Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time to Split?

This is so frustrating! Here I am, all ready to get going, and the realtor is stalling us because she says she can’t get hold of the guy who owns the property. Gene says maybe the poor man dropped dead, because with an investment like this he couldn’t afford to get old. The east side of the strip, the newer part just beyond the old dime store, was developed by a son of one of the Maples, who’d inherited her part of the family farm and sold it to the air strip at the end of the 60’s. He turned that into some houses in Westhampton Beach, which he flipped fast to put up a whole development around Crescent Pond. I actually remember that. Everyone in town knew it was ridiculous, but I guess Mr. Wilber was feeling so lucky that anything seemed possible to him then. Or maybe he was drinking. Too bad because until that point, he was almost a visionary. Now I didn’t remember this bit, but Gene says Wilber developed this end of the strip around the same time, trying to expand the local shopping to make Crescent Pond more attractive. He took off for Florida about twenty years ago. It must have killed him to miss out on the boom. Most of the stores have been empty for years now. Gene says there was some kind of tax thing that got the Heart Association got the old dime store, so we were hoping Wilber could use the same kind of break.

Well, I’m not giving up so easily! I spent the weekend sending emails to anyone I know who either still has money (and probably stuff to throw out) or is having a hard time (and could use a few dollars from selling stuff off). And I had a long talk with Maggs, who promised to clean out a few closets and ask some friends to do the same. And I started working out a way to put some of the lyrics from the song on the walls. I saw that in a restaurant once, quotations in a nice font on the walls, and it looked so clean and powerful. Jeff loved the idea when I described it. I think he’s proud of me for doing this. He’ll be even prouder once we really get it going. I have to wait til we get into the space to pick a background color – it’s going to depend on what’s orphaned at the Home Depot that week.

Now for something completely different, like Monty Python used to say. I gave Carmen a call today. We used to have her out to the beach house the weekend after Memorial Day, so I was thinking about her this weekend and thought I really should call and see how she was doing. She’s still not working, which is awful; no one is hiring. And there’s not even any temp work. It’s a good thing they extended unemployment. I’m trying to get her to come out here for at least a few days. A change of scenery would do her good. She was telling me that she keeps getting these pathetic emails from Taylor, who just doesn’t get that his father died flat broke. He’s sure if he keeps asking that Carmen or the lawyers are going to pull a rabbit out of a hat – the rabbit being a trust fund. He was always the dimmer of the two. Simon’s a selfish shit, but not entirely stupid. Taylor lives in a fantasy world, and Gary let him. I’m far enough away that I can almost feel sorry for him. Anyway, he can’t afford Paris any more, so he’s talking about moving to Split. Split! Someone told him it’s going to be the Prague of the Teens. He thinks he can start a literary magazine. As if there are magazines anywhere any more besides online. And he first has to learn Croatian, which I can’t imagine comes easy. I lived in Prague for four years and can’t talk about anything more complicated than dinner and driving instructions. Amazing, right? Oh, Gary, what you did to those boys! I’m so glad we never had a child.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hard to Be a Girl

So instead of “Have a Heart II,” which was our first thought, Gene decided we should call the new shop “Hard to be a Girl,” which was so sweet of him! But he says it’s not sweet at all, only good business, because people will see the name and immediately think of me, and that connection is going to pull them in. Gene thinks I’m still famous, which is massively touching.

Still, if there’s anything that would qualify me for one of those reality shows for former-celebrities, it would be that song. It was our only #1 hit. Our only gold record too. “Toto, Too” was also on that album; it made it to #11 which was always frustrating, to come that close to the top ten and never get in. “Drink the Koolaid” never made it past #27. We never really got that. Obviously we thought it was great or we wouldn’t have made it the title song. Timing, I guess.

A lot of people think that was the Raisin’s only album but not so. We had one more, only no one bought it. The critics were pretty brutal, too. Totally uncalled for. There was some good stuff on that second album. I’ll always remember Chris Stein telling Robbie how much he liked “Greenland Isn’t Green.” That meant the world to Robbie. It made him determined to keep going. We were working on songs for a third album when Robbie died. That’s what we were doing in Amsterdam. People don’t know that. They think he was a has-been, but he wasn’t. They were great songs; Robbie was really inspired by Anne Frank. I have them in my bank vault. I bet I could sell them on eBay or maybe at Christies. But I won’t. So if you’re reading this and get any bright ideas, forget about it.

Wow, that took me completely off the track. “Hard to be a Girl.” That’s where I started. I’m getting a little carried away. Gene is so excited, and its fun to have something to get carried away with. Especially with it being Memorial Day weekend. Summer season opening at the beach and I’m in Arahmpett.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bring Out Your Threads!

So that was pretty fast. They scared her good, her legal team, and she packed up and went back to LA to take up the fight with Ken mano a Manolo (so to speak). All I have to do now is clean up after. People who are used to having maids can be major pigs.

When she started packing all the new stuff she bought in the city last week, Maggs decided she wanted to toss a lot of what she came with. She asked me if I wanted them, but apart from it being kind of odd to take her hand-me-downs, there wasn’t anything I could use. She’s taller than I am, and has a totally different shape. Also totally different taste, which I think I’ve said a dozen or so times even on this blog. Also, face it, I’m not living her kind of life, so what would I do with a backless silver Helmut Lang blouse or a pair of yellow patent leather gladiator sandals? So I was going to turn her down and then I realized, duh, I could bring them over to the thrift store.

Today, I stuffed everything she left into a suitcase and rolled it over, and you cannot believe how excited Gene got. Gene’s the manager over there. We’ve met a bunch of times of course, but we never really had a talk before. It was quiet when I came in, and he’d just made a pot of tea (really brewed in a real teapot, which was so nice for a change), so we started talking. Anyway, he was saying how he held back some of the stuff I brought by a few months ago, and when he adds Magg’s things, he may have enough really upscale “thrift” (I guess that’s what you’d call it, right?) to pull in some of the ladies from further out East. Like women who need to buy some new top label things but are having some, ahem, financial difficulties. And also, a lot of them may have stuff to donate. He has this picture of Have a Heart becoming a kind of secret weapon for the snooty nouveau pauvre. It’s a great idea. We started talking about ways to get the word out, starting with people I know and people I can get to through Maggs. Imagine if all her LA friends shipped us their discards! No one would know, because it’s across the country. And they’d get either a tax write off or, if they’re hurting for funds, Gene would work out a consignment kind of thing. We were talking for a good couple of hours today, and tomorrow I’ve got an appointment with the realtor who handles the street because we were thinking we’d see if we could get the old Baskin Robbins space two doors down and use if for this. I’m totally jazzed!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

They Still Make Malteds

Did you know they still make malted milk powder? Or whatever it’s called. I was going to meet Maggs at the train (surprise of all times, she took the train back!) and needed to pick up some Splenda for her. I never use artificial sweeteners myself, and she already used up the packets I swiped from Friendly’s. So on the way, I stopped by that old-fashioned-y little grocery store on Sunrise Highway, and there it was. Right by the sugars and flour and cocoa. Not Ovaltine, but the real thing. I stood there looking at it, and my entire childhood flashed before my eyes. Well, I had to buy some, right? And a few pints of ice cream and some chocolate syrup. Smoothies my ass! THIS is why it pays to have a blender! We had 100% authentic malteds for lunch, with spicy curly fries that I had in the freezer against an emergency ☺ Uncle Harry always gave me a pretzel with a malted. There’s something about the salt with the sweet that really works. Maggs had to admit it was even a better binge than killing a couple of bottles of wine. Not that we didn’t do that for dinner. If she doesn’t go home, I’m going to gain a ton. I think she must be bulimic, because I know she doesn’t exercise enough to burn off all the booze and sugar.

I think she probably will be going home soon. Saturday, we drove out to the beach house, which wasn’t as hard for me as last time I went. It looks closed up and lonely, but still okay. The garden is really green from all the rain. I have to stop thinking about that garden. Okay, so Maggs was really sniffing around the house. It’s more her style than it ever was mine. What I loved was where it was, and no matter what it was a more comfortable place to be than the apartment. Maggs didn’t come flat out and make an offer, but she implied that she’d like to buy it. Only her lawyers have advised her not to even rent a place outside California until the settlement is set in stone. Ken’s getting ready for a fight, and any tiny wedge to turn on her and say she’s not a California resident would be something he’d jump on in a minute. She’s going to have to head back to LA and show her face for a while.

I love Maggs to pieces, I really do. But what makes it hard to have her around is that it makes me feel like a poor relation. I’m getting used to living like I do out here, you know, having a kind of small life. Once she stopped crying and passing out, when she strapped on her stilettos and started planning out her battles, it was all about a life I’m not living any more. Events, and shops, and new hot restaurants, and spas and facials. I was hardly thinking about those things any more. I was getting back to the time before, remembering other ways to be. And I was thinking it was good and, I don’t know, “authentic” maybe? to do what I was doing. But hearing about that other world day in day out, even if I’m not sure I want it, I can’t help but feel like Tiny Tim looking through a toystore window.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I just came on to post this and was kind of freaked because my post from Saturday was still sitting in my account as a draft. I could swear I posted it. It’s not like I was in a rush or was interrupted or anything. I guess I’d better double check after I “post” this one, right?

Well, she didn’t come back in a stretch, but that’s because she didn’t come back. She managed to get into the Model as Muse opening at the Met on Monday night, so she had to shuffle a few appointments and she’ll be coming back on Friday instead.

What’s good about this is that it’s made me realize how much I’ve started liking being on my own away from everything. Hearing Maggs going on about dinner at Waverly Inn, and loading up at Barney’s and all that, you’d think I would have been frustrated or sad, but it seemed so far away from me. I mean, I could use some better groceries, and I do think its ironic that its only now that I moved out of town and can’t afford it anyway that they finally opened a Zadig et Voltaire in NYC. But I can’t say I really miss anything. I’ve been liking the quiet, and not having the pressure of worrying what people are thinking about me, and just the space to remember who I am.

The last couple of days, with Maggs in the city, it’s been good to hear the quiet. Do you know how great it’s been to listen to music again – I mean really listen, not just have it on in the background while doing other things. How sad is that? I’m a musician (at least I was, in a small way) and I’ve hardly really listened to music in years. But now I do. And I’ve been right on top of doing my pilates. And I’m not getting into Architectural Digest any time soon, but my house is mine, not some decorator’s, not Gary’s trophy wife’s. And maybe I don’t have much of a social life, but when I have dinner with Ed and Leonie, it’s so nice. Nice people, nice food, nice conversation. Nice is so underrated. I like nice.

What I’m seeing is that I’m not in exile out here, which is how it felt. I’m in an okay place. Now I need to start building a life here.

Three good things:
-- the sun came out in the middle of the day, even though it wasn’t supposed to
-- I listened to Charlie Parker
-- I’m home

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Splits and stuff

Maggs took off to the city for a few days and after spending yesterday listening to the silence and thinking nothing ever sounded so good, I now have some energy again and can catch up on everything I haven’t done in a couple of weeks, including this blog.

To prove she’s in tune with the rest of the world and is tightening her belt, Maggs took the train in. And instead of staying at the Plaza Athenée, which is where she always stays with Ken, she’s staying at the Hotel Gansevoort, in the Meatpacking. Okay, so her belt is Hermes.

It’s been mostly good to have her here. Once she got that first round of dramatics out of the way, she got down to business, and it’s been an education, let me tell you! I’ve been through two divorces, but it was nothing like the show Maggs is putting on. With Malcolm, I had a world of pain. He was the first man I’d been able to trust after Robbie died, and he really was great. He had that wild sparkle when he was painting, and we had some times, let me tell you! But otherwise, so sweet and gentle. And then he takes me out to dinner, where I can’t even have a fit because in London you don’t do that, and tells me he needs to leave because his boyfriend has AIDS. I didn’t even know he had a boyfriend. “How naïve can you get?” is what you’re asking yourself. Not that naïve. No one knew it. The boyfriend was a government type, all about secrecy, with a wife and two kids covering for him in the suburbs. Malcolm, who’d had a string of women before me who were all pretty loudly pissed off when we got together, didn’t claim even that day to be bi but that “this person” attracted him so powerfully he “never really thought of him as a man, only about what was inside.” Well, after that comment, when after Q died (I was going to call him “X”, but I started thinking James Bond and couldn’t resist), Malcolm disappeared from the art scene and later wrote this almost heartbreaking apology that ended by saying he was becoming a Buddhist monk…well, THAT time, I WASN’T surprised. But when he told me he was leaving me for a man, I can’t describe what that was like. If I ever need to cry on cue, like trying to get out of a ticket?, that’s what I think of. To this day. So yeah, I had a really rough divorce in terms of pain, but we didn’t have much property to split. The flat was mine anyway, and he was moving in with Q who had lots of money, even after taking care of the wife and kiddies. I never thought about it before, but there was a lady I should have gotten to know; we could have done some crying together. I guess at the time, I didn’t want to go near anything having to do with Q. Too late now, though I keep hearing stories about people tracking each other down on Facebook (me, I’m not on Facebook; I don’t know, I’m just not). Anyway, Mal took off with what he wanted and left me the rest, then gave me some paintings which was all he had to give. He didn’t start taking off until after. And really, his work only started being worth something after he stopped doing it. So that way, it worked out to my advantage. But damn, it hurt. For a couple of years after, every time I met someone who had a good haircut, or was willing to watch a romantic movie without making snide remarks, I thought nuh-uh! I was back here in the States then, and I found myself at a lot of sports bars and boxing matches and monster car rallies for a while.

When Erich and I split, it was almost business-like. It seemed like a good idea when we first got together, but time went on, and it turned out we really wanted different lives. I’m not saying it was an easy split, but it was civilized. So I never had a divorce like the one Maggs is launching into. She is so out for revenge, you would swear you could hear that background music from Jaws. I wouldn’t want to be Ken for all…well, for all the money Ken has! It was bad enough when it started, but she’d calmed down some and was letting her lawyer get to work while she started thinking of what she wanted to do with her life. Then about a week ago, a few of her girlfriends back in Bev Hills “thought it only fair to let you know” that someone had seen Ken and this model-turned-actress) whose name they all seemed to know but who I never heard of) at that spa in the desert. Sharing a mud bath, which in case you don’t know is not only done in the nude but al fresco. Meaning not exactly in secret. And someone else had actually gone over to Ken to say hi while he was hanging around on the boyfriend-courtesy-sofa at this week’s hot LA boutique, drinking a Red Bull and giving a thumbs up every time the MTA sashayed out of the dressing room. So now there’s a “why” behind it, and Maggs is – justifiably if you ask me – out for blood. That’s why she went into the city. She’s lined up some appointments with Tracie Martyn and Dr. Brandt, and drinks/lunches/dinners with people whose meals get mentioned in the gossip columns, so she can keep a high profile. I expect she’s having a little shopping safari, too. I told her to keep an eye on the bottom line, since she really doesn’t know if Ken has the money she thinks he has. Any more, I mean. For all we know, the MTA has money. Or Ken’s running up a tab knowing he’ll never pay it. But Maggs is driven. She’s “saving” on no limo and by cutting the hotel bill in half. The train was a joke; I’m willing to bet she drives back here on Wednesday in a stretch. As for the hotel, maybe it’s half the price of the Athenée, but the Ganesvoort isn’t exactly Motel 6, plus it’s younger and hipper, which is something she probably wants in her toolbelt.

I really wanted to write something today about what I’ve been doing, but all I’ve done is write about Maggs, and I’m exhausted! Guess I’ll have to write about me another day. I’ve got til Wednesday in peace and quiet. Oh, I think the drizzle stopped! I think I’ll take a glass of wine and sit outside for a while. I don’t have to be at Ed and Leonie’s until 7.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Maggs has arrived

She’s here, she’s out cold, and she doesn’t know I have this blog. I’m don’t think she knows what a blog is. Maggs is one of those people who’s phobic about computers. Sometimes I think she’s a….oh, what’s that word that means someone who’s afraid of machines and smashes them up?? I’m pretty sure if I wrote this while she was sitting next to me, she’d been too scared too look at the monitor. It still seemed more polite to wait til she was asleep. And this is the first night since she got here that I’m not too exhausted myself.

I just read my last entry so I can catch up. Wow, I’ve been busy! The next day after I wrote that entry, I just ripped this house apart. I’ve been doing a lot these last couple months, but with Maggs coming, it took things into a whole nother planet. I mean, I love her to pieces but she’s – even she’ll say it – a major snob. And here she was, coming to Armpit to act out her personal drama. There was no way of knowing if that meant she’d be too self absorbed to notice anything or if she’d turn it on me and pick everything apart. One thing I did know was that if she wanted to go that way, there was plenty to pick. There’s a lot of Uncle Harry’s stuff that I’ve been leaving until I was ready to decide what to do with the space it was using. And a real lot of my own boxes that are still packed up. It took forever just moving things out of sight up to the attic or out to the garage. I also squashed a lot into the sun porch. I nailed down the shutters a couple of hurricane seasons ago, just in case, and I never got around to un-nailing them since I moved in, so its almost like having an invisible room. There’s only the one door from the kitchen, and all I have to do is keep it locked and tell her it’s the back door.

This reminds me. Last time I wrote was just after Don told me about the apartment closing, and that he was sending me some things. They came on Friday, and they’re a lot of the reason I have to lock the sun porch. If it hadn’t made me so crazy to have to deal with it right now, I’d be really touched. You don’t expect lawyers to be sweet, but really that’s what it was. This guy pulled up in a van and started unloading boxes and it seemed like he’d never stop. I swear, if it wasn’t certified as art and it wasn’t made of precious metal, they sent it. Anything the people who bought the place didn’t want, that is. I left behind a lot of books and things because I really thought they’d have to try and sell them, but maybe it doesn’t work that way any more – or maybe it would cost more to sell it than it would bring in. There was a big box marked “linens” that I had to open and check – it was full of tablecloths and lace I bought in flea markets in Europe over the years. They weren’t in the linen closet when I was packing up my things and I didn’t remember about them until I was looking through the trunk I had in my room here and couldn’t find the napkins with the thistles that I bought for Malcolm’s mom for Christmas the year he left me so I never gave them to her. When I opened that box, I almost started crying I was so excited to have my stuff back. There were a few things like that, and other stuff that’s just good to have. Hell, if I don’t like it or need it, I can sell it at the thrift store and make a few pennies. I think my idea of “resale value” may be lower down the scale than whoever made the call, bless him.

Back to Maggs. So I crammed away whatever I could. Imagine boho minimalist, cause that’s my new style, at least for now. And I cleaned as if the boy in the bubble was coming to stay. Back to the Home Depot for more of that orphan paint, and I found a dusty peachy color that I thought might be soothing and flattering to her skin when she looks in the mirror -- which would definitely make it soothing ☺ I took down all my posters and things, which I needed to do anyway if I’m making a fresh start, so thanks Maggs for that, and hung one of Mal’s paintings on the long wall. Target had some long sheer window panels that I could make work with an old table runner tacked across the top. After I cleared my old velvets and patchworks out of the closet and replaced the pole (there’s a guy at HD who thinks he’s my best friend by now), I put in some really nice wooden hangers, a new mirror in the door and a clove orange on a piece of ribbon for the oh-how-charmingly-old-fashioned look. I left the rag rug in place for the same reason, after I took it outside on the only dry day we had last week and beat the crap out of it with a warped old tennis racket I found in the garage. And I put the nicest things I could find on top of the bedside table and the bureau. I thought the most important thing was to make it look the opposite of “decorated”, because then it couldn’t be compared.

In the end, from the minute I picked her up at the airport, Maggs didn’t notice anything anywhere. She was either talking a mile a minute about Ken, or crying her eyes out. I think she drank her way across country, and she’s hardly stopped since. I think she’s almost done with that, though. I set out a cheese plate for dinner tonight and she criticized the brie. It may have something to do with the news about the Mel Gibson divorce. Suddenly, Ken sounds like small potatoes.

I’m getting pretty tired, so I’m going to stop for now. No matter what, it’s good to have a friend around.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Too much excitement!

Some interesting things happened this week. Like things actually happened.

Tuesday, I had a call from the lawyers. Looks like there are some people who aren’t hurting from all that’s happening with the economy, because they sold the apartment. I shouldn’t say that until the closing, but someone that the Board was okay with made an offer and it’s been accepted. It’s a lot less than Gary would have thought, that’s for sure. But, according to Don, it was the top anyone was hoping for. They bought a lot of the furniture, too. If it was anything I cared for, I’d be sad. Don also said that while they were going over the inventory, they found some things that have no resale value that’ll be boxed up and sent to me. I told him that if it’s pictures of Gary and his kids, he should have them sent to the boys because I sure as hell don’t want them, but he said he already knew that and that’s not what it is. I guess it’ll be like Christmas in April then, right?

With that and the art going back to Christies and the cars all being leased anyway, things are getting cleaned up. They’re still negotiating to try and to get buyers for Tahoe and the beach without them going to repo, at least that’s what I think Don was saying. I get confused by it all. It seems to me that if Gary was broke and in hock up to his eyeballs, everything goes back to the banks, but the way I hear it, the banks can’t afford it. And if the lawyers can pull it off, there may be a few thousand that ends up coming back to me somehow, which would be amazing.

That was the first thing that happened. Then yesterday, Maggs called from LA. Ken wants a divorce. Out of nowhere, she says, though is it really ever out of nowhere? There must have been signs she wasn’t reading. Or maybe he lost a packet this year and started thinking, California being such a big community property state, that this is the perfect opportunity to get free on the cheap. I never trusted Ken. Sure he produces posh films now, but he used to be an agent. Whatever. Suddenly he “needs to be single,” no negotiations, that’s that. Maggs was more hysterical than I would have expected. It’s not like it was this great love match on either side. It’s the shock, I guess. Anyway, she wants to get out of town. So of course I said she could come here, never thinking she’d say yes. But she wants to be somewhere that the paparazzi won’t find her. She jumped at it. She’s got some fundraiser she has to do next week, but Easter Sunday she’s getting on a plane. That gives me a week to turn my old bedroom into a guest room.

Too much excitement!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Back on the horse

Okay, Jeff? You happy now??

I know you thought that if you gave me the 3-a-day homework, it would keep me going. But what happened was that I had a few days where there just weren’t 3 good things, no matter how hard I tried to find them. Some days the best I can do are find a couple of things that could have been worse, but that wouldn’t be the happy thoughts make happy people exercise you were getting at. So I skipped. And kept skipping, because the more days I skipped, the easier it got. I’m willing to try blogging again, but this time, no rules. I promise that I’m not sleeping the days away, if that’s what you were worried about. But I think it’s kinda stupid to write just to write. Even though I read a lot of blogs and twitters and such that seem to be doing that. I guess some people really do feel better doing that.

Fast catchup. Since the last time I was on, I finished painting the bathroom and put in a few more things to make it look more spa-ish. Like a seashell windchime someone once gave me for the beach house that I put in a box out here because it didn’t really go with the way we’d done it up, which was very minimalist, the way Gary thought “the best people” did things. I guess he never saw the kinds of over the top almost Victorian things some of the Park Avenue decorators used to deliver. Erich knew a lot of people with old money and floor-through apartments like that. Long story short, the bathroom looks good and the best part of the day for a lot of days is taking a soak at night. I think maybe I want to learn how to make candles.

I started doing Pilates again. Just floor exercises, because I don’t have a reformer. I used to use one at the gym. Since the weather keeps going from nice to freezing every other day, having an indoor thing was good. I’d like to do yoga, which I haven’t done in years, but I’m a little afraid. Yoga makes me think.

And now I’m going through all my sweaters and washing a few of them at a time, by hand. I’ve got a lot of them, I’m embarrassed to say. But that’s good; I won’t need to shop every again, not if I’m honest about “needing.” What takes time, especially when it’s damp, is that I’m drying them on towels, the way Ronnie’s mom taught us when we were kids. Where you put them flat, then fold and roll to gently squeeze the water out, and then put them flat on another dry one for as long as it takes to dry. Ronnie was my best friend growing up, and after my mom lost it, her mom was really there for me. I never really got to thank her the way I should have.

Oh, and btw, Jeff.  So Mr. Obsessive, how come you never noticed my profile still says I live in NYC?  I'm going to fix it now.  :) 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's All Relative, Isn't It?

All I wanted to do today was take a long walk, because the sky was blue, enough of the snow is melted to see pavement and the temperature was above freezing for the first time in over a week. If the temperature was 34˚ in May, I’d be turning back to the house after a block. But it’s March and it felt really good to be able to walk. I walked all the way to the thrift store, but I didn’t go in because I didn’t want to go shopping, not even in a thrift store. I got a cup of coffee at the pizza place. It was pretty burnt but it was hot, which is what I wanted. And I kept walking. I must have walked three miles. It just felt good, to be out in the air and get some sun on my face, and to walk fast, the way I do in the city. That’s something I miss a lot, walking everywhere. It wasn’t even on my list of things I’d miss, but I do.

I have no idea how to make this into 3 good things, Jeff, but this is what I did today that made me feel like me. Then I got home and had to deal with some stuff that didn’t, so I’m not going to write about it, not now.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Home Making

The boiling water wasn’t doing the trick with those last pieces of wallpaper. They were holding on for dear life (it was hard not to think of it that way, they were so damned stubborn!).

I ran over to the Home Depot on Old Country Road, to see if I could find a better scraper. A really nice guy there showed me some stuff that you can spread on the walls that helps the paper come loose. This is excellent to know about. And when I got it home, it worked great.

It’s fun walking around a Home Depot. Like a department store, except most of the things on sale I either don’t want or have no idea what you’d do with. Which meant I could walk around for more than an hour and not think much about wanting to spend money. I learned a lot while I was there. I’m especially excited about the reject paint. I had no idea about this, but there’s a whole shelf of paint cans that were custom mixed and didn’t get taken. They didn’t match the swatch they were supposed to? Or some decorator changed her mind? Whatever, the store ends up stuck with them, and they sell them for practically nothing. I found a chalky blue green that is exactly perfect for my new spa bathroom, and I got all I need for only $8! And it was really good paint, too. Okay, then I splurged on a teak mat that I think is supposed to be a doormat but I’m going to put it by the tub. Still, I did really well.

Also, did you know they give classes on how to do things? Some of them are billed as being for women, which is a little condescending, but since I don’t personally know how to wire a lamp or fix the tank in my toilet, I don’t have much of a leg to stand on. Next week is the lamp one, and I am definitely going to go. There’s a ceramic jar that would make a beautiful one. I bought it at a market in Turkey a few years ago and Gary hated it, so I left it here. Funny how Gary always talked about how much he loved what he called my “bohemian” side, but whenever I did something that was a little different from his idea of a banker’s wife, he would practically take my head off. Not that he was half as smart as he thought. Technically my “bohemian” things would have been the things I picked up in Prague. Even I know that, and I – as he never lost a chance to remind me – never finished college.

Oh yeah, my 3.
Finished stripping the bathroom.
Learned about bargain paint.
I held onto that jar.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Too Tired!

Sorry Jeff! My arms feel like rubber bands. I could hardly heat up a can of soup for dinner. I’ll write this fast, and then I’m having a cognac and getting into bed.

The sky looked really blue, so I decided to shovel a real path. A lot melted since yesterday, starting where I walked. There were these little pools of water in my footprints, and the melty part spread out from each of them. That meant what I was shoveling was really slush. It was like spooning my way through an endless slushy. But I made a path wide enough to roll a suitcase all the way to the curb. Not that I’m going anywhere or anyone’s coming here, but that seemed like the right size to make a path. It felt good to get it done, like I was a real householder getting my property in shape. So I guess that’s good thing #1 for today.

For some reason, the sun and working in the cold got me energized. I had the last of my bbq for brunch (don’t make a face! I never got who made the rules about what to eat when). And then I got to work on the bathroom walls. And after working on that for eight hours straight, I got almost all of it off. Which is good thing #2. Just some clingy bits left, that need to be sponged down with boiling water til I can scrape them off. Good thing #3 is that they didn’t paper the ceiling, because I’d never be able to peel that off by myself.

That’s it. I’m off

Monday, March 2, 2009


Well, it's easy to come with my #1 good thing today -- the patch on the roof held! Thank you Ludo, for such a great job, and for doing it so fast. I guess here's where I can make some lemonade, because if things were like they were even a year ago, Ludo would have been too busy to take an emergency, and probably would have charged a lot more, too. Oh, and thanks to Ed, of course, for putting me on to Ludo. So even though we've got snow up to my knees, my head is dry.

I'm not exaggerating about the knees, you know. We have wind out here, and the foot or so that the weatherman...I mean reporting is blowing into banks. I opened the door and tried to walk down my front path and I felt like I was warming up on the Stairmaster. I had to lift my knees halfway to my chin, just to pull my foot out of a footprint. Maybe this is why Scandinavians have to be so tall; a million years ago, all the ones with short genes got stuck in snowdrifts and never made it out alive to reproduce.

#2 for today is The Internet. Seriously. Sometimes I think it saves my life. It's funny how if you just decide to stay inside, you're fine, but the minute you know you're really stuck in the house, you feel completely shut off from the world and want to start banging your head against the walls. When things are good, it's easy to complain about the internet being a time waster, or how it doesn't let you drop off the map. But when you have nothing else to do and you got pushed of the map, it's the best! One thing I always like about the internet is how it really does feel like a world, so even if you're sitting on your butt in a corner, you can feel like you're roaming all over. Today, I went on Google Maps and put in the address of a hotel in Paris where I always stay. Then I put it on the street view and pretended I was walking around. It's amazing how if you focus, it starts to feel like you're really there. I found my favorite branch of Zadig et Voltaire, then I went on their website to look at the spring line, and I pretended I was shopping. I made myself a cup of coffee put it in a cup instead of a mug, went back to the map, and I walked myself over to Deux Magots. It was kind of fun.

So I guess the #3 Good Thing for today is having an imagination. I don't care what my third grade teacher said; it's the best thing anyone can have.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Good Start

Okay, here goes.

#1 – The bathroom wallpaper is peeling. Okay, at first that doesn’t sound like it would be good, but it is. I keep walking around this house and wondering what I could do that would make it feel more like home. Like I belong here. I have to, or I’ll lose my mind. Except for a few things I snuck out before they changed the locks, everything I have is whatever Uncle H was living with. Half of it he got from big box stores in the 80’s, and the rest is whatever the Prestons left behind, which looks like a set from Father Knows Best. If I wasn’t already depressed, this place would get me there fast. But where do I start? It’s not like I can send it all to the dump and wave a magic credit card to start from scratch.

It seemed too big to tackle. Then this morning I noticed about the wallpaper. It’s really horrible wallpaper, white with yellow stripes that are supposed to look like ropes, and red and blue sailboats and anchors stamped all over. Like the bathroom at an all-you-can-eat seafood restaurant. I was washing out the tub this morning, because I hate having to wash out the tub after a bath, when I’m all relaxed, and I noticed a big triangle flapping in the far corner. I couldn’t stop myself; I gave it a tug. Six or seven inches came off in my hand. And it was like a light bulb going off. This is where I could start. I can peel off all this paper and put on a fresh coat of paint and see what I can do to make it look calm and serene, like a spa. I’m sure I can find some things at Target or someplace, or figure some kind of craft project.

This is where the “good thing” part really starts to kick in, because just thinking about this reminded me of who I am. I wasn’t born on Park Avenue. I grew up learning how to be creative and make do. I just forgot. I can do this. It won’t be easy, and it may take forever, but I can. So hooray for the bathroom wallpaper and go me!!!

#2 - I sang. I put in a couple of hours on the walls. After a while, the quiet was getting on my nerves. I really needed music, but I had the bathroom pretty steamed up, to get the paper looser, and I didn’t know if it would hurt my ipod – and I have better uses for my money than having to buy a new one. I didn’t really think about it, but I started singing. Then I realized I was in an empty house, and I started singing loud! I can’t remember the last time I wailed like that. Man, it felt great! So I’m going to keep doing it. Hell, maybe some day I’ll even work up the nerve to sing in front of an audience again. Doesn’t matter if I do. But maybe it’s important that I’m singing, just for me.

#3 – I watched those Sunday morning political shows on TV. I’ve never been into politics. It seems so phony, and a lot of times I think its an excuse for doing nothing. But maybe if I’d been watching the news more, I would have seen what was happening with Gary. I’m not saying I could have changed anything with him, but maybe I would have gotten myself out in time. The way I see it, I’m a victim of current events. And isn’t there some saying about knowing your enemy.

Okay, that last one was hard to come up with, but I made it Jeff!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Three Good Things

Jeff came out today to give me a good talking to. I’ve been in such a funk these last couple weeks. It’s funny, but I felt worse than I did when it all first happened. Jeff says it’s not strange at all, that I was in shock or denial or both, and that it’s only now started to get real and that’s why I’ve been so mood indigo. So he got on the train and didn’t even tell me he was coming until he called from the Speonk station for me to pick him up. We spent the whole day talking. He helped me move some furniture and boxes, and we drove all the way out to Turtle Crossing to get some barbecue for dinner. He has to be at work tomorrow – something I didn’t understand about a load balancer – so he couldn’t stay over. After we ate, I put him on the train in East Hampton.

I felt so much better for having seen him, I didn’t even mind the drive home alone. Except for Ed dropping by once a week, checking in on me really, and he and Leonie having me to dinner a couple of times, I’ve been all on my own since I got here. It’s not good, I know. But it’s hard to get out there and try and join the community when the weather makes me feel like hiding under the blankets. And anyway, how am I supposed to do it? Join a gym? Can’t afford it. Find a book group? Give me a break. I could use a job, even a part time one, but everything here died out years before this November. I can walk the two miles to what used to be “town” (it’s free exercise, right?), but every other storefront has newspapered windows. The most happening place in town is the thrift store, which is in a double wide spot that used to be the dime store when I was a kid. Everyone brings in their stuff and the “antiques” buyers from the Hamptons and the city make regular trips in to mine it. Or at least that’s how it’s been. Leonie says the locals are finally starting to catch on to Craig’s List; they can make a lot more by selling their stuff direct. Yeah, things are hoppin’ big time out here in Arahmpett.

Still, Jeff’s right. It’s not doing me any good sitting in this house, drinking too much coffee and re-reading old books. And like he says, it’s easy to let days and days go by that way when there’s no one for me to answer to. So he’s made me promise that I’m going to post on this blog every single day.

What I’m supposed to do is put down three good things that happened that day. Jeff says no matter what, there have to be three. It’s not, as he said, like I’m living in a war zone or have to dumpster dive to eat. His thinking is, if I have to write down three things, not only will I appreciate what I do have, but I’ll be forced to make things happen. I’ll start looking at what I can control and setting goals I can accomplish. He made me promise. And he’s checking this blog first thing every morning, so he’ll know if I haven’t done it.

It sounds a little Oprah, I know, but you know, I don’t have any better ideas and it won’t cost me anything to try. So I’m starting now, while I’m still kind of high from having a good day.

My three good things for today are:

#1 - Having a friend like Jeff. You’re blushing, aren’t you? Well, come on. You’re the best friend I have in the world, and we both know I’m not exaggerating. I know you’d like to wave a magic wand and make everything okay. And you’re such a great person that it hurts you that you can’t. No one could make everything okay for me this time, Jeff. But you help me get back up and keep going. Thank you. For everything.

#2 – Turtle Crossing barbecue. If you’re within driving distance of East Hampton and you’ve never eaten at Turtle Crossing, you’re a fool. I’ve tried pretty much everything on the menu, and it’s all amazing. It’s the kind of food that can turn any day into a holiday. I had ribs tonight, because I haven’t had them in so long. And I brought home enough brisket and pulled pork for three more dinners. Cornbread, beans and cole slaw, too. They make the absolute best cole slaw.

#3 – The big old bathtub in the upstairs bathroom. I remember begging Uncle Harry to let me replace it with one of those easy-install fiberglass units. I had one picked out was a gunmetal grey, which I thought was so sophisticated. Fortunately, he wouldn’t hear of it. He liked being able to stretch out and soak after a hard day, and he was too big for the newer tubs. I didn’t really understand until the flat in Prague, which had a super large claw foot Victorian; now that was a tub! That was when I started to appreciate the value of having my own private hydrotherapy. I made Gary put big Jacuzzi tubs in all our houses….Sorry, this is supposed to be about what’s good, not what’s gone wrong. But I have to say that if I ever have money again, if there’s one thing I’m getting it’s a Jacuzzi. That and a toilet with a Toto washlet. For now, I’m grateful Uncle H never listened to me. And now I’m putting away my computer, pouring myself a snifter of cognac and taking myself a soak.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Last year, Gary took me to Per Se for Valentine’s Day. It was amazing, really amazing. It’s the only time I ever ate there, and I’ll probably never be able to afford to eat there again. After dinner, we had a car drive us out to the beach. We spent most of the weekend in bed, or sitting in front of the fire with a bottle of something fine. I wonder now, was it already too late for Gary? Was he fiddling while Rome burned, or did he really not know what deep shit he was in? He sure didn’t think he’d be dead before the year was out.

This was the first time in my life I’ve ever been alone on Valentine’s Day. I didn’t know what to do with it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

What Happened with Global Warming?

The last two days were really beautiful and I was just getting used to imagining spring. Then I wake up this morning, and it’s snowing. Again. And it kept up all freakin’ day, wet and slushy, but still snowing. And I thought we were having global warming and New York would be turning into LA. I must be missing something.

I found an old lawn chair in the garage that wasn’t too rusty to open, and I sat outside yesterday for a couple of hours with my coffee. There’s a patch out back where I’m thinking maybe I could make a garden. I never made one myself, but I love the one out at the house. It would be something to do. That’s what I was thinking yesterday. I was even thinking of driving out to the house and taking some pictures. I wish I could just dig up those rose bushes out back, those little old white ones that smelled so amazing. I don’t see why I can’t. They were left from the previous owners, so they belong to the land, not to Gary, right?

Jeff says I have to stop saying things like that in this blog. I don’t get it. I’m not saying anything I wouldn’t say right to the lawyers’ face. I’m an open book – no secrets, nothing to hide. Anyway, I’m a victim here. My husband’s dead and everything I thought was real for seven years, suddenly out of nowhere disappears. He’s hardly in the ground when I get visited by a team of lawyers telling me that he owed millions of dollars and everything’s either leased and the bills haven’t been paid in months, or it’s collateral for some loan that likewise hasn’t been paid. The whole life I had with Gary is in receivership.
I’m out on the street with nothing and I never even had a chance to save myself.

Damn it, I’ve got stuff owed to me, too! Where do I get on line to collect? For back salary or whatever we want to call it. I was a good wife. I made sure he had everything he wanted to make him happy, the right food and wine, hot sex even when I was totally bored, better suits than he knew how to pick for himself, everything. Wherever we went, I worked the smiles and small talk, and did the whole celebrity thing that I absolutely never do on my own, just to make him look good. And I put up with his two freakin’ spoiled asshole sons. Oh, that’s the bright spot in all this! Those two are finally going to have to get off their asses and work for a living.

Carmen, Gary’s assistant came to visit after the funeral. That’s how I heard about how Simon kept calling and demanding his seven grand every month. Thirty years old and never worked a day in his life, living on the beach with his rich Swiss girlfriend. The two of them
“in film.” Yeah, sure. She went to the same gym as Drew Barrymore, thot’s about how much “in film” they are. I tried to tell Gary it was bullshit, but when it came to those boys, he only ever saw what they wanted him to see. Simon the “filmmaker” and Taylor the “writer.” At least Simon was in the right place. Who goes to Paris to write in English? Since Hemmingway, I mean. It was those damned boys that drove him to that roof if you ask me. Carmen was in tears. They’ll call and drive him crazy for their checks. The checking account would be down to zero, and he could never tell them, he just couldn’t bring himself to say he couldn’t afford it, that there was nothing to give. He had to be a big man for those boys. He never stopped being the Saturday daddy, the divorced guy who goes overboard when he sees the kids, trying to buy them away from their mom and her new husband. It’s getting me sick to think about what those boys did to him. But I wish I could have been there when they found out the piggy bank was empty, that there would never be another check again.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Can't Handle the Roof

I swear, I’m starting to take it personally. Thanks to Gary, I can never go up to the roof of anything ever again, not the Rainbow Room (if they manage to bring it back again, again), not the top of Notre Dame, well, you know what I mean. And now, I can’t even stand to think about being under one, because mine sprang a leak a couple of hours ago, right over my bedroom, and the only bucket I can find to put under it is the trash can Uncle H used to keep under his desk and it’s some kind of tin or something under the fake leather and the dinging is driving me crazy. I guess I’m going to have to sleep in Uncle H’s room, which I really should be moving into anyway except it weirds me out a little bit. Not that I believe in ghosts or anything, and even if I did, I like to think he’d be friendly and watching over me. But it was his room, and I never moved his stuff out of the house, except the clothes that I gave to the Heart Association thrift store when Leonie said they’d appreciate it a lot, and the accountant said was a good idea, too. I automatically went up to the room I lived in until I quit college and that Uncle H always kept for me to stay in when I came to visit. It may be a lot smaller and the closet’s a joke, but it’s my room – my own room, and right now that means more than ever.

I guess I’m being silly. The whole house is mine, and tomorrow I’m going to have to shift a bunch of stuff around and start making it feel that way. Tonight I’ll just change the bedding. I’m going to miss my room. It’s kind of frozen in time, and it’s comforting. You know, it still has the curtains I made from this Indian bedspread I bought the first time I took the train in on my own to spend a Saturday hanging around the Village. And there’s a poster from when the Raisin played one of our first gigs at Stony Brook. You know, Jenny O made that poster. She was dating Stu back then. I swear I never thought about this until just now, but I could probably sell that poster. Not now; when thinks settle down. But I’d better take it off the wall as soon as I finish writing this (I mean, there’s a leak in that room!)

Okay, good, so I’m making some lemonade. If I didn’t have a leak, I wouldn’t be looking at my room like something that was disappearing, and I wouldn’t have thought much about the poster. I bet there’s some other stuff here in the house that could be worth something. I know there are those painting’s of Malcolm’s that Uncle H never much liked but was afraid to get rid of. Damn, I hope there aren’t more leaks over the finished part of the attic! I have a lot to do tomorrow.

If you live anywhere on the East Coast, I don’t have to tell you that today was exhausting. We had a good amount of snow, which turned into freezing rain that made layers of ice over the snow all day long until maybe a couple of hours ago when it turned into regular rain. When I first saw it, I thought it was pretty. I was getting a kick out of seeing it on the trees and all, and staying so sparkly white, much nicer than city snow and somehow…I don’t know, is it right to say “quaint” to describe how it looks cuter and tamer than snow does in Aspen or Chiesa? Then the lights flickered a couple of times and I panicked. I have no idea what to do if the power goes down. I don’t even know if there are candles except for my Fresh Sugar ones that I already burned down a lot trying to get the funky closed-up smell out of the house. Well, I’m using my computer, so you know I have power now, but it was dicey there for a while. Even the range is electric in this house, which is one of like a thousand things I wish I’d thought about changing when I still had money. What’s that they say about 20/20 hindsight? Exactly. I was trying to figure out if it would be okay to build a fire and use my Le Creuset dutch oven in it when Ed showed up at my door. Thank goodness for good friends with four-wheel drive! He said he figured I wouldn’t know how to use the generator. Use it, hell, I didn’t even know I had one! He also brought me what he said was a “welcome wagon survival kit”, which was stuff like white church candles, kitchen matches, a big yellow camping flashlight and a gallon of water, but also a couple of bottles of Green Mountain merlot and a loaf of Leonie’s special raisin bread.

Ed knows everything about this house, because his dad and Uncle Henry were best buds forever and whatever one did, the other one did. I’m going to have to call him tomorrow at a civilized hour and ask who can fix the roof. And thank Leonie for the bread, which is seriously to die for. It’s a good thing I’m going to be going up and down a lot of stairs tomorrow.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Guess I Freaked Out

I can’t believe it’s two months. It’s like I never have a minute to think with everything that has to get done, and when I do have time, my head feels like it’s going to explode and I take the meds that Dr. W_____ said I can only have for another month and then if I can’t get myself to chill it’s regular antidepressants which always make me puff up like Oprah in between diets. Anyway, I forgot all about this til Jeff asked me the other day “whatever happened to the blog?” I promised him as soon as I unpacked the computer, I’d try it again. Because he’s right, I need someone to talk to and there isn’t anyone out here to have coffee with and except for him, my other friends get all “oh you poor thing, sorry I have to run”-ish on the phone, that is if they even take my calls.

So now I’m sitting in the kitchen out here in Arahmpett, hard to believe I know, deciding whether or not to crack open one of the mini Fatwitch brownies I got the other day when Jeff took me to Chelsea Market for a kind of bon voyage stock up. That was so sweet of him, to do that. I know I’m only a couple of hours away from the city, and there are plenty of places out east of here where I always go when we’re in Bridgehampton….Strike that. Where I used to go when we used to be out at the beach. It’s hard to wrap my head around all that being gone. It’s not just the days of gourmet food shopping that are pretty much history. If I hadn’t gone out for the weekend, to recover from the shock of that phone call from the accountant, I wouldn’t have been able to even get my personal things over to this house the way I managed to do.

I have to keep telling myself how lucky I am to have this house. People didn’t understand when I bought it for Uncle Harry back in ’79. You were supposed to blow your first big money on parties and clothes and, well, blow. If you were buying a house, you should buy something cool on a beach or a loft or something. Andy lived with his mother of course, but that was Andy. Anyone else, if you wanted to help the relatives, well, you bought them cars or fur coats so they could show the neighbors. People who knew about it laughed when I bought a kind of crummy house out by the fishermen and potato farmers, but this was where Uncle Harry’d grown up and where he wanted to stay if only he didn’t have to worry about a mortgage, and I thought it was the least I could do for all he’d done for me growing up. When he died, he willed it back to me of course. That was when Erich and I were living in Prague. There was so much going on there back then, it was all I could do to make it back for the funeral. I couldn’t hang around to sell a house. Anyway, Arahmpett’s kind of a dead zone, so I knew it wasn’t going to be so easy to unload. My lawyer said I might as well hold onto it, so I could keep a U.S. residence. And when Gary’s team was drawing up the pre-nup and insisted on keeping the Tahoe and Bridgehampton properties in his name, it helped me keep some pride to having something I was going keep in my own name, so I didn’t sell it like some of my friends said to and get a facelift, which was about how much money it was worth. Now it turns out that was a good thing, because with the apartment being in both our names, this is the only place that’s not considered “an asset of the marriage” so it’s the only place they can’t take away from me.

Okay, before I get any more depressed – like that’s even possible – I think I’m going to have that Fatwich.