Thursday, January 31, 2013

Get a Life: Norm's Social Notes

Ahhh, just back from hot yoga: an hour and a half of hot hell followed by 48 hours of cool, relaxed bliss.

Every so often I feel I have to counter the impression some people seem to have that I don't have a life other than being involved in the ed wars. Like tonight I'm giving up a MORE conference call with chapter leaders and delegates to go see Downton Abbey's Matthew (who cares what his real name is) in The Heiress on Broadway. Now all the ladies, including my own Lady Mary, are crazy for Matthew, who I think of as sort of a whimp. I'm way more interested in seeing his co-star tonight, Jessica Chastain who is one of the hottest (I mean popular - I be no sexist) actresses around.

Now just to show you how things change as you get older, my MORE pal Mike Schirtzer is also missing the conference call to go to a Ranger game where not long ago I would have been. But wife [many add: long-suffering] wants to go to a Broadway show, here I go. (I am a bigger whimp that Matthew). Yesterday she even got me to agree to go see Cinderella the day before Valentines Day. Do I still have to get her flowers that the cats will eat?

Bernie gets friendly. Penny still under bed
Speaking of cats, Penny got spayed on Monday. A formerly feral cat, she is too wild to coral in the Pet Taxi so we spent a week feeding her in there. Since she was a runt and is always hungry, she would walk through fire for food. Pretty shrewd animal, but not that shrewd. Bernie however is not all that swift. Penny was away for about 7 hours but Bernie has been acting like we got a new cat -- growling and hissing like she did when we first got Penny, who is needless to say more than a bit confused. Bernie was so upset he actually sat on my wife's lap for the first time in the 15 months since we found her. (Though if you followed the foundling story you know that for 8 months we thought she was a he --- let's blame identity confusion for her behavior.)
Howard Beach Vet with the great Dr. Weinstein reopened fort the first time Monday morning and it was packed already. The doc was in that day luckily and he was so happy to see everyone coming back. He thought he had lost his entire business and seemed so affected he ended up in a weakened state and with pneumonia. That seems to be going around as Barry, my alarm guy also has it.

Yesterday was a big day. I finally managed to finish wiring 2 new basement lights to add to the 2 the electricians had left me. I spent a month planning the op, replacing lost tools one at a time until I got the final piece -- a tool to cut BX cable -- the biggest pain in the ass -- in the old days I used to use a hack saw -- which a nice Home Depot guy found for me on the top shelf of the storage area. I had been going from Loews to HD to another HD to look for this tool, which had been flying off every shelf due to all the Sandy  work being done. Of course I couldn't figure out exactly how it worked unitl I found a you tube video.

Let there be light
Well this project took over a week to put all the pieces in place. I ran this like a military op worthy of the Bin Laden assault -- Katherine Bigelow has been in touch for the film rights  -- figuring out a strategy that wouldn't get me fried. So I ran the cables from light to light and then to the box with the switch. I had to turn off lots of circuit breakers -- all brand spanking new. But I had to drill through all kinds of beams, including a triple one, which delayed me a week while I had to buy different drill bits until finally buying one of those foot long ones. What a thrill to see the wood fly away. (I also spent 2 months deciding on what Makita drill/driver set to buy).

Tuesday night I went to the 2nd session of a new venture -- a storytelling group where we all, well, tell stories. Not all that simple in that you have to think about it and structure it like something you would write, but instead perform. This is a 3 hour class over 5 weeks followed by a performance at a club in front of a (gulp) audience on Feb. 21. I did stories on my First Kiss and Sandy -- both disaster movies. The other people in my class are fascinating -- 7 of us all together -- and I have already learned so much. One of them is a Chinese immigrant/artist who is riveting and another young lady is an improv performer. I really have to do more of this "get a life" stuff.

Last night I attended the regular meeting of the 6 year old writing group (mostly fiction) I helped found. Only 2 of the originals are left and with a few others leaving we are down to 4 people so we are going to recruit some more -- 7 or 8 is optimal. There have been a few novels written and a collection of short stories published by a former teaching colleague who I recruited to the group. Though another schlep into the city, it is worth it. My problem is that I haven't touched the novel I started a few years ago. It is/was Rockaway based with The Wave playing an important role. I was always planning to use their 125 years of archives but all are gone in the storm (though I recently met someone who has a friend who lives near The Wave and found some in the street.)

And of course, there was last Friday's massive celebration of my wife's birthday where we were supposed to go to one of the most expensive restaurants in New York just days after taking our great friends who were so kind to us during Sandy to another expensive restaurant. Luckily, my wife changed her mind and we did a movie (quartet) followed by tea at the Palm Room at the Plaza Hotel -- yeah, 50 bucks for tea and some snacks but way cheaper than Del Posto.

My biggest regret that day? We never got over to the MTA office where my wife could get her half-price transit card --- paying that extra dollar 20 on the way home when we didn't have to is so irksome.

Today we make up for it when we head into the city before the play this afternoon to get the most important thing you can get at a certain age --- the pleasure of a half fare card. Plus of course my wife now being eligible for medicare --- eat shit Paul Ryan. Of course it took mucho phone calls to GHI and an endless and fruitless wait for the UFT people to get it done.

My new fave tool - I love to cut BX in the morning

Where I could have gotten electrocuted- bzzzzz

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