Sunday, January 22, 2012


Winter is that time of year where you're always shivering and can see your breath as you exhale. Usually that only happens when your outside, but it's happening inside as I type on my iPad. Let's back up for a second. I got a voicemail at work on Friday afternoon. The managing agent of my apartment building was calling to let me know that there was a catastrophic failure of the boiler. It was the scariest voicemail ever! He stumbled and paused after the word catastrophic. I was thinking a catastrophic what? Fire? Earthquake? What? I relieved that he only said we were without heat and hot water. Well...I was relieved until I realized how much it was gonna suck.

I got home after work to find my apartment looked exactly he way it did when I left in the morning. The only difference was that it was freezing! I tried to figure out a way to shave, but gave up when I realized how hard it'd be without heat or hot water. I spent Friday and Saturday night at Antonio's apartment, but I had things I needed to do today (aka go to the gym). They were able to get the hot water working, but I'm still without heat.

It's like being outside. Im watching tv and can see my breath. I always l Ike to wear loose clothes, but not tonight. Usually I lounge around in shorts and a tank top. Now I'm wearing long johns, two pairs of socks and a fleece. Thank god my mom knows how to crochet because either blanket she made me is probably the only thing keeping hypothermia at bay.

I have to admit that I'm also pretty mad with the management company. They appreciate our patience and apologize for the inconvenience. Hmmm. Not having heat in early October or late March is an inconvenience. Not having heat in NYC in January with snow othe ground can be deadly. I hope the elderly people and peopled with children are managing through this.

As inconvenient and uncomfortable as I am, I have to admit that it does make me more appreciative. There are so many homeless people in NYC. I walk down the street and see them sleeping blahkets. As cold as I am now, it's nothing compared to sleeping outside. I also used to think that my apartment was always cold, but now I realize how lucky I really I am.

They say that they should have a brand new boiler installed by the end of the day on Tuesday. I can't wait until this whole icebox ordeal is over.

Posted from my iPad 2

Friday, January 13, 2012

How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

Everyone knows that no one really remembers what you give them as a gift. What you remember is the way the gift made you feel. That is certainly the case with the gift that my boss, Tresa, gave me for Christmas. She gave me an envelope with a card inside promising two tickets to any Broadway show. I was super excited! Going to see a musical is a real treat because the cost for good seats can be astronomical. But what show to see?

It seems serendipitous that Darren Criss started his 3-week run in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. He makes Antonio and I swoon so it seemed like the perfect choice. But could she get us tickets? Yep! I mentioned it last Monday and she had tickets for us for last Friday's show. Not only were we going to the show, but we were sitting in the second row in the center of the orchestra. It was so surreal when the ushers were showing us to our seats. We could see into the orchestra pit before we sat down. It was awesome!

The show opened with Darren Criss (J. Pierrepont Finch) reading a book and washing windows. He comes up from the orchestra pit on a little swing as the narrator begins the story. He's sitting on this swing high above the stage, but he's still so close. It was an incredible experience! We were so close to all the actors. It felt like we could jump up and join them for some choreographed song and dance.

I was really impressed with the entire show! It is the best show I've ever seen on Broadway. The fact that I knew nothing about the show really allowed me to enjoy it a lot more. All the songs were great, especially A Secretary is Not A Toy, The Company Way, and Brotherhood of Man. The dances were amazing and the chorus men were super hot! It was just a fun ride! Darren sounded just as good live as he does on Glee. Start to finish, it was absolutely amazing. Nick Jonas, who will take over for Darren Criss at the end of the month, has some awfully big shoes to fill.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Death of a Small Town

I rarely visit my hometown and when I do it's solely to visit my family. This past Christmas was a little bit different. I was also able to drive around a little and explore the places I used to call home. It was shocking! West Grove (where my mom lived) was completely over-developed. The small cul-de-sac I grew on up that only have 5 houses was once surrounded by corn fields and and trees. Now, those corn fields have been replaced with cookie-cutter homes. What worse is that Parkesburg (where my dad lived) appears to have taken an Ambien. The entire town is exactly the same as I remember it being six years ago when I left. The only thing that seemed to change was the accelerated rate of decay.

I never liked playing outside when I was a kid. I preferred to watch TV or play with my action figures or Legos under my lofted bed. But I can still appreciate the environment in which I grew up. I remember playing with Lisa, my next door neighbor, and exploring with Van, the slightly creepy kid that lived a few houses away. It was nice to have the opportunity to run around and be kids in a very innocent setting. On my first trip back to the old neighborhood (see picture below), I was so surprised by how much everything had changed. The once small town has slowly been replaced with sub-developments and big, shopping centers. The open land that I was so used to seeing is now gone. It's pretty sad that a new generation of kids won't get the same opportunity to grow up the way I did.

While West Grove has boomed and grown, Parkesburg hasn't changed at all. The town was slowly declining even when my dad was still living there and it hasn't gotten any better. When we first moved there is was a cute small town. It has a grocery store, hardware store, churches, parks and various restaurants and little stores. It wasn't a tourist destination but it was a nice place to raise a family. Now most things are gone. The Acme and hardware store went out of business at least seven years ago when the Walmart opened near the highway. Those huge spaces still sit vacant like a giant black eye. The stores that remain open look exactly the same - right down to the signs above the door. Nothing has changed!

One of the saddest examples of the decay was the shopping the center across town. There are train tracks that divide the town into two sides. The smaller part of town had a bridge every block to connect to the major part of town. Once the bridge closest to the shopping center closed because it was structurally unsound, every store went out of business. The place I used to get my hair cut and go tanning? Closed. The video store? Closed. The Super Fresh...closed? The holistic, organic grocery store that opened next? Closed within a few months. Now the entire shopping center sits empty next to the dilapidated bridge that is overgrown with vines and weeds.

It was really depressing to see how many places from my childhood aren't there anymore. I have so many good memories and it's weird that no one will be able to have those experiences. Both towns that I grew up have died. West Grove lost the small-town country charm that I remember and Parkesburg lost the will to grow into the future.