I Underestimated That Bitch Sandy!

If I could get in touch with my mother right now, I’d actually let her indulge in saying, “I told you so” over and over. She had been ranting about this storm since last Wednesday when I was too busy to care — wrangled up in grad school midterms and World Series prep at work. I should have paid closer attention. My mother is like the boy who cried wolf too many times, after a while you just stop listening.

Last year’s Irene had spurred full panic mode in my family, leading to what turned out to be the unnecessary evacuation of my father from Rockaway Beach to my mom’s house in Staten Island, where he was stuck for a week. And it turned out to be not much more than a rainstorm. I thought this time it would be more of the same — worry up, hurry up and then nothing. I was wrong.

It was awkward for my father to stay there last year with his ex-wife and her husband, my stepdad, but it surely must be more awkward for him right now to be without power and a phone. He didn’t want to evacuate, he’d ride it out, he said. I’m sure he’s fine, just frazzled. But I don’t know for sure. In the morning, I am driving out to Rockaway Beach, if I can get over the bridge to check on him. I don’t know what I will find. I’ve seen pictures of the streets covered in thick sand. Will I be able to drive through that? I’ve seen more pictures of over 50 houses burned to the ground in Breezy Point, just a few miles from him. I’ve heard the boardwalk lifted off and flew into a building’s lobby — destroying the pool. Ok, he does have a glass lobby, but thankfully, no pool.

He’s on the fourth floor and had plenty of food. But he’s also partially disabled since his stroke ten years ago, and this is feeling eerily familiar. The unease, the unknown. I will never underestimate a storm again.

I was foolish to think I could enjoy a day or two off from school and work — not with this massive anxiety. Sandy, you bitch, you got me!

 

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Thank You Sandy!

Even after witnessing the zombified masses assaulting every aisle in the grocery store today, after locking down the furniture on the rooftop, after receiving numerous calls/texts/prayers from both my alarmist mum who lives in Staten Island and antsy father who lives about 20 feet from Rockaway Beach — I’m thankful for Hurricane Sandy. Sure, she’s a pain in the ass and getting larger by the hour (like Kirstie Alley after she stopped swallowing Ex Lax), but she is also a GIVER. A giver of a day off from school and work. She is providing me with more hours to sleep, more time to cuddle with my puppy and boyfriend, and an unexpected holiday from routine. The daily grind of shower, subway, coffee, work, grad school, dinner, study, read, sleep — needed to be broken. At least for a day. Maybe if I’m lucky it will be two days.

Ah, how I look forward to not hearing the alarm clock in the A.M., to not putting my underwear on backwards in my morning frenzy, to not tumbling down the subway stairs to catch the B train as the doors are about to shut in my face!

Rest, sweet rest. So Sandy, I hope you’re not too hard on us, maybe just a little bit of flooding that quickly recedes…by Thursday.

Batter Up!

Since my first day at MLB, J. has been pestering me daily, “What about tickets? Your pass work? You’ve been busting your ass and you don’t even know if you’re gonna get tickets?”  I refused to ask. I’ve only been in the office a few weeks, when the others have multiple baseball seasons under their belt. Besides I’m not one of those with a sense of entitlement. I feel I have to EARN everything.

Friday was one of those work days where it was suddenly 3pm when I realized I hadn’t eaten lunch or even made a trip to the ladies’ room all day. My legs began to buckle a bit as I jotted down notes from one of the coordinators on postseason signage. “Are you ok, there?” He probably thought I had been taking shots from a flask hidden in my purse.

I expected Playoff season to be busy, but not brain-fizzling busy. I can barely put a sentence together at the end of the day. And with  so many “clinch” games on the line, the travel plans for the business staff are set and reset every few hours. From a logistics standpoint — a huge headache. Where is Doc Brown and his time-traveling DeLorean when you need him?!

As teams got eliminated, we happily tossed their postseason paperwork in the trash,  one less ballpark to worry about until the spring. Smack in the middle of this planning maelstrom, one of my cohorts called in sick — for two days! Dude was sick from being hungover. Pile it on, bro.

Someone not super-wise and a bit egomaniacal did share this spot-on nugget with me a long, long time ago, “Out of chaos, comes opportunity.”  And that it did. I evolved into the “clutch” team player and was rewarded with some newfound respect, trust and — tickets to see my Yankees clinch the ALCS! Seeing the sponsorship details I work on come to life in my hometown ballpark, filled with over 40,000 striped fans (including my boyfriend) makes getting out of bed everyday worth it. And the best part was I finally got J. to shut up about the tickets! But Lord help me if the Yanks make it to the World Series…

Dizzy With Jazz

Having lived in NYC my whole life, I’m amazed when I’m asked to do something that doesn’t solicit an automatic “Been there, done that” response from my lips. This holds especially true being the other half of a city-dwelling couple. So on Monday night when J. suggested hitting up some jazz at Lincoln Center, I didn’t shrug him off. I’ve never been particularly fond of jazz, to me it’s music reminiscent of a time past, way past…a score playing in a movie…or an elevator.

But Dizzy’s  Club Coca-Cola (nice naming rights, Coke!) is intimate, with a stunning view that looks out on to Columbus Circle and Central Park. As I had predicted, J. and I were the youngest in the room, and I caught more than a few pairs of eyes dart our way, wondering if we had stumbled by accident into this venue, thinking some world-class DJ was spinning. Instead, just a few feet away, the saxophones, trombones and trumpets came to life. And damn, does that sax bring sexy back!  When the notes of the musical instruments collided, it was pure magic. I recommend to all — even my hardcore, hip hop loving friends. And if you can, pull out the student ID, there’s no shame in taking advantage of a discount. Mo’ money for some cocktails!

Next Up: An opera where we don’t understand a word except “Ti Amo”.

There’s No Crying in Baseball!

When I decided to go to grad school full time this semester, I took a big leap of…faith…of the unknown…of “Why the hell not?” I had been waiting on an offer for a VP position at an established Media Company, and it was going on way too long, over two months. I know a VP role is a big deal, but really after 60 days if you’re still on the fence about me — I don’t want to work for you. Not to say if they call on Monday, I won’t pick up, but I don’t sit still.

Last week, in addition to the three classes I’m taking at night, I started my MLB graduate assistant/intern position, which is full time, EVERY DAY. Walking out of class Tuesday night at 9pm, I got caught in a monsoon in Midtown, and spent 20 minutes looking for a store to buy a notebook. When I finally found Office Depot, it was CLOSED. A deluge of tears added to the rainwater already soaking me. Hunched under a broken black umbrella in Times Square, I was relieved to find a quiet moment in one of the busiest intersections in the world. I bawled for 20 minutes. It wasn’t about the notebook.

It’s been said, “The more you do, the more efficient you become.” Right now I feel like a juggler trying to balance on a a giant exercise ball, tossing eight flaming torches in the air. But I know this is the only way to reach my goal: Landing a position at a Tier One Company that I LOVE. To be more clear, a place where colleagues aren’t stealing my ideas while telling me to “Work smarter, not harder.” Yes, theft is definitely working smarter, my dear.

So why am I questioning my decision every hour on the hour? Exhaustion. I’ve been sleeping an average of six hours a night, because when I get home I want to unwind and hang out with my boyfriend and puppy.

And them? They miss me…well at least the puppy does! J.  isn’t used to me not being available on speed dial in a moment’s notice. “What do you mean you can’t talk at work? Why aren’t you answering my texts?!”

But all this prep is for him, too. When I’m happy with what I’m doing, it gravitates to all beings in my life. When I’m miserable, and contemplating a career as an arsonist, I can be quite scary. He is experiencing his own growing pains in the real estate world — unreliable clients, unbelievable competition and super quick-turnaround on properties.

If we make it through the next three months — especially with Baseball Playoffs + Grad School Midterms in October — we will have rounded a major relationship base.

Wish us luck or wish us failure…only time will tell.

Chug It While You Can!

With the approval of NYC’s ban on sugary drinks over 16 0z., a debate is stirring between me and my soda-guzzling man. I admire Bloomberg’s efforts to curb obesity…and yes, it’s a small step, but it’s a step in a path less glazed with sugar.  J. thinks people are entitled to drink whatever the hell they want, whenever they want. He drinks Coke, I drink Diet Coke. When we go to the movies, he comes back from the concession saddled with popcorn, mozzarella sticks and a drink larger than my head — that’s empty before the movie even starts (thanks to the 25 previews!). Neither of us is motivated enough during the flick to go for the free refill, but we have grabbed it once or twice on the way out. So what will we do now? Smuggle water bottles in our bags, just like everyone else. Besides, what’s a large soda cost anyway? $10? Bloomberg will not only be helping our waistline, but our wallets.

I used to be the kind of girl that got offended when a waiter automatically brought me a Diet Coke when I had asked for a Coke. What, just because I had two X chromosomes it meant I only drank diet soda?! But that’s changed. I gave up sugary drinks years ago and lost five lbs. within a month. I also changed my morning brew mixers to nonfat milk and Splenda vs. the old standby — milk and sugar. Amazing the difference that makes. Yeah, the first few weeks were awful, but your taste buds adjust so you should literally suck it up.

J. is the type who chugs Mountain Dew from the bottle (without pouring it into a glass), eats chicken wings drenched in blue cheese and convulses when I mention using whole wheat pasta with sauce on Sundays. His mashed potatoes have two sticks of butter and I usually can’t move off the couch for two hours after eating them. He’s young and thin and can get away with it for now…but I am trying to slowly break him of these habits. He’s started to eat salmon, albeit with a pound of those butter-soaked mashed potatoes on the side, but still it’s a new food group!

So kudos to Bloomberg for taking a small, yet important step that will be criticized by consumer groups for months to come. I got your back. Change takes protest!

Reinventing Ourselves, Reinventing our Relationship

New York City is an island of reinvention. Running from a failed relationship in Long Beach, after originally running away from Staten Island, I erased years when I moved to Manhattan. It was like they had never happened, there were no painful memories waiting around each corner. The city was home, a familiar refuge since I was a child. J. ran away from the south, he has his reasons, I still don’t know all…and along the way we collided. And he did collide with the sidewalk after a drunken cartwheel the night of our first date –that completely wiped out a street vendor’s book display.  I was instantly smitten by the acrobatic attempt to impress me.

Our passion for change and success fuels a part of our relationship. So it’s not surprising that during our coupledom, we’ve gone through half a dozen jobs collectively, always striving for a little more. When I met J. he was at Columbia, and now I’m back in grad school at NYU. I’ve always been one of those to brush off grad school as something “Not necessary”, and praise on-the-job experience. But after recently working for a few start-ups with little leadership and daily-changing business plans, I’ve only learned “How not to do it.”

Fueled by J’s intellect and subscriptions to Fortune, Forbes and Sports Illustrated, I’m back in school and about to begin a grad school internship at Major League Baseball. Back to sports, the only industry I’ve ever truly LOVED working in. Without J.’s support, it wouldn’t be possible. For his part, he is now a licensed real estate agent working with one of my former roommates and his boss whom he met at a July 4th party. Strange how the dots connect so many years later.

Each time we reinvent ourselves, we inevitably reinvent our relationship, a shifting of priorities and adapting to new timetables. For now, this is the path I’ve chosen, another zigzag on my blueprint. I refuse to spend eight or more hours a day in a place that suffocates my integrity, my creativity and my soul — I don’t care how much the paycheck is. It took me too long to learn that lesson. How does J. feel about being with a Grad School Student & Consultant vs. a Director with a six-figure salary? I’m sure he misses my monetary contributions, but I was a cranky, stressed-out bitch. So was it really worth it?

The tables have shifted at least for this semester. J. will be bringing home more of the bacon and I know he can do it. Real Estate is his passion. And now it’s time to get back to mine — Sports & Entertainment.

No matter what trials we go through, I always tell him, “I’ve had ten more years of life then they were given, I am going to make the most of it.” Sending love to heaven to my high school and college friends lost on September 11. Joseph Doyle, Mike D’Auria and Noell Maerz. We think of you every day, not just today.

The Booty Call Girl Never Wins

I share. Sometimes I overshare. I’m not a private person. What’s the point of this journey if I can’t help others overcome the same crap I’ve just gone through?

Ask me whatever you want and most of the time (unless it’s a really sensitive subject), I will give you a completely honest answer.

If you want to Google-stalk me and nitpick through the details of my life, feel free, I am flattered. Flattered that you find me interesting enough to obsess over my words and dissect my actions. There’s enough about me that’s public on the web. I am a digital strategist, so wouldn’t I suck at my job if I weren’t actively engaging on the platforms I promote every day?

I try not to judge you. I’ve been out there. We all have. Out there in the hooking up/dating/more than dating/totally together/go fuck yourself/drunk dialing/back together/off again/on again roller coaster. There is a reason why some couples stay together and some can’t stand each other. I’ve accepted my past relationship failures, why not try and accept yours?

Find someone that calls you before 1am. Find someone that calls you when they’re sober.  Find someone that doesn’t keep you a secret.

BUT DON’T EVER – put me down or underestimate me! I remember seeing your late-night texts pop up on his iPhone way back when. The booty call girl never wins. You lost a long time ago. Goodbye.

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You Can Take the Girl Out of the City, But…

The plan was to check out Overlook Point and have a nice picnic. I assumed we could just drive up and then walk the maybe 500 yards or so. Having never been on an “official” hike before, I thought 45 minutes on the elliptical every now and then had to count for something.

This morning I dressed in running shoes, shorts and tank top, but it was cold (65 degrees), so I threw on jeans, layered on a few tees and put on flip flops. The running shoes just didn’t go with the jeans, and then what if my feet got sweaty, I wanted to be able to breathe, and I did just get a nice pedicure…and J. was like “Come on already! If you change one more time!” So twenty minutes later, while walking up a dirt path which I assumed would lead right up to a beautiful vista, I found myself stuck in the middle of trail central looking like a prissy, clueless, city girl.

I cringed every time hikers passed us in full regalia — backpacks, tread-worthy boots, fanny pack/water belts. Not only was I wearing flip flops, but one hand was clutching an iced coffee and the other was toting along a beach bag filled with towels, my Kindle and a bottle of Riesling. To lighten the load, I took a swig from the bottle…and then another one.

At least I remembered to put my hair in a ponytail, but that was really because I didn’t feel like washing it. We’re in cabin country, outdoorsy, one-with-nature vacation mode. Besides insects love freshly shampooed hair, I wanted to disappoint them.

Overlook Point wound up being a 2.5 mile hike up a rocky, slippery mountain.  When we finally made it to the top I thought about Ziplining down, but unfortunately there was no Zipline to be found. So more Riesling it was.

Was the view worth the hike? Sure, but taking a tram up would have been so much cooler!  End Result: NO sprained ankles or serious injuries, just some stinky clothing. I also christened the “You’re 1/2 Way There!” rock by squatting behind it. When nature calls…

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Escape to the Dogskills

The water gushes past with little effort marking its territory and providing its own hypnotic soundtrack.  It’s not the sound of a busted open fire hydrant drenching the neighborhood kids on our scorching city block. This water doesn’t have a cool-down mission. It’s just riding the land, grooving down the creek, maneuvering its ways through the beaten rocks.

We left the city this morning, and I’m trying to adjust to the stillness, the quiet…the no cell phone service, no Stephen Colbert. I was fidgety for the first few hours — what do I do with these mountains, trees and dirt paths? And what’s that — sniff, sniff. Oh, fresh air.  Such a silly statement, but true, it’s like switching from rusty tap water to Evian. With a silent iPhone I’m instantly brought back to the 80s traveling with my dad and grandparents aimlessly driving around upstate NY, looking for a pay phone so we could find some distant 3rd cousin’s summer barbecue. Ah, that reminds me, we may have to go cousin-hunting tomorrow…with Facebook tagging it’s hard to take a quiet weekend away anywhere.

At this moment, it’s just me, J. and super-pooch who looked up at us with raised eyebrows and a little drool when we told him we were now in the Catskills. Catskills?! Who’s representing the mastiffs? He asked us in his canine murmurs to call it “the Dogskills” for the weekend. You got it Cozi.

Here we have no distractions…except for maybe a bear? I suddenly wish I had read those warning signs back on the winding roads. And J. is of course grilling on the back porch, inviting any beasts lurking in the woods to come on down and take a bite — of the bratwurst, not us!  If I don’t post again, you know the bears got us….