Monday, May 7, 2012


About a year ago, I was packing to move out of the marital residence, which had been home to Velvet and me since 1993.  Buzz Kill lived there until he stomped home to his mother, Vagina Dentata, down Central Park West some years earlier - like in 2006.  But even though Buzz Kill hadn't lived there in five years or so, a bunch of his stuff was still in the closets, and the apartment was legally known as The Marital Residence.  I had forgotten until this very moment that a year ago when I was packing, I didn't know where we were moving either.  Last year, storage was a back up plan.  This year storage is Plan A, even though it didn't start out that way - but I maintain that when you're aligned with current of life, things work out for the best even though you have no idea what's going on.

The good news is that I left a lot of things packed when we moved into this place, and when I did unpack, I saved most of the boxes, so books, dishes and linens are going straight back into the boxes they came from last June.  Even better, I got rid of so much extraneous stuff when we left the marital residence that the work itself is not overwhelming.  Moving into storage, on the other hand, is overwhelming.

Last year, we were moving into a rental so it was possible to find something great at the last minute.  Buying needs more lead time because of paperwork for banks and coop boards.  Although I'm starting to get nervous about moving to nowhere - I'm not a bit sorry for walking away from the contract on that charming convertible two bedroom just north of the George Washington Bridge. The little blue apartment I loved so well is still technically on the market, but the first bidders are stuck in coop board hell.  They can't get a contract on the place until the board approves their application to live in that building.  Since roughly half the people who apply to live in that building never make it through the board, by June the sellers could be asking me to apply.  Or the contract could have fallen through on a much bigger apartment a few blocks away that I saw the other day.  Although the sellers are asking for a price that is a little out of my range, I'm can make it into the ballpark and have been fully pre-certified and pre-approved for financing, which certainly makes an impression on sellers when a contract has fallen apart after they've started counting their money.  

Or there could be another apartment entirely.  The lovely and talented Jamie H, off-broadway actress by night and real estate agent by day, is making arrangements so that we can see three or four apartments this week.  Three out of the four are HDFC cooperatives, which means that years ago the city sold the building to a developer for very little money on the condition that said developer renovate the building until it's "up to code" (since these buildings were typically extremely rundown and in need of major repair) and then sell the units to middle income New Yorkers.  In exchange for the low purchase price, the buyer has to kick back a percentage of the profits when s/he sells the apartment to the building, the city or both. This percentage is known as a "flip tax." The idea is to encourage long term homeownership and bring pride of ownership to marginal neighborhoods which are still primarily rentals in tenements.  The city started this program a long time ago, so most of the neighborhoods are fine, if a little shabby, now.  The buildings are fine, if a little shabby, too - although because they were required to meet certain codes, elevators, roofs, windows and boilers have been upgraded and maintained which is more than you can say for many "nicer" coops in fancy neighborhoods.  Shabby is cool with me as long as it is clean and shabby, because that's what I can afford.

Each HDFC coop has different rules, although the income restrictions are fairly similar.  Most of the older, established HDFC Coop Buildings are in good shape financially and have relaxed the rules about the flip tax.  One of the ones I'm looking at next week has only a 10% flip tax even if you wanted to re-sell the place in a couple of years.  Other coop boards want to keep control, however, so that with that cute little blue coop I loved so well a few weeks ago - the board only permits certain people to apply to live in the building (and the criteria remains unstated), and if you sell within 2 years, 100% of any profit goes straight back to the coop.  That amount is reduced on a sliding scale, so that in five years, for example, you'd only owe the coop 45%.  At ten years, 15% or whatever.   HDFCs can also be tricky because if a person meets the income restrictions so that s/he is qualified to purchase a place, it's hard to arrange financing.  Thankfully, I'm able to overcome that hurdle as a result of the proceeds from the old HQ on Central Park West - but even though I am a perfect candidate for most HDFC Coops, we still have to find one that works for me.

Meanwhile, Velvet, Cupcake and I have been sorting through all the photographs which are mostly of Velvet when he was a baby or a little kid.  Although it can be a cute and fun activity, there are enough pictures of me and Buzz Kill to remind us all of years of general misery.  I'm not sure that I was ever happy with Buzz Kill really.  There were some good days, but overall, that marriage was a strain on all concerned except, of course, Vagina Dentata.  She never seems to feel the strain of anything but that might have something to do with all the martinis.   As it happens, the movers are coming to her apartment on May 30th just like they are coming over here - except Vagina Dentata is finally being installed in the Old Folks Home.  It's only a few blocks from the apartment where she has been living since Buzz Kill was five.  Buzz Kill himself has that rent stabilized lease, and although I haven't seen him, I'm sure he can't wait to do a victory dance around that apartment.

Once the movers come here and there, Velvet will be living with Buzz Kill.  It will only be for a few days since he leaves the following week to go work at the Hippie Dippie Quaker Camp for the summer, but I'm rather distressed by that turn of events.   Ever since he was born, all his things have been with me.   Our things will be in storage together, but I'll be living in Gigi's fifth floor walk up near Ft. Tyrone Park at the northern most part of Manhattan.  I'm grateful the apartment is available for the summer, and hopefully, before the movers come in a few weeks, my address is be something besides TBD.


Blogger Larena said...

Prayers that you find just the right place and it's a great deal !!

May 11, 2012 at 2:08 AM  

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