Thursday, November 6, 2008

You Take the Good, You Take the Bad...

Stella loves her new room, even if she's not sleeping there yet!

Here we are, settled into our new, ginormous apartment. Moving is one of those events that causes your stress factor to increase exponentially, though, no matter how excited you were about the move.

The good news is, the place is still as huge as I remember it. Sometimes, after viewing an apartment, my brain has a field day with my memory, adding many square feet and sometimes even complete rooms to a place, so by the time I revisit it, I'm utterly disappointed in its sheer lack of size. That did NOT happen this time, though. If anything, the place actually seems larger.
Stella loves the size. She's always been prone to taking up lots of space, especially when she makes it into our bed (nightly). She's only 6 1/2 months old, and yet with her arms outstretched, she can cause Dave and I to huddle in a corner for the duration of the night! Now that she has an entire room where we can lay down her foam play mat (as seen in the photo above), she's creeping, flipping, scooting, you name it! That little girl literally couldn't wait to spread her wings, and our old 650 square foot place did not give her that opportunity!

The neighborhood is great! It's quiet, so much more quiet than Park Slope, but it's diverse and interesting. We've had delicious Russian beer twice this week. It's higher in alcohol content and an enormous bottle only cost $2. Take that, Beerkraft! We're also only a 5-10 minute stroll from Ditmas Park, an area with lots of young families and fun cafes, restaurants, wine-stores. It's like Park Slope Lite.

The building is wonderfully well-kept, with an elevator and efficient laundry in the basement (I gave that a test drive yesterday with tons of poopy-soiled baby clothes). The building seems to be populated by nice folks, and our neighbors are very friendly.

But, as you well know, this is New York City, and you don't get a huge, beautiful, CHEAP apartment in a safe, nice neighborhood for nothing.

Since this apartment building is immaculately maintained, they took major pains to renovate our place for us. The upside is that I have an entirely refinished kitchen with brand new appliances (oops -- I just drooled on the keyboard). The bad news is they polyurethaned the floors like 6 million times. It honestly looks like a roller rink in here, and the fumes are so bad that I have a nightly headache and I've been a beasty of a wife to poor Dave.
Much worse than that, though, is the fact that Stella's been cranky and is even coughing! I take her out for as long as the weather permits each day, and as my doctor-friend Lisa advised, we are airing the place out, getting an air filter, buying VOC-filtering plants, and taking other pains to reduce environmental hazards. Today I plan on buying a mop and drenching the floors in a mixture of water and baking soda, then finishing up by rubbing a lemon over the floor, as I read that that can help.
Still, I hate to think of my perfect little girl breathing in all those fumes.
And, although we signed a waiver from the landlord stating that they have no knowledge of lead paint ever being used in our building, it is a super-old building so I expect that there's probably lead paint somewhere under all those layers. That wouldn't be too much of an issue, except the paint is peeling off pretty badly on our bedroom door -- down to many old coats. We are sending the chips off to a lab to be tested for lead paint, and if it comes back positive, we're going to buy a sealant to contain the situation, but of course that'll mean that I also spend the rest of our time here obsessed with Stella not putting her hands in her mouth after touching the wall or floor. That doesn't sound fun
Ah...New York. Where nothing is ever just easy or even normal.
Again, though, we are so incredibly fortunate to have found this place and I know that, over time, the pros will certainly outweigh the cons.
There is one other downfall, but I'd rather not post about it here in a public forum. I'd be happy to tell you about it privately. (And no, it doesn't involve any adult naughty business. We have a 6 1/2 month old baby, remember?)


Lauren said...

So glad you're settling into your new digs!

BTW, I laughed at the part about your adding extra square footage onto the place; I'm guilty of that as well. It usually takes me a few visits before I can accurately remember what a place looks like. ;)

Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

Please, not "Park Slope Lite"! That will be the death of Flatbush. I believe we have enough identity of our own that we don't need to be compared to another Brooklyn neighborhood, one which many of us, honestly, fled in order to live where we are today.

As a landlord of our two-family home, I'm keyed to that language of "no knowledge of." If you never ask the question, or test the paint, you can claim to have "no knowledge of." But one must assume lead-based paint is present in any building built before the 1970s, unless one knows steps have been taken to remove it.

Assuming your building has more than three units and was built before 1960, the landlord MUST identify and fix any lead paint hazards. They must inspect every apartment EVERY YEAR for such hazards and fix them. More information is avaliable from NYC DOH's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

alexlady said...

OOO, good info xris!

girl, i understand about mis-remembering apartments. when we were moving, i actually had a dream that when we moved into this place i opened a door and THERE WAS ANOTHER WING to the apartment! with hidden closets, all kinds of good stuff.

alas, just a dream.

that sucks about the fumes.

Randi Skaggs said...

Thanks for your comment, xris! You're right about Ditmas Park. By "Park Slope Lite," I meant that it has fewer shops, cafes, etc., but I guess lite connotes "less good." And it is certainly not that. I'm loving this neighborhood more and more each day.

And thanks for the info about lead paint. We're sending off samples tomorrow so we'll know the verdict next week. So many mundane things suddenly seem treacherous when you have a baby!