notoriously finicky, and the intense humidity we’ve been painting in, than with the paint itself. At any rate, the walls look beautiful.

Tomorrow, we’re taking a much needed break from painting and doing some organizing, light fixture hanging, and installing, hopefully without incident, the pressed tin.

Do we have more painting? Yes, trim and touch-ups, but we really, really need a day without rollers and brushes or else our minds may well snap.

The stove (a thing of beauty), range hood (lovely) and air conditioner!!! (!) arrived today. The AC is installed and ready to be cranked to the max for tomorrow’s work day.

And in other new homeowner’s news, we discovered when we moved in that the toilet leaked into the apartment below. Now, it wouldn’t have stopped us from buying the place had we been told about this problem prior to the sale, however, it might have stopped us from turning on the water to the toilet on our first day there. Regie, our lovely downstairs neighbor, informed us that this was an ongoing problem. Our Super said it was a leak in the toilet tank, so we bought a new one (which we’d have done anyway as the tank cover was broken and un-pretty).

When the toilet was being installed, it was discovered that it wasn’t the tank at all, but rather the fact that when the last owner had done a bathroom renovation, he built up the floor so that the toilet and the pipe below didn’t quite meet up. Euwww, I know.

This was discovered last Friday. Today the plummers came and excavated our bathroom floor. There was a mini-jackhammer, gas-tank and lots of debris and a very scary hole in our bathroom floor. But by the time they left, the entire pipe had been replaced and the floor, while not restored to its former less-than glory, is passable until we save up to do the bathroom reno. Some day…

So now, off to bed go I, to dream, perchance to sleep, as sleep has not been very forthcoming lately. Too much heat, too much excitement and too much back pain. Ah the wonderful joys of homo-ownership!


Sphere: Related Content


We have one in our kitchen now. Indeed, it’s just green sheet rock at the moment, but it is a lovely wall, a thing of beauty.

Click me to see some of the recent progress.

It is pretty amazing to see this transformation. The ceiling work alone makes a world of difference, magically changed from popcorn-ish ick to beautiful smoothness. I wish now that I had taken a good “before” pic of it. Ah well, it is etched in my memory, at least.

So before I hit the hay, here’s a link to a quick cell phone movie of the before, for posterity’s sake.


Sphere: Related Content


Jamie measureing the wall for our pressed tin.Sizing up. Checking the space…

Yes, the kitchen wall now has structure to it. We’ve been convinced to not tear out the old wall, but rather, like archaeology in reverse, to build a new wall in front of it. So the studs are in place. Jamie’s pictured measuring so we can order the pressed tin that will eventually cover that wall when it is eventually in place. I’m supposed to be drawing it out, at this very moment, so we can fax it to the tin guys tomorrow. Clearly, as I’m writing, I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be be doing, but I’d rather do the drawing tomorrow when my head is fresh and my lines and my math will be much more precise.

To this, much as he did to my endless picture taking earlier today, Jamie would probably give me this face.Jamie giving the camera his stop-taking-my-picture face. But I’m strong, I can take it. And we already know that I am, or rather, am not, a procrastinator. I’ll think about tonight, whilst I dream. Dreams of measurements and of tin.

And in the morning, it’ll flow directly from my dreams onto the page in minutes… When I get around to it.


Sphere: Related Content


As in the store, not the library cataloging system.

I must admit to a certain prejudice against Sears. It’s a store that seems so old fashioned, so out-of-date; it felt that way even way back when, when I was just a lad. But they do sell great tools and appliances. And they have great sales.

This evening, Jamie and I took a long subway ride out to the Rego Park Sears. It was time to buy appliances for the new place. Or rather, one appliance and two other necessary household items. We were assisted by a wonderful woman named Glenda, who was certainly good and, in no way that I could see, a witch.

(Edit – After I published this and was heading to bed, it struck me that of course, the above reference is incorrect as it’s Glinda the Good Witch. Now, I could have just edited it out, but I think it’s a testament to my level of exhaustion that I, a lifelong homosexual, could forget the name of a character from that particular film. I say stet. – k.)

We got:

  1. A new stove. Gas. With bridge burner in the center of the cooktop and, my dream, convection oven. Thank God for 20% off holiday sales!
  2. A lovely range hood.
  3. A 12000 BTU air conditioner.

This is all being delivered to the house on 7/10, the day before the rest of the kitchen arrives from Ikea.

Tomorrow, we’re getting exact measurements so we can order the pressed tin for the kitchen from Chelsea Decorative Metal Co. in, of all places, TX.

Hopefully the ceiling and the kitchen floor will be finished by the time all this arrives.

And yes, I do understand that this little blog of mine is becoming alarmingly johnny-one-note. At the moment, though, getting this apartment ready to move into is an obsession. A necessary obsession. A painful, muscle-aching, yet wonderfully joyous obsession.

One of these days, I promise to write about something else. Until then, well, this is my little space and I’ll write what I damned well please. And in the end, I’m too bloody exhausted right now to write anything longer than this anyway. Ah well, such are the joys of home ownership.

But damn, it’s going to look great when it’s finished.


Sphere: Related Content


A quick update of the ongoing process that is buying our new home.

Lots of things going on. The stove, counter top and pile of 12″ marble tiles are no longer in the living room. They were picked up yesterday by a lovely gentleman we found through Craig’s List. Jamie can supply the contact info if he wishes. Yes, Jamie and he (I was kept at work very late) carted it all down to the van and away it went.

The new kitchen floor tiles and new toilet have arrived. These will be installed within the week.

Our ceiling is being replastered, as is the back kitchen wall. Within the week.

Our new kitchen cabinets, etc. arrive on the 11th. We’ll be wildly painting all that week.

Our wood floors are being refinished the week of the 16th.

And the big move into the place is on Monday, July 23rd. Less than one month from now all this work will be done and we’ll say goodbye to our current rented home and move into our very own (in 10 or so years after we pay the bank for it) home.

Pshew. That’s the brief update on our next few weeks. I’ll be posting pix as we progress through the renovations so everyone can join in the fun!

And on that note, since I have to get up earlier than usual so I can leave work a bit earlier than usual to go scrape the remaining cement from the old kitchen floor prior to the new floor being installed, it’s time for bed.


Sphere: Related Content