Coming to the end of 2012

The year has been monumental in terms of change. Retiring from the United Nations (38 years!), my mom's passing, leaving my home of 13 years in Germany, a spectular going away party, buying my first property, moving to New York, surviving the Presidential election campaign, getting a New York State driver's license, a mortgage, launching an apartment renovation project with PML Renovations, a Thanksgiving dinner in Chicago, and buying a ton of expensive stuff - like appliances, beds, sofa and "solar" shades.  Robert-Koch Strasse 98 - on moving day

One prepares for retirement, but the truth is that no one is prepared for that first day when life switches from being directed by other's priorities to being directed by ME.  This I suspect is the greatest difference with the working world.  To have all the time in the world to do everything or nothing.

I have focussed on two priorities a part from my mom's passing:  first, getting settled in my new home city, including an apartment. Second, exploring options for a post-retirement "career" in communications and knowledgement management, especially as concerns my long-time interest in the classical pipe organ.

In the first area, I looked at more than 50 apartments in New York City - mostly on the East Side from the high 90s to the low 20s. With the help of my able broker, David Strout, the search came down in two streams.  Those apartments, at lower price, needing some TLC and those ready-to-move-in apartments at higher price.  Another key factor was the amount of monthly maintenance, a fee that can run to as much as $2000 or more!


The Kips Bay Condo apartment with its 1990s columns

In March, a Kips Bay Towers condo apartment appeared and David, on my behalf, negotiated the offer, counter-offer, and final agreed price. The apartment fit in the "needing some TLC" category as no renovation had been done since 1993, and much of the kitchen was original to the 1964 building.

The closing took place on 19 June, having finally cleared the last hurdle with the Bank on the mortgage.  In parallel, offers were being requested for planned renovations, as well as countless hours spent in New York stores looking at appliances, door handles, paint, and furniture.  The Murphy Bed exploration was the most elaborated, ending with the purchase of the "ITO" bed/sofa from Resource Furniture.

Renovation got underway in August with PML. The affable lead - Pete LoRe - proved up to the task in mustering the forces for a major "DEMO" with a ton or two of woodwork, appliances, kitchen cabinets, and appliances being torn out and taken away.

Weeks of effort followed to put the apartment back to, more or less, its original shape and size and, in addition, open out the kitchen allowing for more storage.  

With a 3 week delay caused in the manufacture of the kitchen cabinets, and a further week caused by Hurricane Sandy (the building was not damanaged but it did loose electricity for 4 days) work was completed 2 weeks later than expected.

New look, new floor, new walls

On the second front, I produced the first-ever live webcast for the Organ Historical Society at its National Convention in Chicago on 9 July. The concert was attended by some 500 OHS and local concert goers, but what was a surprise was that 507 people in 43 of the 50 States, 4 Canadian Provinces and 11 countries around the worldthat tuned in to see and hear the very talented Nathan Laube perform.

From this event, came additional interest from OHS to explore other communications area, including for their Archive Project.

On the otherside of the Atlantic, The Organ Club has also expressed some interest in having me work with them on their communications.  This will be confirmed at the Annual General Meeting in Cardiff in March 2013.


Chad at the helm of the lake cruiser

In terms of friends, family and culture - a lot too has happened.  The death of my mom in April focussed the family and we worked together to organize the funeral at Gol Lutheran Church in Kenyon, Minnesota.  This sad event gave way to a happier Labor Day weekend at my brother Chad's lake home on Woman Lake.

In Chicago, I got to know Larry and Paul a lot better, both during my stay with them before the OHS Convention as well as at their elegant Thanksgiving celebration.

Here in New York, the 92nd Street Y produced a interesting event about how Octagenarians are keeping it all going, I saw Jessica Chastain and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) in The Heiress, Jake Gyllenhaal in "If There is I haven's Found It Yet", and a great rendition of Cyrano de Bergerac.  

Also of note was A Civil War Christmas by Paula Vogel (How I Learned to Drive) which begins on Christmas Eve, 1864, as the Civil War rages on into its fourth year and brings to life historical figures like Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, Clara Barton, Walt Whitman to explore the meaning of the holiday in troubled times.

And so, coming to the end of 2012 it has truly been a year of change and new experiences that have proved, in large measure, really quite welcome.  And finally, a trip to see friends Harald and Adil in Cape Town will finish off the year.

Cape Town and Table Mountain

 

 

 

 


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