More House Repairs

The Christmas tree ordeal was not really that bad. The real problem happening at the same time was my furnace. I knew that both the furnace and AC were old when I moved in and that, ideally, I had to replace them both. But having the list of things that didn’t work at the time of my move, I decided to try to last through the winter. Actually, after I refinanced, I theoretically could replace the furnace, but at that time, all my work things started, and I had no bandwidth to think about any house repairs. 

Well, it didn’t last through the winter. Moreover, it broke on Sunday morning. And it was a cold morning :). 

Out of four places I called for emergency service, only one was able to come the same day. They fixed the furnace, and I signed a service agreement with them, and when they asked whether I wanted to replace the furnace, I agreed. And I agreed to replace the air conditioner at the same time :). We agreed on the installation date of January 19, but the furnace stopped working the next morning again! They came and fixed it. They left the door off and showed me which button to push for restart. And a couple of hours later, their manager called and asked me whether I wanted the new furnace to be installed immediately … 

So now I have a new furnace, a new air conditioner, and a couple of takeaways.

  • The brick buildings can keep the warmth! There was no heating for seven hours, and the lowest the indoor temperature went down was 63F.
  • Only do business with companies that provide emergency service during after-hours.
  • When it’s time to replace, replace. 
  • In many cases, it’s good to work from home!

Economics Of Living In The City

I spent most of the day today talking to people over Skype and Facetime; I ended up with almost eight hours’ worth of talking! The only other thing I did was wrap up my ledgers for 2021, sup up the budget for 2022, and start my new financial excel file.

I am pretty happy with how my 2022 budget looks. I would never think it could be cheaper to live in the city than in the suburbs, but numbers do not lie. Of course, a big saving is living without a car – I never thought it was such a significant part of my budget. Also, mom’s place here is cheaper than in Palatine, and also – my house refinancing. Even with the current inflation, I have a cushion, so I hope that I will be able to repay my mortgage ahead of schedule and be done with it by the time I retire.

On a related topic: I always had higher energy bills in December, but I was never sure which portion of the electric bill was due to all the Christmas lights and which – to extra baking. Now that I have a gas stove, I know the answer: the electric bill barely changed, while the gas bill is three times higher than in November. So it all goes to the cookies!

The Joys Of Living In The Condominium

On Friday, several emails were sent back and forth between the property management and the building residents: no hot water. You might not believe it, but I had a feeling of relief. In fact, when I first saw this house, and the agent was taking me through all the parts of the building, I saw these giant water heaters in the basement and thought to myself: does it mean that the hot water is not my problem anymore? 

Indeed, it is not! The condominium handled all repairs, and by 1 PM, the hot water was back. And I thought for a minute that if this happened in my old house, I wouldn’t know about it until I came home from work Friday night, and then I wouldn’t be able to shower in the morning, and all my weekend plans would be screwed, because I will be looking for emergency service and would pay something unpredictable for it.

How The Week Goes

For several days, I had zero time to blog. I didn’t take a single day off, and Boris also worked all days except for Monday. We decided that we were trying to get “back to normal,” and our normal life means work.

On Saturday, there will be yet another early morning work for Boris. Actually, it sort of works for me because in normal life, I get up almost at the time he had to get up all this week to accommodate his European schedule.

On top of that, I took mom to the doctor on Monday, and we had a CSO concert on Thursday (an amazing one!), and also it was raining almost non-stop.

Also, I cooked a lot, and I baked a lot. And that’s more than “in normal life,” but these were the dishes I wanted to make and didn’t have either time or occasion. There was nothing extraordinary, but I would cook something fancy once a week, not twice a day in normal life.

We went grocery shopping together a couple of times. I do not feel safe biking in the rain, which means I didn’t go shopping on the bike and had less shopping capacity. Boris helped a lot; I think I am prepared for the cookie-baking time on the front of flour and sugar :).

We have Saturday and half-Sunday left, and too many things we want to do :).
Oh, and on Sunday, we were at a neighbor’s apartment, and Boris noticed how they had light strips in the dining room and ordered similar lights for us. And now the dining room looks amazing!

***

There were several days when the overnight temperature fell below 60F, and finally, my apartment was cold enough for a heater to kick in. It happened during the night, and in the morning, I smelled a hint of burning oil, just a little bit. It felt like the house was surprised to receive a command from the Ecobee to turn the heat on:)


I really-really-REALLY love my condo! It feels so good to come back home. I love every little thing about it; yes, there are still a couple of minor things with light fixtures, which still have to be resolved, and the parts don’t come due to the worldwide production crisis. But they are so minor that I can live with them :).

Funny Thing Happened Today

When I opened my apartment door and stepped into the kitchen, I could tell right away that it is warm. The past several days were incredibly hot, and each time I stepped inside my apartment, I felt the coolness. Toda, however, I could tell that the temperature in the apartment is the same as outside.

I had a thousand thoughts right away. I thought: I just told a number of people that the severe weather didn’t damage anything in my apartment! And that I didn’t have a power outage. And that I thought I wouldn’t need to replace an air conditioner before spring. And which repair service should I call? 

I was already counting my losses of time and money when I felt that it is starting to cool down. I checked the thermostat – the temperature was indeed coming down!

It was only then that I realized that today was the first day in two weeks that I came home before the time the air conditioner thinks I should be home and starts to cool the apartment!

I immediately remembered what my neighbor said the other day. I asked him where he was – I haven’t seen him for the whole week. He replied with the question: where have you being for the whole week?

  • I was working!
  • See – that’s what I mean: you should be at home more!

I guess, he is right!

All Done With My Old House!

Yesterday, I finally closed on my old house. Selling the house was a surprisingly traumatic experience, especially surprising with the housing market’s current state. The last two weeks were the most stressful. I was waiting to hear from the attorney when I should come to their office to sign the papers (these days, because of COVID, the seller is asked not to be present at the closing). Instead, I received a letter about an extension of the house contingency because the buyer’s loan was still not approved – they were still waiting for some papers.

My closing was scheduled for July 30, and on Jul 20, I received a notice about this extension till Jul 28! There is no need to describe how I felt all these days. And then, all of a sudden, the attorney’s office called me on the 28th and said – we are closing tomorrow!

I didn’t even have a driver’s license with me! And I could not go to Cumberland in the middle of the day. They sent me a mobile notary (who forgot about the driver’s license :)), then I had to email a copy :), and then at 5-30 PM, my agent called me and asked where the garage remote is. I replied that it is at the same place as all the keys – in my house because my agent didn’t want to take them earlier… They sent an associate to pick up the keys the next morning, and fortunately, Igor was able to come to my house and hand the keys.

The next day (on Thursday), the attorney’s office kept calling me because something still didn’t work, like they could not reach my bank and my mortgage company, I just lost track of it. It was only at 4 PM that I was notified that all is done!

The next step will be refinancing (I already started the process), and then, I guess – the next round of repairs and replacements 🙂

The Screen Door

I hate when something is hanging out there not completed. I need all the boxes being checked (probably that’s why I like to-do lists so much:)). That’s why during the week when Boris was here, we tried to fix as many things as possible.

I already mentioned that when I bought the house, I didn’t realize that the storm door on the balcony is missing. I only noticed it when the weather became warmer, and people started to keep their balcony doors open. There were some pieces of hardware from the old door still attached, but we could not figure out how to find a matching screen door.

I talked to my next-door neighbor, and he told me that I should not try to match the existing hardware. I need to remove all that’s left from the old door and measure what size I need. And the new door will come with new hardware.

So I measured, and then I asked Boris to look for the door on Lower’s website. He told me that I must have measured wrong because a 33-inch size does not exist; the door can be 32 or 36 inches wide. I believed him and ordered the 32-inch door. Why did I not measure one more time? Because it was July 4, and I was using this weekend to catch -up with my two jobs :).

Lowe’s scheduled delivery for July 5, which was great because it was still a weekend. But then they moved the delivery time three times, and at 4-30 PM they called me and said that they wouldn’t make it. It was a pain to reschedule, especially because I had to be in the office (in two offices!) every day. Long story short, the door was finally delivered.

We needed to complete many projects while Boris was here, so we only got to the door installation on Tuesday. We studied the manual and figured out lots of things, and finally, Boris installed the door, only to realize that it was two inches smaller than we needed!

We had to uninstall it and throw it away (because nobody in the building could use the wrong size door!), and then I ordered the right size, miraculously delivered the next day!

So I have a screen door, after all! (Yea, we need to seal it…)
Can you imagine how good it feels?!

No TV?!

Another long-overdue thing was finding a way to mount the large monitor I am using instead of the TV. I do not have any TV services for many years, nor do I do Netflix or anything like that. It does not mean I am not enjoying the movies, but it is always a special occasion. I either go to the movie theater to watch something extra special or rent something online and watch (by myself or with somebody).

Still, I need a large monitor to watch movies with somebody. In my old house, I put a large monitor where my old TV set used to be. I could not find a similarly situated place in my new house; besides, I didn’t want a large thing that I do not often use to occupy a significant space and to on the view at all times.

Boris suggested a rolling TV cart, but Vlad rejected it, saying that it won’t help – I will still need to store it “somewhere”. Boris backed up and suggested another desk mount (the one I had could not hold the weight of the monitor). He chose a model, but it arrived after he left. When Anna & family visited last time, I asked them to attach a monitor, but it turned out that this desk mount could not be attached because of the shape of the monitor.

I started to look again, but I could not find any other model high enough and hold the weight. Finally, I decided to change the course and started to look for the TV mount. That is, after two months of search, I was back to Boris’s original idea. Funny story – it turned out that although the attachment was “universal,” it still didn’t work with the shape of this monitor! The only way we made it work was to shift the position of the mounting brackets, so now they stick up like two horns :). But the whole thing works beautifully! The stand has wheels, and in normal position, it stands behind my desk occupying zero extra space. It can be easily pulled forward, and then people sitting in the living room can watch. Or it can be pulled to the sunroom, where there are more electric outlets there, and there is a shelf for a laptop. I can even roll it into the dining room!

Yes, and as for the title of this post… As I said, I do not have television for years, if not decades, but since in my old house there was a large object sitting where people would expect to have a TV set, nobody asked this question, And at my new place, the first thing most people would ask is “Where is your TV?” or just “And no TV?!”

🙂 🙂 🙂