Saturday, December 14, 2013

Early Demise

Earlier this week, a 26-year-old coworker asked a student about his mother's age.

He replied, "She's 36. How old are you?"

My coworker responded, "How old do you think I am?"

The student looked at her for a moment and then said, "Forty."

My young coworker's eyes widened in horror.

"Actually," the student said, "You couldn't be 40 because that's so old you'd be dead already."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Uh Oh

Flu season arrived. It hit school hard. Youngsters lined the hallways and crammed into the nurse's office. Medicine, toilets, trashcans, and medical personnel seemed in short supply!

This morning, I heard a splatter from across the cafeteria followed by a chorus of "ewwwwwws."

I walked the first sick child to the office.

I returned in cafeteria. A few minutes later, I heard another splatter from the opposite direction.

I walked the second sick child to the office. She asked me to hold her hand. Feel her forehead. Get her hair off her neck.

She then remarked, "It's good I'm going home because I forgot to take my ringworm medicine."

Looks like I'll be first in line for the nurse tomorrow.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hard Work

Ben and my dad really like recognition when they've worked, when they've physically done something. Energy exerted! Muscles flexed!

Maybe they took out the trash or got the mail or mowed the yard or washed the dishes or bent over to pick up something on the floor.

It doesn't matter whether the task was big or small. They did it.

They moan and groan. They breathe heavy. They arch backs and unbutton shirts to emphasize how hard they labored.

On Wednesday night, Ben and I set up 15 Dickens Village houses to decorate for Christmas.  We worked until 1am, both tired from the long day. I unwrapped and handed each house to Ben, who used a step stool to place it on top of the mantle and kitchen cabinets (which I offered to do).

Ben sighed every time he climbed the step stool. He grunted every time he took a house from my hand. He deeply exhaled every time he set down a house. Every so often, he stretched his back and rubbed his neck.

I cannot imagine the calories burned.

I constantly complimented and encouraged him to keep going. You're the best! Look at that spacing! You're a Dickens machine!

The next morning, I woke up two hours earlier than Ben. I snuck out of our bedroom and quietly shut the door.

I carried the empty Dickens boxes upstairs. I vacuumed tiny pieces of Styrofoam strewn around the house. I brewed Ben a fresh pot of coffee, fed the cats, cleaned their litter box, packed our stuff to go home for Thanksgiving, wiped down the entire kitchen, watered the plants, took out the recycling, and emptied the trash.

I did all of that... without a deep breath, flexed muscle, or audience.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wheelers & Dealers

Last week, Ben and I and our friend, Kason, walked to Rupp Arena to find tickets to the basketball game. Ben and Kason talked strategy most of the way there. They did not want to get ripped off by a scalper.

We found a guy selling tickets on the corner of the street. Ben and Kason played it cool and casually asked how much for three tickets. The guy said a much lower price than either of them anticipated. All negotiating skills and strategies flew right out the window!

Kason's face lit up with a big grin. Ben enthusiastically shook his head "yes."

I couldn't believe it.

Obviously, they lacked the expertise I gained from negotiating knock off purses in the back rooms of Chinatown.

I pointed my finger downward. Kason and Ben (sort of) regained their composure and weaseled the price down a few more dollars, but the guy knew he had them sold.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nice Names

I know I'm in the south when, in one day, I've been called...



and Sugar.

I'll take it!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Over the Top

Ben did it. He bought the CatGenie 120, advertised as "The world's only self-cleaning, self-flushing cat box." No hands shall have to clean thy squalid litter again.

I can't wait to pop this bad boy out of the box and give it a whirl.

Frankly, Ben's excitement about the CatGenie was borderline scary.

But, what can I say? I married a passionate man who loves his girls.

I came home from work today to find the CatGenie box on the front porch. I almost texted our neighbors to ask them to hide the box in the backyard. I feared somebody might steal it.

Patches and Zipper now live in the equivalent of the Four Seasons or the Plaza Hotel. Live it up, ladies. It doesn't get better than this.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big Ben

Big Brother a.k.a Big Ben has his eye on me. Looking over my shoulder. Keeping me in check.

On Friday, I dropped in Marshall's on the way home from work.  I just wanted to see the new stuff they had. I needed to hit the racks before the weekend crowd picked over everything.

Boy, oh, boy! It was good that I stopped. Two deals screamed my name. I bought them, of course.

I planned to hide the purchases in the trunk of my car until Ben left the house. I'd then sneak them in our closet and try them on again before deciding if I really wanted them. I planned to return them if I didn't like them. No biggie. No would know, but me.

I didn't want Ben to discover that I was shopping, so I moved quickly. I rushed through the line at the cash register and shoved the bag in the back of my trunk. I sped down Winchester Road and smiled with satisfaction. Success!

About 10 minutes later, my phone buzzed. I looked at it. The text from Ben read, "Did you just get boots at Marshall's?"

He's always watching.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Ben's obsession with our cats has reached new heights. It's public. People know about it.

He got seven birthday cards in the mail, and five of them had cats on the front.

Move over Crazy Cat Lady, there's a new feline lover in the neighborhood.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Quick Thinking

This morning, a group of children ate breakfast at a table. It turned into a rough meal. One boy made gross comments about his food. Another boy flicked Coco Puffs across the table. One spilled his milk.

I surveyed the table and said, "What is happening to this table? It is falling apart!"

One of the little guys looked up and quipped, "I don't see any cracks."

We then shared a high five.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Salute Neighborhood Associations

I never thought much about neighborhood associations until we bought a house.

Neighborhood associations keep neighborhoods safe. They advocate for their neighborhood. They organize events and activities. They reinforce rules and regulations.

Lately, I've learned, they also maintain order and keep an eye on unruly neighbors. The ones who won't conform to any standards and really like to do their own thing. You know those neighbors.

I wonder if our neighborhood association has talked to the owner of the house below, the one surrounded by a jungle. If not, they need to. Yesterday, I walked by and it was raining only on that house. Today, I walked by and a herd of cheetahs trampled me.

The place has its own ecosystem.

I bet the influx of mosquitos started there. I wore bug repellent for the first time in decades this summer. Those suckers ate me up, and now I know exactly where they were breeding!

The house looks abandoned. I thought it was condemned, ready for demolition, until we drove by one night and saw lights on in the upstairs rooms. Shocker.

Let's hope that this winter is very harsh and very cold.

*  I almost didn't post a picture of the house because I didn't want to offend the owners (who don't even know this blog exists). Then, I realized that you can't access Wi-Fi in the middle of a jungle. So, I posted it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Car Woes

This morning, I drove to work and saw an orange light on the dashboard. An orange exclamation point to be exact. Not a smiley face. Not a thumbs up. An orange exclamation point.

I closed my eyes (for a split second), held my breath, and waited for the car to blow. Instead of slowing down, I sped up. If the car was going to explode or if a tire was going to roll away, I wanted to be as close to work as possible.

I forgot about the exclamation point until I got into my car after work and noticed it glaring at me from behind the steering wheel. I had secretly hoped that eight of hours of sitting in a parking lot would have cured it.

No such luck.

I thumbed through the owner's manuel and read that one or more of my tires had significantly low air pressure. The word significantly stressed me. Did significantly mean I could still drive it home? Did it mean I would wreck and cause a traffic jam at rush hour? Mainly, did significantly mean I would not live to see tomorrow? I mentally head-butted Honda for choosing such a strong vocabulary word.

I called Ben, who told me to check the air pressure in the tires... as if I do it all of the time.

I walked around the gas station and found a rotting air pressure hose lying on the ground that cost $1 (in quarters) to use. I couldn't find a meter or gauge to read the pressure. I rolled the hose between my hands and wondered what would happen if I pumped too much air into the tire. I assumed it would blow, hurling shards of rubber at my head.

At that moment, I regretted taking photography and yearbook instead of shop class in high school.

I gave up (after a solid two minutes of trying) and cautiously drove several miles to Tire Discount, my new favorite store. An employee showed me how to check my tires (for future exclamation points) and filled them with air. He did all of this for free, something this driver in distress appreciated.

It now looks as if I'm good to go tomorrow, the next day, and the rest of the week... at least until another exclamation point shows up.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

New Owners

Ben truly, madly, deeply loves "the girls." He can't get enough of them and talks about them all of the time. Think literally, not dirty... I'm talking about Patches and Zipper, of course!

I love cats. I really love cats, but Ben takes it to a whole new level. He'd sacrifice me to save himself in a haunted house (true story). He'd run and leave me when attacked by crickets (true story again), but that is not true when it comes to our girls. He would die, lay in the road, walk to the ends of the earth, and starve for them.

I hear him call for Patches and Zipper.

"Where are my little lions?"
"Princesses, where are you?"
"Daddy has treats for his big girls!"

Oh, yeah. He's head over paws for the girls. I can't imagine how he'll act when we have human babies one day.

I tease Ben that, originally, he kinda wanted one cat and barely consented to two. His response?

"Babe, don't say such things. The girls might hear you." Earmuffs, ladies!

So, needless, to say... Ben no longer runs this house. I no longer run this house (not by choice). The girls now run this house.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ballet Under the Stars

We attended Ballet Under the Stars at a park close to our house. We could have walked there, but with a cooler and two chairs and snacks... crusinin' in a car seemed much easier (and lazier).

Ballet under the sun...

Ballet under the stars...

A friendly audience member...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Attitude Adjustment

A new school year has begun. The process to prepare for it has been very different in Kentucky than in New York.

In New York, I lugged boxes and suitcases of stuff from my apartment to school. I hauled books, workbooks, papers, mirrors, games, binders, pencil boxes, markers... you got the idea... on buses, subways, and in taxis during rush hour. I ignored the oh-so-thoughtful comments people yelled when I blocked their path. It took a week to get everything from one place to the other.

Each year, I vowed to burn everything. Burn it to the ground. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

In Kentucky, this year, I neatly stacked carefully packed storage bins in the trunk of my car. I drove my stuff to school while air conditioning cooled me . I heard nothing but the sweet sound of music. Happy people offered to carry my storage bins into school. I broke a sweat, once, maybe twice.

Moving got easy. Life got easy.

As much as I appreciate moving this year, I forever owe New York a big one. New York made me tough and see things through a different perspective. New York made me (wo)man up and grow a pair. Made me appreciate my "easy" life.

Thank you, New York, for I am and never will be the same.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Money Talks (or Forever in Blue Jeans)

Our new house excites me, especially the decorating part. I've popped into Home Goods and TJ Maxx and Marshall's quite a bit over the last three months... maybe a little too much.

Alright, alright. I shopped "way too much" because, yesterday, Ben put me on financial lockdown.

Fine. Okay. I deserved it.

He needed to do it. It was the right thing. An addiction was forming.

Unfortunately, Ben then spent all afternoon and evening talking about the importance of saving money. He said not to buy every cute lamp, decorative pillow, area rug, hand towel, or picture frame on sale. Ben talked about it a lot. A lot.

He even challenged me to not go into any home stores for a week, which I (begrudgingly) accepted.

We finally switched topics after six straight hours of budget talk, which left me weak and hungry. As we walked toward the front door, Ben said, "You know, we really need a nice bench to sit where I could tie my shoes. Yeah, a solid wooden bench and maybe a coat rack. That'd look good. Oh, and maybe something on that wall so it doesn't look so bare."

I swung my head around and looked at him.

Did I then take the opportunity to remind him of the torturous, daylong, never-ending discussion I suffered through?

You bet.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Name Calling

In New York, I'd been called a choice name or two. Random people let me have it. Strangers on the street had no problem putting me in my place.

But, that doesn't seem to happen in Kentucky. Instead, I'm called "sweetheart" and "honey" and "baby doll" and "darlin'." I rather like it. It makes me feel good.

I'll trade "idiot" for "sugar cakes" any day. 

Monday, July 8, 2013


I worked with a group of older boys to improve vocabulary. I read a story with great enthusiasm, and I used facial expressions and my hands to better illustrate new words. I got so into the story that my arm caught my necklace and snapped it in half. The plastic balls that adorned the necklace broke in half and rolled across the floor.

Without thinking, I yelled, "Oh no, my balls broke! My balls are rolling away!"

I gathered the broken pieces and then noticed the boys laughing. Pretty hard.

I turned red, cleared my throat, and continued reading like nothing had happened.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Trader Joe's

About two years ago, Kentucky had almost everything we needed. Now, Kentucky definitely has everything we need thanks to a brand new Trader Joe's grocery store that opened about 15 minutes from our house. Thank you, Trader Joe's. Thank you, Kentucky.

Trader Joe's was an NYC staple. We loved shopping there and knew we'd miss it. Now, I drive a mere 3.8 miles to get there.

Ah, life is good.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Southern Hospitality

Today, I got distracted while waiting in my car at a stoplight. I was so distracted that I pretty much missed the entire green light. I gunned it when I finally realized how long I had sat there and held traffic. Only the car behind me and myself got through the light. Oops.

As I drove away, I realized that no one honked at me or my poor driving skills. No one flipped the bird. The guy behind me didn't even look that mad. Maybe he dazed out just like me.

I then thought about how no one has yelled or cussed at me since moving home. Not once! In NYC, I often got glares when commuting and sometimes a nice "F@#k you!"

But, not here.

Southerners sure are a happy bunch.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

New Family Members

Our family doubled! We grew from two to four... with kittens, not humans.

Ben and I love cats. We wanted a cat for the past five years in New York, but our apartments were too small. If we didn't have room for a microwave, then we didn't have room for a litter box.

Ben originally agreed to get one cat when we bought a house, but I convinced him that we really needed two cats. I worked every angle and used every cat lover out there to support my two cat vs. one cat proposition. Thankfully, I won!

First, Patches arrived....

and, a few days later, Zipper...

I laugh because I have dreamed about cat names for the last five years. Names that went together. Names that were cute and unique. I asked people about their pet names... Cookies, Moonshine, Pickles, Buttons, Rocket... trying to get ideas. I immediately thought "Patches" when I saw her. Zipper came pre-named, so we kept it. I never imagined those two names together, but it works. Funny how that happens.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

You Know You're In Kentucky When...

Last night, I dreamed that somebody gave Ben and I fifth row, lower level seats for a University of Kentucky boys basketball game.

(I'm hardly the first Kentuckian to have dreamt this.)

We pushed through the turnstiles at Rupp Arena, found our seats, and watched the game just feet away from the action. Ben and I (sorta/almost/kinda) resembled Jay Z and Beyonce at Madison Square Garden cheering for the Knicks. Toward the end of my dream, I got my picture taken with each player from the starting lineup.

That dream pretty much solidified our move home.

I am definitely back in the Bluegrass.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spring Sights and Smells

We have noticed a major difference between New York and Kentucky now that spring has sprung.

Kentucky is very green. Everything is green. Trees, grass, shrubs, plants... it's all green!

I drive to work and pass hills covered in green grass. I sit on our back porch and stare at a green yard surrounded by green bushes. I watch kids run on green grass that carpets playgrounds and parks.

Everywhere I turn I see and smell grass. I welcome the sight. Fewer buildings and roads and sidewalks. More gardens and yards and fields.

I like the change from gray to green.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sleep Improvement

There's been a lot of good things about moving home, but one of the best was getting a queen bed. Q-U-E-E-N!

It's unbelievable. Truly, it is.

I wouldn't trade those extra inches for anything.

We upgraded from a full to a queen and never looked back. I've slept better in the last five weeks than I ever did in the last five years of marriage. Not kidding!

No elbows in my face. No feet kicking my legs. No butt in my back. No head on my pillow.

It's like Ben isn't even there.

Within a week, the dark circles faded from under my eyes. My sore extremities vanished. My mood improved.

It's been nothing but smooth sleeping.

So, if I go missing for awhile and there's been a lack of new posts, you know where to find me... in my q-u-e-e-n bed.

In fact, I might catch some zzzzzzzzzz's right now.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Vocabulary Lesson

I worked with two boys one afternoon. We focused on new vocabulary words found in their reading. I read the word "crouch" and asked what it meant. They took a few guesses and almost defined it. We then discussed the definition and practiced crouching around the room. We thought of synonyms and antonyms for "crouch." We used "crouch" in our own sentences.

We had the new word down!

We then went to the gym to shoot a basketball and practice old vocabulary words. We each took a turn throwing the ball from the three point line. I knew my ball wouldn't reach the goal overhanded, so I bent low to the ground and threw it granny style. Smooth, I thought, until I heard one of the boys yell...

"Look!  She's crotching!  She's crotching!  I'm using our NEW WORD!"

I almost died.


I almost died.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Age Has Nothing To Do With It

I work with two boys that have a lot of energy. Sometimes, they need to release that energy before they go crazy. Honestly, who isn't ready for a little pick-me-up and some f-u-n at the end of the day? I always promise them 10 minutes of extreme sports in the gym if they complete their work. That usually does the trick.

Last week, we played an intense game of tag and I, have to say, still got it. I chased them everywhere - up and down the court, through the bleachers. We never stopped running, and I always tagged them. My agility and quickness not only surprised me, but them as well.

After I chased and cornered one of the boys, he wheezed and exclaimed, "Man, you sure can run fast for an old lady!"

Don't you doubt it for a second, youngster.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Housing Honeymoon

Being a homeowner has been pretty easy so far. I know, I know. That statement will one day bite me in the @$$, but until then we're going to enjoy how smoothly everything has gone.

The past three weeks of living in our new house have readied us for the next fifty years of homeownership. You wouldn't believe all the things we've done!

We poured Draino down two sinks and plunged one toilet. We hosted eight houseguests for a weekend. I made breakfast on a real, adult sized stove and put groceries in a real, adult sized refrigerator.  I did laundry in our very own washer and dryer. Ben screwed a cabinet back together and fixed the lawn's sprinkler system.

Who knew homeownership could be so grand and perfect?!?!

I realize that something could happen in the next few months. Something could go wrong and the honeymoon would end... right? Maybe. Maybe not. But, just in case, we'll revel in this newfound excitement for as long as possible.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Dwelling

Our new home... sure beats the places we inhabited in New York!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


You read that title right... Ben and I are homeowners! We bought our dream house. Everything worked out perfectly.

We moved into our new abode last Saturday with help from our parents, my brother, and two of my brother's friends. Nothing beats younger bodies with lots of muscles. We couldn't have done it without them.

We loaded six vehicles and caravanned to our new town, our new house. We cruised down the interstate to our new life with unmatched enthusiasm. I only prayed that we didn't lose any boxes on the way... they looked pretty secure tied to the back of the truck.

The last five and half years of living in tiny apartments have culminated into a lifetime of living in a spacious house. Our new place is 11x the size of our biggest New York apartment. Eleven times! Don't believe what anyone says... size really does matter!

Itty Bitty has moved up in the world!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Total Darkness

A couple of nights ago, Ben and I walked out of my parents' front door and into total darkness. Ben looked up and exclaimed, "Oh my gosh!" I froze and scanned the area. Adrenaline coursed through my body as I prepared to fight or flight.

"What?!" I yelled in a panicked voice.

"Look at the stars," he said. "They're amazing!"

Jeez, Louise. I quickly erased images of ferrel animals or hordes of birds or Walking Dead zombies eating us. What a re-lief.

We tilted our heads and stared at a blanket of twinkling lights that covered the sky.

"I forgot how many there are," Ben said. "I never noticed them in New York."

Easy to do in the hustle and bustle and bright lights of a big city.

Friday, March 15, 2013

House Hopes

Ben and I have been on the hunt for the perfect house since moving home in August. Now, don't let that sentence mislead you. We haven't looked every weekend... more like two (or possibly three) times.

No need to wear ourselves out or overdo it. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

The first time we looked at houses was right before Thanksgiving. We saw some nice ones, but none worth five years of savings.

I felt like Goldilocks as we wandered through homes. Some were too big, some were too small. Some were too busy, some were too bare. None were just right.

Then, the holidays came, which really slowed our hunt.

We didn't look again until a few weeks ago, in February. I'm pretty sure our realtor thought we'd either given up or permanently moved in with our parents (the latter crossed my mind a few times).

The second time, we looked at a few houses, not totally sold on anything, until... we looked at the last house of the morning. It had just gone on the market and we were the first people to look at it.

We all gasped, awestruck, as soon as we walked in the door. The house was amazing! Our realtor immediately turned to us and mouthed, "Get it. Get it!"

Ben and I just nodded, speechless.

The house surpassed every dream. We felt giddy and sick with excitement. We loved it!

Fast forward to now... Ben and I may soon own that house! We signed the final contract, passed the home inspection, got an appraisal, and now just need the bank to process the loan. We are so close to becoming homeowners.

For the next few days, we will keep our toes and fingers (and legs and arms and eyes) crossed.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vocabulary Lesson

I taught the word "debate" to several kids. We worked on a few strategies to help them remember the definition. I shared a personal story to make a connection between the word, its meaning, and how to use it in a sentence.

They loved the story.

They enjoyed it so much that they still use the word and example... daily. Dai-ly.

I told them that sometimes I got into trouble when I was their age. If I argued with my dad when I got into trouble he would yell, "This is NOT a debate!"

Of course, I never understood what "debate" meant. I just knew it wasn't good if my dad said it in that tone at that volume with flailed arms and a red face. I only understood what the word meant after I got ballsy enough to ask him (through heaving sobs).

The kids loved this story.

They loved that: 1) I got in trouble, 2) an adult yelled at me, and 3) they now got to point a finger and yell "This is not a debate!" to their teacher.

I don't know if many would agree with that strategy, but I don't care because it worked.

And, let's be honest, this is not a debate.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Routines Schmootines

Ben and I get ready differently. It took several years for us to understand that. Getting dressed to go out on a Friday or Saturday night once proved stressful. We shared some tense moments.

I get ready and take my time. I mosey from room to room. I put on a little makeup here. I brush my hair there. I make some tea. I wander to the closet. I watch the end of a Real Housewives reunion show. There's no rush.

Ben is the opposite. He waits until the last second and then races to get ready. He rushes from room to room. He picks out and puts on one outfit. One outfit!

It all sounds easy, right? Until...

He asks me if he looks good. Ninety percent of the time he does, but 10% of the time I say "no." "No" throws him into a tizzy, which I never understand. He doesn't plan his outfit the night before (like I do) or shop specifically for it (like I do). He picks it at the last second and then gets mad when it doesn't work. Fashion takes work, dude!

Tension escalates when we compete for the one sink in the bathroom. Ben wants to shave. I want to brush my teeth. We're at a standoff until Ben asks if I really need the bathroom.

Yes, I think, I do need it. That's why I'm standing there! But, I don't say that. Instead, I step away and grit my teeth as I relinquish my right to the sink.

Because I rework my routine to accompany his, I fall behind. Before I know it, Ben sits dressed and ready on the couch with a glass of bourbon and I gape at him in my bathrobe.

I then stress and bark orders like "close the blinds" and "take out the trash." Random and unimportant tasks that make me feel better since I am to blame (again) for us being fashionably late.

Finally, now five years into our marriage, we've been able to comprise and find a few solutions that seem to work.

Still, a bigger bathroom with a double vanity would be really, really nice.

Monday, February 25, 2013


My ears have slowly adjusted from northern accents to southern accents since returning to Kentucky. Still, there are times when dialectal differences will surprise me.

Yesterday, I asked a one of my little ones to tell me as many meanings as possible for the word "heel/heal."

"Oh, that's easy," she said. "Like I help you get better and..."

She paused and closed her eyes in deep thought.

"I got it!" she smiled. "Like when you go up a big heeeee-ll (hill)."

"Not hill," I said.  "Heel/heal."

"Right," she said, giving me a confused what-don't-you-get-lady look.  "Like I climbed a big heeeeeeeeee-ll."

Just a little miscommunication, that's all.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus

Tonight, Ben and I went to the movie "Safe Haven." A classic Nicholas Sparks movie that left half of the audience sniffling and sighing at the end.  The story touched me and, I thought, Ben as well.

We walked to the car after the movie, and I talked nonstop about it. I talked about how romantic it was.  I agreed with the casting of actors and actresses. I questioned how the main character packed so many outfits into one plastic Wal-Mart bag during her getaway. I obsessed over Julianne Hough's haircut.

I thought Ben was with me. I thought we were on the same page and he was really into the conversation, really into the movie until...

Ben stopped me mid-sentence.

"Whew, I think tonight's dinner had a lot of onions in it. Don't you?"

Oh, yeah. Right there with me. Totally in sync.

I probably lost him before the credits rolled and didn't even know it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Rent Free Forever

Do I miss things about New York? Yes. Do I not miss things about New York? Yes.

I definitely do not miss one thing, and that is renting.

Renting was expensive, yes. But, I expected to pay a lot to live next to four star restaurants and Central Park and opera houses and a river overlooking the New Jersey coastline. Rubbing shoulders with Tina Fey came at a price.

I just never expected the unorganized and sometimes unscrupulous way landlords handled renting. I realized that renters never had an upper or even hand in the deal.

Ben and I got our entire security deposits back from our first two apartments. And, we should have. We cared for those apartments as if we owned them. We added value to those apartments! I scrubbed decades of grime out of bathroom crevices and off of floors. I retightened loose screws on cabinets and bleached dirty mini blinds. I (almost) exterminated the places from roaches and silverfish. Ugh.

They should have paid me for living there!

It was the leasing company of our last apartment that really frustrated me. Our apartment had its issues. None of which we caused. They existed before we moved in the place.

But, as it sometimes goes, we must now pay for them.

The leasing company finally returned our security deposit after Ben repeatedly called them for six months. Six months! They returned our deposit, but not without taking a nice piece of it.

Of course, the problems they made us pay for are the same problems that were already there when we moved into the apartment! The same problems I complained about for almost three years. The last 20 tenants also probably paid for those problems.

On the bright side, we got back most of our deposit. Dad said to "let it go" and "be happy" because at least we got something. A life lesson learned.

Now, I can finally shout, "C-ya, landlords. Wouldn't want to be ya!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Aging Grayfully

I really wanted one of my little guys to say the word "yellow."

"What color is the sun?" I asked.

"Red," he replied.


"What color is lemonade?" I asked.

"I don't know!" he said enthusiastically.

Not quite.

"Aha!" I said triumphantly.  "What color is my hair?"

"Gray!" he shouted.

Oh, no.

That one hurt.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Winter Temps

Winter and cold weather have arrived. Both remind me why I loved apartments in NYC so much... they were so, so warm.

So warm, in fact, that we often cracked a few windows in the winter. We opened the windows all of the way when guests visited. I think Nelly, the rapper, was talking about apartments in Manhattan when when he sang "Hot in Here".

I thanked Con Edison daily for operating America's largest steam system and keeping us toasty until April. I once feared that New York apartments would be like my first college apartment - freezing and insanely expensive to heat. But, thankfully, that was never the case. Quite the opposite.

Oftentimes, Ben and I relaxed in the Caribbean temperatures of our place while sipping strawberry daiquiris. We lathered ourselves in tanning oil and donned sunglasses to enjoy the snowy view right outside our window.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Last December, we participated in NYC's funniest event... SantaCon!

SantaCon invited people of all ages to dress as Santa Claus and parade around the city. Santas followed a planned route via Twitter. The route included different bars, restaurants, city landmarks, and tourist destinations. All perfect places for Santas to mingle and take pictures.

Thousands and thousands of Santas traipsed around the city during SantaCon. Santas stumbled off buses, popped out of subways, took over the Brooklyn Bridge, snoozed on park benches, caught taxis, and marched down the street. Big bellies and white beards dominated that day... because nothing says Christmas like 5,000 Santas outside of City Hall.

Kids and tourists loved it. New Yorkers, though, played it very cool. Apparently, it takes more than 5,000 Santas to shock them.

Ben waited for the subway by our apartment.

Reed and Ben on the subway. 
Reed's beard was M.I.A. He went for a more chic and modern Santa look.

More Santas at the other end of the subway car.

Ben and I posed for next year's Christmas card.

Ben... one of many in his legit, store bought Santa suit.

Me in my homemade Santa suit.
Amazingly, all cotton balls survived. My gluing skills are unmatched.

Santas everywhere!

SFF (Santa Friends Forever).

Santas took over Battery Park in lower Manhattan.

Santas grabbed lunch at a restaurant.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

All Must Go: Chapter 5

This is the last chapter of the saga, All Must Go. It has to be the last chapter because, besides our bed, we were out of furniture. It doesn't take long to clear a 330 square foot apartment.

We sold our Ikea Billy Bookcase and TV stand to a young couple from Queens with two kids and a baby on the way. Ben and I helped the husband load their new belongings into their van, happy to know our stuff was going to a good home.

The TV stand, which amazingly survived two moves.

The bookcase, which also survived two moves, was more than just a bookcase. It was an "everything-case". Since we only had eight tiny cabinets in the kitchen to hold all cookware and food, the bookcase caught the overflow. Our bookcase held (in alphabetical order): bitters, board games, books, bourbon, cameras, checkbooks, DVDs, headphones, picture albums, umbrellas, wrapping paper, and anything else without a real home. 

How those pressed wood shelves never bowed or broke is beyond me... must be the Dutch engineering.

I almost forgot! We had one piece of furniture for sale for $0 (that's right, free!), but it never sold. Not that it would have survived a move of any kind. I lovingly present... our dresser. 

Our infamous dresser. It balanced precariously on a stack of books and always leaned a little to the right. The base of the drawers fell out every time we laid something, like a sock or a pair of underwear, in them. The front of the bottom left drawer popped off whenever we touched it, which always raised Ben's blood pressure. Wherever the dresser sat is where it stayed. 

Don't let the dresser's sleek facade fool you... this puppy was a ticking time bomb and could have collapsed or imploded at any given moment.