Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Posts tagged “crazy story

And Now I Have Four Sets of Headphones

Maaaaaaan, of course my same day delivery didn’t come on the same day. They didn’t even attempt the delivery. I wasn’t at work for the next couple of days, so it got delivered at some point.

I had originally ordered replacement headphones for my cell phone because the volume buttons on the headphones weren’t working. Then I noticed they were selling them in a two pack and figured that would be a better purchase because it was close to the same price. I don’t really lose headphones, but it couldn’t hurt to have a second pair, right?

Well, I ordered the headphones, then realized I’d chosen free two-day delivery when I meant to choose same day delivery. So I ordered them again for same day delivery.

And now I have four sets of headphones.

And the volume buttons still don’t work.

I figured out it was due to the phone being messed up. One lousy little half-empty travel-size bottle of Listerine and everything goes fuzzy.

Well, not literally. The phone’s functionality has almost completely returned. That makes me very happy because I love my phone and I’ve finally got the settings just right. Fingers crossed that this phone will last until the newest Samsung Note 6 (or Note 7 Edge if the internet rumors are to be trusted) comes out.

So maybe I have to restart my phone to get the microphone on the headphones to work.

And maybe the S Pen is a little temperamental.

And maybe the phone mutes itself for no reason out of nowhere.

And maybe the phone turns itself up to the loudest possible volume for no reason out of nowhere.

But it’s my phone and I love it. And it’s really not in the budget to replace it right now.

That money has to go towards the laptop. Eventually it will stop working because I spilled a glass of red wine on the keyboard.

And Chris was just saying how I’m less clumsy with all the aerial yoga…

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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?


That Time I Almost Stabbed An Old Man In The Street

Before I talk about that time I almost stabbed an old man in the street, I first want to follow-up on yesterday. It’s like God heard my not-actually-prayed prayers and found a solution to my problems.

I will have time to wash my clothes before I have to wear more awful clothing combinations to work. I was sitting at work when one of the other shift leaders asks me if I want to go home, take a nap, then come back that night.

I did a quick thinking process and decided I was in. I gathered my things and left. I got home and took a nice long nap until it was time to get up to go do my volunteer thing. I definitely went the wrong way once or twice on the way (anyone want to teach me the difference between north and south?), but I finally got to the place.

The woman I’m working with has her final next week. So when I go back on Monday, we’re going to work hard to make sure she’s as prepared as possible for the final. Then the following weekend, we will celebrate her doing well by taking an excursion somewhere. We haven’t figured out where yet, but I’m really looking forward to it.

I’m glad this is going well because I know sometimes volunteer work can be unfulfilling and boring. This work is anything but. She even showed me her latest sonogram today! My personal opinion happens to be that sonograms look weird and pretty icky, but I was just happy for her that she wanted to show the pictures off.

I’m sure the husband will want to pat me on the back for keeping my strong ass opinions to myself for once. Thank God I have this blog to let it out on you people. I figure you’re asking for my opinions because you bother to read my words.

I’ll probably be one of the few ladies who shuns her own sonograms while she’s pregnant. The doctor will be all, “hey, want a picture of your baby? Isn’t it grand?” And I’ll be all, “um, no that alien looking thing belongs in my womb, not floating around in my purse or on my refrigerator blown up 100x. No thank you.” Then the husband will shake his head at me and request the picture anyway.

Back on topic now. After I was done with the tutoring, I headed to work. I worked until the morning at which point I went home. Now I’m not due back until Friday, so I actually have time to, you guessed it, wash my clothes!

Because I worked last night, I could wear causal clothes, which I haven’t run out of yet. And on casual Friday, I can also wear the jeans instead of the slacks. That gives me four whole days to manage to wash some clothes for work on Monday. Of course, I’ll be quite tired from flipping back and forth from day sleep to night sleep, so I still may not get it done. I’m not gonna worry about that just yet though.

On to the point of this post. In the course of getting ready for my trip out of town last weekend, I decided to take a trip down to Greenwich Village in Manhattan rather than to the Laundromat, you know, to wash clothes.

Down in Greenwich Village, I was reminded yet again of why I love that neighborhood. It just feels neighborhood-y and community-ish. The people all seem to carry the sense of belonging and lack of judgment with them everywhere they go.

My destination when I got there was this lovely little shop that sells essential oils. I’ll explain in a later post why I needed essential oils, but there I was, making some purchases, feeling very Village-like. I left the shop and noticed there was a vegan grocery store, a yoga studio, a sushi bar, and a LGBT community center all within the same half a block.

Even though I’m heterosexual and such a carnivore (pun intended), I felt so at home. That type of acceptance of any lifestyle put a big smile on my face. I don’t know how much time you people have spent around others who aren’t like yourself. I’ve encountered communities that are so supportive of vegans that they judge meat-eaters. I’ve also been around homosexuals and bisexuals that shun heterosexuals.

But nobody was eye-ing my I heart bacon sweatshirt with ire. I fit right in and happily so.

Just as I was reveling in my daydreams about moving into this building that looked like a fancy version of my current brownstone, my thoughts were interrupted by this man. He was leaning forward, swaying unsteadily on his feet. For some reason, he was holding a 7-Eleven big gulp cup partially in front of his eyes in a very I-can-see-you-but-you-can’t-see-me kind of way.

He swayed into my path and began lumbering toward me. When I stepped to the side to go around him, he stepped to the side to stay in my way. Then he started talking. I don’t recall exactly what he said, but he kept calling me Lady and laughing each time he said it.

When he got closer, I stopped walking forward and actually started taking steps back. As I stepped back, he stepped forward. This was officially an awful moment. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I ran through the options.

1)      Mace his ass.

2)      Cut his ass.

3)      Run away.

4)      See if he needed help.

The first option was a good one since I had an adorable pink bottle of pepper spray in my purse. The second option was the most attractive, but I didn’t have a box cutter with me because the husband refused to buy me one. I’m pretty sure it was out of pure laziness that he didn’t buy it for me. And I’m pretty sure it was out of pure laziness that I didn’t buy it for myself.

The third option just isn’t my style. I prefer fight over flight. The last option didn’t feel very safe. I’m alone in New York, so I can’t afford the risk to my safety by reaching out to strangers like that. I just got here, and I’d like to keep myself safe.

Based on those options, I began reaching for my pepper spray, cursing both myself and my husband that I didn’t have a box cutter. I’m not against cutting an old man who’s starting to scare me. But before I could pull out the pepper spray, another man on the street told the man to leave me alone because he was clearly scaring me.

They argued back and forth a bit over whether or not he was scaring me. Ultimately the creepy old man with the big gulp cup gave up and crossed the street, muttering to himself.

I left my pepper spray in my purse and thanked the man for his intervention.

Then I called the husband and fussed at him for not buying me a box cutter. I clearly needed to cut an old man, but wasn’t able to because he was being lazy.

The husband, who is saner than I am, immediately let me know that it wasn’t a bad thing that I got through the afternoon without cutting an old man.

Agree to disagree.

On my agenda while I have some time at the Laundromat: heading to the nearby hardware store to purchase a box cutter.

That old man may have been harmless, but I don’t want to be naïve enough to think everybody who walks up on me in this city will be. I’ve got plans for my life, and they don’t include becoming a statistic to senseless violence. Yeah, that just got real.


I Just Paid Someone $100 To Torture Me

The last time I got my hair done before leaving Chicago was July 2nd. That’s not crazy by standards for those of us with locs, but it was getting rough for me. I try to get my hair done every four weeks.

That meant one of my top tasks after arriving in New York was to find a place to get my hair done. I wanted to stay close to home if possible.

All the places I looked up charged way more than my hair lady in Chicago. But there were several options close by. The first place I sought out was the very closest. It is literally right around the corner from my brownstone.

You can surmise by the title of this post that this trip to the new hair place didn’t exactly go well. So here’s what happened last Saturday.

My appointment was for 10AM. I arrived at 9:56, there was no one there. I rang the bell a few times, but no one answered. Finally, around 9:02, I called the lady I made the appointment with. She answered almost immediately to let me know that she was pulling up.

She looked out her window and me and smiled apologetically as she parked. I let them know it was no problem, and that in the future, it would probably be me that was running late.

We got inside and they offered me juice and fruit and water. I took the juice and settled down while they cleaned up. I’d never been to a shop before that cleaned up first thing in the morning as opposed to last thing the night before, but there’s a first time for everything, right?

After a while, they asked me to sit in the chair. They let me know they got a strawberry red color to dye my hair and also a honey blonde color. I had previously told them that I needed a strawberry blonde color for my hair to turn out the color it currently was.

I don’t know how much you know about dying hair, but it’s probably two more things than I know. I could barely describe what my hair lady in Chicago did, so I went with it. When they were describing to me what the different hair dye components do, I tried to let them know that all of that mean nothing for my hair.

My hair doesn’t take color easily and it never turns out the color expected. Even a trained colorist has to pull out all the tricks when it comes to my hair.

They have me all the “OK”s and “No problem”s, so I thought we’d be fine. That much confidence needs to be backed up with something right? I mean, how many people walk into a shop swearing their hair reacts unexpectedly to color and have verified this with every person who’s ever done their hair?

So anyway, she starts with the strawberry color. She applies it and I looked in the mirror and said, “this looks very very red.” She said, “I know, but when I rinse it out, it will tone down.”

When she rinsed it out, it didn’t tone down.

I sat in the chair, looking at a mirror, assessing my options.

Option #1: Slap her and then slap the other lady who vouched for her.

Option #2: Cry and run screaming from the shop straight to small claims court.

Option #3: Make the best of it because I live right by here and she is just hard-headed as hell.

Of course, I chose option #3. I assessed the color they dyed my hair. I had these red ass roots and the rest of my hair looked super blonde next to it. My hair is not even a little blonde, but that’s how it looked in comparison.

As red as this hair was, it was pretty flattering next to my face. So I said, “take note of this color because the next time I decide to go red, this is the color!”

The girl laughed and looked relieved that I didn’t choose option #1.

Because I doubted whether or not I’d actually be back to this shop, I grabbed one of the empty bottles of color so I could find it again.

So after dyeing my hair and awesome yet mismatching shade of red, she decides she’s going to put the honey blonde on top of it. So she does.

Show of hands, who thinks it worked?

Anyone?

No?

You’re all right. It didn’t work.

After she rinses it off, only the baby hairs at the very edges of my scalp look like they might be the right color. All the rest of my roots just looked—no not orange. My roots still looked the same damn red.

At this point, she looks concerned. Her concern increased after I told her she had two options.

Option #1: Figure out a way to fix my hair because I wasn’t leaving the shop with my hair looking like that.

Option #2: Dye all the rest of my hair this awesome red and I’d just be a redhead from now on.

She considered her options and knew that she’d have to eat a lot of profit to cover the cost of coloring my whole head red. So she decided that she could definitely fix the color.

Her first step was to bleach the hair she’d just processed two times.

I’m telling y’all, I was watching my hair like a hawk, prepared to backhand any and everybody at the first sign of my hair falling out.

I’m lucky I have strong hair, but I won’t be repeating this assault on my hair ever again.

After she bleached it, then it was orange. So off to the beauty supply store, for the third time that day, she went.

She returned with a color that she said had a swatch that was closest to my desired hair color. At this, I was even more frustrated. I had already explained that my hair doesn’t take color well.

That means whatever the swatch of hair is colored in the store, my hair won’t look anything like that when we’re done.

The actual color was this coppery color that was pretty. Just not pretty on me. You try to put a reddish-blonde color on my hair with golden undertones and it turns copper. Good to know.

After she was done with that, she said, “I see what you mean now about how strawberry blonde was probably the best color to use.”

If I were even 1% more violent that I am in my natural state, I definitely would’ve slapped her. It’s just so frustrating that she didn’t listen to me once in this whole process. That coppery color looks crazy next to my scalp line. It’s just too orange for my complexion. I can’t wait until it grows out and I can fix it.

So after I resign myself to having these coppery roots, We get down to the business of rolling my locs so they look fresher.

This part was lovely. I remember being so apprehensive because my scalp was sore by this point. All the color processing had made me quite sensitive and I was concerned I was going to be in a lot of pain.

But there was no pain. She moved quickly and efficiently. I found myself thinking I actually preferred the way she palm rolled my locs over what my Chicago hair lady did.

She put me under the dryer and then oiled my scalp before I left. I like the way my hair looked, if I ignored the roots.

I paid her the cost for rolling the locs and dyeing the roots and left. At this point, it was ten hours after I’d arrived to the shop in the first place. Ten freaking hours.

On a normal day, even with hair color, it shouldn’t take more than four hours from start to finish.

Because I’m crazy (remember my response to the virgin sacrifice apartment?), I actually thought about returning to the shop. It’s just so close to my house and I really liked the way she rolled my hair.

Then two days passed. And I realized the rolled my hair the wrong way. I’m not sure how to fully explain this. When locs are palm rolled, they are rolled between the palms. As the hair grows out, you roll the roots in the same direction while it’s wet. Then you put a hair clip in to hold it until you can dry the hair. Once the hair is dry, it stays rolled in that direction and the hair continues to lock on the same pattern.

This chick rolled my damn hair in the opposite direction!

My hair hangs to my shoulder blades. So I’ve got almost a foot of hair that is quite obviously rolled in one direction.

But she didn’t care.

All she wanted was to stick with what she knew.

She rolled my hair in the direction I assume she rolls everyone’s hair.

So now my hair is starting to look a little funky at the point where the locked hair meets the newly rolled hair.

So that settles it.

I’m not going back to that shop.

And I’ll give them the side eye when I walk past on the way to another shop to get my hair done.

Except…

I left my umbrella there.

So I’ll go back, but just for that.