Sometimes you have a *click click* ssssssssss-steam leak.

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While we were on vacation our apartment was left unattended from 18 December to 11 January.  (Sorry, burglers.  Even if I had told you this before the fact, there really wasn’t much in there to satisfy.)

This was the longest stretch it had been sitting empty in, like, forever.  As least in the four years I’ve lived there.  Needless to say, I was a bit concerned.  Not I’m-going-to-set-up-a-nanny-cam-to-make-sure-everything-is-ok-everyday concerned, but at least I-think-about-it-every-so-often-and-hope-everything-is-ok concerned.

I had left a card for our superintendent (complete with Christmas tip) and let him know we were going to be out of town for that stretch of time, asking him to keep an eye on things and grab our mail if it overflowed.  All seemed well.

The vacation happened.

We come back home (after an exhausting day of traveling, much of which was delayed) at 2am.  We open the door to our apartment and there, in the middle of the kitchen floor, is our window A/C unit.  That was IN the window when we left.  There is the Christmas tree, star akimbo, wearing only half our ornaments.  The rest are on the ground in various pieces.  Curious.

We put down our bags and investigate.  There is no sign of forced entry.  There’s nothing stolen.  There’s nothing broken.  Everything in the apartment is a little sticky.  Everything in the apartment looks like it got wet.  The floors are sticky.  The walls are streaked.  The dishes look like they had dirty water in them at one point.

“There must have been a leak,” we say.  “But why is the A/C moved?  Why did the tree obviously fall?  And why is it not messy?”  One would assume that, if there was a leak, things would be much dirtier and disgusting than they are.  Especially since someone obviously came into our apartment to do something (in theory, fix the leak).  And where did the leak come from?  There’s no origin point in the ceiling or anything.

Confused, we went to bed.

The next day was Sunday, so I couldn’t talk to the super.  It’s his day off.  We cleaned instead.  All the stickiness.  All the warped books.  All the streaks on the walls.  It was so weird.  We couldn’t even ask our cat what had happened because we took her with us!

When I finally caught up with my super, I got the story.  And it all makes sense:

During the deepfreeze that hit the east coast, the heat was cranked up.  We have radiator heat.  The force from the steam must have been so powerful that it popped the cap off the radiator.  Steam billowed into the apartment (for how long, who knows? A day? A week? I shudder at the thought.)  A neighbor saw the steam and thought it was smoke.  They called 911.  The fire department came.  My super couldn’t find the keys to our apartment.  The fire department climbed up the fire escape, busted the A/C out of the window, knocking over the Christmas tree right in front of the window.  

They came in and did whatever needed to happen to fix the radiator, but the place was still moist.  I imagine it was rather like a steam room.  The super and fire department left, closing the door behind them.  The steam could not escape.  Now that it was cooling down in the apartment, it turned to liquid and rained down from the ceiling over everything.  And then we came home at 2am on the 12th of January befuddled to no end.

Thankfully, nothing was damaged, no claims need to be filed.  Some of our books have warped covers, but that’s pretty much it.  Our Fosse-esque steam leak (it’s not really Fosse-esque unless you describe it like this post’s title, but that’s ok) was minor.  All’s well.

Now we just have to keep our eye out for mold!

Good to be home!!  🙂

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Sometimes you get snow. In a can. And it’s amazing.

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In the Beyond section of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, there exists a magical item.

This item is so wonderful, so indescribably joyous, that it can only be used at the holidays.

It has the power to bring a smile to the face of any person who holds it in their hand.  It has the ability to grow to ten times its original size.

I am speaking, of course, of Snow In A Can.

I discovered this mysterious and original bit of holiday magic while doing some Christmas shopping with my two younger brothers.  After assessing this magnificent invention and examining the pros and cons of a purchase of said item, I decided to splurge and take it to the cashier.

$2.99 later, it was mine!  Snow In A Can!

As soon as I got home, I rushed into the kitchen, my family assisted me in placing down plastic and newspaper, and I yanked back the pull tab on the aluminum container.

There, inside, was the magical substance – approximately a teaspoon of a fine, white powder.

After retrieving a cup of tap water, I put my sorcery to the test.  I filled the can with water, and lo and behold!!  It turned to snow!!!!

OK, maybe not snow per se, but a certainly a moist, gelatinous substance that certainly reacted like snow when played with.

We were able to roll it into little balls but, unfortunately, the balls did not join together well enough to make a snowman.  The weight of the abdomen completely crushed the base.  Even after placing the snowman on a diet and decreasing the circumference of the waist, the base still would not hold up.  It was at this point that we performed a base-otomy and constructed a snowman that was only one ball high.

Using the small piece of ribbon (read: scarf) and googly eyes that came in the aluminum can with the powdery pre-snow and miniature snow shovel, we decorated our blobbish snowman and felt the Christmas spirit coursing through our veins.

It was a joyous five minutes.

I whole-heartedly recommend Snow In A Can to all peoples, regardless of age, race, sex, ethnicity, religious affiliation, or baseline holiday spirit level.

I will be back to the Beyond to get another can before the holidays are over.  Make no mistake.

Sometimes you hear things about people in the pursuit of art.

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My gal and I have an etsy shop.  It started off as a really cool idea for her – making these adorable little baking mixes in mason jars.  She does all the rest, you just add love.  (That’s the name of our shop, by the way: JustAddLoveNYC)

Anyway, as I am also a musician, we thought we’d put up an ad on the shop site for personalized songs.  The concept – Ya need a song?  I’ll write it.

Thus far, I’ve done a few that have all been received quite well.  I just received an order for a personalized Christmas song and it struck me – these people send me a good bit of information about themselves.

I mean, the first song was for a company.  Yes, I wrote the theme song to the UK children’s play group Jelly Roles (www.jellyroles.co.uk).  So that wasn’t as personal.

Another one was an order from a nanny here in NYC.  She was leaving the country soon and wanted to leave a song for the two little girls she had been watching for years and years.  I got a lot of information about her, her two little kids, and the fun stuff they do together all the time.  

The Christmas song order is from a wife to her husband of 20+ years.  She was very helpful when she emailed me the information I ask for and gave me A TON of stuff to work with: hobbies, nicknames, habits, work info, moods, their relationship.

I find it’s a bit odd, knowing so much about people that I don’t actually know.  There’s that little squirmy feeling in my gut when I think too hard about it, like I have this almost-power over them.  Really, let’s be honest – I don’t.  I don’t think I can steal anybody’s identity with a hobby and a nickname.  And I really don’t think I can blackmail anyone by knowing how they take their coffee and how many Christmas songs they have in their iTunes.

Still, it’s an interesting feeling.  I’ve decided to take it as a gift.  I get to glance into others’ lives – if only briefly – and discover more about my fellow humans.  And that’s pretty fun.

(Coincidentally, if any of you are looking for pre-made baking mixes or personalized songs for the holidays, do visit us: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/JustAddLoveNYC.)

🙂

 

 

 

Sometimes you accidentally release a demon clown into the world.

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Meet “Funny Face.”

He was painted in 1969 – a Christmas gift to my father from his godmother (an amateur artist).

How this character earned the name Funny Face, I’m not certain we will ever know.  He looks like John Wayne Gacy.  Or Tim Curry as Stephen King’s It.  

He has no neck to speak of.  He’s pretty chubby, but not in that fun happy-chubby way.  His eyes are dark and expressionless, not to mention rather lopsided.  His uni-brow is menacing, to say the least.  His fire-engine red lips are ginormous.  And he has fangs.  

I repeat – he has FANGS.  Not huge ones, I’ll be honest, but FANGS, people.  FANGS.

Why does he have no other teeth?  And why are his fangs so tiny and pointy?  They’re like the canines on my cat.  And his smile is so lazy and half-hearted, like – I’ll say it – like a pedophile’s.

Finally, it looks like he has stubble.  There is actual darkening around his chin.  And it looks like it was actually painted on there.  On purpose.  Why would someone do that?  Was she playing with shadow?  Was she trying to give him a fat neck?  Or was she actually painting stubble on this guy?  Alas, we shall never know.

Funny Face lived in my garage as I was growing up.  Mom refused to let him inside the house (I wonder why).  But there he was, every time I went out to get a screwdriver or work on a Boy Scout project.  Watching me.  Eventually, it was time for me to be a real human and move out of the house into something of my own.  I took Funny Face.

Why, you ask?  Because I could.  And because I figured he would eventually get thrown out if he stayed with my parents.

Unfortunately, several significant others found him less-than-desirable on my apartment wall, so he stayed well-hidden.  One day, though, I made a decision and I put my foot down and got the old creep out of storage and stuck him up on my wall.  In my bedroom, no less!  I claimed him as my own and made no apologies about it.

My current girlfriend is still getting used to sleeping in a room with this guy, but thus far he hasn’t stolen her soul or anything.

Now, meet this guy:

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Apparently this charmer has been roaming the streets of Northampton of late, just standin’ around with his balloons and generally scaring the knickers off anyone who chances to see him.  You can read more about him here:
http://www.inquisitr.com/951291/northampton-clown-leads-to-police-warning-town-mystified/

So here comes the confession:

When I was home alone a few days ago, I happened to be in a really good mood.  And when I’m in a really good mood, I end up talking to inanimate objects (personality trait story for another day, perhaps).  Anyway, while getting dressed after my shower I spied my ol’ pal Funny Face on the wall and I struck up a convo.  We chatted about several things, to include lyrics for a song I was working on and some story ideas I had for a new novel, but I finally got around to saying, “Ya know, you really are a creepy looking guy.  I really hope you never come to life and terrorize the countryside or anything.”

BAM – the next day, this bloke shows up in Northampton.

You do the math.

I can only imagine that my dad’s godmother somehow trapped this frightening clown in her painting using magical means, and I somehow freed his soul.  It’s really the only logical explanation, I think.

At this time, I would like to apologize to the inhabitants of Northampton and its environs for releasing this demon clown upon them, and ask for their patience as I consult several resources relating to the occult in order to fully realize his transference back to the aforementioned painting.

If you do manage to garner an audience with the spirit, I would recommend that you address him as “Funny Face” (as that is his given name) and I ask that you please request of him to get the heck back into his stubbly, fang-toothed painting.

Thank you.