It's official!

It's official!
David Stubbs Photography

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Uber: The must-have app for New Yorkers

Since moving to New York City, I've been afraid to leave. No, it's not that I'm worried about missing something super fun, it's the fact that for months I've been hearing horror stories about how hard it is to get to the airport.

You see, in New York, cab drivers rule the roost. They run the show. They tell you what they want to do, but more importantly, they tell you what they DON'T want to do. If they don't want to drive you five blocks in the rain? They won't. If they don't want to take your credit card? They won't. (Cash only blondie.) And if they don't want to drive you to the airport? Well, they just won't stop. Having a suitcase next to you while hailing a cab is nearly as bad as swaying from side to side while holding a bag of vomit in one hand and a bottle of rum in the other. In other words: they just don't want the mess.

Why? From what I hear, cab drivers either think they can make more money driving around Manhattan than they would driving to the airport or they don't want to deal with traffic. So, unless you catch one heading home at the end of his shift, you're pretty much SOL.

Here's me in a black car
Before Christmas, I booked a trip home to Wyoming. On the day of my flight, my heart was racing (and my 'pits were extra sweaty) trying to decide how I was going to get to LaGuardia. Then my husband told me I should use Uber. Uber is a way-cool app that allows you to book a cab, black car or SUV pretty much 24 hours a day. You just sign up and enter your credit card info. When you're ready for a car, you click the app, wait for the GPS to find you and then click "Request Pickup Here." Within 5 minutes, my driver "Wagih" was waiting outside my apartment with a clean, black car and a smile on his face. And his car didn't smell like vomit. And Wagih didn't feel the need to weave in and out of traffic at 90 miles per hour while the car teetered on two wheels. It was the best! I got the airport in one, sweat-free piece.

Best of all, the ride is charged to your credit card, so you can just hop out when you reach your destination. It was $60 for me to go from the Upper West Side to LaGuardia. The tip is included but I gave Wagih an extra $10 to show my appreciation for his cleanliness.

Now, if they could only invent an app that figures out a way to get a 50-pound bag down four flights of steep stairs...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Moving into a New York City apartment

And...we're in. After a curse-worthy move up four flights of stairs, four trips to Bed, Bath and Beyond and a mild electrocution (not even kidding), we are finally in our brand new New York City apartment. Is it being pessimistic to say that I'm already dreading moving out?

On Thursday, three movers showed up to our 1910 walk-up and after they surveyed the building that is sans elevator, they called for two more guys to help. It was impressive too...basically one guy brought boxes in, another took it up one flight of stairs and passed it off to another for the next flight, and so on and so on. I kept apologizing for the awfulness of it all, but the mover reassured me that in 10 years on the job in New York and New Jersey, he's dealt with plenty of staircase shenanigans. I can't even imagine how tough it must have been, considering I get winded even carrying a five-pound Chihuahua up to our apartment.

As they brought furniture and boxes in, we were quickly running out of space in our tiny one-bedroom. The mover said to me, "Didn't you downsize before you moved here? I replied, "Well, we also lived in a one-bedroom in Chicago, so I'm not really sure how to downsize from that." Seriously, what am I supposed to get rid of? My husband?

The movers continued unloading when suddenly they found out about our dirty little secret. We have a King bed.

Throughout the process of looking for an apartment and moving, whenever we told someone we have a King bed, they would say, "Oh" and look at us as if we just told them we are swingers. Apparently King-sized beds are as rare in New York City as empty space. The bed fits...barely...and for Mike to get in, he has to get a running start from Brooklyn.

So throughout the entire weekend we unpacked and unpacked and basically put everything we don't immediately need into a storage bin. Then on Saturday night, I rewarded myself with a nice, long hot shower. After I got out, I tried to plug my cell phone into the bathroom outlet because our bedroom was too crowded to find one. Since our apartment was recently gutted, we have all new electrical wiring so it's really tough to plug anything into the tight outlets. So as I was pushing and pushing...apparently I got electrocuted. Mike said I screamed...which I don't remember doing...I only remember dropping my phone and feeling a sharp pain in my feet. When I later shared the story with my worried mother-in-law, I told her since I didn't poop my pants or forget who I was, I'm presuming I'm okay.

So I guess now we're the couple in the building who has a King-sized bed and lets out blood-curdling screams at 10 p.m. I wonder what they must be thinking...

Correction: As one of my TV friends reminded me, electrocution is a "death caused by electrical shock." No I didn't die, but since being electrocuted sounds much more dramatic than being shocked, I'm keeping it in. As my southern friends say, "why should facts get in the way of a good story?"