As if the final days of preparation for a 50-day transcontinental tour were not enough, I recently transitioned into a new role at the office [job #1 - and only, as of May 16], moved out of my beloved, quaint, walk-up in Manhattan to a modern high-rise in Downtown Brooklyn on June 11, and pulled all-nighters to settle the new space as much as possible so that my best friend, visiting from North Carolina, could use it to host a brunch for my godson on June 13 to introduce him to her former Juilliard (drama department) classmates. Thankfully, I took vacation time a full week prior to the start of my unpaid leave of absence, which officially begins on June 21. June 10 was my last day in the office, but I'll still receive a full two-weeks of pay, and I have more time to get settled in the new apartment and simultaneously prepare to leave it.
I'm a Brooklyner now. But I'm not this type of Brooklyner, which publications like Curbed love to hate. I'm in the other architectural monstrosity that recently joined the Downtown Brooklyn skyline, and I'm shamelessly loving it. I didn't think I'd leave Manhattan before babies forced me toward larger spaces. Yet I signed a two-year lease on an upper floor, one-bedroom apartment, overlooking the East River and the Financial District, just in time to take advantage of a 3-months rent-free promotion and lock in a monthly rate (that was actually cheaper than my old, crumbling four-floor walk-up in Midtown Manhattan) just before the rates skyrocketed into Tribeca and Chelsea range.
Admittedly, I physically feel a little too high above the culture of the streets that I love. The view is amazing, but I can't hear the clip clop of horses pulling carriages from Central Park or the constant drone of traffic on West 51st Street or the subtle hum of conversation and occasional laughter of patrons in the neighborhood bars and sidewalk cafes. I already miss the exposed brick walls in my living room and bedroom, the sound of raindrops hitting the rickety fire escape outside of my window, the twinkling lights of the towering Midtown skyscrapers that always bathed my bedroom with a soft glow as I fell asleep, the utopia of cuisines within a 3-block radius of my front door, sitting on the front stoop with a glass of wine.
However, there a few amenities in the new place that only the most hardcore of organic New Yorkers could resist in order to avoid selling out in the unceasing pursuit of residential haven. I'm not a native so I sold out fast. The building is rent-stabilized at the rate for which we signed our lease, the staff is incredible, I'm the first person to ever use the bathtub, the fitness center contains far more than just a treadmill and a dumbbell, we have a dishwasher and a garbage disposal, AND there is a washer and dryer combo IN THE UNIT. For those of you, who have never lived in New York City, that last part is a really big deal. I might sit around and pour mustard on myself one day just to revel in the satisfaction of balling up my shirt and throwing it straight into the washing machine.
I'm bummed that I won't get to enjoy a New York City summer in my brand new place, but the opportunity to relocate came along just in time - as the 3-months rent-free promotion alleviated the pressure on my cycling tour budget, particularly considering that I am on an unpaid leave of absence until mid-August. And thanks to Terrence, I'm able to afford to live here without a roommate.
Additionally, since my company only charged me the employee portion of my corporate medical insurance for the summer (rather than the full amount I had been anticipating, estimated at nearly a grand over eight weeks), I took the money I had set aside for medical insurance (minus the $180.28 I paid for coverage to Human Resources) and purchased a 13" MacBook to take on my tour. My old Dell laptop was crapping out and I was having serious doubts on whether it would survive the journey.
It has been a hectic few weeks, and my cycling tour training has suffered considerably, especially since Terrence returned from Japan in late-May. But I am just really happy. So happy, in fact, that I am almost afraid that the bottom is going to drop out somewhere. Everything seems to be going just a little too well. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I am always uncomfortable when I begin feeling a little too good about life - as if I were just a little too lucky. At best, I'll just hope that a rough time getting back in the saddle over the first week or two of the tour is the worst it'll get for me in 2010.
Here's to hoping for the best, expecting the worst, but not thinking too much about expecting the worst.