The House Hunt

You would think looking for your new apartment would be so much fun… think again, my friends.  This was, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.  I would like to compare it to childbirth, except I have no idea what that’s like, so I’m going to say it is like having your toenails ripped off by a vampire in the dark. (Because, obviously, I’ve had this happen…)  The pain, the anxiety, the band-aids you would need are identical in both situations.

My first day with my first real estate broker went something like this:

Him: “What area of Manhattan are you thinking about living?”

Me: “Well, I love the Upper West Side, but…”

Him: “Okay, great!  Let’s see if we can get you in some places on the Upper East Side.”

Me: “Wait, is there nothing on the Upper West?”

Him: “No”

Wow.  Talk about deflating.  After it was explained to me, I understood they were just trying to get us more space (1 bedroom) for our money.  So, I hit the streets with he who must not be named.

The next day, I couldn’t move.  Not only was I adjusting to the faster pace of the city, but my broker was literally 8 ft. tall.  One of his steps was 12 of mine, and daddy long legs stopped for no one.  Saturday was a day of waiting – good thing, because I seriously couldn’t walk due to the blisters on my feet.

Sunday.  Ah, Sunday.  Another day where I was directed to wait by he who must not be named.  So, I decided to go to the Hillsong Church downtown.  They are very Shoreline-esque; this particular Sunday, it was even held in a bar in Union Square.  It was such a natural fit, I was pumped to check it out.  Now, this is where things get awesome!  I walk in and it’s standing room only, so I head upstairs to the balcony.  Directly across from me is this sign:

All weekend I had been asking begging God to be direct with me.  Making a decision like this was going to be hard for me to do by myself and I needed a clear yes or no from Him.  How’s that for a sign?

The church service was amazing!  The worship?  Outstanding.  The message?  It could’ve been titled, “Tara, are you listening?”.  It was “Occupy All Streets” and was given by the lead pastor, Carl Lentz.  The Big Idea was to use where you are to bring glory to God, but one of the things the pastor said hit me hard.  He said, “You are exactly where God called you to be.”

I’m gonna let that sink in for a minute.

You are EXACTLY where God called you to be.

The wheels started turning.  I’m in Union Square, God, so what?  Do you mean, I’m literally where you called me to be?

I got new sense of determination and jumped on the phone and called a new broker with a new company and began searching for apartments, albeit smaller, in Union Square!  The new broker, Gabriela, was a dream!  She met me, on a Sunday, and showed me three apartments.  Her boyfriend, Kevin, was also a broker and had found one more apartment that he wanted Gabriela to show me.  He loves downtown and was excited to find a place for me too!  He even said to Gabriela, “This is her apartment, we have to get her in there.”  Only one hang up: this apartment wouldn’t allow Sunday showings; it was Monday through Friday only.  So, we met at 9:30, Monday morning, in hopes that we would be the first showing of the day.  I saw it, loved it, sent Brian one photo, called him on the way to her office, and put in an application!  Poor Brian, he really had to trust me on this one.  But Kevin was right, this was my apartment!  Then began the torturous application process, but I was ready.  I had every piece of documentation possible, including tax returns, security deposits in the thousands, and a waiver to hand over our first born when the time came.  We knew this would be tough because we were both self-employed and proving that you make 40 times the rent is exactly the opposite of what you try to do the other 364 days of the year for tax purposes.  Once everything was in, there was more waiting.

The next day, my mom came into town.  She got in late, so we dropped her bags and went to dinner at Vincent’s in Little Italy.  Pretty amazing red sauce, but very heavy.  We shared the eggplant parmesan – good thing, because it was huge!  It was good to venture out a little bit.  For the most part, I had stayed close to the hotel because I had so much anxiety about the apartment, I couldn’t justify doing anything but house hunting.

The broker told us to expect an answer Wednesday with a possible move-in date of Thursday.  So, another day of waiting.  But, mom and I used our time wisely and did some sightseeing.  It was hot and rainy, but we made the best of it and saw Times Square

Radio City Music Hall

Rockefeller Center and The Tree

And Mom’s mecca, Fox News

Wednesday night, at 4:30pm, I got a call from Gabriela that our application had been accepted and we got the apartment.  I cried.  Then, I thanked Jesus, because there was no other way to explain how we got this apartment.  Over and over, I kept focusing on Ephesians 3:20, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”  Ain’t that the truth?!

Here’s some pics of our new home – as soon as I finish building our furniture from Ikea (I hate that place, but that’s another story!), I’ll post some more photos.

The Entryway

From the Front Door

Kitchen - it has a dishwasher!!

Looking back from the balcony (that's right, the balcony!)

Give me a few weeks to get it setup and I’ll post some more pictures!

-Tara

NY… The Why

If you didn’t get my sentiments in the last blog posting, I’m a pretty private person.  I’ve never been a person who likes to share.  If we ever get in a group situation where everyone is required to do so, I typically will be the last one to volunteer and my hope is always that someone before me will use up all the time and that my sharing will be postponed.

The problem with that is that when you make a major life change (like moving to NYC), no one knows why you’re really doing it and it can cause people to draw their own conclusions (which in many cases are inaccurate).  This blog is my tool to work on that part of my life and start to open up a bit.

So why NY?  Why leave a stable environment where things are going pretty well to jump into something that is as polar opposite of our current situation as possible?  Let me try and answer that for you.

#1: WE WANT TO BUILD A FUTURE WHERE WE CAN HANG OUT ALL THE TIME…Tara and I love each other more than you can imagine.   We can’t stand being apart from one another.  We love working together (not too many couples can say that).  If and when the time comes for children, we want to be able to spend as much time together as a family as we possibly can.  That said, we need to be able to have the financial freedom to do that.  So we’re preparing for that now.  Our current situation wouldn’t allow this.  I’d be working my tail off to support a family and a lifestyle we desire and not be able to enjoy it.  It’s going take some initial work/growing pains over the next couple years but eventually our #1 goal is this one!

#2: IT’S PART OF MY COMPANY’S BUSINESS PLAN…My business partner and I feel we have a phenomenal product and business model.  Our goal all along has been to take it to the biggest markets and solidify ourselves as one of the top entertainment and event companies nationwide.  We feel we’ve done all we can do in Florida for now.

Southern California was naturally a great fit since I had so many connections there.  So when my partner wanted to move out there, I was all for it.  We are already seeing some good results in the short time Christen (my business partner) has been there.

New York, while a hard market to crack, will be a huge win for us once we get it up and running.  It’s really the mecca of entertainment as far as our industry goes.   I feel very confident that we not only can do it but do it soon.  Once we establish ourselves in those two markets, the rest should be fairly easy to replicate in the other markets we have on our radar (Chicago and Hawaii).

#3: IT’S HEALTHY FOR OUR MARRIAGE…I truly believe that every newly married couple needs some time to develop their relationship by doing life together in a place that requires them to start from scratch and depend solely upon each other and God.  True character within a relationship start to develop in that type of setting.  New friendships are made together, life decisions are made together, etc.  I’ve always wanted to move away for a little while and go through this pruning process with Tara.  We want to knock this out before kids come into the picture and the opportunity passes us by.  I’m actually blessed that both of us are in a position to be able do this.  A lot of people don’t ever get the chance.

#4: BOTH OF US HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO LIVE IN NEW YORK…It’s “THE” city, the heartbeat of the world.  Looking back on my childhood, one of the things that I wish I would’ve done more is travel and live in different places.  Trust me, Southern California, in my opinion, was probably the greatest spot in which to live and grow up.  There’s a ton of culture there and so many things to do.  But this country is so vast and I love seeing all that this nation has to offer.  New York has always been on my bucket list as a place to live.   On our honeymoon, I discovered that it’s also been a place on Tara’s bucket list.  To get this chance and opportunity is something that we both feel like we’ve got to jump on now before it goes away.  It’s not a place we want to live in forever.  While nothing is in stone, I foresee a 1-3 year commitment as of now.

So there you have it.  Now you know why we’re headed to the city that never sleeps.

The Blog

Those that know me well know that given the choice, I look to shun the spotlight by default.  Although the jobs I’ve had and now hold require the “extrovert Brian”, I simply put that hat on when I need to “clock in” and then put it back down when it’s time to “clock out”.  I say all that to say that I’m a pretty private person.  I share little and the things that I do share, I typically keep inside a small group.  My wife, on the other hand, is my perfect match.  I joke with her often that she’s the “face” of our family.  She loves to be out with people, host parties, be out on the town, while I am content just staying in the house, shades drawn, watching the Laker game or working on music.

So, this blog is being done for a few different reasons.

#1:  We want to share our NY experience (and other life experiences) with our friends and family.  It’s hard to stay connected with everyone over the phone, through e-mail and over Facebook so we felt like a blog is the best way to mass communicate.  Plus, living in NYC gives us the ability to share much more than we could if say, we were living in Idaho (no offense, Idaho).

#2: We want to have an archive of recorded events for our family.  Although I’ve not been one to journal, I love the concept.  Recording your thoughts and feelings and then being able to go back and look at that stuff later is like going back in time and reading history.  It also helps being in the industry I am in and traveling as much as we do.  There are always a TON of stories that I wish we’d written down that we have now forgotten.  I don’t want to lose out on those memories.  If and when the time comes for kids, if they’re anything like me, they might want to see what mom and dad were thinking back in the day.

#3: We want to write.  I love writing and feel I have a decent story-telling ability.  I want to start to really hone that skill.   My wife has a degree in Communication so whether she likes to or not, she’s extremely gifted in writing.  She blows me away with her writing ability and I want her to showcase it.

So there you have it.  I hope to write at least 1-2 times a week and hopefully Tara will post the same.

Welcome to NYC (by proxy)!