Forget You

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dear August,

You and me?  We're done.  

Consider this your breakup letter.  I do not want you in my life anymore.  Basically, you are horrible.  Why didn't someone tell you earlier?  Technically, I moved to New York on July 31.  You can't even claim that major milestone in my life.  You did nothing but run me down and act crazy possessive and take over my life and leave me exhausted. 

And just so you're not confused about this, it is not me.  It's totally you.

Time to find some other girl to bother.




I have to be honest.  Most days, I don't even realize I live in New York.  Sometimes I actually forget.  This new job has been so exhausting and time consuming that I have not left Morningside Heights (my Upper West Side neighborhood) since I moved here.  I live and work within a one square block radius.  Lately I have felt like it could be any city anywhere, since I never have time to enjoy it.

Technically, my job is a graduate assistantship.  I'm only supposed to work 20 hours a week, since "school comes first."  Whatever.  If you're math-challenged, that means I should have worked 90-100 hours in the month of August.  Here is how many hours I worked instead...224.

Also, there was an earthquake and a hurricane in a five-day span.  August just really has got to go.

And I am just so tired.

My apologies if you are one of the many friends I haven't had a conversation with since moving to New York.  I love you.  I miss you.  A lot.  Please don't hate me.  Please visit.

September will be better.  It absolutely, positively has to be.  I'm daydreaming about a September 1st celebration now.  It's going to be big.  Check back tomorrow for all the details about my first date with September.  I think we're already a little in love.

In the mean time, I'm on call again tonight.  Say a little prayer that August doesn't decide to live it up on it's last night in my life.

Raining on Sunday

Sunday, August 28, 2011

So far, so good, friends.

My little Upper West Side home is getting lots of rain and wind, but that's about it.  The eye of Hurricane Irene is currently right over New York City.  It made landfall along the Jersey Shore, Long Island, and the outer edge of Brooklyn and Queens this morning at a Category 1 hurricane, but Irene was just downgraded to a tropical storm.  Just today, Central Park has received 5.5 inches of rain.  This month, a record 17.5 inches of rain have fallen on Central Park.  That's a lot of rain people.  Good thing I bought a cute rain jacket special for my first hurricane.

I had a pretty sleepless night last night.  The wind was awful, and the Weather Channel text alerts were pretty constant.  I turned the TV on at 2:45 a.m., 4:30 a.m., and finally 7:10 a.m. to make sure I wasn't about to blow away.  New York City had hurricane warnings, flood warnings, and tornado watches.

As of now though, it appears that my area of the city escaped the worst.  Those outlying areas where Hurricane Irene made landfall were hit really hard.  I never lost power and don't expect to at this point.  My cell phone still works.  I am glad to live where I do.

But a word about New York City meteorologists...

They are great.  Really.  They've done an excellent job of tracking this hurricane.  But people, they know nothing about tornadoes.  Last night there were several tornado warnings, mostly in New Jersey.  And here's what happened.  The news would show a map of two counties and a dozen cities with a giant red rectangle over it.  The meteorologist, in response to the tornado warning, reminded people to stay inside.  That's it.  Glad we cleared that up.

What happened to "the F3 funnel will be at SW 119th and South May Avenue at 7:51 p.m., moving to SW 89 and South Penn at 7:54 p.m." ???

They did use the words "hook echo."  It felt like home.  Made me want to go for a post-tornado dinner at Ted's.

I did get out last night, and the Upper West Side was a ghost town.  In my 12-block walk down Broadway to drop off the res life on-call phone, I counted eight open businesses.  On a Saturday evening in a major business and retail area of New York City, I saw four restaurants, two grocery stores, one convenience store, and one bar open.  It was so creepy.  At 8:00 p.m., there was no one to be seen on Broadway...

But for now, I'm in to stay.  Today is my first real day off since moving to New York.  I had big plans for Bloomingdales, Magnolia Bakery, Whole Foods, and Central Park.  But it wouldn't be my life without my luck, and the hurricane changed those plans a little.  The mayor is still telling people to stay inside, and I'm mostly just using it as an excuse to have a really lazy Sunday.  I am loving still being in bed and drinking coffee.  Now if only I didn't have to write a 20-page paper on research paradigms and post-positivism.

Happy Hurricane Sunday, friends.

The Thunder Rolls

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Like any good New Yorker, I don't let anything get in the way of a good Saturday brunch.  Not even a pesky little hurricane.  It was, however, a very interesting walk to brunch...

As the local NBC news reported last night, "the city as we know it will come to a standstill."  

And it has.

Hurricane Irene is the size of Europe, and Manhattanites are finally starting to think they should be prepared.  The place we were meeting for brunch was closed.  Businesses all along Broadway are closed or preparing to close.  Windows are taped.  People are clearing store shelves of water, flashlights, and batteries.  There is no public transportation in the city of New York.  

It is beyond eerie.  

Much more to come on what has been a very strange week in my life.  Okies, you'll be happy to know I'm wearing my OKC Thunder shirt special for the occasion.

The Day After Tomorrow

Friday, August 26, 2011

Noon today...

2:00 p.m. today...

So, people are freaking out.  I mean, freaking out in a totally calm, dignified, New Yorker kind of way, but still freaking out.  Even yesterday, people were kind of skeptical about this whole hurricane thing.  Not so much today.

Pretty much all major colleges in New York were planning first-year move-in activities and Welcome Week type stuff this weekend.  All of that has been cancelled, and all the colleges are closing.  Of course, since I work in res life and live where I work, that gets a little messy.  I'll need to check on residents when the power goes out.

New York City is currently under a hurricane watch, although that is expected to increase to a hurricane warning.  Mayor Bloomberg ordered mandatory evacuations of Zone A this afternoon, which includes low-lying areas of Queens, Coney Island, and pretty much all of Lower Manhattan (Battery Park, Wall Street, etc.).  Mandatory evacuation in New York City.  That is definitely a first.

All New York City mass transit in all boroughs will stop tomorrow at noon.  No buses, subways, trains, etc.  Residents should be prepared to be without public transportation until at least Monday afternoon.    The New York City mayor demanded that residents do not go outside from 9:00 p.m. Saturday to 9:00 p.m. Sunday at minimum.

Basically, no one really knows what will happen in the next 48 hours.  The day after tomorrow could be an interesting day.  Good thing baby sister suggested I get my floaties ready to go...that should work, right?

Have You Ever Seen The Rain?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

As a relatively new New Yorker, I just really cannot begin to describe how it feels to hear the words "New York City" and "evacuations" in the same sentence.

Or to have lived in Manhattan for not quite one month and be told to prepare to duct tape windows.

Or to have to enter my new address into the New York City Office of Emergency Management website to determine if I live in an evacuation zone.

See that Category 1 symbol on the projected map?  That's where I live, just so you know.

Here's what I know so far...

Hurricane Irene is expected to make landfall directly over New York City sometime late Saturday night or very early Sunday morning.  If it continues as planned, it will be a Category 1 hurricane.  The last time a storm that strong hit New York City was 1821.  The storm surge was 13 feet.  That's not so good people.

I do not live in an evacuation zone, but low lying areas of the city and outer boroughs are doing some voluntary evacuations now (mostly hospitals and such).  Any mandatory evacuations would happen Saturday morning (but again, very unlikely in my area).  They are expecting a storm surge (when the tide comes into the city) of 10-15 feet sometime Sunday afternoon.  That's the part that could cause major flooding.

Even if you don't live in an evacuation zone, they are urging people who live above the 10th floor in high-rise apartment buildings to find other accommodations.  I live on the 10th floor.  I'm probably good.

All New York City public transportation will shut down sometime late Saturday afternoon.  They're worried about subways flooding and loss of power and such.  Plus, apparently it takes eight hours to stop the system, which cannot run in sustained winds higher than 39 miles per hour.  There has NEVER been a preemptive shut down of the entire mass transit system in New York City.

I have flashlights, an am/fm radio, bottled water, batteries, food, and a iPhone charger that does not require a power source.  I'm good, I think.

I just got out of a meeting about how the college would respond.  You see, Sunday (hurricane day) is supposed to be move-in day for all first-year students.  Yippee.  That has been postponed, but we still have residents trying to check in early and RAs living in the buildings.  If the power goes out, I have to check on students.  In the extremely unlikely event of an evacuation, I have to help.  Otherwise, things should be good.  Fingers crossed.

Most likely, my part of the city will just have strong rain and wind.  I'm prepared for no power and no cell phone service.  The mayor is urging residents to text, not talk, to conserve cell tower capacity.  We really should be fine though.

So basically, I feel like I'm living The Day After Tomorrow.  If things get really bad, I'll be at the New York Public Library, waiting for Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal to come rescue me.  I'll wear my cutest rain boots, just in case.

Where is Gary England when I need him?

I Feel The Earth Move

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So, about that earthquake...

Just another nice, workaholic type day in Manhattan.  That is, until my phone explodes with text messages and voicemails making sure I am ok and wishing I was in Oklahoma.  And I, too busy with the insanity that is my new job, have no clue what they are talking about.  And I start to worry about what happened at home.  And then I turn on the news...

From what I hear, people on higher floors felt it a lot more than those on the ground.  No one I worked with even knew what had happened.  I broke the news.  

I actually did feel the earthquake, but I didn't even realize that it happened.  I've been a little dizzy lately off and on (you know, stress and allergies and such).  I was walking across the quad, and I really thought it was just me.  Turns out I'm not crazy (at least about that).

All in all, nothing really major occurred in my part of New York.  No one evacuated, nothing was damaged.  Just another beautiful New York day with an extra dose of news and gossip.  

But as it turns out, Hurricane Irene is headed our way...expected to make landfall this weekend.  Entire eastern seaboard should prepare.  Fantastic.

What kind of crazy Lifetime movie did I move into?

Just Keep Swimming

Monday, August 22, 2011

So I really like the people I work with in my new job.  My coworkers are pretty great.  I met the RAs I'll be supervising this week, and they are awesome.  They will be good people to spend time with this year.

But people...

I am so so so very tired.

If anyone has any brilliant Monday morning motivation, it's time to send it my way.  I am going into my fourth week of living in Manhattan.  I have not had a day off since I got here.  This week is jam-packed with RA training events.  8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. every day.  It's a little like being at camp.  I'm not complaining...just exhausted.  My no day off schedule continues through September 4th.  If you're counting, that's five full weeks with no time to rest or sit down or breath.  Let me tell you, Labor Day is going to be great.  I might not get out of bed all day.

For our hall director and RA training, we're using the FISH book.  If you haven't read it, it's a good quick read.  The book is all about choosing your attitude, playing, making their day, and being present.  EVERYTHING around here is FISH themed...

Like my welcome door decoration...

And the door decs I made for my Senior Experience RAs...

It's all super cute.  But after this many days, the whole "choose your attitude, play, make their day, and be present" concept is getting more and more challenging.

And I just keep thinking, "just keep swimming."

And I just keep daydreaming about September 5.  And pedicures and massages and chocolate cake and sleep.

The River

Friday, August 19, 2011

Hi there friends.  Sorry for being MIA from my blog...I was attempting to not be MIA from my own life.  So it's been kind of a rough couple of weeks.  To combat the rough weeks of training, we took to the rough seas...err, Hudson River.  

In true New York style "team building" fashion, the wonderful Barnard College residential life staff took a little field trip.  After days of endless training, deep conversations about serious student issues, and lots of talks about procedures, we needed a break.  As it turns out, the Downtown Boathouse at Pier 96 offers completely free kayaking.  Summer at Hudson River Park is actually pretty, run by volunteers, lots of outdoor cafes along the way, and a nice break from the concrete jungle.  

Nothing like life jackets and an extremely tiny boat on one of the world's dirtiest rivers to get to know your new coworkers...

After a stern speech about how not to get sucked under the George Washington Bridge and signing a waiver clearing the volunteers of drowning and death and other potential side effects of kayaking, I worked up all my brave New Yorker attitudes and managed to roll into my own kayak.  No seriously, you have to roll into it.  Note the absence of pictures of the rolling part.

And we were off.  I mean, off in the sense that it took me about five minutes to row away from the pier, since I kept turning in circles.  I found out later that they teach a free class on turning.  Might have been helpful, folks.

I did awesome...for all of ten minutes.  Then the tide came in and the waves got way bigger.   I mean, they don't look so big from the pictures, but they looked MASSIVE from the boat.

Then I got scared about not being able to make it back to the dock, getting sucked into the current, and ending up at the George Washington Bridge (which is about six miles away).  I paddled my way back to the general vicinity of the pier.  That's when the trouble started.  Remember how it took me awhile to push back from the dock?  It took about three times that long to get close enough to the pier that the volunteer lady could lean out over the water and pull me back to safety.  It was bad.  

I rolled my way out of the kayak.  I pretty much immediately overheard someone talking about the massive sanitation leak and how tons of waste are getting dumped into the Hudson every single day.  Yay.

After a sunset dinner along the water, we finally made our way back home to campus.  And I proceeded to take the longest shower of my life.  Kayaking was super fun, but I definitely needed to wash off the Hudson.

Lots more to catch up on later.  Happy Friday folks...

I Ain't in Checotah Anymore

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Today I went to church.

In a comedy club.

In Times Square.

Where I could hear the subway rumbling overhead during worship and the entire sermon.


The last seven days of my life have been a whirlwind of new experiences.  I learned how to move without a U-Haul and an SUV.  I said goodbye to family and friends I happen to really like a whole lot.  I found a new place to buy groceries, get coffee, do laundry (ok, I haven't actually done laundry yet), and attend spinning.  In so many ways, I am attempting to settle into a new life here in New York City.  It is starting to feel like home.  You know, except that it's not actually home.

And you really can get anything you want here...except a Wal-Mart store.

Before this week, I had moved on my own (with ridiculous amounts of help from family) exactly twelve times.  And ten of those moves were to or from Waco.  I like Waco a lot.  The other two were in my hometown, so those don't really count.

In my experience, the hardest part of moving comes after everything is unpacked.  With the exception of being away from family, finding a new church is always the toughest part of the move.  It is oddly scary to walk into a new church for the first time, not knowing anyone or how things work.  But since I've pretty much only moved to Waco, that hasn't been much of an issue.  I went to a different church almost every Sunday my first year at Baylor, quickly settling into a church that felt like home my sophomore year.  I did the leadership-team, community-group leader thing for three years and loved it.  When grad school started, I switched to another Waco church to be with friends and enjoyed lots of David Crowder Band worship for another couple of years.  For the past three years (and several more before that when I was home for weekends), I have adored my church in Oklahoma City.  Plus, Baby Sister is an awesome director of weddings/children/movie days/coloring books/fun and games there.  And I pretty much just sobbed through gym service my last Sunday at Crossings.  

So the idea of finding a new church was a little daunting.  Several dear friends gave recommendations for places I should visit, so I wasn't completely in the dark.  In this city that considers Sunday brunch a religious event, I am really committed to not being "that girl."  Don't get me wrong...I love brunch.  A lot.  (Please come have brunch with me.)

So this morning I forced myself out of my cozy, comfy bed and caught the 1 train to West 50th street.  I easily found the comedy club/makeshift church.  I attempted to do the normal church routine of finding a program and a seat somewhere in the middle of the room, praying that I would have an open mind and not miss my old church the whole time.  Oh people...this place made my contemporary gym service with a worship band look sooooooooo low energy.  They were loud.  And excited.  All in all, it was pretty good.  Some music I recognized and a really good message.  The teaching pastor spoke the entire time about stepping out of your comfort zone to be in a place where you can grow more...where God wants you to be.  Somehow I feel like God and I are doing pretty well on the whole "stepping out of your comfort zone" lately.

I'm not going to lie...I had a hard time getting over the whole "church in a comedy club" thing.  It was distracting.  I may check out another of my friends' recommendations next week.  And maybe have brunch after that.  :-)

Just one more new experience in a long line of firsts lately.  First full week of work begins tomorrow.  First time kayaking on the Hudson (or at all) this week.  Lots more on that later.  Res life is so much fun...and so very exhausting.

But I definitely am not in Checotah anymore.

You're Doing Fine, Oklahoma

Saturday, August 6, 2011

People think funny things about Oklahoma.  In this melting pot that is New York City, no one is actually from New York.  I have met people from all sorts of small towns, big cities, and countries across the world.    But for some reason, Oklahoma is this sort of oddity that people never know how to respond.  The waitress at dinner the other night said she had met someone from all 50 states, and I was her first Oklahoma.  She was happy to know that people actually live there.  Someone else just thought it was really "cute" that I was from Oklahoma.  And, I am happy to say, people have finally started asking me about the Thunder instead of the Oklahoma City bombing.  Progress.

When people want to know what Oklahoma is like, I have a hard time responding.  Because the truth is, it is pretty great.  And Oklahoma is greater right now than ever before.  For three years, I had a blast making new friends, hanging out at a variety of charity benefits, and living it up as a young professional in "the city."  The Thunder was just the icing on the cake.

But when "THE CITY" comes calling, you have to go.  Just to check it out.  Just so you know.

And I'll be back where the wind comes sweeping down the plain sooner than you think.

Because you're doing fine Oklahoma...

Feels Like Home

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

To recap, in the last four days, I have...
  • Moved to New York City.
  • Walked into an apartment that had absolutely nothing in it, other than the six suitcases I managed to haul on the airplane.
  • Learned that when they say "Bed Bath and Beyond," they really mean it.
  • Managed to drag a 32 inch television across Manhattan.
  • Purchased so much stuff at Ikea that they wouldn't let me back on the water taxi.
  • Discovered Luke's Lobsters...The Chief's new favorite place.
  • Survived K-Mart at Penn Station (trust me, it was scary).
  • Come to reset the people getting rich from bed bug prevention (but you'll be very happy to know I spent a small fortune to make sure I never have bed bugs).
  • Made friends with Clive, Greg, Elise, and Delia (the security team at my building).
  • Pretty much worked and walked and shopped my mom to the limit.
  • Went back for the "beyond" necessities at Bed Bath and Beyond.
  • Spent three nights in my new New York home.
If you missed the "before" pictures, check out the previous post.  It was pretty much a blank slate, and it was completely empty other than furniture.  I packed two suitcases of decorations and things to make it feel like home.  The other four suitcases were clothes, shoes, purses, etc.  I shipped a few boxes of books and random things, but not much.  I pretty much had nothing to actually make it livable.  Luckily, The Chief and I pretty much bought everything that Manhattan has to sell.  It was bad, folks.  

In the end, my little Manhattan home actually feels like a home now.  Check it out...

So even though I was sad to see The Chief go, in some strange way, it really does feel a bit like home.  We're off to a good start people.  Please come visit soon!

In related news, tonight is my last night of job tomorrow!  Now, if only I can remember how to be even remotely productive with my life on a regular basis.  Wish me luck!