Wednesday, June 29, 2011
That's not what the letter said, but we knew what it meant.
I went with him to the office. When we went into the building, we couldn't find the right suite. The doctor's names were not on the list in the building. We went up the stairs. We walked down the hall and I asked if I was in the right place. The woman looked at me as if I were crazy and then said, Down the hall.
You know those nightmare sequences in movies where scary people direct you in the scariest direction and there's all that smoke and gloom and the distinct smell of despair wafting by?
We turned back and went down the hall to the only door there. It was a pediatrician's office, abandoned and ominous. I took hold of the doorknob and said, We may be walking into our deaths.
When I saw what was inside, I didn't think I was far from the truth. The lighting almost blinded me. It had remnants of being a pediatrics office, but really, that part was the scariest part. I don't think children would have appreciated the decor.
About ten people were bustling around but no one was behind the desk. Finally, someone came over and asked us to sign in and wanted Eddie's license. Someone photocopied it and someone else gave him a clipboard of paperwork to fill out.
We went over to the side and I kind of did not want to sit down. The place was creeping me out. Everyone who walked into the door or was sitting looked confused. This is the kind of place no-fault sends you.
He filled out the paperwork and was called in. I was like, come back quickly please. I was joking, of course. However, the doctors might have heard and taken me seriously because not more than five minutes later, he was walking out to the waiting room, all finished.
The first doctor told him to turn his head one way and turn it the other. Then he was done. The doctor said he was fine and said he shouldn't go to his doctor anymore.
The second doctor felt his back and, hold onto your seat, said that he still had spasms and should continue seeing the doctor to get them out.
Really? Like, really?
So not only were these completely conflicting statements, they were also completely ridiculous considering when Eddie goes to the doctor, he's there for more than, let's say, two seconds for an exam.
How unethical is that? Seriously. You spend half a minute with someone and decide he's fine? Meanwhile, his doctor who sees him every week says that he should keep coming once a week? Health care? You suck. No-fault? You suck more.
The only saving grace was the second doctor who gave an honest opinion--he should keep seeing someone to work on the spasms.
Not that the insurance people listened to that recommendation. Or maybe the doctor said one thing and recommended something else. Or maybe just the first doctor counted. For whatever reason, no-fault sent a letter to Eddie saying he could no longer see his doctor because he was cured!
Tell that to his back spasms. I think they might disagree.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Using the actual map from Time Out, I plotted which subways to take where. I played with the idea of a side excursion to Highline, but that was too far to the West. I played with the idea of a surprise walk and back across the Brooklyn Bridge to get to see Brooklyn Bridge Park once more. That plan dissipated when we hit City Hall, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Last year, all the statues were in the vicinity of Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building. Eddie and I hopped around the city and found them all and then drove back to Brooklyn with only a little bit of sweating involved. Not so for this trip.
We boarded the train at VS and heard people saying to each other, Happy Pride Day. Huh? Then the couples were talking about how they'd gone to California to get married when it was legal there and who they were marching with.
Eddie turned to me and said, Umm, today is the Gay Pride Parade.
We had already postponed our sculpture excursion because of the Puerto Rican Day Parade. The city is crazy when there's a parade. So here we were, heading into the city for a crazy parade day. Happy Pride!
When we stepped out into the city with his idea to walk up to Central Park instead of using my first mapped out idea of taking the NR, we were in a flurry of rainbow flags, glitter, and beads. We noticed that while we were walking uptown, everyone else was walking downtown. We figured that we would definitely miss the crowds. We got the best of both worlds--avoiding crowds while seeing marchers walk towards the start line decked out in all their gay glory. Feathers and leather--it was a trend.
Another trend I noticed--us attending quite flamboyant parades.
When we got up to 5th and 59th, I was sweating as per the usual and Eddie's back was hurting, stupid lady who smashed into the back of his car's fault. We made our way into Central Park. We walked around the pond. We sat on a bench. We walked further and heard a man teaching people how to play some sort of instrument fashioned out of some twine and a twig. We walked over a bridge. We walked the other way over the bridge which had quite a nice view, I'm told, since I was tall enough to see only the stone wall in front of me and not over it. We walked back past the music lesson man, at which point Eddie declared, That has to be the worst instrument in the world. Heh heh. It was pretty annoying. Think about someone who can't play violin playing the violin. That's what was happening.
So then we walked out of the park and looked at a map. We backtracked and then I realized, hey, wait, isn't that across the street Grand Army Plaza? Eddie was like, Maybe we don't need to go IN the park.
Then we saw our first sculpture on the street in plain sight. I hate the park, btw. It is not my friend. What is my friend is Eva Rothschild's Empire, which is not a spider but is her interpretation of tree branches forming a canopy.
Across the street, again in plain sight, was sculpture number two: Ai Weiwei's Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, for which there were t-shirts being sold. Lot of sketchers were sitting around, some with stick-on name tags attached to their shirts so they may have been an art class, and Eddie felt bad walking up to the sculpture because he was in their way. I was like, don't feel bad because that happens all the time; they're artists. We double checked his Chinese sign and found that it's a tiger, and he likes tigers, so that's fitting. I'm a horse. I hate horses. They're stupid. Of course, the horse head was the most ridiculous head there. Stupid stupid horse.
As I clicked away, aiming at the fountain, I realized--Hey honey, you know where we are? He didn't. I was like, we're at the fountain where we took the picture when we came in to see the windows and the lights in the winter! It all looks so different during the day in the heat. And we'd taken this walk before. I guess the cold blocked out the pain and suffering of the walk. Plus, that was pre-stupid lady in the Honda Pilot ramming the back of Eddie's car, so that could be the difference too.
We headed back downtown on foot to Madison Square Park. We didn't know exactly where the sculpture was and as we crossed the street, Eddie was like, are we sure it's here somewhere? Then we both said, There it is.
"It" refers to the massive head in the middle of the park. It's called Echo, product of Jaume Plensa, based on the daughter of someone in his hometown of Barcelona as a monument to ordinary people.
I was completely bummed out when we found I wasn't tall enough to plant a kiss on the head. But I was thrilled that Eddie was exactly the right height to have a faceoff.
It should be called Great Big Asian Head. It looks Asian, not Spanish. It also is not ordinary. I mean, come on, I know people who have big heads, but a head like that? No.
We sat and had lunch after ditching the idea of grabbing something from Shake Shack as the line was wrapping around half the park. Instead, we ate what we brought and listened to the many, many motorcycles parading down 5th Avenue. I don't know why it sounded like everyone had a motorcycle in the parade. It was loud as was the cheering and singing. Quite entertaining. Through the trees, I caught some glimpses of pink and silver and more feathers.
After a much needed rest and in the hopes of not killing my boyfriend before day's end by making him walk too much, we headed down a few more blocks to Union Square. We hit a few obstacles in the heart of the parade route. Crowds on every corner. But once we threaded our way through, the city was practically empty. It was odd. We were one street over and the parade was a low din, sounding as if it were miles away. That's the magic of NYC, I guess.
We came upon Andy Warhol quickly and directly. He was shimmering and shining in the sunlight and no one was really paying him any mind: Rob Pruitt's The Andy Monument.
Also in Union Square was an organization and event to, from what I gathered, celebrate water. People were on stationary bikes, pedalling away. We could sign up to pedal if we chose to. Some tables were asking people to stop fracking. Then some woman started spraying water out of a hose. We hopped on the subway to City Hall and skipped the upcoming concert for water.
We found City Hall Park easily. Finding the sculpture in the picture from the magazine was not as simple. We found two sculptures and one was pyramid-like but it wasn't on grass as the it was in the picture. Eddie was like, that's probably it. I was like, it can't be! Look at the picture! I became completely obsessed with finding the exact one in the picture.
The sculptures were scattered throughout the park so we walked around, through, and around again. The exhibit was Sol LeWitt: Structures 1965-2006. They were all white and squarish with hard angles except for one which totally did not go with anything else.
This is not a piece of art. It is a human being on a leash.
Anyway, then when we were walking back through the park, I saw it through the trees. The pyramid from the picture!
Ahhh, obsession satiated.
We took the subway straight back up to Penn. As we waited for the track to be called, we witnessed people running through the station proclaiming that they had only ten minutes to catch the train! (1) That was the train we were waiting for that had yet to be on a track. (2) Only ten minutes? Really?
Arriving home, we were only a little bit beat up from the day. Because he'd trekked all across the city and back with me, I agreed to do something nice for him and drive out to Sonic with him for a burger. Since Sonic has opened on Long Island, it is on the list of places we must go. I told him how far it would be to drive there and then factored in the wait time--the line, I've been told, is insanely long--and he decided that perhaps we should do Sonic on another day.
Instead, I took him to American Burger. It looked closed when we pulled up. It wasn't. They were open and not very busy as we were the only people in there aside from the staff, one of whom was sipping on a pina colada. Ahh, midday pina coladas. I'd work on weekends if I could do that. It filled up while we were in there, but that didn't affect how quickly the food came. I didn't get anything, but I sampled his mozzarella sticks. I liked them because they weren't greasy at all, which is why he didn't think they were great. He ate and almost finished the massive burger they'd served him. I don't know what was more tiring--walking over four miles through the city streets or finishing that huge meal. Even watching him eat that meal was exercise for me.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I have wanted to go to Times Square Summer Solstice yoga since it started. Every year, June 21 comes around and I have stuff to do. This year, I put it on my calendar way before June so that no stuff would get in my way.
It came at a perfect time. I'm getting back into a yoga groove lately and sadly haven't taught a class in two weeks, so it was much needed. I took a train into Penn and walked to 47th and Broadway where check-in was. I got there much earlier than the 5:30 requested time. That was a good thing. There were barricades up and lines to weave through. I stood and waited in a ball of sweat since the walk left me a little breathless. It really wasn't so much the walk than it was the people who don't know how to walk down a busy city street that really got to me. Again, yoga was coming at the perfect time.
While on line, someone from the story Lucy took my picture. Cute, huh?
She was like, wanna do a yoga pose? I was like, I have a lot of stuff. She was like, how about a peaceful Namaste? So I did it.
As they let us through, they handed out a mat and a bag and a water. The bag had a chocolate peppermint Luna bar (I usually don't like Luna bar flavors but this was delish), a few magazines, a lip balm, and a bunch of coupons. I was happy to finally be let in because at the beginning of the line, participants who had signed up prior to the event were getting headed with the staff because the participants wanted to make sure they got in before the other people on the far line who had not signed up beforehand.
Seriously, it was a free event and they gave us free stuff. AND it's a yoga event. Find your Namaste, people.
The mat was thin but good for non-slip action. I used it under my own mat so that my mat did not touch the surface of the streets of Times Square. I found a spot on the step in the middle and put my bags around it widely to save some room for AK. People were coming over and telling us to push closer and close up the gaps. I pushed and then moved back when they left.
It filled up pretty quickly. More people had wedged their way into the row I was in. AK texted about a half hour later and said she was almost there. By the time she got there, the guards were not letting people into the space I was in anymore. They were being sent to the next spot across the street. We did some phone calling and she did some kindly asking, but the guards kept sending her across the street. She was one of the first ones there, though, so she got to pick her spot first. I told her that she had to come across as soon as we were done so she could see all the free stuff we could get. One of AK's more admirable talents is her ability to get free stuff. I figured that if she didn't get the stuff they were actually giving away, she'd somehow go home with all of Times Square in her pocket free of charge.
It started soon after that with a speaker and instructor welcoming us. Pretty soon, we were sitting with our eyes closed in Times Square. There was a lot of talk about honoring each other. There was a lot of talk about what the solstice was. There was a lot of talk about the sun.
Then she left and someone from the Times Square Alliance went up to explain how he started the Summer Solstice in Times Square. There was a lot of thanking corporate sponsors. Then he introduced us to our instructor, Douglass Stewart. This guy got us right into the groove of yoga as well as our surroundings. He took us through a sometimes challenging routine complete with light-hearted humor. He was completely inspiring. Some women around me were having trouble following along with some of the postures, but they kept at it and kept laughing as he encouraged everyone. I did all the postures and even got my ass and feet up in what I call Raven and what everyone else calls Crow. I was like, wow I'm doing it. And then I looked ahead of me and saw the woman in front of me doing it perfectly. That was a downer. But then I looked up at the screen, saw the instructor with a big smile telling everyone how well we were doing, and I was fine again.
By the time he told us to sit on our mats, I was ready for it. Everything was a little bit sweaty. Even though my mat wasn't in direct contact with the ground, things were getting icky. Stuff in the air was attaching itself to me. Basically, I was gross and ready to be done soon. I don't know how people were walking around barefoot. I love to be barefoot, but I've also experienced cityfoot when I wear my flippies for a long time in the city, and cityfoot simply doesn't come out until after a few showers, so being barefoot was not something I was quite ready for. I was happy to have the experience of lying down in Times Square. It was something I wouldn't do in any other situation.
When the class was over, everyone gathered their stuff quickly. AK appeared in my section and we hit the booths. Some woman got all bent out of shape because she thought we cut a line we'd been standing on. Not very yogi-like, lady. Some people just don't get it. AK and I didn't budge. We ignored her. The line was to spin a prize wheel for a radio station. Really, not something to get all in a huff about.
Then we got some free towels from Febreeze and a bunch of bite-sized Luna bars. I wish Luna Bars would come in those sizes in the store. I would be more likely to buy them. Not having eaten dinner, they were exactly what I needed. I finished off the free water I got and later on read that the bottle was biodegradable. It's probably really expensive because of that so I wouldn't buy it. The water was good though, if water can be good.
The brochure for Solstice in Times Square says, Anyone can find tranquility on top of a mountain. Can you find it here?
I can happily answer, Yes. It was the complete yoga experience. I have it written on my calendar for next year already.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
These are our Mermaid Parade outfits. I am dressed in the spirit of the mermaid. Eddie is dressed in the spirit of "I'm taking my girlfriend to the Mermaid Parade because I love my girlfriend."
Words really cannot describe what goes on at the Mermaid Parade. And so, I give you the short version:
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
We stopped using the sink.
The plumbers came, made a big hole in the wall, took out a pipe, sealed something, and told us we could use our sink.
We used the sink.
My landlords/parents called. The basement was wet again. The leak was still happening.
We stopped using the sink.
Seriously, I thought about washing the dishes in the tub instead of carrying them down to my parents' kitchen to wash them. It was getting that annoying.
The plumbers came and looked at the pipes through the hole again. Then they went downstairs to my parents' kitchen. Then they went to the basement. Then we didn't see them for a long time but we did hear a saw at work.
They removed a joint that was clogged through almost solid with black stuff. Gross.
They said it was all fixed now and that we could use our sink.
We started using the sink. So far, no more water in the basement. We can wash our dishes again.
And now for the fantastic aftermath.
1. It smells. The kitchen smells like wet wall. The hole smells. The cabinets smell. I keep the window open. I turn the fan on a lot. I spray cleaner at it. It stopped smelling for a while but started again. Tricky.
2. Everything that was in the cabinets when they made the hole is covered in wall dust. So now, in addition to our regular dishes, we are washing pots, pans, bowls, lids, and tupperware. The cabinets have several doors but it's one long shelf on the inside, so nothing blocked the dust, and everything is dirty.
My parents are thinking about redoing the kitchen up here. I told them not to bother, but if they put in a dishwasher when they redo it, then maybe it's not such a bad idea.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Gambling has never been on my radar. My obsessiveness in other parts of life (aka having to finish P 90 X simply because I started it) I could see easily becoming a problem for activities like gambling. However, Eddie taught me how to play Texas Hold Em, so I wanted to see how I could use my newfound knowledge.
I entered my first Texas Holdem tournament online. You know that games button on the MSN homepage? It takes you to a whole bunch of mindless fun. I sway towards Text Twist, Mah Jong Dimensions, BubbleTown, and Shape Shifter. But they also have card games. Who knew?
One reason seasoned card players would hate playing with me is that I have no fear. I call almost everything. So there I am in the first few rounds of cards, and I'm racking up the chips because I'm calling everything and making seriously absurd bets and people fear me.
A second reason seasoned card players would hate playing with me is that I am completely inconsistent in betting. I have no tells because I don't know what the hell I'm doing. Some hands I call, some hands I raise, some hands I go all in, for no reason other than it's fun to do.
Some nail-biting moments occurred from time to time when I asked Eddie for advice and he told me what to do and I put my arms around my head and squealed as I waited. Every time, his advice panned out. We're a good team.
For the most part, however, he wanted to see me play my own way. Which means strategy-less. Without strategy, in a game with over 120 players, I came in 44th. That's the top half!
I lost on a hand that I should have won. The other guy got lucky with some weird pair, like a pair of threes that he should have never called. Then again, I would call a pair of threes, so good on him.
Fast forward to a few spare hours and the poker chips left here from Eddie's poker night. I asked if we could play each other for real to see how good I am. One on one poker is different from poker with a bunch of people as I learned in the first few hands of losing.
We didn't muck so I learned quickly that all the hands I called that I probably shouldn't have in a tournament I could definitely call one on one. Okay, I have no problem with that.
Eddie folded on a hand because, and I quote, "You totally have a Queen because your eyes lit up when you saw it on the flop. You need a poker face."
I had nothing and laughed maniacally. Who needs a poker face?
Then Lunatic Eddie went all in on like the fifth hand because, and I quote, "You are totally bluffing."
Game one went to ......ME. Why? Because I had like a flush.
We played again. This time, he was more strategic. The game was longer. We went back and forth. I kept calling when I had nothing. I had most of the chips and then went all in when I had nothing and he won most of them back.
Game two went to ..... ME. Why? Because I rock this game so hard.
Yeah, that's right. I'm headed to AC.
We all bet this time. Eddie chose the same horse that lost the first two races when he chose him. Then he made me choose Shackleford again because I was having a hard time choosing. At first, I wanted Isn't He Perfect but didn't have fun yelling it out loud, which is how to choose a horse, and then I played with the idea of choosing Nehro, but Shackleford was just too fun to say.
S chose Isn't He Perfect. R chose "five up from the bottom," which turned out to be a horse whose name no one knew how to say, Monzon.
We met S at Triple Crown and decided to go in because they had on their sign outside that they would be showing the race. I wanted to walk in where the hostess was standing but they told me we had to go through the door on the side. The entire front of the restaurant was open--it has one of those open seating sidewalk areas and the entire wall opens up to it--but no, we had to walk through two doors. The hostess was there waiting for us, so I'm sure she heard the entire debate and thought we were dumb.
We ordered apps while waiting for R to arrive after working. The apps were okay. Not the best looking chicken fingers. And more importantly, not the best tasting. We ordered food shortly afterwards when R arrived, and the entrees weren't all that special either.But we were there for the horses anyway.
The time finally came to parade the horses out to the gate. My horse was walking sideways. Of course he was.
Then they were off! Shackleford! Shackleford! He lead the whole time. He was out in front. It was not a joke. Then, in the final stretch, everything fell apart.
Ruler on Ice wins! Ruler on Ice wins!
Who the hell is Ruler on Ice? Oh, that's the horse with the jockey who's wearing neon pink and orange. S was gonna pick him. Instead, as aforementioned, she chose Isn't He Perfect who came in last. Monzon didn't place very high and MuchoMachoMan, Eddie's horse, came in forth I think.
As for Shackleford? I think Shackleford is still running, perhaps backwards.
When it was all over, R said to me, Seriously, you were freaking me out because your horse was like in front the whole time. I was going to make you play the Lotto tonight. Wow, I thought you were lucky.
Glad I didn't freak you out, R.
So we all came up losers at Belmont and now we have to wait until next May for the excitement to begin again. We left Triple Crown through the window.
Monday, June 13, 2011
The only change I'm making is instead of doing weights three times a week, I'm doing them twice and replacing the third with a different strenght activity like yoga or yogalates. We'll see how that goes.
This morning, I'm doing a step routine. I'm sweating a lot. Eddie's at the dining room table, eating some Fruity Pebbles. We're chatting a little. Then he says, This workout is crazy.
I ask, Why's that?
He answers, Because you haven't stopped moving forever.
Heh heh. That's cardio for ya. The monitor that I won gives me all kinds of stats for routines like this, and I'm still trying to figure out why it tells me that I'm not in a fat burning zone for longer than eight minutes of a 45-minute workout.
I'm not going to get crazy about it, though. I like my cardio. I like what I'm doing. I'm going to keep doing it. Part of being fit is sticking to it and liking it. The only reason I stuck to P 90 X for the second time was my problem with obsession. I didn't like it. So in that light, I'm fitter now more than ever.
The site is attempting to revamp itself to open up to more traffic, a wider audience again. One of the ways to do so was to begin reviewing things. I could do that. A review here and there instead of recording every minute detail of the Jersey Shore kids every episode was definitely less time consuming.
Just like that, I was back. Visit my review for A Crush On You ;) . The emoticon is part of the title. You can imagine what I had to say about the movie.
I am growing to love Yolanda. Getting used to her takes some time. I cannot park the car without inching up and back about nine or ten times. And sometimes, I have to repark it, as see above.
When I got to Land Shark, I stood outside and waited for AEF. Then I was being attacked by a bug. I texted her to hurry up because I looked like an ass, standing by myself on the sidewalk, karate chopping at the air. Yes, I would still look like an ass with her there, but I looked even worse alone. Also, I was sweating, and nothing says Lady like sweat.
We found an empty space at the bar. Perhaps it had been empty because the guys standing next to us were idiots, throwing beer, water, and ice at each other. Twice, we got wet. Then they decided to jump off the deck into the water. More than once. When T and her bf N arrived, I immediately told them, come closer or you're gonna get wet. Then we spotted an open section farther down so we moved. Instead of being near wet idiots, we were near dancing fools, which is a whole lot better. The DJ was playing mostly 90s pop hip hop dance music, and at one point sampled some Miami Sound Machine without following through with the entire song, which was a total letdown because I was gonna get my Gloria groove on.
When D showed up, it was time to dish because she's got the newest boyfriend, so we wanted stories. She also had a picture. A real picture. N said, it's not often you find people who carry around an actual photograph. Very true! He also told me that he plans to get Kevin Bacon to attend his wedding so he can do the dance from Footloose. I'm wondering if this idea is in T's plans also. Heehee. Then AEF said she's never seen Footloose, which is a complete and utter tragedy. Everyone needs to see Footloose at least once.
The sangria T was drinking was pretty strong. I wasn't drinking because I'd gotten a major heat headache before leaving and was surprised I was standing at that point. I did sniff out the sangria and almost got drunk from the fumes. She explained that there was a whole bunch of different liquors in it plus the red wine. That explained the little bit of a buzz she had going on.
That also explained the slightly louder than necessary encouragement she was offering AEF in hooking up with the bartender. First, she yelled, Go! Go out with him! Get with him! Then, she instructed, Be sexy! At which AEF began dancing and T was like, Not by grinding on me! To him! To him!
I decided at that point that T should make an instructional video on how to get the guy.
1. Have your friend scream behind you something like Get him! so that he hears.
2. Grind against girls.
This video, I'm sure, would be very successful.
The bartender was nice and AEF said she can never tell if they're like that because they're bartenders or because they're into her. That's a fine line, but it's always nice to at least make friends with one, and AEF always makes friends with them. This one, however cute, was iffy at best. At one point, he leaned over and said to her: Hey, BTW, I can get your Coors Light for free because it's a promotion. She looked over at me when he left and we were both like, Did he just say B T W? Like out loud? To speak?
During all this time, I was being eated alive by teeny tiny bugs. At first, I thought it was just me, but then D pulled one out of her head and was like, look at what I found. Bugs always find me and they always attack me most. Gone was the lone bug from the sidewalk replaced by hundreds all over the place. I spent most of the time smacking myself, and at one point, looking down my own shirt, trying to follow one that had headed that way. N suggested using Agent Orange. T pointed out it makes you sterile. I don't have a problem with that part, but Agent Orange seems kind of extreme.
Then things got weird. A woman who looked like a late-40s version of Pink came in with a much younger guy who had matching eyebrows. She carted herself through, stayed a while, and then carted herself out, all with the guy in tow. Then the guy near us was drinking one of those very long girly drinks. All the girls with him were drinking them and they were yellow. His was purple with a pink straw, and was very phallic. The DJ was playing the dirty version of every song, which I quite enjoyed because it's not every day you can hear the lyric, But tonight I'm fucking you, but that couldn't win out over the bugs. With the Gloria Estefan tease, I was out.
The studio I used to work for needed someone to teach the donation class, so I subbed once again. In exchange, I was able to take a class. That's fair. I don't expect to be paid for a charity class. The participants all gave something. They were lively and happy to be there. They were also sweating profusely.
The studio is on a second floor, over a bagel place. In the mornings especially, the aroma of fresh bagels comes up and through. Ooh, it's yummy. That night, there was no bagel aroma. Instead, there was musty air from the heat. I opened a window and turned on a fan. I wound up opening the other window, too. Heat is good in yoga, but people passing out is no good, so I found a happy medium.
I took a class in exchange a few days later. When I pulled in the lot, I put money in the meter because the time for meters began fifteen minutes before class ended. The meter did not register my quarter. I hate it when that happens. What exactly are you supposed to do? Write a note saying it's not working? Put in another quarter to see if it works with two? Put a bag over it? Seriously, I'd like to know.
After almost an hour and half, I was stretched out and slightly sore. The woman teaching the class used to take my class when I taught at the studio years ago. Since then, she took the teacher training and has been working there. She does a lot of seated stretches that are very easy for her and very difficult to me. It's just a different kind of yoga, which is why I like to go. It makes me do things I'm not very good at doing. She always says, and I agree, that I am so strong. I am. I can do power moves and hold them for quite some time. But ask me to open my legs wide on the floor and stick my arms under my thighs and push my chest to the floor and I look like a very uncomfortable octopus who is suffering from arthritis. Putting me in better spirits was the fact that I didn't get a ticket for the meter. That would have put a huge damper on a free class.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
The plumber came to fix the sink. He snaked both sinks and the tub. Everything worked when he left.
A day and a half later, the siding between the second floor and first floor kitchens was brown and there was a large pool of murky water in the basement. This was not good.
The plumber came to check the pipes. Apparently, the original pipes did not take kindly to the power snakes. The leak was in the wall somewhere.
Every time a fixer-upper-person comes to fix something on the house, he tells us, You know, that's all the original such and such. We know, we know. It's an old house so having so much original stuff in it to this day is quite impressive.
Not impressive is not having a kitchen sink. The first thing I did was tape a plastic bag across the faucet and sink in the kitchen so that neither me nor Eddie mindlessly used it. He said that was a good idea because as soon as he came home, he would have used it. Me too. You don't realize how much you use your kitchen sink until you don't have one.
The plumber suggested I look on the bright side. I could haul in water from the bathroom down the hall instead of having to go out to the stream for it. Good point, plumber.
My mom asked if we wanted a bucket to put our dirty dishes in so we could carry them to the bathroom to wash. No, mom, I do not want a bucket. Eddie told me later that I should have said yes to the bucket and then asked her for a rope so we could lower the bucket down to the first floor for her to wash them for us and then we could lug them back up. Funny one, that Eddie is.
I came up with a plan:
1. Use paper plates.
2. Use plastic utensils--this part of the plan has been scratched because we were going to reuse the plastic utensils a few times and then wound up washing them, which defeated the purpose of having less to wash and also negated the idea of "disposable."
3. Reuse glasses. We do this, or at least attempt to, anyway, so we have less to wash.
4. Once a day, pile everything into the drying rack, take it downstairs, wash everything in my parents' kitchen sink, and then bring it back up.
We also cooked down there because we were cooking meat and I didn't want to have to keep going to the bathroom to rinse my hands every time I touched the meat.
The major drawback of not having the sink is when I've awoken with a case of extreme heartburn and I'm still half asleep and I'm roaming around the house, trying to figure out how to get cold water. I don't get heartburn often, but of course it happened at the least convenient time.
Fingers crossed--the experts are coming this week. Hopefully, they don't have to break a whole lot of walls open. The walls? They're original you know.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Which brings me to the job I'd like to have. CBS was rattling off how to keep your kids safe when the heat comes on (like don't let them play in the car, which is really a good parenting technique in any kind of weather considering children cannot drive so they should not be alone in a car in case, you know, they somehow start it and ram it into a tree or a garden gnome). They went to their field correspondent, who was standing in a park. With an infrared thermometer.
Her segment was about how hot things were. She held the instrument over a patch of grass and read that it was about 97 degrees. Then she went a few feet forward onto concrete and read that it was 103 degrees. Proving that grassy areas are the places we should seek out when we're outside.
Ohhhhh, that's some real good advice. I'm so used to seeing all those people picnic on concrete. Grassy areas! Good idea.
Anyway, then she was showing how playground equipment can get hot in the sun, especially the metal parts. She gave the temperature of swings, steps up to the swings, and slides. Then she read the temperature for a metal bench.
This girl is not screaming because she's having fun. She's screaming because her ass is on fire. Someone should have really checked the temperature of that swing.
At the end of her report, she was standing by for her next segment. You know those thermomemeters that look like clocks? She had a big round one on the dash of a dark truck's dashboard so we could read it through the windshield as it sat in the sun.
I want this job. I want to walk around with a microphone in one hand and a thermometer in another. I want to point an infrared ray at things and read off digital numbers into a camera. I want to make money saying, "Ooh, wow, that's hot!" not in a Paris Hilton way, but in a business-like, reporter way. Next open call, I'm there.
You get two cards. You hope they are pocket Aces. They usually are not.
Everyone calls, folds, raises, or checks. I like the checking because it's fun to say, Check! Check!
Then whoever stays in sees the flop. That's three cards. Those cards are everyone's cards, so you mix and match the cards for the best hand you have with those three and the two you have. Then everyone calls, folds, raises, or checks again.
If more than one person are still in, then another card comes up. I don't remember the name of this card. Everyone still in calls, folds, raises, or checks.
If more than one person are still in, the river comes up. That's the final communal card. Then everyone can call, fold, or raise, and I don't know if checking is an option, but it should be, again, because it's fun to say.
If everyone in stays in, they turn over their cards and we see who wins.
Muck means you don't show your cards after you win if you don't have to. You never should if you don't have to. Mucking is good.
Things that are still confusing to me: small blind, big blind, why they call the dealer "the button" (though, that too is fun to say), and why they call a good hand "the nuts."
In the moment, I don't remember what hands are good hands. I don't understand odds at all.
All in means shoving all your stuff into the pot and praying that everyone else will fold. Sometimes you can go all in and not be out of the game even if you lose the hand.
With this in mind, I waited along with Eddie for his poker buddies to swing by for a game. Eddie and his friend were playing a pre-game with S arrived with R since R was going to play. S and I went to Ralph's for ices and then went to visit her parents. While there, Eddie called me to ask where the bottle opener was because everyone just arrived and he was handing out beer, the main reason he wanted to have the game at our place this time--we wanted to get rid of the beer.
We own about four bottle openers that are fully visible in the kitchen. There are a few more lying around. He couldn't find one. He's been living here since October.
S and I walked back to find all the guys there along with AF, Eddie's friend's SMM's girlfriend. The three of us decided to find the girliest thing possible on television while the guys played. One of the guys playing was very upset at this because the basketball game was on. You can't have your chips and eat them too, buddy. Eddie got his laptop and put on the game on the internet so the guy could watch. He was in his little own heaven with the laptop on a folding chair beside him.
As they were getting ready to play, I asked Eddie if he wanted to open a window or two. The house was a sauna with all the people in it. He was like, yeah could you? What the? I was like, or you could turn around and pull them open. He was like, oh yes I could do that too. Someone asked if we could turn on the A/C. We laughed at that. Our A/C was not yet in. Plus, we hate the A/C.
The game went on for what seemed like forever. So did the awards show, which actually wasn't that bad. S wanted to bet on who would win because she had a blanket prediction of "anything Twilight." Which was a good call and I don't think anyone would have bet against it any way.
The pizza arrived quickly from Mama Gina's. I'm not a huge fan of it because it's oily. When we opened it, I had to cut through the pieces with a steak knife. S was like, don't you have a pizza slicer? I was like, If I had one, I'd be using it. She suggested I put it on my registry. I think people are done with my registry, but maybe I will. Then AF asked if we should serve everyone pizza. I was like, Did you hear what Eddie told everyone when it came? He'd said, this house is everyone's house so everyone can get their own pizza. AF was like, so we just walk through with our own pizza? I was like, yes, we do just that. We did. And no one asked where their pizza was because they were focused on the game. S asked R if he wanted a slice because she pretty much knew he wouldn't want it. Nice.
This is how S described Mama Gina's logo: it looks like someone took a photo of their grandmother out of their wallet and blew it up, cut out her head, and put it on the sign.
I added: she has a large oblong head and a bun in the back, and it's a little disturbing.
I don't think either of us is very far from the truth.
It took a good two hours before someone got knocked out. Then they started dropping quickly. By the time S and R left, only three people were left in the game. Then, at almost midnight, it was down to two--Eddie and his friend who had been playing the pre-game before everyone else got there. S commented the next day when I told her of this: Then no one else really had to show up. True! Then again, more people means a bigger pot. When the two of them decided to split the pot, I asked, Did I win? His friend was like, well she's kind of got a point. Heehee.
Everyone left. Eddie asked what we were gonna do with all that pizza. I was like, you mean with these two slices? He was like, there's an entire pie left! I opened the empty boxes to show him and said, when you have a bunch of guys in your house, they're gonna eat the pizza. And btw--we got rid of only one beer. Dammit.
Celebrity Poker Showdown! That's what it was called. My favorite episode was with Penny Marshall who had no idea what she was doing. It was fabulous.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
The guy at Nissan was less than helpful. He didn't know if they had a Versa. Then he wandered around outside and asked a guy on the lot who was like, It's right there. The car was practically in front of him. He opened the passenger-side door for me to see the car. Because, you know, I would be sitting in the passenger seat while driving, of course. I read the window sticker as he talked to Eddie, clearly not interested in saying anything about the car because he knew we just started looking. As in, I don't care about you and your need for a car. I asked if they had the sedan version because he was showing me a hatchback. He said he didn't. Then he said that leasing the Versa wasn't worth it. That's when I was like, yeah okay just give me your card and we're going. Nissan is currently running a leasing special for the Versa. I'd found it in my research. So this guy either had no clue or was lying.
We went down the road to Honda. We'd been there for a nano-second when Eddie was car shopping. We looked at the car parked outside. It was the Fit, which I'd read up on. Eddie was like, This car is ugly. A saleswoman came outside and asked if we were interested in cars. I was like, yes, I'd like to see the Civic. She brought us inside and pointed at the car and opened the door. It was the driver's side door, so already, this was better than Nissan. I sat in it and didn't like it. There's a weird screen thingie on the dash right in front of the steering wheel that was blocking my view. I asked to see the Fit outside so she got the key. I sat in that and liked it because I could see everything. The back was too huge, though. It's also a hatchback and has way too much room for me. Eddie liked the space and I was like, what are we going to do with it? He winked, I rolled my eyes, and the saleswoman stared off into space as she'd been doing for the entire time. I asked about how it handled in the snow and rain, and she said, Good. She didn't elaborate. The only thing she elaborated on was the monthly cost of a lease for the Fit, which was somewhere in the 300s. Um, no. Not for this car. Maybe mid-200s. There's no way anyone in their right mind would shell out somewhere in the 300s for the Fit. So that ended that.
We tracked our way back towards home and went to Toyota. I wanted to see the Corolla, the Scion, and what I'd remembered that morning as their small car, the Yaris. The Carolla was huge. The Scion was like driving a sedan version of a Hummer. So very wide. Eddie told the sales guy that he wished he'd seen the Scion before leasing his Chevy because it was hooked up and nice. For him. For me, way too big with too much excess space I'd never use. I'm not a fan of waste.
The salesguy said that they had a Yaris across the street so we could take a walk over there. Sure. We followed him as he crossed the middle of Merrick Road with traffic coming from both ways. Seriously. So we played some human Frogger and caught up only to have him speed walk two blocks. Eddie was like, He's taking us somewhere to kill us. I laughed.
Then we got to a building that looked abandoned on the outside. When he opened the door, I was like, Omigod, you're right--he's going to kill us. It was abandonded and broken down on the inside as well. So what did the two of us brainiacs do? We followed him like puppy dogs. Through a door and poof, a garage full of Toyotas, one that had an alarm going off non-stop. It was an icky room. We weaved through cars until he found the Yaris. There were a few in different colors. I sat in it and liked it immediately. I said it was the most comfortable one I'd been in. We walked around the car, looked at the trunk space, and read the sticker. The guy said that they normally don't lease the Yaris but it was still an option. He asked if I wanted to test drive it. Sure.
The ride was smooooooth. He explained that it was an upgrade from the old Echo, which I had driven a few years back during a road trip with S. I loved that car. Now, I was driving along in its offspring. The interior was nice. The color was nice. Everything about it was nice. So we went inside to do some pricing.
My poor Saturn was sitting in the lot, looking on in horror as we did the pricing. The appraiser guy went out and came back with a figure of $2000 for it. I thought about it. In excellent condition for a private sale, I could get up to 4 grand. The car was not in excellent condition, though in a panic, I had used the dust buster to clean it that morning, and I kept panicking whenever the appraiser went near the door because I thought he'd see the broken locks. Anyway, If I were to sell the car privately, I would not be able to lie about the problems it had, so I would sell it for about the same that the dealer wanted to give me. I was okay with that.
As the paperwork was going through and as the car was being detailed and all the wheels and cogs and circuits were doing their voodoo that has to occur during a car sale, I wondered aloud to Eddie, how are we going to fit all the cars in the driveway? He answered, just park your new car where you park now. I asked, but how can I put it there when my Saturn is there? He said, the Saturn is staying here. I said, I can't give up my Saturn. He said, you can keep it as a souvenier but you'll have to put money down for your lease then. I said, I can keep it and put no money down. He said, then you'd have a higher payment. I said, I can let them give me the two grand for it and then take it. He said, no you can't. I said, oh ok.
None of this mattered at the moment the salesman asked, Do you have the title with you? Ha. No, we did not. So we climbed into the Saturn and came home for lunch and to grab the title. I wondered aloud, what would happen if the car died on our way back? Eddie was like, I don't think you'd be getting the two grand they just proposed to you. Heehee. I then offered a string of what ifs--what if it's not really broken? what if I'm doing the wrong thing? what if it can be fixed for very little money? what if the new car isn't as good as the Saturn? what if my Saturn feels abandonded and alone? what if the new owner doesn't treat it well?
Of course, this was all nonsense. I found the title and went through a bunch of other papers. I asked if I needed anything else. Eddie said, that's your title so that's all you need.
We went back to the dealer. They were just about done on their end of things. We gave him the title. He came back a little later and asked about the lien on it. I said there was none. However, the title showed the lien and he said that I would have received a letter saying that the lien was over and done with. I looked at Eddie. He was like, Okay so maybe you did need those other papers. Ugh. The salesman said we could go home in the new car and bring back the paperwork. We just needed to wait for the finance guy.
As we waited, Eddie got a vanilla cone from Mr. Softee. The guy came through the lot quite a few times. That's smart business. We also watched a couple who had to be in their late 70s/early 80s shop for a car. They were all over the lot with their sales guy. They spent a good five minutes discussing how the trunk stays open no matter where you put it so it won't swing up or slam down. Then they both sat in the backseat of a Corolla. Then when they got out, the woman asked the salesguy about the difference between GPS and navigation as the guy stood up, bent over, and fiddled with the seatbelt. This was the greatest live show ever.
Then the salesguy came into the lot with my car. Ooh, it was pretty. Except for this scratch thing on the side. Eddie saw it first and pointed to it. So as the salesguy was showing me all the buttons and gadgets, I was like, Yeah is this a scratch? He looked at it, scratched at it, and then said he was going to bring it across the street to have the guys buff it out without a problem. I was like, yes thanks. There was no way I was taking that car with even a microscopic scratch on it.
We went into see the finance guy to sign the contracts. He asked me what I taught since he'd read I was a teacher at Nassau. I said English. He gave the answer that the salesman gave when he asked the same thing, which is the answer that I usually get--a stupid comment about how English is hard. This is why I usually don't tell people I teach English. I say, I teach at the college. It helps me avoid idiotic coments that I don't really care about. If I cared about your opinion on English and how well you did when you took comp in college, I'd ask. Like, if we were at a party and I met one of them and asked what they did and they said, I sell cars or I finance cars, my immediate answer would not be, oooh numbers are hard or I didn't do well in shop class in high school. You know why that wouldn't be my answer? Because it has absolutely nothing to do with anything. I became an English teacher because I'm good at English. I didn't go into the autoindustry because I suck at cars. Basic common sense, people! Anyway, I'm now done with that tangent.
So the finance guy starts explaining the intricacies of gap insurance. On and on and on about how it's optional but important. And then he gives us how much it would be monthly if we got it. I was growing angrier by the second because anything that affects the monthly cost should be stated when we agree on a monthly cost. Obviously, we came up with a price that I could afford. I was sooooo aggravated. Then when I declined, the guy looked at the paperwork and said, Oh I apologize--you already have it.
I was like, Ah, well look at that. Assssssssss.
He had me sign two contracts, one that gave me a little higher cost if I didn't bring back the paperwork about the lien being over with. Jeez, these people will squeeze you for every penny. We all shook hands and then me and Eddie headed back to the sales floor.
The salesman gave us keys with key chains. Then we walked out to the car again. That's when I noticed my Saturn was already gone from the lot. Sigh. No more Saturn. No more third door. Sniff.
But here was my brand spankin new car. We walked around it, checking for any more scratches and found none. Yeay! We shook hands once more and headed home. And then we came right back with the lien paperwork. And then we left one last time with me as the proud owner of a 2011 Toyota Yaris, color flint mica (meaning charcoal gray).
For all the years I owned the Saturn, I'd never given it a name. I'd named my GPS--Judy--but not the car. It was always "my little Saturn with the third door." As soon as I got my Yaris, she was different. I want everyone to say hi to Yolanda. Send her good vibes. I will always have a place in my heart for my Saturn, but I'm learning to love Yolanda, too.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Note that I'm holding the chart in front of my entire midsection.