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Things have been...hectic lately.

A quick list of things I have had to deal with:

1. My air conditioners. When I bought the place, and did the inspection, 2 out of 3 wall mounted air condtioners weren't working properly. One was dead, and the other's heat pump didn't work properly. The 3rd was ok. So when it came to close, the owner credited me money to fix the A/C units. I spoke to his repair guy, after the close, and he told me it would cost "x" amount to fix the A/C unit, and "y" amount to replace the broken one.

I wasn't credited for the "y" amount by the seller, just an "x" amount which was supposed to cover the costs. I called my lawyer, Tom Foley, who started to look into it with the other lawyer, emailed me: "We can assert that the Seller was aware of the condition and intentionally misrepresented that it was in working order."

While that was going on I did some research of my own. I checked the serial number of my A/C unit (52SQD307301AA), and googled it. After a bit of work, I found a site which I could plug in the old unit serial number and it would provide me with a compatible "modern" serial number (52PQ-307-3). Then I googled the modern AC and found out they cost about $650 (taxes/shipping included).

That $650 cost was about a fraction of what I was credited at the time of sale. I was pretty psyched, I could get 3 brand new A/C units (with heat pumps) and be set. Things were looking good.

Then I called a Carrier authorized dealer. I explained that I could buy the units and if someone could install them, what would it cost? All we were doing was taking out an existing unit, of the same size and shape, and slapping in a new unit. Couldn't be THAT hard. What would it cost? $300? $500?

The guy was nice, but was like "Oh, you would need 2 guys for that and it could take a couple of hours. Including a guy outside on a ladder. Probably about $2,000 for the job."

I blurted out, "$2,000 dollars?! What are you nuts? We are just taking an old one out and putting a new one in, should take about 30 minutes, max!"

He was nonplussed about it. "Hey, you need a trained refrigerator technician there, not some handy man. That's what it costs."

I hung up the phone and I was deflated. I was thinking I could get in 3 new A/C units and maybe pay some guy like $300 bucks for an hour or two to just put them in. I was now getting worried, the whole buying the house thing wasn't so great now. This was starting to become a Money Pit (more on this later). Fuck.

In times past, I usually dealt with my problems on my own, but I was getting a bit desperate because I was watching my funds drain a lot faster than I expected. I have become a check writing machine. Painter. Contractor. Cabinents. Stainless steel appliances. New couch, chair and ottoman. This was all starting to add up, big time. My original estimates were very naive. The money I set aside for the upgrades simply wasn't enough and I already was working on two mortgages - one was 80% of the principal and the other was 6% of the principal (I put down 14% in cash).

One thing i'm proud of is that I was relatively debt-free, aside from paying PSE&G back $100 a month for the next 50 months (a special shout-out to Kristen and Jon who agreed to pay me back, and I hope Karma is a boomerang to those roommates who refused to pay me back).

I thought about just getting a credit card with 0% APR for 12 months and spread out whatever I needed to do. But I also wanted to bang out that second mortgage as soon as I could, too, and not put myself into more debt.

I may have gotten lucky. My mom knew that my brother-in-law was handy with things like Air Conditioning. She called him and he called me, assuring me that this wouldn't be that hard to do, since the A/C units are already in place. He would come up one weekend with my sister, and the kids and replace it. I ordered one unit today, for the bedroom, and if that goes well I will order two more at a later time.

2. My mailbox. The owner was also nice enough to forget to have a mailbox key at the close (the owner lives in London now, so he wasn't at the close, nor was his lawyer). The last few days has been Mailbox 101 for me. I first went to the Post Office at River Street and asked the manager there what I needed to do. He told me I just had to get a locksmith to pop open the box and replace the lock. While talking to him someone was Hoboken Locks (6th and Washington) was walking behind me and the manager said, "There's a locksmith right there!"

I spoke to the guy, and he said "Hey, its easy. You can pay me $67 and I'll open it up and replace the lock. Or, you take two screwdrivers and do it yourself for $7."

He gave me a basic explanation of how to do it. Now for those that know me, i'm pretty good with computers but pretty lousy with anything "handy" related. I just have the worst luck. But this was pretty easy, I quickly popped open the mailbox and removed the old lock. I went to the ACE hardware store on 1st. I bought a lock set they had for mailboxes. I was feeling confident. I put the lock in...

...and it wouldn't close.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

The old lock was at the ACE hardware store. I threw it out when I got the new lock, thinking that this was a done deal.

I went back to the hardware store. I glumly explained that I needed my lock back and went into their trashcan, digging for my old lock. Fortunately the trashcan was only filled with paper products, and one coffee cup. I found my lock after about 2 minutes. It was a bit embarassing to do this in front of a line of people behind me.

I compared the two locks, and the locking latch for the new lock was different than the old lock. I figured I could try to use the old latch with the new lock, and went back to my condo. That didn't work either. I returned the new lock to ACE and went down to Hoboken lock to see if they had a locking latch similar to the one I had.

Hoboken Lock was closed on Saturday at 2pm, and by the time I got there it was 2:30. They were closed Sunday. I had to go there Monday to get the new lock. What a waste. It was a solid 2 1/2 hours of my day with me trekking up and back to ACE hardware three times.

3. Cabinets are expensive. I know nothing about cabinets before I bought this place. I figured a decent set would cost about $1,500-2,000 since my kitchen was relatively small. Boy, was I wrong. My contractor and I priced out two brands, and both came back from $3,000-4,000 without granite or the sink. FUCK. My old kitchen is GONE. Everything is ripped out. The cabinets are gone. The appliances are gone (except the fridge). The new appliances are coming on Friday. I'm still working with my contractor on this and already priced around with other places, like Home Depot, and their prices were even more expensive than what the contractor priced.

4. Painting is not for me. I'm not a painter, but I do know what colors I like. Fortunately I have a friend in the business, Chris Burkhardt. He does interior painting and also owns B.A.M.A. art gallery in Hoboken. On Saturday (before my mailbox lock nightmare) we met at Legal Beans. He had some ideas of the colors we should use, and he used these colors on other projects. He knew what worked and what didn't work. He told me the new "hot" colors are "Historic Colors", which were more understated and light, rather than bold or dark. We chose a color scheme for the bedroom (a pale green), the hallway (a pale tan), and the great room (a darker tan). He showed me how the colors were all part of the same pallet, and complimented each other. I'm not going to sit here and bullshit you and say how much I know about paint. I looked at what he suggested, thought they were good colors and handed him a check as fast as I could with the attitude of, "Just Do It". Chris starts on Wednesday, and i'm trying to coordinate Chris and my contractor now.

5. Appliance changes. When I first ordered the appliances, the refrigerator was on backorder for two weeks. It was a side by side fridge, and looked really nice. But as I started to work with the contractor, I sort of realized that I think I ordered one that was too big for my kitchen. The old fridge was 32" wide and the new one was 35" wide. Not good. I went back to the website and called Customer Service. I was really lucky because the appliances I was ordering were through a contact my brother-in-law had which gave me STEEP discounts (like $500-700 per appliance versus Sears prices). No, I can't tell you where I got this, just go with me on it. Anyhow, I called the people, and started talking to a nice rep named Stephanie on the phone. Her twangy accent said he lived in one of the "red" states, and she was just sweet as a peach. We talked about changing the refrigerator and that I had to get a 32-33" side by side refrigerator.

She was like, "Honey, you don't want to do that."

"What? Why?", I asked.

"Side by side are great for larger refrigerators, but the space you lose horizontally isn't worth it on smaller refrigerators. You should get a bottom-freezer one. They have icemakers, and water dispensors inside the units. Side by side refrigerators have more mechanical issues over the lifespan of a fridge than side by side ones. Plus, when you have a large tray of food, it is much easier to fit that in a bottom-freezer refrigerator. Also, I think they look nicer, too."

I was an easy sell and switched to a bottom-freezer unit.

6. Move myself or Professional? I haven't moved in a long time. I have been in my current apartment for seven years. I remember, vividly, during my last moving day that i'd never move myself again. But that was seven years ago. So, last week I reserved a U-Haul. While doing that, my friend Tiffany sent me an email of a moving company she used in town "L&L Movers". She said they moved her whole place really fast, and cheap - about $100 - but it was 4 years ago. I called L&L and got Doug to come over for an estimate on Friday. Doug priced it out for $350 for 3 1/2 hours of work (figuring $110 per hour, with 2 guys and a truck). He stressed that his company always tries to get an accurate quote, than underbid. He hopes to be done faster than 3 1/2 hours, and if so, the price would be based on the $110 per hour quote.

U-Haul would cost me about $90-110 for the truck, mileage, some dollys and boxes. I just needed about 2-3 guys to help me out and would have to drive over to Jersey City to pick it up on Saturday.

L&L movers were booked for this Saturday, and he tried to see if I wanted to move Thursday. With all the construction & painting I have to delay the move for as long as I can. Right now it looks like Saturday with a U-Haul.

6. I am a packrat. Last night I was looking at my junior year, 1993, Delta Tau Delta fraternity picture. I was looking at the pictures of men who had their whole lives ahead of them. It had been framed and sitting in a drawer for the last seven years. I never hung it up, because those days were long gone. But I also never threw it away, because...well, I don't know why. It was a good memory, but I really don't have the space to keep things like this.

I have a lot of things like that. For example, I have six PCs. SIX. Three are in my closet. I haven't turned them on for at least 4-5 years. Three are in my bedroom and two are hooked up, while the other is a glorified cup holder. Two of three I have in my bedroom are fully functional, and can run any game right now. I have them both networked, and if someone were to come over, we could play games together online.

Yep, I'm single. Can you believe it?

Anyhow, I also have a lot of other crap. I have about 60 softcover books and about another 60 hardcover books. I have about 80 CDs on a shelf. I have an mixed collection of 1990 Magic: The Gathering Cards - most of the "rare" cards are sold, but there could be a gem in there if someone looked hard enough. I also have cards from 2 other card games, like Shadowfist and Star Wars. I have about 100 comic books, the more expensive ones are in their own plastic sleeves. Like I have the original Wolverine limited edition series 1-4, which cost me $20 each. As you can see they haven't gone up in value much, if at all. I have a bunch of other valuable comics, but most are from 1990-1994 when I was into comic collecting. I can honestly say I haven't opened that box in all my years in town, just carting it around with me thinking, "Well, maybe ONE day they will be worth something".

I have a brand new djembe sitting in my room. I played it about 20 times, mostly while listening to the Grateful Dead. I soon realized that I was white, and being able to clap or tap my hands in rythym didn't equate to me being able to pick up a hand drum very quickly. I got bored with it very, very quickly and it is sitting in a brand new djembe bag. I think it cost me about $200 for the djembe, bag and shipping. Again, just never got around to selling it or giving it away.

My snowboard has sat, forlornly, next to my bed for 3 years. I haven't snowboarded in ages. I liked it when I was younger. But being cold and wet on a mountain isn't as appealing to me anymore. I'd rather just be warm and wet somewhere tropical, instead. If I ever did get a hankering for a snowboard run, i'd just rent one. I have to get rid of this, too.

Tiffany mentioned I should use Ebay. I would very much rather have a gate sale, first. So I am planning a gate sale for April 28 & 29th at outside old apartment. Kristen was nice enough to let me stash my knick-nacks and other things at my old apartment until then. I'm just going to plaster the bus stops (and email my contact list) about the sale. Whatever I can't sell at the gate sell, i'll load into my car and then try to Ebay them. I'm just convinced that my softcover books I can sell for $2 each and my hardcover books for $5 each (if I sold all of them i'd make about $400). I just don't feel like selling each individually. I tried that already and it was too tedious for me.

I am going to spend this week, with the same mentality of my last "Spring Purging". If I haven't used it in the last year, i'm either going to throw it away or sell it. Only furniture that I "need" are my bed, sofa, my PC, my Tivo, my HDTV and my desk. There are some critical things like clothes, some pictures and some paperwork (like taxes and other info) I will keep. But I plan a massive purge here. I really want to move into the new condo with as very little as possible.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on April 16, 2007 12:52 AM.

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