Please don’t play it again, Sam

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‘Living in harmony with the Piano Man’

Even the most wonderfully wacky honeymoon — spent driving around Portugal and Spain checking out caves (well, make that one cave) and mooching off Malcolm Forbes in Morocco — has to end sometime. And then you have to get back to Real Life.

Which The Dude and I did. We lived, as we do now, in an apartment here in New York City. Not the same apartment as now, though. This one was on the ground floor of the building right next door, which is an oddity I won’t get into right now, for lack of space (mine) and patience (yours).

Anyway. I mention the Ground Floor Thing because it meant that any pedestrian striding by on his or her way to work or class (hospital down the street, school across it) had a clear view through our windows of anything we happened to be doing. I remember getting our living room ready for moving in — this was before our blinds were installed — and feeling, you know, watched. I glanced up to see a whole Peanut Gallery checking out my floor-polishing technique. So we pretty much had to keep those blinds shut. Which made the apartment feel rather like that cave we visited on our honeymoon. Continue reading

The Agent of Destruction

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‘Dealing with the drama of domestic disaster’

Those of you who (virtually) tagged along on our recent African Adventure may recall that The Child proved her mettle in more mature ways than one. While we were away she dealt with a couple of disasters, a feline medical emergency and a fire in our building.

Well, she’s back in Cambridge now, dealing with her own (disaster-free, I hope) life, while we soldier on. Wombat’s crisis, except for the rather unfortunate bare patch that remains on her butt, has passed. Continue reading

Three, and you’re under the host

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‘Dorothy Parker was right about those martinis’

Lately I’ve been missing the good old days when The Child was in elementary school. No, I haven’t been missing the struggles with those terribly-hated absolutely-required socks every morning. Nor have I been missing the phone calls from the Headmistress, like the one informing me The Child had been forging her violin practice notes. (Story on that little incident coming soon. Or not.) And nope. I most certainly have not been missing discovering notes in her backpack five minutes before the bus comes that say things like ‘You may send your daughter to school today in a simple Halloween costume‘.

No, I’ve been missing the martini parties.

You see, The Child went to a Quite Distinguished Private All-Girls School in New York City, whose name I choose to omit for fear of embarrassment (mine as well as the school’s). In her class were some terribly nice girls (some of whom have remained her close friends; yet another reason to omit the School Name). And there were these terribly nice parents who had this idea to throw a get-acquainted-with-the-other-parents party. These parents lived in a glamorous apartment right across from the Museum of Natural History, and they were quite sophisticated. (Still are, I’m guessing). Continue reading

The Jerk and The Dude

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‘The Summer I went out with two Wild and Crazy Guys’

Yup. One of the two Wild and Crazy Guys I went out with that wild and crazy summer was indeed Steve Martin. The other one, though, was not Dan Aykroyd. (For those of you who are Very Young, or were living under a cultural rock during the late 70s, I have included links so that you can find out who the heck I’m talking about. But if you need to click on them, you probably won’t ‘get’ this story, so might as well stop reading now and go to your hot yoga class.)

This story is all about my date with Steve, who was famous, besides being a Wild and Crazy Guy, for his role in a seminal film called ‘The Jerk’.  And whose phone message, incidentally, I kept on my answering machine (remember those?) for years. (‘Hi Alice. It’s Steve. Please call me. I really want to go out with you. [Phone number goes here.] Click.’)

Classy art-house poster for Steve's most famous early film.

Classy art-house poster for Steve’s most famous early film.

Continue reading

The Truly Ugly Chair

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‘Left in the street, unwanted and alone’

The news that The Child had scored her very own First Apartment (with a roommate, but still) sent me down Ugly Furniture Memory Lane. Visions of the bookshelf-made-with-planks-and-bricks and the headboard-fashioned-of-an-old-quilt-thrown-over-a-piece-of-plywood flashed before my eyes.

Oh, and let’s not forget the black fake-leather sleeper sofa that was so heavy it splintered the railing while being hoisted over the balcony so it could help furnish my own First Apartment — a $105/month fourth-floor walkup on the dodgy end of the loftily-named Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. My landlord was not amused.

I owed my collection of stuff to sit on, sleep on, and in which to store things to my Mom, various thrift shops, and certain absconded boyfriends. And I was grateful. Well, maybe not to the absconded boyfriends. When you’re in your twenties, ‘furniture’ does not occupy a top spot in your priorities.

But there does come a point when you look around and think: Continue reading

Horowitz plays the bedroom

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‘Midwestern Girls have all the luck’

When I arrived in New York, fresh from the Midwest and eager to conquer the world of advertising, I faced a most formidable challenge. No, it wasn’t rising to the high expectations of my new employers at Ogilvy & Mather Advertising. It was finding an apartment.

This was back about the time that the earth’s crust was cooling. But then, as now, finding an apartment that one could both abide and afford was a most daunting task.

I can’t remember the precise formula (remember, the earth had just cooled at this point), but it had something to do with rent being a certain percentage of your take-home pay. At any rate, this magic figure fixed firmly in my head, I combed the classifieds.

Most of the listings I could afford sounded dreary and dungeon-like. And those were the good ones. But there among the Continue reading