Friday, April 28, 2006

Big City Move

This time tomorrow I'll be on the plane to New York, praying Bailey-dog is OK in the cargo hold and that I can tip my taxi driver enough to at least help me get my bags and the dog crate inside the front door of the apartment building.

If you saw my house right now you'd think "No way this chick is outta here tomorrow!" but it will happen. I shipped some stuff up to NY yesterday and have several more boxes to go this afternoon. The rest has to go to the storage unit. That, unfortunately, has to be left to daughter Kate and the nephews. Hate to do it to 'em, but oh, well.

It's been a week of goodbye lunches and dinners. Good friend Lynne gave me my last Piedmont Driving Club dining experience for a while. And the world's best group of friends threw a wonderful, fun, yummy party for me Wednesday night. They turned the tables on me and did song parodies about me, for a change, and I left with some lovely parting gifts, including a generous gift certificate for theatre tix, a fabulous set of NY guidebooks, and a stunning Isaac Mizrahi silver trench coat (chez Target) - suitable for my theatrical evenings. Last night I celebrated with the family. With sister Cindy's impending move to California (can't believe I'm making it out of town before her!), it was especially poignant.

Changes, changes. But great, good changes. Am I a lucky duck, or what?

That said, Shorty PJs will have to take a break for the next few days while I await the shipment of my desktop to the big city. Sigh. I promise a big update once I'm up and running again. In the meantime, I invite you to go back through the archives to make sure you haven't missed anything along the way.

Kisses from Atlanta. Kisses to Atlanta. I'm outta here!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Deposition Day

So a girl runs a red light and totally destroys my car (and does no favors to my knees and ankles, either) on December 15, 2003. 2003. I repeat: 2003. My lawyers, her lawyers, Enterprise Rental Car lawyers have been hanging out at the spa or the pub or wherever for 2 1/2 years. Can't get 'em to move off the dime for love nor money. 'Til now.

Suddenly, it behooves them to depose me about the wreck smack in the midst of the busiest week of my life. I should've told 'em I was leaving town earlier, I reckon!

Today I'll have to spend a good 3-4 hours at the lawyers' office, trying to be very black-and-white with my answers ("Were you wearing a red dress?" " Well, it was really more a cranberry color." "Yes or no?! Was the dress red or not?") Sigh. My brain aches already.

On the upside, a fun-filled farewell party is planned for this evening. I will earn all the wine and chocolate I can inhale tonight, I suspect!

Another upside - I think Blogger's letting me comment again. Of course, now I don't have time to comment.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

No Comment(s)

For some weird reason Blogger won't let me add comments to all the jolly posts I've read today (can't even comment on my own blog!). I type in my correct sign-in, decipher the security code, then it wants me to re-enter my sign-in info. Over and over and over.

So. Please know that I've been reading all of your blogs today and unsuccessfully making pithy comments. Finally, someone's shut me up! (This is probably a good thing.)

Life is crazy, I tell ya'! Crazy!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Movin' on up to the East Side

Here's some cool stuff. A couple of famous neighbors in my new 'hood. Seems Holly Golightly's apartment is at 169 E. 71st Street. Moon River, wider than a mile . . .

And I'm in the shadow (literally) of The Jeffersons' famous "de-luxe apartment in the sky" at 185 E. 85th Street. I wondered what that big ugly high-rise was that blocks out a lot of my sky! Fortunately, I can only see the top of it, as it's a couple of blocks away.

So, I'm moving on up to the East Side. Will I be ready to leave by Saturday morning? The race is on.

Thanks to nephews Matt and Mike and daughter Kate, a goodly portion of the furniture was shifted to a nearby storage unit Saturday. But there's so much more to go! Seems the more boxes I pack, the more stuff remains unpacked. I spend much of my time being overwhelmed. I keep trying to use the "bird by bird" method, but often one bird can't get packed until another bird is (which can't be packed until another bird is . . . ).

Lack of time and money are putting a crimp in everything. I just can't gather enough boxes into which to throw things (and things do mount up after 13 years). Yes, it would be a perfect time to cull through and toss out, but I just don't have the time. So everything's (well, most things) are being stuffed into boxes as fast as I can get the boxes.

Plus, I'm working full-time this week at the architecture firm, being treated to a series of farewell lunches and dinners, and - can you believe it? - finally giving the damn deposition re: the long-past auto accident. Can we get 48-hour/day this week, please?

Friday, April 21, 2006

One more year and I'll be over the speed limit

Yup. It's my birthday (at least, for another couple of hours). Me and the Queen. No card from her again this year. I know she's 80, but sheesh! Get a butler to do it, lady!

Been at a conference all week and am pure-T fried right now. Tomorrow I start moving my life into storage or shipping small bits of it on to New York. My farewell flight out of Atlanta is 8:45 Saturday morning, April 29. I can't even see the tunnel, much less the light at the end of it.

Think I'll just go to bed and hope for the best. Tomorrow is another day, sez Scarlett.

And now, as Birthday Queen (the real Birthday Queen, not that pretender on the throne of England) - I command you all to have a most fantabulous weekend. Remember to knock back a wee little drinkie in my honor. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

March-ing Forward

I love it when I'm midway through a book that I just pulled off a bookstore shelf because it looked interesting, and - bam! - it wins a big prize. Here I am, smack in the middle of Geraldine Brooks' March, and low and behold, it's honored with the Pulitzer. It beat out Doctorow's The March, which I read last year.

Both Marches take place during the American Civil War. Doctorow's, about Sherman's big-time march, was readable but unremarkable to me. A nice read, but I don't remember much about it except that it acts as a sort of prequel to Ragtime, introducing us to Coalhouse's forebears, etc.

Brooks' book, though, really intrigued me when I saw it at the bookstore. It's about Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy March's father, who - if you remember - was away at war during Little Women. As I read this book, I feel that Alcott's characters are fleshed out even more in seeing them through the eyes of the absent father. His war experience and the backstory he provides about Marmee add another dimension to the much-loved story.

Good book. Glad it won the Pulitzer. But it's not as good as Brooks' Year of Wonders - wow! - about the plague village, Eyam. Terrific story - grab it and read.

I'm on the countdown to my big move. Still so much to do. I know it will happen, but it ain't gonna be easy. Sigh.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Good Friday, in every sense of the word

Nailed the apartment. Subletting from a couple originally from South Carolina. Unbeatable location on E. 88th - couple of blocks from Central Park and Guggenheim Museum, great neighborhood, easy walk to subway.

I'll need to rearrange the furniture, plus bring some of my own up to make it more mine. The plan is to rent here for several months (or more) until I find an unfurnished place. It's an ideal stop-gap measure, and it works perfectly for my new "landlords," as well. A win all the way around.

So, a place to rest my head. Whew!

Good Friday. (And Happy Easter.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Not as respected as Harry Potter at Gringott's

Banks are just impossible these days. I've had to do a lot of funds-cashing, funds-shifting the past few weeks involving several different banks (only one of which is my own). So, here's my bank-rant-post. Feel free to add your own bank-stewings:
  1. Explain to me, please, why I have to pay a fee to cash a check on YOUR bank made out to me by one of YOUR customers. So I'm not one of your customers - what does that matter? I'm sure the customer who wrote the check pays enough bank fees to cover the precious time it takes to dole out $$ from his/her account.
  2. When I present a real, live US passport as a form of ID, why do you also want to see a second form, like a Georgia Driver's License? If the passport's good enough for the armed guards in the airport in Rome, should it not be enough for you?
  3. And speaking of ridiculous fees for people who aren't YOUR bank customers (things like "standing at our counter" fees, "using our pen" fees, "putting your feet on our carpet" fees), why on earth would I ever want to switch my accounts to your bank if you treat an outsider with legitimate business like steaming dog poo? Fugitahbahtit!
  4. Is it really necessary to call over two other tellers plus the manager to confab about cashing a perfectly good check written to me (and with an infinite number of forms of ID) on YOUR bank? Do I look shifty? OK, the passport picture and the driver's license pictures aren't the greatest, but really!

OK, your turn.

Back to NYC tomorrow to - God willing - seal the apartment deal. Will let you know how everything works out.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What'd I Miss?

I've been out of touch lately. No time to worry about anything that doesn't involve New York apartments, packing away a lifetime of stuff and figuring out where to store it, making elaborate checklists to ensure I leave my current job tidy and organized, or just finding time to sleep.

I know I'll regret living in this whirlwind later, when important pop culture questions may arise in trivia contests and I won't have a clue as to what happened during this slice of time. So I'm depending on you, dear friends. Fill me in.

Any celebrity meltdowns, births, deaths, unfortunate affairs I'm missing?

Are we still in Iraq? Is Bush still President?

Any good films I'm missing?

What's happening on The Sopranos? (I did watch Santos win the Presidency on West Wing last night. Still sad about Leo. Sniff.)

Is it Spring yet?

Help me. Please. Give me a clue - what am I missing?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

This Ol' House

Today is the 100th anniversary of the building that is All Saints' Church, Atlanta. The church was founded in 1903, but the gorgeous old brownstone edifice opened its doors on Palm Sunday 1906. (Photo at left taken at Christmas)

Last night we had a big party, complete with silly song parodies written by Yours Truly. (Song parodies seems to be my one true calling in life. If only there was $$ in it!) In the midst of the job-selection-process angst, day-to-day work, and the trip to coastal Mississippi, I managed to eke out new versions of "High Hopes," "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," "Dry Bones," and "This Ol' House." We gathered a group of willing singers and entertained the well-fed, well-wined masses. (The key is always "well-wined" in the performance situations!) A good time was had by all, or so they tell me.

Apartment update: Thanks be to craigslist/New York. I believe I've found a place. Nice guy from South Carolina willing to sublet his apartment on E. 88th. (He and his family live in a bigger place around the corner from offered apartment.) I'm flying back to NYC Thursday and Friday to see the place and - fingers crossed - seal the deal. Sometimes being from the South is a huge bonus! Boy, it will take a real load off if this works out, so send good thoughts.

Now to find an affordable storage unit here in Atlanta . . . Oh, yeah. And rent my house. (Must make a list . . . )

Friday, April 07, 2006

All the news that's fit to print. Or not.

No luck on the apartment front. Very byzantine and weird system here. Seems they don't like the fact that I don't have a previous landlord (I've owned my home for 13 years) or that I'm moving from out-of-town (no paystubs yet from new employer, no NYC references - even though I've presented letters of employment). They want proof that my house has been rented (we're working on that, so shouldn't be a problem), plus a gi-normous amount of money upfront. So I'm still homeless in New York.

But. I've gotten a taste of the new job this week, and it's wonderful. International dignitaries coming and going and a friendly, welcoming, fun staff that makes me feel right at home. Lots of obligatory paperwork for insurance and other benefits, plus getting my travel schedule in order for May, June, July. It's a whirlwind, I tell ya'!

Great dinner last night with my stepdaughter Kerry, who made the move to NY from Colorado last year. She lives in the Bronx, works in Manhattan. I'll probably flop at her place till I can convince some landlord somewhere that I'm good for the rent every month. Anyway, Kerry and I had a terrific time - she'll be a great theatre/concert partner. Can't wait!

Back to Atlanta this evening. Still loving New York. Can't wait to get settled here (still trying to decide between the Brooklyn Bridge or the Triborough Bridge). And I really appreciate all the blog-support on this. Big, exciting changes!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Little Ol' New York

Yesterday was a whirlwind, but I mananged to survive. A two-and-a-half hour weather delay the night before got me to my hotel room after midnight, so I was running on less than my usual amount of sleep. Spent a couple of hours filling out paperwork, having various insurance plans explained to me, and grilling the HR people on things like banks, NY taxes, and benefits.

Then on to see my new boss and meet the rest of the staff. As would be expected in Anglican Global Relations - a very diverse, friendly group, many - it seems - with my same twisted (and I mean that in a good way) sense of humor. I feel very comfortable there.

Love my new little office - brand new, as renovations were completed the end of last year. Got a door and a window. Well, when I say window, I mean a window to a small cluster of desks outside my office, but just beyond that is a wall of windows that look onto Second Avenue. So, yes, I consider I have a window office in Manhattan!

After a brief lunch with the boss, off to look for that perfect apartment. And I found it. Right off the bat. Windows, exposed brick, bedroom fireplace, comfortable living space, great Upper East Side neighborhood (see, a saloon right across the street!) - even affordable. The guy can have his pick of tenants and I may well not make his cut, but my agent is putting in my application today, so who knows. Looked at two other unremarkable places afterward and am scheduled to go to Brooklyn to look around today. The agent and I may postpone until we file the application for the first place. I do want to continue looking because I cannot believe I would be lucky enough to find a great place right off the bat. Still, fingers crossed.

Things have been so busy that I haven't had the time to send smarty-pants comments to your blog but know I'm keeping up. Just because I'm slacking is no reason for you to do the same!

Off I go - to Brooklyn, then a little time at the office for an orientation, then more apartment hunting. Gotta keep going . . .

Monday, April 03, 2006

Carless in Atlanta

Sold the car this weekend. The money will help with the required millions needed upfront to rent an apartment in NY. Living without a car in Atlanta is interesting, though I'm used to taking the transit system here to and from work and the airport. Works if you're coming and going somewhere close to one of the few stations but is otherwise useless. But since I won't be in Atlanta much this month before bidding adieu, I figured I could survive it.

I travel to New York this evening for four days of signing my paperwork at the Episcopal Church Center, meeting the staff, and begging door to door for an apartment. It's a very short timeline, so I'm under a wee big of stress. Once I find a place to live (and find a renter for my house in Atlanta), a huge load will be off my shoulders and I can fully concentrate on the job.

But if you see me thumbing to the grocery store in Atlanta, give me a lift, will ya'?