Friday, February 29, 2008

The perilous adventures of Miss McShine

Yes, the Verizon saga continues. The "secret" phone number to the "Brooklyn engineers" finally panned out, as the woman answering it on Wednesday who thought she could solve my problem, gave up on Thursday because she wasn't getting a response from whomever, and referred me to what she called a "PCP" desk. I called the number she gave, and it was the corporate switchboard, and the first woman who answered rudely told me I needed to call the repair number, gave me the same number I'd been calling all week without getting anywhere, and hung up on me.

I called back immediately, got a man who asked me, somewhat conspiratorially, "Tell me: have you asked to speak to a supervisor?" and when I chirped back with, "Many, many times!" He gave me an 800 to lodge a complaint. I thanked him, but said I really wanted an avenue to get my phone line repaired, not just complain about it (though there will be time for that, thank you) and he said, "But you just told me that you wanted to complain" and I said, "Yes, but..." and he said, "So?" and I said, "Is this the twilight zone?" and he said this was the corporate president's line.

So I hung up and called the old repair number, talked briefly to someone who said she would transfer me to a "supervisor" and came to check in on me several times while I was on hold to assure me she was still there. Finally got me to a supervisor, who asked, "Who am I speaking to?" So I repeated my name, and she put me on hold, for 10 minutes, at which point, suddenly I was transferred back to the opening recorded voice asking me to select an option for why I was calling. My fault, for bringing up the "Twilight Zone," right?

So I furiously went through the by now memorized series of responses, got back to another agent, who promised me that another supervisor (because I foolishly didn't get the name of the first - like I had time to ask it during the two seconds she spoke to me) would call me back within 10 minutes, they promised.

I made it only 2 minutes before my eyes settled on the 800# Mr. Corporate Switchboard had given me. I was routed to a Miss McShine, who let me tell my whole sad story, and earned points by tsk-tsk-ing and "oh that's terrible"-ing in all the appropriate spots. She ensured me that this was now an escalated issue, and that she would keep in touch with me and it would not be resolved until she confirmed with me that I was a happy customer. She told me that a Miss Byron would be calling me "asap" to escalate the repair, and that if I didn't hear from her before I left the office (it being now 4:30) she would surely leave me a vm with a number so I could follow up with her.

Tick, tock. The 10 minutes from the previous call? Nope, never called me. Miss Byron? Nothing. I admit I haven't checked my work voicemail since I left at 5:30, so maybe I'm being too quick to judge. We'll see. I supposed I should feel positive that Miss McShine is on the case, but I must say, she sounds more like a cartoon character than a real live customer service rep, so I will hold my appreciation until she dons her magic glittery cape and comes through.

All I want is a working phone line. Is it too much to ask?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

In the morning

I am sitting here at my computer on a non-gym morning, and just glanced at the time, surprised to see how quickly it has raced past 6:00 am. How could it be, when I haven't heard my upstairs neighbor's alarm clock start its cycle of beeping at 6:20, or her footsteps hit the floor at 6:35? Oh, right, those sounds are echoing in an empty apartment right now. My old one.

I continue to have no success from Verizon or Time Warner (although to be fair, the latter's next chance for resolution is a service call on Saturday.) Yesterday during my regular check-in call with Verizon I was told the problem was I was always calling the wrong number (as if I could know that) and was given the direct line to the engineers in Brooklyn who could solve my problem. Finally someone there (after being put on hold and ignored, then having someone else pick up and explain that the first guy had to run out "for an emergency") understood the situation and vowed that it would be addressed yesterday. Of course, I came home last night to no phone service. Sigh.

Meanwhile, my cell phone bill came in - Friday, my 3 hour horror fest with Time Warner, is costing me an additional $58. It was the last day of my monthly plan, although I think I thought it was day one. I rarely use my cell phone, and this is the first month in 5 1/2 years that I've gone over allotted minutes. Usually I have 200 or so left over. So, yeah, it's a shock.

I still love it here though.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Just re-reading that last post fills me with anxiety. I don't want my new life here to start out that way.

Some interesting things I've learned:

Having a washer/dryer in the basement brings a whole new level of freedom. I didn't think it would matter, but it hits at odd times - like when I brought home a few days of dirty clothes from the gym yesterday, and realized I didn't have to toss them into the hamper to wait until my next big trip to the cleaners. And I can wash my own bras on the delicate cycle and carry them upstairs to hang dry!

Having a dishwasher is fun. I've never had one before (except briefly as a teenager) and of course I get one now, just when my green footprint is being measured at every turn, and the guilt of using it is high. But it's small and so fills easily. And it was a pleasure to unpack dishes and glasses that were wrapped in newspaper and fill the racks to get rid of the newsprint smudges.

Having excess closet space is amazing. I worry slightly that it means I'll start to hoard and over-stuff, but hopefully realizing that upfront will keep it in check. I am trying to be as organized as I can, and am enjoying the fact that things I used to have to stash in corners of the old apartment (yoga mat, bags of yarn, children's books) can have their own happy home on a shelf or in a bin in the closet. I may wind up spending more money at Target and Container Store than anywhere else during this move.

My first night here was noisy, with footsteps everywhere, yet since it's been really quiet, like everyone went away for a long weekend. On the first morning the footsteps of the couple upstairs were so loud I began to feel nostalgic for the old apartment. But I haven't heard them since.

Service hell

I love my new apartment, and yet being in it fills me with anxiety. Why you ask? Because I am surrounded by constant reminders of how both Verizon and Time Warner are incapable of solving my service issues: a dead phone, a silent cable modem, a TV with a handful of channels, a broken DVR.

It just doesn't end: on Monday when I called to check on the phone, I was told that they'd showed up to fix it but I wasn't home, so left. I was told to be home on Tuesday from 8-12. I was, and despite a few calls throughout the morning to check in, was finally told they might come as late as 6, and to hang tight. When nothing happened by 5:15, I called again and was told that nobody would be coming, and furthermore, whoever told me I needed to be home was wrong. So again, every person you reach tells you the others are either liars or mistaken (and they, in turn, insisted the same.) How do you win? I keep asking, can we just get to the crux of it - how can I get service from you? No straight answer. I would switch my phone service to Time Warner, but that is obviously just as screwed up.

I don't understand it. What am I doing wrong? I've tried being tough and demanding, light-hearted and upbeat, and desperate and pleading. They get different reactions, but none actually fixes anything. Is it being a single woman? If a man called would he get a different level of response?

Monday, February 25, 2008

After Oscar

In the frenzy of my non-movie life, I never posted my Oscar picks. Oh, well. I don't know if I would have picked "No Country for Old Men," as I was pretty evenly torn between it and "There Will Be Blood," and having seen the latter more recently, its impact was fresher in my mind. I would have gotten all of the acting awards correct, with the exception of Tilda Swinton (the truly WTF moment of the evening.)

I had a friend over for my first "hosting" duties in the new place. It was fun, even with my living room still filled with boxes. Most of what I have to unpack are books, which will be quick and easy (no unwrapping or washing), but I'm struggling with the arrangement of bookcases around the piano and so keep putting it off. I am tempted to buy new bookcases right away (originally a longer term plan), as I think that once I start living with what I already have, I'll never try to change it.

I had an unfortunate night, succumbing to ice cream that my guest brought. I should have just politely said, "no thank you," but I found myself really craving it once it was in my freezer. But I had one of those terrible acid reflux attacks after I fell asleep, which nearly caused me to choke, and indeed, sent me running in to the bathroom twice with the sensation that I was going to throw up or die. But since when it happens I'm always half asleep and irrational, I kept lying back down and thinking it would just go away if I ignored it. But somehow it passed and I managed to oversleep, my alarm mistakenly set to radio (a thin static-filled in-between stations wail) rather than buzzer.

Now, my first day back to work after my vacation, I'll be late. At least my commute is shorter. Let's see how much of an impact five fewer stops will have.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

All a blur

Shortly after my last post on Friday, everything went haywire. Because my landline phone was out, I called Time Warner to let them know and give them my cell, but apparently the technician showed, stood on my stoop and called my other phone - and never rang the doorbell. He turned around and left, got into his van, and canceled my service. I only discovered any of this about twenty minutes later when I found that my email account had been deleted. I spent the next 3 hours on the phone with them, being passed from one person to another, most of the time having to explain my story again only to be told that I had the wrong person (as if I'd chosen the person I was passed off to.) I spent countless minutes on hold, and once when it seemed I'd found someone to help me, my cell service went out and I lost contact. Upshot: they couldn't send the technician back, or schedule another call for another 3-4 days, event though it was their own stupidity (ring the doorbell!) that screwed it up. They couldn't get my email account back, and all the emails sent to me in the interim would be bounced back to the senders. I yelled, cried, laughed, screamed. At one point, on hold for about 15 minutes, all the weight of the last days (weeks? months?) of stress hit me and I started bawling hysterically. I was just catching my breath when a woman picked up. She turned out to be one that wanted to help me, and did something to manually reinstate my service, although it wouldn't take affect until later this weekend. She has called me back twice, and I have her name and number so I am more sane. Seriously, if one person early on had just said, we're so sorry, we screwed up, here's what we'll do for you, it would have been fine. I can live without TV and internet (I can steal wireless from an unsecured network elsewhere in the building, and I somehow have basic cable still) and I'll get over losing my email account. But please treat me like a customer you want to keep.

My other option for internet and TV is the phone company - and until they actually can provide me with basic phone service, I'm not about to give them more business, either. They showed up twice during the time I was on hold with TWC, and apparently the fix is in the works, but required more than the technician could do alone. He also called me back to reassure me it would happen, but I still have no phone service.

Things were going so well with the move, and I'm still really happy here. I have gotten a decent amount of unpacking done, and feel like I can move slowly through what remains. I am not ready to return to work tomorrow, though, but I suspect it will be a nice distraction to get out of the apartment and away from the non-working phone, tv, and cable modem.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday the 22

This morning I am learning first hand who outsources their customer service to India. (, and theirs was the most pleasant to deal with.) Yesterday was too smooth and this morning, already: 1) Still no dial tone on landline, I called Verizon and the woman told me it's a problem with my phone not the lines, despite the fact that I've tried two different phones which both worked in the other apartment, one even a "corded" old fashioned phone, and she was rude in suggesting I am just too stupid to plug in a phone correctly and it would be a waste of their time to send out a repairman. After she finally agreed (reminding these people you have other options for service providers, even if it's in a high-pitched near hysterical rant, must work), she proceeded to call me back on the non-working line and left a voicemail explaining to me again how to plug in a phone, and telling me that if it worked, to call back and cancel the service call. 2) UPS delivered a package for me yesterday, signed by the mysterious "Front Door" and it's not anywhere. I don't think there is a secret package room, as I've seen other packages on the front hall table. UPS customer service told me that I need to call Amazon to deal with it. 3) Amazon offered to either refund me or deliver a second order, and even when I snottily asked what the point would be if they just left it outside the front door on a busy Brooklyn street, she promised they would require a signature, and was very polite, and even is refunding me the shipping charge. I'll put a note down on the hallway mirror anyway (because you know, Amazon boxes are usually easily confused with your own mail), but it's not like I really need two sets of white wood switch plates.

I walked to Starbucks and when it was my turn to order I had to pause because I thought I would burst into tears when I started to talk. I think it's exhaustion. When I got home and set my coffee cup on a box so I could take off my coat, I knocked over the cup and spilled coffee down the side of the box.

Friday the 22 is the new Friday the 13.


I wake up in the new home to snow outside my window. My bedroom fire escape faces a large tree - now just beautiful bare branches coated in white icing. I saw this place first in late November, so can only imagine what it will be like when the tree is in full leafy bloom.


so, I gave up trying to blog. Too much to see and do. My landlord and lady came by to say goodbye shortly after I wrote, and then the neighbor with the new dog (he did not seem pleased by his timing, walking out his door just as we went into the hallway, where he assured them he was just dogsitting), and then another neighbor who hung around and chatted during the brunt of the piano's exit (thank you, distractions.)

Once we came here, I was able to occupy myself in the kitchen, cutting and placing shelf liner, remembering how much I hate doing so (I'm very much a "close enough" kind of person when it comes to measurements, which can squeak by in cooking or sometimes knitting, but has its drawbacks. See, for example, the upper edge of my kitchen wall, where the inexact application of painter's tape created a somewhat loopy meeting of wall color, ceiling color, and oh, yeah, sometimes a sliver of old wall color. Sigh.)

This end was just as smooth as the other, with the piano coming up the stairs first, its only trauma being that induced in the dogs in the apartments it passed, who seemed disturbed by the exclamations of pain and subtle swearing of the movers. They left by 12:30, less than 4 hours from the start.

As long anticipated, I closed the door behind them, slid the latch, and felt myself start to cry in relief, then made myself stop with the sudden fear that they might return for something they forgot. And I didn't even stop to savor the success; I started in on unpacking. I didn't manage to concentrate on any one room, as once I wandered into another, for the scissors or the garbage bag, or to find more hangers or a light bulb or a surge protector, I'd get distracted by another box and start again. Even when I realized I should stop, rest, shower, go out and get food, I kept finding one more thing to do (shower meant finding the box with shampoo and soap in it; calling my mother meant making the bed so I could lie in it; drinking a Diet Coke meant finding a glass.)

In true lunatic fashion, I had a cable appointment yesterday, not to turn on my service, but to disconnect the former owners', which could not be done until their equipment was picked up, and it had to be picked up here, not at the new location where they live. Meanwhile, I couldn't transfer my service or arrange for a service call until they'd arranged for theirs, so by the time I was able to, I could only get an appointment for today, and no, the same person could not do both. Luckily, I plugged in my equipment and could tap into their juice, and even more luckily, when service guy #1 saw that, he offered that he wouldn't disconnect (as instructed in his paperwork) since I was going to have it turned on anyway. I thanked him for being able to watch "Lost."

A show during which I fell asleep. I woke up at 10:08, just after it ended, and rewound to watch again, only to continually doze off again and again. Part of me fears it was a boring episode, but I'll reserve judgment until a more formal viewing.

Then, to bed, and a fairly smooth lapse into sleep, until, naturally, waking up about a half hour ago. New noises, new sensations, much to get used to.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

9:55 am

90 minutes in and only the desk, mattress, large bookcase and piano remain. Maybe I will walk to starbucks when they start the piano. I can't watch.

Live blogging the move

They arrived early, 8:30, although I didn't even notice until I checked msgs at 9:12 and thought my cell phone time was screwy. Boxes are all gone and big furniture and piano are being prepped... Musical sound of ripping tape fills the empty apt...

Countdown, 3 hours

I slept really poorly on Tuesday night, and spent yesterday in a near state of delirium, compounded by muscle pain and ache. I knew I could not do that for a second night, so I took a "sleeping pill." When I told my mother I planned to, she seemed genuinely concerned. Her advice was to have a warm glass of milk (despite the fact that I haven't drank milk in 20 years; the near thought of it makes me nauseous) or a hot bath (which I'd done already, on Tuesday before bed, to no avail.) I tried to explain that they are just the over-the-counter things, but she didn't like it. She is a nurse who is used to dispensing meds to long-term care patients, but as a child I barely recall even taking an aspirin. (But I do - orange flavored, with a crumbly texture that I loved.) As a young adult, I couldn't swallow pills (until I went on the pill), and even now, bottles of Tylenol expire in my medicine cabinet before I finish them. (Part of this, I guess, is that I am mostly healthy, apart from stomach ails which have now forced me to medicate several times a day.)

Now, having slept a good solid 7 hours, I feel strong and refreshed. I sound like a commercial for CVS brand Unisom! But I needed it. I have very simple packing to do this morning - like the cable box and modem and wireless router (as I quickly type to get in as much as I can before pulling the plug), and the toiletries I'll use before I dress. And the aquarium accessories which are strewn across the kitchen counter to dry.

Yesterday I carried the fish over in a small plastic container, swaddled with my knit scarf and a dish towel inside a plastic bucket. I had a smaller tank set up by the sink in the new kitchen, and soon they were in their new home. It felt weird to leave them last night, but even weirder to wake up today and not have their light to turn on to signal morning.


not so bad

this is it

moving day

I feel good having slept solidly from 10:30 until now. I need to go back to sleep now, but I am too excited.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Countdown, 50 hours

My neighbor in the old building, soon to be ex neighbor, has a dog in his apartment. I've heard it bark now, two nights in a row - last night when I was coming home up the stairs. His yelps were followed by the neighbor's ardent shushing. Dogs are not allowed in this building, but it could of course be a dog-sitting arrangement, or even a new girlfriend's pet. I won't likely ever find out.

One more night here, although I hesitate to call last night a night. I was up most of it. I know it's just excitement and anxiety (because even in this happy time, there are things to worry about, like will the movers I chose be as competent as their sales rep painted them to be? Will my last set of boxes arrive today as promised, so I can finish packing tonight? Will my fish (the remaining) survive the move, and will my nerves survive the netting required to get them in their transport bowl? And what about my sad calendar-reluctant Christmas cactus, whose hot pink blooms have never been this abundant?)

I agreed to an 8 am conference call today, although I am on vacation, but it's a handful of people of whom I am the junior and still building my reputation as a strategic advisor to them, so don't want to miss it. Then the sofabed people come between 10-12 to disassemble, move, and reassemble. I had planned on going over to the new place between the call and 10, but I think I'll just zone out here. My muscles ache, my brain is foggy, and I need to figure out a way to ease them both into functionality.


am I surprised when I cannot sleep?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fishy situation

For the first time ever, I flushed a living fish down the toilet. It wasn't intentional - he was suddenly looking really ragged last night, lying prone on the bottom of the tank, and I figured that he wouldn't make it until morning. When I woke up, I immediately turned on the light, and sure enough, he was really dead-looking. I netted him and carried him into the bathroom and when I flipped the net over and he fell into the toilet, he started to swim. I flushed without thinking too long, but now feel bad.

I set up a small fish tank over at the new apartment for the fish while everything moves around them. I need to finish painting before carting them over, though, as I don't think the fumes are healthy.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Back in the old place. I can't sleep at the other, can't even sit (except on the floor), since I have no furniture yet. I've carried a few things over, nothing major, nothing I don't especially need to ready the place for moving day on Thursday. I've lost any desire to finish up packing and cleaning over here, though. Actually, my hands are tied as my last order of boxes has not arrived. According to Fedex, it should be here Wednesday. If not, I don't know exactly what I'll do. Really all I will have are the last things in the kitchen (refrigerator food, tea kettle, toaster oven, saucepan, can opener, 1 each of plate, bowl, fork, spoon, knife), cleaning supplies, last things in bathroom, last things on desk, DVD player/cable box/cable modem, iron/laundry supplies. I guess I could patrol the neighborhood Wednesday evening and gather boxes, if I had to.

Hopefully I won't have to!

The new place is sparkling clean. The mother of the former owner scrubbed everything, including the fridge, and even bought and hung a new shower curtain. !!! Either she's very very nice, or was going out of her way to protect their possession agreement deposit. It worked - I was impressed.

I had difficulty choosing a paint color. For the kitchen I wanted a green, apple or grape, and wanted a darker, deeper shade, but I started to worry that too much of the darker color would be overwhelming, so I went one lighter shade down. Now I hope it's not too subtle.

Today is a holiday, but I wouldn't have off if I hadn't taken it. I'm not sure how many other offices are still open. The gym was opening slightly later. My plan right now is to go to the gym, but stop at the new apartment on the way and drop off my stepladder and a bag of other assorted things. Then the goal is to leave and go to the gym (1 1/2 blocks away), get in a workout, and return to paint. Part of me wants to skip the gym step, but even though I know I'm getting a workout with all of this walking/lugging/stairclimbing/cleaning/painting, I know that stretching and loosening my muscles is a smart thing to do.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Writing from INSIDE...

.. The new apt. (if remote bloggimg will work!) Eating my first meal - muenster cheese on a multigrain bagel with mustard (I call it "mu-mu-mu") with chips and soda. Sitting on the floor. When I finish eating I'll do some spackling. I am exhausted - made a few trips back and forth (small fish tank and accessories, paint stuff, cleaning stuff, hand soap and towels, 2 bottles of wine), plus carried 2 gallons of paint from the hardware store (4-5 blocks) which is heavy. I am very happy.

Up on a Sunday morning

I have butterflies. Started last night, now fluttering at record speed. More like it's the first day of a new job or a new school, than the day I will stand and give a speech in front of thousands. Excitement.

I plan on going to the gym when it opens at 8. This doesn't sound like a difficult endeavor, right? Oh, naivety. Last weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday, the person scheduled to open the gym didn't show, and nobody else had keys so everyone stood outside in the cold, waiting. On Sunday I gave up at 9:30; I'd only been there for about 20 minutes, but others had stayed for the full 90 minutes.

Today after my workout, I'll shower and go to Starbucks (one of the few things that lies between the gym and my new home) and prepare to walk over to meet the former owners.

Sun is shining.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

On target

The Target in Brooklyn is a strange place. I have never been there when it hasn't been crowded and the shelves haven't been ravaged. I don't think it's that they don't have a lot of stock, I think they just can't keep up with the demand. Every day it's like Christmas Eve. I still manage to find enough, every time, to fill my basket and empty my wallet. Today it was nearly $90 of little things that I don't even know if I need: paring knives, a shower curtain liner, new sponges, some new plastic drinking glasses, etc.

In less than 12 hours I will have my keys and possession of my apartment.

Other stuff

Thankfully, I can't access the Boxerjam servers from inside my office, or I'd be playing games whenever I'm on a conference call (which is often.)

* * *

I don't understand why Congress oversees hearings on steroid use in baseball. Isn't there a court system for this? Doesn't Congress have better things to focus on, oh, like health care and war and poverty and the economy?

* * *

The young guy has returned to the Korean market. He seemed genuinely happy as customers greeted him and welcomed him back. He told me he was visiting his grandmother.

* * *

I am meeting a friend for lunch. He told me he'd already be in Brooklyn, so it would be easy to meet. Now he's emailed me that he's staying near the J train. The J train is one of the handful that I am clueless about, namely because it doesn't connect any major destination points for me. In fact, it barely goes into Manhattan. Of course, it strikes its own lonely path across another part of Brooklyn, too, so for he and I to meet, he would have to go back into Manhattan and switch to another train (one of many, as my neighborhood is served by several different, and major, lines.) I love how people assume that "Brooklyn" means everything is within walking distance.

* * *

The episode of "Lost" the other night had me shouting, "Oh, shit" several times. I am so glad the show is back.

Countdown, redux

They are moving out today.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm sorry

A co-worker just lost her baby. Eight months pregnant. I'm not even very close to her, and I feel like crying when I think about it. You don't hear those kinds of stories very often anymore, what with modern medical advances, and I think we forget how things can still go very wrong.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Closing is done. Everything is signed, checks are passed, congratulations offered and accepted. Lawyers gone their separate ways.

I am exhausted (more from the lack of sleep last night than anything) and while I dutifully put in a few hours of "working from home" this afternoon, I am ready for a nap. I don't think it's a good idea, though, as it will only make me wide awake later tonight when I really need the sleep again.

But, it's done!

5 1/2 hours and counting

So why was I posting at 3 am? Last night I felt good, tired, ready for bed. I don't take sleep aids every night, only if I feel like I'm going to have trouble sleeping. I guess you can't predict. In retrospect, the night before the closing?

I slept great from 10:30 or so until 2:30. I've basically been up ever since, with just a few 15 minute cat naps. I was afraid to take a pill that late, and risk oversleeping. I have to be in midtown by 11 am.

I am insane.

If you lived here, you'd be home by now

You've seen those signs, usually in new developments in odd locations, where the only real advantage is their proximity to a key commuting hub. But this is what I thought tonight, walking home from the subway, passing the street sign for my soon-to-be address and contemplating the five blocks I still had ahead of me - at least for now.

8 hours til closing.

One more day of work, Friday, since the sellers aren't moving out until the weekend so there is nothing for me to do but stew until then. Going to work on Friday buys me more time next week (off all week!) to myself.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Strike a match!

I shredded many many pages of old files and letters and writing. Some of it is being used as packing material to keep my fragile items safe; some of it has gone to the curb in big clear plastic bags. I don't know which went where, but I like to think that old love letters are cushioning my wineglasses, while old bank statements are at the recycling center.

Old love letters. Really printouts of emails from my last serious relationship. I'd kept them in a box, afraid to open it and relive what seemed like a painful memory. But, you know? When I glanced at the pages as I fed them into the shredder, it didn't seem so bad. It wasn't really true that I mis-read the things he wrote to me, that I imagined the depth of his feelings (which, in the weeks after our breakup, I began to believe), because reading them now, with a clear head, he was very unambiguous about his feelings. There were some very good moments between us, and I think that he really did care, for most of the time. It made me, almost, nostalgic, almost to the point of wondering where he is now. (We lived in different cities, both working for the same company, a place we've both since left.) That is a road best not traveled, though.

In one of the emails I referenced "Strike a Match" and lights went off like mad. When did I stop playing Boxerjam games? I used to be really addicted. I can't even remember when I last played. So of course, this weekend I started again. I'm still pretty good at "Strike a Match" and "Out of Order" and struggle with "Know It All" (a trivia game which means if there are too many questions about cars or sports or geography, I fall hopelessly behind.) It's refreshing to see that in all the progress made on the internet in the past 5 years, that some things are still the same old fun.

Countdown, 52 hours

...before the closing (as currently scheduled.) I want to say that it feels certain, that I have no concern that it won't happen, but that would be jinxing big time. My focus is on everything after - the movers, etc. I want to blink and wake up in 2 weeks.

I got rid of my second TV in the bedroom. It is silly for one person to have two TVs in a one bedroom apartment, I decided. Without it, I save money on my cable bill, and room in my bedroom. Plus, one of the things they always tell you about sleeping problems is to not fall asleep to the TV, which is my habit.

Was. No longer.

I had someone pick it up on Friday night, sooner than expected, so immediately had to readjust my bedtime routine. I cheated Friday and Saturday by watching DVDs until I dozed off. Sunday night I tried reading but when I felt tired and turned off the light, I couldn't fall asleep.

Last night I gave in completely and pulled out the sofabed in the living room, where the big TV still is. I am a failure.

I console myself by the thought that a new location, new surroundings, new routine will help.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Last week I called Pottery Barn to confirm the availability of a bed I want to order. I was told it was in, and they would call me on or about 2/21 to schedule delivery. Perfect timing. I waited until today to place the order and now IT'S NOT AVAILABLE TIL APRIL 6.

I don't want to go that long with just a mattress. So I called and canceled it. Yet, without any idea of what to replace it with, (it was on sale and a style/color I liked) I'll be with just a mattress for awhile anyway.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

On hold with Time Warner Cable

No, not another service issue. I am merely trying to schedule an appointment for my move. Apparently, I get to move my own equipment but they'll send someone over to the new place to make sure all is up and running. I figure I should schedule it now before getting there and learning there is something wrong and a 2 week wait. (The current owners have both digital cable and internet, both presumably in working order, so there is that.)

Very interesting piano music for their hold music. I would probably suggest something a little less up-tempo, as it does make one a bit jittery. There is a reason for Musak - it is somewhat calming.

I have decided to take off all of next week (starting Presidents' Day, although we don't get it off in exchange for the Friday before Memorial Day), to make up for losing next weekend as a painting weekend. Even though the closing and the sellers' move-out is a week later than expected, I decided not to push my own move back a week. Partly because prices increase in the last week of the month, partly because I need to get it done.

Oh, that was a short hold period. I guess early Sunday morning is a good time to get through! Turns out I can't make an appointment or do anything in connection with transferring service until the existing occupants cancel their service. You know, I have not moved in a very long time and I am going to have to figure it out for gas and electric, also - the timing of the switch.

But not phone. Mr. & Mrs. Gen Y don't have a landline phone, so it's all up to me. I've already confirmed with Verizon that I can keep my existing phone number. Of course I am going to send out moving announcements with that understanding, and I'm sure will then find out that it's not true.

Friday, February 08, 2008

The way it stands.

Closing in six days, moving in thirteen.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What I watch

There is a lot written about how the writers' strike is changing TV viewing habits, and I am clearly following the trend, after I filled my empty evenings with marathons of "Friday Night Lights" and "Lost" DVDs. (I still have much of season 3 of "Lost" to watch, but since the fourth season kicked off last week, there is less of an incentive to crank it out. I'm, for all intents and purposes, caught up.) Since I can't bear to watch night time games shows or dancing shows or even "American Idol" (except sometimes, near the end, when the ridiculous are mostly gone), there are only a few new shows on right now that I am bothering with.

And, some choice reruns, including "Mad Men," the AMC series that won critical acclaim and the Golden Globe for Best Drama, even as I barely knew what it was. Well, luckily, it's being repeated at some random late night hour each week (thank god for DVR so I don't have to find it myself), and I've had the luxury of seeing three episodes so far.

And I love it. First of all, it's set in the early 1960's, a time period that has always fascinated me. (Yes, I lived during much of the decade, so maybe it's a familiarity deeper than I even remember. But my family was not one where Dad came home from work and had a cocktail while Mom bustled around in a newly modernized kitchen.) I love movies from the sixties, the crispness of the black and white, the clean lines of the thin ties and shirt dresses and stark angular furniture. (I would love "The Dick Van Dyke Show" for this reason alone; Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore's wonderful comic timing is just gravy.)

"Mad Men" has all of this, with the bonus of 20-20 hindsight, with a bit of snark. We watch as the men of a Madison Avenue ad agency struggle to develop creative for their clients, scoffing at market research and suggestions that consumers could be motivated by anything as Freudian as sex or power. Men strut through the office with clear rules about what the women they pass can or can't do (can: answer phones and bring coffee and sleep with them; can't: expect that they can cross over to become one of the suburban wives and mothers stashed along the Metro North commuter route.) When I watch movies and shows made in the 60's, there isn't, of course, that wink-wink sense of a house of cards about to fall, which "Mad Men" gives in spades. You just know that these guys are going to get theirs, that their bravado will crumble before long.

Then there are moments like when one says: "I know you stole that report out of my trash can; it's not like there is a magic machine that can make an exact copy in minutes," and a whole series of observations on child-rearing. (Somehow I think these are intended to make us feel foolish now for our over cautious environment. For example: a young girl is playing "space man" and comes running to her mother with a plastic dry cleaning bag over her head. The mother gets angry, "Sally, you know you are not supposed to do that." Pause for effect. "If I find the clean clothes all over the closet floor, you are so in trouble." Sally giggles through the plastic, and runs off to continue playing in her death trap costume. In another scene the mother is driving and Sally and her brother are rough-housing in the car; forget car seats or seat belts, they are climbing over the seats, arms and legs in all directions, as their mother stares ahead at the road, uncaring. The inference of both being that, of course, we survived back then.)

Since I'm only on episode 3, I imagine this kind of self-aware commentary could become tiring, but at least there is also good story behind it. Another thing that sets it apart from the stuff filmed at the time is a willingness to show us the dirty side - the swearing, the endless smoking (although that was always there, just didn't seem so sinister), the bad boy behavior. Doris Day may consider sleeping with Cary Grant in "That Touch of Mink," but in "Mad Men," a secretary is sent by another to a gynecologist on her first day of work to get birth control pills, an apparent orientation step as casual as ordering desk supplies.) Men in the old movies never seemed this predatory, but the women also never seemed this complicit.

But I still get wooed into thinking that I'm watching something made forty years ago, due to the realism of the scene design and costume. I caught myself wondering about a particular actress, thinking, "Wonder what else she has done? Was she in anything after this?" and then realizing that no, this isn't a young actress who is now in her 60's, this is a young actress herself born while I was in college.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Rudy, the Giants, and Hell

I saw Rudy Guiliani on the street today. He looked like a cartoon character - that wide grin, that bigger than life strut. He was wearing a very form-fitting suit and looked like he couldn't move his arms. Very odd.

I had just voted. I made my choice based on one issue only. I fear that I was also influenced by my brother, who told me his reasoning for the same candidate. I say "I fear" because I sometimes think I am easily swayed by him, that because he's smarter than me (or at least more well-read and well-versed in politics; I think I could beat him in a math or logic puzzle contest), I take whatever he says as the truth without bothering to look into it myself. I am lazy that way sometimes.

I am happy with my vote, though. My mother told me she's voting for the other Democrat so we will cancel each other out. My brother (who's in another state anyway) isn't eligible to vote as he's registered as an Independent.

My day involved many many subway rides - from home to the midtown hotel where I am helping to manage our firm's booth at a trade show, then back down to my downtown office to pick up a package that was shipped to me late, then back to midtown to drop off the package, and then finally, back in a subway home to work from home the rest of the day. And, I have to go back in for my writing group meeting today.

The train from midtown to downtown at 11:00 am was filled with Giants fans, on their way to the parade. The energy was good, upbeat, positive, contagious. Kids on their fathers' shoulders, teenage girls chanting, "Giants, Giants!" Almost everyone in bright blue jerseys over their jackets.

I walked away from them to trek across the West Side Highway and felt like I wanted to cry. I don't know why. I am very much on edge because I don't yet have a closing date (still!) and it's driving me crazy. I can't think about it or I'll go crazy.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Morning after

I seriously considered live-blogging my insomnia last night, although luckily realized it would only compound the problem. As it was, I woke nearly once an hour, but only for about 10 minutes each time, finding it relatively easy to doze back off again.

I don't really know what was keeping me up - it wasn't like other nights, when my mind started racing the minute I as conscious. I have a lot to think about this week, though.

(No, I didn't watch the Super Bowl, but I was curious enough to check the news during one of my waking moments, and saw that the Giants had won. Oddly this made me happy - not in the "we won" way, but because I like that the underdog was victorious. Doesn't everyone?)

My apartment looks strange. I took all of the refrigerator magnets (framed photographs) down, so now its bare whiteness surprises me every time I walk into the kitchen. I also moved the furniture in the bedroom to create an empty wall for stacked boxes. Everything looks poised and ready to go.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

I'm not watching the super bowl

Spell check stopped working for me here. It's happened before, and I don't know how it was fixed last time. So ignore my spelling errors - it's just my fingers trying to keep up with my racing brain.

* * *

My apartment is nearly packed. I have 1 plate, 1 bowl, and two sets of silverware. I can't measure anything, or cut anything requiring more than a steak knife. When I send my sheets to the laundry, my bed will stay unmade until they return. I have only boots, my gym sneakers, and the shoes in my desk drawer at work to keep me until I unpack.

Today I also painted - two shelves which I've been meaning to paint white since I bought them years ago, and my metal spice rack with a glossy black to match the other black wrought iron things I have (wine rack, pot rack, etc.) I even touched up the bathroom cabinet door, hiding the long drip of brown hair color that has been there for a year or so.

Next weekend, the sellers will be moving out of my new home, and the following weekend, I'll be there, painting away.

Soon, soon, soon.

4 Months, 2 Films

Yesterday I saw "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" a Romanian film that has garnered great publicity both for the number of awards its received (including the Palme d'Or at Cannes), and for its being snubbed by the Academy Awards nomination process. Really, it's a shame, as it's excellent, one of those movies in which mood is captured perfectly by its look and feel, from the lighting to the bland scenery to the long awkward pauses to the camera angles. (I noticed that for most of the film, you see only one of the two female characters on screen; the other is moving about the room or sitting/standing still, out of frame.) The story centers on two students, one helping the other through an illegal abortion. Even summarizing that much says too little about the movie.

I rented "Interview," and now wish I'd scene it in the theater. It's directed by Steve Buscemi, who stars as a reporter whose career aspirations have fallen so low as to find him assigned a celebrity puff piece, and Sienna Miller as the popular soap actress he interviews. I liked it, as it had the staged feeling of a play, two characters almost exclusively trapped in one space (although, as it was the actress's massive loft, definitely not a claustrophobic one) with more talk than action. I always think I'm going to dislike Sienna Miller, but I always like her. (I think the dislike stems from her reputation in the media as a fashion trend setter, which I never could quite see.) The reviews of the film were not very good, and I know that most people don't like that kind of talky mental game film, but I do.

It reminded me of "Two Girls and a Guy," with Robert Downey Jr. as the guy whose two girlfriends (Heather Graham and Natasha Gregson Wagner - Natalie Wood's daughter, and where has she been lately?) realize he's two-timing them both, and confront him in his gorgeous loft. I guess it was the lofts (I still have fantasies about the "Two Girls" loft), but also about the twists and turns and the confrontations.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


I just had a mover come to do an on-site estimate. I have to say, it's great customer service. He looked at everything, asked questions, described exactly to me how the piano would have to be moved, and seemed both confident and experienced.

I received one estimate so far, over the phone. We'll see how this one stacks up.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Calm, during the storm

I likely have a moving date. I think my lawyer is disappointed in me for not wanting to play hardball. I am being too accommodating, even as they are not budging. I understand that there should be more compromise, but I value good relationships more than getting my way. I like feeling like I'm the bigger person. Pitiful? Maybe. But I don't have the aggravation that I would have otherwise.

So I told my landlord. I don't have to pay February rent as I paid last month's rent 14 years ago. Technically I should pay the amount it's increased over the years, but technically, they should have been collecting interest on that month's rent all along. Since they have been wonderfully lax in raising it, would mean they would owe me money.

I was at my desk all day, finally leaving close to 6. It's a pattern - most others stay late on the other days, leave early on Friday, but not me. I find myself puttering away on Friday afternoons, maybe because it's quiet and nobody distracts me, maybe because I usually don't have any plans to rush home to.

Today I was out of my office building and crossing the enclosed overpass to the next when I realized it was pouring out. I was too lazy to go back for an umbrella and decided to wing it. It was coming down like crazy. Put up my hood, dashed the 3 blocks to the subway, got on the train and was pretty solidly wet. Got off, ran to the bus stop and stood under a dripping awning for 15 minutes before the bus came. (I could walk home in 10, but it was coming down in buckets by then.)

Now I just want to crawl into bed.


I realize, of course, that if I only took the time to watch the debates, I'd have a better understanding of Clinton vs. Obama. It's not like the information isn't out there, gasping for my attention.


So, Ann Coulter says she'll support Hillary over McCain if it comes down to those two? Because she thinks Hillary is more conservative than McCain? Why does this make me lean toward Obama?
ring logo
Writing Desk Webring

Join | List | Random
Previous | Next
Powered by RingSurf
Locations of visitors to this page