cold feet

I made my biggest decision, choosing a husband, without even a moment’s hesitation. I met Bear, he had an incredibly sweet face, his insulin syringes made me feel at home, and he was so comfortingly hairy.

“It seems fast,” he said, of friends of ours, “To get married after only two years.”

“How long would you wait?” I asked.

He blushed. “I don’t know, five?”

“No,” I said. “Two is good.” I heard my own voice, but I was a little amazed at the confidence in it.

“Wait,” he said, staring. “You would marry me?”

“Of course!” I said. “But you have to really ask.”

He made a shocked sound, somewhere between a laugh and an exclamation. And then he was silent, grinning.

We had known each other for, what—four months? But I was positive. I had already chosen.

And after I’d chosen, I sailed through the rest. The engagement, the wedding—I didn’t pause for a second. People think that’s the hard part. Committing to another person for your whole life.

But the hard part for me has been the house.

(source)

 

A couple months ago, our rent got raised a shocking amount. I mean, really shocking, even for NYC. And our lease is up on July 31st. And we’d heard it takes months and months to buy a place, to go through the mysterious processes with sellers and lawyers and banks that we’d never gone through before. And we wanted to buy, because we’ve been renting since we got here, years ago, and the rents just keep going up, and when Bear calculated it all on his spreadsheet, it was clear that we should buy and stay. So then we had, um, approximately a week to find an apartment. I was running all over the city with fifty sets of directions that I’d emailed to myself on my phone. I was looking at apartment after crumbling, waterstained apartment and wondering why the rooms were all in a row on a single long hall or why the bathroom opened into a strange, terrifying utilities room or how anyone had lived here before and how they could be asking so much money for it now, KNOWING what it was like. I was so far from the subway, I wondered if I’d ever find my way back. There was supposed to be another stop here, but it was closed.

“It’ll open this year,” the broker was telling me. “And then think about how great that will be for you!”

It had been closed for two years already.

When the frantic week was nearly up, two apartments came on the market in our neighborhood, in our price range. I called my mom and asked her to come in the next day. She did. She immediately eliminated one of the apartments, and we bid on the other.

And that was it.

(source)

Well, sort of. Then there was the panic of a second bidder, who swooped in at the last second, but then backed out. There was the rush to find a lawyer and the negotiations with the sellers, who seemed determined not to budge an inch. There was a panicked assemblage of important documents that needed to be collected or verified or signed. There was the dawning realization that we were actually buying a home.

That maybe we were finally grownups.

That we would now have to really, really hope that the housing market was going to keep getting better, since suddenly it was about to swallow all of our money.

(source)

That this was incredibly exciting and we were about to embark on this new journey and we were going to be homeowners, living the American dream!

And then there was me, dragging Bear down the street on a weekend-long furniture shopping expedition that resulted in him finally stopping in his tracks like a little boy, and saying, “Furniture enrages me.”

A strange thing was happening to me. I suddenly felt this enormous need to fill our new apartment with perfect furniture. I wanted to do all sorts of things to it that I’d never wanted to do before. I wanted to stain the floors very dark and sleek and dramatic. I wanted a silk and wool rug in the living area—to catch the light elegantly. I wanted perfect glass door knobs and playful dangling lights and lush, coordinated runners and shiny decorative pillows. I wasn’t thinking about this explicitly, but I wanted people to visit my new home and say, “Wow! This is perfect! This is so YOU.”

Even though I don’t really know what so ME would look like.

(source)

I wanted people to be impressed. I wanted people to think, “Now this is a place you could stay for at least ten years.”

Because I will be staying there for at least ten years. I mean, probably.

And it’s really, really weird.

I have never lived in a place that long. I have never gotten around to imagining what the place I lived  in that long might look like. And now, abruptly, I have it. It got chosen in one day, because it was one of two places that worked for that moment. Because my mom didn’t like the other one. Because it was in the right neighborhood. Because it made sense.

But I don’t know it at all.

Well, of course I don’t know it yet.

But it makes me wary.

I think I have cold feet.

(source)

We visited the apartment for a walk through the other day, and I was upset by all of the scratches and dings and loose panels and lights that are just a little bit off center and fixtures that are obviously cheap and cabinets that are actually broken.

“That’s just how it goes,” said my dad, who has had his share of houses. “You will fix it up over time.”

Which makes sense. But I wanted it to be perfect. When I walked through the door. I wanted it to be waiting for me.

A stupid, girlish, fairy princess sort of wish.

(source)

I am so lucky. Obviously. I am about to be a homeowner! I will own this home. My own space. I can do anything to it!

It is a good apartment. Maybe I can make it a great apartment. I’m not sure.

Bear and I sat down together after the furniture shopping trip which resulted in no furniture and some hard feelings.

“We don’t even need a table, you know,” he said. “We can just eat on the counter or the floor at first. We don’t have to do this all at once.”

I nodded. It was true. And anyway, I couldn’t find a perfect table. I couldn’t find a perfect anything. And the things I did find were mindblowingly expensive. Wallpaper for $275 a roll. They would give me the price quietly, a little apologetically, after showing me the product. And then I would have to pretend that it wasn’t surprising.

“Oh, yes. Of course. What a bargain! I’ll take all of it. All of your wallpaper please! I’ll send my man around to collect it.”

(source)

In the end, the floors would not end up stained. They were a composite—”engineered”—so they wouldn’t take the stain anyhow. I haven’t found a table. I’m looking for a rug, which is the one thing we decided to splurge on because I have always, always wanted a gorgeous rug.

“You walk on it,” my brother pointed out. “That’s stupid.”

But I am going to be stupid there, for my new house. As a gift to it, in honor of our shared future. A peace offering.

Walking through it, I can’t imagine anything. I can’t imagine myself here. I can’t imagine myself with a  baby here. As a published author. With a toddler. I can’t imagine what will be happening in my life. I feel like my future is now tied to this place. Taut, invisible strings attach me to the flimsy faucets and the corners of the vents and the blades of the ceiling fan.

And I am waiting in the wings, smoothing my dress nervously. Is this the right decision? Is this really right? What does right feel like?

I knew, when I married Bear. I knew, when I chose my city and when I left grad school and when I started writing. I know when I perform a bat mitzvah service.

But right now, for maybe the first time, I have cold feet.

(source)

*  *  *

When have you gotten cold feet?

Also, does anyone have any tips for where to shop for interesting, eclectic house-stuff in NYC? I mean, outside of Soho, and for under $1,000? I don’t know why I’m so bad at this.

Unroast: Today I love the way I am always looking forward to the next thing I’ll eat. Life is always exciting for that reason :-)

And WE HAVE A WINNER!!! Of awesome jewelry from the giveaway! It’s Kitley! She was commenter #25. Kitley, please email me at kate@eatthedamncake.com, and I’ll hook you up with your jewelry! Thanks for participating, people! There will be more!

39 Comments »

Kate on July 2nd 2012 in fear, life, marriage, new york, perfection

39 Responses to “cold feet”

  1. Melanie responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    I am so proud that I decorated my whole home for under $3000 and it is EXACTLY the way I want it to look. I get the whole wanting it to be perfect now thing. I bought an older home and there is so much that still needs to be done. It’s going to be about a ten year process to get it exactly where I need it to be. But I knew this house was mine as soon as I walked in. My house built in 1947 that had huge trees on the lot that take a lot of care, a back fence that desperately needs replaced, and no air conditioning in a place that hit 107 degrees not so long ago.

    But you know what? It’s mine and I love it. I put in some wall a/c and did little things here and there, and the rest will get fixed when I get around to it. It’s mine and I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if I hadn’t gotten it.

    Your unroast made my tummy hurt. I overate with the boyfriend this weekend in the bay area and all I want right now is carrots or a salad. :)

  2. Kate responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    @Melanie
    I love this. I think I’ll also feel this way, once we move. Right now, it’s definitely someone else’s apartment. They have a kid named Piper and her name is all over everything!

  3. Kate responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    P.S. Me too! I have never ever spent money on decorating. But suddenly I’m feeling this huge urge to. This is the first time. And I know I can overcome it :-)

  4. Rachel responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    I spent my weekend apartment hunting. I’m moving to NYC, and I would love to try and find interesting pieces in the city. I hope this post finds us some answers! Maybe flea markets?

  5. Kate responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    @Rachel
    Awesome! Let me know if you come across anything awesome on your own, too. I think I’m going to check out the Brooklyn Flea soon. I’ve been before, and remember it being pretty expensive, but at least you can bargain sellers down, and I’ve seen some really interesting stuff there.

  6. Ninabeenaribeena responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    I totally know the feelings you’re talking about here. I never knew I would have opinions about wallpaper and throws, but get yourself your own place and suddenly you can’t blame anything on your quirky landlord anymore. Do you go on Freecycle? I don’t know what the one in NY (or the US in general for that matter) is like but I got a kitchen table and chairs, a sofa, a chest of drawers, half pots of paint, tools, gardening equipment, you-name-it on there. And all for free. People are always admiring my furniture and it’s just stuff other people were throwing out that I have spent a bit of effort painting! I Here’s the link in case it’s useful:

    http://groups.freecycle.org/freecyclenewyorkcity/description

    Good luck with the new place!

  7. Kate responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    @Ninabeenaribeena
    That was a fun name to type :-)
    I’d heard of that before, but didn’t remember it, so thanks!!
    And yes, renting feels totally different. I’ve always wanted my place to look nice, but it never felt permanent, so there was a limit to how much I cared and how much effort I was willing to put into it. This just upped the ante.

  8. Sam responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I understand completely and totally how you are feeling. My husband and I just signed the contract to buy our first house. And I am equal parts thrilled beyond reason and nervous quivering mess. It’s hard to imagine myself in this new place at all the future twists and turns in my life, and hard to decide on just about anything when it comes to decorating, furniture, wall color, and the like. Like you, I am about to own a house to which my future is inextricably tied. And it is strange. Because on one hand I want to make it beautiful and perfect and all the way mine. And on the other hand I feel a strange anxiety that overlays all of these new, and very adult, decisions. I think sometimes, we just have to take a deep breath and leap. It’s hard to be a grown-up isn’t it?

  9. kate in cleveland responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I bought a house in Cleveland in August 2009 and it was ROUGH. It was vacant when i bought it, and I bought it from a bank, and it was… horrifying inside. It looked like hobos had been squatting in it. I had to get a special loan from the FHA to fix it up, which gave me enough money to repaint the whole interior of the house, put in new floors, a new bathroom (since the old one made water gush through the ceiling), and all new appliances and cabinetry in the kitchen. I am still, three years on, trying to decorate and repair parts of the house. And! I just found a weird smell coming from my supposedly blocked chimney.

    My thought is: it’s easier to decorate and organize when it’s a rental, because it could be taken down soon. It is taking forever to decorate and repair the house I own, since I want it to be PERMANENT, which makes me feel like everything has to be perfect. Or as close to perfect as I can get.

    In terms of where to get decorating stuff, I use a combination of craigslist, etsy, and http://www.shopgoodwill.com/ – I have found amazing pretty cheap things!

  10. Kerry responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    I’m going to hope you were joking with the whole “buying a house = grownups” thing, right? Right, you’re totally joking? (I’m thinking you are)

    Because a lot of people in my life say this with complete seriousness, and I’m starting to find it infuriating. My husband and I are in the process of selling “our” first home (he bought it in 2005 right before the crash, I married into it) to get out of what was supposed to be a temporary suburban stop-off and back into the city. It’s awful, we’re losing tons of $$, and we are ecstatic about the prospect of heading back into renter-ville.

    Meanwhile, so very many of our friends are buying their first homes, and there’s a lot of (likely unintentional) rhetoric about what they believe home ownership to mean about their stage and trajectory in life. As in – they are grown ups while renters aren’t. It’s…interesting, to say the least.

    (thanks for allowing me the rant. you and your commenters are the best)

  11. Also Kate responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Seconding the nod to Freecycle – here in DC, I’ve found some incredible things listed that people are giving away because a) they believe in the concept of recycling perfectly good stuff to new homes and/or b) they don’t want the hassle of selling or are moving out without much time left to get rid of stuff. There are fabulous couches, end tables, bar stools, chairs, rugs, etc. that go up on the list every day. Plus, bags of clothes, which I like to take from Freecyclers, plunder for things I like, add to (with old stuff of my own), and re-Freecycle!

    I have the same sense of certainty about marrying my girlfriend that you had about Bear; she’s definitely the one. Not sure exactly how I know that; but it’s as certain as I’ve ever been about anything (and I’ve felt that way almost since the beginning). Unfortunately for me (but perhaps prudent in the long run?), she’s got cold feet. We’ve been together for more than 5 years now – although 3 of them were across a lot of distance, so I guess I could cut her some slack. :)

    Good luck decorating your new place! Perhaps you should start un-roasting your apartment on a daily basis, too. I bet it has its high points.

  12. teegan responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    When I met my now-husband, I wasn’t sure. I was still lusting after a guy I’d been almost dating here and there for nearly two years who had just returned to my life. My husband wasn’t a wild bohemian pot-smoking artist. He was a high school teaching divorced man seven years older than me (who writes poetry and loves kayaking and hiking and all of the foods I do and… etc). But still. It took three weeks of dating before I was really committed to the relationship. But a month after that, when we had our “oops” moment (“are we pregnant?!?), I knew he was the one.

    But my house? I knew the minute I walked in the door, literally, when I saw the little built in shelves next to the stairs and in the dining room. When I saw the woodstove in the living room. When I saw how bright and lovely the bedroom was. When I saw the perfectly sized fenced-in backyard.

    I want it to be perfect. I do. The kitchen needs redoing like crazycakes. The bathrooms need touching up. Floors need refinishing (or, in one case, replacing). But from the beginning, I could picture myself birthing our babies here, watching them take their first steps in the kitchen, watching them eating clover in the backyard as our neighbors watch and laugh, all of us snuggled in the living room as a family on cold dark winter nights.

    And painting most of the rooms the first week we were here did wonders. Thrift store shopping for living room furniture helped. And now, I think, creating the nursery and baby-proofing (and therefore decluttering) will bring us even closer to “perfect.”

    We may only stay here another 3-5 years, but this is our first HOME. In fact, when I think of moving back from MA to NC, leaving this house is the most difficult part to imagine.

  13. Kristin responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Oh, I know the apartment cold feet so well. I have a tendency to get cold feet over everything (seriously – I cried when I had to buy a new mattress. 10 years ago. And now I need to buy a new one), and our apartment was no different. We ended up renting the first one we saw, and it was relatively easy until my partner and I started talking about how we would decorate. Who knew how much he cared about what the house looked like?!

    We probably fought (about the really important things, like where the couch should go, and what color we should paint the walls) everyday until we moved in. And then, like magic, it was just fine. Not perfect, but fine, and fine enough for both of us to realize it doesn’t need to be perfect just yet. We’ve got plenty of years ahead of us to make sure everything is just so.

  14. San D responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    I am in the process of buying a townhome in Florida, which is a bit frustrating since I live in New Jersey. You can do a lot online, but I have to go “down” next week to see it before I commit. Overstock.com has very very very cheap shipping and what I have bought over the years has been excellent. I bought “library bookcases” from them and the shipping was free. I love the cases and bought 9 of them when they were having their free shipping promotion. Usually their shipping is a paultry 2.99! I can’t buy anything right now since I don’t own anything yet, but looking at the site there are many things that would work for my new townhome. Check ‘em out.

  15. Amy responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    I am like that with food! I plan all my meals way in advance so I can look forward to eating them :)

    I’m not surprised you’ve got cold feet, it feels so big and permanent! We have friends who own houses and I can’t ever imagine feeling so *sure* about something like that. That said, an apartment in New York? Living the dream babe!

    xoxo

  16. melissa responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    haha in one of the places we lived, it also had a child at one point… toothpaste gets crayon off of walls quite easily I think.

    I don’t think we had cold feet at all when we bought this apartment, but things were a little different at the time. We didn’t have a car, so it’s not like we could have any home that we wanted.

    Plus, we’d lived in such lousy places before, that renting this apartment was dreamlike in comparison! The location was perfect for us, and the only reason we even thought of buying it was because we were terrified of losing it! Fear of going back to dangerous basement suites next door to drug addicts pretty much eliminated any “cold feet” we had. :P

    No regrets yet! Though since actually getting my first car, the totally-locked-up parking garage isn’t as secure as I wanted it to be :(

  17. Maya responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    We’re about to be apartment hunting again- still renting, as we’re likely to leave the city in another couple of years, but nevertheless- decision-making about spaces is tough, there’s so much unknown. There’s plenty of unknown about a person too, but I too knew my husband was “the one” quite quickly (3 months? 4? before we had decided, maybe less, depending on how you count- even if it took another couple of months before we told anyone we were engaged). I don’t know why spaces are different, but they are.

    Still, mazel tov on your new home!

  18. Kate responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 5:43 pm #

    @Kerry
    Hmm…I was both joking and not joking. Joking because of course renting doesn’t mean you’re not grownup. I know people in their forties who are renting. Many people rent forever, and it can be the smarter decision. Not joking because buying a house, like it or not, is still so culturally symbolic! It feels like some line has suddenly been crossed and now you’re supposed to be this person who does things like buys houses. Of course, a lot of that is imaginary, but it’s still present. But also, there’s a real commitment here. Once you buy, you can’t just sell. Or maybe someone can, but we can’t. So I’m bound to this place in a way that I haven’t been bound to another place. And something about that feels like it fits a definition of adulthood (not necessarily one I like, by the way!).

    Did that make sense? So absolutely no offense meant– I live in NYC! City life defies like five thousand stereotypes about adulthood every second. And it’s a good thing, too.

  19. Kate responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    @Maya
    Thank you!
    And it really is amazing how little you know. I saw this place TWICE when we decided to buy it. That is crazy!! But there was no time. And I feel like, especially in the city, there’s never any time. You just have to leap. Which is so strange, considering you’re going to live there for years and years.
    Good luck with your hunt!!

  20. lilian responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    You must go to HomeGoods. The most fun shopping for furnuture and rugs and random fun stuff and good prices

  21. bonita responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Hi Kate. How exciting for you and Bear to be homeowners! My husband and I were married 8 years and had our 2 daughters before we bought our first home, so I am seriously high-fiving you right now :)
    I know what you mean about wanting it to be perfect for you, I had always cherished similar dreams, but do you know what’s nicer? It’s the slowly filling it with furniture and other items, over time, seeing it evolve with you and alongside you.
    I like looking at around me at that print my grandmother gave me when my grandfather died so that I would have something of his, at the cabinet we had to buy to put all the girls’ art supplies in so pens and paper and glitter wouldn’t be all over the floor all of the time, at the second couch we had to get because the 4 of us plus guests couldn’t fit on the one any more, at the dining chairs that don’t match the others (because the 4 of us etc etc), and all the countless other objects that we have accumulated over a life together. We may not live in a Home Beautiful magazine spread, but we live in a beautiful home, and I could think of nothing better to wish for you.
    Have fun in your new, beautiful, home.

  22. sami responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Samesies! Love at first sight when I met the boy.

    …but we are still house hunting and it is taking FOREVER and it’s become less fun and more tiring. He works strange hours so we can’t go to many home opens, and there’s a distinct lack of houses with ‘living space’- we need somewhere to fit a pool table, amongst other things. I mean, bedrooms are great and all, but they don’t need to be massive. There’s very few things we actually do in there *wink wink*. We aren’t really planning to have kids (not in the near future anyway) but houses are designed for families, not young couples. So we have found a total of 2 houses we wanted so far, but both were sold before we had a chance to make an offer. Sometimes I wish we had a deadline, like you guys. Being forced to make a decision would really motivate you.

    I really like your unroast and I do the same thing. I daydream about the potato and pesto pizza I’m going to make for dinner, or the leftover curry I have for lunch… every meal is a little delicious thrill :)

    Sorry I can’t offer any advice on furniture hunting in NYC, I’m in Australia! But I find lots of excellent vintage furniture on ebay, surprisingly. Also I love the idea of pallet furniture as it’s cheap and looks wonderful, but I am not creative or artsy enough to make any of it :(

  23. daphne responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Having a home to me meant that I was finally HOME. Renting never felt like home to me. I seriously needed actual land, an actual building, that was mine. Finally at age 36 the dream came true and I’ve loved every second of it. I saw the house once before deciding to bid on it, and then once more for the inspection. But the first night in the house… I knew it was mine. I love it. That little unsettled feeling that has never really left since college — is gone. I’m home. I love it. As for decorating — the only thing I splurged on was a really great couch, which was TOTALLY worth the money (and it wasn’t even that crazy, I got it at JC Penney). Everyone who comes over loves the couch, and I love it most of all. Other than that, my furniture is cheap Cost Plus or IKEA or thrifted. I’ll upgrade piece by piece as I can. Have fun! Go thrifting! Embrace used. You can always trade up later.

  24. Bridget responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Congratulations on your new digs! You’re eager to have it all perfect, but take your time. Every place has its own “perfect.”

    Enjoy getting to know your space. You’ll be sitting in the living room and all of a sudden you’ll notice how the light streams in and you’ll think, “This wall should be a warm burgundy,” or you’ll wish you had a little table next to you to put your iced tea. Your space will start to tell you all its secrets.

    And when you find your perfect pieces, you’ll be glad you hadn’t run out and bought the first thing you saw. Evolved spaces are the best kind.

  25. Kate responded on 02 Jul 2012 at 11:23 pm #

    @Bridget
    This was so beautifully put! Thank you! You are making me feel like slowing down and waiting to see what happens.

  26. Jess responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 12:25 am #

    For real, shop thrift stores. Not fancy ones, not antiques places– plain, cheap Salvation Army. Pick a rich neighborhood and go in once a week. Buying softgoods (couches, rugs) can be questionable, but I got my dresser, which is all wood and a actually a vintage writing desk with a drop leaf, for $100 on the NY/Westchester border, and my coffee table which is also wood, beautiful and sturdy, for $23 in Queens. Vintage desk for $80 on Craigslist (and he *delivered* it). Seriously, there are about 3 items I’ve bought for my new home in the year I’ve had it that weren’t preowned. I am a huge fan of used furniture, and getting it cheaply.

  27. Kate responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 12:30 am #

    @Jess
    I’ve been scoping out the closest Housing Works. It’s hit or miss.

    But how do you get large furniture home? Do you ever use the moving company they recommend? Or have you never needed something more than a cab? I know, such a technical question, but I’m really curious, since there’s a chair I have my eye on, but I’m worried about getting it home and want to know if there’s a secret I’m missing out on.

  28. Madeline responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 2:32 am #

    Firstly, congrats on your new home! Secondly, I’m going to be a bit of a fuddy duddy and caution you against purchasing any used furniture or household items, even getting them from friends, especially in the NYC area – when my husband and I were living in Brooklyn we got some used furniture from his bro’s roomate. Nice people, nice apartment, nice furniture… that had bedbugs.

    My hands and wrists were covered in large, dime-to-nickle-sized itchy swollen welts for months. We have pets, so we didn’t want to introduce any hard-core chemicals into the apartment, so we eventually suffocated the bedbugs on our own by wrapping the furnishings in plastic and applying heat from hair dryers and space heaters. And discarded and replaced all the furniture as soon as we could afford to do so. So yeah, please be wary of introducing any used household items into your new home.

  29. Celynne responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Ah the old ‘does this mean I’m an adult’ feeling. I’m starting to think we never ever really get to feel like adults, unless that means being super boring and lame. I’m lucky enough to live near an Ikea so yay cheap furniture, but when I got my first place, I actually found a lot of furniture in my building’s recycling and garbage area; coffee table, dressers and a working TV! Thrift stores are great places to look for stuff though, and garage sales and… garbage days. I know that seems crazy but people throw out some totally fine absolutely good stuff and it’s great being able to snap it up – we got my mom a like-new cushy blue recliner like that, from the trash. (Also, commenter #29 is a big poopy head, and they sound like they’re jealous and need to pick on others to make themselves feel better… sorry you suck, poopy head!)

  30. aynndale responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 10:51 am #

    I bet Craig’s List for NYC is a fantastic way to find cool stuff!

  31. Janet T responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Kate, I agree with Bridget. Take your time to get to know your place- where the shadows are, where you would want to curl up with a good book on a winter’s day, where you wish you had a small table to toss your keys on or put stuff down when you walk in the door- Our house is a 10 year work in progress, it was built in 1925 and almost nothing had been done to it in all that time- it had the original kitchen for Pete’s sake! Every year we try one major project and consider ourselves fortunate if we get that done.

    I found an awesome rug in the bargain bin of our home center. It is a funky pattern with gold, black, burgundy and green and I built the rest of the room around those colors and I love it, and the rest of the house flowed with those colors from there.

  32. Vaecordia responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Now it gets fun!

    Furnishing and decorating can be an excellent adventure, and if you give it a little time, have a little patience, and are willing to invest a little elbow grease, your new place will sing.

    Yard sales, thrift stores, craigslist or a local equivalent are stuffed with things for a home that, with a little effort, can be stunning.

    I’m excited for all your adventures ahead.

  33. Sheryl responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    I was also a sure right from the first person. (If he’d asked me to marry him the first night, I would have done it.)

    But buying a home has a special sort of permanace. Yes, you can decorate and redecorate and renovate … but certain things will never change. You can never pick up your house/condo and move it to a different neighbourhood. If it’s an apartment, you can never really expand it if your needs grow. It’s static, which I think makes the commitment to it a little bit harder.

  34. Maja H responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    Haha, I love your unroast. Food is my favorite part of every single day.

  35. Kate responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    @Celynne
    Yeah, it’s totally unclear what “being an adult” really means. If it means anything. I remember when I was little and my dad said that he’d always felt the same, at every age. And suddenly I was really scared that I’d never grow up. But now I know that that’s a good thing. You “grow up” in plenty of ways. In plenty of other ways, you feel the same.

    Ikea has been a dear friend of mine for many a year. I got a cowhide rug that I LOVE there and then I noticed that everywhere else cowhides were five hundred dollars more than it. And I’m pretty sure they’re exactly the same…

    Oh, and I just saw #29 and deleted it. Ugh. Poopyhead indeed! :-)

  36. Rapunzel responded on 03 Jul 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    You and I seem to be amazingly alike in these aspects. I, too, got married just two years after I met Andy. *Exactly* two years, actually. We were both surprised at how easy it was to do it and how easy it was to come to that fast conclusion–that we’d both found someone that we could actually spend every moment with and NOT get sick of them–and commit to marriage forever. It’s a little weird. For the first year of marriage I was a little wary–like I kept expecting something about him I didn’t know to pop up and flip my world upside-down to a point that I didn’t want to be with him anymore. Or I was afraid that at any random moment, I’d get annoyed and sick of him like I do with so many people. But it never happened! It’s now a whopping 14 months since we’ve been married and all is well. ;)

    We also bought our first house. His second–my first. You don’t *have* to stay in a house for 10 years just because you buy it, you know. It’s a PITA to have to sell a house (especially now), but if you need to then you just work with what you’ve got. Andy bought his first house because it’d be ultimately cheaper than renting, and it’s now on the market while we’re renting the house that we’d like to buy after that one sells. And this time my name will be on the ownership too! We only lived in the last house for a few years before moving to a new state.

    In the last house, I really wanted “good” furniture and stuff too, but not as badly as I do now. Maybe because the house was so terribly old and needed so much work that nice furniture probably wouldn’t do much for it anyway. We fixed up two rooms–painted the walls, anyway, which is the best we could do–but we couldn’t afford nice furniture. We’ve gone furniture shopping though and have our sights set on a few pieces that we really like. Not outrageously expensive, but enough to put it off for a long time. The good part is that when we DO decide to buy, furniture stores usually have payment plans like 0% APR for the first 12 months.

    Anyway, this is getting way too long. The gist of it is that we’ve now moved into a new house (built in 2008 vs the last house that was built in the 1930′s), so now I’m all anxious to get “good” and “nice” furniture and things like that. There’s just something about owning your own home that makes you want it to really look nice. Like out of a magazine or something. Something that’ll make other people want it to, so somehow you know you did it right. Know what I mean?

  37. Jess responded on 09 Jul 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    Kate, I haven’t checked back in ages!

    For small items, like my pair of nightstands, we took our chances hailing a cab since they were a craigslist find in a readily accessible part of Manhattan. It took a while, but we got the SUV type of cab and they fit fine.

    For our coffee table, and the couch you gave us (thanks!) we rented that U-haul. Really big stuff, there’s no other way. BUT most places you can pay for the furniture and they’ll hold it a few days til you come back. Thats what I did with the coffee table. This way, you can look at bigger, farther away stuff and just know you’ll have to pay for a van, which won’t be much more expensive than a cab and allow you to get things you couldn’t when depending on cabs.

    For an armchair and footstool I found on craigslist, I made sure to find something walking distance from my house, and just stuck it in (or rather, on top of) my granny cart! Those things are amazing, you should consider one. NYC laundry and grocery staple. You could probably wheel an end table or some lamps or something home in it if the store is walking distance.

    Also, if you have a Zipcar account, you’re done. Find an SUV and go!

    Also, here’s a map of Salvos near you. None in DUMBO, but Boerum Hill is bound to have some ritzy stuff. http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/ndos/app/zipcode.jsf?zip=11201

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