Friday, November 2, 2012

Sandy You Old Bag!

Last year big bad Irene was making her way into town.  The news went bananas, and I followed suit.  I lined up my bottled water, my flashlight, my candles.  I took my AC out of the window because I was afraid it would get ripped out of my window and kill someone.  Then the day comes, and it was cloudy.  And it drizzled.  Fool me once weather man...

When they started talking about "Frankenstorm" I thought it was a big ol' nothing. Whole Foods was selling their "Frankenstorm" supplies and I thought it was a gimmick. No thank you please.
I bought normal people groceries and went about my business.  Storm, schmorm.

And then my mom suggested I get some Starbucks Via.  Just in case.  (Great thinking mom).  I also got a lot of wine.

The more I watched the news, the scarier it got.  By Sunday morning they were evacuating part of the East Village, but I seemed to be OK.  Then Mayor Bloomberg starts saying things like "If you don't evacuate, you are risking the lives of whoever will have to come save you" and my guilt kicks into over drive.  I debate evacuating, but decide to stick it out.  Bring it Sandy!

 I worked from home on Monday and waited for the power to go out at any moment, but kept it until 9pm. I was totally cocky. All day people checked in and I was living the life.  No worries.  Cozy at home with flowers, champagne, and candy corn.  Charging devices, scrambling for old iPods.  Whatever I could find.  In the afternoon the wind really started picking up, and not gonna lie, it was scary. I had to turn off the news because it was getting really terrifying. Saying this is the worst storm of our lifetime.  The final straw for me was when Mayor Bloomberg was asked if he would expand the evacuation zone in Manhattan, and he replied that even if he wanted to, it was too late. No more trains or buses would be running, there was no way out.  Maybe a little part of me got scared... what aren't they telling us?  So I did what any logical person would do.  Put my sneakers next to my bed, and filled a zip-lock bag with my passport, cash, credit card, granola bars, and a safety pin so I could pin my emergency bag to myself as I go floating across Manhattan.  Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. I felt like I was preparing for the Hunger Games, Titanic, and Walking Dead all at the same time.

The lights finally went out, the neighbors all booed and yelled, and I went into action mode.  The priority- take a shower while I still have hot water.  What a glorious shower that was.  Then off to bed.  What the hell else would I do?  I braced myself for a Tuesday of no power.

I wake up Tuesday, and read.  And clean.  Put on my iPod and am taken over with the urge to have a crazy dance party by myself, which was fun for about 12 minutes. Then more reading.  A couple naps. Thinking about what I would eat, and taking chances on what was in my fridge, and least likely to make me sick.

I had no cell service, but I would check every couple hours. Tried to send some texts, but nothing.  I figured that friends and family would know from the news or something that cell service was down, so I didn't worry about it too much.  What did suck was around dusk, when I realized it was just a matter of time before I'd be super bored.  But I got way deep into a couple books, and plowed through.  Me, my Kindle, and a mag light.  I still somehow thought the lights could pop on at any moment.  Wrong.

I wake up Wednesday and wonder what to do.  I haven't seen news, or spoken to a soul.  I have no idea if there is power anywhere on the island, and I am sure as hell not taking a cold shower, so I throw my hair in a pony tail, and start the 45 block journey to mid-town.  I get to  Union Square, and take a look at my phone to see if I have service and my best friend Jen is calling.  The relief in her voice- I had no idea people were so worried.  She tells me she called my mom and there was a phone chain. We chat for a few and she tells me there is power above 34th, so I keep walking.  And call home. 

My dad answers on the first ring and asks if I'm OK.  My dad was worried.  This freaked me out.  He doesn't worry.  We catch up and I call my mom at work, who answered the phone during a meeting.  She is glad I'm OK and tells me I have some really good friends.  They were in touch with my family all day and they all worried about me together.  I start weeping.  Obviously.  And call my sister.  Who is also crying. So I cry more.  The bums on the street are looking at my like I'm crazy.  It's just us out there at this point.  By the time I reach 34th it's like a switch was flipped- all of these freshly showered people just going about their business.  It's like nothing happened up there.

I get to work, and I am relieved to see some other faces.  I realize that my coworkers were as worried about me as my family was.  They almost sent one of the guys who lives in my neighborhood to knock on my door, but they were afraid it would scare me.  Umm, it absolutely would have.  But it's the thought that counts. I'm a lucky lady.

On my walk home, I go by one of my favorite stores, Fish's Eddy.  Smattered all across the window are post its.  Some funny, some sad, some sassy, but all a tribute to Sandy.

This week has been crazy, and I'm starting to get sick of the hour walk each way (I bought a backpack for Christ's sake) and the no power and cell service were putting me on edge.  I have to leave work an hour before sundown to minimize my chances of getting raped/robbed on the way home.  Kind of kidding not really.

I can easily feel sorry for myself, but I have to remind myself that I have a house, and I am alive.  There are some major inconveniences, but I am OK.  I have really enjoyed that every day every food truck in the city camps out in Union Square and I could pick up some food on my way home, before I crawl in bed to watch movies in the dark.  Good for them, we are fish in a barrel.  I started to wonder when I would stop flipping the light switch every time I walked in the bathroom.  Yesterday I almost snapped and looked for every plane, train, and automobile option to Boston, but they were all sold out.  Then today came.

I was a couple blocks from home walking by a paint store and thought... That's a pretty chandelier in there. I wonder why they are running a generator for a chandelier. Then I saw a neon sign at the dry cleaner and my heart swelled. Street lights were on. I started racing home. I didn't need a flashlight to open my door!!! I HAVE POWER!!!  No more carrying a flashlight just so I can get my keys in the door.  No more needing to shower at the gym (but at least this made me join).  No more risking my life every time I cross the street because there are no traffic lights.  I've never been happier to see this guy.  --->

 Sandy is a nasty bitch, but I survived her.  It was a horrible hazing but I get what it feels like to be part of this amazing and resilient city.  It's probably a blessing that I missed most of the news coverage this week because now when I see what's really happening I can't stop weeping.  Like uncontrollably.  I just watched the benefit concert on TV (because I have TV now) and cried and texted the Red Cross to donate like a maniac.  I am lucky, many others not so much.  It's going to be a long time coming back, but this city has come back from a lot of awful things and is nothing but stronger for it.  I love you New York, thanks for letting me tough it out here.

And now for some smiles.



Sunday, October 28, 2012

Updates. And Keeping Myself In Check.

"I'm going to blog ALLLLL the time".  Lies.  But the long and short of it is I am settled in New York, loving life, and getting ready for Hurricane Sandy!

The best way for me to sum up my time here is probably through pictures.  Since I take them everywhere I go.

I should start with the best summer ever, the most amazing going away, the the city I love.  So so so very much.

And I'll blog more. Promise.

And then of course...

Or at least my version of it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

RealitySets In

The weeks have just flown by. Before I knew it, I had very very few days left in Boston and I had bought a one way ticket to New York.   It’s been a lot of fun.  Going away party after going away party.  Dinners, drinks, lunches with friends.  It has all fit together like a little puzzle and I’ve managed to find time with just about everybody!

But as the days dwindle on you start to realize things like… this is my last Thursday in my apartment.  This is my last drive to work.  I have three more breakfasts, where will I go?  You start to make a legitimate bucket list like you will never come back.  I will come back.  A lot.  But it’s weird.  This is the city I have known my entire life, and I’m leaving it.
And I am leaving the people that mean the most to me.  New York isn’t far.  I will be back a lot.  I am an overly emotional person.  I expected to cry a TON leading up to the move, and it just hadn’t happened.  Today was my last day in the office and when I was leaving I really started to get sad.  The first chapter had actually closed.  Talking about leaving is one thing, but this was the first real goodbye.
I left work, had dinner with friends and was really happy.  It was great to catch up and talk about my new adventure.  When I left I called my mom, and she started saying all of the annoying mom things (sorry if you’re reading this mom).  But those buttons that only your mom can push.  And push hard.  I started getting emotional.  Like overly emotional.  I called my sister (who has remained unbelievably level headed through this whole thing) and she pointed out that maybe this is just my mom’s way of coping.  Maybe she is stressed and upset about it and it’s coming out as annoying nagging mom things.  Valid point.  But I can’t navigate anyone else’s stress, I have my own.
As I drove home I realized that one of the hardest things about moving isn’t dealing with your own emotions, it’s dealing with the people around you.  I have constantly been reassuring people I would visit, keep in touch etc.  Talking my best friend off a ledge etc.  I get a lot of “You must be so excited” or “are you sad?” etc.  But no one really wants to know how you are doing.  And I don’t think I have asked myself.  Of course I am excited to go, and even when I think about leaving this city that has been home my whole life, I am not sad.  I am ready.  But after weeks and weeks of dealing with other people’s emotions about my leaving, it is hitting me.  I’ve been absorbing it and absorbing it and there is no room for anyone else’s emotions about my move.  I haven’t had room to feel my own feelings; I’ve been dealing with everyone else’s.
Now I am nervous about my last three days here.  I have to fit in work, packing, a final visit home, a party at a friend’s, selling my car, a going away dinner, a furniture delivery, and more packing.  How?  I have no idea.  It will get done, I am sure of it, but there is no space, no air.  No time to digest my own actual feelings about this move while I go through the motions of all the things I need to do  and people I need to see.  I am afraid that I am going through this in such a blur that I am missing it. 
I’m doing it though.  On my own.  No one is coming to help me unpack and settle in.  And yes, I do wish someone offered and could hold my hand through this.  But maybe it’s better this way.  I have todo it on my own, and I can embrace and own the whole experience.  And then a week off of work, just me and my 37 cardboard boxes settling into my own 700 square feet of this amazing city that I get to make into my home.  And that isn’t so bad.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Final Countdown

My move is just around the corner.  Like, for real.  I need to get packing, shopping, decorating, planning.  I have three weekends left.  I have a lot to do, and all I want to do is spend every second at the beach.  Hmm how to fit that in…

I kind of expected to be more freaked out.  Thought for sure I would be emotional and cry a bunch.  Nope.  I am ready.  I was in New York for work this week and it felt pretty cool to know that the next time I came back would be with a truck, and all my junk.
I took the entire week of my move off of work and planned to go to New York, unpack, then come back to Boston to relax and spend Labor Day Weekend.  The more I thought about it, the less I want to shlep on a train only to go right back.  So I am thinking about having my first week in New York be a week by myself.  Just me and my new city.  Hopefully a couch delivery and a cable man.
Speaking of the couch, I just ordered this beauty.  The amount of thought I’ve put into this is irrational. Like crazy town, but I think it’s a good investment. I will spare you the WEEKS worth of analysis, but the real crazy thing was putting in my shipping address for the first time.  It felt so weird, like it’s not really my house!  But as of Wednesday, technically it is.

You know what else made it feel real?  Getting an invite to my going away party.   Such a thoughtful party at that.  Starting out with $1 oysters at one of my favorite places, and then who knows?  I can’t wait, but at the same time that means I am closer to going.

16 Days to go.  The most bittersweet countdown ever…

Monday, July 30, 2012

New York Moments

There are a few things I didn't mention last week, that I find kind of funny, and very New York.

For example, I am on my way to look at an apartment in the West Village. Strewn across the ground everywhere are mannequin parts.  Every. Where.  I laughed, I got the creeps, I wasn't sure if this was a good sign or a bad sign. In the end, the East Village won out.

After looking at apartments in 90 degree heat all day, all I wanted to do was curl into a ball and sleep.  But I also wanted to eat.  My friend Mary recommended Bar Americain, right down the street from my hotel.  If Bobby Flay wants to make me take out, I am in!  And the daily special is fried chicken?  Done deal.  While I waited at the bar, it only seemed right to order a Ketel martini.  So very New York.  Then back home to eat fried chicken, cauliflower and goat cheese gratin, and black pepper biscuits in bed.  Yes, that happened.

By the way, I never want to get into my bed at the end of the day without a shower. Like I have to wash New York off of me. Is that normal New York or just summer?  I'm not sure yet.

So after all of the apartment hunting, the LONG hours of waiting to hear if the apartment was mine, I get the call.  I HAVE A HOME!  I am on my way to meet my fabulous Auntie Sheila (at Nobu 57 ahem...) and I look up.  I want to remember this moment.  I have an apartment in New York.  A fresh start, nothing but bright lights and big city in front of me.  What do I see?  A woman modeling in front of Radio City.  So cliche and awesome and so New York.  Definitely a moment I won't forget,

And finally, in perhaps the most New York moment of all, an under ground club.  Litterally, an under ground club.  We finish dinner at Dos Caminos in the meat packing district intent on seeing celebs (which obviously didn't happen) and head downstairs to this mystery club.  Here is the door.  I will say no more.  :)

So I have just a few weeks left in Boston, crazy as that is.  So much to do, see, eat, and pack before I go, but beyond excited for all of the New York moments ahead of me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Hunt

Oh this whole moving thing, boy is it stressful. I spent all last week at a global sales conference and didn’t have a ton of time to look at apartments online, but I am in New York today and tomorrow to find a home. I set up a couple appointments and wished for the best

I asked everyone I knew for advice on neighborhoods, and it came down to very easy to follow (and not at all contrary) advice like this:

“Live in the East Village, you will love it. Tons going on”
“Whatever you do, don’t live in the East Village”
“Live on the Upper West Side. It’s clean and quiet and close to the park”
“Definitely don’t live on the Upper West Side, it’s all families”

What’s even worse is when I email about apartments and get responses like “Before I agree to show you this apartment you need to confirm that you are ok with the $4200 rental fee”. If I like the one apartment you show me? Get real. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and go sans broker.

I had three appointments today, in the East Village, West Village, and Gramercy. And really, little to no idea of what neighborhood I wanted to be in. So I head to the first appointment and hope for the best. I am standing outside of St. Mark’s place and am startled as a metal gate flies up from a storefront and a man pops his head out asking for me. “Sorry, we are doing construction, opening a wine store.” Jigga what? Downstairs from the apartment? Point St. Mark’s Place. On we go. We enter the building and I am less than impressed. The lobby is dark and dingy and kind of gross, but up we go to the second floor. The door opens, and it’s a different experience. It’s nice, it’s normal. Nothing weird, just a small bathroom, a normal kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom. It’s lovely. The current tenant is there packing for his move. I ask how he likes living there, and his response is that he and his girlfriend just broke up. Insert foot in mouth. But he confirms that he loves the apartment and the area, and wouldn’t leave otherwise. I like it, the image of the hallway is still in my brain, but it’s fine.

Sidenote: when I tell my girlfriend Laura about the hallway her response is “I also found that most entrances to new york apartments looked like the beginning of a scary movie – maybe that's just something that we need to learn to deal with.” True dat homey.

Next I went to an appointment in the West Village, just a quick walk away. The neighborhood is super cute, but didn’t feel too different than the East Village. What did feel very different was how dang small the apartment was. Like, everything micro sized. But granite counter tops (maybe 12 square inches) and a little pantry. The bedroom was just big enough to fit a bed, but very little else. Same with the living room. Oh, and the closet was in the living room. This wouldn’t be a huge deal if this apartment wasn’t at the tippy top of my price range. For the tippy top, I want the best of the best. No compromises.
Apartment number three was just ok. It was listed as Gramercy, but it was really more like Kip’s Bay. It was just OK in every sense. Not worth talking about.

I left my heart in the East Village. Apartment one had everything I wanted. I mean, the murder hallway is weird, but I love the apartment itself. So now the decision becomes do I keep looking or lock it up? There could be something better out there, or not, and someone else could snatch it up while I am finding out. I decide to seize the moment and go for it! Bottom line is I am not sure of a neighborhood regardless. I could love the East Village, I could hate it. But I love the apartment, so I’m going for it. Off to sign papers tomorrow.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still having anxiety that I didn't see every apartment, every neighborhood etc.  And maybe there is something "better" out there, but I think this is a good start!
Here she is! My beautiful little East Village refuge. Upstairs from a Pinkberry and soon to be a wine store. What else could a girl ask for? Now I get to decorate! WOOHOO!!!





Sunday, July 1, 2012

You Can Take The Girl Out of Boston...

I started this blog. Swore I was going to update all the time. Months go by, new job, new friends, new projects, and very few updates. So few in fact that I didn't realize my domain had expired. Oops.

But I'm starting fresh, because you know what Liz did? I accepted a job in New York! This is the most exciting thing to happen to me in a long time. It was unexpected, but I was approached with a fantastic opportunity and couldn't pass it up. Plus, I've had the itch to move for a while. Boston is my home. There is no where I feel more comfortable, but almost too comfortable. I have a PHD in this city. Every sight, every restaurant, every haunt. It's time to stretch myself.

So it this is how it went down. While in New York for work on June 5th, the opportunity was presented to me as a possibility, pending a few changes that were still TBD.  I had a sinking feeling that this "potential opportunity" was real. I knew it in my gut that my life just changed.  It came up during my last meeting of the day and I left for Penn Station in a tizzy. Had a few scotches on the train ride home, and immediately opened Craigslist to see where I might be living.  Oh, and I met John Slattery while waiting for my car.  I think the universe was telling me that this was supposed to happen.  I work in advertising.  I just met Roger Sterling on the street.  New York was meant to be.

And then I kept it to myself. My own little secret. Afraid to tell anyone until I knew it was real because I would feel like a loser if I told everyone I might be going, only to have it fall through. So fast forward a few weeks and S&%T got real. The job was real and they needed an answer. Tomorrow. I toughed through a conversation with my boss' boss where I am trying to play hard ball career lady and talk relocation packages, cost of living increases blah blah while fighting back tears. The first of many that day.

I leave the office and drive to meet my Be-Fri Jen for dinner, and utilize the car ride to call my parents. My dad answers, and I'm choking up. After some small talk, I break the news. He is totally supportive, yet raising all of the points and concerns any parent would. I know he is on board. He suggests calling my sister Wendy, a New Yorker of 15 years to get advice on apartments etc.

Here's the kicker. My amazing sister Wendy moved to New York fresh out of college, and is just a week away from leaving the city to start a new life California. I'm excited to tell her but beyond disappointed that we won't get to share the city together. I break the news and after a gasp of disbelief, she calls us "ships passing in the night" and is immediately on Craigslist determined to find me a home. Damn she's a good dooby. She knows this city. I mean really knows it. It makes my PHD in Boston look like a PHD in flip flops. Beyond my disappointment in not getting to live there with her is the uneasiness that she won't be able to help me find a place and give her seal of approval to my neighborhood. She also told me that if this happened six months ago her husband never would've dragged her out of New York. But everything happens for a reason. She is starting a new chapter with her family, and I am forced to do this on my own. It is terrifying but so exciting. Much like this whole experience. I hang up the phone with her, and it's on to dinner with Jen.

So ten minutes into our Chipotle burritos, I blurt out that I have to tell her something before I lose the nerve. I can see some skepticism in her face and I just spew "I'M MOVING!" She was understandably taken off guard, and of course I start crying, and explain the situation. At the end of the day I know she is happy for me no matter what, but she is upset I never talked it over with her. I know she is hurt. And I realize at that moment that we are so close that this isn't just a big change for me, it is for her too. We do everything together, and haven't been separated in ten years. I have instant guilt, and I think to be honest, she isn't over me not telling her before it was a done deal. But there is no one I am more excited to have visit me than her. We are always on the same page, love to travel together, and I can’t wait to explore my new city with her!

Now onto my mom. I told my dad he could give her the spoiler alert, so when I called she knew what to expect. I was bracing myself for devil's advocate the whole way. I was ready for her to poke holes in everything from the career potential to the financials. I couldn’t have been more wrong. She was 210% supportive and recognized what a great opportunity it is for me. What I was really left with was the quote that I will take with me through this whole experience. "Suck it up, Go for it, It's nothing that can't be undone." Cue the waterworks. I hang up the phone with her and weep. It's real, I am going. And it means the world to me to have so much love and support. But I still have one sister to go…

Ugh, telling Barbara. I couldn't tell her the same night as everyone else because at this point it's 9pm, and she is 9+ months pregnant and well asleep. I wait through the next day at work, which happens to be her due date, and call her after work. From the second she picks up the phone I am dreading every second. Her husband and my nieces are hustling around getting ready for an event at church. I hear my little niece's voices and I'm getting upset thinking about how I won’t see them as often.  I just can’t let myself go there.  We talk about her doctor’s appointments and her annoyance of being so pregnant, and I am half concentrating on the conversation, and half pondering whether to tell her before or after her husband and kids leave for church. This will devastate her. I am preparing myself for her to rebut "It's so far away" "You will never see the kids" and on and on. So eventually I open with "I have some news that might send you into labor" and without hesitation she responds "Where is it?" It's weird about sisters right? You just get it. I tell her it's New York and she says "Thank God it's not London or Chicago. If there was one place I could pick, I'd pick New York". She knew I had itchy feet and it was just a matter of time before I went somewhere. What she didn’t know was that both Chicago and London were on the table at one point, and boy that would be tough. In telling both Barbara and my mom, it was not the response I expected, but it was the response I needed. And that felt pretty damn good.

So all in all, I am overwhelmed by support and love. I still don't know when exactly I am going, but I think it will be mid August. There is still a lot to do in Boston (that means a lot to eat). A lot of friends to hug and pictures to take, but I am so ready for this adventure. And the weird thing is it is ten years exactly from when I moved to New York to intern at Letterman. And my office is around the corner from the Ed Sullivan Theater at that.

This month just feels epic in a lot of ways. One sister is moving clear across the country, and the other is going to have a beautiful baby boy at any moment (literally). My best friend got a new job in Charlotte, but the new job means she gets to travel to New Jersey a lot, just a quick train ride from NYC. Sometime I sit there and think to myself "I'm moving to New York" and I get a tingly nervous feeling in my chest. I tear up a lot, and think about all of the people and things I will miss, but that are only a train ride away.

You can take the girl out of Boston, but you will never take Boston out of the girl. This is my home, and I will be back a lot. I worry about feeling like I am a visitor in this city. My city. But I think the experience of living in New York is something you just can't pass up. And I can always come home.

Suck it up, Go for it, It's nothing that can't be undone.