Randomness Report From NYC

I’m not dead!

Hi!

*Waves!*

I know, I’m like the worst blogger/friend/daughter ever, leaving on a crazy cross-country move and then not writing for more than 3 weeks. For all you know, I could be stuck in a roadside diner-slash-gift shop in rural Iowa (yes, we visited a few) or hiding out in the Nebraska cornfields with Malachi and the children of Gatlin. But I’m not. Here I am! I truly appreciate all the emails and calls and I’m so sorry for triggering the abandonment issues some of you expressed. I’m back! I’m okay! I’m… yay!

After 34 hours on the road at the end of March, we made it to Buffalo, only to head out a day later to NYC. Some of us got sick for days after, while others did all the unpacking and sorting and settling in while simultaneously purchasing cough drops for aforementioned sickypoos and arranging them in their very own little jar for easy access (the cough drops, not the sickypoos). Not naming names, but, I may have been the… *cough*

I swear I didn’t plan it!

Anyway, maybe I’ll do a more complete essay on the road trip another time, including top ten quotes and memorable moments1, but for now, a few random tidbits on our new life in New York to let all you loyal readers know that yes, I’m still alive, and yes, we’re settling in just fine!

  1. I’ve been a vewy bad vegetawian. After 6 whole years without ingesting anything that has a face, I…

    Ate.
    A.
    Tuna.
    Sandwich!

    3 of them, if we’re being honest. Horrible! Sea creatures everywhere, beware, because the worst part of it is… I really really liked them! Tuna melts at the diner, ahhh… No, I don’t want to talk about it. I disappoint myself. Poor little fishies.

  2. But a good writer! After weeks of focusing on nothing but packing and moving across the country, I’m finally getting back into the writing groove. The city is a good place for it—very alive, easy to tap into the constant stream of energy. I was trying to explain to Alex today why it’s easier for me to write in a crowded coffee shop2 than it is at home with my mom-in-law chatting and the television spewing out the latest horrible news via 24/7 CNN (because in a crowd, I can’t focus on any one conversation, especially when said conversations are happening in Asian languages which I do not speak, so the noise fades into a general comforting din, allowing me to focus on my writing and not the word “bitter”). He didn’t believe me (truth be told I think he just misses me when I’m away), but I had a really productive day today—the first in a while.
  3. Sweet, sweet korma. OMG, best Indian restaurant ever, right around the corner. Seriously. I’ve been there like 8 times already, and I always get the same thing (navartan korma and veggie samosa3) and for like 47 cents, they hand me a bucketful of amazing food and unsolicited political commentary (“All of these candidates are bad. Worse fighting than in my third-world country at home.”). Yes, but are they bitter enough?
  4. Memory lane is still… memorable. Alex and I took the 7 train to Woodside, our old hood, the other day. We had lunch and strawberry smoothies in this little Cuban place we used to frequent, walked past our old apartments, and stopped in to say hello to our old favorite pizza guy (who in our absence, expanded his little pizza place to take up the entire corner and add an outside patio). Last weekend, when my mom was still in NY with us, we met my brother, aunt, and uncle for brunch at our old fave Irish brunch place in the same neighborhood. The food was just as we remembered, as were the old Irish guys hanging out at the bar. Is it possible that they haven’t moved in 5 years?

Now that we’re relatively settled, I’ll try to post more often. And eat less tu—hey, I said I didn’t want to talk about it! Bad, bad!


1. More likely I’ll just say I’m going to write about it but I won’t actually write about it, so don’t get your hopes up. Hey, that’s how I roll!

2. Crowded Starbucks is very different here than in, say, Panera at Aspen Grove in Littleton, Colorado. This particular SB had two floors for seating, and I got one of the only open tables. This was at 4 PM, before the evening rush. At one point, three tables of girls simultaneously broke out in song, singing a Jack Johnson song in its entirety along with the piped in SB music. Moments earlier, they were enjoying their frappucinos and conversing separately in Chinese, so the whole thing was kind of cool and surreal.

3. Lucky for our sea-dwelling little friends, tuna samosa is not on the menu.

What Packing Taught Me

Alex and I spent the entire day running around town doing admin stuff like canceling our license plates (thanks for the hot tip, DMV lady from yesterday!). We also did some more packing (by we I mean Alex), eating (me), napping (me), whining (um, that would be me), drinking (me again, hi!) and standing around sighing loudly in the general direction of projects without actually doing them (guess who?).

But alas, all was not lost! I learned a number of valuable lessons today:

1) Digital Cameras are magical, beautiful things. Perhaps even more magical and beautiful than fairies. And possibly babies. Not that I have a fairy or a baby, or a baby fairy, but I’ve seen pictures of both and feel confident in my unqualified assessment. I do miss my traditional SLR; I miss the different lenses and filters and children asking me if they can see the pictures on the back after I take them (I wonder what they would do with a cassette or VHS tape? Hmmm…). But I don’t miss the endless piles of photos filed in drawers.

For the past several months, we’ve been working on a project to transfer all of our in-the-drawer photos (last one taken circa April 2006) to on-the-shelf albums and we’re in the home stretch. I only have about 4 more years on film to go through, and they were all neatly organized by date, trip, and subject until today when I accidentally left the sliding door open and the wind blew them all about, babies crashing into weddings crashing into vacations crashing into holidays. Woosh! Memories all over the floor. Take a look—you might see yourself in that pile somewhere!

photos

2) Pandora Internet Radio QuickMix? Awwwww yeah. Where else can you get Charlie Parker, Tupac, Muse, and Cat Stevens in one set? They’ve been keeping me company during the photos project. Speaking of projects, it’s time for a quote from rock star baby brother (aka Baby Boo):

“Wait… you’re doing a photos project? See, there’s your problem, Sar. You guys have too many damn projects.

Me? I’m just a neanderthal. Point me in a direction and tell me what to do. I don’t want any schematics or spreadsheets or blueprints or project plans, okay? Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it. Shit.”

3) Fuel cost projections are never a good idea in a $4/gallon economy. According to its specs, our moving truck gets 6 miles per gallon. Our trip is about 2200 miles. You do the math (no, not you, Baby Boo. We already know how you feel about spreadsheets. We don’t want to stress you out with too much pre-planning.).

4) Goodwill, our friendly neighborhood donation center, does not accept gym equipment. Probably because they also sell coat racks and clothes drying racks, and most people know that you can buy a coat rack or clothes drying rack much cheaper than a NordicTrak which ultimately serves the same purpose.

goodwill

5) Apartment ghosts linger after 5 years. Look what Alex found behind my bottom bathroom drawer whilst performing a thorough bathroom cleaning, in which I myself wanted no part:

leave-behinds

The pen and Barbie CD case are pretty self-explanatory (although I wonder why it ended up in the bathroom). But take a closer look at the note:

message

DeziRee
STOP
god
STOOPid
lllllluuuuuvvvvv

Oh, what does it all mean? What do you guys think? There’s a prize for the best answer. It’s a… combination NordicTrak / coat rack / clothes dryer*!


*You have to pick it up in Denver, though.

Moving Lists

In 11 days, Alex and I (with the help of my Edward Cullen-lovin’ baby brother and one of his rock star BFFs from Buffalo) will load up all of our stuff and drive from Denver back home to New York City (via Buffalo). For those of you keeping track of such things, here are a few updates on the big move.

Useless Moving Trivia For Your Reading Pleasure

  1. We are living in a warehouse.
  2. warehouse

  3. We sit in camping chairs for meals, movies, blogging, political forecasting, and important financial discussions.
  4. We trashed an old chair. Dragging it out to the dumpster, Alex shook out $2.87, which must be really really old because no one ever sat in that thing. It’s more money than we would have gotten if we tried to sell it. Anyway, it’s going for gas money.
  5. I can’t pull into the garage without knocking something over with my car / my groceries / my ass.
  6. The liquor store guys know us by name. Because we keep asking for boxes. And, um, liquor.
  7. We’re getting more creative with meals, trying to use up what’s left in the pantry and fridge. Up next? Tofu stir-fry with a beet-sour kraut-popcorn chutney. For dessert? Oatmeal garnished with canned pineapples, brown sugar, and one Oreo. Who’s coming to dinner?
  8. We each have one mug, which we must keep washed at all times in case of unavoidable coffee emergency.
  9. We each have one pair of underwear, which we must keep washed at all times in case of unexpected visitors, deliveries, or interactions with people.
  10. We’ve started burning scented candles during all waking hours because we don’t want to pack them (and because of #8).

Dumbest Moving-Related Conversations

  1. “If someone broke in and destroyed the place after you turned in your keys, you’d have to cover the damages, but what are the chances of that happening?” —Leasing office lady, when asked if we could move out before our lease ends but still pay the full rent.
  2. “Well technically someone could take your information and use your old license plate numbers, but what are the chances of that happening?” —DMV lady, telling me that we could come in and fill out the form to cancel our old license plates, but we don’t really have to.
  3. “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but if you want to use your United travel certificate, you have to go to the airport and book the ticket in person.” —United representative on the process for redeeming the gift certificate they sent to me to “compensate for the inconvenience” of my last flight delay, as if it is more convenient to drive 45 minutes each way to buy a ticket at the airport, which to my knowledge only happens in the movies when someone is chasing down the girl who just boarded a plane to France just so he can confess his love in front of all the other passengers and they can turn around and come back and live happily ever after (the guy and the girl, not the other passengers).

Moving-Related Phrases I Pretended I Didn’t Hear

  1. “Hey, are you sure all of this will fit in the truck?”
  2. *CRASH* “Ooops. Um, how much did you like that glass thingy? Like, a lot?”
  3. “Gas is almost $4/gallon and we’re driving a car and a moving truck.”
  4. “Oh, I think I packed that already.”
  5. “We should camp in Iowa instead of finding a hotel.” (Hi honey! *waves!*)
  6. “The truck only has a tape deck—no CDs.”

Most Challenging Moving Issue To Date

  1. I must… not… POP… the bubble wrap! It’s so shiny! It’s so… POP-able! Just look at it—it wants to be popped! Hey, did you know it comes in rolls?
  2. bubble roll

    Look at it, would you? I just want to wrap myself in it… make myself a big ol’ bubble-suit, turn myself into a big bubble-mummy, and then roll down the stairs or some—wait, I’ve said too much…

    bubbles

    POP POP POP!

    *giggle*

We’re pretty much ready, save for all the last-minute admin details, closing of accounts, address changes, etc. That stuff always takes way longer than we plan, but we should be on track for an on-time departure on the 31st. Which is more than I can say for United. Not to bring that up again…

Thawed

I know, I know, it’s been ages. I hope you still remember me. Listen, I got back from that crazy tropical vacation in Buffalo about 2 weeks ago, and I justrightnowtoday finished thawing out.

I could write a whole book of poetry on how cold it was, using words like frigid and icewind and hellashiver, but you probably wouldn’t believe me. So, allow me to say it with the following 5-thousand word pictorial essay:

Encased

Blizzard Dance

End of the World

WTF

HP

At least the music was good. Drinks, too, from what I remember.

*Hiccup!*
*Covers mouth…*
*Withholds incriminating stories from HP groupie front-lines…*
*Blurs…*

You Are Now Entering the Spirit World

Getting to Buffalo in the winter (read: October through May) always presents a special challenge, including but not limited to such previously experienced setbacks as:

  • Sleeping on airport floors.
  • Sitting on the jetway for multiple rounds of de-icer.
  • Deplaning multiple times. To fly, or not to fly? That is the question.
  • Circling Buffalo International Airport for hours, hovering above hurricane-force winds. Look kids, there’s the Big Ben tower!
  • Being forced to land in Rochester and taking a bus up north.
  • Landing in a blizzard after the airport loses power. Um, are those seriously torches?

But last week’s outbound journey wins the Greatest Antarctic Adventure Ever award.

I’m going to skip all of the horrible details about getting on and off the plane 3 times on account of a supposed dead battery charger (not sure if the pilot was referring to the plane or his iPod, but either way he couldn’t get the part in time and we had to wait for a new plane) and get right to the good stuff.

See, no one ever talks to me in airports or on planes or in lines or in any public settings, like, ever. It’s like I’m wearing headphones. But not. So imagine my surprise when, as I sat on the airport floor awaiting the third round of boarding at DIA, a young man sat across from me and started a conversation! With me! La la la!

  • Young Man: Do you have a connection in DC?
  • Me: Yes, Buffalo. You?
  • YM: Belgium. But that’s only the beginning of the journey. The rest of it, well… you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.
  • Me: I probably would. You should totally tell me.
  • YM: It’s a special kind of journey. You can’t get there by plane or even by walking.
  • Me: *blink*
  • YM: Look. *procures multiple glossy brochures*
  • Me: *freaks out a little on inside; yet… strangely intrigued*
  • YM: See all these castles? Well, you can’t get in through the doors or windows. You can only get in through a special door in the spirit world. That’s where I’m going.
  • Me: *wonders if this is veiled cry for help; looks around for sharp objects*
  • YM: Hey, do you want to go to the spirit world with me? We can go right now. Right here in the airport. You and me. *smiles*
  • Me: Nah, I’m cool.
  • YM: All you have to do is look at this picture and chant with me. *strokes card featuring couple on horse; chants*
  • Me: *blink*
  • YM: Isn’t the material world frustrating?
  • Me: Not really. It could be worse.
  • YM: *clearly flustered* Look. Do you want to know about the two most important men in my life? They live in the spirit world. Would you like to hear what they have to say?
  • Me: No.
  • YM: Okay. I’m sorry I talked to you.

Ohmygod, whatever, Spirit Boy! First person in the history of travel to ever talk to me unprovoked and this is what I get? I’m like Lou Diamond Phillips in Young Guns when all his friends are on some crazy freaking peyote trip. “We’re in the spirit world, asshole. They can’t see us!”

Besides, it’s not that I didn’t want to go to the spirit world—because I kind of did—it’s just that I needed a little more information. Never take a ride with strangers and all that, you know? The brochures. The chanting. The zoned out monotone spell-casting. It was all just a bit creepy as far as recruiting strategies go. And I was about to point out exactly that, offering an alternative marketing plan via a multimedia presentation with cascading bullet points and pie charts, when I noticed a blond woman in black leather (The perfect travel outfit. Hot!) waving at me from across the gate area. I smiled a polite-but-disinterested smile and looked away, grateful for the distraction from Spirit Boy, who was now happily chanting at his horse-people card.

Leather Woman immediately grabbed up her bag and crossed the gate to meet me. Great. Another one! When she arrived exactly in my personal space, I noticed the teetering, and the fumes (speaking of the spirit world). She put her arm around me as if we were old chums which, according to her, we were.

  • Leather Woman: Ohmygod, I totally remember you!
  • Me: You do?
  • LW:: Yes!
  • Me: From where?
  • LW: Ohmygod! From the bar! *points down terminal; nearly topples*
  • Me: I wasn’t at the bar.
  • LW: Yes you were. And I remember you. Because I could never forget someone like you. Therefore, I remember you! *ponders the mystery of it all*
  • Me: I promise I wasn’t there.
  • LW: *looks momentarily disappointed* Oh, okay. Well, you should have been! That’s where we all were! *gestures wildly at other awaiting passengers; almost topples again*
  • Me: Cool.
  • LW: I know… you should totally go to the bar right now!
  • Me: Nah, I’m okay.
  • LW: Fine. Well, either way. I will never forget you!
  • Me: Awesome. Good luck getting on the plane.

At this point I’m like, please can we get on this fucking plane please please please? And guess what? We did! And after only a 4-hour delay and a near-death experience on the DC to Buffalo prop plane that was doing a little seesaw action on the landing, I arrived in Buffalo just after the airport re-opened from an earlier ice storm. My little brother was there to greet me.

Helicopter Pilot

The drummer, Scott? He’s my little brother. When we got to the bar, because what else do you do in a blizzard, he handed me a drink.

  • Me: Thanks.
  • Rock star baby brother: Don’t be like our other sister, Steve.* Keep up, okay?
  • Me: *downs drink in single sip, Buffalo-style; cuts hair into attractive lady-mullet*
  • RSBB: Sweet.

I’ve been in the spirit world ever since. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so judgmental.


*Steve is actually our brother. But last month, after spending the night hugged up around the toilet in my little brother’s apartment after only 2 nights as a groupie, and then going home to mommy’s house to “sleep it off,” he become known as our other sister.