Monday, January 22, 2018

The Agony of No Heat

Or: The Longest Move

15 days without heat.  25 days to complete a delayed move, because we really couldn't live without heat.  History and some details below.


Jen and I moved to New York in July of 2011, and we've lived in the same apartment ever since.  A two bedroom, one bath apartment that is quite comfortable in a relatively well maintained building in the Bay Ridge neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Back in June of 2015, Jen landed a Librarian job in the New York Public Library system at a branch way up in the Bronx.  Jen's commute since that time has been approximately 2 hours ... each way.  Back in May of 2017, my son, Chris, moved into the second bedroom.  This was mostly fine, but it squeezed our stuff, and made bathroom scheduling a bit more difficult.  In November, our landlord (who had not given us a new lease since 2014) started talking about giving me a lease starting in the new year, wanting to raise our rent.

Jen had long been looking (on and off) for a new place to live, closer to her work.  At the start of December (2017), Jen stumbled upon an impossible listing for New York City, only about $400 more per month.  3 Bedrooms, two full bathrooms, 120 square feet of attic storage, dishwasher, and a washer/dryer in the unit, decent residential neighborhood, and only about 30 minutes from the Library branch that she's been working at for 2 and a half years.  Also, the heat is individual to the apartment : we get to set our own temperature.  The listing was already several weeks old, and we were both convinced that it was a dead listing and was already gone.

Jen left a message for the realtor without much hope, and the realtor got back to us the next day.  The apartment was still available, and though it took about a week for us to schedule a viewing, by December 18, we were signing a lease to move in on 1 January.  Because we needed 30 days notice to our current landlord, we are lucky that we ended up with a full month overlap with both addresses.

Starting New Year's Eve, we rented a truck for four days and started moving boxes in on 1 January.  When we started bringing things in, something was wrong.  The place was cold.  Only 47 degrees F inside.  I went to the master bedroom, and a wall-unit A/C had been left on, so I turned it off, and didn't really think anything else of it.

Jen had to work early on 2 January, so she had come prepared to spend the night.  The temperature never went higher than 48 degrees all night.  We were hoping that maybe things would resolve the next day, but they didn't.  The radiator froze from the cold of the A/C blowing outside air in.  We let the landlord know that the heat was not working, and ... went back to sleeping in Brooklyn, with most of our stuff in the Bronx, and living out of boxes.

Over the next weeks, Jen would come with a heavy sleeping bag and spend nights when she had the worst commute -- closing one day, opening the next.  Also, knowing we'd have to move anyway by the end of January, we would occasionally bring a few fragile things by hand, via subway.

On 15 January, the outside temperature had been above freezing for several days, and whatever had frozen started working again.  We booked another rental truck for the last full week of January, and booked some loading/unloading help on each end.

Status as of today, Monday, 22 January, is that there are about four or five boxes worth of last minute stuff left to pack before moving day.  That said, Jen has to work early today, so we slept the night in the Bronx and won't be back to Bay Ridge until Tuesday evening.

Assuming all goes well, on the 25th day of January we'll finally complete the move we had started 24 days before, and Jen gains 3 hours of her life back every working day.

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