So I'm sitting on the couch, watching TV, minding my own business, when I hear a noise.
Now, having only lived in my 100 year old house a little over a year, as I have, I am not quite used to all the random noises that it makes. And, having been plagued with plumbing issues as we have, a noise is never just the house settling or the furnace humming to life. It is much more likely to be a pipe bursting, a major leak, or some other household disaster that I am ill equipped to fix.
Turns out, it was none of those.
As I looked around wildly to figure out what it could be and then decided that whatever it was could wait until David came home - since he is the best homeowner to ever walk the planet, and then solution to all of my home repair and improvement needs - the source of the noise rolled towards me.
It seems that David had bought himself a robot a la The Good Wife to take to his trade shows so that he could have one of his employees helping him man the booth while not actually being physically present at the show.
He calls it his Double, and while its primary use is for his upcoming trade show in Texas, until that day arrives he is using it to scare the hell out of me as frequently as possible.
Witness the picture above.
While my attention was focused elsewhere, he rolled himself (and his dad, who who he was visiting) over to the side of the couch and waited patiently for me to notice him - and jump three feet in sheer terror once I did. And he and his dad laughed and laughed.
This Friday the Double will be taking a trip to South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, but until then he is gracing the corner of my living room keeping R2-D2 company.
Because who wouldn't want a living room filled with robots, of all shapes and sizes? Now if I could only teach one of them to do the laundry. Then we would be talking.
I've pretty much come to terms with the fact that I have an obsessive personality.
When I first discovered running, I immediately started training for a half marathon. When I find a particular food I like, I have to eat it all the time. I can't just read books, I have to own them and they have to live on my shelves in a particular order according to an organizational system that I devised myself and honed with a religious zeal.
I come by this phenomenon naturally. My mom has it, and so do both of my sisters, so whenever any of us get into an obsessive cycle, we just give into it and laugh it off and wait for the crazy to pass.
So it came as no surprise to me that once I went to my first spin class and loved it, I desperately needed to go to a million more, like, yesterday. For a few minutes I even considered a regular Soulcycle habit, but with the $34 per class price-tag and the knowledge that the more I went the more I would want to go, my better angels prevailed and I started hunting around for a cheaper option.
I found it in the New York Sports Club near my house where there are at least 4 spin classes a day, every day, and as long as you pay your relatively reasonable monthly membership fee you can go to as many as you want.
I was never someone who particularly loved to exercise. I viewed it as mostly drudgery; something you do because you have to, kind of like brushing your teeth or taking out the garbage. But when I discovered running I started to understand why people actually like getting up at the crack of dawn and moving their bodies in strange and unnatural ways. And now that I have discovered spin, exercise has taken on an entirely new meaning.
Sitting in a dark, crowded and stiflingly hot room with music blasting while an instructor yells at you doesn't seem like it would make for a very good time, but it really, really does. I never really thought of myself as a gym person, but it turns out that there really is something to exercising while surrounded by hundreds of like-minded people.
Or maybe it doesn't and there isn't, and I'm just a glutton for punishment, in an obsessive way of course.
But this is one obsession that shows no signs of abating any time soon. I know this because during the Academy Awards this past Sunday night Pharrell got up and performed his song Happy from Despicable Me 2. And while I loved that the performance was so great and I really loved him getting the likes of Lupita, Meryl and Amy Adams shimmying, what I really loved was the fact that Happy is the warm up song in my Sunday morning spin class and when he started singing I could actually feel my feet pedaling, as if I was sitting in the class.
So call me crazy, or call me obsessive. It's ok. I'll be the first one to tell you that I'm both.
I think, I really think, that it will be winter for the rest of my life. And I say that as someone who loves winter.
But this winter is unlike any other. And I say that as someone who grew up in Pittsburgh, PA with its lake effect snow, and who went to college in Boston, MA and its frigid New England temps.
Today is the last day of February, daylight savings time starts next weekend, and we are a mere 20 days from the first day of spring. Yet the temperatures outside feel like negative numbers, and we are expecting another foot of snow on Monday.
And I think that if I have to shovel snow, or spread salt, or drag garbage cans to the curb through iced over snow drifts, or put on a wool sweater, or drag on boots one more time I might scream.
And it makes me feel bad, because winter and I have always been good friends. Maybe it comes from having a January birthday, but I have always loved the cold. I love being outside in it. I love soup and chili and cozy nights in front of the fireplace. I love ice skating and various other outdoor winter sports. I love running outside and breathing in frigid morning air. I love the way my house looks covered in snow.
I really love winter.
But those warm and fuzzy feelings are escaping me this year as the cold and snow drags on with no end in sight.
So I have decided that my winter ends now. Today. Yes, it may be freezing outside with more snow in the forecast, but I am pretending like that's not happening. For me, today is the first day of spring. The wild cheery Slurpee I just had said so.
I know that in a few months when it's dreadfully hot outside I'll be dreaming of colder days.
I thought it would take me forever to find a parking spot.
Four storms worth of snow had fallen and been plowed off of the streets up the Upper West Side of Manahttan and then iced over, causing four foot solid snow drifts to build up along the sides of West End Avenue, all but obliterating what little parking there was in the first place.
But, as luck would have it, someone was leaving a spot just as I passed 72nd Street, and I slipped my car in easily. So the extra half hour I left to find a spot before I was supposed to meet my friend for dinner was now mine to do with what I pleased. With more parking up in the 80s and 90s, I don't often find myself strolling in the 70s these days, now that I have moved to the suburbs and drive my car to get into the city on the weekends. It was oddly warm after weeks and weeks of seemingly endless subzero temperatures, so I decided to walk the 20 or so blocks to the restaurant instead of taking the subway.
I made the right turn onto 72nd Street and found myself standing in front of my old building.
The same weekend doorman was sitting at the front desk, and the same woman from the 14th floor with all the dogs let herself out and headed towards Riverside Drive, just as I saw her do every night over the years I lived in the building.
As I stood on the sidewalk in front of the building the treated me so well, a tide of memories washed over me.
Going up to the apartment with David after our fourth date - seeing where and how he lived when I was already sure that he would be mine. Letting myself in with my own key after we had been together for awhile, watching his big TV on the couch and waiting for him to get home from work to watch with me. Getting engaged on that same couch just a few years later. Moving in officially just days after our wedding, and trying to fit both of our things into an apartment clearly meant for just one. Walking out of the building as dawn was breaking over the silent city, heading towards the park for my morning runs. More fun than fights. More laughter than tears. Packing up the apartment when we decided it was time to move on. Driving away towards our new life, trying to look backwards and forwards at the same time.
I waited to be sad, but I wasn't. I was something else. Something I can't pinpoint exactly, but that felt a lot like grateful. Grateful that I had the time I did on this street, and for the life that it gave me. That I lived in this incredible city long enough to make it my own. To know that even though I don't live here anymore, it will always be mine.
Some people say that New York can be rough and it can be mean. And I guess sometimes it can. But it wasn't to me. When I first came here almost nine years ago for law school I thought it was temporary. A place I would come to live and to learn and then to leave. It never occurred to me that it would become home. New York gave me a life, a career, a husband and friends who are my family.
I am forever grateful to New York.
And I'm grateful for whatever twist of fate moved us to a place where we can have the best of both worlds. Where can have grass and trees and endless closet space, but that is close enough to head into the city not just for work, but whenever we miss the crowds and the lights and the buzz of energy that suburban life just can't provide.
And at the end of the night, even though we leave and head north towards our new home, the city will always be here for me when I need it, its lights gleaming in welcome.