In the past year and a half, we have looked at many apartments, houses, duplexes, cottages, du-mishpachtis, and a lovely cardboard box. During our house search, there were certain things that I was pretty sure of in my head:
1. We would probably not live in Buchman.
2. We would certainly not live in an apartment.
3. And we would never, ever, ever, buy on paper.
So naturally, this past Thursday, we signed on our first property in Israel. It is in Buchman. It is an apartment. And we bought it "on paper" - i.e. we cannot actually live in our Buchman Apartment until November 2011 or thereabouts. Right now our Buchman Apartment is air and dirt.
The best part about signing? We NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER have to go look at another apartment, house, duplex, cottage, du-mishpachti, or cardboard box EVER AGAIN. Yay!!!!!!
One of the upsides to buying an apartment is that it is cheaper than what we would have paid for a full-fledged Buchman house. We are therefore spending our extra money to hire an interior designer. Since the house is not yet built, we get/have to decide everything - not just what color to paint the rooms, but we can take walls down, put them up, take them down again, shake them all about, decide where we want our electrical outlets, expand or shrink any of the rooms or bathrooms, etc etc.
For those of you who have been inside any of our domiciles over the past 9.5 years, you probably noticed two things.
1. We have POC (piles of crap) all over the place.
2. And no taste.
So we figured, since this is the apartment we will be living in FOREVER, it makes sense to hire someone who has actual taste to help us plan it out.
For those of you visual learners, let me paint you a picture of what you see when you enter our apartment.
1. POC #1: The Coat Tree - a great purchase since our Riverdale days, when we rented a house with a teeny-tiny front closet. The CT fulfilled a where-to-put-the-coats need. But let's face it, it's a mess. Currently, there are 4 sweatshirts/coats per person hanging on the poor branches. And our Shul Bag. And my purse. And my purse that I no longer use. And two scarves. (In case of that freak Israeli snowstorm?) Various hats and an umbrella. Until recently, Ariella's gan bag (from last year) and her Chanukah crown (again, last year). Now, the gan bag occupies another important POC - the Floor of the Ma'amad. Oh, and let's not forget the piece de resistance on the CT - the Apron.
2. POC #2: Our Pantry - again, fulfills a very important where-to-put-the-food need. And, again, is a total disaster. The inside, which thankfully no one sees, is a jumble of pasta, cans, beans, chips, Bissli, and various bags of nuts and raisins which are half-eaten and closed with one of those laundry clips. Which is why I never have any laundry clips. I do attempt to organize it, but I think once I close the doors, all the food jumps to a different shelf and important things, like rice, hide behind the superized can of pineapple I've had since Pesach.
But the top of the pantry is where our true talent shines. This is the "anything goes!" shelf. A vase. Full of pens, natch. A small plastic dessert plate with the medicines I like to have in easy reach (like Prozac), and not all the way in our Official Medicine Cabinet. (i.e. the drawer of the dresser in our guest room.) Let's see....we also have our big fancy bencher holder, besamim and havdalah candle, (there's no room on the sideboard for those things because the sideboard, of course, is drowning under mail, a tallis bag, and Yaakov's kippah clips), a tape dispenser (for emergency artwork-hangings), napkins, a thermometer, and a bag containing 5 jelly beans.
Yeah, we need help. I won't even get into our dresser, the dreaded "toy corner," or the multi-purpose bookcase housing cereal, kids' books, and our phone/router/DSL. Also the camera, and the the router-we-no-longer-use-but-like-to-display.
In addition to our Mess is our No Taste. It can best be described as "A Lack of Any Pretty Things. And an Abundance of Brown." Help!
We met with one group of interior designers - I thought it was just one person coming, and in trooped not only Moe, but Larry and Curly. When we decided not to use them, you could almost hear their collective sigh of relief. (But, if you are looking for someone to install lots of "nee-shahs" - that's Hebrew for "niche" - to house all of your "psilim" (figurines, but it makes it sounds like we have a country of idol-worshipers), Larry Moe and Curly are your people!
In the end, we hired a very brave soul named "Shikma." We are meeting with her on Tuesday "at the site" to begin the planning. We have high hopes for Shikma. She is going to help us find places for All of Our Crap. And any time we run into a problem, we say, "Don't worry, Shikma can fix that!" No room for the dishtowels? Need a place for medicines? Groceries not putting themselves away? Kids misbehaving? "Don't worry, Shikma can fix that!"
She has her work cut out for her.