Monday, June 05, 2006

The End and The Beginning

So the sine wave that I refer to as my life hits its upswing.

This past weekend was filled with work, both office-related and PC-related stuff. We got a Saturday phone call from a biggie client who needed some answers on a project they're considering; the project involves the rehabbing of a building that will cost them nearly $200 million to buy, and then they'll spend another $50 mill rehabbing it, so they needed some answers from us; when you're talking a quarter of a Billion dollars, you need to know the financial implications BEFORE you pull the trigger, and we're their on-site intel, so to speak. So while it's nice to fritter away a Saturday morning, especially when it's steamy and rainy out, it's nicer knowing that we're involved in this kind of deal, especially in a "we need the info right now and we're calling you" kind of way.

On top of that, I finally spent the three or four hours fixing up the PC's DVD burning 'ware. The product is called Nero, and it's generally regarded as the best DVD creation software available; that means that when it comes to taking a DVD, ripping (extracting the data from it) onto a hard drive, and then burning a new copy (designing/creating a new DVD), Nero is the best. However, judging by the number of complaints and problems the software features (we call them bugs, the Nero tech people call them quirks) it's far from perfect. It's great -- when it works. However, I've been SOL now with this program for awhile. A few other netpeople advised me on how to get around the problems I've been experiencing, so I finally took the plunge and spent a few hours tweaking my PC, tweaking the program, tweaking settings and uninstalling, cleaning, reinstalling and testing the software. Jackpot...finally got it up and running, and burned a copy of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story (the Family Guy movie) as a test. It finally worked, despite a few bumps along the way. Normally I'd be pissed after spending $70 on a complete burning suite that had more glitches than a circa-1980's Chrysler Le Baron; but overall, I'm just pleased that I can finally get a bunch of the DVD's I've ripped/downloaded off my drive once and for all. Most people won't have a clue what I'm talking about, but for the folks at the Nero forum at AfterDawn, they'll know exactly what I mean.

But enough of the geek-speak. Back in the real world, I arrived home on Friday to find that, due to the heavy rains NYC had experienced over the past 48 hours, my building's basement had been mildly flooded; that meant the boiler wasn't functioning (aka no hot water) and the laundry room was off-limits until further notice. Since I wasn't in major need of a shower or a wash, I wasn't too-too worried. But since I had just renewed my lease -- at least in part -- it was kind of ironic. I could have called up and complained, but I've been mum about anything I'm less-than-thrilled about at my building, so I figured I wouldn't start bitching now. I'm expecting to be moving downtown at some point in the next few months anyway, so since I have a relationship with the people who own my building, I opted to take the high road (and the smart one) and not add to the number of complaints. They have other buildings which were also flooded a bit -- and which I am guessing experienced the same type of shut-down of boiler and laundry services -- so for me to complain, it would have had to be really big and really bad. It was neither.

More on the prospective move: more and more often I find that when I go out with friends, we end up, sooner or later, downtown. The same applies for when Kaia comes in. As for the former, I noticed that I had to build in a pair of $15 cab rides everywhere I went, and with Kaia, we've already begun looking at places for when she moves here, all of which are downtown, so I figured one way or the other that's where I ought to consider moving, if and/or when. Well, a new client has a pair of buildings in the St. Marks area, and since I know the area well, I decided to take a peek at one of them, and I liked what I saw. Eventually, I called him and mentioned I was interested in an apartment at the building I had seen only from the outside and wanted to take a peek inside when possible; he was very cool about it and arranged with a current tenant to show me a unit that would be identical to one he might have available, and I was very pleased with what I saw. The apartment layout is a railroad design; that means, despite the fact it's a studio, it is relatively long -- four rooms -- without doors to interrupt the flow. It has eight or ten windows, and since it's on the corner of the building, it will feature a good cross-breeze for ventilation; plus, since it faces east, there will be lots of light. The bonus is the building is pre-war (built prior to 1945) so it's well-insulated and quiet, and it is located on a quiet block that has plenty of trees and lots of pedestrians but not too many cars, so it's looking more and more like a go, at least on my end.

The only problem, of course, is that the current occupant isn't sure exactly when he's moving out, and the owner isn't sure he can lease it to me -- his wife has an employee that would like to live in the building because she has her office in the building -- so we'll see if it's a go at the end of June. If it is, I'll be pleased; and if it isn't, I'll keep looking. The nice part about being in the real estate business is having relationships with the people you're renting from, as well as from a prospective landlord. Most people see the end of a lease as a deadline; for me, it's of only mild concern. That's the pro -- but the con, as I indicated above, is that not being able to complain about legitimate problems -- like no hot water, no laundry, etc. -- can be a kick in the ass. I actually thought about that as I was contemplating moving; then I realized that I've never complained about anything to my current super/landlord over the past five years, so I figure I won't start when/if I move. Plus, this set-up will only exist for a year; when Kaia moves to NYC, we'll have a new place which will likely be one of them-thar terraced two-bedrooms with a gym and a pre-fab layout; then, when we're pushing $3k a month in rent, we can bitch and moan all we want.

Speaking of Kaia and New York, a friend of mine set up a party for this coming weekend; it's going to be held in Murray Hill and, from what he tells me, it's going to be a 150+ group o' people. Friends from Cali and everywhere between here and there are coming, so Kaia and I had planned on her coming in this week to be there; however, this is a busy work week for her -- company-wide meetings at her offices, which are not the company's HQ, so they're going to have lots of VIPs and guest attendees -- that she couldn't avoid. On top of that, next weekend -- two weeks from yesterday, actually -- is Father's Day, which she felt badly about missing. So I told her to skip the party -- I can go by myself or with friends, or meet them there -- and she can come two Thursdays thereafter, which is the 22nd. We've been apart for two months and it's painful, but knowing she's on her way here soon -- without adding to her company-wide meeting stress or her missing Father's Day -- is good enough for now. Plus it gives me some time to consider what we're doing in June for her birthday, which is in July, and for which -- depending on the moving date, etc. -- I'll be in San Fran. So while it's not as soon as we'd like, it will be soon, and we're counting the days until she's booking a one-way ticket to NYC and we're at the starting line for the Rest Of Our Lives Together.

As I wrote the last sentence, it occurred to me that there are a lot of men -- stereotypically, anyway -- who are hesitant, apprehensive or allergic to making a life-long commitment. Originally, some time ago, I was too -- but I've since realized it wasn't the commitment or the timing or the notion that I still had wild oats to sow; the reason was it was the wrong situation, ie the wrong person. I think one of the reasons why the divorce rate is so high is two-fold; first, I think many people these days consider marriage to be a condition rather than a life-long commitment (ie the notion of the "starter" marriage). Second, more importantly, I think there are people -- some of whom are guided by what other people do, whether as a result of emptiness in their own lives or a lack of self, self-worth or a combination thereof, listen to society and do as they're told rather than listening to their instincts. Luckily, I'm not in that above-described group, and between that and the bile that grew from my personal experience, I escaped, as did my father. However, this time, even with my "feelers" scanning the situation vigorously, there's nothing that worries me or gives me pause in what Kaia and I are contemplating. There are issues, to be sure -- her family lives 3,000 miles away, and the bulk of her friends, while supportive of she and I, are going to miss her when she moves -- but even a year and a half after we first met, I still can't think of anything I want to do more than spend time with her where- and whenever possible. I saw a friend a few weeks ago and he conned me into being his wingman with a couple of women he wanted to talk to in a bar; the four of us ended up spending most of the entire night discussing Kaia and I, and the woman my friend liked was more into me because I was so obviously smitten after all this time. That, and I also think she was a bit drunk and I reminded her of an ex ;)

In either case, it seems to me that as much as I have survived some awful, horrid, shitty experiences, I think having experienced a sick, dysfunctional relationship or two first-hand has either provided me with a wonderful, perfect relationship -- that I, in theory, deserve -- or, at the very least, has allowed me to appreciate just how wonderful she is and how lucky I am that we're together. Neither of us is perfect, and not every day is roses, chocolate and sunshine -- but I don't think I could or would change a thing. Even though the contents herein might suggest otherwise, I don't always take the time to acknowledge how lucky I am, but invariably when I do -- most often when I hear her voice as she's waking up or right before she's heading to sleep -- words really fail me, and all I can do is smile.

Like Billy Joel wrote, I'm warm from the memories of days to come.

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