Saturday, April 14, 2007

Park Slope, Babysitting, and Caterpillars

Am I seriously working on two months here since my last post? What tha f#$%@?? If it weren't for the sweet reminders of Berinbound that I actually have a blog, I am not sure what I would do. Thank you, Berlinbound, for reeling the Crazy Ass Mama Jens back to her free time.

So here is what I have been up to:

Going to NYC. Hmmm...I think I did that for like the last five entries or something.

Okay, but first, let me tell you what I am doing at this very moment. Babysitting. That's right, babysitting. The last time I did this was seriously like 15 years ago or something. So I am sitting in this big, rambling house and the children of our dear friends (they have like a million kids) are all sweetly sleeping and I find myself with not much to do but blog really. And its perfect. And so tomorrow, they are going to babysit for us. Awesome, right? Instead of paying $50 plus to someone you don't know that well for a night on the town with your amazing husband, you can just befriend some wonderful people you know you can trust and do babysitting swapping with them. Its revolutionary, I tell you.

Bartering rocks. I have gotten my husband recording and mastering through photography work I am working on a acquiring a hand made bag from a friend in exchange for doing his portfolio. And I might even manage to get a discount on a kitchen renovation from another job I just took on. Fuck money.

Okay, back to NYC. We spent last week in Park Slope. We found an apartment sublet on Craigslist and it worked out very well. The couple were totally cool and friendly and even had cozy things like soaps and good olive oil and toilet paper from the natural food store. The location was perfect for our scouting...8th ave and union. And let me tell you, we loved this neighborhood. It had such a village feeling, very down to earth and friendly, and even quiet. There were several nights where I was trying hard to use my Mama Jens math brain to figure out how it could be so quiet and only a 10 minute subway ride to lower Manhattan. We enjoyed the experience of "living" in the city again...waking up and walking a block to fresh bagels and coffee, going into an amazing deli for delicious cheese and hummus and fresh bread, walking to the playground in Prospect Park, and abandoning the existence of our car for several days (and hoping it didn't get towed or stolen). My older daughter kept saying how much she loved how it reminded her of Berlin. And it was very similar to Prenzlauer Berg in terms of the general feeling and of course all the children everywhere we went.

We spent a lot of time looking at apartments which didn't go as badly as we thought it would. For a bazillion dollars a month you could rent actually a pretty good sized place. We were thinking closets, but actually it was more like spaces the same size as our place in Berlin, and very nicely renovated too.

We went back to Chapel Hill thinking it was all a done deal. But we get back here, and unfortunately the whole damn town bloomed like crazy while we were gone and there are frickin' flowers everywhere, and our backyard turned into a gorgeous wonderland of leafy oaks and dogwoods and azaleas and crazy stuff like oregano and other weird things we didn't know we had since we weren't in our house last year this time. So the place is beautiful...and what else....the stress of making sure our children didn't run into traffic was suddenly was warm and sunny (it snowed three times while we were in New York)....I go for a job and the client gets a call from her mom saying she had just been arrested for protesting...the kids are happy to dig in the dirt and run around outside like wild crazy humans...and well, there was a big, fat tax bill sitting in our mailbox.

So the urgency sort of just went away. It was like, this place is great too...and why all the rush...and we can enjoy this now and do that later or at least when we feel the timing is better. This could be as early as five months from now, or it could be next year...but right now, it isn't a magic fit.

The curse of being able to work from anywhere is the constant questioning. Why are we here? Where should we go?

I find myself at the same conversation I was having with a friend about a year and a half ago in a park in Prenzlauer Berg....people can be happy only live once, why not have an adventure....just make sure the feeling is right...

And so it goes...another good complicated mess. Let's just see where it all leads.

But let's just take a break from totally neurotic, obsessive compulsive brain freak outs and talk about caterpillars. I never knew this, but these guys obviously have a season, because they are suddenly everywhere. Huge nests in the trees yield hundreds of these guys and as I watch my children carefully inspect them and move them from leaf to leaf, I wonder if they will be vicious cashmere eating assholes, or gorgeous butterflies. I am guessing the latter, but not being the Nature Mama, you just never know.

I love babysitting. I just raided the pantry truly babysitter style. I wish I had a boyfriend to call long distance or something else terribly subversive, but I just don't.

Work has been awesome...there is another plus for playing out the Chapel Hill card a little longer. In Brooklyn, photographer upon photographer upon photographer sleep in each and every building. You throw a rock, you hit 20 of them. Here, it is more like academic upon academic upon indie throw a rock and you can't find a photographer to save your life.

Okay, I'll just post this now. Good lovin', Mama Jens.