A Done Deal

I SEEM TO HAVE BOUGHT A HOUSE today. It was very unceremonious. No fanfare. No champagne. Just signing papers. At one point, I said to my lawyer, ‘Did I buy the house yet?’ She said, ‘You signed the deed, so, yes.’ That was it.

Things have leafed out since last month, when this picture was taken

Things have leafed out since this picture was taken

The seller wasn’t present at the closing. Neither was her attorney; he sent someone. Someone else represented the bank. The title closer was there; not even a hello.

I had hoped to meet my mortgage broker. She wasn’t there either. I did get to meet my lawyer. These were both women I’d been talking to and emailing for months and was looking forward to meeting. I like my lawyer a lot. She’s my neighbor in Springs and invited me to dinner Sunday night. How d’ya like that? A dinner invitation my first night.

I like my interest rate a lot, too: 4.875%. Makes me want to re-finance everything. With taxes ($1,500/yr) and insurance ($717/yr), my monthly nut comes to $1,508. Not bad for the Hamptons.

Below: Jackson Pollock, Springs’ most famous resident

Jackson Pollock's home and studio are down the road

Pollock's home and studio are just down the road

Moving Blues

THIS MOVING BUSINESS is starting to get to me. I’m doing two simultaneous moves from my 2BR Boerum Hill duplex: one to a 1BR garden floor-through a couple of blocks away, and one to a cottage in Springs, a few miles north of East Hampton, Long Island, which I had hoped to close on by the end of this month.

I’m living amidst piles — piles for State Street, piles for Springs, piles for the upstate storage locker, piles for each of my kids. Fortunately, the stoop sale pile is gone after a successful sale (OK, it was more of a giveaway) this past weekend.

The leftovers:


The weekend was sunny and warm and festive and fun and friendly.

The next-door neighbors who jumped on the stoop-sale bandwagon:


Come Monday, it’s raining, my cat has been sick, I’m eating peanut butter and jelly for dinner and living in utter chaos (piles of boxes = lots img_0048of places for a sick cat to hide), and I just found out from my mortgage broker that we’re “shooting for the week of May 10” for the Springs closing, which means I’ll have to get a storage unit on Long Island (where the hell is Centereach?) and a man with van for all the stuff I would have liked to move directly from Brooklyn, upon vacating this apartment April 30, to the cottage in Springs, which I don’t own yet.img_0054


(By the way, I got two quotes for my intra-Brooklyn move: a guaranteed price of $1,463 from Flatrate and a “probable cost” estimate from Big Apple of $922, with a guaranteed cap of $1,100. Guess which one I’m going with?)

The delay in the Springs closing is due to the seller’s having to take care of some ‘open permits’ discovered in the title search. They added a shed and a screened porch in 1965, with proper permits, but they’ve expired. Oh, dear. I have a feeling the offices of the Town of East Hampton are going to become familiar to me. You need permits for everything and you can’t just fly under the radar like you can in New York City.

The illegal porch:


On top of which, I spoke to two very dear friends last night, one an architect in East Hampton and one an antique dealer in Sag Harbor, both single women who own their homes and have lived out there full time for the past few years. Both are struggling financially and BOTH are putting their houses on the market just as I buy one, which is rather disappointing.

Daughter from Hawaii

Daughter from Hawaii

Well, watch me turn negatives into positives: I’ll have ten whole days to settle into my new State Street home without the distraction of a cottage in disrepair. I’ll have my daughter (who’s arriving from Hawaii May 5) to help me:-) The rain is good for the gardens. I took my elderly cat to the vet today and he’s perked up a bit. And maybe my friends will change their minds about selling, though they seem awfully determined. Maybe they won’t be able to sell in this market, and maybe, as one of them warned me, I won’t be able to rent.

Old Leo

Old Leo

But here’s my rationale. While all the ‘luxury’ homes with pools go begging, my cozy, low-key, tastefully decorated, beautifully landscaped, underpriced cottage will be snapped up by someone who never really like that competitive ‘Hamptons  lifestyle’ anyway.