Monday, September 14, 2009


Kids, ever since I moved to NYC I've made no bones about how the city could change a person. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.. but like Alice down the rabbit hole, you always emerged from the other end a whole new you. As I reflected over the past year of my life, I reminisced about the roller coaster ride it had been. I won't lie. It kind of resembled an E ticket ride at Disney world. However, through all that turmoil and excitement, I had never really grown to love the one place I was supposed to call home.. my apartment.

Don't get me wrong, it was a beautiful space, with a view they'd show in most movies. And while people would tease that I lived in New Jersey, I would always counter them with a glance at my unobstructed view of the NYC skyline. And that they, those stuck up Manhattanites, no matter how great their view was.. Still had to look at NJ. I think it’s safe to say the joke’s on them.

A funny thing happened though when I started to pack away all my pots and pans. I almost felt a little.. sad. Sure my ‘Super’ was anything BUT super, not to mention a real bitch on wheels. In fact, at one time I’m pretty sure I threatened to pay my rent to her in one dollar bills just to watch her count them all. Or all the times it looked like a bomb went off in my kitchen because my cheftastic roomie decided to ‘kick it up a notch.’ Or the fact that my door guys were usually so blitzed they barely knew who was coming or going. But it was still the only home I remotely knew.

Piled knee deep in work projects, moving day arrived rather quickly. I watched as three men with an assist from my best friend and my father loaded my life onto a truck and sent it to its new destination: a mere mile away. But far more practical, and convenient in location than my previous apartment. And in this economy, who can really blame me? Besides, when I look at my upcoming schedule I'll be on the road more than I'll be in New York. It looks like it’s the gypsy life for me. Much to my father’s dismay, Vegas, my cat is still a refugee at my parents’ house where she pretty much rules the roost over the three Dobermans and countless other critters. And has the undivided attention of both my sister and grandmother who have to take turns watching her eat. What can I say?? She’s used to being an only child.

I thought when I left Florida I had rid myself of things like stifling heat, nasty humidity, hurricanes, and tropical storms, but true to form, Mother Nature kept me on my toes that weekend. The truck had barely parked in front of my new place when the rain arrived, introducing Tropical Storm Danny. Lord, I thought, please don't let this be a sign of the things to come.

My new roommates were all at work, so I was free to unload my stuff without disrupting them. I unlocked the door and was greeted by Rex, a dog the size of a bedroom slipper with bladder control issues. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a huge animal lover, but having been raised with big dogs, I'm definitely a bit biased. Besides, once dogs get small and start fitting in purses, they are more fashion accessories than anything else. Rex and his excitability would take some getting used to. But until then, I put him away in Alicia’s room so he wouldn't get stepped on by the movers, or worse.. loose on the streets in Hoboken.

I watched as the first of the boxes came in. Things were actually moving along quite smoothly until we got to the box spring. While my older building had had the convenience of an elevator system, the new place was a good old walk-up. On any given day the extra set of stairs would be a nice edition to my workout, but on moving day these stairs were a real bitch. After finagling with the stairs as much as they could, my father and the movers made their decision. It would have to come over the balcony.

One problem: my room didn’t have a balcony. That left us no choice but to go through Rapunzel’s room. I call her this mainly for her princess-like mannerisms, Pollyanna mindset, and the excessive amount of hair this woman has. Real or fake, she’s pretty much the envy of most women around her for it. She is the Jenn Sterger antithesis.. in short.. the girly-girl. The kind you would swear still owns a collection of dolls, the variety of which “guy’s girls” like me would love to do nothing more than microwave just to see how tolerant plastic was of low volume radiation. The mere fact she has a balcony only makes this analogy even more accurate.

My dad walked down the hallway and opened the door to the princess’ sleeping chambers when he was greeted by a less than pleasant site.

There, sprawled out in the middle of the bed was a man face down in the sheets. Oh yeah..

And he was also butt naked.

My father quickly shut the door.

"Holy shit," he said. "Someone's in there. And he's definitely not wearing anything."

My dad knocked on the door several times, and called out to the man, but there was no answer.

"I think he's dead," said my dad.

I shook my head and opened the door. Sure enough, there lay the Naked Man in all his glory. Where most people would call his nudity a flagrant foul, I’m going to use this as more of a time out to explain WHY there is a naked man in my apartment. You see, Naked Man and Rapunzel have been dating for several years now. I’d seen him over at the place many times; he just usually wasn’t modeling the Emperor’s new clothing line. But since he was in the off season his schedule was much more relaxed and his wardrobe apparently just followed suit. I walked into the room and threw a blanket over his Seth Roganesque hairy bare ass to save my stomach contents from seeking their nearest exit. Then, I tapped his foot.

"Um, Naked Man? Yeah…… hi. Were trying to move my things in today and were going to need to use Rapunzel’s balcony since some things won't fit up the stairs. Really sorry to wake you, but I was kinda under the impression everyone was at work."

I finished my diatribe and threw Naked Man his drawers. A few moments later, he emerged from the cave and went about his walk of shame to his own apartment down the street. I had just survived my first encounter with the Naked Man.

I wasn’t the only roommate moving in that weekend apparently. Enter Craig. We’ll call him that.. because well, that is where Alicia and Rapunzel found him: On Craig’s List. Finding roommates online is almost as intimidating as online dating. Wait… actually.. it's worse. After all, you have to share a living space with these people. The guy that used to live in Craig’s room we affectionately referred to as Borat, only because none of us could really understand how to pronounce his name. He traveled a lot though, so he more used the space for storage than anything else. Never mind the fact Alicia had gotten nosey one time while he was out and found ice picks, duct tape and rope in his room. We decided he was either a guy with an affinity for rock climbing, or perhaps was a serial killer in training. He turned out to be the former, but also ended up moving out to live with his girlfriend. Craig was his last minute stand in. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about the whole situation. But as long as he isn’t a complete slob or an ax murderer I think I will be ok with it eventually.

The rest of the furniture made it in rather quickly and easily. Then the real fun began.. Unpacking.

Sara and I unloaded all my bedding and linens, and then began the arduous task of finding homes for all of my clothes. We started piling away my shirts and underwear into drawers. But something wasn't quite right. For some weird reason, my drawers kept slipping out. Just then a bottle of shampoo fell off my dresser and began to roll across the floor, rapidly gaining speed before it stopped at the opposite wall. I picked up the shampoo bottle and walked it back over to the dresser. Why on earth had the bottle rolled clear across the room?

Just then, it dawned on me.

"FML." I said.

"What?"asked Sara as she approached me. "What's wrong?"

"Sara. Look."

I put the bottle back down on the floor and watched as it once again rolled across the floor and slammed into the wall.

You know that moment, when your picture perfect dream of your new place, new car, new girlfriend… when you discover their secret, giant flaw that forever would haunt your image of them??.. Well, this was that moment. If I had been born with one leg vastly shorter than the other, or perhaps had a budding career in skateboarding or any other extreme sport for that matter, my discovery would have been beyond exciting and awesome. But I was none of these things. So instead, I heard the sound of glass shattering as I came to the ugly realization…that I was living in a crooked apartment.

“Jenn, it’s not the end of the world.. it will just take some getting used to. Well, that and a few wedges and blocks of wood from Home Depot. So 9 blocks of wood and 4 door stops later my room was brought to a happy equilibrium.

The next few days were spent cleaning, painting and sprucing up the place. And if I must say so myself, just the addition of a little bit of color and elbow grease has taken the place from a 3 … to at least an 8. It certainly is no high rise renovation, but it definitely has character. Now it’s cleaner than it’s been probably since Bush Sr was in office, and W was still destroying a baseball franchise. It’s got more layers of paint on it than the girls on “Rock of Love,” but it’s still a work in progress. Just like life. You can analyze all the cracks, and nicks, and dents… or you can accept them as just a part of the process. A home and life are simply what you make them. And with a little hard work, effort, and love… well.. the results can be priceless.

And that kids… is how I met my roommates.


Pat said...

I'm smelling a much more R-rated comedy blog...maybe you can call this one "Under the Tunnel and Over the Bridge, To Jennifer's Pad We Go"? Regular blog entries regaling us readers with the zany adventures of Rapunzel, "Craig", Wizzy the dog, and of course the inimitable Jenn "#44 in the program, #1 in our Blogs" Sterger.

Joke's on me said...

only recently 'discovered' you Jenn, but this writing seems to come very easy to you, both on twitter and your blogs. Funny stuff, good subjects. You got a new follower here.

MichaelAMetzger said...

The small dog part cracks me up! Growing up my dad always told me, "Dogs under 30 lbs are to be used as a mop. Just stick a broomstick in their backside and clean the floors." However, I find it very ironic as he's went from having a doberman and Labrador, to two mutts that weigh 26 and 38 lbs.

Joey said...

Jenn, by now you should know that you atleast have to start with a " Level" foundation in order to have a "Level" home! You can't start off on a bad angle, it just doesn't line up with what your looking for! ;)

Sorry, you opened the door on that one girl!

Take Care!

Andy said...

Yeah dude, moving sucks. I just moved into a new place at the beginning of summer and looks like I might be moving out at the end of the month. Sounds like my land lady has similar qualities that your super had. It's amazing how good of friends you can become with strangers you move in with, so good luck with all your new roommates, and good luck getting the image of "Naked Guy" out of your head haha.

Droopdog said...

I recently discovered your blog, and am completely hooked! I started with the most recent posting,and am working my way backwards over the months/years, which I've inadvertantly found really "Tarantino's" your life events. It's quite apparent through your writing that aside from your knowledge of sports, you are also sincere, good natured, and have a kick ass sense of humor. Thanks for giving us a window into your world, and keep the blogs coming.

I'm in no position to give advice regarding your struggling dating life, however I thought I might offer you a suggestion. Since being "discovered" you've made your career priority numero uno, as it should be. Unfortunately, you're in a field of work where most of the other people you meet also put their career first. So, maybe you need to think outside the box. Maybe the person who will fit your current situation best is a guy who is not in your field of work, and is also willing to put your career first? A guy who can tell you, "Hey, I'm cool with being your second priority, and I totally support your career being your first priority." The type of guy who doesn't travel for work, is rooted in one place, and sort of a regular Joe who can be your refuge in the Boken area when you're not on the road. I know, I know...easier said than done! But, if you can find someone willing to also make your career first for now, then maybe over time once you're more securely entrenched in your field of work, you'll be more comfortable putting your relationship in the front seat, and your career in the back seat. Anyway, that's my two cents, and if there's one thing I've learned it's that I don't know shit about dating, so it might be advisable to completely ignore my suggestion! Either way, good luck ;)