It’s Been Awhile…

I haven’t posted in over a year. Before we break into all the fun the next 3 months will bring, let’s have a quick catch-up, shall we? Here’s what you missed:

  • Geoff moved in. Then Geoff moved out. I’m currently single. Dating continues to be hilarious.
  • I had a roommate that treated rent like a suggestion. He moved in in August. Then he moved out in February.
  • My newest roommate moved in. He has yet to move out. He pays rent. We just resigned a lease for another year.
  • I missed being creative and left managing creatives for an advertising agency downtown. I loved being downtown. However, the work wasn’t creative or busy. I was laid off at the end of April with a respectable 30-day notice.
  • Over the last 4 months I’ve traveled to
    • New York City to see my besties and attend Andrea and Colm’s wedding
    • Belize with my sister Ryan and two awesome girlfriends, Andrea and Stefie
    • Florida with my whole family! It had been over 8 years since we were all under one roof
    • Sacramento, California with my friend Bryon. I played the part of distraction to a family wedding

That pretty much sums my life up to this point. But it’s about to get a hell of a lot more interesting…

If you’d like to check out a visual representation of this post, It’s Been Awhile will bring you to my Vimeo page for 3 minute video. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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Day 42 – The Lawyers, The Sitch and The Walk-in Wardrobe

Bring on the tunes
Bring on the tunes

It’s been a week since I’ve written. It’s not because I’m lazy, I promise. So much to say, and this three-hour plane ride from Houston to Newark is the perfect time to get it all down. Especially since Captain Hilarity, the funniest flight attendant in the skies comically inspires me. He started with something about those in the exit rows who just don’t give a function and ended with calling attention to a woman standing holding up 145 other passengers. Ah, the little laughs get me every time.

This guy gives a function
This guy gives a function

TUESDAY: OK let’s start from the beginning. Got on a plane in Newark and headed to Austin, Texas, for my final interviewing stage. The agency I have been speaking with for almost two months booked me a hotel, got me a car and I believed were ready to SHOW ME THE MONEY! But first, I did what all people do in a new city. I went on a date 🙂

His name is tree hugging, Earth-loving, environmental lawyer and I met him in an airport in New York a couple months ago. I really love airports apparently. Really nice, Austin-born gentleman found me on LinkedIn and we’ve exchanged a few emails. Basically, if you ever make it to Austin, let’s grab a drink. So, he picked me up at my hotel and in the warm dusk of night we had a drink (outside!) and some wonderful dinner and then we shared a gigantic piece of red velvet cake. I’m in love. Seriously. It was the best cake I’ve ever had (and you thought I was going to say something else). With early agency meetings, it was an early night and with a quick kiss on the cheek I bid my cowboy adieu.

Cake and Champagne
Cake and Champagne

WEDNESDAY: The agency lies in the Hill Country part of town and as I drove (like a grandma) up the multi-lane highway I saw monstrous mansions aligning the tops of the cliffs overlooking the city of Austin. Maybe one day I’ll get to see the view from up there. I bet it is stunning, you know being God’s country and all.

Walking into a new potential job is a little like walking into high school for the first time. You’re the no-named new guy. I did feel like that. Until I actually made it down the hall and immediately saw the chalk board wall full of song requests, a couple of turn tables, a shelving unit full or DJ equipment and records and music festival and band posters lining every inch of space. As a music lover, nothing makes me feel more at ease than a real life soundtrack. From there, it just got better.

After a couple of meetings with directors, CMOs, fellow writers and persons of all advertising walks of life, I was done. Part 2 of my day consisted of meeting with my agency-appointed broker, Steve. Steve is awesome and his apartment locating services are free. Remember, I don’t have an offer, so telling Steve my budget is a little like a guessing game. I have ZERO idea what a salary offer would be, so I gave him a range.

Me: $850 – $1300.

Steve: Are you serious? That’s everything in Austin. I have 11,000 listings.

Me: I’m leaving Thursday, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Steve: OK, what are you looking for? What’s a deal breaker.

Me: Washer, Dryer, Pool, Gym, Updated kitchen, Dishwasher, Hardwood Floors, Carpeted Bedroom, Walk-in-Closet, Hot Single Neighbors.

Steve: Oh, dear Lord.

Believe it or not, this man found me an apartment with EVERYTHING I asked for in all ranges of budget. A 1980s gem for $850, a brand spanking new resort NEXT DOOR to “my office” for $1050 and the well-known, cosmopolitan apartments known as The Domain for $1225. Every single one of them could have fit my full-sized bed I kept in my tiny one-room apartment in the wardrobe. I’m in renter’s heaven—700-800 square foot bachelorette pads just waiting for me.

Even the pools are shaped like Texas
Even the pools are shaped like Texas

Oh, and did I mention the security deposits in Austin are around $150. I’m not kidding. You don’t need first and last month + 1 month security. I had to fork over almost 4 grand for my UES joint. I can get one of these for a $45 application fee and a smile. Alas, no job, no apartment. I left Steve. Feeling confused, longing for an offer and went back to the hotel.

Exhausted, I put myself to bed early… until my other lawyer friend called and told me if I came downtown around 9:30 to see a band called The Spazmatics I wouldn’t be disappointed. Hell, if this guy, Mr. All Business is making such promising claims I had to take his word for it. I got there before him and he showed up with two beautiful ladies. It sorta crossed my mind, who wouldn’t be disappointed tonight? It turned out to be a fun night and I’m glad to got to hang out outside, see the nerdy 80s cover band and Mr. All Business and I had at least 3 things we agreed on. RECORD! (I can get into our friendship later)

The Spazmatics nerd out on Wednesday's
The Spazmatics nerd out on Wednesday’s

Thursday: Lunch date with a couple of the folks over at the agency. We had a great time, talked, and got to know each other. But, what was it all for? Where was the offer? Would there be an offer? With a trip to LA approaching in less than 48 hours I was determined to know what was next.

I got my answers in the Austin airport an hour later. My contact and future boss called me to offer me the job! With a brief discussion about the logistics we both agreed that after two months we were happily committing to employee/employer.

Thumbs up to exciting news
Thumbs up to exciting news

So, here I am, 42 days after being let go from a special hell, solo celebrating with a G&T on my flight back to the northeast for the last time until TBD. Unemployed no longer starting TBD. I feel great. I feel more than great. I’m elated. I’m going to say goodbye to my spectacularly supportive parents and head out into the great (un)known. Maybe I’ll even stop in Tennessee, but that’s another story.

It’s a Whine Bottle Kinda Night

I may punch mother nature
I may punch mother nature

Not a typo. Is it just me, or is everyone else living in the eastern seaboard just like fucking fed up with this weather?! Every week it’s snowing or going to snow or sleeting or raining or just flat out ruining shit. Now, given my circumstances, I’m pretty flexible. I don’t have to trudge through wet, slippery subways or go into an office that’s been left empty by Jersians who didn’t make it in, or those (managers) working remotely. I realize that.

That being said, after almost 7 weeks of interviewing with an agency in Austin, my final step was canceled due to this incoming snow storm. The agency booked me a flight, car and hotel for Thursday to Friday, and that was no easy task in itself. We had to communicate frequently for timing and after 2 days on the phone I was good to go. Until Southwest Airlines sent me a text saying EWR was closed. CLOSED?! How is an entire airport closed?

Now it could be worse. I could be asked NOT to come. I could no longer be considered a candidate. But these are Texans and as I hear it, Texans are welcoming folks. Even to the point where these Texans have paired me with an apartment broker who can work with me remotely to find the housing of my dreams. Now that I’ve sold all my stuff maybe my dreams just come with an air mattress and strong shower head (I will be alone after all).

So tonight, instead of printing boarding passes and ironing shirts I’m foregoing dinner for a Hersey’s Chocolate Bar and bottle of white, with a side of whine. There is good news. The agency isn’t holding me accountable for the weather (Texan’s are smart) and after many more frustrating back-and-forth phone calls, I’ll be heading to Austin next Tuesday through Thursday.

This HAS to be the final decision by both them and myself because on Saturday I leave for L.A. with a one way plane ticket, and from there I am headed to San Diego or starting a life in Austin. Both are exciting prospects and the best part… NO SNOW! So, I guess I don’t really have anything to whine about. I mean it could be worse. My friend Amanda is stuck in Asia with canceled flights for days.

Now… who has advice on “must-dos” in L.A.? I’m thinking hiking in Malibu, tackling my fear of heights at Universal Studios and of course seeing the Hollywood sign.

 

 

Day 18 – The After Party

Truth
Truth

I’m cranky. I’m getting sick. I’m complaining. I’m tired of dealing with really stupid people. Here is a little bit of what I’m talking about:

  • Posted furniture on Craigslist, $60 for bar set with stools, no I’m not selling it to you for $20, even if you do follow that offer up by saying, not trying to lowball you. Yes, yes you are. Go away.
  • Guy wants my TV. Arrange time and date for pick up. Waiting for him to call. Waiting. Waiting. See he’s emailing me, email back 15 minutes later. He can’t get it anymore. He didn’t have my number. My number is my contact information in the posting he originally contacted. Stupid. Plain stupid.
  • The waitress who will be receiving all tips from the people at the party says she’s really hangover and can’t get her shit together. You carry beer from a bar to a patron and collect money. What “shit” are you trying to handle? (Also, as a person who has been a hostess, waitress and bartender, complaining to people giving you money to make them happy is probably the worst thing you can do.) Job fail.

Moving on… Yes, there are a lot of frustrating things about today. But the weekend was great, and I just keep thinking about it. So many friends came out, even in the cold, even in the snow, even if it wasn’t in their neighborhood. That meant the world to me, because no one owes me anything. And I’m sure those that missed it will be eternally regretful.

Last St. Elmo's Fire meet up, missing Maq
Last St. Elmo’s Fire meet up, missing Maq

It was a giant success and I couldn’t have done it without Mara. She also kicked in a surprise and had people fill out well-wishing cards. I read them last night. I am really touched by the words, advice and support that filled those cards. I am sure I will read and re-read them when I feel down, lonely or nervous about my decision to leave NY and start over again.

Another really amazing and heartfelt moment from the weekend came in the form of a wedding party invitation. In life, I imagine we are only lucky enough to have a handful of BEST FRIENDS. People who stick by us through thick and thin, people who would break or bail us out of jail. One of those people is my friend Sean. Sean’s one of the strongest and self-sufficient people I’ve ever met and when he asked me to be a groomsman in his wedding, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

There’s nothing more I’d want to give someone than support and encouragement on one of the biggest days of their lives. We have a special friendship, and when he is happy, I am happy, even if the Men’s Warehouse will undoubtedly be confused when I show up for my fitting. Are there any ladies out there who have been a groomsman? I’d really like to know how you participated, what you wore, etc.

Sean and Cheesi do Manhattan
Sean and Chessi do Manhattan

I want to send a couple “shout outs” to some more special people in my life. Panda, Sauer, CJ, Maq, Andrea, Rob and Maria. It’s not about fitting people into the blog; it’s about those people fitting me into their lives. I wouldn’t change anything about them, except that I could pack them in a suitcase and we could all move together. Every day their love, creativity, humor and advice will be missed.

Last update: I thought the Austin agency was ruled out because I hadn’t heard from them. However, while writing this post, they emailed me that I am still in the running and I should hear next steps from them by Wednesday. It’s throwing a wrench in my “plan,” but an invited wrench indeed. Check in for updates….

Austin?
Austin?