Monday, November 30, 2009

“It is hard to live near houses.”

Ms. K and I moved yesterday to an apartment in Ditmas Park. If you will permit me, I have some things to say.

Fuck you, Kensington. Fuck you, former residence and your inhabitants of sour faced malcontents. Fuck you, roach infestation. Fuck you, screeching neighbor child. And, especially, fuck you, old women in the elevator who mutter epithets at me in Russian.

Hello, Ditmas Park! Hello, beautiful Victorian homes that cause my heart to pang with the longings of home ownership. Hello, two block walk to the subway. Hello, new neighbors who muster the correct reaction to a friendly golden retriever. Hello, new big kitchen with granite counters and an abundance of oak cabinets, so much that Ms. K and I don't quite know what to do with ourselves. Hello, gleaming white new bathroom.

We moved three quarters of a mile to the east and it's like a completely different world. I walk out my front door and I am confronted with the sight of detached wood frame homes instead of the rumble of Ocean Parkway. While a welcome change, I can't help think of this:
"It is hard to live near houses. Big, broad Victorians, houses I dream of, with rooms and dark staircases, and sky painted porch ceilings. Houses with trees that shade unattainable octagonal-walled bedrooms, with people who I never see, walking up and down the stairs.

"It seems not right to live near houses, houses with yards, and lawns, and one, not too far, with an in-ground pool you can see from the sidewalk. On a hot day I watch two ladies sit on lawn chairs, chatting in one pieces, not even swimming, and am tempted to ask them if I might just – quickly – jump in and then out." [ more ]

Someday. Until then, we'll revel in our new neighborhood.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dude. Seriously. I'm in this photo. I hadn't seen it in 20 years, but some crafty soul posted it to Facebook and now I feel all weird. And shameful of some bad 80s-ness going on. Also, I hate Facebook.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Honey, I'm glad I larried you."

I spent the greater part of last week alternating between googling about tax law and sharpening my pitchfork, ready to lead an angry mob of my disenfranchised gay brethren. While I haven't really gotten a clear answer on the inequitable financial impact of getting Ms. K health care, it's starting to look not as dire as the picture I painted previously. From what I understand, I have to pay tax on the value of the health care, not the actual benefit. Still, unfair is unfair.

However my rage might be voided. Tucked in the 1,000 pages of health care bill that the House of Representatives voted on last week was a provision to end the so called gay tax in regards to health care (and by extension domestic partner benefits too). Well well well. Here's to hoping that it passes in the Senate.

Another reason to tone down my angst is because I felt that it was sort of distracting me from just enjoying the moment and being in love, blah blah blah. So here I am, coming down from my soap box, enjoying the chocolate truffles and champagne that Denise sent me last week. While my parents still do not know that I got gay married, I did tell a cousin of mine and she was very supportive.

Ms. K and I joke that we got larried, aka lady married. We walk around the apartment saying "Honey, I'm glad I larried you" or "Honey, you're a good life" aka gay lady wife.

In other celebratory news, today marks my 5th anniversary as a New Yorker. And this is my 705th blog entry, which means that blog entry no. 700 went quietly unrecognized. Furthermore, Tuesday is my 31st birthday. Ms. K bought me a 1978 Bordeaux to mark the occasion.

Joyeux anniversaire!

PS -- Thanks to everyone, from Denver to Dubai, who gave Ms. K and I their best wishes and congratulations!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


This whole Maine voting to repeal gay marriage thing -- and by extension California -- has me thinking. And angry. Mostly angry. I know I'm preaching to the converted here, but one of the comments on my initial "Hey, I got married" post was "Why?" The answer relates so poignantly to Maine's decision to revoke the civil rights of some of its citizens.


I know that on one hand marriage in the West is a dead institution and when I say this I speak of the institution that our grandparents and countless generations knew before. Women are no longer chattel to be moved from one family to another. There are no more dowries. Women no longer have to love, honor, and obey. (Sorry, honey. I know you were whispering "obey" under your breath as we exchanged vows.) Women, as a whole, are equal partners.

What is marriage in 2009? Again, it's about equality. It's about two people coming together to form a lasting partnership. It's about taking care of the one you love and vice versa, whether you're 30 or 90, regardless of gender.

So I think the question isn't "why" but "why not"? Especially since the gay marriage gods apparently giveth and they taketh away. (I'm looking at you, California and Maine.)

I've learned to value things differently as I've gotten older. While I don't need a piece of paper to confirm what I already know in my heart, I do want the legal structure of a partnership. And yeah, I want my wife to have health care. I want her to make the tough decisions for me should I ever, God forbid, be incapacitated. I want my inalienable right to equal protection under the law. Why is that so threatening to a large swath of the population, especially the voters in California and Maine?

And for one final dose of moral outrage, let me outline for you what lopsided, second class rights I'm entitled to currently. While the State of New York doesn't allow gay marriage (Fuck you, Albany), it does recognize "marriages" performed in other states. Ergo, Ms. K and I went to Connecticut to get hitched, which does perform gay marriages (ie, not civil unions). I'm in negotiations at work over what benefits will extend to Ms. K, namely health care. While things look like they are a go, this is what will happen should Ms. K decide to use my health care.

She goes to the doctor.

She submits a claim to my insurance company.

They reimburse her.

The IRS, because the federal government does not recognize gay marriage, treats the money the insurance company reimburses her as taxable income. Taxable fucking income. Just let that sink in a moment. So if Ms. K spends the night in the ER, like I did back in 2008, receives a $5,000 bill, and it is covered by insurance, we have to pay a percentage to the IRS come April. If your tax rate is 15%, that's $750 that will have to be paid to the IRS. If we were a straight married couple, this would not be the case.

This is what it is like to be a second class citizen in your own country.

I recommend reading the New York Time's "The High Price of Being a Gay Couple."

Monday, November 02, 2009

"I want to hear about how your families are responding."

Ah yes. The families. Anonymous commenter, you touched upon a major point that may or not have come across in my previous post. You see, my family doesn't know that I got married last week. It is infinitely complicated when it shouldn't be. Frankly I'm a little intimidated by my mother and don't quite know how to break the news to her. As for Ms. K, she told only her mother. Still waiting to see how this all goes down.

But let's rewind a little.

While it may seem out of left field that Ms. K and I would run off and get gay married, we've been talking about it privately for almost a year. We've also gone back and forth on whether this was something we wanted to do, but the possibility of my health care benefits extending to Ms. K was a huge lure. I know it's not very romantic and neither is a civil ceremony, but there you go. That said, these are murky legal water we've waded into. No, we won't be changing our last names.

So how did this all evolve?

Back in September, Ms. K and I started talking about moving from our much maligned apartment. If fact, had I been blogging that month, I would have regaled you all of tales of apartment listings on Craigslist and the place in Park Slope we looked at. Great location! By the park! In a brownstone! Dog friendly! But the place looked like squatters had been living there and it was overpriced in its condition. Alas.

The thrust into moving and the challenges that it would create led us to another conversation about perhaps waiting till early 2010 to commit to moving. Then it was like, "If we're not moving this month, why don't we get married instead?"


I picked an auspicious date and time in the future, which turned out to be October 28th at 11:15 am. As that day grew closer, we scrambled to buy wedding bands, rent a car, and buy dresses to wear. I even bought a pair of 3 1/2 inch stacked heels to wear with my new blue dress. Ms. K looked beautiful in a new gray dress paired with brown patent leather heels that she already had. No virginal white for us; the jig was surely up. On the day of, we got up early and drove in the rain to New Haven. By the time the paperwork was done and the justice of the peace had married us, it was noon. So much for my auspicious time frame.

When we finally got home and returned the car, we drank a bottle of Moet in bed and lounged around as "joined legal spouses." Then it was off to our wedding meal at Applewood in Park Slope where we had the tasting menu with the wine pairing. Afterward, tipsy and full, we took a car home where we crawled into bed exhausted, but most importantly married.