Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ONE MONTH ANNIVERSARY IN NORFOLK! Part One

This weekend I celebrated ONE MONTH of my spanking new life in Norfolk, Va. I’ve made 3 major moves in my life: from home/college/JMU to Washington, D.C. in 1984, New York City in 1995… and now, some 18 years later, a truly arbitrary relocation… as I recognized the time was
ripe to renew, challenge and indulge a gentler quality of life.

I’ve discussed all the why’s that I was ready to leave NYC previously, so let’s pick up four weeks ago, shall we? Unfortunately, it’s not all pretty. Leaving New York was a living hell—not emotionally, but logistically… The Thursday eve before I was closing on my Brooklyn Heights apartment, I hosted a casual finale gathering at Central Bar, a familiar haunt from my Billboard mag days. It was perfection: dozens rolled in and offered a farewell toast.

Ready for this? When I got home that night (here’s the part I’ve never publicly shared, because it’s too damn depressing), I was feeling all warm & fuzzy and went to bed, looking forward to moving ever closer to wrapping up my apartment sale the following Tuesday. And then, at 1:15 in the morning, I awoke to the sound of rain—only instead of coming from outside, it was clearly INSIDE my apartment.

Turns out the apartment above me—after single-digit temps the week before—had a radiator within a wall and as temps warmed up and the pipe expanded, it BURST, creating what ultimately became a
4-hour WATERFALL in my kitchen. I scrambled to wake the resident (who, ironically, suffered NO damage in her apartment) and my super and the building’s coop president… Ultimately, while the water in the entire building was turned off, it just kept raining and raining from the ceiling.

I sat on the floor scooping water into a trashcan, trying like hell to keep it from flowing overtop the saddle that separated my kitchen from the rest of my home. Had it seeped over the top, my hardwood floors would be ruined, not to mention my furniture, carpets, etc. Let’s just say my entire apartment would have been fucked. And so too, would I be.

There were times I simply paused, wondering if the water would ever stop coming down—if using the dog’s food dish to scoop 8 ounces of water at a time was laughably futile. It rained through my kitchen pantry, through the ceiling drywall seams (which melted away), and then THROUGH the ceiling fan and along the edges of the walls. The wall outside the kitchen bubbled up like a fat man, filled with water. The wood moldings began to swell… This, of course, is within the week that I am set to sell my apartment…

One friend termed it beautifully: “That is just UNFAIR.” Indeed, it was well after 4 a.m. when the water slowed to a drip… and somehow I did manage to scoop scoop scoop scoop scoop for
3 hours and keep it from tipping the edge into the rest of the apartment… as I sat on the floor, drenched, in an inch of cold water, wondering if this was going to sabotage the sale of my apartment and ultimately short circuit everything that I had been planning since September.

The next day my coop, thankfully, moved into high gear, as I discovered that not only was my kitchen wrecked, but the first-floor unit below me, into the basement, where dozens of storage units were also flooded. Can I mention again that the rez above me that wreaked all havoc had a small paper towel kinda puddle in her apartment? Yeah, thanks a lot…

But then, as is typical in a New York cooperative, things became... difficult.
At first, management sent a drywall dude (DD) to start tearing down the damage in my ceilings and walls. Miraculously, my cabinets, granite counters and ceramic floors were unharmed… but, of course, everything was drenched. So over the next 4 days, DD returned again & again to try and deal with the disaster, which took days to even begin to dry out and be ready to repair… that is, until…

On day 4, my building manager contacts DD and tells him to STOP working in my apartment, cause there are insurance issues and the coop has decided that I am re$ponsible for $ome of the en$uing work. Okay, fine. But it would have been constructive if you'd told ME, before calling DD and telling him not to show... as it's now TWO days before my buyers' scheduled walk-through.

In the end, on Sunday, I begged DD to return to finish the work, and ultimately paid him a small fortune out of pocket so that when my buyers came in that Tuesday, they would see that all good faith had been pursued to SOLVE a problem, instead of presenting them with one (of course, I notified all parties of the disaster Friday morning).

Oh, but it gets worse (before it gets a lot better). TO BE CONTINUED!!