Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I am remembering a dream

I am starting to remember a dream I had last night. I know that I kept waking up and then falling back to sleep into the same dream, and I was aware that I was dreaming. The dream was about my dad dying (which I have pretty frequently since he passed away in February). Normally when I have these dreams I wake up anxious and despondent, like he died just yesterday and I have to get used to it all over again. But in this set of dreams, I was keenly aware that my mind was trying to allow me to work through the grief and get used to the idea of him not being around. I would wake up and sort of marvel at the fact that I wasn’t panicking, and I would fall back asleep into the same time/place as the last dream.

When he first died I would have dreams of him being alive. One dream I had of him as a ghost, or an angel, really. I was doing a show and had come out afterwards through the stage door where the audience gathers to say hello to the actors. In the dream I was a little upset that I had not had a good show, but then I saw my mom behind the velvet rope smiling and waving. My dad was standing next to her but in front of the velvet rope, which seemed odd. I ran up to them and threw my arms around my dad and then as I did so, I realized that he was no longer alive and probably no one could see him. So, I turned to my mom, who was smiling at me, and asked, “What did it look like I just did?” She said, “You hugged the air.” I told her, “I was hugging Dad,” and she said, “I know, honey.”

Now I just have dreams of him being dead and I wish I could somehow go back to the other dreams, where I know he is dead but he is still alive in front of me. It’s weird (and hard) losing a parent. I had no idea until I lost him just how often I think about him during the day. And I am more acutely aware of how who he was affects who I am every day. The magic of parenting is starting to make sense to me- how two people can create a child and then influence them so completely that when they become adults, they are a complete person comprised of 3 parts: 1/3 self, 1/3 dad and 1/3 mom.

I might have to go cry now...

The Actor's Nightmare

I had a dream last night that fits in with a stream of “actor’s nightmare” type dreams that I have on occasion. In this one, I realize that I am likely going to get cast in a really big role that I am starting to get excited about. Then I hear some rumors that they are still uncertain about the casting and they would call me about it. When I finally get the phone call, they tell me I can choose between two roles- the big one I had heard about and a much smaller one. They ask me which I liked better based on the script and I realize that I had not read the script and therefore didn’t know the character names. I couldn’t very well say, “I want the big one” and it would look really bad if I told them that I hadn’t read the script. So, I start panicking because I am afraid that I will pick the small one by accident. But then I remember the name of the character for the big part, and I ask if that one is still available. The casting person says yes, and that I can have it if I wanted it. I accepted, and the rest of the dream I spent in a little bit of a daze, being excited about the role, but also being anxious because I almost blew it. The dream ended with me seeing some actor friends and telling them we would be working together again and being pretty happy about it.

Then I woke up and realized that I am still waiting to hear back about two auditions I had last weekend. Plus, I am waiting to hear if we got the apartment or not. I guess these types of dreams happen as your mind is trying to work out its problems. Fascinating...

Friday, July 14, 2006

1 Year Wake Up Call from NYC- Ouch.

So, my boyfriend Tom and I have decided to move in together after being together for almost a year. For both of us, it was quite a shock moving into group houses (2 or more roommates) when we had both lived alone before moving to New York. While we adore our roommates (and mine, in particular, rock) there is something enchanting about the idea of having our own place. Up until now, I have sort of been in a holding pattern. Once I knew Tom and I were serious, I stopped thinking of my current apartment as “my” place. I stopped trying to improve upon it and stopped feeling connected to it. So, we have been waiting for just the right moment to make the move so we can really have a home we can call our own.

Our trip to Norway is really what clinched the move in my mind. We have proven, over the year that we have been together, that we can handle nearly anything that is thrown at us. With Norway it was a combination of going to a foreign country and spending 2 weeks almost exclusively with his family (many of whom speak only Norwegian). So much happened during those 2 weeks that it is almost too difficult to tell it all. If you have specific questions about Norway, feel free to leave a comment and ask. At the very least, I will say this:

• Due to it’s latitude in the summer, it never got completely dark at night
• Due to it’s (nearly) socialist economy and high sales taxes, it was very expensive to visit
• It was one of the most beautiful countries, with the nicest people, that I have ever been to

Ok, so onward to the topic of today’s blog...

So, it’s no big secret that it is very expensive to live in Manhattan. But we figured that with our two incomes, we could afford to get a one bedroom apartment (usually between $1400-$1700 and up) in “the city” which is considered an upgrade from Astoria, Queens, where we live now. We knew that we would have to provide a security deposit, the first month’s rent, and since apartments are typically rented by brokers (like real estate) we would owe a broker’s fee. We had heard that the fee was typically one month rent (ouch!) but since we knew about it in advance, we knew to be somewhat prepared.

But, holy shit people, we were wrong. The going rate for broker’s fees is 15% of the yearly rent. 15%!!! On $1500/month rent, that is $2700. In addition to the deposit and the 1st month’s rent! On a higher priced apartment you might be able to get that percentage lowered, but for a lower priced apartment like we are trying to rent, there are dozens of people waiting in line willing to pay full price, so we have no negotiating room. The thing that really sucks is that for this apartment, there wasn’t an agent that could work exclusively for us (vs for the owner). This owner using one rental agency exclusively, so we are paying $2700 to simply have the agent open the door and take us to his office to sign paperwork. No searching or negotiating on our behalf. The agency is getting paid on both ends (by the owner and us), and there is nothing we can do about it.

Not only that, but trying to get an apartment rented is just as difficult as trying to buy a house! We found an apartment that we really like on the Upper East Side. $1500 for a one bedroom, with great storage, lots of space, in a great neighborhood. We can afford it financially, but can we afford the headache of the application process? Here is the list of things we had to provide when applying for the apartment:

• Application with 3 business references
• Legal Photo ID
• Letter from my current landlord saying I have been a model renter
• Letter from my current employer verifying my salary, length of employment and position (and since I am an independent contractor as well as an employee, I had to get letters from all of my consulting clients as well)
• 2005 Tax Return
• Last 2 pay stubs
• Bank Statement
• Letter from your CPA (huh? Who has a CPA?)

In addition, they will be calling all of our references in addition to the letters we worked so hard to collect, plus they will be doing a search for our names in the landlord/tenant court system.

Man oh man. What a racket! It sucks to think we have to do this because the people of New York have not stood up to the city to complain about how outrageous this is.

Maybe I should just become a real estate agent...

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