To Catch a Mouse

Or: “The Time I Almost Conquered My Fear of Critters”

I have only dealt with mice twice in my life before. The first was about a year ago in my aunt’s house. A mouse had climbed into the trash can and thoroughly surprised me when I went to throw something away. I ran away, screaming and hyperventilating. The second was this past June when I found a mouse in my closet in my old apartment. I jumped onto my bed, screaming and hyperventilating. My current roommate at the time (a boy) was delegated to “do something!” about it. He tried to calm me down by telling me that the little mouse is just as scared of me as I am of it. Did not really help. He managed to scoop it up into a shopping bag and (I’m pretty sure) threw it off the balcony. I do not know for sure, because I did not want to know the details of how he got rid of it. I just cared that it was gone.

It is not just mice that give me the heebie-jeebies. Spiders, centipedes, cockroaches…I have a paralyzing fear of them all. Picture this…during Summer 2010 I was a sailing instructor. During lessons one day (with a handful of kids on the boat), a spider crawled out of the boom about a foot away from me. I had a complete conniption, and fell into the water. The boat continued sailing off without me. Sorry, kids. I guess there is no better way to learn how to sail on your own than when your instructor falls off the boat? Even as a little girl whenever I saw a spider or centipede or any sort of insect, I would trap it under something like a bowl or cup (if I was feeling brave-ish) and run off screaming to find a parent to get rid of it. *I actually still do this.

So as you can see, I do not have much experience with little critters in general.

Three weeks ago, my roommate and I were getting ready for work, business as usual. As we were making coffee, we noticed that there were tiny dark things in a saucepan that we had left (clean) on the stove-top. Upon further inspection, we decided that these were not chocolate sprinkles but probably mouse droppings. Pretty simple conclusion, seeing as we did not have any chocolate sprinkles in our apartment at the time.

This is the worst feeling, because you have not actually found the mouse. It is just lurking in the shadows, leaving it’s mark in household items you use every day. C’mon, Mouse. At least show your face!

A few days pass, and no sign of the mouse (at this point, nicknamed Rocky after the mouse character Roquefort in The Aristocats). Then one day, as we were relaxing and watching TV, it darted out from the kitchen and into the living room where it just hung out by the TV. Neither Kim nor I moved, and I am not sure it knew we were there. One of us stomped our foot down off the couch and Rocky scurried back to the kitchen as quick as Speedy Gonzales. I swear that I saw it bump into the lamp in a frenzy, but I could be exaggerating. This mouse clearly had serious balls, so it was time to do something. While we did our research on the best way to get rid of a mouse, Kim sprinkled Cayenne pepper all around the apartment (apparently an all-natural solution).

Cayenne Pepper. Everywhere.

Cayenne Pepper. Everywhere.

Even More Cayenne Pepper.

Even More Cayenne Pepper.

After consulting with various employees of Home Depot over my lunch break, I left newly outfitted with: steel wool (grade #2), plaster, gloves, face masks, and the good old-fashioned traps. The steel wool and plaster was to fill and cover up the holes under the sink, in the hallway, etc. Face masks were because one Home Depot employee scared the shit out of me and went on and on about what mice like Rocky might be carrying in it’s droppings – this was for our own health. Gloves are smart to use when setting the old-fashioned mouse traps, so that the mouse does not smell you on the trap and avoid it (*pro tip).

Two Handy Girls. In Action.

Two Handy Girls. In Action.

A Job (Kinda) Well-Done.

A Job (Kinda) Well-Done.

We experimented with all of the above, and found out that plaster does not so easily cover up giant wads of steel wool, and I was thankful that we had duct tape – a simple substitution. Once all of the holes were somewhat sealed, in the jankiest way possible, we set the traps. Research shows that mice apparently like peanut butter. Well, I am allergic to peanut butter and Kim does not buy it, so Almond Butter would have to do. For our second trap, why not use cheese? Well, the only type we had was Brie. To be able to have his last meal be of Almond Butter and Brie? This lucky mouse picked one classy Upper East Side apartment.

Post-Gym. Don't Judge Me.

Post-Gym. Ready to Kill.

I will not describe to you what we woke up to the next morning, but I can tell you that there was no question in our minds that Rocky was no longer. And how to dispose of the crime scene? Don’t do it yourself, that’s gross. Call your Super, and have him do it for you with his bare, glove-less hands.

Car Trips with Strangers

This past August, I went to Maine with my dad’s entire side of the family to re-visit the town that we grew up going to every summer. Both of my grandparents passed away, and this trip was our final goodbye. It was a beautiful weekend, all things considered.

Daddy's girl

Can you tell I’ve been crying?

Ashes into the Ocean

Ashes into the ocean (oldest and youngest grandchild)

However, that is not the story I want to tell today. I want to tell you about my trip back to the city.

My flight back was in the late afternoon. We figured out that my cousins and I could be on the same flight to Philadelphia (the end of their trip), and then I would connect and continue on to LaGuardia. That is a little inconvenient,  considering it was the same price as the flight that goes straight from Portland to LaGuardia, but whatever – more time with my cousins. I did not book my own flights, so I cannot really complain.

It may have been weather or it may have been a technical issue, but whatever the reason was, our flight was incredibly delayed leaving Portland. We had planned it so that I would have an hour layover, but time was ticking and this layover was quickly becoming a tight squeeze. I went from having one hour, to 45 minutes, to 20 minutes, to 10 minutes…and after that I pretty much knew I was going to have to find the next flight.

Once I got to Philadelphia, I asked the attendant right outside of our gate if she could tell me where the gate for my next flight is. She told me that they were currently boarding but it was in another terminal. So, I ran. I ran as quickly as I could with my little suitcase and my bag. Have you ever seen someone awkwardly running with a backpack or suitcase? It’s not glamorous. But I threw dignity out the window, and kept running. I made it to my supposed gate, winded and red-faced, but they had already closed the doors only 60 seconds prior and would not re-open them for me.

As beautiful as it was, the weekend had been extra emotional for me and much of it was spent wiping my eyes. Being the oldest of the grandchildren, I felt closer to my grandparents than the younger ones, and it’s hard to say goodbye to someone you were so close to. By this point, I was tired and I was fragile. As soon as I saw those doors closed, I cried again right there in the gate.

Someone else came running up to the gate, apparently his layover and been cut short as well (I will note that he did not cry like a baby). Together we followed an attendant to customer service where we were told that our flight had been the last one to any of the New York metro-area airports for the night (oh yeah, it was midnight). The next flight was not until 9 am. Well, that was not going to fly – I needed to be at work in the morning and was not about to spend the night in Philadelphia.

Still crying, I did the first thing that any normal, responsible, independent person would do – I called my mom. She told me to rent a car and just drive back. It’s only a couple hours. I realized that the other person who had missed the flight was walking to the car rental area. We kept making awkward eye contact. I was tired, and really did not want to drive at this time of night. I knew what had to be done, so I made small talk and asked him where he was going. Once we realized we were going to the same area, it seemed logical to split a car and drive together.

Before you lecture me about strangers, let me explain. It was the kind of situation where we both just got stuck. He did not creepily come up to me and ask me to get in his van. He did not offer me any candy. He was just a normal-looking, nice guy who seemed to be about the same age as myself, and needed to find a way back as much as I did. And hey, I’m still alive.

I came to find out his name is Neil. Neil drove the whole way (thank goodness), and we spent the car ride chatting about anything – life, family, friends, careers, etc. When we finally got back to the city and parted ways at 3 am, I felt like we had just experienced this crazy, secret adventure together. Would I ever speak to this stranger again? Would my mom ever forgive me for giving her a heart attack? He and I are totes Facebook friends now, so I’d say all is right in the world.

My family is crazy

My family is crazy


In case you missed it…

This past Friday, I wrote my first-ever guest blog post for my college roommate/best friend’s blog. She loved my recent post about what’s in my search history and asked me to update the world on what else I’ve been searching for. Although it is not my most inspiring work, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was on the edge of my seat waiting for her to post it.

You can view what I wrote on Katharine’s blog here.

And to tide you over until my next ground-breaking post, let me share a few random photos from my desktop.

Things that make me happy.

My boss posted this to our company Facebook page. Two things that give me joy in life: bananas and marketing materials.

The only thing I can afford these days.

The only thing I can afford these days.

If this post wasn’t random enough for you, let’s add the song I currently can’t get enough of. Can you believe she is only 16?

The Event Planner Expo

For the past few months, I have been working on an event called The Event Planner Expo. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like – an event for event planners. The event was last Wednesday, October the 2nd, and I could not be more happy with how it turned out.

We had approximately 1,200-1,300 attendees in the events industry. We invited event planners from the tri-state area specializing in all types of events of all different sizes from large live entertainment events, small-scale weddings and mitzvahs, and more. My client, EMRG Media, is very well-connected in the events and meetings space which helped our great turn-out. Being that this is an Expo and networking opportunity for event professionals, we had about 80 event-service companies exhibiting, including: florists, caterers, ice sculpturists, bakeries, performers, attractions and transportation, hotels and venues, and more.

Branded Ice

Branded Ice

Planning this event was no easy feat. We were only hired in August, just less than two months from the Expo date. This made it an incredibly quick turn-around for an event of this caliber, but our team hit the ground running. My company managed most aspects of the pre-event stages: exhibit sales, marketing, venue logistics, registration, decoration, etc. These are the things in which I have found that I thrive. It is a very awesome feeling to look back at something and not only realize that it was successful but that you had a good time doing it (even through the daily stresses).

Set-up stress

Set-up stress

On the day of, we showed up to the Metropolitan Pavilion at 6:30 am ready to go (the Expo did not start until 3 pm, by the way). Well, the rest of my team was ready to go. The night before, I had vowed to get to bed early, get a good night’s sleep. I certainly was in a deep sleep because I slept through my alarm and woke up 10 minutes before I had to leave. The worst feeling is knowing that you really, really should shower but don’t have time to, and you’ll be working and networking from 6:30 am – 9 pm. Making the best of a situation, I showed up rocking a sock bun – the lazy girl’s Hail Mary.

Fast-forward to 9:30 am. There was a lull in the set-up process. The exhibitors were doing their own thing to get their booths ready, and we were stuffing gift bags. I asked my boss Amy what I could do to help out besides gift bags and she said, “shower”. After I protested, saying that I would feel bad leaving set-up, she said “I know you, and I know that you’ll complain the rest of the day if you don’t, so go.” So, I left, found the nearest New York Sports Club (my gym) and took a quick shower. You have no idea how glad I am to have the bosses that I do.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch (or at least, without any major issues), which is the biggest relief for an event planner. The atmosphere was great, and the Expo felt like a fun party with a side of business. It is refreshing to see everyone having a great time – networking, dancing, sampling food. The vibe was all-around happy, which makes me happy.

The Karlyn Group

My two wonderful bosses

[Side-note: not only did I see people in attendance that I know from college, but it turns out that my childhood neighbor is an intern at one of the companies who exhibited. Small world!]

You can also view more photos HERE.

5 Things

I read and follow a lot of blogs, and there seems to be a recurring theme among almost all of them. Bloggers love posts that list 5 things – “5 Things That Inspired Me Today”, “5 Songs That I Love Right Now”, “5 Things To Do This Weekend”, etc. My friends in college used to play a really fun and embarrassing game called “let’s see what everyone googled last”. So in honor of that embarrassing game and lists of 5 things, I present to you…

The last 5 things I googled on my phone:

1) “avocadoes from mexico”

2) “libra symbol”

3) “clark kent”

4) “where to buy fatty sundays”

5) “can you take a dog on the subway?”

The Walk

In high school, we made a tradition of attending the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on behalf of Kim. We had matching turquoise team shirts that said “KIM & CO”, in the Tiffany’s & Co style. It’s been a while, but we got a great group of people together and walked again this year. Unfortunately, without matching shirts.

In high school, another part of the tradition was being incredibly, incredibly hungover. The walk takes place on a Sunday morning, so we were certainly not going to sacrifice our raging Saturday night plans (most likely in someone’s basement, drinking alcohol stolen from our parent’s liquor cabinets…sorry mom). There are countless photos of me looking like I just got run over by a car, but I still always made it, somehow. I must be a really great friend. But I digress…

This year, we showed up (some of us hungover, some of us not). Sarah and I promptly found the food tents and proceeded to eat at least 4 mini-bagels. If anyone knows my obsession with them, you also probably guessed that I may or may not have stolen about 6-8 bananas throughout the course of the morning and shoved them in my purse and pockets.

I love Brooklyn. JK.

Once the whole gang was there, we set off to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. If you have never done this, this is something you should do at least once in your life. It was a great feeling knowing that I was walking across this landmark bridge, on a beautiful early-fall day for a cause that means a lot to me in honor of my best friend. We could not have asked for a better Sunday morning.


After the walk, most of us went to Onieals (also known as the bar “Scout” that Aidan and Steve opened on Sex and the City) in the Little Italy/SoHo area for a fantastic brunch. While we were there, the Sex and the City tour bus pulled up with tourists thirsty for cosmopolitans. They were snapping photos of everything from their drinks to the restaurant sign to those cool and casual New Yorkers brunching (and by that, I mean us).

The Group

Putting Up Walls

Kim and I found our apartment. It is a perfect, cozy, newly remodeled one-bedroom on the Upper East Side. Yes I said it, it is a one-bedroom. That means we have to put up a wall to make the living room into a bedroom. This of course didn’t phase us when we were picking places. It’s just typical NYC.

We were lucky enough to have picked an apartment with enough space to convert a full bedroom with room still to spare for an actual living room. We had seen some apartments where the living room – deemed “easily convertible” – was simply not. They were just too small and both the living room and bedroom would turn into closets. Our standards are a little bit higher than the Cupboard Under the Stairs (Harry Potter reference…anyone?).

Room to be converted is off to the right.

Room to be converted is off to the right.

Putting up a wall is commonplace in the city. Literally everyone does it. You’ve probably been in apartments that you didn’t even realize had a wall put up. It is safe to say that you would think it would be a piece of cake, right? Wrong.

First of all, there are about 29483 pressurized wall companies in NYC, all of which have so-so reviews. How do you choose? They are all the same! We requested quotes from at least 16 companies, all of which had the same price range of $1,000 – 1,100. Word of warning: always look at their photo galleries. They tell you a lot about the company. My company shares space with an architecture firm, so I even asked them for cheap alternatives, but to no avail. We asked our friends and bosses and finally picked the one that popped up the most.

Second of all, it’s illegal. Illegal. Apparently a few years ago, wall-building became illegal due to fire hazard reasons. That clearly doesn’t stop anyone, it just creates yet one more hurdle. We had to tell company after company little white lies like “Yes, our Management Company totally knows” and “Our lease says it’s alright.” Our lease does not say we can have a wall, but also technically does not say we can’t have a wall. When our broker asked our Super he said “what I don’t see, I don’t know about”. Translation: “Go for it, I don’t give a shit”. 

Third of all, walls can only be built during business hours on the week days. We all have work, so that’s a whole other issue. And how do we sneak in a man with tools and paint and plaster to build a wall without anyone seeing or hearing?

Through all of the stress, we did end up with a wall we love and are excited about, which officially makes it a habitable two-bedroom.

The wall

The wall

A few words of wisdom:

  • If the company only sends one lonely person, expect to be there for at least 9 hours. If they send two people, it may be about 5.
  • Prepare a plan of payment before they show up. It’s a little stressful when the wall is done and you have to figure out how to connect via ChaseQuickPay or eventually run to the bank.
  • Send them a photo of the space that the wall will go in. Our wall needed to be shaped to fit in an archway, so this helped them see what they were up against.
  • They might be 1.5 hours early. Plan accordingly.
  • Slip the Super some $$$ or cookies ahead of time, just to get on his good side. He doesn’t need to know what this is for.
Dear Raul...

Dear Raul…