Thursday, November 30, 2006

An Arm and a Leg

We got the word yesterday that our board package has been submitted to the co-op board. Now we wait 4-6 weeks for it to be processed and reviewed before we are called for an interview. Then we wait to see if we are 'accepted.' Here is what we had to provide in our board package:
  • A copy of the executed contract of sale of our house in Houston
  • A certified financial statement with supporting schedule, including bank account statements, 401K statements, stock portfolio overviews, etc.
  • Employer's reference letter stating lenght of employment and annual salary
  • Bank commitment
  • Disclosure Statement
  • AZTECH Form Recognition Agreement
  • Bank reference letters for savings and checking accounts, stating type of account and amount on deposit
  • Three personal reference letters
  • Three business reference letters
  • Present landlord or managing agent reference letter
  • Most recent 1040 tax form
  • Lead based paing disclosure form
  • An application fee of $500
  • A vial of blood (just kidding!)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

National Lampoon's Moving Adventure

Scene 1.

Fade in.

A house in the suburbs of Houston. A handsome man in his 30s is drinking coffee and talking to his mother - a beautiful, blond woman - and his Aunt - an equally attractive redhead. It is his last day in town before he moves to New York.

What time is your flight?
In two hours. I just need to put the cat into her carrier, and we can be on our way.
A ruckus from upstairs disturbs the tranquil morning peace.
What was that?
Oh no! It's the cat!
The son rushes upstairs as fast as he can go. In the bedroom, he hears the hissing and spitting of his beautiful but misunderstood cat Meow, but doesn't see her. A less attractive younger cat darts out the door just as the son walks in.
What happened? Has she gone mad?
I think the other cat upset Meow and now she's hiding under the bed in a rage!
Gingerly, he reaches under the bed to try to coax her out, but she spits at him like a mountain lion.
This won't be easy. Get me a towel from the bathroom. There's only one thing to do.
Are you going to wring her neck?
No, i'm going to cover her head with the towel and hope that will disorient her long enough to get her into the crate. But you're gonna have to pull the bed from the wall. It's the only way I can reach her!
His aunt and his mother pull the bed from the wall, and the son throws a towel over her head.
Gotcha! Now, to the airport! My flight leaves in an hour! Hurry!
Scene 2
The family lets the son off at the airport. He carries the cat to the animal check in section. He grins with pride at the new cat carrier he just bought.
Airport Personnel
I'm sorry, sir. You can't use that cat carrier.
But I just bought it and I'm so proud of it!
Airport Personnel
Like I care. Give me your credit card and I will charge you for this 'deluxe' version that is the same size, but I get a kick back.
Ok. Fine.
Scene 3
The son arrives at the airport lugging two large suitcases and the gigantic, overpriced cat carrier. His telephone rings. It is his wife.
Hi honey!
I have a surprise!
We are picking you up at the airport! You don't have to take a cab.
Great! I wasn't looking forward to lugging all of this stuff. Where are you!
We are outside!
I'm outside. Do you see me?
No. Do you see me?
What airport are you at?
LaGuardia. What airport are you at?
The End

Chestnuts Exploding On An Open Pyre . . .

Just a note on giving thanks. I'm thankful that my friend The Chef wasn't maimed when a terrorist chestnut he was frying exploded, raining his kitchen, face, ear and hands with hot grease. His wounds have basically healed. Only his pride was singed. : )

His sacrifice was not in vain. I truly enjoyed the stuffing that the arrogant chestnut wrought.

Elevator Cat Walk

Working in New York is not that different from working anywhere else. BUT working for a really large company has distinct idiosyncrasies. Take, for example, the level of security. Both a badge and a fingerprint check are required. Pretty space age.

But the really interesting part of the Big Company scene is just the sheer number of people showing up for work every day. Throngs and throngs of people pouring out of the subways, marching like little pengins to the various office buildings in the financial center.

So many are heading toward my company alone, that there are two distinct traffic jams:
  • one at the 8 or so security kiosks
  • one at the elevator bays

For my floors (38-52), there are about 10 elevators. Starting at about 8:45 and lasting through about 9:20, people line up to wait for elevators. This creates an interesting "elevator cat walk phenomenon."

People group themselves near a certain elevator, waiting for it to open so they can ride up. Because of the huge numbers of people, there's no way you can be stationed across the bay and expect to make it on an elevator at the other end. This creates a kind of "cat walk" or "receiving line" by which everyone can see and be seen in the morning - checking out who's wearing what, who is arriving when and who is talking to whom. It's a veritable society breakfast/new york fashion (or un-fashion) show, as the case may be.

It certainly makes one pause while getting dressed each morning and asking the question, 'How will this outfit fare on the "elevator cat walk."'

Friday, November 10, 2006

You Old Bag

Those of you who have known me for a long time know of my fascination with purses. After my grandmother died a few years ago, I became enamored of purses (a great pleasure of hers), and changing them daily to match my outfits. Now while I sometimes dreamed of Louis Vuitton, my purse collection didn't necessarily have to be comprised of (nor did it in reality include) tres expensive designer bags. Instead, my focus was on unique and hip handbags, of the smallest size possible. In fact, a small purse was a source of pride. No stereotypical bottomless purses containing everything, including the kitchen sink, for me.

Well, folks, those days are gone!

Today my purse in more akin to a diaper bag. My new commute necessitates that I carry something that:
  • is large enough for a spare umbrella
  • can accommodate a pair of shoes
  • can fit a couple of reading material options
  • is waterproof

Alas, while I still try to match my massive bags with each outfit, 'fashion', I'm sad to say, has been replaced by boring practicality.

Where has my feminity gone? Bad shoes, lame bags, headgear. Is New York City, the fashion capital of the universe, going to kill my fashion sense? Will i become the bag lady whose bag is --literally -- a large, black trash bag, simply because it meets the above requirements? Where will it end?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A love letter to NYC - on foot

I supported a friend of mine this past weekend on a 26.2 mile love journey around all five borroughs of New York. It was the third time I have completed the New York City Marathon, but the most memorable. We took our time, and I enjoyed seeing all parts of the city at a steady trot.

After an unbearingly cold morning, race temperatures were fine. I ran the marathon not as a visitor, but as a New Yorker. What an awesome status.

I don't know if I'll every participate in the full race ever again, but every step of this one affirmed my decision to move here and my love for this city.

The Power of Routine

A couple of posts ago, I talked about how surprisingly mundane life in New York is. I may have sounded a bit disappointed. I guess I wanted every walk in the city to include two beautiful gay men - one tall and blond, the other tall and black - holding hands while the black guy sings at the top of his lungs, " I have a Dutch man. He is my Dutch man. I hold him every night. I hold him every morning. Because if I don't. He will find someone else."

No, every walk does not have a soundtrack like that. So while I lament the lack of some of that freshness each day, I have to give the power of routine it's due. Without a strict routine to keep me grounded, I am a walking disaster.

You remember the wallet incident. Since then, I have consistently left my phone at home or at work (it's really not a good idea for someone like me to be wandering around the city without my phone), left my lunch at home and left my iPod i don't even know where. I'm not generally this forgetful, and I've decided that it's the lack of routine that's causing all this turmoil.

Unfortunately, i've got several months to go before my long-term routine will kick in. First I was squatting at my college roommate's house. Now I'm renting his neighborhing rent house. There has been ongoing renovation at both locations, necessitating extended living out of suitcases, on couches, blow up beds, as well as teeth brushing in the shower. Odds are we won't close on our new apartment until January, and then when we finally move in, we are going to quickly rip up the kitchen just to keep things interesting.

So, if I seem to be a bit scattered, it's with good reason. I've got a lot going on. I can't wait to indulge myself with bit more obsessive routine - Although i hope it comes with a liberal amount of "I've got a Dutch man . . ."

Life and Death

You've probably heard that they found more remains of Sept. 11 victims at Ground Zero. Family members and others held a rally last week to protest what was in their mind a quick and shoddy search process, and to demand that building on the freedom tower be suspended until a more exhaustive search is completed.

I happened to be out and about that day, off to the attorney's office to sign my life away for a tiny, expensive New York apartment in Carnegie Hill, when i came upon the rally. It was set up near the Ground Zero viewing areas, at the mouth of the P.A.T.H. station that I frequent each day to get to and from New Jersey. It also happened to be set up in front of a farmer's market that sprouts up twice weekly to sell natural and organic wares amidst the concrete and dust.

What I found interesting was the juxtaposition of life and death. Here you have a mass grave upon which both the sorrows and aspirations of a new generation are being built. Amidst all of that sadness, greed and turmoil, there was also this very affirming symbol of life and goodness.

I thought this is one of those great examples of the fabric of human life - the good and the bad - stitched over one another like a beautiful sunset made possible by polluted air. It was a nice moment, and one I was happy to get to see.