Newest Buonassissi Family Member | Jake the Morkie

Jake The Morkie: Our New Boy

I’ve been able to pull off a few epic surprises for Tara but this Christmas present tested my surprise gift-giving mettle like never before.  Although we hinted around the conversation of the “next step” in our marriage relationship, we hadn’t officially made any decisions in that regard.  However, over the last few months, I’ve seen Tara gravitate towards having a dog (albeit a small one; remember we live in a place with less than 500 square feet).  With me on the road a ton over the last few months, the thought of having a dog had been amplified.  Being a dog-purchasing novice (I’ve actually never purchased one before; my brother had one for a couple of years when I was 16 and I moved out at 18), I had no idea on the process or pricing.  That said, I knew this was the year we were due to bring a dog (a morkie) into our family.

I  researched a few different breeds and then went dog shopping. I found a dog store called citipups, a NYC chain that specializes in small City dogs. After a few visits, I found one I really liked. Call it naiveté or what you will, but I assumed a small dog would be about $100-300. I asked the guy at the counter how much and he said, “17 plus another 35 bucks for registration, etc.”. I thought to myself, “This is amazing! I’m going to get out of here for under $100.” He then asked me if I wanted to leave a deposit. Deposit on $52? Are you kidding? I told him I was ready to pay it all. When the register rang up $1,735.00, I about had a heart attack. What kind of cruel joke was this guy playing?? This was way beyond my budget.

I checked with my NYC buddy, Derek, who was also in the market for a pup. I was hoping he was in the same situation as me as far as pricing goes (NYC isn’t cheap folks). Luckily, he was and he had done his own research and found an online dog store called that also specializes is small dogs. You can see pictures and read up on a dog and they charge about 1/3 of what citipups was selling them for and that included the shipping! I found an 8 week old Morkie that they called Jacob. Because I waited so late to order and hadn’t officially owned a dog prior, they wanted to make sure I was “compatible” with the dog so they set-up a “Skype” date with the dog and myself. What the? I’ve never done this before so I went back to Google and searched for etiquette and questions to ask on a “puppy date” but that turned up with a whole lot of nothing. I did what I could do – I took a shower, shaved, and dressed up before I got on the video call. It was the weirdest thing I had experienced in my dating life. I logged on and it was just the puppy and me. He’s in a big room by himself and I tried talking with it. It didn’t respond much. After about 2-3 minutes of awkwardness, the person from the store finally showed his face on the screen and said he felt we were a match and all was good. Whew!  I passed.

The dog was coming 4 days before Christmas and I had to figure out how to hide this thing. I called a few boarding places and they wouldn’t take him because he was too young and didn’t have his rabies shot (they don’t get that until the 4th or 5th month). I found an amazing dog hotel in Chelsea. I went in and the dogs get their own 12X12 room, full-size bed, TV with doggy movies, plush sheets and pillows, and even room service, etc. all for $85 a night! Classic NYC!  This dog would be living larger than I was. Alas, they too would not take him due to his age. I scoured the internet and came across, a private dog sitting service. It is similar to, where you can see reviews and the sitters can review you as well. I put in a few requests and one came back from Claudia saying she would totally help me out. She ended up being amazing.

So I went and picked him up on Monday from Delta Cargo in Terminal A at LaGuardia airport. What a crazy situation that was. Again, I’m cheap so I took city transportation but it doesn’t drop you of at Terminal A. That would have been nice information to know. I literally circled through the entire airport back out to the subway stop and I had to go through it all again, get off at Terminal B and take a shuttle to Terminal A. Upon arrival there, they tell me Cargo is actually about a mile from Terminal A. Come on LaGuardia – get your act together! Some nice lady gave me a ride there as she was in route to the same place. I picked him up and he was shaking. I didn’t know if it was because I was delayed an hour in getting him, if he was hungry (they tell you to feed him every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours), if he was cold or if he was just stressed because of the day’s activities. Because I was out in the boonies, I had to have Uber come pick me up and take me to the sitter’s place. I tried feeding the dog on the way with a syringe they provide by just sticking it in his crate and he didn’t take to it. Then I see puke in the crate. Dang it! Am I killing this dog already? At this point, I’m totally freaking out and can’t wait to get him to the sitter’s house.

Like I said, Claudia was amazing.  She showed me how to use the syringe to force feed him. He was shaking because he was nervous and stressed out. I had to leave him with her but I knew he was in good hands. Claudia sent me pictures and updates every couple of hours. This totally put my mind at ease. By Christmas Eve, he was eating hard food! She kept him until Christmas Day and I picked him up at 7AM. This was a huge win because I have no idea how I would’ve kept him a surprise otherwise.

To surprise Tara the day of, I bought a doggie FSU jersey which ended up being the last present I gave her with no explanation. The dog was just outside our door. Her reaction to the shirt was priceless. Then I had her close her eyes as I brought in Jake. It was love at first sight. We’re so pumped to have him and I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. I made a little video of the surprise journey. Enjoy and Merry Christmas everyone!

Room for my mom?

It  has been a very busy time for Tara and I. It’s one of our prime event seasons so the time to blog has been limited. We just got back from a few weeks on the road. Tara had been in Florida for a month and I have been flying all around and just got back with her yesterday as well.

If you live here for any length of time, you notice the sense of community within pockets in the city. This wouldn’t seem to be the case considering the population but there is definitely a “help your neighbor” mentality.

This was under our front door last night when we came in and I thought it was pretty cool.   I guarantee you someone in our building obliged.  This type of stuff doesn’t happen in many places.  Glad to be in a place where complete strangers are willing to help one another.

Union Square Greenmarket

I haven’t done a post on the Union Square Greenmarket yet, have I?  How have I let you go on this long without filling you in on possibly the most glorious thing about Union Square?  For shame.

As you can imagine, Spring in New York is awesome.

What’s even more awesome is the Greenmarket.  In the Spring.  In New York.  Something about all of the vendors, the people, the colors and smells coming from the tents lining the park.  What do they sell?  What DON’T they sell?  Flowers, fresh fruit, and organic vegetables.  Goat cheese and milk, apples (cider, pies, and whole).  Lavender plants, wheatgrass smoothies, paintings, and dream catchers.

The Greenmarket.  It’s a magical place.

Strawberry wine (seventeeeeen – I know you were singing it!)

When you walk past this tent, the smell is heavenly!

Fresh jams and jellies, all boxed up and cute for you to take home!  And you better believe there was every flavor imaginable up for sale.  Curried peanut jelly?  You betcha!  Cucumber Rhubarb Jam?  Sure.  These little old ladies were serious about their jams.  They had one of the busiest tents!

The Greenmarket operates on the North and West sides of Union Square Park, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 8am to 6pm.  I can’t wait to walk through with my sister!  Did I mention Megan is coming in for a visit in a little over 24 hours?!!!!!!  Can you tell I’m excited?!!  I will try to document every second so that I can share all of our new finds!

Pillow FIGHT!!!

Last Saturday, we kinda planned our day around the Pillow Fight.  We slept in till about 11am (I can’t even remember the last time I’ve done that).  Knowing that it was happening around the corner from our house, we decided to leisurely get ready and then grab a late lunch before heading over to Union Square.  Where to go?  We settled on The Burger House.

Neither of us had been there so we really didn’t know what to expect.  One walk inside and a view of the counter and we knew we had entered a serious burger spot!

This was the "double double". Move over IN-N-OUT Burger.

Their burgers were DEFINITELY juicy and cooked to order.  We each ended up getting the bacon cheeseburger.  This was still no chump of a burger.  It took quite the effort to not only figure out how to attack this thing but also how to finish it.  We each managed to conquer them.  Tara got onion rings and I got the seasoned fries.  My only knock on the spot is they didn’t serve ranch dressing.  Ranch makes pretty much anything taste good (even rice – but that’s a story for another time).

So after lunch we strolled over to Union Square to watch the pillow fight go down.  As is usually the case on Saturdays, Union Square was packed!  Not only did they have the Greenmarket happening, but this was also going on:

Union Square - Saturday, April 7, 2012

This was a combo protest – not just Occupy Wall Street but they had a religious protest, a war protest, and a few others that we couldn’t really figure out what they were protesting about.  Needless to say, I had no clue where this pillow fight was going to take place.  It was 3PM and we only saw about 3 or 4 people with pillows in their hand. I was kinda disappointed and thought maybe I was the only who thought this was a cool enough thing to go to and possibly participate.  Then somebody yelled, “If you’re looking for the pillow fight, it’s now taking place at Washington Square.”

Ahh, Washington Square…  A beautiful park at the end of 5th Avenue.

We debated whether or not to go that far (about a 10 minute walk).  But we HAD to see this.  So we made the trek and upon entering, saw this.  Awesome!

There were only two rules: 1) No feather pillows, because nobody wants to clean that mess up, and 2) Don’t attack anyone with a camera or who is unarmed.  So, we decided to get into the thick of it like a true photo journalist would and saw the nitty gritty.


Obviously, the no feather rule was lost on somebody.

Luckily, we made it out unscathed.  We got there about 30 minutes late and it was still going strong.

As you might expect in New York, there was some crazy folks & crazy outfits in attendance and no you can’t just blame it on being the day before Easter!  I leave this post with those cast of characters below.

End of the world? Math Equation? What is it?

So for the first few months I lived in NY, I’d walk by this electronic string of numbers in Union Square (our neighborhood) and couldn’t figure out what the heck it was.  Finally did some research and came up with the answer.  It was designed by Kristen Jones and Andrew Ginzel in 1999 and is called the Metronome and acts as a clock.

How to read it? The 15 numbers of the digital clock display time going and coming relative to midnight. Read time going left to right and time coming in the opposite direction. So, if the clock reads 192936257233004 it means that it is 7:29 P.M. (19 hours, 29 minutes and 36 seconds since midnight) and that there are 4 hours, 30 minutes and 23 seconds remaining until midnight. The three numbers in between are a blur of moving numbers.

So now if you ever make it out to NYC and walk by this, you’ll know what it is you’re looking at and you can impress your friends with your knowledge.  Hope this makes you feel a little smarter and little cooler.  It did for me.

Nothing says Easter like a…

PILLOW FIGHT!  Yes, I said a pillow fight.  One of things I’ve loved so far about living in NYC is all the crazy one-of-a-kind events they have.  This year’s event takes place literally 2 minutes from our pad.  I’m still not sure if I’m going to participate or spectate but I’m definitely going to be there one way or another to see it go down.  This year’s event has a “bunny” theme so feel free to bring your bunny ears, bunny tails and plastic eggs.  What a way to tie in the Easter holiday.

For details of the event in New York, go here.  Believe it or not this is an international event.  Here’s the list of all the “pillow fights” going down. Don’t have one in your city?  Why not organize and add one?  It’s not too late!

Yes, we will have one of these…

So it took only 1 trip walking home 4 avenue blocks (explanation for the tourists: 1 avenue block is equal to about 2-3 street blocks) and then about another 5-6 street blocks with 8 bags of household items in my hands for me to make the executive decision that I’d never do that again.  While these carts may not look cool, it is definitely useful for New Yorkers.  Tara and I haven’t actually purchased one yet but it’s on the to do list. I’m actually looking for one that is engine powered, operated via remote control and has a coffee cup holder.  Regardless if I find one pimped out like that or not, we’ll have a mobile cart soon enough.  I do wonder what you do with a mobile cart if you’re shopping and decide to stop at a restaurant and have a bite to eat.  Do you chain it up?  I guess I’ll figure it out soon enough.

The Metro Card….a blessing and a curse

So this little card is your gateway to subway travel.  The advantages for a local are that it eliminates the need for a vehicle for city living (thus saving you thouands of dollars a month for a permament parking space not to mention the time trying to find a space on a street when running errands).  It’s pretty affordable.  $2.25 gets you anywhere you need to go one way.  The card also works for the bus system. That fare is $5.50 one way.   This is much cheaper than a cab would be.

Now, you can actually pre-pay and if you load $10 or more on to the card, you get a 7% savings. Initially, I was cheap about it and would only fill the card with $10 or so but I never knew where I really stood until I’d get in the subway turnstile.  God forbid I be out of “credits” on the card during rush hour with a ton people trying to get home…the dirty looks as they say, “Tourist!!!” under their breath while I then try to weasel myself out of line and back to the card machine to add more credits is enough to never want to be caught in that predicament again. All those lessons I learned in August when Tara and I were out there for a visit.

rush hour at the subway turnstile

So, in my head, I thought it was best to pre-pay a high dollar amount on the card.  The only thing I was worried about was losing it.  So I ran a little test. I tried keeping my card from August till December just to see if I’d hold on to it that long.  It was a success!  Of course, as soon as I tried to use it when I returned in December, I was out of credits 🙁   So I refilled the card and because I thought I was skilled enough to keep the card for a long time period, I put $50 on it.  Not even a day later, I lost the card.  What a bummer.  So now my wife has limited me to the $10 cards.  Guess I just have to keep track of where I stand in my head.

One other little thing I have yet to master is sliding the card through the card reader.  Sounds so simple right?  But, you have to realize there is a lot of pressure with a ton of people coming right behind you to catch their ride.  Not only that but it’s a little finicky.  If you slide the card too fast, it won’t read.  If you slide it too slow, it won’t read.  You’ve got to catch it just right.  I’ve got about a 70% average in getting it right the first time.  I’m working towards 100%.  I’ll keep you posted on how it comes along.