2007 May | Somewhere in Middle America

This is what $213 worth of groceries looks like. By the time we reached the checkout line, we had 88 items in our cart. In New York, that probably would have cost at least $300.

Besides the $213 on food, we spent $403 at Nebraska Furniture Mart yesterday, the largest furniture store in the universe. It sits on 78 acres of land or something ridiculous like that. We purchased two new office chairs and a dark brown, mid-century modern-looking console for behind the couch.

Before we hit the supermarket, we went to Big Fred’s Pizza Garden for dinner. It’s supposed to have the best pizza in Omaha, but the New Yorker in me found it to be almost inedible. The crust tasted like a giant baked pita, the sauce was hardly saucy, and there was way too much cheese piled on top. Plus they hid the pepperoni under the mound of cheese, which I hate.

Anyone want to Fed Ex me some Famous Ray’s?

J and I actually left NJ on Saturday around 11:30 AM and arrived in Omaha at 1:45 AM on Monday. Our 8-hour drive to Cleveland on Saturday was mostly uneventful — except for the periods of heavy downpour that made it nearly impossible to see the cars ahead of us on I-80. Though boring, I will say that the trip through Pennsylvania was quite pretty. Lots of rolling hills and greenery.

We had a lovely BBQ with J’s family Saturday night — his mom certainly knows how to entertain. After dinner with his brother and sister-in-law, grandparents, and mom’s bf, a smaller group of us played Texas Hold ‘Em (I literally learned how to play right before the game began, so we didn’t bet any money) until 1 AM. J’s mom, who also recently learned how to play, never folds — she always bets — and she usually ends up winning. J’s brother was getting annoyed at his mother’s lack of strategy, but the rest of us found it pretty hilarious.

Sunday was a hideous travel day. Nearly 13 hours in the car — and we had to drive through the rest of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. Not very scenic. Of course we got a late start out of Cleveland — we had to stop at Best Buy to pick up an FM-adapter for our iPods — so we didn’t leave until about noon. Since we packed ourselves a lunch before we left we didn’t have to stop to eat mid-afternoon, but we did stop for dinner around 7:30 PM in Le Claire, Iowa (we had to detour off I-80 in Le Claire, which is how we picked that town to eat in). After singing along to the entire Rent soundtracks and me playing DJ (albeit one with ADD), we arrived home (ahh!) in the wee hours of the morning. We unloaded the roof pack that was filled with clothing before calling it a night and crashing on our brand new Queen-sized Aero Bed.

Monday was a very productive day. We rearranged some furniture, unpacked some boxes, and bought a mattress (a Vera Wang for Serta, naturally). We also made a trip to Lowes to buy new hardware for our Craigslist-purchased bedroom furniture. J was like a kid in a candy store; I couldn’t wait to get out. I’m not what you might call “handy.” The idea of home improvement actually makes me itch a little.

I should be sleeping right now, but before bed we checked our registry lists online, and I was woken up around 2:30 AM with thoughts of bud vases and serving trays.

Later today I will post pictures of the apartment so you can see its transformation from a complete mess to slighty less messy. Even in its most chaotic state, I love it.

J and I are embarking on Part 1 of our drive to Omaha in just a few minutes. Gotta make a quick stop at the pharmacy, Dunkin’ Donuts (of course), and Best Buy (for an FM-adapter for my iPod) before we hit the highway. It’s Route 80 all the way, baby. We’ll stop in Cleveland tonight to crash at his mom’s place — and enjoy a Memorial Day weekend BBQ with that side of the family — yum!

Somewhere in middle America…here we come!

Tuesday was my last day of work. The girls in my department took me out to lunch at Blue Ribbon Bakery, where I ordered my usual: tomato soup and a BLT. Of course we all ate lots and lots of bread. I realized that I’m going to miss coming into the office every day. While I might not miss the work, I’m definitely going to miss the people. Who knows when I’m going to see them again? I’m going to do my very best to stay in touch with many of my former co-workers, like Katie (who can related to all the big changes in my life), Rachel (who was seriously the best boss I’ve ever had — in my exit interview I told HR that they should reward with a big fat raise), and the rest of the publicity team.

After work I met Em for our last Tuesday night movie. We saw Waitress at the Clearview Cinema in Chelsea. The film had gotten rave reviews, and we were both looking forward to watching what we thought was supposed to be a light-hearted, up-lifting movie. Not only was it slow, it was depressing! Keri Russell was lovely to watch on screen, but her character just angered me the entire time. I understand that we were supposed to sympathize with her, but I couldn’t feel anything but frustration towards her. I have a hard time watching a movie where the main character is “trapped” in a bad marriage. There’s no such thing as being trapped in a bad marriage! Just leave! Get out! Ugg… But Cheryl Hines and Adrienne Shelly’s characters were quite enjoyable, as was watching Andy Griffin.

Yesterday I went back into the city after spending the night in NJ to run a few errands. I had some final doctor appointments, stopped by the apartment to pick up my mail, went to the post office to change my address, and got a pedicure at Dashing Diva (they do such good pedicures — and you know that you aren’t going to get any icky toe nail fungus because they are so clean). I also got to say goodbye to Jenna in person; we ran into each other on the street near the apartment. She was such a great roommate. I’m really going to miss living with her.

After work yesterday I made a quick stop at my doctor’s office (she wanted to draw some blood) before going to get my haircut. My stylist, Liz, is also newly engaged, so we spent the hour talking about our (lack of) wedding plans. She agreed that most bridal magazines are just ads for one ugly dress after another. I hope that her wedding does not end up being the same weekend as mine because I would love for her to do my hair. I’ve actually never seen her do an updo, but she gives an awesome cut, and she’s done hair for New York Fashion Week, so I can’t imagine she wouldn’t know what to do.

Post-haircut I rushed over to Spice in Chelsea to meet Elyse and Amy for dinner. We gossiped over Spring Rolls and Drunk Man Noodle before moving the conversation across the street for some Tasti-D-Lite. They had my favorite flavor – Butterfinger – but I was so stuffed from dinner that I couldn’t even finish my small cup of Butterfinger and Chocolate Oreo with rainbow sprinkles. I’ll most likely see Amy next month at my engagement party, but Elyse doesn’t think she can make it, so I don’t know when I’ll see her again. That is such a strange thought.

It was nearly 10 pm at this point, and I took a cab over to Rachel’s to spend the night since my apartment had been cleared out on Sunday. I got there just as 24 was ending. I think we passed out in her bed less than an hour later. I am more than excited that I can actually fall asleep – and stay asleep – these days (although R claims that I did not sleep soundly – apparently I kicked, tossed, turned and talked in my sleep). Poor J, she said.

My doctor could give House a run for his money. She deduced that the chills, fever, and rash I was suffering from stemmed from a drug allergy. Turns out I’m allergic to sulfa drugs. I stopped taking the antibiotic that was causing this commotion, and within a couple of days my temperature returned to normal and my rash started to fade (the itching hasn’t stopped completely yet). I feel better than I have as long as I can remember.

Unfortunately I’ve lost about a week in preparation time for the big move. My parents, J, and a family friend helped empty out my New York apartment yesterday. Now my stuff is sitting in heaps in my parents’ living room. I now have 5 days to sort through it and repack the stuff that I’m taking to Omaha. Whatever we won’t be able to stuff into the car we’re driving across the country we’ll have to ship. When J flew back to Omaha last night, he took with him two big suitcases full of clothing that he’ll bring back empty on Friday. That’ll save some room in the car for my shoes. Lots and lots of shoes.

Ox made me a new header, and it’s amazing! What a great way to lift my spirits on such a crappy day. I love it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I should have stayed home yesterday. Last night my fever spiked to 103.2, so my wonderful roommate took me to the emergency room, where they ran every blood test known to man, checked my urine (fun!), and took x-rays of my chest. Four hours later my fever went down, but my blood work didn’t show anything, so once I was feeling better, I went home (my roommate had already left). This morning my fever was up again to 101.9. So now I’m on the couch, having moments of hallucination, sweating and then getting cold, and waiting for my dad to pop by after his morning meeting. Thank goodness I have my family nearby because I hate imposing on friends when I’m sick. My sister came over before work to buy Tylenol for me and buy me bottles and bottles of SmartWater, VitaminWater and OJ, plus two bagels with butter, two yogurts, and a cup of chicken noodle soup from the bodega beneath my building.

I started feeling better after the Tylenol, and now I’m hovering around 100.4. My last day of work is next Tuesday, so this is horrible timing. I feel so guilty about not being at work during my last full week, but what can I do? If I have a viral infection, I don’t want to get anybody sick, and to be honest, I don’t even think I could get myself onto the subway to go into the office.

At least Martha is on. I’m learning about lilacs. And noticing that America Ferraro has gorgeous hair.

I caught the bug that my sister and my mom had last week and over the weekend, respectively. I started feeling symptoms yesterday mid-morning: chills, wooziness, body aches. I could not get warm at my desk and eventually ended up leaving 30 minutes early. When I got home I started sweating like I was sitting in a sauna…and then I felt better. Until it was bedtime. Then I was cold again and in pain. I cried a little bit because I turn into such a baby when I’m sick. I had a fever when I went to bed and a fever when I woke up. Although this is my last full week at work, I decided I couldn’t go in with a fever (according to Ox, they mess with mental clarity), so I rested in bed, watched an episode of Whose Wedding is it Anyway?, and wrote some emails. Then I miraculously felt better! I straightened my hair, put on my make-up, got dress, and went into the office. No point in sitting at home if I’m not feverish, right?

Wrong. About an hour after I arrived, the chills returned. Luckily I brought a sweater to wrap myself in, and I made a trip out to Starbucks for a venti Zen tea. The tea seemed to do the trick. It warmed me up…and up…and up. My lovely straightened hair got pulled up off my face, my blush became overly enhanced by my flushed cheeks, and I started sweating in places one shouldn’t sweat.

I wish I had brought my thermometer with me. I would have loved to have known what my temperature was. I felt so guilty about taking a legitimate sick day today, but I probably should have. I hope I don’t get anybody sick.

Nearly an hour after my first attempt, I fell asleep last night sans Ambien — and slept until my alarm clock went off this morning! How did I do it? I have no idea. It was probably just complete and utter exhaustion catching up on me, or it could have been because I re-read an old copy of Brides for the umpteenth time and bored myself to sleep. I’m so sick of flipping through ads of cheesy wedding gowns. I want features on flower arrangements and table decorations and hairstyles that can withstand humidity. So far, I’ve found the most informative magazine on the subject of nuptials to be Martha Stewart’s Weddings. I’m turning into such a Martha groupie.

(image via marthastewart.com)