10
Aug 13

The first 10 days

It’s been a whole 10 days since I moved into my new place. Here’s what’s been going down.

Delancey Street Movers

While I was stressed about the move, everything went smoothly. I hired Delancey Street Movers, which had been recommended to me by a few co-workers. The organization is, as the website says, “the country’s leading residential self-help organization for former substance abusers, ex-convicts, homeless and others who have hit bottom.” My co-workers raved about them, saying they were fast and professional.

And they were. There were five guys – a couple sporting neck tattoos, a few missing teeth, but all polite and fun – and one crew leader, and they were awesome. They were extremely thorough, very careful about wrapping up my stuff and at my new place, patient as I hemmed and hawed and changed my mind about where to put furniture. When they were finished, the crew leader encouraged me to spread the word.

“I’ll tweet it,” I said, which for some reason they all found hilarious.

The only snag was the guy I had spoken with on the phone wasn’t clear about the price. He had said $35 per guy but left out “per hour.” He didn’t give me a total, which I should have insisted on. So it was more than I thought it was going to be, but still worth it. There was no way I could have done it myself, they did an excellent job, and it’s a good cause.

Non-disasters

There were a few things I expected to be disasters but weren’t.

Public transportation. Since I was taking public transportation to the new place, I thought it would take me a good hour to get there and that the movers would be waiting around (the crew leader promised me, however, that they’d take me off the clock if I was late). But it only took about 45 minutes. I hopped a cab to the Powell Sttreet BART, then another cab from Rockridge to the place. Once you get on the BART, it’s pretty fast.

The big truck. I was also worried that the movers’ truck wouldn’t fit through the gate at the condo complex, and that they wouldn’t be allowed to drive up the hill due to weight issues. I kept picturing them having to move the furniture from beyond the gate a far distance to my apartment. But they fit through the gate and got up the hill just fine. They parked in front of the garage and brought in stuff that way. I relaxed upstairs and just waited for them. Unloading the furniture was much faster than loading it up, and I was thrilled to see the place come together as they set everything up.

Comcast. Finally, if you remember, I was quite stressed about my cable/internet situation. I kept hearing that trying to move Comcast was a nightmare. That old service got canceled early, that service people never showed up, etc. etc. Still, that Monday I tried moving my service online, only to find that the prior tenants hadn’t yet canceled theirs. Comcast said they would contact them, and also I asked my friend (who owns the condo) to ask them to cancel it.

I assumed that they would never do it and started looking to other options, like MiFi. However, that was much more expensive than I thought. At the same time, I got thisclose to buying a device and signing up for a plan, until I decided to wait one night and see what happened.

I’m so glad I did because the next day, my move day, I took a chance and called Comcast. It turned out the prior tenants had canceled their account by then, and that since the apartment was already set up with Comcast, all I had to do was hook everything up and call an activation number.

And lo and behold, it worked. My internet was immediately available. I was confused at first about the cable. Turned out I couldn’t activate it until it was actually wired up, which I couldn’t do because I neglected to take a cable wire with me. Dehr.

Luckily I had taken the next day off so I was able to pick up what I needed, and after I hooked it up, it worked. Hallelujah!

A breather

I had taken an extra day off just in case, and I was so glad I did. I went into the city early and picked up a couple of hair care products I had left in the medicine cabinet and to drop my keys off with the management company. Then I had the whole day to have a leisurely breakfast and pick up a few things (like the cable wire).

And you know what else I did? I saw a movie. Star Trek into Darkness. It was SO GOOD, and the best reprieve to several stressful days.

The commute

Since commuting for a week, I’ve come to find that it’s really not bad – that is, if everything goes as it should. If there’s no Bay Bridge traffic and CalTrain is running normally, it’s actually quite nice. It’s a one minute walk to the bus, which is one of those nicer ones with soft seats. I listen to NPR and stare out at the water, and in about 30 minutes we’re in the city.

Then it’s a less than 20 minute walk on the Embarcadero. I’ve already fallen in love with that walk. It’s peaceful, the sidewalks are nice and wide, and it’s right next to the water. I usually manage to catch th 8:19 train, which is less than 30 minutes.

But if something goes wrong, everything goes wrong. On Monday a big rig caught on fire on the Bay Bridge, and that 30 minute bus ride became more than an hour. Thursday night the CalTrain hit a car (only minor injuries) and there were delays of over an hour. A co-worker and I split a cab to Millbrae, where the BART is, but I had long missed my bus and had to take a cab from the BART to my place.

So when things go well, it’s pleasant. When things go bad, they go really badly.

Oh well. I’ll survive.

The apartment

What helps is that the apartment itself is so nice. It’s way bigger than my old place and has tons of storage space. In fact even more than I need. Plus it’s in much better condition, so quiet I haven’t worn earplugs at all since I moved in, and you can’t beat the view.

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27
Jul 13

Moving Stress

StressAs some of you may know, I’m moving to Oakland. This Wednesday. Eek.

The truth is I’d rather stay in San Francisco, specifically my area. So many things are walking distance – Whole Foods, three small grocery stores, a million restaurants, Union Square, Japantown, the movie theater, my gym, my krav maga place. There are lots of buses, and while the 1.8 miles to the CalTrain is a bit of a schlep, I’ve grown to enjoy it.

But all of that means something else: high rent.

If you haven’t heard, rent in San Francisco has gone bonkers. The median price of a one-bedroom in my area is over $2,700. My rent is lower than that, but not by much and I have a feeling for not much longer. We just got a notice in the mail that the management company wants to do a lot of repairs on the building, which is good, but that means even higher rent. And because of tenants’ rights in SF, I know mine is the highest in the building.

Back in 2009, I looked at a beautiful one-bedroom in Russian Hill for $1,900. The same place is probably over $3,000 now, and $1,900 will get you a shitty studio. I know: I’ve looked. Having lived in one-bedrooms for years, I can’t bring myself to live in a studio or have a roommate. (NO WAY.) Hence, the move to Oakland.

Originally, the idea was for me to get to know the East Bay to see if I wanted to buy a place there. However, that’s been put on hold and I’m tremendously relieved. My parents would rather take their time fixing up their house before selling, and I, quite frankly, don’t feel like buying anything. So that makes the idea of moving Oakland even harder, what with a longer commute and living in a location that is, while beautiful, not so conveniently located if you don’t have a car.

Teaches me to make decisions right after a break-up.

I realize It could be that I’m just stressed about the move itself and once that’s done, the commute and other stuff won’t be that big of a deal. But part of me wonders if I shouldn’t have gotten a place near my job. The rent is cheaper and getting to work would be a breeze. On the other hand, the places don’t seem as nice as my new one in Oakland. Ditto the $3,000 and under SF one-bedrooms that I looked at on Craigslist out of curiosity. In fact, they seemed shitty and definitely not worth over $2,000.

So all of that makes me feel better about my new apartment. Other upsides include very affordable rent and a really pretty place that is bigger than my current one, in much better condition, and with lots more storage space. It’s also quieter – the apartments are carpeted and I’m on the top floor so now more Frankenstein neighbors walking around in their shoes on hardwood – and has a gorgeous view with a little deck that can fit a small table and chairs. I love imagining waking up in the morning and gazing out at rolling green hills and having my coffee and breakfast outside.

Okay, I just convinced myself. Now here’s hoping switching over Comcast will be half as easy.

[Photo: “Stress,” CC BY 2.0 by Bernard Goldbach]


11
Jan 10

All moved in!

This weekend MB and I had the easiest move ever.

In case you’re behind on the trivia that is my life, when we moved to San Francisco, we opted for a furnished studio.  It was cheaper and we wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of getting furniture.  Our lease was up at the end of December.  Quickly we found a place we loved right down the street, but unfortunately didn’t get it.

Luckily however, our landlady had a furnished one bedroom available, which turned out to be bigger than the original place we wanted.  Sure, the rent is slightly more, but we don’t have to buy furniture, aside from a bed that we had already ordered.

MB had actually never seen the place but trusted my opinion.  I had told him about the big walk-in closet I thought would be perfect for his “studio.”  On Saturday our bed was being delivered so he went down to tell the girl cleaning the apartment.  The first closet he saw was the one in the hallway, which while bigger than ours, is still small.  He actually thought, Is that my studio?  Then he found the walk-in closet and was very very pleased.

Oh ye of little faith.

Sunday morning we woke up and I swear it was like Christmas.  “Let’s go!” MB said excitedly, grabbed his guitar and some other gear, and hurried downstairs.

Our new place is just one floor down from our old one, so “moving” was throwing stuff in suitcases, bags, and boxes, and taking a few trips up and down.  We were done within a couple of hours.

If only all moves were so easy.

Our new place is almost three times the size of our old one.  There’s so much space, I don’t even know what to do with it.  I put some clothes I don’t wear often in the walk-in, leaving the rest for MB.  So the hall closet is half-empty.  There’s even room in the foyer for a small shoe rack.  And there’s a perfect space in the living room for our keyboard.  We just need a piano bench now.

The only drawbacks are a small kitchen, which you can’t really get away from in the city; we face the street so will have some traffic noise (but the bedroom is towards the back and closing the sliding doors helps); and something’s up with the cable, but that may be a blessing in disguise.

But no matter how much I love this place, I still need to get my ass out and to the gym.


06
Dec 09

Apartment search

Our four-month lease is up at the end of December, thank goodness.  While renting a furnished sublet was a great way to find a place quickly and to not have to deal with buying furniture and other household items, we’ll be really glad to be moving to a place where:

1) we’re not forced to show our apartment in place of another, sometimes without warning, and then are told ours “doesn’t show well” with the bed out, and we should really move all our boxes from the bed storage area down to the basement, although we’ll be moving very soon

2) a surly cleaning girl won’t kick me out of my own home to take two hours to Swiffer the floors and Fantastick the bathroom

3) our bedroom, living room, and office won’t all be in one room.

We went to three open houses yesterday, and looked at six apartments.  As always, we loved the first place we looked at.  (The second was in the same building, cheaper but smaller.)  Just two blocks away, the building used to be a residence for single working women (not THOSE kind of working women, like MB thought).  The lobby is very pretty with ornate fixtures and stained glass windows.

The apartment itself is a real one bedroom with a billion closets.  I can’t remember how many, at least three, maybe four.  There are definitely two giant ones in the bedroom.  Right now we have one small one, as we did in New York.  Some NYC apartments don’t have closets at all.

The living room has bay windows, and everything is pristine.  Very clean and brand new.  The only downsides are that there’s no laundry in the building, though there are plenty in the area, and the kitchen is kind of small.  But we both agreed: the moment we walked in, we thought, Wow!  Plus the building managers seem really nice.

While we applied for that place, just to be sure we looked at a few more.  The next open house was nearby.  That was a no-brainer: the kitchen was part of the living room.  No thanks!  The next three places were in a building a little further out, in Pacific Heights near Fillmore Street.  While the apartments were quite big for around the same price, everything looked very dingy and old.  I asked if the walls and fixtures were being redone.  Nope.  I’d rather live in a smaller place that’s pristine than in a yucky somewhat bigger place.

Yucky how?  The hardwood floors were scuffed up and stained in some places, the tiling in the bathroom looked used, and the fixtures in the kitchens looked like that cheap fake wood stuff that doesn’t handle water or stains well.

We’re keeping our fingers crossed about the first place, though if they don’t accept us, I don’t know what place will.  Also, it’s available December 15 so we could overlap a couple of weeks and take our time moving our stuff in.  That would really be ideal.


06
Oct 09

Officially in San Francisco

After a month of weekend visits, I’m finally here!  I keep forgetting that I’m here permanently now and don’t have to fly back to New York in a couple of days.

The move last week went smoothly, aside from the bacon grease incident.  The day before I dropped off the last of our donations at Housing Works and packed up most of the rest of our stuff.  That night I had dinner with YP, who was kind enough to let me into his workplace and give me another much needed box.

The next afternoon, the movers arrived on time.  There were just two guys, since I didn’t have much to move, even less so when I ended up leaving behind more furniture than I had planned (one bookcase, a kitchen rack, the kitchen table and chairs).  Steve was willing to take anything and I was tired of dealing with my parents’ bickering and stress over what I was bringing home.

The movers were done in about an hour.  They took off in their truck while I hopped the NJ Transit.  They offered me a ride, but I declined, thinking they might hit a lot of traffic and also not wanting to make small talk for two hours (so I’m antisocial).

My train was really slow and they got a little lost, so we arrived within minutes of each other.  From there it was smooth sailing.  My parents good-naturedly ordered them around, and the movers good-naturedly followed their orders.  They also helped my parents move their old TV to the basement, freeing up space in the study.  Again, done in about an hour.  All moved in by dinner time.

As I expected, my parents were excited about using our little things – MB’s old speakers, my laundry drying rack, this random stool.  My dad also really likes MB’s desk.  I’m thinking I should have given him MB’s huge computer monitor instead of leaving it behind, but I was picturing an argument.  Mom: “This one’s better, you should use it.” Dad: “I don’t need it, the one I have is fine.”  Mom: “Why, just use this one.”  Dad: “No, I like the one I have.”  Back and forth, and in increasing volume.  Then again, my dad might have decided to use it anyway if it showed up without warning.  Ah, parents.

The rest of my time there was uneventful.  Thursday morning I slept till 10, exhausted from the move.  AY was home sick from work but feeling better by noon, so we grabbed lunch and coffee afterwards.  It was fun catching up.

After I got home, I had a nice run on the road behind my parents’ house (about 3.5 miles).  It was easy since I hadn’t run in about a week and the weather was so cool.  But I was very sore the next day.

That may have partially been because I didn’t fall asleep till about 3 AM.  That damn coffee!  I got up around 9 and felt the whole day that I was coming down with something.  But I think I was just tired because the next day I felt fine.

I spent Saturday with YP.  I was flying out of JFK early Sunday morning so it’d be easier to stay in the city the night before.  Plus it was nice to spend some time with a pal before my move.

We had lunch at Cafe Habana, and walked all around afterwards, that is when we weren’t avoiding the tremendous and sudden rain.  Umbrella-less, we dashed from awning to awning till finally taking refuge in a bookstore.  About an hour later, the rain slowed and we were able to walk back to his place, where we spent a good while drying out and watching TV.

A little while later, the skies cleared up more so we headed back out.  We didn’t do a photo theme this time, just snapped when we felt like it.  I had been wanting to get out to the water, so we walked out to Christopher Pier.  It was lovely.

Then it was back to YP’s for some absinthe, my first time.  It was surprisingly tasty – like licorice – but I’m not sure it did anything.  I did feel bit of a weird buzz but it’s hard to say.  Drinks were followed by dinner at Room Service, then Naked Comedy at the PIT. No better way to end my stint in New York.

The line-up was really good for a change, and there were a ton of comics so we didn’t have to hear the host make the same jokes again and watch him do yoga – AGAIN.  (Yeah, a chubby naked guy doing yoga, not my thing.)  A few of the guys had some nice tushies.  Oh yeah, and they were funny too (the guys, not their tushies).

I got a few mosquito while we were walking around so all night I was paranoid.  YP hasn’t had any buggers for weeks but with my luck, they’d reappear the night I stayed over.  Plus I was anxious about having to get up early.

But again I was anxious for nothing.  I got up in time, caught up a cab quickly, and got to the airport lickety split.  I was so tired I actually slept a bit on the plane, and then was bored pretty much the whole time.  (So tired of flying.)

Then I was home!  Yay!

Since I was so pooped, MB and I took it easy.  Had lunch, then walked out to Valencia Street.  Finally saw what everyone calls the hip Mission district.  Our assessment: enh.  Yes, there seem to be lots of yummy Mexican places, but otherwise, we’re pretty satisfied with our own area.

We saw a matinee of Zombieland, which was lots of fun, then had an early night in.  MB picked up dinner from Shalimar.  I was unconscious by 11.

This morning I’ve been unpacking and reorganizing.  Also waiting on a load of laundry (in the building! how novel).  This afternoon I plan on hitting the Container Store, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and Whole Foods, and possibly go for a run.  And of course I need to squeeze in some writing (though I guess I’m writing right now).


24
Sep 09

The Office

As I said earlier, this is my last day in the office.

Although I’m past the scare of not having a job (at least for the next few months), it’s only now hitting me that I’ll be leaving a place that I’ve been going to, almost every day, for the past 10 years.

Switching jobs within the company wasn’t that big of a deal, and a very welcome change. Getting a new boss every year was also run of the mill, and getting new co-workers barely made me blink an eye. But leaving the company for good, not for vacation, not for extended leave, but most likely forever is giving me the willies.

Imagine, every day, going to the same place, knowing, if not exactly was going to happen, that at least you had a desk, a chair, a computer, and a phone to call your own. “I live on the 15th floor” is something people around here say by mistake often, and while it’s a sad testament to how many hours some put in, it also speaks a truth: work is like a second home. You’re there five days a week, more or less, eight hours a day, more or less. You only spend more time sleeping (or maybe not).

My workplace has been my refuge. Where can I write when I want out of my apartment and am sick of cafes? Where can I stow all the CDs and books I don’t have room for at my apartment? Where will I print hundreds of pages of manuscripts and filch office supplies? Not only is this my workplace, it’s my work out place, my gym for the past decade. My eatery, my bank, my post office. I barely have to leave the building all day (whether that’s good or bad is another story).

It was from my desk as an admin that I planned my wedding, surfing the internet for dresses, venues, and honeymoon spots. It’s where I printed off labels and stuffed envelopes, and argued with the photographer on the phone. It’s where my nice bosses let me work on my writing if the day was slow, and where I dealt with a million temps, some pretty slow themselves.

It was where I received the shipment of my first (and only) published book, where I got the mysterious email from Ron and Judy, then later from my cousin Huang Lei that surprise! she was in America and married to Ron and Judy’s son Shane. It was where I tried to get in touch with my ex during 9/11, only to have his phone ring and ring and ring, and where, a year later, the city went black, a piece of cake compared to a terrorist attack.

The best was when I got a cube with high walls, though that didn’t stop people from barging in. It was in this cube that I dealt with my ex’s adultery, sitting at my desk and almost crying all day, every day. It was from this cube that I called my ex’s mistress and found out she hadn’t had the abortion he had asked of her.

Then finally, an office, where YP, sliding the door closed, came to bitch about our monster boss. Then another office where I, and all my coworkers, shut the door against another nightmare boss, and finally this office, monster printer and all.

Not having this second place anymore will be strange. In San Francisco, I’ll have my apartment, possibly the gym, and what, a café? the library? Both fine till you have to go to the bathroom, and then what, drag all your crap with you or ask some random person to watch your $2000 laptop? I can see why freelancers rent office space.

But I know that this place has been a crutch as well as a comfort, an excuse not to pursue my writing, not to socialize more. Being without an office will force me into new situations, though what those might be, I’m not quite sure. But I’m starting to think that’s okay.


21
Sep 09

Back from another SF trip

This time the flight out was better than the return. I had an empty seat next to me, we left on time, AND got in a whole hour early. Unheard of! The pilot said something about the winds being in our favor.

After I got to the apartment, we did what seems to now be our tradition: go to Grub Stake for a late dinner, then pick up pastries for breakfast from Bob’s Donuts. Yelp reviewers had raved about the apple fritters so we got a couple of those. Delicious! Like a cross between a donut and a danish with pieces of baked apple here and there.

Saturday we walked out to Haight-Ashbury, which was as expected: grubby and touristy. There was some cool graffiti but I wasn’t in the mood to take pics. I’ll have plenty of time do so when I’m all moved in. We walked around Golden Gate Park as well, where there was the BEST PLAYGROUND EVER. There was this ropy climbing thing that looked kinda dangerous (the best kind), little bouncy tea cups for toddlers, and a slide along the lines of Action Park. The kids all rode down on flattened cardboard boxes, and we wondered if the park had them lying around, or if the kids knew to bring them. I totally wanted to ride the slide and climb the ropy thing.

I might have mentioned this before, but what I’ve noticed about SF is that there are a lot of homeless people. A lot more than, at least, New York. I think it’s a combination of the mild weather and that there’s less walking traffic. People who aren’t homeless are more likely to be in cars, while in New York almost everyone walks.

There were tons of homeless in Golden Gate Park, a combination of older guys who look like they’ve been homeless for a long time, and scrubby kids with their dogs. I’m sorry but I have zero sympathy for the scrubby kids. If you can afford a purebred dog, tattoos, combat boots, and a leather jacket, no matter how dirty they are, you can afford a sandwich. You’re white, young, and articulate – work at the fucking Gap. Or go home to Mom and Dad in San Jose. In New York you see the kids only in the summer – they “summer” in New York, I guess you could say – but now I’ll get to enjoy them year round.

Saturday afternoon we just lazed around the apartment, then got dinner at Shalimar, this Indian/Pakistani place near our apartment. Like Bob’s Donuts, the place doesn’t have much of a décor, but the food was really good. We got chicken jalfrezi, chicken tandoori, daal, and nan, all for just $22. Everything was yummy.

That night we saw The Informant. Matt Damon was terrific. With some actors, you can’t get past who they are (eg, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston), but I kept forgetting it was Matt Damon and just thought it was this schlubby, dopey guy.

Again, no one talked during the movie! I could hardly believe it. We were probably the noisiest.

Flew back yesterday. The flight left on time, but I was very tired. I thought I had a whole row to myself, but at the last minute this couple with a 10-month old showed up. At first I thought, Great, but the baby was well-behaved. He got a little fussy but didn’t really cry and slept most of the time. When he was awake, he was pretty cute. After we landed and were waiting to deboard, I heard a farting noise, but thought it was someone shifting their luggage. Then the couple cracked up. “That smells so bad!” they kept saying. It was the baby. Luckily I didn’t smell anything.

I missed the AirTrain by seconds cuz this idiot went to the doors, then decided, No, I’m not going in, and got out of the way VERY SLOWLY. “Excuse me!” I said, and he turned around and was like, After you, as the doors were closing. Yeah, thanks asshole. I didn’t have to wait too long for the next one, but the J took a year to get there, and also to get home. But hey, five bucks beats $50.

~ ~ ~

Oh my God, I forgot to write about the nightmare I had with FedEx last week. I shipped MB four boxes over the course of four days. He was supposed to get the first one on Wednesday, but he hadn’t. There wasn’t even a door tag. I checked the tracking number, and it had been sent back to the FedEx station because “the resident wasn’t home.” Well, yeah, that was why I said “No Signature Required.”

I called and the guy said there was a note in the system that the courier didn’t feel it was safe to leave the box, ie, it would be gone by the time MB came home. I said, “Okay, what do you think I should do?” The guy suggested letting a neighbor or the super know about the box, but I said I didn’t know anyone in the building, and who knows who would be home in the middle of the day? Then the guy said just leave the door tag with a signature, and I explained that wouldn’t work since the door tag had been taken. Finally, the dude assured me that the courier would probably just ring buzzers till a neighbor came down and would sign for the box.

Well, that didn’t work, because later I saw that the box had been returned AGAIN. I called FedEx and was basically freaking out. I felt so frustrated because I didn’t know why the guy wouldn’t leave the box, aside from “the resident wasn’t home.” Plus there were three other boxes in the same situation. The poor FedEx woman made all the same suggestions again, and I almost lost it.

“THERE IS NO DOOR TAG! SOMEONE TOOK THE DOOR TAG ONCE AND WILL PROBABLY TAKE IT AGAIN!”

I asked about redirecting the boxes, and when she took the address, she kept spelling the street name back wrong. True, English was her second language, but maybe it shouldn’t have been. In the end I decided not to redirect since it would cost extra. She was in touch with the FedEx station a couple of times, and finally someone there suggested that perhaps the courier needed the code to get in the building. I was reluctant to give it out, but I didn’t know what else to do. The rep gave the code to the station, then at the end of the call I said, “What code did you give them? I just want to make sure you got it right.” Then she proceeded to read back the zip code to me.

My head almost exploded.

After asking my question twice more, she finally got it, found the message, and read back the right code.

I felt like I still had no guarantee that the boxes would be delivered, though I did feel better when I called back regarding the other three to give the code. The reps I talked to sounded much more like they knew what they were doing. They asked for my name and a contact number, in case anything came up, while that first woman didn’t ask for any information from me.

I was very relieved on Friday night to see that the boxes had arrived. Sheesh.

There’s one more that should be arriving today (fingers crossed) and one last shipment that I am sending to MB’s work place instead. Taking no chances.

Oh, and because I had such a bad experience with FedEx (and that’s a first, usually they’re great), I ended up lugging a suitcase full of books to the airport, instead of shipping them like I was planning. It wasn’t so bad, or at least it was bad for a very short time, like when I dropped my duffel bag and both suitcases in front of a JetBlue guy, who just stood there, not moving a muscle to help me. But soon enough the suitcases were checked, and when I got to SFO, I found a cart just hanging out, and so was able to use to without paying the $5.


10
Sep 09

Distracted by a few things this week

Packing.  This weekend I’m flying out to SF to visit MB, and have been obsessed with what I can bring.  I have five space saver bags worth of clothes, some his, some mine.  Since I’ll be checking my luggage, I’m bringing a whole bunch of beauty products (mostly mine), as well as a bunch of cords and guitar gear that he left behind. Plus my laptop, PLUS his ukelele.  Comes down to one largish suitcase, one duffel bag, one shoulder bag, and his uke case.  I think I’ll be okay.  Plus I’ll be able to leave almost everything and have a light trip back on Sunday.

I’ve also started attacking the stuff we’ll be moving to my parents’ house.  The ‘rents got on my nerves over the weekend about our storing furniture and whatnot there – they weren’t giving me a hard time, but were bickering with each other about asking their painters (they have had the house repainted this week) to move furniture without tipping them.  My mom’s theory is that the’re moving stuff anyway, and my dad’s is at least give them a little something for doing something extra. 

Then my mother got all up in my grill about what we were keeping and not keeping.  For example, the small fridge MB got.  I was just going to leave it behind, but my mother wanted me to move it, which meant upping the movers’ estimate, as well as cleaning out, unpluffing, and defrosting the fridge, yet another thing on my long list of things to do.  She did finally let up, but it made me not want to deal with them at all and just move our stuff cross country.

Then MB talked some sense into me: when he was moving cross country a few years ago, the estimates he got were in the $3,000 range, too much for me.  Plus we’d have to store our stuff for three months, not a lot of money, but then pay movers again in December when our sublet’s up.

“Plus we’ll probably come back to New York,” he said.  “It’d be nice to have all this stuff when we come back.”

Okay.  Researching cross country movers would have been yet another thing to do anyway.

Giving my notice.  Which I did, officially, yesterday.  Remote working, even temporarily, is a no go, so my last day is on the 25th.  I keep thinking that’s a month away, but it’s only two weeks!  Okay, breathe.

I’m past my fear of not having a job, and not too worried about the projects I need to finish up around here.  I’ll do my best, and if I can’t finish them in time, then someone else will do it.  Oh well.

I’ve realized nothing is forcing me to keep this job.  MB is working, we don’t have a mortgage, we don’t have kids right now, and I have some moola saved up.  Now’s actually the perfect time to take some time off and write.

Another thing I realized is that nothing around here is a matter of life or death, and yet people get so worked up.  My current department isn’t so bad, but my old one, marketing, was always getting in a tizzy over artificial deadlines and deliverables (ack, that word).  Why are we working all hours?  Cuz the boss said so.  I ran into an old co-worker yesterday, who told me about another colleague who is apparently incredibly mean to her assistant.  Yelling, hostile emails.  I mean, why?  What could warrant such behavior?  An unexpected meeting?  Jeez, lady, get your priorities straight.

Although this job is about a million times better than my previous one, I still worry sometimes.  Far less than when I was in marketing, but it’s still there.  I realize – a third thing – that I’ve been worried off and on for the past seven or eight years, ever since I moved up from admin. Worried about dealing with unreasonable people, about projects that I’ve put off, about having to present, about having to speak in a meeting, about living up to – or not living up to – whatever expectations my boss and co-workers had.  It will be a relief to not have to worry about work, at least for a little while.

Right now I feel like work keeps interrupting my life.  What do you mean I can’t work out because I have a meeting?  But I need to go to the post office and send more Amazon items.  Don’t you see I’m trying to write a blog post here?

Other people’s success.  This week I found out two people from my past have had publishing successes, one book and one article in a well-known magazine.  I’m really happy for the first person, who is really nice, but I’m blah about the second (okay: it’s someone I dated).  I shouldn’t be jealous but I am!  Although the book is in a subject that I’d never write about, and it’s not like I’ve been trying to get published, I still feel a pang.  I’m trying to take this jealous energy and turn it into something positive – to take a clue from the Secret (shut up) and envision a successful writing career, and work like hell to get myself there.

It’ll take a personality adjustment.  While I can get obsessed over projects, I give up sort of easily.  With fiction the whole trying to get published process is much slower.  You send out your letters or emails, and you wait.  With nonfiction you have to move fast fast, especially when writing about timely subjects.  You need to network more and get yourself out there.  Who knows: maybe it’s the same with fiction, but I just didn’t know it.


31
Aug 09

I left my heart. . .

Well, MB is getting settled in San Francisco.

He flew out yesterday morning and ended up bringing lots of stuff – a giant duffel bag of clothes, his laptop, his guitar, and another case of guitar cables and electronics.  It would have been really tough for him to handle all of that by himself, so I rode in the taxi with him to the airport.  There were some long lines, but his check-in went smoothly, and his flight landed on time.

Since I wasn’t in a rush to get back, I took the Air Train, which was great.  It arrived quickly and is just $5, as opposed to a $45 cab ride.  Then there’s a long subway ride back.  I may do the Air Train/subway option when I return from SF on my three trips this month.  After dropping off my stuff at our SF apartment, I won’t have much to carry on my way back.  Besides, I can’t be spending so much on taxi rides, which usually make me want to barf anyway.

Although I of course already miss MB like crazy, part of me is glad to have a bit of alone time, and the opportunity to sort through all of our stuff exactly the way I want to.  No more asking, “So do you want to keep this random plug/cable/case?” and waiting for an answer.  He’s set aside everything he wants to keep; anything leftover can be donated, tossed, or stored at my parents’.

“You be the judge,” he said.

I love throwing stuff out, as you may have gathered, though sometimes I’m overly enthusiastic and end up wondering where that favorite skirt went.  Surprisingly I’m having a harder time getting rid of my books.  If it was really good, of course I think, I might read it again! even if I never do.

MB said our landlady did a good job cleaning up our SF apartment, and that it’s well-stocked with towels, toilet paper, bedding, and cooking implements.  Having a furnished place does make a sudden cross-country move easier.

Aside from accompanying MB to the airport, YP and I had our monthly photo expedition – maybe the last one! :(  The theme: Highbridge Park in Washington Heights.  I didn’t take too many pictures, unfortunately: I was pooped after just three hours of sleep and it was SO HOT.  The morning had been chilly so I put on jeans, but by noon time I was roasting.

Other than that I’m still obsessed with selling stuff on Amazon.  I have a ton of CDs, DVDs, and books to ship today.  Yesterday I thought I was all finished inputting MB’s books and CDs, then I realized there’s still a whole box of CDs to deal with.  Tonight I’ll have a lot more energy to tackle that project.


28
Aug 09

Bye-bye Buffy, Goodbye Girls

Now that I’m getting ready to move (again!), I’ve been getting rid of tons of stuff. Last time my focus was on clothes, and I managed to donate several giant garbage bags to Housing Works. This time it’s papers, books, CDs, and DVDs.

Over the weekend I was a shredding machine, obliterating piles of junk mail, old receipts, and files. This has been really freeing. Why for years had I been keeping my ATM receipts and keeping track of them in my checkbook? Even with the advent of online checking, I still kept doing this, and then would try to match my checkbook balance to my balance online. Why??? Last month my balance was so off, I finally decided, Fuck it, and no longer collect those receipts in my wallet like some kind of bag lady collecting newpapers to keep her warm at night.

But what’s been most freeing is selling my DVDs. I started collecting box sets of my favorite TV shows – namely, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Gilmore Girls – around the time of my divorce. I didn’t care that reruns for both shows were on all the time. I wanted to be able to watch them whenever I wanted, and to just know that they were there, sitting on my shelf, like a good friend who lives in your town but whom you don’t see very often.

When I moved into in the city, I didn’t have cable right away. So how did I occupy myself every night when I came home to an empty apartment? Watched all my Buffy and Gilmore Girls videos. That was back in 2005, and I probably haven’t watched them again since. But I kept them on my shelf, collecting dust, and didn’t get rid of them when I gave up my place and moved in with MB. We didn’t have much room so I brought them to my office and kept them in a file cabinet. When I changed jobs and offices, I dragged them with me.

Now I’ve sold them off on Amazon. If I made the effort, I could have brought them to San Francisco, or stored them at my parents’ house, but I just don’t need them anymore. It’s not only that I’ve watched all the episodes so many times, I have them memorized, but I feel like they’re from another part of my life, a part that’s behind me. I don’t need Lorelai to comfort me anymore through junk food and witty quips, or Rory to help me feel okay for being nerdy. Buffy no longer has to protect from demons (real or in my head), and I don’t have to gather strength from evil Willow to be a bad ass.

I don’t think it’s as simple as, Now I’m with MB, I don’t need the security of my fave shows anymore. I was probably ready to part with them sooner, the further I moved away from my divorce, the more I remembered who I was outside of a relationship, outside of helping and worrying about other people all the time. I’d like to think by the time I met MB, I had grown (am still growing) and was ready for a relationship.

But not only am I leaving behind some DVDs, I’m leaving an entire city, the city where I met the Ex, got married, got cheated on, and got divorced. Where I started dating again. Now that I’ve resolved that I’m okay with that – not just okay, that I’m excited about it – shucking some TV shows is a piece of cake.

But I’ll still totally watch the reruns on Hulu.