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 affordablepup.com 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 rover.com, a private dog sitting service. It is similar to airbnb.com, 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!

The best 4th Of July ever…NYC style

The wife is away for a week on business (usually it’s the other way around) which means I’ve got some time to catch up on some much needed blogging.  I’m not at all insinuating that she keeps me from writing blogs…in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.  It’s more that we have been through such a crazy season over the last couple months with the few different businesses we’re running and traveling for those businesses that we’ve desperately needed time to just unplug from the computer, hang out with each other in the evenings, settle in to this new city that we’re loving more and more, and start forging friendships with some new folks.

Speaking of new folks, meet one of our new friends – Timothy Reese.


He’s got the coolest glasses on the planet and a personality to match.  Not to mention he’s a video editor, bassist and recently started DJ’ing.  He also happens to go to Liberty Church.  With that much in common, he and I instantly became friends.  Tim has lived in New York a long time and is pretty well connected with different groups of people and events going on in the City.

Because of some crazy stuff going on at work, Tara and I had to stay in Florida a whole week longer at the end of June than we had anticipated.  The way things worked out, we ended up having to go back to NY on July 3rd just to catch our original flight to Chicago on July 5th.  That meant we were spending July 4th in NYC!!  This being my first year doing so and us not having ANY view from our balcony, I texted as many people as I could to see if we could figure out a place to watch fireworks.

Tim wrote me back and his text was this:
“Have a spot for July 4th, we’ll be at a studio on 26th.  We’ll have a front row to the fireworks.”

This sounded cool but was so cryptic.  Would this be a studio apartment?  One as small as ours?  Was there gonna be a ton of people packed in like sardines?  None of this info was mentioned but we thought even if it sucked, it would be a chance to hang out with new friends and it was definitely a way better option than chillin’ by ourselves at our pad with no view of the City.

Tara, I and one of our new friends, Leslee, ventured out to the party but stopped about halfway there for a “pre-fireworks” drink at the White Horse Tavern.  It was ridiculously hot on our walk so this pit stop was perfect.  We hung out there till about 6PM and then started walking again to the party.

On our way, I got a text from Tim with a photo of the invite to the party.  The text read:
“Show them this to get past the police line at 10th Ave.”

As we got closer and closer to the “studio”, the security was tighter and the police barricades became more frequent.  In fact, at one point, I ended up having to text a picture of the invite to everyone in my party because everyone had to have it or they weren’t going to let us through. I started thinking this probably isn’t gonna be your typical house party.

We met up with Tim, got to the building, took an elevator to the 14th floor, and realized we were in no standard home studio.  We had entered one of the most incredible PHOTOGRAPHY studios I’d ever seen in my life.  It literally was 4 studios spaces that were joined together (I later found out that they’d shot a ton of music videos here for Rihanna Jay-Z, etc).  The panoramic view was breathtaking.

This was the view from one of the windows. You can see a few of the barges from this very spot.

There were probably about 300 people in attendance when all was said and done but all those people would have barely made a dent in ONE of the four studio spaces….that’s how large the space was that I’m talking about.  It was potluck style (we brought wine, of course) and there was food for days.  Tons of grilling out, snack foods and drinks along with great tunes playing throughout the house.  Because we were up so high, we actually had an awesome breeze and got to watch the Macy’s Fireworks display (yeah, I’m talking about the televised one – slightly a big deal) on the balcony of this “Studio”.

It was the best July 4th party I’d EVER been to.  I wanted to do my Wayne’s World, “I’m not worthy” dance (I came to find out later that all the other folks down below on the street level had to pay for tickets and arrive by 12PM to be there ALL DAY in the brutal humidity with less than desireable bathroom options to watch the fireworks at 9PM….and here we are in the life of luxury).

Of course, I had to ask Tim, “What do these people who hosted the party do for New Year’s?”  He chuckled and then said that they do a repeat of July 4th (with more of a formal dinner type feel) on NYE at the same venue.  If I don’t have a gig, I will definitely be here for it!  The only thing I kept thinking was, if this was year 1 of celebrating Independence Day in NY, how am I EVER gonna top this?

Here’s a little video footage.  I have NO idea what Leslee and Tara were talking about.  Hair maybe???
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nh6dPNFdzA0]

We were on a rooftop on TOP of a rooftop. That's when you know you've arrived :) We were on a rooftop ON TOP of a rooftop.  That’s when you know you’ve arrived 🙂

One of our new friends, Leslee, and Tara.

All 4 barges were sync’d up to the same display. Pretty awesome being able to see all of them at once.