Monday, March 29, 2010

Bons Amis et Bonne Nourriture

As I indulged myself in a rare second cup of dark roast coffee filled with french vanilla creamer this morning, I began to reflect upon my weekend. It was filled with good friends, good food, and lots of laughter.

Thursday, 3/25/10
Neal arrived in NYC around 10:45pm. Thursday is the night that I bowl in support of BC/EFA. We bowl two games starting at 11:30pm with a warm up that starts at 11:15pm. With Neal's arrival time earlier than that of the time I needed to be at Port Authority to bowl, he met me at the TONY Lounge at New World Stages. I usually can be found there on a Thursday night passing the time before bowling begins by singing a little karaoke. Neal arrived at NWS just as I was getting ready to sing my swan song for the evening. I forgot to be nervous about him being there. I hadn't sung in front of Neal in any performance capacity for years, but I didn't feel nervous about him hearing me. I think I felt a little excited and proud. After the song, we headed down to Port Authority on 42nd Street. Neal asked me how good of a bowler I was. I responded by telling him that the week before I had bowled four strikes in a row and that it was the second time in three weeks I had done so. I am nothing, however, if not inconsistent. I went from high scorer on my team the previous week to low scorer that night. I couldn't even beat the blind I was bowling against. A blind is when there is no one bowling against you and the computer registers a 180 point score for that slot. All I had to do was score a 181 to get a point for my team. Didn't happen either game. Sadness!! Neal and I shared a cab to Astoria with my friend and team mate, Christine. It was my first cab ride from Manhattan to Astoria. It was $14. Not too bad. I also learned how to get to my apartment via cab from Manhattan. That came into play later in the weekend. It was Neal's first visit to my new apartment. He liked it and was very happy for me. I showed him around the apartment and we talked for quite a while. Exhausted, at 3am I turned the light off and sleep took over.

Friday, 3/26/10
Even though I had known for more than a week that Neal and Stephen were coming for a visit I was unprepared. When Neal and I woke on Friday morning, I had no food to feed him for breakfast. I don't know why I don't prepare myself. When at Neal's there is never a moment when food isn't in the house. He and Stephen always have cereal and milk at least. We might have to make a trip to the grocery store, but it's usually to get specific things that we want to eat. I guess since I don't always stock my refrigerator and cabinets with food for me, I don't think about it for others. Bad host! BAD host!! Neal did a small amount of work on Friday morning, but by 1pm we were ready to get on with the day. We showered and left the house walking toward the subway to head into Manhattan. It was the first time Neal got to see my new neighborhood in the daylight. He liked it. Once in Manhattan, we had a plan of attack. I wanted to go to Pottery Barn and Neal wanted to go to Bed, Bath, & Beyond. We had already decided that we would treat ourselves to a small spa day and get manicures. First on the agenda though was food. We went to the Oxford Cafe. It was nothing special. We just decided to eat at the first place that looked as if we would find food we wanted to eat. Actually, I think this was the second place. We initially were in search of a diner so as to get breakfast food. On the East side of Manhattan, diner's aren't as easy to come by as on the West. So we chose what was basically a deli with seating in the rear. Sandwiches consumed, we decided to head to Bliss Spa on 57th Street to get our 30 minute manicures. Or in the case of Bliss they are called Manly-cures. I was in desperate need as my cuticles were dry enough to flake off. So embarrassing. Neal, as it turned out, was also in need of one. It was a fitting first stop for us. Upon arrival we were told that they didn't know if they had space at the 57th Street location today. Who knew it would be so full? They did end up having the ability to give us 5 and 5:30pm appointments. They didn't have the ability to take us at the same time. No problem. We took the appointments. With our names in the computer at Bliss and our credit card numbers holding our spots, we headed to Kenneth Cole. Neal wanted to donate a pair of old, but in-good-condition shoes to Haiti, and buy a new pair for himself. We then went to Saks Fifth Avenue where I bought a new fragrance and indulged myself in a search for a new bag. It seems I've been bitten by the "get a new bag" bug again. Then off to Pottery Barn. I had seen, briefly, the yellow floral pillows that they introduced for the season. I thought they might look pretty in my living room. Turns out, they weren't as pretty in person as I thought and the colors weren't as conducive to mine as I had hoped. I didn't leave empty handed though. I bought an oval basket for holding my magazines. After Pottery Barn, we spent a little time in Crate and Barrel. Who can pass up an opportunity to stop in Crate and Barrel? I can't, that's for sure. Neal and I have passed many a minute/hour in Crate and Barrel. Time to head to Bliss. Bliss Spa is painted in what must be the most tranquil, relaxing shade of blue. I love it. I had similar color on my living room walls at a former apartment. Manicures are manicures. Clip, file, soak, push, cut, massage, buff. It did take 30 minutes and it was so worth it. My cuticles and nails looked amazing. I wanted to fall asleep during the hand massage. Little indulgences are so good for the spirit. It's amazing how it makes me feel to simply get a manicure. We left Bliss and took our newly manicured selves to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Neal and Stephen had decided to buy me an Aero Bed as a house warming gift. Neal said that I was always giving up my bed when they came to visit and that now that I had space there was no need for that. I protested at first, but decided that I would graciously and thankfully accept their gift. We were pushing it to get back to Astoria, drop off our bags, change clothes, and get back into Manhattan to meet Stephen for dinner. Stephen couldn't make the trip from Boston until Friday afternoon so he was due to arrive around 7:45pm. I don't know how we managed to pull it off, but we got to the mexican restaurant, El Azteca, on 9th Avenue before Stephen. We put our request in for a table for five and sat to wait for Matt and Josette to join us for dinner. I will say that I love El Azteca. I've had many a good meal there. However, this particular night, we had to wait for a table and had the poorest service in my history of eating there. So strange. I don't know if they are just not used to the over flowing tables of customers or what, but it was incredibly annoying. With our bill paid the five of us went to the sidewalk to hail cabs to take us to our respective homes. Goodbye hugs and kisses were given on the street with a promises to talk the next day and discuss a plan for that evening. Here's where paying a bit of attention in the cab from the night before came into play. The cab driver for this ride to Astoria didn't know where to go. Having never really needed a cab ride to Astoria before, it was a rude awakening for me that cabby's don't just know how to get around each borough. I remembered from the night before that we were on Northern Boulevard and took a left on 47th Street. I was able to tell the cab driver that information thus being the essential component in getting us to my apartment. Thank God I was paying attention. After showing Stephen around the apartment, the Aero Bed was opened and filled with air so that the three of us could go to bed. I had to get up at 8:20am the next morning for work. It was already after 1am. After a day of shopping, running around, and our later dinner, I was tired. I turned the light out and remember nothing until my alarm went off the next morning. Well, I do remember hearing movement in the living room earlier than that, but I didn't remember it until later on Saturday evening.

Saturday, 3/27/10
I had to work on Saturday from 10 - 5. Neal and Stephen wanted to go to Room and Board, and they also wanted to see a matinee of something. They chose to see the new gay-themed play NEXT FALL written by Geoffrey Nauffts. They came by NWS before the matinee and returned my keys so that I could get in my apartment after work. Their play was to end half-an-hour after I got off work. Another bad host situation. I didn't make keys for Neal and Stephen. After work I went to buy a couple of bottles of wine for the evening's gathering at my apartment. I then went to the Food Emporium to pick up some snacks. The plan was to go out to dinner in Astoria and then return to my apartment to play games. I arrived at the Food Emporium just minutes before NEXT FALL was to end. I called Neal and left him a message to meet me at the Food Emporium so that we could ride back to Queens together. With snacks of pretzels, kettle corn, M&M's (both peanut butter and dark chocolate) mixed nuts, and beer in hand we made our way back to my house to wait for Matt and Josette to arrive. I did a little research on a couple of restaurants that interested us. One I had been to before and the other I was dying to try. We decided on the one I hadn't been to before. A french bistro called Bistro Les Minots. It was amazing. The food was incredible. We had truffle oil french fries. Josette had mussels. I had lamb shank with mashed potatoes. Stephen had salmon. Neal and Matt had spinach and mushroom stuffed chicken breast. Bon Appetit! We had good wine. Both white and red Cotes du Rhone. While waiting for our dessert the owner presented us with a liqueur to sip which he referred to as antifreeze. He was very funny and seemed to like us. Dessert arrived in the form of classic and espresso flavored creme brulee along with cinnamon and apple filled crepes. Some had coffee. It was an amazing experience that I look forward to repeating. Good friends enjoying good food. I was so glad that we chose to stay in my new neighborhood and enjoy what it has to offer. We all discovered a wonderful restaurant. When we returned to my apartment no one was really hungry, but I began to fill bowls with all the snacks I had procured earlier. It wasn't long before hands were reaching into bowls to lift salty or sweet treats to their mouths all the while saying they didn't need it. Part of the fun of hanging out is over-indulging in things you don't really need in the company of people who aren't going to judge you for doing it. I felt myself go into hostess mode. I immediately asked if any one needed anything to drink. Water seemed to be the choice of the moment. We decided to play Celebrity. This is a game played in teams which can lead to side-splitting belly laughs. Here's how it goes: each person gets ten slips of paper and writes the name of a another person on it that at least one other person in the room will know. This can be a real name, character name, cartoon name, etc. You get the picture. We drew numbers for teams. Turned out that Neal, Stephen, and I were to play against Matt and Josette. It wasn't fair. Not just because of the 3 against 2 thing, but we gays tend to be pop culture people. It seemed natural for the team names to be Gays vs. Straights. The first round of play the giver can say whatever it takes, without saying what's on the paper, to get his team to guess the name. For round two all slips go back into the bowl and the giver can only use one word for the guesser(s). Round three is a charade round. I hate to be mean, but the Gays wiped the floor with the Straights. We laughed so much. About halfway through round one, Stephen got a beer from the refrigerator, and just like that, the water turned to wine. Well, not literally, but water glasses were exchanged for wine glass and the purple liquid of the grape flowed freely. As for those belly laughs alluded to earlier, watching Matt try to act out Benjamin Bratt by acting as a bratty child hilarious. Listening to Josette describe the name on her slip by saying, "I love her," and thinking that would help Matt figure out that it was Jackie O. Funny! Of course all of us had fun with Mao Tse Tung and Sookie Stackhouse. "Neal" became the buzz word for Mao Tse Tung as he had put in that clue and "Matt" became the buzz word for Sookie Stackhouse because of a story involving an non-existent child whose name might one day be Sookie Semrick. Can't you just hear someone yelling from the back porch, "Sookie Semrick, you get in this house right now!"?

The weekend with my friends ended for me that night. I had to work 10 - 8 on Sunday so I didn't have any time to spend with them that day. Neal and Stephen saw a matinee of THE TEMPERAMENTALS by Jon Marans at NWS. I'm always happy when I can provide tickets to my friends. Both plays they saw over the weekend were gay-themed. We referred to the weekend as gay play weekend or GPW for short.

By the time Sunday night rolled around I was exhausted. Not only had I spent a fun-filled weekend with my friends, but work was extremely busy. There is no hidden complaint in there either. I'm thankful for the time spent with my friends and thankful that NWS is thriving.

La vie est bonne!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hefeweizen and a Crescent Moon

I took myself on a date Saturday night. After I got off work at 5 pm, I joined my friends, Schingy, Epic, Drama, and Jason at Mother Burger in World Wide Plaza for some hang time. They were drinking margarita's and Miller Lite. I was just there to soak up their company.

When I decided to head home, I walked to the E train on 50th Street. I checked earlier that morning and didn't see any service changes on the E train. Well, it seems there was something up with the E train that I missed. I was sitting there reading my Entertainment Weekly, thankful just to have a seat, when the doors closed at Queens Plaza and said the next stop was Jackson Heights - Roosevelt Avenue. You see, that's six stops from Queens Plaza and three stops past my stop. I should have gotten off at Queens Plaza to transfer to the R train. The problem was, I wasn't really paying attention because the E train usually runs local in Queens on the weekends. This particular day it was running express. I got off at Jackson Heights - Roosevelt Avenue and thankfully there was a Manhattan bound R train across the platform. Success! Homeward bound.

Upon arriving at my apartment, what I really wanted to do was go to dinner. I wasn't particularly thrilled with going by myself, but I did. I wanted to go to Bare Burger in Astoria. I had heard so much about it. I was told it was amazing. A little pricey, but amazing. Why not. It was only thirteen blocks away. An easy walk on such a lovely evening. When I arrived at Bare Burger it was pretty crowded. They didn't have space to seat even one person. I decided to wait instead of doing what my attitude wanted to do, which was leave. I had walked the thirteen blocks so I was by damn going to wait for a table and try this burger. The wait was brief actually. They have a table in the middle of the restaurant that will seat eight people comfortably. There was a two at one end and a three at the other. The waitress said I could take one of the seats in the middle if I wanted. I chose yes as the answer. As I passed one of the people making up the three at the end nearest the door he said something to the effect of, "This place is very gay. It's like Chelsea." That is a paraphrase. Before I closed myself behind a wall of insecurity, I decided to look over at him. Total homo sitting there with his boyfriend. It was merely a comment on the fact that there were a lot of gay people in the joint as opposed to a derogatory comment about me. Thank God. My shoulders relaxed.

Menu time. There were lots of choices from the burger (veggie, chicken, beef, bison, or ostrich) to the toppings. It was a mix and match plethora of goodness. I chose the California Bare Burger. It was topped with avocado, tomato, lettuce, red onion, and sauce. They suggested it with the veggie burger. I chose the beef burger on a 7-grain bun. Mind you this burger was $11.95. A little expensive, as I'd been told, but I was hoping worth it. I bit the bullet and added onion rings for another $4. Add my Hefeweizen for $6 and remind yourself that this isn't the burger joint back home. The burger arrived on a paper covered, rectangle tin pan. The burger was beautifully dressed and I couldn't wait to jump into the onion rings. Imagine my disappointment when I took my first bite of my $12 burger and it wasn't the best burger I'd ever had. It lacked flavor. With all those toppings, it lacked flavor. How is that possible? Give me my mom's burger seasoned with Lawry's Seasoning Salt and grilled to perfection any day. The onion rings were fine. I enjoyed them, but I've had better. I would say the best part of the meal was the beer. Organic Hefeweizen. So good. I have no real need to have another burger at Bare Burger, but I do want to go back and try their fries that come with three different dipping sauces. That, and of course another Hefeweizen, sounds like a nice summer treat.

Walking home, I had a sense of happiness. It was peaceful. I looked up at the sky. There was a crescent moon. I was reminded of a song that I wrote once that used the image of the crescent moon as a smile looking down on me. It reminded me of happy days. I realized that I am happy. I may hear the folks upstairs as they speak to each other in their native tongue, loudly, but it's nothing like what I had before. It's better. I just turn up my music or television a little bit and it helps to drown out the sound. Or maybe I walk into another room and the sound isn't audible. I don't know. I just know that I'm blessed. I'm at happy, on the way to happier. It's a good thing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I Spy

I spy on you
You spy on me
We'll tell big brother what we see.
There is no trust in working this way.
Comfortability has gone astray.

Is me on edge what you crave?
Not to smile must make me brave.
I feel uneasy;
A sense of foreboding.
Happiness eludes me now.
I fear another scolding.

Keep watching.
I'll keep trying
To make the chief proud I swear.
Just remember to practice what you preach
Otherwise your reprimand isn't fair.

Actions speak louder than any word you can say.
Remember, I can also see what you do,
How you act,
Hear what you say,
Any day!

My memory is long,
But I am strong
Gaining my trust is hard.
Using someone else's words against me,
Means I shan't let down my guard

I'm not toxic!
I'm not malignant!
I'm bursting with life.
I made my decision after thinking it through.
I'm sorry it wasn't the right choice for you.

I can smile.
I can be nice.
But I wear my heart on my sleeve.
It's hard to hide my feelings.
I am not naive.

I'll keep things to myself.
Make sure my life is my own.
Nothing to use against me
Nothing to make you roll your eyes
Nothing to make you groan.

I spy on you
You spy on me
We'll tell big brother what we see.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Something's Coming

So, the boxes are mostly unpacked now. There are even a few pictures on the walls. The dishes have all been washed and placed in their living space. I've purchased a bed which will be delivered on Tuesday. Yay! I need a desk, but I'm not rushing. To paraphrase my friend Colleen, I don't have to buy everything right now. Most important is to get my mattress up off of the floor.

I am enjoying my life in Astoria. The grocery store, Trade Fair, is three blocks away. The laundromat is one block away. And maybe most important, I've found a vintner I like two blocks away. The wine glasses aren't just for show you know. More amazing than the proximity of the aforementioned businesses to my apartment...I've slept without earplugs for the past two nights. I've been sleeping with earplugs for years. I'm working very hard to believe that they are no longer necessary; that life can get back to normal. Whatever normal is. I used to be able to sleep through the loudest of thunderstorms, then I got so accustomed to the earplugs that I couldn't sleep without them. That phase of my life is coming to a quick end. Normal sleep cycles, without the help of pills or plugs, have begun.

A note about last night's plugless sleep - I dreamed I was a vampire in love with another vampire. He loved me too. For some reason though, we kept trying to fight our attraction to each other. I don't know what that was about. When left alone together, our desire for each other was overwhelming. The passion was electric in the air. I felt safe and loved and frustrated. I don't remember more than kissing him, but I do remember that we truly loved each other. Why was it so forbidden? Maybe he will revisit me in a dream soon and I'll ask him.

So, for now a new chapter in my life is underway. I'm happier than I've been in years. Maybe the dream was showing me that the next chapter includes somebody to love?

Could be!
Who knows?
There's something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye,
Bright as a rose!

Who knows?
It's only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feeling there's a miracle due,
Gonna come true,
Coming to me!

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something's coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something's coming, I don't know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!

With a click, with a shock,
Phone'll jingle, door'll knock,
Open the latch!
Something's coming, don't know when, but it's soon;
Catch the moon,
One-handed catch!

Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver
To me!
Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It'll be there!

Come on, something, come on in, don't be shy,
Meet a guy,
Pull up a chair!
The air is humming,
And something great is coming!
Who knows?
It's only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Maybe tonight . . .

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I have a new zip code. The search for my peace and serenity led me to Astoria. For those of you not familiar with Astoria, it’s located in the borough of Queens. It’s just a train ride away from Manhattan. Four stops out of Manhattan, seven stops from work to be exact. Take the R or V train and exit into another world.

The pre-war house that holds my new apartment is a six unit, private family home with only eight tenants. It’s located on a quiet street full of homes. There are no children, pets, or smokers in the building. There are a couple of 80 year olds who live above me. The owners themselves. They aren’t terribly heavy walkers, but they do speak loud to each other and the television isn’t the quietest. BUT, their apartment is the only one I share wall space with. Or in this case, ceiling space. I know that in time I will hear them less and less and that they will fade into the noises that make up the world.

I have space. A large, beautiful space to call my home.

When you enter my apartment there is a small foyer. Walk straight and you’ll walk into a door that conceals a walk-in closet. Space to store stuff and hang all of my coats. Staring at that closet door if you turn your gaze to the left you will see my kitchen. It has a brand new, stainless steel stove and refrigerator purchased just for me. For me because I’m the new tenant as opposed to John Doe being the new tenant. It has almond butter colored subway tiles halfway up the wall. There is a built in drawer unit next to the stove that is old like the house. There is also a built in ironing board. Charming and unique to the apartment. Walk out of the door you entered, across the foyer, and pass through the arch that leads into the living room. You find yourself in a beige room with textured walls broken up by picture framing. The hardwood floors are newly refinished. There is a blond strip of wood sandwiched between two dark strips of wood that runs around the room about six inches from the baseboard. From the moment I noticed the details of the room, it gave me the feeling of 1940’s Hollywood. There is something glamorous about it. I think it’s the arches. In this room you will find a blood red velvet sofa, a golden green area rug with mums, an antique table that belonged to my great-grandmother, a 1940’s radio, as well as other pieces that make up my furniture. The walls are empty at this moment, but the artwork is leaning up against the wall in the place where I want it to hang. Exiting the living room to go to my bedroom you walk through another arch. You find yourself staring at another closet. This closet is more of a linen closet. To the left is the bathroom. A gray and white bathroom. Gray marble looking tiles cover the bottom half of the wall. The top half is painted white. The sink is white and modern mixed with an old, but in great condition, white tub and toilet. There are silver towel holders that compliment the silver hooks that hold the light gray shower curtain. I might not have chosen gray for my bathroom, but this bathroom is lovely. Walk straight out of the bathroom and across the small hallway and enter my room. Picture framed just like the living room, its smooth walls are painted a shade of mint green. There are two closets. There are three windows. Enough light that I have to shield my eyes when I awake each morning. The doors, baseboards, and window frames are all painted white. Every door in the apartment has a glass doorknob.

I look at my furniture in this apartment and I’m happy. I feel like I’m home.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Astoria Without Settling

The search has ended and boy what a search it was. There were days that I couldn't, or wouldn't, face it and there were days where I spent the entire day searching for it. The "it" is a new apartment. I've been searching for a better place to live for a better quality of life. City life can be hard. It can also be great. I do love living in NYC, however, trying to find a quieter place to exist in this crazy city full of life, noise, lights, and energy is difficult.

I moved six months ago. All of you readers know that. You also know that I haven't been very happy in the location. I made a choice to move into a studio on the East Side of Manhattan. A very small studio. Not as small as some studios, but small considering I was moving from a two-bedroom apartment where one of those bedrooms was mine along with a living room, kitchen and bathroom.

I started searching on February 1, 2010. I was looking for a quiet, one-bedroom apartment in the Astoria neighborhood of Queens, NY. While half-ass searching for a new place of my own I was also trying to find someone to take over the lease of my East Side studio.

I got many requests from people who were interested in my studio. I only had to show it to two people. The second one bit. Her boyfriend lived across the street, she was very familiar with the neighborhood, and thought the space would be perfect for her. So, I waited patiently while she got all the paperwork together and faxed it to the leasing office. It took a couple of days. She was on top of all of her necessary paperwork; the hold up was her landlord. She just needed him to fax a letter proving she was a good tenant. Finally, he sent the info and she signed the lease.

I did my best to contact every person I had spoken with via email regarding the apartment to let them know that someone had taken it. It felt like it was the right thing to do. After all, they took the time to respond to my ad.

I had 18 days until the end of the month to find a new place for myself. I thought the hardest part would be to find someone to take over my studio. Turned out that finding the perfect place for me was the hardest part. I wanted something very specific. I wanted a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria for $1100. I was willing to go up to $1150, but I wanted what I wanted. I didn't want to settle.

So the search began. I found out that there was a one-bedroom apartment in a private home, right across the street from my friend Michael, coming available mid-February. I couldn't wait to see it. One-bedroom, private family home, $1050, across from friends. I have a tendency to put all of my eggs in one basket. I was trying to not do that with this apartment search. Turns out the apartment was shit. It needed lots of work. It had tons of space and the price was fantastic, but it had paneling, dropped ceilings, and carpet. It needed so much work. Work that I would have to do (along with Michael) instead of the owner. That's why the rent was going to stay so low.

Following this viewing there were others. There were studios in buildings. One-bedroom's in buildings. Rents from $1100-$1200. Things that I didn't like, but was willing to take as the days ticked away in February and March approached like a tornado across the plains of Kansas.

Michael viewed a studio, something I did not want, just to see if it was doable. He viewed a one-bedroom studio with me that was not doable. Don't even get me started on the confusion of studios in Manhattan and Queens. Studios in Manhattan mostly consist of one room. In Queens, studios can have a bedroom. A studio in Queens with a separate bedroom would be called a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. Enough with the studios, I wanted a one-bedroom and I was teetering on the "settle" fence by even looking at studios. I guess I just wanted to give everything a chance. Then came the one-bedroom in a private home for $1100 just around the corner from Michael. I had just gotten to work when I got a call from him. He found it on, called me about it, and said he was going to go see it. He called from the apartment and said, "I have found your apartment." He loved it. He told the owner that he knew I would like it so much that he was willing to put down a deposit on it right then for me. He took pictures to show me when he returned to work. He called again to say there was a little bit of bad news. It seemed a policeman had seen the apartment earlier in the day and had called to say that he wanted it before I could even see it. Michael told the owner that I could write him a check later that night if he wanted. He kept telling Michael that he would have to get back to him. After looking at another loser of an apartment, I called the man myself. He then told me that he would have to call me back the next morning.

When I hadn't heard from him by his said time, I called him myself. I was getting frustrated. I wanted to see the space for myself and see if it was indeed as lovely as all the pictures showed. Three hours later and another message to the owner he finally called me back. He told me that he had chosen to rent the apartment to the policeman. He said he would keep me in mind if something with that tenant fell through. For me, I took the answer without defeat. In fact, I felt better just knowing the answer at all. I had been worried about it for more than 12 hours.

Walking home from viewing the studio apartments, Michael walked on a different street than normal and wouldn't you know there was an "apartment for rent" sign in front of a home. Michael called the number and set up an appointment for me for the next morning. That meeting seemed like fate. A never taken street led to an appointment to see a one-bedroom apartment for $1100 in a private home. The broker showed me two other apartments, but I was smitten with the first. There was just one problem. There was a train track just beyond the boundary of the back yard. I saw it and I asked about it. However, I found myself signing a lease. I gave a security deposit and signed a lease. I was walking through life in zombie mode for the rest of the evening. My boss said I had to admit the situation was funny. I wanted out of my current apartment due to noise and I had just signed a lease on an apartment with a train in the back yard. I was sick at the thought of what I'd done. How could I have been so foolish? I couldn't sing at karaoke that night. I didn't bowl worth a damn. I had to take a sleeping pill just to shut my mind down. I was up the next morning by 8:30am leaving a message for the broker. I was freaking out about the train. I started looking for apartment on I had my first appointment in Astoria that day at 11am. I followed that with a noon appointment that had me viewing six apartments. All were either too far away from the subway or not worth my time. On a side note, the noon broker smelled of marijuana. My trust in him didn't make it into the car with me. I then met my friend Dakotah for lunch. While eating lunch I got a phone call from my broker Grace. She said she had something available for viewing the next day. A true one bedroom in Astoria. She talked the owners down to $1200 rent for me. After lunch, I met with the "train track" broker and told him I couldn't do it. He gave me the check back; I ripped it up, and dissolved our agreement.

Grace and I spoke on Saturday and she said that I could view the apartment that evening after work. It was a very fast viewing of a beautiful apartment. I contemplated the $1200 monthly price tag and all the space it would get me. I called Grace later that night and took the apartment.

It was the only apartment I viewed by myself and actually made the decision on all by myself. Being a grown up is hard. Making the decision was hard.

Relief is amazing!