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It’s a funny thing, to be in love with a city. I’ve been in love with New York City for years. I still remember how I met her and that instant that I knew I wanted to return and stay. I was seventeen years old, in high school, and visiting Columbia University for a second-look. I had walked in from 116th street, not in the center of College Walk, but on the north side. It was night, and campus was lit like it always was. Looking up, I saw the stone and brick rising around me and I knew.
Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like, if I had chosen New York over everything else. What if I had turned down UCSD to stay on the East Coast? It seemed like such a brainless reflex decision back then, as I stood in my baby blue gown on May 16th, telling the Dean of the Medical School that I’d go- I’d come! Only afterwards, when the gravity of those flippant excited works sunk in, did I realize what I had done. I booked a one-way ticket and spent a few last days with my then boyfriend. The morning of my flight, he made me a Nutella sandwich and as my plane lifted off from JFK, I cried. Holding on to everything from then, I kept the leftovers from that Nutella sandwich in its Ziploc back in my room until my mom, completely grossed out, threw it out for me. My memories of the City then became a series of short 30-second scenes: walking off the elevator on the 16th floor of my dorm and seeing the Empire State Building at night; curling up on my windowsill in the daylight and watching students come back from class; standing on subway platforms with my practiced unfocused stares; a few steps on dirty cracked sidewalk on a sunny day.
Promises were made that I never kept- that I’d go back, that I’d always go back.
I’m always being told that making plans is always the best way to ensure that your life doesn’t turn out the way you had planned. I don’t regret leaving. How could I, when I met Husband in California? On days that I especially miss being in the City, I remind myself that I’d rather be married and in Salt Lake City than single in New York. Cities are cold creatures who will never love you back.
All the same, I’ve never forgotten about New York; she will always be the one who’s gotten away.
Before my wedding, I knew that I was going to sell my wedding dress after the wedding. After all, it was a $125 dress from China- made to fit but then altered again in the States for the same amount again. Add a $20 petticoat from craigslist and that’s why I didn’t feel bad dragging it through the sand the day of the wedding. But my attachment to the dress began after the wedding. It had been hanging, covered by a large white garment bag that still left the train hanging out from underneath, for months waiting for our much belated trash-the-dress session. Then, a friend who was getting married asked me if they could maybe buy the dress and his fiancée came over to try it on. Seeing it on another woman created in me a feeling of envy and possessiveness that I thought I would never feel about a garment. She decided not to buy it. I was glad.
I wavered on whether or not I’d sell the dress even until after the trash session- I was standing at the dry cleaner’s counter with sopping chlorine-y dress in hand, debating if I was willing to pay $50 to clean my $245 investment. Nah. I rinsed it a few times in a friend’s tub and called it a day. It ended up surprisingly clean! And smelled fresh too.
It hung drying off the curtain railing for a few days before I took it down and folded it up nicely. I had been looking at preserving my dress online- it would cost me about $50 to get a kit with acid-free tissue paper and an acid-free box to store the dress in. But $50? For what purpose?
As a kid, my mom’s wedding dress lived in a bag within my closet, and I would take it out time and again to try it on. When I was eleven years old, the dress’s waist sat on my hips. I’d put the veil on my head and stand on top of my bed in front of the mirror to see how it looked. But when it came time for me to get married, I would have never dreamed of wearing my mother’s dress; I’m sure that any daughter of mine will feel the same. And were we really going to move the dress to Utah?
So I posted the dress on craigslist, thinking that hey- maybe nobody will want it and I’ll get to keep it. A few days passed, and I had no replies- and then a girl emailed me asking that I keep it for her to pick up in 2 weeks. I agreed. After all, if it fell through, I would get to keep the dress. Alas, she came over today and has just left with the dress. Meeting her was one of the weirder circumstances I’ve ever been in- she was almost exactly my height and build- her breasts, her waist, her hips were all in the same places- maybe a little larger in the bust and hips, but standing in front of her I felt like we were twins. So she will be walking down the aisle in July in what used to be my wedding dress, and I am left here feeling a little sad and empty. I know that the feeling will pass and I will forget that I don’t have my wedding dress hidden away under a bed (–maybe better than forgetting that I do have my wedding dress hidden under a bed). But right now I’m sad that my beautiful cheap white dress is gone… and all I have left are photos and memories. (And shoes. Kept those!)
Today, I made a trip to Costco. My membership expired, I got conned into getting their American Express card, and I left with way more than I had intended to buy. However, I did win the $100 game*, which is a definite WIN in my book. Let’s take a look at what Costco does to me, and why this game exists in the first place:
What I had intended to buy:
- Steaks for a dinner we’re having at our place on Friday
- A pork shoulder to make pulled pork in our new slow cooker
What I left with (along with my justifications):
- Steaks (allowed)
- Gas (necessary)
- A tray of catfish filets (Husband’s favorite! And fish is “brain food,” as my mom would say.)
- A 4-pack of microwave dinners (I had a coupon. And sometimes I just get caught with nothing at home!)
- An 18-pack of 100 calorie fudge bars (I ran out of Häagen-Daz five™ Ginger ice cream- which is delicious and all Kira‘s fault, by the way. And I bet these are better for me, despite their having definitely more than 5 ingredients. 100 calories! Come on!)
- 4-lbs of strawberries (They’re in season! And a lot cheaper than at other stores. Besides, it’s fruit. Fruit’s good for you!)
- A pineapple (They cost the same at Henry’s but are about HALF the size there. Not a lie. Besides, we have an awesome pineapple cutter.)
- I didn’t get the pork shoulder because they were huge and in two-packs.
So, really, I started this entry with the thought that I’d tell this other story about how I planned to cook the catfish for dinner tonight, picked a recipe, wrote it down, and then went to my kitchen, found out that I had like… 1 of the ingredients (2 if you include the catfish), and proceeded to make it another way. But then I decided that was much more boring than me WINNING it BIG at Costco today! Yay!
I love this game. It makes me feel awesome at failing when trying to stick to a list.
*The $100 game, invented by Kyle (of Husband’s band, The Notice fame) and adopted by me via Twitter, involves trying to leave Costco having spent less than $100. Not including gas. (That part was my addition; otherwise I’d always lose.)
Some day, I would like to have an awesome kitchen. I want a huge commercial stainless steel hood so I can grill ridiculous things in the dead of winter and not have to worry about setting off my fire alarm or having my home smell like dinner for the next few days. And I want a gas range. And a double oven. And a sink with step pedals- with a separate control for temperature so you don’t have to fuss with getting the right balance between the hot and the cold pedals. (That was Husband’s request. Maybe bad experiences with the OR sinks here? In my experience, I always use the hot and it’s not even tepid by the time I’m done scrubbing…) And I think it’d be awesome to have an integrated sound system hooked up to a touch screen computer from which I can look up recipes, play music, catch up on Project Runway, or maybe even teleconference into meetings while I’m stirring my risotto for 30 minutes. Ah-maaahhh-zing!
Husband is a huge fan of granite countertops and dark woods, but I’m a sucker for light and bamboo. If and when we ever have the resources and time to build our own kitchen, I’m not sure who will win. And if and when that ever happens, I wonder if we will even be doing any cooking at all. My mom laughs at the somewhat lack of functionality that the kitchen in our new house has. It has beautiful granite finishes, a vegetable sink, and a mind-boggling amount of counter space, but it lacks a hood, or any way to contain cooking smells, grease, or smoke. The previous owner’s idea of a hood is this slick thing that rises out of the countertop- it’s real snazzy– you press this button and then it rises out from behind the range– but it’s completely useless. She told me, “You see, people who have money build these beautiful expensive kitchens, but they always eat out and never use them. And then people who actually cook at home can’t afford things like that.” Irony. Everybody tells me that will be me someday- someday soon.
I can’t wait to prove them wrong- to build myself a gorgeous hyperfunctional kitchen (covered outlets underneath the cabinets! skillful use of the kitchen work triangle principles!) and then cook in it. Entertain in it. Have friends over for dinner parties that I haven’t catered. I wonder. Will this ever happen for me?
While Husband and I were on our honeymoon, which coincidentally happened to be the same place where we had matched just two days before the wedding, we took the opportunity to look at some property since we’ll be spending our next six years there together. (Quite honestly though, since I gave us a 50% chance of ending up at Utah and Husband thought it was higher than that, I think we sort of “knew”…)
Looking at property starts out being really fun, but then it progressively gets more and more tiring. And then you realize how long you’ve been looking at property because it’s already dark outside (or even darker outside) and you think to yourself, “I still don’t know where I want to live next year, feel like we haven’t seen anything even though we’ve been out all day, AND I’m damn tired of making polite conversation with our realtor!”
Sometimes I think it’d be kinder to have the buyers just follow the realtor’s car, but then again, I think we learned a lot from ours while we were driving… and making polite conversation when not enduring the occasional long silences.
But back to the house. There was one house- rather, townhouse- that Husband and I were interested in. When we first walked around, I wasn’t too excited; our realtor kept pointing out things we would need to replace and change, and I didn’t think it was super worth it, given the age of the unit. However, Husband was pretty excited about it, and since it was the first and only thing we had seen all day that he had gotten excited about, I decided to pay attention. It was cute. Just the perfect size- not too big, not too small. Pretty bamboo hardwood floors (and man, am I a sucker for bamboo!), a convenient half-bath downstairs, and a narrow staircase heading upstairs.
We were thinking and hoping that we could get a lower price for it and sent our contract and offer in to the realtor over the weekend, but I found out today that somebody else had already put in an offer and there “wasn’t much flexibility on the price- would we like to raise our offer?”
Husband’s dad is our real estate guru, the one we turn to when we need advice on what the hell to do next in this process, and he has already told us long ago never to get into a bidding war: “They always end poorly.” Yeah, I can believe that.
So, Husband and I are withdrawing our offer, and I’m secretly hoping that this offer will fall through and we will get “our” townhouse. Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan, this place had obvious things going for it: proximity to the hospital and enough covered garage space for both of our cars. And for the past three weeks, whenever Husband and I have been thinking about what we need to bring to Utah and what to leave behind, in our collective minds’ eyes we were seeing that little townhouse as home.
And now we have to make another trip to Utah to find a place to live next year. Probably look into renting for a year, which means moving yet again while in residency and probably another year before we find “home” in Utah. Big bummer. Oh well.
(Also tempting to spend the next year living out of boxes! But I’m pretty sure that Husband will veto that idea quickly.)