27 March 2008

zip it

Okay, I wasn't REALLY serious about jinxing the spot by talking about it... but sure enough, a problem's cropped up. Most food establishments, including ours, need a grease trap. But now that Mark and Elliot are talking to architects about this potential space... it seems there might be a serious (i.e. prohibitive and/or expensive) problem in setting one up. Now, this would be true for any restaurant or kitchen they'd put there, so the owners would have to: a) help the tenant set it up; b) find a tenant that can afford to do it themselves; or c) put some other retail store there. Of course we're hoping for a).

The boys are meeting an engineer there tomorrow, so there may be a workaround. But, if there isn't, or the owner isn't willing to pitch in on the work it will take to install a grease trap... we may have to walk away from the deal.

Meanwhile, continuing their due diligence, M&E went to look at yet another location today. The appeal with this new place is that it's already a restaurant, so it will be MUCH easier to convert into a food store. And, it's got plenty of parking, and the rent is tantalizingly cheaper. But... frankly, from what I can tell (from, yeah, 3,000 miles away), it's just not as sexy. But that's what makeovers are for, right? The downside, certainly, is that it literally came on the market yesterday, so the owner is likely to want to shop it around to potential tenants before settling on a deal.

THIS is why I'm not packing yet.

25 March 2008

one step closer

Mark & Elliot just got out of a sit-down with the owner and broker of the location for which we have our fingers crossed. The lease ("letter of intent") has been through their initial offer, our counter offer, their counter to our counter, and our counter to their counter to our counter. So this was a meeting where they ironed out a few more points in person. Apparently there are a couple of items still to finalize, but things are looking good -- very, very good. So, I'll share the neighborhood, at least: Venice.

More details when the lease is signed?!?

Meanwhile, the pile of unmade cardboard boxes in the corner of our eat-in kitchen seems to be calling out, "Time to build us! Time to fill us up! Don't think you can pack the whole house in a day!" Just a bit daunting. Just.

Cats will have no idea what hit'em....

10 March 2008

rolling the ball

One of the problems I face every time I think of this blog (which would be several times a day) is that there is SO much to share & write that I don't even know where to start.

But a number of questions seem to be on everybody's minds, so here's an attempt at answering a few:

1. How's your Dad? He's doing as well as could be expected; even better. I'm so proud of him. Funny thing to say about a parent perhaps, but it's true that we're reaching that age when the roles begin to reverse. In any case, he's found comfort in time if not solace from grief. His cooking in particular has vastly improved -- and he wasn't half bad to begin with. There's a quiet confidence stirring in him now which is wonderful to see.

2. Is he moving to the States? Ah, such a simple question, fraught with complications. This is certainly a possibility, but a) I've decided not to make or ask others to make big decisions until at least a year has passed since my mother's death, and b) it's really, really not that easy -- mainly because neither my father nor I have U.S. citizenship (I'm on a Green Card now, and my dad's a Bolivian citizen with a permanent residency permit in Japan). And to get U.S. citizenship (to sponsor my father's immigration) I'd have to give up my Japanese citizenship, which I'm not ready to do (never mind the logistical nightmares involving my assests now in Japan). More on this conundrum later.

3. How's the store? Mark has been spending almost all of his time in LA, with Elliot, researching many a possible storefront. All brokers/owners they've met have been superenthusiastic about the business proposal, and they've come close with several negotiations. But each spot so far has had some dealbreaker, like not enough parking (as determined by strict city regulations based on the usage, size and location of the property. That's about all I can understand). We're coming down to the wire, though, and it's turning into a rollercoaster ride -- which hopefully I can start reporting about in real time. Now they're in negotiations on the best location by far -- won't say where just now so as not to jinx it -- and I just have my fingers crossed. If I didn't know better I'd say we should tape this all for a reality show.

4. When are you moving? Where will you live? Mark is pretty much there, staying with his brother Dave, but only with his computer and a few clothes. So I, the cats, and our worldly possessions will be moving cross-country...probably in mid-June. I have a big RCCNY concert at Carnegie Hall on June 5th, and I'm planning on going back to Tokyo again at the end of June/beginning of July for my mom's 1-year anniversary memorial service, which makes mid-June the most practical time to move. We'll rent a place in LA somewhere near the store, hopefully somewhere on the West Side. Just need to give our CT landlady 2 months' notice -- which means giving notice in less than a month. Yikes. La la la la la la la la...

5. Will you work at the store, or...?? I finally bit the bullet and told my bosses and colleagues about the "possible" move to LA (some denial there still, yes -- what can I say, I'm conflicted). Everyone is supportive across the board, and since our show just got renewed for another season (now airing on TLC, by the way -- millions more viewers like you!), they'd definitely like to keep me writing and editing. Either way it will be great to have that steady income until the store's raking in $$. The big question is whether they'll keep me on as an employee even after I leave New York, or if they'll cut my benefits and have me go freelance (though I'd request a higher salary to compensate). We'll see.

6. How are you? WHERE are you? I'm back now from a 3-week trip in Tokyo, during which I spent more than $80,000 of what was once my mother's money. WHOO! It all went to income taxes, construction fees (we had to convert half our garden into a 3-car lot adjacent to the business rental property -- long story), accountant and property lawyer fees, property deed filing taxes... BOOO!!

7. Are you guys still trying? The short answer is yes, and I've been going to regular acupuncture sessions with a doctor prescribing herbal teas and such too. But really I can't imagine going through more "serious" treatment now and starting up with a new doctor (our company health insurance changed YET AGAIN, and the new provider is practically the only one that my OBGYN of 6 years does NOT take).....only to move and have to explain the whole emotionally charged history all over again to another doctor full of the same damn questions. Probably best not to get pregnant right now anyway, considering all that too. So all in good time. My only regret will be that any baby who finally makes it to my womb will miss out on the weekly rehearsals with RCCNY. I'd been looking forward to that.

I'm sure other questions will come up but it's after midnight now and I'm sinking deeper and deeper in between the flannel sheets. It's time.