Who is Deborah Schwartz?
The experiences of Deborah Schwartz
The persistance of Deborah Schwartz.
The relations of Deborah Schwartz



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Loser

08.29.06
I have run for political office three times in my life.
The first time was in the fourth grade. I ran for class treasurer. Or school treasurer. Who even knows why anyone would trust a fourth grader with a pile of money. But I ran.

I can't remember who ran against me. This picture, which you may recall from a previous post, was used on my campaign literature. Maybe that's why I lost.

I ran for class secretary, or something like that, in seventh grade. I ran against a tall skinny kid named Isaac, who was an under-achiever, but tremendously popular with the proles. I tried to dumb myself down in my campaign speech. I teased up my bangs (way higher than this), and talked in a valley girl accent about how I couldn't spell my way out of a paper bag. When I sat down, Isaac turned to me and said, "Watch this." Then he got up and said something like, "I didn't even prepare a speech, because I don't care about this school, and I don't even want to be secretary. But I know y'all are going to vote for me anyway."

He made a little stylized bow, and the auditorium went wild. People were stomping their feet and pounding on the seats of the auditorium. Isaac won by a landslide.

At the beginning of my senior year, I ran for senior class president. I wore a home-made t-shirt advertising my candidacy. In fourth grade and seventh grade, I could never have been considered popular, but now, now maybe I could. By my own definition as well as my father's. The girl who ran against me --I don't want to sound like a horrible person, and I certainly hope she is not reading this, but-- she was rather homely. And she was very Christiany, which was unpopular at my pot-head high school. Finally, I felt my election was a sure thing.

But I lost again. I don't know how or why, but I lost. I don't even think the election was close.

I am not running now. but my mother is. Brian and I are flying down this weekend to help with the campaign. The election is this a week from today. After three pleas for online donations for my mother, she has received exactly one. From my college roommate, Dawn. It was a rather generous donation, too. Thank you, Dawn. It is nice to know that if I ever run for office again, maybe you will vote for me.

Everyone else will vote for Isaac or the homely girl or that other person I don't even remember.

I've been feeling a bit low lately. I think I'm having my pre-30 crisis. I don't know what I'm doing with my life. Some mornings, I wake up feeling disappointed in myself. But I sometimes mitigate the negative feelings by telling myself that I have an Internet presence, which is probably about 52 steps shy of being famous.

Can I get one more person to donate a dollar to my mother's campaign? Just so I can know someone else is reading my stupid blog. Just so I can feel popular.

Thank you.


08.27.06
Question: What is more uncomfortable than visiting your schizophrenic uncle in the mental hospital?

Answer: Having him visit you.

Uncomfortable

Please note that I am able to take this picture because my uncle does not mind in the least that I am standing over him with my phone pointed at his face. I was not hiding somewhere behind a piece of furniture. I was standing right in front of him.

I stood right in front of him mostly because he kept asking me questions. Questions about where the different issues of his favorite nudy magazines were. He would ask me, and I would drag out a box and say, "I really don't know. It might be in here." Then my uncle would flip whistfully through the smut until his 88 year old mother would scream at him to get off his lazy ass and help her put things away.

This took place in his (our former) studio apartment. It was very, very weird. My grandmother would scream, "IRA, IRA, GET ME SOME HANGERS. I WANT TO HANG SOME OF YOUR GODDAMN CLOTHES."

My uncle would make like he was looking for the hangers, sneak back over to me, and say, "WHAT ABOUT MY THREE YEARS OF SUBSCRIPTIONS? WHICH BOX ARE THEY IN? THESE (pointing to another box of nudy magazines) ARE FROM THE NEWSSTAND."

I would haul out another box, my uncle would start leafing through the magazines, then my grandmother would scream at him.

This all took place this past Saturday. We took the train up from Brooklyn to visit with him for his birthday. Because he is family, and no matter how far away I move, whether it be Brooklyn or Bermuda or Belarus, I will always be expected to visit him for his birthday. And often, it's easier to bear the uncomfortablity of the situation than it is to argue with a crazy man who is obsessed with his own birthday.

My Mom's election is September 5th. *HINT, HINT*


08.25.06
Nothing.
Nobody gave anything. I was so sure that my mother was going to get a flurry of small donations. But, so far, nothing has come in.

This makes me sad. Sad for my mother. But also sad for me. Because sometimes I fancy that I am a powerful media force. That I can sway public opinion with my tremendously popular blog. I experience delusions of fabulous grandeur. But, alas, . . . . Allow me to take you on a quick tangent.

ONE QUICK TANGENT
My father, as I remember him in my childhood, was not a nosy, meddling kind of dad. He was one of those hard-working dads who bookended days and existed as more of a stern, shadowy force in early childhood. I would see him in the mornings when he would drive me to school, and then evenings at dinner, during which time he was rather reticent. He often worked (either from the office or from home) during one of the two weekend days as well.

I don't recall him inquiring much about the minutia of my elementary school career. I do have this one atypical memory of him asking me whether I thought my brother was a popular kid at school. I feel very sure that this happened, but it seems very out of character for my father (as I remembered him then) to have used me as a kind of secret spy to find out more about my brother's outer life and social standing.

I told my father something like (and I'm paraphrasing, of course), "Depends on what you mean by 'popular'." Maybe I was nine years old at the time. Maybe my brother was 11. I said, "If you mean that a lot of kids know who he is, then yes, he's popular."

My father said, "Debbie, do you know what the word popular means?" He said this without mockery. Again, I was maybe nine. Maybe I was eight. He said, "Popular means that a lot of people like you."

"I don't think so," I said. "I think it means a lot of people know who you are. And almost everybody knows who Dennis is."

"No, Debbie. Popular means a lot of people like you."

This stumped me terribly, because I really loved my brother. I was very dedicated to him back then. And I felt that if I had to use my father's definition, telling the truth as I understood it would mean betraying him. "Maybe," I said, "Maybe he's not popular then. But maybe he is."

END OF QUICK TANGENT
So now, . . . . wait! . . . .

A SMALLER, LESSER TANGENT OFF THE PREVIOUS TANGENT
I was a bit of a loser as a kid, and for the longest time, my brother was my only friend. I felt invisible, and this was terribly frustrating. I wanted more than anything for people to know who I was. Sure, I wanted them to like me too. But more than that, I just wanted to be known. To be big. Larger than life. To be famous. It ached in the pit of my gut like a chronic heartburn. It still does to this day.

Sometimes people say, "I just have a few, very close friends." They like it that way.

"F*ck that," I say. "I want lots and lots of friends. But I'd rather not get too emotionally involved with them. Because then it gets all dysfunctional and stuff. That's what spouses are for."

Thank God someone invented the Internet. Now I can live the dream of throngs of fans from around the world with whom I have a very low level of emotional attachment.

END OF SMALLER, LESSER TANGENT OFF THE PREVIOUS TANGENT
So I think maybe I am popular now, popular in the way I first understood the word--erroneous definition or not. I write things and people read them. I make people laugh. They are sympathetic towards me, even responsive at times.

I'm asking you, fair reader, if you are reading this now, please donate a little something something to my mother's campaign. For her. But for me as well. For nine-year-old invisible me who dreams of having friends, lots and lots of them, and from all parts of the globe.

Please donate a dollar or two to my mother's online campaign. And allow both mother and daughter to feel one step closer to their dream of the Popular Vote.

Oh, and my mother wanted me to mention that though she did not get the local newspapers' endorsements, she is ahead in the polls, and she is being supported by the following groups:

  • The Florida AFL-CIO
  • The Broward Teachers Union
  • Florida Education Association
  • Broward, Florida, and Hollywood Professional Firefighters
  • Police Benevolent Association
  • Florida Health Care Association
  • Florida Nurses Association
  • Planned Parenthood/Voice for Choice
  • National Organization for Women
  • National Women's Political Caucus (Gwen Cherry Chapter)
I thank you. My mother thanks you. And my enormous, bloated ego thanks you as well.

08.23.06
Early voting has begun in Florida.
And so have the ballot mix-ups.

For anyone who is registered in South Floridaís district 99, please vote for my mother, Elaine Schwartz. Vote early. And often. And donít forget to check your ballot before you actually vote.

If you are not able to vote in this election, feel free to donate a bit to her campaign. It took my mother months to get the credit card donations portion of the website up and running. Her opponent has managed to raise much more money than she has. And he was endorsed by both the Sun Sentinel (right-wing bastards!) and the Miami Herald (misogynistic a-holes!). I still think my mother is totally going to win. And with the power of DebCentral.com supporters behind her, anything is possible.

Right?

So get out there and give. For the Democratic Party. For the Mother of DebCentral. For Freedom, Palm Trees, Babka, and Prune Juice. For everything good that South Florida stands for.

No amount is too small.

At least maybe we can help to cover my motherís website credit card processing fee.


08.20.06
Our power situation went from brown to black.
My friend Karen met me for lunch on Thursday, and we sat out in Bowling Green Park to eat. That's when it happened. A bird pooped on my bag. I started to yell and curse. Because pigeons are disgusting nasty vermin. But also because, contrary to popular belief, having a bird poop on you is bad luck. The last time a bird pooped on me, I lost my wallet. I skulked back to work knowing I was marked.

Later that evening, Brian and I returned to our apartment, and were both surprised by how dark the common areas were. Only one hall light was on. We opened our front door, flicked on the light, and all the power in the building went out. Our brown-outs had been getting worse. But they were flickers. The longest the power had remained out was for about three minutes. On Thursday night, three minutes turned into ten, and we realized that the power wasn't coming back on anytime soon.

It was muggy out. We installed the A/C in one of the bedroom windows, so we could no longer open it. The fan didn't work, as there was no power. We laid in bed and sweated.

About 3:30 am, the power went back on. I got up about 7 am, ran down to get milk from the bodega on the corner, and by the time I got back, the power was out again. Before Brian left for work (about 8:30), he called Con Ed.

The Con Ed guy arrived about 10:15.

At first, he asked me who owned the green van that was parked up the street. He said, "The van's sitting on top of one of our manhole covers and it'll need to be moved."

I looked at him like he was crazy. I had no idea who owned the random van parked on our street. Then my downstairs neighbor walked up to us. He asked her the same question, and she replied, "Of course. It is Joseph's car (or some such name)."

The Con Ed guy explained to her what he had explained to me. She walked down to the next building, and called up, "Joseph (or whatever his name was), there is a man here that needs you to move your car."

It was about 10:30 now, and out at least one window of each floor, a little head popped out to see what was going on. Out of the top floor window, a large hairy man thrust himself out of the window enough for me to see that he was not wearing a shirt, but was being protected by a matt of dark hair. He said, "Give me a second. I'll be right down."

Another neighbor, a lithe middle-aged gentleman dressed in an ivory linen ensemble strolled up and said, "We went downstairs earlier, and we just so much touched the circuit breaker, and all the lights went out. Do you think it could be the circuit breaker?"

"Could be," said the Con Ed guy.

The street was teaming with kindly, curious neighbors. Many had suggestions or theories as to what was wrong. It all felt very small-town-y which is nice, but I just kept thinking, "Doesn't anyone in this neighborhood have a job?"

This further forwards my hypothesis that nearly everyone in Park Slope is a freelancer.

Or maybe they all work Sunday to Thursday, like me.

The Con Ed guy went down into the basement, and saw that the "neutral" didn't look fabulous, but that he was going to have to go into the manhole to further explore.

They opened the manhole cover, and found the little area to be filled with dirty water. Now they were going to have to wait for another Con Ed truck to suck out the dirty water. The Con Ed guy got back into the truck and started reading the paper.

That's where he was when I left to get a hair cut, and it was where he was when I came back, only another big truck was there sucking out the murky water and hosing down the manhole to clean it out.

By about 1 pm, they were able to get into the manhole and determine that everything was wrong with our wiring. The wire was bad, the connections were bad. All manner of things with electrical-sounding names had gone bad or deteriorated or were no longer doing their job. Fixing and replacing was done. By 1:30 the power was back on, and it has held steady like that until this moment.

So far, so good.


08.16.06
The Internet is wonderful.
But so is electricity.

This is the third morning in just over a week in which the apartment has experienced a continuous series of brown-outs. The power keeps flickering on and off. It makes the computer so unhappy. The power goes out. The computer shuts off. The power goes back on. The computer starts to load up again. Then the power flickers off again. The computer shuts off again. As it is loading up again, the power goes out again.

This went on for about two hours this morning. I shut down the computer to keep the poor fellow from huffing and puffing so much (and so I didn't destroy our hard drive). Things seemed stable for about twenty minutes. So I stepped into the shower. Then the power went out again.

Our bathroom does not have a window. In my modesty, or out of habit, I had closed the bathroom door. It was pitch black.

After about 30 seconds, I felt I should continue with my normal shower activities as normally as possible. I rooted around for the face wash, and shampoo bottles came raining down on my head. I sulked for another 30 seconds. Then I found the face wash. I could not even see my hands in front of my eyes. But I could still scrub up.

Essentially, I was finished showering, but I remained under the water for fear that my blind departure from the shower should bring a new rain of shampoo bottles.

After about two minutes, the power went back on. I got out of the shower quickly.

My neighbors don't seem to think the brown-outs such a big deal. One just shrugged the other day and said, "Nice brown-outs we've been having."

I said, "Is it like this all the time?"

"No," he said. "I think it's been several months since the last one."

That was after the first one. But now it's been three in the last week.

I think I need to buy better surge protectors.


08.15.06
He came!
The cable guy came. And my downstairs neighbor let him into the backyard.

We have Internet access!


08.14.06
We hung up that pole thing in the closet!
Brian is a very gentle fellow. Very sweet. Really the kind of guy one wants to have as a husband.

Me? I'm a frazzled pent-up ball of tension.

It should be noted that neither of us is very handy. But lately we've had to learn.

Brian purchased a new power drill (did I tell you we couldn't find our old one?). He made two petite little pilot holes. When we tried to drill in the screws, they just wouldn't go in very deep. Some loud speculating occurred, and blue language was used. My feeling was that he had not pushed hard enough when drilling the pilot hole. So I tried showing him how it ought to have been done. My zeal was tremendous. The drill bit broke off in the hole.

This made us both incredibly annoyed. So we sat down in front of our new big TV to cool off.

About an hour later, we went back to the closet, and were somehow able to finish the job. Now we can hang up our clothing.

Hurrah!

In putting things away, I have discovered that Brian owns 7 pairs of shoes. I own 37. But I am going to get rid of one by the end of the week. I promise.

Brian owns three coats. I own eight. But I am going to get rid of at least one of those as well, because it's all skanked up with the lining falling out.

It's not so much that I have a lot of clothing as I hate to throw it away. Because it might come in handy one day.

A brief list of things are not able to find anymore:

This last one hurts the most.

I suspected something might be up around the time I wrote the blog entry in praise of it. I made several attempts to locate it, but they were all unsuccessful. I was so sure it was in the linen closet. But I removed first just a few items, and then everything. But couldn't find it. I went closet to closet (we only had three). I began to be convinced I had put it in storage to keep it safe. That must have been it. That has to have been it. I would surely find it again after we moved.

But I haven't.

I still have not located Original Blanky. Substitute Blanky and New Substitute Blanky made the trip just fine. But each box I unpack makes it clearer to me that my memory has failed me, Blanky was not put into storage for safe-keeping. I still have one last hope: That I left Original Blanky at my parents' house. I don't remember doing this, but anything is possible.

Mom? Have you seen Original Blanky anywhere? It's probably so lonely without me.


08.13.06
Still no Internet.
The cable guy said he would be at the apartment sometime between 8 and noon on Wednesday. So I sat around in our hot apartment waiting for him. He showed up about 10:45, which I guess isn't so bad. He came up to the apartment, looked around, and said, "Where's the TV?"

"Um. We ditched it. It was old and small and crappy, so we decided not to take it with us."

"I can't install cable TV without the TV."

"Why not?"

"Because I can't. It is impossible. That is all."

"Okay. Well, we do have a computer, and that is more important." I showed him the computer. He looked at it, then eye-balled the cable wire that runs along the floor boards of the living room.

Then he looked at me and said, "I'll need to get into the backyard."

I told him I didn't have garden access. It was only accessible through my downstairs neighbor's apartment.

"Tell her to give me access."

"I don't know if she's home. It's almost 11 am on a Wednesday."

"No access, no Internet."

Frantic, I ran down and knocked on her door. I call ran back up and called out to her from the window. I ran down and knocked again, then put my ear to the door to see if I could hear movement inside. Nothing.

"I really don't think she's home."

"Then I will leave. There is nothing more I can do now."

"Isn't there anything you can do?"

"No. I must flip a switch. Which is in the backyard. If I cannot flip the switch, I can not connect the cable."

"What about the fire escape!" I said. "You could climb down the fire escape."

The cable guy looked at me like I had suggested that he disembowel himself with a spoon. "I'm union!" he said haughtily. "I am not allowed to endanger myself like that."

So he left. But not before he set up a tentative appointment for this coming Tuesday morning. He warned that I must get my neighbor to sit around and wait for him as well, and I would need to have a TV by that time. Any trips out to the apartment after that would cost me."

I was in quite a panic. I had seen my downstairs neighbor last early Wednesday morning. Then she disappeared for several days. We noticed that she was not even collecting her mail.

Brian and I spent the next few days digging out from under the boxes. This consisted mostly of us moving boxes from one side of the room to the other. Unpacking a box or two, then moving the boxes back to the other side of the room. It was a stuff-shuffle of grand proportions. Move a box so you can unpack another box. Unpack the box. Move the other box back.

Most of our clothes are put away. Most of our books are unpacked. Some things which have been found have stayed found.

Yesterday, a handyman came, and for $70, he installed our A/C unit. We went to a furniture store and ordered a dresser for Brian and a desk for the computer. They will not be delivered for another three weeks. Then to J&R, where we purchased a new TV and a nifty flat screen monitor (our old monitor was about 7 years old).

We also purchased and installed some window blinds. Now we are cool, we have some privacy, and a nice new TV and computer monitor, though no cable or Internet access. Fun!

Later in the evening, Brian told me he saw our downstairs neighbor out in the garden. I ran over and yelled down to her all my cable problems. She said I should knock on her door Tuesday morning and she would leave the key with me for the day. She is really a very nice person.

So. Tuesday. Hopefully.


08.10.06
Eddie Geller's Appendix: 1984-2006

On January 21, 1984, Eddie Geller's appendix entered the world. It remained largely quiet and unassuming for the next 22 years. Until Yesterday.

On August 9th at 2 o'clock in the morning, the appendix made itself known by causing Mr. Geller tremendous abdominal pain and discomfort. It even threatened to burst.

Very official-looking picture of appendicitis, except that 'inflamed' is misspelledBut Mr. Geller didn't panic. He fought back. By checking himself into the hospital last night.

Doctors of Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank thwarted the vestigial structure's evil plan, but not before it caused Mr. Geller to miss a performance at The Improv. He underwent "mildy invasive" surgery early this morning and is scheduled to check out of the hospital later today.

When asked what he thought of all this, Mr. Geller replied, "People get their appendixes out all the time. It's not that big a deal."

He said the doctors told him he should wait a couple of weeks before returning to work.

But they didn't say anything about performing improv.

Detail of Geller's 'evil-doing' appendix ('inflamed' still misspelled)"I have another show this Sunday," Mr. Geller said, "which I think I should be fine to do."

This reporter's interview was cut short by calls and visits of well-wishers. Not only is this reporter not sore about it, but this reporter encourages more of such interruptions.

Young Mr. Geller can be reached by email at emgeller at gmail.com. Further contact information can be obtained by contacting this reporter.


08.09.06
The move went okay.
They had estimated the move at 8-9 hours, but it ended up taking a little over 5.

We've started unpacking and cleaning up a bit. Brian and I are back to work on Tuesday. We were supposed to have our cable modem installed today, but the cable guy said he needed to flip some switch in the backyard, which can only be accessed through my downstairs neighbor's apartment. Who knows when we'll have Internet access. Ugh.

I took a few pictures, and will post them sometime when I have a moment.

The worst part about moving is WE CAN'T FIND ANYTHING. It's like living in a two-foot deep swamp. Every time you put something down, it disappears into the muck, and you have to fish around for hours looking for it. Toothpaste, underwear, plastic cups, cell phone chargers, dust pan, measuring tape. By the time you find one thing, the next thing has gone missing. You find the thing, put it down, and then it disappears again.

It is very draining.

But the worst is not having air conditioning.

Actually, we have an A/C window unit, but have no idea how to install it. It is an old behemoth model that cost us over $300 five years ago. It has been in storage these past four years while we romped around the Upper East side in our central-air-having apartment. Now it is out, and too goddamn heavy to even lift. We have called around asking about getting it installed, but people are asking between $60-80 to do the job. Is it worth it? I am so torn.

Still, I hate the heat. I hate being hot at night. I hate when my head sweats into my pillow, when the sheets stick to me. It makes me feel like I can't breathe.

I would like to share one little story with you. When the movers were moving us out of the storage facility, they came upon one incredibly heavy box unmarked box which was near falling apart. One of the movers, straining to lift it onto the hand truck, said, "Good God! What is in this box?"

Brian and I knew what was in the box. As we were waiting for the elevator, I went ahead and labeled it. Better late than never.

Here it is:

Six years of back issues

08.06.06
One more day until the move.
Wish us luck.

The computer is almost all packed up. We have some stray kitchen appliances, like the toaster and coffee maker, still to pack up. I am at work today. Brian met me for lunch. Then he is going to buy some more boxes (who knew we had so much stuff!) and do a laundry.

Packing is so tremendously difficult for me. I have to have everything done a certain way. Things will be slow and orderly and neat, until I allofasudden blow a fuse and have to lie around listlessly for hours.

Brian is a trooper. He keeps on trudging. Nothing bothers him. Not even the fact that he is wrapping fragile items with the bubble wrap bubble-side-out. This morning, as he was packing up, he misplaced one roll of tape. So I found him another one. Then he misplaced that one. And the permanent marker he was using. I replaced the marker with another, and located the original tape. The scissors disappeared. So he went to the kitchen and brought back a knife to cut the tape.

"Brian, you're eventually going to have to find the scissors. Why not do it now?"

"I don't want to waste time looking for them."

"What did you do with that second roll of tape?"

"I don't know."

"Why are you just standing there like that?"

"I think I just lost another marker."

"BRIAN! We had tons of permanent markers when we started. What the hell have you done with them all?"

I had only my skirt on a one shoe, but I crawled back in bed and stared into space for 20 minutes.

"It's going to be okay," Brian said. He squeezed my shoulders. "I'll find the marker. I promise."

All I could do was exhale a gurgling high-pitched sound like a tea kettle about to boil.

When he met me for lunch, I asked how the packing was going. He said he had not gotten done as much as he would have liked, because he spent part of the morning trying to locate a roll of tape. I do so hope the kitchen appliances and the computer are all packed up by the time I get home.


08.05.06
Two more days until the move.
Ack! too many boxes. There is a never-ending supply of stuff to pack. Why on earth do we have so much stuff? And how did we fit it all into such a small apartment?

This morning, we had brunch with my crazy uncle and my grandmother again. It was very unpleasant. They bickered the whole time, and at the end of the meal, as predicted, my uncle requested to go back to his (our) apartment to look at his "stuff". I explained repeatedly that the studio apartment was strewn with boxes, and that even if we could locate his stuff (read: dirty magazines), he really wouldn't have a place to sit down and look at them. We were going to the storage facility anyway, and wouldn't have time to show him. My grandmother volunteered to take him in our absence, and he said, "NO! I WANT DEBBIE TO BE THERE. I WANT TO SPEND SOME TIME WITH DEBBIE." Of course, this means he wants me to slip him money. Again. I was adamant.

Four years. I've really had enough. We are about to move. Our apartment has become unnavigable. I am so nervous I am pulling the hair out of my head. And all my uncle can think about is looking (shamelessly) at his dirty magazines and hitting me up for money. AH!

Again, Brian reminded me that it was no accident that my uncle has spent the last forty years in and out of mental institutions. True, true. Still, does the man have to be so goddamn annoying? Why can't he just be one of those charming crazies who goes around in a pill box hat and gloves thinking he's Jackie Kennedy?

We had dropped a whole bunch of stuff off at a Manhattan Mini Storage locker four years ago. I had not been back in almost as much time. Brian visited a couple of times, once when they moved us from one locker to another, because they were renovating the area we had occupied.

We got there and were shocked to find . . . firstly, that we were no longer in the basement, like we had both remembered. We were now on the fifth floor. Wow. And everything was squeezed into the locker willy-nilly. A whole bunch of stuff. Our stuff and my uncle's stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Some of the stuff we knew must be ours, but we could hardly remember it. There was this one thing, it looked like the wooden part of a director's chair. But we had never owned a director's chair.

Brian said, "I'm seeing some sort of canvas. I am remembering a piece of canvas that went over the top. Or something."

"What the hell did we use it for?" I asked. "It's not a chair. Right? It doesn't really look like it would be a chair."

"Do you think it held shoes?"

"Nah. I can't see how something that size could hold shoes."

We were completely baffled. We tried our best to move around, climbing on top of old boxes and suitcases to label what was to be dropped off on the Upper East side, or moved all the way to Brooklyn. That's when we found an old VCR. It looked horrible. Like it had been through a war. Brian and I were mortified.

We conferenced for a bit, then decided that if the VCR accidentally wound up in the garbage, my grandmother would never know what had happened to it. She might forget about it or think it was stolen or lost. But if we return it to my uncle's apartment in the condition it was in, she would certainly know what had happened to it, that it had been left to the cruel and arbitrary nature of the elements for four years, naked and lonely and covered in dust and dirt.

It took us about one minute to reach a conclusion.


08.04.06
Three more days until the move.
It's finally cooling off. Down to the low, low upper-eighties. I keep checking Monday's weather. High of 90. Scattered T-storms. Ugh. All our Ikea furniture is going to melt. I took down most of our pictures. I started wrapping them up and placing them in a large box. Then I dumped our shoes into a medium-size box. But the box overfloweth. I had too many shoes. Too many. But I guess I didn't have as many pictures as I thought. So I took out the pictures and had Brian pour the shoes into the larger box.

I hate packing. I hate moving.

Uncle Ira is visiting again tomorrow and has insisted that we have brunch again with him. I am morbidly unhappy about this. I know he is going to want to extort money from me and to check up on his "magazines" again. Every time I start to complain about my uncle demanding our time (and money), Brian said, "What do you want from him? He's crazy. That's why he's in a mental institution."

True dat.

Our friend William posted some pictures from the Pitchfork Music Festival on his blog. Brian and I made it into two of the images. Can you find us?


08.03.06
Four more days until the move.
JesusChrist it's hot! My goodness!

Yesterday, I called to order cable modem service in our new digs. Everything was going fine until the man told me they could not get a technician to set it up until August 16th.

AUGUST 16!?!

I am the person who spent half her belated honeymoon at various Internet cafes around Rome. No! It couldn't be. It was all too horrible. The stress of moving and the extreme heat and now this. How much can one woman take?

I called back again this morning. Out of some silly hope that Time Warner Cable was playing a cruel joke on me. Maybe they were. They allowed me to arrange for a technician to stop by this coming Wednesday morning.

I told the customer service woman that I had heard stories from people who took the day off of work to wait around for the technician. All day. But the technician never arrived. I asked her if these rumors were true. She said that sadly, in some cases, they were. However, she said, as long as I was there to answer the phone when he called, everything would probably be all right.

"Answer the phone? I mean, if he calls, and it goes straight to voicemail, and then I call him back, is that okay?"

"No. If he calls and gets no answer, he will skip the appointment."

"But my new phone. It's weird sometimes. Sometimes it goes straight to voicemail. It happens a lot with this new phone. I mean, I'll be totally holding it in my hand, and it won't even vibrate. I keep my phone on vibrate, you know, because who wants to hear some stupid obnoxious ring? Especially when you're at work. But really. I'll be looking right at it, and all of a suddenly there'll be a message. Can you tell the technician to leave a message and I'll call him right back?"

"I can tell him not to call, to head right over."

"Could you? Okay. Great. Only, he can't come straight up. The initial door before the vestibule is locked. And there's a lock on the door between the vestibule and the stairs. But he can buzz me so I know he's there."

The customer service woman sounded exasperated with me. "I will write in the notes that he should buzz you."

"I think the buzzer works. But we've never tried it. We're just moving in this Monday. We've only seen the apartment twice. And why would we buzz ourselves anyway. But it should work, I guess. I hope."

"He should not call, just buzz."

"I mean, he could totally call too. My phone certainly might work. But it might go to voicemail, like I said before. It's this new phone I got. Three months ago or something. My old phone did it too, but this phone does it way more. And I don't even know how good the reception is in the new apartment. We didn't get a landline, because we didn't think we would need one. And anyway, what if I'm in the bathroom or something? I mean, would the technician really want me answering the phone while I'm in the bathroom?"

There was a long chilly pause, which was broken by the woman saying simply, "Yes. In your case, I would say yes."

I had certainly not charmed her into loving me. But I was getting my high speed Internet a full week earlier. I am not one to look a gift customer service representative in the mouth.

But still, I thought I was cute.


08.02.06
Five more days until the move.
It is hot here. Very hot. Triple digits. Like the city is exhaling hot breaths, that stagnant processed air that comes up from the deep within the chest. The subways are like a science experiment, unnaturally hot, stagnant, mucky air filled with the organic smells of things rotting and people melting.

I hate the heat.

It followed us here from Chicago. It was in the high 90s the whole time we were there. It made sight-seeing difficult.

The wedding was quite nice. It was good to see all that rowdy family out on the dance floor. I took only a couple of pictures, but realized that I'd rather be dancing.

On Sunday, we spent the day at the Pitchfork Music Festival. It was unpleasantly hot, but we got to see our favorite Swedish pop star, Jen Lekman, so it was totally worth it. We also met up with our old friend and Gainesville Celebrity, William Bowers, which was so fun, we almost forgot how hot, sweaty, and disgusting we were. William helped us to get into the after party as well, where we got another peek at Mr. Lekman. Brian and I were like giggly teenage girls.

We also had dinner with my high school friend, Molly Hale, who I hadn't seen in almost a decade. Here is a picture of us this past weekend. And here is a picture of us doing improv together back in high school. In case this image looks familiar to you, it made it's first appearance here back in the day.

On Monday, mostly we slept, but we had lunch with former coworker and now student of German literature Josh Bonilla.

It was a weekend of seeing people who we hadn't seen in some time. It made us feel good about ourselves, as if we weren't horrible friends who lost contact easily with people with whom we had once been close.

We flew back Monday night to air hotter than what we had left and an apartment full of boxes. It was depressing.


08.01.06
Six more days until the move.
We were in Chicago this past weekend for my cousin's wedding. More details to follow . . . .

Oh, and today is my sister's birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ALI!


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