Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"And how dare you leave your readers hanging on the status of the bookshelves?"

Thank you everyone who gave be birthday wishes, your comments did not go unnoticed. In the shuffle of my birthday, it also did not go unnoticed that I have been in New York for four years officially -- my anniversary was November 13th. That said, my blog anniversary was yesterday, which means that I have been talking nonsense for nearly the same amount of time I've been a resident of the Empire State.

So. My birthday. It was good, obviously. The party I had a couple days before was small and intimate and made for a good reason to get The Apartment somewhat ready for company. And by ready I mean shoving things under the bed and into closets like Ms. K chose to do. Apparently I wasn't bothered or embarrassed enough that 3 to 8 people may be imminently arriving when the place still looked like a construction zone. There was blue painter's tape on the walls and tools strewn about. I was still finishing up the laundry and a certain someone was stressed out by the arrival of our first guests in the new place.

"People are going to be here in an hour and you're sitting on the bed
FOLDING LAUNDRY??!" Ms. K bellowed. "You haven't even made any food for people!!"

I glared at her as she stormed off to finish vacuuming.

She came back five minutes later. "Honey, I'm sorry I got so angry. It's just that this place is such a mess and people are coming over. Aren't you embarrassed?"

Meh, I thought. My friends are forgiving. At least we have BOOKSHELVES!

Indeed we did. The day before he had gone to IKEA, returned the farkakte old shelves, and purchased two Billy bookcases plus height extensions. I think that's all I really wanted for my birthday, some semblance of order in The Apartment. (That and a double ended vibrating dildo.) And after Ms. K had managed to shove all the odds and ends into the closets and under the bed and into drawers, I managed to take a long look at the place and appreciate that finally it looked like two adults live here.

"Honey, I like our place," I said repeatedly throughout the evening. The few people who did come to my birthday party said the same, appreciating all our hard work -- the painting, the sanding, the light demolition.

"Look," I explained to my guests as I passed around my digital camera. "The place used to look like this."

[ Photo ] [ Photo ] [ Photo ] [ Photo ]

We've come a long way.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Make sure you buy something nice for yourself."

My cellphone rang when I was walking in the front door of the apartment, the caller ID showing my mother's number. Blurg. I hesitated to answer once I saw Ms. K in the kitchen wearing nothing but an apron and a smile. Now this is what I call a birthday. Dinner was cooking -- pork tenderloin with apple chutney, brussels sprouts, and pureed sweet potato -- and Ms. K was the dessert.

I motioned that I regrettably needed to take the call before copping a quick feel.

"Hi, mom," I finally answered a little out of breath after walking up six flights of stairs. The elevator was out again.

"Hi, Rouge. Happy birthday." My father chimed in too and I could hear their cat meowing loudly in the background.

I was still putting down my bags and slipping off my coat as they asked how my birthday was going. How did it feel to be 30? What did I have planned for the evening?

I cast a side glance to the kitchen. "Ms. K is cooking dinner and we're going to have a low key night at home."

We talked some more. How's work? How's freelance? What do you want for Christmas? "We're tightening the belt, you know," my mom explained, her code for Don't Ask For Anything Too Extravagant During A World Recession. "Dad had to lay everyone off at work."

Oh, that's fantastic news to hear on one's birthday. Everyone at work means that Dad laid off my uncle and my brother.

"Make sure you buy something nice for yourself," she continued, referencing the $100 check she had sent on Saturday with my birthday card. "Do you know what you're going to get with the money?"

On the bedroom dresser was the double ended vibrating dildo I had just purchased from Babeland as a birthday present for myself.

"Yeah, Mom, I have something in mind."

Monday, November 17, 2008



It's here. Oh boy, I'm an adult now and there's no going back.

Of course nothing really feels different -- in fact it's all rather anticlimactic. If there was some great cosmic wrenching to be felt, that came back in September when Ms. K and I moved in together, merging possessions, goals, and hopes for the future. Thankfully my freakout over turning 30 was confined only to last week.

Anyway, I'm going to go home, eat the wonderful dinner that Ms. K has planned for me, drink sparkling shiraz, enjoy the recently purchased bookshelves, and have copious amounts of hot lesbian birthday sex.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"I can has bookshelves??"

New York is not in a good mood today.

My power tool fueled natural high came to a crash the next day when Ms. K emailed to say that the book shelf installation process was not going well. Yes, the drill cut into the masonry with ease, but after 3 hours only one bracket was up (7 more to go!). Reality check time -- we just didn't know what the fuck we were doing, which was creating a massive time drain. Later, when Ms. K called to vent her frustration, she said she was done bullshitting around with the shelves and it was time to think about abandoning the plan.

Christ, the IKEA bookshelves already represented Plan D and I had sunk around two hundred dollars into this plan once you factored in tool rental and concrete screws. I sighed with defeat and frustration -- frustration because Ms. K and I, by conservative estimate, must have around three or four hundred books. (Obviously I was speaking in hyperbole when I said in a previous post that we had 15,000 books) Stacked waist high along the wall of our living room in addition to towering above the kitchen table, the place looks like a Dr. Seuss illustration. The chaos makes me long for a wall flush with neatly organized books like a smoker must long for that first cigarette after a prolonged separation. I surf enviously on the IKEA website for an economical solution to our personal library. Yes, YES! I MUST HAVE BOOKSHELVES!

Except that I'm broke.

"You really think you're going to be able to have a birthday party here in two days?" she said as we surveyed the damage when I got home.

The lone bookshelf bracket affixed forlornly to the living room wall surrounded by the remnants of the day's hard work. Tools were discarded everywhere, the contents of my hardware box spilled over, and balls of used blue painter's tape littered the floor. Oh boy, the place was a wreck and she was right. How the hell was I going to have my small intimate gathering on Saturday?

Time for Plan E, which involves going to IKEA yet again.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"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.

"Spread happiness -- this tiny symbolic semantical grain of happiness."

I've been reflecting a lot on Life and Relationships as the great wheel of life transition from one era to another. Yeah, big "L" life, big "R" relationships. An anonymous reader from Belgium has equated this to whining, but I see it more as being sentimental and contemplative with a good ol' dash of kvetching. Oh yeah, and I'm apparently not funny anymore. What are you going to do? My apologies, Belgium. Life isn't always funny. And as the world teeters on the abyss, I dare say I'm not the only one taking the time to be contemplative. (Tip of the hat to Keith Olbermann for making what the British call a cracking good speech against Proposition 8.)

And before you think I'm getting too serious on you all, LOOK! PUPPIES!! A LIVE PUPPY WEBCAM!!!

Friday, November 07, 2008

"I just called in sick, like half of America, I expect. I am going to lie on the sofa all day and watch victory TV."

Every generation has their "Where were you . . ." moment. My mom could probably tell me with clarity where she was when JFK was assassinated. The world gave my generation 9/11, but now it has also given us the election of Barack Obama.

Originally I had wanted to go out and watch the returns at a local bar -- to be with the people on such a potentially historic day, you know? But Ms. K was feeling sick so we stayed at home instead, both curled up on the couch in front of the laptop streaming live election coverage. When the election was called around 11 pm -- Obama reaching that sought after threshold of 270 electoral votes -- I cried. Everyone cried. Oprah cried.

I was a little bummed that I missed out on the spontaneous public celebrations and the dancing in the streets, but I was where I was supposed to be, with the most important person in my life on one of the most important days in modern history.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"You might have to hand hold me a little on my birthday."

I've been feeling weird today. Maybe it's the crazy election vibe in the air or maybe it's PMS or maybe it's the heavyweight Saturn/Uranus opposition. Or maybe all three. When I went out at lunch to grab a sandwich I felt so sad -- achingly sad -- and panicked. But why? Today is election day and a day that possibly will bring long sought after good news. Then it struck me.

I'm going to be 30 in 13 days.

I started to silently freak out then and there on 34th Street.

I fought back tears and the irrational fear that was going to end up old and alone but it pounded at my fragile emotional state as I struggled to remind myself of the obvious -- I'm very much not alone.

C'mon, Rouge. Shake it off! Get a hold of yourself!

In all seriousness I don't normally care about the big 3-0, but for some reason I did today, some reason I felt the specter of mortality like a punch to the gut. I still don't have birthday plans ironed out other than a vague idea that I want a party and an even vaguer idea of who would actually show up.

I'll pull myself together soon enough.

"I voted."

Previously, events have conspired against me voting in New York state. But this time would be different I promised myself, fist shaking defiantly, and today I schlepped all the way back to the old neighborhood to do so (short subway ride + a mile and a half walk), all the way to my polling place at the corner of freaking Empire Boulevard and New York Avenue. The place was a bit of a clusterfuck as evidenced by the first long line I waited in follow by the second long line that I was directed too after I was told I was in the wrong line. But I did this happily, gladly, as did everyone else who smiled knowing that they were taking part in a historic event.

I amused myself in the interim by reading This Much I Know Is True and watching everyone fawn over the eight month old baby held by a lady two spots ahead of me in line. Even a New York Post photographer was there taking photos of New York City's lil' voters. The baby slept in his mother's arms as the camera clicked away.

It took an hour to get to the head of the line. The poll worker took my card and asked if I needed help using the machine. I'm a smart girl, I reasoned, but I didn't want any surprises when I went behind the curtain.

"Here, I'll show you," she said as she motioned me into the voting booth. Once behind the curtain, I saw what awaited my historic vote, some lumbering anachronism that dated from the Eisenhower era. Seriously.

I've voted in two presidential elections before. The first, the infamous 2000 election, I voted in Maryland and the machine was a lever that punched holes into a card. Many hanging chads later, Maryland adopted the touch screen voting machines for the 2004 election. Easy breezy. But this thing, this sprawling contraption of metal nobs and switches had all the technological sophistication of a circa World War II computer.

Ummmmm . . .

He's to hoping I did it correctly! Go Obama!