Monthly Archives: June 2011

Phone trees

How many times do you call a number only to have the recorded voice tell you what number to push for what you need?

And am I the only one that needs to listen to it multiple times because I get bored and stop listening and then realize I totally missed the boat and have to re-listen? I’m afraid to hit any number because what if I am pressing one that is for an emergency?

I wonder if a doctor’s office ever screwed up with the order and put ‘if this is an emergency, press 8’ after the caller had to listen to 7 other button  options.


WHY? Or HOW do I manage to injure myself?

Who gets hurt by a corkscrew? Oh, that’d be me.

Tried to open a bottle of wine, and instead, I opened my skin. Blood everywhere.

Other harmless kitchen objects that I’ve been able to injure myself with include a toaster oven which caused a burn on my arm and a broken glass resulted in a bloody toe.

What about falling in the street? Because I’ve done that several times.

In just one day last week, I went to get my eyebrows threaded, and instead of the lady putting aloe on my brows, as is normal, she sprayed alcohol on them. Later that day, I walked past a building where the window washers were spraying pretty much at eye level and I walked right through that and to end that day, when I was in the grocery store, getting one avocado, three avocados rolled off the display and landed on my left foot.

I wish I was kidding.


Horrors of Hoarding

I once lived in an apartment where the tenant passed away inside the apartment. But the Fire Department couldn’t get INTO the apartment to get her out.

Because she was a hoarder.

When this lady died, or whenever she was discovered, the Fire Department showed up in droves. There must have been two or three trucks, and twenty guys. I remember peeking out the peephole to see one fireman after another, heading up the stairs and turning the corner, holding axes and whatever else they have to use.

When they finally removed her, and her hoarding, the hoarded items were left in the garbage area on the first floor.

When I say I had never seen anything like this in my life, I have to think that most people haven’t either.

There were floor to ceiling stacks, each thing was stacked inside itself, of:

Quart size containers (that you’d get Egg Drop soup in)
Half gallon ice cream containers
Magazines (from who knows how far back)
Newspapers (stacks and stacks and stacks)

It was absolutely unbelievable.

Days later we had knocks at the door asking if we wanted to be exterminated.

Gross!!

The plus of moving so much – me – is that it gives me a chance to go through my stuff and eliminate. I like to say I move lightly! But this woman had lived in this apartment for nearly 50 years. She had plenty of time to collect a lot of stuff…and not throw anything out.


Extreme Couponing

Oh Em Gee.

I can’t even remember to pull out a ‘save 50 cents’ coupon if I go to the supermarket. These people on the show of the same name are serious shoppers. But, some of them may have another problem. Extreme hoarding. How many jars of pickles and bags of rice cakes does one family need?


Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to you.

Today would have been my grandpa’s 82nd birthday. We were tight. Like not ‘hey I’ve got to call my grandpa because that’s what granddaughters do’ tight, but tight. We’d talk two, three or four times a week for at least an hour. I think it was one of the highlights of his day, and I know it was one of the highlights of mine. When he died, I think that a piece of me died with him. I miss him. Every. Single. Day.

I miss him so much. When I think about him, my heart tightens, my throat closes up and if the timing is right, the tears flow. The feeling hasn’t subsided much after four years, five months and fifteen days and I suspect it never will.

And many more. Except I wish the ‘many more’ were here with me.


Pulling the Trigger (no not a gun) – Booking Airfare

For someone who loves to fly and visit her family, she sure is afraid to pull the airline booking trigger. And because of that, she got screwed. Royally screwed. Knew it was going to be a last-minute fare, and saw the price at $275 over a week ago, but hesitated. Then $346…and was about to book but had to leave for work, so didn’t book it. Then for days the price hovered in the mid 400’s…and she wished it to go back to $346. The mid 400 price turned out to be an upper 400 if you added all the booking fees, seat fees and gas fees. Which eventually turned into a low 500 fare, and now with stops.

While she thinks it would be worth every penny, everyone in her family told her she was nuts to give that kind of money to the fickle and greedy airlines, especially if she were to book now to go in just a few more weeks, the airfare searches come up for half the price.

So she didn’t book.

But she still continued the fruitless search with enough time to leave for the airport to get the last flight of the night. And with that, came the best. idea. ever.

For those people who can travel at a moments notice, literally, there should be a way to negotiate with the airlines for a fare. I mean, there’s probably only a small segment of the population that would be intrigued by this anyway, and it’s a chance for the airlines to get a few more dollars for empty seats they probably wouldn’t have been able to fill otherwise.

Most people book weeks, if not months, in advance. Getting those last few seats filled could prove profitable. This gal does hate the middle seat but for this last chance opportunity, she’d jump at the chance to get away, right. this. second.

As one of those people who can be ready to leave with a moments notice, thanks to an already packed toiletries bag, and clean clothes in the closet, there’s no reason not to go. Especially when ‘the price is right for that last-minute flight.’ And, you, yes, you, the first airline to bring this idea to fruition, I even provided you with a spot-on tagline.

The idea is genius, right?


Restless Legs

Last week I went to a reading series, appropriately titled, Restless Legs. Not only is it a great name for the group, it’s a perfect nickname for me.

The reading I went to had the theme of women’s focused writing. Each woman read an excerpt from their book (the dream!). There were four readers – each had her own story.

We heard from four different women about…

  • The differences and stereotypes facing a single woman in her 30s while visiting her family in India from NYC.
  • The challenges that arise when souvenir shopping for a young neighbor after discovering that the best gift for a 12 year old boy is a soccer jersey.
  • A love/hate affair with, and affairs in, Paris.
  • Moving a young family to Spain while the mom learns how to flamenco dance. Twice.

In the same order, each of the writers…

  • Reminded me that every country has different views of young, single women.
  • Made me laugh as I remembered some of my more tedious quests for the perfect gifts to bring home.
  • Made me want to return to Paris and do it right.
  • Made me long for the smells, the sights and the sounds of Spain.

Wanderlust much?


What’s it worth?

I was talking with friends about their recent night out. It was dinner and drinks and it was 60 bucks a person for dinner and drinks. Sounds about right in NYC.

Funny that elsewhere that can get you three meals for a day and a good bed to sleep on. (See: Southeast Asia)


WHY? Won’t you look where you are walking?

I’ve said this before, but I am seeing it more and more. Why don’t people look where they are going? It seems like every time I look I see people reading and typing or playing games on their phones and reading books (yes, real, actual books, crazy, right?!) and Kindles.

Why do I have to watch where they are walking in order to not be wacked in the head or the arm because they aren’t paying attention?! It makes me absolutely crazy. I’m not sure if it’s a result of being cramped in city living for so long, or if I am annoyed that so many times I am the one to fall or trip or stub my toe AND I AM paying attention to where I am going.

Is the material that scintillating, or is it just a (really obnoxious and annoying) status symbol to show that they are so important/busy/rude/oblivious that they don’t have time to pay attention to where they are going?! I just don’t understand what is so important that they can’t look up to watch where they ARE. WALKING.

I have seen people playing games, texting, whatever. Just pull over, like you would in a car, and take care of your business elsewhere. Unless it is a dire emergency, get off of your device, PLEASE!

You heard it here. Young ‘uns — the best industries to get into are carpal tunnel surgeons, eye doctoring and electronic advice addiction counselors. This is what society is coming to. These are going to be major medical conditions in the very near future. And I bet there will be great job security.

If I am walking behind someone at a speedy pace and they are strolling along on your device, I’m going to say ‘Excuse Me’ and if they don’t move, I will whizz past with a ‘Really?’ or a ‘Seriously?’

Why do I have to dodge you, you rude, obnoxious person thinking everyone is going to move out of your way?

I would LOVE to one day jump in front of one of these people and just yell! I realize this puts me in the category of crazy and  I wouldn’t really do this in real life but when I think about it, I love the idea more and more. I’d especially love to just get the reactions on camera. What about to walk in a straight line, so if the rude person won’t look up, they will run into me. Okay, I really wouldn’t do that because somehow, someway, I’d be the one to get injured – elbow in the face, something like that.

I don’t spend much time in a car, but I’d be curious to observe what people do in cars in bumper to bumper traffic on a major highway. Not sure how you express your anger there. Does a car horn do it these days? Especially if they aren’t paying attention to the road – would they even think the horn was for them? Readers who drive…feel free to share what you see…or (shame on you) what you may do.

Brought to you by WHY Wednesday.


Outdoor Space, a Washing Machine, OH MY!

I recently had a conversation with a friend and we were talking about what people in the burbs must think about city living. Like, having to take specs in order to be sure a couch will fit…not just in the apartment but actually in the building, stairs or elevator…is something people in the burbs probably never have to worry about.

Two other luxuries (luxuries to me anyway!) that people in the burbs may take for granted because I am sure they have both are:
1) Washer and dryer
2) Outdoor space

I spent so much time doing my own laundry in laundromats. Hot, steamy laundromats covered in massive amounts of lint and filled with some strange people. And who knew what had been in the carts used to move laundry from the washer to the dryer. [Good thing this was before I was skeeved out by the mere mention of the word ‘bed bugs.’]

Years into apartment living, I learned about wash and fold and I never went back. [Except to wash things that couldn’t be dried in the dryer.] And then, a couple of moves later I found ones that delivered! Yes, they picked up my dirty laundry and returned it, usually the same day, clean and folded.

Wash and fold is not for the faint of heart. One, you are giving your clothes, your CLOTHES to a perfect stranger. Two, those clothes undoubtedly include underwear so if you have a thing about strangers washing your skivvies, it could be a problem. And three, you may not get everything back.

One and two I had no problem with. I can pay you to do my least favorite chore? Sure! Three, I always wondered what would go missing. I always counted how many pieces I sent out. Problem was, I never itemized, I only counted. So unless I was looking nd wondering where (said item) was, I probably wasn’t going to notice. Sure, I have a lot of mismatched socks, but I always figured that was the cost of entry.

I did have washing machines and dryers in the basement of two buildings I had lived in. At one point I even lived above a laundromat. However, my current apartment is the first apartment since I have been back in the States where I have a washer and a dryer IN my apartment. It is amazing.

I did have a washer/dryer in kitchen of my flat in London. It was a smaller version of an old school front loader. But, you couldn’t open it until it washed and dried. So if you wanted to wash something, and hang it to dry, tough. You would have to wash it by hand because this machine just didn’t work like that. And it was great. To have a machine in my home that would wash my clothes? I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t have that luxury again for nearly ten more years.

Key takeaway #1: Make sure anywhere I live moving forward has a washer and dryer, a seemingly small, but lovely, luxury.

Apartment living can be claustrophobic at times. In fact, I once lived in an apartment that if you sat on the toilet in the bathroom and opened the door (which would hit your knees) you could see the entire apartment. And this, this was a two bedroom.

I’ve lived in a converted two bedroom (into a three) with six other roommates. I’ve lived in an apartment with two roommates where we each had our own room but the only common areas were the galley kitchen, tiny bathroom and the foyer. There was no living room…that was one of the bedrooms!

I lived in an apartment that had bars on the windows. Not sure how we’d get out in a fire. I also lived in an apartment that was wrapped in scaffolding for nearly three years. It was like having black netting draped over the windows. It never really got sunny because there was always a black haze over the place.

So now, having a balcony, even its small size, is an absolute treat.

I always said that NYC was my backyard. But that’s a congested backyard with people pushing and shoving into my personal space. Not quite the idyllic backyard of my childhood.

Now, having personal outdoor space, I cannot believe I went so many years without it. It’s truly wonderful when the weather is great, but even in the depths of winter, I always stuck my head out — because I could. And in the summer, it’s as good as you think it would be.

Key takeaway #2: Make sure anywhere I live moving forward has outdoor space, a seemingly small, but lovely, luxury.

When I watch House Hunters International, it’s all about priorities and figuring out what you can budge on, and what’s an absolute must have. I don’t want a McMansion. Hell, I don’t even need two bathrooms. I’ve lived in such small quarters for so many years that I don’t even know what I would do with the extra space.

But I refuse to budge on the washer/dryer and outdoor space. Pretty simple asks should I ever move to the burbs. City living…it may be asking a lot.