To backtrack a little, yesterday I once again had to sweep our polished concrete floors with a dustpan. Hands and knees style. Which is no easy feat when you’re trying to collect a month’s worth of dust and pet hair from a fairly decent sized apartment with two dogs and a husband residing in it.
Fed up, and contrary to the h’s insistence that we purchase nothing (though I noted he has purchased both an Amazon Prime membership for the year and continues his Rdio subscription – both rather unneccessary expenses) I looked on Amazon and found the perfect solution.
Introducing the BISSELL PowerEdge Pet Hard Floor Vacuum.
I propose two major reasons this is the invention of the housewife century. 1 – it’s completely self contained, but still powerful, in a small upright design that is self supporting. So you can walk away from it when it’s upright, and it stays there. 2 – IT PICKS UP A RIDICULOUS AMOUNT OF PET HAIR, DUST, CRUMBS and other filth instead of just pushing it around the floor like the joyful spoils of the nastiest pinata ever.
Now, it may be shocking to you to see me rejoicing about an appliance but let me let you in on a secret. Despite my incredible coolness, the amazingly aspirational aspects of my appearance, the fast-paced career I have just left – I LOVE the trappings of housewifery.
Case in point – at this moment I have a casserole simmering away on the stovetop, to parcel out and freeze for a ‘rainy day’. Because I like home cooked food, and I enjoy preparing nutritious meals.
I get immense satisfaction from ‘everything in its place’.
I have an unnatural obsession with perfectly folded towels and colour coordinated clothing in wardrobes. And ALL MATCHING HANGERS. (And I am not OCD, but I am very house proud).
It is a surprise to me, actually, that I love these things so much. I have always considered myself quite a modern woman. I am in a situation where I am forced to be at home. But even when I work 10-12 hour days I obsess about the same things. I get so much satisfaction from fresh linen on the bed, throwing open the curtains to greet the day, spring cleaning the cupboards. I also get great of satisfaction from nailing a new business pitch, landing the perfect PR placement for a client, or hurting like hell yet pushing through a pain threshold I didn’t know existed while I’m working out.
So I am happy to revel in my housewifery as another gleaming pearl on the necklace of my personality. Tea, anyone?
Remember what it was like to be sick, last time you were sick? Probably not, because if you did, you’d remember not to pass it on to someone else next time. You’d stay home and make sure nobody else felt the way you did. But seeing as we each get to a point where we think “Actually I don’t feel that bad, and I really need to do x” and pass all this lovely stuff around I thought I’d dedicate this post to the sickies out there who just caught something off someone.
Apparently it’s very un-NY to stay at home when you’re sick. You keep going to work (work can be hard to come by). You keep going out (there’s stuff on.) There are subway poles to lick. People to sneeze on.
Yes, I’m under the weather, just to add to the current list of maladies I am battling off a feverish episode that has left my body feeling like boiled lunch meat in week old garbage. Lovely huh? 🙂
The strange thing is, I feel like working out – because my body is so gross to me right now – even though I know it won’t really help my getting over whatever it is… I am just sick of feeling soft, lazy, immobile. (In case you think I’m crazy – I just spent the last couple of months getting over two operations.)
I also have a strong craving for carbs and dairy – two things I know will set off any number of digestive complaints… even if I do order the vegan (dairy free) gluten free mac and cheese from Brooklyn Mac… It’s tempting.. but carbs.. is it worth it? So I’m sitting here on my MacBook, and I’m switching between the menu for Brooklyn Mac, and the menu for M Noodle (dumplings… mmmm). Which do I want? Do I even want food? Do I have enough cash? Why can’t someone order for me?
All in all, I’m a HOT MESS of a woman. Cannot make up my mind what to do. It’s just as well I’m home alone or I’d probably be picking a fight or simply driving h crazy with my indecisive, maudlin, cry-baby attitude.
At any rate – I thought you might like a recap of the weekend. It was a rather lovely weekend (before my fever set in again last night) and it was largely thanks to our lovely downstairs neighbours.
While Saturday was forecast over 100 degrees (fahrenheit, obviously, for the dummies) the searing heat was no deterrent for the Giglio festival. You heard me.
Now, the Giglio festival is exactly like what you would expect if someone said the phrase “EYE-talian American” to you, put it in a bottle, shook it around and sprayed it at your Cousin Vinny. It was loud, a little dramatic, but sweet and full of meat.
The Feast of Giglio, also known as the Cooperative Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and San Paolino di Nola, is a street celebration held annually in Williamsburg to remind inhabitants to eat. Mainly fried objects. They also erect a large statue of a saint, make charitable contributions to the church in exchange for a name plate on a large wall, and watch old Ronnie recreate his halcyon days as a dance hall singer on the church steps.
For a hilarious but very detailed description of foods and drinks available check out the Short & Bald Eat New York‘s review. I am shocked, but also annoyed to discover that the Pina Coladas we all decided couldnt possibly be alcoholic ACTUALLY WERE – because it’s legal to serve alcohol on religious principle! I can’t believe I missed the opportunity to buy an overpriced, oversized colourful cup full of delicious goodness.
Oh stuff it, I’m ordering the mac & cheese. Ah. Okay. That’s better.
So the neighbours had Philly Cheese Steaks – haven’t tried one of these yet – can’t remember what the h ate (something meaty I’m sure) and I sampled a variety of novelty foods including barbequed corn (delicious), MY FIRST PRETZEL (salty, but delicious), pink lemonade (the real lemon variety) and a chicken skewer then felt as if I might throw up. Michael did buy some zeppole (like a donut but in a random shape dusted with icing sugar) and I know this will sound crazy – me loving sweet things and pastry – but I could take or leave it. Not sweet enough 🙂
Spotted: Scariest Bozo the Clown ever cajoling the crowds as he smoked on his perch nonchalantly – dunk Bozo indeed.
On our amble home (attempt to walk off calories) we spotted this gorgeous bar and decided to stop for a refreshing, iced cocktail (calorie burning attempt failure no. 245,049). Owned by a lovely French man, the bar was exceptionally trendy but still friendly. The cocktails were pleasant, company excellent, and this bar, she take a good photo. Eric doused it with his drink so we decided to continue walking home. 🙂
Spotted: Verizon building 2 blocks from our house – no windows for 4 floors – neighbours have identified it as excellent place to hide from zombies.
Sunday we had a very long sleep in and in defiance of yet another scorching forecast decided to head out to the Brooklyn Flea Markets down by the water in Williamsburg.
On our way we made a pit stop at our local donut boutique – Dunwell Doughnuts. Awesomely retro-styled goodness.
We took the subway to Bushwick Ave and walked down to the markets.
It was there that I had my first celebrity spot of my life in New York – Jonathan Cheban. Watchers of Keeping Up with the Kardashians will know Jonathan as Kim’s publicist at CommandPR. I did a little “I might wee my pants” dance but didn’t ask for a photo. I mean really, I’m not a child. Alright – bible, I just chickened out.
Whilst in W’burg we perused overpriced antiques, I walked into my first proper ‘bar’ (smells like beer! just like back home!) looking for somewhere to eat, and decided to go back to Cafe Ella for my favourite Cobb Salad with dressing on the side.
After refreshing our sweet selves we caught the subway home, I worked out, and after I made dinner for h (and fruit salad for me) started feeling rather poorly.
So that was my weekend! We also started watching HBO’s The Newsroom which is pretty amazing, if not a little unbelievable (seen the second ep? End of the ep – completely out of character. But, FINE.)
How was your weekend? If you think these questions at the end are rhetorical you’re wrong. I really do want to know 🙂
My Non-Mac and Cheese just got here. Gotta run….
I am aware we have never met, and in fact my writing an online etude to your brilliance will likely get me a) banned from your immediate vicinity and b) laughed at by many of my (20) readers.
I feel compelled to write to you in order to appeal to your ego and in one equally exacting stroke, your compassion.
Tonight I have trussed myself up to impress the hipsters down the road in order to get a job. And I was forced to wonder why when I could be doing the very same, for you! So here I go.
I would do anything to help you create the mint encrusted lamb chop that is GIRLS. I will sit and listen to no end of vitriolic ear bashing. I am well versed in both taking and giving copious amounts of grief, should you require a third party proxy to assist with dealing with the series stakeholders. I make an excellent vodka+lemonade and cheese on toast.
I also have an endless amount of material for you to mine, having possibly dated the most colourful collection of men since Ali Baba and the 40 thieves.
My friend Natalia says to tell you she loves your foul mouth and awkward sex scenes.
I am serious!
So it’s the fourth of July, which is a holiday here.
I’m taking the holiday, and not blogging today. Here’s some pics of the view that i took tonight from our rooftop in Brooklyn. Fireworks everywhere, and a blood moon. Beautiful.
Also met our super sweet neighbours from across the hall who have invited us over for a drink. Super excited they seem lovely. Two cute, friendly, gorgeous guys who have been together for fifteen years! So sweet. And they have two dogs too. Both in the rag trade as well. Can’t wait.
Happy Independence Day, this one’s for all the lovers out there. Haters need not apply.
They say moving is in the top 5 most stressful experiences you can have in your life, up there with changing jobs, getting married (or divorced), someone dying…
I would have to say after yesterday that I wholeheartedly agree – however I want to add in acknowledgement of the distance moved and then insist that it’s irrelevant. As is the number of items. The amount of stress is directly proportionate to the common language skills of all parties and the likelihood that your movers are from a Russian crime syndicate keen on taking you (not just your furniture) on a ride.
Let’s start at the beginning shall we?
This was the list.
– Go to owner of dining table‘s place, pay for and pick up table. Put in back of SUV.
– Go to owner of sofas’ place. Pay for sofa lounges then let her know to wait for movers at 7.
– Go to owner of coffee tables’ place. Pay for coffee tables then let her know to wait for movers at 7.30
– Go home. Assemble dining table and reading chair.
– Receive movers and aforementioned goods around 8pm
Here’s what actually happened.
Before I leave, I assemble the reading chair I’ve received. I’ll show you later.
4pm. I ordered a town car SUV/van. Waited 5 minutes. Got a sedan. Called back. Told them I didn’t order a sedan, and that I needed a van (it wasnt just my body dysmorphia requiring a van.. I actually needed to pick up stuff). Waited another 10 minutes. Got an SUV.
4.16pm Judging by the growth of baby hairs on his chin, SUV driver is around 12 or 13 years old. Think to myself, I may die. Send out final tweet, just in case. Decide (thanks to Natalia) to call him Ramon. Go Ramon, Go!
4.30pm Arrive at dining table residence. Ramon waits outside. Craigslist listing failed to mention table top has a corner missing, that looks like it’s been chewed by a zombie on bath salts. Not sure what to do and conscious of the time I agree to buy a completely different table for the same price.
4.36pm Load table into SUV with Ramon’s help. He is surprisingly strong for a 12 year old.
4.48pm Stuck in shocking traffic. Ramon is muttering into his earpiece. After my third attempt at striking up conversation I find out his name is Eduardo. I decide to stick to Ramon. GO, RAMON, GO!
5.05pm Arrive at the lovely Samantha’s house. She looks radiant with her clean hair and unwrinkled dress. By contrast, at this point my shorts are creased somewhere around my armpits and my tank top is feeling like it grew out of my sweat fungus. I pay her the balance for the sofas, thank her profusely, and run back to Ramon. GO, RAMON, GO!
5.20pm Arrive at the coffee table place. Ramon insists he won’t turn down the actual street because of the traffic. I run from the corner to the middle of the block, then buzz a somewhat dodgy looking doorbell to meet Craigslist person #3. Her name is Magdalia, which my tongue refuses to say. Not sure why. The coffee tables are just as lovely in person, but still loaded with her stuff. In a hurry to clear them off (thinking I am taking them with me) she whips her stereo (by the cord) into the air and catches it. Impressive. I tell her she doesn’t need to hurry – the movers won’t be by until 7pm. She tries to sell me two lamps and give me a microwave. I feel ill at the thought of dealing with any more items today.
5.25pm Back in the SUV, I sit back thinking “Now all I have to do is wait at home, in air conditioned comfort”. Ramon does his best to drive under the speed limit the whole way back. I wonder if what he was mumbling earlier was that he wanted to put me on minutes, rather than the flat fee. I kick myself for not clarifying it first. I imagine a $150 taxi fare. I try to calm myself down thinking about other things, which doesn’t work.
5.35pm Stuck in traffic. Don’t these people have homes to go to? Oh.
5.45pm Get call from Russian movers whilst still in car. Call goes something like this – Him: “(unintelligible) We are outside. What apartment number?” Me: Who is this? What apartment are you at? You’re not booked until 7pm” Him: “(unintelligible) movers (unintelligible) (unintelligible)”, Me: “What. Street. Are. You. On? Are you at Union Street?” Him: “No, no, not Union Street”, Me (fearing they are at my house) “Are you at my house?” (looking back, I realise how dumb that was, but I was flustered, ok?) Him: “Yes yes we are at your house” Me: “WHAT? Where are you. What. Street. Are. You. On.” Him: “We are at blah blah avenue.” Me, guessing they mean the coffee table address: “Go to Apartment ONE R. FOR RABBIT.” He hangs up. I quickly call Craigslist #3 (Magdalia) and warn her they are outside. She croons in her soft, round accent it’s okay with her. I hang up. My phone then rings 4 times in the next 13 minutes. The conversation topics covered:
Him: “Who signs the contract? Your friend?” Me: “What contract? What does it say?” Him: “You need confirm start time” Me: “I know what time you started, you called me when you got there.” He hangs up. So rude, but I start to get used to it. I start cursing loudly in the back seat. Ramon shrinks into his captains chair which is looking larger and larger as he shrinks smaller and smaller. I resist the urge to stroke his hair to calm him down.
5.57pm THE VERY SHORTENED VERSION – more calls. Magdalia: “Um. These guys don’t seem to know where they’re going.” Me: “I emailed them an itinerary yesterday. Let me talk to them” Him: “You text it to me, on my phone”. My car pulls up to the curb. I text the addresses while trying to pay Ramon, who while I have been on the phone has pulled out the dining table (so strong!) and dumped it with the garbage bins on the side of the road. Ramon kindly only charges me $60 for 2 hours driving which I don’t blink at, after worrying about a $100+ fare. He leaves. Whilst texting I notice cars slowing down to inspect my dining table. I stand protectively in front of it, with its four legs under my arm, texting furiously trying not to lose my sunglasses in the bargain. He calls again “How many men you like?” Dumbfounded, I insist. TWO. One to punch and the other to drop kick. F%$K.
6.15pm Somehow get all items inside. Get to work putting dining table together.
6.17pm Send a facebook message to ask our lovely downstairs neighbours to borrow their screwdriver (again). They oblige. I meet them in the backyard. They listen to me complain generously, then (saved by the bell!) their burrito dinner arrives so we all go inside. I get back to work assembling the dining table on my own.
In typical Adriana fashion instead of waiting for someone to help me flip it, I attempt to flip it by myself. Realise my legs are around a foot too short for this task. Flip it anyway.
SHEER WILL PEOPLES.
6.25pm Receive call from first address to say that the movers still dont know where they’re going. Magdalia gets on the phone to transcribe the addresses into written form on an envelope to give to them. I apologise for the hassle, hang up, and suddenly understand why men punch walls.
6.36pm Receive text from second pick up address to say movers have arrived and left. At least they figured out that much.
6.56pm H arrives home. Start telling him adventures so far. He looks at dining table and looks back at me – that’s nothing like what we said. I die inwardly, thinking, if he doesn’t like this table, I might kill him with the table, then I will go into a female jail and become some huge woman’s bitch just to save myself from my teeth being punched in and I’m not sure I could really become sincerely attached to someone that butch but I really like having teeth. He says he likes it. I’m surprised, but relieved.
7.04pm Shock at H’s reaction interrupted by arrival of mover. Small Russian of around 20 years arrives with contract for me to sign but carrying nothing. Contract has no charges on it apart from the agreed $55 per hour. I check start time and sign it. He says he will be back in one moment, has to call Boss.
7.07pm Russian returns, still no items. Contract now displays a total of $265 payable immediately. I almost fall over, then launch into explaining that there is no way I will pay that because it was not what is quoted. He says he doesn’t know what I was quoted, “but this is what cost.”
I will save you from reliving the next 45 minutes. Needless to say it involved alternating repetitions of the following exercises:
– me screaming at the young Russian man, pleading, reasoning, and then screaming some more
– me screaming on the phone to his boss who hangs up on me about 3 times, that’s when he’s not talking over me. (I did start out calmly by the way, but after being hung up on, then someone insists on talking over you, then threatens to sue you when you threaten to call the cops, you start getting shirty)
– Michael screaming at the young Russian and the boss, and me telling him to shut up (because I was doing a much better job, I assure you)
– young Russian insisting it’s not his fault, he gets paid $12 an hour. I feel bad.
8.02pm Finally Michael has the boss agree to take what we originally got quoted, but they are leaving everything on the sidewalk. FINE. Young Russian calls his boss, clearly gets torn a new one, hangs up then goes down stairs, red faced. I feel bad again.
8.05pm Michael asks the amazing downstairs neighbours to help bring our furniture up from the street.
8.18pm We all collapse on the sofas and I decide now is as good a time as any to open a cider. Realise we haven’t eaten. Order the penultimate moving food – Pizza. Except this time, it’s NY Pizza and it’s VODKA PIZZA and when it arrives half an hour later, it’s amazing.
Okay, okay so it’s not the whole story. I did also unpack, windex and assemble everything before bed and set it up so I could show you SEE HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU GUYS? and while I am somewhat concerned I will be the target of a hit, sometime soon, I am glad that we didn’t back down.
PS – Mum – don’t worry – I’m being dramatic. And we’re in a security building.
Today I am picking up furniture from 3 corners of Brooklyn, with 2 modes of transportation and a simple hope that everything will arrive and be executed correctly.
A vain prayer, but one I hope is heard.
Three coffee tables and the two sofas are being retrieved from their previous homes in Parkslope, but not before I make a grand entrance via SUV to drop off cash in payment for said items. If I can will my legs to move from this stool to make the journey. The movers will visit the lovely Samantha, and the elusive owner of the coffee tables, around 7pm this evening.
I’ll retrieve the dining table from Greenpoint on my way home.
This operation will not be possible without the compliance of both a willing SUV town car and the english comprehension skills of the movers.
I will post photos as soon as everything has arrived.
Pray for me, dear reader.
The creation of an identity is intrinsically artificial – we only need to look at the artful construction of self-presentation to see this grand production made vivid in a gesture, a manner of dress, or a way of thinking. All cues that can be learned, modified, honed to perfection for the absolute achievement – in successfully manipulating ones life into a spectrum of acceptable experience – for the self and inevitably for others.
It’s a distasteful thing, to think of your own self as something you pieced together consciously – as if this could not possibly be authentic. As if it’s a departure from your naturally born being – that pink, bleating organism that opened eyes upon the world and just was.
Yet the necessity of the construction is – to me – evident in the process of day to day life. That elemental forging of a being through one’s assimilated experiences and choices – perhaps in the misguided pursuit of happiness – cannot be cast aside to reveal Ground Zero. That in itself is a duck and weave from the reality of the very nature of being.
No, I didn’t take LSD today. But I digress.
Two mind-altering things did happen.
Firstly, being a Saturday (and a rare opportunity to wander New York together) the H and I decided to venture into W’burg proper – more accurately into hipsterville. Arriving early on a Saturday had two advantages – firstly that it was not busy (though most shops had barely opened), and secondly that the atmosphere hadn’t yet rustled up the anticipated 40 or so degrees that had been forecast.
The first scenario involved an uninterested and hirsute roadside bookseller who just happened to have two books on sale by authors I had been thinking about over the past two days. Both female writers whose work I admire, in charming editions that were $5 a piece. Of course I bought them. And have already started to re-devour each. I can already feel the words of these women infecting my consciousness, as all good literature does, and I love it.
The second was a run in with a second-hand store owner whose store I admittedly browsed at length whilst stealing glances of various items, mentally stashing them into potential holes in our unfurnished home. Let’s just call it the Junk Store. In half an hour of un-airconditioned wandering I found 3 items in the entire store – a shed filled with piles and piles of rubbish. This must be the most satisfying part of all – the feeling that I edited my way through thousands of lifetimes of knick knacks and memorabilia. Discarded, salvaged, priced to sell.
Approaching the cash-register happily, I then placed each item amongst the refuse that had been previously collected on the counter. A dour faced woman eyed me suspiciously, then glanced at the first item.
“I’m not selling you this,” she says.
“Pardon? I don’t understand?”
“You changed the sticker. I know what this is meant to cost. I just priced it myself.”
As happens with all my brushes with authority, I quickly examine my conscience for a memory of having done something wrong.
“But I just picked it up off that shelf – that one there – and I didn’t do anything to it.” My pitch is starting to rise and falter slightly, panicking because unlike the guilty, I haven’t a response prepared. I check my sweaty hands, front and back, to see if somehow maybe a price sticker has rolled off onto them?
“Listen, lady, that’s what you all say. You walk up here and you say innocently, “I didn’t change the sticker, I swear”, but I know what it should cost – I just put the price on.”
By now I’m exasperated – even feeling a little teary – and not wanting to let this carrion of a woman reduce me to a scene I take a breath.
“Look, I didn’t do anything. What is it supposed to cost then – I will pay whatever it’s supposed to be. I just want to buy it.” Deep breath.
“No, I’m not selling it to you. That’s our policy. If you change the sticker, I won’t sell it to you.” She sets it aside, amongst the detritus, and starts ringing up the other items on the cash register as I consider telling her where to stick them. But I really want the item in question now – it’s a matter of principle, of clearing my name…
I take one more breath, and finally retort “Why don’t you check the cameras then. I have a clear conscience, so you can say whatever you like. I didn’t do anything wrong. And you know, I understand your position, but I really don’t appreciate being accused of something I haven’t done.” I stare her down.
She looks back at me. “Alright, alright, I believe you, that’s why I’m selling it to you.”
Incredulous, I watch as she totals the tally – $13 – and starts to wrap each item in newspaper. Finally she wraps the item in question. I hand over a $20, mentally scanning for something satisfying to say to this woman who is doing exactly what I wanted her to do anyway, what she should be doing because I haven’t done anything wrong, but no words come.
She hands me my change, and a plastic bag emblazoned with repeating red “Thank You”s that’s filled with newspaper and junk and saying nothing nothing! what a loser! I walk out of the store to find the H in a pink mist of frustration.
It occurs to me on the way home how hilarious this is, but not before I have enjoyed stewing in a funk of a mood that matches the weather for obnoxiousness.
Why so hilarious?
Not because I realise that I shouldn’t really give two flying ones what she thought of me when I knew I’d done nothing wrong. When I knew the person that I am wouldn’t bother doing something like that. Because from a tender age the thought of shoplifting leaves me with a telltale blush of shame over my face and chest.
Hilarious, my dear readers, because The Incident was over this:
And that…. is that. The moral of the story is, if you’re going to feel like an arse, it might as well be over one.
For those interested, these were the other two items. One day I’ll have a surface to display them on.