Itchy [ 2005-03-28, 6:22 p.m. ]

Maybe it's because I know spring is here, even though the weather begs to differ, but I am itching for change. I've been wearing the same sweaters and going to the same restaurants and watching the same television shows for the past four months and dammit, I want to break out. I want to put on a dress -- an honest-to-goodness DRESS -- and sit in the sun with a beer and a burger and a warm breeze blowing. Not up my dress, though.

Every year about this time I start to feel like it will NEVER get warm again, and like I will be stuck living the same day over and over again, for all of a very grey and chilly eternity. How many times can I stand in line for bagels on Sunday morning at Bagel World? How many times can we get pissed off because the NY Times failed to arrive on Saturday? How many more rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors can we play to decide who will take the dog out when it's cold and dark outside? Sweet jesus, how many more nights will I come home from work and pull on the same sweats and complain about the same things? (It's so COLD in this apartment! Why is it always SO COLD in here?!) Nearly every weekend we go through the same What do you wanna do, No, what do YOU wanna do? song and dance, and until Let's go to the park! and Let's go to a baseball game! and Let's go get ice cream by the ferry! become weather-appropriate options, the answer is always the same. Read-the-paper-get-brunch-walk-around-go-home-read-more- while-husband-naps-get- bored-start-thinking-about-dinner- check-furnace-curse-the- blasted-lack-of-heat-in-stupid- old-building-rouse-husband-from- nap-debate-dinner-options -eat-go-home-pace-restlessly-to-bed-and-more-of- the-same-the-next-day.


Bored, despite having perfectly lovely weekends, several in a row that have been delightful and temper-tantrum-free. On Friday night we had a sort of makeshift picnic on our coffee table and watched movies, on Saturday I had a hair appointment and then met Pastry for her dress fitting, went home and had lunch with Kent. We went for a drive, came home and napped before dinner. Spent Easter in similar manner -- woke up and took Tuesday to the dog park, let her run herself silly and terrorize other dogs, then home for bagels, to church and then walked to Park Slope for a delicious late brunch. Went across the street to charming bar for more drinky-poo, then home (where the Sunday Night Pacing and Restlessness kicked in). [Aside to people who live in or visit Brooklyn � the Stone Park Caf� is the greatest place ever. I want to live across the street and eat there every single day. If you haven't been yet, go, but please don't take too many people because I don't want to have to wait too long for a table. If the wait is long, have a drink at the bar, or go across the street to The Gate and have a beer or a glass of scotch. If you go to The Gate and happen to find a tiara, it might belong to my friend Alexis, who went there after her wedding and hasn't seen her tiara since. But STONE PARK CAF�. Go there! And then walk north on Fifth Avenue and get truffles from The Chocolate Room. My favorites are the Patricia and the Sophie.]

But my skin is tight and itchy and I need a change. (Literally, my skin is tight and itchy. All over. Hateful Winter takes its toll dermatological-ly.) About this time every year, I get a bad case of the Real Estate Shakes. We've spent all winter freezing in our 'spacious garden apartment', and right now? The amenities seem less than amenable. The garden has been covered in snow for months, and is now wet and muddy (and not really ours, anyway, as we are effectively just The People Who Live in the Basement for the charming family upstairs, to whom the garden really belongs). The spacious living room area is unfortunately spacious enough to accommodate TWO couches, one heinous ugly sleeper sofa that came with my husband, and one lovely new non-sleeper couch that allows for only ONE houseguest at a time. The ugly old one is too big to get out of the apartment. We paid several hundred dollars to a special We Fit Couches Through Small Doors company when we moved in, and I cannot bear to give them more money in order to get the ugly thing OUT. But there is no other way, apparently, so instead of a dining alcove we currently have a Dog's Lounge, because Tuesday very much enjoys the old, ugly couch and appreciates that she no longer has to share it with annoying humans. In the meantime, the dining table is folded up, leaves removed, and Kent's 327 coats are draped over it. HATE. HAAAATE!!! Spacious apartment is cold and now ugly and disorderly, and bedroom furniture looks like ass and the heat - WHY IS THERE NEVER ANY HEAT!!! - and it's DARK and it's too cold to open windows so it is STUFFY and right as I reach to jiggle the toilet handle for the 788th time and crouch on the floor to light the stove's pilot with a match, my skin starts to itch and my heart starts to pound, and the Real Estate Shakes come over me and leave me feverishly pouring through craigslist and about 17 other real estate sites, desperate to find a new place to live, and Oh, would it be a problem if we just BURNED EVERYTHING WE OWN I ask Kent as I catch that ugly old couch mocking me from across the room.

In July, we will love our apartment again, because the ugly ceiling fans will blow a steady breeze throughout, and the garden level will stay cool, for the most part. On weekends Kent and I can sit out back, glasses of white wine sweating in the sticky night, and the heavy trees and clacking bugs will muffle street traffic. The ugly air conditioning unit which lets freezing air in the bedroom throughout winter blows noisily but effectively, so we will still sleep under sheets and blankets, even in August. (Although, there are negatives. None of the cabinets in the kitchen close in the summer, too swollen with humidity. We don't have enough windows to get cross-ventilation. The bathroom has no circulation, and is damp and dank all summer. The front door sticks shut. My hair will become unmanageable in the humidity, although I can't really blame our apartment for that.)

But in the here and now, there is a pile of scarves and gloves on the shelf in the coat closet than tumbles every time I reach for the dog's leash, and it is pissing me off.

There is a new Volkswagon commercial playing during pretty much every commercial break, on every channel. You've probably seen it: Young hipster couple are dancing in their apartment, old curmudgeon comes upstairs and tells them they are being too loud, they take Cute New Jetta to buy stereo equipment, fun music keeps playing, commercial ends with hipster couple dancing to loud music as seen through front window of adorable new house, Cute New Jetta is in driveway. When that commercial comes on, we freeze. Our mouths fall open. Sometimes, my eyes tear up a little. That, Kent says, is everything I want.

From her couch across the room, Tuesday licks her business in agreement.

The house, the yard, the car, the stereo, the freedom to make as much damn noise as we want...we fall for it every single time. I have never mowed a lawn in my life and Kent has no idea how to clean gutters, but when that commercial comes on, we want a house and we want it NOW.

And Winter Blahs + Real Estate Shakes + Cute VW Commerical = Molly's head starts to spin and she wonders if she and husband and dog are trapped forever in one bedroom-apartment with slanty floors and intermittent heat. Do you think we'll live here forever, I asked my husband a few weeks ago, half-kidding, huddled on the [new] couch under blankets and sweaters. He shrugged, answered Maybe, also only half kidding.

Am BORED. Am about to turn 30, am renting an apartment with drippy 1970's chandelier and the ugliest bathroom in the WORLD, and have no idea when we will be able to move on, move up. Am tired of settling, want to SETTLE DOWN. And after five months of COLD, those Real Estate Shakes are baaaaad. And I remain convinced that the perfect apartment for us is out there, and it's just a matter of finding the right website. When I find it, it's going to be like the end of "When Harry met Sally," when Billy Crystal is walking down the street, alone on New Year's Eve, and he suddenly realizes that Sally is THE ONE, and he RUNS to her, he runs FAST, faster than you ever thought Billy Crystal could run, and it will be just like that only instead of Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan it will be me and my airy, bright apartment with level floors and a washer/dryer hookup, and I will RUN to the realtor and I will RUN to the apartment and I will tell the apartment that when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life living in an affordable but bright and airy apartment, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible. And the apartment will look at me with tears in its eyes and it will start to resist, because it has had other offers and has been through a tumultuous full-kitchen-and-bath renovation, but then it will see that I was meant to live there, and that I will love it's quirks and interesting period details (as long as the period is not 1974), and the apartment will surrender and we will go promptly into Escrow, because what is the point of waiting after it took so long to find each other?

Promise me spring will get here sooner or later.

Oh, and the song that plays during that VW Jetta commercial? Is called "Molly's Chambers." I am a dork and looked it up on the VW website, and then DOWNLOADED it, and added it to a "Fun Car Mix!" cd we burned Saturday morning (no, we didn't really call it that) before going for a drive. We drove over the Verrazano Bridge (why not?), through Staten Island (didn't like it!) and into New Jersey (ah, Jersey!), where we missed an exit off the turnpike and instead of taking the Holland Tunnel home, got stuck in traffic waiting to get to the Lincoln Tunnel. This is the dark side of the Jetta commercial, Kent said. I can't wait to be home, I answered.

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