Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I guess I'm not going to be homeless afterall...

In the last couple of weeks I've been stressing out because I knew that my stay in the corporate apartment was meant to be a limited one and that my time here was quickly running out. As suspected, my NYC apartment doesn't appear to be closing with any speed (big surprise) and I haven't really found a condo that I've fallen in love with anyway. So given all of the above, I decided to give in and take an apartment in the complex where I'm currently living for a six-month lease. It's going to really, really SUCK paying two housing costs at once, and it is because of that reason that I opted for just a one-bedroom (sorry Julia!). Besides, I don't want to be running around buying furniture for a temporary place anyway. So, it's a relief to have at least this one issue resolved, even if it is only a temporary solution. Plus, I can always renew my lease there, if it came to it. Now I have to figure out the logistics of getting my stuff packed up and delivered up to New Hampshire next month. Kind of hard to deal with all this stuff (not to mention all of my father's estate trust financials and crapola) while trying to also work a full-time, busy job!

Monday, March 20, 2006


So, I'm sitting here at work and it's pretty quiet because a lot of people have gone home and there is this ASSHAT a couple of aisles away on the floor popping & snapping his damn GUM. So RUDE!!! I hate people.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Alright. So it's been freaking forever since I've written. Okay so, sue me. Sheesh.

Anyway, things have been busy and clipping along here in New Hampshire. Lets see what's new.

I drove down to NYC last weekend to pick up some more stuff, tie up some odds & ends and to see some friends. It was the longest drive thus far in my new car and it went relatively uneventfully. I actually enjoyed the drive, to be honest. I really love to drive and can't believe I'd gone so many years without even having a license (no less a car). Driving on a bit of a trip is also made more pleasant by that wonderful invention that is the iPod. I'm not much of an audio-phile, but even I can't imagine my life without this thing. Work, driving, whatever, it sure makes life just a little bit more pleasant. Everyone should have one.

Anyway. Ditzy move #1: As mentioned before, until the past couple of months, I hadn't driven or even had a license in years. I grew up and did most of my driving in NJ (when I last possessed a license) where they have this strange law that self-service gas stations are illegal (it's weird, but it's NJ). Anyway, I haven't done a ton of gas pumping over the years, so I'm a bit clueless. Since I've gotten my car, I've been using this Mobil station up the road and so I've gotten used to that. On my trip down to NYC I stopped at another type of station (a Shell, I think). Anyway, I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to use the stupid pump. So there I stood like an idiot while the station attendant squawked at me over this loudspeaker. Of course, since I couldn't understand what she was saying through that thing, I kept having to go back inside to hear what she was trying to tell me. Sheesh. Well, I figured it out eventually and managed to get the Hell out of Connecticut.

Let me right now advise anyone who ever plans to drive to NYC to, at all costs, avoid driving in Queens. Seriously. It is the weirdest place and the most frustrating driving experience imaginable. First of all, if you live on (for the sake of argument) "123 Drive", there will also be a 123 Street and a 123 Avenue and a 123 Road, and so on. And all of these various 123-whatever incarnations are not necessarily right next to each other. And then, good luck trying to get from point A to point B. I got off the highway and ended up going down one road in the direction opposite where I needed to go, and every turn I made only had an option to turn me in a direction even further from the way I needed to be going. I ended up driving down these narrow, confusing streets screaming at the top of my lungs inside my car, "I HATE this fucking place!!!!" SHEESH!

Ditzy move #2: So we finally manage to get turned around and end up parked outside my apartment. I grab all of the bags I have in the front seat, my iPod, Lola's leash, etc. and get out of the car. I realize that I should probably be a little closer to the curb and so I get back in the car to move it a little closer when I realize that I don't have my keys. WTF???!!! So I look everywhere, on the floor, in between the seats, in all the bags, under the floor mat, on the street outside the car. No keys anywhere. Luckily, I have a spare with me and move the car accordingly, but the missing keys at this point are a complete mystery. I bring the dog and all my stuff inside and then go back outside to look again for them, to no avail. I continue to search for them all weekend and don't find them until we are ready to leave on Monday morning, when I am laying Lola's blanket across the back seat and leaning over to tuck it around the seat, I see the keys lying under the passenger front seat. Sheesh.

So, within about 5 minutes (literally) of being back in my apartment in Kew Gardens, I was treated to the sounds of: 1) LIRR trains rushing through the neighborhood 2) a car alarm 3) some assHAT driving past with that loud heavy, pumping noise of the hip-hop de jour blasting out of his car speakers (probably what set off afore-mentioned car alarm) 4) the obnoxious neighborhood punks screaming and yelling (as per usual) out on the street. Just a normal afternoon in the Queens neighborhood, but two months of living in NH had desensitized me to it all. Wasn't really missing life in NYC at all in that moment.

Anyway, I had a very nice weekend seeing people. Paul & Luminita at their apartment on Friday night. Ken & Ellen for Wings & Beer at Blondies on Saturday afternoon. Cathy & Jerry w/ Lola's friend Jake came down to visit me late Sunday afternoon and then Carolina & Janos's for dinner and Sopranos on Sunday night. Michelle was also there and I was lucky to be in town when our friend Krupski was visiting, a NYC stop in between his many travels all over the world (trying to figure out where he is ultimately going to call home). It was great to see everyone, but it also felt weird to be there. Especially to sleep in my bed, sit on my couch, reside in my apartment. I almost felt like I would be getting up on Monday morning and taking the LIRR into Old Company again. Just a weird, limbo feeling, I really can't describe it, but I didn't like the feeling much. I'm a tiny bit sad about selling my apartment, but I think I will be relieved and feel a lot better, once I've closed and everything is finally moved out.

Ditzy move #3: Last Tuesday night Lola was bugging me to go out. Usually in the evening when this happens, she just needs a quick pee, so I've lately been in the habit of just running her out the back door of the apartment building, without bothering with a leash, etc. She'll run into the field, pee and run back in. On this night I grabbed the keys off the table, went out into the hall with the dog and the door to the apartment closed behind me before I realized that I was holding the keys to my NYC apartment in my hands. Doh! Of course the door locked behind me and I stood there with a dog with no leash, wearing floppy, threadbare, old sweats and this enormous sweatshirt thingie (and no bra, of course) and no way to get back into my apartment. In the middle of New Hampshire (in the middle of Winter) where I don't really know anyone. So after standing in the middle of the hallway freaking out for a couple of minutes, I rang my neighbor's doorbell. It took a while, but the poor guy finally came to the door in shorts, tee-shirt and bare feet. I apologized and explained my situation (and the fact that he had the misfortune of being my closest neighbor) and then we tried to figure out what to do. He looked around for some kind of apartment management number and then I had the idea to check the yellow pages. I called the number listed for the apartment complex, there was an answering service and they said they had to page someone and had to have a number where to get back to me. My neighbor was nice enough to give them his phone number -- all of this was happening while Lola is running willy-nilly in and out of this guy's apartment (she just can't resist an open door). So Lola and I then went out to the vestibule of the apartment building to wait for someone to show. For two hours. In that course of time we got to see a lot of people coming and going, most of whom Lola enjoyed greeting. Lola was also lucky enough during this time to encounter a friendly beagle who was very happy to chase her around for a bit. Anyway, after I had completely given up all hope of getting back into my apartment that night, the guy finally showed and let me in. He had to take my license to make a photocopy and told me a number of times that I would be charged for this (well, what options did I have at that point???) I wonder if he expected a tip? I considered giving him one, but on the other hand, I did sit there for hours waiting. Anyway, it all could have been worse, I could have locked myself out when taking the dog out for the last pee of the night at 11 or later. Now that would have been a disaster. Sheesh. Anyway, I was desperately happy to get back into my place at that point. I promptly filed the NYC keys away in a drawer and set up my door so that it can't lock behind me again.

Last week I had the opportunity to sit with the traders on the trading desk here at New Company and listen in to the buying & selling & stuff. It was pretty interesting and a glimpse into a world that I had previously had little access to. The traders I am dealing with for my project have now requested that I be given an actual desk on the trading floor to give us all better access to each other. I think this will generally be a good thing for the project, but it also means that I have THREE desks here at New Company. Talk about not knowing whether I'm coming or going.

I've looked at a number of condo townhouses over the past couple of months, and thus far, nothing has really bowled me over. My search up until this point has been somewhat lackadaisical because I know that my apartment closing is still going to take a while, but just now I am beginning to feel a bit more of an urgency. I saw a couple yesterday in a complex that I admire, yet none of these could I really imagine myself living in. This is just such a hard and important decision and I really feel pretty clueless about it all. I have no experience in real estate matters, so I'm finding it a bit overwhelming. I think I'm going to look into getting a six month lease on a rental in the meantime, so I can relax a bit and not worry about being homeless at least. It's going to be stressful paying two housings costs for a while (NYC + NH) but there's really nothing I can do about that other than hope that the closing happens soon.

Well, that's all I can think of for the moment. I'm sure I've missed something, so I will chime in, when it comes to me.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'll say it again, it's great having a gym inside my office building. I just wish I could avoid the whole locker room experience (and I like the gym in the other building much better, would like to work out some way to go to that one instead). So, I went to the gym again today and it was quite a bit more crowded, I wasn't even able to get on the elliptical. Although, that might not be such a bad thing as it forced me to do the bike and the treadmill instead (better to get a well-rounded experience, rather than doing the same thing everyday). Anyway, I felt great afterwards. I have to try and keep this up.

On any unrelated note. Am I the only one who thinks women who wear sandals in the Winter (in New England) are freaking weird???

Monday, March 06, 2006

I've been very bad

about keeping up with my blog lately.

Anyway, I haven't had a ton of stuff to say. I like my new job, it can be difficult and stressful, but no one can say it isn't challenging anyway. Now that I am settling down into a weekly routine, I am trying to carve out specific blocks of time during the week where I can get real, practical work done. There are so many meetings and conference calls and detailed emailing and otherwise conversations about the project and strategizing, etc. that I find these specified blocks of time essential for actually accomplishing some concrete work. Now that there seems to be a certain routine to the week, this has become a little easier. We have a weekly "working meeting" on Thursday afternoons where we meet with our "client" and with the business (our end users) to review what has been done that week, where the project is headed, action items, concerns, requirements, problems, etc. And the spotlight is really on me here because I have to drive a good portion of the meeting and also demo reporting changes and updates that I've done. Sometimes the meeting can be fun, if the users start to get excited and they kick off a round of brain storming that really gets my creative juices flowing. But sometimes the meeting is just painful. This past Thursday was one of those such meetings. The conference room was stuffed to the gills with something like 15-18 people (some of whom I didn't even know) and I was trying to demo a bunch of stuff, but I was dealing with a wireless keyboard and mouse, was logged onto my machine through the conference room PC and my screen kept getting frozen, so I was never able to really accomplish my demo. In the meantime, the natives were restless so I just talked through what was supposed to be my demo while becoming more and more nervous with every word. It was horrible. But I got through it somehow. My manager said to me afterwards, "good job" and I just laughed out loud. He's just so nice and always positive, but I knew it was a disaster. Oh well. It was a relief once it was over anyway.

So, I joined the company gym a week ago. For $190/year I can go to any gym location (they're all over Boston, and other locations, in addition to having a gym in each of the buildings here). I didn't go at all last week, but I finally did go for the first time yesterday. I actually blocked out the time on my calendar here, set the time as "busy" and worked out in the middle of the afternoon when the gym was pretty empty. I then stayed later at work in the evening to make up for it. I only did a half an hour on the elliptical, but it was surprisingly hard for me(or maybe not so surprisingly). It's been that long since I did any kind of consistent working out. Anyway, I'm thinking that if I can do this a few times a week, and then get myself walking more on the weekends, that this will at least be a start. I was thinking if I can continue to do the afternoon workouts, I can maybe do an additional workout after work, either at one of the gyms here, or at the apartment complex. Even just a half an hour a shot will add up quickly enough. And can I say how wonderful it is to have a gym actually in the building where your office is? Used to be I would run out to the gym on my lunch hour in NYC and it would be this harrowing sprint across Seventh Avenue, up the long, sleazy, urine-soaked block on 33rd street and across all the craziness of Herald Square. Now I can just walk downstairs without even putting a coat on, with my ipod and blackberry in hand (and can thus answer emails while I'm down there too -- gotta love technology).

Over this past weekend I got to see all my cousins for dinner. Two of my cousins live close to me here and my third cousin (who lives near Albany, NY) was down visiting his brothers. I first met two of my cousins at a local bike shop. One of them is thinking of getting into bicycling because he's having some knee trouble from running and his brother has a lot of experience and so was helping figure out what bike would be good for him and what equipment he would need. Of course, it's never a good idea for me to spend an afternoon in such as place as I start getting fancy ideas of what new toy I can buy for myself. (Must. Buy. A. Condo.) Afterwards we then drove on to the restaurant where we met both of their families and my other cousin and his family. It was a big, old, happy family reunion, the likes of which I haven't had since my mother passed away four years ago. All of my cousins wanted to know when my father plans to visit. In a way, they feel particularly connected to him because amongst us all, he is the one remaining parent. I hated to tell them that even when he lived one state away he never visited me. They shouldn't be holding their breath for a NH visit from him.

My cousins were all also very impressed with my decision to make this huge life change and move up here. All were completely amazed when I said that I don't miss NYC at all. I really don't (at least not yet), I miss the friends I have there, yes. I even miss my apartment a bit. And I miss my own furniture and my books, etc. But the city, not really. I will always have a deep love for NYC, but I sure as ass don't want to live there any more. I think the only way I could tolerate living in NYC is if I had A LOT of money, could afford a big and solid (i.e. not hearing your neighbors) apartment on the Upper Westside near Central Park and could also afford a weekend/vacation home AND still have enough money left over for traveling AND investing and for restaurants and toys and whatever. Those are the circumstances in which I could live in NYC again. Not bloody likely in my lifetime, but there it is.

Anyway, speaking of NYC, I've decided to drive down there this weekend. I'll see some people, retrieve some stuff, return my cable equipment, find some technical manuals that I need that are stashed in my apartment somewhere, etc. I'm looking forward to it.