Saturday, September 20, 2014

Down the Rabbit Hole

For my first few days in New York I was locked in my apartment by FedEx. They took me hostage and would not allow me to go anywhere.

I wish I was making this up, but the reality is that it was true. I arrived in New York flying first class, because the cost of an upgrade to first class was much, much lower than shipping things. Having moved across the ocean in suitcases more times than I cared to think about, I knew that I would need the suitcase room. But unlike with flying overseas, the US has rather draconian limits on what you can fly with.

Unless you fly first class. Then you can get three bags that weigh 70lbs each. That was all I needed to make it to NYC, that and a small dog who was very happy to fly first class with me and seemed to do pretty well with the rather short flight to NYC. The flight was pleasant. New York, when I landed was warm and breezy, rather unlike Chicago.

Tino and I headed down to our hotel in Manhattan, because I knew that there would be not furniture and nothing in my apartment until the next day. The hotel, sadly, was not dog friendly. Tino, fortunately, fits completely in my backpack and was happy to hang out and not move about until I was checked in and got him into a room. While he was being very good, it did put me in the position of not being able to openly walk him about, and his protest was to lay in bed for the next 17 hours until we finally left and he was able to get a proper walk.

Renting in New York had been a minor hassle but one I managed to come out on top with. Aside from the fact that most people wanted salary confirmation, paychecks, and old tax returns, they also wanted to be able to talk to previous landlords. This, needless to say, made me worried about renting but I finally found a very nice young realtor that was very interested in renting to me, and willing to work with me and wave most of the bullshit. Of course, the challenge then was wondering if this wasn’t actually too good to be true. I’ve read enough to know there are actually rental scams in New York (and in fact managed to avoid one of them in my rental hunt) but this particularly nice relator did seem to be legit.

Of course, the proof would bear out when I showed up at the building I was theoretically living in to move in.

We got there early, since the monkey could not be walked around the hotel. Me with my three suitcases, one carryon, backpack, and the dog. We were on the street, outside a nice building that I had no keys to get in. I messaged a realtor who was unresponsive. I walked the dog, but not far out of sight of my bags, and kept looking around, texting my realtor and waiting. Finally I sent a quick email to my landlord and hoped for the best.

Then I saw a gent walking not one, not two, but 6 pitbulls down the street. The dogs spotted Tino. Tino spotted the dogs. His interest was friendly. Theirs was lunch. As a note, I like pitbulls, but I prefer that they not eat my dog. So, without thinking I started ringing buzzers til someone answered.


“Hi, I’m supposed to move in today, but I’m having a little trouble getting hold of the realtor and I don’t have a key.”

“Yeah, okay.”

Sort of surprised that worked, I moved the dog, all my bags, and stuff insde and hit the elevator to get up to my new place. True to form, the relator had left the door open and we were able to get into the apartment. I was rather pleased to find that the place was exactly as pictured. A gigantic square studio (500+ square feet) with windows designed for crossflow, new appliances, a washer and dryer, a dishwasher, shiny bathtub and not much else.

Tino ran about and we both agreed this was pretty much exactly what we wanted.

Despite all the randomness, we had moved to New York. And now I had an empty apartment and a wait for FedEx.

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