Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tiptoe through the ... living room.

The other weekend Chris and I had a huge spring cleaning to rid our apartment of the construction dust that had reaccumulated. To take a break from scrubbing after several hours we went to the Brooklyn Lowe's, where we bought, among other things, a grill for our fire escape, herbs and soil to plant on our fire escape, and a tall peace lily that absolutely pulled the dining room together and made the place look downright homey. The next day we strolled over to the Brooklyn Flea Market, only two weekends new and already a caricature fit for Stuff White People Like. We didn't buy any of the overpriced antiques but I did get some new ideas for decorations. We had spent the three weekends prior either traveling or entertaining people and so I drifted off to sleep Sunday night happily rested and admiring the graceful contours of my (temporarily, no doubt) dust-free room.

Tuesdays are movie night, and Shelby came over. We grilled rib-eyes on the mini grill with asparagus, eggplant, and salad. After dinner Shelby and Chris adjoined to the living room to pick the DVD (and for Chris to check his fantasy sports scores), while I washed the dishes--only fair, considering when I said "we grilled" I meant Chris did.

When I came into the living room Chris was staring at his computer in shock. "We have to move out by the end of May," he said blankly.

This didn't even sound like English to me, but over the course of the next day it became clear. I won't get into the details. Suffice it to say that the construction of which we have been so accommodating has resulted in undermining the foundations of the building, and rather than making it safe for tenant occupation, the landlords have asked us to leave. We are being compensated, but since the only reason we agreed to move upstairs in the first place was in exchange for a two-year lease it feels a bit like cold comfort. This will mark my fourth move in eight months! Thanks to the funds, though, we can afford to pay a broker, and the search process for the past week has been considerably less painful than it was last summer and fall.

We may have found a place tonight; the price and neighborhood are certainly more than right--ideal, even--and the apartment itself is newly renovated, bright, clean, and utterly charming. It's also smaller; plenty big enough for a couple--but is it big enough for the STUFF of a couple who for the past several months thought they had three extra rooms to play with? So we're going to see a few others in the next couple of days, but the sparkling apartment (and the building's laundry room) are still holding sway over me.

For the first several days since we found out and even now and then I get really sad at the thought of leaving this apartment. I loved it--I thought we'd live here until we left New York City. It's two blocks from the subway and walking distance to every desirable thing Brooklyn has to offer. But the circumstances have begun to poison it for me--as have the newly-noticed slant in the staircase and cracks in the walls. I don't know where we'll wind up next, but as long as it's for at least twelve months, I feel sure it will be a step up.

On Saturday we took a break from hitting "refresh" on craigslist and headed east to visit Chris's mom for her birthday. Before we left we put the peace lily on the floor by the dining room window; it looked a tiny bit peaky and we thought it needed some sun.

When we got back early Sunday morning, it was dead, its stalks sprawled on the floor like the limbs of a noir murder victim. Somehow, its corpse summed everything up.


The Other Lion said...

I really, really, really LOVE how you wrote this. And I'm so sorry for your mess. But I do agree that there must be something even more fabulous in your future. And... how DID you do your laundry before? I can't even imagine that process. It's not like you're walking the streets of MV with a bulging white hamper.

Laura said...

It is a comical sight, involving Chris easily strapping two bulging mesh hampers over his shoulders and me trotting after him, valiantly trying to lug a third bulging hamper and the detergent, down the block across Smith St to the laundromat where we get into fights with the Russian proprietess who tries to kick us out ten minutes before closing so she can mop the floor even though our stuff isn't dry yet. Ah, New York! Hehe :)

We saw one hideous apartment that ... I can't even do it justice describing it in this comment ... but it had a (dusty, grimy) washer-dryer unit in the apartment and let's just say it almost made me consider renting the place.

d. said...

Hurry up and get your new place so I know I have a place to crash. GOSH.