Support or Bust

November 2, 2009

Is it just me, or is this hour shift killing everyone? Oh, daylight savings…

I saw a friend this weekend and she has been going through a rough time for about a year now. (I’m not sure she wants her story broadcast, so we’ll call her Missy.) I should preface this by saying that Missy is in general a really positive person, so to see how the stress of this ordeal has taken its toll is truly terrible. Anyway, Missy owns an apartment on the Upper West Side on the top floor of her building. The roof went into disrepair from years of neglect and she had massive leaks in her apartment, leading to a dreaded mold problem. She tried to deal with the coop directly, but they were unresponsive. So she dealt with the city housing authority (not very helpful since they weren’t renters), arbitrators, lawyers, insurance companies — the list goes on and on. In the meantime, she and her family had no where to live. For over a year they have been staying at different friends’ and family’s apartments. And even though she has won in court and the coop is legally supposed to clean up the mold, they haven’t.

Then, about six months ago, her husband’s non-profit arts organization began re-negotiating its lease with the landlord. At first, even in this economy, the guy wanted to raise the rent by an outrageous amount. Then, part-way through negotiations, they discovered that the space is zoned by law to only be available to an arts organization, severely limiting who the owner can rent to.  Missy took over negotiations and started an online petition to convince the landlord that he should want the group to stay as his tenants. She told me this morning that while she has gotten some concessions, the whole process has been so unpleasant that she has re-examined her life and come to a simple conclusion: neither their home nor place of business was supporting them in what they wanted to accomplish in life. So now she has a two year plan to get them out of both places.

Which got me thinking: next time I have a tough decision, a time when something doesn’t feel quite right, I am going to ask the question, “Is this situation supportive of me?” Seems simple, but if the answer is no, I think it becomes that much clearer what needs to change. So good luck to Missy and her family, and thanks for the clarity.

Life is not always easy.

Halloween Wrap Up

halloweenI don’t remember Halloween being such a jam-packed holiday when I was a kid. It’s crazy! My kids got a lot of wear out of their costumes, which is a good thing. We had a late afternoon party yesterday at some friends of ours, and the food was delicious. There was an amazing pesto pasta salad which I will have to post the recipe for, and for dessert there were pumpkin whoopee pies with a cream cheese filling that were pretty amazing. We were some of the last people there, mostly because I was so tired from being out all day and I just wanted to sit on their couch.

I have tried really hard to not let my kids know that in NYC, just about every store is open for trick or treating. So the kids literally go up and down the avenues filling their buckets. Well, on our way home, we ran into our super and his family trick or treating. His kids were like, “Come on, Austin!” And he went inside with them to get some candy. It was like a whole new world had been opened to him.

The amount of sugar ingested in one day by these kids is just astounding — and disturbing. I was talking to a mother at another party we had today, and she was telling me that her son basically passed out of Halloween because his entire day’s diet consisted of candy. Lovely.

I actually don’t mind the chocolate, but the hard candies and lollipops gross me out — it’s just pure sugar. So we make a deal with the kids — if they get rid of all of their non-chocolate candies, they can get a toy. Or, this year, they traded it for kinder eggs, which we brought back from France. It’s essentially a chocolate egg with an amazing little toy inside.

Another Halloween is over. Enough treats — we need more tricks for a healthier nation!


It’s a little after 8:15pm and I am already falling asleep. I’ll never make it through the baseball game!

Isn’t it a little odd that today’s NY Times Magazine is about the Obama’s marriage? Weirder still is that they actually sat for interviews for it. I read the piece and got no new revelations, so don’t feel you missed anything if you haven’t seen it yet.

I can’t believe another Monday is upon us. Make it a good one!


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