Come on Irene

Wow, east coasters, did you imagine you’d experience earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes all in the same week?!

Our Hurricane Irene prep started on Thursday night, when we went to Costco to get flashlights, batteries, bottled water, and some non-perishable food. All reports were telling us to prepare for a strong storm, followed by potentially a very long time without power (could be weeks), and possibly without water. Lots of people had the same idea we did, stocking up on water and camping lanterns and such, but it wasn’t really crazy there.

On Friday, a work friend and I went to the supermarket at lunch, and it was pretty busy. The store was almost out of bottled water, and the lines were pretty crazy. We started checking the weather forecast obsessively, checking the progress of the hurricane. I continued preparing for the storm by getting some things done that required electricity, like running the dishwasher and doing laundry.

Since there wasn’t really anything to do on Saturday but sit around and wait for the storm to hit us, GG and I decided to go out for lunch. While we were out, I suggested we go to Walmart, purely for entertainment value. I pictured people going crazy, fighting over the last jug of water, stuff like that. Walmart turned out to be surprisingly quiet. I’d invited people over (some people invited themselves over) in case their power went out and ours didn’t, so I figured we should stock up on a few more non-perishable snacks. I saw a coworker there, she had the same idea I did, to get more snacks. Then we went back home and watched the news, as the sky grew darker, the wind picked up, and the rain got heavier.

I did a couple other things I wanted to do while we still had electricity (vacuuming, putting laundry away). While I followed along with the storm on TV, Facebook, Twitter, and our local Patch site, I saw people mentioning various power outages. Our lights remained on. Around 11:30, they called a tornado watch for our area, which means that no tornadoes have necessarily been sighted, but conditions are right for there to be one. GG and I trooped down to the basement, until the watch was over. There actually was a tornado through our area!

Then we learned the tornado watch was actually through 5 AM. We gathered a few important items, set up a litter box for the cats, and made a little bed with a sleeping bag, pillows, and a blanket, and went to sleep on the basement floor. That was so uncomfortable. Maybe before the next tornado watch, we’ll invest in an air mattress (I want one anyway), because a cement floor is not meant to sleep on. The cats curled up next to us, though, it was cute. (And just let me add, it was almost impossible to get them down to the basement. We don’t let them down there usually, so when we tried to lure them down there, they were so confused!)

We set an alarm for 5 AM. Luckily, there were no more tornadoes, and the watch was lifted at that time, so we packed up and moved back upstairs. To get the cats back upstairs, since it was almost their regular breakfast time, I just pulled out the food to feed them. Katrina and Sacha came right up, but I had to go down and drag Ivan back upstairs. As I went to pack up the things we’d brought down with us, I noticed a small puddle in the corner near where I had a plug strip. Then we found a couple more small puddles on the other side of the basement. The smaller ones we cleaned up with a towel. The larger one was just deep enough to be able to use our small electric pump. And that was it! I think that’s an acceptable amount of water to take in, considering it was a hurricane.

So we cleaned that up, then went to bed in our bed, which was luxurious after the basement floor. Then we were rudely awakened by a phone call at 8 AM with a recorded message telling us to stay inside if we could until the early afternoon, so they could clear debris from the roads. Not that we were planning to go anywhere anyway!

I had bacon in the fridge and thought it would be nice to make some pancakes, but I knew we had no eggs, so I googled a recipe for eggless pancakes. Then when I got to the kitchen I discovered we had no flour, so I used corn meal. And our milk had gone bad, but I had half & half, so I used that plus some extra water. Despite not having three main pancake ingredients, they were actually pretty tasty. A little dry and crumbly, but good.

So overall, Irene was not too bad for us. A little water in the basement that is completely dry already, and a bunch of leaves and small branches down in the yard, but no other damage. There has been a lot of flooding around the area, so I know we lucked out. And there are many people all up and down the coast who have suffered major damage from the storm. So I wouldn’t say it was a “disappointment” by any means. We were just very lucky; it could have been much much worse.

Enough of this excitement – I’m ready to go back to work for a little peace and quiet! (Oh, but there’s quite a bit of flooding near my office… we’ll see if I can get there tomorrow! Rivers are expected to crest sometime tomorrow…)

* How many “Come on Irene” comments do you think were made regarding this storm? I think a lot.

Earthquake! and Mulaney

First of all:


Now, back to my story… I was sitting at my desk at work yesterday afternoon when it started shaking. I thought someone in an adjacent cube was causing it and was about to call over the wall to ask my neighbor what she was doing over there, when I realized the floor was also moving. Then everyone started looking around and talking. I was like, “Um, is this an earthquake?” For some reason, a group congregated around my desk (yes, I am shy and a homebody, but I am always the one who brings people together and arranges outings), and nobody really knew what to do. Should we get into a doorway? When the shaking subsided, several of us grabbed our purses and stood outside in the parking lot – not that I thought the building was going to collapse on us (and hey, even if it did, we were on the top floor – sorry, suckers at ground level), but it just somehow felt safer. Everyone was checking their phones for news updates. I of course consulted my news source of choice, Twitter. Finally, we decided to go back in and see what was going on. That’s when we started learning that there had been an earthquake in VA and the tremors traveled up the east coast (our coworkers in CT felt it about ten minutes after we did). A bunch of people went home early, either out of concerns about traffic or possible damage to the nearby nuclear power plant. I stayed for a while, and left about 15 minutes earlier than I regularly would have. I saw this morning that no official announcement was made at our site until 4:50, when a note went out telling people to leave early if they were concerned about getting home. Um, a little late at that point.

So that was pretty crazy. I know there have been small earthquakes in our area before, but I had never felt one until yesterday. What a weird feeling! We all felt like we had sea legs for a while afterward, and I was kind of dizzy for a while (I get really bad motion sickness). I wonder if we felt it more because we were high up in a building, and maybe it swayed around more. The ceiling lights were swinging around, but there was no damage to anything that I know of. GG called me right after it happened, before we went outside, but then I wasn’t able to get ahold of him for the rest of the day, his phone just stopped working. I talked to a couple family members on landlines and was able to text, though. A lot of people didn’t even realize anything had happened! Some friends mentioned feeling aftershocks a while later, but I didn’t notice any here.

Luckily, natural disasters couldn’t ruin our plans for the evening! After a nice dinner with some other friends at Village Whiskey (huge burgers! duckfat fries!), we went to Helium to see John Mulaney. The opening acts were very good – the host was a guy GG knows who has done some comedy stuff with him, and the second act was a guy who got into stand-up around the same time as GG, ended up winning the Philly’s Phunniest contest, and now opens for a lot of big-name comedians! (It was the best set of his I’d ever seen, by the way.) Mulaney, of course, was hilarious. This was basically a dress rehearsal for the taping of his 1-hour special in New York on Thursday, so it was all new material. Except, toward the end he told this long and hilarously awkward story about a prostate exam gone awry, and I whispered to GG, “This better not be his closer.” I mean, it was really funny, I was laughing so hard I was crying, but I just didn’t want him to end with a story about a guy’s hand up his butt. Luckily, he told the classic story of the Salt & Pepper Diner to wrap things up.

After the show, we met up with the opening acts and told them what a great job they did (because they did!), but John had still not made an appearance. I guess it was because he was getting changed (he wore a suit on stage! looked great!), because he finally emerged in his traditional jeans and hoodie :o) I think he remembered us, or else he did a really good job of pretending, and we all walked out together and stood on the street for a minute. I got a picture with him (finally! third time’s a charm), and GG gave him a copy of his award-winning comedy set, which he actually seemed really excited to watch, haha! He was driving back up to NYC that night, so once again did not take me up on my offer of gelato across the street. But it was nice seeing him again, and I’m so excited to see his new special, whenever it airs! (But oh my gosh, he can’t tell that prostate story on Comedy Central, can he?)

GG and I still got gelato on our own. I had kiwi and lychee flavors, and he had banana rum and orange cardamom. It was pretty awesome.

GG’s Birthday Trip

We had a very nice weekend celebrating GG’s birthday, which was Friday. We both took the day off work Friday, slept in, took our time getting ready, and left around lunchtime to go to Atlantic City for the night. We had some time before check-in at our hotel, so we hit up a couple casinos. After checking in on the Old Prospector at the Wild West (good news: his hat is back! bad news: his beard is missing and his face looks like a burn victim; also, the donkey is very shabby), I thought it would be nice to walk out on the boardwalk. Turns out the boardwalk is actually slightly scarier than walking around inside the casinos, so we headed into the Pier Mall, where we walked around and got big cookies to eat (since it was a little late for lunch and we didn’t want to spoil our appetites for dinner later). When we finished up in there, we went back to the casinos and blew a bunch of cash in the penny and nickel slots. Finally, we drove around Atlantic City for a bit and saw how the locals live. (Funniest sight, and I wish I’d gotten a picture of it, was the juxtaposition of one of these “Welcome” banners hanging in front of a big strip club.)

We stayed at the Chelsea again, which is where we stayed last time we spent the night in AC. But, last time GG was searching online and this just happened to be the cheapest decent place, plus we were supposed to stay in a cheap room but they weren’t finished being built yet so we got to stay in a fancy room for the same price. This time we weren’t so lucky – we booked and stayed in a cheap room in “the Annex,” which is basically like a gross motel connected to the nice highrise hotel. You have to take a different gross elevator to get to these rooms. Everything the room was very shabby – handles were missing from drawers, etc. The balcony (door did not lock or even shut all the way, btw) afforded us views of the surrounding skeezy motels, including one directly across from us with a chair on the roof for some reason. It was clean (except for some long black hairs in the bathroom), and comfortable for the night, so that’s all that matters.

We got changed and headed to the main part of the hotel for the main attraction of the trip, dinner at the Chelsea Prime. We ate there when we stayed at the hotel before, and had one of the best but most expensive meals we’d ever eaten. This time I had a LivingSocial deal that basically ended up giving us $50 off our meal, and it was GG’s birthday, so we lived it up. I ordered from the “supper club” menu, which included a salad, steak with broccoli rabe, side order of asparagus, and dessert. GG opted for a steak topped with crab, a side of sauteed mushrooms, and a mojito sorbet for dessert, which they decorated for his birthday! It was an a-maz-ing meal. We got there at 5:00, and even though it was a Friday, by the time we left there was still hardly anyone in the restaurant. So we had excellent attention and service. The waiters wear jackets and all and are very formal, and I felt sort of bad being the recipient of all his “excellent choice” and “pardon my reach” and “please, enjoy” comments. We were like, “Look dude, we’re cool, just do what you gotta do.”

After dinner, we walked over to the Tropicana, where we had some time to kill before the comedy show we were seeing. The casino area, and even the hallway leading up to it, were way too smokey for me, so we stuck to The Quarter, which is an area with shops and restaurants, made to look like a Cuban town square or something. We walked around here for a while, and then met up with a friend of GG’s, who was in town for a bachelor party, and we all went to this Irish bar where they got a drink. (One of the bartenders remembered GG from when his band used to play there! Of course, he is a very memorable guy.) Then it was time to head over to the comedy club for the show. When I planned the trip, I just looked to see what comedy performances there were in AC that night, and this place was cheap and convenient. We didn’t know any of the acts. But they were all really good! Also, the club serves popcorn.

We left there around 11:00, and walked back over to the hotel. You thought the streets of AC were scary in the daytime? Take a walk at night! We got back safely and went to bed, then enjoyed being able to sleep in slightly the next morning. Part of the LivingSocial deal included a $10 gift certificate for Teplitzky’s, a diner in the hotel, so we went there for breakfast. Surprisingly, there was no wait, despite it being a diner on a Saturday morning. GG and I both ordered the same thing: challah French toast with marscapone, berries, and fresh whipped cream… and a side of bacon to share. It was awesome. The waitress said she’d never seen anyone finish that meal as fast as we did. Whoops.

Then it was time to check out and come home, where we unpacked and relaxed, before going out later for GG’s comedy performance! (A paying gig, bringing his total comedy earnings to just over $150 in almost 10 years. But he does it because he enjoys it.)

“Far and near to change or constant, I’ll still wait and do it all for you”

Last night was the Tally Hall show at Johnny Brenda’s, part of their Good & Evil tour. It was great! GG and I got to the venue sometime after 7:00. The doors opened at 8, but the first act didn’t go on until 9:15, so we didn’t want to be standing around waiting forever (like we did last time we were at Johnny Brenda’s). We sat down and got some dinner – GG had chili and this mussel and sausage dish, I had hummus and a grilled romaine caesar salad. And we split a chocolate hazelnut terrine, which was pretty amazing.

By the time we got upstairs, Casey Shea was already performing. We saw him last year when he filled in for Joe touring with Tally Hall, but I hadn’t seen his solo act. It was… pretty casual. At one point he called for a male and female volunteer from the audience. GG immediately threw his hand up, and got to climb up on stage, put on a pig mask (?), and dance with a girl in a rabbit mask (??). He did an awesome job, actually. Casey said he did the best job ever.

The next act was April Smith and the Great Picture Show, which I had never heard of before hearing that they were touring with Tally Hall, but I recognized several of their songs from commercials, TV previews, etc. They were good, though besides the couple that I recognized, almost all their songs really did sound the same to me…

Finally, it was time for Tally Hall! GG and I had been standing in the back of the room, near the sound board, but we moved up closer to the stage (there was also a nice breeze from the air conditioner there, which was very refreshing… and possibly also some ventilation from the kitchen, because we got occasional whiffs of onions and cheeseburgers). Some girls standing there complimented GG on his dancing from earlier. The guys came out in t-shirts to do a sound check – Zubin wore his “I drive the Zubin bus” shirt. When they finished up and headed backstage, Andrew said something like, “Thank you, Philadelphia, it’s been great!” A few minutes later, the lights went down and Bora, in an orange tie, came out to welcome us to the show, via a pre-recorded message. Then the guys re-emerged, in their shirts and ties.

I wish I could tell you the set list, but I don’t remember it. They played everything off Good & Evil, besides “Fate of the Stars” (sad, but understandable). Also a few favorites from MMMM. Most songs I could tell what they were going to play, just based on the first note or a note they used to warm up. They did the “Pure Imagination” cover, which was awesome, and a nice surprise for GG! They did “You,” which is so quiet and sweet, but I love it. (Meanwhile, GG is standing next to me going, “What the hell is this?”) About one song in, Rob broke a guitar string and had to run backstage to find their spare guitar. (He couldn’t find it, so ended up taking April Smith’s guitar.) While he was gone, Zubin said he would take questions from the audience. One guy shouted out, “How did you pick your colors?” Meaning their colored ties, of course. Zubin goes, “Well, we were born this way. I didn’t choose my skin color.” A girl next to me asked, “Are you single?” Zubin asked if she meant him, personally, or everyone in the band. She said she meant everyone, and he goes, “Collectively, we’re half single.” Later, people were shouting out requests for “Be Born,” so they asked if there was anyone in the audience who was pregnant. Apparently nobody was, but they said the next song was dedicated to pregnant people anyway… then proceeded to play “Turn the Lights Off.” I can’t remember all the other great comments from throughout the night, but those guys are all so funny, and really great with quick improv.

They did come out to do “Just a Friend” as an encore, but I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t a big encore with all the bands back onstage, like they’ve done at other shows this tour. Oh well, I imagine it would have been a tight squeeze on that little stage, and anyway, GG was about to fall asleep standing up. Of course, as soon as we got out of the city and onto the highway, I fell asleep for the ride home.

“Don’t you worry ’bout me, I wouldn’t worry about me”

Good Thing:

Bad Thing:

TH concert this weekend! Super busy day at work on Monday
GG’s birthday mini-vacation! Band board meeting on Monday
Imaginary boyfriend is coming to town! My new computer has such a high screen resolution, I’m going to get a pukey headache every day.
GG booked my birthday dinner! (It was going to be a surprise, but I guessed it – and this place is known for their cheese plates!) I was never able to find black sandals, all summer. I just want plain black, flat, strappy sandals!
TMBG next month! GG wants me to go see a comedian I don’t especially like, at a show that’s late at night, far away, on a weeknight

Funny story: there were a few problems with my computer upgrade this morning, so the technician and I spent some quality time at my desk, waiting for things to install. Somehow he picked up on the fact that I’m a geek, but he couldn’t figure out what type of geek. (“Do you go to comic book conventions and wear costumes?” “No, but I have friends who do.” “Do you go to the Ren Faire?” “No, but I have friends who do.” “Do you read fantasy novels?” “Not so much anymore.” “Are you a Star Trek geek?” “Well no, but I’ll get your Star Trek jokes.”) Finally he said, “Well you sure know your way around computers, but you’re failing the geek test!”

“I’ll put down what I’m doing, my friends are important”

We had a really good weekend this past week. On Friday, I got changed after work, and drove to the outlets to meet up with GG for some shopping and dinner. We had a good time – GG got some new shirts for work, I got some pants for work, and we each ended up with a new watch from the Fossil store. (GG has been getting compliments on his ever since!) There is a food court at the outlet mall, but only one real restaurant there, a Ruby Tuesday’s. So we just stopped for dinner when we reached the restaurant, then continued around the loop of the mall.

On Saturday, we went to NJ for a little get together at MB and A’s house. There was a good crowd there and it was lots of fun. Of course, now that baby R is around, she is kind of the center of attention. And at 4 months old, she is significantly more interesting than the last time I saw her. She is a really good baby, and so cute – even her crying is cute! We wrapped up the evening by watching video of GG’s award-winning offensive comedy performance before everyone headed out.

Sunday was just a day for chores, food shopping, that sort of stuff. GG worked a little overtime in the morning while I went out and did my own errands. Between coupons and sales, I had a kind of Extreme Couponing morning, it was pretty impressive! And we built a new Ikea bookcase that’s been sitting around since we bought it.

So far this has been a decent week at work. Except for a little something that happened yesterday (see my previous post). Other fun stuff from this week: we have plans for GG’s birthday, he made surprise plans for my birthday (which I guessed! and am now excited about!), there’s some good concerts coming up, and our cats keep doing adorable things!

Weirdly Busy and Lazy

Last week was weirdly busy and lazy. GG left after work on Tuesday to go work at his parents’ shop for the rest of the week, so I was kind of lonely. Wednesday night I randomly asked my friend J what she was doing, and it turned out her husband was out of town too, so we met up to do some shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond (yes we are wild and crazy girls), then went out to dinner with her 2-year old, E. That was fun, and he’s definitely more interesting now that he’s a little older, but man, I could not put up with that full time!

The rest of the week was just work and hanging around at home being lazy. I had all these plans for things I wanted to get done while GG was away, but most of that just didn’t happen. A bunch of us ended up going out to lunch on Thursday, because we were all in the office on the same day (unusual). That was really nice, it’s rare for this whole particular group to get together. Since I was alone, it kind of felt like the whole week was the weekend, it was weird. So the actual weekend kind of sneaked up on me. J and I got together again (sans baby) to look for some things at Ikea on Saturday morning. I found a couple little things I was looking for, and wrote down the numbers of some bigger things I wanted to come back with GG to get. Then we went out for lunch.

Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning I finally got around to doing the stuff around the house I’d been putting off all week. GG came home around lunchtime on Sunday and we went over to Ikea to pick up the things I’d written down the day before (bookcases and such). Did some food shopping, did housework, and we’ll probably be building furniture for the rest of the week.

I can’t believe that now this week is more than half over! So far I’ve had a bunch of busy days at work, hopefully the rest of this week will be a little calmer. We had a fire alarm at work yesterday, that was pretty exciting. Luckily it was a nice afternoon to be outdoors for a little bit.