Another Awkward Week [10.4.13]

Hello, pumpkins. It's October! It's also 85 degrees in New York City right now.  Ridiculous! Is there anything more exciting than talking about the weather?!  No siree. Except maybe this announcement: I have completed the first of my 30 Before 30 challenges, holla! As of this morning, I am only in debt on one credit card! And also in student loans. And most certainly to my mother. But still: baby steps.

I started my foray into credit card debt  while studying abroad my junior year. I know I'm amazingly irresponsible but I still maintain that travel is a worthy cause of debt. Live a little! See the world! I would, however, recommend putting the card away when you return and not breaking it out at the first pair of riding boots that catch your eye. The "I swear I'll pay it off the second the bill comes" trap is far to easy to fall into, trust me, I'm an expert. I would also recommend not opening a second credit card - especially if it is a specialty store credit card - for me, The Gap - no matter how much of a discount they offer you just for opening. Sure you saved 40% on that chambray tunic but suddenly it's three years later and thanks to copious 'members only sales' and promises of points and bonuses for non-clothing purchases you're a thousand bucks in the hole with little more than some flimsy cardigans to show for it.

I'd also recommend not moving to New York City or working in publishing but far wiser people than I have done it quite successfully with little to no financial hardship so maybe just don't listen to me at all when I'm dishing out money advice and/or life?

Long story extra long: I dipped into my savings account (which up until last January was at a standard balance of like $32, but that's another story for another day) to pay off my Gap credit card. It was scary to write such a huge check, from money I'd worked so hard to save, but it feels like the right move. The interest rates were staggeringly high, and every minimum payment I made felt like a sad drop in the bucket. I still have a long way to go on my other debts but I feel like I'm headed in the right direction. I am pretty flim-flamming proud of myself, I'm not gonna lie about it.

Whoop! One (major!) challenge down, 29 to go...

Is this what responsibility feels like? It's refreshing! And terrifying. Mostly terrifying. Someone give me back my credit card. I see some pants I need...

No! Let me distract myself with story telling! Why don't we take a look at what was keeping it awkward this week:

This Feast:

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Did everyone watch the Breaking Bad finale on Sunday?! OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG! No spoilers but I will tell you this much: my friend Kamran and I pulled out all the stops on our epic finale party. Or wait, the opposite. Across the interwebs we saw blue cocktails with home made rock candy and Heisenburgers...my own brother even made a blue cake decorated with blue "meth" sugar candy (well, it was more green than blue, such a Todd that guy!).

Kam and I managed to put down some blue (meth!) berry ice cream, three dozen "Pollos Hermanos" wings, a few slices of pizza and half a bottle each of scotch and Pinot Grigio.

Classy and festive. Or lazy and gluttonous. Little of both?

And if you don't know what any of these things mean, WELL, it sounds like you've been wasting your time doing dumb stuff instead of catching up on Breaking Bad so, sorry I'm not sorry. Get your life together, man.

These Gifts:

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Let's see...the largest of the bunch is a housewarming gift for my friend and her husband who bought their home in oh, May. The smaller in gold and silver is a wedding gift for my cousin who was married on the 5th of July... the colorful package below that one is another wedding gift for my friend Maureen, who was married on the 6th of July, wrapped in birthday paper because I ran out of the fancy wedding stuff. 4 months late and inappropriately wrapped. Regular old Emily Post right over here.  (Also, both gifts are the same, involving the couple's initials and wedding dates. Both couples are M+M and married within one day of the other so the probability that I mixed them up is about 80 to 1. Just cross your fingers this all worked out.)

The stack of birthday wrapped packages are gifts for my godson and his twin brother on their 3rd birthday, which was just Wednesday so I'm only like 3 days late on that one.

I actually bought all of these on time, but let them linger in my office for months because I'm just the laziest. Or, OR, hear me out guys: it's strategic and thoughtful. I understand that there must be a sense of sadness after a wedding ends or several months post-birthday or house closing - all of your planning and saving and celebrating has come to a close and you go back to your sad, dumb, boring life with no presents, or parties or cake. UNTIL! Six months later, suddenly, you open your mailbox and, what's this?!?! A gift?! For me?! The celebration lives on! Once again your bask in the glow of your newly wedded/habitated/born bliss and feel special and loved again.

THAT is why I'm always late. It's not that I can't get it together...it's alllll  a part of my master plan.

You're welcome, everyone.

Wondering what's in those packages? Not telling...except this one peek.

These Books:

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Best book EVAH! Got one for my godson....annnnd a copy for me. I haven't read it in years! What a classic.

My godson Michael is one of a set of twins - they each have separate godparents. It doesn't feel right to get just Michael a birthday gift, but I felt like I needed to do something special for the guy, since I am his spiritual mentor and all. I realize that I'm not exactly a pillar of Christian morality (whoops) but do think I could teach the kid a thing or two about something that I believe is truly valuable: lit-rah-chaaa. Every year for his birthday I'll help to build his library, supplying him with my favorite books I read as a young person. Last year I got him The Phantom Tollbooth and this year, the Mixed Up Files. He just turned three, so he likely won't be diving into these for a few years, but when he's ready I want him to be prepared with a fully stocked, totally badass library.

I'll make this kid a bookworm if it's the last thing I do!

I guess that's not really awkward, unless you count me reading books for 3rd graders on the subway. I just wanted to show off that, though I send them way late, I DO give solid presents.

Now, time to overshare. You ready for this?

I don't know if you are.

This Toilet:

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Some BOLD color choices up in this apartment.

Last week when I wrote about my multiple public restroom disasters, my friend commented thanking me for keeping the toilet humor classy and I was so honored. I don't want to reach too high for the stars, but that's kind of my goal. To be the classiest inappropriate person on earth. Can it be done? Well, this next story might push the limits but I think it's important to share.

So. Wednesday evening I was going to a friend's house in the neighborhood for a ladies' grilled cheese evening and stopped off at my apartment between work and her place to drop off my things and rinse off, as I'd gone for a run near my office and was smelling like a real peach.

The house I grew up in was pretty old, with a plumbing system to match - flushing a toilet anywhere in the house would set the hot water totally haywire, so you had to be really careful before taking a shower. Any flush action within like, 20 minutes pre-shower could have you shivering in ice water the whole time. Consequently, I never, ever flush if I you knowww before hopping in the shower, even if it's a number twosie, which is totally never is because girls don't poop. Except when they do, which is sometimes before they get in the shower. Or so I've heard.

I just close the toilet lid, scrub up and flush when I get out.

WELL. Wednesday evening I was rushing around to get to Abbe's house, my brain a million places at once. Brian was working late, so I came and went before he made it home. I was halfway to Abbe's house when I got that horrible, sinking anxiety feeling in the pit of my stomach that I'd forgotten something. You know how you can convince yourself that you didn't unplug the iron or turn off the stove? Well I was suddenly just horribly, devastatingly positive that I'd forgotten to flush the toilet, leaving a delightful surprise waiting for poor Brian.

Now, we're pretty open (some might say too open) (some would probably be correct) with discussing our bodily functions, but there are some lines that can't be crossed, you know? Not yet, anyway. We've lived together for TWO MONTHS, we gotta save something for the future! If we start seeing each other's doo-doo two months in, what's left at two years? Twenty-two? I literally can not imagine...nor do I want to.

I contemplated turning back around but it was too far for just a hunch and plus: what if Brian beat me there? So I did what any weirdo would do and texted him:

"Listen. If you get home ant he toilet seat is down...flush it before opening. Don't ask any questions."

Charming.

Guys: this is real life. No one prepares you for this stuff! When you make the decision to move in with a romantic partner, whether it's pre-marital or post, no one clues you in to the actual HARD TRUTHS of cohabitation. Sure you hear all about splitting finances and chores and making sure you get alone time but NO ONE prepares you for the very real and probably inevitable possibility of seeing the other person's poop.

Well, now you've been warned. Tread lightly. Double check that you've flushed.

Luckily it turns out that I had, in fact, remembered, so this whole situation was just an act of unnecessary oversharing, anxiety and weirdness (my three best qualities) but I still think it the creep-o text was better than the alternative. And Brian still seems to be attracted to me (what a freak!) so I think we're in the clear.

FOR NOW.

You can count on me to always report the most vital of information from the front lines of living in sin...whether anyone actually wants to hear it or not.

Annnnnddddd I think that's as good a point as any to shut this mother DOWN. It's Friday y'all. We made it. What's everyone up to this weekend?

I trust you'll keep it an appropriate mix of classy and shameful, whatever you do.

xoxo Liz Ho

Cohabitation Situation Information Updation

My dudes. Happy Friday! R. Kelly's deeply poetic mantra "It's the freakin' weekend, baby" is speaking to me like never before. Now is when I'd generally recap the week but I'm too excited to think about anything but the future because, you guys, tomorrow is moving day!

Que sorpresa, right? I won’t give you the whole long, boring story which mostly just involves a lot of instances of me panicking and creating dramatic worst case scenarios only to have everything work out just how I wanted, but my landlady in my current apartment (she of the epic holiday decor) either really loves us or didn’t want to have to be bothered to find a new tenant (I suspect the latter) agreed to lower the rent to a price point that Brian and I can afford so the two of us will be living in my beautiful THREE BEDROOM mansion of an apartment in Brooklyn. Which means I don’t have to move any further than the big bedroom down the hall, we don’t have to pay an exorbitant broker’s fee and we’ll have room to spare, and then some.

Basically, I’m a really lucky B and I should count my blessings a little more.

We’d had it in our heads that Brian would move in this coming weekend, but we’ve both been crazy busy and still haven’t, technically, signed the lease (it’s a long story, don’t ask) so it sort of popped up on us. We just confirmed with the landlady last night that this date is a go and so in approximately 24 hours we will be shacking right on up.

AAH!

I am ridiculously excited and yet, surprisingly blasé. I guess I assumed that somehow the momentous nature of our big move would be more palpable. The earth would shake or fireworks would explode or there would be a plane with skywriting reading “Liz! In 24 Hours Your Whole Life Will Change And You’ll Never Live On Your Own Again, Holy Shit!” but so far, none of that has happened and I’ve mostly just carried on as normal.  I just realized that last night was probably my last night ever sleeping in my own bed – tonight I’ll likely go over to Brian’s so I can help him move in the morning. (haha “help him move” aka stand around, be bossy and do no heavy lifting.)

I always thought my last night on my own would be momentous, portentous, dramatic. Instead it was relatively normal. I met a girlfriend for drinks in the neighborhood, came home, ate a tomato for dinner, took a cold shower and read a book in bed. The drinks were fantastic but the actual being at home alone part was, quite frankly, lonely and boring. So maybe it was portentous, then, in that way. By giving me a night as dull and pathetic as they come (you guys: I ate a tomato for dinner. A tomato! That’s it! On my bed, in front of a fan, alone.), my solo life was sending me off reassuring me that excitement lay ahead, that I wouldn’t really miss these drab, tomato nights.

I’m sure I’ll freak out tomorrow, or in a few days or even weeks…don’t you EVEN fret about that.  I’ve never navigated a life change without at least one melodramatic breakdown, I certainly don’t see this being an exception.

For now, I’m just curious about one thing. Help me out, fellow cohabitators. What do you do with your stuffed animals? HA! Ridiculous question, I know. You see, I have this friend named Winston. He’s a polar bear I bought at the Coca Cola factory on a trip to Atlanta to visit my cousin when I was in 5th grade. It’s funny, that was my first solo big-girl trip and I came home with toy, ha. Winston used to have a plastic  coke bottle in his hand, but it broke when he was stepped on during a dance party at a friend’s sleepover, making him all the snugglier, and since then he has travelled with me to college, to Belgium, to all of my NYC apartments and on nights when I’m sleeping alone, I sleep with him. I know I’m a grown ass lady but it’s comfortable! Tell me I’m not the only one?!

Brian and Winston totally get along (once we were setting up to watch a movie in bed and I went into the kitchen to get a water and when I came back, Brian had the laptop all set up and was sitting up with Winston sitting right beside him, like he, too was joining us for the movie and I died because Brian is so cute and weird and funny) and the poor bear has seen some things he can’t unsee if you know what I mean, unless he’s into watching, that dirty bear! But still, it’s just not normal to bring a stuffed animal into your wonen samen bed, is it? It’s not!

But I feel bad just abandoning him in the guest room (or the office! Check me out I have multiple rooms!) (ha I am the worst). I know that most people have long since weaned themselves off of their childhood talismans, leaving them catching dust in parents' attics or childhood bedrooms, but Winston has been with me for the long haul and putting him away somewhere seems so…final. Like, this is it, you’re a grown-up now. Get on the big girl bus, next stop: menopause.

And now see… I think I AM freaking out about the big move! I’m just projecting all of my anxieties onto sadness over my teddy bear, which, upon further reflection, is mildly insane. But what can you do? We all panic in our own special and unique ways.

So that's what's up, friends! Thank you for reading this 83 paragraph essay about my teddy bear, this started as something so much more profound and took a pretty weird turn. In addition to the big changes, I'm coming off the nutsoist week and basically haven't slept in 10 days. If I don't shut this down now, who KNOWS where it might go.

The end, for now. This big adventure is actually just beginning! I promise I'll do my best to make it slightly more interesting next time. Hoping you all have the most magical weekends. Don't forget to hydrate!

winston

PS here is a cute picture of Winston tucked into my bed. True Life: I Am 28 And Play With Stuffed Animals.

 

A Cohabitation Proclamation

Summer is upon us, friends. Do you have any big travel plans? I’ve got a few weddings in the works (always) always and the possibility of a late August camping trip of some kind (sure to be ripe for blog material), but the majority of my summer will be consumed - physically, emotionally and especially financially - by moving. My lease on my beloved apartment in Brooklyn is up July 31 and I’m moving out of one of the best NYC apartments I’ve encountered yet. And why? So I can shack up with a handsome new roommate.

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That’s right. We’re taking the plunge. Well, not the big one, but the small modern, sinful step of pre-marital cohabitation. So maybe we're not at the plunge (yet!), but we’re definitely climbing up the diving board ladder.

I’m excited! Neither of us has ever lived in sin with a significant other before, so it’s a serious step, for both of us. And not one I’m taking lightly. I don’t judge anyone’s decisions to live how or where or with whom they please, but I know for a lot of people, cohabitation is a matter of convenience or a test to see if they’ll work it out for the long term but for me, and for the B-Man (I never call him that. Why did I just call him that?) is more just the next step in our big adventure together. It is important to me that the man I move in with ... I can't just move out from. We know that anything can happen but barring any unknowns, starting August 1, we’ll be eternal roomies.

A prospect both terrifying and exhilarating. Mostly exhilarating.

When I studied abroad in Belgium, which, have I even discussed that here? I should. Most of our stories are NSFB (Not Safe For Blogging), let’s just say we were never ever on our best behavior, but there are probably a few tales I could tell. Anyway, while abroad, we had to take a year long Dutch language class, a language which has come in handy exactly zero point zero times since, maybe until now. In Belgium and a lot of European countries, it’s not unusual for couples to live together for years before getting married, if ever getting married, even having children together. The Dutch have a special verb for this “wonen samen”, which translates into a phrase we don’t necessarily have words for in the English language: an unmarried couple living together.

I love that Dutch term and wish we had one similar. This morning while filling out paperwork with a realtor I had to list how many people would be in the apartment, two, and our relationship. “Boyfriend and Girlfriend” sounds trivial. “Partners” makes me think of those very intensely non traditional, liberal, artistic couples who wear a lot of scarves and live together for years but never marry and more power to ‘em, but calling Brian my partner, though he is, just doesn’t sound right for us. Special Roommates? Bed Buddies?

A problem, I know, that would be solved were we doing this the old fashioned “right” way by marrying first, then moving in, which, again, is a totally legitimate decision, if you choose to make it...but not the one that feels right for us. Or for for nearly half of the American population, so I do think we need some new vocab for the situation.

Any suggestions? As seen above, mine are pretty terrible!

Despite this huge number of pre-marital roomateships, many people still frown heavily upon it and we’re lucky that neither of our parents fall into that camp. I think they’d all wish the rings we’re about to share were for fingers, rather than house keys, but are supportive of our decisions, giving the oh-so-parental responses of “wellll, you’re adults and I guess that’s just how things are done these days.”

Indeed!

And so, here we are, gearing up to make this big step together. Before we can actually cohabitate, we'll need, you know, a habitat.  How’s it going, so far? Not great. We rushed out Sunday morning to make it to an open house...only to learn the landlord thought it was for a different day, and wasn’t able to show. We then rearranged the remainder of our day to meet a broker at 3 PM for a few showings...and he blew us off.

So, yeah, things are off to a bang up start over here. But I remain optimistic. My anxiety is on hyperdrive and my fingernails are chewed to nil, already, but I’m optimistic.

And how could I not be? In just over a month, I’m going to get to wake up next to this face every day.

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Barf times one million, but I can’t help myself! I'm pumped. There are practical things that excite me about living together - no more lugging overnight bags to each others’ apartments, no more having to pack multiple lunches for days I won’t be at home to cook or having to split up Saturday mornings to run home and grab that one thing I need before meeting back up again for the day, more cooking for two. So mostly food and fashion related. What else would I care about?

But on the non-practical, overwhelmingly emotional side, I’m just very happy at the thought of sharing and building a home together. Waking up next to each other every morning and then going to sleep together at night. Coming home late nights to each other, cooking together, making decisions as a team.

Barf times one million and two.

Despite a cynical streak a mile wide, it turns out, I’m really kind of a hopeless romantic.

That said, I’m still a little nervous. Er, a lot nervous. I know we’ll have new things to fight about and challenges we never even could have imagined. If anyone out there has any tips on successful cohabitation, I’d LOVE to hear them. Specifically in regards to taking on joint finances when one of you is a responsible, practical math nerd and the other is a fiscal trainwreck with mountains of debt and a penchant for blowing all of their earnings on nail polish and organic nutbutters.

$10 (worth of nail polish) to the first person to correctly guess which one of us is which.

It’s going to be an adventure, without a doubt, but I think it will be a great one.

Now we just need a home to shack up in. Ack!