Sunday, December 31, 2006

The last day of the year.

The mess in the side room is almost cleaned out. Abby can at least reach a side of her easel. Sometimes I wonder why we carried all this junk around with us.

Scott did laundry today and so did the entire neighborhood. The Laundromat was packed. We’ve been home since the 26th and Abby had only four wet diapers. She’s been waking up dry, and consistently using the potty while out. We’re so close to no more diapers.

I guess I should write a New Year’s resolution. Now that I think about it, I have a few. The first is to finally sit down and illustrate the children’s book my mother wrote years ago. The second is to work on the top-secret project that Scott and I devised that will hopefully pay off huge. If I tell you what it is, you’d have to sign a paper saying you won’t steal it. It’s that big. The suspense is killer. Then lastly to continue running as a hobby to prove to Scott that he’s wrong (I can keep a hobby for longer than three months!), and to tone up and stay fit.

I turned on our extremely loud external hard drive and pulled off a couple old photos. There’s nothing like a good reminiscence at the end of the year. Abby's a darling and I just look puffy...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yesterday at the Ron Mueck exhibit, Abby thoroughly enjoyed the sculptures. There was this huge newborn baby girl that Abby sat and stared at from all directions for a while. After looking at all the pieces we ventured into the Annie Liebovitz exhibit. Abby kept asking to see the “big heads” one more time. I’m pretty sure we spent about an hour and a half looking at Mueck’s pieces. This one sculpture is of a huge bearded man on a chair looking terrified at the floor like something was coming to bite his toes. The man was naked. Abby points and states an observation, “He has long vulva.” I stopped and had to think a minute. Do I say yes and move on or do I tell her the real name? She already knows the correct term for herself. Back in college I took a human sexuality class and my professor talked about using the real names for genitals verses using nicknames with children. A mother of an eight-year-old daughter was in the class and a heated conversation between the professor and this lady ensued. Our professor, a woman, had used all the correct terms with her children and believed that creating nicknames for genitals was the first step in creating a low self body image and feelings of shame towards one’s body. I agreed with my professor, although I didn’t have Abby at the time. My parents used nicknames and everyone always hid himself or herself while dressing like we were all strangers. Scott’s family on the other hand was very open. The mother said it was wrong and horrible, but didn’t have any reason as to why. We tell our kids the correct terms for all the rest of their body. Why make up names? The mother never came back to class after that. I don’t want Abby to be ashamed of her body or be afraid of it. I took a deep breath and looked at Scott who was chuckling and as I was about to speak Scott says, “No sweetie, that’s a penis.” Abby looks at him and goes, “Oh.” That was the end of that.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Livid is not the word I am looking for. What’s worse than livid? Outraged? Maybe if we combine them both in a high powered smoothie mixer with a cyclone pitcher attachment and add a bit of extreme anger, you’ll understand how I feel right now. What on this good earth has caused the crazy woman downstairs to deny the conversation she had with Scott on December 17th? Why oh why must we be tortured like this? Marjorie is not letting us out of our lease. Oh my god. I want to die. Now. Please.

How did this happen? The only thing Scott and I can come up with is that she spoke to a broker and realized that housing costs have gone down a bit. She’ll never be able to rent it out at the price we are paying now. I mean, we found a full real two bedroom with two full baths for a hundred less. Goodness, we have submitted all the paper work to the person for the new apartment. Oh god. What a conniving manipulative –excuse my French- bitch.

I don’t know what to do. I guess we’ll be staying here until June 30th. My house is trashed with all the stuff from the attic. It has no place to go. There are no closets here. Ugggggggg….

We went to the Brooklyn Museum today. It was a bit dampened because of the apartment situation. The Ron Mueck sculpture was awesome and the Annie Liebowitz photographs amazing. I hope I got the last name right.

What a day.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

It’s been busy around here with Scott home. Abby went to bed early tonight so I have some time to blog. Plus I was starting to receive threatening emails.

The holidays were uneventful. Our trip to Maryland was smooth. Scott cooked a wonderful Christmas Eve turkey dinner. I think this was the first family holiday dinner where there was no broccoli casserole. Christmas day was spent with Scott’s family and we had an amazing pot roast. Abby was spoiled with gifts this year. Her favorites were a keyboard from her Uncle Nic and Uncle Grover and a Waldorf doll from her Opa and Amy.

I love my mother. We’re sitting eating lunch at a cafĂ© near her house and she looks at me and says in a disapproving tone, “You’re getting a bit of a tummy. You aren’t pregnant are you?” Mothers! I can’t win! First I’m too skinny. I need to gain some weight. She was constantly pushing food on me. Telling me I eat like bird. I gain four pounds and now all of a sudden I’ve got a tummy! It was always there, even when I was four pounds lighter. It must have been the shirt. Damn post-pregnancy tummy. But what got me the most was the “You’re not pregnant are you?” part. Like if I were pregnant again it would be the end of the world! But, no, I’m not, but part of me wishes I were just to see her reaction.

The hardest part about the holidays is balancing out Abby time between the two sets of grandparents. Usually all the shifting around causes Abby to get stressed and Scott to get a stomachache. I end up with one peeing everywhere and the other slightly moody. Then if I suggest we stay at one place to make it easier on everyone, feelings are hurt. This time Abby actually had a breakthrough with the potty despite sleeping in two different places in four days. She woke up dry every night and didn’t use a diaper while we were out for long stretches of time. Scott felt a bit nervous, but he coped. I usually don’t care where I am. It’s always the actual traveling that gets me in knots. Do we have the tickets? Are we on time? What’s the train number? Are we going to be able to find three seats all together? Oh god the train is boarding and Scott is still in line getting bagels!

I’m running in the four-mile New Year’s race at midnight this year with a long time good friend. Scott and I keep discussing the details of how to get home afterwards. We’ll be above all the Times Square hoopla, but the trains are going to be packed on the way home and Abby will be with us. I’ve been running everyday to work my endurance up. I have never run four miles before. With all the excitement of New Year’s and being around all the other people, I should be fine. It’s my determination for the New Year: to keep running regularly and run in a few races.

Scott is going to write about this in his blog, but since I got to the computer first I’m going to gloat. I have surpassed Scott in how far I run. Usually he makes it to 22nd street. I ran to 18th street the other day and Scott feeling a bit competitive ran to 14th street so he says. It took him 32 minutes. I’m going to try to make it to 14th street in 30 minutes. I know you’re jealous of my skillz boy!!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy 100th post! Oh my! 100 posts. I don’t have a cake to celebrate! It came up so fast! Who would have thought I would have blogged this long?

Abby has entered the “I do it myself!” stage. It all started a few days ago when I put the safety potty seat on the toilet and turned the little potty into a step stool. Now if anyone announces that they need to use the bathroom, Abby races to the toilet and sits down on the seat with a stern, “My turn! I need to pee! I do it myself!” I usually end up standing outside the bathroom performing a potty dance.

It’s amazing how much junk we collect. Where does it come from? Every time we moved, I threw tons of stuff away and donated loads. Between the dinning room closet and the attic, bags of weird cables, old VHS tapes, and really really old clothes have appeared. The worst is trash pick up is on Friday. This stuff is piled in my kitchen.

I wrapped Abby’s presents last night. I even stuffed her stocking already. She made out like a bandit this year. We are all set for Santa to come tomorrow night! Scott starts his two-week vacation tomorrow. We’re going to do a very through cleaning of the apartment in the morning, a trip to the park, maybe squeeze a run in, and then cook an awesome dinner. Maybe I’ll make cookies with Abby. Then four days in Maryland, and the rest of his vacation will be spent hanging out with us girls at home.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I’m too excited to sleep right now. Also I am between books, which is a huge drag. I can’t sleep unless I read for a minimum of ten minutes. We saw the apartment tonight and we are stoked. It’s actually in a condo building, a relatively new condo building. The apartment was perfect for us. There’s a videophone entrance thing that was just too darn cool. Here’s the lo-down. It has new hardwood floors, windows, and appliances, washer and dryer in the basement, two huge bedrooms, closet space, huge kitchen with too much cabinet space, TWO FULL BATHROOMS (!!) with a Jacuzzi type tub in the master’s bedroom, a decent size living room and to top things off a balcony. All that for a hundred less than what we are paying for this dump, and it’s even closer to the subway than we are now. OH MY GOD. If that isn’t perfect, the apartment won’t be ready until February, which is beyond perfect for us. Now comes the waiting game of filling out all the paper work to see if the lady truly likes us. It almost seems too good to be true. We’ll see what happens. One thing at a time.

Abby and I decorated the second tree. It’s a bit bigger than the first one, so I put the old one on the dinning room table. I am way too impatient when it comes to the holidays. All of Abby’s presents are in Scott’s closet and I desperately want to give them to her. I love when she sees something she really likes and exclaims, “OOOOO!” Her little lips make this perfect rosebud and her eyes get huge. It makes me want to give her the world on a platter. Santa is coming on the 22nd to our house since we will be leaving on the 23rd for Maryland. So close!

Tonight we are going to look at a place a few blocks down. It’s a two bedroom in a brownstone. I’m hoping it’s a true two bedroom and not a one bedroom with a “junior”. Who invented that term? A junior room? It’s more a spacious closet with out the clothes racks.

I’m off to email people for the convention, and Abby sounds like she’s getting a juicy cough…

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Many things seem to be happening all at once. For a clearer picture of what is happening with Scott, check his latest post. Just a warning though, it’s a long one. It seems that when the heat inspector came out, he reported that we don’t have a carbon monoxide detector. Marjorie got fined. What joy! We couldn’t nail her for heat, since it’s been freakishly warm outside, but like Al Capone, we got her on a little thing! Though keeping to her form, there was a massive backlash. Marjorie made us take everything out of the attic. We were storing some old clothes, Abby’s crib rails, and film gear up there. When Marjorie called this morning, she said we threatened her, was counting the days until we left, and was no longer going to be nice to us. Scott called her a baby. She actually came upstairs and stood there and watched Scott take all the stuff down. My poor home has been turned upside down. Some good news did come out of this.

Most of the stuff in the attic turned out to be trash anyways. Old VHS tapes and cables that went to who knows what. My rule is that if we haven’t thought about it for more than a year, it’s got to go. Most of it did go, and the old baby toys are going on Freecycle. Scott did find the other Holiday tree and Halloween decorations we thought we lost in the move up here. We have two holiday trees now. How gaudy of us! But here’s the best news, Marjorie gave us a way out! She said she would let us out of our lease if she can find a tenant. Hell yeah! Scott told her to wait until January 1st to start looking for a new tenant. Marjorie said she was unhappy with us! Oh the laughs! She said we complained too much. Last time I checked we only complained about the heat. I wonder what else we complained about. The best is when she said this apartment was the best apartment we were going to find in the city. I had to giggle at that. Anything with a full bathtub is better than this place. Scott was the man though. I have to give him props. He held his cool with Marjorie the entire time. He even took his time taking the boxes down from the attic and placing them on the ground. I nearly lost it. I had to hole Abby and I in the side room to chant. I wanted to ring her neck.

Let the packing begin!

Friday, December 15, 2006

We live on a hill. Actually the highest point in Brooklyn. The view of Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and New Jersey is awesome at sunset. Is that where the name ‘Sunset Park’ came from? On our way back home from dropping Frankie’s toy off, Abby took a major face plant as she was running down the hill to our apartment. When I picked her up, her lip was already pooling blood. The poor little thing screamed the last half block home. Abby wouldn’t close her mouth so saliva and blood flowed down onto her shirt. I washed her lip out, gave her a tablet of Arnica, and patted her lip with Calendula gel. She looked sad and hurt and it broke my heart. We read a few picture books and she fell asleep for a nap.

Scott has been swamped at work. I feel as if I haven’t seen him in two weeks. He has to go into work tomorrow and next Wednesday, the first day of his vacation. What a drag. I miss him.

Here’s a photo of Ry and Abby munching snacks during an afternoon playdate.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Last night was an interesting night. Scott helped Mateo take a TV to his apartment and Scott was late getting home. Abby and I went to a tree lighting ceremony at the park with a friend. So we come home and it’s about 6pm. Scott is still out with Mateo, and Abby and I start to read a few picture books. Gradually I start to hear music. I don’t think too much of it, I hear music outside all day long. Only this music starts to get very loud to the point it’s vibrating my chair in the living room. It was coming from downstairs. How bazaar. After a year and a half of silence (besides yelling) there’s unbearably loud music from downstairs. Abby looks at me and I look at her and we walk out to the hallway to listen. Pablo was blasting some classic rock and shaking the entire house. They had a huge fight earlier, and what I assume happened was Marjorie left and Pablo rocked out. Abby and I go back into the living room and try to ignore the vibrating floor.

At 9pm, I started to get Abby ready for bed while the house was still rocking from classic rock. Scott was convinced that Pablo was chopping up Marjorie and was using the loud music to hide her screams. Abby was so tired from skipping a nap that she fell asleep despite the loud music. I told Scott Pablo might turn it off at 10pm. I always assumed 10pm was the courtesy time to turn off loud music.

Scott and I went to watch ‘Rescue Me’ with cookies and rice milk in tow. It was impossible to watch with the music. The music was as clear as a bell. It was so loud it sounded live. At 10:30pm Scott went to tell Pablo to turn it down. Some loud obnoxious song came on and woke Abby. Pablo answers the door and says, “11 pm is the cut off time. That’s the law!” He slammed the door in Scott’s face. Wow. How childish can two grown adults in their late 50s or early 60s be? Again, could this be retaliation for the inspector coming on Monday? How inconsiderate for my two year old trying to sleep upstairs. And how long can one-person rock out to extremely loud music? We’re talking loud classic rock from 6pm to about 10:45. What the hell was he doing down there?

We decided to find a new place. This has gotten out of hand. We have done everything they have ever asked of us. All we have asked in return is to adequately heat the apartment. Anyone know of a nice, clean, two bedroom, with a real bath tub, and hardwood floor apartment in Sunset Park around $1500 a month that comes with sane landlords?

I managed to clean out the dinning room closet this morning before the babywearing meeting. Abby had a wild time playing with lacrosse balls and her old diaper bag for about two hours! I found some old watercolors from my painting days, and I left them for Pablo downstairs. Sometimes being nice makes things better. The paints were gone when I came home this evening.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yippee! Abby has outgrown eggs! At least eggs came out negative on the scratch test. Peanuts came out negative as well, and the doctor said no child under the age of three should have peanuts and to still stay away from them. As far as eggs go, we’re going to do a test run. I need to make a dish with a tiny bit of eggs cooked in and wait 24 hours and see what develops. If no reactions then try a bit more eggs and so forth. How exciting! The eczema is from dairy only. There had to be some kind of cross contamination while we were out of town. It’s hard to monitor what’s in her food when we’re not at home. For example if a spoon was used to mix something with dairy in it, it should be washed completely with soap before mixing Abby’s food. Otherwise she gets the itchies.

I’m getting close to my 100th post and I might celebrate. I’ve actually kept up something. Never have I kept a journal that lasted more than a week. I had journals I used to doodle and draw in but those don’t count. They didn’t keep track of day-to-day activities. Plus my sister ruined them when she flooded the basement.

There’s exactly one more week to go until Scott goes on holiday!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Abby had her first round of allergy testing last week. I’m not sure if I posted about this or not. Like Scott and I knew, she is very very allergic to milk. She was also tested for dogs and nothing showed up. Since we’ve been home her eczema has been clearing up nicely. I have no idea what triggered it. Maybe some kind of cross-contamination happened during Thanksgiving dinner. We haven’t had dairy in our house in a long time. Although there is a bottle of skim milk in the fridge that Scott bought to drink while Abby and I were at my mom’s. I need to toss it. Tomorrow she’ll be tested for eggs and peanuts. I’m going to see if they can do soy as well. I’m hoping she outgrew the egg allergy.

The heat inspector came tonight. He was extremely mild mannered and I liked him right away. I wanted him to go down to Marjorie and explain the laws, but there was nothing he could do. Of course it was near 60 degrees outside and so our apartment was a sweltering 72 degrees. The inspector told us to keep calling and sooner or later she’ll be busted. I’d buy a heater and withhold the money from our rent, but honestly, it would open a huge can of worms that I’d rather stay shut. The woman is insane. I’m not exaggerating.

Some day this week I’m planning to clean out the closet in the dinning room. I have no idea what I stuffed in there when we moved in. Either way most everything in there will end up on freecycle or the trash. It’s my way of getting us ready to move again. If it hasn’t been used in over a year, we don’t need it. I seriously do not want to be a pack rat.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Retaliation anyone? Marjorie left us a little letter. She’s reaching pretty far to piss us off for reporting her to the city. Let’s see, she complained our checks take to long to clear and now wants cashier’s checks. Marjorie told us to get a local bank. The funny thing is we do have a local bank. How is it our fault that her bank takes too long to process a check? Maybe she should get a bank account with our bank.

Marjorie also wants everything out of the hallway and the stroller moved into the attic (when we moved in she said we could keep it at the bottom of the stairs). I know we don’t use the stroller all that often, but I do need it for the laundry. As far as the hallway goes, Scott and I moved everything in. The coat rack is now in the dinning room along with the chest. We don’t want to be petty and the thought of arguing over something else puts my stomach in knots. I’ve always considered the hallway to be part of our apartment since the small side room is accessed from the hallway. If there were a door to the side room within the main part of our apartment, then I would understand moving our coats. This whole thing is infuriating. I did leave our rug and shoes out there. Scott called the city for a third time on Saturday morning. At this point it’s becoming more about the principal of the thing. She must know I’m right by know.

I modified my jogging shoes to fit the iPod/Nike+ sensor and went for a run. It rocked! I love the woman’s voice, “You have completed five minutes.” Thank you! The only downside is Scott and I can’t share the sensor. We’ve worked out a system where we each name our jogs after logging them. Someday when I feel a need for an iPod I’ll get my own.

Abby has been very excited about Santa. Scott and I took her to Macy’s downtown to see the huge Santa display. It was complete madness with all the tourists and shoppers, but we managed to do two peeks at Santa. There was a small toy grand piano in the toy department that Abby played with for about twenty minutes. We milled around a bit until we got sick of the crowd and headed to Whole Foods for shopping and lunch. Today has been a quiet day, and Scott’s making salmon for dinner.

Abby made Scott put my vest on. He was extremely happy to oblige.

Friday, December 8, 2006

The saga continues. Let me state right now that I hate confrontations especially when they happen in the comfort of my house. It was 63 degrees when I got up today at 8am. I had an SGI mother’s group meeting at my house at 10:30am and I braved the cold air to pick up last nights toy mess and make the bed. The apartment was a toasty 64 degrees when the mothers came over. How embarrassing. They encouraged me to call Marjorie and complain. After everyone left, I called her. I stated the facts. It was 64 degrees in here and should be 68 by law. She says she doesn’t want to hear about the law anymore and hung up on me. Fine. Whatever. Screw you. I continued to cook lunch.

Marjorie hobbles upstairs and knocks on my door. We basically have the same conversation again and this time she’s losing her cool. Abby was standing right there. I told her to stop arguing in front of my daughter. She said the city only asks if the heats on, there is no heat limit. Once again I said there is, she is breaking the law and I’ll call the city again if I have to. She leaves asking me why I renewed my lease. I said I should have called the city last winter. Thankfully I remembered lunch was on the stove, and I start to cry as I mix it. I hate confrontations. Abby sees me and gives me a hug and a kiss, which only makes me cry harder. Allyson calls me and we talk a bit. I wish she lived here.

Abby and I break my rule of no food in the living room and start to eat lunch while watching AMC. Pablo and Marjorie both come upstairs. Pablo fiddles with the radiators while Marjorie won’t shut up and I want to scream at her that radiator is NOT pronounced raaad-eat-or. She tells me that it’s good for children to be in a cold environment, that 64 degrees is toasty, and that it’s not in our lease that the heat has to be 68 degrees among other things, and, my favorite, she’s providing us with heat. I stood there trying to casually eat my lunch of sweet potato stew, then I said it needed to be 68 degrees. That’s the law for ALL apartments in NYC whether they are rent stabilized or not. She can call 311 and ask. I said she is more than welcome to put her own indoor thermometer in our apartment. I asked what she has the heat set at and she said 68 degrees, but she can’t see the dial so she doesn’t really know! (OH MY GOD!) Though her apartment is heated fine. Once Pablo was done bleeding the radiators, telling me to keep the windows locked and to get curtains, Marjorie asked me if we were getting heat. I sat down on the couch, put my head in my hands and said, I know that if I say yes, you are going to tell the city that, yes we are getting heat, BUT it is 64 degrees in here and under the legal minimum, so I am saying no. That got her really angry and she started again with the “don’t tell me the law. Your lease doesn’t say what temperature it needs to be in here. Etc.” I told her to get out of my apartment, to go back downstairs, and I shut the door on her. She asked why we renewed our lease if it was so bad here. I told her to go back downstairs and we just might up and leave but she’ll never find another sucker to pay the rent we’re paying now. Then I cried some more. I felt intruded and belittled.

By some freak of nature, my SGI leader came back to my apartment. She had accidentally taken my prayer beads when she left. We went upstairs and talked about my options and chanted for a bit. This time I willed Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to travel down the radiator pipes and bring all the heat upstairs. Karma. That’s all I can say.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Here I am supposed to be writing a short letter to include in the holiday cards I want to send out in the morning, and instead I’m blogging. The apartment is freezing again. The other day it was 63 degrees in here. I reported Marjorie to the housing authority for the second time. When I came home this afternoon, I heard her ask Pablo if the heat was on. He said yes and asked if we complained again. I hope their asses get fined this time. That’s mean of me. No, I’m freezing.

We had a wonderful break back home in Maryland. My mother’s basement rocks. I want to move down there. I wish that I had my mother’s basement in NYC. There’s space for Abby to run free and dance. The wood-burning stove is charming and keeps the entire floor cozy. But the part I love the most is the spacious bathroom. My mother’s bathroom is like a castle compared to my dilapidated one room peasant dwelling bathroom. I can change my clothes with Abby in the room with me! Hell, I could throw a party in there while I change and use the toilet! The bathtub is like the Olympic sized pool here in Sunset Park. Abby swims laps while I scrub the dirt off her. I felt completely sinful one night after Abby had fallen asleep. I snuck upstairs to the kitchen, grabbed a homemade vegan cupcake from Avery’s birthday party, my sister’s copy of “Fast Food Nation” (which my sister insists she read, but it didn’t change her outlook on foods and eating out. I about died a hundred times while I read that book, and when I got sick Wednesday morning I swore to Scott I was dying from E Coli, but, in fact it was the beginning of my second-ever period since Abby’s birth which finally arrived tonight.), turned the heat lamp on (did I mention there’s a heat lamp?!), and soaked in a super hot, cooked my insides bath for 45 minutes. I can’t wait for the holidays! Four days of continuous bath taking!

Scott and I got Abby’s holiday presents. I ordered her a xylophone, a recorder, and two play silks. Scott got her a cd player and another They Might Be Giants album. I also picked her up stocking stuffers. Here’s where I seem to lack in creativity. My parents rocked at stuffing stockings. I was always excited about “the one big gift” but I always saved the stocking for last. One year my sister and I got a porcelain tea set. There were always pretty pencils and tiny puzzles or toys. I had $30 worth of store credit left over from the shower curtain debacle to spend in the picked over Target for Abby’s stocking. After an hour of roaming around and cursing the cookie cutter big box store for not carrying decent tiny toys, I ended up with three tubs of play-dough, two Matchbox cars, an Etch-A-Sketch, the original Memory game, and a sippy cup that looks like a travel coffee mug. It only came to $17, so I found a box of Kashi pumpkin spice granola bars, and picked out holiday cards. Since Scott is an evil genius at extracting information from me, he knows what I got him.

It’s now that time for me to floss, brush my teeth, wash my face, pee, climb into a warm bed, scoot Abby over to her side of the bed, turn the bed light on, read twenty or so pages of my book, and fall asleep. All in that order.