Busy Busy

So, yeah, I did have a ‘normal weekend’ last weekend, something that is very rare. Laundry and such. Saturday night I checked out one of the local bars I’d never been to (or been aware of), had a great time. Ran into a neighbor I hadn’t seen in a while, enjoyed people-watching, saw part of a drag show, had a couple of cocktails. I think this place will probably end up being my ‘home’ bar, if I have such a thing. Then went and had dinner at the Q, using up part of a gift certificate from my father. I also love having a local restaurant, where I know the owners and servers and it’s all lovely and congenial (and mere steps from my building).

My back had been randomly effed up, even though I went to the gym that Saturday morning and did my stretches and leg work. So I wasn’t sure I’d accomplish the target task, but I got at least part of it done – moving the narrow bookcase back to the living room (it had been displaced by the Christmas tree) and moving a couple of other pedestals and little tables around. The bookcase will now be the music library – for piano and horn music at least – and the corner will be a nice little spot. The dining room table still has sheet music scattered all over it – I’ve been sorting and moving it into the bookcase a bit at a time – but no rush.

The weirdness of this week involved logistics. I’d gotten a renewal notice for our home insurance, and not really having time to delve into it with any serious concentration, I just called up the company and said, ‘look, I’m the only one on the policy now, but can we just keep it going as is?’ Answer: basically, yes, but for some reason, they needed the musical instruments on the policy rider appraised. Me: why? They’re already on the policy. Them: argle bargle reasons.

Well, OK, and actually for some reason the instruments we had listed weren’t necessarily the ones I wanted to cover anyway. I’d already had the piano appraised a couple of years ago just by filling out an online form, but I figured I needed to bring the horn, valve trombone and bassoon into town to get them appraised by technicians. And I didn’t want to do that in one trip (it would be ridiculous on the subway, and a cab ride seemed like an expensive way to handle it). So, sighed and planned to go into the office every day from Tues-Thurs (usually I just go in on Wednesday) and bring in one horn at a time. Also was trying to coordinate a breakfast with my buddy Martin one of those days.

And, actually, all that went OK. I brought in the trombone on Tuesday, just to have it sit in the coat closet for a bit. Wednesday, I brought in the bassoon and dropped it off with the repairman on the way to the office, then ended up picking it back up over lunch. And Thursday I brought the horn in and brought both the horn and trombone down to Landress Brass after work, and then home. So that got done. (The bassoon is still in the coat closet at work, but I’ll bring it home at my leisure. Not like I’m playing it.)

Meanwhile, because Tuesday was not all that busy at work, I decided to walk up to Charles Schwab and get C’s accounts dealt with. Dumbass me hadn’t realized how cold it was, and the walk from 45th to 52nd Street was miserable without a hat or scarf, oh well. When I’d gone to Citibank to do much the same task, they’d been all friendly and sat me down in an office to deal with this. With Schwab, I ended up dealing with a guy at the front desk, who was somewhat unfriendly and barked questions at me from the other side of the glass barrier, but lightened up when I had the correct answers to the questions and the paperwork he needed. Then it turned out, once I left, that there was already ‘a case’ opened up for me from a previous phone call I’d made, and I should come back at my leisure to fill out more paperwork – and I did that on Wednesday. This time, he was nice enough to show me to a conference room to take care of my stuff.

Other than the retirement accounts, a different animal, it turns out the easiest way to deal with the joint checking account is just to open up a new identical account just in my name (which you can do online in minutes) and move everything over. So I did that for Schwab and now I am doing it for Capital One, where our household account is. The Cap1 account needs some TLC, as there are quite a few accounts that autopay out of them, and I need to switch them over. But I’ll do that and after a month of ‘no activity’ in the original account, I’ll close it.

Also, I’d been warned about this by Susan, but ran into it at Schwab – they treat the letters testamentary (that declare me the executor and thus give me power) as something that ages quickly and expires – which makes no sense to me. The brusque guy at Schwab was like, “these have already expired, you need new ones”. I was like, “dude, I just got these in mid-December, WTF?”. Then he looked more closely at them and relented – but yeah, apparently, according to banks, these letters testamentary do not have much of a shelf life. So I need to do these tasks sooner rather than later. It still doesn’t make any sense – the will is still the same, I’m still the executor, this all literally just happened within the last months. Arggh.

I did have my breakfast with Martin, which was a lot of fun, and much gossip was exchanged. (He’s in this summer’s Ruddigore, and also in a couple of other shows that I have many friends involved with, and will be seeing.)

My college roommate Vance and his husband Craig have also been sweetly persistent about inviting me to things, although I haven’t been able to get together with them for a while. They’d let me know they were going to drag queen bingo this upcoming Sunday, so I’d already planned to do that, but then they invited me to dinner on Friday in town after they’d seen an afternoon concert. (The invite was a day or so ahead of time.) My reaction: immediate delight, paired with, “oh, jeez, I have to go into town again?” And then of course, yesterday is when the temperature dropped like a stone and winds got up to 50 mph – but I did come into town just for the dinner and it wasn’t too bad (I wore Charles’s gigantic cold-weather parka, which I’d never done before) and dinner, at David Burke Tavern, was lovely. We hadn’t actually seen each other since the viewing, so I thanked them again for coming to that, and we had a great time. We all got the restaurant week prix fixe – I had lobster bisque, mushroom ravioli, sides and a ‘coffee chocolate dome’. And we went our separate ways pretty early and they headed back to their house (reportedly without power, but soon to be back on) and I went home to knit and watch the finale of RPDR season 14. And I’ll see them on Sunday at bingo.

Yeah, more bars. I kind of had it in my head to check out certain bars in Manhattan and in Jackson Heights I’d never been to. So last Saturday was “Hombres”, which I loved, and then Tuesday night I stopped in to “Music Box” on the way home. That’s a bar that had been in that spot (or around that spot) when we moved to JH back in the 90’s, but was closed for forever, I think. Open now. So yeah, on a Tuesday night around happy hour, or at least on this one… I was the only one there. The bartender was not particularly friendly, ended up not having the ingredients for a cosmo, and so I had a glass of wine and left. Won’t be heading back there unless I have a reason.

Then on Wednesday, after my dermatologist appointment (see, a busy week), went to the Town House, a long time Upper East Side institution generally catering to an older rich-businessman crowd (and those who would like to be supported by such). I hadn’t been there in decades. Asked about the restaurant – they looked at me like I was crazy – but yes, there used to be a restaurant, owned by the same people – not underneath the bar like I thought, but down the street – but gone for a long long time.

But I ended up having a good time – the drinks were excellent and I chimed in to some of the conversations around me and did chat with the gentleman next to me, although he clearly was wary about getting deep into a conversation. I again had to ask how that bar ‘worked’ – at this time (happy hour), only the front bar was open, but at 7:00 the piano bar in the back opens up (which I’d vaguely remembered). Anyway, I had a nice enough time that I probably will go back, but it’s not near anything on my normal routes. Actually, though… it is kind of on my way home if I take a particular route, and it’s not far from the subway, so actually it wouldn’t be a big deal to stop there on my way home if I felt like it. Good to know.

Never been much of a barfly, but it’s a way to be social and when it works, it can be a lot of fun. Which reminds me, one reason I loved two-stepping so much back in the early ’90’s in Philly is that it gave you something to do when you went to a bar. And I’m now free to go two-stepping again, and the next Big Apple Ranch session is coming up, need to put that on the calendar.

So… five degrees out! No powerwalk today. Will spend the day on laundry, Ruddigore score comparison (almost done) and paperwork stuff: taxes, estate and so on. Should probably watch an Oscar movie tonight. Tomorrow is the first Sunday of the month, so probably visit the cemetery in the morning (should be tolerable, temperature-wise, by then) and then bingo in the late afternoon.

Enjoy your weekend!

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