Without A Rule Book

So here I am
October 13, 2009, 6:33 pm
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Wow.  This moving thing.  Can’t say I recommend it.  (Unless of course you’re moving to another country!)

But you know – I got this move thing all wrong.  Or, I should say,  I got MY move thing all wrong.

I was so worried about finding a good school – my kids are in an AMAZING school.  They have drama.  Art.  Music.  Go for walks in the neighborhood.  Look for birds.  And yes, actually think school is fun.  (Another post on how they’re also preparing the 4th graders for Middle School (6th grade.  But for now, it’s a great school!)

I worried about the logistics of moving.  Of packing.  And yes, it could have gone smoother.  We had a L O N G time to do this move.. and yet most of it was done right at the last minute.  I know, I know, I know – that’s human nature, that’s how “things are always done.”  I’ve heard all the responses to my complaint.  But still.  We got the apartment in mid June? Did we really  have to do most of the move end of August?  Sigh.  But we got through that.

I worried about my kids adjusting.  THey come home, they play in the yard – my child who last year was struggling now picks up books.  THey  have friends.  THey are relaxed.  They smile.  (Even while they say they hate school, they smile…)

BUT – what nobody reminded me about.. what nobody told me about (WHY?!?  Why didn’t any of you guys tell me?!?)  *I* also was moving.  I ALSO was going to be transitioning.  I didn’t think about that at all.  J and I have been going out for three years.  We have stayed at each others places.  We get along swimmingly.  I want to marry the guy, for crying out loud — what could be difficult?


You know how they tell you that the first year of marriage is difficult.

Yeah.  Like that.

It’s a transition.  We both see it.  We both feel it.  We both talk about it.  But still, it kinda sucks.

I was so so excited to move in with J!  A “family.”  Two adults.  We would be living the perfect family life!  For once!  (Don’t forget, X moved out when YS was 2… so most of my parent years had been done solo.).  This is will now be known as:    All My Problems Will Be Solved Once I Live With Another Grownup. (AMPWBSOILWAG.)

I pictured family dinners around a big table.  Family bike rides.  All of us sitting on the couch, watching educational videos…  whilst sparrows and butterflies buzzed around happily.

Another sigh.

J works three nights a week – outside his regular job.  He loves it.  I *try to* love it.  I love the concept (if that helps!)  But I hate how he’s not here.  What about our perfect family nights?!?!  THe nights he’s here we play catch up for the nights he’s not.

He says he’s here 4 nights – and he is — but I need him during the week – when I have the kids.. Homework.  Fighting.  Dinners.  Showers.  And then there are the after school meetings – the ones I thought I’d be able to go to because there are now two parents!  Or we would both go, sit next to each other, listen raptly to the teacher, go home, discuss… co-parent…  Wouldn’t you know that J just happens to work each night there’s a school event!  It’s not intentional, it just happens….

But you know, it’s not even so much about that — it’s really about how I imagined this would be.  It’s not living up to my expectations — but probably my expectations were not realistic.  (How many are?)  I mean, here I am, a social worker – knowing FULL WELL that there are all different kinds of families.  Heck – I WAS one of those different kind of families.

Which is probably why I wanted a TV one.

So I’m going through quite a bit of disappointment.  Re-adjustment.  Re-focusing.

We’re getting through it.

But then of course there are all those other living together things that I had forgotten about.  The “I took out the trash the last three times….. don’t you think it’s your turn?”  You know.. or leaving the trash ’til it overflows waiting until the other notices & throws it out…

Sigh.  (Again.)

I didn’t prepare myself for those sorts of non-issues issues.

And please – the pets.  Don’t get me started on the pets.  I am now the proud owner of a step-cat and step dog.  Both of whom are perfectly sweet, kind, cute and wonderful.  I loved them — when I visited them.  Now that I live with them it’s a whole other challenge.

Imagine, if you will.. working a full day… coming home to two kids who are clambering for your attention and a dog who barks.  Loudly.  For your attention.

There are reasons people with young kids do not get pets.  I now know them well.

And the cat, well, after he finally stopped peeing on all our stuff.. now runs around each night.  Yelling.  Jumping.  Pouncing.  No problem for most of you normal sleepers… but I have the luxury of being a very light sleeper.

Get the picture.

Ahh sleep… one day I shall know a full night of you.  (Heh.  Does that make any sense at all?!?)

The gerbil?  Well, the gerbil is mine.  He & the cat are doing fine, but his cage is in our room until we find a place for him.  THe gerbil wheel?  “thunka, thunka, thunka”  all night.

I’m full of complaints here, huh?  It really has been more difficult than I thought.  But – J is a kind, gentle, wonderful man – and we are both really good communicators. We both realize this is a “tough patch” but we also both know that it will pass.


It’s a process…
July 16, 2009, 10:39 am
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You know I”m moving.  I’ve been moving for the longest, longest time now.  I mean – even to me this seems like the longest move ever.  It’s only because I keep griping, moaning, whinging about it.   You’d think that moving to a duplex apartment on West 75th street – with a yard, in a good school district, just steps from parks, shopping, express subway — is the most horrible thing in the world!

The thing is.

I’m not good at separations.

And it’s not so much people.. people I know I can keep in touch with if I want to.  It’s more the nebulous stuff… the things that make a place special, that make an neighborhood your own.  Like the woman at my dry cleaners… who I have been going to since we moved in – since OS was an infant.  She remembers when I was pregnant with YS.  She has seen them grow up.

And it makes me sad to leave her.  (Even though – my goodness!  I don’t even know her name!)

It makes me sad to leave all those people… who have known my children. Who give my children their history “I remember when you were a little boy…”  In a new place they’ll lose that.

And as we’re talking about history.. I’ve been coming up upon quite a bit of mine – going through nine years of stuff.  I’ve found bags (small bags!) of souvenirs from trips.  And when I say souvenirs I mean even receipts.  Trip to Brazil.  Trip to NZ.  Trip to Chicago.  There are notes.  There are maps.  There are brochures.

I haven’t looked at this stuff in years.  I have to say, I even forgot they were here…  although somewhere in the back of my mind I think I knew they were.

I went through them the other day.  I said to myself:  “You haven’t looked at or thought about this stuff in years.  Dump it.”  So I did.

I woke up at 6 am with a literal jump.  Breathing heavily.  “Have to get those things out of the compacter room!  Have to get them back from recycling.  I need to go through them one more time!  I can’t get rid of them!”


I never thought of myself as a “hoarder”  More a collector.  A sentimentalist.  I like to keep stuff.  Remember what happened.  And people say, can’t you just use photos?  And I suppose I could… but these items are so much more specific.  The note from the Brazilian co-worker whose (flea infested – but that’s another story) apt I stayed in while in Rio.  The directions to the apartment of the friend of a friend.. who later sent me my first “anonymous” plant for Valentines day.  (And I still have it!  The one plant that I have not killed.  [Hope I didn’t just jinx it!]) and who I dated long distance until he went to Spain to run with the bulls and I never heard from him again.  True.  (I mean, if he wanted to stop dating he really didn’t have to do anything THAT drastic!)

But I digress.

This is really about how I never really knew that all this would stir up such dramatic emotions.  Such visceral emotions.

So, I’m being a bit kinder on myself.  I’m keeping a bit more.  We’re getting a storage space — so one more piece of paper here or there won’t make that much difference.

And I”m doing it slower.  I’m doing the first run of throw out.. then going back & through stuff again.  I can’t do it that fast.  I can’t do it that drastically.  It’s not like pulling off the band aid for me.  It’s

a process.

Just some random thoughts…
June 24, 2009, 2:24 am
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Well.  It’s happening.  I’m really moving.  I took the kids to see their new school last Friday & it’s great!  So much parent involvement.  A science lab.  Amazing library – and they even have a salad bar (paid for by the past parents association) for those kids who want healthy diets. The  next capitol campaign is going to be to make the cafeteria bigger.

No blue drinks here, folks.

Yes.  My kids are reaping the benefits of moving into a very well heeled school district.  And, of course I can’t just sit back and enjoy this.  And of course, my sister gave a voice to it:  “Why don’t they take that money and donate it to a poor school?  One that has no library at all?”

The public school system suckssuckssucks.  I will never understand why people just don’t pay school taxes proportional to their.. houses say – pay it federally – then have it divided equally amongst all the schools in the U.S.?  So that way each school at least starts off with an equal pot?

Yes, I know it begs the question of how much parents could/should donate to the school… and then of course the richer areas will still have better programs.  People have debated and studied this much more in depth than I ever ever had.

And here are my kids – benefiting from it.

And it wouldn’t be a full blog post without mentioning my other dichotomy.  I don’t think I’ve ever fully come to terms with whether I’m a “city” person or a “suburban” person.

Before kids I lived in the city.  I wanted to stay in the city.  But then I got married… I got all those things that people get when then get married: china, crystal, glass thingamajiggies… and I put them all away.  Waiting for that… HOUSE.

Because all of a sudden I saw myself in a house.  Living room.  Dining Room.  Kitchen.  Den.  Attic.  Yard.  China cabinet.  Linens.  Fire place.

The whole shebang.

And I’ve lived in this apartment… and it’s been fine.  But… somewhere in my head it was the way station…..  I had the china still in it’s boxes… waiting for my move to my house.  With my dining room.  Where I would set a big table.. with the glass thingamajiggies….  My kids would be playing in the yard, while I would be cooking (ok.. I know.. the cooking part is a bit far-fetched.. but go with me here…)

I think you know what I mean.

Now I’m moving from the way station.  Not to a house.  And not only am I not moving to a house… but I”m moving into a space where I have less storage.  That china?  Crystal?  Glass thingamajiggies (I think I’ve spelled that word differently each time…) either being donated or given to my parents.  No space.  Plus… J… doesn’t really want them.  I mean, he’s being nice & all… but… he doesn’t want my wedding presents.. and he doesn’t see why I want them when I’ve never used them.

I don’t know that he fully understands the waiting.  I’m actually just starting to understand/realize it myself.

And the thing is, I have real urban sensibilities.  I don’t really think I would LIKE living in the suburbs.  I can only stand visiting for small chunks of time.  But the house.  The house.  I have such house envy.  And a big, big yard.

J has said that we will have a retirement home.  He says “Put some of the stuff in storage – we can use it then.”  (Ok, so maybe he does understand.)

But this whole process – I’ll tell you – bringing forth a whole new set (and sub set!) of feelings, issues, thoughts, doubts, anxieties…

I’d really just like it to be over already.

But then, you know. I’d find something else to obsess about!

He did it.
June 10, 2009, 2:36 am
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Last night J and I filled out the school admissions forms for the boys.  We have to see if there is enough room in the public school… so it’s a wee bit tense.  But (I keep telling myself) all the other schools in that area are good, too.  So Don’t Worry, Self.  That’s what I tell myself.

Sometimes it works.

We had to write the names of the people “responsible” for the kids.  I put my name down… then… well – I didn’t know.  Do I put X?  Do I put J?  The kids will be living with J & he does more & better parenting than X.  But X — he’s their dad.  Do I cut him out all together?

I’m still not entirely sure how to do this.  How to work this.  Part of me thinks that X cuts himself out… he misses out on the kids learning to ride bikes because he can’t even go out to buy a $25 dollar bike.  He doesn’t see them as often as he could.  He doesn’t call them as often as he could.

So why should I worry?

Sigh.  I just do.  J says I look for things to worry about… and perhaps.  But I also think I just won’t ever stop thinking/hoping/believing that X is or will be a certain way.  I just can’t get my mind around the fact that he’s not.

My own issue.

But we decided – put J’s name down.  If/when the kids get accepted to this school I will give them X’s info, too.  Just because I feel it’s the right thing to do.  Honestly?  I don’t think he’ll care.

But.. ok… here’s the good part!!  J put himself down as the boys “step dad.”  STEP DAD!  !!!!!!!!!!!!  Heh.  Cool.

And then… well… you know… got to thinking…. got a little teary… it’s going to be so different.  We’ve been three for five years.  I’ve been a single mom for five years.  It’s really going to be such a change to have somebody else there on a regular basis.

If I want to go ride my bike – I can.  “J, watch the kids – I’m going to ride my bike!”  !!!!!  Crazy, huh?

Crazy, crazy, crazy.  But kinda good.  And I”m not worried.

We got it.
June 5, 2009, 10:47 am
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(And I’m trying to figure out how to insert photos… ) And I don’t really think that’s the right way.  But if it comes out…

And yes.  I’m all about the yard.

But, we signed the lease yesterday & went to see the place again.  They are totally renovating it (which is why they wanted to raise the posted rent.)  But I’ll tell you – totally new kitchen, new bathrooms, new sliding glass doors to go  out to YARD – with screens, floors sanded & polished…  It’s like moving into a brand new place.

Pretty cool.  J is totally stoked about the kitchen.  (He has his kitchen whilst I shall relax in the YARD.)

And the funny thing is – I told somebody “These guys have been stringing us along for this apartment for .. like.. a month!”  and I looked at my calendar.. and … yeah.  Only two weeks.

Only two weeks!  I was so sure I was waiting so much longer than that!  I apparently have absolutely NO patience or staying power.  Two weeks.

We ended up paying what they wanted.. but you know – even what they asked is a VERY fair price.. because we’ve been looking at a lot of places & there’s not alot of nice stuff out there.  Either the high end apartments that have no soul and look like cookie cutter.. or the old ones which are all carved up to make a lot of bedrooms & no living space.

The lease starts June 15th (another concession on our part) and J will move in July 1st.  We’re moving end of August.  It’s actually better, though – because maybe this way I can get the kids enrolled in school there before the school year ends.

(And oh, forgot to add the melt down I had on the corner of 72nd and Broadway before we went to sign.  I got out of the subway.. it was so busy… so many cars.. and I freaked out.  As I was standing there waiting for J.  “Am I making the right choice for my kids?  What am I bringing them into.”

Yep, like those pre-wedding jitters?  I had them.  It’s a huge step.. and not the moving in with J part – because that seems totally normal… but our lives will really be different.  My kids will be “City” kids.  Growing up in the west 70s’, Fairway around the corner, Zabars…

Sigh.  I’ll be ok.  Right?
Steve sideways

Ow! These pins & needles are hurting my feet….
May 27, 2009, 10:43 am
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Still have not found out about the apartment.  First it seems like it took them forever (2 days!) to approve our application.. then, well, they changed the price & the move in date.

THey added $400 to the rental price that was posted on Craigslist (yes, that’s illegal) and now we’re in negotiations.  Which wouldn’t be so bad – except it’s difficult to negotiate with people who have very low ethics and aren’t very smart.

J actually called the managment company directly (He wanted to wash his hands of the whole thing, but I wantwantwantwantwant this apartment.  It’s more than an apartment – that yard makes it a “home” and…. well…. yeah.) and has been talking with the head.

Apparently the management company put so much money into renovating the apartment that they are now thinking the rent is too low.  Have to regroup their losses.

We’ll see.  But I tell you – if we do  not get it — I will be unleashing wrath on them that will make Noah’s Flood look like puddles!  (Heh, I like that.).  I’m going after their real estate licences, I’m reporting them to craigslist, I’m telling all the real estate blogs & J said he wants to report them to the attorney general.

But until then, we’re playing nice.  I don’t want to cut off our  noses to spite our faces (never did that in plural before!)

So.  We’ll see.  But it’s killing me – the waiting.  (Hardest part, you know….)  And it’s also making it difficult to look at other apartments….  It’s like starting to date again before you’re really over the one you broke up with.  You keep comparing them….

BUT – went to an nutritionist… and wouldn’t you know — I’ve been eating TOO LITTLE.  My metabolism has stopped.  You’re supposed to eat about 400-600 calories per meal – I had been down to about 200.  And apparently years of that — messed me up.

So, I’ve been eating bigger (but healthy) meals – adding a salad.  A fruit.  And wouldn’t you know that I’ve lost 5 lbs in about four weeks.

Crazy.  Eating more.  Losing weight.  She told me I had been “restricting.”  Used eating disorder terminology that kind of freaked me out.. but you know – seeing how difficult it is to eat more — when you’re so worried about gaining & intuition tells you that less calories in is better…. well. Maybe I did have a disorder.

So, I’m going to her every two weeks or so.. to keep on track.  It’s soooo slow.  Like I want to fit into my bathing suit yesterday…  But I guess at least it’s healthy.  And it’s good to get into this mind set about eating.

(Did you know you can have 60 grams of healthy fat a day! )

I can’t hold back!
May 20, 2009, 2:55 am
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J and I went to look at apartments yesterday.  We had looked at apartments a few months back… and stopped because it was way too early.  So.  We’re starting again.

J tells me all the things he wants in an apartment:  On the First floor, yard, duplex, great kitchen, etc, etc, etc… He says the duplex/first floor idea is because of the boys.  And his dog.  And he doesn’t want to worry about the noise.  And I’m panicking.  I’m worrying.  How will we find something with all of these restrictions.?   We need to just look for two and three bedroom apartments.  We need to see everything that’s out there.  That’s how I’ve always done it.  See everything and anything… even if it’s not really what we want.  Because in Manhattan… who really gets what they want?

He tells me:  “Have faith. ”

Yesterday we saw an apartment.  A duplex.  With a yard.  A big yard.  Right by Riverside Park.  In one of the best school districts.  By an express subway stop.  The room that would be the boys?  In the basement.  Huge.  Living room?  Huge.  And did I mention a yard?  With a tree?  Where we can play, BBQ, plant…  And the Rent?  Great.

We filled out an application.

I was in shock.  I AM in shock.

How could this happen?  What’s wrong with it?  How could we find this?  Are there bugs?  Leaks?  Is it haunted?

Soooo…. now we’re waiting to hear back from all the checks they do:   credit, background, ancestors…   if we get it or not.

And oh – did I mention that they’re doing renovations?  So it won’t be ready until July 15th?  Right when we want the lease to start!  We don’t have to worry about putting them off for a month or so…  BUT – it means I can get a lease sooner!!  Sign the kids up for school.  Show the kids the school before school’s out…  And did I mention it’s one of the top public schools in Manhattan?

I haven’t told anybody yet… because what if we don’t get it?  So just pretend you haven’t heard this.  I don’t want to jinx it!!  But I simply could not hold this in any more!

But OMIGOD!!  A yard!!!

(If we don’t get this I’ll be crushed.  Yes.  I will be.  I’ll sound all mature  & stuff… but I’ll be a small, crushed little…. pile of disappointment.)