Light Fixtures Fixing

One of my significant accomplishments in December was fixing all the light fixtures and ceiling fans that didn’t work. I tried to approach this problem a couple of months after I moved in. Still, I had a hard time finding an electrician, and when I finally found one, he fixed a couple of things, and we agreed on what was next, a supply chain crisis broke, and they never got the ordered part, and I think they ended up going out of business. And after that, I never had time to start searching again.

I resumed my search when two more kitchen light fixtures died, including the one over the sink. I went to the NextDoor with one more cry for an electrician, got several recommendations, and started contacting them one by one, honestly trying to support the local business. At this point, I didn’t hold a hope somebody would be able to fix the fans for which there were no remotes, no instructions, and models unknown. I wanted to fix the lights in the kitchen.
After more than a week and several unsuccessful attempts (I called, texted, and emailed, people either would not respond or responded they were not available at the times which worked for me, or they would even come but not be able to fix things) I gave up and messaged a relatively big company which was also mentioned in response to my post on NextDoor.

And they were the best! They called me back right away and scheduled the evaluation service call promptly. During this first service call, they actually fixed several things right away, and we agreed on the next steps, which were also scheduled within two weeks. No supply chain crisis, no problem. Comparing what was promised to me in the summer of 2021 and what was done now, and prices, I’d say there was no significant difference. Oh, and when I found that one thing stopped working a day later, they came to fix it right away, and then it was even better. So the moral of the story: sometimes shopping local is not the best option.

Done With The Mice. For Now

Hopefully, the latest season of “mice and me” is over. After two weeks of being unable to schedule and miscommunications, a person who was going to take care of the mice hole in my kitchen was here!

Originally, it was supposed to be a big project. For a while, exterminators who came to my apartment said they did not know where the hole was. Then, in summer, an inspector said it looked like the hole was behind the kitchen cabinets. That sounded terrifying because I have granite countertops, and there was no easy way to disassemble them.

We discussed it with our building handyman several times and finally agreed to cut the back of the cabinets and try to locate the hole. But when another guy who takes work from him arrived, he said – how about we open the boards on the bottom of the cabinets? And he did, and then he was able to locate the hole and stuff it without any cabinets cutting!

My only question is, why the inspectors, whose job is to identify where mice are coming from, could not figure this out, and this person could? Oh, and he cleaned behind the stove where we set a new trap, and after he had left, he called me to say that if I see a mouse, I should call him, and he would come for free.

So why we have our biannual mice inspection in the building and most importantly, why we pay for it?!

Home Improvements

I could write a long saga of my kitchen lights, of which some didn’t work from the day I moved in. And to be precise, more light fixtures in this apartment did not work than did :). Same regarding the ceiling fans. 

I made one attempt to fix them in June 2021, which was only partially successful because the people who started fixing them went out of business.Β 

Recently, two more kitchen light fixtures stopped working, and I had to resume my search. There were several unsuccessful attempts, plus three no-shows, so basically, I went through the complete list of NextDoor recommendations.  

Finally, I scheduled an inspection from a bigger electrical company, which was a success. Although they said it would be a consultation only, the guy fixed all the kitchen lights (I never had them all working!) and turned on the jacuzzi (the actual switch still should be fixed, but at least I can plug/unplug it). And now they are going to fix all the non-working ceiling fans. The latter will cost close to 1K, but during my multiple attempts to fix them, I got a feeling that it would be something around that, even before inflation hit. I had money set aside back when this first company was going to fix them; it just never materialized. 

Now finally, my whole move-in list will be completed, although I already know what appliances I am ready to replace πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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.”