Saturday, May 14, 2005

Downtime, Uptime and The Second Score

Yesterday was Friday, but my workload rarely takes a vacation. Thus, rarely do I. This weekend is about work, sleep, finishing up work, thinking about next week's work, and watching the Yankees continue their inevitable and inexorable rise to the top of the American League East. And my other half.

As I wound down the work week with a rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth work project that went from comatose to wild and out-of-control, I deigned to put the finishing touches on it by meeting with one of the representatives of the owner of the property itself. We met yesterday for about 20 minutes, and once she had furnished the papers I needed in order to get everything done, she left me to my work and I ploughed ahead for the next five or so hours. I left my office with the paperwork and will get over to the office in a bit to do more with them. In the meantime, though, last night I had plans to go back to Costco and get some more stuff, so I met a friend and we made the quickie trek to Roosevelt Island and aisle-by-aisle weaved our way through the warehouse of savings.

My initial impetus for wanting to go back to Costco was buying olive oil -- regular, not the finer, faster-to-burn extra virgin variety -- and I found that Costco sells Berio Olive Oil, which is a reasonably good brand. Unfortunately, Costco only offered a $20 bottle -- nee, huge, barely-portable jug -- that could serve an entire Sicilian village for a month. Since it was too big a container -- and, as many advised me, olive oil does indeed go bad after a short time -- I opted not to bother. I did, however, get a selection of other goodies: a million-pack of Kleenex tissues (as I always seem to be running out), the illustrated version of The Da Vinci Code (which is sort of essential -- if you've read it, you'll know that Brown refers to a variety of physical objects and works of art that need to be seen rather than described), a new hardcover by James Patterson for my dad, the first season of the HBO series Entourage (a great show -- the male version of Sex & The City), more Pellegrino, more Diet Coke, a huge bag of pine nuts (for pesto, salads and some chicken dishes), two bottles of Iron Chef Sesame Garlic glaze/marinade, a big container of bruschetta mix and a six-pack of rigatone. And a five-pack of fresh avocados for some homemade guacamole.

The one negative about Costco visits are the amount and demeanor of our fellow shoppers. For the most part, both times we've visited have been fraught with so many people and so many shopping carts -- and needless to say, the many people seem thoroughly unable to navigate said shopping carts on the premises -- that it makes it difficult and a less-than-stellar shopping experience. I liken the Costco experience, as a result, to shopping at a military surplus outlet rather than buying a variety of stuff I need, want and could use; but it would really be great if, for even one hour, the whole place emptied of people and we could just run around and grab everything we needed, check out and get the hell out of the parking lot without encountering some guy for whom jibberish is not only a language but a constant state of mind.

My friend dropped me off at my place and, after three trips of my doorman and I bringing in my bounty, she split and I began the arduous task of putting everything in its place. On top of that, I had two packages waiting for me, one of which I knew to expect and another I did not.

The expected package was the replacement of an iPod room speaker called the JBL OnStage, which is (as clicking the previous link will confirm) a donut-shaped, white-colored housing of a combo iPod stand and speaker that is slick, features great, room-filling sound, and very convenient. However, as indicated earlier, this was a replacement -- apparently, JBL has had problems with the first iteration of the OnStage. Apparently, if your iPod was "playing" and you dropped it into the speaker's dock connector, the iPod would crash and/or the OnStage would fry, rendering the volume control useless and the sound emitting from the speaker as garbled, staticky and ear-splittingly annoying. I found this out the hard way as I'd toted the OnStage to the W the last time Kaia was in town (pretty much the only time I need an iPod speaker in the first place) when my iPod fried my OnStage. To JBL's credit, they set up an entire return center in anticipation for anyone experiencing this problem; however, despite this being a "built-in feature" of the early version of the product, their replacement of the product was contingent on you paying to ship them your defective one, which meant another $15 or so via UPS. So while I think the product is good, I think their decision to have me cough up another $15 is a mistake -- the Bose iPod speaker is, at $300, twice the price of the OnStage, but the Bose has more power (and therefore better sound), a built-in remote (where the OnStage does not) and, had I it to do over again, I'd be a Bose customer. So, while all's well that ends decently, caveat emptor.

The other package? 'Twas a French-cuff leisure shirt that I'd tried on last time my other half and I were in the Banana Republic store down in Soho. They didn't have my size, but we both liked it. So knowing I'd had a rough week she surprised me. I actually had arranged for a surprise for her as well, but mine isn't due until late next week, so she beat me to it. It was nice to come home to something I liked, but even nicer knowing she was thinking of me.

As per usual, she quietly, without warning and without keeping score, manages to make me smile and keep me happy. I've always regarded myself as a "happy," upbeat person, but I'm constantly -- and surprisingly -- impressed at how effortlessly she manages to show me what I've been missing. It's not in a shirt, in a bouquet of roses or even a whisper. But despite the intangibles, it's obvious and tangible and omnipresent, and if I could, I'd bottle it.

That is, if I haven't already.


Kaia said...

i'm so glad you love that shirt - i love it on you. Meow - K

Anonymous said...

Costco rocks!!! Even if some of our fellow shoppers shouldn't be allowed in public without supervision hehe :-)