So the Patty Duke Show theme is playing in my head as I'm getting ready for work, but I'm in Williamsburg (the non-yuppie southern half), not in Patty's out-of-my-price-range Brooklyn Heights. I spent my first night in my apartment; I had a cigar with me (Dominican), but ended up smoking about a quarter-inch of it before giving up.

The place looked nice (sorta) when the broker showed it to me, about ten days ago, and I was slightly giddy at the chance to finally have my own place, but, after my cousin helped me move my boxes there, and cased the joint, he gave me a nice, small, healthy dose of urban paranoia -- I need bars on a couple of windows; any potential neighborhood burglars are watching me, the new guy, since, aside from the fact that I speak little Spanish (the guy at the bodega next door spoke to me in English, sort of a "Thanks for your patronage... foreigner!" gesture), I'm exhibiting, obviously, signs of sucker-moving-into-the-neighborhood. So, in the worst case scenario, someone's watching the times at which I enter and leave the building, taking notes.

Sometimes it pays to have law-enforcement folks and ex-felons in the family.

It's not a good feeling to worry about securing the place, but better safe than sorry. My cousin even suggested looking into ADT. Better safe than sorry.

Now I've had the chance to look over the apartment in earnest. It's not pretty, but it's mine. Just your garden-variety ancient tenement, the sort that will, if logistically feasible, be razed in a few years time, to make room for more yuppies. Where will the locals go? The pols and slumlords don't seem to give a monkey's.

So, within the constraints of not spending too much, the owners have put in a new fridge, new sinks, new toilet, new tub. The shower, unfortunately, seems designed for Herve Villechaize. The gas isn't turned on -- I can't cook (my breakfast was a few swigs from my liter-bottle of Pepsi), nor can I boil water for coffee or tea. My coffee maker sits in North Carolina, and has seen better days; I haven't seen its basket lid since 1989, I think. It's time for a new coffee maker. I fly to North Carolina on Friday, to pack up the aforementioned device, and the other 90% of my belongings (Dave, if you're reading this: the amp and stomp boxes remain yours to keep, assuming you haven't sold everything for a dime bag of magic beans or something).

I'm hoping to install the window bars before leaving here; although I'm going to NC to pack (and recuperate from non-stop NYC), I'm not sure if I have the money to move my stuff; it would help if I'd take the time to balance my check book. The guy at the hardware store asked me to measure the windows, which I did, around 12:30 AM; these two "matching" windows are more-than-a-little different in dimension -- I'm glad I didn't take the lazy route and measure just one. Another fine "design feature" is the living-room window sill -- it slopes at a 20° angle.

Needing curtains in a jiffy, I'd stopped at the K-Mart downstairs during my lunch break yesterday. Plenty of Martha Stewart® stuff, which I dutifully bought. In my ignorance, I bought one curtain per window, finding out last night that I'd have to stretch the bastids to the max to get them to cover each window. I have to buy five more curtains now. And a couple of curtain rods; I broke a couple of the tension rods I bought yesterday -- they came without instructions, and I improvised their assembly in such a way that they're now useless. After reaching knifegirl on the phone, she straightened me out on how to install the bastids -- so easy, even a child of five could do it.

I'm not five.

...but I do play an adorable four-year-old on a top-rated sitcom. That's the power of makeup and... acting!