Sunday, December 26, 2010

I'm Baaaack!

Here I sit in my nice new completely chaotic apartment, full of food (including a whole mess of fresh oysters, which I'm planning to eat for breakfast tomorrow), and covered in boxes. One of said (unlocated) boxes contains all my clean underwear, which is rather a problem, but Sarah nicely went down to the basement laundry room for me, and I've got at least enough until I find that box. I also found (duh) the computer cords, so I am no longer deaf and blind to the world around me. Unfortunately, I have not yet found the box that contains the pound of butter (no, I don't recall whose bright idea it was to pack that...Sarah says it was me and I think it was her). Luckily, butter doesn't smell much as it decays...although I'm not sure that's lucky, because it means that I can't follow my nose to it...I suppose I'll have to wait until I find the box that's oozing.

Meanwhile, I am feeling quite deeply proud of myself, because by God, I managed to pull off our traditional Christmas. It damn near killed me.

I moved in on Tuesday, and our friend Shai (who has been my absolute rock through all this) came to help later. I sensibly had the beds delivered Tuesday as well, because if I had had to sleep on that damn couch one more night I would have died. This turned out to be a lucky idea on my part, since, due to the fact that neither the couch nor the big chair and a half would fit through the door of the apartment, I am now reduced to precisely one and a half pieces of black leather armchair and its matching ottoman. I also had to jettison two tall bookcases because they wouldn't fit in the elevator...and the guys had already had to carry three big bookcases up those six flights of stairs. I told them to leave the other two (which are or were taller and heavier) because I didn't want to have dead movers littering the hallways, nor did I want to have to pay tips amounting to the cost of the move itself. I can get smaller furniture. The kitchen table does fit into the kitchen, and I have plenty of chairs and two card tables.

I have encountered a few problems, such as the fact that there is no, repeat, NO damn storage space in the kitchen. I brought my nice kitchen cabinet, but it's filling up fast. I'll figure all this out...there's a Home Depot like four blocks away which has all kinds of nice wire shelving, which looks clean and neat, and they deliver.

Wednesday I shelved books in my remaining bookshelves and went out to Kmart for sheets and blankets and pillows. And I went to the grocery store, which is HALF A BLOCK AWAY! Is that neat or what? And within a block and half there, there's an all-night deli for party beer runs, a very good deli which has all my necessary newspapers, and a Rite Aid drugstore. That's all within a block and a half. What more can anyone want? And aside from my nice mundane grocery store right there, Whole Foods is three blocks away and Trader Joe's is a block and a half away. It is beautifully clear to me that I won't starve around here.

Thursday I kept madly unpacking, and Thursday evening my mother-in-law Ben arrived, and we went over to Sarah's bar to have dinner and then to the tree stand to pick out our tree. Oh, and the cable guy came on Thursday morning.

Friday was complete insanity. I went out to get: presents for Ben and Sarah (very few...give me a break here), the shrimp and lobsters for dinner that night (tradition), and plum pudding (also tradition). Oh, and to get a set of keys made for Sarah. This involved a cab from my house back to the West Village to the one place I can depend on for plum pudding...which was out of it. So another cab to two more stores (one cab...they're a block away from each other). And a stop at my favorite bookstore for Christmas gifts. And a stop at Barnes and Noble for another Christmas present. Well, the first store I went to in that direction may or may not have had plum pudding. but when I saw that there was a line of people waiting on the street to get in the door, I jettisoned that idea in one fast hurry. So I went down the block to the other store, and not only did they NOT have plum pudding, they have closed their fish now I have no plum pudding and no lobsters and shrimp! Another taxi later, I had the lobsters and shrimp (at actually quite a good price...usually I go to Chinatown where they're really cheap, but since there were only going to be six of us instead of the usual 15 or so, I figured I'd spend the extra money for the convenience). But still no plum pudding! But I called Sarah in a panic, since she and Ben were out shopping, and luckily she was able to find two little ones, which was perfect.

Billy Romp, our wonderful Christmas tree person, who has been a member of the family for many years, came over Christmas Eve morning to deliver the tree (a tiny one this year, only about six feet...usually we get a ten footer but God only knows where the hell I would have put it this year) and have a cup of tea and chat, and then Shai and Selina came over Christmas Eve, and we trimmed the tree and ate our lobster and shrimp and the glorious oysters Shai brought (with gorgeous sauces...the pomegranate is particularly toothsome). It was a somewhat bizarre meal, because at that point I had not yet unearthed the actual cutlery. Somehow we managed with plastic knives and forks and the one claw cracker I had had the sense to buy when I bought the lobster.

And we woke up on Christmas morning and opened our presents and I cooked breakfast, then we all napped, and then I cooked Christmas dinner (all as per tradition). Since there was only going to be me and Sarah and Ben for Christmas dinner, I got us some gorgeous filets mignon (instead of our usual roast), and we had those and pan roasted potatoes and gorgeous green beans from Trader Joe's and our plum pudding with proper hard sauce, flamed with brandy.

And now Ben has left on the rest of her round of holiday visits, and Sarah went to work, and I am sitting in perfect peace, having just watched Oliver and caught up with the world after my enforced internet hiatus, and we are in a blizzard...they're expecting 15 inches of snow. I am one happy, if exhausted lady.

I hope all of you had as merry, if not as idiosyncratic, a Christmas as I did!

Love, Wendy

Monday, December 20, 2010

Movers at 9 AM Tomorrow!

And I am signing off until Thursday morning between 8 and 11 am, which is when the nice cable people are coming over to hook me back up again.

Also, I am going to bed. If I see one more thing that needs to be packed, one more thing that needs to be put in the garbage, or, actually one more THING of any kind whatsoever, I am going to scream.

Yes, there are things undone, and I am getting up at five to deal with same...but my body has absolutely rejected me, and I'm taking it to bed. Well, okay, to couch. Where I shall sleep serenely, secure in the knowledge that tomorrow I will have an actual bed to sleep in. For the first time in a week. My back will thank me extravagantly for this, as I have been singlehandedly supporting the makers of Tylenol all week. Whether I will be able to find my sheets and blankets for this bed is an entirely other question...and at this point, I don't care. The notion of an actual bed is so exciting that I will sleep on the bare mattress and cover myself with newspaper and not give a damn.

And right now, I'm not going to even think about tomorrow morning. I am going to bed.

I'll tell you all about the move on Thursday!

Love, Wendy

Saturday, December 18, 2010

To Do List

Sunday: Keep packing up house, go to new apartment to pick up keys.

Monday: Final push...finish packing up, take out all garbage. Call cable company and electric company to get stuff switched over. Go to party. Well, doesn't everyone? Anyway, I deserve it.

Tuesday: Move starts at 7 am! Beds being delivered. Sheets? Damned if I know. I'll think of something. After down the street (only half a block to supermarket!), get food, eat the hell out of it. Mainly, find all kitchen stuff. Start unpacking...Sleep in bed (as opposed to sofa) for first time in a week! Yay!

Wednesday: Do all Christmas shopping plus getting little necessities like dish drainer and shower curtain.

Thursday: Unpack madly. Ben (mother-in-law) arrives at house around 6 pm. Go to Sarah's bar for dinner. Get tree delivered.

Friday: Run down to Chinatown and get the lobsters and shrimp for dinner. Come back, deposit same, go to grocery store for Christmas breakfast and dinner stuff. Find boxes marked Christmas. Decorate tree before dinner. Have 10 or 12 people for dinner.

Saturday: Open presents! Yay! Make and serve breakfast. Lounge around all afternoon until time to start Christmas dinner. Do that.

Sunday: Breakfast for Ben and Sarah (and anyone else who may be never knows). Ben goes back home. Sarah does whatever the hell she's doing, and I collapse into my brand new bed and sleep until possibly Wednesday.

But other than that, I really haven't got a thing to do.

Love, Wendy

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Yes, Virginia, There IS A Santa Claus!


Guess what I got? AN APARTMENT! My very own APARTMENT! A real, live APARTMENT!

I have absolutely no idea how I'm going to fit my stuff in it (mainly all those damn books), and I don't care. If necessary I'll hang it from the ceiling in one of those nets that people buy to hold baby toys. I'm setting up the move for Monday.

It's just a great place...tons of light because it's on a corner, and it's on the 6th floor (with an elevator, of course), which means I actually have an interesting view. It has two bedrooms, and mine is wonderful. It has a regular type door, but, for some odd reason, it also has big French doors with glass, leading to the living room. This means that I can use my room when we have a big party, and as the evening winds down, I can simply shut the doors (they have blinds) and go to bed.

The second bedroom is a small second bedroom, but then it's not used all the time anyway. The kitchen actually has room for a narrow kitchen table and chairs! Yay! I don't think it has a dishwasher, but I'm perfectly capable of washing dishes...I don't think I'm going to worry about it. The bathroom is also large, with room for freestanding cabinets for towels and stuff. And the living room will (I think) fit the couch, the two big chairs, and the TV and the record player (yeah, I've got one of those set-ups that plays records, tapes and discs and has an AM-FM radio - nobody separates me from my LP's, some of which are not on any other kind of media and quite me, anyway). And if I can't fit both the big chairs into the living room, there's room in my bedroom for one of them.

Oh, you think I'm leaving myself too little time to move? Hah. We moved into this place on December 23rd, 1992. We closed the deal at noon, and on the way home from the signing, I grabbed a man with a van sign on the supermarket wall and we moved. That day. I gathered up my gang and we fanned out and bought a card table and four chairs, two beds and a dresser. Then we went and got a Christmas tree. When I'm determined to have Christmas, I am DETERMINED to have Christmas.

I'm sure all of you helped with good thoughts...thank you for your care and concern!


Love, Wendy (who's MOVING...had you heard?)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Where Did I Get It All? WHY Did I Get It All?


I will be more coherent at some later date. And damn it, Quacky (made you look), I am too hysterical! Wait...that's not what I meant...was it?

(And the rest of you, never mind...Quacky is a VERY old private joke.)


Love, Wendy (who, in case you hadn't got the point, is packing)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Spinning Head City

Oh, Jeez Louise. I finally got the last piece of documentation for that application for the Chelsea apartment, but it required me to go to the bank this morning. The bank is at One Broadway, which is all the way down at the tip of Manhattan. I needed documentation that I actually had a bank account and have had one for years. Then I had to shlep that to Soho and go sign things at my real estate guy's office. Then I came home and packed things. Then Richard came over with the cleaning and hauling guy to estimate what I'm getting rid of (a lot). Then I packed some more. Then I said fuck this, and went to Sarah's bar for therapy. Now I'm waiting for Chinese food.

I am beginning to get just a little tired of all of this. I get phone calls all day, every day, from eighteen directions telling I have to get all this done by Monday. Well, that's very nice, and I've called in a lot of markers and have a couple of crews of husky young men coming to help (thank GOD for spaghetti sauce in the freezer). But there's one major problem.

I DON'T HAVE AN APARTMENT. Everyone is totally focused on me packing up and getting ut of here, but I have no damn where to go! I have no final word on the Chelsea place, and you are not going to believe what is being proposed to me.

In short, I am supposed to pack up 20 years of my life by Monday, and then (presuming this apartment doesn't come through) move all of that into storage, and stay with my daughter until I find a house.

As an option, this bites the hind leg. A: Sarah lives in Bushwick. It is forty minutes away by subway. Because of my chest problems, I avoid subways without elevators and/or escalators, because it takes me 20 minutes to catch my breath at the top. Sarah's stop is stairs. (Say that ten times fast.)

B. My mother-in-law spends Christmas with us. Hi, Ben, you're 85, you're (as usual) carryng a million pounds of luggage, and you have to get to this godforsaken place in Brooklyn.

C. At a very stressful time, I am stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Now, the second option is more workable but a LOT more expensive. This is that all my stuff goes in storage, I get a hotel room in town (with a second bed), and then Ben and I get car service to Brooklyn and spend those three nights with Sarah (23, 24, 25). This is marginally workable, but where the hell do I get 20 lobsters on Christmas Eve day in Bushwick? And if I take the 45 minute subway ride to Chinatown (which is where they're always bought), what then? Another car service? And what about our Christmas tree?

If I sound hysterical, I AM hysterical. Nobody (except Sarah, who's equally hysterical) seems to understand how I feel about our traditional Christmas.

I am now full of Chinese food. This will at least make me sleep...which I don't seem to do much at the moment.

But I am GODDAMNED if I'll let anybody ruin my beloved Christmas. If all else fails, we'll do it in the damn storage unit.

ARRGGGHHH! And, HHHOOOWWWLLL! Also HELPPPPP! And for those of you to whom it comes naturally (like me), a few prayers would not come amiss.

Oh, and P.S. Jane, that would be a trip to meet you! Let me know!

Love, Wendy

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Moving Right Along

Good heavens. I finally got my kid to come and help me with all this. Will wonders never cease?

We have just spent the evening packing stuff up (her) and throwing stuff out (me). Yesterday I had a great bit of of my favorite movies of all time was on good old TCM, so I used that time to pack books in the den. The movie is that wonderful old 1950's thing, King Solomon's Mines, with Stewart Granger (often bare chested...a definite plus) and Deborah Kerr. For work such as I was doing, movies like this are absolutely perfect, because you've seen them so often that you can concentrate on, say, book packing while still catching all your favorite parts.

I cannot imagine what some of the stuff I threw out was still doing in the house. Why, for instance, was I saving a bag of VCR tapes that someone taped off a television set? This group included a porn, I don't know either. I also found some strings of Christmas lights (belonging to my cousin) which were perfectly lovely, but they were so old that A. I was afraid to plug them in to test them, and B. half the light bulbs were missing and they are of a type not seen in years. Out, out, out.

And once I got to the bottom of that closet, I discovered that my poor cat was more acrobatic than even I the hell did he manage to get cat shit THAT far up the wall? He really did defy the laws of nature in that department.

I have skipped Boardwalk Empire tonight due to all this, but I'll catch it on the 8 pm repeat tomorrow night. Then there's a party with our long-time Christmas tree sellers on Tuesday night, and I still have two plays involving friends to catch...and then all I have to do is pack up the house, buy all the Christmas presents, get the necessary ones in the mail (which this year will probably be Express Mail), and get Christmas done. While moving.

How am I possible? And Texas Beth, believe me, you're going to have fun reading this madness, you fink! And I love you, Jane!

Love, Wendy

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Head Is Spinning

Hoo boy. Things do move fast around here.

The people who were renting that lovely apartment with the backyard suddenly decided they wanted to sell, not lease. Damn it. So Richard the real estate guy and I spent today seeing four apartments, two in the East Village and two in Chelsea on the West Side around 23rd and 7th. (And that's as specific as I'm going to get, okay? Everybody happy now?)

The first East Village one was small, but workable. Even had a decent kitchen. The second East Village one was even smaller and fairly useless to me. I know I'm not going to get the closet space I have here, which is amazing, but one good sized closet and one tiny sort of broom closet are not going to get me anywhere.

Over to Chelsea, and the first apartment was completely useless, because the guy who was showing it lied in his teeth. It did NOT have two bedrooms, it had one, and it was on the second floor with no elevator. Also, while the kitchen was filled with the right stuff, it was so tiny that you could barely use any of it.

Ah, but the second one! I'm rather afraid of saying it again (look what happened last time), but it really is wonderful. No outdoor space, but on the 6th floor of an old elevator building with a ton of light, a kitchen where I can fit a small table, and just lovely all around. AND high ceilings (don't forget my birdcage with the stuffed tarantula).

So now I'm in a mad flurry of sending the application and reference letters and tax returns and all kinds of good shit.

Oh, and the powers that be seem to think that moving out this coming week is a good idea. Of COURSE. Move out of the three story house in which I have lived for 18 years into a two bedroom a week. I think I should probably film this process for YouTube...or more probably, Fail Blog.


Love, Wendy