Mice Again!

How difficult is it to finally find where is a hole the mice enter my house?? Apparently, close to impossible.

How difficult is it to find a time for the third inspection? Apparently, very difficult! I am more not at home than at home these days! 

We’ll see how it will end up!

(I called a handyman to patch the presumed mice hole, and he found a mice in the trap which apparently came from the opposite direction…)

House Painting

I just finished the second round of painting in my house (well, not “I” , but the painters). I did not have the money or time to repaint the whole apartment when I was moving in; there were too many expenses. But I knew that eventually, I wanted all the avant-garde colors to be gone.

Now, I am one step closer to that goal: the only room not repainted yet is the kitchen, just because I didn’t quite figure out yet what color I wanted there. But the hallway and both bathrooms got a new look. I took the “before” pictures after everything was already removed from the walls and the painters marked the walls for repainting with white, so it’s not exactly “before”, but just to remind what the colors were.

Before – hallway
Before – small bathroom
Before – master bathroom
After – hallway
After – small bathroom
after – master bathroom

I love all the new colors, especially the small bathroom. Each time I walk in, I am amazed of how spacious it looks now!

On a sadder note: when mom came on Friday (my hairstylist came to do both of our hair), she said that she did not remember what were the colors of my walls before. I often do not remember the colors in my friends’ houses as well, but 1) she is in my house a least every other week, if not more often, and 2) the “before” colors were hard to ignore…

Juvenile Intruder

After the latest incident with a mouse, I called for an inspection, and when an inspector came, he found one more mouse in a trap under the kitchen shelf! God knows how long it was there – probably since my last European trip. I told him, I did not want to see it, and he was: are you sure? It’s such a little mouse, just a juvenile! I had no desire to see the dead body, so he deposited it into one of the boxes he had with him, put new traps, and recharged the bait. Now, I need to check the mouse traps again, and I am afraid of mice!

I guess I have to pay for my independence and for living in the city 🙂

Not Again!

Even though the inspection a couple of months ago confirmed that there are no rodents in my house, I still had some doubts. Recently, I realized that somebody was cutting into the plastic bags with the bread and eating tiny pieces.

I vividly remember that on Wednesday morning, I thought: I need to call exterminators. And on Thursday, when I woke up and when to the bathroom, I heard these squeaking noises, and I saw that one of the mouse traps which an inspector left changed its position on the floor… Here we go!

I am capable of picking up and discarding mouse traps without looking, but since this one was not transparent, I was not sure whether the mouse was indeed there. And I was afraid to look. Then I remembered that the painter who will be working in my apartment next week was going to stop for his advance later in the day, and I decided to ask him.

When he came, I told him: I wanted to ask you for a favor. You know I am a strong woman, but there is one thing I am afraid of – I am afraid of mice! And he looked at me and said: I am afraid of mice, too!

Then he said: if it’s not a rat, but a mouse, I can look! I showed him a trap and told him that I could discard this mouse. He looked and then said – where is your broom? I handed him a broom and a shovel. He asked: are you ready with a garbage bag? Because I am not going to look! I said – yes, and with this collective effort, we successfully deposited the mouse into the garbage, and I took the garbage out:)

Window Washing

In my old house, I used a special window-washing attachment with my garden hose to wash the outside part of the windows. The was enough pressure to wash the second floor. Since I moved to my new house in May, I decided that I will think about the windows next season. Now, next season has come :). I started to ask my neighbors in April, and one of them showed me the trick. Interestingly, he only knew about this trick because his father worked in this industry. The house didn’t come with a manual!

But now, that I learned about it, I know how easy is it to wash the windows here – and I can do it even better than in Palatine!


The last couple of days were the days of major planning. All of a sudden, all my subscriptions came due for renewal. And since all of them had to be altered, I had to call each place instead of renewing online. I am converting most of the subscriptions to one instead of two. Now that everything is open and people have more options, it has become harder for me to find people interested in attending shows with me. Also, I am out of town pretty often, and other people are out of town from time to time. So I figured there would be shows I won’t be able to attend, and I will be able to exchange these tickets for a second ticket to other shows. That’s my math:).

Also, it looks like I figured out my travels until mid-June. There are so many things I want to do this summer! As usual, before summer starts, I have tons of plans, and then I have trouble fitting them all in. And I didn’t even look at Ravinia and Grant Park Music Festival programs!

The only thing I need is for the weather to be cooperative. There will be a year since I moved to the city in a couple of weeks, and slowly but surely, I am starting to take advantage of everything Chicago has to offer.

Gorgeous sunrises – I will have them for more than four months!
My new favorites from IKEA

Mice In The House

I knew from the very beginning that when you live in the city, the rodent question is not “if” but “when.” We the number of dead and alive mice and rats I saw on the streets, I knew there would be no way to escape.

I used to hear mice invading the kitchen in my old house because my office space was very close to it. Here, my office is on the opposite end of the apartment from the kitchen, and I never noticed anything. I made this unpleasant discovery in mid-January when I decided to use some of the remaining sweet potatoes. I was staring at a couple of potatoes which I pulled from the bottom of the box, trying to figure out what happened to them, and then I finally realized that somebody was gnawing them! It felt disgusting! I looked inside the box, and so some droppings and some crums. It looked very much like mice, and I knew that mice are a building problem in the city-dwelling, not an individual apartment problem.

The building management told me that I needed to contact the same extermination company that services our building twice a year, but I would still have to pay my bill myself. You can imagine that while I was waiting for them, I was nervously listening to all the noises. I put both boxes with potatoes on the top above the fridge, where I do not want to have anything at all, but in this case, I needed to isolate the potential rodent point of interest 🙂

An exterminator examined all the walls and the kitchen floor and said that he did not see any holes for the mice to get in “unless they sneaked in from the balcony when the door was open.” He left two mechanical traps and a bait with poison, which made me even more nervous because I am afraid of mice, live or dead!

Meanwhile, a board member was questioning everybody from my tier, and a neighbor right under me told her that a couple of weeks prior, he spotted a mouse, killed it, and threw a corps away. Can you imagine that?! He didn’t tell anybody, didn’t call an exterminator – I guess he didn’t know what to do when you a facing mice invasion?!

What made me particularly resentful was that I saw earlier that he was keeping after-parties leftovers on the balcony. When I saw that for the first time, I thought that somebody was calling for trouble and then, the trouble came to me!

I was leaving for Helsinki two days after the exterminator visit, and I had fears that I would return to the battlefield of dead mice. I asked Igor to check on the situation during my absence, and he did and saw none. It looks like mice are gone, but recalling my previous rodent encounters, I am afraid it was just “part one.”

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.