291. New Year, New Perspective

I decided to change up the layout … 290 posts with the same look can look a tad monotonous.

Returned from a heavy rehearsal today: I worked my muscles and my mind! Our theater project is about death (feel-good show of the year this one). We’ve interviewed people, ourselves and we’re starting to compile the script. Piece by piece and rehearsal by rehearsal the puzzle begins to fit together.

Today someone shared and performed some beautiful text about someone members of our cast had lost. After a few tissues and tears, they began to share memories about their departed friend. I began to picture who he was: I saw someone young and feisty in my mind, I pictured many people I knew. He was a cynic, I gathered, as many New York City/artists are and as people began to speak about him I felt sad that I could never know their friend.

My cast mates and I discuss, in every rehearsal, the morbidity of our show, we make jokes, we dance, we work; today it was nice to speculate and think on a life. And it made me reflect on my own, as one selfishly might when dealing with the ideas of mortality. Their friend was “curmudgeon,” someone said. He would, more often than not be down and out about the stressful occurrences of the drag that is an artistic city life: it’s lonely, it’s crowded, it’s grey, it’s fast, it’s expensive: today sucks…but as his end came near he said that overall it all was great!

And isn’t it when we look at a life? Day to day it is really hard and this and that are always the WORST thing, at least that’s how I often see it, how I too often see it.

But it’s not the worst thing. There will be bad days, and if today is as bad as it gets, know that by tomorrow, today will have ended.

The perspective that I keep telling myself I should have. Sometimes yoü’re right.

290. To Whom It May Concern

Recently it seems as if my life and apartment have been falling apart. Okay, so that’s a bit dramatic and nothing is in as much of a shamble as I think it to be; however, today I spent four hours crafting this email to my management company. When I sent the completed draft to my mother, she said that she laughed out loud MORE than five times. So I figured, why not share this with my masses, my Readers who seem to think that my writing is either witty or entertaining, either way, you always come back for more and I am ever so appreciative … here are a bit of choice words for management from us in apartment #1! Hopefully, it all get’s better. :)

Dear Office of ______________ ,

I would like to begin by stating we appreciate your efforts in repairing the issues we have been facing in our apartment these past few weeks; however, I need to convey the frustrations that have burdened us since the beginning. We are living in an unfinished apartment.

Again, while we appreciate your attempt in repairing our apartment…I must admit a lot of our frustrations come about the daily inconveniences caused by the Superintendent and “Private” Contractors that are working on our apartment. We moved into a “newly renovated” apartment that should have been completed to entirety upon move in date of December 1. If renovations/repairs were not expected to be completed by said date, notification should have been provided at lease signing.

We have not had working heat since move in. I’m sure you have been aware of the erratic winter with it’s many temperature fluctuations and yet, through it all, our apartment has not had a consistent comfortable internal temperature. The first email sent to Repairs was sent on December 3rd. Our Superintendent came in to open all of the radiators, an effort we had already made ourselves. At the time the New York City winter was pretty mild and our Superintendent promised us that the heat would probably be turned on as the temperature dropped. It wasn’t.

The email I sent on December 5th read thus: “The super did open the radiators, but we are still currently not receiving heat. As it is December 5th and 55 degrees outside, I would expect the building’s heat to be on. I’m assuming the gas line upgrades are what is affecting the heat? Please let me know if there is a certain date or temperature that the heat will not be on until and we will bundle up accordingly. Thank you again for your time.”

For a majority of December most of us were away and visiting family for the holidays. Upon return, the heat within the apartment had not changed. Since then we have had several visits from our Superintendent regarding this matter. When temperatures outside hit a low of 3 degrees not only were our radiators barely producing warmth, but our windows had iced over with ice on the inside! One morning my roommate, whose bed is against the window wall, woke up in a puddle of condensation!  We approached our Superintendent again, who then said that management was looking into the building’s boiler. Now, whether that was true or not, he then explained that the reason our south-facing windows had iced over was due to wind and condensation from the river. This meteoric phenomenon is known as “Lake Effect.” For definition’s sake, “Lake Effect” is produced during cooler atmospheric conditions when cold winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, providing energy and picking up water vapor, which freezes and is deposited on the leeward shores. So what I am supposed to believe is that the Hudson River is blowing east-bound wind through the New York City Streets and making only street-facing apartments icy? Sure. Let’s suspend our disbelief together: that still doesn’t change the fact that I have ice on the inside of my newly renovated apartment that is now melting into the drywall windowsill, potentially creating future structural problems.

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We then suggested window insulation. That might prevent the ice and condensation? Our Superintendent stopped by again with a team of workers and some Saran Wrap. Yes, I’ve seen this used as a form of winter insulation, in trailer parks, but maybe this will help insulate whatever minimalist heat our radiators are sputtering out, or protect us from the harsh Hudson winds. Attached you will find the photos of the insulation just a few days after installation. Please note how well the adhesive is holding up. Please also note the water stain left that has not yet been repaired.

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Moving on to the most recent of inconveniences. We received a notice on __________ letterhead that our gas line had not been hooked up to the Con Edison meter. On Thursday, January 9th a work team from __________ came to assess the situation and found a pressure leak within the walls from the gas pipes behind the kitchen cabinetry. We were informed as tenants, that an external gas pipe was to be run from the oven to the meter in order to regulate gas use. We would not allow work until speaking with upper management regarding this soon to be structural eyesore. On Friday, January 10th your workers returned to install 1″ black pipe of galvanized steel to connect our appliances to the meter: a beautiful white backsplash wall now marred with a dark intrusive metallic “accent”…how industrial. The new pipe also conveniently runs through a set of kitchen cabinets preventing use of kitchen storage space, the main reason why we chose to rent this apartment in the first place.

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That same Friday night, I returned home from work with the intent of doing a quick load of laundry in preparation for my next day’s work. When I turned the washer on, water began spilling out of the bottom. Immediately after noticing the new leak, I ran to the machine to pause the cycle. The water continued to drain out of the front of the door even as the cycle had stopped. I put down towels to soak up the water and a large plastic trash bag to protect the new hardwood. I then had to manually drain the rest of the washer by emptying cup-fulls into the sink. As if I were fetching water from a well, I spent about a half an hour repeating this monotonous task. Upon further inspection, I realized from where this leak had sprung. The rubber gasket, that lines the machine door, had a break in it. To prevent mold and mildew smells within the unit, we like to leave the washer/dryer door ajar. Either our repairman’s ladder or foot had nicked the rubber, but this new missing chunk had now broken the seal to the machine rendering it unusable. An emailed request was put in that moment to have someone sent out immediately. Unfortunately, the earliest someone can inspect this issue is Tuesday. Once again, the in apartment washer/dryer is another factor on why this apartment was chosen.

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On this fine Monday morning, a “Professional team of Plumbers” hired by __________ Residences, came to…well, I’m not really sure what they came to do, but as they marched through my living room with large and dirty work boots, tools and ladders in tow, I asked, “What is the purpose of today’s visit?” I was informed they were still here to look at the pipe protruding from the wall. I left the room and one phone call later I returned to the kitchen to find a large hole in the drywall above the cabinets where the gas meter sits. Sheetrock had been littered everywhere: debris on top of the cabinets, the countertop, the floor, the FOOD and dishes that had been sitting on the countertop! Once this mess had been pointed out to the team of professionals, they took my plastic trash bag that I had set on the ground to retrieve any left over dripping water from the washer/dryer and placed it on top of the already trashed food and counter!!! Professionalism at it’s best, if I may say so myself.

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At noon the workers left for a lunch break and failed to ever return. Debris is still everywhere and has not been cleaned or removed from our cabinet space and cooking surfaces. I do not believe it is our duty to clean their mess. If someone is going to come into our apartment, hired from or part of the __________ team, I ask that they take responsibility for their “work” and be courteous to the apartment that we spend $2600 a month to rent as well as be respectful to the rest of our belongings and our purchased food.

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I have barely had a moment in this email to address our broken buzzer, the three open-ended pipes, one that leaks fluid in one of the bedrooms, the handle-less cabinets, the towel rack that has fallen out of the wall after improper installation, and the hot water that never seems to work at the most inopportune moments! The fact of the matter is that you have us living in an unfinished apartment with damaged and unfinished infrastructure under the guise that this place in newly and fully renovated. This is false advertising and it is unconstitutional. My roommates and I have called all day long to no avail, twice we were hung up on and frankly we are tired of hearing about everyone, but the Finance team, being in a “meeting!”

I would like to schedule a meeting with a supervisor who will not only remedy these problems, but financially compensate us, via prorate, for our damaged food, damaged belongings and a general waste of my time. If these issues are not addressed I will be forced to contact 311.

As this has been the longest email I have ever had to write, I appreciate the time you took to read it and I expect a response within two business days.

Sincerely,

ME!

289. “…But I Can Be Tonight…”

It’s been the slowest of busy seasons. A season of post nasal drip and not auditioning and new apartments and drunken fights and sobering truth bombs.

I just returned from Christmas in Wisconsin, only to make my way by taxi and train to Suffern to see my family again only a few hours later. My paternal grandmother passed away December 23rd at a wonderfully ancient age of 92; a great run, in my opinion! I love her so much and I will always think fondly on our Polish curse word lessons or when she would yell at everyone else but me, as I was the first and favorite grandchild. :) How many times did she tell her favorite childhood stories: about the goose that bit her so her mom killed and cooked it; a simpler time indeed!? She and her love for ice cream were so wonderful and she will be missed by many.

It felt strange celebrating a holiday of birth in the wake of a tragic loss. I guess there really is a balance, said the Libra. And since it’s about to be a time for resolutions and new beginnings, I thought I’d start anew. This blog began as a way to inspire and encourage: myself, the Readers, strangers that come across my writing on the interwebs?! I’m typing on my phone, draining battery by keeping “Gypsy” on repeat and feeling a ton of love for my family and friends. And I hope you all know how appreciated your love and support are: Yoü, Bear, my Secret Gov Agent, my Ladies Lunch crew, my SnapChatters, Mrs. Squanto and all of her new dogs, the old and current Factory gals, Cecily, City roomies past, present and future, Athens drinking buddies, second Atlanta homes and families, second Jersey homes and families, second Wisconsin home and family. I am blessed to know you and to have your friendship.

Tell everyone you love them when you can: how about now!

My view from the plane this morning.

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288. Rock of Labia & Other Since Adventures

A blog several weeks in the making. Readers, I’ve been busy. I’ve been busy slaving away at a job I loathe (how did I find myself in this position again) and I’ve been enjoying the company of my long lost kiss. I haven’t had time to write because I’ve been so busy.

Started on September 18th (the day of the Rock of Ages Dance Call)

Here I stand, in navy fishnets, my push-up bra, my Leo legs hiked up to my navel, hair teased, lips lined …. even some fucking blue eyeshadow and I’m going home. Today I was “typed out” of the Rock Of Ages dance call. First of all, for those muggles who don’t know this term, allow me to elaborate. At an audition many people will show up. The first to arrive are usually the non equity actors. Those of us fortunate enough to be non union means we have to get up extra early, put our names on a list and wait to go last. I’m sure I’ve defined it in previous blogs as steerage of the acting community. So I arrived and put my name on the list. I was number 37.

Then the equity actors show up. They form two groups before us non-Eq riffraff and dance while I stretch my legs all over the place. The monitor announces that they are planning on “typing” the non union actors. “Typing” is when the casting panel selects certain actors to stay and audition because they have the “right look.” Sometimes they’ll line you up and pick you out like a herd of cattle: if you look right you get a chance to audition, if not you go home. Sometimes they type by height, body shape, dance ability (yes sometimes they’ll ask you to do a standard routine or few dance moves, such as a double pirouette into a batma, to see your technique.)

So I stretched. I stretched so much that my fishnets ripped up the middle and quickly became crotchless: with how high my legs were pulled up, I was bound to slip a lip during this dance or whatever they had in store for us. Then the monitor called us all together into the holding room from our little corners of the sky for stretching … “If I call your name, you will stay for the dance call.” This time they just looked at headshots, not at how sick my legs looked in my leo, not at my great hair and makeup job … a selfie that I’ve photoshopped into a headshot that is here to just get me by … well, not this time.

I looked to my left on the subway, a man stares at me funny. He’s probably thinking to himself, “Gee, Ive never seen a hooker out so early.” I look to my right and there’s another. A beautiful young girl, blonde hair and bright red lipstick, dance pants and her backpack full of supplies. We smile at each other because here we are together, headed home after the axe.

Now October 5th:

My last day at BA was yesterday. No costumes necessary, no hulabaloo, just the end. OR the beginning? Tis the season to start trying harder. Tis the season to fit up, trim up, dance hard and screlt harder. Auditions are coming in hot now and it’s time to stop messing around.

I haven’t written about it at all because I’ve been so caught up, but he finally came here. :)

We’ve been to an audition together where we screlted out best and I think I made an impression. We’ll see when I audition there again.

And the endless delicious dinners, surprise roses at work, slow dances and serenades in the subway cars and the arguments … oh the arguments! But I’m enjoying it, all of it. It’s more of a challenge than I thought it would be, but I think it’s going really well.

I’ve been a little homesick recently and I think he’s a bit insulted. See I always felt lonely with all of my closest friends and family far away. Then we formed the First Wives Club and the city seemed easier. It seemed more adventurous. I felt more present. Now I feel a little lost again. I’m not sure if it’s been the job, if it’s been the lack of Ladies Lunch, but I know that I’m going to feel more myself again soon. With the stress of BA behind me it’s time to yoga myself into a balanced serenity again. It’s time to lip trill every morning and find a pianist who will help me find songs that are fabulous for me. It’s time to put the pink tights back on and get yelled at for not standing up perfectly straight and turning out!

imagesOctober is my month! Coincidence that my horoscope says this? “Happy cosmic New Year! Friday’s new moon in Libra hits the refresh button on your internal browser, clearing away history…or at least helping you to focus on the brighter days ahead. You only get one new moon in your sign per year, so this is kind of a big deal. Spend time writing out wishes, ones that you’d like to manifest in the coming six months. How would you like to grow in the year ahead? You have the celestial green light to invest in your own self-development, be it a life-changing class, sessions with a supercoach, or a spiritual pilgrimage that nourishes your soul.” (courtesy of Elle.com, best horoscopes ever!)

It’s my happy new year and I intend to make the most of it. Resolutions start now.

287. Safe Haven

Dear Nicholas Sparks,

What is it about your movies that make me roll my eyes one minute and bawl the next? Tonight I watched Safe Haven and as a HUGE Cobie Smulders/HIMYM fan I had to watch it. Two hours and a twist ending later, I’m curled up in the fetal position on my bed, sobbing, heaving and wiping tears/snot away with the back of my hand.

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As always, the screen writer should be shot, this dialogue is as sensible and realistic as a Shel Silverstein poem (art work included), but the movie was, overall, okay. And yet I’m still typing through tears.

The thing that I think gets me about your movies, is that they are out of this world romantic, and is there a more romantic place to fall in love than North Carolina in the summer? (For those readers who have never been to North Carolina in the summer, this is indeed a rhetorical question.) I also think many females also love these flicks because all the male protagonists know what they want and they go after it. They take what’s their’s in a gentle and chivalrous way and …. Jesus, if we don’t all want a little of that! In this particular Sparks film, Readers, Josh Duhamel, is widowed with two small kids and Julianne Ho meets him and they fall in love in two weeks. The time frame is a tad unrealistic, but we get some good screen time with Mr. Duhamel’s arms and they are Fergalicious!

La la la, twist ending, dead wife writes a letter to his new love sending them best wishes, happily ever after, and I’m left sobbing into my pillow wallowing in my own loneliness. So can my life be a Spark’s novel, but perhaps without Alzheimer’s, someone going to or coming from war, and definitely without Miley Cyrus? Maybe all I really want is for someone to hold my face in their hands **see below.

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So I guess I’d like to say as much as I hate it, I love your movies … and I needed a good cry today.

Thanks, Nicholas Sparks.

A secret fan,

S

286. “Pledge Allegiance to the Struggle”

A few days ago I heard Iggy Azalea’s “Work” for the first time.

A few days ago I got my first callback in New York City.

A few days ago I had my hopes up so high.

And then I never heard back … and I listened to the song again.

“You can hate it or love it; Hustle and the Struggle is the only thing I’m trusting … My passion was ironic; And my dreams were uncommon; Guess I gone crazy…”

BOTH my ladies lunch mates quoted to me Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” And I realized why I feel insane. Because I AM!!!! 

All artists are. We HAVE to be. Because it’s the only way to survive: to continually maintain that sense of child-like wonder and HOPE, to keep creating, to keep going, to keep moving forward and expecting that this time will be that time!

So I listened to the song and cried. I cried because for a weekend I rode high on the dreams of being an actor, and quitting my job as a server and becoming a success. And as I came down … as my high wore off I realized that I am still in the struggle. One audition closer … but closer to what?

“… So I went harder …”

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I went for a subway ride to get out of my apartment and wandered into a Starbucks, I whipped out my laptop and began typing. We decided earlier this week that it’s time to make our own projects. And so I began to write. I once threatened everyone at my PR firm not to be surprised if they found themselves as characters in my sitcom … well now I’m serious. I’m typing with an iced coffee by my side on 87th and Broadway and I’m listening to everything on Spotify. I’m going to go harder … it’s going to be harder, but the hustle and the struggle is the only thing I’m trusting.

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Don’t Give Up.

285. Community

The synth starts and the bass intrudes. Ziggy sings. By minute 2:30, I hear them all. I’m center stage in a huge arena, the crowd is on their feet screaming; my arms are spread and my soul bared reaching back for the clamoring audience. My microphone sparkles and the amber lights blind. Glitter falls like rain. We’re all baptized in the sound.

As most of you have gathered I’m a huge GAGA fan and everything she does in my opinion is gold. Disagree, that’s fine, just keep it to yourself!

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Moving on. It’s been an odd two weeks. Odd auditions, ODD relationship conflicts, odd hours, but through it all I’ve been trying to make a new circle. The new ladies lunch crew is becoming my most favorite thing I look forward to now in my week. And that’s the thing about New York: it’s incredibly important to make A place your home, to find a community and make them your new friends/your new family.

Today at an audition I felt so out of place and so lonely. The world seemed like it was a NO kind of day. And then, on my way home, I look up. The man standing over me on the subway, with his Beats headphones around his neck, was blasting “Applause.” And as distant as I felt from the backdoor braggers and the rest of the dancers this morning, I felt connected to this monster stranger, because we are part of a community (even though he didn’t know it). Teary eyed I looked up at him and said, “That is a great song.” He looked at me like I was insane, but I knew then I was less alone.

And I got above ground and the ladies lunch commenced. It’s community, the sense of belonging, that we all crave. I crave it, and I’m trying to make my own way while finding where I fit in.