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November 14th, 2006:

Locked out…. (a very expensive lesson)

So we did something that was stupid stupid stupid… and cost us a pretty penny to boot (and we’re still not done.)
Saturday we spent most of a beautiful day outside painting shelves. I have a set of four book cases from the bookstore days. We painted three of them a long time ago with the idea of putting them in the living room, and thus getting some storage in the living room. Of course, we didn’t paint the shelves right away. So we spent the afternoon painting them. Well, to be truthful, Stephanie did most of the painting. I did all of the heavy lifting. But we only got one side of the shelves painted before the weather turned rainy and we had to bring everything back into the garage.

We had tickets to the theatre at night (The Umbilical Brothers, an Australian comedy duo that is performing at the New Victory for the next week or so) So, we took showers and got cleaned up and got ready to go. We were going to treat ourselves to an early dinner at Saigon Grill (one of Stephanie’s favorites at 90th and Amsterdam) and then go to the theatre.

And this, dear readers, is where the story starts to go horribly wrong. In the course of changing pants etc, I leave my keys upstairs. Stephanie gives me the key to her car (which I don’t have on my key anyway, since the administrator from our temple has temporarily borrowed my key so that she can take Stephanie’s car on a mission of mercy.) But for some unknown reason, Stephanie does NOT give me the rest of the keys. She takes her key OFF her ring. I assume that I have my keys with me, and I assume that she has given me her keys. At this point, we turn on the alarm and exit the house, locking the door behind us using the push button lock. When I go to lock the deadbolt, I realize that Stephanie has taken the key off her ring. I reach for my keys in my jacket, and then my pants pockets, and realize that somehow, my keys are inside. We are locked out of the house.

This sets off my buttons– I’m hungry, we were supposed to have a perfect date night, and now everything is all screwed up. After walking around the house trying to open various windows (hoping that the screens would give out without much problems (no dice) and calling our friend who has the only other key (not home) we do the only thing that we can do– we call a locksmith. It is supposed to take 20 minutes for the locksmith to get there (plus $55 to just show up, and then the labor) But what are we going to do? We need to get into our house.

We’re both starving, so I run out to the Pizza Barn to get some quick food (I did have my wallet with me) I get back, and there is still no locksmith. At this point, our friend calls with the key. But at this point, it seems too far away to go get it (she lives in Sleepy Hollow– 25 minutes up, 25 minutes back) We eat our food in the car (it’s getting a little cold) and then I see somebody walking around and it is our guy. He gets to work, and it takes him a while to break through the lock. After a bunch of false starts, it turned out that even that stupid little lock was hard to open without breaking the entire door frame. He finally had to drill through the center lock in order to open it.

He finished right at 6 pm, and our show started at 7. We rushed down to the West Side, parked a block from the subway, subwayed to 42nd street, and managed to get into the show before it started.

This whole excursion cost us a cool 100 balloons, plus our well-planned date night, and we still have to get our locks fixed. Our bottom lock doesn’t work (the top one works no problem, and we are going to bring in a different locksmith to key all of our locks (as we’ve been meaning to do for a while) Who knows how much THAT will cost.

As for the show, there were pieces of it that were pretty funny, but the show itself didn’t quite hang together. It was a “Best of” show, (called The Worst of) and because the pieces were from all different shows, they didn’t quite gel. There was lots of funny stuff, but the show I’d seen by them previously was more compelling and more virtuosic. Still the audience loved them, and kids REALLY dug the show.

And now we’ve got to come up with a better contingent plan– how are we going to stop ourselves from being locked out again (other than NEVER EVER TAKING YOUR KEYS OFF THE RING STEPHANIE!) We’re talking about hiding a real estate lock box outside somewhere. Does anybody else have any other suggestions?

Flea circus in Riverdale– December 3, 2006

A lot of people have been wondering when I’d be performing the flea circus in New York– here’s an opportunity to see the show for FREE! Come check it out, if you get the chance.

KILL DATE 12/3/06

Trained Fleas Perform In Riverdale

RIVERDALE, NY: This winter, the stars treading the boards at the First Annual Riverdale Jewish Arts Festival (December) will be rather difficult to see. That’s because they will be insects. Trained insects. Fleas, to be exact.

The show, the Acme Miniature Flea Circus, is an authentic Victorian flea circus that features trained fleas Midge and Madge who perform spectacular circus stunts as seen before (and on top of) the crowned heads of Europe. Midge and Madge will make their Riverdale premier on Sunday, December 3, 2006.

Details magazine called the show “One of the top alternative circuses in the country.” The New York Times said “The appeal is irresistible… Gertsacov is every bit the fantastical impresario, in his purple top hat and cash-register voice, introducing us to the wondrous insects itching (sorry) to perform” And the Los Angeles Times says that “Professor Gertsacov holds the audience (and the stars of the show) in the palm of his hand.”

According to Professor A.G. Gertsacov, ringmaster and proprietor of the Acme Miniature Circus, flea circuses were popular entertainments during Victorian times, but had nearly disappeared since the advent of television. The last popular American flea circus was Professor Heckler’s of Time Square, which left New York in 1957. The rumor is that Heckler thought that the nude shows were giving his fleas a bad name.

There are now only a handful of flea circuses still performing throughout the world. Gertsacov’s is arguably the most famous. The Rhode Island native (now based in Yonkers) and his amazing insect stars have performed throughout the country, and in Canada, Chile, and Brazil. He recently spent three months performing in Times Square, less than two blocks from where Professor Heckler once had his fleas. Gertsacov has also been filmed for documentaries on the History Channel, the Travel Channel, and numerous news programs. He’s even been a question on Jeopardy!

Gertsacov’s educated insect stars pull chariots, dance on a tightwire, and perform other circus-like stunts. While he does not reveal his method of training (a proprietary secret, he explains) , he assures the curious and the civic minded that he uses only methods of positive reinforcement to teach the insects their routines. “I treat them as if they are my own flesh and blood,” Gertsacov says. “And in some ways, they are.”

Professor Gertsacov will bring his minuscule marvels to perform in their Riverdale premiere on Sunday, December 3, 2006. He invites all curious parties to come and see the show that was deemed one of the top shows of the world famous Spoleto Festival in 2004. But he asks that you leave your dogs and cats at home. Gertsacov quips, “I don’t want anyone to steal the show.”

Shows are the Riverdale YMHA, 5625 Arlington Ave, Riverdale, NY on Sunday December 3, 2006. Shows at 1 and 2 pm. Admission is free, but seating is limited, so please arrive early.

For more information about the show, or to reserve tickets, contact Erna Brout, Festival Coordinator at the Riverdale Y at (718) 548-8200.
Or visit http://www.shalomriverdale.org
For press information, photographs, or interviews, please contact Flea Master Professor A.G. Gertsacov at 917-334-2502 or visit the flea circus website: http://www.trainedfleas.com.

WHAT: Acme Miniature Flea Circus at the First Annual Riverdale Jewish Arts Festival
WHERE: Riverdale Y, 5625 Riverdale NY 718-548-8200
WHEN: Sunday December 3, 2006 at 1pm and 2 pm.
COST: Free (seating limited, please arrive early)

MORE INFO: http://www.shalomriverdale.org
MORE INFO: http://www.trainedfleas.com.
RIVERDALE Y DIRECTIONS: http://riverdaley.org/new_page_4.htm