Home Sweet Home

So we’ve been in Buffalo for two weeks, and this morning, here’s what we have going on in the front yard:

gas leak

Nothing to worry about. Just your every day natural gas leak. They knocked on the door this morning to tell us they had to shut off the gas (so now I have a legitimate excuse to skip my shower and to go out to dinner instead of the flimsy excuses I pull out of a hat each morning), and within an hour, the front yard was destroyed.

It looks fun, tearing things up and causing destruction with little trucks, but I’m not sure I’d sign up for that job. Too dangerous, messing with natural gas. Just like when the guy came two weeks ago to convert some of the 2-prong plugs to 3-prong plugs. They’re still not 100% properly grounded according to this little test plug thingy Dad brought over, but I’m not about to mess with electrical currents in my free time, just like I’m not about to poke my head into that hole outside even though the National Fuel guys just left it there all gaping and torn up and where’s Jimmy Hoffa and all.

Like many homes in Elmwood Village, ours was built in the late 1800s, which means that we can hear every step on the old wood floors, but the place will probably stand up to an earthquake or zombie apocalypse. It also comes complete with original stained glass windows, built in cabinetry, and uber-creeptastic basement artifacts.

Stained glass


old stove



But the best part is that I finally have my own office! Still a work in progress — we are woefully short on bookshelves at the moment, but we’ll be ordering those shortly. My dad is also going to build me a table-slash-desk, and then I’m going to cover the walls in photographs.


Now that we’re semi-mostly unpacked, we’ve been exploring the neighborhood, too. We’re walking distance from some of the best Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian restaurants in town, not to mention DeLish bakery, where I accidentally bought this exquisitely dangerous German chocolate brownie:

German chocolate brownie

I think I’ll just leave you with that for now. Stay tuned tomorrow for a gas leak update and shots of Delaware Park in fall!

Where Do We Go From Here?

Six months ago, we packed up our lives1 in Colorado to move back to New York City. But maybe that old saying about how you can’t go home again is true, because in eight days, we’re packing it in (er, up) and heading for greener (er, snowier) pastures.

End of the World

NYC to Us: “Why You Want To Leave Me?”

Okay, you know that guy that in high school who’s like the hottest guy ever and when he looks at you your insides start turning inside out? And one day when he smiles at you and says hi and actually uses your name instead of just doing that stupid what-up man-nod that boys always do when they’re around their friends your whole heart is about to explode right out of your chest? And then one day you find yourself innocently making out with him behind the school and you don’t even care that everyone is watching, or that in one day this guy knows more about your undergarments than the sales girl at Vicky’s?

But then you stop kissing long enough to get to know him and it turns out he’s about as dumb as a box of hair and he’s mean to his little sister and he kicks puppies in his spare time and also, he hits on your best friend? But he’s still really really hot and he brings you a rose and a little white bear on Valentine’s Day and you kind of forget about the best friend thing until naked pictures of her show up on his MySpace page, and even then you kind of laugh it off because he’s still really really hot and the other night in the Taco Bell parking lot you were shivering so he gave you his favorite black hoodie that you sleep with now because it still smells like him, even though the whole school is talking about those MySpace pics?

Yeah, that guy.

Anyway, that’s kind of why we’re moving. Not that NYC kicks puppies or anything, I’m just saying. Home is not what it once was for me – for many reasons. Did you get that from my clever (albeit quite-a-stretch) analogy?


Where To?

In 8 days, Alex and I are wandering up to Buffalo. Before you say anything, let me assure you that any rumors you’ve heard about Buffalo are probably true, but feel free to ask if you have any questions or curiosities. We’re excited to spend some quality time up there, especially since we work from home and therefore don’t have to shovel snow. Our neighborhood has everything we could ask for — a farmer’s market, an independent bookstore, Greek diners open all night, multiple coffee places, multiple veggie restaurants, a kick-ass library, close to Wegmans2, and my baby brother who is as funny and talented as he is adorable (not that I’m pimping him or anything, but ladies, he’s single AND he’s not afraid to cry over girly YA books…)!

Expect lots of dispatches from the Queen City as we get settled into our new place in the coming weeks… just in time for fresh orchard apples and real cider, Halloween, and probably the first of many blizzards3. I’ve also heard rumors that a rabid squad of 20-somethings4 is conspiring to turn me and Alex into a couple of beer-drinking, bar-hopping, goal-post-climbing Buffalo Bills fans (among *cough* other things), but like I told aforementioned baby brother, we are the grown-ups in this operation, damn it, and we’re not above going all After School Special on the lot of ’em!

*cough* Kids these days!

So you’ll have those stories to look forward to. See, I told you after my long blog absence I would make it up to you! Well maybe I forgot to tell you, tell you, but I was thinking it, and now you’ll reap the bounty of my Buffalo-bound babbling all winter.

In the words of Napoleon Dynamite… “LUCKY!”

P.S. No puppies were harmed in the writing of this blog post.

1. By we, I mean me, Alex, our friend Criptoper, and two of Helicopter Pilot’s finest, who helped us drive 2,000 miles with severe hangovers and only to get grounded from Omaha, but we’re not bringing that up again!


See? Aren’t the adorable? And hard-working, too!

2. For those of you unschooled in the glory that is Wegmans, see here. My first real job was as a Wegmans cashier. They had all these tracking systems so they could time how long it would take us to complete an order, even if it wasn’t our fault that the customer was digging in her purse for change or coupons or her club card. It was very high-stakes for a grocery job. Anyway, Wegmans is much cooler now than when I worked there, but they probably still time the employees.
3. This is not an exaggeration. Ask anyone to share childhood memories of Halloween in Buffalo and you will undoubtedly hear words like “snowsuit” and “frostbite.”
4. Yes, your honor. That’s them.


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!


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.


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:


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:



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…




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…

UCRD: Lose 50 Pounds in 2 Hours!

You heard me, folks. Drop 50 pounds in 2 hours on my patented Useless Crap Reduction Diet!

If you experience any of the following symptoms on a regular basis, you need the UCRD!

  • Is guilt eating away your stomach lining about all those thoughtful yet completely useless gifts still in their original packaging? Yes, the ones you have to dig out and put on display whenever those well-meaning but clueless gift-givers pay a visit? (“Oh, a needlepoint kit of the Battle at Wounded Knee… you shouldn’t have. No, you really shouldn’t have.”)
  • Does your “stuff” weigh more than your home? Do you even know what’s in half of those boxes?
  • Have you recently misplaced any small animals or children? (Hint: check those boxes)
  • Do you have so many dustable knick-knacks that you spent precious time at the grocery store comparing and contrasting Pledge vs. the Swiffer?
  • Do you have nightmares about losing your Useless Crap in some sort of Martian raid on your neighborhood?
  • Do you own any teeny tiny spoons, teeny tiny books, teeny tiny shoes, teeny tiny ceramic people, or any other teeny tiny item that could never be used as the actual object it represents?
  • Do you save your VHS tapes even after tossing out your VCR?
  • Do you have a room in your home that no one is allowed to sit in because they might break, stain, steal or otherwise ruin the carefully crafted atmosphere?
  • Do you have a bunch of random things in a drawer that can be used as gifts should you get invited to a party five minutes before it starts?
  • Do you have a bunch of random things in a drawer that you received as gifts when you invited someone to a party five minutes before it started?
  • Do you frequently leave Target with a $200 receipt for stuff and then forget what you bought as soon as you get home? And then when you open the bags you realize that half the stuff you bought is plastic bins in which to store the other half of the stuff?
  • Does your closet contain any of the following: stonewashed jeans, jeans with ankle zippers, your 8th grade school picture outfit, your prom dress, clothes you haven’t worn in more than two years, clothes with the tags still on, clothes you forgot you had, clothes that don’t match anything else, or a hamster ball / habitrail kit?
  • Ladies, are you still holding on to that half-spent Victoria’s Secret Floral Fantasy bath gel? Peach body spray? Satsuma Orange Shower Gel? Loves Baby Soft? Come on, you know you have a basket under your bathroom sink with every flavor lotion Bath & Body ever made!

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then you need my patented Useless Crap Reduction Diet, guaranteed to help you lose 50 or more pounds of random, unrelated, stress-inducing GARBAGE in just two hours! Don’t believe me? Take a look at THIS!

It’s like a game that’s fun for the whole family! Can you find the following Useless Crap in the pictures above?

  • A little red journal 2 inches high and 2 inches wide. You can fit about one word on each page, and there’s a teeny little coffee cup on the front and a red ribbon bookmark. It’s so cute! But thanks to the UCRD, it’s GONE!
  • Men At Work cassette tape, featuring such classics as “Vegemite Sandwich,” whose owner I shall not name (hint: not me) – GONE!
  • Little green balls that make gentle little “I’m not going crazy, I’m not!” bell noises when you roll them in your hand – GONE!
  • Brown fringed pillows that ended up in our living room after a gag white elephant party – GONE!
  • And for Miss Hains… a certain “previously viewed” video given to me by a certain friend several years ago, recently confessed as her certain “previously viewed” way to judge certain relationship choices of mine… hmmmm…

Concerned about the environment? Reduce, Reuse, yadda yadda yadda? The Useless Crap Reduction Diet is 100% ecologically friendly! When you eliminate junk with the UCRD, we guarantee that someone else will take – even purchase – with actual money – your load of Useless Crap!

Remember, if you can’t wear it, eat it, or read it, it’s Useless Crap! If you do one and only one thing this week, let it be to end this madness immediately with the Useless Crap Reduction Diet! Act now! Don’t delay! Grab a bin and get to work!

(oh, if only we could end our empty plastic bin addiction… must… get… bin intervention…)

Terms and Conditions: If your initials are M.O.M., no, you may not ask me what’s in the box. You may not have any of it. You may not ask me in five years “Whatever happened to that stained, broken *insert useless crap here* that so-and-so gave you in 1976? I bet you gave it away, didn’t you! That was a precious family heirloom!” You may not contact my regional Goodwill and ask them for an itemized list of my donations so that you can get them back. In fact, you should probably just forget that you ever read this post – that would best for all parties involved.

This post is dedicated to my favorite monster and UCRD champion.

Thank you for your support of the Useless Crap Reduction Diet!