Aliens in the Apple

Our new place (with photo tour)

Franci 10 Jul 2010 Apartment living

On Thursday the first of July we moved into our new rental place. Now, 10 days later we are starting to feel a bit more settled. Thursday was a very busy day. But perhaps I should tell you about Wednesday first.

I decided to take the kids to the New York Aquarium and we took the train to Coney Island and had an enjoyable time there. I will post photos of that another day. When the kids and I got home we were tired out from a busy 5 hours out. I unlocked the door, anticipating a nice glass of juice and plonking on the couch. Instead, an empty apartment greeted me. It was sparkling. And all our stuff was gone. I got a big fright, but quickly realised that we must have gotten our check-out day wrong. I made a quick tour through the apartment, picked up a few of our things that was still there and went downstairs to the office. It turns out we got the day wrong and had to be out of there on the 30th, not the 1st. They had called Ben asking why we weren’t out, and Ben couldn’t get hold of me, because my phone was switched off. So Ben had given them permission to pack up all our stuff and move it to another building about 3 blocks away.

When we got to this other apartment all our stuff was there, but they didn’t exactly do a tidy job of packing. Luckily I had packed a few of our things already, so that was easy, but a lot of stuff just got chucked in for a quick transfer. Now you can imagine — Esther’s portacot was filled with random stuff, all my fridge and freezer things were in plastic bags on the floor half defrosted and a plasterer had been in to do ceiling plastering and hadn’t cleaned up after himself — the kitchen floor was covered in plaster strips and dust. To top that off Ben was going to come home later than usual. Getting frustrated and annoyed at this point wouldn’t accomplish much, so I got stuck in tidying up and repacking things. I did however ring up the office and asked them to come clean up the mess in the kitchen. We had a gourmet dinner of hot dogs and I put Esther to bed and Marica in the bath and by the time Ben came home everything was in appropriate suitcases/boxes and the cleaners and been and gone and the kitchen was looking good. We were very glad to be in this apartment for only one night, because it was VERY nice! I think if we had been in it the whole month, we would have had unrealistic expectations when looking for an apartment and probably some discontentment issues. :-)

On Thursday morning we hired a Zipcar again packed all our stuff in it and brought it to our new place. This place was dirty. In New York, there is usually an agent’s fee worth 1 month’s rent that either the tenant or the landlord pays. Because we negotiated that the landlord would pay this, he wasn’t going to have the place cleaned. We were ok with this because we had already forked out 3 months worth of rent — first month, last month and security (bond). I did a bit of cleaning while Esther had her nap, and then we headed off to Goodwill and Ikea, where we bought all the first basic things we needed for the kitchen and some furniture. Ikea is such a gigantic store and by the end of it the kids (and we) were totally tired out, so we all had an early night!

On Friday The Cleaning started. It took me 2 hours to scrub the kitchen/dining floor and the whole house probably took about 6 hours of floor cleaning. Thankfully that’s all done now, the furniture is assembled and the place is starting to feel like home. I’m waiting with putting pictures up on the walls because the landlord is going to have the place painted while we’re away on our Tschetter family reunion.

Let me take you on a little photo tour.

This is what our place looks like from the street.

The gate / entrance where we go in is just to the left of the numbers in the picture above.

The famous Air Conditioning. Yeah, I know. They’re not even pretty bars. :-)

Then you walk through a little corridor till you get to our front door.

The place only has 3 windows, so it’s a bit dark, hence the bad picture quality. This is what it looks like when you walk in the front door. You basically walk into Marica’s room. We hope to put up a screen yet that will make it a bit more private. The house is in the railroad style where there’s a ‘public’ hallway and inside our apartment the rooms are connected to each other.

Looking to your right.

Another view of Marica’s room / the playroom.

A bad photo of our good-sized bedroom.

Looking from our room into the rest of the house.

The kithen / dining. It is a bit lighter than it looks here:

Isn’t that a cute high chair? It takes up hardly any space because it just clips onto the table.

The lounge. Yay! I’m now the proud owner of a leather couch (thanks, Ikea). :-)

The lounge leads out to the backyard.

The bathroom. It’s narrow!

The backyard. Yes, it needs a bit of work! Notice the charcoal grill? That makes food taste yummy. :-)

I know, back home we have something twice the size and half the price. But if we were still home, we wouldn’t be on an adventure, right? :-)

Comments (2)

Hannah 10 Jul 2010 at 5:43pm

Hurray for IKEA, great cleaning job, glad you have a back “yard,” and is Esther watching Heidi like Marica used to (still does?)? I’m sorry that the apartment saga has been so complicated…I guess it’s part normal gaps in communication, part new culture, and mostly big city. Looking forward to hearing about the aquarium.

Ben 12 Jul 2010 at 7:41am

Thanks, Hannah. That’s definitely Marica watching Heidi (or Nils, another Afrikaans story). The apartment thing hasn’t been so much complicated as a lot of work and fairly expensive. :-) But yes, IKEA was great. Boy, that company has an interesting history — founded by a 17 year old after his dad gave him some money for doing well at school.