Thursday, November 29, 2007

Two stories about why my day ended in tears..

WARNING: If you have a penis, or are uncomfortable with gynecological items, you may want to skip the first story and scroll down to story number two.

STORY #1 - "Don't be a snob!"

This morning (after taking a bath in the sink with microwaved water - they turned off our gas so they can install the new boiler) I went for my annual gynecological exam. I loved my doctor in New Jersey but now that I live in Brooklyn and no longer have a car, I thought I had better find a doctor in the city. Finding a female doctor that is covered by our insurance, in close proximity to my job turned out be a challenge. I tried getting referrals from other women I know but none were covered by my crappy sub-par insurance. I have been searching for a gynecologist in the city for weeks now and after hours of calls made and extended periods of being put on hold by various answering services, I finally found someone!!! I called last week and was able to make an appointment for today - excellent. The office was in an older building - big deal, so is my neuro's office and he is fantastic. Up the elevator I went. The actual office was a disaster. It was old and dirty looking, the curtains were so old what once had been white lace had turned a bright yellow. There were ugly drapes.. yes .. drapes shielding the exam rooms from view. " So what? " I thought " Don't be a snob. Maybe the doctor is just very thrifty!" Finally it was my turn. The nurse was super nice and pleasant as she led me into the exam room. "OMG.... Don't be a snob! Don't be a snob! Don't be a snob!" There was Duck tape on the exam table holding the decayed cover together. She was so nice that I focused on her pleasantries and tried to imagine just how amazing this thrifty doctor was going to be. Then the nurse left the room and I was alone. I looked around. Dirty brown carpet. A random Coke can on some odd looking desk thing. Dust encased plastic flowers on top of some sort of glass book sink in the room. Hmm. Wonder how she washes her hands. Don't be a snob, Sarah!!!! Get over yourself. She is probably just older and doesn't see the need for a fancy schmancy office like you are used too. Medical supplies were haphazardly thrown here and there. Still.. what do I know about codes and what a doctor's office has to look like ? My eyes wondered to my left, to the large metal trash can next to the exam table. Looks clean enough. Then I saw it. I small pea green bucket on the floor between the table on which I sat, and the trash can. It looked old, and wet at the bottom. I figured maybe the patient before me was pregnant and perhaps it was there just in case she got sick - maybe she did get sick in it and they had just rinsed and sterilized it and it just hadn't dried yet. Yeah, that must be it. Tap. Tap. Here comes my fabulous doctor ready to reveal her fantastic gynecological knowledge to me. You can all see where this is headed but you can't imagine my horror when a rough looking woman in a stained white lab coat came into the room and stood without introducing herself. "Alright! Let's get to it!" She gave me the fastest breast exam I have ever had... then announced that it was time to put my heels in the stirrups. My this time I had figured out that I was not being a snob.. This place and this doctor were a complete horror show and I should have made up an excuse and run out of there that very second!!!! I think I was in shock because instead of running for my life, I obediently put my heels up. I could hear her rummaging around in the drawer of the table for the speculum. I took a deep breath and tried to relax but before I could exhale I felt that icy metal being jabbed home. No KY in sight. Uncomfortable is a very mild way to describe my feelings at that moment. Seconds later she had her sample and I heard the instrument hit the floor. That's right, she physically threw it after she was finished. I laid there in disbelief, wondering if I had wandered onto the set of some sort of made for television movie where the heroin is a teenage mom trying to make it in the back alleys of NYC. Nope. This was all sickeningly real. I struggled to sit up as the "doctor" rambled on and on about how she had always wanted to live in Alaska and grow flowers and stay indoors. Finally she left me to get dressed and that is when I noticed that she had not thrown the speculum onto the floor but instead had tossed it into that lovely green bucket next the trash can. Fighting nausea, I pulled on my clothes and paid my bill as cheerfully as possible. It was all so surreal that I couldn't even cry about it I just walked to work recounting the incident to Stephen over the phone repeating "Oh my god.. oh.. my.. god.. " over and over. The final blow came when I got to work and there was a message on my voicemail from the lovely doctor's office on Columbus Circle that I have been trying to get in touch with for weeks and weeks.......I made an appointment for a consultation in January.

STORY #2 - "911, what is your emergency?"

I trudged home tonight looking forward to going straight to bed. They completed the installation of the new boiler today so when I walked in the radiator by the front door was hissing and spitting. I walked upstairs to my apartment and when I opened the door I was greeted by the overwhelming smell of natural gas and a sharp hissing sound (no our radiator has never hissed in the kitchen). I panicked. I grabbed Oliver and ran downstairs to Matt and Lonna's but no one was home. Then I just went outside. I had Oli under one arm (no time for a leash) and was still clutching my mail in my other hand while I groped for my cell phone and debated whether or not I should call 911. I decided to call. What if it was actually gas and the building blew up?!? I debated whether or not to cross to the other side of the street. After giving my address and concerns to the fire department operator I called Stephen in tears. He was out to eat with his aunt Linda tonight and did he best to reassure me as I stood trembling on the sidewalk with my dog under my arm. The firetrucks arrived within moments.. 3 of them. The men lumbered out of the truck and went to work making sure the building was safe, commenting to each other on the fact that they were at this building only a week ago for an overheated boiler.. Once again.. you readers out there probably know the end of this story.. it was not natural gas that I smelled but simply the smell of a new boiler being broken in. It smelled a hell of a lot like natural gas to this girl. I could not keep the tears from rolling down my cheeks as, red faced, I thanked the fire chief and all his men for coming over. They assured me that they had checked everything and there was no natural gas or CO in the building and that I had done the right thing to call them and to please call them again if I needed to. Mortified, I locked the deadbolt behind them and climbed the stairs sobbing out loud. I came up to my apartment and cried it all out and now I feel much better.

Now, exhausted and emotionally drained from my exciting day I am going to get some ice cream and cuddle up with Stephen and Oliver.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Giving Thanks..

So, before I launch into the joys of our Thanksgiving feast at lunch time.. I must tell you about our fantastically exciting morning.

At about 5:30 on Thanksgiving Morning, we were all awakened by the a loud noise that sounded like thunder rolling without the loud crash at the end. Hmm.... wonder what that was...? Oh well.. guess I'll go back to sleep.... wait a minute... do you smell smoke ?! I feel like I smell smoke...Seriously Stephen!! I smell smoke!!!! No wait.. don't you smell it ? Is that a siren? Red flashing lights... There is actually a fire truck in front of our building but I don't think it's for our building (denial).. OH MY GOD MOM!!!! THEY ARE RUNNING UP TO OUR BUILDING!!!! STEPHEN GRAB THE DOG!!!! THEY ARE IN OUR BUILDING!!!!!

That's right, our building was on fire...or so we thought. Soon New York's finest were running up our stairs telling us to stay inside and open all of our windows. Moments later they told us to leave the building. Our boiler overheated, filling the building with smoke and steam and more importantly...carbon monoxide...Loads of it. The sound we heard, that thankfully woke all of us up, was the sound of bricks falling from our ancient chimney and blocking up the exhaust pipe for the boiler, causing it to overheat and sending the CO into our living spaces. Our amazing first floor neighbors, awakened by the same noise we were, smelled the smoke first and went down to the basement to investigate. Finding it full of steam and smoke they called 911. I shudder to think what might have happened if none of us had woken up...or the same thing had happened while we were all at work, with only the animals at home...horrible. We checked out the chimney later in the day and there is no mortar left in between the bricks.. they are all ready to fall. As of now we are on our second day without heat. Praise the Lord that they did not have to turn off the gas so we still have hot water and are able to cook.... It was really scary. Now we are just scared that our landlord will cut corners and not repair everything properly and the whole thing could happen again...

Anyway.. I guess you could say we had/have a lot to be thankful for..

.. and then there was the meal...Mom helped with everything and our all natural Kosher brined turkey turned out to be fantastically delicious!! We had all the usual sides, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, stuffing and cranberry sauce.

Thank goodness it was super warm that day so we could air the place out while we were cooking..

The man of the house.

Mom and me :)

Dad and me :)

We are having a fantastic visit, can't believe it's almost over..

Monday, November 12, 2007

What is wrong with me..?

This morning I was walking through the Mobil Station parking lot at the end of my street on my way to the train when I saw a dollar bill in the middle of the pavement. It was not near any cars or people, just lying there all alone..folded in thirds. I bent down to pick it up and immediately started looking around for the owner. One of the gas station employees was walking toward the building so I popped one of my ear-buds out and hurried in his direction with the dollar. "I just found this in the parking lot." I announced, handing him the crumpled bill. I didn't even wait for a reply but turned on my heel and jammed my bud back into my ear. I was already late as it was. I did, however, linger just long enough to see/hear the Mobil employee snicker at me with a rather disgusted look on his face. Why did he laugh at me and why did he look annoyed? Maybe he thought I was a goody-two-shoes ..whatever that means. I personally have no idea what possessed me to to turn in a one dollar bill. All I know is that I suddenly felt naked and exposed there in the bright morning sun in the middle of the parking lot. I felt like everyone in the vicinity could see me and see that I was picking up some money from the ground, and in that moment I couldn't bare to be the one who took something that didn't belong to them. So I passed the buck, and walked away feeling morally clean and sparkling fresh. Crazy as it is, I think I would have thought about that dollar all day if I had pocketed it myself. None of this is to say that I think picking up abandoned money on the ground is a bad thing.. I mean within reason of course. I guess I just chose to go with my gut in a split second and not argue with myself. Well.. except until now. Now I wonder why I thought I was so high and mighty. Sort of feel like a pharisee or something. Like I wanted everyone to see my good deed of turning in one dollar to the parking lot owner's employee. But the truth is, it wasn't like that. In that moment I was sure that I could not put it in my wallet, and I still feel like I made the right decision. I must be losing my mind. It was one dollar. One..dollar. I must be losing it for sure.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Warm wind from the west..

I received a surprise package late last week from some good friends out west. Don, Nicki and Summer.. thank you so much for the vase and the wonderful letter. You were right, Summer, it looks perfect in our place! One of these days, Stephen and I hope to make it out to see you guys. Here's hoping that is sooner than later.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Stephen !!!

Today, Stephen Michael, you are 27 years old. Happy Birthday sweet boy. I wanted spare the world all of the sentimental things that I would like to say to you .. so instead here are the Top Ten reasons you are the best husband on the planet:

10. You do the laundry every week without fail - so that I don't have to

9. You make me breakfast every morning and never make me feel guilty for sleeping those few extra minutes

8. You walk Oliver every day

7. You always close the shower curtain to help me in our fight against the evil mold and mildew of Sunset Park

6. You not only wipe the rim and put the seat down.. you close the lid (read it and weep ladies)

5. You give the best foot massages in Brooklyn

4. You never judge me when I am cranky

3. You are always supportive when I am having a bad day and just need to cry it out

2. You always smell good

1. You love me more than I ever dreamed anyone could

You are my best friend and I couldn't be where I am today without you. I love you so so so much. Thank you for choosing me.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Marathon Day!!!!!!!!!

Today was marathon day. I woke up at 5 am this morning unable to go back to sleep, worried that I might not see my friends as they ran past... what can I say ...? I was excited. Mike and Gina signed me up to receive updates on their progress in my blackberry so with that, the careful chart that Gina put together, indicating where she expected to be and when, and our bright red team t-shirts, we were ready. I wanted to make sure we made it out there before the runners go to our block and sure enough, this is what it was like at 10:30 this morning. Neighbors slowing lining up, a band playing in the Mobil Station parking lot. I was still so excited I couldn't even go with Stephen to get coffee, thinking I might miss something (even though neither Mike or Gina were to arrive any time soon).

Then, off in the distance.. a lone pack of runners...

.. and so it began.

..police escort...

..and another tight pack of runners..

.. they started to trickle by..

.. the trickle got larger..

..and larger. There were 40 thousand runners today.. 40 thousand. We stood and cheered and clapped, calling out runners names for encouragement - most have their names on the fronts of their shirts for this very reason. Pretty soon Gina called (yes, she had her cell phone with her) to say she was at 53rd, about 20 blocks away. The excitement was building.

In no time at all there she was! She is the one in the middle of the picture in the orange shirt and purple shorts (not the woman with her arms raised.. she thought we were cheering for her). We cheered an got/gave high fives. We were supposed to leave right then to head to Manhattan to meet the rest of the members of the posse, but we hadn't seen Mike yet and I was afraid we had missed him. We stayed a few more minutes just in case he had started later than Gina did. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later there he was! I was looking the other way and he came up so fast I didn't get a picture but high fives were enjoyed by all! Off to Manhattan we went!

This is still Brooklyn.. look at the people!!!!!!!!! We had been standing there for over an hour and they were still coming as far as you could see.

High fives are sort of a Brooklyn thing, as I understand it.

The posse on our way to 1st Avenue. We almost got crushed trying to get there - so many people I literally had trouble breathing at one point, my chest was actually compressed from the pressure of the crowd.

Here are the runners on 1st Avenue. We got there and pushed around trying to get close to the street so Mike and Gina would be able to see us and moments after we chose a spot, Mike came jogging past! We all screamed his name at the top of our lungs but he was in a zone or had his iPod on or something so he didn't hear us :) But we were there cheering anyway! Right between the 16th and 17th mile.

Gina saw us though! There she is in her purple shorts again! Both she and Mike looked so good, keeping a nice steady pace and looking like they were out for a leisurely jog. Awesome!
The posse got so excited that we all decided to head up the Bronx to try to see them again. We jumped on the subway and headed towards 138th Street. On the way we worried that we might not get there in time so we got out in Harlem at 125th Street and sprinted to 1st Avenue to cheer our runners.

At this point the runners are at 20 miles and it is getting very difficult. They all need as much support as they can get. We knew Mike was too fast for us and that we had probably already missed him at his lightening pace, but we thought that we still might be able to catch Gina since her pace was slightly behind his. We were there for what felt like 3o minutes or more before my blackberry got the latest alert letting us know she had already passed us! We had missed her by minutes! Oh well. I cheered myself hoarse for total strangers and was excited to do it, so no harm done. Just sorry we didn't get to see our guys before this particularly brutal leg of the race. The Bronx does not have many spectators and there is apparently a really difficult hill there. We were with you guys in spirit!!!

Here they are, entering the bridge that will take them to the Bronx and eventually back to Manhattan and the finish line in the park. I am happy to report (according to my blackberry) that both Gina and Mike finished the race in fantastic time.

What a great afternoon, racing around the boroughs cheering for friends. Seeing the happy faces of perfect strangers when you called out their name - "Good job Kelly!! Way to stick with it Dave!!" - made my weekend. Nice work everyone.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I tried to load pictures just now but after the 3rd attempt I gave up. Blogger must be having issues this morning. Or maybe it's my worn out iMac. Either way, I will try to put them on later today.

Today is cold and windy outside, the perfect day to spend inside the Met or the Natural History Museum. We are doing some housework this morning and then we may head to one of those places. Oliver is a warm ball in my lap. This is his morning nap time and he tries to soak in as much lap time as he can when one of us is sitting down.

I bought a new address book this week. It is really neat. Each letter is a different typeset from the past 200 years and it has the entire alphabet (in that particular historical font) engraved on the divider page for each letter. We have had our current address book for the past 5 (almost 6) years. Bought it at Target with wedding present credit. It is looking pretty ratty.
As I brought my purchase to the cashier in Kate's Paperie, she remarked at how cool the address book was. "I don't even own an address book so I couldn't even justify buying it!" I was a bit taken aback by her comment and stammered something about being my being old fashioned. As I left it hit me. That must be why they had such a poor selection of address books. Does no one use an address book anymore? Do people really keep all their contact information on a computer or cell phone? Surely not. When I got back to work I asked some co-workers if they had an address book and they all said no. ?!?!?!?!? Seriously?? I guess I really am old fashioned. I love having all the addresses of my friends and family in a comforting little spiral bound book. When I see it on the shelf it makes me want to write a letter. A real letter not an email. Maybe my thing for address books is linked to my love of letter writing. Maybe it is evidence of my distrust for new technology. What do people do when their computer crashes and they lose all their contacts ? Start fresh? No thank you! Am I the only one who keeps their loved one's info in hard copy? Have address books gone the way of telephone dialers and become something for the eccentric and eclectic ? If so, that makes me sad. In this age when some prefer to send a text message than speak directly to someone, I think the address book may be an example of the last vestige of person to person communication. Surely someone else still keeps theirs ? Is it just New York...?

Moving on, tomorrow is the NEW YORK CITY MARATHON !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Last year I think I slept through it or had a migraine or something. This year Stephen and I are cheering on two of my work friends, Gina and Mike (MKD under my links on the right). They have both been training hard and are tapered and ready to run the heck out of this thing!!! The race runs right down 4th Avenue at the end of our block. We even have team t-shirts (from Gina) and we will be cheering for them here in Brooklyn before racing to Manhattan to meet some other cheering section members and cheer at 61st and 1st. It makes watching the race so much more exciting when you are cheering with a purpose. I will be sure to take lots of pictures.