Thursday, October 29, 2009
Today I got a hair cut in Manhattan, using a special discount card we bought as a promotion from a new salon that is looking for clients. Its not fantastic but maybe it just takes getting used to. Then I used an Old Navy gift card I got from one of my parents at work to buy a new shirt for my birthday. Thanks! I also came home and cleaned the apartment and hung some pictures in my room.
I'm feeling really discouraged and am just trying to keep busy. I signed on to an employment website last night and applied for a job at NYU. Other than that I just don't know what else to do. Today I was looking through photos and saw a picture of one of the kids in my old class. Looking behind him though I could see a bulletin board I had worked really hard on and my language board and I burst into tears. Its so far away and I can't believe sometimes after those years of hard hard work and love I left it behind. It wasn't always easy to work there but I sure miss it sometimes. Feeling like I was good at something and needed and appreciated. Now I just feel useless and lame. My apartment sure is clean though.
Here's something interesting and not depressing though: I live on the Q line of the subway and I noticed something fascinating a few weeks ago. If you get on a train that is heading to Manhattan and sit on the inside side, facing so that when you cross the Manhattan Bridge the Brooklyn Bridge is behind you, and you look out the windows after you go through the DeKalb Ave station, before the bridge, there's an illuminated animated cartoon painted on the wall of the tunnel. The train passing it makes it be animated, like a flip book and it goes pretty quick so I had to remember to watch for it a few times before I saw the whole thing. Sometimes the train slows because of congestion and then you can really see it but most times its over in a flash. Anyway today I finally remembered to google it and found out its an art installation called The Masstransiscope! That's something I really love about the Subway. So many surprises like buskers doing any imaginable kind of performance or music or unexpected artwork.
I guess that's why I'm here. A change of pace and the potential for surprises in my daily life.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I came home after that and took my laundry to Courtelyou and then cleaned the house. Nothing too exciting. Late yesterday afternoon the first temp company called with a one day job filing. I haven't heard from the place I interviewed yesterday.
I'm off into the early morning rain to my first work in New York City. Hope its just the start of a new chapter.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Today we slept late and when we got up decided to go out to Coney Island to see if the Wonder Wheel was running today. It was a beautiful day but when we got there there weren't even cars on the Wonder Wheel. Guess its closed down for the season. We got food at Nathan's Famous and then went to the Coney Island Museum, which only costs a dollar. After that we went for a walk on the boardwalk before coming home.
Now we are having tea and watching 60 Minutes in our cozy living room. Tomorrow Laura starts working a temp job at the Showtime Network and I have an appointment at the temp agency that got her that job. Hope I get one too!
To see more pictures of our weekend feel free to go to my Kodak Gallery. The link is in the upper right hand corner of my blog page.
Friday, October 23, 2009
Last night we went to Jim Brady's pub around Wall Street to see my old camp friend Thom Miller play an acoustic set. It was so fun to see Thom again and meet his friends. We also met a couple new people from Brooklyn, including an Irishman named Garry who gave us the scoop on bars in Brooklyn that charge a little less for their draughts than the pub we were in. We closed down the bar and then headed back to Brooklyn, stopping at an Indian diner where Laura's friend Katie got a delicious sandwich. We came home, Laura and I had hot dogs and we watched Cash Cab before going to bed.
The weather is so dreary today and I don't have a job yet, nor have I heard from anyone that I've tried. I will go do my paperwork for the new temp agency Monday morning and hopefully they'll give me a job as quickly as they did Laura. This morning I made french toast with the old bread we had and made Laura a birthday cake. Once I've washed all the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and had my shower, my to do list will be all done until Monday. Hope we find some fun this weekend. I can't wait to have some visitors. Jake will be here next week for my birthday so that's something to look forward to.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Laura and I decided to get out of the house again today and went into Manhattan to see some sights. We went to Rockefeller Center, saw the lights of Broadway, had New York style pizza slices, visited the Dakota and walked through Central Park and then FAO Schwarz. It was really lovely to see some New York-y things. Can't wait until I have the cash to buy the floaty pens I see around. I also saw a lot of things I'd love to give as gifts if I ever can.
Tomorrow I'm going to get up early and redouble my efforts. Better to have a plan than feel sorry for myself I guess.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday night Laura and I met her Peace Corps friends Molly, Mollie and Steph. We went to Union Square, near the NYU campus where the Mollies go to grad school. We got margaritas at Happy Hour price which was great until I dumped a whole one into my lap. Not fun and I had to sit in cold margarita-jeans for the rest of the night. Next we went to a really nice brewery called Heartland Brewery. They had Smiling Pumpkin Ale with a crazy faced man on the logo and other cool specialties. I got Berry Champagne Ale which was delicious and came in a pretty glass with fishnet stockinged legs all around it. We wished we could keep the glasses, although lord knows Laura and I need glasses the least at this time.
Yesterday was not too productive. I sent my resume to that one admin job and did some cleaning and dishes. Laura and I packed up our laundry in the rolly cart and headed to Courtelyou to try the other laundromat. It was much smaller than Mr Wash but more of the machines were working and there was at least one seat. Lots of interesting people watching too. We came back and had some vegetable stir fry over pasta and then watched some TV and went to bed.
Today we hung out a bit at the house. I applied for that job and then we walked up to the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. We decided to walk up the street a couple blocks over that backs up to the train tracks on the other side. We had noticed that one of the houses we can see from our windows has chickens in the back yard and we wondered what kind of neighborhood it was. Wowee. Every house on the street was a gorgeous Victorian mansion. So beautiful. We figured out that the one with chickens is one that looks a lot like Tara from Gone With the Wind from the front. Nice. It was beautiful weather and we had a nice walk up the park to get to the library. We got our library cards, picked out a few books each and then got on the subway to go and find Target!
It was nice to see familiar retail, silly as it sounds. We got some necessities for the apartment and then headed back here. We got off the train at another station and walked 13 blocks back to our street just to get a new look at part of the neighborhood. We saw a giant Sears store so now I know where one is, and a lot of duplexes. Some parts of it really reminded me of DC.
Now we are having some wine and we just tried out some Milli Vanilli dance moves. Next is Trivial Pursuit, making it a perfect Laura and Katy evening at home. This is what I'd always imagined we'd do.
Have I mentioned how much I'd like to get that non-profit job about kids and baseball?
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Yesterday I came home after having a delicious breakfast of delivered French Toast and watching home improvement shows with Laura. When I got back I had a shower, cleaned up the apartment one last time before Laura and her parents arrived back and relaxed with my tv. Laura and her mom and dad got in around 6 and we carried some things she'd brought back from home. After some unpacking, and setting up our new wireless router and coat rack we went over to Picket Fence for supper. Picket Fence is quickly becoming my favorite restaurant in the area. Besides sweet potato fries, one of my new favorite foods, they have the most delicious macaroni and cheese I've ever had, and fantastic fried chicken. Laura and her mom got salmon BLTs and Laura's dad got chicken pot pie. Yum! Also Picket Fence delivers to our door and we can order online. We came back to the apartment and introduced mom and dad to Catchphrase, had some Brooklyn Lagers and some box wine and went to bed.
Today Laura's mom and dad left in the morning. Laura and I initially decided to take our laundry out and go to a farmers market and the grocery store, but when we saw that it was raining, we axed the laundromat. We decided to go on a weekday when maybe it is less crowded anyway. There's a year round farmers market by our branch of the library on Courtelyou so we hit that up first. We took our little old lady rolly cart and bought apples, garlic, eggs and lots and lots of vegetables. Then we went to the Met for our groceries and came back to the apartment with a full rolly cart and several bags besides. Now we have full full pantries and lots of delicious local produce and we are trying out the new karaoke system Laura got for her birthday. Too bad my blog doesn't have audio, you're missing Laura killing with a rendition of Piano Man. I'm so happy she's back.
Friday, October 16, 2009
I finally got up to my window and picked up my brand new rolling old lady cart from mom!! Thanks so much! Now we can transport our laundry and groceries around the neighborhood a little more easily. Mom also included a really ugly but totally useful plaid old lady cart liner! We're gonna look awesome and our panties won't fall out on the way back from the laundromat or get wet if its raining. Hooray!
After that I came back here and got ready for the interview. I was showered, dressed and made up with plenty of time to leave the apartment with an hour and a half leeway to get to Madison Avenue. I caught the train from here to Herald Square, which I must say is the subway station with the best buskers I've seen. This morning I was treated to a fat Asian man singing Ave Maria on the main floor and a happy man playing steel drums down on my platform. I waited there for the V train.
And I waited.
And I waited.
Six F trains passed by but not a single V train. I was getting really antsy and soon 11:30 turned to 12 and 12 turned to 12:30. I checked the map and the platform signs several times and knew I had to take the V train to get to the 5th Avenue station. When the seventh F train came at 12:45 I was panicking a bit. I ran up to the street and hailed my very first taxi. I'm so glad I had grabbed cash on my way out the door. From the taxi I called Talbots and let them know I was going to be late. I can't believe I was late to a job interview. I'm never late, especially to work, and especially to an interview. I had waited to long for the stupid V train that never came and now it was already 1. I decided to stay calm and if anything it was a sort of sign that it just might not be meant to be. My taxi driver kindly raced me through the streets dodging between cars and other taxis just as you'd expect from a down to the wire New York taxi scene. I got there at 1:06.
The interview went fine I guess. This is the flagship store and its six floors high. I would be expected to work weekends and the pay isn't ideal. I did ok on my interview questions and got leveled up to a second interview there and then. That went about the same and they said they'd call me in about a week for a third interview or send me a regrets letter. We'll see I guess. I'm not on fire about it at this point. The clothes are really nice and the hours are ok too, except for the weekend part.
Tonight though, I'm going to my first New York rock show. Laura DeWitt is taking me to see MIKA who sings Grace Kelly. It should be really fun and I'm excited. Laura comes home tomorrow! Then I'll have a roommate again and I'll think about what to do about a job later.
Finally, another sign that I live here: got our first gas bill today! And the lease. Besides the obvious, this means I can get a library card!
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Its very quiet in my apartment and I'm dying for a great big hamburger and some company. I better save my last bits of cash until some money comes in so I will have some beans instead. It looks like I might get to go to my first NYC rock and roll show on Friday night! Laura DeWitt is taking me to see MIKA who is one of her favorite artists. Should be really exciting and hopefully by then we'll be celebrating my employment!!
Oh a couple very small cool things happened today. To be prepared for going into Talbots today I ironed a shirt but when I plugged in my iron it completely fell apart. I had met the lady next door in the hall last week and she had told me to come over if I needed anything so I rang her bell and borrowed her iron. I don't know why but it tickled me to borrow an iron from my neighbor, because you see, I live here. Her name is Millie and she is very nice and two doors down on the right is Sondra who has a walker. They told me that everyone on our floor except us and the other next door apartment have been here for close to 20 years. That explains why its so quiet.
The second thing is that on the Subway platform at Courtelyou Rd I ran into one of the mom's from the coffee shop that I had given my card to last week. We smiled and said hi. Its starting to feel a lot more familiar around here.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Pastor Kenn Nilsen, my friend Sarah's dad and my former boss at camp recommended I try to find a year-round job at a Lutheran camp up here in NY. I got really inspired thinking about it and sent them an e mail this morning. I also decided to go ahead and start working at Talbots, the place where I temped the week before I moved, until something that is a good fit for me comes along. That will be a paycheck for rent day and I can build up a business wardrobe. I had my sister call one of the managers I worked with and am waiting to hear back. I told her I could start tomorrow so that would be really terrific! Retail isn't my favorite but neither is unemployment.
I added two new albums to my Kodak website: One of the apartment hunting/moving process and one of the fantastic camp reunion. The link is on the right side of this blog.
Thanks to everyone who put up with my tears and anxiety this weekend. You were all right, I'm fine. I appreciate everybody's faith in me.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
E 17th St, about a block down from our house. These houses are huge!
Tuesday evening I met up with a very old friend: Courtney from way back in my music camp days. She hasn't changed a bit. We went for dinner and beers at a little bistro called Picket Fence on Courtelyou Rd, the same street where my coffee shop is. The food was Delicious and not too expensive and they deliver so once I am making delicious food money I will probably get food from there a lot. I had a hamburger and sweet potato fries and tried a Brooklyn Lager, Gee's favorite beer in America! All were terrific.
Yesterday I woke up and got ready for work, and called the temp agency. No dice. I went back over to Vox Pop and started trying to think outside the box. I researched portrait studios and applied on the online generic form for Sears Portrait Studios. Not sure where there are any Sears here so that might be a dead end. Other portrait studios seemed to be singular artists, not the kind of place that will let me take Christmas card pics for families. I also checked Craigslist for ads about babysitting and nannying. There were many more Nannies than Nanny wanted ads. Then I looked at local independent bookstores. I emailed a couple and then saw a website for Strand Books. It looked amazing, downtown on Broadway and right off of the Q train that runs by my house. The employment section of the website said they had regular job openings and to come in and apply. I walked back to my apartment, put on my job-gettin clothes and went to check it out. I thought I was so clever and that when I got there they'd be so happy to have an applicant. "Oh there you are!" they'd say with open arms as they rushed to submit my direct deposit form and w2. Sadly, when I got there and smiled winningly at the clerk and told him I was there to apply he directed me to the 3rd floor where they have an application station. Apparently a lot of people apply to work there. The application went really well until the end where they had a literary match test. Matching ten authors with books they had written. Unfortunately the books listed weren't the authors most famous works and I bombed it. I DO read!! Ugh. I put my pretty little application on a big fat stack of other applications and headed home. I'd really like to work at that bookstore, friends. I looks like a cool work environment where I could do a good job at something I care about. They said if you application is accepted you'll hear in about a week so keep fingers crossed. Then I came home to charge my cell phone, called the temp company again and ventured out to do laundry at the laundromat.
I need one of those urban wheely carts you see sometimes. Lots of people here have them to get their things back and forth from the laundromat or grocery store. I had to carry my basket the two blocks to Courtelyou. I went to Mr. Soapy where there are no chairs and lots of broken-down machines. It was not a lot of fun.
This morning I got up for work again and again got a 'I'll call you if' from my temp counselor. So here I am back at Vox Pop. I just gave my card to two young mothers who were chatting about babysitters though. I was nervous and felt like a creep interrupting their conversation but it can't hurt to get my name out there. I have references and experience and I'd much rather find babysitting work by word of mouth than Craigslist. After being so brave and forward I treated myself to a bagel with cream cheese.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Today I got up and put on my business clothes and took my laptop in my briefcase downtown to see the counselor at the temp company. I met Laura DeWitt at her work to get printed copies of my resume along the way. THANKS LAURA! It went pretty well. I managed the Subway just fine and found the building too. The temp visit went pretty well. I apparently did excellent on my computer skills tests and she said I wouldn't have any problem but I'd need a more corporate wardrobe. Yikes! I was wearing my dressiest interview clothes. It was black slacks, black pumps and a Burgundy buttoned blouse, tucked in. I don't have any suits that fit and only one or two skirts of inappropriate length. And I'm BROKE! I sure hope Laura has something in her closet. Not even sure what is more corporate than slacks. She didn't have anything for me today but she asked me to call her back this afternoon. For now I'm relaxing at Vox Pop with a great big mocha.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Don't we look amazing in these pictures?
Friday morning we all got up as early as we could. We boarded Jake's dog and Laura's friend Katie met us and we hit the road. Laura and Katie took Laura's parents Buick and Jake and I were in the U-Haul. It was a long cloudy drive to NY. Everything went pretty boring at first. Jake and I played 20 questions and Catchphrase and talked. Laura and Katie had gotten a head start on us while we were taking Oren to the kennel so they were about an hour ahead.
We had gotten our directions from Google Maps and Laura and Katie arrived at our new place and called back to us on the NJ Turnpike to clarify some points with us. We pulled into the toll line at the Holland Tunnel and were so close to arriving around 3 at our apartment giving us plenty of daylight to unpack and return the truck. What a good moving day we were going to have. When we got up to the window though the toll taker told us that trucks were not allowed in the Holland Tunnel and we would have to pull forward to the waiting police officers for further instructions. Oh no! We pulled up and the police asked us to open the truck!! Yikes. When opened the only thing visible was mattresses. He asked what else was in the truck and I told him housewares and that we were moving and thankfully he let us go without actually searching it. This is great news and was helped, I think, by my girly behavior when opening the door latch on the back of the truck.
The officer told us we would have to redirect to the Lincoln Tunnel and made it seem to us as though it would be simple and evident when we got there how to get to Brooklyn. He also made it seem like the tunnel was very close by. We followed his directions to get to the tunnel. We trucked along a bit and I got out the handy dandy road atlas mom had stuffed into the truck cab that morning. Of course we missed the tunnel the first time by and ended up way out in NJ, but we got to see the Meadowlands! We stopped at a service station for directions, turned around and finally found the tunnel. We could feel that we were really close to getting there now!
When we finally got through the mayhem at the tunnel we found ourselves in MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. Also there were no signs for the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel or any other thing related to Brooklyn. At all. And we were in a U-Haul! Yikes! I used the map to get us from the tunnel to the other side of Manhattan. The streets were gridded and things were pretty simple so far. Well not simple, we were driving a box truck in midtown Manhattan after all. Now we needed to find a bridge to Brooklyn. I found the Williamsburg bridge on the map and managed to direct Jake there but when we found it we were beneath it. We turned back toward Lower East Side Manhattan and snaked through one ways to get to where the bridge began. We followed signs all the way up to a nice jersey-walled dead end. So we backtracked, backtracked, lefted and righted until we got on the bridge. The bridge led us to the Brooklyn/Queens expressway at rush hour. Awesome. THEN there was a break in the Jersey walls where you had to cut across to go to Brooklyn or stay in the lane we were in to go to Queens. We couldn't possibly make that cut in the U-Haul so I told Jake, its ok, we'll find a way off this freeway and turn back once we were in Queens. That opportunity didn't come to us until we had already hit the Bronx. We got off in the Bronx and then I learned that a general road atlas will not help you find surface streets to get you to your apartment in Brooklyn. I called Laura pretty frantic and she guided me through Queens into Brooklyn.
Now we just had to take one road to a stop light and turn left into our neighborhood. Hallelujah! We could just TELL we were going to be there really soon! We followed the road and just like Laura had told us it led almost right up to our neighborhood but just before we got to where we could turn a car pulled up beside us and shouted that we couldn't go that way. No commercial vehicles and we would definitely get a ticket.
Before I go on I should tell you about the mood inside the cab of the truck. I have a terrific boyfriend and I love him so and he loves me too. However, we came very close to killing each other on Friday. Everything was funny when we couldn't go through the tunnel. It was cool when I accidentally directed us to the Meadowlands. Things were tense through Midtown and nobody was happy around the Williamsburg Bridge but by the time we got on the expressway to the Bronx I was crying and I definitely screamed 'JUST GET OFF THIS FREEWAY' in the kind of tone people usually reserve for phrases like 'SOMEBODY SAVE MY BABY' or 'YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE!'. So by the time this man shouted up to us that we, once again, would not be able to follow the directions we had to get to the apartment I was just plain desperate. I told him we needed to get to Beverly St and when he told me we'd have to take a service road I shouted down ' Can you LEAD us to Beverly St????'
And he did. He lead us off onto the service road and almost all the way to my street. He got out at every couple lights to come back to the truck and tell us where he was going next and he wouldn't take any cash from us. What an angel.
When we finally got to our building it was dark and Laura and Katie had been there hours, unpacked her whole car and eaten supper. We double parked the U-Haul and unloaded it into the lobby. Laura and I decided to return the U-Haul so that Jake could have a break and so that Laura could use the maps and her superior knowledge of the area to save me from feeling lost anymore that day. So after all that I actually DROVE the U-Haul in New York City myself. Something I never thought I'd do. When we got back to the apartment we were all exhausted. We had some beers and champagne and chatted and played Catchphrase. Then we went to bed for our first night in our new home.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Time to stop, eat some food for the first time today, and breathe. The power and gas are on for tomorrow and the truck is in the yard. Things are definitely getting taken care of. Oh, looks like its time to take the chair I'm sitting in out to the yard. Yikes.