It would all be worth it in the end, the Mister kept promising me, as place after place told me our dog was too big, and my expectations too high for a nice affordable apartment in New York. I knew the city was no Rochester, but why couldn’t I just find a gorgeous big brownstone in Carroll Gardens like my friends, or a beautiful co-op in Park Slope like my brother and his fiancé? I understood, but not really.
Just a few weeks earlier, I’d resigned from a job where I was continuously shunned for trying too hard and discouraged from professional growth, gone down to the city, and had secured two incredible job offers within a week. I’d accepted my dream job and the Mister and I had just begun ecstatically sharing the news that soon we’d be embarking on a journey to a new world that seemed to be filled to the brim with possibility. Everything was coming up “us”.
But now, as my trip neared an end and we’d yet to secure any rooms of our own, it seemed we’d hit a brick wall. I’d known it I’d be on a tight schedule with only four days between my friend’s and brother’s weddings to find a place for me, but everything had been working out so well, that I’d naively expected it to stay that way.
I’d dreamily wanted to be in Brooklyn, so our high school friend-turned exceptional NYC broker had taken me to the few dog-friendly places the Brooklyn that I could afford…in Crown Heights and Bushwick. But is it safe? I’d ask, knowing how silly my question was. It didn’t feel right, so we kept on looking.
On Day Two, I grew up and listened to our friend. I followed him to the few other options he’d managed to wrangle up in Flatbush and then went to the area he’d suggested from the start…to Upper Manhattan. He found us a cute place in Washington Heights with lots of green spaces, an unintimidating neighborhood on a convenient subway line, and a willingness to accept our furry “little” gentleman two days into the search. I gleefully turned over my paperwork and foolishly sat back, expecting a “come stay here” welcome within the hour.
But 48 hours after the application had been submitted, we still hadn’t heard a peep. I was nearing my last day in the city, and time was running out.
I’d anxiously filled out a second application for a more pricy and less green place in Washington Heights the morning of my last full day in the city, and had spent hours upon hours wandering around and lingering in coffee shops by my broker friend’s office, hoping for the best. When 2:30 p.m. rolled around and we still hadn’t heard anything, I half-heartedly began reaching out to other agents and making calls to try to visit more apartments, desperately hoping to get the call that everything would be okay.
I was at loss as to what to do with my last remaining hours in the city. At 4 p.m., I finally heard back from two agents I’d found on Craig’s List — one with a place in Inwood and one with a place in Astoria. Both were an hour away as was my paperwork. I was frantically texting the Mister about what I should do as a last-ditch effort. Without an apartment secured, I’d have find a way to stay another week and call the exhausting week a wash.
I was gathering my things to make the trip up to Inwood when I got the call. “The first place has accepted.”
“Yessss!” I flung my arms in the air and quickly tried to dial down my excitement as the couple sitting next to me glanced over at the weirdly fanatic girl in complete bewilderment. I called Jim, breathless with excitement. Then I sat there, waiting for the next step and hoping to get a call to head over to my friend’s office and get the paperwork signed, sealed and delivered.
I impatiently tried to calm myself down and unsuccessfully attempted to fill in a few crossword puzzle answers in the New York Times edition I’d stuffed in my purse four coffee shops ago and eight hours earlier. I hastily texted my friend the broker to see when I could swing by his office.
I read his response and slumped but into my seat. I could go ahead and head back to the place where I was staying in Brooklyn. He gently explained that management company was putting together the lease and that I might not be able to sign on until I was back in Rochester the following week. “We’ll figure it out,” he assured me.
I sighed. I’d wanted to be able to walk into my brother’s wedding festivities with triumphant certainty that we were going to be okay, as I’d been able to do about my new job the weekend before, upon I’d seeing family of beloved friends in Saratoga. But life has a way of bringing us back down to reality when our heads have risen too far into the clouds.
“Okay,” I ceded, and slowly made my way back to the apartment where I was staying in Park Slope. “Okay.”
Here I sit, alone and steeped in reflection about the ups and downs of one of the most stressful weeks in my life. I realize now that things had to happen the way they did. I needed to see that even in the best of times, life is not perfect. It’s the curve balls and the hitches in our plans that ground us, and make us more fully appreciative of what we’ve taken, what we’ve earned, and what we’ve been given. Despite our best efforts and most sincere hopes, life cannot be wrapped up in a tidy little bow. And that’s what makes it so darned interesting.
Green spaces right around the corner from our new place at Gorman Place in Washington Heights. Goodness gracious was it hard to find, but just as the Mister promised, it’ll all be worth it in the end.