Friday, December 19, 2008

"In the past 30 days, you spent $275 on Alcohol & Bars. Usually you spend $68."

It's almost Christmas, it's snowing in New York, and the city both slows down and speeds up at the same time. Ms. K and I will get our Christmas tree this weekend and then come Christmas Eve we'll cook a nice dinner for each other and open presents. Sounds pretty nice, right?

Post No Bills will be a little quieter as we get closer to the new year, but I'm sure I'll have time to write up a year in review. And oh boy what a year it's been. However my account reminds me that December in particular has been particularly boozy, scolding me with this message:
! In the past 30 days, you spent $275 on Alcohol & Bars. Usually you spend $68.

Tis the season.

Monday, December 15, 2008


Christmas came a little early to Post No Bills in the form of an unexpected raise. When Ms. K arrived home from work on Friday evening, I greeted her with the aroma of my celebratory meal cooking in the oven and a long, boozy kiss. "We will not be starving on the streets anytime soon," I gleefully exclaimed, fist held high in the air. My other hand held my half finished cocktail.

Seriously. Couple this with Ms. K's recent promotion and I think we might be alright. I mean it's ironic considering the state of world affairs right now and when many in New York are worried about layoffs. I don't know if this is good luck or a fortunate coincidence, but I supremely grateful.

Now Ms. K and I can look back at some of 2008's low points with a sort of nostalgic gallows humor. Hey honey, remember when the car got broken into? Remember the homelessness and unemployment? Remember the poverty? Ha ha, those were the days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

". . . it's impossible to get an outright approval no matter what you do so you should just do what you want to do and they'll go with it."

The whole prospect of having to enter a guilt laden battle of wills with my mother was making me nuts. I emailed her on Monday morning laying out the various scenarios and variables for Christmas. When I didn't hear back from her right away, I began to grow antsy with anticipation, sensing that perhaps I had started a shit storm with my suggestion that I might not be home for Christmas. I even emailed my cousin, looking for a rational family opinion and she assured me that I should do what I want to do.

"One thing I've learned," she said, "is that in this family sometimes it's impossible to get an outright approval (my mother for one is almost incapable of giving a compliment unless it's to herself) no matter what you do so you should just do what you want to do and they'll go with it."

Good advice.

Then last night I got my response from my mother, which really was a forwarded email from my father. Strange.


From: Dad
Sent: Tue 12/9/2008 3:54 PM
To: Mom
Subject: Re: FW: Xmas


Let's see if we can come up with some kind of solution. To "bound the problem", let me offer the following:

1. Mom and I would very much like to have you at home for Christmas. Mom would be very disappointed if you did not come for Christmas

2. Picking you up on Christmas day would be a real logistical problem.

3. You and Ms. K are welcome any time.

4. The dog is going to be a problem with (a) Nanny's allergies, (b) the cats, and (c) all of the wild little kids running around Christmas day.

Give me a call this evening so we can figure this out.



Oh boy. I summoned the courage to face the issue and call my parents. It was a halting conversation as I reassured them that I had decided to come for Christmas, but would be staying from the 25th to the 26th. Ms. K and I will celebrate Christmas Eve together -- a imperfect compromise, but a compromise nonetheless.

"You're only going to stay one day?" my mother asked.

There was an awkward silence. "Uh, yeah."

"Don't you have the whole weekend off?"

More awkward silence. "Yes, but I want to get back to Brooklyn."

I don't think my mom was very pleased.

What I didn't say, but was thinking, was that any longer of a stay would drive me nuts. Why do I feel guilty about this? Must be the latent Catholic guilt in me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

"So what are we going to do about the holidays?"

Christmas. The time of year couples fight about whose family they are visiting for the holiday. I mean how do people tactfully avoid a fight? Unless they have the luxury of having both families living nearby, someone is going to have their feelings hurt.

I remember Ms. K and I had a big fight about this last year. At the time my parents didn't know I was dating anyone and I just assumed that it would be no big deal if we spent the holiday apart -- we had been dating for barely five months at that point. Oh how wrong was I? She accused me for being not serious about the relationship because I hadn't told my family about her. I said that it was complicated! She was hurt that I didn't want to spend the holidays with her. But you're Jewish?? I countered. I can still celebrate Christmas and presents without the baby Jesus part, she said. And my family is Catholic!


We emerged from the fight. Barely. We spent the holiday apart and I went on to come out again to my mother and tell her I was dating Ms. K. I also hoped that by the time we got to the next Christmas we would have a plan. I even brought up the subject sometime last summer. So what are we going to do about the holidays? Some plans were floated and after Ms. K discovered just how nuts my mother is, it seemed safer if I went down to Maryland for a couple of days by myself. I thought this was the plan, but then Ms. K started pouting about spending the holiday apart.

Crap, what am I going to do?

Part of me looks forward to having Christmas with my family, but I keep forgetting that the rosy sheen has long faded. Christmas now means hanging with the gray haired set, listing to my blatantly racist uncle make inappropriate comments, and having my Republican family members bemoan the tide of immigration as I clench my jaw and will myself not to shout at them for being idiots.

This should be a no brainer. Her family is only a short drive away in Pennsylvania and we have the dog to factor into plans. I'll just tell my mom that I'll being staying up north for Christmas . . . . Except that I'm a teensy bit (okay, a lot) afraid of her.

I don't know how this is going to play out and it's making me nuts. I emailed my mother to discuss the various scenarios and am awaiting a response. What do other people do? Next year I'm going to forgo the issue by being on a beach with a big fat drink.

Friday, December 05, 2008

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."

In a time when unemployment in the US is up to almost 7 percent, Ms. K got a promotion and will now be a manager at the restaurant she works for. Thank you God, Jesus, Buddha, Ganesh, and other appropriate dieties. While she has barely worked since the pier closed back at the end of September, this news couldn't have come any sooner as we were starting to worry about having the money to pay rent and whether or not Christmas would be canceled. This promotion hopefully means stability in an unsure time and a reliable source of income. Cautious optimism, people. Cautious optimism.

So maybe that's why I have been on my blog that much lately. The world is in tumult and each day becomes an increasing act of basic survival for many. Now Ms. K and I can breathe a little easier and it feels good.

Monday, December 01, 2008

"Um, I think this is a one way street."

December? How can it be December already? My mom has been asking me for the past couple of weeks what my Christmas plans are. I keep telling her to ask me after Thanksgiving. And now that that holiday has come and gone, I guess I'll have to formulate a plan.

Speaking of questions, Ms. K has been asking when I was going to update my blog. Seems things got a little quiet because of the long holiday, the gloomy weather, and the Tryptophan in the turkey leftovers. My writing inertia ground to a halt as I enjoyed my relaxing 4.5 days off from work. So here are the highlights. Enjoy.

* While cooking Thanksgiving dinner for two, Ms. K embarked on a major closet organization/cull of our respective shit. (Stuff got shoved into closets after we moved.) Apparently I'm a pack rat, which I strongly disagree with. There were tears when she went through all my stuff and demanded to know why I was holding onto so much crap, especially random shit from 10-15 years ago. (Third grade report card? Make that 22 years ago.) Okay, so maybe I am a slight pack rat. And even though it made me inexplicably emotional to go through that stuff, I knew that I needed to let go and throw it all away.

* I discovered that spiking my homemade cranberry sauce with bourbon is delicious.

* Ms. K found her Isis puzzle ball when cleaning out the closets and has been sucked into deciphering the clues.

* We saw Milk, the new Harvey Milk bio pic starting Sean Penn, and sat behind Famke Janssen in the theater.

* I got another sort of show on the subway as I watched some guy brazenly huff from a can of compressed air. You know, the sort of compressed air you use to clean your keyboard? He would repeatedly pass out only to come to and huff some more, sometimes trying to hide it with his coat and other times not so much. Eventually he passed out on a Russian woman who was not amused. Ah, New York.

So there you go, your obligatory blog entry. All very exciting.