Stir Crazy

I’m wearing my three inch, open toe, Kate Spade patent leather stilettos around the apartment because I can. I’m listening to Queen’s greatest hits because I can. I don’t give a fuck that the Giants just won the Super Bowl. Maybe this is what it feels like to bottom out, as Ann Perkins similarly experienced in Season 3 of Parks and Recreation after Chris Traeger dumped her. While I’m not spending $700 on candles, I have been buying lots of clothes from Ann Taylor Loft and jonesing after very impractical purchases. Case in point, I really want an occasion to buy this skirt. It matches my Kate Spade shoes! Or how about this dress! I’ve also been buying lots of lingerie in the event that dating leads to more.

Someone needs to save me.

This is what happens when I spend two days by myself.

Whee! Shopping!

Oh. OH! I just remembered. I’m going to St. John and Tortola in two weeks! Whee!

Maybe shopping and Caribbean travel is my antidote to my burgeoning existential crisis?

Edit: This post may have been influenced by Prosecco, Queen, and too much alone time.

"Are you going to write about this in your blog?"

“Are you going to write about this in your blog?”

Ms. K poses this question to me from time to time as if she’s afraid that I’m going to say too much or poorly portray her to the four people who still read my blog. “Don’t expose my secret shame!” she said when she recently brought home a kombucha culture to start making her own tea. She didn’t want anyone to know about her one hippyish interest nor did she want anyone to know just how giddy she got when she brought the kombucha “baby” home to ferment. Guess the cat is out of the bag for that one.

Yesterday we played three successive rounds Trivial Pursuit and I crushed her. CRUSHED. This elicited the oft repeated “Are you going to write about this on your blog?” Yes. Yes I am because after the spanking I get playing her in every other game, I deserve to gloat just this once.

Look, Trivial Pursuit is my game just as Scrabble is Ms. K’s game. Somehow she always manages to beat me with a sizable point lead while I’m struggling to keep up with the language gymnastics — so much that my brain is sweating. As for Trivial Pursuit, I just have a talent for useless random knowledge gleaned form a variety of sources.

Today Ms. K emailed me, “Perhaps I will spend the rest of day reading random Wikipedia pages with the hopes that I will someday beat you at Trivial Pursuit.”

I sense a rematch brewing tonight.

Speaking of great feats, I would like to update you all on The Reckoning. I started going to the gym three months ago, which entails getting up at 6 am and schlepping on the subway to another part of Brooklyn. After three months I was a little dismayed that I had only lost 10 pounds, but Ms. K reminded me that muscle is denser than fat, which is why the jeans I bought three weeks ago now have to be worn with a belt.

Suck it.

And another thing that can suck it? All those stairs at the Broadway-Lafayette BDFV station. From platform to street, there are 70 stairs in total and no elevator or escalator for help. Meeting that climb in the morning without the aid of coffee is like a special punishment handed out by a vengeful god. But today marked an accomplishment for me. Not only did I go running (shock!) on the treadmill at the gym today, but I quickly climbed everyone of those goddamned stairs without losing my breath.

It was my Rocky moment.

"Curious if you know of any tax breaks for people who didn’t commit a heinous financial crime this year."

Since today is Tax Day, let’s revisit last year’s post where I made a series of resolutions. Did I keep them?

* File a 1040 EZ for my 2008 tax return.

A lofty goal, but one sadly not obtained.

* Have money saved in the bank to pay the taxes on my freelance 1099s.

Yes. YES! SUCK IT, HATERS!

* Have money saved in the bank.

See previous bullet point. Although I did not quite have as much money saved up as I would have liked, I am patting myself on the back for my improved situation.

* Have money saved in the bank with an institution that offers a 3% interest rate or higher.

Actually I could have answered yes, but bastardly HSBC Direct has slowly whittled away my 3.5% interest rate to something in the 1% range. Suck it, banks.

* Increase my freelance intake.

My freelance is taking off despite this shitty economy.

* Take a fucking vacation.

Does a weekend in Vermont count? Also there is a small chance I may be in Sweden this summer, so there you go.

Progress.

"New York is in a good mood today."

Today is a day of action. I set the alarm for 6:30 am, a half hour earlier than I normally get up. I showered, dressed, made coffee, took the dog out, and woke Ms. K up kisses and gentle prodding. I even made her a cigarette to further entice her out of bed.

We had stuff to do.

By 8:30 am, we were in the car on the way to a self storage company located near the base of the Manhattan Bridge. By 9:15 am I had successfully rented a 3 x 5 foot storage unit for my extra furniture. By 10 am, I was at work and ready to take on the day. Later, when Ms. K called to say that my pansy little drill just wasn’t going to get through the concrete backed wall at home, she warned that our bookshelf hanging plans would have to wait yet another day until we could come up with another solution.

I thought of the teetering towers of books choking up the living room and I raised a fist to the air. Oh no, I would not be deterred.

By 1:30 pm, I was at a hardware store near my office that I knew rented tools because I would be good goddamned if I was going to have to buy a new drill. I selected one bad ass mutherfucker of a drill to rent, holding it’s weight in my hands, and imagining all those teetering towers of books neatly organized on our brand new IKEA bookshelves. I felt victorious, I felt . . . butch.

Suck it, bookshelves.

But first, paperwork. As the store clerk began to ask the pertinent questions and assemble the proper forms, the customer behind me in line for the register shuffled his feet impatiently. He even sighed a little for added effect.

Okay, buddy, you can go ahead of me.

The cashier rang up his purchases, which I noticed included weather stripping for an AC window unit. Mr. Impatient apparently doesn’t like drafts in addition to waiting in line.

“That’ll be two dollars and five pennies.”

Mr. Impatient handed over only two dollars. Perhaps the mention of “five pennies” had thrown him off.

“I just need five more cents,” the cashier politely prompted.

Mr. Impatient fished grumpily around his empty pockets before pulling out a bigger bill.

Dude, I thought, don’t break a bill because of five cents. And without saying anything, I reached into my pocket, pulled out a dime, and handed it to the cashier.

The universal order wobbled as Mr. Impatient grappled with the reality of my menial gift. He was incredulous, his body posture perhaps even a little defensive. “Are you sure?”

Am I sure? Buddy, I’m giving you a dime, not a kidney.

“New York is in a good mood today,” the cashier announced as he ran the transaction and bagged up his items.

I liked that comment. I liked being the representative for New York’s collective mood, which would also mean that New York is a little afraid of turning 30 in six days.

The man handed me back the 5 cents change. I stared at the nickel in the gloved palm of his hand, confused for a moment as to why he was giving me his change. “Here, this is yours,” he urged.

Oh, right!

Mr. Impatient’s mood seemed greatly improved and he said an extra thank you as he exited the hardware store. All for five cents! What a bargain.

New York is in a good mood indeed. New York has a big, fuck off drill. If only for a day.

"That’ll do, pig. That’ll do."

Pardon me while I brag.

It’s been a very very long time since I’ve had something to celebrate. While Ms. K and I had our anniversary back in July, it was mired in the uncertainty of a move we knew would be coming soon but not knowing exactly when. (And lord knows there was nothing celebratory about that move when it finally did come.) So when I recently completed a prestigious freelance design job, I at last felt like I had something to celebrate. Champagne was uncorked and laurels rested upon. All my hard work gave me a boost to my confidence and the professional pat on the back I craved. And feeling generous, I took Ms. K out to nice dinner at Pomme de Terre where we enjoyed our fleeting foray into modest luxury.

Yesterday I went to a lecture at New York University where the publisher I freelanced for was speaking on a panel. At the door was a stack of the magazine I had worked so hard on and I grabbed a copy, spending most of the lecture flipping through to see how everything turned out. I was pleasantly surprised to hear my new boss mention me by name to the audience in conjunct with my freelance design work. Later, after the lecture was over and people swarmed over trays of complementary smoked salmon hors d’oeuvres and glasses of Long Island wine (not an oxymoron), the publisher came up to me to tell me how happy he was that the magazine had turned out so well.

High fives. It felt good to be a gangsta.

When I left, I called Ms. K to tell her I was on my way home.

“Are you drunk?” she asked.

“No, I’m giddy with professional recognition. I had a small glass of wine though.”

“You sound a little drunk.”

Even by my standards (though not unheard of), 5 pm on a weekday is a little early to be intoxicated. I explained that I got a shout out during the lecture and a happy endorsement of my work.

“Congratulations, baby. I’m so proud of you. You got your ‘That’ll do, pig,'” she said.

For those who never saw the 1995 movie Babe, the blog title is a quote from the movie and is something that Ms. K says from time to time to explain that everyone craves a little pat on the back, a little recognition for their hard work. Not much, but just a gentle, “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”

So there you go. I got that pat on the back I craved.

That’ll do.

"I feel like I’ve been asleep forever . . ."

Ever since Holly and I ended our little experiment at dating, which in all fairness can’t be likened to real dating, I’ve been unconsciously phasing her out as a friend. Now I’m starting to realize this is partially because I needed space and partially because she’s one of those people where you have to work at having her in your life and it’s not like she brings a lot to the table when she is around. My words might sound harsh but time has granted me some perspective, mostly in the form of Oh my God what the fuck was I smoking??

In her absence I’ve moved on and made some of the best friends of my life, friends whom I hope will be in my life for a very long time. And I’ve also seen what a real relationship can be when someone is fully emotionally present even if not always physically.

When Holly asked to have dinner with me the other day I had to offer Friday as an alternative because Ms. K was going to be in town. There was a touch of nostalgia because there was a time when we were always meeting up for beer and dinner in the East Village. We went to a couple of our old haunts — Brick Lane and Burp Castle (hmm, what an odd juxtaposition of names) — and spent the evening catching up.

“It only feels like a few weeks ago that we went to Galapagos for Halloween,” she said, our table full of curries and samosas to feed our growing intoxication.

“Holly, that was 2005.”

“I know. It really feels like only a few weeks ago. I feel like I’ve been asleep forever and everybody has moved on with their lives.”

Was she including me in this statement? She should because I’ve certainly moved on from 2005.

We chit chatted some more, drank our Kingfisher beers, and got ridiculously stuffed on dahl makhani, during which she referred to a boyfriend by the name of J.

J? Wait. That’s the same name as her married boss.

“You’re seeing him again?” I asked, eyebrows raised over the perch of my glasses in a way that Ms. K has come to dislike. “Isn’t he married??”

“Only technically.”

Good God.

You know when you have those moments in your life when you realize just how far you’ve come and just how far someone hasn’t? Yeah, that was one of those moments.

I laughed out loud, my voice cutting through the sound diners and Indian music. I wasn’t meaning to be cruel, but there was a air of the absurd to her admitting that after all this time and whatnot she was still caught up in the negative cycle of dating/fucking/whatever her “married” boss. I even think I laughed when Holly admitted that the boss wanted to get married when the divorce was final.

Comedy gold.

“Just so you know,” she said, eyes full of emotion, “that when we were dating there definitely wasn’t anything going on between J and I.”

I laughed again. Don’t worry, Holly. There wasn’t anything going on between you and I either, mainly because you admitted on more than one occasion that you were still in love with J.

I sat back, patted my full belly, and thanked Christ for letting me get off the Carousel of Stupidity™. I even wanted to call Ms. K then and there and thank her for being super awesome.

Later Holly and I got a beer and things didn’t feel so much like old times as they did at the start of dinner. I felt a little weird, especially when she introduced me to Random Bar Patron as her best friend. My reaction, albeit internal, was If I represent the high point or rather one of the most valuable relationships in your life then you have some serious work to do my friend. And to that I felt nothing but pity.

It’s nice to move on.

"You are the mac daddy of desserts."

I had an epiphany last night as I stood in the cold, steady drizzle of Central Park while watching Rufus Wainwright play SummerStage. It’s so refreshing to have artists back in my life. Although I already have a wonderfully strong cadre of women around me, the newest addition of Sinclair and Bird has stimulated a part of my creative brain that I hadn’t realized was not getting any love and probably has not been since I was a Studio Art major in college. As a stimulation junkie (the intellectual variety), my brain is very happy to have made these new connections — especially since Bird said that if she were to choose anyone to be her Siamese twin, she’d choose me. Sniffle.

Speaking of Rufus Wainwright, yesterday marked the third time I had seen him in concert and the first time whilst standing in the rain. And no offense to Maire, who graciously facilitated the evening, but I began to wonder if it was worth the effort as my gray hoodie grew increasingly damp despite huddling under an umbrella. But my doubts vanished when Rufus did an encore dressed as Judy Garland complete with choreographed dance numbers. A-fucking-mazing.

Now this is the point where I talk about the bottle of lube and half dozen pairs of black latex gloves I had stashed in my purse. They were a gift from Maire who along with Sinclair are my new sex positive role models, although I’m a little intimidated at the prospect of trying to work the whole lube avec latex gloves into my daily activities. And after the smutty conversations we were all having before and during the Rufus Wainwright conversation, I’ve come to the sobering realization that I’ve barely had the chance to wave my kink flag. As Maire said last night, “No more vanilla girls.”

At least I can console myself in the fact that I have been proclaimed the mac daddy of desserts because of my blueberry crumble making skillz.

"It’s kind of intimidating."

It’s worth mentioning, if belated, that a tornado — an F2 tornado! — cut a six mile path through Brooklyn last Wednesday before dissipating somewhere south of Prospect Park. It is also worth mentioning that tornadoes do not happen in Brooklyn, at least not since 1889. Apparently the likelihood of an F2 tornado happening in Brooklyn is a 20,000 to 50,000 year event. Couple that with last month’s steam pipe explosion and the near total breakdown of the subway on Wednesday and I think something maybe going on. Just a thought.

Ms. K was in my bed when the storm passed through and while we had no idea that a tornado was raging nearby, we were quite aware of the cannon shots of thunder and flashes of lightning just outside my bay windows. The first time Ms. K stayed over an equally gnarly storm — minus tornado — passed through the area. So what does this mean? It means that when invite Ms. K to stay over not only does the sky open up and rain down a storm like no other, but tornadoes are spawned, trees are felled, steam pipes explode, and an entire subway system is rendered useless. Just a thought.

Speaking of Ms. K, she gave me a better, if unscientific, theory as to why I am single:

I think the reason you’re single, despite the fact that you’re obviously a catch, is due to the fact that you embody such good qualities. It’s kind of intimidating. And I would venture to say that most of the women that you attract would fall into one of two categories. The first being the girls who are oblivious to your awesomeness for whatever reason, and that would mean that they suck, and definitely aren’t worth it, or two, and you can include me in this one, would be the girls who realize straightaway that you’re amazing, and become flustered by your presence, hence making it difficult to not behave like an idiot, and present themselves like normal people, which would then put you off. I for one am still working on not being nervous around you. I mean, it’s not that I think that you should be making any apologies for being hot, smart, non-crazy, and having your shit together, it’s just that it’s unfortunately rare to find all of that in one person, and it’s a little confusing in a too-good-to-be-true kind of way.

"I’m still trying to figure out why you are single."

I was in a fighty mood yesterday by the time I met up with Ms. K for beer in Midtown — fighty because of some ongoing bullshit at work. Needless to say my level of mental energy was somewhere near
Level 8: STORM THE BARRICADES! This translated into me grilling Ms. K a little bit. Ooops.

“Why are you so nervous around me?” I demanded . . . gently. Hopefully.

After a short bit where I could tell she was thinking of how to phrase her answer in the most delicate way, she said, “I’m still trying to figure out why you are single–“

“The $64,000 question.”

“–and I keep waiting for you to reveal some deep dark secret because it makes no sense.”

I’m sure there was a complement wrapped up in there somewhere.

“The answer is that there is no answer,” I confessed with the shrug of a shoulder.

Yes, folks. I don’t have two heads nor sporting any facial deformities. I’m not missing large tracts of my gene sequencing. I’m not diseased. I’m not socially awkward. I’m not narcoleptic. I don’t have a problem with personal hygiene. And despite my above average intelligence and dashing good looks, I was single for three and a half years. The people who followed that dry spell weren’t exactly winners either.

Perhaps some of you in blog land have been wondering the same question. I’m guessing this because Ms. Y and I had a similar conversation back in June. She hypothesized that I am merely a picky person. I hypothesized that I pissed off one of the more major gods. But there had to be a reason for all the dreck and frustration, right? I certainly learned to be a strong, self reliant woman in that time. And that must count for something.