The title really did refer to yesterday. My friends think having to keep windows opened in winter and closed in summer is particular to New York, but I have learned that we are provincial. I think steam heat is a curse of living in a beautiful pre-war, or before World War Two building.
Yesterday I was trying to work but my printer was stuck on copy and I drove HP crazy asking absurd questions. Don’t think I sounded too normal to anybody I spoke to.
My apartment is undergoing the longest menopause in history. It was too damn hot at first; I had to open all the windows, halfway up. I live on the ninth floor, and when kids visit, my biggest house rule is no going near the windows. As girls love to visit because I have a glass collection, and my apartment looks like a sophisticated girl’s house without the cute, and we can talk about blogging and other things that their parents aren’t hip to, they obey.
I spent yesterday opening and closing windows when I wasn’t bothering HP. Finally I realized that the apartment was still freezing, the windows had been closed for an hour, and no heat was coming from the radiator in the living room, or the numerous disguised pipes in the bedroom.
The only thing to do was get into bed and watch TV, but I was even too cold for that. So I fell asleep, and thus for the first time in many a year had twelve hours sleep. Though the heat came on, and I had to open windows a crack.
The front of my building faces Riverside Drive where it is always freezing; my bedroom faces the courtyard between my street and the next, and the Northern streets. My living room faces the brownstones that face the Avenues further East. I love my views, but hate that our heat comes from one giant furnace and has to be kept hot enough to warm the front apartments. Usually I like it when it breaks down for an hour or two, but it was beyond cold yesterday.
Once the super told me that there are pipes in my bedroom floor. Found out the hard way that he was right when I had a mammoth leak in the floor!
Leaks, I feel funny calling them floods this year, are a way of life in this building. Our super has no people skills, no ability to manage his staff, but he’s good with leaks. His beginning salary was 80K plus he gets a free apartment which if sold would fetch more than a million. When you have work done on your apartment, you have to give him a hundred to smooth the way; that doesn’t include the Christmas tip.
He used to have his hand out each time he walked into my apartment, but I refused to give him money to clean up a rock leak in my big bathroom sink (don’t ask) that came from the apartment next door. Yes you read right (small rocks) were in the sink. I just stared in disbelief.
That wasn’t as bad as the time my downstairs neighbors had a flood. I came home from a holiday party, walked into my bedroom, looked at the sand in a perfect circle on my floor, took my phone and went into the living room and made my calls.
An hour later it hit. The sand didn’t belong on the floor. When I had first bought the apartment I smelled something funky, at times. Nobody could ever find it. That’s because it was coming from the apartment downstairs. Somehow their valves had become so trapped that the valves finally exploded up! That leak was so extensive and the super, handyman and a supporting cast basically moved into my two and a half rooms that the coop board insists on calling three though nobody has ever seen the third room.
As women have traditionally suffered for beauty; people in Manhattan happily suffer for living in pre war buildings because the rooms are larger; there is more detail, and we’re New Yorkers. We were born with a complaint button.
John Lennon lived in a much more beautiful building on the opposite side of the Upper West Side. My sister lived on West 72nd Street when he did and would see him often. He was as much a part of the Upper West Side as Seinfeld was to become.
Some stores still have his autographed picture. It struck me then as it does now, how sad it was that he was killed in front of his own home. I didn’t like Yoko, but The Beatles were amazing. Sometimes I think I like the early Beatles music the best; then it’s the White Albumn. Doesn’t really matter.