Monday, January 22, 2007

Bring on the property tax bills!

The long housing nightmare is almost over; we closed on our condo on Friday without a hitch, and now all that’s left to do is the moving. Let us all breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Actually, there was a tiny bit of a hitch: The boyfriend got called away to work the day before the closing, so I had to close on my own—and sometime this week we get to do a follow-up legal procedure to make us official co-owners.

Fortunately, though, his absence gave me the advantage I needed to defend my Most Romantic Boyfriend title. My first order of business was getting a suitable frame for the print I had made of this picture, taken by our friend Jim the day we met:

I like the way it captures us looking off into our metaphorical future, which makes it the perfect image to commemorate our first housewarming. I remember being positively giddy around him that day—and incredibly confident that when I put my arm around his chair he’d see it more as a gesture of friendship than as a tacky come-on.

I’d been so busy the last few weeks I hadn’t had time to do much frame shopping, but I figured I’d find what I was looking for at Target. So I went right there after the closing. I found a frame—along with a mountain of candles and holders, a set of red bowls, a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, a card, and some champagne flutes, which I spread out on the dining room floor to surprise him the first time he stepped foot in our new home. My camera phone makes the spread look kind of paltry, so you’ll have to trust that when all the candles were flickering in the boyfriend’s tear-moistened eyes, he could hardly see how paltry it really was:

Helpful hint: If you want to do something romantically cheesy to mark the purchase of your first home together, set your closing date in the month before Valentine’s Day. All the stores have tons of red heart-shaped crap all over their shelves to help you set the stage for gooey schmaltz.

Another helpful hint: Don’t go shopping for it all at Target on a Friday night. Because the people who go to Target on Friday nights are typically the people who don’t get invited on dates or to parties on Friday nights. And there are very good reasons they don’t get invited on dates or to parties on Friday nights.

Target on a Friday night is also populated by families with multiple children. These children whine loudly about the toys they think they neeeeeeeeeeed. And if there’s anything more annoying than a child whining in a store, it’s a child whining in a store in a language you don’t understand.

But back to the spread on the dining room floor: We used the champagne flutes for sparkling water because neither of us really loves champagne. We used the bowls for ice cream because both of us LOVE our ice cream. I stocked our freezer with four kinds of gourmet ice cream so we can celebrate repeatedly into the near future. And into larger pants.

I also wrapped the picture, slapped on a giant bow (4¢ worth of ribbon tied up nice enough that I willingly forked over a good $5 to buy it) and hung it on the wall over the fireplace. It looked pretty cool all wrapped, but it looks even cooler hanging unwrapped in its place of honor.

And what did the boyfriend bring to make our first moments together in our house as magical as a Pat Robertson leg press? He brought … a list. A roomful of candles and ice cream vs. … a list. A meticulously wrapped framed photo (with a freakin’ five-dollar bow) vs. … a list.

Actually, it was a list of romantic things he would have done and/or bought had he not been stuck at work as much as I have been lately. And his list ended with peanut butter and jelly, so I am officially swooning over his romantic thoughtfulness.

Our first project as new homeowners was to rip out the closets. Our place has three smallish closets in which we’re expected to store everything: coats, tools, paint, games, vacuums, ironing boards, dead or dying hookers … not to mention our vast wardrobes of discount couture. So we tore out the old, inefficient closet shelves and rods on Saturday, filled in the resulting holes with almost an entire canister of spackle, slapped on two coats of paint, took measurements and headed to The Container Store to take advantage of their annual 30% sale on elfa closet systems.

And it’s a good thing the elfa woman who helped us design our closets had a high tolerance for giddy queens, because I was borderline insufferable with excitement as we picked out shelves and baskets and finishes and other accoutrements of modular organization. elfa is the new porn, and I have no intention of going into rehab for my addiction.

Our next project: refinishing the floors. Our building is 80 years old, and our floors are currently stained that orange-juicy color you’d normally find on the floors of an elementary-school gymnasium—and since we don’t have any plans to stage dodgeball or four-square tournaments in our living room, we’re going to try to get them looking as dark and walnut-y as chemically possible.

Once the floors are done, we want to do some indirect-lighting projects in the kitchen and painting in probably every room in the house, but otherwise we’ll be free to move in, adjust our elfa shelving systems as frequently as we deem necessary, marvel how cool they are, adjust them some more, and then go shopping for things to cram into all that fabulous storage space.

Just. Like. Real. Homeowners.

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