I’m a do-it-yourselfer.
Rarely having the disposable income to hire it done has certainly contributed to the condition. In New York City there are people willing to do just about anything you don’t prefer to do–for a fee, of course.
Want a lightly toasted bagel and coffee delivered precisely ten minutes before you head to work in the morning? No problem.
Don’t want to carry groceries? Easy fix. All stores deliver.
It’s raining and your dog needs to go outside? Relax and let a dog walker wear the slicker.
I don’t indulge in the many conveniences living here offers and sometimes gripe about what a pain in the ass it is to reside in a crowded city while doing everything for yourself. Especially as I lug a new vacuum ten blocks from Bed Bath and Beyond to my apartment.
Last week I helped a friend empty her storage unit. She rented it seven years ago and the stuff had been inside, undisturbed, for all that time. Everything is crazy expensive in the city and storage units are no exception. Like most Manhattanites, she looked for ways to cut costs and paying to store forgotten possessions was a logical thing to chop. I told her if we could do it in three hours I was available as I had plans early that night (more on that later). We headed to Manhattan Mini Storage and got busy. I created three piles: Garbage, Sell, and Keep. Once finished she thanked me and commented on my physical strength as I lifted heavy boxes and suitcases from an upper level unit that required standing on a ladder and reaching inside. I am strong and I attribute that to my father. Being a girl never got me a manual labor pass. If something substantial had to be hoisted or carried I was expected to grab a side and go, without hesitation. Whining was never an option and I longed for gender discrimination at home (“Girls can’t do that!”). But since my dad did the grocery shopping and cooking along with the heavy lifting, the Equal Rights Amendment reached ratification in 1972 in one tract home on McKinley Avenue.
On Saturday I went to Home Depot. Just the scent of a hardware store makes me happy and there’s nothing I love more than walking the aisles while in my mind creating the next home improvement project I’d like to tackle. Many are just pipedreams—the result of living in a rental apartment where management might get testy if I walked in with the bathtub of my dreams and a sledgehammer.
Still, I’m considering sneaking in some glass tile and grout for a backsplash in my kitchen. I’ve watched several “how to” videos on YouTube and I think I can do it. Saturday I was there to buy containers and several bags of potting soil.
On the weekend there’s a man who sets up a stand near my street on Broadway. He sells deeply discounted flowers and plants that have seen better days. I have a suspicion he gets his wares from the dumpsters of florists. I call him Dead Flower Guy and snicker when I see people actually paying for those wilted bouquets. I turned into one of those fools on Saturday when I noticed two (not too dead) azalea plants. The price was right and I bought them. My daughter Morgan brought the car to the 3rd Avenue Home Depot and we loaded the bags of soil and pots inside—she helped bring them into my building, too. Pedro (doorman extraordinaire) jumped up to give us a hand as he always does. “You two are always dragging in something heavy,” he said, laughing.
I planted the azaleas on Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful day and it felt good to be in the sunshine on the terrace up to my elbows in dirt.
It was also a bit lonely.
I longed for someone to share in the toiling as well as the moment where one stands back and admires the accomplishment.
Not just any man. THE man.
Last Friday night I squeezed into shape wear and met a single girlfriend for drinks. Our goal was to find a happy hour spot where age appropriate single men gather. We started at Milos and went to another place nearby, but had no luck.
If anyone knows where men of a certain age gather after work in Manhattan, please share the love.
I haven’t been on a date since ending my year of online dating. As much as I enjoyed blogging about the experiences, one awful meeting after another took its toll. It has taken several months to consider dating again and that might explain gaining seven pounds. When I took myself off the market I was no longer competing with the plethora of walking x-rays who inhabit this city. OK, I’m a little jealous of their ability to survive each day eating only a carrot and I’ve decided to forgo Levain cookies and Empire’s snack cakes until I’m comfortable parading around my apartment in the nude with the blinds open. I’m also two weeks into the Insanity 60 Day Challenge, Shaun T is still kicking my badonk, but I’ve noticed my body is starting to change.
It’s time to get back on the horse.
My life is dogma-free. You will never find me praying to God, Allah, Buddha or Jesus. I’m not even sure what I believe. I’m more comfortable sending my hopes to the ambiguous Universe. I regularly propel thoughts out there and then forget them until what I’ve asked for materializes.
Here are a couple examples:
- The only thing I miss about my home in Las Vegas is outdoor space—a rarity in Manhattan. I threw out my request and then didn’t give it another thought. A year ago a friend was moving to Palm Springs and he owned an amazing apartment a couple of blocks away. No outdoor space but it had a washer and dryer—quite a luxury. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to move. All that was left was approval from his apartment board. “Only a technicality,” he was told. A day later my friend called with bad news. His building was pet-friendly, but only for owners. Anyone renting an apartment couldn’t have pets. I was so disappointed but I figured something better was coming. Several months later I went with a friend to an apartment on the roof of my building. She knew the tenant and was feeding her cats while she was away. I walked outside and admired the second apartment on the roof. The outdoor space was amazing. At that moment a woman walked outside to hang wet clothes on the railing and I yelled from across the roof, “You’re living in my dream apartment.” She replied, “We just gave notice. It’s available October 1st.” One minute earlier or later I would’ve missed her. The Universe conspired to give me that information and I’m now living my dream.
- I planned to get another dog. Kate was lonely and needed a friend. What I wanted was a Norwich Terrier, but I had a problem buying a dog given the amount of rescues in need of homes. A Norwich rescue just doesn’t exist as there are a small number of breeders and they keep tight control of where the puppies go. Every new owner must sign a document that states if they can no longer care for the dog they’ll return it to the breeder. They’re also very expensive. I contacted a couple of breeders and they chuckled at my naïve request. One told me, haughtily, “The Norwich is never a rescue.” Oh, pardon me. I quit thinking about a friend for Kate and figured The Universe would lead me to the right dog. Six months later I got an email message from a breeder who was a friend of a friend. She’d heard that I was looking for a rescue and she had a dog that was purchased because the buyer wanted a dog that might be good enough for Westminster. This breeder had a “Best in Breed” at Westminster many years ago and felt that the male puppy she had could be the next. After a year of working with a handler in preparation for the show ring it was determined that the dog was too big. The then-owner asked the breeder if she could give the dog to her adult daughter. The breeder agreed. Two years later the daughter had three children under five and couldn’t give the dog the proper attention. She contacted the breeder again and asked if she could return Nigel. The breeder had heard of my desire to adopt a rescue Norwich and she reached out to me. I was a bit concerned because the dog was going to be sent back to the breeder in California and I would have to fly to California to get him. I was leaving in two days for my annual summer trip to Virginia Beach so the timing was horrible. I spoke to the breeder and told her of upcoming vacation.“Where’s the dog now?” I asked.
“In Virginia,” she replied.
“Where in Virginia?”
Two days later, Nigel was mine. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that was a coincidence. Thanks, Universe.
These are just two examples of things that happen often. That’s why I don’t “muscle through” life anymore. When something was difficult, the old me would plow through the muck no matter how tough–forcing the outcome. It seemed when I pushed hardest and got what I wanted it turned into a mistake. Now I know there’s a reason it’s not easy, something better is waiting if I can let go.
On Sunday, feeling lonely as I planted here’s what I asked for:
“This time around I want a man who’s handy. Someone who won’t roll his eyes but instead roll up his sleeves when I have an idea. He’s got to be sophisticated, though, and an Irish accent wouldn’t hurt.”
I know. The accent part was over the top but when sending thoughts into the ether of no deity, one is allowed to be a greedy bitch. Plus, “wouldn’t hurt” was only a suggestion.
I picture a fifty-year-old version of Gerard Butler, comfortable with a multitude of drill bits. The kind of guy who uses a level instead of determining a picture is straight by eyeballing it. I imagine we’ll tackle the occasional project together and he’ll do most of the heavy lifting. I can see us laughing as we work and when we’re finished, he’ll put his arm around me while we admire our accomplishment. Later that evening he’ll suggest I put on something sexy since he’s made a dinner reservation at Per Se.
“Tonight you’re ordering two desserts,” he’ll say, “because you’re much too skinny.”
If you dream, dream big, right? I won’t dwell, Universe.
Work your magic.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.” Albert Einstein
To read an interview I gave to Kevin Ryan for Huffington Post click here.
Great post Melani! Hope the Universe delivers…:)
God, I am SO with you on this …. turning 46 this month, been on 2 ‘website’ dates and ready to throw in the towel …. your ‘guy’ above is ALSO MY dream guy ….. there is just something that turns me off about a man not knowing how to be handy … I can do lots of heavy lifting and not afraid to learn something new …. guess I am just ‘fishing’ on the right website ..(hint) or else I am looking too hard OR i should just stay single and independent …. blah!
Reel in that line, LaurieMay. I didn’t use POF but I haven’t heard any success stories from that site, either. Thanks for the comment and I hope you find “our” dream guy.
He’s out there! I’m certain.
That’s all I need to hear, Jeanne. Thanks!
Keep up the INSANITY!!! We are going to help you find him soon. And he will smile as he spoons that dessert into your mouth..LOL!!!
You have no idea how determined I am, Kristine. Insanity is brutal but I’m committed to sixty days and my goal is to look forward to seeing Shaun T’s face for 40 minutes–eventually. Hobbling off to bed now.
Keep up the Insanity, look forward for your final word on how it works! I believe the Universe will take care of all of us. It has been teaching me some awful lessons along the way but I keep holding onto the hope it will lead me to someone wonderful one day. Here’s hoping for both of us!
I’m a “change direction” kind of woman these days, Dovie. I’ve had those painful lessons, as well, and I’m doing my best to avoid them in the future. When things are too hard, I go the opposite way. The exception would be this rotten workout. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done physically, but I’ll keep going and let you know the outcome. Not sure if I’ll be ready to post a bikini photo after 60 days, but I’m hopeful.
Oh Melani…..sometimes I feel like your cosmic twin-only in a slightly older, plumper version slogging it out in the Washington DC dating gutter. Supposedly this is a mecca for single men but apparently not of a ‘certain age’. I finished up my year of on line dating with much the same result at you…. not nearly as many dates as you had but the same general result……Apparently cupid (hint) couldn’t find me a match and I’m approaching the same feeling of lonliness that you are. Just someone to hang out with….go to Home Depot and mumble with over the Sunday papers. I hate the meeting and greeting part of dating- the self-revelatory stage and forced laughter. I want to get to the sweats, a mindless movie and box wine stage…………ya know what I mean???
Haha, Cindy! I do know what you mean. Sweats, mindless movies and box wine–the Triple Crown, for sure. Although I’m sorry to hear the DC isn’t crawling with men, it’s nice to know NYC isn’t the only place with a dating gutter to slog through. Thanks for the comment, my cosmic-twin.
Nice azaleas! I plan on making more of a container garden too. And yes, anyone out there know of spots in Manhattan where the men are available and under 80? (And, an accent wouldn’t hurt either!)
I’ll keep you posted if I get any recommendations, Kim. We might be pressing our luck with the accent, but what the hell!
Maureen Tocchio says
Love your spunk and motivation, perhaps I’ll tackle a few jobs around my condo crying to be done.
I too would love to meet that handy man, life would be good, never mind the handy man a date would be great too!
Keep those blogs coming, I’m a huge fan.
Thanks, Maureen! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.
Jennifer Clement says
Great work Mel…believe!
I keep having a dream I will meet a witty, attractive blond on vacation at a local beach here in Florida and its a good thing I have my tool belt in the car to fix her lounger that broke when she opened it…..and she keeps smiling and mumbling …
” Thanks Universe “
Awww, Michael, that made my morning.
I don’t mind handy as long as they have a brain. I don’t do stupid, lol.
I never mind handy, Marcia, nor have I equated it with stupid. A most clever man I know reads obscure literature at night after a day of building furniture. Dumb is never an option for me–handy or not. Thanks for the comment.
The “ambiguous Universe,” as you call it … does work wonders and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. Always look forward to your sharing. A real treat in the day. 🙂
Thank you, Helen. I’m so happy you enjoyed the post!
Kern L says
Hi Melanie – Thanks for the fun story, I’m smiling and you are an inspiration. I too am a do-it-yorselfer who has suffered and celebrated at various times and have excellent tools and a well-worn UtiliKilt to prove it. Unfortunately I now live in a rather artificial society (small island in Middle East) and there is not much at home to fix other than me and I apply yoga, running and writing for this – and a healthy dose of sprint triathlon tomorrow morning. My own enlightenment philosophy tends along the thought path that whatever inner satisfaction one realizes by creating, building, or repairing is THE GIFT and I willingly accept that it comes from The Universe. I enjoy your confidence and personal direction as demonstrated from your life-on-the-web and especially that you share insight about how you developed and grew into the person you have become. People have asked who taught me how to do (fill in the blank) and the truth often is that I figured it out from research, observation, plans, etc. The more relevant and interesting question is how did one learn to “figure it out” and this get into role models, life experiences, spectacular failures and this often becomes a worthwhile conversation. And I strongly believe that most any really good conversation spans days, weeks or a lifetime. Alas, few people have that kind of patience so I do appreciate that you conceive, compile, write and share openly. I also like your positive outlook on The Universe and am quite sure that we share some common beliefs. I encourage you continue and always look forward to what you write next.
Kern, thank you for a comment that is lovely is so many ways. I especially loved the part about how a person figures it out and “good conversation that spans days, weeks or a lifetime.” Those are saved for rare relationships, for sure. Thank you, again, for taking the time to write such thoughtful words. I had no idea what a UtiliKilt was so I had to Google it.
Hey Melani! Greetings from Tulsa…I’ve stumbled upon an option for us single and strong women…LinkedIn. Here’s the story. My gfriend Cindy and I regularly go to an Indie movie theatre here in town on Sunday afternoons. About a month ago we saw “Silver Linings Playbook”…excellent movie! Anyway, there was a lone gentleman a few rows ahead of us who ducked out right before the final scene which was the best in the movie. Afterwards, we saw him in the lobby and I teased that he missed the best part…we chatted a few minutes and then Cindy and I headed out for a glass of wine. About a week later I get a message on LinkedIn from this guy! He couldn’t figure out if I was single or not since I had a costume ring on my left hand and he said he kicked himself for not taking our chat further. He asked if I wanted to get a drink and I was like “what the hell”. He wasn’t attractive in the typical sense but was tall and slim with all his hair…so we meet and he turns out to be a great conversationalist. We have dinner dates, a movie date and a walking the river date. Fast forward to now…I’m getting ready to go to the airport and get on a flight to Dallas to meet him for the weekend. He’s there at a seminar and we’ve decided it would be a good time (after 5 weeks) to “you know”! I am so charged to be getting out of town and “getting some”! He started out as a frog and is slowly evolving into a prince.
I know the cosmos is watching you and has big plans for you! Just remember to focus on inside beauty and even a frog can become if not a prince then a great guy!
Hello, Dana. Good news for you–both the guy and the pending “Texas two-step.” How did he find you on LinkedIn? Not sure how that might work for me, but I’m open to it, for sure. I’ve dated many frogs on the outside but princes underneath, so I’m well aware of the phenomenon. I do have to be physically attracted, though. That’s not something that grows on me over time. Have a wonderful lusty time in Dallas, you tramp. Love you, too, my Tulsa friend.
Great to see you are back online. This is definitely one of your better pieces. So funny, so much creativity and class in the style you write. You might not be lucky finding Mr. Right, but you sure know how to put together a story. Keep going, Melani – both with looking for your handy man and posting your posts. The first to make you a happier person, the second to keep your fans happy. And I am a huge fan. Bon weekend.
Thanks, Juerg. I’m glad you’re enjoying the storytelling and I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Have a wonderful weekend, too!
Jessica Laska says
You’re post is bang on the money! The let things happen approach is so true, we create way too much stress for ourselves in everything (hurry up, pick up, faster, better…). Stop, slow down, all in good time 🙂
Absolutely, Jessica. Everything in good time is the way to live. Thanks for the comment!
Wishing you the best on this one. I do wish you’d post blog entries more often, though. I do so enjoy reading them. And, that’s a damn good question, where do the single men over 50 hang out? My own nabe is full of 30-something singles or lovely middle-aged men who are all married. Oh, and btw, your apt, with a roof deck in Manhattan? You must be doing something right!
Thanks, RJ. I can always count on a comment from you with both something kind and a little zinger. Bet I’m not the first to tell you this :). As much as I enjoy blogging, I do it now based on inspiration, not obligation. I made a commitment for a year and stuck to it, but now I enjoy waiting for something to come my way that compels me to share with readers. The current post took me ten hours to write over two days. A normal amount of time for me with a longer post. The writing is why you enjoy the blog and it’s something I work hard to produce. I hope you’ll understand that the posts won’t ever be of the twice-weekly sort as they were on 1yearofonlinedatingat50.com, but I’ll always work hard to make sure the writing is the best I can give. Thanks for your comment.
Thanks for the smile on my face this morning….seems like it’s been forever since I’ve read a Melani ‘classic’! I so appreciate your style and sense of humor! Today I’ll be asking the universe for the opportunity to meet you someday, my cyber-space partner in crime! I’ll look forward to when my wish is granted….
Thanks, Debbie. I’m not sure what the measure of a “Melani classic” is but I’m happy you think this post is one of them. I hope we can meet, too! The Universe is always listening.
Laura L says
The joke I heard was that after 50, women are looking for a handyman and men are looking for a nurse with a purse. It is probably quite true in many cases. I have been so happy to get off of Match and have some breathing room. No false ups and downs, just life.
I am in the midst of my children’s graduations (one high school, one college), an ex-husband showing up out of the blue to attend those graduations (and live with me because he has no other means). I have never been so glad to let the dating scene go while I navigate this milestone in my life. Bite the bullet, forgive and forget and find joy in that. Do it for my kids – they are what is important now.
I too, am dogma-free except I do believe in nature and the power of it which I think coincides with your universe/amazing coincidence experiences.
I’ll put my quest out there, Melani, after June is over, my ex has left, my kids are on their way, and I have some breathing room.
And I love Nigel’s face. You should see my Chewie.
I’ve heard that joke, too, Laura. It sounds like you’ve got your hands full right now. At least it’s only temporary and for the kid’s sake. We can do lots of seemingly impossible things when it involves our child’s happiness. June it is, for your quest! Thanks for the comment and I think Nigel’s quite the specimen, as well. I have no doubt Chewie is equally adorable.
Ack! Hi Melani. What the hell was I thinking? Back from Dallas and glad to be free again. You are right…the physical thing cannot “grow” on you. I saw warts on that frog that have my retinas permanently scorched. We live and learn. I hope your weekend was great! Hope the workout you have undertaken is going well but remember to listen to your body…when it starts howling it’s time to dial back. Yoga has taught me that much!
Dana, I laughed out loud with your comment. The warts portion gave me quite a visual AND a visceral reaction. So you gave it a shot and it didn’t work? Oh well, that just means you’ve moved closer to meeting the guy who is wart-less or maybe just a couple of skin tags. Welcome home!
I like your writing style. It seems upbeat and funny. Thanks.
Thank you, James.