The Doorman Strike & The Start of Another Life List Task

I live in a doorman building.  And contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean I’m rich… or even close.  You tell people you live in a doorman building and they get this image of snooty old ladies with poodles wearing Chanel on the Upper East Side.  At least, I did back in the day when I was living in a 150 square foot studio on Avenue C.  But actually doormen are very common in NYC, even in moderately priced buildings – which ours is.

I love our doormen.  They are some of the most wonderful people ever.  They are funny and kind and helpful.  My favorite doorman gives me a fist bump whenever I leave the building.  And starting at midnight we may be without our doormen for quite a while.  Our doormen are part of a citywide doorman’s union, and if their demands for a better contract are not met sometime today… they’re going on strike at midnight.

The common reaction I’ve seen from people in non-doorman buildings has been, “Oh, sad little residents will have to open the door themselves for a few weeks. Wah wah wah.”  I can open the door myself, asshole.  That’s not why I love my doormen or need them.  They keep the building clean, they sign for packages, they make sure no one unsavory comes into the building, they take out the trash, they make repairs… they’re amazing, and we are so grateful to have them.  When you live in a huge building with roughly 500 units (as we do), they’re a necessity.  They keep this building running 24 hours a day.  They even rescued me when the elevator I was riding in got stuck between the 50th and 51st floors.  That happened at 11pm one night, so if we didn’t have doormen, I would have been in that elevator a lot longer, waiting for the fire department.  And freaking out.  So yeah, this isn’t about having someone open the door.

If they do walk out tonight, that means a lot of things will change until this is over.  Obviously we’ll have to take out our own trash, but that isn’t too huge of a deal.  The bigger problem is receiving deliveries.  UPS, Fedex, Fresh Direct… these companies won’t cross the picket line.  Restaurants won’t send deliveries either, so no ordering out for a while.  If something breaks… it won’t get fixed until after the strike.  We could call a repairman not related to the building… but I’m not sure if they’ll cross the picket line either.  These things aren’t the end of the world, but they are kind of a pain in the ass.  So I’m hoping they work out an agreement here in the next couple of hours, but I’m skeptical.

And for the record, I support our doormen.  NYC rent is outrageous, and as the economy starts to improve, rents are rising again.  So if they want a little bigger piece of the pie, I think they deserve it.  They work really really hard, and they deserve better benefits.  They have to take a lot of shit from some residents and keep on smiling.  And although it seems like most people who live here are nice to them, I’ve certainly seen some people treat them like crap.

As an aside… one thing that’s happened since I moved into a doorman building is I’ve started shopping online a lot more.  When we lived in walk ups, I couldn’t really shop online unless I had packages sent to work because no one was home during the day to accept them.  I shop a lot more now, and it’s generally all unnecessary.  Clothes, shoes, apartment stuff… whatever.  Honestly it’s kind of gotten out of hand, because it’s so convenient now.  So since I can’t receive packages for the duration of the strike, I thought now might be a good time to start one of my Life List tasks:  Go three months without shopping for unnecessary things.

I know what you’re thinking… three months?  That’s not really very long.  But it kind of is.  Because my shopping is kind of out of control right now.  I figure I start with three months, and see what happens.  So what are the rules for this little experiment in restraint?

  1. Unnecessary things are defined as: clothes, shoes, accessories, apartment accessories, books, coffee when I am fully capable of making it at home and am just being lazy, getting my hair done, make up, music, iPhone apps… etc.  Basically anything that I literally do not need at this moment.  I’m going to just say no.
  2. I am still permitted to shop for necessary things, such as: groceries, toiletries, necessary things for my business, necessary things for my wedding, birthday gifts, etc.  Necessary things for my business do not include new camera lenses, camera bags, photography books… I’m talking more along the lines of packaging, DVDs for storage, business cards… etc.  Wedding stuff refers to some payments that we have to make in the next couple of months.  I have to pay off my dress, the photographer, buy our invitations… these things kind of have to get done, so I can’t count them.  But I won’t buy accessories for my dress or “pretty things” for the wedding for the next three months.  That stuff can wait.
  3. The three months begins tomorrow (4/21/10) and ends Wednesday, July 21st.

That really seems like a long time.  I can’t shop again until July.  Okay, I can do this.  This is not a big deal at all.  My credit card will thank me, my savings account will thank me.  I can’t wait to see how much money I have left over.  Must be strong.  Right now I’m super motivated, and ready to stick to my guns.  I can’t tell if this is going to be harder or easier than I thought.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks, doormen, for finally getting me motivated to start this Life List task.  I still hope you don’t go on strike, but if you do, it will make this no shopping thing a lot easier.

(I kind of just realized that this post might sound ridiculously vapid.  Girl who lives in doorman building forced to give up shopping: THE HORROR.  I don’t actually mean to come off like that.  And I’m not that person.  So hopefully you won’t get all judgmental up in here.  If anyone is even reading this.)

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The Life List: #88 – Visit The Bronx Zoo

Done and done. Whoohoo! I accomplished something on my Life List. I feel really excited and invigorated and ready to accomplish so many more things!

The BFG and I went to the Bronx Zoo yesterday, and it was quite the adventure. The zoo was great, the animals were amazing and gorgeous and super active… but the really fun part was the subway ride there. As we rode up through the Bronx on the 2 train, a subway preacher felt the need to announce that Obama was not the true president because he was – wait for it… – born in Kenya. And that’s not all, my friends. Not only was he born in Kenya, but he’s gay. Which I think is going to come as quite a shock to poor Michelle.

People… this was not the train to be preaching that kind of stuff. And my fellow straphangers let him have it. It was the most entertaining thing I have seen in a long time. This one woman ripped into this guy like you would not believe. It made the almost hour long journey a lot more fun. Oh, and because I voted for Obama… I’m going to hell. Major bummer.

Oh yeah. The zoo! Okay, I feel weird about zoos, and I felt weird about putting this on my list. I did work at the Humane Society for several years, and I’m all about helping animals, so zoos are a very conflicting thing for me. But I heard it was a great zoo, that they do a lot for animals in the wild and are helping to protect habitats so… I wanted to go. I wanted to see some awesome animals.

And on the whole, I wasn’t disappointed. The animals looked very well taken care of, and they seemed to have lots of room to roam. The polar bear was especially entertaining, as we watched him play with a ball for about ten minutes. The only thing that made me raise my eyebrows were the camels. The pen they kept them in seemed kind of small and they were letting little kids ride them. Ehhhh… I’m not so much down with that. I mean, maybe the camels were happy. I don’t know a ton about camels. But they didn’t look very good. That was the first thing we saw when we walked in the zoo, and it made me a little nervous. But it got better from there.

So that’s one thing down and about 110 more to go. At least I am on my way! Next up: making homemade marshmallows! Stay tuned.

Some photos I took at the zoo:

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Redecorating

I desperately want to redecorate our apartment.  I want to refinish our coffee table – which isn’t very old, but is quite beat up.  (Thanks, cats.)  I want to create a collage of artwork above our living room sofa.  I want to get some new vases, and make some flowers out of paper for the vases.  (I’d prefer real flowers, but again… cats.)  I also want to paint the living room and bedroom.  The only problem is that we might move in September.  So… redecorate or wait for the new place?

In New York City, apartment shopping is usually a short process.  Okay, that’s wrong actually.  The shopping is a really long process, because Craigslist is very misleading, and we don’t like using brokers, because it’s a total waste of money.  We’re diy-ers when it comes to real estate.  But once you find the place, it’s generally only two to four weeks from applying for the apartment to move in date.  You don’t find an apartment months in advance here.  You find an apartment and two weeks later you’re living there.  Or at least paying for it.

So… we want to move.  But only if we find something bigger and better.  And honestly, our current apartment is pretty great, so there’s a chance we won’t, and we’ll sign our lease for another year or two.  The main reason we want to move is that we miss living downtown, and I need some office space for my little growing business.  If we don’t find a new place with a little area for an office, then I’ll have to rent a desk somewhere.  And I really really really don’t want to do that.  I don’t have a good reason why I don’t… I just don’t.

So the question remains… redecorate and just accept that we might move in four or five months and all the effort might be for naught.  Or don’t redecorate… assume we’ll move… and then kick ourselves if we don’t move for not redecorating when we had the time.  Because our wedding is October 9th, and then with the holidays after that… if I don’t do it now, I guarantee it won’t get done this fall.  And then it will be spring again, and I’ll say… redecorate or wait to see if we move?  See?  It’s a horrible cycle.

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Crossing Some Things off the Life List

I’m trying to take decisive steps toward accomplishing my Life List.  Trying to scratch off the easier goals, and then move on to bigger things.  I’ve decided I want to accomplish at least three of these things by May 5th.  It’s an arbitrary date, really.  I just pulled it from my brain.  But I do better with things if I have a deadline.  Even if it isn’t a “real” deadline.

So my three things I will accomplish by May 5th are:

  • Make homemade marshmallows.  (#11)
  • Go to the Bronx Zoo. (#88)
  • Ride the Staten Island Ferry. (#83)

These are all pretty simple, manageable things I can do in the next three-ish weeks, I think.  Of course I’ll take pictures, and let you know how it goes.  Have you made any decisive steps toward achieving your goals?

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Web MD is Not Your Friend

…Or my friend at least.  I have always been a bit of a hypochondriac.  It probably stems from my mom, who took us to the doctor whenever we sneezed as children.  I’m certainly not insulting my mother… obviously she loved us, or she wouldn’t have bothered.  I’m just saying… that’s probably where my hypochondria tendencies come from.

I’m terrified of doctors, and although I go to my normal, yearly check ups and whatnot, I don’t like it.  And I’m always sure there’s something terribly wrong with me.  And of course, I’m always fine.  I recently had to go to the hospital because I was having a weird, persistent pain in my abdomen.  My regular doctor wouldn’t see me on short notice, and advised I go to the ER because it sounded like it could be appendicitis.  I reluctantly agreed to go on the prodding of The BFG and The BFG’s mother, who is a nurse.

The ER doctor did a routine ultrasound, made a weird face, left the room for a second to check on something, and returned to find me crying hysterically.  I was convinced she’d seen a tumor on the ultrasound and that I was going to die.  “No, no, no,” she assured me, realizing she was dealing with a mental case.  “I just don’t have a clear picture of what could be going on in your abdomen on the ultrasound, so I left to see if I could fit you in soon for a CT Scan.  I didn’t find a tumor.  I don’t think you have a tumor.”  OhWhew.

It wasn’t appendicitis.  It was a pulled muscle.  Because of the ab exercises I just started doing so I can fit into my stupid wedding dress.  Yeah.  I know.

Aaaaanyway.  Now I’m having an eye issue.  I don’t want to go into detail about my eye issue, but one night I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I got out of bed and decided to check on Web MD.  I do this a lot.  It’s a problem.  Good ole Web MD.  Everything is either nothing… or CANCER.  And this was no different.  My eye issue is either completely normal, no big deal OR it’s a possible brain tumor.

So now I can’t stop thinking about it.  And I can’t go to the opthamologist until May 1st, because that’s when our new insurance goes into effect.  Do I have any other symptoms of a brain tumor?  Nope.  And to be honest I’ve had this eye issue since October, but it wasn’t really bothering me, so I kind of put it off a little, especially since I had just gone to the opthamologist in September.  And logically, I’m pretty sure this eye issue stems from the fact that I just started wearing contacts for the first time in September.  When I went to the hospital last month for the pulled muscle incident, they did a full blood work up and found me to be a completely normal, healthy human.  And I’d like to think that if I had a brain tumor… something would have been amiss in my bloodwork, right?  RIGHT?

And I am just so mad at myself for causing myself all this undue stress.  I am going to the doctor the day our new insurance goes into effect, which was my plan before I ever looked this eye issue up anyway.  But now because I just had to check on Web MD, I am going to be stressed out for the next three weeks.

I am an idiot.  I do this to myself ALL THE TIME.  And I seriously have to stop.  I need to block Web MD from my computer, and I need Google to block me from searching any medical terms.  But I don’t think that’s possible.

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You Live in NYC – Let’s Be BFF!!

I just got an email from someone who I used to be good friends with years ago.  We had a falling out around the time I moved up here, because I finally saw she was actually a very negative and vindictive person.  I don’t like people who are constantly negative and pretend to be happy for others successes, and then secretly say terrible things behind their back.  She didn’t do this to me; I was the person she always came to to talk shit about others.  And of course we all gossip, but this was different, and it made me uncomfortable… so I was done.

Anyway.  She’s moving to New York.  And acknowledges our falling out, but wants to rekindle the friendship.  Because – wait for it – she doesn’t know anyone else in New York.  This happens CONSTANTLY.  People who I am no longer friends with… or people I never actually shared a friendship with at all… or people who sat in Biology with me ten years ago and said two words to me… these people come to New York, remember I live here, and want to be BFF because we live in the same city, and they don’t know anyone else.

New York can be a very lonely place when you first move here if you don’t know anyone.  I went through a year of feeling completely isolated and alone and hating it and thinking I hated New York.  It’s tough.  And it was especially tough for me to make friends, because I’m actually very shy and socially awkward.  But eventually I did.  I made some amazing friends, and I can’t imagine my life without them.  So I get it.  I get that these people are scared because they’re moving to this crazy city alone.  But they’re not contacting me because they think I’m a super cool person.  If that were the case, we would have remained friends or – in some cases – become friends back when we had the chance.  They’re contacting me because I’m the only person they know here, and I guess someone is better than no one?  And I feel kind of offended for some reason.  I don’t know if I should or not, but I do.

I don’t know how I’m going to respond to this person’s email.  Part of me feels like I should give her another chance, meet her for a drink, and see how it goes.  Maybe she’s matured in the four years since we’ve spoken.  I should give her the benefit of the doubt, right?  But a bigger part of me just genuinely doesn’t like her and doesn’t want to get sucked into her path of negativity and destruction again.  So… yeah.  I don’t know.  Hard to say.

But a word of advice… don’t use people just because of where they live.  I’ve had people who I haven’t spoken to since high school call and want to stay with me while they’re in NYC.  Don’t be that person.  It’s really rude, and it puts the person on the other end in a really uncomfortable position because they’re probably going to say no, and if they don’t say no, they’re going to resent you the whole time you’re in town.

I know… complaining about a negative person in turn makes me a negative person.  Lame.

UPDATE: After inspecting (or snooping around… whatever phrase you prefer) this person’s Facebook page to find out what kind of person she’s become in the last four years, I have decided not to write her back.  Apparently she got a boob job and literally has topless photos showing off how much she loves her new breasts.  Clearly, she has not matured and has, infact… what is the opposite of matured?  Devolved?  I don’t know, but that’s what’s happened to her.  Case closed.

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I Have Things to Say, Dammit

Oh my gosh… another freakin’ blog.  Obviously no one is reading this yet, and who knows when/if they will.  I’m just sending messages out into the ether right now.  Helllooooooo out there!

I’m Miss Parker.  I’m from the Southland, but now I live in New York City.  I still say “y’all” even though I’ve been here almost four years.  I hated it at first, but now I love this city more than I ever thought possible.  And aside from wanting to live in California someday for a year, I’ll probably never leave.  I live with my fiance, The Big Friendly Giant (The BFG).  He is six foot six, with a beard and tattoos.  He looks scary, but he’s basically the nicest guy to ever live.  I’m only five feet tall, so he carries me around in his pocket most of the time.  We’re getting married in October.

I love: The BFG (duh), my cats, This American Life, raspberry-vanilla lattes, taking pictures (which is what I do for a living), sweet tea (and there is only one good place to get it in Manhattan), baking, good red wine, prime lenses, being organized, my super amazing friends and family, autumn, vanilla softserve, The Yankees, road trips, and Mad Men.

I don’t love: winter, flying, carrots, wearing my contacts, when people tell me my wedding “has” to be a certain way, spiders, football, doing laundry, white wine, and people who post overly dramatic and/or passive aggressive Facebook updates for attention.

So.  Yeah.  I have some things to say, I think.  And some things to do.  And I’ll write about them here, I guess.  And* maybe if someone comes along, and they want to say hey, that could be cool.

*(I like starting sentences with “and.”  It’s a problem.)

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