Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shine On

I got my boots shined the other week at The Sole Man in Penn Station, the same place businessman go during the workweek. Usually, Ben said, businessmen fill the chairs and a line snakes out the door. And, he would know since he frequents The Sole Man himself.

Ben had noticed that my boots looked a little ragged and worn, so he suggested this as a solution. And, man, did it work! The guys there are like magic. My boots now look brand new.

The guy literally put seven coats of polish on my boots. He massaged them, whipped them, and sprayed them. At one point, he wrapped his rag around the heel of my boot and pulled really hard on both sides, rubbing the rag against the leather. I grabbed onto the arms of the chair and dug my bottom into the pleather to keep from sliding right out of the chair. He was pretty strong.

I read the NY Post and watched a football game on an old, snowy TV set while my boots slowly came back to life. The whole experience left me feeling very manly and very Mad Men. I periodically checked the entrance, fully expecting Don Draper to walk in and take a seat. Although Don never showed, I still feel that he would have appreciated my being there.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life Changer

Trader Joe’s opened in September in our neighborhood.  Life got better overnight.  Seriously.

The awesomeness of this grocery store has completely changed my perspective of grocery shopping.  The place is a godsend.  It's unlike any other grocery store, and I am now a new woman because of it. 

The selection of food is limited, which makes shopping easier.  For example, they may offer four kinds of peanut butter as opposed to ten or three types of oatmeal instead of eight. They choose items because of quality, not quantity.

I like the limited selection.  I don’t comb through twenty brands to figure out which one tastes best.  I don’t try to recall the one good brand I luckily found on sale last week.  I don’t compare prices.  I don’t pay attention to “price cuts” or “deals of the week”.  They already sell everything at the cheapest price because almost everything they sell is their brand.  No middleman increases prices. 

Milk, fruit, cheese, guacamole, burritos, and vitamins –cheaper!  Cereal, apple cider, dark chocolate covered caramels, olive oil – cheaper again!  My shopping budget grows every time I shop at Trader Joe’s.  I love it.

They offer cool meal combos that save me time.  I make a dinner with the frozen vegetable fried rice, frozen stir-fry vegetables with sauce, and steamed pork buns.  I don’t hunt down a bunch of spices or sauces that I only use once every three months.  I don’t waste time cutting five different vegetables on our teeny countertop. I just rip open bags and throw stuff in a skillet.  I look like a world-class chef… until Ben finds the discarded packages in the trashcan.

The best and perhaps most well known thing about Trader Joe’s is their cheap wine.  It’s “wine on a dime.”  I should probably coin that phrase.  Trader Joe’s “Charles Shaw” wine, aka Two Buck Chuck, goes for $2.99 a bottle… a bottle!  The Heavens just parted.

You may read this post and think I’m plugging Trader Joe’s to get some sort of kickback.  I wish Itty Bitty held that kind of clout.  No, no.  I just love Trader Joe’s this much.  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Elevator Woes

No one will murder me.  No one will kidnap me.  A taxi will not run over me.  But, the likelihood is pretty good that our elevator will end me.

Say your goodbyes now.

Our apartment building is old and not everything functions properly.  The elevator is a prime example.  It’s the one thing that I do want to work right in our building since it’s what could also kill me.

Several months ago, the elevator randomly stopped working, prompting everyone to climb and haul belongings up five flights of stairs.  Ben viewed the situation as a great way to get exercise, but I saw it as a form of torture and feared it would never be fixed secondary to some tiny clause in our lease that I overlooked. 

Fortunately, maintenance fixed it.  But, then it broke again.  So, they fixed it again.  This broken-fixed-broken-fixed relationship continued for weeks.

It annoyed me, but didn’t scare me.  Until the day we walked into the building and pushed the button to go up.  We heard no murmur of the elevator moving.  Instead, we heard voices crying, “help us.”  We bolted to the fourth floor where the voices were the loudest. 

Apparently, the elevator broke mid-ride and between the third and fourth floors with two tenants inside!  Their roommate stood outside the elevator on the phone negotiating their release with the building superintendent.  By the time we arrived the girls had been waiting in the elevator for an hour and a half.  By then their hysteria had faded into a calm delirium.

After the girl’ rescue, and as much as that single incident should have persuaded me to never set foot in the elevator again, I rode it the next morning. 

Luckily, I have managed to avoid a situation that extreme, but I have panicked a few times.  Like the two times the doors opened to a concrete and brick wall of pipes.  Or the countless times the doors opened six inches below the level of the floor.  Ben once climbed up and crawled out of the elevator when it similarly stopped several feet below the floor.

It’s hard to believe we haven’t called and complained yet.

I guess the point of this story is to alert readers to the realization that if posts suddenly cease to appear… I have probably departed this sweet Earth.  It wasn’t a crazy driver.  It wasn’t an axe murderer.  It was a defunct elevator.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Courtney seems like a celebrity in these photos.  I mean, yes, the photographer is good.  The lighting in the pictures is good.  But, honestly, she just always looks this fabulous.