Getting to the flat
Enter the driveway, which is between our building and the (now permanently closed 😢) Season To Taste Restaurant:
There is a lockbox on the rails at the back. The code is 1207. Here is and .
To open the lockbox, turn the four numbers to form the code (1207), then press the switch down and open it. Don’t worry about the black cover that is broken and won’t move, that’s just a rain cover. Take the keys, close it again, and scramble the numbers so that other people don’t know the combination. When it’s time to leave, unlock it again, put the keys in, close it, and scramble the numbers.
You can enter the building straight from the parking lot, there is a door at the back, between parking spots 20 and 21.
Once you're in the building, take the elevator to the 3rd floor, go left and you will see unit 8 (it has our names on the door with magnetic letters, so you can't miss it!).
For your convenience, I've left another set of keys on this little black table in the living room:
SSID: Welcome Home!
After you arrive
Intercom: Please send me a US number that is NOT Google Voice so I can set up the intercom to ring at your phone. It will ring from the number +16178645808, you can save it in your contacts. To let someone in, you press 9. Mail: You can receive mail, if you include “in c/o Lea Verou” or “in c/o Chris Lilley” in the address. To allow for this, please empty the mailbox every few days and put our mail on the 2nd bedroom dresser. If you would rather not do this, and you do not intend to receive mail, please let us know and we’ll redirect all incoming mail to our virtual mailbox.
Absolutely no smoking in the apartment, ever. Avoid smoking on the balcony, as it's prohibited by our building rules. If you do smoke in the balcony (which is inadvisable :-), please make sure no damage is caused to the wooden decking, table, and chairs. Do not place anything directly on the dinner table, please always use placemats and trivets. It's very sensitive and stains easily. If you forget and it stains, there is beeswax under the kitchen sink, rub on with a cloth then rub off again after 1-2 hours. Feel free to use any kitchen spices, food etc you want, and to drink some wine. If you completely finish a certain spice please try to replace it, but it’s no big deal if you can’t find the time. Do not put hard things down the garbage disposal (e.g. avocado pits, squeezed lemons etc). We were told to avoid putting eggshells, fruit peels, rice down there as well (it clogged a few days before we left and the mgmt company had to send someone to fix it). We recommend avoiding overly thick toilet paper, to prevent clogging the toilets.
If anyone asks, you’re Chris & Lea’s friends who are visiting. We do have written permission from one employee of the management company to regularly sublet over the summer, but a) that doesn’t mean neighbors would actually like it and b) I’m not 100% sure her permission reflects consensus from the whole management company, so better not rock the boat too much. If anything breaks please let us know ASAP so we can put a repair request in.
Where to find stuff
Both beds should already be made for your arrival. More pillowcases, sheets, and towels are in the cupboard in the bathroom of the master bedroom. For the second bedroom, sheets are in the third (last) drawer of the second bedroom dresser. Keep in mind that sheets can get mixed up, and some queen size sheets may be mixed in the the master bedroom (California King) sheets. If you’re trying to make the bed and the sheet doesn’t seem to fit, that might be the cause. The key to the trash room is the same as the key to the front door. You exit the building from the back door (into the parking lot), turn left and you will see it. Both recycling and trash goes there, in different bins. They empty it very early on Monday morning.
Nearest grocery store: (lots of local and imported high quality foods, quite pricey compared to e.g. Whole Foods), 8 min walk In the same mall there is also TJ Maxx, Staples (with UPS or Fedex, I don't remember which one), Cambridge Liquors (excellent liquor store) Nearest convenience store: (overpriced and not great, but right across the street) Nearest liquor store: (almost next door) Nearest hardware store: in Porter Square Mall (fantastic store for a lot of stuff, with very helpful staff, we love this place) Make sure to visit the Porter Square mall, lots of nice little shops, as well as larger chains, clustered together! Henry Bear is awesome for toys!
(Permanently closed 😢) Literally next door! Very high rated, great ambiance and service, we personally find the flavor a little lacking but still have a good experience every time we go. (2 min walk): Decent Persian food, we often get takeout from there (): Excellent Japanese tasting menu, but very expensive, a special occasion restaurant There’s a Greek and an Ethiopian restaurant very close (2-3 minutes walk) but we haven’t tried them (): Best pizza & pasta in the area (): Good Japanese restaurant, known for its soba. Was closed for a while to move to a new location, and is supposed to reopen beginning of September 2023.
You may want to download the Philips Hue app to control the Philips Hue lightbulbs (they still work with the regular switches, but the app lets you set them to any color, dim them etc). There are two Philips Hue lightbulbs in the bedroom, and two in the living room. The living room has regular lightbulbs as well, so it's less useful there.
ANOVA Precision Oven
We rarely use the regular oven because we use this so much! It does sous vide without a bag, steaming, drying. Even for regular baking it tends to be better because it maintains a more precise temperature, distributed more evenly.
Brita Water Pitcher
If it runs out during your stay, there are filters in the drawer next to the fridge.
Put detergent directly over the clothes. Make sure the load is balanced (e.g. not all clothes on one side). For most washes you can just leave the settings as-is. Make sure to always select the "deep rinse" button. NEVER EVER try to open the lid if the "Lid locked" light is on, we were told that the replacement parts for that are on backorder for 6 months! If the “Lid locked” light is not on, you can open the lid and add any clothes you may have forgotten when you first put the laundry on.
We have a relationship with two cleaners (Mirella doesn’t know about Marilia, so please don’t mention this):
Mirella: She charges $90 per cleaning, though she may charge more if she hasn’t been in the flat for a while (we usually get her every 2 weeks). Communication can be a little difficult, due to language barrier. She has more experience with our flat than Marilia. Phone number: +1 (617) 412-5282 (iMessage) Marilia Kean: She charges $100 per cleaning (same caveat about frequency applies). Her English is excellent and communication is very easy. Loves kids too! Busier schedule, so requires about a week’s notice. She only started cleaning for us relatively recently, but we really like her. Phone number: +16032611171 (Whatsapp)
As a data point, Marilia did the cleaning before you arrived.
Parking in Cambridge and the Greater Boston Area
Resident parking permit
Our car has a resident parking sticker that is valid throughout Cambridge (on streets marked "Permit Parking Only"). Be careful however to only park on City of Cambridge streets! Arlington, Medford, and especially Somerville are very close and it's easy to accidentally park on e.g. a Somerville permit road and get a ticket. The signs on Cambridge permit roads say "City of Cambridge" on the bottom and are rectangular, while Somerville signs are square. If there is no city mentioned, assume you can't park there. Also every street has certain days in the month that you can't park there due to street cleaning, make sure you are not parking there during those days because you will get towed.
Our dedicated parking spot
Our parking spot is #20, right outside the entrance from the parking garage. To park there, you would need to move our car to resident parking, please see above about that. You will find the car keys in the drawer of the little black table in the living room (the same one that is shown in the picture above)
Visitor Parking Permit
If needed, you can find a visitor parking permit in the drawer next to the fridge. It's valid for any City of Cambridge streets that are labeled "Permit Parking only". If you do use the visitor permit, please .
While most residential streets are permit parking streets, most large/busy streets have metered parking. You can tell by the parking meters, although these days most people pay through the app. Each city has a different app, e.g. Cambridge has , but Somerville and Boston use different ones (some of them share the same database though). Note that most metered parking is up to 2 hours or even less, unless you park in the evening, and then it's free and unrestricted. Different spots have different time limits and different evening cutoffs, so always pay attention to the signs where you park.