Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A waterfront view

Here are a couple photos from the Circle Line tour:

Lady Liberty

Brooklyn Bridge

West side

The Columbia "C" painted by the school's rowing team

And the GWB. Who would have thought something so pretty could cause so much misery?

Mom and Dad!

My weekend with my parents didn’t start off so great. In fact, it was pretty awful. It started on their end, in Florida, when the real estate agent called three hours before the closing on the Michigan house telling them that the event was going to be delayed two weeks (i.e. two more weeks before they have enough money to pay for the moving costs they already charged to their cards). Then, their flight to Long Island was delayed. Meanwhile, plans for our upcoming worry-free weekend swirled through my head. I did a little last-minute cleaning and walked out to my parking lot a bit early so I could pick up a pizza on the way to the airport. One problem: for the first time in its life, my car decided not to start. Perfect timing. 11 p.m. With my parents touching down within a half hour. My knowledge of cars is pretty much inexistent. So car troubles probably rank in my top five reasons for crying, which is exactly what I did after turning the key in the ignition at least another six times. Well, I think I held my composure during my first few phone calls, the first being Abbey…don’t ask me why. After no pickup from my neighbor, and a blubbery voicemail to my dad, Pete came to the rescue. Except we really couldn’t figure out what was wrong, even with some over-the-phone coaching from my car-friendly brother. Pete ended up picking up my parents, for which I owe him lunch for at least the next week. That night, stranded in my apartment with my parents, our weekend plans seemed ruined. However, by 11 a.m. the next morning, I was $700 poorer, Firestone was $700 richer and my car was awake again. And although our weekend fun was delayed, our bad luck was pretty much over.

We spent the rest of the day giving my car a workout as we drove out to Greenport for lunch and then visited a series of wineries on the way back. For dinner, we ate the pizza we never got the night before.

We spent Sunday in the city. Our train in and out was delayed, but we still managed to squeeze in a three-hour boat tour that circled the island, a walk through Central Park, sightseeing down Fifth Avenue, and eating at two of my favorites: Burritoville and Carmines.

I took Monday off of work and we drove out to Westhampton for some beach time. It really is pretty out there, and much more comfortable than the rocky beaches on the north shore. But it’s kind of a long drive. We rushed back to Port Jeff for some lunch and Italian ice and then it was already time to drop them back at the airport.

Oh, and dad gave my car the royal treatment on Monday morning, including a full wash, vacuuming and interior shinning. Maybe that will keep it happy for a while.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Kendra looks like...

Have you ever done this? Type your first name followed by the words "looks like" into Google and laugh at what comes up. Here are my favorite five. I think some are greatly influenced by one of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends, Kendra, on E!'s "The Girls Next Door."

1. Kendra looks like the womanly companion of some evil genius bent on world domination.
2. Kendra looks like the photographs of Native Americans Harry had seen in his politically correct sociology textbooks in Hogwarts or something.
3. Kendra looks like FLAVOR FLAV!
4. Kendra looks like she means business, firmly clutching her 9mm pistol as she advances carefully toward a possibly occupied zone.
5. Kendra looks like a baby deer.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Wineries and BC

Saturday was neverending. I woke up early and made myself drive to the laundromat. Not that there's anything wrong with this particular place. It's just that laundromats in general are pretty miserable. I shove everything into my one, somewhat broken hamper and waddle with it down the stairs and out to the car, fumbling with my keys and trying not to forget something on the long list of laundry essentials: detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, book, iPod, and most importantly, quarters, or at least singles to use in the change machine. It's gotten to where I'm excited when my lunch costs anything less than 25 after the decimal place...three more quarters for next week's laundry! Once I get there and lug everything into the building, the game involves finding two side-by-side working machines and doing everything possible to avoid letting a runaway sock or pair of underwear drop to the dirty floor, especially during the washer-to-dryer transition, when the sopping wet item picks up dust like a sponge and gets thrown right back into the dirty pile. Needless to say, my dream apartment includes an in-unit washer and dryer.
With Saturday's laundry mission complete, and the idea of two more laundry-free weeks surfacing in my head, I went to the wineries with my friends Matt, Shannon and Nicole, and a few of their friends. It was a beautiful day for a drive out east. The summertime humidy suddenly dissapeared in the last week and Saturday felt more like an early fall day -- upper 70s, sunny and a cool breeze. We spent about five hours at four wineries, tasting flights, enjoying the sun, and petting the highland cows (always one of my favorites).

We headed back to Port Jeff a little after 7 and I quickly changed, ate some string cheese and rushed to the station for a train into the city. After grabbing a taxi at Penn Station -- driven by a cabbie who first dropped me off on the complete wrong side of town -- I made it to Andy's apartment, where BC was staying for the weekend. We headed out around 11 to a local bar that played nothing but 80s and 90s music videos on flat-screen TVs spead across the walls. Later, with some post-bar ziti pizza in my stomach, I caught the 4:45 train back home. When I woke up in Ronkonoma, it was light out and I couldn't drive my car quickly enough back home to my bed.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Double Dozen

My last couple birthdays have been pretty tough to handle. On Wednesday, I was surrounded by people all day, but I still felt alone. One of my bosses made a cake, my coworker made me dinner, and numerous local friends bought me drinks downtown, but with my nearest family member hundreds of miles away, I still couldn't help but feel sad, and even more so after a couple drinks. (There's a reason they're called depressants). I know, it's really just another day. But it's the one day each year that requires you to look back on your life and plan for what's ahead. And how can you really do that when half of the people you're celebrating with didn't even know you last summer. They weren't around when there were just 14 candles on your cake, or when you weren't even old enough to blow out the candles without some help from Grandpa or dad. It's times like these that I really miss my family, and not just my parents, but all of my family members. Those familiar faces have been around every year until recently and, exempting my honorary East Coast sister Abbey, there are few who can take their place.