Sunday, March 16, 2014


"Luck in life is an engineered effort."

And now the final chapter in this trilogy regarding my mid-January exit from NYC to VA amid a most egregious effort to get the hell out of New York City. See previous posts HERE and HERE.

So here we are, in the midst of the heinous, blustery, truly unpleasant two-and-a-half-hour closing for my Brooklyn Heights apartment… as buyers’ attorney deemed Dick (by my attorney) is interrogating me—in condescending fashion—about electrical non-issues that the buyers' Corcoran agent “discovered” during walk-through.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get worse, the attorney representing my coop announces: She has received an “addendum” from my Montague Street building’s Managing Agent. Huh?? In the midst of closing?

It states that the Board is not convinced that the four days I spent rebuilding my kitchen after it flooded—uh, utilizing the contractor THEY HIRED to do the work—is up to par. They're apparently concerned there may be moisture remaining in the ceiling and so… despite repairs for which I laid out major ca$h (which succeeded 100% in drying all moisture and properly sealing & repairing damage caused by my neighbor above's burst radiator pipe)... hey, you know what… We might tear it all apart!! And guess who pays for the “pre-existing damage”? Yep. Of course. Me.

No one at the table saw this one coming. After I had frantically and successfully rebuilt my kitchen after a waterfall decimated the drywall four days before closing, here we are with a last-minute notice from my coop saying, “No deal unless Chuckie understands that it might be fun to tear it all apart—on his dime."

Buyers’ attorney Dick eventually negotiated with my attorney Z to place a shitload of my money in an escrow account so we could all just get the hell out of there and close the deal—allowing the poor blindsided couple buying my apartment to take possession of their new home, while allowing me to just get out of town. (I can imagine how happy my buyers—with a 1-month-old infant—were really looking forward to the coop coming in & tearing apart their brand new kitchen...)

So ultimately, I was forced to leave $5,000 in escrow for 1) the previously described bogus electrical repairs and 2) potential demo of all the kitchen work I had just completed.

And then, at long (long) last, I was able to sign the last of 873,892,759,847 documents, and close on my apartment. Outside, as it poured rain, I had a sweet moment with the new owners of my home, wishing them happiness there.

At 5:30p, once I arrived home to spend my last moments in the apartment that I had nurtured for some 13 years, you might imagine that I might like to spend an hour reflecting, reminiscing and bidding a sweet farewell.

Honestly, after such a sullied closing, I pulled my new Ford Focus in front of the building and decided that despite it was the midst of rush hour, I’d rather sit still in traffic than wait for a single overhead light bulb to potentially burn out in the apartment—because, for sure, the buyers’ Corcoran agent would pound on the door, swearing the entire apartment was miswired.

My exit from the HOME that I bought in 2000 and transformed from a dump into a palace was, in that moment, so very bittersweet. I made a final hasty walk through each room that I had lovingly renovated over the course of 13 years and then said out loud, “G’bye.” And I closed the door.

The next turn of our story doesn’t get much better, I’m afraid. As I motored down Brooklyn’s BQE, traffic moved at a clip. Hurrah! Abby & Spencer were relaxed and dozing in the front seat next to me. But as I passed one annoying toll road after another (Verrazano Bridge, Goethals Bridge, New Jersey Turnpike, Delaware Memorial Bridge), I drove
past the rain… and right into dense, impenetrable, thick-set FOG!! Seriously?

For five hours I pretty much could not see 20 feet in front of me… roaring forward every time there was a vehicle in front of me on what turned out to be deserted coastal roads... just to follow in their taillights, until they ultimately turned off the road, leaving me anxiously slowing down at some points to 30 mph. All the while, I'm pondering my epitaph: “Poor guy. He moved out of New York City and drove off a bridge on the way to his new house…” Honest to god, it’s as if I were driving through cotton candy for 5 of the 7-hour journey.

And that’s where this long-winded tale reaches its blissful end. As I crossed the
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel just after midnight on January 15, 2014, I exhaled that I had survived one of the cruelest days of my life. And I inhaled with gusto for all possibilities of this brand new chapter.

As I write this, it is now my two-month anniversary as a resident of Hampton Roads, Virginia.

An NYC pal asked me on the phone last week, “What do you miss most about New York?” I paused and responded: “Except for the people… not much of anything. Actually, nothing."

I was ready. It was the right move at the right time. And here we are. The page has turned and the colors on this side are as bright as could be.

Hey, and Spring is allegedly coming (following the cruelest winter the East Coast has seen in 30 years), so I will have an entirely new & colorful world to discover beyond the doors of this wowsah property in Norfolk, Va., that I have been fortunate enough to make my home. I am blessed, I am a lucky man and I wake up every morning recognizing the bounty before my eyes.

P.S. Thankfully, I got the ENTIRE $5,000 returned from the escrow account (cool cats, that's why it took me 2 months to post this: get it?). Obviously, those electrical issues turned out to be bogus. And thankfully, either the coop decided not to decimate the new kitchen—or the new owners refused to let them tear apart my beautiful work.

P.S.S. Har, har, har... And yet it's not over yet. The coop decided in February that the building is not responsible for the damage that occurred between walls (they are, via the bylaws) and are now leaving it up to me to have my homeowner's insurance company duke it out with the coop—which, mind you, I, of course, CANCELED at the end of January. Guess who is going to end up ponying up more cash months after getting the hell out of BK?!

And herein is my great lesson learned: Enduring luck in life is an engineered effort. I am a fortunate man, feeling lucky once again. *

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