Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bed Bugged.

Two apartments and seven years ago, I was doing what most New Yorkers in their mid-twenties were doing – finding a new place to live after being kicked out by my insane current roommate.

She decided to move her boyfriend in and me out. But after only two months, I couldn't afford to leave. I asked if I could send the rent in two weeks so I could pay to move as quickly as she requested. And that's when she started screaming, saying she would call the cops if I didn't pay and leave immediately. So much fun. (On a side note, she was pretty and had a son who was staying with her parents in her native country in Eastern Europe. When I asked what she did for a living, she didn't want to say, but later vaguely referred to a job in "finance." To this day, I suspect she was a dancer or an escort.)

Thanks to the miracle of Craigslist, I found a new roommate pretty quickly, and moved into a miniscule room in a fairly nice Hell's Kitchen, sorry, "Clinton," apartment. If I bought a full or queen-sized bed (which was my preference), the entire room would have been bed, bed and more bed. So I compromised, bought a twin, and shoved a couple small pieces of furniture in there.

Two months later, Laura decided she wanted to move. She held the lease, and they were looking to jack up the rent, so I was once again out on my ear. I was furious she had taken me in, knowing she would be leaving so soon. I was also crushed and emotionally wrecked about moving for a third time in one year.

I called my best friend, K, and wailed, "She" sob, wheeze, sniffle, "toooooooooold me," sob, sob, hyperventilate, "to MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE," sniffle, sob, drop the phone, pick it up and start deep breathing. Because K has the Nancy Rosetta Stone, she understood and started to cheer me up and calm me down.

This is when I decided I was done with roommates. I felt like I had checked off a list of things I needed to accomplish. I had lived with a roommate's parrot, waking up each morning to violent screeching at 6 a.m. I had cleaned up the dirty dishes a roommate had left on my bed. I had been tormented by my roommate's mother constantly screaming about her daughter’s good-for-nothing ex-husband and unruly children. I had even been directed not to speak to the private detective following my roommate's married lover.

This is how I found myself paying way too much – and loving it – so I could traipse around naked in my Upper West Side apartment any time I wanted, sleep in, cook at midnight, and decorate any which way I wanted. I was in a studio apartment, so while it was bigger than the prison cells I was previously housed in, I now had to fit an entire apartment of furniture into one long room. Which meant I was stuck with the damned twin bed.

Three years and two rent increases later, I was looking at an empty bank account and a quickly gentrifying neighborhood. Next door, a sign went up over new construction that read, "Coming soon – 2 to 5-bedroom Condos!" However, what I read was, "Dear Nancy, it's time for you to move. You can't afford it here anymore!"

I can take a hint, so I started looking. Washington Heights, the Lower East Side, the Upper [Upper] East Side. My mother kept recommending Astoria. And I kept telling her, "Forget it! Queens is where old people go to die."

In a moment of desperation, I considered having a roommate. She and I went out to Astoria, where she showed me the neighborhood and explained that, 1) she didn't believe in air conditioning, and 2) she had an algorithm to determine television volume, based on a variety of factors: time of day, number of people at home, and if she was taking her meds (that last one was unspoken).

Needless to say, we parted ways – but I was hooked on Astoria.

So here I am, three years later, loving my family-friendly neighborhood and my one-bedroom apartment. Yet I never replaced that effing twin bed. Yes, my living room couch pulls out into a Queen-sized bed, but it’s lumpy and awful. And not particularly practical.

On Friday, mother called and said, “Sleepy’s is having a sale.” With her bartering skills (by telephone, no less!) we used her senior citizen discount to take $200 off a fantastic mattress set.

It was delivered on Saturday, and I couldn’t stop grinning. Here we are (“we” meaning me and Sleeping Beauty, my new mattress):

I keep smiling every time I walk into my bedroom. No more pushing pillows onto the floor when it’s time to go to sleep. No more feeling like I’m laying in a coffin.

Here she is on Sunday morning, after the first test run:

I’m in love. What a beauty!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

On a recent trip to Stew Leonard's -- the inestimable, incomparable grocery store that my grandmother Barbara often called a museum of food -- I discovered that my photo-resistant younger brother, Josh, is a big chicken. Wait, no, I meant he likes chickens.

The same guy who will only take family photos after no small amount of coercion, will apparently jump into any old shot if it involves this:
Really, could he look any happier? I have NEVER received a grinning, twinkly-eyed, thumbs-up pose from Josh. Not even once.

If you look closely, he's even subtly restraining the man-chicken from running away from this momentous occasion by stepping on his large, orange toe. (Do chickens have toes?)

So Josh, be forewarned, I am hiring the man-chicken! You will appear in family photographs, and you will like it, even if it means that Six-Foot Sammy next to you will be in them too.