Grand Theft Elevator

Hi, it’s me Marcy the dog! Honestly, I’m offended that I haven’t been invited to write a post before now, but there’s simply no time like the present. Speaking of presents, I like to get them. Sometimes I get giant boxes full of food and treats shipped right to my door! But then my parents put them away and only let me have a little at a time. It’s very rude. So sometimes I have to give myself presents. Socks are my favorite! I am very sneaky and talented at snagging them from the laundry.

Marcy in Central Park
Here I am watching squirrels in Central Park!

Much like my hero Beyonce, I am from Texas and now I live in New York City. It’s different, but I like all the squirrels and rats I see in Central Park. One day, I hope to catch one and give it a real good shake, but my parents always tell me to “leave it” when I try. My friend Rosie the dog out in Colorado snatched a bird right out of the sky once, so I know it can be done and I’m not giving up yet.

My parents are pretty good at being parents, but that’s not saying much because it’s obvious that I am a blessing and a joy and an angel, so it’s not like they have to do much. Once, my dad gave my mom flowers and while they were out, I very gently bit the heads off all the roses and scattered the petals around the house. How romantic am I?! My mom says I am the canine version of the smirking imp emoji 😈 but I don’t really text so I don’t know what that means.

Marcy's Selfie
I don’t text, but I can take a really good selfie. It’s blurry on purpose.

Anyway, it’s nice to have parents now. I had people in Texas, but they ditched me. I was fine living on the streets, but then I got collared by the Feds. They put me behind bars and then into a prison van, and next thing you know, I’m on an island called New York!

The first time I laid eyes on my new dad, whew. It was like that feeling when you see a squirrel across the field and your eyes zoom in all super fast and focused and all you care about is chasing it up a tree. A modern woman needs to be assertive, so I sat right down in his lap and asked if he would please take me away from those rotten Feds and free me from life on the chain gang once and for all. And he did! I love him so much. My mom is pretty cool, too, but my dad. Oh, my dad. He is handsome and fun and plays with me and sneaks me treats even when Mom says I’ve had enough.

Something weird happened this week, though. My dad said he had to take a “business trip” which is related to “working” which is the lousy excuse my parents give for not hanging out with me 24/7. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have Daddy Issues, but it is true that my human dad is the only one I’ve ever had. I don’t know anything about my dog dad. Was he a labrador? Or maybe a border collie? Was he a crime boss running the streets of Dallas? That would explain why the Feds got me. Crimes of the father, am I right? If those dog snatchers ever catch my dog dad, I’d like a turn in the interrogation room. I want answers. Like, why didn’t he stick around to raise me? Okay, maybe I have a few Daddy Issues. Can you really blame me if I thought the alleged “business trip” was an excuse for my new dad to ditch me just like my dog dad did?

The first day, I was moody and started scheming. I ate half a roll of toilet paper and a foam roller and my mother’s hairbrush. That was the start of my crimes, but honestly I thought that I could convince Dad that Mom was the chewing culprit, and then he’d invite me to sleep on the big bed while she slept on the couch and I’d finally be the #1 girl in the family. Except Dad didn’t come back that night, so I had to take responsibility for my actions. Mom let me sleep on the big bed anyway, though.

Day 2 without Dad is when I really lost it. One day, I can forgive. But 2? Leaving Marcy for 2 days is unconscionable. I hate to admit it, but my criminal past came raging out. My best human friend Mikaela comes to visit me every day for a walk and play time while my parents are “working” and I really am sorry I got her mixed up in my crime spree. Then again, I might have gotten away with it if she hadn’t tattled!

You see, when Mikaela came in and said hi to me, she turned her back while the door was still closing, and I jumped into action. I only had half a second, but I slipped right out the door when my best human friend wasn’t looking! As I’ve said, I am very sneaky and talented. I knew I didn’t have much time, but the elevator was still open from when Mikaela got off, so my big adventure was practically fated. That’s right, I charged onto the elevator and went on a joyride! It was amazing. I mean, talk about a thrill. I made it to the lobby and that’s when I learned that my other best human friend Adam has been holding out on me. He is always very calm and professional, but it turns out he can run and play and yell! I did not even know that! We were having so much fun, zooming all around together. A lady came up to the front door and Adam yelled, “NO!” but I yelled, “YES!” and she opened that door right up. I zoomed outside!

Everyone was looking at me and yelling, which was very fun and made me feel like a glamorous celebrity. Except then I saw my friend Adam and he looked very scared. I think he is nervous about running the streets, but I’m a very accomplished teacher so I would have showed him the ropes. I felt kind of bad for his nerves though, so I went back and let him know we could keep on zooming in the lobby together. Except when I got back to the lobby, my best friend Mikaela was there and everyone was doing crying and yelling and nobody wanted to zoom with me anymore.

My mother says I have committed an act of, “Grand Theft Elevator” and that it is not nice to be a sneak and scare our friends and endanger our own lives. I felt a little bad, but then she said, “Wait until your father hears about this.” So then I knew Dad was coming home after all! Right now I’m working on a cover story to somehow pin this all on Mom and get myself a permanent invitation to the big bed.

Marcy 😈😈😈

Marcy's Apology Letter

Miracle on 96th Street

New York is a city of coincidence and chance, so much so that, “Only in New York!” lands with the weight of an obvious cliche. It’s a city of 8.5 million people, but the one who calls the number on your runaway dog’s tag just happens to be from your hometown. Only in New York! You’re pictured in the background of a news story for three seconds and someone recognizes you from it the next day. Only in New York!

It’s not uncommon to see to old friends run into each other on the train, delightedly catch up on years of absence, and part again a few stops later. I was once a third wheel to a Street Meet (another common site of chance encounters) between a colleague and their friend who’d become a Broadway actor. I moved to shake the Fancy Actor’s hand, only to realize I was pressing the packet of dental floss that had been in my pocket into their palm. (I may be prone to minor social faux pas, but I have great dental hygiene. “Oh, that Lydia.” they’ll say. “Always leading with her best tooth forward.”)

I think this is part of why New York is a cultural fascination for so many; it always seems to be teeming with serendipitous potential. Some of this magic must have rubbed the rust off my cynical soul because when Daniel lost his keys last week, I found myself parroting my own Only in New York aphorisms: All good things in all good time! Things have a way of coming back to us!

Daniel had taken Marcy on a run through Central Park, following the same path we take her down at least three times a day. Riding the elevator back up, he realized the keys were missing. The apartment keys, the mail keys, the building fob, the keys for the bike lock… all of them gone, likely jostled out of an unzipped pocket while running.

We retraced the run. No keys. We split up and looked again. Still nothing. We checked benches and tables, trash cans (you never know!), water fountains, fence posts, in short, every plausible spot a passerby may have tossed them. No luck. Daniel called our local precinct. Nothing there; but there was still the lost and found at the Central Park precinct.

By this point my peppy recitations about the magic of New York had run dry for Daniel, although I’m not sure he ever really believed those keys were coming back. It was very improbable that a passing tourist would pick up a pile of keys, Google the Central Park lost and found, then hike more than a mile to deliver them. It was Saturday. It was cold. The keys were gone.

I wasn’t giving up. All good things in all good time! Those keys were coming back! On to the Central Park Lost and Found! As it turns out, there is an entire section of the Lost and Found exclusively for recovered keys. It’s a cardboard box, the kind you’d expect to find free kittens nestled in. The contents of the box look like the crowded mouth of a teenager sporting new orthodontia. Twisting piles of metal, keychains, car fobs, and not one of them belonged to us.

New York is big, and bright, and beautiful, and sometimes you feel swept up in its magnetic energy. It’s a place where you find yourself believing that anything is possible and magic is real. But it’s also just a place full of people, like every other place full of people. Sometimes it’s a place where you lose things. As often as you hear stories of chance reunions, you hear about another* marriage proposal gone awry after the diamond engagement ring was accidentally dropped into a sewer. (*yes, another. This exact scenario is bizarrely common here.)

Sometimes, you must make peace with the things you have lost and move on. New keys can be make, bike locks can be cut. It’s an inconvenience, but not a tragedy.

The other day, Dan was leaving the park with Marcy. There was a groundskeeper scooting around in a golf cart. “What would you do,” Dan called, “if you found a set of keys?”

The man prevaricates. “Well, what do they look like?”

A brief description, then some rustling in the back of the golf cart.

And there they are. Daniel’s keys.

Only in New York.

Sick Boy

I’ve written before about Daniel’s (incredible, improbable, downright unfair) good looks and impeccable health. As a child I was perpetually ill and spent a significant amount of time in the hospital, and am therefore particularly jealous of Daniel’s lifetime of perfect health.

Reader, the jig is up. Daniel caught his first NYC illness, which may also be the first illness of his entire adult life. In the years we’ve been together, Daniel has never taken a sick day, never had a fever, never vomited, never had so much as a tummy-ache.

Once, he exercised too hard and bruised his lungs. That’s right, his only significant illness the entire time I’ve known the man was from excessive exercise. I mean, come on.

But New York changed all that. New York, city of infinite Subway germs, city of unknown substances Marcy likes to roll in, city of questionably maintained food carts… New York City got Dan sick. And Dan suffered like a true New Yorker: loudly and often.

Just kidding. The poor guy went from never being sick in his life to being sick on his birthday. He had his first Sick on the Subway experience. His first NYC Urgent Care trip. His first time on the BRAT diet. His first (and good god, hopefully last) night spent laying on the bathroom floor while his devoted wife applied cool washcloths to his sweaty forehead.

It wasn’t exactly the list of firsts we were hoping to add to our NYC list, but it seems like we have to document it, don’t we? So, once more for the memory books, Dan’s first birthday in NYC: prostrate and feverish.

Husband Hero

At any given moment, I am so deeply living in my own thoughts that I am essentially immune to the world around me. Add on top of that some genetic hearing loss and poor eyesight, and you’ve got a gal who is barely aware of her surroundings.

Daniel is not prone to persistent daydreaming, and is a paragon of perfect health. He’s never worn glasses. He never had braces. He spent years following The Grateful Dead and still has excellent hearing. He insists on wearing clothes that are too big for him, but if you ever catch a glimpse of him in a fitted outfit, you’ll observe his extremely muscular body. It is simply not fair.

Because Daniel is some kind of superior lifeform, he is constantly aware of his surroundings. This is good for me because he’s basically a guide dog for me, a hapless traveler wandering through life. It is also good for all of humanity because he is very thoughtful and generous.

The other day we exited our Subway station into the cold drizzle and Daniel spotted an ancient and adorable woman standing at the top of the stairs. Just standing there as floods of humans poured in and out of the station. Daniel asked the woman if she needed some help getting her walker down into the Subway. She said yes. Like the Good Human he is, he instantly started helping her down.

The wild part is that everyone in close proximity started oohing and ahhing and loudly declaring him to be Such a Gentleman and Nice Man. Daniel is those things, but I am wont to point out that these are all people who could have helped our Elderly Compatriot before Dan arrived on scene. Then again, maybe they are like me, so lost in their own lives they didn’t even register that the woman needed some help.

Alas, I still had to bat away the hands of grabby middle-aged women who wanted to pinch Daniel’s (butt) cheeks and take him home with them. News flash: that Nice Gentleman and his cute tush are unavailable as he is already MARRIED to ME. Suckers!

Witch’s Curse

I finally organized my closet yesterday, after living here a cool four months. Daniel looked at it and said, “Babe! We could totally have a kid now!” This was a joke and a callback to our one-time broker Incontinence, who showed us an apartment in which a baby lived in a closet. Such is life in the postage stamp of NYC realty.

A few hours later, we were leaving a rare trip to the East Harlem Target where we’d stocked up on some staples, like a million Clorox wipes and ten gallons of laundry detergent. We were standing on the corner waiting for our YOU-ber when a woman behind us yelled, “Hey! I thought you were holding a baby!”

I turned around and showed her that what she thought was a baby was actually “Happy Llamakuh” wrapping paper.

“That your girlfriend?” she asked Daniel.

“My wife, actually!”

She paused. Squinted at my wrapping paper. “Y’all got kids?”

I started to tell her that the whimsical wrapping paper was just for us when Daniel said, “Not yet. In our future, maybe!”

And then this mysterious woman said, “Oh, she’s pregnant. Ma’am, you’re pregnant. Right now. I saw you holding an infant. You. Are. Pregnant.”

I wanted to pull the brand new $42 Diva Cup I’d just purchased out of my bag and let her know that I was actually expecting definitive confirmation that I am very much not pregnant to arrive any moment. Before I could do that, Daniel laughed, asked her name (Annette) and told her we’d name “the baby” after her if she was right.

She cackled and waltzed off, declaring again that I was expecting. It felt very much like Annette may have been a witch, and I may have been cursed.

Our YOU-ber home took twice as long as anticipated because a manhole literally blew up in front of us and traffic got a bit tangled what with all the rubberneckers and firefighters and flames dancing across the asphalt. New York City, am I right?!

But by the time we finally made it home, my Diva Cup was ready to be put to good use. With much tenderness and love to those experiencing infertility and/or struggling to become pregnant, as a person who very much does not want to have a child right now, I am happy to report that my womb remains blessedly unoccupied. (Except for my IUD, which is in fact, implanted in my womb and is the #1 reason I remain blissfully childfree.)

Take that, Annette!

New York, New York

When Dan and I first met, I was in the process of giving away everything I owned. I’d been playing with the idea of taking on that postcolonial ritual of former English majors– teaching English abroad. I’d had a bad year and was desperate for a major life change. One of my friends had successfully moved to Prague the summer before, and fleeing the country seemed like a plausible next step for me.

I’d been in the middle of trying to pawn off clothes and tchotkes I didn’t want to move, when a friend said, “You know, you might as well have some fun before you leave.”  I’m sure my face turned into a perfect imitation of the grimace emoji, as it always does when I’m uncomfortable, but by the time I drove off into the icy dark, my friends were scouting out and scheduling potential dates.

When I first met Dan, I told him I was planning on leaving. And when he asked, some time later, if I’d consider waiting… well, I think I’d already withdrawn my applications by then, anyway.

But the idea of moving somewhere new stuck with us. We were living the most perfectly charmed and idyllic life. We had great jobs, amazing friends, a big house with a profligate vegetable garden, the most loyal and handsome dog who ever lived, and easy access to some of the most beautiful wilderness in all of America. And like a deranged Belle we kept shrieking, “There must be more than this provincial life!”

And that’s more or less how we came to be living in New York City.


How Did I Get Here?

Daniel and I saw a t-shirt in Amsterdam this summer that said, “Blogger: 2007-2015” and we laughed ourselves silly. That some company had taken the time to print and sell a shirt reminding all of us that blogs are so over was hysterical to us. I wish I’d bought that shirt, because it was like looking into a mirror. I spent years blogging, sending hundreds of thousands of words into the ether, charting my life on various Google and WordPress sites. And then I stopped. Archived, deleted, forgot.

And yet, here we are. Back at it again. Who cares about blogs today? I don’t know. But I don’t know that it particularly matters, either. In the past few months, we got secretly married, and our beloved dog died, and we sold our house, and we quit our jobs, and our wedding venue burned down, and we had a wedding anyway, and we went to Europe, and we drove a U-haul across the country, and we moved into a Manhattan apartment, and we started new jobs, and we adopted a pup, and, and, and.

Our lives have been “and” for months and I’m worried that if we don’t find a way to hang onto these moments, we’ll come up for air only to find our memories have been smoothed over like so many river stones.

And that’s why we’re here. To try and remember these halcyon moments while we live them. So, peruse the archives, check out the categories, scroll on down, and join us on this journey.

And in proper homage to an early 2000’s blog, here are some song lyrics for you:

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, “Well… how did I get here?”
“Once in a Lifetime” – Talking Heads