With my final final ever (ever) never again apartment renovation at last complete, I took pics of the entire deal Sunday… which I shall post soon, with all the melodramatic before & after picolas. In the meantime, how apropos to post this—on the left, within a month of moving into my new Brooklyn Heights digs, with so much promise—and today, some 12 years later, five renovations later, with that promise… delivered!
After eight weeks, at last, my apartment renovation is signed, sealed & delivered. What started out as a fairly simply cosmetic redo in the living room turned into new hardwood floors throughout the unit, an extended bathroom and—god bless my contractor, Angelo—so many extras to make this joint feel like new.
After enduring this five times over the past 12 years, I must say, this is the first time I’ve blown open champagne to share with my contractor and his son Mike… because it was such a positive experience.
And yes, of course I teared all up while thanking them for so much pristine work as I bid farewell. It’s hard to even imagine mornings without the two of them knocking on door and preparing A’s coffee with milk and 3 sugars…
And now… so many possibilities: sleeping in a bed, opening cabinet drawers, accessing food in kitchen cabinets and best of all, wearing different clothes each day. For the past two months, I’ve pretty much donned a uniform of black jeans and a black sweater (yes, clean undies and undershirt). And now… access to my entire winter wardrobe. Oh, the wonder of it all!
Of course, now comes the grand clean-up and oh what a mess it is. Layers and layers of dust, sawdust, sanding dust, dust dust… One room at a time. Good thing I foster great satisfaction with a rag in my hand. Happy holidays, indeed!
Arghhhhh! It’s one of my favorite events of the year… the announcement of the 2012 Grammy Award nominations… and one of The Smoking Nun’s premiere opportunities to dish about the best of the year in music… and of course, more fun, the horrendous gaffes. Last year it was all about Adele, whom I supported wholeheartedly. This year, there’s no clear leader in the quest to forever mark the best o’ the past 12 months.
As a NARAS voter, I take particular interest in the annual expedition of helping select who wins… but as I’ve stated in the past, in recent years, it pains me that I’m more often voting against contenders rather than piling on kudos.
I mean, Nicki Minaj, critically acclaimed? Seriously? It’s enough to wonder if the Grammy Awards more resemble the People’s Choice Awards.
Stand by for my take on the best and worst… as soon as I can get a grip on my home office, post-renovation. Soon, no really. Meanwhile, read the major noms here. *
Sequestered… That’s my present state, more or less… Yes, it’s that damn living room renovation, which I really should redefine at this point. The actual LR reno is done, and as of the end of the week, new hardwood flooring has extended throughout the rest of the unit, save for the kitchen & bath.
That’s meant moving furniture from one crowded space to another, as well as intermittent loss of WiFi and, egads, my desk, where all good words customarily come together. One more week to go… and meanwhile, yes, oh so good to get the hell out of the house.
P.S. No, that’s not me in the Converse jacket… Hell, my name is Chuck Taylor. That would be redundant, wouldn’t it? Pic in Manhattan along Second Avenue. *
On Monday, friend excursion 2.0, as I met Trix Moose, son Jack and sis Chris for the traditional Ruby Tuesday outing—always a highlight, since a kickin’ salad bar just ain’t to be had in NYC. Didn’t hurt a bit that our waiter Eric was a fetching fellow.
After din din, I was invited to join Trix and Jack—who has suddenly evolved into a high school senior and a handsome 17 year old (I remember when the critter was a roly-poly 9 year old) at their home to decorate the Christmas tree!
That was a spectacular event for meese, since I no longer fix up my apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Now that I’m a bachelor, it’s just not the same to decorate for the holidays for the sake of Abby & Spencer. They’d probably view the tree as a relief post, anyway.
A lovely family holiday celebration, as good as any of the seasonal Hallmark Channel flicks I watched over the past week with my mama. *
While my trips home to Virginia usually comprise staying putting with the parents, fortunately there’s time for a couple escapes from the Big House… On Sunday, I hooked up with Donna Mae Moose for supper at the parents’ complex, then a shopping excursion to Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s… Once again, like Black Friday in Lynchburg, we sailed through the stores with no lines, no mobs, no madness… *
Despite the fact that Hurricane Sandy walloped NYC, my dedicated contractor Angelo and his team missed only one day of work on my living room renovation last week. In fact, they were the only contractors (among at least four) that reported for duty last Monday, as that bitch approached the Northeast.
Tuesday there was no way to navigate the roads, but Wednesday, they were back… and again Thursday, despite more than two-hour commutes from inner Brooklyn, thanks to all tunnels and highways being closed to traffic.
Over the weekend, Angelo waited for two days… manning shifts with his son Mike—in order to fill up the tank at a gas station that was expecting the tanker to arrive Sunday… so that he could make it through the borough. Not only is my contractor dedicated, but—to my great favor—he is one hell of a perfectionist.
So here’s where we stand:
* As of Monday, sub-floors were installed in the living room!!
* All drywall has been completed, seams have been sealed and skimmed.
* New ceiling with smooth drywall installed, sealed and skimmed.
* Electrical work, including pot lights under the sofa cove, a couple new outlets and—for the first time—an outlet for cable TV (instead of a random wire that snaked under the carpet) complete!
* Radiator relocated from the wall beside the fireplace, now neatly tucked into the window sill.
* In addition, my landmarked windows, which have always shaken in their frames, have been anchored with secure molding, at last.
Next: framing for my brand new fireplace, scraping of the beautifully revealed brick accent wall above it… and FLOORS! New hardwood will run throughout the living room, connecting the hallway and into the bedroom (to replace laminate that was installed during the Dear Genevieve redo, the one element of that reno I was not happy with).
As an ever-resourceful shopper, one of my favorite destinations is Unique Thrift Store in Downtown Brooklyn. Last week I gamboled around the premises for goodies and happened upon a vintage double burger cooker/sandwich maker that had to have been from the late 1970s.
When I opened the box, I was giddily amazed to discover that the item had never been used. All of the original packing was in place, it was pristine clean and even included the little recipe booklet. It was almost too good to be true. Perhaps the only thing better was the price: $7.99. Oh, come on, how could I resist?
Not only is the Ambassador “Burger & Sandwich Maker Double Size” capable of cooking burgers in one minute, but you can also make grilled cheese sandwiches and tuna melts, while using the “grill” to cook eggs, bacon and steaks. Eureka!
Once I brought my prize home, I searched the web for retro ads and any info I could find about the appliance… I found nothing, except one newspaper advert from a department store in 1978 offering the item on sale for $24.88.
On Friday, I cooked my first burger, and indeed it was better than any previous means I’ve used with modern technology. George Foreman Grill is a mess to try and clean, while a frying pan makes a spattered mess of the simple task. Of course, there are comparable devices made today, but every once in a while, they got it right way back when. And retro… even better. Delish! *