Adventure, Change, Death, Life, New York City, Spring

it’s over

The past three months have been a long, hard road. I can’t say that it wasn’t worth it, but I can say that once it’s finally over, the time spent will not be missed or thought of fondly. Today’s big announcement might be obvious to some and completely overlooked by others. Maybe you care too much and have been counting the days right along side me. Maybe you don’t give a rats ass that today is the day that things start to get better for me, and you, and, well, pretty much everyone.

For a while there, I thought I’d never be warm again. That maybe I would spend the rest of my life an unhappy, rigid, cold bitch. Today marks the day that my soul comes out of hibernation, awakening to sunrises of hope and sunsets of molasses. I have been looking forward to this day since the days actually felt like were starting to get longer; those not-so-long-ago days when I lived a helpless existence in Brooklyn, and now I thrive in The Bronx. In just a few short weeks, there will be total and absolute freedom from the icy vortex of the past. I am raising a beer in honor of a little bit of joy for me and all mankind. Let us toast and celebrate.

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Gratuitous Cat Picture.

Happy fucking Spring! I have waited for this day for too many days to count. This has not nevesserily been the worst winter I have ever experienced, but it has certainly been the coldest. I never ever ever thought that I could actually get used to walking around in 14 degrees F weather. Wind chills of -15 degrees? No problem! My secret this winter is what I have so lovingly come to call a “butt scarf.” I considered patenting the term and making millions, but it’s really just a scarf that I wrapped around my butt. I also battled the cold with the usual ton of layers, tights and knee highs under my pants, a hat, and lots of snuggling (and maybe a sip of brandy or whiskey in my tea on the weekends). I ruined one pair of shotty rain boots and have completely destroyed my black Converse sneakers, but I have prevailed and look forward to kissing winter goodbye. I even found a way to wear a hat so I don’t like a 12 year old boy.

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Captain Clam is from Winsconsin. The upper midwest obviously got their asses beat this winter. This past northeastern winter seemed like a mild winter according to what the Clam was accustomed to. I asked him how it’s even possible to get used to being this cold. He responded, “This? This is nothing. Try -60 degrees F. That’s something you never get used to.” I can certainly believe that and hope to never have to experience it unwillingly.

I really did my best not to complain about the weather this past winter. Yes, it totally sucked, but what good is complaining gonna do? I promised myself to complain less this year, especially about things that are out of my control (like the weather), and somehow that helped me through the many snowstorms and tragic disappointments of having to wait for delayed trains and canceled outings. All in all, I am proud of myself for sometimes being able to enjoy the past season and making it through like a champion.

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Winter 2013 felt just like this snowman.

Winter in New York City is always hard. It’s ugly. Everything is wet and dirty. Their is very little beauty to enjoy when a black sludge covers everything and your feet are soaked and frozen to death. I used to have a car, so getting around was easy. Now, I walk everywhere. I have adapted to appreciate the good days and learn from the bad days. I admire people who ride their bikes to work, even in the harshest of wintery assaults. I wonder how we ever survived these situations without modern convenience and why the taste of inconvenience turns people into raging crazies. For New Yorkers, winter turns into a 4 month funeral. We all dress in black and grey, still mourning the loss of summer, even though she is always in our hearts, will always come back to us, and will make us complain in the same exact way. It’s too cold, it’s too hot, and we are always Goldilocks.

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Day 1 of Spring always wakes me with this urge to look for flowers or the spark of a tree’s rebirth. I have already peeped a few signs that the change has begun, but now I will hunt for proof that this long, cold wait has not been in vain. The sun is out longer, and even though I wake up to the crisp, dark morning air, I still get a sense that the sunrise is warmer and happier than it has been in a long time. And so am I. You’ll see. Everyone will be a little more joyous everyday. Coming and going will start to get easier. Winter coats will turn to rain coats, trench coats, light sweaters, and thin ponchos (ponchos? really?). The air will change and take with it the bad mood that has been conjured by the dark side of time.

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The first signs of natures emergence from hibernation.

Pretty soon all those hearty, meaty, fatty dinners will be replaced with salad, beans, and tofu. My skin will stop peeling and will glow with sunshine’s kiss. Red wine at home (alone) on a Thursday will be replaced with ice cold white wine and tapas al fresco with friends on a Tuesday at 8pm. Mornings will be easier to tackle because the air is freshly scented with dew and delight. I can sleep in a few more minutes because I won’t have to dry my hair or put on a gallon of makeup to hide my winter flesh. The little things become so much more important and the big things get the appreciation they deserve.

Of course I am letting this whole Spring thing get away from me. Late March is hardly a magical wonderland of joy and it’s still gonna be cold and damp and grey for just a while longer. Then there will be a little spot of color here, then a little spot of color there. Pretty soon, life will be filled with mental images of how beautiful nature is and winter will be a recent memory of a trying time that was totally worth the wait.

Read more about the equinox HERE!

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Adventure, Change, Life, New York City, South Bronx, We're Moving

It Ain’t Where You’re From

Rakim once rapped “It ain’t where you’re from, it’s where you’re at.” Of course that might not be a direct quote because rap songs don’t normally use proper grammar (it messes up the flow), but it’s close enough that the translation is not lost. Lately I have been nowhere and everywhere. You may have noticed the little sabbatical from my postings (which totally kills my 100,000 word goal for the year), but I’ve been busy. Super Busy. Super busy looking up this Rakim/Phil Collins Remix:

Now, onto the point… Captain Clam, the kitty brood and I have finally moved from our shoe box Brooklyn studio to a real 2 bedroom at the top of 66 stairs in a 5 story walk-up in the South Bronx. We are about a 10 minutes walk to everything except the basketball courts. There are a few of those all around the area, which means I will be brushing up on my game of HORSE as soon as Spring decides to roll it’s lazy ass over, finally allowing for that glorious sun to shine on my pasty skin.

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Not us, but you get the point.

Moving is stressful enough. Mix that with February and an icy cold Polar Vortex breathing down your neck and you have a recipe for panic and super panic. Captain and I were fortunate enough to schedule February 22nd, which turned out to be the nicest day in February at a balmy 50+ degrees. My credit card company had extended my credit, so we decided to spoil ourselves and hired a moving company (I know, how adult of us). We ended up using Moving Your Way Moving Company and it was the greatest $625 I have ever been obligated to repay. A 5 story walk up was no match for us and our gallant friends and their children. This company was everything that YELP said it was and more.

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I have moved three times in the past 2 years. No matter how much practice I thought my experiences gave me, it was still not enough. The Captain and I started packing a month early. We spent all of our money on the 1st months rent, deposit, and broker’s fee (it’s so expensive to move in NYC), that we only wanted to spend money on groceries and toilet paper until we were out of Brooklyn. We started collecting boxes from work or on garbage night. If you have ever moved or collected boxes from the street (even if they said “Corona”) you begin to see every box everywhere, size them up for durability, and determine if they’re suitable to be a book box or if it’s better as a record box. Is it too wet? Is it dirty? Are you going mad? Yes. Yes you are.

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Hunting for boxes is one thing. The hunt, however, stays with you for weeks after your move. You also begin to see moving trucks everywhere all of the time. You might even find yourself checking out the trash for things that others are throwing away because they’re moving. You have to smack yourself for even thinking about other people’s discarded treasures when you have your own treasures to let go of. Plus, it’s not all that cool to hang out by the garbage pile (somehow I know this).

Once you begin tearing into your closets and drawers, you tend to find lots of things you thought went missing or have no idea where they came from. There are countless AA batteries and buttons that have fallen or rolled behind a chest of drawers or under the bed. There are the endless stragglers of tampons and single packet panty liners that bribe their way into the strangest places, especially purses that you haven’t used in years. Pennies. They are everywhere. Remote controls? They are in abundance and don’t belong to anything that you currently own.

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Tampons, business cards, pennies and old candy at the bottom of a purse you don’t even remember owning.

My greatest cleaning hardship is finding tons and tons of envelopes that have been opened and are now empty. Receipts are stuffed all over the place for things consumed long ago. Old pay stubs from former employers haunt the crevices of junk boxes, alongside business cards, expired gift cards, and a few of those letters that your mom has a tendency to send every other month (you know the ones that you run into just when you need that blast of encouragement).

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Then there are those junk drawers full of nails and screws, old pens that don’t work so well anymore, long forgotten holiday and birthday cards, and a mysterious collection of renegade beers caps magically glued to the inside. There are cabinets and closets filled with old journals, stuff from college, a zillion pictures, old medicines that “might still be good” because they only expired 2 months ago (even thought they’ve been in your possession for 4 years) and, of course, the always elusive piece of something that was a broken part to something else and you could never remember where you stored it (it was in a box inside the closet in the bag of bags).

At the end of packing, you are always so confident that everything is packed. My many moves have taught me that it is never this way. There is always a mad dash at the end, where random bags are filled with this and that and all of those. Somehow it is all so disorganized when it feels the most organized. Then your head explodes and you realize that you’re okay. It’s all just stuff.

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The move went smoothly, with one or two hiccups that sent me into panic attack mode, but we made it thorough. We went back to our old place to clean up and catastrophe struck. His Clamminess went to Brooklyn early to get started. While he was throwing garbage out, a gust of wind blew through the place and slammed the door… with his coat and phone and keys  inside. When I finally showed up, he had been locked out for 3 hours. Since we had married our keys for surrender to the landlord, my keys were also locked in the apartment. The Super (bless is tiny little soul) did not ever have a copy of the key and was not willing to help. He did, however, send a very sketchy fellow down who proceeded to break into the apartment (just short of busting the door down) so we could start what was meant to already be finished. 

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And seriously, that was the worst part of the move.

Our greatest challenge as of right now is finding enough furniture to fill the space and store our belongings. We are also having some issues with the heat, but our new Super is kinda super, and the space is starting to feel like home. The baby lions have made themselves extraordinarily comfortable on the piles of things yet to be placed in their place. I often ask Captain Clam, “How did all of this happen?” And all he says is “About 2 months and $7,000.” Every night, I poke my head out the window, look left, and soak in the nighttime skyline of the greatest city in the world and all I can think is “$7,000 well spent.”

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A small exaggeration, of course.

And that is where I’m at.

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