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March, 2008:

Let the Celebrating Begin!

This was the beginning of the wedding celebrations.

Friday night was the aufraf– a Jewish celebration of our marriage before the marriage– kind of a dry run, if you will– it was at our synagogue– there was much eating and drinking and singing and even a little dancing (which S did not prepare me for, and I managed to do a little of anyway– I’m not a big fan of the dance) The aufruf is traditionally on Saturday morning, and you get called to the Torah then, but we are more Friday night synagogue goers, so we chose to do it on Friday night.

Anyway, people afterwards hung around and gave us advice– one very good friend of ours had a book that people had made for her from her wedding shower with written in advice– that sounded like a very good idea! She read from her book, and it was very sweet and nice. Other people spoke from the heart. It was touching.

I think the best advice of the night came from a couple that had been married for fifty years. The husband said “Our biggest secret– two bathrooms and two tv’s.”

Since we have 2 1/2 baths and two tivo’s, I think we are well on our way to success (fifty years is pushing it though– if I make it that long I’ll be 93, and S will be 90– this couple was in their 70’s.)

Although I wasn’t particularly into it when it started, by the end of the night even I can admit that it was a very nice night. (Just don’t tell S I said that– she might think I’ve gone soft.)

Last night was my bachelor party– a debacle of debauchery unparalleled in human history. While we were doing this, S and a bunch of girlfriends and gayfriends were having an upscale tea party at an upper West side tea place (I wasn’t there, so she’ll have to fill you in on all the particulars. If she dares)

It started with drinks at my brother’s cool new Phillipe Starck designed apartment in the city, and then 12 of us– my brothers, cousins, and friends, hopped in our pimp-daddy white Hummer Limo to East Rutherford NJ for the main event–the VFW beefsteak. (Took us hour and a half to get from 23rd st to east rutherford– Saturday night traffic– but traffic looks a lot different in a Hummer Stretch limo!)

I’d been wanting to go to a beefsteak since I read the article in the NY Times about two months ago, And I thought it would be the perfect bachelor party thing– especially after I read the quote from the Times explaining why a lot of them are stag affairs…

“A man isn’t inclined to eat as much if his wife or girlfriend is watching,” Rob Nightingale explained. “After their 15th or 18th slice, she kind of gives him the look and makes him stop.” (Mr. Mitchell put it more succinctly: “Women do not esteem a glutton.”)

The menu was classic– beef dipped in butter, fries, a ziti dish, an ice cream roll for dessert, and a whole lot of beer. It was completely the VFW I expected– cheesy door prizes, biker dudes and their chicks, and 60 year old drunk guys with huge pot bellies who made amazing bread sculptures with their discarded bread. Ours was a co-ed one, which was fine, but at some point, I think the stag one might be fun too… Ziti may have made it a little too feminine.

On the way back went to a couple of different bars– I had requested that we not go to any strip clubs- (not that I don’t like t and a– I do, and appreciate the nude feminine pulchritude as much as the next guy (and I think a little bit more!) but what I don’t like is mercenary t and a.

For me, It is like so NOT a turnon knowing that pretty miss thang only likes the color green, and has no interest in me at all. T and A like that I don’t need, no matter how shapely. I can’t help thinking about the economics, and at least for me, it makes it sad and definitely not worth it.

My brothers mostly respected my wishes– we played pool and darts at one bar, then went to an Irish bar for more drinking. I was ready to go home, but my brothers insisted on taking me to one more bar, where
(unbeknownst to me), was supposed to be an upscale place with naked women. I was kind of resigned when I found out (apparently, the bachelor party is not for the bachelor, but for the bachelor’s friends, or so I was told repeatedly last night) However, the magic of urban revitalization had done its thing, and the upscale strip club in Chelsea had been replaced by an even more upscale luxury condo.

By that time, I had to catch my train back to Yonkers– the last train of
the night out of Grand Central, the 1:50 am– which was full of puking, drunken suburban college students who were on their way back to wherever they were going after a night out on the city. The train was stopped twice due to drunken domestic disputes, the bathroom car stunk, and the woman behind us puked something clear onto the floor. Lovely!

Woke up today with a mild hangover and the sweats. And I’m sore all over. I don’t normally drink very much at all.

One week to go before our wedding! Next sunday we will have been married a full day– perhaps it’s time to start freaking out.

The couch has arrived! And it’s very comfortable.

I spent some time today waiting for the couch to arrive from Crate and Barrel. It arrived 15 minutes before the window of time they gave me, they put it in fast and efficiently, and amazingly enough it fit PERFECTLY in the spot associated for it– even better than we had expected.

I’ve attached some pictures here for your viewing pleasure only. Please ooh and aah appropriately in the comments– we need some cheering up after the depletion of our bank accounts!

Here’s the couch from our stairs– you can see the couch that it is replacing in front of the fireplace. That couch will hopefully go upstairs to the third floor, although it remains to be seen whether or not it will fit up the stairs (we’re holding off until the third floor is painted, which should be any day now)

And here’s the couch from the kitchen– notice the handy dandy desk that I also recently installed. That will probably live in the bedroom, enabling Stephanie to do her work from her bed in a more efficient manner:

And here’s Stephanie and Joey, luxuriating on the couch after a long day. I neglected to take into account in my previous calculations, the hourly wage of Stephanie being a layabout on the couch too (not to mention Joey) At this rate, it will have earned itself back in only 6 years!

In which I try to discover the value in being a layabout.

So… with our impending nuptials a mere 19 days away (yikes, oh my god, time to panic!) we are working like mad to get the house ready. Ready for what you might ask? We’ve been living here 2 years, we’ve had guests over multiple times, we’ve had parties here, etc. We live here. It’s a good question, and I’m not sure what we’re getting ready for– but whatever happens… We will be READY!

One of the things on our ever expanding to-do list was to fulfill S’s long time dream of spending two week’s worth of salary on a sofa. Not just any sofa, mind you. This is a sectional sofa. A three piece brick red sitting apparatus with cushions, a curve, and multiple seating areas.

I admit now that it’s pretty, and it’s very comfortable, but boy oh boy is it more than I ever expected to spend for a sofa/sectional/sitting apparatus. When last I bought a set of sofa stuff (in 1992) I spent less than a third of the price of this thing, and got a sofa AND a love seat. (Which I guess, by the new math, makes a sectional.)

And of course, since we have a new sofa, we should get a new television (flat screen, hi def), and hey, why not some window treatments? Some stained glass? Sure why not!

I’m going to have to spend a lot of time sitting on this sofa watching tv to make it worthwhile. Not sure what the going rate for sitting on a sofa should be, but if you figure that it cost $3.50 an hour to sit in an uncomfortable chair at Starbucks (vente half caf cinammon mocha capp, skinny and white, s’il vous plait) … then this sofa should pay for itself sometime around 2026. Just about the time it’s broken down and useless. Just like me! (In 2026, I’ll be 61, and my impending child (God willing) will be 18. ) And that 2026 number does not include the flat screen tv. I’m going to have to sit on this thing overtime! Perhaps we need to install a shower in it? Ah, but then we’d need a frameless glass door around it. No shower. A guy’s got to draw the line somewhere.

The amazing thing about the sofa is that we ordered it yesterday, and it will be here on Friday!
Which means more trudging up and down the stairs, and more stuff to do. Putting away stuff is slow and unrewarding work…

I’d write more, but I have to go practice lying down.

Batting clean up….

We spent much of the day cleaning up the house. We got a lot of work done, but have much yet to do. It was hard, un-thanking work, yet we did it.

Stephanie was very much a trooper– I like to complain about everything, but she put in quite a bit of work and didn’t complain hardly at all!

We took everything out of the cat room, and cleaned it up and tossed out about 3-5 boxes of crap and hardware that we’ve been holding on to– just in case. My god we had a lot of that, including about a million computer cables, electric boxes, electrical outlets, etc.

We then took a half hour break (that turned into a 3 hour break) and then turned our attentions upstairs. I have to say that we did quite alot of work there also– the middle room was an absolute mess– and although we still have more to do again, we now at least can stand around. This becomes vitally important because Stephanie’s brother and sister-in-law and two kids will stay with us during the wedding, and then during the summer, I have to transfer my office up to the third floor.

Doing this clean-up is something that I’ve been fearing for a long time, so the fact that we at least started is a good sign. Now I need to do some more over the next few days.

9 months

For nine months Adam is changing the cat litter. He must really love me. And really want this baby. Who knew?

NY Times Article on downtown Yonkers

Apparently we are officially known as urban pioneers (although we bought a house on the outskirts of the area talked about– we’re probably less than a quarter mile from the apartments they are talking about, and the view in this picture)

NY TIMES ARTICLE: Living In | The Yonkers Waterfront District:It Had the Setting; Now It Has the Housing

In which the glass finally arrives… and is not quite full.

We’ve been waiting for our new shower door for a long time.

First we had to figure out if we wanted the frameless glass doors (well, we knew we wanted them, but could we afford it?) We had talked about glass block, about all other kinds of stuff. We finally decided that we did want it.

Then we got the tile in to the bathroom, which turned into a bit of a debacle as the tile installer took ten extra days to do stuff, and then installed some of it poorly, and didn’t order enough corner tiles.

We then found the shower door company, and brought them out to look and measure.

Then we started saving our pennies, and shifting money around to make sure we could afford the insanely expensive glass. We order the glass, and then we have to wait for it to be made.

Then they call us to say, “How about tomorrow?” And we’re like “Yeah, great!” and that morning they are supposed to come it turns out they cut the glass wrong and they can’t come, but don’t worry, we’ll have it in 5 days!

One month later, I give them a call to say “Hey, what’s going on?” And they say, “Oh yeah, we apologize we delayed your project a month. How about Thursday?” And I say fine.

So they came Thursday and installed the glass (finally!) — although when I answered the door, the guy looks at me and says “Am I in the right place?” I’m thinking it’s possible that our neighborhood doesn’t have quite as many frameless glass shower doors as say Park Hill, Dunwoody, or Bronxville. )

Anyway, it turns out that they miscut the glass AGAIN! (because one of the walls is not quite square– they apparently cut the glass backwards!) So they will arrive at some point in the future to replace that panel that is cut incorrectly. At least, that’s what they say!

But the glass is in (mostly!) and 24 hours or so from now, I might even open the door! Now if we can fix the light in the bathroom, we might even get to take a shower in there!