Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Alochol + Chocolate - Not just for Seducing Anymore

QUESTION: How do you get a group of random people (particularly women), all with varying backgrounds, ages, preferences, and tastes, who are forced to work with one another and who frequently and not-so-secretly trash talk each other, to forget their differences for an evening and act like they're be BFF4L?

ANSWER: By plying them with copious amounts of chocolate and alcohol, of course!
I've already booked this year's office holiday party at Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory
As anyone who knows me personally is aware, I take food scarily seriously, especially when it comes to cocktails and dessert. "Mom, what's the point of blowing all of my savings on rent in NYC if I DON'T try out a new bakery/bar every day?? I'd actually be wasting my money more if I didn't go out!"

So regarding the combined worlds of chocolate and booze, I feel fairly confident that I know my way around a chocolate martini or two. Yes, yes, everybody's heard of the tourist death trap Max Brenner. Let's just say their chocolate martinis are about the only thing on that menu worth a trip to that overpriced mall-quality restaurant. I'm a huge addict of The Chocolate Room (so is Oprah!), but obviously nobody from a midtown office is going to show up at an après work happy hour hang out sesh out in Brooklyn. Much more conveniently located is of course Ayza; the food is tasty but the atmosphere is too claustrophobic and pretentious for my tastes. So where does that leave us?
Amirite, ladiez?!?
I recently became aware that a personal favorite chocolate shop/cafe now serves alcohol! Woohoo! This store is particularly near and dear to my heart - growing up in rural New Hampshire, my family was close friends with the owners of a fabulous little store called L.A. Burdick Chocolates. The business has since expanded outside of The Granite State and has additional locations in Boston, Cambridge, and NYC's Flatiron District! The atmosphere is quintessentially French, with a menu of Madeleines, chocolate croissants, and rich chocolate mousse cake, among other things. They also sell handmade chocolates and truffles, and are particularly known for their chocolate mice!
Très adorable!
I recently assembled a group of colleagues for a classy night of indulging at Burdick's. The evening resulted in a pleasant night had by all. Even my 60+ year old supervisor stayed out past 9 pm! I don't know about you, but that's what I call a party. I think it goes without saying that a round of chocolate martinis was ordered immediately. For all the choco-haters out there, don't worry, there are drinks for you too. They serve beer, okay?! (I'm talking to you Porkchop). In addition to my martini, I partook in the summer seasonal menu and ordered a rhubarb spritzer. Delicious. I need to go back asap! Please be jealous of the following two photos:
Spiked hot coco and coconut cake with homemade whipped cream :)
Sorry people, I was a total dodo and didn't take any more closeup shots of our beverages. Below is a group shot that I awkwardly cropped!
Left to right: chocolate martini, chocolate martini, water, rhubarb spritzer (clear with straw), water, and red thing (I totally don't remember what that was...but it was good!)
And to close this post as I often do, please enjoy something totally random and weird I found on the internet while composing this entry: a vintage postcard from the suffragettes movement. Note the luxurious snack of choice in the smoky woman cave while the poor husband is laboring away in the kitchen sans said snack.
Apparently bonding over chocolate is our version of male bonding over sports. And trash talking the opposite gender. Obvi.
Oh and this. Okay, ciao, ciao mes biches!
At least it's a better option that "stick an aspirin between your legs". I demand free chocolate in all sex education classrooms immediately!
Photo credits: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (original version, duh),

Monday, July 15, 2013


Last week I performed an inspection at a very expensive Madison Avenue jewelry store. Even though most of the merchandise is pretty tacky, I "joked" that I would write whatever they wanted in the report in return for a bribe of some fancy jewelry. They laughed at my "joke" but did not take me up on my offer. Rude.
Marilyn knows what's up.
Photo credits: Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend

It's Too Hot for this BS

As I type, the weather in NYC is 94 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 34 Celsius for all the non-American readers out there) with a humidity level around 50%. Blerghhhhhh. So not fun. Especially when all your travel is done via public transportation and your own two hooves. 
Fun fact! Did you know you could buy nail polish, excuse me, hoof polish for horses?!? Now you do :)
To add to the frustrations inherent with this terrible weather, today I had the pleasure of inspecting a hoarder's apartment. My favorite! The air conditioning was not in use at the time of inspection. The resident expressed concern regarding mold growth inside her a/c unit. In response to my question as to when she stopped using the air conditioner, she responded, "Oh I haven't used the HVAC system [Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning] in the ten years I've lived here". 

Hold up! What?!?!????? It's true. Apparently she has not turned on her a/c unit once over the past ten summers, nor has she turned on the heat during NYC's chilly winters. 

Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen! Step right up! Let me please introduce the world's biggest, strangest, and craziest masochist! 

Allegedly she doesn't turn it on for fear of mold growth?...despite there never actually being a  known leak? IDK, no explanation for this one. Below is a sampling of today's inspection:
This is the "after" picture of the apartment after the resident had been forced to clean. I'm not kidding. Glad I wasn't there for the "before" photo.
The building's maintenance people had to flip her couch on its side in order to do some repair work back in 2009. They neglected to move the couch back afterwards, and I guess so did the resident! Maybe she liked that it opened up some floor space...
This is only a small sampling of her can/bottle collection
I thought these were wadded up tissues or cotton balls. I tried not to look too hard. But no. The building manager whispered to me afterward, "did you see all of those used panty liners??". WHAT DA FUCK?!???? ***shudderrrrr***
I don't think I'll feel clean until I bathe both myself and today's outfit in acid. 

Can somebody please tell me why it always seems to be that the people with the most, shall we say fringe lifestyles are the people most vehemently concerned about mold?

Photo credits:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Sticky Situation

So, you have a shitton of hideous ACM (asbestos containing material) tile from the 1960s and want to renovate. What to do? Why not throw a carpet over it. While you're at it, use the strongest, most powerful industrial glue you can find. Decades later it will obviously be no big deal to remove this carpet and disturb the ACM tile like it ain't no thang. Holla at me mesothelioma!

Today I performed a mold inspection in the room pictured below. A very sticky, very strong carpet glue covered the tiles. Tile bits stuck to my feet with every step. If the situation didn't involve me, it probably would have been quite comical. Despite the fact that I was not properly prepared for an asbestos situation, my exposure was at least (I believe) minimal.  
What genius did this?? And why?!?
Might as well have walked through Dip à la Who Framed Roger Rabbit
"I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way"
Following the inspection, I walked almost two miles (wanted to waste as much time as possible before heading back to the office) and my shoes are still gross and covered in glue. Looks like this isn't coming off any time soon.
On the bright side, aren't my socks adorable?
Photo credits: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A South Bronx Tale

Laws of Nature 101: Throwing a bunch of random strangers into a shared space will result in individuals selectively grouping themselves together, usually according to a social hierarchy.
Janis Ian knows what's up: "Where you sit in the cafeteria is crucial because you got everybody there. You got your Freshmen, ROTC Guys, Preps, JV Jocks, Asian Nerds, Cool Asians, Varsity Jocks, Unfriendly Black Hotties, Girls Who Eat Their Feelings, Girls Who Don't Eat Anything, Desperate Wannabes, Burnouts, Sexually Active Band Geeks, The Greatest People You Will Ever Meet, and The Worst. Beware of The Plastics."
In the office environment, every company has it's own A-list clique. I hope that it goes without saying that I am a member of my own office's most exclusive group. We're made up of four saucy ladies:
MG: Me. Dis bitch has got swag pumping out her ovaries
D: The "mother" of the group. She's lived her whole life bouncing around one NYC project to another. D knows EVERYTHING about everything so you better pay attention to her advice.
B: The Puerto Rican fashionista. She's super hot and always comes dressed to impress.
T: Hails from Africa. Her BFF is Nelson Mandela's step-daughter. Not joking. Lady is an amazing dancer and is my personal inspiration and definition of the word "diva".
I am very happy that my work rarely brings me to NYC's less savory neighborhoods such as the South Bronx or Brownsville. Whenever I do have to make an appearance in these sorts of neighborhoods, I like to schedule my appointments in the morning. According to D, "You won't run into any trouble in the morning because that's when all these wannabe thugs are sleeping". Nice thinking! I've found that Brownsville and the South Bronx can actually be quite charming and peaceful at 10:30 am. While I have been in plenty of inappropriate, creepy, potentially not-so-good situations, I am thankful that I've never personally been in one that was truly scary.

This isn't true for most inspectors, including T. T recently found herself waiting for a superintendent outside of a building in the South Bronx. I guess the super was taking his sweet time arriving at the site, because T was forced to listen to a rather uncomfortable conversation as she waited. 

A man and a woman on the stoop next door loudly, without trying to hide the content of their conversation, negotiated the sale of a firearm. The woman wanted to kill her deadbeat husband and the man asked her what she was looking for regarding the type of gun, price, model, etc. Midway through their conversation, the woman stopped the negotiation to compliment T on her purse. They then turned back to one another and continued discussing gun prices. After the pair had finished their business dealings the woman said, "Thanks man. Now Imma 'bout to go get me some breakfast at the liquor store". It was 9 am.

You. Cannot. Make. This. Stuff. Up

Photo credits: Mean Girls

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Moldy Mystery Concluded... For Now

This post is the exciting conclusion to a previous entry. If you have not read the prequel, I highly suggest that you read it NOW.

In all seriousness, don't be that jerk who cheats and skips to the end of the mystery. It's no fun hanging around you when you're acting all smug and smart, "It's soooo obvious what's going to happen, you guys! You *still* haven't figured it out??". Yeah dude, because I'm going along for the ride and didn't check out the end!

Okay, at this point I'm assuming that nobody wants to be "that guy" and we're all caught up with the back story. Conclusion time!

So, it turns out the whole hideous situation actually WAS mold! Below are the results for the dirt-like substance pictured in my previous post: 
So I guess that's what a smuts/myxomycetes infestation looks like. Try pronouncing that name three times fast!

Even though the thing was far from pretty, fortunately for the family (but not fortunate for the story teller), the mold isn't a particularly dangerous or harmful or even a rare variety. It's a mild allergen, but it won't like, kill you or anything. Bo-ring. :-/ One fun fact is that myxomycetes aren't technically a fungus but are considered a "slime mold" due to their life cycle patterns (don't ask me to explain the difference, let's consult the NYC Mycological Society!). FASCINATING! #NowYouKnow #KnowledgeIsPower #YoureWelcome

The End.