My Mom and BF Text…ALOT

I’m not a PHONE PERSON. Not anymore. When I was 16, I could be found with a cordless smooshed into my cheek, talking to a boy or two on the phone for hours on end about absolutely nothing. Now, I communicate in person with raised eyebrows, shrugged shoulders and a wicked laugh. Or long distance via text, emoticons, Facebook, Twitter and my staple, email. Even professionally, I prefer email. I’m shocked when someone leaves a voicemail.

Picking up on this, my mother began texting about two years ago, happy to receive a response from me in less than 10 seconds, albeit sometimes short and sometimes snotty. Around the same time things became more serious with J. She was relieved that she no longer had to worry about me coming home late at night to an empty apartment in the East Village or being kidnapped on the subway. J. was either with me or waiting up for me. So began her nightly texting shoutouts to him, “Where is she??? Is she home yet?” when I was out of touch for more than 30 minutes after 8pm. They evolved into much, much more.

Mom Texting

When J.’s phone vibrates it’s either a TeamStream sports update OR my mother. They organize brunches, discuss borrowing the car, arrange dog-sitting Cosimo, even plan the Mother’s Day restaurant — WITHOUT ME.

Some boyfriends hate when the mother sticks her nose in. But Dee Dee is often invited to offer her opinion…unless it’s not the same as his. I can only tell you how annoying it is to hear, “But your mother said…” in the midst of an argument. I wish I could get even, but J’s parents DO NOT TEXT. I’m only copied on cute animal emails from his mom. I must, I must — teach her to text next time I’m in North Carolina!

Though I have to give my mom kudos, she’s a super-texter. There are nights when J. and I will simultaneously receive multiple paragraph-long texts from her with different messages at the exact same time! Most include an emoticon and some reference to scripture or telling me/him what to do (even though we didn’t ask).

Here’s a typical paragraph-long text:

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So my friends, do your boyfriend and mom text??

Rainbow

We’re the Living Stat: Cohabitation Rises to 48%

In New York City, living together seems to be the natural progression of a relationship. Why pay double the monstrous rent when you’re sleeping over every night anyway?

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If my grandmother were alive today, she would be cluck-clucking her tongue, frowning and whispering in J.’s ear to “buy the cow.” But it’s not the 1950s, and in my own family there have been 12 marriages (and multiple divorces) among only a few women. I am not one of them.

By age 29, more than a dozen of my friends had both walked the aisle and filed for divorce. Losing homes, losing heart and losing hope wasn’t a path I wanted to follow. A divorced friend shared, “It’s better to say you’ve at least been married once.” I don’t agree. Maybe I’ve been more cautious, but I knew the signs of when to run…

“If you want the ring, don’t move in.” That old-fashioned sentiment has certainly worked for some, but it’s just that — old-fashioned. The truth is you really don’t know someone until you live with them. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, cohabitation is on the rise, rise, rise. Many of these cohabitating couples go on to marry within three years. Speaking on behalf of my fellow cohabitators, I already feel like I’m married.

You have to do what works best for you. There is no formula for the perfect relationship. Some see marriage as the finish line. WE all crave love and companionship, and whether it’s  cohabitation or a church wedding, it’s love. That will always be the key ingredient.

To my 13-year-old nieces, I only advise you to follow your heart, not to be pressured by your peers, your mom or any man. Never lose yourself in the process. And if you do decide on the big-church wedding, I will be there donned in pink taffeta ready to throw some glitter your way!

Love,

Rainbow

Hibernation May Lead to Temporary Insanity

When There's Nothing Else to Do -- Cuddle!

When There’s Nothing Else to Do — Cuddle!

I know I’m going to regret these words, but here goes. I am BORED out of my freakin’ mind! From having barely two hours of down time a week to now having lost track of what day of the week it is — because there are just TOO MANY days in the week. WTF is wrong with me?! It’s Winter Break, never one of my favorites even when I was an undergrad, because it takes Girl-with-the-Dragon-Tattoo-digging-herself-out-of-a-shallow-grave-type will power to get out of bed in the morning. And by the time I get going, it’s dark an hour later.

January sucks. And right now I’m in limbo. Grad school doesn’t start up again until the end of the month and I’m interviewing for a full-time position, which even though I’m in a relationship, reminds me of online dating.  I.e., Have an encouraging profile (LinkedIn), Wink (send your resume), Stalk (keep following up for that interview), First Date (the anticipation — oh will they like me?), and Second Date (ok, they kinda liked me), to the Offer (Will you stop texting that other dude and move in with me?). I know, I know. Patience. But it will always be a virtue I just don’t get.

To J.’s delight, our apartment has never been cleaner. I do the laundry EVERY DAY, I’ve been sorting the whites from the darks, scrubbing those tiny, hard-to-get surfaces in the tub with a toothbrush, going on long dog walks with Cosi and analyzing his doggie doo (too many eggs!). I have organized the contents of my drawers by color, shape and size. I’ve cooked two nights in a row. And I NEVER cook. I’m reading the mind-numbing Where We Belong by Emily Giffen, because I’ll feel guilty if I don’t finish it. I’ve become addicted to International House Hunters on HGTV and see flashes of exotic beaches, lanais, and thatch roofs appearing in my dreams at night. I wake up not to an alarm clock — but to a 130 lb. Mastiff enthusiastically licking my armpits, which should make any girl feel really good about herself.

J. is more stressed as he transacts and interacts with his real estate clients, and I add to it by annoying him constantly, let’s do something! And today, sensing I may pull a Shining moment — “Heeeere’s Raaaaainbooooow!” with my hair sticking up and a kitchen knife in hand, he rolled out my old red Trek covered in two inches of dust. Once he carried it down two flights of stairs and filled the flat tires, there was no backing out. I felt my thighs painfully contract as they struggled to make the wheels turn in the city streets. My inner eight-year-old woke up and yelled, “Hey lady, are you kidding me! Did you forget how to ride a bike?!” Slowly it came back, even though I tripped over a curb in Central Park while trying to change gears and almost fell into a grassy knoll. Way to make an impression as you enter the bike path.

J. and Cosi ran next to me and then, past me, even though I was the one on the bike. The cyclist pros of the park also sped by with their two thousand-dollar gliding machines and padded butt pants, gel packs and shiny helmets gleaming in the winter sun. I was donning a ski hat and black sunglasses, sans fanny pack and water bottle. The runners panted by, little dogs squeaked by, and even a wheelchair or two outdid me. But it’s cool, I can handle it, I was just happy to be riding something other than the subway.

Riding in Central Park North

Riding in Central Park North

I feel better now, even though I’m walking kind of funny. I just wish that global warming would subside a bit, so we could get some snowflakes and I would feel less guilty about my winter agoraphobia. But hey I just found my “Happy Light”, so that should crank the energy up a bit.  Thanks mom, for the gift and inference that I was suffering from SAD so many years ago. Ok, back to annoying the crap out of J., hopefully he has unearthed a board game or deck of cards or something…

P.S. When I’m insanely busy and blotchy with stress in a few weeks, please remind me of my winter doldrums…and how lucky I was to be able to sleep in!

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”.

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.

My Boyfriend is a Slob!

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After he puts his contacts in, he leaves the disposable packets on the bathroom sink — every morning! “Do you need theeeeese?!” I holler, one hand in toss mode. I know the one time I don’t ask it will be his very last pair that he hadn’t had a chance to put in yet and he’ll be blind for the day and oh god, why didn’t I just ask…and so I do. EVERY MORNING.

“Nooooooo,” comes his response like clockwork. Sometimes, I feel like I’m living with the 13-year-old version of J., like he’s traveled back to the awesome 90s and is going to come strolling into the bathroom in his soccer jersey and mullet…well it wasn’t really a mullet, just some sort of hair tail growing off the back of his head. But anyway, “Why is it so hard to throw them away?!” I nag while I do an exaggerated step and arm swing towards the trash can like I’m pitching a softball in slow mo. “Watch me!”

He smirks. It also drives me crazy that he drops his dirty clothes right next to the hamper, right…next…to…the…hamper. And when he insists that making the bed is a futile effort, “We’re just going to crawl back in later.”

“It’s the focal point of the room,” my OCD snaps back.  I’m the type of girl that cannot get dressed unless the bed is made. Messy bed, messy head. Yeah, that’s me.

So I’ve taken on the role of cleaning lady and launderer (as in clothes, not money…at least not yet) and he’s the top chef in our kitchen. Fair trade, minus the nights he calls Papa Johns!

What drives you nuts about your man?

After 18 Months of Cohabitating, A Fresh Coat of Paint

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It never really feels like “home” when you move into your boyfriend’s apartment. In more ideal circumstances, the newly cohabitating couple will devour Craigslist ads and eventually find new digs that are not a memorial to things past. But when you’re testing things out, as I was a year and a half ago, it was an easy way to dip my toes further into commitment.

18 months later, and with a revolving door of subletters at my studio downtown, I’m still here. Still on the foreign Upper West Side, populated with puppies of all shapes and sizes and those magical pixie dust fairies. So this is where they keep the children?

Yearning to get rid of the “I’m just crashing here for a bit” feeling, I talked/nagged/hypnotized J. into repainting our bedroom. It had been a super-masculine dark green and gold — stripes and remnants of bachelor pad days. The mirror above the bed is still there. It makes the room look bigger. I try not to think about the other images that reflected back before mine.

Of course, J. could never slap on one coat of paint in a solid color. Being the artistic, always-starting-something-never-finishing type he chose implementing frieze — whatever that is, and drawing a city skyline super imposed over the frieze…and 10 days later, there are still tarps and levels and brushes everywhere. It’s like living in the set of the movie, A Beautiful Mind. The walls cry out “Feed me, feed me” waiting for J.’s inspiration to strike. PLEASE strike.

Knowing how much I miss the East Village, he’s drawn and painted the skyline of my old block on my side of the room (yes, we have sides). It’s strangely comforting. Maybe he’ll work an image of the Staten Island Ferry somewhere in those blue shadows, too. I grew up there, but there was nothing more satisfying than running away.

I’ve never picked up a paintbrush in my life. Coming from a somewhat artistic family that’s surprising. But that’s how I’ll get him to finish. With paint roller in hand, I’ll mix in some pink and do a happy skip to HIS side and say sweetly, “I’m just going to touch this up a little bit…”