Archive for September, 2012

First Wedding Nightmare

September 22 2012

Last night I had my first wedding nightmare.  Hopefully there aren’t more to come.  In my wedding nightmare, the following happened:

  • I forgot to wear shoes on the wedding day.
  • I forgot to paint my nails, so there was old nail polish wearing off and uneven nails!
  • I spilled my lunch on my wedding dress, but didn’t realize this until I was about to walk down the aisle.
  • I was late getting to the church because Jessie and I had to go somewhere to meet someone (for what, I don’t know).
  • Right as the ceremony was about to start, a few of our wedding guests decided to have a meeting at the back of the venue.  They were sitting in a circle at the end of the aisle.  I yelled at them and kicked them out of the wedding.
  • We forgot to inform the people who should be reading at our wedding that they were going to read.  So, Merri was running around trying to find the 2 readers and tell them what their reading was (we also didn’t have it printed for them, so we asked them to look it up on their smart phones).
  • Dave saw me before the wedding ceremony.

I think those were all of the horrors.  Strange thing is that I’m not worried about the wedding yet, but maybe my subconscious is …

Signed a Lease

September 20 2012

After looking at the best and the worst that Pittsburgh had to offer, we have found a place to live!  We signed our lease and will move in on 1 November.  Before I tell you about it, let me tell you about the places that we did not decide to rent:

(1) The apartment with no bedroom: They marketed it as a “2 bedroom” but one of the bedrooms was a living room with a bed in it.  The other bedroom was a dining room with a bed in it.

(2) The investment property: Here, a guy showed us the newly renovated house that he is showing for his “investor friend”.  Then he wanted $50 for an application fee and it was not clear if someone else had applied or not.  I don’t think I’m giving $50 and my SSN to a man who is not an authorized real estate agent showing a property for an investor friend.

(3) The apartment with mold: This was one of the first places that I looked at.  It had a huge mold problem.  The owner told me that he would “clean and paint” it.  Based on the thickness of the paint already on the walls, I decided that this meant he would “paint over the problem.

(4) The house with a hole in the wall: While in this house, Dave noticed a cockraoch on the floor and I noticed dirt falling out of the wall.   On site, we were told that this was just dirt from people being in and out.  I was skeptical as I actually SAW dirt falling out of the wall.  Later, we were forwarded an email from the contractor who said that the “parging” was falling off and that it can be re-parged.  If you are unfamiliar with the word, parging means to cover and to paint.

(5) The house under a bridge:  This place also smelled bad.  If we wanted, we could have bought this problem-filled house for <$100K.

(6) The overpriced carriage house: This apartment had a garage with more square footage than the apartment.  It was advertised saying it had 2200 square feet, but I think it had closer to 900 square feet.  And, there was no dining room.

(7) The texting landlord house: The landlord here was upset with my 2-day turnaround on responding to his emails, so he demanded that I contact him via text messages instead.  This house was very similar to the house that we wound up renting, except it had a driveway that was as wide as half of a car (but 3 parking spots back there, if you can cut your cars in half to get them back there) AND it was for about $500 more than what we were going to pay.  Minutes after leaving the house (where we told him that it was too expensive compared to other properties), we received a text message offering it to us for $500 less than what was posted.

(8) Shared foyer: This apartment was the 2nd and third floor of a house, with the landlord living on the first floor.  We would “have the foyer and front porch” and they would have the “back entrance”.  It was unclear, but I think they would go through our foyer to enter the house and definitely in order to go to the basement.  Not to mention, it would probably be very expensive to heat/cool the unit.

(9) Unresponsive landlord: This was a place that we tried to rent,but the landlord just wouldn’t give us a commitment.  Turns out, we like the place that we found better, so she lost out in having us as tenants!

(10) Clean Carpets: This is an apartment owned by a church.  The apartment itself was pretty nice, except for the rugs.  It looked like the church used this apartment as the location for making animal sacrifices.  Well, they weren’t THAT bad, but it was close.  The real estate agent called the church for us, and we found out that the carpet was recently cleaned.  Our realtor told them that they needed to get their money back.

(11) An apartment: This was one of the only apartment complexes that we looked at.  (We have looked at some before, and found them to be overpriced for what they offered).  The complex was owned by Walnut Capital, a large apartment management company in Pittsburgh.  The person who was to show us the apartment was 15 minutes late for meeting us because she was in the middle of another appointment.  In the time that we were waiting, we learned from residents that the management company was not very good and that the parking situation was really bad.

Those were the highlights of our house-hunting, as I remember them.  There were probably some others that I forgot.  But, this brings us to our new home on Hobart street:  It’s owned by a lawyer who bought it right after college.  She lived there herself for 10 years and didn’t sell it because of sentimental value.  Laura (the landlord) is really nice and fun to talk to.  When we signed the lease with her, we actually wound up talking for an hour at the coffee shop!  Our downstairs neighbor is one of her best friends, and is a personal chef!   Maybe we will be so lucky as to learn a thing or two from him.  The apartment has 3 bedrooms & 1 bath.  We have a small private balcony and a shared porch.  One of my favorite parts is the small nook with a large closet and bookshelves.  I’m not sure if a chair will fit in the nook, but it could potentially be a reading corner.  The one downside: it has no dishwasher.  We rectified this by buying a used portable dishwasher off of Craigslist.  It’s now in Deb & Sy’s basement waiting for us to bring it to our new home!

Anyone free the first weekend of November to help us move?

Faculty Lunch?

September 12 2012

The past few weeks have been jam-packed.

I flew from Russia to Vienna, where I spent a few days saying my goodbyes to my friends and to the city.  Of course, I made sure to stop by my favorite places to eat and to pick myself up a few items that are necessary (for example, Apfelhonig for my grandmother).

After Vienna, I flew to Newark, NJ, where my father picked me up and drove me back “home” to Philly.  I was there for one short night.  I didn’t even get a chance to see my niece Peyton or my brother (although I later learned that he was awake and in his room when I left … whoops!  sorry, Joey).  The morning after I arrived, I packed my car (in the rain) and headed straight to Pittsburgh, PA.  I made sure to stop for a few hours at the outlet stores in Lancaster (where I practiced using my credit card).

Then, I was in Pittsburgh for half of a week.  Dave and I don’t yet have an apartment in Pittsburgh, so we are staying with Natalie’s mother’s college roommate and her husband (you might have to think that one through for a minute).  They live on an island in the Ohio river in a beautiful house.  Words can’t express how grateful we are for them letting us stay with them as we are searching for our own place.  During the few days I was in Pittsburgh, I started work … lots of paperwork was filled out and I met many people whose names I now forget.  In the evenings, Deb (Natalie’s mother’s college roommate) took me around Pittsburgh in search of a house.  I could go on about some of the winners that we found, but I’ll leave that for another day.

Then, I flew down to North Carolina, refinanced my house and packed my car with David’s belongings (including David) and embarked on a road trip back to Pittsburgh.  We were hoping to make it in one shot, but our departure time was a bit delayed (we had to deliver a broken glass to Robby, buy me a GPS watch, and meet Jessie for lunch).  So, we stopped somewhere in West Virginia at a Microtel.  The room was HUGE!

Then, we arrived back in Pittsburgh at the island paradise.  Dave moved his milk crates that I helped him organize into our room (really, Michelle’s room) and he was ready to go (I organized his clothes in milk crates instead of suitcases a few months ago to make things easier for him as he was moving from place to place … he’s become a bit attached to them now.)  Our quest to find housing turned on full force.  And, we saw a lot of places.  Some good, some not so good.  Cross your fingers because we hope to have a signed lease sometime this week!

At work, I started to figure out how things work.  For example, I now know how to print papers, which has led to Amir (the other postdoc in my group) and myself being buried in papers that we are interested in reading.  And, I attended the Aladdin faculty lunch on Friday.  The fact that I am no longer a grad student is finally starting to settle in.