Monday, August 24, 2009

Laundry Drama on Newfield

Stamfordites, please help my friend H. She came up from NYC to help me out today, and her hard-earned 20 dollar bill got eaten by a change machine at Newfield Green Laundromat. Here is her sob story; let me know if you can help her out!

I just moved into a new apartment in the city with no laundry facilities, and I had two baskets full of laundry. I thought, “Hey, while I hang out with friends, I’ll go drop some laundry in the washer and dryer at a local Laundromat in Stamford. No big deal. Drop it off, move it from washer to dryer, fold it- well, you get it.” So, I just ran to Newfield Green Laundromat at 575 Newfield Ave. I’ve never been there but it looks clean and fine.

I actually had a feeling as I was lugging my two baskets, soap and crisp $20.00 bill into the facility that I might lose my money in the change machine. This has happened to me once before in Riverside, CT where after calling the owners of the Laundromat, they came right over and gave me the 20 back without question.

Inside Newfield, I found a little nook, set my baskets down, and made my way to the machine to change my 20. There was woman before me getting money and it all looked good: 1.00 in, 4 quarters out. Up next. I choose the left side (should have chosen the right side that was obviously working). 20 dollars in…. nothing. Great.

There were several people around so kicking the machine seemed a bit juvenile. Oh well, I kicked it once anyway. Then I looked for a form to fill out to indicate that the left side of the machine wasn’t working. NO forms. Oh, there’s a basket for the forms and a place to put the form and a note to the company, but there’s no forms. So I look for a number for the management. It’s about 4:15, so I think, of course, someone should answer; it’s within business hours. No one answers. NOT EVEN A MACHINE. I know I’m in the 21st century. Weren’t answering machines invented a while ago?

Does anyone know the people at that laundry place? I’d love to get my friend H her money back.

H, to me as I’m editing this and getting it ready to post:
“BTW, you can also add that I almost cried, and that I’m about to get kicked out of my illegal sublet, so this is the icing on my cake.”
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Friday, August 21, 2009

Stamford Mall: Elevator Hell and Annoying Kiosk People

I realized I was going to have to blog about my visit to the Stamford Mall Friday when I overhead a young hipster saying to his mother or possibly grandmother, "...ended up in Hoboken in nothing but a cowboy hat." I saw them two hours later, and he was still talking her ear off- he was languidly going on and on, and I didn't see her speak a word or even make a facial expression. I wondered if she had hired him to entertain her with stories as she walked. Endless, unstopping stories.

I also wanted to publicly rage about a mother with a stroller- who has no other choice but to use the mall's slow, small elevators- having to WAIT while several elevators filled with teens go by. I had to wait a full couple of minutes when I got to the mall for an elevator to even stop and open. The other lady waiting with a stroller said three other full ones had already stopped and she had to let them pass. And they're not full of people with leg problems, or older people- it's thirteen year olds, and sometimes guys in their 20s. In the future, I'm going to develop something to say to these people. I'm going to jam my stroller in the door to hold it open, and say, "Does anyone in here, who has perfectly healthy legs, want to get out so I, who cannot use the stairs, can use this elevator?" And then I'll hold the door until I get some answers. (Actually, I wouldn't do this, because I wouldn't put my baby between myself and the people. I guess I'd use my foot, although the stroller would be more dramatic.)

The only other thing I want to complain about is that kiosk outside the Apple store, where the person selling that nail buffer calls out as you pass, "Can I ask you a question?" See, they get you with that, because people don't want to say, "No." I usually just say, "No thanks." Well, when I was at the mall Friday, I was pushing my baby in the stroller and talking to my boss, who I'd just run into. The lady calls out, "Can I ask you a question?" Her question was totally inappropriate, because I was in the middle of a conversation, so I stammered, "Uh, no, uh, busy." I'm not going to stop and let you file my nail while my boss and my baby wait. DUH.

Back to the elevators. Other issues with them:
1. The floors outside the elevator are not marked. So, you get into the elevator, then realize you have no idea what number floor you are trying to get because you have no idea which number floor you are leaving. Brilliant. Like I am supposed to assume I enter the mall on floor 3, which is the ground floor?
2. For all except the new elevators by H and M, the elevator door is so narrow that only a stroller can fit through. Therefore, if I need to get off, and there are people between me and the door, those people have to get completely OFF the elevator to let me off.
3. Then, the doors start to close before they are back in.
4. God forbid my stroller and I get in when there are already people in the elevator. Then, I'M blocking the doors, and I have to get off to let them off, then swivel the stroller around to quickly leap back in as the doors start to shut on me, or my stroller.
5. Macy's only has escalators. So, if I want to go up a floor in Macy's, I have to go back out to the elevator by the Apple store. (And pass the lady or man who yells, "Can I ask you a question?") Or, maybe Macy's does have elevators hidden somewhere. I'll have to try to figure that out next time I'm there.

So anyway, going to Stamford mall is now really annoying, because I have to use tiny elevators full of teenagers. I suppose I could wear my baby in my sling, but then I'll be wearing a 16 pound baby, plus carrying a diaper bag and whatever I buy (and climbing up and down stairs with all that, or hopping on and off escalators). No, you sorta need a stroller for the mall, but unfortunately, Stamford Mall's poorly thought out elevators can make stroller navigation really frustrating.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bad Drivers: City of Stamford's Fault!

AWESOME article in the Advocate about traffic. It starts: Stamford is a city of speeders, red-light runners, tailgaters, lane-changers, horn-honkers and ignorers of stop signs and double yellow lines. Mitch Mailman thinks he knows why. Too many traffic lights.

Essentially, we are being driven insane by traffic lights. Well, guess what. I have a solution. Instead of fuming as you are sitting at a light, open your smart phone and check your email. Problem solved. I don't think that's dangerous. Make the most of your time.

The article focuses a lot of Havemeyer Lane, the road b/w Greenwich and Stamford near Stillwater. I travel that road all the time on the way to work. From the article:
Besides all the stop-and-go, the signals create backups blocks away, prevent cars from moving when traffic is light, and fuel aggressive behavior, he said. Since the city replaced three stop signs with a traffic light at Palmer's Hill Road and Havemeyer Lane about six weeks ago, Mailman has heard two crashes... That's because the signs forced cars coming from all three directions to slow down then stop. But "with the signal, people accelerate into the intersection when it's green, and may even speed up when it's yellow," he said.

I was kind of pissed when they put in the light, because I saw NO NEED for it. For the most part, people completely respected those stop signs. Occasionally, maybe once a week, people would come to a rolling stop. I'd shake my fist at them, but then continue on my merry, unimpeded-by-a-stoplight way. POINTLESS. That's a POINTLESS light. It took away the ONE daily opportunity I had to cooperate with fellow drivers, waving on the person whose turn it was. For the most part, people behaved really well at those stoplights. Now, we're just jerks trying to fly through the intersection before the light changes. I'm guilty of that. When I'm coming from Greenwich via Palmer's Hill, and my baby is screaming in the backseat, and I see that green light, I go a little faster to make sure I make the light. If there were a stop sign, I'd be starting to slow, making it a safer intersection, and making less chance of me T-boning someone who tries to make a left in front of me onto Havemeyer.

The article also mentions the roundabout on Havemeyer: Drivers didn't like it, for example, when the city installed a landscaped roundabout on Havemeyer Lane instead of a light, Poola said. "We got a lot of complaints," he said.
Complaints about what? Having to slow down from 45 on that 25 mph road? Before that traffic circle, people flew- very dangerous on that residential road. Calm the freak down, people. Actually, a couple days ago I almost giggled out loud at that circle as I watched two motorists try to weave through the circle without slowing down. They looked like total idiots yanking the wheel and swerving, but I had to admire their ambitious, NASCAR-like moves.

Anyway, my point: the traffic light at Palmer's Hill/Havemeyer: STUPID.
The traffic circle: annoying but OK, because people exiting their neighborhoods need to be protected from speeding jerks. I don't speed on that road, but I do accelerate to make the light at Palmer's Hill.

I realize I sound a bit hypocritical because I admit I speed sometimes, but you can't deny the effect that lights have on driving. If a safe driver like me is encouraged to speed by a light, that's bad.

See, the city of Stamford IS making us bad drivers!
Click here to read more.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Marriott International Inc. Apology: Too Little Too Late

According to the Stamford Times: The owners of a Stamford hotel where a woman was raped at gunpoint in front of her children are now expressing "regret" and "sympathy" for the attack after hotel lawyers, in court documents, said she was careless and negligent.

Nice words, but they do not take away from the sting in the statement from the lawyers. Your lawyers said she "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities," which, obviously, is a bunch of BS since she was in your parking garage. If SHE should have known better than to park there, then YOU should have known better than to LET her, stupidheads. If your parking garage is so unsafe that she shouldn't have parked there, why did you not provide better security for your guests?

In the words of Jojo, teenybopper singer, your recent statement of kindness is Too Little, Too Late. Talk to your lawyers, Marriott, and have them revise THEIR statement.
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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thai Chi's Green Curry Rivals Little Buddha

Actually, I'd say it beats it in the spicy category. WOW!
TC is less sweet/creamy, so probably made with less coconut milk (or whatever, I'm no chef) than LB and its Darien sibling Little Thai Kitchen.
TC's meal contained a lot of perfectly cooked eggplant, allowing me to believe that I was eating healthy. It was a good night of delivery food.
I have a sweet tooth, so I you forced me to choose one, I'd have to go with Little Buddha's sweeter version. (And I'd ask them to make it as spicy as Thai Chi's!)
Oh- and I have to also point out- the non-creaminess of TC's green curry makes it go better with a beer, in my opinion.
PS this post is short because I'm on the iPhone.
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Friday, August 14, 2009

Stamford Marriott (Partially) Blames Rape Victim

Oh, Stamford Marriott. Get ready for the worst press you could possibly ask for. The bad press they're getting for essentially saying a rape victim should have known better than to park in their parking garage is going to be so much more damaging than the amount the victim was suing them for. You just don't say that kind of stuff, Marriott, even if you think it.
Says the Stamford Times, "A Stamford hotel where a woman was raped at gunpoint in front of her children says the victim was careless and negligent. The papers filed last month in Superior Court by the Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa say the victim "failed to exercise due care for her own safety and the safety of her children and proper use of her senses and facilities."
Um, was she in an abandoned parking lot at 2 am? No, she was in a parking garage that was supposed to be monitored, in broad daylight. So, I think she was being plenty sensible. Therefore, Stamford Marriott, you are a bunch greedy jerks. (For anyone who is interested, there is a Facebook page called "Boycott Marriott Hotels for not supporting sexual assault victims.")

The Marriott's insensitivity and total suckiness gets worse. The Stamford Advocate reports, "The victim's attorneys also argue the hotel has inadvertently identified her to acquaintances by asking them to testify. The hotel also subpoenaed several people involved with the family, including a Pilates instructor, friends, tennis partners and the children's baby sitter. The woman's attorneys argue the individuals subpoenaed do not know anything about the attack, that the subpoenas inadvertently identified her to those people and that it was merely an effort by the hotel's attorneys to intimidate her."

You bunch of bastards, excuse my language, have severely mismanaged the case. Seriously, you should drop it now in an attempt to save your image.

Seems to me the hotel had plenty of time to have prevented the rape. As the Advocate states, "The woman, identified in court papers only as Jane Doe, claims in the suit that Fricker had been in the hotel and garage acting suspiciously days before the attack, as well as the afternoon of the attack, and the hotel failed to notice him, apprehend him or make him leave. During the attack, security personnel did not see or stop him, the suit claims. The hotel also claims as a special defense that the acts were unforeseen and beyond their control, that the woman and her children failed to properly "mitigate their damages," and that the hotel had not been notified about Fricker."

Please spread the word about the Stamford Marriott's total loserdom, or join the Facebook page and pass it on.
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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sugar Ray Photos by Dru Nadler

I love me some Dru Nadler. She's got a great slideshow up of the Sugar Ray Alive @ Five Show. I have to admit I'm completely biased, because she photographed my wedding. If you go through the 60 photos at the Advocate's site, I hope you'll see the humor in some of them. She really does have the ability to capture people being silly, foolish, and fabulous.

I totally love the photos Dru got at my wedding, so if you are looking for a photog for your wedding, I can't imagine a better person. She works for the Advocate but also has her own business (obviously, if she did my wedding). Here's her personal site. She don't mess around.
Click here to read more.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Green Curry at Stamford's Little Buddha: Flawless!

A few days ago, I lamented that I chose cashew chicken (boring!!!) as my first dish from the new Little Buddha. Yesterday my youngest sister was in town (she just took the NY bar exam- good job, K!). We wanted to go to Carter's to look at baby clothes, and Little Buddha was right across the street. I figured we could roll the stroller up for some outdoor seating, so we called my husband to come join us. Well, turns out there is no outdoor seating, so we left the stroller in the car, but there was just enough room inside for us to eat quite comfortably. There are 16 seats or so, and we sat right in the middle, taking turns holding the baby.
I was SO pleased with my green curry. I found myself wishing for a glass of white to go with it, but I didn't see a wine list anywhere. (Does anyone know if they have wine and beer?) That curry made me break a sweat, so you know it was good.
You must check out Little Buddha if you haven't done so already. Not every dish is spicy, so there will be something for everyone. AND THEY DELIVER!!! See menu here.

Little Buddha is very baby friendly. I'll repeat my pretty basic criteria for that:
1. Table are not so close that your baby is going to be in someone else's face
2. Staff does not act like you are an a-hole for wanting to eat with a kid.
In face, out waiter even made goo-goo faces at my baby. Now that's baby-friendly!

Two complaints about Little Buddha:
1. It was a little warm inside. Possibly because of the enormous window and the hot day, combined with the kitchen right near the eating area. It wasn't hot, it just wasn't cold, and on a hot day, a cold resto is nice.
2. The food took surprisingly long considering the resto only had 5-7 other people there. I assume it's because they were busy doing takeout orders? It wasn't a problem for me, but my husband was antsy to get back to work.

No bigs.

Click here to read more.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Baby-Friendly Rye, and Friendly People

I don't think I'm THAT appealing-looking that I deserved all the friendly attention I got in Rye, NY last week. Therefore, I declare Rye a friendly place. It's friendly to babies and to people who have babies. Let me explain.

Baby-friendly criteria:
1. Easy park and walk.
2. Restos with room for strolles.
3. Restos who don't act like you are crazy for wanting to bring your baby out to dinner.
4. Dessert place within walking distance of a dinner place.
Baby Q and I met up with a friend who was in town from Philly for business. We had a wonderful dinner at Rye Bar and Grill. There was plenty of room for the stroller, and no one looked perturbed when I had to stand up halfway through the meal to rock Q to sleep in his ERGObaby carrier. (Success!) The chopped Cobb salad was super easy to eat while wearing a baby, and darn if that pinot grigio wasn't nice and cold.
After dinner, friendly locals pointed us to Longford's ice cream. The place was pretty small, so my friend went in to get us cones while I sat down with Baby Q outside.

Here comes the friendly to adults part.

"Did you get to eat your dinner?"
"Did you get to eat your dinner?"
I realized the woman beside me was actually talking to me. A stranger- was talking- to me. In- a friendly- way. (Huh? I didn't think that happened up here.)
Me: "Oh, sorry! Yes!"
Woman: "We saw you at dinner!"
Me: "Oh, that's right, duh! Yeah, he finally fell asleep. After I dropped some arugula in his mouth by accident."
The woman, her friend and I had a chuckle, then they left with their band of older children.

"Do you love that stroller?" Now, a lady on the other side of the store's door is calling over to me.
Me: "Enh, it's OK." I realize she has the same stroller. "Oh- why do you love it?"
We then discuss the stroller, I ask how old her baby girl (turns out to be a boy) is, I compliment her excellent post-baby figure, she comes over to tell me how cute Q is, then she remarks how convenient breastfeeding is (I had gotten out my nursing cover), and after she walks away, I wish I lived in Rye so I could befriend her, because she seems really awesome.

Rye was the first town I lived in when I moved up here. I had a nice year, and near the end of the year, met my fabulous friends Wendy and Christopher, who now run a media empire in Fargo ND. A good friend from my birth class lives in Rye. I kind of want to live in Rye, although I bet housing prices are significantly higher than Stamford! But my, that is a walking-friendly, baby-friendly, friendly town.

I can't believe OTHER people were friendly to me. I have stopped being friendly to strangers, because this area has beaten that out of me. Maybe I need to consider changing my ways and become friendly to strangers again. I'll think about it.
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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bloggers and Twitterers Unite!

As you may know, Stamford Talk is on twitter. I follow a bunch of local people who seem pretty cool, so we arranged to tweetup, meeting up at a local bar the same night as our monthly blogger meetup. (Many local bloggers also tweet.)
Monster B's is a great place for a meetup because it's spacious and usually not too crowded. We had a crew of 12 or so, including
babyslanguage, stationstops, On Stamford (mfamous), Fairfield After Dark, CT Mom, and Always Home and Uncool. (If I didn't mention you, sorry, it's mostly because you don't have a blog and I figure you might not want the publicity. :)

I personally could only focus about 20% of my brain power on the tweetup because I (as always) had my baby with me. About 60% of my brain power is usually on him, and another 20% is usually spent on my general distractibility and spaciness. The people who were able to (relatively) fully focus (and drink more than half of a beer) seemed to be having fun.

It's always nice to meet people in person with whom you correspond online. Almost always, those people end up being very cool, at least in the FC!
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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Little Buddha Open for Bisnass!

Little Buddha, the new Thai resto on Summer St., is a sibling of the very good Little Thai Kitchen of Darien. I was totally into LTK's excellent spicy green curry when I was trying to induce my own labor as my due date approached and passed in March. (Total fail, but it was delicious.)

We got delivery from Little Buddha last week, and I have to say, we completely screwed up the chance to try interesting food. I thought the cashew chicken might have a fun kick, but it was just ordinary Chinese food with slightly more spice. I should have gone for the curry or some other dramatic dish. The husband got a boring steak dish as usual. At 15 bucks each, the price was not worth the dull food. Next time I'm going to get more bang for my buck and just get the curry, which I know is amazing.

I haven't been inside Little Buddha, but a friend said it's pretty small and not stroller-friendly, so if you take your baby there, you should probably wear him or her! (I know, baby-wearing sounds weird, but it is super-convenient. I ate dinner out last night and the night before while wearing my baby in the fabulous ERGObaby carrier, available at our fab local Bed Bath and Beyond baby section.)
Click here to read more.