The Balcony Issue

We’ve been waiting and planning and waiting and planning for our balcony to be torn down and rebuilt. And the day is nearly upon us. The balcony issue has been looming on the horizon since we moved into our condo, but the contract is signed and the work is nearly ready to begin.

I’m hoping that it all goes smoothly once it finally gets started. We are in the process of deciding what light fixture to put on the balcony once it’s finished. I am thinking I’d like to put in an outdoor ceiling fan. I’ve heard they’re good for keeping bugs away, in addition to that nice little breeze when you’re sitting outside eating dinner.

I’ve been looking around and haven’t found the exact ceiling fan that I want yet, but I’m going to keep looking and I’ve enlisted my mom to help!

Update: I found a fan! My mom found a link and then I did a search for one of the fans that was on that link and ended up on a site named Bellacor. After taking a look around, I stumbled on this fan, and the site had one on clearance for $101 because it was a return, which has been double checked and confirmed that it’s in new condition, but is cheaper because it’s been opened. At a savings of more than $55, and right in my goal price range of around $100 for both the fan and the light, it’s perfect!

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Our Little Condo Lemon

So, we love our condo. Don’t get us wrong. But we’re seriously tired of the millions of things that seem to manage to go wrong with our place. It’s not THAT big!

Ice/Water
First there was the ice-maker debacle. The refrigerator won’t produce ice. There was chipping of ice at the bottom of the refrigerator, a replacement part installed, and still, no ice from the icemaker.
Then there was the cable box ice – which kept us from getting cable in January of this year, even though the next technician said it wasn’t even the issue.

And finally, there was another freezer/ice problem, which caused our freezer NOT to cool properly and we had to throw out thawed food and completely defrost our refrigerator (several times) in order to get it to work properly again.

But because of all that defrosting and moving the fridge around, we ended up breaking the water line that leads to the fridge, therefore causing a leak into the storage unit below ours and had to pay for a plumber to come out and look all around before discovering that simple problem. (and may have to pay for the drywall in the storage unit as well.)

Fire/Heat
We have a fireplace, which is a good thing – but the first time we tried to use it, we discovered the gas starter doesn’t work. (and the tile has always been hideous!)

Our unit is one of the farthest away from the boiler and our heating sensor was taken from us, so our unit is quite chilly in the winter time, particularly in our front room. We think it may partially be due to the cold air coming up from the storage units below, but mostly due to that radiator in the front not blowing out enough warm air. We need a rug and lots of blankets!

Earth/Outdoors
Our outdoor space is one of the prime reasons why we purchased our unit. Unfortunately, it’s also in a bit of disrepair. This has been a source of much drama (and legal review) since we moved in, but particularly since one of the beams on the other side of the building fell off our neighbor’s balcony. This one is still up in the air, but could end up being quite expensive for us, depending on how it ends up.

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When we bought the unit, we certainly had every intention of re-doing the kitchen, just not quite yet. So when we discovered a few not-so-great features of our appliances, like:

  • a freezer with water that floods the floor, instead of the ice cube tray
  • a microwave without a turn table,
  • a dishwasher that only cleaned dishes on the bottom rack

The freezer I’ve already mentioned earlier. After my dad and I did some research, I ordered a pump that was supposed to fix the problem. After an hour of taking parts off the back of the fridge and installing the new part, it still didn’t work, making us think that it’s more likely to be a leak somewhere in the tube between the pump and the hose that distributes the water into the ice cube tray. Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to take the refrigerator apart to find the leak.

The microwave – we’re learning to live with. We don’t use it that often, so it doesn’t bother us as much as we thought it might originally. It still takes a bit longer to heat things and they’re often not heated evenly, but we’ll live.

The one appliance problem that really bothered us, however, was the dishwasher. At first, we were so thankful to have a dishwasher – we hadn’t had one in our old apartment – that we were willing to overlook the fact that our dishes didn’t get quite as sparkly as we were expecting. But over time, not quite as sparkly turned into not even clean – at least on the top rack. After a few weeks of putting glasses on the bottom, we decided that we just couldn’t wait until our kitchen overhaul to replace the dishwasher.

So, after some research, some shopping and a Best Buy Reward Zone Private Shopping Event, we found ourselves a new dishwasher richer for less than $300. So Nikki set about installing it in the kitchen. She had also recently installed under-cabinet lighting and we added additional Ikea bars across the back to help keep things off the precious counter top.

All in all – it’s a million percent better than before, despite the lack of an ice maker and the non-rotating microwave!

Remember what it looked like when we moved in?

Pasta Sauce Red Kitchen

Put Ice On It

Our cable box - looks like that might be a problem!

The Friday before the Superbowl, we were anxiously awaiting a big day – the delivery of our brand new beautiful HD big screen TV and, shortly thereafter, the hooking up of our HD cable by Comcast. Dan had been waiting for years to buy the new TV, which was promised once we purchased a new condo and had the space for it. Unfortunately, we were foiled by the weather. Our cable box (or at least the one to which the cable outlet in our living room is hooked up), is completely encased in ice. The photo you see above marks some progress, as at least now the ice on top and below the box melted enough for us to be able to open it up and see the tangle of cables and ice that sat within. But unless we have several MORE days of warmer weather, we may be waiting until spring to get our cable connected!

Fortunately, the cable guy was at least able to connect our cable internet/phone so that we could get our security system installed the next day. It was a big weekend, just not quite as exciting as we had hoped. We will continue to keep an eye on the ice and hope that it melts faster than anticipated.

In the meantime, Dan got himself elected to the condo association board, so we are imagining that we’ll meet even more of our neighbors as we get more involved in our new home. Hopefully it won’t be quite as stressful now that the board has hired a management company to handle most of the daily issues, but at least we will know what’s going on!

We also had another issue with ice in our apartment – mainly that our ice maker failed to make ice in cubes and instead created it at the bottom of our freezer. We’ve ordered a part to see if that will help solve the problem, but we’ll have to see.


We bought a condo!

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After an extremely lengthy process of looking, searching, looking and then negotiating, today we finally closed on a condo!

The process of looking, negotiating, and closing on a condo was quite an adventure for us – it seemed there was rarely a dull moment. Our realtor, Joe, was fantastic and really made the whole thing fun and a great experience, despite the craziness that occurred.

There were strange tenants, broken keys and, finally, insane sellers and their real estate agents, but we’ve finally become condo owners! We placed our initial offer on the unit on November 20, 2008 – just before Thanksgiving (the anniversary of our engagement), and we closed today slightly more than a month later.

We had our final walk through at 11:30 a.m. this morning and got to meet our seller at that point, since she was still moving out. Everything appeared to be working and in decent shape, so we headed down in the blizzard to the closing downtown. Just like everything else with our home buying adventure – things didn’t go perfectly. At the first bank we stopped at to get our final deposit check, the bank was closed due to an emergency. The second bank, fortunately, was open and after a little arguing over whether or not the money that was in my account could be withdrawn, and some confusion over my maiden/married name conundrum, I had the check in hand and we were ready to head to the closing office.

Just a few hours later – most of it waiting for the money to get final approval after arriving at the closing office – we were newly-minted home owners!

The unit has two bedrooms, a separate dining room (pictured above with seller’s furniture in it), a front patio and back deck and two things we’ve been sorely missing – a washer/dryer unit and a dishwasher! We can’t wait to finally be able to do our laundry without hauling bags and bins out to the car to the laundromat or downstairs in the cold/heat to a single washer and dryer shared by 6 other people and our dishes without having to do them all by hand.

We are so excited to move in, but first we’ve got to get the place painted – have you seen that red paint in the kitchen???——>Pasta Sauce Red Kitchen