Freaking shower…

There are so few things I expect of an apartment in New York City. I expect four walls that don’t have visible mold, a manageable amount of vermin, a working stove and hot water. That’s literally all I expect of apartments that cost more than the average monthly mortgage for a multi-bedroom home. I lucked out with my current apartment, because it checks off most of the criteria: all the walls are still in-tact, my stove/oven has sensitive burners, a good thing for my many kitchen experiments (this week: French macarons), and to the best of my knowledge, poor little miss has been denied any mice while we’ve lived here. It’s so close to having everything I need and more. So close…

Enter: the shower from hell.

In my two previous apartments, I did not have a single (non-roommate) related shower problem: no clogs that couldn’t be fixed, no issues with hot water that weren’t communicated, no weird mold or dirt dripping from the ceiling. And now, when I finally have a shower that I can enjoy all to myself – no roommates stealing shampoo, or leaving hair in the drain, or generally just being there when I need to use it – this aquamonster has given me NOTHING but problems. It’s a legitimate miracle that I’ve been able to keep myself clean since moving in, and every time I think it’s the last issue, something else pops up to ruin my almost-perfect apartment.

It all started on move-in day 2013, where we assumed the small layer of sandy dirt that had accumulated in the bathtub was related to renovations handled prior to my moving in. Easy fix: sweep the dirt out and voila! clean shower. I woke up the next morning to more dirt in the bathtub. And then again the next morning, but also some pieces of plaster? drywall? what on EARTH is going on in my shower right now?!? An investigation by my lovely friend M and me eventually determined the culprit was the heated pole in my bathroom, which resides in the shower; as it expands and contracts with heat, the ceiling around it is pushed out, raining dirt and broken ceiling pieces on the cool white tile. I caulked the problem area within an inch of it’s life (lol, caulk) about a year ago, which actually held all summer and through the fall, leading me to believe I was a master at bathroom repairs and basically a domestic goddess. Until the heat came back and it’s been happening again since December. I’m resigned to sweeping and tile-scrubbing daily until the heat is off. But at least I still had hot water!

A few months went by with no issues, until I came back from work one evening after getting caught with no umbrella in a downpour, and decided to jump in a quick shower to warm up. As I pulled back the curtain, I noticed there was still at least an inch of water in there from the morning shower (“Oooh that’s right, I meant to Drano that”), and no sign of drainage ahead. Two bottles of declogging acid, a misguided attempt to de-clog via wire hanger by myself and a lot of frustrated tears later, I gave up, and called my super to come fix it.  Following a now-comical series of events, my shower stayed clogged for almost 2 weeks. TWO. WEEKS. Should have added “helpful super” to that list of must-haves. But at least I still had hot water!

There have been a million tiny problems in my apartment in the 13 months I’ve been there, everything from a broken outlet, to a broken dead bolt and once this mysterious blue liquid that smelled like Tide started pooling in my kitchen next to the oven (mystery’s still out on that one). Through most of the problems, I’ve been able to laugh them off or fix them, as I’ve tried to do with all of my problems in the past few months. I’m sure it’s been semi-obvious by the tone here lately, but the past month has been tough, emotionally, physically and professionally. This was not helped by the fact that for the entire month of April, my apartment didn’t have hot water. Despite multiple calls to my super, my landlords, and my neighbors, regardless of the time of day, I’d have 2 minutes of hot water that would gradually fade to freezing cold and stay there. When all you want is a shower after the gym, after a stressful day, even if it’s just for a few minutes, coming home to an empty apartment and cold water sucks. Plain and simple.

Things are picking up, as I keep mentioning, personally, physically, professionally. I stopped noticing the water temperature after a few weeks, resigned to cool showers until the summer where I’d enjoy them. Last night I jumped in the shower after a long workout and braced myself for more cold, when the water started warming up. Unwilling to believe this was happening, I waited for the water temperature to fade, but it held, finally reaching the boiling hot shower temperature that I needed after a long month. It’s nice to handle my own problems when I can, but it’s also nice sometimes to have things work themselves out, even something as minor as hot water in the city’s most problematic shower.

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Gimme a beat

This morning I was lying in bed with AlunaGeorge playing on my phone, trying to muster the will to stand and start the day. After rolling myself onto the floor and into the living room, I kept her voice as the background to my morning ritual: yoga, coffee, email, and news, all while piecing an outfit together slowly, one part at a time. Her music is breezy and cheery, upbeat and deceptively deep, a good type of music to get you out of bed without making you feel like someone dropped an anvil on your head. Once I had a sun salutation and some caffeine in my system, I perked up and started dancing around the apartment while holding coffee, brushing my teeth, grooving with little miss until I finally had to switch the stereo for headphones, continuing the dance party for one while turning the bolt. I was still humming to myself as I bounced down five flights of stairs and left my building (I’m crystallized ’cause you’re my kaleidoscope love) smiling and moving with the beat as I faced a new week.

Music is in everyone, good music can relate to anyone and all music inspires someone, sometimes in ways we don’t expect. I have approximately a million playlists on Spotify (rough approximation) with just as many different artists, haphazardly creating new lists every time I find an artist or song that makes me stop and think, inspires me, or calls memories to mind that make me smile. A funny habit I picked up from my last relationship is listening to the same song over and over, sometimes for a few days, sometimes for a few weeks. It used to annoy the snot out of me, if I’m being honest, constantly hearing his song of the hour on loop only to have it change two days before I finally memorized all the words, but lately I’m starting to understand it. There’s a calming effect to listening to the same lyrics, same tune, same artist on repeat, sitting in the mood evoked by that song, still and resigned, a way to focus on that day’s problems or triumphs without provoking anxiety. It’s just sitting with a song, same lyrics, same tune, and letting whatever you’re feeling build with the beat, rising with the bridge and falling as the last chorus fades.

Total dick move.

Total dick move.

I think at times, lyrics find us when they’re supposed to, and that’s why we can’t get them out of our heads. Last Saturday after a spirited afternoon playing drinking games on my fashionista C’s roof, I decided to stay at home that night, making bad delivery decisions for dinner and catching up on an SNL rerun. I stayed up just long enough to watch the first music performance, Sam Smith, Stay with Me. Even in my leftover sangria haze I perked up as that song played on, drinking in the live performance, the lyrics, even rewinding the DVR to watch it again. It’s been on repeat for me for two days, singing it in the shower, playing it on my computer, humming it in the elevator.

A combination of work, play and a few things in between have had the fact that I’m alone in the forefront of my mind recently, scary and exciting all at once. For whatever reason this past Saturday, Smith’s words comforted me (darlin’, stay with me/’cause you’re all I need/this ain’t love, it’s clear to see/but darlin’ stay with me). I don’t know if it’s reminiscing about the past when those words meant something beautiful yet painful, like an emotional concrete; pondering the present where they mean something wild, unfamiliar, scary and fun; or wondering if the future may bring a new meaning to that tune. I’m sure this will fade in a few weeks, edged out by new Beyonce or another welcome recommendation from a friend. It’s nice to sit in this mood with this song for a while though, and wonder where this vast music world might take my mood next.

Extra, Extra!

There was a moment in the recent past where I had a small piece of news to share, a compliment from a boss on my work or maybe a nice word from a client. It was a small gesture after a long week that made me feel that all the crazy emotions I’d been handling those previous days were worth it, that someone appreciated what I’d done. I started dialing mama B, but stopped, as she and I had barely talked all week so I would have to relive the crazy before getting to the good part, my news becoming a conclusion rather than the highlight of my day. I went to text my lovely friend M, but stopped, as I’d be seeing her the next day and it wasn’t something that needed to be shared right away. After running through my mental inventory of people who I would tell, thinking “meh, not her” or “eh, he wouldn’t care,” I finally stopped for a second and realized what was really going on. I sighed and stared at my phone, allowing just ten seconds to accept what was happening and move past it: I wish I could have told my ex.

One of the weirdest parts about single life is not having a ‘default’ person to share all your news. Much as my friends and family can celebrate with me, commiserate with me and cry with me when I have major news to share, it’s not the same as telling that same news to someone who’s seen you at your most vulnerable, your happiest and everything in between. Everyone will be happy for you if you share “I got the job!” or “I got the apartment!” but few people were there when you were crying on the couch about how unhappy you were after another Wednesday being taken through the ringer, or right after you saw the apartment of your dreams and couldn’t stop talking about it. It’s not that friends and family don’t appreciate your news, funny office stories or the fact that you made it to Starbucks before it got busy, but it won’t be the same as sharing that news, those stories or even the Starbucks with someone who cares as much as you do, because you do.

There’s an old joke from college, “if it isn’t on Facebook, it doesn’t exist,” which plays well into a single-situation as well. For a really long time, news wasn’t real until I could share it with him, someone who would share my excitement, or tears, frustration and elation. The first few times after the breakup I told M some minor news or an innocuous bit of trivia from my day, she smiled and laughed as she was supposed to, but I felt silly celebrating this not-even-a-milestone, self-consciously censoring myself more as time went on. I was prepared to live with the outwardly alone-esque aspects of single life, like finally getting the full comforter to myself and not waiting up for the “good night” text that rarely comes, but this has been a difficult adjustment. Celebrating my tiny milestone alone still feels foreign sometimes, like it’s not actually good news.

Yesterday I got a really wonderful compliment from a boss that I admire, peppering my entire day with smiles and a contented mood. I didn’t realize until this morning that I hadn’t discussed it with anyone – it didn’t come up when I spoke to mama B, haven’t felt the need to send anything to M. It’s not a secret, and obviously I’m happy it happened, but it felt okay to celebrate just me last night. As the six-months-single mark rapidly approaches, I’m still learning how to handle the little things that remind me I’m pretty much on my own, but as long as I can give myself 10 seconds to understand the moment and move on, I think I can handle the next six months and beyond.

Stranger Danger

Heading to the gym after work on Tuesday, I managed to snag a seat the moment I got on the train, practically a miracle in mid-week rush hour. I plugged in my headphones, reopened my magazine and settled in for what I thought would be an easy ride back uptown, blocking out everyone around me for the next 40 minutes with my pump-up playlist and a back-issue of Vanity Fair. So I was admittedly not a happy camper when two women got on the train on the next stop and planted themselves right next to me, loudly complaining to each other about work and making subtle references to how exhausted they were from standing all day. When I noticed one of them looking at me through my peripheral vision, I tensed, immediately becoming super-possessive of my seat (mid-week rush hour, people!) and tried to pretend I couldn’t hear anything until she tapped on my shoulder and asked if she could talk to me about something.

As a properly jaded New Yorker, I didn’t want to be rude, but experience tells me that one of three things is about to happen: she’s going to give me a sob story about her life and ask for money, she’s going to give me a sob story about her life and ask for money PLUS my seat, or she wanted to talk to me about the Bible. I couldn’t very well say “no, please don’t talk to me,” because there was a chance we’d be situated next to each other for another 30 minutes and I’m not good with awkward subway proximity, so I sighed deeply, paused my headphones, and politely smiled up at her, mentally running the normal list of  “Sorry I have no cash” and “Jesus and I are cool with a polite acquaintanceship” responses, and replied “Sure, how can I help?”

Subway strangers are the most interesting and annoying part of any commuter’s day. On the one hand, the people watching is priceless: parents placating children with a smartphone game or snack, professional-types trying to one-up each other with hard copies of the Journal and news apps on the new iPad, groups of school-aged kids excitedly giggling at the chance to ride the subway sans parents and the annoying couple that won’t stop groping each other. On the other, the second we hear “ATTENTION LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,” or we can hear someone loudly sharing their opinion before they’re even on the train, NYC-ers tense up and go solo, determined to stay focused on themselves and not get caught up in the storm of the subway stranger. People who drive to work know the small enjoyment of a few minutes of solitude, singing to the radio and sitting with your thoughts, a luxury denied to most New Yorkers as we deal with someone else’s loud music, someone else’s screaming child, someone else’s money woes.

NYC

As it turns out, my tense stereotyping of a subway situation was wrong on all counts. The woman and her friend had recently been discussing whether she should get her nose pierced or not, and wanted to ask me a few questions about my piercing. As I regaled stories of how I had to have it pierced twice, why it’s a bad idea to take a shot of vodka before a needle is jabbed through your skin and how yes, it did hurt (it hurt a lot), we ended up getting a conversation moving between a few people around us. All of a sudden, this group of strangers was animatedly talking to each other: we compared funny tales of piercing parlors, I showed off my tattoos, and eventually we all laughed together for the rest of the ride, until one by one we all disembarked. I sat back smiling as we pulled into my stop, satisfied with a good reminder that it pays to lay aside stereotypes on occasion and let yourself open up to strangers. The magic faded the next morning when someone almost barreled me over trying to enter the train before I was able to exit, but I let her, encouraged by my small reminder that at least on occasion, New Yorkers are concerned with much more than a seat on the subway for a long commute home.

 

Finding the line

*Ed. note: Mom and Dad, if you’re reading, the below information is all hypotheticalNo, seriously. 

Imagine a situation where there’s a person you maybe might actually kind of like. Not fantasizing about a wedding or doodling their last name next to yours kind of “like,” but a slow burning and small kind of enjoyment when you see their name on your phone, wondering if it’s a dinner invitation or an idea for a date, another chance to spend a night trading stories, trying to impress them with your wit. Now imagine that same situation, but instead of a dinner invitation, it’s an invitation to their apartment, where there will probably be stories traded and witty statements, plus a few things that definitely wouldn’t happen at dinner… slash in public. Welcome, one and all, to the latest line in the sandy shores of single life in NYC: when you’re on a date, versus when you’re a booty call.

stay

Your choice, but dibs on the bed and I’m not making you breakfast.

One of the most difficult things to figure out when you first start talking to someone is whether they’re trying to date you, or just keep you on the books for a slow Saturday night. Some are more obvious than others that their intentions are not-so-innocent, while others are harder to figure out, keeping in touch with you during the week, but never making plans until it’s 8 p.m. on the weekend and suddenly you’re their new favorite person. In all fairness, sometimes that’s just scheduling – busy weeks at work, a crazy schedule in general, or maybe he remembered you had plans that afternoon and didn’t want to intrude. It’s those situations that are the most confusing, filling a clearly defined line of  “date” vs. “dat ass” with a sticky gray matter, clouding your judgement with “I miss you” and a smile. That gray line feels like standing in emotional purgatory, staying just emotionally invested enough to try hanging out one more time, but then staying just guarded enough so he can’t hurt you, watching the precariously-built wall around you rattle, dusty and hastily-built, each time he makes you laugh. (… or so I hear).

I can understand the appeal of having a designated booty call. Sometimes people want to disengage from seeking an emotional connection for a little bit, stop trying to flirt with strangers and go home with something familiar, easy and carefree and no commitment required. There’s no talking in between these weekend nights, because you’re not trying to forge an emotional connection, not trying to find out his hopes and dreams or what’s in his Netflix queue. It’s like the ratty sweatshirt at the bottom of your closet, the one you wouldn’t wear in public, but you keep around anyway, for laundry day or for a lazy night in. Eventually it’s just more of a “why not?,” a default: no effort, no emotions, no mess.

Then again, from a twenty-whatever standpoint, I have to admit it’s probably not fair for someone to be relegated to “booty call” when both parties have put in actual effort to keep the connection alive. If you want someone to be your back-up bar girl/guy, that’s totally fine – just be transparent about it. We’re in a day and age where people shouldn’t look down on each other if you just want a no-strings-attached anything; we’re also in a day and age where people shouldn’t look down on each other if you’re looking to build those strings while having a little fun. I don’t think it’s impossible that what starts as a late-night thing can turn into something more. But if it stays a late-night thing after a few weeks of hoping and hoping for something more, maybe it’s not the worst thing to let it fade slowly and convince yourself he was only in it for the bod.

Normally this is the part of the post where I have some witty insight, or an anecdote about my own experience that ties in a larger idea, but to be perfectly honest, that’s about as far as I’ve been able to understand this sandy, grey, murky line. Transparency should be the name of the game here, grabbing a stick and drawing a thick line on your own terms, but emotions make things clouded and messy, breaking the stick and washing over your preconceived ideas. Maybe the point isn’t to force someone else into your line, your terms. Maybe it’s just finding new sticks, making line after line, until someone meets you halfway with their stick too, making everything just a little clearer as you send that Saturday “plans tonight?” text.

PLD Montage: Vol. 2

Another few weeks, another series of idiot decisions by yours truly. Without further ado:

  • In the fluctuating spring weather, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how accurate my iPhone weather app has been. In fact, for a few days, I stopped relying on trusty Weather on the 1’s (NYC gets it) and would just check my phone before getting dressed, neglecting even to look out the window. On the first day the app promised me temps above 50 degrees and a marginally sunny afternoon, I pounced like a cat on cardboard, choosing a breezy spring dress and flats, bare legs out to soak in the promised sunshine. Imagine my surprise when I walked off the subway into a hailstorm.
    Lesson learned: Look out the window. Don’t assume you can bare-leg it in March.
  • In the days before my staycation at R’s, I had a running checklist of things to do before leaving: dishes, laundry, take out the trash, etc. Naturally, the night before leaving, instead of packing and taking care of all of those things, I decided to go out for a drink with a friend, come home, make a mess and go to sleep. I spent Thursday morning scrambling around the apartment packing and cleaning but lo and behold, I somehow managed to get everything done, and spent the staycation looking forward to a clean apartment upon my return. Walked in the door five days later to a powerful smell. No, it wasn’t the cat litter.
    Lesson learned: Always, always confirm you have, in fact, taken out the trash.
  • As a highly responsible person, I also waited until the final morning of my staycation at R’s place to pack up my belongings which had managed to spread themselves ALL over her apartment. Naturally, when I got home, I dumped the contents of my duffel on the floor responsibly unpacked everything and found I’d left my contact solution there. It was late, so instead of buying another that night, I figured I’d just put in a new pair in the morning and buy solution after work the next day. Except that I forgot to do that. Back to square one! I then thought, “No biggie! I’ll just wear my glasses to work, bring the contacts in the dry case, buy contact stuff on the walk to the office and put them in later this morning!” It wasn’t until I reached my desk that I realized I’d accidentally bought “Eye Solution,” which is not the same thing as contact solution, and the drugstore wouldn’t let me exchange the box because I didn’t notice my mistake until I’d already opened everything. Oh and I brought an empty contact case, so it wouldn’t have mattered either way.
    Lesson learned: Read labels before buying. Consider hoarding contact solution for when this inevitably happens again.

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  • A recent morning at around 7:00, I had just gotten out of the shower and was letting myself uh… air dry in my apartment (living alone perks) when there was a really aggressive knock on the door. Since I’m a rational person, I panicked, thinking it was the cops (backstory: one time NYPD actually did knock on my door looking for my neighbor at 6:30 a.m. That was fun.), and quickly threw on a robe without really paying attention to which of my robes I grabbed. The lovely old woman next door had picked up a package for me, saw my light on through the door and wanted to drop it off. It wasn’t until I got back into the apartment that I realized what I was wearing. Let’s just say “sheer” is a bit of an understatement.
    Lesson learned: Maybe confirm your nips aren’t semi-visible before answering your door.
  • Since giving up Seamless for Lent, I’ve been pretty good about bringing lunch into work every day, but really bad at remembering to bring my tupperware home. This past Friday, after enjoying leftover mushroom risotto for lunch, I rinsed out the container and put it in my purse to bring home. JUST KIDDING. Totally forgot to do both of those things, so I came back to dried risotto in my favorite container on Monday morning. My solution? Fill said container halfway with soapy water, seal the lid and shake it to get all of the gross out before washing properly at home. I’m sure you see where this is going.
    Lesson learned: If you’re going to be an idiot and leave dirty tupperware on your desk, don’t also be an idiot who spills an entire container of soap water on herself when the lid pops off mid-shake.

I look forward to the days that these posts are more difficult to write. Until next time!

Hey, Jealousy(ish)

“You guys, I love that we have a dog!”

I probably haven’t felt more like a sister wife than when I said the words above, as my lovely friend M, her N and I were standing in their kitchen eating cold pizza, taking a break from the Masters, and watching the newest member of their family eagerly run between us, glancing at each of us in turn, hoping someone would drop a piece of crust. We had just come back to their apartment after a long stroll by the Jumel House, another hidden gem uptown, a beautiful spring afternoon as the backdrop to their first day as fur-parents. We laughed as we watched the little one scamper after the already-destroyed plush toy we threw back and forth in their room, M and N stopping every few seconds to look at each other with a massive grin, saying over and over “I’m so in love with her already!” I wasn’t sure I’d get to meet the new addition on day one, wanting to ensure M and N had family time, but even as I apologized for intruding on the day they will always remember, N just laughed and said “Of course you’re here. You’re basically a part of the apartment.’

I made my way home after a few hours and opened the door to little miss waiting on the doormat, like always. She trailed me around the apartment as I put the keys down and turned off my headphones, rubbing against my leg and trying to climb into my arms. She was happy when I picked her up for about 45 seconds and then started crawling to get out, a pitiful “mew” escaping as she noticed the end of my headphones trailing behind my purse. I set her down and threw an errant wine cork she’d been playing with, laughing as she darted after it like a mouse, hearing the cork bounce around my room until she lost interest, returning instead to snuggle in my lap, purring contentedly as I scratched her cheek. “Why can’t you be like this with other people,” I asked aloud, and she just pushed her cheek against my hand for more pets, such a sweetheart for only me.

See look at that face!!

See look at that face!!

Much as I joke about little miss being a total b (and don’t get me wrong, she absolutely is) it’s hard sometimes to love something when only you see the good parts. It’s almost a running joke that no one will come to my apartment because they’re terrified of my 6.5 lbs of pure evil, her skittish tendencies making everyone uneasy in turn, trying to pet her despite my caution to leave her be and then antagonizing her when she won’t play nice. As a rescue, I don’t know what happened to her in the first five months of her life before she came into mine; I don’t even know her real birthday. Whatever it was, it’s enough that only in the past few weeks has she started sleeping next to me in bed, and even that’s usually peppered with a morning where she runs after my sweatpants, trying to bite my ankles, never painful but annoying to an extent. I wouldn’t trade her for the world, my little miss, my little b, but I wish I wasn’t the only one who knew how sweet she can be, how much she loves to have her cheeks rubbed and how she loves curling next to your body at night, purring like it’s heaven, at once warm and cozy and perfect.

Meeting the new addition to the sister wife family has had me thinking more and more about how the things that are so precious sometimes make sense only to us. We make excuses for the people, pets and things that we love when they’re less than perfect, because we know there’s another side to those people, pets and things, a side that makes you melt into yourself from love or contentment. It’s the kind of precious love that can cloud your judgment, but also the kind that can enhance it, allowing you to remember the good parts when you’re knee-deep in the bad. It’s the kind of love that makes you try again, and again, and again to make everyone else look past the flaws to see the heart-melting moments. It’s the kind of love that no one else understands, but as long as it makes sense to you, that’s enough to hold you together. Or, at the very least, it’s supposed to be.

I stopped over briefly one night this week to pick something up I’d left at M’s, and she greeted me with her little one in her arms and the happiest smile on her face. I would love to be jealous of the pet that everyone will always, infinitely and forever love more than mine, but she’s so darn cute and I get it – she’s nice. But as I sit at home with little miss curled into my leg, giving me the slow-blink of a happy cat, I can’t feel jealousy. Maybe it’s a flaw that I’ll always try to find the good in broken things, a poor decision to see past the flaws instead of paying attention to them. Then again, as little miss demands a head scratch and then bites my hand, I can’t help but smile, because honestly, I’d rather deal with a few flaws here and there, as long as at the end of the day I can show someone, or some cat, that they’re loved.

Comfort Food

New Yorkers have a funny habit of finding cool, unique and interesting things to do on the weekend, and then never actually going through with making the plans. We all get the Time Out New York emails, Urban Daddy alerts, even Living Social deals and send them around to friends, insisting “WE HAVE TO DO THIS,” and then forget to buy tickets, forget to respond or forget to attend. A few weeks back, I got an email from my fashionista C, subject line “WE HAVE TO DO THIS” followed by a million exclamation points (approx.), and initially assumed it would fall victim yet again to “oh were you serious?” or the classic “I thought that was next weekend!” Reading over the details my eyes widened when I saw the event title, and I instantly g-chatted her to buy tickets within the hour. What was so fantastic as to make us break the cycle of always finding and never attending events? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Big Cheesy.

ALL OF THE CHEESE

ALL OF THE CHEESE

What you’re observing in the photo above is the best $30 I’ve spent in a long time that didn’t come from Hautelook. That, my friends, is Big Cheesy, an annual event honoring the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the city. Tickets got us one hour of entry, two beers and all the grilled cheese we could eat. AND BOY DID WE EAT. Though the event noticeably lacked a classic grilled cheese sandwich, it offered choices with everything from raclet-style gouda, pickled green tomatoes and jalapenos, to Wisconsin cheddar, asparagus and horseradish aioli, to mushroom ragout, white bechamel and truffle oil, all washed down with pints of Goose Island, a perfect afternoon jaunt on a sunny April day. C and I worked our way through each cheesy offering, spilling cheddar threads down our chins and comparing sandwiches, eventually agreeing that the aforementioned mushroom-and-truffle-oil was the winner. Once our hour was up, we wandered around Nolita in the sunshine, stopping for obligatory margaritas and eventually making our way back to her rooftop, spending the whole time laughing, chatting and generally enjoying the day.

I dipped my head back in the sunshine at one point on the rooftop, still completely stuffed from the hour-long sandwich binge, and started laughing for no reason other than I was really, really happy. I’d been in such a funk for the past few weeks, reliving old wounds from a failed relationship and trying to find ways to blame myself for things over which I had no control. It’s not easy, as a woman, as a twenty-whatever, as a New Yorker, to let yourself really and truly enjoy the moment you’re living as you’re living it. We stress over the future and reflect on the past so easily, so quickly swayed in one direction mood-wise or another, rarely savoring that exact moment for what it is. Taking an hour this Saturday to enjoy some comfort food and a stroll around lower Manhattan reawakened my bad mood to all of the wonderful things that surround me in this moment, at this time. There may have been pulled pork and pepperjack mixing up this classic comfort food but it was a classic millennial New York weekend, putting the smile I’d set aside back on my face in a big way.

You should have been there.

You should have been there.

I left the Financial District as the sun was setting, having made impromptu plans to head to another borough for a low-key Saturday night. Walking with that view of One World Trade was a fitting end to another New York weekend with my fashionista C, comfortably simple and exactly what I needed. I can’t promise we won’t continue to ignore the “WE HAVE TO DO THIS” emails in the future, but if anything sounds half as amazing as “all you can eat grilled cheese” and “lifting a sunken mood,” perhaps I’ll start making more of an effort after all.

The bad days

Standing on the subway platform with three bags and sore feet, I leaned against the railing, closed my eyes and tried not to give into the frustrated tears that had been building for a few hours. I played the same mantra over and over: Deep breath, LB. You’re going to be okay. Everything is just fine. The more I said these things the less true they became, and at that moment, a fat tear dangled precariously at the tip of my left eyelid, not enough to spill over yet but already far too much. Deep breath, LB. Cycle through the things you can hold onto: you just had a great day at work. You’re about to see little miss for the first time in three days. And the subway finally arrived.

In spite of a day that started with a final snuggle from R’s pooch, a very welcome run-in with a blast from the past and a successful five hours in various meetings at my client’s office, I couldn’t shake the morose mood that had taken over. Sometimes it’s hard not to internalize a problem when it’s just stress, lack of sleep and a disrupted schedule messing with your state of mind. I’ve had to work hard in my adult life to fight back at the anxieties that rise like a tidal wave, looking so small from far away until “far away” has swept you away completely. The last few weeks I was able to push back, hold steady to the mantra that I’m in control, but as I stood on that platform watching time tick, tick by, waiting for the train for two, five, ten minutes, I gave in just a little, enough for that one tear to fall as I stepped onto the long ride home.

The problem with giving in to anxieties on days like this is they supersede rationality, making me forget that my head probably hurts because I haven’t eaten anything besides a few slices of cheese in nine hours and not, as I’ll convince myself, that I’m bad at my job. I’ll forget that my schedule has been keeping me from going to the gym as often as I’d like, and tell myself it’s my fault for being lazy, and that I’ll probably wipe out at the Spartan race this June. I’ll forget all of the positive things I’ve done for myself in the past few months, and listen to the nagging voice in my head that says it’s my fault that I’m single and will probably die alone with my cat

This is my spirit GIF

This is my spirit GIF

I finally stepped off the subway into the cool spring night, breathing in the familiar scent of Washington Heights welcoming me back, all Latin food, stale cigars and fresh fruit from the stands. As I walked home, I had this grand plan of putting Taylor Swift on the stereo, catching up on Vogue and crying about nothing and everything. I needed to let myself give in to the anxieties for just a moment, just a night, so I could work past them and move on. And yet, as I settled down with the Kimye cover, “Last Kiss” flooding the apartment like slow molasses, I found myself humming along and smiling, feeling memories and a soft nostalgia warm my angry, frustrated self. As the music picked up, so did my mood, and all of a sudden I was dancing with the cat alone in the apartment, singing into the remote without paying attention to the tune, throwing my hair Willow Smith style and feeling just a little better as the bars went on.

I danced like that for close to an hour, unwilling to end a night in with myself and little miss, grooving and singing and maybe even feeling okay. We all need to give into the bad days on occasion, and let ourselves cry it out. I have to say though, walking into the office today where I was greeted with free breakfast and smiles from my coworkers, dance parties with little miss do pretty alright too.

Curse you, Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday. Two seemingly innocent words, conjuring images of brunch, surrounded by friends, followed by a day outside, sun everywhere, laughing, dancing, youthful and home by 8, in time to throw on sweatpants and head to bed early, ready to face the Monday. In theory, Sunday Funday should be the classy part of the weekend, keeping in mind that there is work the next day and we should be all tuckered out from the previous two nights. Sunday Funday should be an ease into the normal week, just enough party to be fun without getting too out of control.

While I was staycation-ing in my partner-in-crime’s apartment this weekend, my fashionista C and I decided to take advantage of the slowly-emerging spring weather and spend our Sunday at brunch, followed by afternoon wine on her kickass roof deck. As everyone else (literally, everyone) was out of town, we imagined a day of just us, the lone remaining single ones, relaxing in the sun, trading dating tales and catching up on our semi-new jobs. C picked a spot by her apartment that offered unlimited mimosas (duh) and well-reviewed food for under $20, so off we went in the early afternoon, giving ourselves enough time to enjoy the sunshine after brunch, but not going so early that we were getting day drunk around the church crowd. Making friends with the bartender worked VERY much to our advantage, and after stuffing ourselves with cherry pepper, gruyere and broccoli rabe frittata, egg-and-cheese pizza with prosciutto and broccoli, breakfast potatoes and enough champagne to put the Oscars to shame, we stumbled out and back to her apartment, taking a minute to appreciate the warm sun that would be the backdrop to our afternoon.

Now, so far this seems like a fairly innocent tale, right? Two friends, eating brunch on Sunday, about to have a glass of wine on the roof. Where is this going, you might ask? This is a blog about poor decisions, and so far this sounds like a lovely afternoon.

Me, at the end of the day.

Me, at the end of the day.

After grabbing the wine from C’s apartment, we stepped into the elevator which was occupied with a cute boy and a cooler. We struck up a conversation, as he clearly had the same rooftop idea we did, and decided to meet him and his friends up there for a few hours. Now, when you see a cute almost-30-something who lives in a beautiful high-rise in FiDi, you admittedly make some assumptions about him and his friends. Like, for example, they would all be the same age. Or, perhaps, they’d all be employed. Or even, if you were lucky, none of them would be “escaping from a pregnant fiancee” for the afternoon and maybe there would be another cute one, just for fun.

Yeah. No.

Most of our rapidly-becoming-less-cute friend’s friends were between the ages of about 18 and 22, save for a guy about our age who tried to steal my sunglasses (NO) and a random man who had to be at least 45 that rolled in after about an hour and a half, chain smoking Newports and commandeering conversations with a strong Brooklyn accent. The company was fine, don’t get me wrong. But talking to 21-year-olds about to graduate college, seeping self-consciousness and job-desperation from their pores made us uncomfortable enough to drink a little faster, which in turn loosened our own tongues with hilarious tales (“MY BLOG IS AWESOME where is more wine”) and I’m pretty sure at one point someone was rapping along to a guitar, while I maybe tried to join in. Before you know it, it’s 8 p.m. on Sunday, I’m rolling myself back to R’s apartment, and C and I had somehow been separated for the past two hours, trying to meet up and eventually giving in to champagne hangovers and the general absurdity of the afternoon. Naturally, my legendary self-restraint with distributing my number was in full-force on Sunday, so I’ve already heard from cute boy, asking if I wanted to get a drink this week and what was my name again? I spent yesterday in a hazy fog of crazy tasks at work, trying to relive the afternoon with C via GChat, and planning this post, wanting to savor all the details of such an insane, unexpected and in the end, incredibly fun day.

Perhaps that’s the best part of Sunday Funday, the rapidly-escalating afternoon that ends on a crazier note than most of my Saturdays – after all, this blog was born after Super Bowl Sunday Funday, a day that still lives in infamy with R and myself. And despite the underagers, the unexpected separation from C and the throbbing head that lasted until just before I walked into the office yesterday, it was a great day with an amazing friend, soaking in sunshine, surrounded by strangers, getting a chance to be our crazy selves and walk away by 8 p.m., just in time for sweatpants and an early bedtime, like we’d initially planned.