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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.

box of junk

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. 


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.”


A small exaggeration, of course.

And that is where I’m at.

Adventure, Change, Journal, Memory Lane, New York City, poetry, South Bronx, This is my Soul, We're Moving

Memory Lane Journals

I always rethink the gratuitous “I’m sorry,” epsecially when I am writing, since it makes me look guilty of something. I am sorry for too many things these days that are not anything I have control of. My last two blog posts were either heavy or sentimental, and I really didn’t know how to follow with such deep, personal expression until I saw a dead pigeon outside of a restauarnt in the South Bronx last week. I saw it and thought it was a dirty hunk of ice/snow until a customer came in and was like, “hey, you know there’s dead pigeon out there.” I learned that it was s sick or super cold bird (since the high had been 18 degrees in NYC ) and he curled up and died alone. My heart broke a little (ok, a lot). I don’t ever want to be that pigeon.

Anyway. I am guilty since I haven’t posted as often as I’d like. I am only about 6,000 words into the 100,000 word goal for the year. Despite being in a weird winter funk,  I’ve been busy. You might even wonder why I was in the South Bronx…. Captain Clam and I were applying for and depositing on a little slice of heaven to rent until we can’t afford it anymore. That’s right, WE ARE MOVING! I can’t even believe how exciting that is. I didn’t want to announce it until we had signed the lease, but I am spreading confidence into the universe today and am pretty much already moved into the new place (in my mind at least).


We came home after the apartment viewing (and some happy hour wine and beer and oysters) and started organizing and throwing things out. Every time I move, it is THE BIGGEST walk down memory lane that I could ever wish for. I have been coming across some great memories these past few days. At my 30th birthday party, I had a card making station. These are cards that were made that would put Hallmark to shame. I even have a card from the Legendary DJ Jazzy Joyce, and I don’t even remember her being there! But… she was. I have come across so many things that remind me that I was super cool at one point. I even found my watch, which was missing for a week or so.

Since we are moving to the same neighborhood I used to live in, I am pretty sure I will still be “cool,” but in a 32 yr old kind of way. I am feeling so bittersweet about going back, but I really HATE Brooklyn. It’s just not for me. It’s great place, but I really don’t belong here. I lived in The Bronx for 7 years and never felt like I was out of place. I go back there to this day and am filled with disgusting amounts of energy ( and copious amounts of beer) and am surrounded by such comfortable friends, both new and old. There is no place (for the time being) that I would rather live. Plus, a two bedroom is so much more appealing than the sardine can studio Captain Clam and I are currently sharing with our animal roommates.

ANYWAY… I came across my journals from long, long ago ( like, 4 years +), and have been reading them. All secrets out, I have always wanted to be writer. This blog might be the closest I ever get… But I was reading this stuff from years ago, and was shocked at what I was saying. Of course, I had a few beers and was cleaning and thought that all of my words were complete poetry (and some of it is  poetry)… I thought I’d share with you.

Some of it’s a little “debbie-downer,” but it is definitely a reflection of what I was going through during those years. I was sick and sad, stuck in a relationship that was never going to go anywhere. I was almost finished with school and had no idea what I was going to do with myself (as if that is ever gonna happen!).

So here goes. Stephanie Janecek (copy written, so don’t copy me) is open to the public: vulnerable and naked (in a metaphorical sense, of course, also, I usually have no pants on when I am writing these blogs).



The drop of a hat

The drop if a dime

You held the rhythm

I held the rhyme

How sweet life was

Back in time

When music was simple

And love was sublime




All night.

How clever of the sun

To creep through the window

So slowly

At such an ungodly hour.

My eyes hardly blink

And I find

Allah in my rolodex,

Buddha in my reflection,

And Jesus in my rearview.

They show up



The music played

And I fell in love with the night

So sexy, with arms embracing

My cold shoulders.

I flirted relentlessly

Hoping the wine

And my smile

Would  steal the show.

The harmony persisted

And my face

Became a memory

Lost in a Cabernet Cabaret.

Summer 2008

Anguished children

neighbored by the beaten



The river has dried

And driven

Nature to be a fantom memory

Along with humanity



Darwin’s theory

Takes an economical twist

Excluding the Rich,



Victory does not come to those who deserve it,

But comes to those

Who pay for it.

2009 – ish

Haiku 1

Golden sunshine sky

Lazy afternoon cocktail

Careless summer ease

Haiku 3

Optimism Chart

Northernly navigation

Exclamation points!

February 2010


The talking machine is on again.

Mundane things have become so important.

I don’t leave my house,

And yet complain about the weather.

March 2010-ish

Haiku: Cat

Golden eyes open

Greets the day with purr and mew

Then goes back to sleep.

April 2010

Haiku: Music

Save my soul old friend

Count the days until the end

You…. stuck in my head.

I’ll save some of these little gems (and longer entries from my train adventures) and share on a rainy Saturday after the move. For now, my old notebooks are headed for a cardboard box labeled “Books.”