Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

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So Says My Husband: “Christmas Is Saved!”

We decorated our tree! We have a pitifully small number of ornaments on it (first world problems, amiright?), but it’s up and lit. Not lit, like a great party, but alight, lol.

I put a picture up on Instagram where it was pointed out that our tree was on a lean. I would like to clarify that it’s NOT leaning. Chris did a great job at getting the tree set up. It’s very much upright… It just didn’t grow evenly on all sides.

I’ve yet to be responsible, at any point in my life, for picking out a Christmas tree. But I imagine if I did, I would walk around the entirety of the tree, checking it out from multiple angles, making sure it was as even as could be.

But like I said, I haven’t ever had to go buy a tree. So what the hell do I know about what tree options are available? A whole bunch of nothing, that’s what.

All I know is I love our tree. This is our 7th Christmas together, but it’s the first time we’ve decorated a tree together. Both of us have memories of decorating the tree with our fathers (parents, but mostly our dads), and it’s nice to make these new memories together.

Weird how one tree can make me feel like Christmas is saved, huh?

After an hour at Target yesterday, we are back on track. A failed trip to Home Depot will henceforth be known as “That Time Chris Almost Ruined Christmas, But He Didn’t, So It’s Fine, So Get Over It, It’s Fine.” That’s all I’m saying about that.

Last night I cooked half a dinner at our friend Corey’s house, the other half provided by leftovers from Merry Black Christmas. Shout out to Allyson for delicious food she’s always cooking. We drank–wait for it–watermelon double IPA beer. That 10% and lovely bitterness and low low price made the watermelon worth it. It was a like a summer-themed Blue Moon. I wouldn’t recommend it.

But we were soon drunk adjacent and happily enjoying roasted chicken breast with mushroom gravy, green beans, butter-dipped artichoke, cornbread, and macaroni & cheese. We flipped back and forth between Last Holiday and whatever football game was on. Chris and I decorated the tree when we got back home. To me, it felt like the official start of our holiday celebrations.

Tonight, we’ve got a birthday hang that will span a bar I’ve never been to and a jazz club I go to all the time. It’s our friend Deadria’s farewell to her twenties. Corey has his regular jam session he leads at Smalls Jazz Club, and as usual, if we’re out, that’s where we’re ending the night.

Tomorrow, hopefully I’ll get some packing done for our upcoming trip, then we have a Christmas Eve party to go to being thrown by my friend Michael from college who lives nearby in Brooklyn.

Christmas will be a quiet day with just me and Chris (for now, lol). We’re going to see Fences in theaters. It’s not a movie unless Viola Davis is crying out her nose. I’m cooking us a tasty simple meal.

On Boxing Day, I’ll be at work, and when I get home, I’m going to watch the Sense8 Holiday Special on Netflix with my best friend David. It’s one of the shows we try and watch together even though we don’t live in the same state. Go technology. We both love Christmas, and it’s really cool that the first episode of season two is doubling as a Christmas special. I’m also working on the 27th. But I’m leaving work early on Tuesday, heading home to get my packed bag and my husband, then we’re headed to the airport.

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago I was over everything. But now I’m back on track. I’m excited for the next two weeks, like really excited. Not sure-to-be-disappointed-because-reality-can’t-live-up excited. More like who-knows-what-each-day-will-bring-so-bring-it-on excited.

Now for your visual enjoyment, my Tannenbaum and other Christmas accoutrement (when it’s singular, it’s without the s, right?):

I know it looks like it's leaning, but I swear it's not!

I know it looks like it’s leaning, but I swear it’s not! The more I look at this tree, I’m thinking, “is it really that great?” But then I’m like, “of course it is, that tree is adorable, and anyone who disagrees is blind to the truth.” So dramatic, I know, whatever.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don't use it to pull down the tree.

Our cat Jazz simply had to inspect the tree. Chris chose that fabric hangy ball thing for them. Fingers crossed they don’t use it to pull down the tree.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth.

Our older cat Belle, being creepy as fuck as usual, also inspecting the tree, and judging the rest of us for our mirth. Also, we clearly need to sweep up the needles that got sacrificed on the altar of artificial lights.

So... this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I'd pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

So… this was a random Etsy purchase that I love and am choosing not to justify. The inside writing is the only reason I’d pay money for White Santa. I just really love this mug. #sorrynotsorry

You’re welcome. 😉

 

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The Holidays Are Upon Us… Yay…

I’m a known shopaholic. But shopping for Christmas gifts isn’t bringing me the usual joy. I think I’m just so ready for 2016 to be over.

Chris and I are supposed to go shopping for a Christmas tree tomorrow… yay.

I want to be excited, but I’m not. I’m just thinking about how I hope it doesn’t rain like it did last night. And I’m thinking about how this is our 7th Christmas, and we’ve never actually decorated a Christmas tree so we have to go to Target and get Christmas decorations. Right now the only decorations we have are Christmas stockings that we never took down from 2 Christmases ago and a Nutcracker doll I bought at Duane Reade that has basically become part of our permanent home decor.

Oh, and there are the Christmas cards Chris wants to send. We suck at sending cards. We never send birthday cards, we never sent thank you cards after our wedding (even though I hand wrote every single card by my damn self), but somehow he thinks we’ll send holiday cards this year. We’ll see…

Can y’all tell I’m not really in the holiday spirit?

It’s not really true though. Normally, I love this time of year. I love me some Christmas and Kwanzaa, and I really love me some New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

I am all about holiday music. For the last few days, I’ve been listening to my holiday playlist on my phone. Playlist is an inaccurate term because it’s really all my holiday music, but the genres are labelled weird in Amazon Music, so I had to manually put them all together.

As I’m typing this, I’m at work. I just changed my desktop background to one of the holiday options that Microsoft has available online. I keep staring deeply into the photos as they come up; I’ve got it set to change every 60 seconds. Two of my co-workers were just chuckling at just how deeply I was staring.

I feel like I’m looking for joy where there’s none to be found. I really really really want to be excited for Christmas and this holiday season. But I feel separated from the excitement, like I’m wearing fancy winter gloves meant to be used with a touchscreen smartphone. It’s like I can still use my phone and keep protected from  the cold, but my interactions with the phone are more difficult, blunted somehow.

I’ve been reading through the Harry Potter books again, prepping myself to finally read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This story seems darker to me than ever before. All the evil wizards, even the ones who aren’t dark (read: Dolores Umbridge), are just a bit much to take. And all the loss is making me tear up. I’m a highly emotional person, but not really prone to tears. But Dumbledore dying, Mad Eye Moody dying, Harry breaking up with Ginny, these really got to me on this read through.

I suppose that’s to be expected when you feel close to tears all day long though, right?

At least there are a few things that make me smile no matter what:

  1. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays by NSYNC
  2. The Sims 4 (I just finished decorating the Epsteins’ house for Hannukah, that will mean something to you if you read my SimLit blog)
  3. Hand-written notes, like this one from one of my favorite coworkers

coworker-smile

I’ll keep looking for things that can make me smile, since smiles are so hard to come by these days. Anyone got any suggestions?


Same Day Delivery Anxiety

I don’t know why I did it y’all. I looked on the Amazon forums to check the reliability of the company Amazon uses for same day delivery. Why did I do that?

Up until today, I never used the Amazon Prime same day delivery. I do a lot of online shopping. A LOT.

The strong need for headphones that work coupled with an inability to take a real break at work while the stores are still open on a Sunday will make you do strange things.

Because my job is in an office building, I had my doubts as to whether this was a good idea, but decided to take the risk. The purchase on the Amazon website is always painless. This time was no different.

Item purchased, tracking number generated, then… nothing.

I was confused as to why there weren’t quicker updates, I guess I’m UPS spoiled.

I found the LaserShip company’s website and started tracking the package there. Then, for some reason I cannot explain, I googled LaserShip tracking for Amazon packages.

Welp… Google sent me to a page on the Amazon Carrier Feedback forum. It was not pretty. Since May 25, 2010, there have been 5604 posts from 2636 individual participants, with the most recent post being 2 days ago.

I read back several pages from the most recent, and only 2 statements were mildly positive.

Basically:

  1. When LaserShip invariably fucks up, ask Amazon for a free month of Prime rather than a price reduction on your purchased item
  2. Deal with Amazon first rather than LaserShip
  3. LaserShip sucks
  4. LaserShip really sucks
  5. If you ever want to see your package… TOO BAD

Yeah, if I were a person with uncontrollable anxiety or outward physiological responses to my emotions, I’d be covered in hives and hyperventilating right now.

It’s not even that big of a deal, it’s just some dumb headphones.

But I hate when things don’t work the way they’re supposed to. Amazon is quite often touting their One Day Delivery in the NYC area. I felt like this was a low stakes way to take advantage of a new service. I think I was wrong.

Capture

Fingers crossed that this goes well, and I don’t end up sending a tip to the News12 Consumer Investigations line tonight.

 


When Easter Gets Cancelled, I Bake & I Bike

One of the best things about living in New York City is that everything can be delivered or outsourced.

Laundry? We drop off our clothes and our laundry lady hooks them up.

Cleaning Supplies? Soap.com or Amazon.com are happy to help.

Need a babysitter? Care.com has you

Groceries? For my neighborhood, it’s either a co-op or FreshDirect.

Chris and I dislike grocery shopping so much that even a co-op is asking too much of us. So we use FreshDirect. And since this is New York, eventually the delivery and customer service was going to let me all the way down.

Back around Thanksgiving, I made the mistake of not submitting my order by the time deadline. Chris and I ended up in a grocery store at 10pm the night before Thanksgiving, buying all the stuff that wasn’t delivered. I wasn’t happy about that, but that was my fault.

This past weekend however, is totally on FreshDirect. When I woke up on Saturday, I saw an e-mail from them saying they were trying to reach me by phone.

I called them and they said the driver came by at 9am, but no one was home. My angry black woman almost came out right then y’all. I informed the lady on the phone that my husband and I had been home all morning, and we have the worlds loudest doorbell, so there’s no way they rang our doorbell and missed us.

She said they tried to call, and they “always call”, and why didn’t I answer the phone? I explained to her, that “always” doesn’t apply in my case because in almost 2 years of deliveries, I’ve never received a phone call from any driver ever because we only request the delivery when we’re home, and it’s “never” been an issue until today.

She said she’d reschedule the delivery and they would swing back by our house before ending their route, around 2p.

Of course, 2p came and went, with no delivery. I called back around 4p to find out what happened. This time I got a man who told me this:

-it does say it was scheduled for re-delivery

-they didn’t re-deliver my groceries

-they have gone back to the warehouse and dismantled my assembled groceries

-their shift is over and they’ve gone home

-he doesn’t know why my groceries weren’t delivered

-is there anything else he can do for me

 

So I tell him:

-you haven’t actually done anything for me

-Just confirming, that my Easter dinner is cancelled, and there’s nothing you can do about that?

-Who do I speak with to file an official complaint?

 

He took $25 of my next order. He rescheduled my delivery for Wednesday.

While waiting for the food to arrive, Easter was over, and that meant carbs!

I couldn’t decide what to make, but I knew it was going to include bread or potatoes or rice. I ended up modifying a recipe for apple muffins and made and apple-blueberry-pear loaf in a bundt pan. It was delicious.

For good measure, I also made red onion-garlic-baby bella mini frittatas. Breakfast-on-the-go was what I was going for, and it worked pretty well.

I also considered making butter cookies, but decided against that. I have quite the list of carb-y goodness that I’ve just been waiting to eat, but I don’t want to overdo it. So I’m pacing myself and only eating one thing at a time.

Sunday: that apple loaf thingee

Monday: pasta

Tuesday-Friday: I ate a bag of potato chips. I split the bag into portions so that I stayed under my daily carb limit. I’m seriously impressed that I managed to stay within the limit

And today, I had french toast. And it was so damn good. Definitely over the carb limit, so maybe no carbs tomorrow.

I fell into the trap y’all. I did a little bit of exercising, so I thought it was okay to go overboard.

In my defense, I really did a lot of exercising. I went to yoga yesterday, and it felt really good.

I love my yoga studio in Brooklyn. I go to Sacred Yoga, and the teachers are so great there. This class was a foundations class, and it was so beneficial because I got to press reset on some on my yoga poses. Reinforcing all the things I’m supposed to be focusing on in each pose was great.

Since I bought my new bike on Easter, I was happy to ride it to yoga. I love this new bike. The only thing wrong with it is it doesn’t have that step through thing that makes it easy to wear a skirt with, but just look at it.

I had to add a basket, a kickstand, head & tail lights, a water bottle holder, and tire locks. But totally worth it if I stay safe and my bike stays un-stolen. Image from Fulton Bikes

Riding it makes me feel so exhilarated. It goes pretty fast without much effort on my part and the gear shifts making riding the mild elevation changes in my neighborhood much easier than on my other bike.

I also decided I would ride the bike to the train station going to and from work to get in a little bit more exercise. The first day, I just went to the nearest station, but today I decided to go much further. I got almost all the way to downtown Brooklyn before I got tired.

I hopped off the bike, locked it up with my super high duty lock, and headed down the subway steps. I reached into my purse to grab my Metrocard.

And nothing.

I didn’t have my Metrocard. I didn’t have my backup Metrocard. I didn’t have my debit or credit cards. I didn’t even have my ID or the singles I keep just in case. I only had about $1.38 in change floating in the bottom of my purse.

Everything I needed was in my yoga bag. So I walked my tired butt back up to the bike, called work to tell them I’d be late, and biked back home.

By the time I got to my house, My legs were feeling very jelly-like. Mind you, this was hardly any distance at all, only a few miles. But for me, who has done next to no biking or serious exercising in months, I was done.

I took the bike back inside, grabbed my money and ID, and went to the bus stop.

The good news is that I got in my full exercise on the bike for the day. I’m thinking I should keep it up and do my Tracy Anderson DVD when I get home. I unfortunately can’t do yoga everyday because of working in Manhattan and the studio not being open early or late enough. We’ll see how I feel when I get home.

I’m trying to ramp up the exercise, and go with what feels good. But I’m also feeling like I should set some sort of schedule that I can make myself stick to. It’s a fine line to walk.

I’ve started and stopped this “attempt to get healthy” thing so many times. I just really want it to stick this time.

I’ve got good motivation though.

I just got plane tickets for Chris and I to go to the Dominican Republic this August for that family vacation. If that’s not motivation to get my body right, I don’t know what is.

I also got my ticket to go visit my parents next month. I’m going during the week, right before Mother’s Day. Should be a fun couple of days. It’s going to feel so weird going to their new house and that being their home. But I’m excited for it.

I’m excited for a lot right now: the sandwich I’m going to get from Potbelly one day this week, riding my bike more (NOT today), shopping for a swimsuit this summer). All these damn endorphins have got me going. Cross your fingers that the feeling lasts!