The Sketch Book

An Impossible Story, Chapter 2

hell hath no fury like a woman with bedbugs…

When my fiancé returned that evening, the scene he entered into was one of sheer annihilation. I was the focal point of this scene.

He had just unsuspectingly walked into a frenzied eighth circle of hell, bursting with unlabeled, bulging black trash bags filled with everything in no apparent order and I was at the center of this tornado, sweating, clutching a wad of more black trash bags lunging at piles of unregulated mess ferociously. The majority of our books, our picture frames, our winter parkas, his tuxedo, my hunter boots, pretty much everything was already haphazardly stuffed together into approximately 30 XXL bags, lining the already claustrophobically narrow entry hall, forcing him to inch, foot over foot with his back pressed to the wall to even enter the space.

Our couch frame stood naked, it’s fate sealed. I had already crammed all the seat cushions into trash bags and dragged them down four flights of stairs and flung them in the general direction of the trash cans behind our building without pausing to consider if they could be salvaged with insecticide and dry-cleaning.

You see, at this point I was in full-dump mode. I should admit, I am always hovering on the edge of full-dump mode, I get great joy from throwing things out. I once threw out a coworker’s entire supply of gift-with-attendance tote bags the company had produced for an event, because I just had to clean up… the night before the event. So imagine how intensely, and how short-sightedly, I was purging our space given the news at hand.

Anyway, my fiancé, looking white-faced and positively stricken, asked me what I thought I was doing. I should mention that he has never once gotten mad at me in the six years I’ve known him, but on this night, in this room, his face said it all. He wasn’t mad exactly, but I think it would be safe to say he was questioning my sanity without taking any liberties here.

“WE HAVE TO KILL THE COUCH!” I explained.

Apparently this did not clear up what was going on so he asked again why I was wrecking our home. In broken english and asthmatically heaving sentences i managed to express the crisis at hand. He tried the logical route of asking a few key questions like “coudlnt we do this over the weekend?” or “let’s slow down and make a plan” but clearly we were well past that stage as I rebutted his every calm suggestion with grunts of anguish riddled with language usually reserved for underground dogfighting rings.

So there we were – I remember it as being like something out of a scene from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – where the frames slow to a standstill, like we’re floating in midair, karate fighters having just narrowly missed each other with tornado kicks. We are just floating there, eyes locked in a stand off. Would we stop and make a plan or would I win and would we keep ransacking our home?

And then the movie sped back up to real time, he took a deep breath, dropped his work bag and said, “Let’s kill the couch.”

Don’t you just love him? This is why our marriage is going to work.

We turned towards the Evil Loveseat in unison and stared at it momentarily, drinking in it’s negative energy. “come and get me” it seemed to whisper coyly. Knowing full well that we’d never figure out it’s complicated Ikea design and get it to fold back down into it’s original form in order to drag it out our very narrow, trash bag filled hallway.

After a few minutes of trying to disassemble it while yelling at it and at each other, we realized there is really only one way to kill a couch. The World’s Greatest Future Husband, who happens to conveniently be a Parkour expert, backed up a few paces and with a running start threw his entire body weight, feet first, at the couch.

Things, once again, turned very Hidden Dragon

He was airborne for a moment and then CRACK his foot hit the back board and the entire thing snapped in half.

Take that, Evil Loveseat! Can you believe it?! We were really doing it! We were finally exacting revenge on the loveseat!

Once it was pronounced legally dead, we gingerly picked up the carcass and together we carried it down the stairs to the street where we left the body to rot. I will never again walk within ten feet of any furniture left out on the NYC sidewalks. I had previously believed people were just lazy about selling old furniture and put it outside for the trash collectors instead of craigs-listing it… au contraire mon frere… that furniture is almost 100% positively brimming with bed bugs. proceed with caution.

Later that night, after fluctuating between anger and despair, body wracked with spasms of sobbing, we decided to cheat on bedbug master’s instructions to remain in the vipers nest for another second and checked into a hotel. As I lay in the strange room, with only the clothes on my back, worry coursing through me, a bright spot appeared on the horizon of my misery.

My mother. She arrives next week for my first wedding gown fitting.

Nancy to the rescue. Bedbugs may be ancient, intensely secretive and mysterious creatures intent upon only consuming the blood of sleeping humans and raping each other after feeding, determined to become pregnant with more blood guzzling rapists but they are no match for my mother, the queen of the wallpapered garage. She will know what to do. She will reign supreme.

My last thought as I drifted into troubled sleep was wondering which of the 30 XXL trash bags contained my wedding shoes for the fitting. And of my mother dressed like an ancient Chinese Warrior poised in midair with a sword pointed at a giant bug…

An Impossible Story, Chapter 1

Are you ready for chapter 1? remember as you read the coming posts, i warned you, this story is shocking at times, you may be tempted to think “this can’t be real”

but my friend, it is very very real…

This story begins, as so many great works do, with a party. A lovely party at an Upper East Side club overflowing with shrimp cocktail and conversations about how small the world is.

At the witching hour, when in the wintery darkness of five pm, we party guests all decided via group text we were going in, guns blazing, aka NO TIGHTS despite the 36 degree temperature, I dressed and I noticed with some mounting… shall we call it, curiosity, a growing line of welts traveling up the back of my leg and arm. Very sinister looking welts indeed. But, being accident prone and ailment prone and late to the party, there was little time to dwell.

The moment I’ve illustrated captures it so perfectly. The naiveté. The gaiety. The smiles of young women with a long road of promise and happiness stretching out before them with no way of seeing the speed bumps (err…welts… bites, really) ahead. The simply joy of squeezing into a bench in a bar after the engagement party with some of my favorite people, our mid-march tight-less legs all tossed together artfully, not even cold (and no longer wondering about those welts) thanks to vodka and late night discussion of our respective registries for crystal and china patterns.

Later on we lazed, with ties undone and shoes kicked off on our ikea love seat recounting the evening. Ahh to travel back to that moment, that moment in which our home was still intact, evil love seat and all…That hateful imp of a couch which i loathed so wholeheartedly.

The next day however, in the cruel light of March morning, the itchy welts really couldn’t be ignored. Something was just not right. The next few days played out for me like a nightmare from which I did not wake up, but instead continued deeper and deeper into.

For starters, our little apartment welcomed a couple of visitors of the sort you never want to welcome. A little dog with a most unique sense of smell and and an owner with a MOST unique respect for the discretion and urgency of his profession.

You may have guessed it by now if you’ve ever encountered anything like this before… the dog and his owner specialized in the systematic searching out of bedbugs and their eggs. And when this furry friend sniffed intently around our sulky little ikea couch and sat bolt upright and sounded the howling alarm, I knew my welty, bug-bitten goose was stewed. And… I realized with mounting horror… perhaps so too was the goose of all those visiting engagement party guests who stopped by for a a quick hello and momentary contact with love seat of horror no. 1.

my seemingly impregnable fortress of cleanliness, my little oasis of sterile peace amidst the urine and old-partially-digested-pizza-soaked sidewalks of the lower east side had been compromised!

I pride myself on borderline violently effective housekeeping, even in a fourth floor walk up riddled with mice, lead paint, asbestos and drunk old men. It is a skill handed down to me from my mother, who brags that you could eat dinner of her garage floor. (did i mention that garage is wallpapered?)

Anyway, the bug dog and his bug master informed me that it would take a few days to put their plan of attack into action. When asked if we should retreat to a hotel or friends house to avoid further harvesting of our flesh, he replied, almost cheerfully, “Nope! You could spread the infestation” (he just described my home as an infestation… ) and then continued, “best to stay here and be a blood donor for a few more days” (he literally just called me a blood donor. I did not recall signing up for the red cross of parasitic insects blood drive. And I was not amused)

He backtracked by trying to say things like, “you caught it really early!” (I DONT WANT TO CATCH THIS AT ALL) or, “I don’t even see any bugs, the dog just found evidence of their scent” (EVIDENCE OF THEIR SCENT? COME. ON. that is just as bad)

I thanked him for his attempted bedside manner, his dog’s keen sense of smell, and for confirming that my life was ruined and then began (ALLCAPS) texting my future husband to prepare for the worst. The day of reckoning had come. (Literally that may have been the text) and headed off to Duane Reade for my first, and unfortunately not last purchase of over $200 of rubbing alcohol, surgical gloves, extra heavy duty ultra large trash bags and feeling much like Breaking Bad’s Jesse with the large tupperwear barrel for the decomposing of an accidentally assassinated drug mule, prepared to face the music head on.

An Impossible Story, Preface

Why is this man sleeping partially on a chair, partially on a Threshold for Target tufted bench?…

You know those people? The ones you see once a year or once every six months, by chance, passing on the street? Their hair is uncombed, their eyes unfocused, perhaps a tendon in their neck or two is straining a bit unnaturally…

You hug and exclaim over how nice it is to run into them and then the conventional progression of all conversation in the western world leads you to the inevitable first question, the question that jumpstarts all social interchanges. The question you really aren’t expecting to listen to the answer to. The classic opener…

“How are you?”

…and the person grimaces slightly, closes their eyes for a moment and says

“ohh…….. hanging in there, I have developed an allergy to sunlight. Caleb just had a double knee transplant – we had to fly the knees in from Switzerland – yes personally, I flew the plane. We had engine trouble passing over the Atlantic but after calling in support of the Air National Guard, we made it safely to land. But yes, we’re really doing ok. little Katie just found out she’s going to be preforming in the Olympic Opening Ceremonies for Winter Games 2018 but we aren’t’ sure if she’ll be able to preform as she’s developed early-onset childhood temporary blindness which is induced primarily by extreme stage fright… what else… pop pop died yesterday. and poor sweet mittens, his cat – yes of course you remember mittens! – was so beside herself she died too, actually at the same moment. it was beautiful. these are actually their combined ashes here! yes! the crematorium agreed to combine species for the incineration – it required bending a lot of rules. yes they’re together! here, would you like to see?”

and you think to yourself,

“this can’t be real.”

How can any one person survive this avalanche of fate and karma and chaos. Wasn’t it just a year ago that i ran into her in Costco and she told me she’d survived drowning while scuba diving in Bali and was resuscitated by a nun after being dead for nearly forty minutes only to return stateside and find her entire house had been robbed clean by gypsies?

WELL… my friends. I promised I was back, wearing my illustrators hat. And I am indeed. I am also wearing my story telling hat.

I invite you to sit back, relax and join me as I tell you an illustrated story about how I became one of these impossible people, these people with fantastical, distressing and completely unbelievable stories to tell.

I will fill it with expensive adjectives and self-deprecating humor and together we will have a long hot summer of literary and illustrative fun!

so for now, pique your interest, pack your weekend bag and head to the Hamptons to wonder what my next blog post will hold.

xox,

your impossible friend

Save The Date for George & Kate

As I officially pass the Bridal Baton on to every other girl who has yet to walk down the aisle, I’d like to turn your attention to one of my recent Save-The-Date commissions and remind you all that I am here, wearing my Illustrator to the Bride hat, no longer my Bridal hat, and that I’m ready to sketch for you!

For this commission, the bride and groom asked me to capture the glamour of a Gatsby-era evening on the Atlantic City boardwalk with the happy couple as a part of the scene. We worked with a vintage poster that they loved and recreated it in my style.

The couple sent the illustration out in the form of a postcard, with their wedding details on the back, just like a vintage postcard you might have picked up from a trip to the shore… cute, right?!

Happy final stretch to September 6th to George & Kate! And thank you for letting me set the tone for your wedding!

Meet June

Hello! Meet June, she’s going to make a mango and avocado salad with a lime vinaigrette later today and her entire wardrobe is comprised of white and varying shades of nautical blues.

And yes – I am back! Married, moved in to a new apartment, and eager to re-enter civilized, email answering, dry cleaning-fetching society and the work force. Stay tuned for more regular blog posting at last!

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