Friday, November 16, 2012

Leaky Toilet

Have I told you how we became homeowners? Early in 2001 we moved from Williamsburg to Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and became regulars at a new restaurant in Fort Green called Locanda Vini e Olii. The original owners had a son who we hung out with quite a bit. A couple of years later, in 2003, he called Z in the middle of a workday and told him to trust him. He said Z had to leave work immediately, find me and get me to leave work, and head out to the apartment building down in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens where our friend had just bought a studio apartment. Another unit was under foreclosure, the bank only wanted what was left on the loan which was $35,000. Z and I took him seriously, we grabbed the Q train down to the southeast corner of Prospect Park where we met our friend and the Super. We asked what we needed to do to prevent the apartment from being put on the market. A few frantic phone calls later and we were under contract to buy the place. Yes, we became homeowners of a 700 square foot one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn for less than the cost of a new SUV. People, miracles to happen in the NYC housing market. It was the luckiest break of our lives.

We sold it in 2009 after the bottom fell out of the market and we still made enough to buy our house in Syracuse. There is no way in hell we'd be homeowners now if it weren't for that place. That cursed, shitty, roach infested apartment. The couple that lost it before us were going through a divorce-one moved out and the one that stayed just stopped paying the mortgage. Z and I almost split up while living there. The couple we rented to didn't renew the lease-they broke up and one of them ended up in rehab. I loved being a homeowner in Brooklyn, but I loved Z more and I'm glad that apartment is out of our lives.

So that is my feel good story of the day. It's nice to remember when I'm terrified about money like I am right now.

Over a month ago the toilet in our half bath started leaking. Z thought he'd be able to fix it, but the problem ended up having to do with the toilet being installed a bit too high above the floor. Listen, homeownership rocks. We love our sweet house, we feel so fortunate to live here. But every time something breaks my stomach drops and I'm seized with fear. I've said it before, but we really can't afford to be living off of one salary. Our savings are kaput. At this point my going back to work doesn't make much sense. I'd probably not make enough to cover daycare for the boys. So we are going to try to stumble through the next few years until the boys are in elementary school and I sort of figure out what I want to do when I grow up.

All that doesn't solve the leaking toilet problem.

The floor needed to be redone in order to seat the toilet properly. We had tile left over from when our second floor bathroom was renovated a few years ago-we knew that had to happen when we moved in and set aside money for it back when we still had some. And the same guy who did the second floor bath gave us a good deal, he was going to squeeze us in when he got a chance. He called two days ago and offered to start Friday. He had some extra time because of Thanksgiving and drastically reduced his original quote on sheetrocking the walls as well, which also needed to be done. So we are going to carry a balance on our credit card for a few months. For the first time since 2006. We'll get it paid off, but I'm panicking a bit.

And family? Looks like it is going to be a homemade Christmas presents year for us. Sorry in advance. We still love you, we are just super broke.

The gross little half bath before demo started. 

Goodbye horrible paneling! Hello shiny new Sheetrock! What color should we paint it?

Yesterday there was a digger outside T's school. The kind men who were operating it offered to let him climb aboard. One of his teachers happened to be walking by with a camera. I'm completely in love with this picture. 


  1. Hey, not sure if they have these in Syracuse, but you can try doing focus groups.

    It helps us with bills when work is very very slow for me.

    1. Hey, thanks for the suggestion!