The Stages of Hosting Tourists in Your New York Apartment

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You may find yourself hiding in the bathroom around Stage 6.  (Art by Thrashley!)

New York apartments are tiny. Everyone knows this. But because we live in the greatest city ever (objectively — no input required, thanks!) people from our hometowns always want to come stay with us. As transplants, we were in their shoes once. We probably wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the couch-lenders of our pasts. And so we pay it forward. It’s just what you do. Hotels cost too much.

There are several stages to every guest visit you will experience as a New York host. It is important to be aware of them so that when they occur, you know you are not a bad friend, cousin, daughter, or ex-coworker. Before we get started, you must remember: no matter how close you are with someone, all people have the capacity to be annoying. There are no exceptions.

Let’s begin.

The Stages of Hosting Tourists in Your New York Apartment

Stage 1: The Guilty Acquiescence

Your friend has just texted “Hey I’m coming up in 2 weeks! Can I stay with you?” and while that may be enough time to physically prepare, it is not enough to prepare emotionally for the amount of energy this is going to suck out of you. You miss your friend very much, but you remember the last time you had long-term visitors…that stain in the rug never did come out. Your first instinct is to say no. You want to tell them if they can’t afford to stay in a hotel then they just shouldn’t come to New York, but you know that is heartless and unreasonable, so you say yes. You begin resenting them prematurely for their week of free lodging, in your home for which you pay $60/day.

Stage 2: The Planning Stage

You’re starting to get excited about your friend’s visit. It’s been a while since you’ve seen them, or any friends for that matter, since you spend all your time working to afford to live here and “make your dreams come true,” whatever that means anymore. And when you’re not doing that, you’re sleeping. It’s not the City That Never Sleeps for the people who live here, ok? We have jobs. Anyway, in anticipation of your annual social interaction you start picking out the best restaurants, stores, sights, and activities you would never do with your city friends because no one’s schedule matches up, but that you want to make it seem like you do all the time. You start frantically googling “best rooftop pools” and pumping air into your bike tires. This is gonna be really fun!

Stage 3: The Prepping Stage

Not to be confused with the planning stage, the prepping stage is when you attempt to get your life together at the very last minute so that somehow, some way, you can find room for another person in it. You vacuum the rug, you wash your sheets (even though you’re just going to have to wash them again in a few days), and play Tetris with your furniture to figure out where the hell you’re going to put an air mattress. All miscellaneous items get stuffed into the back of your closet, if you’re lucky enough to have one. The OCD you’ve developed from living in tiny, mess-prone apartments starts to flare up, and you have to remind yourself that it’s only temporary, that you will only be without a walking path between the kitchen and the bathroom for a few days, and that most likely no one is going to step on your cat when they get up to pee in the night. At the very least, you reassure yourself, you will only have to tell your guest once that there are NO shoes allowed in the house, and that won’t be a problem because surely your friends are adults who don’t lose all sense of social norms the second they go on vacation. Right? You spend two whole days debating which would be less stress-inducing: giving your guest a key and trusting them to lock up your place which will definitely get robbed if they forget, OR waking up at dawn to let them in after nights of partying and forcing them to leave the house when you go to work. Speaking of work, you’re still trying to figure out what exactly they should do with themselves when their plane arrives smack in the middle of a workday. “Take a Lyft to my house. Not a cab, a Lyft. I will meet you there.” You request to leave work a few hours early.

Stage 4: The Party Stage

Your guest will be so excited to arrive that they won’t unpack any of their things at first, much to your relief. You set their suitcase in the corner of the room and let them gush about how cute your apartment is while you over-apologize for its small size and lack of amenities. They think you’re crazy because you have a decent apartment in — again­­­­ — the greatest city literally ever, so you have nothing to be sorry for! You start to feel pretty good about yourself, and realize yeah, you are kind of living the dream. You have something to offer! You crack open the bottle of vodka you purchased just for this moment, and drink cocktails while catching up in your fabulous home. You have dinner at the trendy restaurant you reserved, then go out for more drinks and maybe hit a club or two. You hardly even go to clubs anymore because those got old really fast, but all the stereotypical, silly BS about your city has just become interesting and fun again. Your guest’s innocence has already rubbed off on you and you make some ill-advised decisions. Why are you on the subway with a group of strangers at 4AM heading the opposite direction of your apartment? It feels like that first month after you moved here all over again, when anything was possible. But you already know how that story ends, which brings us to our next stage.

Stage 5: Pushing Your Physical Limits

Now comes the hangover, but it’s not the kind where you can stay in and watch cable and order Chinese. Nope! Your guest doesn’t want to waste their precious vacation time. You’ve got sights to see and desserts to wait on line for, and more shopping and museums than you thought one person could absorb in a matter of days. You’re suddenly regretting all those attractions you bragged about over the phone but you know it would be wrong to try and talk them out of it, so you take one for the team. On less than 5 hours of sleep, you put on your best outfit and a full face of makeup, because “sightseeing” is just a another word for “photoshoot on location.” You then walk no less than 14 miles around the city you claim to love so much while trying not to complain. In truth, you’re seeing parts of town you wouldn’t otherwise, and you feel good about not wasting your weekend inside on your couch. You just wish you didn’t feel so shitty for all of it.

Stage 6: Wits End

By this point you’re personally done with drinking. You’ll have to go back to work soon if you haven’t already and this lifestyle is not going to cut it. Your guest has totally abandoned the façade of politeness they presented when they first got here, and now their shit is absolutely everywhere. God forbid the visitor is your sister or best friend, or they’ve been rummaging through your stuff too, and now there’s no telling where theirs ends and yours begins. You’re going to have a rage stroke if someone uses another one of your god damn towels. The garbage is overflowing and everything smells like cigarette smoke (they can afford to still be smokers because the packs in their town cost less than $14). You’re exhausted and they’ve been here a while, so you ask as politely as possible if they might want to do their own thing for the last day. But it comes out more like, “I honestly don’t have time for this, or for that matter, any money left. So how about you do you and just buzz me when you need to get in, ok? Oh and for the 50th time, can you PLEASE take your shoes off? I’m sorry I’m just so tired.

Stage 7: The Goodbye Stage

Somehow, after spending what felt like months overrunning your personal space, your guest is able to fit their belongings back into their bags. You didn’t even notice them packing because you were still asleep. For some reason, every time anyone visits New York they leave on an 8AM flight, which means they have to leave your house, that is, wake you up, at the ass-crack of dawn to say goodbye. You put on your slippers, walk their suitcases down the stairs, and wait with them in the vestibule for their Lyft which will take 15 minutes or some equally ungodly amount of time to arrive. You hug your guest and wish them safe travels. You tell them you hope they had a wonderful visit and to “come back any time, really” though that last part doesn’t sound very convincing through your yawn. You go back to bed, and when you wake up they’re gone. It’s like they were never here, except that they used all your fucking toilet paper. And then you miss them. You realize how much having them here really grounded you and reminded you of your past. You feel a little empty inside without them.

Stage 8: Recovery

As you slide back into your daily routine and stretch out into your personal space again, you can finally breathe and reflect on all the fun you’ve had. You post pictures on social media to show everyone how effortless and carefree it all was. You do your laundry, clean your floors, ignore your bank account. Finally, you text your guest that you miss them already. “Next time,” you say, “I’ll come to you.”

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Just some of the everyday things that make me cry

I am far too sensitive for the real world.

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Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

1. The story my mom tells about the time she had dinner in a restaurant next to Lindsay Lohan but I wasn’t there

2. Documentaries about superstars, such as Katy Perry’s “Part of Me: in 3D”

3. The movie Practical Magic

4. Christmas as a concept

5. Watching my cat sleep

6. The movie Top Gun

7. Weddings and engagements, even when they are between people I hate

8. The movie The Lego Movie

9. Accidentally closing a tab when I meant to click on it

10. Thinking about the times I saw Beyoncé live

11. The Amex claims department hold music

12. Zillow commercials

13. Duracel commercials

14. Land Rover commercials

15. Dick’s Sporting Goods commercials

16. All video content involving animals, especially “The Dodo” which I have blocked on all social media networks

17. How much I love teen movies

18. Britney Spears and everything she’s been through in life

19. When I listen to the Dixie Chicks on the subway

20. All Robin Williams movies, including and especially Flubber

21. Live performances of absolutely anything — I cried 45 times during RENT: Live and it wasn’t even good (or live!)

22. When someone gets voted off of Kids Baking Championship

23. The “ain’t no mountain high enough” scene in Stepmom

24. The scene in Sex and the City where Miranda tells Charlotte she’s keeping her baby and Charlotte is like “we’re having a baby?!?” I have chills right now.

25. When I can’t find my phone charger for 15 seconds

26. John Legend’s discography

27. Setting foot on an airplane

28. When a Vanessa Carlton song comes on in a Duane Reade

29. The music video for “Always Be My Baby” by Mariah Carey

30. The movie 50 First Dates

31. Imagining my own funeral and the songs people would sing at it

32. When a Celine Dion song comes on in a Duane Reade

33. Taking one sip of alcohol

34. Taking a Lyft over a bridge in New York, looking at the skyline and thinking “wow, I’m really living in the greatest city in the world,” even though I was talking about how much I hate New York like 10 minutes before that, probably

35. Baby’s feet

36. Baby’s clothes

37. University of Phoenix commercials

38. When someone doesn’t immediately agree with everything I say

39. When I think about all the money I don’t have

40. Really good food like when you need it most, you know?

41. Heights, but not even going on them just like thinking about them

42. A really good yoga class

43. Any kind of inspirational story about anyone or anything overcoming adversity in any way

44. The weather (good or bad)

45. Seeing an older person and thinking about my parents, who are old

46. The opening credits of Finding Dory

47. The opening credits of Zootopia

48. The opening credits of Golden Girls

49. When my psychiatrist tells me she’s leaving her practice and that no, I can’t come see her at her new office because it’s out of state and that’s all she’s going to say and I need to stop asking her about it and seek other help

50. Stubbing my toe

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A DISASTER DECIDES TO KICK SOME ORGANIC GRAIN FREE DAIRY FREE SUGAR FREE LEGUME FREE ASS


Yep, I’ve done it. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon with housewives and wellness gurus and all types of white women and gays everywhere: I am doing #Whole30.
No, it’s not ironic! This is real. This is me. I am pursuing #mindfulness through #food in a #meaningful way because my mental and physical health are a teeter-totter and I need to grab life by the BALLS* and get my shit together.

*grass fed meatballs in a homemade marinara sauce over a cauliflower purée 

So basically #Whole30 is a diet that’s supposed to help you reset your system, jumpstart your metabolism, form good habits and figure out why you feel like shit all the time by omitting grains, legumes, dairy, added sugars, alcohol and pretty much all processed foods from your diet for 30 days. 

I am on Day 4. So far this is child’s play. In about 2 weeks I’m sure I’ll be bursting into tears every time I walk by a Popeye’s but for now, I feel great. Ok, maybe not great, just like, fine. 

Observations thus far:

-Salt is the most important food ingredient there is. A vegetable without salt is a thing you should get away from me.

-Nuts are filling but, depending on the kind, they either taste like crayons or little pieces of wood. 

-Raisins: not so bad 

-EVERYTHING seems to have added sugar, even stuff that doesn’t need sugar. I tried to buy sausage at the grocery store yesterday and it had fucking corn syrup in it. Reading ingredients can be truly eye opening.

-Ghee aka clarified butter is my shit. I don’t know how they make it or why it’s ok to eat on #whole30 or why it costs $14 a jar, but it’s delicious. 

-Most of the things I truly love eating are actually good for you, I just usually buy trash food because it’s cheap. For example, olives are a way more delicious snack than potato chips hands down. I’ll have 4 olives and be like *kisses fingers in an Italian way that’s probably offensive to actually do idk*

Now, my resolve hasn’t really been put to the test, so I’m not on a high horse or anything. I haven’t yet experienced a weekend, which is usually when I eat 10 burritos and a block of cheese, so that’ll probably feel less fun. As far as the not drinking thing goes, well, you know how much I love alcohol. And I still do. We’d just been spending so much time together and it was getting a little bit too serious so it’s good to take a break. Because then we can miss each other. And have makeup sex. What was I talking about again? 

Anyway, I’m entertaining this philosophy that consuming food and drink should be pleasurable before, during and AFTER the experience, and trying to find pride and power in how I treat my body. 

Doesn’t that sound so good? Aren’t you totally rooting for me? Isn’t it weird that in this very blog if you go back 4 years you’ll find a post where I take acid and eat an entire bag of Martin’s Potato Rolls? Life can be so unpredictable.

#Whole30 #Whole30 #Whole30

“Inauguration Day,” if that even IS her real name

Ok. So it’s officially Inaug Day. Which means I haven’t woken up in a hospital bed to a nurse fanning me and my mother saying “Honey, it’s me, Mom. You hit your head in excitement on the ballot box after casting your vote for the first woman president who is now the president and you’ve been in a coma this whole time probably dreaming about some pretty terrible stuff.” 

You know when something really bad happens and you can’t get past the fact that it was so easily avoidable, so you just keep replaying the moment over in over in your head believing you personally can invent time travel if you just feel horrible enough about it? 

See: idk, the 260 self-inflicted traumas I’ve experienced in the past ten years?

So I guess in the back of my mind that’s what I’ve been doing. Turns out it doesn’t work tho! Especially not now. This wasn’t even our choice. Lack of consent defines this whole hellish experience from top to bottom. 

But if I’m trying to pin down how I feel at this very moment, well, I’m conflicted.

I feel tired, enraged, bitter, exhausted, annoyed about this. Kinda defeated by this. BUT, I also feel motivated, empowered, inspired by peers, by other women, by my LGBTQ family, by people of color, by all who withstand adversities I’ll never know. I feel solidarity. I do. Even though I haven’t been mentally able to totally face it, to engage every day, I feel a connection. I feel strength and somewhere deep down I fucking feel positivity. 

Y’all are doing some fucking amazing work. Every day that I log onto this god forsaken internet that I love so much, I see folks mobilizing, creating and coming together for the better. Making what needs to be made. Shouting what needs to be said. Putting yourselves and your hearts and your lives on the line to stand up for what you know is right and holy SHIT y’all! That’s what this life shit is about! 

Pat yourself on the back. Take a bath. Smoke a bowl. Eat some cheese. Treat yo self tonight. Please. You deserve it.

I have chosen to look at the blessing that in whatever small way, for whatever it’s worth, this is bringing us closer together.

This may not be the world I wanted to live in, but these are the people I wanted to be with. 

Admit it. Every year around the time that the leaves turn yellow and humidity’s strangle finally starts to loosen, you find yourself giddy with anticipation for the pumpkin spice lattes, the rosy cheeks and noses, all the amazing clothing items you will layer over other clothing items. You’re overcome with romance at the thought of snuggling up by the fire, kissing someone in the snow or just that feeling you get shopping for a new pair of boots. You skip joyously on those one or two days where all you need to stay warm is a denim jacket, thinking about how merry the holiday times are going to be this year. “Oh happy day! Santa is coming and he’s bringing snow!” you scream prematurely into the October air like an overzealous child in denial.

And then it happens. Without skipping a beat, the most bleak and resilient layer of stratus mother nature herself has ever begotten (it gets worse every year, I’m sure of it) collapses all your hopes and dreams, teetering instead between snow-less arctic temperatures and weather that can only be described as “fucking alright.” Thanksgiving rolls around, you gain the first five of that ten pounds you will undoubtedly accrue before New Year’s, and before you know it…the holidays are over. You had one pumpkin spice latte before you realized it was 400 calories and you burned off all your taste-buds on what you swear was not non-fat milk. You can barely afford your heating bill, let alone even dream of a working fireplace (pre-war doesn’t mean the same thing real estate-wise outside of Upper Manhattan). It’s mid-January. The last person who snuggled up to you was your cat, and that was only because your ten day New Year’s hangover turned into the full-fledged flu and the fever was keeping him warm. And even on the brightest, sunniest fluke of a 60 degree day you can’t help but know in your heart of hearts that the proverbial groundhog is giving you the proverbial finger, and there will be an ice storm in March.

So why do I do it? Why do I continue to insist that there exists a “winter wonderland” beyond Tumblr jpegs of some Norwegian girl in a poncho? I suppose it can be done. I remember being 8 and praying to god (shows what I knew) for a snow day so I could bask in the carpeted, centrally heated palace that was my suburban home. And with the right motivation and a good savings account I may have been able to spread some of those conveniences into my early twenties. But with my unfortunate inability to save a dime and what appears to be a solar-powered immune system, all this cloud cover makes me want to melt Klonopin in my cocoa.

That being said, my visit from the plague over the last couple of weeks left me with a lot of down time to handle some personal things that really matter. For example, I spent a few days contemplating my relationship with Gossip Girl’s Dan Humphrey and decided that while I do like his haircut, he is too pretentious for me. I attached studs to the back pockets of my jeans, cleaned out my computer and updated my flickr account. Oh, and I downloaded some music to help take the edge off that Seasonal Affective Self-Loathing. Enjoy dancing to this track by Newtimers. Now that I’m on antibiotics and pretending it’s April, I’ll be dancing with you.