Thursday, September 29, 2005

Home Alone and Thinking

It’s Thursday night. I have a sprained foot, PMS, and the ever lovely spiceboy and I have not been getting along so well. To complicate matters, spiceboy has been called away on unexpected spice business.

So that leaves me here, gimpy and alone, in my 350 sq ft Upper East Side apartment, with unresolved relationship issues. I’ve managed to secure enough supplies to keep me occupied for tonight: a bottle of red wine, a hunk of cheese and a baguette, a bag of ice for my sad, hurting foot, and a few small squares of Godiva chocolate.

Every time spiceboy leaves, I have 3 strong reactions, no matter what:

1. 1 or 2 hours of intense sadness. It starts with the first moment of turning the key in the lock and pushing open the door and finding the apartment still and empty and continues through figuring out what to eat for dinner.

2. 1 or 2 days of WHOOPEE! Now I can poo with the door open (I know it’s gross but I totally do it when I’m alone and I bet you’ve done it, too) and crawl into bed at 7pm and eat cookies and read all night.

3. 1-2 days/weeks, depending on how long spiceboy is gone, of okay, I pooed with the door open and ate cookies in bed. But now I miss spiceboy.

So I'm currently in step 2 of the process. But instead of eating consequence-free cookies in bed, tonight I’m thinking a lot about my relationship. spiceboy and I have been having some growing pains lately, and it's troubling me. But who the hell wouldn't have growing pains in an apartment this small?

Relationships are funny. When you don’t have one, you spend all of your time trying to get one. When you get one, you spend all of your time having sex and trying to figure out if you love each other. Once you both acknowledge that you’re in love, then you spend all of your time trying to figure out if he’s the one. Once you’ve figured out he’s the one, you spend all of your time wondering when (if) he’s going to propose. And once he proposes, well, then you’ve got the wedding to worry about. And that’s just another post altogether.

But there’s something else, too. Something that lots of engaged girls don’t really talk about-- making it work. It’s easy to talk about the ring and the dress and the wedding flowers, but no one wants to talk about making it work because making it work is really fucking hard.

Making it work is about enduring the ugly times—it may be really heavy stuff--like the in sickness and in health stuff. But I’m discovering that it’s usually much more mundane than that.

Making it work is really about learning to cope with your differences. You know, the differences that seem cute at first but drive you nuts after awhile. For example, while I’ve always assumed I am perfect and flawless and a joy to live with, I’ve recently learned that I do things that really irritate spiceboy. Like paying the phone bill the day it’s due so by the time it gets to the phone company it’s actually past due. Or propping the fresh roll of toilet paper on top of the empty roll rather than replacing the roll entirely. Or flinging my wet towels across the bed while spiceboy is still sleeping in it.

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that spiceboy is basically a saint, and I stand by my statement. But there are times when even he falls from grace. Like when he slurps his hot drinks really loudly. And how when we eat dinner, even if we’re eating the same thing, he always hovers over my plate and stares at my food until I give him some. And he NEVER throws away the junk mail! He just piles it all around the house--supermarket coupons, advertising postcards, even those crazy missing kids flyers that say, “Have You Seen Me?” He just puts it all over the apartment. He does the same thing with his receipts.

Now, combine all of those little irritating things with a really heinous day at work. Now throw in money stuff, family stuff, and any other internal issues or hang-ups you may have. Keep it up for weeks or months at a time, and pretty soon you’ve mixed up quite a mess of bad moods and dropped subjects and unfinished business. It becomes the kind of stuff that gives you a stomachache when you think about it and keeps you up late at night even though you’re pretending to sleep. It’s the kind of stuff that can’t be solved by a fun night out with your girlfriends. It’s also the kind of stuff that doesn’t usually come up before the proposal.

Basically, it’s the dirty laundry of the relationship. And just like laundry, if you don’t deal with it, it piles up and starts to stink and before you know it, it’s overflowing and taking over the entire room. And you mean to take it to the laundry but there’s just not enough time so you put it off another day and another day and another day and then all of a sudden there’s so much laundry and you know it’s going to take hours and hours for you to do it and you know you should do it but you just don't feel like it and you start to wonder if it’s easier just to start over and buy new underwear and sheets and socks.

But when you're engaged or married, there are no do-overs. The scariest part of making it work for me is knowing that despite my best efforts, I might fail the person I love, or that he might fail me. It’s hard to accept that no matter how hard you try, at some point, you’re bound to let each other down. And when that happens, you’ve got to figure out how to bounce back.

I don’t know how to do that yet, but I’m learning. I’m learning that we should be kind to one another even when things aren’t perfect. And I’m learning that we should try to remember the good stuff and use it to help us get through the bad stuff.

Just a little while ago, spiceboy called me from the road to tell me that he loves me and that he's sorry he didn't get to kiss me goodbye today and that every song he hears reminds him of me.

Now that’s good stuff.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Today's Emotional Forecast

Today's forecast:

Overbearing with a 99% chance of bitchy by late afternoon.

Song that was in my head when I woke up today: Coming To America by Neil Diamond

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

This is What a Relationship Looks Like From the Inside

In lieu of actual medical supplies, resourceful spiceboy eases the pain in my twisted ankle by throwing some frozen corn into a plastic baggie, wrapping it in a pair of his underwear, and wrapping the underwear around my foot.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Song That Was in my Head When I Woke Up Today

Green Acres Theme Song

Which is actually apppropriate, b/c today we're driving to the country to pick pumpkins!

Friday, September 23, 2005

My Work Crush

Yesterday I went on a field trip to New Jersey with a group of coworkers to do publishing research. And while the publishing-related part of the trip was good, my suspicions about the uninterestingness of New Jersey were confirmed.

New Jersey? Not so much.

Despite the sprawling Jersey suburbs, it was a good day. And not just because I had PMS and was able to satisfy my overwhelming carb craving with a gigantic bowl of potato, bacon and cheese soup from some chain restaurant in a strip mall. It was also a good day because it was really the first opportunity I had to get to know some of my coworkers, and for them to get to know me. I've spent most of my time at my new company holed up in my office, leaving only to wolf down some spicy tuna rolls from Go Sushi or attend a meeting or two. And until yesterday, I didn't realize how absolutely lonely I've been for the last month and a half.

As if the period food and social interaction weren't enough, I also got to have an in-depth conversation with The Enigma. The Enigma is my ultimate work crush. Not a crush like I want to leave spiceboy and have little enigmatic babies with this guy or anything like that. But a work crush in the way that I admire what he does and how he does it and generally, wish I could be just like him. Only not a guy.

Anyway, the Enigma is wildly successful and well regarded both at my company and in the small and incestuous publishing industry. Waaaay back when I was on the remotest outskirts of publishing and desperately trying to get "in," I used to send him letters that were full of hope and sincerity. Pretty nerdy, huh? I doubt he remembers it now, but it's embarrassing enough to make me seriously consider taking spiceboy's name when we get married just so The Enigma never figures it out.

But I digress. The Enigma always comes in to work really early and leaves really late. His projects are widely publicized in major national publications. He produces so much work that he has his own assistant, and no one else in the office--not even some of the higher level execs--have their own assistants. It seems like everywhere I go, everyone knows his name, and they all say the same thing about him in the same awed tone: He is so amazing!

I've been dying to talk to him ever since I started this job, but I really haven't found the right time. He always seems to be wrapped up in his own brilliant, enigmatic work, and I've never been able to find the right time to strike up a conversation with him.

As a matter of fact, the only time I've even gotten close to him before yesterday, I was doing something inexpert and embarrassing. It was my first week of work. I decided to be an overachiever and go into the office super early. The plate glass doors that lead to our office are always automatically locked, and during normal business hours, the receptionist buzzes us through. But if you come in very early or on the weekends, you have to use this little key card thing. Supposedly, all you have to do is wave it in front of the sensor and voila--you're in.


But have I mentioned that I'm technologically inept? I don't have cable. I have proven to myself and others that I'm terrible at instant messaging, and try as I might, I've never once been able to send or receive a text message on my cell phone.

So there I was at the butt crack of dawn in my pretty skirt and fancy shoes, fumbling with this ridiculous key card. And every time I waved the card in front of the sensor, instead of turning green and allowing me through, it would do some kind of schizophrenic red-green flashing thing before going back to red and denying me entry. Thinking I could fool it if I moved more quickly, I started a wave-run-tug on the door routine that did nothing but make me sweaty, which caused my makeup to fade, my once well-styled hair to frizz out, and my fingers to leave gross sweaty fingerprints all over the pristine glass doors.

So there I was--sweaty, flustered, and frizzy. And who gets off the elevator? You guessed it. I smiled and was about to say something but he wooshed on by, flashed his card and breezed through the doors, presumably on his way to do something amazing and noteworthy. He gave me a half smile and an imperceptible nod as he passed, and I hurried after him through the doors so I wouldn't get locked out again. Not one of my shining moments.

But yesterday, when the car service came to rescue my coworkers and I from the Jersey suburbs, The Enigma and I shared a car since we both live on the Upper East Side. And during the ride home,we actually had a conversation. A conversation in which I managed to not sweat and managed even to sound quite intelligent. I learned that though The Enigma seems really busy and not interested while he's at the office, he's actually quite approachable one on one.

Just hearing him talk about his work reminds me exactly why I'm in this field and why I love what I do. And then we started talking about the books we love and the books we're dying to read.

Was it a great ride home?

It was sooooo a great ride home.

Today, during the most boring stretch of the afternoon, The Enigma stopped by my office and gave me one of the books I mentioned on the ride home last night. "I picked this up a few months ago and I forgot I had it," he said. "Enjoy!"

As he handed the book to me, I had visions of us becoming the best work friends
ever--going to fabulous lunches and making faces at boring meetings and banding together to fight fierce battles against publishing injustices. In that moment, I wanted to throw myself at him and yell TEACH ME EVERYTHING YOU KNOW! BE MY MENTOR!

But instead I just thanked him and took the book and thought back to those nerdy letters I wrote. Maybe, someday, I'll get the guts to ask him about it.

Song that was in my Head when I Woke Up Today

You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Whee! I'm drunk!

Hello, I'm drunk girl, how are you?

Have I mentioned that my boss is quitting? Have I mentioned that we went out for drinks tonight? Have I mentioned that 5 glasses of wine in rapid succession without food makes for a fun/sloppy evening?

I've ordered bbq takeout for dinner. and usually I abhor meat on the bone. But tonight--bring on the pork, bitch!

Have a good night.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

There Must Be Something in the Oysters

Ever since I moved to New York, I've wanted to go to the Grand Central Oyster Bar. It just seemed like a really New York thing to do, in a kitschy, touristy kind of way. Like something right out of a guidebook that promises to take you “where the real New Yorkers go.” And since I’m basically still a glorified tourist in this city, I was desperate to go. So spiceboy and I went last night after work.

Was it kitschy? Yes. Touristy? Yes. Did I love it? Yes. I loved all of it. I loved the cavernous space with its vaulted ceilings and the dark echoey conversations of the after work crowd. I loved watching men and women emerge from their trains and disappear into one of the many corridors on their way to wherever. I loved watching the tourists look all around, pointing here and there at signs, trying to find their way. I loved it like I’ve loved everything about New York so far—the millions of situations playing themselves out around me every second while I sit back and watch—trying to soak it all in and figure out where I might belong.

At the bar, spiceboy and I held hands and chatted while men in rumpled suits raised bottles of Bud to their lips and the pretty barmaid shook up martini after martini for her patrons. spiceboy and I toasted each other with glasses of white wine, shared a dozen oysters and eavesdropped on the rude counter giving the other customers a hard time. The whole scene was loud, garish, and not entirely comfortable, but I loved every minute of it.

As we made our way outside, I envisioned a simple, romantic evening. We would walk home hand in hand while the city happened all around us. We would have a quiet dinner at home and maybe I would even get a little lovin’ from spiceboy.

Isn’t that sweet?

It didn’t happen.

Upon stepping onto the dusky sidewalk, a blast of hot air hit me in the face—bus fumes, hot concrete, perspiration--and I was dizzy with nausea. For a few shaky seconds, I thought I might get sick right there on the corner of 42nd and Lex, thus ruining my happy Grand Central Oyster Bar experience. So I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths. When the nausea passed, I realized what the problem was.

I was completely plastered.

That’s right. After only two glasses of wine, I was stark raving drunk. For those of you how don’t know me (which is pretty much all of you) I generally have a moderate to high tolerance for alcohol. I drink wine with dinner several nights a week. I go out almost every weekend. Even when I overimbibe, I very rarely get hangovers and I almost never throw up. It's against my family's religion.

Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was my mostly empty stomach. Maybe it was job stress (new job, boss quit last week, etc). Whatever the reason, those two little glasses of wine had one big effect on me. I was dizzy, giddy, and slurring my speech as if I’d been drinking for hours and hours. I was also convinced that I was the funniest, most charming, most adorable girl on the isle of Manhattan. I was a modern day version of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. I was a not-as-annoying Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. I was hosed.

Poor spiceboy did his best to get me home safely as I bobbed and weaved my way up First Ave. Once in the apartment, he fixed me something substantial to eat while I laughed like a madwoman at my own jokes and made up a really fun dance called “The One-Plus-One.” I wavered between embracing my drunkenness and blaming the oysters for my behavior. I also called my mom and dad, just to remind them what a hilarious daughter I am. I'm sure they are so proud of me right now.

Me (to Mom): “There must have been something wrong with those oysters. I feel so weird!”

Mom: “Of course there was, honey. Maybe you should stay away from shellfish for awhile.”
She’s so supportive. I love her.

Me (to Dad): “Dad! How could this happen to me? I only had two glasses of wine.”

Dad: “Well, honey, even a professional athlete has a bad game now and then.”
Well put, Dad.

Spiceboy was a little more logical about the whole thing.

Me (to spiceboy):
“There must have been something wrong with those oysters. I feel weird. Don’t you feel weird?”

spiceboy (to me as he tried to corral me into bed): “It wasn’t the oysters, honey. Bad oysters don’t make people slur their speech. You’re drunk. Now will you please stop dancing in front of the window in your underwear?”

He loves me. There’s no way he can deny it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Song That was in my Head when I Woke Up Today

Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel

I hope this is not an omen for what my week will be like.

I'm actually working on a more substantive post than this, but I was distracted last night by the Emmy Awards and drinking white wine with spiceboy, so I've not yet finished it. Not that the Emmys were worth watching. Though I am glad I caught Jon Stewart's monologue bit. And I like to see what everyone is wearing. I love a good fashion f-ck up as much as the next girl. If I have time, perhaps I'll post on that as well.

Have to get ready for work now.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Song That Was in My Head When I Woke Up Today

Beyond the Sea by Bobby Darin

Incidentally, this is a song that will most likely be played during our wedding reception. La Vie En Rose is also on the roster. Now, if we would only hire a dj, get a caterer, find an officiant, reserve tents, chairs, tables, silverware, and plates, finalize the guest list, and figure out where we'd like to have the rehearsal dinner, we'll be well on our way to getting this thing under control.

But I think we'll procrastinate for a few more months first. It's more our style.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

This is what a Relationship Looks Like from the Inside...

I walk into the living room last night around 11pm, to find spiceboy passed out on the couch in a white t-shirt and boxer briefs...with one hand part of the way down his pants.

That's hot.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The World from a Cab on a Friday Night in Mid-September

Zooming up First Avenue--60 mph--the windows all the way down and the wind whipping through the cab. Right around 28th Street, the air smelled just like the ocean and also of hot concrete, and we breathed it in and laughed and laughed.

Then underground, a slight dip, and the wind wooshing all around our heads. The taillights, fireflies of the city, dot-dot-dotting all up and down the avenue. A squeal of breaks and the taqueria on the corner--as the familiar sight of my block appeared, I closed my eyes and tried to remember it all.

Song That was in my Head when I Woke up Today:

Get it Poppin' Fat Joe, Featuring Nelly

Song That was in my Head when I Woke up Yesterday:

Going to a Go Go by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Song That Was in My Head When I Woke Up Today

Workout Plan by Kanye West

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Mid Day Freak Out

I started my brand new, fancy job in New York about a month ago.

It was one of those fairy tale-type situations. I was in the right place at the right time and talking to the right person. It was the first time that an employer actually wanted me for my talents, instead of me having to jump through a bunch of hoops to prove that I'm talented (the jury is still out on that one but a fair amount of people seem to think it's true). Two weeks later, a very nice job offer was made and I accepted it. A week after that, I packed my bags and moved to New York.

Since starting my brand new, fancy job, I've been doing lots of brand new fancy job things--lunches, drinks, parties, etc. There have been press releases and articles about me and my brand new, fancy job. And until half an hour ago, I was generally feeling pretty good about things.

Then my boss resigned.

This could have a tremendous effect on my position. This could have no effect on my position at all. It's just too early to tell right now.

All I know right now is that my stomach hurts. A lot.

Real Estate Fees: $2000. First Month's Rent and Security Deposit: $4200. Movers: $2600. A Couple Living in 350 sq Feet of Living Space? Priceless.

Have you ever tried to fit two mountain bikes, an elliptical machine, a tv, 3 coffee tables (yes, three!), a kitchen table, two large wooden stools, a futon, a large bookcase, 6 stereo speakers, and approximately 40 boxes into a living room the size of a largish office cubicle?

We did. If I can figure out how to post a picture later, I’ll show you.

Spiceboy is my boyfriend. He and I have been together for over 4 years, and in that time, we’ve been through a lot, including but not limited to: infidelity, death, job changes, long distance relationships, death, parental illnesses, owning a chemically imbalanced dog, mental illness, lawsuits, death, burnt dinners, and most recently, our own engagement.

True, we’ve managed to pack a lot of stuff into the last four years, but we’ve come out with our senses of humor intact and lots of funny anecdotes to tell at parties. But I’m here to tell you that nothing—NOTHING—was as trying on our relationship as moving into our fourth floor walkup on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. I learned a lot about myself during that move. Let’s review what I learned:

1. I am not a patient girlfriend
2. I am not nearly as tolerant of heat and humidity as I thought I was
3. I cannot take constructive criticism or accept help, even if it’s offered in the nicest possible way
4. I am capable of saying really mean things with little or no provocation
5. Spiceboy is basically a saint.

I think most people who know me would be surprised to read this. It's not a side I usually show. It's not like I woke up one day and decided I think I'll become a supreme bitch for the rest of my life. But the funny thing about relationships is this: once you break the ugly behavior barrier once, it's really easy to keep on doing it. I understand this is not an ideal situation.

I don’t think many people can say that living in Manhattan has taught them patience, since the vibe of the entire city is basically can’t you move any faster? But during that tense, sweaty, cluttered, confusing first week, I realized that if I didn’t start working patience into the equation, our 350 sq. ft of living space would very quickly become 350 sq ft of living hell.

It’s not easy being the imperfect party in a relationship. And since our relationship will soon include legal paperwork and vows of “’til death do us part,” I’d really like to even out the score a little bit.

Since I was such a jerk during the moving/unpacking process, I’ve been trying to incorporate more patience and virtue into my everyday girlfriend activities. Let’s review how I’ve been doing this:

1. When he steals the sheet in the middle of the night, I let him keep it.
2. When he stares longingly at my piece of candy, instead of shoving it my mouth so I don’t have to share, I offer him a bite.
3. I retired several pairs of my favorite shoes to make room for his shoes on the shelf instead of yelling at him that he has too much damn stuff.
4. When he’s walking very slowly up the four long steep flights of stairs and I am behind him, instead of sighing and complaining, I playfully poke him in his ass. It’s funny.
5. I make an effort to tell him I love him everyday. When you’re practically living on top of each other, it’s easy to forget to say it.

For the most part, I’m doing okay in my quest for patience, but I still have my bad moments. Hey, it’s a process. Despite my moodiness, Spiceboy continues to do really nice things for me. Like making yummy chocolate covered desserts when I casually mention that I wish I had some chocolate.

Chocolate dessert and a great guy to share it with in a 350 sq. ft. apartment on an otherwise blah Tuesday night?


Tuesday, September 13, 2005


So I'm at my breakfast meeting chomping on my bagel and trying to talk about important job-oriented things, and what comes on the radio?

REO Speedwagon!

Too Early To Think

I have an 8:00 breakfast meeting, so that means I have to be downtown a full hour earlier than normal. I'm not used to getting up this early anymore. The sun isn't even up over the buildings in my neighborhood yet.

My eyes are still mostly closed.

Song that was going through my head when I woke up:
Can't Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon

Have a nice day.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I Heart New York

When I first told people I was moving to New York, the most common reaction was:

As if I’d won some sort of fabulous prize.

Well, I’m here, New York, and I’m waiting for my prize, so bring it on.

You can call me East Side Girl, and I’d like to invite you to share in my first year living in New York City.