Grab Your Things, I’ve Come To Take You Home
After combing the city for a new place to call home, I’d finally settled on a brand new neighborhood. The Upper West Side. It would be a fresh start with no memories of tables for two at the local Italian restaurant, or walking down the street hand in hand on the way home, or stopping for a quick smooch at a red light.
A clean slate.
And in that new neighborhood, I found the holy grail of New York City real estate (aside from a rent controlled apartment, which I actually DID find, but it was a 6th floor walkup with no sink in the bathroom -- someone would have to pay ME $1100/mo to live there, not the other way around). I found a brand new building. Ahhhhhh.
New floors that nobody put their stinky feet on. New toilet that nobody put their sweaty ass on. New refrigerator that nobody put their sloppy leftovers in. All. Mine.
Sure, there were some concessions I would have to make. For starters, it was smaller than my last apartment, so I would continue to pay for a storage unit because all my stuff wouldn’t fit. Oh, and I’d need to downsize my bed from a queen to a full because the sleeping alcove was smaller than my last apartment. Plus, I’d need to factor in a commute because it wasn’t within walking distance to work, like my last apartment was. And it was $200/mo more expensive than my last apartment after I’d negotiated that sweet $500/mo decrease. Ok. But it was NEW. I’m a sucker for anything new.
New neighborhood. New apartment. New life.
Did it feel like home? No. But no place I visited did. So I applied for apt 6D. And one day ticked by. Then two. Then four. Then, I got concerned. So my broker contacted the office and found out that they needed to investigate my application.
Hmmm. Well, I did have FOUR different addresses on the application and the support materials: I had a NJ driver’s license with my Pine Brook (#1) address -- that expires in August, and I’d held off on updating it, not for my love of Jersey, but because I thought I’d be getting married next month and would have a new name in addition to my change of address (turns out, um, not so much). On the application, I’d listed my current address as Fairfield, CT (#2), which is true, but because I’ve only been here for 2 months, I had to list my previous address too. Since that was Stamford, and I was only THERE for 2 months, I skipped back in time and listed my New York City (#3) address instead. But my bank statement had my Stamford, CT (#4) address, the most recent statement available was for June and the bank hadn’t updated their records yet -- we only officially broke up on June 2nd. Turns out my credit report listed Stamford too.
So… it looked shady.
So shady, in fact, that they thought I’d been evicted from my NYC apartment. EVICTED! How f’ed up is THAT???
This breakup just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? So, they had to validate my banking information. Fine, my bank confirmed I have an account with enough money to cover the security deposit and 1st month’s rent (and not a penny more). And, then my job confirmed that I am employed and my salary is exactly what I said it is. But when they went to confirm my rental history with my old apartment building, nobody would call them back.
That didn’t exactly help my case.
Finally, a full week after submitting the application, I’d had enough. I asked my broker to push it -- to just find out what it would it take to move this forward TODAY. So she did. The girl in the office went to her manager, who went to the building’s owner, in the hopes that he would override the need to verify my rental history. After all, I’m 36 years old, I have a good job and I pay my bills on time. That should be enough, right?
He looked at the application, and decided he felt uncomfortable with it. It looked out of the ordinary with all the addresses in such a short time. Who moves that often? Plus he didn't like my debt (nevermind that a good chunk of it is as a result of all these RIDICULOUS moves). If I didn’t get evicted, then maybe I skipped out on the rent. What if I did the same to him?
Now, it didn’t matter if my old building returned their calls to confirm I was a good tenant. Now, I needed a co-signer because I was deemed unreliable.
I was devastated after hearing this. Ok, fine, so maybe I wouldn’t get THIS apartment. I could live with that. But under these circumstances, what if I couldn’t get ANY apartment, because who’s to say that I wouldn’t encounter the same questions no matter where I applied? I felt sick to my stomach. A person can only take so much, and I’d reached my absolute limit. I came home from work on Thursday night, went straight to bed, and sobbed myself to sleep.
On Friday morning, I went to work in a fog. I texted with a dear friend of mine, who generously offered to co-sign for me. I called my mom, who told me to tell the new building to stick it, and then go back and clear up any trace of that Stamford address -- on my bank statement, credit report, whatever -- then get a Fairfield license so everything would match, and start again. And I had lunch with my aunt, who offered to go to the building with me and explain the moving expenses and why I’d had so many addresses, surely they would understand.
All these options felt awful.
It got me to thinking. Why do I need to restart my life? He didn’t. There’s one less person in the bed next to him. He orders 1 medium pizza for dinner instead of 2. But really, his life has gone on largely uninterrupted. Mine, on the other hand, was shredded... And that's not me being dramatic. It's just a fact.
But what was WRONG with my old life? I got along perfectly fine on my own. Maybe instead of a restart, what I really needed was to pick up where I left off -- before we ever met.
So around 3pm, I googled my old apartment building. At least THEY knew I wasn’t shady and I paid my rent on time. I originally wanted to live ANYWHERE but there, so it was the first time I’d looked it up. But lo and behold, out of the 279 apartments in my old building, there were just 2 alcove studios showing as available -- and 1 of them was my ACTUAL APARTMENT. Like it was sitting there, waiting for me.
I immediately went over to the building. It turns out someone moved into my old apartment shortly after I left. They lived there almost 3 months and moved out only a few days ago. The new rent on my old place was now $325 more per month than I was paying, PLUS I’d already paid a $2500 lease-break penalty to move out back in March, but I didn’t care. So I filled out a new application. And got APPROVED on the spot.
Co-signer my ass…
I won't be moving in for a few weeks, while they paint and clean the apartment. So he gave me the option to come back later to sign the lease. “No thanks,” I said, “I’ll sign it now.” He said I could come back next week to drop off the 1st month’s rent. “No thanks,” I said, “I’ll write you a check now.” I even booked the elevator time. I don’t trust ANYTHING anymore. I was leaving nothing to chance.
I’m the kind of girl who looks for signs. If it wasn’t enough that my actual apartment was available, or that I'd originally moved into this place 2 years ago almost to the day, or that the check I wrote was #2873 (28 is my apt number and I was born in 73), or that the doorman greeted me with a giant, “welcome home!” when I entered the lobby, then all I need to do is look at the name of the building’s leasing agent to know this is the right move. He is the same guy I renegotiated my rent with last August. The same guy I gave my notice to last February. And the same guy I signed my new lease with on Friday.
His name? Paul.
You know, I lost a lot in this breakup. Too much to mention here. But the biggest loss was my home. Intentional or not, he took that from me.
I’m taking it back.
tags: breakup, city life