Stuck on This Place

Pam’s Pictorama Post: Today’s postcard wandered in the house mostly because I needed to test something on eBay and I had looked at it recently. It was mailed from Boston with a penny stamp, but the date is illegible on the cancellation. It was mailed to Mr. Stephen Hines, Marlboro, NY. We don’t know who mailed it, but scribbled on the front it assures us in a messy hand, Boston is all o.k. Pat.

Fly paper seems to be an outmoded concept. I was just watching an old film with a routine where a dangling strip was stuck to a woman’s shoe and at the time and I remarked on it as an item from days gone by. Yet, it must still exist. After all, the nature of flies has not changed and they still annoy. (One landed on my phone on the subway the other day and it seemed so odd – you don’t generally see flies on the subway. This may be a fact that surprises non-New Yorkers.) I am not aware of another way of ridding oneself of them.

Still, even in my lifetime the prevalence of the curling amber strip of sticky plastic hanging from a ceiling has almost, but not quite ceased to exist entirely. I was genuinely horrified by the sight of them as a child. They seemed malevolent although I do not profess an affection for our friend the fly. Meanwhile, poor kitty! It would be truly terrible to be stuck this way, on an imaginary and outsized piece of the stuff.

The apartment packed up for the new window installation in fall of ’19.

Yet, the message on the card is meant to be one of affection for a place. When I sat down this morning and had a look at it in advance of writing this I paused to think about that a bit. I decided I would use it to celebrate one of life’s landmarks which occurred earlier this month – I paid off the mortgage on our apartment. It was a thirty year fixed mortgage and so my first reaction is that I feel old! For whatever reasons of financial calculus known only to me, I hadn’t paid it off in chunks and instead, just quietly chipped away at it monthly for all this time.

Early on the bank supplied me with a book of coupons to use to make payments each month. Sadly after the first year or so they discontinued that practice. I always like the coupon book which seemed like a good way of keeping track of things and felt very official, sort of like the savings account passbook I had as a small child. I regretted the passing of it, giving way to monthly billed notifications and later one could have (should have?) opted for an automatic withdrawal, but I never bothered.

I purchased this one room 600 square foot piece of heaven not long after Kim and I started seeing each other. (He once did a short strip with a name along those lines, My Piece of Heaven I think it was called. It featured a moment in the life of Deitch Studio with us and then cat companions, Otto and Zippy, just going on about our daily business at the time.)

Kim moved in here part-time shortly after and then the rest of the way not long after. It has been painted once, patched innumerable times and for a variety of reasons which include, but are not limited to repiping the entire building and replacing the windows (see that post here) we have packed up on several occasions to make room for repairs. We have a history of leaks as well – a problem which seems endemic to residing on the top floor which we do here at Deitch Studio.

Kitchen immediately after fall of ’19 renovation. Yes, right after the windows!

Notably, we renovated the kitchen with rare good timing, just before the pandemic. (Yep, a post about that can be found here.) And, during the summer of ’20 we endured the installation of a wall of bookcases (I wrote about the construction here, but never really featured the finished product) which has allowed for a better use of space which was much needed as I worked just a few feet from Kim over the past two plus years.

Bookcases. Best decision I ever made.

While I have never entirely discounted the possibility that we would trade up for a larger or even just additional apartment, I have generally been too busy actually living to spend time contemplating where we live and so us and the kitties, Cookie and Blackie, shuffle around our 600 square feet in our daily rhythm, more intimately so in the past few years. I awoke to an article about post-pandemic (if we can call it that) rent increases in Manhattan, some rents doubling in this period. So it was with great affection that I reflected on this perch, small though it may be and which we now own in full, at least to the extent that one owns an apartment at all.

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