Friday, September 16, 2011

1 Million, 203 Thousand, 840 minutes...

So I said I'd be back today and I am!  Look at that...

I've had quite a journey since graduating college in 2006.  I was fortunate to go to college in West Chester, Pennsylvania which I still LOVE LOVE LOVE and consider to be one of my three homes.  I got to experience Philadelphia and all of its surrounding areas before leaving.  It's a really wonderful area to live in , and hope to call it home again in the future. 

But when I graduated college, I had a really tough time finding a job.  Like.... super tough.  As in I took a job at a mental health facility and worked from 7:30am until 3:30pm for $27,500 a year.  So terrible... I was a Criminal Justice major.  This was so not up my alley.  After I paid my modest bills each month, I was left with $11 do go NUTS with!

So after 8 months of THAT particular brand of hell, I decided to up and move to DC.  I got an amazing job with a law firm paying $40,000 a year (I felt like I was the richest person on the planet), and working normal 9-5 hours!!  I was SO SO HAPPY!!

People... I got there, I furnished my all new, all to myself, apartment and paid cash for everything!  Of course I was apparently living in the GHETTO at the time, but I was blissfully unaware until I was asked out by a convicted murderer on house arrest, who wanted to cook for me (for obvious reasons... going out was not so much an option... so maybe he asked me in?) if I was willing to get the groceries for him.  But that's another story, for another time. 

After 4 months at THAT job, I was laid off... They say I was fired.  I beg to differ since within a month of my being "fired" my entire team was dissolved and my position was never filled, and they could offer me no reason for my being let go.  Anywho... that sucked a LOT.  I temped for a while, which wasn't so bad.  I got in with a good company that found me lots of good paying work.  Then I landed a job at yet another law firm that was actually for real a good job!

I moved to Alexandria, VA.  I had a savings.  I had excellent credit!  I had a car that was paid off, I had a completely filled walk-in closet, bought a new computer, and even bought new Pottery Barn sheets... that weren't even on sale!  I put them on my credit card, of course, to help build my credit and so I didn't shell out ALL $800 at once.  Because that's reasonable for sheets, no?

Do you have a Macy's Visa card?

Because if you do, you should probably read the fine print.

You will be getting two... count 'em TWO... statements in the mail each month.  One is the charges made at Macy's.  The other will be purchases you make outside of Macy's on the card.  Oh you didn't realize this and thought you were carrying a zero balance?


Next thing I know, my $800 sheets have cost me $1500 due to non-payment because of LACK OF KNOWLEDGE OF A BALANCE DUE and a 29% interest rate.  And RIGHT as I started paying this down? 

I decided to move to the most expensive city in the world.

OK, that's an exaggeration.  But it is damn expensive! 

I also decided to move with out a job.

Also, also?  I opened another credit card to lower the interest being collected on most of what was on the Macy's card, and closed my Macy's account.  Indefinitely.

It may shock you to hear that;I was unable to make some of these payments once I moved to New York City with no job, but believe me when I tell you some months it wasn't possible.  Between late fees, interest, and having to charge more to the card due to lack of funds, I had maxed out the credit card I had open to relieve some of the interest induced stress.  So so terrible.

I have now been in New York City for Two years and three and a half months.  I have worked part time for the Public Schools of New York City (Oh my God I will never have children in this city ever.), and for the worst restaurant on the face of the planet.  And now, I have almost been at my fantastic Investment Bank job a year.  Next month I will make the final payment on my Macy's Visa credit card... those damn sheets aren't even worth it.  I just got rid of the duvet cover because it's falling apart, and the sheets are nearly thread bare in spots.  So basically that means the sheets were done before they were paid off, like some sort of lemon that you are still making car payments on.  Ugh.  Stupid Pottery Barn. 

I will be making my final payment to pay off the secondary, back-up, then maxed out credit card in April.

I am currently building a savings account.

I live in a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment on the Upper East Side.

I have a really good, steady job.

And I am enjoying every part of New York living.

By next April, I will be able to literally do whatever I want. 

I achieved it!

People, this is my dream!  My dream realized, even!

I can't get over how happy I am, and how lucky I feel!  I can't believe I have been able to do this!  It really does make it clear that, although it may take longer than I'd like, and I may appear to be on a different path at times, I really can achieve whatever my next dream may be!  I just have to keep my eye on it, even if it's far off in the distance.

Which is good because my next goal is getting my Events company up and running successfully.  From there it's all marriage and babies.  Which... HA... let's not.

When I was moving into my current apartment with Flo, but before I had met Flo, I was talking to a girl in Ohio.  She was interested in moving to NYC, and had just graduated from college.  I think I may have scared her, and for that I am sorry.  But I was just being fo real, dude!

Moving in New York, as you may have gathered from previous posts, is a huge, GIANT pain in the ass!  It's totally horrible.  When I said that she would need to expect to have AT LEAST $6000 in the bank when she decided to move, I was not kidding.  And really?  That's on the lower end.

You basically have to be independently wealthy to move to NYC, or be willing to live in really terrible conditions until you get everything together.  You will hate your life sometimes (like last night when I was carrying groceries from Trader Joes on 14th street back to my apartment on 88th street in the cold and rain while being cut off by every single person out at that particular time because they are the cheapest and best groceries you can find anywhere in the city).  But you will also love your life (like tomorrow I have plans to go with Ana for a famous burger, a walk in the park, and a movie night with her and Miranda while eating Reese's S'mores... be jealous.)

This city has brought me more that I could have ever imagined.  I spent the first year and a half of my time here with a guy that hated this city.  He could find no good in it and couldn't wait to leave.  I am so glad I didn't leave with him.  As summer comes to a close, I can't help but think back on how much fun I have had!  I wouldn't trade a minute of my time here with these people in this city for anything! 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is, when all is said and done, it will have taken me about three years to get myself comfortable here.  To feel like I'm home.  To be confident and solid in my lifestyle.  It's the best and worst journey I have ever taken.  But I will never ever forget one of these 1 million, 203 thousand, 840 minutes....


Thursday, September 15, 2011

I did a bit of traveling...

OK, before you get your panties all twisted, yes I realized I said I would write earlier this week about my weekend adventures but as I write these at work, my home computer was revolting against sending pictures to my work email.  We have had peaceful talks and are currently working through are disagreements constructively.  That being said....


I loved going away the last 2 weekends, but I am very much looking forward to sticking around my beloved city for a while.  But here's the recap:

Since Labor Day Weekend was 2 weeks ago, I decided to head down to DC to visit a few friends and family.  I have to say, this turned out to be much more low key than my usual trips.  It was so nice!  I arrived at 2pm on Saturday.  Gia and I grabbed a delicious bite to eat outside of Union Station (she had Fish Tacos, I had  a chicken sandwich... yummy!) and headed out to Virginia.  I agreed to house/dog sit for my brother that evening.  Poor Mr. Magoo is so old, but he's a big ol' love bug!  So we hung out and watched movies and had some wine with cupcakes.  It was fantasticly relaxing! 

The next day we got up and went here:

Nationals Stadium, baby!!  Unfortunately, my team (the Yankees... stop hating immediately.) was not playing.  However, I got to see the Mets play the Nationals... FROM BOX SEATS!!  I never really made it out to the seats because it was an awfully hot day.

And we had a box.

Filled with food.

And air conditioning.

So...?  I'm not sure how else to explain why I didn't make it to the seats...

But I did watch the game! 

Anyway, They had grilled hot dogs with all the fixins including chili, cheese, onions and relish, along with the usual suspects.  There were delicious wings, a fridge full of beer and sodas and chips with the most amazing dips you have ever tried! 

Then this came along.

That, my friends, is what we call a S'mores cake.  It is about 27 layers of chocolate, mouse, chocolate ganache, marshmallow fluff, graham crackers... basically heaven. And this picture doesn't do it justice.  That piece of cake was the size of my head. 

I did get to visit with a few of my old co-workers (we got the tickets through my old office where Gia currently works.)  which was just fantastic! 

After the last pitch:

...we hung out for a bit longer before heading back to Virginia to have dinner with my brother Mike, sister-in-law, Jody, and nephew, Quinn!

Jody made a delish dinner!  Then we all just hung out and enjoyed each other's company until we realized if we didn't leave, we'd miss the last train back into DC. 

Holy.  Crazies. 

What the crap DC?!  I remember the crazies, but these were a rare breed!  One guy had a big-gulp cup on the metro.  I couldn't figure out what he had in it until he refilled the cup, TO THE TOP, with vodka and Kahlua.  I don't know what drink he was going for exactly, but he was going to town on it!  Then he decided he just needed to get one last work-out in before the night was over, and started pumping his arms.  Then pushing against the seat in front of him as hard as he could.  Then pumping his arms again.  Then flexing and checking out his reflection in the windows of the metro.  I'm not sure what he was seeing, but I was seeing a guy with pigtails, a trucker hat, and an old Orlando Magic jersey.  My. God.

Then there was the guy with the tiny Koala bear attached to his shirt.  There's not much more to say about that.

Monday we had pho which is just the best thing in the world... if it's done right.  And in DC, it's done right!  We went to Pho14 and had amazing spring rolls, and two huge bowls of Pho.  YUM!  Then I headed home.

*boring week at work*


Natalie and I met at the Bolt Bus "depot" also known as the corner by the Tick Tock diner.  Anyway, Natalie needed a weekend away, and we had an extra ticket for Beerfest at the Ballpark!  So it worked out perfectly!  Of course, for the first time in history, I have like 14 back-up plans for when the bus runs late because the bus ALWAYS runs late!  And for the first time in history the bus leaves right on time and arrives right on time and we make the 1st train to Manayunk and we meet Katie at the train station and it went as smoothly as could be!  So so nice.

We headed out to Main Street in Manayunk for the evening.  Here's the thing.  The last time I went to visit my people in the Philly area I got just a LITTLE over excited that a round of drinks cost as much as 1 martini here in Manhattan.  I *MAY* have over-done it a bit.  So I was determined to take it easier this time.  And then we went to Bourbon and they were have $1 drinks.  Really??  Manayunk has a vendetta against me, I swear!

Beth and Katie

Me and Natalie

Ooooh, Photobombed!! 

So I have this fun new camera with the screen on the front so you
can see when you are taking a self portrait.  I don't think this function
made this picture any better at all.  But whatevs... right?

This was printed on the back of all the headrests in the Cab.
We took pictures of this right before Katie realized she may
have locked us out of the house...  Thank GOD people in
Manayunk are trusting and leave their doors unlocked.
So that was night 1.  We got up the next day and got ready for...


Sarah met us at the house, as did Steve and his 2 friends
(not pictured... duh...)
I adore this picture!  Steve is to the left, Natalie's face is priceless,
and there's Dan on the right...

Katie and I were roommates at West Chester University,
and across the hall lived these two lovely ladies, Alyssa
and Michelle Ma Bell!

Here is Alyssa and Pete, Katie having a SHOCKING conversation
with that guy, Ray is in the background on the right who is
Michelle's other half.  Behind Katie is a guy whose name I can't
remember, but he was obsessed with asking me if he could have
my nuts. which he found hilarious for some reason... I don't have nuts...

Super sweet group shot!  From the left, Steve, Natalie, Dan, Sarah and Katie

Group photo of Me, Katie, Sarah, Dan Natalie and.... Tyson... or DJ...
Or Steve's friend that puked at the bar.

True. Story.

So all in all it was a really good day!  We tried lots of delish beers, my favorite (and of course the one that got kicked the fastest) was called Fruli.  It's a strawberry flavored beer, that really doesn't taste like beer at all.  And that's right up my alley!  So if you find it anywhere, let me know!  Or ship me some... one or the other.  Or both!

That night we went out to The Bayou in Manayunk after I freshened up a bit.  We had a great time!  Birthday Cake shots, some delectable food, and lots of new friends!  DJ totally puked in the bar... AND on one of Sarah's friends.  O. M. G. Ew.  And he was all "I threw up a little bit.  No big deal, I feel fine.  Here, hand me that beer."  which... really?!  Anyway.  Good times had by all!  We stumbled home early, around 1am to find Sarah had locked a pizza in the oven and was attempting to make popcorn.  Katie used her magic and freed the pizza, I was asleep before it was done cooking though. 

The next day we had some breakfast and watched some of the 9/11 tribute.  It's strange to me that although 9/11 has definitely impacted me, since moving to New York I really feel it harder.  It all hits me harder.  And I'm not sure why.  But the tears just start flowing immediately when I see anything about it. 

We watched part of the Eagles game before heading back to New York.  Again with Bolt Bus running on time and all that craziness.  If they could keep that up, it would be wonderful!!

*yet another boring week at work*

I'll be back tomorrow (no seriously, I will) to chat about how it literally takes 3 years to establish yourself in NYC, and how I am *almost* there!  Woohoo!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mother Nature is on my shit list.

So it's been a pretty rough month up here in the North East part of the country.  Now, I would like to preface this with the fact that, here in NYC?  Yeah we haven't had crap happen.  Nothing was that big of a deal. 


It appears that Mother Nature has it out for my friends and family.  And I don't appreciate that.  AT. ALL.

First it was the earthquake.  Here in New York it was a little rumble, my seat bounced a little bit, and we went on our merry way. 

In DC?  Major damage to historical buildings and monuments, peoples' homes, and roadways.  Lots of power outages... a mess!  But everyone that I know is OK.

Then it was Irene.  This bitch.  Again, here in NYC, nothin.  Other than the city shutting down and it being an inconvenience, it wasn't bad.  Apparently there were some trees down in central park.  The water around the island rose a bit.  But really nothing.

My mom told me that last week people were STILL without power!  Houses were destroyed, power was lost, people were killed.  Still though, my people were OK.

Now Mother Nature has made it personal.

She is dumping so much water on Central Pennsylvania and the greater Philadelphia area and they can't handle it.  My hometown of Hershey PA is almost completely underwater. 

in the background you can see Hershey Medical Center,
Where I have friends that work and where my sister was

Hersheypark not so happy...

Hersheypark Drive.. .or.. not so much driving actually...

Hersheypark Drive

Pizza Hut... this is by far the most mourned fast food joint I
have ever heard of!


that little schoolhouse is a historical building, and elementary
school aged children dress up and go here for a day each year.
It is also just down the road from the Milton Hershey Mansion
and the original Chocolate Factory.


So I mean... really?  My dad's pool obviously flooded and nearly flooded his house.  It is still raining there and I have no idea when it will stop.  My mom says that she heard they are going to lose their water.  This crazy lady...

Yesterday my mom was told at about 1:30pm that she could leave work to get home before the roads got bad.  She decided to hang out and finish some work, and then couldn't get herself home!  I started seeing Facebook posts that didn't sound like things were going well so I called her to find her in her car with no way home!  She went back to her office and my step dad came and picked her up in their truck.  Even with the F250 they had issues finding a way home.  But they got there.

They've had to bring in helicopters.  Rescue boats.  There was some rumor about the National Guard, but I don't know if that's true.

What's awful?

These two bison were living at ZooAmerica near Hersheypark.  Apparently, even though precautions were made and all other animals were evacuated to higher ground, these bison weren't so lucky.  When the water rose so quickly, they couldn't be moved.  Qualified ZooAmerica employees euthenized the bison when it was clear they couldn't be saved and would most likely suffer and drown.  All other animals are fine.  But I can't help but wonder if there wasn't something else they could do for these animals.  Why were they the only ones that didn't make it out?  I highly doubt anyone had it out for the bison, or didn't care about them.  I'm sure this situation wasn't purposeful.  But still?  It breaks my heart.
So far nobody has been really hurt.  Some friends have had homes flood.  I don't know how long Hershey will take to repair back to this:

Also?  When the crap did it turn into fall?  On Saturday in DC (I still need to upload pictures and things from last weekend, so I'll probably write that up next week) I was sweating it was so hot!  By Tuesday I was in sweaters and leggings... what the crap?  I am not emotionally prepared for fall.  Wasn't it just the beginning of summer yesterday?!  Can't.  Take. It.

And seriously?  If one more natural disaster drops on my friends and family, I'm gonna lose it! 

Mother Nature, consider yourself officially on notice.

Friday, September 2, 2011

DC Bound in.. like... soon.


OK, so update:  Last night I did NOT go to the Eagles Bar on the Upper East Side to watch their last pre-season game.  I walked home from work with Terri for the 3rd time this week (YAY!) and got home around 7:30.  I was starving and had dinner and did laundry and talked to Papa and WENT TO BED!

Today marks exactly 9 months since my grandmother passed away.  Nanny was probably the kindest, sweetest, best grandmother I could have asked for.  We all miss her desperately.  I think about her all the time.  Papa is OK, but pretty sad today. 

On a lighter note...

Tonight I am having Happy Hour with Ana because it's NECESSARY and we are falling face first off the wagon... we both feel we need to cut back on the drinking (me because I am not losing any weight at all and I suspect that is the reason, Ana because she feels like the neighborhood lush.  Ha..). 

Here's hoping we know how to reel it in a little bit because if I don't leave the office soon, I'll have to pack AFTER happy hour.  And honestly?  I don't see that going well... but maybe I'll just pull an Ana and show up to my destination without a clue as to what is in my bag!  WEEEEEEEE!!

Speaking of destinations... My destination for the long weekend is DC!  And it appears we have quite the fun line-up! 

I leave NYC at 9am.  Do you hear that? 9am. On a SATURDAY MORNING.  Gah.  But well worth it.  Pray that I get my own seat because FO REAL.  Not trying to share.  I will arrive in DC around 2pm (give or take for traffic) where I will be greeted by Gia!! 

From there it's lunch, and maybe a walk to see some damage done to the National Cathedral or the Washington Monument.  Pray that thing doesn't crash down on me.  I'm not much of a runner and if those cracks start making it teeter I'm pretty sure I'd be a goner.

Then I will head to my brother, Mike and my sister-in-law Jody's home (I am aware that is not grammatically correct.  1) It's Friday, 2) it's a holiday weekend.  And that's a tough one to figure out.  I'm leaving it.) to let there adorable pooch Magoo out and give him some dinner.  We will either have a wine night (me and Gia, not me and Magoo... although I hope he is aware he is welcome to join us...) or we might go out in Balston!  WOOO!  Party over heeeeeeere! 

The next day we'll get up and head back into DC for the Nationals game vs. the Mets!  Gia scored us some box seats which is awfully stellar of her! 

That evening we might meet up with Mike, Jody and QUINN!!! for dinner.  No seriously.  That's how you spell his name. Q-U-I-N-N and three exclamation points.  Fo real. 

OK not really.

So then maybe Sunday night we'll go out and celebrate labor day by making the bartenders work really hard!

Monday should be low key.  I head back to NYC at 4pm, so... Maybe sleep in and grab a little lunch. 

So that's the plan!  Rather exciting, no?  The DJ is unaware of my visit (at least I think he is) and will remain this way for as long as I can help it... hopefully until the end of time!  I've had 2 or 3 dreams about us fighting over the last couple of days.  Here's hoping for his sake that doesn't happen.. because let me tell you... I was BRUTAL!

So what are your plans for Labor Day?  Anybody expected to have a baby over Labor Day?  I love that kind of irony... anyway... ENJOY!