Many people have asked, “Ok, Robert, so you moved. You’ve been writing about your stupid cats and suddenly no mention of the friggin’ dog. What happened to the dog?” I did not eat the dog. I did not abandon, forsake or forget to take the dog. And let me dispel the rumors right now that the dog was nervous about moving to Chinatown.
In fact, the dog has taken over my old room in my New York apartment for the remainder of the lease through April. I would say, actually, that the dog, literally, has the most expensive and exclusive accommodations of any dog in the entire borough of Manhattan.
Suki- the Dog remains with her mom because she has, for the time being, not relocated with me to the nation’s capital. Millie, the mom, has a nice job in New York and three lovely grown-up daughters she wants to be near to right now. She also has a very cute dog of which she jealously and aggressively takes ownership. I also do not live in a dog-friendly apartment here in the Chinatown/Gallery Place area of Washington; otherwise there may have been a very nasty custody fight that would have hit all the papers.
Vote for Suki-the Dog
But there is something you could do for Suki- the Dog. Because of certain self-esteem issues, Suki has been entered in a national pet photo contest. I urge one and all to vote for Suki so she can advance to the next round of the competition. Suki even has a slogan in this campaign as evidenced by the picture above:
A vote for Suki is a vote for terminal cuteness.
You can vote for Suki- the Dog- here.
I trust this clarifies all matters pertaining to the friggin’ dog. I hope to be reunited with her and her mother on a more permanent basis somewhere down the road. I do miss the dog. My cats, however, do not. They are very happy right now, free of raucous puppy attacks and other canine antics that are irritating and annoying to them. I am hoping that by the time they are all reunited, Suki- the Dog will have matured somewhat and will treat her feline brothers and sisters with a little more sensitivity.
Either that or she will have forgotten all about them and will hunt them, mistaking them for large, furry squirrels which would be thoroughly tragic.
Hello, hello? Is the mic on? Is this thing on. TAP TAP. Hello? Test, test, test. Oh, there you are!
Well, it seems I have been reconnected with the world once again, courtesy of Comcast, one of the most incompetent and customer-hostile companies in the United States. But having survived them (for now) – I have successfully moved to Washington, DC!
First off, for those of you who may have read a recent post on my previous household moves with my cats, I am happy to report all felines are in working order and adjusted in a record four days! Not that there weren’t several pathetic episodes of extremely neurotic behavior, but that’s quickly behind us.
My CPU’s survived the trip- what a sweet sound, plugging in those babies and hearing the whir of the fan and the purr of the spinning hard drive.
The President, the Snowstorm and the Arena
And how perfect that I got an immediate, representative dose of all that is cool and ridiculous about our nation’s capital all in the same day. I moved in Saturday- in a crippling Washington snow storm! The meanest four inches of snow I have ever experienced. Plows, what plows? I actually drove around a lot that day, including a heroic trip to DC’s only Home Depot on Rhode Island Avenue. I saw ONE plow that afternoon in the District.
As for the cool part- I now live right next to the Verizon Center, home of the best hockey team in the nation (the Caps are on a 10-game win streak) and the place that has also been home to the Washington Wizard’s Gilbert Arenas and some of the most sophisticated weaponry to ever grace an NBA locker room.
And our neighborhood got a little surprise visit during the great blizzard. The tip-off; about 300 police cars blocking off 6th street, including the alley me and my movers were using to off-load the furniture and boxes. Could it be? Yes- the Leader of the Free World had come to my friendly neighborhood arena to watch a Georgetown basketball game. Barack and Michelle Obama, one of the two kids, Vice President Biden and David Axelrod all made a snowy jaunt to watch some hoop action.
I had forgotten all about the security when the American President travels in this town. I was reminded immediately as I tried to take a forbidden right turn onto G Street. Directly from that creepy speaker system all cop cars have, came the voice of one of DC’s finest: “White mini-van, DO NOT turn right, I repeat do not turn right.” Very well then! Not wanting to spend my first night behind prison bars, I dutifully complied.
The Verizon Center has really livened up this part of town- Chinatown/Gallery Place. It’s terribly hip. I don’t think I have ever seen such a dense concentration of rich, white yuppies. My apartment building is crawling with them; the parentally subsidized sons and daughters of privilege-turned young professionals, pulling in a fat 50K working for some Congressman or Senator.
In an elevator with one of them, I got that look I’ve received a few times in my life- the one that indicates deep concern that I may have just lowered the neighborhood’s property values. Can’t say I blame the little yuppie dick-head. I was decked out in moving clothes- my U.S. Open Beth Page baseball cap, cheap reading glasses, a crappy sweatshirt, jeans and sneakers and covered in a long winter coat- the Latino version of Aqualung. So I shot back an equally dirty look and privately vowed to put on a nicer shirt the next day.
The Cable Company
As for Comcast. My cable technician did not arrive in the scheduled three-hour window. But he did have the courtesy of calling me nine minutes before the end of said window. Did I mind wasting three hours of my life, anxiously awaiting reconnection to the digital age? Damn right I did. He couldn’t come, he said, because of the big blizzard. Something about how he nearly died in a car accident in the last great snow-fall around New Year’s Eve.
I calmly indicated I thought he was a snow-wimp, and that since it had been blizzarding ALL day long, maybe a phone call a little earlier in the cable window might have been in order. I called to complain too. The Comcast “customer services” representative- the one whose conversation with me might be recorded for training purposes- hung up on me. I hope her supervisor listens closely to the tape.
“Thank you for choosing Comcast, how can I help you this evening?”
“Yeah, well, I’m calling to complain that I wasted three hours of my life waiting for a service technician who called me nine minutes before the end of the window to tell me he was too scared to drive here in the snow.”
A Comcast technician did arrive the next morning; a nice Jamaican fellow who used to live in Brooklyn. I love you D.C., but it took a New Yorker brave enough to drive through hardened slush, to get me reconnected to the World Wide Web.
It’s going to be an adjustment process- but I’ll get there. Gotta get back to dealing with the invasion of the cardboard boxes now.
Well, it’s that time. Saying goodbye to New York as my permanent residence, packing up my stuff and making the move back to ol’ DC. Having moved quite a lot over the past decade, this is becoming old hat. But it never loses its charm.
The part I hate most is not the outgoing and incoming piles of boxes, the memories of old photos and collected crap that suddenly transports you to a distant past, the manual labor, not having your stuff for a couple of days, the logistics, the phone calls to utility companies, or getting temporarily unplugged. It’s the cats.
Anybody who knows cats understands how attached they become to their environment. Move a friggin’ table to a different corner of the room and they get all bent out of shape. Putting them in carriers and into a mini-van for five hours, then introducing them to a whole new place is like the end of their little worlds.
During my first move with this particular batch of felines some ten years ago, one of them, Bernstein, got so freaked out he spent 34 days under a comforter on a couch. Thirty-four days! I kid you not. I had to put water in his mouth with a syringe several times a day so his little kidneys would keep working. I had to move the kitty litter box next to the couch so he wouldn’t have to venture more than a foot from his nest of psychotic insecurity. I was getting ready to bring in a psychiatrist. On the 35th day, he jumped to the floor and started walking around like nothing had happened. Little weirdo.
So, I have a plan. Under no circumstances, can they see even a glimpse of the movers. Ever. Nor can they even get a whiff of the carriers until the very last moment. They’re going into the bathroom with a blanket, their food and the litter box. And when it’s time to go, since they won’t go to the carriers, the carriers will come to them. I have a similar plan for Washington, but in reverse. A year from now they’ll never remember any of it. Their brains are the size of small tangerines.
So here comes the disconnect part. Time-Warner Cable comes today and pulls the plug on the World Wide Web.
We’ll see you all next week from Washington, D.C………
Yesterday, I complained about the NFL and Microsoft. Today, working up to the Christmas spirit- nothing but appreciation for the wonderful things in life (in no particular order):
◊ Sunset over the Hudson River.
◊ Strawberry Fields in Central Park; the sweet innocence of the flowers and notes left by people from all over the world honoring the greatest dreamer of our time.
◊ Watching my cats sleep, deep into pillows and blankets, looking cozy with their limbs draped all over each other.
◊ The puppy; how anything can be so bad, sneaky and cute all at the same time.
◊ My soon-to-be 18-year-old son, Charlie, proof that every generation gets better than the last; writing and producing all kinds of music with meticulousness, dedication and passion.
◊ The I-Pod; the Steve Jobs’ invention that has become life’s customized sound-track.
◊ High school friends who all at once discovered Facebook and rediscovered each other and have turned out to be kind, gracious and the sweetest people on earth.
◊ Friends from all the iterations of my past who, thankfully, remain along for the ride through every twist and turn, every failure, every success, every tragedy and every recovery.
◊ Butter; the secret ingredient to all food that tastes good and evil and French.
◊ Hot showers; you don’t appreciate them until you can’t get one.
◊ The Lincoln Memorial at night.
◊ Sitting on the left side of the plane on the Potomac river approach into National Airport and watching the monuments just before the pilot takes a sharp right bank on final approach toward the runway at an altitude of 500 feet.
◊ Cabbies everywhere- the salt-of-the-earth; with great stories about their customers, their dreams and their often amazing lives.
◊ The sound of the clanging bell as a train pulls alongside a platform.
◊ U.S. servicemen and women who salute and deliver, making sacrifices most of us would find unimaginable.
◊ War correspondents who risk life and limb to bring us the truth.
◊ Parents, who despite their imperfections, give everything they have for their children.
◊ Aaron Copeland music as you gaze in awe at the rolling fields of Pennsylvania Amish country.
◊ All the women in my life who have ever put up with me, including the current and last one who has made me promise I will never write about her on my web-blog.
◊ The twinkling lights of a Christmas tree in an otherwise dark living room at 2 in the morning when you get up with a sudden urge for butter cookies and a cold, fresh glass of milk.