1-8-06, 4:17 PM -

A bit of backed-up bilge here, I'll expel it first...

12-16-05, 10:13 AM -


I had pretty much made up my mind that if I were ever to buy or lease or timeshare a Spring/Autumn place in the NYC area during my dotage, it would be in Brooklyn Heights. But now I wonder if it might come down to a choice between there or Hoboken. It's less congested here, less expensive (a bit), and just as close to Manhattan. Comparable skyline views, too. Such choices.

I still have this fantasy of occasionally summering in a rented house in England's Lake District, every so often taking the train to London for a couple of days. Ahh.

So, Spring in NYC, Summer in England, Autumn in...Oregon, maybe, and Winter in Austin. Guess I oughta start saving for that.

Gonna get one of those wishes very soon, as the big Texas move lumbers ever closer, blessedly saving us the last 3 months or so of New York Winter. We're getting an unexpected break this weekend, not only from ass-clenching cold, but from the specter of transitlessness that hung so ominously over my head last night. The threat hasn't disappeared, since MTA & union contract talks are ongoing, but a strike would hit on Monday at the earliest, since a weekend walkout wouldn't TOTALLY SCREW UP ANYONE'S LIFE.

And so I find myself on the PATH train back from Hoboken, sitting next to a pair of young women who switch from Russian to Valley Girl with astonishing ease & frequency. I was in H-town to rehearse with Kimberly for a recording session tomorrow. She's laying down a crazy groove on one of my tracks for the new record, & I gotta go where the drums are. Can't cram 'em into our place, & even if we could, the baby wouldn't care for it.

These Russian bowheads are freaking me out. They even have the same coat & shoes. Of course, so do most New Yorkers. I was reading this interview with Rose McGowan (don't laugh at me, the Bust magazine was on the shelf over the crapper), and I remember her being disappointed at how women in New York, this supposed fashion mecca, largely draped themselves in black & walked around looking like all the other black-clad NYC women. It's mostly true, though the preponderance of black outfits is one of the reasons I like this city. That's one way to spot tourists, in fact: No black wool overcoats. We're like the Monks of the Dour Outerwear up here.

1-1-06, 9:10 PM -

The laundromat. For so long, my sanctuary for unobstructed writing time. Never has that been more true than now.

So here it is. The beginning of the end of our New York experience. The last day of my last NYC dayjob was yesterday, & on Tuesday, the Wifely gives her two-week notice, which she'll work out while I stay home, watch Nathan, & pack for the move. The logistics are worked out, the arrangements are made, all that's left now is for the clock to tick itself down to zero hour. My official arrival in Texas will be on January 22nd, seven days after my 32nd birthday. That should probably be significant somehow, but I can't think why.

One might think we would be trepidatious about the move, but the great thing about being us is that gigantic, life-changing, cross-country moves are rather old hat by now. And this one's so much less problematic than the first one that it feels mind-blowingly simple. Moving from the wilds of Brooklyn to the place where our primary support network lives is child's play when you've already done the reverse.

This is the part where I should start a lengthy rumination reflecting on my nearly 4-year experience in this city, but honestly, I've been writing that letter piecemeal for the last couple of months. You'll get it in your Inbox before we take off, and thenceforth the Letter From NYC will be no more. The Letter From TX, however, will begin appearing soon after, and will hopefully provide more than a play-by-play of my trips to Whataburger & Half Price Books. Though I gotta tell you, after 4 years of NYC grocery squalor, I may have a religious experience the first time I step back into an Albertson's. At the very least, they'll have a cleanup on Aisle 1.



Survived the bigass transit strike okay, though I still have the remnants of a blister from walking across the Brooklyn Bridge both ways for two days. Just New York's final crap in my porridge before we part. Texas did that too, right before I left in 2002. Fried my car's transmission so I had to move months earlier than planned. Though more and more of my days are spent as an atheist recently, the recurrence of the traditional kick in the ass for emphasis does make me glance up towards the sky now & then and grumble, "Okay, I'm going, I'm going..."

Actually, the worst part of the strike was the first morning, when I foolishly thought I could take the ferry from the Brooklyn Army Terminal (remember that hellhole?) to the pier near my job on Wall Street. The ferry was running, all right. One pissant boat puttering along at 4 miles an hour, hauling no more than a couple hundred people at a time, while at least a thousand stood waiting on the pier in the 10-degree wind chill off the harbor. I waited for two hours, and it's only the third time in my life that I truly thought I was going to die. Except this time, I kind of wished for it. I've never been colder in my life, and that includes when my boss at Kroger made me clean out the meat locker in my short-sleeved shirt & frosted-up glasses.

So needless to say, when I saw that ratty old M train pull into the Fort Hamilton Parkway station on the morning after the strike ended...well, there was a cleanup on Aisle 1. I love that train. M train, you have gone from nemesis to savior. Bless you, M train. May you live a long and non-useless life. At least until I no longer have need of you. Which will be soon.

1-8-06, 4:53 PM -

Okay, now we get up to speed.

Events have overtaken us somewhat, mostly in the form of parental exhaustion. If anyone reading this is having the slightest thought of having children without any family members around to help you get through the first three months, I urge you strongly to stop having sex right now. I don't care if you have birth control, accidents happen. Wait until you move somewhere near at least one close relation who can give you a hand with your newborn, or at least watch him/her for a few hours while you get some blessed sleep. Holy Pete on a stick.

For you see, several weeks of running on 3 hours sleep per day have driven us to desperation, and it is for this reason that I'm flying down to Texas with Nathan and staying with my parents for a week. I can handle him fine during the day, but this nighttime zombie revue is killing me. My mom is nocturnal, and can help to spell me for at least a little while at a time, hopefully ensuring the return of my brain functionality and muscle control.

The thing is, the kid is a dream of cuteness and good temper. He rarely cries, mostly spending his time kicking and making googly eyes at me. He's just started to smile in response to stimuli, not just randomly, and he even tries to join in when I dance around like an idiot to entertain him. So it's not that I don't enjoy my time with the little bugger, it's that he doesn't sleep very much. Slowly, he's catching extra hours here and there as the days go on, but still not enough for me to catch up and rejoin the world of the living. Voila, Mom & Dad to the rescue.

The move timeline remains the same, however. Around MLK Day, I'll head up north, spend a couple of days in NYC saying goodbye to the place and loading up, then get the heck outta here. Though it may add an hour or so to our drive, I think I'll leave Brooklyn via the Verrazzano Bridge. It's been my favorite bridge since we moved here, and it would be nice to see it up close & personal one more time. I think me & my blistered feet have seen enough of my second-favorite bridge for quite some time.

Sitting here in the tiny studio I've occupied since two Augusts ago, it seems strange that I'll soon leave it, and by the time I get back, it'll be the only part of the apartment not packed up. Frozen in another time. A time when this move back to Texas was still a plan, not a reality. Wellsir, snap into it. Life moves on, and I with it. My next studio space will most certainly be larger, though probably just as makeshift. Maybe by then Nathan can toddle around and unplug microphone cables when I'm not looking. And maybe our place will be large enough that I don't have to put the cat's litter box under my desk. One can dream.

As I said, you'll get the final Letter From NYC soon. It's been a wild ride. Some have suggested that I commit these letters to book form, a possibility I'm investigating. Okay, I've already found a way to do it, but it'll be another little while. New album comes first, along with THE COMPLETE REORGANIZATION OF MY LIFE.




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