Monday, September 15, 2014

the cohabitation diaries

I moved just about a month ago. It was all made possible by the friends who came over to help me pack, and to many, maaany bottles of wine, Did you know that I do my best packing when I've had a glass or two (or three?) of vino? Well, now you know. I was very systematic in the organizing and packing -- in the beginning. By the end I was throwing things into random bags and boxes, and pitching what didn't fit, or what I didn't feel like packing. That's how I ended up with a box whose contents included: my electric toothbrush, a single shoe, and some silverware, At the end of the day, it worked out pretty well. I still have approximately 257% more belongings than one person actually needs, so I'm definitely not suffering from lack of stuff.

You know what's amazing about moving? HIRING MOVERS. Seriously, I will never, ever move myself again. It took three men approximately an hour to load up all of my worldly possessions, and an hour to unload them at the new place. Two hours. THAT'S IT. All I did was direct them to where each box should go. It was glorious, I tell you. The only thing that broke was a tiny candle holder that I had purchased from Ikea. It was a moving day miracle. 

I wish I could tell you that I'm all unpacked except... I'm not. I'm mostly unpacked - and every day I try to find a "forever home" (as I call it) for a few random items. Additionally, j2 and I have been playing the Craigslist game -- which is not actually a game so much as an attempt to sell your stuff for a few bucks without getting murdered in your own home by strangers. We've gotten rid of everything we wanted to with the exception of a box spring (which is currently propped in our bedroom, ugh), a futon (in the dining room), an ottoman and an end table. We DIY'd some shelves using cinder blocks and wood so now I'm not afraid to store my belongings in the basement, which is always a good thing. We even hung some pictures on the wall! Sometimes I get anxious that it's not all done, but I know that there's only so much you can do when both people are working full time jobs. We've made a lot of progress, and I can finally say that it feels like home.

So far, so good. I asked j2 the other day how he liked living with me and he said it was "okay" (I'm pretty sure he was kidding). Though I think it's been upgraded to "great" after the chili that I made on Saturday evening. In all seriousness, it is TOUGH getting used to living with another person. It's the first time that either of us is living with a significant other and it's totally different than a regular roommate situation. I'm so amused at how each of us chooses to relax - j2 is an introvert - after a long day he needs some serious downtime, mostly playing video games. Me? I am a classic extrovert. I come home from an exhausting day of work and I don't. stop. moving. Or talking. I'm pretty much always doing something, except when I get sucked into an episode of Supernatural or West Wing (my two current obsessions). In general, I'm not very good at staying still -- though once all of the furniture is arranged, and the picture are on the wall, I promise to allow myself to take a deep breath and to just enjoy it all.

I'm hoping to have more pictures to share as we put the finishing touches on the rest of the condo. Stay tuned! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

never forget

I originally posted this on September 11, 2011 -- on the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Center bombings. On days like today, I am reminded that New York will always be my heart and soul.



September 11th started off like any other normal day -- with two periods of AP calculus. I don't know why I was in an AP math class, because I hated every minute and understood next to nothing. I don't think I received higher than a 70 on a single exam but managed to ace the class. I was a senior in high school and just figuring out where I wanted to apply to college. All of a sudden there was an announcement over the loudspeaker that a plane had "accidentally" crashed into the World Trade Center. We were stunned. How does a plane accidentally slam into a building? Shortly after there was another announcement, this one explained that a second plane had gone into the other tower. What? How was that possible?

I went to school in Queens, not far from the city. We all rushed to the windows, where we were able to see the smoke rising from the towers. We were given permission by our teachers to try to call our families, as many of us had parents who worked in the city. Me being one of them. My dad was working at the pier near the WTC. I tried to call both of my parents but the cell phone lines were totally jammed. For the first time, maybe ever, there was silence in the classroom. We were numb. And terrified.

It felt as though an eternity had gone by when an aide came into the classroom. She called my name and told me to come down to the office. Immediately I thought that my dad was dead and I burst into hysterical tears. The woman took me into her arms and told me that it was okay, that my mom had come to sign me out of school. I ran down to the lobby and my mom had my little brother with her. She apologized for scaring me, and said that she just wanted us all home together. We still hadn't been able to get in touch with my father.

We arrived home just in time to watch the television broadcast of the first tower falling. I will never forget it. I felt a mix of shock and awe. When the second tower fell, I knew that the world would never be the same. We sat in silence for most of that day, because there were no words that could convey what we were feeling. Sadness. Loss. Fear. Pain. By the time my mother sat us down at the table to eat lunch (which we just stared at), we still hadn't heard from my dad. Watching the coverage of the exodus across the Brooklyn bridge, I wondered if he was alive. And if he was, was he trapped somewhere? Was he scared? Was he hurt? I knew that there would be so many deaths but I was selfish, and I just wanted my daddy to walk through that door.

Later that afternoon we finally got a call from my father. He was okay. Scared but okay. He explained how people came running into the indoor tennis bubbles, tinted grey from the soot. He spent the night there, on the floor of a tennis court, with others who had sought refuge from the hysteria. He finally made it home the next morning and we hugged him until he peeled us off so he could take a shower. He wouldn't tell us much about what had happened and still to this day doesn't talk about it. But he was home. He was in one piece. That was more than many families could say about their loved ones.

I hope that those who lost someone on 9/11 have found some peace today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

a post on life, and that time that i almost died in an outhouse

For the last month I've been telling myself that I should blog. But waking up at 6:30am, and getting home at 6:30pm hasn't left me a lot of time, or energy, to write. I'm not naturally a morning person  (anyone who knows me in real life is probably shaking their head in agreement right now), but I really have been trying to get up, get in my workouts, and get to work on time. It's a daily struggle, but the good news is that I move on Friday and soon after go back to regular working hours and will return to my regular sleep schedule. I. Can't. Freaking. Wait.

In the last month since I updated, I've done a lot of really fun things! I've celebrated some birthdays, realized that I'm a hula-hooping savant, camped on Peddock's Island (one of the Boston Harbor islands -- a funny story about that to follow), and welcomed my brother (and his lovely girlfriend) to Boston for the first time since he helped to move me into my dorm freshman year. It's been a whirlwind month, and I've really tried to soak up every bit of happiness and joy. 

Back to the camping story -- the Boston Harbor islands are beautiful, and it was nice to explore a new island. Last year we were at Lovells, which was tough since it was during a heat wave and there is no fresh water there. Peddock's has water fountains near the ranger station, so even if it is a bit of a hike from the campgrounds, it's nice to travel without the bulk of several gallons of water. We left Boston on Saturday morning and spent the day hanging out at the (very rocky) beach, exploring the old military tunnels and buildings, and building a campfire. Okay, maybe I didn't have anything personally to do with the actual fire building, but I did roast plenty of marshmallows over it. 

We were on the beach during the amazing sunset, and luckily I had my fancy dancy DLSR camera in which to capture the moment. I was reminded for the millionth time how much I love, love, love sunsets. 

I woke up on Sunday morning, annoyed that I'd forgotten to set the alarm so that I could see sunrise. My love for the sunrise is equal to that of sunset, so I was really bummed. I left a sleeping j2 in the tent, and made my way to the outhouse, because, ya know, nature calls. Since we were at the group campsite, we had a lot of room in which to spread out. We all set up camp at the furthest corner of the site, which meant we were about a five minute walk to the outhouse. I went in, did my business and went to open the door and.. nothing. Huh? That's weird. Jiggled the handle and the door wouldn't budge. I quickly realized that the door was jammed, or broken, or both. I wondered how long I would be gone before anyone realized. I had left j2 sleeping, and some of our friends were awake, but even though I'd seen them on my way to the outhouse, I didn't say where I was going. For all they knew, I could have been taking a morning stroll. 

I spent the next.. what felt like hours.. banging, screaming, and hurling my entire body into the door, in an effort to get it to budge. There was no ventilation, and it was HOT in there, which only intensified my feelings of panic. I went back and forth between being totally rational -- oh, they'll realize I'm gone soon -- to batshit insane -- the rangers probably do this so that they can trap one woman a year for a ritual sacrifice on the island. Perhaps this is a sign that I've been watching too much of "The Killing". Somehow, and I have no idea how, I managed to engage the lock and the door finally swung open. Man, oh man, I don't remember the last time I was SO excited to be out in the fresh air. My recollection of that moment is that I yelled "FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST, GOD ALMIGHTY, I'M FREE AT LAST!". But, I don't think that actually happened, and I think I just sobbed silently as I walked back to the tent where I woke up j2, and then proceeded to sob uncontrollably.

Turns out that I was gone for over half an hour. 

Let that sink in -- I was stuck in an composting toilet outhouse that was baking in the summer sun -- for thirty. five. minutes. Who wants to be in an outhouse for more than 35 seconds? Now that some time has passed, I can laugh about it. Sort of. But it was definitely not the way I wanted to start my day. But j2 made me feel a whole lot better when he made me a breakfast sandwich using WAFFLES as the bread. I now know that the way to combat my PSTD is through food, preferably of the breakfast variety.

The good news is that the rangers took the lock off of the door, so that no one will get sacrificed -- I mean, stuck -- until they can do the repairs. 

Moral of the story? Poop in the woods. ALWAYS. No ifs, ands or butts. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

summer time and the living is -- busy

Oh hi!

Backing up a couple of weeks -- I decided to use some of my time off between jobs to spend some time with my parents and j2 at the bungalow in the Catskills. There's something about being at the bungalow that immediately helps me to relax. The weather was a little gloomy and rainy on Friday, but that didn't stop us from exploring, or me from dancing in the kitchen in a poncho that I have had since I was seven. Like ya do:

The weather was much better on Saturday and I was finally able to get in a run. I love running down Murphy Road, though I always seem to block out the hills until I'm back on them (and cursing the whole time). It was Saturday, which meant that there were fewer people on the road (due to it being Shabbat), so it was just me and the road for almost the entire run.

And an added bonus was getting to spend some time with my aunt and uncle. They have a beautiful summer house not too far from the bungalow and j2 and I spent Saturday afternoon with them. I helped my uncle with his rock wall, which in case you're wondering, is something he built on the side of the two-story barn. It involved me climbing up to the top, without a rope, on loose holds, so I could switch out the rope. Even though it was pretty easy as far as climbs can go, I was pretttty terrified (as was j2) to be without a rope. My aunt came out in the middle and yelled "look at you! You're like a professional. I'm taking a picture and sending it to your mother!". Luckily I was tied into a rope at that point otherwise I would have been in a world of trouble because, yes, I'm 30 years old and my mother is still terrifying to me at time). We also had a cooking lesson where she taught me and j2 to make sauce. Every Italian needs to know how to make a good, solid sauce. I don't get to see my family nearly as much as I would have liked, so I tried to soak up every bit of time with them.

We left my aunt and uncle before sunset so that we wouldn't get lost in the dark coming out of the mountains. We decided to make a short detour so I could show j2 one of the "famous" covered bridges, and also, to get some ice cream from Stewarts. It was a great way to end the day.

We had to leave pretty early on Sunday so we could make it back in time for the Red Sox game. My mother tried to guilt/cajole/beg me to stay for another day, but I didn't want to deal with holiday weekend traffic. Before I knew it, it was off to Fenway to watch the Sox play (and lose to, hehe) the Orioles. The game was fine, though by the middle of the (very long) game, I found myself lagging, as the busy weekend seemed to catch up with me all at once.

I was able to sleep in on Monday, and woke up to some gorgeous weather. Lu and I made our way out to Hale reservation to do some hiking and exploring. Neither of us had heard of it before that day, so it was totally new for both of us. After a couple of hours of hiking, we decided to head back home, which was, coincidentally, just in time for a tornado warning. Not something that happens all that often in Boston! While there was no tornado, we did drive through some pretty intense downpours, and by the time we made our way back to Somerville, many of the roads were totally flooded. What an eventful end to a peaceful day.

That brings us to dun dun dunnnn - FIRST DAY OF WORK! I started my new job a week and a half ago and it's been wonderful, exciting, overwhelming, and exhausting. I've already been assigned to a few events, one of which includes a 1500 person lecture with a cookout, reception, and post-event discussion. I have to keep reminding myself that yes, I can do this and no, I will not totally destroy the event. Luckily everyone in my new office has been incredibly warm and welcoming. It's been nice to be back in an office environment where a majority of the people are closer to my age. There's definitely a camaraderie between everyone and I'm looking forward to getting to know all of the ladies (and two gentlemen -- welcome to the world of development!) a lot better.

The biggest adjustment has definitely been the hours. It's only 12 miles from my apartment, but I have to drive on the highway through Boston. Getting there in the morning has been alright - taking me about 35 to 40 minutes but evening traffic has been beyond brutal - taking over an hour. Also, summer hours are 8:00-5:15pm (as opposed to 8:30-5:00pm for the rest of the year) due to the short work week. That means I leave my house by no later than 7:30am to make it on time, and don't make it home until after 6:00pm. It's a far cry from what used to be my 30 minute commute, which could be made even shorter by biking. I keep telling myself that it's only for another month. Once I move into j2's condo, and I go back to five day work weeks, the commute will be much, much better - only about 20 minutes each way on side roads. I don't want to complain too much, especially since having Fridays off has been pretty fantastic.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

the adventure continues

Last weekend's adventure took us to Westminster, Massachusetts. A group of 11 of us rented a cabin on a lake and it was such a fun and relaxing weekend. Considering how hyper-scheduled my life tends to be, it was nice to have a few days to do anything, or nothing at all. I read, I kayaked, I napped, I canoed, I ran (though between the heat and the millions of mosquitos, that was a poorly thought out plan), and I ate s'mores. All in all, a pretty perfect weekend.

This weekend I'm taking j2 to my parents bungalow in the Catskills aka my most favorite place in the world. I spent every summer between the ages of 7 and 18 at Lansmans, and I'm really excited to give j2 a peek into how I spent the best summers of my life. Plus, I'll get to spend some time with my family, and one of my oldest friends and her three adorable babies.

In other news, today is my last day of work! My first day at my new job is July 9. I wish I had a little bit more of a break, but considering I've never had even one day between jobs, I'll take it. I'll be back from the bungalow early Sunday because j2 and I have tickets to the Sox game. That'll give me Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday to get my relaxin' on. My goal for those three days is to get a massage, get a manicure and pedicure, and to reorganize my closet. Also, because I am OCD and anxious about a new commute, I'm probably going to do a test drive from my apartment to the new office to see how long it will take during rush hour.

There are so many things going on right now - all of which are good and very exciting. I apologize in advance if I can't update the blog as often as I would like, but you can always follow me on twitter or Instagram to see what's going on in real time.