Sunday, March 30, 2008

Apartment Tour :: Roxy's Room to Grow

After T and I got back from Target I convinced him to help me clean for pictures. What a sweet guy he is (yes, I'm totally buttering him up for more). We dusted and vacuumed and prepped for my contest entry photo session. Hopefully P is coming down so we can hang out next weekend...and also so he can help me put up a huge NYC print I got from Ikea. I fell in love with it because I can see my work building in the photo. Silly, I know. I want to take before pictures just in case the canvas doesn't work out.

Ikea's awesome PremiƤr Flatiron print,
soon to be living on my wall.

One thing I have noticed is that it's hard to keep things that have outlived their usefulness. For example, my old bedding set is now sitting in a couple of bags under my pub table. I'm not ready to part with it yet but I don't really have room to store it here. I suppose I could take it to Julio but even that seems wasteful. The set might end up getting donated. I also have a dog bed, most recently home to doggy visitor Mooshi but now propped up against the far side of my bed as well as two pathetically under-used laptop bags.

"I have clutter!" I moaned. "The ONE thing I've tried so desperately to avoid." T smirked and assured me I was fine. He'd seen way worse, including the way I used to live in Connecticut. I suppose it is true that the more space you have the easier it is to fill it up.

After my drama attack was over T and I shared faux romantic lunch. He excused himself ("don't wanna be in the way of your photography session") and I started snapping. It was very hard to get good angles because my apartment is long and sort of narrow. After about an hour I was pleased enough.

I think I take decent enough photos, but I want to know how the heck professional photographers get such soft lighting on their pictures. All the interior design books have an almost glowy quality to them. I feel like I should be more of a Photoshop photo filter expert than I am. Alas, even after fiddling with my exposure and white balance my pictures still retain the hardness of, well, a photo. Hopefully my photos will be softened a bit if they make up to the Apartment Therapy site.

Even so, contest or no contest, I've come quite a long way since I moved in. I'm quite proud -- I spent almost a month on my sofabed and I've gone through 3 TV stands but otherwise it's been good. It's not my first solo living space but it's probably the most adult one. Up until now my little railroad at 3 Cottage St in Norwalk was my favorite place but I think this place has replaced it as coolest pad.

I can only submit 5 photos for the contest but I made a slideshow of my favorite shots:

I need to take some additional kitchen photos and maybe a couple more bathroom shots but that more or less is the whole tour. It's not big, but it's modern and it's mine. Besides quiet neighbors, you can't really ask for much more.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hey! I know you

Apartment Therapy is running their annual Small Cool Contest, and I'm determined to enter even though my apartment isn't really ready yet. The contest highlights small apartments, though their definition of small is pretty relative. You can enter apartments up to 850 sq. feet...which is nearly 3 times bigger than my apartment. Perhaps a rename is in order? The Small is Relative Cool Contest?

Anyway, to get ready I've sped up my decor purchasing process, which meant a Target run was in order. I asked BFF M to go but she was tied up spring cleaning. Luckily T called and wanted to faux romantic dinner again. I conditionally agreed -- the terms being he accompanied me to Brooklyn.

We were supposed to meet up at the Bowling Green station but for some reason my train skipped it. T said it was a mess because the 2/3 train was under construction so trains weren't running in one direction. Meanwhile that gave some homeless guy on the train time to harass me, which in this case meant hitting on me. With my headphones on I was able to ignore him but it made me a bit nervous. Nobody in the car did anything -- they just watched as this guy first slid closer to me from across the bench and then moved onto my side. Luckily I was surrounded by other people so he couldn't get too close. My hand moved over the pepper spray in my pocket just in case.

I was worried that the guy would follow me off the train. He moved to get off before my station (thank goodness) but started towards me on his way out. As soon as his hand touched my knee I growled "Do NOT touch me," and luckily after a moment he backed off and got off the train. I still felt a bit grossed out.

That wasn't even the weirdest part though -- this lady in the car starts yelling at me that I shouldn't have growled at the guy because he was too high to know what he was doing. You're kidding, right? Then the guy next to me starts defending me, saying that if I was his sister he would have killed that guy. Oh boy. All I need is to spark a car brawl. The lady got off at the next station and everyone simmered down.

I couldn't get off the train fast enough. T was heads up to the train situation and was waiting for me at Atlantic Ave when I arrived. Hey, I know you! He said. His smile turned to a frown when he saw my face. I relayed the situation to him and he laughed. Only you, he said. Only you. I felt a wee bit better.

We both stocked up on necessities at Target and I bought some decorative candles and potpourri. After we grabbed some coffee and stood outside admiring the former Williamsburg Savings Bank's ridiculously tall compared to every other building around it and is the tallest building in Brooklyn.

The Williamsburg Savings Bank tower
is being converted into condos.
Photo from via Gothamist

Eventually we made it back to the subway station. We went to the 4 platform only to be told that the 4 train was stopping at the 3 train platform...and I had no clue where that was. The MTA rep was nice enough to walk us over there; thank you! We had just missed a 4 so the waiting game lasted a bit longer.

Finally we were on our way back to Manhattan. The train car was crowded once we got back to Brooklyn Bridge and T and I got separated by a few people. Suddenly I heard this voice behind me -- you're really pretty, the voice said. I thought it was T until I wheeled around and was face to face with a former coworker! His face twisted for a moment -- he realized he knew me at the same instant I realized I knew him. Wow, really sorry Roxy, he said. Didn't know it was you. Then -- how are you? Long time no see, etc. I stole a glance with T, who was watching with bemusement. I caught up with former coworker G for a few stops. And then he asked me out! And to think, I thought I looked kinda grungy today. Surprised, I politely declined.

I said goodbye to G and hello again to T at 77th St. You are quite popular today he told me. I had to giggle. Do I look different? I asked him. This doesn't usually happen. He gave me a once-over and concluded that no I looked great as usual (his words). With a thank you, I observed I had to milk this -- apparently it was my best looking day ever! Two date offers I said, and only one from a crazy person!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Me and Zipcar might have to throw down

You hurt me, Zipcar.
You hurt me real bad.

Sigh. The love affair had to end sometime I guess. Despite all the raves I've been pouring on Zipcar since I started using it they just dissed me through email. I received this note from them:

Hi Roxy,

After your reservation in [redacted] on [redacted] it was reported to us that the interior of the vehicle was left in poor condition, with litter and/or personal belongings left behind.

The Zipcar "6 Simple Rules" notes that all members are required to leave the car free of trash or personal belongings for the next member. Violations of this policy can result in penalties or cleaning charges.

If this report was the result of an existing condition in the vehicle, please remember, it is the responsibility of all Zipcar members to report any damage or cleanliness issues prior to the start of the reservation so that we may hold the appropriate person responsible, and ensure that all members have a pleasant experience.

Please visit the member help center for more information on this, and other Zipcar rules and information:

Best regards,
Zipcar Member Services

Not to overstate this, because at the end of the day it's not the biggest deal in the world but WTF??? Anyone who knows me knows I kept my cars anally clean when I owned them. Friends who tried to leave empty soda cans or food wrappers in my car got a healthy dose of evil eye. I never used my car as storage like some people do and I'd get really upset if anything happened to spill in my car. And now I get to drive much cooler cars through the Zipster. So what the hell?

I'm almost offended that best friend service Zipcar has backstabbed me so. And the lamest part is directing me to their help pages -- like oh OK I don't know how to keep a car clean. Please. Or encouraging me to tattle on other people. I suppose there is some minute chance that I left a receipt in the car or something....but not really.

Certainly, if the car is damaged or in bad shape when I take it I'm going to report it. I once had a Scion that had spills everywhere to the point of discoloration so I called Zipcar (they already knew). But good lord people. If I get into a car and it has a candy wrapper or something in it, I'm not calling Zipcar. I'm throwing the damn thing out.

My feelings are hurt, Zipcar. You make me emo.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Discovering neighborhood businesses

One of the best parts of the NYC experience is getting to know your neighborhood. I've lived in Manhattan for 7 months now but only recently started finding local businesses. I had no trouble finding a breakfast spot but have dilly dallied considerably on finding a laundromat or laundry service -- actually, I still go up to Norwalk to do my laundry. But eventually the time comes when you can't justify taking the train to Connecticut to get something done...or maybe Connecticut doesn't have what you're looking for.

Like every gal about town, I have a pair of boots (or 3) that I love. I wore them everywhere -- work, dates, shopping, you name it. Comfortable enough to spend a whole day in. I've never seen another pair like them. And like every gal's favorite pair of boots mine got to be in pretty bad shape. Stiletto heel pad entirely gone, revealing the metal underneath. Toe scuffed into discoloration. Brown leather, once so rich and chocolatey but now faded. Come spring cleaning time they were prime candidates for the trash. But how could I let these babies go? They'd done so much for me -- didn't I owe it to them to make them new again?

Puss in Boots...Roxy in boots...

There are businesses that are specialized for urban living. In the suburbs you've got your Costcos and your strip malls. In the city you've got your bodegas, your laundry services and your shoe repair shops on every block. Seriously, I have 10 shoe repair shops within a 5-block radius. It was a sign: repair those boots! So I picked one close by and took my beloved pair in for repair. When I opened the door to the shop I was immediately exposed to the smell of leather and polish. It reminded me a bit of when I was a little kid and my Dad would polish his work shoes. It was a familiar if a bit unpleasant smell. There were bags of completed projects everywhere, and lots of boots for the winter. It made me giggle that both men in front of me in line were there to pick up repairs for their wives. Someday my husband shall do the same.

When it was my turn the lady at the counter examined my boots with a frown. "These are in bad shape," she said. "I don't know if we can save them." More examining. More frowning. I fretted; I hadn't considered the possibility of my boots being beyond repair. Was she just doing it for effect? She took out a piece of chalk and made marks -- cut the heel off here for repair. Fix this part of the toe. Finally, the verdict: $50. Not too bad I suppose to bring boots back to life. Although only a deposit was required I paid in full.

A week later my boots were ready. I went back to Andrade and picked them up. And I must say I was quite impressed. My boots look as good as new if not better. They even reinforced the toe for me so I won't destroy them quite as quickly this time around. My main concern was whether they'd still feel good and if the heel would be even. Any doubts were erased the first time I wore them -- still great and still even.

Impressed by one good experience I decided to try another. I bought Pottery Barn's Subway Sign and though I love it I was disappointed when I received the canvas rolled up -- no backing. I initially considered stretching it myself but didn't want to lose any of the art around corners, so I took it to Big Apple Art Gallery to ask their advice. The guy behind the counter was thankfully patient as I struggled to explain what I wanted. I said I didn't want to stretch the canvas but I wanted the same effect. The guy examined the canvas and asked if I wanted to frame it. Nooo, not really. Then he seemed to understand what I was asking for, and came up with a good solution. He would staple it to a foam-core type backing and hide the staples. On the back he'd put wire for wall mounting. Total cost: $80. He warned me the board could warp over time but I was willing to chance it.

A week later my art was ready. I went back to Big Apple and picked it up. And I must say I was quite impressed -- again! As promised, the staples are not visible. The board is light yet strong and the canvas has the taut effect I wanted (and wish it had originally come with). It looks awesome on my wall in Pottery Barn corner.

Up next for neighborhood staples: a good sports bar (got a couple of contenders); a diner (likewise) and a good deli...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Spring, is that you?

Hello, green!

When I chose green as my accent wall color I admit to having an ulterior motive. I was hoping it would make spring come a bit quicker. And I think it worked because this week I've seen buds and beginning blooms everywhere.

Fall is so pretty in New England and I was spoiled growing up in seas of red, copper, yellow and brown. And I do love winter snow. But nothing compares to the excitement of dead-looking winter giving way to the new birth of spring. NYC has been strangely silent the last month or so and only now are people starting to wake up.

The whole Spring Forward thing wreaked havoc on my circadian rhythm but the extra hour of late afternoon sunlight seems to be making a difference. All of a sudden I'm more inclined to go out to dinner or drinks after work -- or I would be if my work schedule wasn't murder right now. The days are still chilly but we've had a warm spell or two that have sent shoots above the soil in my backyard. On Central Park walks with doggy visitor I've noticed a few trees with spring blooms.

Another sure-fire sign of spring? The Macy's Flower Show. It's gorgeous and rivals their Christmas decorations. It's not just flowers in pots. It's amazing decorative installations that boggle the mind.

Macy's doesn't mess around for its flower show.

This year they're featuring a recreation of their store -- it smacks of MC Escher in a very pretty way. They're also offering tour every half hour at the 35th & Broadway entrance through all the exhibits. Not that I know a lot about gardens...English garden, Spanish garden, whatever. I just like looking at the pretty flowers!

Also not to be missed are the Garden Conservancy's Open Days. On weekends throughout the year rich bastards who can afford to have gardeners on staff or really dedicated people who have the time open their beautiful private gardens up to the bourgeois. When I was younger my parents took me to a garden in upstate New York that had recreated the gardens outside Versailles. I'd been to France the summer before and one of my vivid memories to this day remains the gardens of Louis plural.

To see a garden without a tour means a visit to the NYC Botanical Garden in the Bronx. The weather this year was nuts -- they had a cherry tree blooming in January. They have an orchid show right now featuring some incredible flowers. I have never seen such vibrant patterns on leaves.

Then again, sometimes the best show is right in my backyard. Admission: free.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Of doors and being locked out

So close and yet so far.

I'm a little embarrassed about this whole situation, but it's worth sharing. Yesterday, I locked myself out of my apartment.

What a gorgeous day yesterday was! It started off drizzly and none too promising but by lunch the sun had come out and it warmed up nicely. All the trees' buds are ready to pop and spring is almost here. It was way too beautiful of a day to be inside. I have a doggy visitor at the moment from the NYC Shiba Rescue and I didn't want him to spend all day inside. So I decided to work from my backyard so he and I could both enjoy the weather.

Now, I'm normally one of those OCD people who carries my keys around at all times and triple checks every time I leave the apartment to make sure I have my keys. I can't tell you how many times I panicked thinking I'd lost them only to find them right in my hand or find myself checking for them immediately after I locked my door with them. But yesterday I just trotted out into my backyard with the dog and let the door close behind me. I was in my friggin backyard. It wasn't like I had left.

My yard is abutted by other building neighbors' yards on all sides, and one of them was also taking advantage of the weather with some friends. After about 15 minutes I decided I was thirsty and tried to head inside to get a drink of water.

I walked up the the door and pulled. Nothing happened. I tried rotating the knob. Nothing happened. My heart sank into my stomach. This stupid knob has gotten stuck before and I could clearly see that the pins weren't quite settled in the door jam but were far enough in to keep me from pulling the door open. Unbelievable -- I was locked out from my own backyard. Even worse, there is no access to the street or back into my building from the backyard besides my apartment and the apartment next to me. And my lone window has bars on it since I'm a ground floor tenant. I was trapped.

After a few more minutes of futile attempts I walked over to the chain-link fence separating yards and sheepishly asked the neighbor if they had a credit card I could borrow to try to shim the door. They politely lent me one (making identity theft jokes the whole time, and who could blame them?) but it didn't work. I had to go back over and ask the guy if I could walk through his apartment to get outside. There was a chance my front door was unlocked. At first it looked like I was going to have to scale the 8 foot fence with barbed wire on top but we were able to shimmy the gate open between our yards. What a nice guy though. Letting some stranger walk through his home.

I left the dog in the backyard because I had no leash and feared he would break free on the street. He didn't mind -- he was making new friends. I ran around to the front of my building and started buzzing every apartment. I had to laugh at myself while doing it. Finally, one of the apartments answered and I cried: "i'mreallysorryi'myourneighborilockedmyselfoutpleaseletmein!!" And he did.

The moment of truth...I walked up to my apartment door and tried turning the knob. Nope. I was truly locked out. I could not believe it. I ran upstairs and knocked on the buzzer's door. Would you be willing to call non-Super, I asked. He did, but no answer (shocking, I know). He didn't have non-Super's cell number and the work line has no answering machine. So I was screwed. No one else has keys to my apartment.

Then, I remembered the locksmith who had changed my keys when I first moved in. He was right at the end of my block. I raced down there and luckily he was open -- I'm glad it was Saturday and not Sunday. After quoting me $65, he said he would be there in a minute. Weirdly, he asked what apartment I was in. What was he gonna do, buzz the apartment I was locked out of?

I ran back home and the friendly buzzy neighbor let me back in. I started to worry about the dog -- was he OK? Was he trying to dig into other yards or worse, jump the fence? I finally decided to knock on next-door super-loud talky neighbor's door. I was afraid, with my bitterness towards her loud conversations lately, that karma would be a bitch and she wouldn't be home. But after a couple of tries she answered. Karma picked the perfect day to take off. I explained the situation and she graciously allowed me into the backyard from her apartment. Sure enough, the dog was just chilling by the fence, investigating the neighbors.

I grabbed him (he's pickupable) and waited in the lobby for the locksmith. He arrived a few minutes later and as I'd predicted tried buzzing my apartment. I just opened the door to let him in. So the guy is really nice and I was thankful he was there, but he wasn't really listening when I explained the situation to him. I told him my front door was locked and I'd locked myself out through the backyard. Then again, how many NYC apartments even have more than one entrance? He wanted to try the front door first. After 20 minutes of attempted shims, I said again that door was locked and asked if he wanted to try the back door. No, he said. This door.

It was really weird. I guess I was expecting him to be like in the movies -- shine a light in the lock and pick it. But nope. Just a metal shim. Ten minutes later, he agreed to try the backdoor. Next-door neighbor let us through. The locksmith was trying to use two screwdrivers to pry the bars from their stuck spot. I was beginning to think it was futile -- he would have to drill.

A few minutes later I was petting the dog and wondering how much new locks were going to set me back, when the locksmith told me to come pull the door. I did -- AND IT OPENED. Hallelujah! I had been so close to everything -- my phone, my keys, my apartment, and yet so far.

I sat on my bed dumbfounded for a few minutes before promising to make a spare set of keys on Monday and give them to someone. I decided T wasn't a good option since it could have unnecessary meaning attached to it, so instead I called BFF M. She laughed at my story and agreed.

And I will now be more crazy about my keys than ever.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Accent Wall

The accent wall, pre-paint.

You can't say I'm anything if not determined. Stubborn, some would call it. As soon as non-Super gave me permission to paint, I hijacked my lunch break and headed down the Benjamin Moore store on Spring Street and picked up a sample of stem green.

After work I raced home and tried a sample spot. Though the green came out a little bit darker on my wall than in the chip sample, I still loved it. Stem green it is! With spring coming I need a little bit of the outdoors in. The next day I was back at the Benjamin Moore store for a gallon in semi-gloss. A gallon was way more than I thought I needed. Better to be safe than sorry.

Next, I called in a solid you owe me. P had painted several rooms in my Norwalk house and seemed to know what he was doing. Good enough for me! Plus I love hanging out with him. It's a true East Coast relationship -- we spend half the time loving and half the time arguing with each other.

I met P at Grand Central on Saturday and then we 6'ed it back up to my apartment. He had sent me prep instructions earlier in the week. I'd gotten a dropcloth and painting tape, along with 2-extending arm rollers. He came prepared as well. More tape, a special non-tip tray, and rags. After the obligatory teasing about the size of my apartment, we started taping. We agreed that he would do all the cutting (using a paintbrush on the edges of the wall) and I would do the rolling.

P tapes. It was tight quarters.

We had to do some furniture shifting. In a 300-sq. foot apartment there's not a lot room to maneuver but we managed to make enough space to paint. Getting the ladder in was another story.

My ceilings are probably about 12' high, so it wasn't like a stepladder would do. Luckily, my building super keeps a stepladder on my backyard. P got it in the door OK but then looked at the space between the wall and my bed and realized there was no way he could open the ladder up. Instead, he risked injury by leaning the ladder against the wall and carefully scaling it. Ever the doting assistant, I held up the paint tray so he wouldn't have to mess with his balance while cutting. Somehow, it worked.

We decided we didn't need to prime because the walls were painted eggshell right before I moved in. P worked on cutting around the radiator while I rolled. By the end of the first coat I had a nickname -- reckless roller. It may have been well deserved. Since I was just doing an accent wall I had to be careful near the other walls. I'd also picked the one wall with a window and the kitchen entry. A couple of times my roller may have accidentally gotten into the white trim. It got to be pretty funny. I'd say oops and P would look at me accusingly before grabbing the Windex and rag to clean up. He told me I was being rambunctious. I was just having fun.

All told, the taping and the first coat took about an hour. I was pleasantly surprised that the smell wasn't too bad. I guess I'm used to latex paint, which stinks to high heaven. We headed out to lunch despite the pouring rain. I'm sure we must have been quite the sight -- we'd attacked each other with brushes a few times.

We waited another hour before doing the second coat. The first coat had dried like the sample box -- a bit darker than the color chip. P told me not to worry and he was right. The second coat was much brighter. The paint coverage was excellent. Two coats was all we needed.

I headed back to Norwalk with P so the wall could dry in peace. When I returned on Sunday I was thrilled with the outcome.

The accent wall, post-paint.

The image in the Pottery Barn catalog made the color look lighter, but it's got a very pleasant tone to it. I keep my apartment lights slightly dimmed which makes the color look like fresh spring grass. But with direct light on it it takes on a much lighter look. It's multi-tonal.

I was excited that the color reflects
off my bathroom mirror.

My main concern was that painting one wall would make my apartment look smaller. I'm happy to say I really don't notice a difference. Also, the green makes me happy. I couldn't be more pleased with the end result.

The final result.

I've nicknamed this end of my apartment Pottery Barn corner. The art piece, my bedding and now the wall color are from there. It's a nice focal point when guests arrive and it makes me feel like an adult. It's another part of settling in.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Con-Ed threatens my building by letter

Ugh. As if I'm not already stressed enough at work, my homelife has been equally stressful as of late. About two weeks ago all the residents of my building received a letter from Con-Ed. To paraphrase, it said because the management company hadn't paid the building's utility bill Con-Ed would be shutting off our gas and electricity on March 10. This is not the first time this has happened since I've moved in so I pretty much ignored it.

But then earlier this week another letter came. This one had a serious tone to it -- we're shutting off the power in 10 days, here's who to contact if you're old and can't care for yourself, etc. I started to think this was for real. How can Con-Ed do this, I wondered. I pay my bill on time every month. I'm guessing my neighbors do too. It seems very draconian. Landlord owes general area money -- no power for you! Sorry; sincerely, Con-Ed the tyrannical bastards.

On top of that, a war of noise has been declared between my next-door neighbor and the neighbor upstairs. I somehow missed the announcement but I've been living through the battles. The girl next door and I have a common wall, and I've always been able to tell when she's on the phone or watching TV. While I used to just hear muffled talking, now it's clear as day. Whether I want to or not I know the details of her weekend exploits and how terrible her coworker is and how she hates her friends and other such shit that I really could not care less about. I had T over for a faux romantic dinner last week and the mood was completely ruined by her screaming at some guy about how mean it was for him to ditch her at some bar. T finally went and knocked on her door -- she apologized and then went right back to screaming. My God.

It infuriates me; especially late at night when I'm trying to sleep. I really take care to be polite to my neighbors -- my TV and stereo are on the far wall, not the common wall. I don't vacuum after 10 PM, I turn my TV down late at night, I don't do dishes late or early. Yeah, I have parties like anyone and they can get a bit loud. But they're more the exception than the rule.

I think neighbor next door has been prompted by neighbor above. The one with the dog. I love dogs -- all animals really -- but all I want to do right now is march up there and throw the thing out the window. Like all the apartments in the building, neighbor above has wood floors. Combine that with a small dog and it's a formula for disaster. The dog literally spends hours romping back and forth across the uncovered apartment floor. When it's not doing that, it's chewing and dropping a rawhide on the floor, bouncing a Kong or generally making noise.

There's a city ordinance that says you need to cover at least 80% of your hardwood floors with carpeting and neighbor above is exactly the reason why. Besides the dog, she also scrapes chairs across the floor and vacuums in the middle of the night. My God -- again! I partially blame whoever installed the hardwood because they obviously laid the floor right on top of the concrete subfloor without putting down any kind of soundproofing layer.

Anyway, I've also spoken to neighbor above on a couple of occasions about the noise. It really ruins my night when awoken at 2 AM by Kong hitting floor. Over. And over. It's gotten so bad that T won't even spend the night anymore. He's not a sadist, he says. Meanwhile I'm in danger of going insane.

And finally, to complete the trifecta there is non-Super, who disappeared off the face of the Earth again. I had tons of cardboard boxes in my apartment from all the furniture I've purchased. I tried for weeks to coordinate with non-Super to get it removed but finally had to call the building maintenance guy. I raked the leaves in my backyard and the bags are still out there because I don't know when I can put them out. I want to paint one of my walls but haven't been able to reach non-Super to get permission.

None of these things alone are a big deal. But put them altogether and you've got a perfect storm. I have no peace at home -- the one place where I should be able to go to escape. It's made me miserable, irritable, and in case you can't tell, pretty whiny.

UPDATE Tuesday: I finally reached my non-Super today. I had included a letter with my rent talking about the noise and asking for permission to paint. Non-Super agreed to talk to the neighbors (not holding my breath) and will let me paint. Also said not to worry about the letter -- it happens all the time. That makes me feel much better.