Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “being married

Fifty by Age 50: Bienvenue en Europe

If you follow me on Instagram, you know Chris and I had a great time in Europe!

I feel good about the pictures/videos I posted. I took over 1000 photos while I was there, but I only posted 29 smooshed into 12 different posts. I’m thinking of doing one more that shows all the different bands Chris ended up playing with while we were there. Don’t worry. he was just sitting in with the bands, we did NOT go and make money while on vacation because that would be a violation of their tourist visa laws.

In case you missed me talking about it in literally every blog post leading up to the trip, my husband Chris and I went to Paris and Brussels from Dec 27 – Jan 5. We flew into Paris, stayed there through New Year’s, then went to Brussels for a few days before heading back to the states.

It was a great trip for Chris and I; I feel like we really reconnected on this trip. I feel like I learned quite a bit about myself on this trip, as well as some cool stuff about Europe and travelling.

What I Learned About Myself

  • I have a hard time being around anyone for that many days in a row. I never got sick of Chris, but I got… weary. I need alone time in my life and there wasn’t much of it unless Chris was showering.
  • My body refuses to adjust to changes in time zone. I’ve noticed it when travelling to other time zones in the US, but I thought after a few days in Europe, I’d get to it. But nope, I was up until 6am, waking up at 3pm damn near every day we were there.
  • I freaking love staying in an airbnb. Being able to cook a couple of my own meals and having that “home” feeling while on vacation is great for me.
  • I’m not as out of the box with food as I’d like. I am more adventurous than a lot of people, and I will try almost anything twice (in case it wasn’t prepared properly the first time). But while in Paris, I literally had to drag myself past this one bar/restaurant that has this amazing Chanterelle mushroom penne. My thirst for trying new things was easily outweighed by my desire to keep eating what I knew I’d like. I wanted to eat it ever day, but in the spirit of exploring, we tried a new restaurant every day. I wish we had stopped there once more though before leaving Paris…

What I Learned About Europe/Travelling

  • Those Europeans are stingy with surprising things (because they’re not wasteful Americans): paper napkins, bottle of water, personal space
  • Every single person except one that we spoke to spoke English. Some not fluently, but with my leftover (never-conversational) French we were able to make it work.
  • I need to go thank my middle school and high school French teachers because I was all over those signs that were in French, and I was correctly conjugating words. They’d be proud.
  • Springing for the international data plan was sooooooo worth it. Being able to keep my pictures backed up just in case and having constant access to Google maps was essential to our spontaneous exploring.
  • Booking everything all at once up front is pointless, you book when you get that perfect combination of exchange rate and price.

I was thinking about writing some more posts, getting specific about some of the things that we did. But I may not feel like it. The story of that woman kissing me full on the mouth shortly after midnight on New Year’s is worth telling. Chris getting held up in customs at JFK airport is also a sitcommy tale. The adventures of our flask trough Paris is also nice (I wouldn’t let Chris take a swig at Notre Dame). Eh, it depends on if I’ve got good pictures to go with the stories I think.

I still have to sort through all our pictures. Finding a back door into using the Aura Frame when I have no iPad, iPod, or iPhone took some time, but soon I’ll share all my pics with my family. My parents got a frame for themselves, for my brother, and for me and Chris. I think it’ll be kinda cool to have three households worth of pictures shuffling through our frame.


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. 😉

 


2016 Still Isn’t Over Yet? Okay… Fine

If you’re an social media where the written word is included, you’ve seen statements both clever and blunt decrying 2016 as an entire year.

Most recently, the focus is Trump’s election or Obama’s nearing exit from the White House. According to lots of Chicagoans from the South Side, the Cubs winning the world series this year is evidence of 2016’s suckiness. Those with doomed relationships and lost job prospects say the same of this year.

My suckiest happenings of 2016: My father-in-law died. The everyday structure of my job stresses me out. The best phone I’ve ever had, the Note 7 catches fire and is banned on all aircraft. Trump won the most pledged electoral college votes last week.

2016 sucks

One common meme I see is a focus on all the deaths this year, and there have been a lot. Wikipedia has an entire section dedicated to all who have died this year, and the entertainment, journalistic, literary, etc. industries are worse off for the losses. Personally, I think of Alan Rickman, Natalie Cole and Prince.

Today, I’m not thinking about the whole world though. I’m thinking about my family. My husband’s father died in February of this year. He had some heart issues that led to his death and he ended up becoming an organ & tissue donor. We had a beautiful memorial service for him in March. There were hundreds of friends and family members there to celebrate his life.

2016 sucks.

His loss was and is hard for the family.

My dad sent this picture to us today. It really made me smile. It’s from my wedding day.

my-men

After I typed that last sentence, I couldn’t think of what to say next. I usually write an entire post in one sitting, pausing only if I get interrupted by something else.

But today is different. Today I feel more thoughtful, less wordy. I’m concerned for my husband, even though I know he’s strong. He’s grown so much since we’ve known each other and he is doing amazing self-care, especially today.

He made plans for us and a friend to hang out tonight, surrounding himself with good company and sympathetic ears. I’m looking forward to being there for him.

2016 sucks.

This whole day is serving a microcosm of this year for me.

Were there good points to this year? Well, yes, there were… I think. I can think of some things that count, but it just feels like even the good things have an edge of crappiness to them.

That being said, there is a lot of good in life, in my life in particular. I am in good health, I have a lot of loving relationships. I have the freedom to express myself when and how I choose. Most of the ways I choose to spend my time bring me great joy. We’re in a new golden age of television.

I don’t have much of a sum up point today. Something like: 2016 sucks, there’s some good in it, now leave me be while I go make sure my husband is okay today and pray that the next 46 days fly past.


Putting in More… Everything

More of the same from me. My bad for not writing a new post in months, yada yada, will do better in the future… Wish I could figure out a better schedule to make time to post, etc. etc.

So I’m putting in more work. Trying to be more consistent

In my last post that wasn’t about Grey’s Anatomy, waaaay back in January I think, I discussed what my goals were for this year. I didn’t look to see if those goals were for 2016 or age 31, but at this point, it’s not important.

  • Chris graduate from grad school
  • More travel around the East Coast and to the West Coast
  • Make some healthy living changes that are sustainable
  • Strengthen the relationships that are truly important to me

  • Chris graduate from grad school

Chris is not going to graduate from grad school this Spring. In life, obstacles come in your way, and you handle them as best you can. Chris had a large obstacle this year. His father died. In less than a month after we found out he had health issues, he was gone.

I’m not going to go into too many details, but it was a devastating loss for the family. We are all still struggling to reach a new normal without him. Chris spent a lot of time in Chicago with his mother when it first happened, and we ultimately decided that withdrawing from classes this semester was wise. He will continue classes in the fall and will finish in December.

There is one more thing about this that I want to say. He became an organ, tissue, and eye donor. Because I work in organ & tissue donation, this was amazing news to hear. It’s not always an easy decision for a family to make, but I’m so happy it’s the decision my family made. Being a donor family adds a new layer to why I do what I do, and it would make it very difficult for me to change and do something else with my career.

 

  • More travel around the East Coast and to the West Coast

In terms of travel, I still have more I want to do. I went to San Diego at the end of January with my best friend David, which was a really great trip. My luck being what it is, it was the coldest it’s been there in years when we went. When I got back, my co-workers were concerned because there was a storm there that made national weather news. I was confused because it only rained one day. Apparently what seemed like a normal rainstorm was the worst they’d had in years.

But I did get to the San Diego Zoo!

2016-02-01 13.12.04

And travelling with David is always fun, I’m hoping we’ll get to do it again soon.

I also have taken quick trips around the East Coast, but unfortunately, nowhere new. Because of gigs that Chris has coming up, we’ll be back and forth to D.C. this summer, maybe we can expand that out… Maybe.

 

  • Make some healthy living changes that are sustainable

I definitely have gone a long way down the path of accomplishing this! One of my co-workers was fussing at us about always complaining about our sedentary lifestyle without doing anything about it. When I tell this story in person, I say she was fat-shaming us, but jokes like that don’t translate well on the internet.

Anyway, several of us were feeling bad for ourselves when she yelled at us to improve our situations and stop complaining. I told her that I would love to go to yoga more regularly. Yoga is my preferred exercise, but the studio closest to my house is 10 min drive plus parking, or a 30 minute walk. So a 1 hour class is practically a 3 hour time investment once you calculate showers and clothes changes.

She called bullshit and told me I hadn’t really looked for a studio and I should do better.

I just re-read that sentence. You should know that’s the nice version of what she said. But I respond very well to brutal honesty. So I searched far and wide to find yoga studios. My goal was to find a studio with multiple locations. One location would be on the way home from work with late night classes I could attend after my shift. The other would be less than a 15 minute walk from my house.

“And then you’ll see, I’ve really been trying!” I told her.

“Yeah, we’ll see,” she replied.

A couple hours later (I was also working, after all), I found out… she was right. There was a yoga studio around the corner from my house, literally. I felt so stupid. Then I got over myself and immediately signed up for a class the next morning.

That was over a month ago, and I’m still going strong. I also found an online on-demand yoga thing for $9.95/month. cancelled that though because I never use it. But I went from exercising hardly ever to exercising 3-4 times a week.

Chris and I went to Chicago for a wedding a couple of weeks ago. I took my mat, and did yoga there too. I haven’t felt this good or slept this well in a while. And in my defense, the studio is only about 9-10 months old. It really wasn’t there the last time I checked!

In addition to working out, I’ve started purchasing groceries more regularly, and cooking at home more. Aside from saving money, it’s healthier. I’m looking forward to seeing the added benefit of healthier food on top of increased exercise.

 

  • Strengthen the relationships that are truly important to me

After doing damage to a very important relationship at the beginning of the year, I think we’ve just about recovered. My other relationships are going pretty well, but I could be doing more.

I don’t call my parents or mother-in-law nearly enough. I communicate with most people via text or instant messaging. And I’m at the point where I really hate talking on the phone. Maybe it’s because I do it all day for work. I’m hoping that’s the reason, and not because I’m becoming anti-social.

I can’t help it if I prefer my own company and I like being left alone most of the time. But I could certainly work hard to find a better balance to makes sure the people who matter to me are getting what they need out of the relationship. Being a better friend, daughter, etc. is important, and I will work harder to make it a bigger priority.


Doldrums and Listening

I’m starting to notice a trend. When I am not publishing new blog posts, it’s not because I don’t have anything to say. It’s because I don’t like what I have to say.

When I’m writing blog posts, I like them to have an overall positive feel. Even if I fussing about something, there’s still a good-natured me behind it.

But man, I’m feeling something like the winter blues.

Last week, I posted a weather forecast that forecasted weather in the 50s today. Did that happen? Hell no, it didn’t happen.

And now, they are predicting another polar vortex this time next week. Ugh, I can’t take it anymore. Just like the last time I went to visit Chicago, they are predicting temperatures in the single digits. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Beyond the winter blues, For Valentine’s Day, it was up and down. I sent Easy and my best friend Valentine’s Day cards in the mail. And I sent the husband a big ass box of Crunch bars (his favorite) in the mail.

Then I had to watch all of New York figuratively and literally embrace the holiday. People everywhere had teddy bears, flowers, candy, balloons, etc. They were holding hands and sticking their tongues down each other’s throat. It was just all so much.

Then for the next few days, at the soup kitchen and at work, everyone kept asking everyone else how their VDay was. Here’s how my typical conversation went:

Them: Hey CeCe, how was your Valentine’s Day?

Me: Oh, it was uneventful. The husband is in Chicago, so, you know…

Them: Oh, that’s too bad! Well, at least he sent you flowers, right?

[He didn’t do that]

Me: Oh, um… no, well he didn’t do that, but you know…

Them: Ohhhh, um, well… At least he called you, right?

Me: Yes, he did. He called me in the afternoon to wish me happy vday.

Them [looking visibly relieved and eager to move on]: Oh, good! Well, there you go.

So you see, I had to field that question and answer that Easy didn’t send me flowers. I honestly didn’t think anything about the lack of a Valentine’s Day gift until it they pointed it out to me over and over again. At least when I recounted this to him, we got a nice chuckle from the story.

I had all these plans with my maybe new New York friends while Easy is away. And they’ve been cancelling on me left and right.

I still haven’t gone rock climbing. That’s been re-scheduled for–I kid you not– “let’s aim for mid-March-ish.”

I haven’t gone out for drinks to Smalls without Easy. That gets pushed to the next weekend every Friday night.

I haven’t gone to a single restaurant for NYC Restaurant Week. I know we’re only 5 days in, but I already had plans to go to Delmonico’s, which I would never be able to afford under any other circumstances. My friend cancelled those plants and did not reschedule them.

I haven’t gone to kickboxing yet because snow and more snow, and I didn’t want to travel to break a sweat with a ton of snow and ice on the ground.

And the straw that finally broke the camel’s back was yesterday. I was locking my house door behind me when I got a call from my doctor’s office. He stayed at the hospital and they were cancelling my appointment.

They rescheduled it for me. For 28 days from now. It is his first available appointment that allows me to get to work on time and isn’t while I’m already scheduled out-of-town.

After settling on the couch to finally watch this week’s episodes of American Idol (it’s so good this season!), Easy called me. He made a very… culturally insensitive comment that led to a conversation about it that led to a conversation about how difficult it is for us to talk to each other.

Our marriage foundation was setup on three pillars: Love, Trust, and Communication. Without even realizing it, we went a bit off with the communication.

There are things he doesn’t share with me because he doesn’t want to hear my reaction or he knows I’m going to want further explanation that he feels like giving or a number of other reasons that basically means talking to me sucks.

This is the part I’m really feeling conflicted about blogging about. Easy and I never really discuss our problems except for with our closest of friends. The ones who we know love us so much that they aren’t going to turn on our spouse because of one problem, no matter how big. And here I am discussing this on the blog.

I feel a bit better about talking about this because it’s not me complaining about him, it’s his problem with me. I have acknowledged my tendency toward hypercriticism (is that a word?). I just didn’t realize it was affecting Easy’s ability to even have a conversation with me.

Luckily, as he says, we’re solutions people. Just like I was able to get over my hesitancy to talk to him when he wasn’t retaining anything I was saying, he’s going to give me a chance to stop being so critical.

It’s such a fine line to walk. The origin of the criticism is from a lack of understanding.

Half the time he says something to me, I don’t understand. He can say the same phrase twice in a week or even twice in the same conversation, and it will have completely different and unrelated meanings.

Other times, he’ll say something vague and then I’ll ask for an explanation, and he won’t have one. Trying to think of a way to clarify or explain frustrates him, then I get frustrated, and then we’re both just irritated with each other.

None of this is so terrible until we zoom in on the was I convey my frustration or my lack of understanding or my request for an explanation. When I am feeling cognitive dissonance, the gloves come off.

So I’ve got to find a way to make this better. I don’t know if I should just accept the information he gives me with no clarification. I don’t know how that would work. I remember it, for one thing. Or maybe I just think I won’t remember it. Seeing as how it’s the only idea I’ve got, I have to try it.

Because I want to grow into a better wife.

Because I feel awful that it snuck up on us that things had gotten this bad.

And because I love my husband, and he deserves to have a marriage with someone he actually wants to talk to.

And maybe if he can talk to me, he won’t cancel our anniversary next year.


122,000 Steps And Counting

My Fitbit is great! Thanks again to my girl Brenda for the amazing gift!

I can actually keep really great track of what I’m doing and keeping track is keeping me on track. Okay, I’m done using the word track.

Between fitbit.com, myfitnesspal.com, and cozi.com, I’m spending a good amount of time tracking my meals, steps, sleep, and workouts.

I’m hoping it’s front-end labor intensive, and once I settle into a rhythm, it will be easier to maintain. It’s already gotten easier.

I sync my fitbit a couple of time a day. I plan my meals now a week in advance. And while I’m eating or just after I finish eating, I log my food into myfitnesspal. I also log my exercises while I’m waiting for my post-exercise shower to heat up.

I don’t know how sustainable this all is honestly.

Once Easy (the husband for those of you who didn’t read my last post) is back, it might be difficult to maintain. I don’t know if he’s going to want to eat what I’m eating.

I’m basically a flexitarian now. I didn’t even know flexitarian was a thing until I saw there’s a Vegetarian Food Festival in New York in a couple of weeks that I’m going to miss.

I think this is me. Who knew? Image via No Meat This Week

I’m not a flexitarian for any other reason than a changing palate and health reasons. Tonight, I ate yogurt, strawberries, blackberries, apple sauce, brocolli, yellow rice, and kidney beans.

according to myfitnesspal, all of that was around 500 calories. According to fitbit, I burned around 550 calories just walking around today. Yet I’m full and not even a bit hungry or tired. How the hell is that possible?

I’d like to say that part of my feeling so good now is because I’ve been exercising. I have started on the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis plan, yet again.

I can tell that my legs are stronger than they were. All this walking around NYC has made my calves look pretty good, and it’s making these workouts easier.

But the storms that have been whooping up on the East Cost have kept me from doing the other workouts I’m interested in.

When it takes twice as long to get to work, that makes getting up early to go to a rock climbing yoga class to a gym with no showers virtually impossible.

I have a friend from work who also purchased the Amazon local deal and has committed to going rock climbing with me. I’ve picked out a class at the kickboxing place that works in my current schedule.

Now all I need is for it to stop freaking snowing!

I am almost certain that when this post publishes, fresh snow will blanket the ground.

I plan on working out at home tomorrow, so I don’t need to worry about the weather until it’s time to head out to work.

There is good news in all of this. I wore a pair of pants to work this week that I haven’t worn since late summer. They were too tight.

Hell, they’re still too tight. But instead of being I-can’t-even-button-these-why-did-I-bother to being these-make-my-ass-look-PHAT-which-isn’t-entirely-work-appropriate-oh-well.

That’s a big step in the right direction. I cringe to think of my butt shrinking. But I’m happy to think of the back rolls and tummy pudge going away.

I’ve still got farther to go. But so far, the change in eating habits is going well, and Tracy Anderson is making exercise possible in spite of all of this:

image via Google

image via Google

I am looking forward to next Friday with every fiber of my being.

Oh, before I forget! The gift from Easy arrived yesterday. He got me a long-sleeve t-shirt in red with the HRC symbol on it. This shirt is comfy and a great cotton 2nd anniversary gift.

He knows that I’ve felt ever stronger about LGBT rights recently. And he knows I love a good traditional anniversary gift. He did good.


Celebrating A Cross-Country Anniversary

As I mentioned in my last post, the husband is in Chicago, so we weren’t together for our anniversary. But in honor of our anniversary, I’m giving him a request he probably doesn’t even know I paid attention to. The husband doesn’t want the name “the husband” anymore on this blog.

I previously called him Easy (which was a random ass reference to a book by the author of Gossip Girl), and he wants to go back to that. I apologize for the future confusion, but he is now Easy.

You’re welcome Easy.

We couldn’t do dinner or sex or a carriage ride or anything else celebratory for our anniversary, but we could exchange gifts. Seeing as how gift giving is my love language, I was all for this cross-country gift exchange.

Our anniversaries are Feb 8th and Feb 11th (married one day, wedding the other day). I wanted to do something for Easy for both, but I also wanted to get gifts that are the traditional 2nd anniversary gift category.

There just aren’t a lot of options for cotton anniversary gifts.

I settled on getting him a pair of jeans and something else that I can’t reveal yet because for some reason, it has yet to arrive in the mail. But the jeans were a good purchase if I do say so myself. I got the size wrong because I suck.

Easy was nice enough to tell me the jeans weren’t that far off and he even wore them out to his gigs last night. All we’ll have to do is get them shortened when he gets back. I have a pair of pants bought for me as a birthday gift by my mother last year that still need to go to the tailor.

This is a perfect opportunity to finally get a tailor!

Easy says my gift is in the mail. But he said that days ago, so I assume he meant it and I will just have to get a lovely delivery soon. I don’t think he meant, “the gift is in the mail” like an overdue bill. We’ll see.

Just kidding, if he says he sent me something, I know it’s coming.

But enough about yesterday. Let’s back up to Saturday, as that was our first second anniversary.

Originally I wasn’t going to get him anything because like I said, there aren’t a lot of great cotton gift options.

But we spoke on the phone Saturday afternoon and I felt a surge of gift-giving love towards Easy, and I wanted to make it happen.

Plus, when I was at the soup kitchen earlier, my friends told me I should send him something like flowers to one of his gigs for Valentine’s Day. I’m certainly not going to do that, but it did plant the seed for sending something for our anniversary.

After we got off the phone, I checked with Google (who knows my life and loves me) and found a couple of bakeries near where his gig was that were still open.

I picked the one with the best yelp reviews and called them up. They don’t take same day orders and it was past their delivery window, but the girl on the phone worked with me once I told her what I wanted.

They had cupcakes in-house already prepared fresh that day. She said if I could get someone to their location in the next 70 minutes, she would let me pay over the phone and they could pickup the cupcakes of my choice.

I made some calls to some of the hundreds of members of our wedding party. I finally found a friend who came the closest to what I needed (doing nothing, in the city, has a car, wearing pants), and asked if she would do me this huge favor.

She didn’t have on pants, but she quickly rectified that and hopped in her car to race against the clock and the snow to make it to the bakery before closing.

I called back to the bakery, placed my order, paid over the phone and crossed my fingers.

In the meantime, I called our friend who works at the place where the gig was, pleaded her help to get in the outside surprise anniversary food, and secured her assistance.

The whole thing felt like a covert op that could fall apart if you pulled on errant string.

My friend managed to make it to the bakery right on time, and got the cupcakes delivered before Easy arrived for his gig. If she wasn’t already (which I suspect she was), she is now Easy’s favorite of all my friends.

But it worked out!

chris eat cupcakes chris with cupcakes

As Easy was making some sort of speech near the end of the night about how awesome the club was and how happy he was that he was back at a place that always felt like home, our friend brought out the cupcakes.

He got so excited thinking they bought him cupcakes. When she clarified they were from me, he got even more excited. That’s me he’s on the phone with while he’s eating one of the cupcakes.

All I could think when I saw those pictures was how much I wanted a cupcake.

But no cupcakes for me because I’m trying to get healthier. Which is what I’ll discuss in my next post.

Easy liked his anniversary presents, so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. Now I just have to figure out Valentine’s Day. I’m sure Google has a good idea for me.


It’s Our Anniversary

The husband has been gone since the 4th, and I’ve barely talked to him. I forgot how busy he is when he’s in Chicago. But I’m definitely going to talk to him today because it’s our anniversary!

Two years today. And two years on Tuesday too. We got married at my church on Feb 8th, then had a big ass wedding Feb 11th. It’s been an interesting two years.

We made the move to NYC and it’s been amazing here. We had this plan to spend a few years here, then maybe go overseas to Europe for a few years. Then we’d come back to the states and maybe spend some time in Honduras where the husband’s family is from.

But I’m feeling very nest-y and both the husband and I are over moving. Perhaps in a few years we can reassess. But I love New York so much, I could lay down roots here and be happy.

The only problem is the public schools here are not so great. There are charter schools and magnet programs and whatnot, but I have to say as a potential future parent, it has me worried.

The school conversation can wait though because it’s my anniversary.

The traditional US 2nd anniversary gift is cotton. What is that about?

When I searched on Amazon for gift options, they basically showed me a bunch of pillowcases and linen scented candles. Those scented candles are wrong anyway because linen is the gift for another year’s anniversary.

At least cotton is pretty affordable. I should buy him a ream of fabric. Considering the fact that the husband’s creativity is pretty music-centric, that would amount to the worst gift ever for him.

There is also the relatively easy dinner-candles-lingerie option, but he’s out-of-town for a month, so that’s a no go.

Whatever I decide to gift him, I know he’ll appreciate. We agreed no Christmas gifts, then he wrote me beautiful letter as his gift. Then he got upset at me later for not getting him a gift. I don’t know how that happened, but I won’t repeat that mistake for our anniversary.

There is also Valentine’s Day coming up, but we don’t usually make too big of a deal out of. We generally exchange cards and some candy, and maybe do dinner.

I was this person who would go all out for celebrations. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, didn’t matter. If there was a formal reason to celebrate, I was all over it.

The husband isn’t really like that, so my celebration tendencies have decreased a bit. We still do birthdays really well, but everything else, not so much.

One of my best friends decided she and I would be BFF Valentine’s Day buddies. That isn’t a thing, but it is now. She sent me two cards in the mail. One to the husband and me for our anniversary, and the other to me for Valentine’s Day. She also bought me a necklace on Etsy and it’s freaking adorable!

piano necklas

It’s a little tiny piano and a C mini-pendant. It’s like my version of a Carrie necklace.

Getting gifts lately reminded how much I love them. The husband and I did this quiz forever ago to determine our love languages. I am a gifts and acts person, and a bit of a quality time person. I don’t need the words and the touch so much.

Because we live in a sitcom, the husband is a words and touch person, and a bit of a quality time person.

We know we have different languages, so we have to remind ourselves to value stronger what we wouldn’t naturally value for love expressions. And occasionally, we remember to give gifts in the other person’s love language.

I know the husband reads all my blog posts (because he loves me!), so I thought I would include some wonderful loving words for him.

Hey husband, you’re awesome. When I think about our life as it stands, I wouldn’t change a thing. I love New York and I love being in New York with you. The people I’ve met and things I’ve experienced here is all because of you.

I’m proud of who you are as a person. You are someone I can depend on and someone who has helped me grow as a person too.

We’re two years in with hopefully another 50+ years to go. I can’t wait to see what’s next for us. But if stay right where we are now, I’d love that too.

I can’t wait until we see each other again. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all of that.


Giving, Receiving, And Leaving Town

Because we live in a sitcom, the plan the husband and I had for our Super Bowl party didn’t go so well, but it turned out alright in the end.

Our first mistake was not going grocery shopping ahead of time. We waited until Sunday after church.

Saturday night, I went to bed early-ish, which was nice. I got ten whole hours of sleep, which basically made up for the extreme lack of sleep from the week.

The husband was out super late Saturday night. He’s so friendly that he was hanging out with his old friends as well as making some new ones. He came home with this.

dollars

Where do you think he was? Strip club? Chuck E. Cheese? Playing for tips in Times Square? The options are humorous and endless.

So we get to church for morning service. It turns out there are two meetings scheduled after church. One for new members and one for the young adult ministry. Both are meeting the husband and I were to attend.

I didn’t want to go to either meeting. Because seriously, who calls a meeting on Super Bowl Sunday? Seriously?

But to the meetings we went. We didn’t leave church until after 3pm. We didn’t get home from the grocery store until after 4:30pm.

Did I mention the store had run out of chicken wings? I don’t just buy a bag of frozen wings and throw it in the oven. I cook fresh wings and make sauce to go with it. I get fancy, y’all.

So I sent the husband out in search of fresh wings and started on my sauces.

The guests started arriving and there was no food ready to eat. I felt badly, but there wasn’t much I could do. Luckily one of his friend made home-made humus and flatbread chips to go with it. And they were delicious!

I’m sure you all know how the game went down. All I’m going to say about the game is that I enjoyed watching the team I wanted to win whoop ass up and down the field. Oh, and the commercials were great too.

As the food started trickling out of the kitchen, everyone dug in. I was pretty satisfied with the final products: taco salad with sweet pepper sour cream topping; tortilla chips with ground turkey queso dip; loaded fresh-cut french fries with bacon and cheese; and chicken wings with a choice of spicy BBQ, honey mustard, or ranch sauce.

And of course I made my everything punch. When I say this is everything punch, I mean it. It has everything in it.

Don’t tell me you can’t mix certain types of alcohol. Don’t tell me dark & light liquors get into a fight in your stomach. I don’t wanna hear it!

I make this punch at most big parties we throw. I know the night is a success when people who I’ve seen drink several glasses of straight whiskey out at jazz clubs can only drink 2-3 cups of my punch before they’re really tipsy.

After the game ended, people still stayed to hang out a bit. We ended up playing a few hilarious rounds of cell-phone based Taboo. It was nice to not have to clean up all the cards and game pieces after we’re done playing.

Trying to guess the name of Oscar-nominated actors when you’re on your fifth cup of everything punch is no joke y’all. I tried to remember to take a picture of it, but I kinda forgot, so this is the best I have, a punch bowl only filled a third of the way with poor lighting.

everything punch

Looks harmless, doesn’t it? All a part of my master plan, mwah ha ha.

The good use I put my chemistry degree to is making a strong yet tasty drink that won’t leave you hung over. As long as you have a good electrolyte balance going before you start drinking, you can drink a half-gallon of this stuff and be fine.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, the husband gets on a plane later today to head to Chicago, assuming his flight isn’t delayed because of all the Monday travel issues. He’s gone for a whole month. I won’t see him until I meet him in Chicago for a wedding on March 1st. When he’s gone, we’re both so busy that we have to work hard to make time to talk. I’m sure we’ll manage though.

I’m going to miss him, but I do have something to distract me for a bit. I wrote a post recently about how I was looking forward to eventually getting my birthday gifts. I figured it would help jumpstart my efforts to stay healthy.

Guess what I got in the mail?

fitbit

A lovely lady I met in Chicago bought it for me. I met her while out with the husband at a jazz club, which makes sense because she’s a singer.

I was so excited about it, I forgot how sleepy I was and immediately got it setup. It’s as cool as advertised. I didn’t even have to take it off to have one of my marathon baths.

This is my first ever gift received purely because of something I wrote in my blog. It’s a moment for me, and I promise I’ll put it to good use girl!

I’d say I had a pretty amazing weekend. I’ll probably be a bit more low-key in the coming days. I’ll need to make time to workout so I can stay on track with my new healthy plan.

I think I may have someone to go rock climbing with. It’s one of the random cool people I’ve met while out at a jazz club with the husband. We shall see.

And I think this couple I met another time out is going to join me at the soup kitchen next weekend when I go to volunteer.

At this rate, I may actually have friends in NYC, but I won’t get my hopes up too soon.


The Sitcom Continues

A comment on my last post from catskillblogger reminded me that I left out part of the story. The part where we went to get gas because the gas light came on while I was at the airport.

The husband only likes us to put gas is the car from recognizable gas stations. So BP, Shell, Mobil, but really not anyone else. So with the gas light on, I drove past many gas stations before we saw a BP. This BP was on the street just up the road from the expressway on ramp of doom.

That on ramp and the street leading to it were so full of potholes, that’s where the trouble with the wheel started.

Before we got to the on ramp of doom, we pulled into the gas station. The husband gets out to pump the gas even though I’m driving because he’s wonderful and spoils me and let me stay comfortable in our seat.

Our friend had to use the bathroom, so he got out to go into the gas station. He asked me if I wanted anything, so I requested salt & vinegar potato chip. I totally heart salt & vinegar potato chip. The way to my heart is through my stomach via salt & vinegar potato chips. It’s that serious.

As I was waxing poetic about the potato chips in my head, our friend is back in the car 30 seconds later. I know there’s no way he’d have the chips by then, so I turn around and get ready to forcefully demand an explanation.

Before I could even spring my tough questions on our poor unsuspecting friend (who had no knowledge of my love affair with salt & vinegar potato chips), he launches into a mini tirade because the store was empty.

Saying a store is empty requires clarification, so I asked what he meant because I couldn’t see inside the store.

He meant the store was truly empty. Nothing on any of the shelves. No employees. No bathroom. No nothing. But for some reason, the light was on so you could see all of the nothingness inside. I’ve never seen an empty store at a gas station with all of its gas pumps fully functional.

My concern about the chips disappeared because now I just felt bad for our friend who couldn’t go to the bathroom. By this time, the husband is back in the car and he’s upset because the gas pump couldn’t provide him with a receipt because it was out of paper.

He was considering complaining to the clerk inside, and our friend had to explain that there was no clerk, which was also probably why there was no paper for receipts.

We pull away from the gas station all shaking our heads and I realize there’s a huge truck blocking the street. It’s one of those city maintenance trucks, and it’s literally parked in the street, parallel to oncoming traffic. There was only one lane open to get around it, and it was the lane furthest away from the gas station.

The light was about to turn green, so I quickly pulled out and around the truck to that far lane. As I pulled around the truck, I immediately hit the first of several potholes. And it was just downhill from there. Unavoidable pothole after unavoidable pothole. You all know the rest of the story.

So we’re fast-forwarding to the husband taking the car for service.

It turns out the tire needs replacing. And the rim has a pretty bad bend in it. And there was a problem with the suspension and wheel alignment. But as far as they could tell, there was nothing wrong with the axle.

In true sitcom style, we were both wrong.

I thought I broke the axle by hitting all those potholes. The husband thought a tire change alone would solve the problem. Neither of us were correct.

But the ridiculousness (is that a word) doesn’t stop there. The shop that the husband went to for our car issues refused to fix the car. You read that right.

They refused.

They said they couldn’t fix the suspension or rim problem, and sent him to another shop.

In true NYC poor ass customer service style, the second shop told him the first shop should’ve been able to handle the problem. It’s like calling any 1-800 here, they just transfer you back and forth until someone finally gets frustrated and addresses your concerns.

The second shop told him if he decided to stay there to get the car fixed, he’d have to come back because they were too busy to help him.

So he drove the car home.

He plans on calling Geico today both to complain, and for another place he can take the car to because he doesn’t want to deal with either place.

I told him as long as it’s handled before he leaves town next week, I’ll be happy. I really don’t have the time to take a car to get fixed. Or worse, what if it breaks down further and I’m not able to move it around to follow our streets ridiculous parking rules and we get a bunch of tickets?

He’s promised he will handle it. But since we live in a sitcom, I have my doubts. Wish the husband luck!


I Live in a Sitcom, Not A Romantic Comedy

Did you ever feel like your life was a movie? Hopefully, it’s not a horror movie or even a suspense thriller, but some sort of drama or comedy or romcom?

I used to feel that way sometimes. Things that happened in my life seemed straight out of someone else’s imagination.

Since being with the husband, my life feels very much life a sitcom. It’s like someone presents a premise that appears normal, puts a twist on it, and then hilarity ensues with everyone learning (or not learning) a lesson at the end.

Some of the time, we’re normal. But in between the normal, we careen from one crazy situation to the next.

What has happened recently to further let me know I’m right about this? I’m glad you asked.

I mentioned before that the husband went to Haiti for a weekend for a jazz festival down there. He arrived back in town on a Sunday evening.

I headed to the airport to pick him up, along with a good friend of ours who was visiting NYC for a series of gigs, including the Haitian jazz festival.

I decided that I was going to surprise the husband. At a first glance, it looked like I was wearing jeans, a fleece, boots, and one of my winter coats. Peel down one layer and I was wearing something fun and frisky underneath.

Upon arriving to the airport, I’m immediately stuck in a traffic jam. If you’ve ever driven to pick someone up from an airport, you know that sometimes you have to circle around because airport security won’t let you just idle outside on the curb.

After my second time circling around, the gas light came on. How I managed to avoid noticing the gas was that low escapes me, but it fits into the sitcom, so of course I didn’t notice.

I ended up pulling to the end of a long line of cars standing in an awkward point of not-really-the-entrance-to-the-parking-lot and not-really-the-way-to-circle-back-around-to-arrivals. Just my luck, the tail end of the car was a bit in the way of cars trying to pass us.

Don’t worry, no one hit my car, but a few cars made a huge show of slowing down and creeping past to make sure they had room. One jerk in a while baby SUV did it six times. I mean, come on dude, you should’ve figured out in the first couple of passes that your tiny SUV could fit.

After over a half hour of waiting, the husband calls to say they just made it out of customs and currently en route to baggage claim. Oh, and he got a gig offer that he simply had to take because it was a group he hasn’t played with yet and he’s still new to New York, so he really can’t turn down gigs just yet even though he just landed from an international flight and he’s really sleepy and hungry and in need of a shower but, you know, he really should take this gig.

When he gets on a roll like that, I just smile into the phone, roll my eyes, and say, “sure, sounds good.” Or some other version of that to make it clear that I’m not adding my opinion to the mix.

They finally get out to the curb, and I pick them up. I regale them with stories of the sex museum and tofu roti from the previous day while we try to figure out the quickest way to get from JFK to the Village.

I’ve never driven through Queens before, but I must tell you now. It. Is Horrendous. You know how they say the rats in NYC subways will make your hometown rats look tiny and pitiful? The Queens potholes take after the rats.

I’m from Chicago, land of the poorly-filled pothole. But these were something else. And because my life is a sitcom, I immediately hit several potholes that my only chance of avoiding was smashing into the car beside me or driving into oncoming traffic.

After we kept driving past the horrific potholes, I worried that the car was driving funny. Then went we got on the expressway, I felt even stronger that something was wrong.

Then the tire-issue light came on, further letting me know something was wrong. I even asked the husband if he thought we should pull over to check the car out to make sure it was okay.

The husband told me that he knew much more about cars than I did and I should just keep on driving and get him to his gig. Feeling very much like I wanted to save the husband from digging his own grave, I chose silence and kept driving.

While on the Williamsburg Bridge, things started to feel really weird. Things finally felt weird enough that the husband agreed something was off. After going down a few more awful Chinatown streets, we finally pulled over on Canal not too far from Broadway.

At this point, the whole care is literally rattling every time I press the gas.

Literally, not figuratively.

I’m thinking it’s a broken axle or something, but the husband figured it was just a flat tire that needed changing. So he and our friend decide they’re going to change the tire right at that moment. On Canal. On a Sunday night. On a busy street. While it was dark. With the problem tire being on the driver’s side.

I let him get started on changing the tire. When it became apparent he was literally (not figuratively) standing in the path of oncoming traffic in his attempt to assess the tire and prepare to change it, I had to say something.

“So, what’s the best way to explain to your mother that this is not my fault when I call to tell her you’ve wandered into traffic and got hit?”

A little sarcasm and gallows humor goes a long way people.

He decided against changing the tire and called our insurance company. They said they could send a guy to change our tire in 20 minutes or a guy to tow our car to a desired location in one hour.

With those two options, of course we wanted the tire change guy. But if there was further damage beyond a flat, they weren’t going to send that guy. We didn’t want to wait an hour for the other guy if all we needed was a changed tire.

Classes sitcom dilemma. Ultimately, we decided to get the tow because the tire was rattling just a bit too much for comfort and we didn’t want to risk driving the car until the wheel literally came off.

Show of hands, who thinks the tow truck guy actually arrived in an hour?

No one? You’re all so smart.

After about 80 minutes, we see a tow truck go flying past us on the street where no one is driving under the speed limit. You know, the one where the husband thought it was a good idea to attempt a tire change.

We tried to honk and get his attention, but no luck. When we described our location to dispatch, we gave very specific cross streets. In this area, there were only four cars, two on each side of the street. There were no other cars for at least two blocks in any direction.

So of course the tow truck guy says he couldn’t figure out where we were. When he comes back our way, he’s on the wrong side of the street and performs a very artful 7 point turn to get to our side of the street.

It takes him forever to hitch our car to the truck, and an additional 20 minutes to convince us that he can fit all three of us in the front seat of his truck. None of us are tiny people, and we felt serious doubt, but we squeezed in there.

The driver and the husband spent the next half hour dissecting all the nuances in their difference of opinion of hip hop from the 1990s versus today. I recognized about six names they were mentioning. Must do better as a self-proclaimed lover of 90s music.

I lost the feeling in my legs, got a intercostal muscle cramp that didn’t go away for 2 hours, and get to know our friend really well, but we made it back to the Brooklyn brownstone.

I grabbed my keys out of my purse and let the men know I was heading inside. Their plan was to stay outside and change the tire so the husband could take the car to get fixed the next day.

Fast forward 45 minutes: they come back inside having decided to wait until the next morning to change the tire.

Fast forward to the next morning: they wake up late and have to rush off to a rehearsal for an amazing MLK Day gig at Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club (Jazz at the Lincoln Center), and the tire changing will have to wait

Fast forward a few more days: the tire still isn’t changed and now there’s an awful snowstorm that is literally (this time, figuratively) burying cars under piles of snow.

Fast forward to yesterday: the husband finally, after ten days, schedules the car for maintenance. Thanks Geico for giving us low-priced insurance with a freaking $500 deductible.

Oh, one other thing I forgot to mention. The husband hates packing. So on the return trip from Haiti, he packed his box o’ jewelry in his checked bag instead of in his carry-on.

Upon unpacking in Chicago, he discovers his wedding ring is missing. Cuff links, chain, and collar stays were all still present. But his wedding ring and a very nice gold ring his father gave him were both gone. And our insurance at Jared says they don’t cover theft. Renter’s insurance also doesn’t cover something that happened in another country.

Thanks insurance.

But here’s the real kicker. How will our episode end? Was is just a flat tire or is there really something wrong with the axle? I promise I’ll let you all know as soon as I do.

Cause you’re on the edge of your seat, right?

Who doesn’t love a good melodramatic battle-of-the-sexes sitcom cliffhanger?

Anyone?


Gearing Up For… Adventure…?

Friday morning, I woke up early. Not by choice, but because I had a job to do. It was my job to fall asleep in the car, awaking only to occasionally criticize the husband’s driving as he drove himself and a friend to JFK to catch a flight to Haiti.

They will be gone for the weekend for a music festival there, and I’m super jealous. You know why I’m jealous? Because as I was layering up to brave an admittedly better-than-Chicago New York City winter, the husband sent me this:

IMG-20140117-WA0000

That’s the view from the restaurant hotel. It’s 92 degrees there. The life of a musician y’all.

Now that I have a husband-taken photo of Haiti to prove he’s really away for the weekend, I have to see what fun stuff I’ll get into while he’s gone.

The first step was to go to work. Super fun.

I have to admit, I do usually enjoy myself at work. My co-workers are hilarious. And there’s nothing that quite compares to the feeling of helping a grieving family have their loved one live on through the gift of donation.

But as soon as work finishes for the weekend, I see myself…

Eh, probably not. There’s not nearly enough space in our apartment for sliding across the floor. I’d more likely end up with a black eye from sliding directly into the nearest wall.

I’ve got the soup kitchen Saturday morning and church Sunday morning. Then the husband is back Sunday evening. So I only have a bit of time to squeeze in some husband-free hilarity.

But… I don’t know what to do. The husband is a wonderful person who understands he married a crazy person who feels the need to occasionally escape the life she created for herself.

So he allows me to pretend like I live alone occasionally. That basically means taking over the bathroom for a marathon bubble bath with lots of wine and minimal interruptions. Or an afternoon of watching Hulu on my phone with very little talking. Most men would think their wife was crazy, but the husband accepts me for who I am.

So now that I don’t have to pretend he’s not here, I don’t have any good ideas. All I can think of are the things I do when he’s just in the next room. I suppose I could go out somewhere, but it’s still so cold outside.

By the time the post publishes, I’ll be getting some sleep before heading to the Village for the soup kitchen. But then what?

All the stuff I wanna do seems so boring and not properly taking advantage of the free time. After Wednesday’s poorly executed day off, I want to do more. I want to live!

And yes, I also want to stop the melodrama regarding my first world problems.

I don’t think I’m at a shortage for living. I think that I’ll look back on this time, this here the end of my 20s, and feel good about it. Considering our budget (argh budgets!), and available free time, I think I’m good.

Probably the only thing I’ll regret is that I didn’t see more movies.

Oh damn, I think my heart’s desire for my free time on Saturday is a movie marathon.

I need to go boo myself. I’ll be back.

Okay, that’s not quite what I meant.

Okay, I’ve come to accept that my heart’s desire is aiming a little low. Perhaps inspiration will strike. I live in freaking New York City, and I need to do better.

Hello, my name is Chicago-Style Girl, and at times I’m painfully ordinary.

For fun, I like to go to the movies, go shopping, go out to eat, go bowling, go rock climbing, cook, read, watch TV, play games, attend live concerts or sporting events. So freaking regular

Hey, maybe there’s an indoor rock climbing place somewhere around here. But I probably can’t go alone. Argh. Maybe I can go to a basketball game. But again, I don’t want to go alone.

This is the problem with moving to a new place. Making new friend to hang out with you spontaneously in search of adventure is hard. Every one here is always so busy. Group spontaneity is hard to come by, at least so far.

Eh, I’ll figure out something. I’ll do my best not to come back in my next post describing how delicious the wine was that I drank as I caught up on the season premier of American Idol. I’m off to seek adventure!


Chicago-Style Girl’s Day Off

What would you do with a day off?

Maybe you’d go shopping and have lunch with the girls? Well, I have no money for shopping and my girls live in Chicago, so that wasn’t an option.

Maybe you’d finally see a movie you’ve been dying to see and maybe even make it a double feature? There are a ton of movies out I’d like to see, but the thought didn’t even occur to me to try to see a film.

Maybe you’d stay up late dancing in your pajamas, just happy to have some time to yourself? That was an appealing thought, but I was out of the house last night, so pajamas dancing will have to wait.

Wednesday was a true day off for me for the first time since I’ve moved to New York. I normally work Monday through Friday, but some schedule shuffling made it possible.

I should have slept in, making myself mimosas and frittatas whenever I finally woke up. I should have walked around with no pants on, letting the hours slip away.

I should have been glad that for once, I didn’t have to wake up to get ready for work, or get ready for the soup kitchen, or get ready for church.

But instead, I volunteered my one morning of free time to the home I volunteer at. I mentioned before how I do tutoring at this home for new mothers who don’t have anywhere else to go. Since I started, the tutoring volunteering has expanded to include much more.

On Wednesday, it extended to babysitting an adorable 2 month old while her mom had a job interview. Getting a job is one of the big steps towards independence at the home, and I was happy to help facilitate it. Plus, that baby is freaking adorable and despite being a bit fussy, she’s a cool baby to be around.

So when I should’ve been at home determining the best proportion of orange juice to champagne, I was instead trying to coax a con artist baby to stay asleep even after I put her down.

I guess it’s not a bad trade. As much as I’m nowhere near ready for my own children, I do enjoy the companies of babies who aren’t jerks. And this baby is definitely not a jerk, so it was fine.

I’m looking forward to helping her mom more in the future once she starts her job. That’s right, she got the job!

After babysitting, I did finally engage in some day-off behavior. I sat on the couch with the husband catching up on TV shows. We watched MARVEL’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Revenge, Castle, Almost Human, and a couple of other shows too. There really is some great writing on TV these days.

Then it was nap time. I highly encourage anyone with a day off to embrace nap time like you’re five years old. There is nothing quite as refreshing as a lovely nap. My heart goes out to kindergarteners who don’t have nap time these days. Poor guys. What are they going to take away next? That wonderfully goopy paste that they use to make crappy crafts projects?

After my nap, the husband and I went out because he had a gig. We went to Small’s Jazz Club, a place I love to go to. The staff is great, the venue is unique, and bonus– it’s in the Village.

I know what you’re thinking. I give any and everything in the Village extra weight of special-ness just because it’s in the Village. Well, maybe you’d be right. Or maybe they just make better versions of everything in the Village and that’s why I love it so much. No way to know.

So we’re out at the club, and as now is the trend, as soon as I sat at the bar, I attracted the attention of a random stranger who’s super friendly. Last week, the attention I attracted was awesome because I met a great couple who I can actually see the husband and myself becoming friends with. We’re hanging out with them next week I think and it will be great.

Now the random European guy who’s attention I attracted last night was a different story. This guy seemed to mean well, but this crazy European man was systematically irritating, annoying, and perplexing everyone in our general vicinity.

He made the sweet bartender ladies roll their eyes because of the way he ordered his drinks. Ten minutes to decide on Stella Artois on tap? Really?

He got pushed aside by the bass player/sound man/ general peacekeeper dude because he wouldn’t stop blocking the aisle even though he had a bar stool.

He got hushed by an already boisterous crowd because his voice carried and was interrupting other people’s ability to hear the solos. I don’t know how much time you all spend in jazz clubs, but you’re really doing too much when you get hushed by the crowd who is also talking and laughing.

And to top it all off, the crazy European man got really drunk and almost threw up, so he got kicked out of the club. I’ve never even seen someone get kicked out of a jazz club before. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen someone get throw-up drunk at a jazz club before.

Needless to say, I didn’t exchange contact information with this crazy European man (who tried to convince me my parents are hippies at heart as illustrated by the uniqueness of my name), nor did I make plans to hang out again.

I spent the rest of the night hanging out with the husband and his musician friends.

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Yeah, I have glasses now. Anyway.

Everyone was talking about how much fun our Sunday dinner was, and how they can’t wait until we do it again. I think we’ve started a new tradition, and when they make the movie about one of these musician’s lives one day, my Sunday dinners should make the script, at least it better.

Making new friends is hard, you know?

Especially when the options available are so damn weird.

But I have hope. The husband has another gig on Monday that promises a lot of fun. I ended up inviting 6 people to join me out. I didn’t even know I knew six people here in New York I’d like to hang out with socially outside of a work shift, a Sunday service, or a quick drink after the soup kitchen. The couple we met last week, a guy from work and a friend of his I haven’t met yet, and a guy we met at a bar back in September and his girlfriend.

The fact that I even had more than one person I could think of to invite made me happy. I’m perfectly comfortable hanging by myself at the husband’s gigs, but it would be nice to have some friends with me too.

On that note, I’m going to go make a list of cool ways to spend a day off. The only thing I know is that the next time it happens, I’m definitely not starting my day until after noon.

Any ideas?


Now We’re Back On The Same Page

New York living is expensive y’all!

Imagine going to Starbucks every day for a week. You’re feeling all hyper and caffeine-alicious, but wonderfully satisfied. Then you realize that bottle of water, plus some fruit, plus a couple of those new yummy chocolate croissants, plus that tempting sale-priced Holiday blend coffee destined for your French press at home have all conspired together. And you are now $150 poorer than you were 7 days ago. And this is just from a coffee shop!

Now imagine that everywhere is Starbucks. Everywhere. Anything you do more than once in a week suddenly suck hundreds of dollars from your budget. Budget,say what? That thing that just frustrates you because no amount of planning can account for what you have no choice but to do when you lose your Metro card you just added $112 dollars to? Yeah, budgets.

Okay, I’m done with the stream of consciousness run on sentences for a bit. I think I’ve made my point that incidental costs alone make New York living expensive.

All of this was just based on my own experiences. But I’m not here alone, the husband is here too. He’s had the same challenges I’ve had coupled with the frustration of not working as much as he’d like.

We knew this would happen. We came to New York so he could spread his musician wings, open up a new market, and ultimately work even more (hopefully) than he was in Chicago.

That type of thing doesn’t happen overnight.

So it’s been a rough six months, financially at least. There were definitely some bumps along the way.

I had to stop drinking Starbucks every day. You won’t like me when I’m decaffeinated.

The husband unilaterally decided to postpone grad school. Again. That’s all I’ll say on that topic for now.

And the cats have taken to terrorizing the entire apartment building because they got used to having free reign of stairways during their months in exile at my parents’ house in Chicago.

Getting used to having no space anymore that counts as an escape for alone time, I’ve claimed some Saturdays as my own where I hang out in Greenwich Village, sometimes with the folks from the soup kitchen. Sometimes, I’m just by myself, hanging at Starbucks, drinking a mocha and watching Hulu on my phone.

But now things are evening out, at least they appear that way.

The husband is getting more calls for gigs, and offers to head out-of-town to play as well. So far, it appears he’s been able to maintain his musical connection to the Midwest while developing roots on the East Coast.

This weekend, he’s headed to Haiti for a music festival, then he’s back playing multiple gigs in NYC and some of the most popular jazz clubs in the city. Then he’s off to Midwest and out West for a month and some change to play there.

All of this has of course boosted his morale. It’s a nice feeling to know that the people like you, they really like you. And they want to pay you to stick around and do more.

On my end, I’m starting to hit a groove at work. I’m finishing up a work project that I’ve put a lot into and I’m hoping to see some real returns on it in the coming months. It’s all about getting more active participation in the donation process on all sides.

New York City provides some interesting challenges to organ and tissue donation that I just wasn’t experienced with coming from the Midwest. But I think I’ve risen to the challenge and if anything, it’s made me more committed to this work and I’ve dug deeper to find new ways to make it happen.

One thing I always tell my staff is that every time we speak to a family regarding donation, it’s an investment in today and tomorrow. Whether or not a family who has lost a loved one decides to have that person become a donor is irrelevant in this way.

I tell them that we want to make sure we are caring for these families at this difficult time and letting them know that our desire to help people get transplants never diminishes our compassion for their loss. Every time a family hangs up with us, they should feel positive about the conversation.

When we do this consistently, we are doing a small part to contribute to positive public opinion regarding donation. And we lay the groundwork for the family to say yes next time. If a family decides to donate, but they have a bad experience, they’re not going to want to repeat it. If a family decides not to donate, but they have a good experience, they may reconsider next time (depending on their reasons for saying no in the first place).

At my old job in Chicago and at this one, I have encountered families that have heard from us multiple times. They have been unfortunate enough to lose multiple family members in the last handful of years. It just so happened that these family members that passed away were all eligible for tissue donation. And when they hear from us, they have to make that decision about donation, and it’s a unique decision every time they decide.

I am finally starting to feel like I’m getting through to people regarding the importance of this. As America gets older (and sicker), more and more people will know someone in need of a transplant.

Just like with gay marriage, knowing and loving someone affected by an issue makes you more likely to support it. To me this means that in coming years, people will be more open to donation. I want to make sure that when that happens, those who have already lost loved ones and talked to us have a positive feeling towards the organization I work for.

It’s our jobs to make something positive come out of a sad situation and give people a chance to live on through others. We can’t do that unless we’re constantly taking care of public opinion regarding what we do.

I definitely didn’t mean to go on such a long pro-donation ramble, but I just feel so passionately about this. And considering the fact that all I do in NYC is work, volunteer, church, and sleep, it’s a big portion of my life here.

I’m looking forward in the near future to do more that just that. Now that the husband is working more, I at least get to go out to his gigs because they usually let me in free.

But even though I’m not out at amazing restaurants and cool clubs all the time (or, couch, ever), I’m really doing okay.

The time I spend away from home is so fulfilling, and really a lot of fun.

At work I’m saving lives with the click of a button, and co-workers are crazy and fun in the best way possible.

At church, I’m growing closer to God. And I’m looking forward to seeing what’s going on with the young adult ministry, it seems like it could be fun.

At one of my volunteer things, I get to tutor (which y’all know I love) and play with a new baby.

At the other volunteer thing, I’m hanging out in the Village, and becoming part of a really amazing family of good people who just like being together and making someone else’s day a bit better.

Since the second I signed the lease on our lovely little brownstone apartment, I’ve loved living in New York. But since things have evened out a bit more, I love it even more.

Now if I could just figure out the best way to navigate the public school system here so we don’t have to move one day when we have kids…


Are You Feeling Jazzy? Are You?!

I fully intend to discuss my flights to Chicago, Atlanta, and New York from last weekend. You all are all groaning in advance at the detail provided in these posts, I know. But before I get to that, I want to discuss why I went to Chicago in the first place.

I was in Chicago for less than 24 hours, but I had to go. The husband was playing in the Chicago Jazz Fest. He was playing with his band, Quatuor de Force, on the Von Freeman Stage. It was a pretty big deal, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I don’t qualify for paid time off yet since I just started my new job, but I went in on Sunday and stayed late earlier in the week so I would be able to go to Chicago on Friday. I arrived super early in the morning and the husband picked me up at the airport.

He dropped me at my parents’ house where I had important business to attend to. I had to wait on the delivery of my new phone: the Samsung Galaxy S4. Also, I am still catching up on episodes of American Idol.

Yes, I’m still catching up on American Idol. I DVR’d all the episodes on my parent’s TV and I’ve been catching up very slowly for months now. They’ve already picked the judges for the next season, so I know I’m hopelessly behind, but I like watching the episodes. So if any of you even still watch that show, please don’t ruin it for me. I’ve managed to avoid finding out who won all this time. I’m trusting you people, don’t let me down.

The husband ran some errands and got his hair freshly cut (shaved? He’s bald), then came to pick me up. We headed downtown and parked in the Millenium Park Garage right near the festival.

At first, we couldn’t find the Von Freeman Pavillion, but eventually we found it. It looked pretty impressive for a music festival.

It was also so freaking hot out. So humid and so hot, and the fans in the tent weren’t doing anything.

But aside from the heat, it was wonderful. My friend, the husband’s friends, my family, and the husband’s family came out in large numbers. It was so amazing to see all the support from all these people who hadn’t gathered in such large numbers since his CD release party last year.

The music was amazing and the husband put together a really great set list. The crowd enjoyed every song and the whole tent filled up with people listening to his music. In moments like these, I’m still amazed that I’m married to such a talented man and that he’s able to share his gift with so many people.

After the show, he was selling CDs, signing autographs, and giving interviews.

Then I realized I was about to turn into a Snickers commercial, so we went to get food. We hung out with our friends some more and laughed and talked. Then we went back to the fest to check out some more music.

This big band was playing, and I love me some big band music. We were really enjoying ourselves when they made an announcement that a brief but badass storm was heading our way and they were going to temporarily evacuate the festival.

They asked everyone to head to the parking garage for dryness/safety and they would pickup again after the storm passed.

Yeah, that was my queue to leave. So we headed up north (through the storm) for some Mexican food before calling it a night. The husband and I went to my parents’ house to hang out for the night and go back over how great the whole day was.

Seeing as how the Chicago Jazz Fest is one of the last things the husband is doing in Chicago that he setup while he was still a resident there, I’m so glad it went well. He’s really going out on top. Already people were starting to talk about him as a “New York musician originally from Chicago.”

The designation doesn’t mean much except that you are good enough to survive in New York. It’s nice to hear because it feels like they respect his skills, but it’s also amusing because he’s hasn’t been in New York long enough yet. He’s only had one gig here because he keeps leaving town.

I’m sure once the husband sets up shop here for a few months, he’ll earn the designation they are already starting to give him. I’m just excited I’ll be here with him to see it happen.

Of all the posts I write and never have pictures, you all would probably be quite upset by this one having no pictures. So, just scroll down and there are pictures!

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I Don’t Want To Wash My Clothes, And You Can’t Make Me

The husband and I have always had issues with washing clothes. Neither of us like doing it. I probably like it a bit more than he does, but it’s just so time consuming. The only apartment I ever had that came with a washer and a dryer was lovely. I washed clothes once a week and kept everything hung up and in its drawer.

You know our brownstone in Brooklyn doesn’t have a washer and a dryer. There are a number of Laundromats in the area, but none of them are terribly close. They are all a number of blocks away. Even when I only have one load of clothes, it’s still a large effort to get it done.

I haven’t washed clothes in a few weeks, which isn’t unusual for me. The problem is that I threw away half my clothes when I moved to NYC. I was so proud of myself for downsizing. I didn’t even consider the lifestyle change needed to make it work.

I was at the point that when it was time to pack to go to Chicago and Atlanta last weekend, I didn’t have enough clothes. I actually packed some dirty clothes that I had to wash as soon as I got to my parents’ house.

Awful right?

So I’m still adjusting to being a New Yorker, having less closet space, having less clothes, and washing the clothes I do have more frequently.

I have all the essentials at least: Tide pods, Downy dryer sheets, a laundry bag, and that roll-y cart you see everyone in New York with.

Even with all the ease I’ve provided for myself, it’s still not working for me.

I intended to wash clothes right when I got back from Atlanta, but I didn’t feel like it. Then I intended to do it yesterday, but the location I chose to go to was closed and it was too late to go anywhere else. This working Monday-Friday 9-5 thing is messing up my body’s natural clock.

The tiny part of me that likes doing laundry likes doing laundry at 10 am. That isn’t an option unless I get up on Saturday to do it. This week, that isn’t an option because I’m starting my other volunteer work.

I’m just gonna have to bite the bullet and make it happen. Argh, sometimes I really hate being an adult. Which isn’t even really fair to say because I’ve been washing my own clothes since I was big enough to load the machine. My parents didn’t play that.

I think it’s safe to say my nesting phase is over. At least when it comes to properly organizing my drawers and closets. Maybe I’ll get that feeling back when I finish unpacking our apartment. I’ve made some good progress and I really should take advantage of the fact that the husband is out of town for another three weeks and get it all done.

Until all of that happens, I’ll be showing up to work in quite questionable combinations. Like today. I’m wearing a blue button up blouse, an orange wife beater, and a brown stretchy asymmetrical hem skirt. It’s an odd combination, believe me. The shame of having to look at myself in the mirror ought to motivate me to wash clothes quicker than waiting on the nesting feeling to return I think.


And Now He’s Leaving Me

The husband just arrived to New York three Thursdays ago. So he’s only been here for two weeks. And he’s leaving already. He just freaking got here!

He has a good reason for leaving. Summer is quite a busy time for a musician in Chicago. If you remember, from the time of the job offer to the day I was supposed to arrive in New York, I only had three weeks to make it happen.

With that lack of warning, he already had a lot lined up in the city for himself. When he looked at his schedule, it became clear that he needed to be in Chicago from the end of August until the end of September.

So now I have another month without the husband. I really do need to make some friends here because I have no one to hang out with. There are the musician friends of the husband and their wives, but we’ve all been here for weeks and I still haven’t met these women, so I’m not counting on that.

I’ve been making efforts to begin to fill my time, but so far it’s not much.

There is, of course, my never-ending effort to get on a consistent workout schedule. Since the husband has been here, I’ve done a lot more cooking. Eating home-cooked food is always better that restaurant or processed food.  Everything I’m used to frying (catfish, plantains, etc,) I’ve been making in the oven instead. I’m feeling pretty proud of the healthy versions of my favorite foods I’m coming up with.

Outside of the hours each week I’d like spend working out, there are volunteer opportunities. As soon as I learned that we lived so close to a homeless shelter, my first thought was that I really wanted to get involved and help out.

Turns out, it’s not so easy to reach out to these people to help. I sent an e-mail and got no response. I left a voicemail and got no response. That saddened me a bit, but I didn’t give up.

The need to volunteer increased even more once I started looking into what I have to do to apply for grad school. I’ve pretty much narrowed it down to getting an MBA with a focus on healthcare management. That type of degree will really take me places in my career path, and it might be useful for the husband as well.

All three schools I looked at (more on that later) have a few requirements in common: GMAT/GRE, work experience, and extra-curriculars. I haven’t thought of extra-curriculars as such since high school. I’m damn near thirty, but I need extra-curriculars?

All the stuff I used to do had to stop for one reason or another. No bowling league, no rock climbing, no tutoring at church, no nothing. So I needed some extra-curriculars and quick.

I figure I can count on the work I used to do in Chicago since I’ll only have been a New York resident for a few months when I apply. But I need something here as well.

With the desire to get into grad school compelling me, I pushed forward to find a way to get involved in volunteering. My two passions for volunteer work are the homeless population and unwed mothers. As I always do, I started with Google to search for opportunities.

Google led me to volunteermatch.org, idealist.org, and onebrick.org. Well, Google led me a ton of other places too, but these three websites in particular seemed to have what I was looking for.

About three hours after my first Google search, I was signed up to tutor an unwed mother in Math while she’s working on her online degree. I start next week. I also signed up to help feed the homeless on weekends at this church in New York. I start in two weeks. I reached out to a few other organizations as well, so we’ll see what all I end up doing before I’m done signing up.

Even with all the stuff I’m coming up with to fill my time (exercising, volunteering, friend finding), I’m still going to feel every minute I’m away from the husband.

I will see him a week after he leaves though, I’m going to Chicago for the Chicago Jazz Fest, at which the husband and his band are playing. It’s pretty exciting, and I’m so glad I was able to work it out with my new job so that I can go.

Any other ideas of how I can fill my time while the husband is gone? Maybe I’ll join a bowling league…


Unable To Find A Good Reason To Take My Robe Off

I wish I could tell you I had great stories from this past weekend to share with you. I wish I could say we went on a very interesting double date with the future divorcé and his girl.

But that didn’t happen.

My weekend was filled with lots of stalls to the unpacking, very little showering, and absolutely no desire to socialize.

So here’s what happened.

Friday morning, I was determined to do better with the unpacking. I knew that my efforts to get the TV setup for the cable guy would payoff. I would watch Property Virgins while unpacking Friday night.

The husband found the TV power cord like he said he would. Score one for the husband.

But then the cable guy didn’t show. Well, he showed, he just didn’t install our cable.

Or even come inside our apartment.

Or even ring our freaking doorbell.

I got a call from the cable company dispatcher people telling me he was running late. Then they called again to tell me he was still running late but that they’d call when he was on his way.

Instead, I got a voicemail from him saying no one was home so he was leaving. I was pissed and called back to inquire what happened. They gave me his perfect description of my building, and told me he left because we weren’t home.

I let them know the husband was being held hostage at the house waiting on this man, so he was definitely home. My proof of this was the delivery from UPS that had arrived that same day. I surmised the cable guy was an idiot who couldn’t figure out which doorbell was ours.

They told me he’d already left the service area, but they would try to find someone to come back to the house.

I spent the next six hours calling them back several times to inquire about an available technician. This was extra awful because each time they said they’d call me back, but they didn’t.

By the time 9:00pm rolled around, I was scheduled for the first appointment in the morning, and I had a credit that amounted to 50% off my first bill. I was furious about the whole situation, so it kind of ruined my mood.

The husband had the perfect plan to cheer me up though. We went to Jazz at the Lincoln Center to see this really nice band play. One of his friends was in the band who I love so much, so it was great to see him as well.

When my best friend was here helping me get moved in, we went to Jazz at the Lincoln Center as well. This time, we were on the list, and we knew the musicians. I have to say, it’s nice being married to a musician. Things are just… easier when it comes to certain events.

I can’t wait until my best friend comes for a visit and I can take her back there musician-style.

After we left The Lincoln Center, we went downtown to Small’s. It’s this great little club where they were having a jam session. I really had a great time there.

Also, I confirmed for myself that I really enjoy this drink that is Rye whiskey with lemon-lime soda. This place I went to in Greenpoint had it on the menu called a Rye Collins (like Tom Collins, get it?). It feels like such a grown up drink, barely girly at all.

I may watch a lot of episodes of Man Men, but I’ve got nothing on those people. I only had two drinks, but I was good after that.

Good enough to not need another drink.

Good enough to need some Tylenol before I went to bed then again when I woke up.

I’m getting old y’all.

Moving on.

So the divorcé’s girl arrived Saturday morning. He went on the train and met her when she got off the bus. Then they came back to the apartment where we were just finishing up getting our cable, internet, and phone installed.

Based on a plan I helped the divorcé develop, he grabbed our really awesome picnic basket and stopped by the grocery store. They grabbed some stuff to make lunch and bought a blanket from another store on the way to the train.

When they got back, which was many hours later, they said they got so many compliments on the picnic basket. That made me happy.

I wasn’t in the best of moods though, and it didn’t hit me until much later that I didn’t even inquire about how the picnic went. Let me put it this way, I was still in my bathroom that I’d put on when I changed out of my clothes the previous night.

All I was thinking about was how the husband and I happily live in a naked house (whoop whoop, no kids yet!). But we couldn’t be our normal naked selves because we had guests. Wonderful guests, one of whom helped the husband move across state lines.

But I just wasn’t feeling it.

So we ordered pizza and watched Up on the PS3 Blu-Ray player.

They both had to leave the next morning, and I only noticed their presence briefly when they said goodbye before leaving.

I was hoping for a fun story of some sort, but instead, it’s just me pissed at the cable guy and refusing to change out of my robe.

At least I got to go to Jazz and the Lincoln Center. I can’t wait to do that again!

I almost forgot. We went to church on Sunday. The husband and I went back to the church I had attended the previous week. He loved it!

It’s been… a journey with the husband in terms of church attendance since we’ve been together.

I’m so happy he likes this church and I’m looking forward to going back again next week. And the week after that. And maybe even the week after that as well.

It’s just such a happy place. I could stand to be around people who are happy, and extra happy for no reason. I wouldn’t mind that rubbing off on me a bit.

Because of a couple of reasons, we’re only about 3/5 of the way unpacked. I really do love our apartment though, so I swear it’s not going to go like it did in Hyde Park.

Even though I’m staying late at work today, I do intend to finish the rest of it by this weekend. The dresser I ordered online arrives tomorrow, so that should help a lot.


Confession: I’m A Bit Of A Nesting Monster

When it comes to moving, I’m a bit of a monster.

Scratch that.

It’s become clear that I’m a full out bitch.

I don’t start off with that intention, but it always ends this way.

After moving my crap around this country eleven times in the last ten years, it’s become clear that I turn into a raving mad awful no good person on moving day.

Hello, my name is CeCe, and I’m a moveaholic.

I forgot this about myself because I hated our apartment in Hyde Park in Chicago, but I get a rush out of settling into a new place. Unpacking boxes and rearranging our items just so gets me going.

All of this sounds positive, right?

Wrong.

When it comes to my feelings about moving into a new place, it’s just not a group activity.

Not even a little bit.

Last night the husband and the future divorcé arrived to our cute little Brooklyn brownstone. They had a UHaul truck mostly full of stuff. We quickly decided that I’d watch the truck and move the items to the edge of the truck. The divorcé would take the items from the back of the truck into the building. The husband’s job was to get the items inside the apartment.

The whole thing took under two hours I think. I honestly wasn’t checking the time. We have a lot of crap, even with the downsize to prepare for New York living. Once we got everything into the apartment, all I wanted to do was setup the bed so I could sleep in my own bed.

I also needed to setup the shelves for the entertainment area and get the TV ready for the cable guy who’s supposed to come today.

When I walked into the apartment and saw how the husband had placed things, I got upset. I was fussing about why the clothes weren’t put into the bedroom and why the coast weren’t put into the closet and why the kitchen stuff wasn’t put into the kitchen and why everything was piled against the wall where I’d already told him the TV would be setup on.

The divorcé offered to help move some things around, but then abruptly changed his mind and rescinded his offer.

That’s when I realized I’d just given him a look of death.

I gave him a how-dare-you-offer-to-help-you’ll-probably-only-just-fuck-it-up-save-yourself-and-get-the-hell-out-of-my-face look.

It was a look the husband knew all too well. All he said was, “we’re going to go park the UHaul somewhere we won’t get a ticket, then we’re going to find food. We’ll see you later.”

I really married the right man y’all. Other guys I’ve dated would’ve reacted in less.. productive ways. But not the husband. He saw the signs of a woman on the rampage and cleared out. Also, he probably didn’t want to have to snap on me after all my fussing. He saved himself and he saved me.

While they were gone, I got to work. There’s just something so great about organizing. I don’t even know how to explain it.

All of the stress I feel when moving to a new place comes lashing out at the nearest person who tries to help. As a personal self-growth note, I really need to fix that shit. I shouldn’t have my loved ones running for the hills just because I’ve moved, especially because I move so damn often.

But all that stress just melts away with each new shelf I setup. And when the bed was fully put together, I really relaxed. By the time the basics were setup, it was after 1:00am and I was overdue to get some sleep so I could get up for work in the morning.

Except one thing.

I couldn’t find the cord to plug in the TV. the way our TV is setup, the power cord can detach. I didn’t remember where I packed it, and I was worried the cable guy wouldn’t be able to get our stuff setup today. But it worked out. The husband found the cord this morning and plugged it in.

Even though I didn’t have the cord when I went to bed last night, I didn’t stress because I knew the husband would handle it. That’s how I knew my release therapy via shelf-building worked.

So now I just have to go home after work and finish unpacking, hopefully while watching the new episode of Property Virgins on HGTV. But that’s not guaranteed. The cable company called while I was writing this post to tell me the guy was running late, and they didn’t know what time he’d get to me.

Lord, let this man arrive today, otherwise I’m going to revert right back to how I was last night. And I don’t think the husband will put up with that shit two days in a row.


Welcome Home Plus The Adventures of a Future Divorcé

By the time I get home from work today, the husband should be here. I’m so excited!

I gathered my things to come to New York almost a whole month ago. The last time I saw him was three weeks and four days ago. It feels like forever.

Even though he’ll only be here for two weeks, I’m still really excited for the two weeks we have.

I wish that we could just spend all weekend cozying up in our new apartment, but that’s not even close to a reality.

A good friend of ours is coming with the husband in the UHaul truck. We’re so grateful that he’s coming to help. He’s helping drive the truck, and he’s helping up get everything up to the apartment. He has worked for UPS on and off for years, so he’s a pro at this type of thing.

I mentioned this friend in a post a while ago. He’s one of the millions of people who were a part of our wedding party. He stood up with me as one of my bridesmen. He’s also one of the people whose relationship status changed since my wedding.

This friend is getting divorced.

Before you feel sad for him, just know that every person in his life who loves him is ecstatic about his pending divorce.

You read that right. We’re ecstatic. Glad for her to go. Not even a little bit sad about it. In any way.

That being said, it kind of sucks in general that he’s getting divorced. His parents have been married for 30+ years, and so he wanted to follow that trend.

Now that we’ve established his relationship status, there is, of course, more to tell.

There’s a girl meeting him here in New York.

She’s coming for a weekend trip. Previously, the timing just happened to work out that she and a friend were taking a trip here. But the friend flaked on her, but she’s still coming.

And now she’s staying with us too. She doesn’t live in Chicago, so this will count as their third date I think.

He took a trip to the East Coast, and she’s been back home to Chicago for a visit. They came out to one of the husband’s gigs in Chicago, so we’ve spent time together, but not much time.

So this weekend, I’m going to have the husband, who I’ve been missing like crazy. But I’m not going to have my two cats because my friend is allergic.

Apparently, he’s deathly allergic, though I never knew that before as he’s spent time before in my home where I’ve had a cat.

My poor mother (who hates cats, and dogs, and birds, and pets of all kinds, and plants) will just have to deal with the cats for a few more weeks until we drive the car to New York. I’m not risking damaging the health of the person who’s helping us move all our crap across the country, you know?

I imagine that I will have some interesting or crazy stories to tell after this weekend is done. The husband and our friend will be here in less than six hours. The girl arrives tomorrow or Saturday, not sure which one.

All we have is our full sized bed and the queen sized air mattress. For many reasons, we’ll give them the air mattress. I just really need to sleep in my bed, first and foremost.

But also, these two haven’t shared a bed yet. I don’t think they’ve even napped on the same couch yet. I’m fine with doing the hospitality thing, but as his friend, I wish for him that their first time sharing a bed (even if it’s just to sleep, wink wink) wasn’t in someone’s living room.

I’ve got all sorts of things I want to do with the husband. There are so many great restaurants in our neighborhood and a nice church we could potentially join I want him to visit.

It’ll be interesting to see whether these plans will be like a weekend long double date or not. I don’t want to invite them along because they’re both so nice they may feel compelled to say yes even though they may want to hang out alone.

On the other hand, I don’t want to not invite them when neither of them are from here and they may feel left out and not know what to do on their own.

I’m not good with decisions. Especially decisions for other people I don’t know that well. Especially when those decisions directly affect my ability to hang out with the husband behind closed doors.

At the very least, by then end of this weekend, I’ll have cable, wifi, and my own bed to sleep in. The husband will have tried some great new restaurants and can finally be done moving. And our friend can spend some more time with his new girl.

If nothing interesting happens, I’ll make something up for you all after this buildup.


Ele, Eme, Enye

If you speak Spanish, then you are properly reading the title of this post. Otherwise, it’s just me spelling out the pronunciation of the letters L, M, and N (with a tielde) in Spanish.

I know I just went through the long explanation of apartment hunting in Brooklyn and Manhattan for my big move to New York City. But now I’m going back to before I left. Go back in time with me.

There are a couple of great places in Chicago I never got around to talking about because I was neglecting this blog. What can I say? I was so busy being a new supervisor at work that I simply didn’t have the time.

After this post, I’ll update the What’s Hot page with the information about this place I’m going to tell you about.

It’s called Enye. That’s the name of this great restaurant/bar/club joint in Chicago. Google doesn’t easily link to their website, so you have to go through yelp. But then you can get there.

The husband and I ended up there totally on accident one Tuesday night. So here’s what happened.

With the supervisor job at my old job upended again (new director), I had a weird schedule. It was great though because that meant I was less likely to accidentally work a 60 hour week. And I got a lot more say in how my schedule turned out each week. You know how that goes, or maybe you don’t, but I’m gonna tell you.

Wednesday was meeting day usually, so I adjusted my schedule so I didn’t have to be at work on Wednesdays until after 10:00 most days. That meant Tuesday night was open for a little socializing.

This was perfect for the husband because he had a Tuesday night gig at Dolphin (formerly The Green Dolphin) most of these nights. I was feeling energetic enough to not go straight home, so I headed to the Dolphin after work one Tuesday.

He was playing with some people. I honestly can’t remember who we was playing with for the most part. Could’ve been a trio, could’ve been a quartet. All I know is there was a bass player I’d never seen before. And he was good. I mean really good. And it didn’t hurt that he was pretty good looking as well.

The main reason I noticed him is because there aren’t many really good upright bass players in Chicago. Not who play jazz really well. This is not coming from my vast knowledge; it’s just something the husband and his musician friends talked about. Whenever someone needed a bass player for a band or a gig, there were never a lot of options.

The second the gig was done, I inquired of the husband who this man was. He gave me this look that indicated he could totally tell I found the man attractive, but just chuckled at me and took me over to introduce us.

The guy was pretty nice and not all put off (that I could tell) by my effusive praise of his skills. During the course of our conversation, he mentions that he’s on his way to another gig right at that moment and invited us out. The husband and I are used to these impromptu invites and promptly accepted. I really am more fun when I’m with the husband. I never make new friends so easily when I’m by myself, but that’s a concern for another time.

The bass player’s gig was at Enye. We finished our drinks at Dolphin, then headed over. The husband had been there before and thought this place was great. I expressed my doubt about its greatness because he’d never mentioned it before.

When we pulled up, it looked authentic. By authentic I mean the patrons were majority Hispanic with only a few non-Hispanic looking people mixed in. The husband is half-Honduran so he counted. I’m 100% African-American, but people always think I’m something else. The bouncer gave us a look for only a second like we might not belong, but gave us the pass likely because the husband was carrying his saxophone.

Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t going to refuse us entry or anything. But you know how it is when you walk into a spot and people just give you the curious looks. They’re wondering how you even heard about the place let alone decided to come check it out.

So we walked in and we’re immediately immersed in Spanish. Spanish food, Spanish music, Spanish speaking. I really want to become fluent in Spanish to I can help my kids hold on to their heritage, but that’s again a concern for another time.

I was getting into the music and dancing my way through the crowd as I followed the husband to the back, pas the restaurant area. There a live band playing amazing music in the back, including the bass player. Except now he traded out the upright bass for an electric bass.

The husband immediately pulled out his saxophone and started playing along. I love that he knows so much music that he can walk into a club and just join in no matter what the song is. I joined in dancing with everyone around me.

The people were packed in tight and no one seemed to mind. If someone bumped into you while they turned, people just absorbed it and kept dancing. Next thing I know, I’ve taken off my jacket and put up my hair, and I’m sweating along to the music with everyone else.

The husband is playing and having a good time. I’m dancing and having a good time. Out of nowhere, this totally random woman comes up to me and throws her arms around me, hugging me tight.

This is why I don’t make friends easily y’all. I gave her this look that indicated she had about five seconds to explain herself or I was starting in with my patented karate chop on that ass. In spite of my unfriendly face, she continued to smile brightly, but she did quickly explain herself.

It turns out she was the wife of the bass player.

So my from-the-hood-who-is-this-bitch look immediately turned to from-the-hood-we-have-connections-so-hey-girl look. Once he got a break in his playing, the husband came over and hugged her too, The fact that he already knew her helped further explain her extra familiarity with me.

People who I meet through the husband tend to act as if they know me. Apparently, he regales them with stories (or forces stories upon them) about me and us and so they feel like they already know me by the time we meet. This woman was no exception.

So we were dancing and talking and enjoying the music. I decided I liked her. Even though she was extra familiar, but not familiar enough to know I’m not a hugger, I liked her. At this point, I knew we were headed to New York sooner rather than later, and I was genuinely sad that I might not be able to hang with her again.

After a while, the husband put down his horn. He came over and danced with us. We were having a really good time, but unfortunately, we had to leave not too long after that. I did have to be at work in the morning, even if it was later in the morning.

Oh, I forgot, I danced with this other man before I met the bass player’s wife. It was the totally random man who came up to me and started dancing with me. I was trying to follow his steps and only doing an okay job. Mostly, he just spun me around a lot. Even though I don’t really consider myself a friendly person, I really do appreciate it when other people, especially strangers, are friendly to me.

We had so much fun at Enye, we went back again the next time I went to the Dolphin for the Tuesday gig. This time, we had a ton of friends with us. There were three or four other couples that joined us, as well as a bunch of the musicians who were playing at Dolphin.

This time, I got to try the food, and it was pretty good. They make chorizo at the restaurant and it was delicious!

I didn’t try any of the drinks because I had quite enough to drink at Dolphin. But I’m looking forward to trying some drinks there whenever we’re back in Chicago with the time to head up there.

So if you’re in Chicago and you can make your way up to the north side, go to Enye. Dancing, great live music, and amazing food awaits.


Yet Another Reason Why I Hated Our Old Apartment

I contemplated whether to write more about my lovely new city, or maybe about my goodbye to my old city. But instead, I’m going to finally publish a post I started over a month ago. It was going to be a part of my why-I-hate-my-apartment-and-can’t-wait-to-move-out series. Can you remember back that far? That’s when I hadn’t even gone to NYC to interview for my new job.

On this blog, I hasn’t mentioned the possibility of a move so soon. I didn’t want to jinx it. Back when we first made the decision to move out of Hyde Park and in with my parents, the reasoning was that Chris would be headed to New York City in January (possibly by himself). So we didn’t want to get a new lease and put ourselves in the position of possibly having to pay two rents each month.

Then boom! I had an interview and the chance came up that maybe we could move to New York together. Then the interview went really well and they wanted me right away. Then boom! We had to figure out how to move to New York less than a month after leaving our old apartment. I thought we’d have six months. Silly me.

Sorry to give you this whole story in bits and pieces, but I do what I want so get on board.

Now, moving on to the point of this post, which is another reason I hated our old apartment.

So I arrived home from work one day, glad to be home early. As the supervisor at my old job, I worked crazy hours. We’re talking 50+ hours/week even though I only got paid for 38.5 (stupid salary job).

I walked up to my building, stuck my key in the door and turned. Nothing happened. I tried again. Again, nothing happened. I immediately flashed back to our semi-ruined anniversary where we couldn’t go out to dinner because they changed the locks on our building. The husband didn’t go get the new keys while I was at work and so we couldn’t leave our building to go to dinner to celebrate our anniversary because we’d have no way to get back in.

After assessing the key in the lock situation, I realized the key fit just fine, but that it just wouldn’t turn. I called the leasing office, but they were all gone for the day. At this point, I realized I had to pee really badly.

I called the husband who confirmed the key wouldn’t turn easily in the door. He told me the previous day, he had to force the key to turn because the lock was twisted to the side. I don’t even know if you can properly picture that. But imagine a normal lock on a normal door. Now rotate the barrel 24 degrees clockwise and you can picture what I dealt with.

I was so upset that the husband knew of this problem the previous day and did nothing about it. He didn’t call the leasing office, he didn’t do anything. He just forced the key to work for him and went on the house. I do not have close to the same strength as he does, so I was just standing there outside the building, upset and trying not to pee on myself.

I got off the phone with the husband and called the locksmith listed on the wall by the building door. The locksmith told me it’s $100 to let me in because I lost my keys. I told him I didn’t lose my freaking keys, I had them in my hand, they just didn’t work. He told me that even though I have a key, if there’s an issue with the lock, it’s $100.

I was furious and inquired why the charge wouldn’t go to the management company for the building if the problem was with the building, not my keys or apartment door lock. He told me I could wait until the morning and have the management people call him. When I confirmed he was suggesting I sleep outside my building until I could reach the leasing office in the morning, I hung up.

I called the husband back ready to fuss some more. He immediately asked if I tried to go through the back door.

All the wind went out of my sails. I felt like such an idiot for not thinking of that. So I walked to the back of the building and my key worked fine. I apologized to the husband for turning extra crazy, and took my butt upstairs and straight to the bathroom.

Why my leasing office didn’t have a 24/7 number to reach, I don’t know. It was just so frustrating. Just to compare, my new landlord is awesome. Anything I need he handles that day or the next morning. I’ve only been in my apartment for a week, so I’m not getting too excited yet. But let’s just say I couldn’t be happier to be so far away from the previous situation.

I think this will be the last your hear about how much I hated my old apartment. Hyde Park as a neighborhood wasn’t so awful, I just didn’t like living there. With all the building and expansion going on there I imagine it will be an amazing place to visit. Just don’t move there!


How To Leave An Apartment You Hate, Step One

You ever live in a place you thought you’d love but you end up hating? You ask yourself, “how do I escape this hell hole?” Well, I’m not sure I can help you, but I can sure as hell chronicle how I’m getting the hell out.

  1. Make the shit as livable as possible until you can get out.
  2. Give away a bunch of stuff to the salvation army.
  3. Wash all your clothes and throw out the rest.
  4. Be nice to your neighbors so they don’t rob you on moving day.
  5. Don’t forget to turn off the utilities.
  6. Pack your shit over a period of time, really make leaving a celebration.

So, that’s just the basics I think. But really, the first step to leaving an apartment you hate is to not renew your lease. At the end of this month, we’ll be free of the high rent.

We’ll be free of the weed smoking neighbors.

We’ll be free of the loiterers with no better business.

We’ll be free of the lack of parking.

We’ll be free of the cops who were nowhere to be found while our car was stolen but showed up when the husband was changing the plates on the recovered car.

We’ll be free of three flights of steps.

We’ll be free.

Free at last.

Well, we’ll be moving in with our parents until we find somewhere new to live. But I swear we have a really good reason for not finding a new apartment yet. I’m just not ready to share.

But I will be soon.

I suspect it will come as good news too.

Just wait and see.


So Good,We Did It Again

I made the husband dinner two nights ago since he was nice enough to go to the grocery store. Porterhouse steak, yellow rice, sautéed green beans. It was quite delicious, and we really enjoyed it. When cooked food is just to our specifications, we really have a love affair with it. We inhaled our food while watching episodes of Man Men.

I’m finished with Season 5, but the husband is still catching up. Once he finishes Season 5, we’ll start Season 6 together. We like finding activities we can do together.

Last night we did a repeat. The husband purchased four porterhouse steaks the first night. When I got home from watching my cousin get all her hair shaved off ( a story for another time), we decided we wanted the same dinner twice.

So we did.

We had porterhouse steak, yellow rice, and sautéed green beans. The husband went back to the store to buy more fresh green beans, because fresh is always better. I try to stay away from canned food if I can help it.

It was just as good the second time around.

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten the same meal two days in a row where the second day wasn’t leftovers. I don’t think we’ll be making a habit of this as that was a lot of red meat to eat in two nights.

But it was just so good.

Steak cooked just how we like it. Mouth-watering yellow rice. Perfectly sautéed green beans with a white wine reduction. I’m starting to drool just remembering it now.

That reminds me, we did change one thing. The first night we used Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling. The second night we used Chateau Ste. Michelle Pinot Gris. Those people don’t make a wine I dislike.

If you had to eat one meal multiple days in a row, what would it be?