Thursday, January 31, 2013

end of an era

I do not necessarily believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything happens. A harsh word, a hard conversation. An intake of breath. A slammed door, an outstretched hand, a pop of champagne, a glass clinks, a baby cries, a door opens and the world is made, piece by piece, forged on steps and moments and sighs and words spelled out, stretched out, words thrown and words whispered, letters strung into words into sentences and these sentences become celebrations, become sorrow. 

The moments I've had these past few months--the text that told me we'd be forced to move, the close of the house door as we headed to Virginia, the crackle of a shrimp shell I peeled in celebration of a fresh-faced college grad out to conquer the world. The hugs goodbye, the silence of the car. The click of a record about to play Vince Guaraldi, the spell of jazz as we open our presents. The car again. The dogs again. The presents again. And home we go.

The lists forged on new resolutions, written with new pens and new paper. A new Dutch oven on the stove, a pressure cooker in the cabinet. New slippers, new robes, new pajamas, new sweaters; the glow of a fire, the warmth of a mug.

A text one day that says Please call me.  
The grief that follows.

The whir of the train, the drone of a priest, the honking, gum-spit sidewalks of Manhattan.

My office, my quiet little desk on the fourth-and-a-half floor, my red-brick walls. Except it isn't my desk, and it isn't my office, I remind myself. You are a placeholder. You are temporary. You are here until they need you and not a damn day more.

But my first day back from the funeral, I learn that it is mine. It is mine and it always has been. My freelancing days—if I want them to be—are over.

And yes. Yes, I want them to be.

And so I get a letter. And I get a mailbox. And I get pretty little papers that say things like vision insurance and flexible spending and I am out of water, out of my damn mind, and this moment, this moment has been a long six months—10 months?—coming, and it is mine to seize.

And folks, I'm gonna seize the crap out of it.


Yes, folks, I'm selling out. Selling my Bohemian, penniless, fragile, feast-or-famine freelance existence for a 9-to-5 job with crazy things like benefits and 401ks and paid vacation time. The difference, my friends, is that instead of writing to fill other people's pocketbooks (namely, my clients) and meet their demands, I wholeheartedly love what I've been doing for the past six months. I won't bite my fingernails hoping a client's PayPal payment will come through, I won't have to chase down new clients, and I will not have to write about roofing or SEO or potato farms (though that would be awesome). Instead, I'll be working with food, writing about food, editing stories about food, and yes, tasting food, and the fact that someone is willing to pay me to do all that still seems re-god-damn-diculous. 

In fact, someone please pinch me to make sure this is not one giant Craigslist scam.

I cannot celebrate enough. There are not enough balloons or confetti or bottles of Moet in the world to achieve the level of celebrating I'd like to do. So please, tonight, when you're at home, eat a cupcake or a bite of baked alaska or just pour yourself a big ole glass of wine, because we're celebrating, readers, and I can't do it all by myself. There is only so much room in one person's stomach.  So have one for me. Have one on me. Have one in close proximity of me. I don't care. Last week it was nine degrees outside, so if there's ever a time for a little celebration to warm the world, it's here and now.


And now I want to say something to myself. Go ahead. Roll your eyes. I'll wait. 

But Nicki, I don't know how you hung in there these past 10 months, but you hung onto that company like a bulldog with lockjaw. Good for you. Good for you for not giving up, for believing that maybe, just maybe there'd be a light at the end of that tunnel. Good for you for transforming your little weak, whipped-dog-self into a semi-capable person. And good for you for going somewhere. For taking a step. For finding something that you wanted bad enough to say this. This is it, this is right, this is what I needThis. Because you got it. You won. And strange as it is to say, I'm proud of you.

Now get out there and knock 'em dead, killer. 


  1. Congratulations. Doing the happy jiggle for you. Let me know what it feels like to be a responsible adult. :-)

  2. Congrats! Feels good to let someone else worry about the taxes, insurance and stuff and just enjoy a paycheck. I got out of consulting four years ago and really it was the best thing for me. This sounds like a fabulous opportunity for you, seize it with both hands and enjoy.

  3. YAY!!! I am so proud and happy and happy danc-ey!!! Enjoy your victory! I, for one, plan to enjoy a nice hot mug of herbal tea tonight in your honor. It may sound lame, but I think you of all people will appreciate my offering. :)

  4. I can only say one thing:

    I never doubted it.


    Okay, TWO things then I'll say because I'll add I agree with what Nicki said to Nicki and I'm proud of her, too. Love you.

    (I confess that I saw your status update on FB and raced over here because I KNEW there had to be a post about your brilliant news.)

  5. NICKI!!! I AM SOOO HAPPY AND PROUD FOR YOU. You are amazing and deserve this so much! Every time I read your words I feel things. I feel the sadness, the reflection, the excitement, the happiness. You are an amazing writer. I'm so excited to see where this chapter takes you. To infinity and beyond I hope.

    Excuse me while I go drink some wine in your honor!

  6. CONGRATULATIONS I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU YOU!!!!! and I am certainly raising a glass lovely lady.
    You are and have always been awesome and deserve every happiness.

    Big smiles here

  7. How great! Sounds like a dream job. Wishing you the very best!

  8. OH. MY. GOD.

    Congratulations!!!!!!! You deserve it. I want your job. Can I be your assistant????

    Just kidding. But I'm really happy for you.

  9. I, for one, DO believe that everything happens for a reason, and I have no DOUBT you are headed for even bigger, shinier, more wonderful things. Yes, Nicki McNickerbottoms - this is just the beginning, the first step, the warm-up of what will be a glorious new chapter for you.

    And for crying out loud, you deserve it. I love when when good things happen to great people.

    Don't forget us little people when you're a judge on Top Chef, M'KAAAY.

  10. I think you know how ridiculously, deliriously happy I am for you. If you don't then be glad you weren't within arm's reach of me when I read this - bear hugs sometimes break things.

    You will always be my favorite. Sorry, everyone else. I've known her since she was "this" high ;-)

    Of course, you will have to hit me up on email and fill me in on the wonderful details.

    Love you THIS much!


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