A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was excited to start growing stuff at our new apartment. No word on a closing date yet, but I had my first failure as a gardener. I tried to take care of the free basil plant that I got at the conference, but Sam is convinced that we have bugs that ate through the plant. The other possibility would be claw marks from the kitties. Either way, I'm hoping for more success when we can plant outdoors.
I stopped at Trader Joe's on my way home from work last night, and it wasn't as much of a mob scene as I had expected (i.e. no line to get in), but I was slightly upset to find many of my favorite items missing. I'm not sure if it is because they were all sold out or if they aren't going to sell them here in NYC, but I was looking forward to my Matterhorn trail mix and yummy tzatziki. I still managed to find plenty of stuff to stock up on, though.
And now, for those of you who ever swam, you may appreciate my mini-rant on this morning's swim practice. Our main set was the following:
1x100 IM on 1:40
1x200 Free on 3:15
2x100 IM on 1:50
2x200 Free on 3:20
3x100 IM on 2:00
3x200 Free on 3:25
2x100 IM on 2:10
2x200 Free on 3:30
1x100 IM on 2:20
The last 100 IM was brutal. I just didn't want to raise my arms out of the water. I led the set, though, and made all the times (the first few were the only ones that were hard to make, but still...). I'm pretty proud of myself. Makes me more confident in my ability to actually swim hard for 45 minutes at a time, like I will need to when I swim around Manhattan. I guess that's worth aching shoulders and thighs that feel like big knots.
Last weekend was a relaxing weekend of doing taxes, reading the Sunday paper, catching up on the phone with friends, having a lovely dinner at my parents, and going to swim practice both Saturday and Sunday. I swam three times last week, finally on the pattern I'd like to be until the swim in June. The highlight of the weekend was V for Vendetta, though. Loved it. Also loved the anarchists handing out pamphlets wearing masks outside the theatre on 42nd st.
Today, I served Jury Duty for the first time in my life. I kept getting called in college but was always away and told them that I was living in Boston so they should stop calling me. So they did, even while I was back in NY for two years in between college and grad school. But within six months of getting a new drivers license with my Brooklyn address and name change, I get called. I don't know about Manhattan, but Brooklyn's system seems to make sense - if you can't make it on the day you are called, you suggest a date when you can make it. Would have saved me a lot of hassle with the registrar's office back in the day.
Anyway, jury duty? Not that bad. First there is the amusing short film about how great jury duty is. It starts off with a dramady of drowning people to see if they were guilty. Isn't it great that we don't have to do that? And the amusing quotes from people abou their experiences. And then after the movie, after we've been sittiing there for easily over an hour, the staff calls up all people who have kids they need to watch and need to be excused, as well as all non-citizens. Don't you think that should have been the first thing they would do? About half an hour after that, after going through the instructions of how to tear off the correct portion of the juror card 3 - 4 times, the staff asked for all people who don't speak English to go through the doors (to be excused I presume). At this announcement, a huge mass of people rushed the doors. Two questions: one, how did they understand what the lady was saying if they don't speak English? and two, what about all the other instructions uttered that morning - were they supposed to have understood those as well?
The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. I sat and read. I listened for my name during the one group of potential jurors that were called. I had an hour and a quarter for lunch, during which I was craving a hamburger so I wandered over to the Fulton Mall and decided that Applebees would probably have a decent lunch special involving a burger. I was half right. They had a lunch special for which I got a cheeseburger, fries and a soda. But they gave me Diet Pepsi (which I hate), not Diet Coke, took close to twenty minutes to take my order, and gave me a charred burger. I should have known it was a bad sign when they didn't ask how I wanted it cooked. After lunch, I headed back to the courthouse, read some more, and was released by 4pm. I haven't been home on a weekday that early in months!
Is it wrong of me to be kind of bummed that I won't get called for Jury Duty again for another 5-6 years?
In anticipation of our new apartment and its roof deck, I've gotten very excited to have space for some gardening. And it was perfect timing that I found out about "Making Brooklyn Bloom" last weekend. And best of all it was free. It was great. I got to learn about heirloom strains of all types of vegetables (and which ones grow well in small containers), and which herbs are the best to grow in windowboxes and how to perserve them. I even got a basil plant and a ton of seeds for free. I'll have to go up to my parents house in MA since they definately won't all fit in a few pots.
My favorite part of the event though was a short film called "Seeds in the City: The Greening of Havana." It was an amazing documentary about the food crisis in Havana, brought on by the lack of funds due to the fall of the USSR, leaving no money for importing produce or gas. This forced the city to farm in every bit of open space, allowing the city to now generate enough produce to feed the whole population. And its all organic because all the "farms" are small plots and it is illegeal to use pesticides due as a protection of the water system. The city has now become completely sustainable out of necessity. Amazingly, its bringing about a complete economic change as well because produce is allowed to be sold in a free market, using dollars, enabling farmers to earn a better living working their tiny backyard garden than a government employee. Slowly, the free market is legally entering Cuba. If that isn't hope for developing nations all over the world, I don't know what is.
On Monday, we had a little scare in our potential home-buying household. The seller told us that another couple was looking at the place and was pre-approved and VERY interested and were planning on putting in an offer by the end of the week after they had talked to their bank. Both of us felt slightly ill at the thought of losing the place and we were frustrated that the lawyer hadn't been able to draw up the contract.
But on Tuesday, the lawyer said she got everything she needed and we could come in to sign the contract as soon as we got together 10% of the sale price as a down payment to go in escrow. Whoops. After some frantic calls to our bank to ask them to please liquidate some of our funds since we don't just have that sitting around in cash, we were told that we'd be able to write the check the next day.
So yesterday, we spent the morning at our lawyer's office signing our freedom away and writing a very large check. And then we held our breath, hoping that the other couple wouldn't get an offer in before our seller signed the contract.
A few hours ago, we found out that the seller signed the contract last night. If all goes well, we'll be moving within a month.
I'm eagerly anticipating not changing my address within two years for the first time since 1997. And of course many bbqs on our lovely deck admiring the sunsetting behind the Empire State Building.
At work, we have music on almost all the time. A lot of times its my iPod, but I get tired of that sometimes, so to mix it up we will switch on some internet radio as well. Uusually Last.fm if its streaming well, or sometimes Pandora. Pandora was just on and a song by Bob Guiney came on. The voice sounded kind of like the lead singer of Better than Ezra, a fav band of mine from back in the day, so clicked to find more info on the singer, thinking maybe it was a solo album and I just didn't recognize the name. But no, this is Bob from The Bachelor. I only saw the ads so I didn't really recognize him, but something about this just seems weird. Also weird is that the song totally sounds like a song from the late 90's, a la Hootie or Matchbox 20.
With March rolling around, thoughts turn to taxes. And it occurred to me that I still hadn't gotten my W-2 forms from my part-time secretarial job at the Hillel at Stanford. Seeing as they had confirmed my address back in November, I thought something might be up, so I finally got around to emailing the administrator there to see if my address was right. Turns out that the not so bright people at the payroll department of Hillel mailed my W-2 forms to the following address:
--- Dean St
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Stanford, CA 94205.
And didn't think about the reason why this looked wrong. Or why it got returned. Aren't you glad there are people out there who do this for a living?