Fork in the Road

Hello my old friend. I used to come to you to bitch about first dates gone wrong, and make fun of my mother. I feel like I’ve been neglecting you now that I haven’t had a first date in almost three years, and my mother now lives about 3,000 miles too far away to make fun of on a regular basis.

In any case, I’ve found myself in a situation in which I’m in-between striving for ordinary, and purchasing a one way plane ticket to somewhere… anywhere I’ve never been before, and figuring the rest out from there.  In short, the situation is called unemployment.  I’ve gotten laid off, yet again… a result of working for a start-up that got bought out shortly after I began my employment.  I didn’t cry when I found out.  I was somewhat expecting the call when I heard we were getting acquired.  (I’m lying.  I definitely cried… but only for like 3.5 minutes, which I think is basically considered not crying).

IS IT A SIGN???  IT’S A SIGN!  I’m destined for bigger things!  The past 3 years since I moved out to California have been tumultuous, career-wise.  Although, with every closed-door, a new one presented itself very quickly.  Sometimes it presented itself before I was even really ready to walk through it (that’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever typed).  For the first time in my career, I have found myself a full week without a job or even a lead.  WHAT.IS.GOING.ON?  HELLO?!  I’ve applied to every medical sales and sales management position on this side of the Mississippi (well, mostly ones in California), as well as signed up for websites that cast extras for TV and film… you know to pass the time while I look for a real job.

Expecting to be bombarded with emails and phone calls after day one of getting out my professional resume and my adorable self-taken head-shot (ok, it was a selfie),  I was sadly wrong, and baffled.  No one wants me.  I feel alone.  I feel lost.  Not in the sad, actual lonely, lost way.  Just in the confused, anxious, bored, what-do-I-do-now way (hey there…wine).

I’ve said countless times that next time I find myself unemployed, I will not jump straight to the next job again.  I’ve vowed to take an international trip, maybe back to somewhere in Africa, work my way around the world, and then come back and figure out my next move.  But when unemployment actually happens, I get this feeling… I don’t know what to call it… hmmm…panic?  Logically, I know I’ll find a new job eventually, but the thought of my severance running out in a month (tick, tick, tick… 3 weeks), and no direct deposits entering my bank account for the foreseeable future, just straight rubs me the wrong way. Seems wrong. Is taking off and gallivanting the world really the best move?

Also, I’m an introvert. “WHAT?!?  STFU COURTNEY YOU ARE NOT AN INTROVERT.”  Yes I freakin’ am.  I’m slightly terrified to travel alone for an extended period of time.  I’m not scared of the unknown, or finding my way around, or flying by myself.  I’m scared of having no one to talk to because I’m sometimes bad at entering into social situations I’m not familiar with by myself.  If I have someone with me that I know, it completely changes my dynamic and my attitude, which is why some of you may not believe that I’m actually, deep down, an introvert.  You’ve never seen me in an uncomfortable situation by myself.  It’s weird, it’s strange, and I don’t like it.  And I’m being very open with all you random people right now for some unknown reason.  Probably because I’m unemployed, bored, and have nothing else to do but open my emotions to the world-wide interwebs.

So here I am… at a fork in the road.  Can you call it a fork if there are more than two ways to go?  I think you can, because actual forks usually have three to four prongs.  I had to replace my three-pronged forks with four-pronged ones because I was getting complaints from guests.  In any case… If I take this fork to the left:  I find another well-paying job within my comfort zone of medical sales. Sell my soul. Pay my bills. The fork goes right:  I take off and travel the world, apply for a volunteer opportunity or two and come back by Christmas or my family will have my head on a platter.  The fork goes straight, dead ahead:  Someone from The Bachelor Franchise realizes I’m destined to work for them.  I become best friends with Chris Harrison, and live happily ever after.


xoxo, Chickadees.


First Trip Back to NY

One thing I wasn’t prepared for when moving from New York to California was for people to be mad.  Sad, yeah, of course… I was sad to leave people I love, but mad?  No.  I’m not sure how that emotion came about.  It doesn’t really upset me that people are mad, just confuses me.  I feel like we are all living our lives with the goal to experience things and make ourselves happy.  And different things make different people happy.  I don’t think I’d be mad at anyone for a life decision unless it were specifically to hurt me.  I never really anticipated feeling the bit of guilt I feel, now living on the other side of the country.  Not because I feel like I’m doing something wrong, just because it’s clear that a couple of people I love are mad at me for pursuing what I wanted to do… my selfish dream.  I miss these people all… like crazy.  But didn’t plan on feeling guilty about it.

Carissa and I have been here for a little over 4 months and hadn’t had plans to go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year.  Flights are crazy expensive, we made a no-man-left-behind pact, and my parents decided to come out in early January to celebrate Christmas with us here.  Some minor guilt trips were laid out about not being around for the holidays, but that didn’t really affect me.  What did affect me was that I really started missing “home” and the people who were there.  Not because holiday season was approaching, but because I just genuinely missed them.  Sitting on my front porch one night with a glass of wine (the best ideas are sparked by a glass of wine), I asked Carissa if she’d be interested in coming home with me for a long weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  She was.  We decided on going for our brother’s birthday weekend, booked the trip about 6 weeks in advance, and decided we would make it a surprise.  The only person we notified for coordination purposes was our “brother,” Courtney, who was planning birthday festivities.

We flew in separately last Thursday.  I took an early flight, and Carissa got one after her classes.  Since no one really knew we were coming, it was hard to coordinate sleeping arrangements for the first night.  I knew I had to go to Hoboken straight from JFK to pick up my snowboard from my condo’s basement to bring back with me, so I planned to stay with a friend there.  Carissa on the other hand, didn’t want her friends to know she was home until the following night, so her plan was to get home to Babylon around 2am, SNEAK INTO our parents’ house, and into her bed, and then meet me in the morning to surprise them at work.  FLAW FLAW … hole in the plan.

“Carissa, you CANNOT sneak into the house.  Dad’s going to shoot you when he hears someone creeping up the stairs in the middle of the night.”

“No… he only has a Louisville Slugger next to his bed… I’ll be fine.”

“He has a GUN.  He will shoot you.”

“Oh….really?…. hmmmm… okay I’ll figure something else out.”

She figured something else out.  I also had to figure something else out at the last-minute because my Hoboken sleeping arrangements fell through.  Planes trains and automobiles later, I arrived in Hoboken and met up with The Architect, who I had informed earlier that I’d be in town for the night.  The feeling being back there, but homeless, was eerie.  It felt so amazing to be back.  I’d missed the vibes of the town.  I had a fun random Thursday out, visited my favorite local watering hole, and saw a couple of friends.  The next morning as I walked to my old condo in the dark, cold, rain, I couldn’t help but feel happy anyway.  I was so excited to be back, and so excited to see my family over the next couple of days.  As I crossed the street near my building, dragging my luggage with a hood over my head, the crossing guard who looked like he was basically covered in plastic bags shouted, “Happy Friday!”  I beamed, and shouted back to him.  Even the nasty cold rain was making me happy.  I felt back at home.  Back home with all the miserable commuters I was used to.

If getting through public transportation on a Friday morning during rush hour isn’t complicated enough…. I challenge you to do it with a rolling suitcase, an oversized purse, a sweater, and a packed snowboard bag over your shoulder.  I can’t count how many times I said “I’m sorry,” and after the first leg of the trip, making it down to the PATH and then up into the city, I just couldn’t stop laughing.  As hard as I tried to control all of my things it was just impossible not to whack people either in front of me, behind me, or to either side.  As I fielded dirty looks, I felt it was necessary to explain what a nightmare it was to be pushing through turnstiles with the amount of odd-shaped things I had to carry.

I finally made it to Penn Station, got a real New York bagel, made my way down to the Long Island Railroad, got my snowboard up on the top shelf with a big sigh, and sat down.  The conductor collected my ticket and I asked him if he knew when the train would get to Babylon.  He told me, and then asked, “Do you know who I am?”

I did know who he was.  He was my mom’s friend’s husband, Frank.  Funny enough, he was one of the only OTHER people who knew I’d be in town, because his wife, Marie helped me get my mom half a day off of work that day in secret.  Frank asked where Carissa was, and if we were ready for the surprise, and chatted with me for the majority of the train ride.  Feeling at home already.

I get to Babylon and looked for Carissa who was supposed to be picking me up.  I called her.  She picked up and whispered, “Hey, I just found Dad’s keys in his jacket pocket.  I think he’s still home.  I’ll be there in 5.”

Okay, now she’s breaking into the house and stealing my dad’s car… while he’s home.  She pulls up a few minutes later with incessant horn honking, starts laughing at me struggling with my bags, and as I throw myself into the car says, “Ok, let’s go to mom’s school.”

“Carissa!  We need to get the car back to Dad before he notices and calls the cops!”

“Oh yeah.”

It’s so weird being back, homeless, and carless.  We hurried back home before our dad knew his car was missing, crept upstairs and freaked the crap out of him.  It took him a few minutes to understand what was going on.  We asked to borrow a car and then headed to my mom’s school… which was the highlight of the weekend.  To be honest I would have made the trip east JUST for these few minutes with T-Diddy, which thankfully we caught on video:

It took her a few minutes to process that this, in fact, was NOT a dream, and then we kidnapped her for the second half of the day for some quality girl time.

The rest of our time flew.  We got to see our brother and other brother for their birthdays, our sister Britt, and a bunch of other family and friends over the weekend.  There was obviously not enough time with each person, nor enough time to see as many people as I would have liked, but we did our best.  We spent the entire day on Saturday taking over Sixth Ward on the LES, rearranging their projector, Christmas decorations, TV channels and audio system to meet our sports watching and pool-playing needs.  We spent a solid 12 quality hours there, eating two meals and using the bathrooms a record-breaking amount of times.  At the end of the night, when Carissa and I gave our final hugs goodbye to Chase and Britt on the frigid street, and scurried into the closest cab, I turned to see her start to cry.  “I hate leaving my brother…” which of course started my waterworks as well.  Spending a whole day with people you love so much in the city you love so dearly was bittersweet.

The energy in NYC is un-matched by any other place.  Maybe it’s because it’s the one in which I feel most at home, but maybe it’s because it truly is the greatest city in the world.  When Monday night came around and it was time to go back home, the goodbyes were sad, but I had a peace about me, because I felt happy to be returning “home” to California.  It’s somewhere that you smile getting off the plane and feel welcomed by the palm trees and cheery people.  Will it be home forever?  Maybe not… but really…. who knows?  For now, my heart is split between coasts.  And that’s how I like it.

Peace out for now buttercups…


Gossip Girl

Apartment Hunting with T-Diddy

The only thing more entertaining than hanging out with T-Diddy is traveling with T-Diddy. For the Fourth of July weekend Carissa, T-Diddy and I took a trip out to San Diego in order to tie up some loose ends before our move out there (tie up loose ends= find Carissa a place to live). Since there were only about three weeks until we arrived there for good, the pressure was on to find an apartment and roommates in a very short period of time.

Although we wanted T-Diddy there for her wisdom and guidance, I think Carissa and I would both agree that we more wanted her there for the entertainment. Somehow, some of my funniest moments have been the three of us in a car apartment hunting. Our last epic hunt was in Philly, years ago, and we still crack up talking about some of the events of that weekend.

T-Diddy did not disappoint.

We arrived in California with high hopes and about zero apartment leads. Carissa had emailed several people in advance, with very few responses, and based on the fact that I have used Craigslist to find roommates and apartments way more than is humanly imaginable (and the fact that I’m a control freak), I decided to take over the online search. Between two iPhones, an iPad, a MacBook and two portable MiFi’s, we were able to navigate and apartment search non-stop. Our first stop out of the airport was the rental car place, where they had run out of the kind of economy cars that we had ordered, so they directed us to a metallic blue two-door Mustang. I think Carissa and I high-fived and jumped up and down a little… because it was sooooo cute…. but after about 30 seconds and 16 bruises trying to shove all of our luggage and our asses in the car all at the same time, we were over it VERY quickly. “THIS is when you need a man around!” and “Ugh this car is DISGUSTING.” and “This backseat depresses me.” and “We should have gotten a minivan.”

We went from apartment to apartment… meeting weirdo after weirdo. When I realized it pushed Carissa’s buttons every time I burst out into Taylor Swift’s, “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” I made it our theme song, and applied it to every appropriate situation, such as running out of a strange apartment and away from said weirdos.

We met Liz, a girl who was sprawled on her couch mid-day with a blanket wrapped around her legs and no interest in introducing herself to potential new roommates, Tammy, a redhead who shared a room with her 36-year-old boyfriend, detailed us on her financial aid problems for 10 minutes and exclaimed “A CLEAN HOME IS A HAPPY HOME!”, an Indian couple who had a shrine in the corner and did not believe in having TV in the living room because they didn’t like the energy to be focused towards a wall… and then there’s Michael.

Michael is worth mentioning for oh so many reasons. First of all he was about 55. Carissa spoke to him on the phone on our way over to see his place. “He’s middle-aged.”

“How do you know??”

“Believe me.”

We went anyway. He was middle-aged. He was a millionaire in the construction industry who lived in a modest-sized home, but with an extremely eclectic design, and attention to every detail. When we first entered his home my initial thought was “what a weirdo… what grown man with money is looking for a roommate??” I obviously assumed he was a sex-offender of some sort.

But as we got the grand tour of his home, the fountains outside, his over the top miniature models of multi-million dollar projects in the works, his cigarette boat in the backyard with a $20k paint job of skulls and naked women, and his beloved Porsche in the garage, I realized he wasn’t a weirdo sex-0ffender. He was just a harmless lonely gay man looking for someone to “keep the dogs off the front lawn” when he traveled.

T-Diddy had a soft spot for Michael. She found him interesting. She found his plants and trees even more interesting. After he gave us a 5 minute report on exactly how he measured out his front garden, T-Diddy had fallen head over heels in love with one of his trees which he informed her was called a “Bird of Paradise.” She was determined to have one. She was going to find one and bring it home with her.

“Mom, you can’t bring a tree on a plane.”

“Yes I can. I’ll get a small one.”

“You’re going to bring a TREE through security?!!!”


Well then that settled it. We left Michael’s with no intentions on Carissa living there, but on a mission to find a Bird of Paradise. The next morning we woke up in our hotel to a note from T-Diddy, saying she had gone out shopping for a Bird of Paradise. Sure enough, after two Home Depots, she found what she wanted, and in she walked with her beloved tree… which she immediately named “Aunt Bertha.”

Aunt Bertha spent her morning on the balcony getting pampered by T-Diddy. She then joined us in the mustang, on the floor in the back behind the passenger’s seat.

“Can you move your seat up?? You’re squishing Aunt Bertha!”

“Mom, you want me to crunch my legs into the dashboard so that your TREE has more room in the backseat?!”


Aunt Bertha came everywhere with us. She ate with us, drank with us and slept next to us. I’m not sure why T-Diddy didn’t want to wait until our last day to find this tree… but in any case, she became part of our family.

Time was ticking, it was almost time to head back home and Carissa still hadn’t found an apartment. We had a couple more on the agenda, so we were REALLY hoping to like one of them. We pulled up in front of the house where we had an appointment for 11am. It was cute. We were optimistic. We rang the bell, no answer. Rang again, no answer. Emailed the guy “we’re here.” No answer.

We obviously thought the bell must have just been broken… and since the bars on the door didn’t allow for knocking, Carissa decided to climb through the bushes and knock on the front windows. We weren’t opposed. She was getting desperate at this point. Still… no answer.

I’m not sure why, but we figured if we walked around the side of the house and yelled “hello” into THOSE open windows, maybe someone would hear us. No response. So we headed into the backyard… maybe they were back there.

Nope, no people, but there was a cornhole set with bean bags, so Carissa and I decided to play while we waited to see if someone would come out to yell at us (because then they’d obviously want to live with her). Nothing. T-Diddy comes around back during our game and spots a tree. “OHHHH A LEMON TREE!!!!”

She gets right in there and plucks a lemon from the branches, talking to herself, “This is such a nice souvenir!”

“Mom that’s not a souvenir! That’s somebody’s lemon tree!”

She doesn’t care. She’s busy sniffing her lemon. We were busy peeing in our pants. We decided that now that something had been stolen, it was time to go.

“Well that’s what he gets for not answering the door.”

FAIL. But at least we walked out of there with a fresh lemon.

The trip was filled with lots of laughs, a few bruises and some blood (that disgusting car), and finally an apartment and a roommate for Carissa. We even purchased quality mattresses from a random man in a warehouse after T-Diddy called a number she saw on a handwritten sign on the side of the road reading “MATTRESSES $150.” Who ever responds to those signs, you ask??? My mother does. We paid, and they haven’t been delivered yet, so the verdict on that man is still up in the air. Fingers crossed; it’s all we can do. Because obviously buying a mattress from an actual store would be logical, and therefore out of the question.

Onward ho…. road trip west begins in 12 days.














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