My original starting time was 9:00 am
Then I was presented with the option to start at 9:30 am and stay until 5:30 PM.
I chose that and I am so happy I did
Before, I had to travel in a very packed subway, all the way to Penn Station.
Along the way I have to deal with, the assholes standing in front of the door who don’t move when the doors open; the idiots who lean on the poles so nobody else can hold on them(I hope you are comfortable); the moron who stands in front of an open seat(but not letting anybody use it); the antisocial who gets on before letting everybody off (after all, they own the MTA); the narcissistic who act like they are the only one who are going to get off at a major stop; (Excuse me! Excuse me! Getting off! Excuse me!), the daredevils who stand on the narrowest area of the platform (Blocking everybody’s way); the selfish who stop hurrying down the steps once they see it’s not their train coming (you deserve to be stabbed), the lazy-fucks who stand still on a single rider escalator, blocking everybody behind them (Walk down the escalator and stop playing Angry Birds); pigs who eat cooked food and stank the car(Kung Pao for Dinner? Eat it a home!); teenagers (aren’t you late for school anyway?); the deaf who listed to his music so loud you can hear it blastinf pass his headsets from half a car away (Always hip-hop music).
By switching my travel time 30 minutes, I ride a more bearable train, where I can always find a seat (Usually the center seats, but I get to sit).
Today I was late for work, and after notifiying my people at the office that I would be late, I waited for the 10:00 am train, and I learn today that rush hour has several waves, the 8:00 am, 9:00 am and 10:00 am waves, so today I had to deal with the worse subway riders again.
At least at this early hour I don’t have to deal with the teenager dancers (Is Showtime! Is Showtime!); the beggars (I am sorry to bother you ladies and gentlemen, but I am homeless…); the candy sellers (I am trying to get out of trouble, and to have some money in my pocket); the biker (why don’t you actually ride the bike?; and the stair master (feeling comfortable seating in the stairs and blocking people’s way?).
Gotta love NYC
My new bed
Last month I moved to a new apartment, after sharing the same room with my roomy (former BF), i finally got my own room.
The main problem was that I had no bed, I been sharing the same bed for a year.
I bought the a mattress. And it was good. I need it a bed frame.
I looked around and found a very nice bed frame totally in my style, for $1,200. ON SALE. to much. What to do?
Then it dawn on me. I am good carpenter, why not built my own bed frame? I have access to good, professional wood tools, a working space and wood. SO I set up to built my own dream bed frame.
First, the plans! I drew this on a piece drywall, right before i started cutting wood:
Next I had to choose the wood I would use. My besty Tim and I have been rebuilding a gorgeous 19th century country house in Esopus, upstate New York. While tearing apart old wall, we found great old wood that we could not store in the house, so we place it outdoor and cover it with a tarp. Then 1.5 years pass upon that wood, beautifully aging it.
Now, lets start measuring and cutting wood!
For the headboard, I used two damaged doors, that I fixed, matched, measured, cut, and stain so they match the color of the aged good. The staining was tricky as I I had to mix stains until I got the right color.
Lets start attaching pieces together!
Gotta get that headboard even out..
Good job Link!
But it was missing something. I built a shelf on the headboard to place a lamp, the piece of woodI used had a knot hole on it, so I decided to use that hole somehow.
Wondering Home Depot, I found a lamp kit, so, why not make my own lamp too? Back to the drawing board:
For this lamp I would use old copper piping that was just laying around in the house, also harvested from the remodeling of the house.
I am very happy with the result, as it came out EXACTLY as I designed it.
Thanks to my dear friend Tom, who agree to get me the bedding and pillows for the bed, I finally finished my bed frame, complete with a steampunk lamp, and oh so comfortable to sleep in.
The last time I will visit the Bronx
My grandmother is leaving NYC.
After almost 40 years of fighting this city, she is done. Today she is traveling back to Ecuador. One way ticket.
The circumstances that pushed her to quit NYC are sad, and somewhat trivial. She is a 76-year-old lady, and as much as a warrior as she is, she is tired to be mistreated, and should not be bother with petty nonsense.
My cousin Jaime (17), got herself pregnant by her first an only BF. Of course, the BF doesn’t have a job, or any interest in getting a job. He only cares for his hip-hop, and du-rags and he expensive oversized clothing, that who know how he can afford. As a result, my cousin and her baby moved into my grandmothers apartment.
My aunt lives with my grandmother, as she as for the last 10 years or so. When Jaime and her baby moved in, my grandmother became a burden in her own house. The small annoyances, and small snarky comments were constant. Adding to that there was the constant visits of my cousin boyfriend, who would do nothing but to mess upthe house, and eat the food. My grandmother disliked him a lot, and kicked him out of her apartment several times, asking him not to return, just to have him back the next day, because my Aunt, and my cousin Jaime would tell him not to bother by that ‘crazy old lady’. They would all dismiss her, and ignore her. Nobody would care for her. I would call her fairly often to check on her, and now and then do that dreaded hike to South Bronx to make sure she was ok, or if she needed something. As much as a fighter as my grandmother is (I must have gotten my survivor instinct from her), she was exhausted.
Last week my grandmother called me, telling me that she found really cheap tickets to Ecuador. Then she told me that she would have to wait until her next social security check comes before she can buy the ticket.
I called my dad and my dad send the money the very next day.
On Saturday, I went up to the Bronx to bring the money to my grandmother. She was alone, and she was happy and bubbly as she usually is when I come over. About 15 minutes into the visit, my aunt came back to the apartment. My aunt was accompanied by my other cousin Pepe (40), who is one of the more heartless, selfish and cruel people I have ever meet. He made my life a living hell when I was living at my grandmother’s place many years ago.
As soon as they walked in, the energy of the room changed. My grandmother grew quiet and uncomfortable.
-“Hello Aunt, Hello Cousin” – I said
-“Hello nephew” - my aunt replied. My cousin Pepe barely acknowledged my presence.
-“What are you up to nephew?” – my aunt asked
-“ Oh, I am bringing some money to my grandma so she can buy a ticket to Guayaquil” –
-“You leaving again? Ay señora, you cannot stay still” – she was not being mean, just her usual playful self.
My aunt and cousin walk off to the living room, which is right next to my grandmother’s room.
My grandmother was quiet, then she turned to me and did a little chit chat.
-“So, do you have to go soon? I will stay here and wait for you uncle Pancho to take me the traveling agency, I also want to send one last package to Ecuador.”
-“I don’t have to leave soon grandma” – I was also uncomfortable. I really dislike my cousin Pepe, and I know that he would have no problems in being mean and disrespectful to my grandma if a discussion starts.
-“Do you want to go somewhere?” – My grandmother asked
-“Yes, let do something” – I replied.
My grandmother could not have gotten ready quickly. She jump out of her bed, and got dress in 5 minutes, got her coat, her purse, her glasses and checked that she had her passport with her. She was in such a rush to leave that place that she forgot to put on her dentures!
While she was getting dressed, my aunt made another comment
-“Are you guys going to eat somewhere? Because is Saturday, and the kitchen is closed on Saturdays” –Again, she was not being mean, just herself, but that was the wrong moment to make that joke.
-“Ok, ready?” My grandma asked, and we were out of there.
Once outside, she was again happy and energized.
We walked to the traveling agency and I asked the travel agent lady,
-“How fast can you send her back?” –
-“I can send her back tomorrow” –
-“Ok, grandma, would you be up for that?”
My grandma though a bit about that and replied
-“No, too soon, send me on Monday” – two days from now – “I want to make sure I have everything pack”
We got the ticket and then I took her to eat some lunch at a nearby restaurant.It was then when she noticed that she forgot her dentures. We laugh about the whole thing, while she was covering her mouth and tell me not to make her laugh more.
I walked back to the apartment and I offer to take her to the airport on Monday night, but she told me that she was ok. She will ask my uncle Pancho to do it.
When we walked in, my cousin had order some take-out food for him and my aunt. It was clear that my grandmother was not included in that meal.
I will miss my grandmother, but I am very glad that she will not by mistreated or unhappy in Ecuador. The best part is that I will NEVER have to go back to the Bronx again.
What I learned at Sea
The remaining 5 days were a blast. I got to finally relax. I tried all the specialty restaurants as every night, some of the gays from the LGBT gathering would invite me to dinner with them.
I would hang out with Eddie during the day, have free specialty coffees from the Studio Lounge’s café (One of the gays gave me an extra key so I could have access to that private lounge), I went to several dance parties (while dancing on a pool party, I instigate several people to jump in the pool with me, we were all fully dressed) meet more young beautiful people, go to several ship activities (dance class, inprov class, towel folding demonstrations, margarita tasting, rock climbing races, mini golf, rappelling, ropes course, aqua park, pools, and hot tubs.
I would go to Eddie’s show everytime he had one and hang out after with friends.
The Breakaway is a beautiful ship.
The rest of the week, I tried to contact Jonathan several times, with no luck. I asked some people we meet on the ship if anybody has seen him, and I even went down to guest services to ask if he was still on the ship. Jonathan was still in the ship, and he was actively avoiding me.
The last night I got an email from him:
-“Link, there is nothing good I want to say to you or about you. So, as my mother always advised me, I shall say nothing. A friend like you I don’t want or need.
Goodbye, Jonathan ”
The next morning I got a phone call at 7:00 am from him at the front desk. –“Link, there is a form you have to sign” – and then he hung up.
A form? For what? Is he making me pay my half of the trip or for the few drinks I manage to get out of him when were stop at the LGBT meetings? Classy…
Also, why did he know my cabin number? Good job NCL, no security at all, he just came to the desk and asks where I was sleeping.
The form turn out to be a reduce rate for gratuity service as I was being charge only for 5 days, not 12.
I probably will never hear from Jonathan again. That makes me sad. We should have discussed the term of his invitation, many months in advance, as his “gift” came with a high price tag.
I learned on this trip that even the most beautiful place can turn tedious and bothersome if we have the wrong companion. Same goes the other way. If I have not separate myself from Jonathan , I would have end up hating the NCL Breakaway.
Where to next?
7 days at sea
I finally lost my patience.
The past week in the ship quickly change from a pleasant cruise to a tedious one. The first 3 days were ok, but by the 4th day I was getting tired. And today, seven days later I had to do something about it. I feel bad for I had to do as I hurt somebody’s feelings, but sometimes, ones sanity is more important.
My traveling companion in this 12 day cruise was too much, very overwhelming, exhausting and suffocating.
I was done listening to stories he would not share with you, but throw at you as he would never really listen to what anybody had to say, having to do only what he wants and he never truly asked me if I wanted to do something; he not giving me my space; he always trying to one-up everybody with a better destination, story, place, ship or people.
He would mentions rather often, who privileged he is, how many properties he has around the world, how his husband Fred has work for world leaders, yet, we would be very cheap in minimal stuff.
NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines) have a traveling concept that they call “free-cruising”, where you can enjoy their 4 free restaurants (Garden Café, Manhattan Room, Savor, Taste and O’sheans”, or for a small price ($15 - $25), have a full meal in one their specialty, upscale restaurants (Tapanaki, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Cagney’s, Moderno, Shangai, Wasabi), Jonathan make it very clear that he is not going to spend any money in the specialty restaurants as “In Canard Cruise Lines, all is included in the ticket price, and that cruise line is far more superior than Norwegian Cruise Lines”.
Jonathan kindly invited me to join him in this trip, but what he never mentions to me (and I should have clarify this from the begging) is what he expected from me. It was clear very soon, that he invited me as a 24hour escort, somebody what he spend every waking moment by his side, listening to his ever tedious tales, doing only what he wanted to do, and always keeping a smile.
After 7 days, I could not take it anymore.
I went to guest services and ask for another room.
Then, while Jonathan was at the SPA, Eddie and I moved me to my new room.
After the move, I went to back Jonathan’s:
-“Jonathan, for the sake of our friendship, I have move to my own cabin”
-“ I don’t understand”
-“You are suffocating me Jonathan, I cannot spend every waken moment with you, doing what you want to. We will still have dinner and meet for lunch, but I need my space”
-“Fine” – Then I got up and walk to the door. –“Fred was right”- Jonathan said as I open the door.
Those last words were so poisonous. I have never met his 70+ husbands. But, the husband was well aware that Jonathan was traveling with a young pretty thing, and he was not happy about it, so I can only assume that Fred had nothing but unkind thoughts about me. –“Fred was right”- implied that he agree with Fred’s thought, whatever there were.
I went back to my room and lay down for a few moments. This whole ordeal got me sad and exhausted.
The Island of St. Lucia is famous for being home of Rastafarian communities and for sulfuric water and mud that flow from the local volcano.
That morning, eddie told me that some crew members, mostly entertainers were going to a party at a hotel, and that he would like me to join.
-“I cannot. Jonathan made clear that I am taking a island tour with him today” – I was gridding my teeth, as I desperately wanted to join Eddie at the crew party.
Off we go to the tour. The damn tour took us to two locations in the island, the famous sulfuric baths and a nice river water fall. The remaining 3 hours we spent sitting on a minivan roaming the winning roads of Santa Lucia, and listening to the ocational remark from Jonathan about how “the road of Bhutan as better, the waterfalls in New Zealand are bigger… etc”
Back at the ship, Eddie meet us for a quick snack before going to the gym. Eddie mention to Jonathan that he should try the specialty restaurants, the cheapest one is La Cuccina as just $15 per person for a full specialty meal.
-“I don’t think so. The free restaurants are just as good”
Back in the room, out of nowhere, Jonathan mentioned that:
-“If you want to go to the Italian restaurant, we could go, but you will have to pay for your own food. I don’t want to have to pay $30 for both of us. I don’t like to pay for my food on a cruise, as all that should be included in the ticket. That is how it is on Canard’s ships. This is just another way to get more money out of the passengers. “
That comment was the one that made me lose it. I was not a guess, I was a slave.
The night before we arrived at St. Marten, I told Jonathan that Eddie and I had made plans to go scuba diving, as we are both certified open divers.
-“Ok, have fun. I can find something to do by myself, alone; maybe they have a tour for single travelers. Don you worry about me.”
Here something new from him, passive aggressiveness.
For a moment I though on inviting him over with us, but I quickly though better of it. I wanted to spend time alone with my best friend, and he was always in the middle.
Eddie and I meet for breakfast (of course Jonathan tag along) and listen to Jonathan talk about goats for 20 minutes.
Then we left Jonathan , Eddie and I went to a small beach 10 minutes from the ship where he rented chairs and an umbrella and we did nothing for the rest of the afternoon. I read my book, I took a nap, and I enjoy the silence and peace of the weaves. It was wonderful.
Then we headed back to the ship.
At the beginning of the cruise, Jonathan asked me if I like red wine. I though he was going to buy a bottle for that night’s dinner, instead he bought 9 bottles to be served at every meal for the rest of the cruise.
I like red wine, but I also like white wine, and a cocktail now and then. Jonathan made the decision that we will only drink red wine at dinner for the remaining of the cruise.
That night, to speed up our usual 15-20 minute waiting time for a table in one of the free restaurants, we agree to share a table with other guest. The waitress came to take out drink order and Jonathan handed her a wine slip. While the waitress went to fetch the wine, Jonathan started his usual conversation with the other guests.
To my delight, there was a couple sitting with us that had travel as much, if not more than him, and every time Jonathan would boast about his trips, the husband of the couple would one-up him with a better, more exotic location.
The waitress came with a bottle of white wine and presented to Jonathan. Jonathan was in the middle of a story and he barely acknowledged the waitress and waved his hand to the wine, effectively signaling that he is approving the delivered wine. When the waitress pour a little of the wine on his glass to taste it, Jonathan lift the glass without looking at it, and when he was about to taste it he noticed that it was whine wine, no red.
The following was so embarrassing for me. Jonathan made a big number about the wine, raising his voice and telling the mortified waitress that this was not the wine he order, telling the waitress that she made a mistake and that he “Cannot drink white wine!”, demanding her to bring the sommelier immediately.
Our table was silent, waiting for his to finish his tantrum.
The sommelier came over and brought the slip he gave to the waitress. The slip clearly read “Chardonnay”. Somebody indeed have made a mistake that could have been remedy if Jonathan had not so condescendingly wave the wine when the waitress was presenting him the bottle.
A bottle of red wine was delivered and dinner continued on a quieter note.
Day two in the Caribbean. Hello Saint Thomas.
Jonathan got up and early and after our usual buffet breakfast we head out to the Island of Saint Thomas.
As Jonathan mentioned many, MANY times before, he has been in St. Thomas some years ago in a “21 day cruise on board Canard’s Queen Mary cruise ship”, and he was certain than there was a beach within walking distance of the boat.
Once we were on the shore, he looked lost, and I suggested to walk to a information booth and ask where this beach was.
At the booth, the simple question of “Where is nearest beach?” became a 15 minute story of him visiting this island years ago, with his husband (he always plugs in that he has a loving husband), on board of the best cruise liner in the planet, Canard’s Queen Mary, on a 21 day cruise through the Caribbean, and that he was sure that there was a beach within walking distance of here.
-“Sir, there is not a beaches near here” – the already irritated tourist guide replied.
-“Yes there is” – Jonathan said
-“Sir, I promise you, there is no beach near this port”
-“But, when I was here some years ago with on board of the…”
-“Sir, there is more than one port on the Island. You probably dock on the north side of Saint Thomas”
-“Are you sure?”
-“Yes, sir, I am. I was born and raise in this Island”
The tour guide handed him a map and direct us to the cabs. We headed to the nearest beach (10 minute drive) and we camped under a tree canopy from part of the afternoon. As usual, Jonathan would share his stories one after the other. I would tune him off and try to enjoy the view.
Back to the ship and to the usual routine.
San Juan, PR.
Because of some whether delays, The Breakaway could not arrive to PR until 5:00 pm on January 8.
I was so eager to leave the ship.
Jonathan was too. And Eddie tag along.
We got to shore and before anything, and as a thank you to Jonathan, I offer to pay for his dinner. I didn’t bring that much money but, I was sure he would be understanding.
After walking for a while, we found this jazz piano bar that Eddie knew from previous visits and we had dinner. I was looking at the cheapest dishes as I was paying for 2 people, and I had one local beer, as it was cheap.
Jonathan has a feast. 3 drinks, specialty apps, specialty entrees, dessert, coffee and a cordial. My tab came to $25, his was about $160.
When the check came, he did not eve glance at it. I know I was going to pay, but at least play stupid and “offer” to help, before I say “no, no, is on me”. It is the polite thing to do. Jonathan didn’t even said thank you after I paid. I had to quickly call Tim back in NYC and asked him lend me $100 until I get back so if some auto payment thing kicks in, I wont be in negative numbers.
9 more days to go. Cant wait to see what awaits in the other islands.