Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Back to School, Tips for Survival in NYC, and A Laundry Update

It is amazing that it has already been a whole year since I was last up late with a bottle of wine, butterflies in my stomach, and trying to get through the night-before-the-first-day-of-school jitters (well, the bottle of wine part happens a little more frequently than once a year). Judging by the bag of nerves that I am, you would think I was starting second grade tomorrow. We are all excited, ready for our early wake up call, and thankful (because, you know, the bottle of wine) that start time is an hour later than it was in Chapel Hill. We had the pleasure of meeting my daughter's teachers a couple of days ago and getting to go into the school, and could already feel the good vibes and the progressive approach. The teachers introduced themselves by their first names to my daughter, and one of them was wearing converse, which naturally immediately made my heart melt (Mama Jens' basic uniform includes dirty, old, black converse with holes on the sides so that my feet can bond a little with the water when it rains.) I think it will be a good year.

Wish me luck as I join the 1300 children and their parents who will descend upon 7th ave tomorrow morning. Holy Jesus. We heard that the ice cream trucks are lined up at 3pm when the crazy masses launch out of the building. Maybe I should invest in an ice cream truck.

So, we are figuring out big city living. It will take some time for sure, and every little step making it easier is just rockin'. Until this weekend, I was feeling a little disillusioned by the part of living here that insists that you are somewhere exciting. You live in this great, gigantic city...there are 8 million insanely incredible things to do everyday...but it is so big and so crowded, that it takes forever to get anywhere and you feel dirty and exhausted by the time you get anywhere, not to mention a little freaked and tweaked by the flourescent lights on the subway and the level of awareness you have to keep up should it be your turn to be mugged that night. Whew. But here is the thing, all it takes is careful planning. You can experience your beautiful neighborhood and all the city has to offer too, as opposed to deciding that it is all just craziness and you will have stay in your beautiful neighborhood. Planning, that's all. A couple of examples:

You want to go into Manhattan and do things with your kids? Just wait until it is Saturday morning, then you go over the Brooklyn Bridge, then up FDR drive along the river (in a car, yes) and enter Manhattan where you want. Voila! No walking forever to the subway, no schlepping all the strollers and kids up and down subway stairs, no watching dirty ass subway germs go from subway window to your child's mouth, no walking eight hundred blocks in the heat trying to figure out which way is north south east west. It can be painless, fast, traffic-free, and there you go, you've had yourself a lovely Manhattan afternoon in Central Park with your children. I don't mind doing all the aformentioned on my ownsome, but with kids, holy shit, its like torture and child abuse all at the same time.

Same with Target. You HAVE to go to Target once in awhile, ladies and gentlemen, let's just face it. And if your local Target is on Atlantic Ave and Flatbush, then let me tell you how it works best. You get up on Sunday morning at 7am and you get to Target when it opens at 8am. You park in the parking garage next to the entrance to the mall, smile at the security dude in the garage on your way in (and cash in on a little of your good kharma to assume he is actually a security dude), go in, and Voila! You have yourself almost a suburban version of Target. No people, no lines, lots of cheap stuff, heaven. If you can't get your lazy old ass out of bed until 10 am and then decide to go, you can count on there being 8 million other people there too with not much left on the shelves.

So let's rewind to Central Park. After we took a walk around and enjoyed the lovely scenery, we went to a playground in the park. This is what I saw: Not nannies, but real-life Mamas. And some mamas they were. One had this sort of tight, thong work out suit on, loosely covered by some sweat pants. She had her blonde curls piled high under her sports cap, and the botox-y face revealed a sort of how-in-the-hell-do-I-control-this-child expression. I couldn't keep my eyes off the thong thing...me, and all the other people at the playground were like, is that woman seriously running around a playground all thonged out like that? It was freaky. And then, there was this other Mama. Huge boobs (of the implant kind), perfect hair, make-up only a stylist could have done that morning, and again, a botox-y grin. I was in such another universe watching these people, that it was hard to keep track of my own children.

And now for an update on the laundry....here is another reason to find some principles that would involve not owning a washer/dryer...and Listen Up Ladies: When your husband sees you hauling trash bags of laundry a couple of blocks to the laundromat, he will OFFER TO DO IT THE FOLLOWING WEEK! I am not shitting you. Try it. Just make up an excuse to have to go to a laundromat..kick in your wash machine and break it or whatever...and you'll see that this works. Voila! Fresh, soft, warm laundry - piles of it - and it was done by someone else - and your husband to boot. Ahhhhh!!!!

Allright, time to get back to obsessing over going back to school. Good night and good lovin'.

Mama Jens


Blogger Berlinbound said...

Jen ... It's great to see you back! Honestly, I was getting a bit worried there for a while. Sorry we missed you - we were in Brooklyn for a spell during the summer, staying at a friend's place in Brooklyn Heights. I hope you are happy there - there are a million reasons why you should ... Too Boots is one of them - there was one just a block away from our apaprtment in the West Village and when HH and I were there this summer we stopped off for a few slices and it was a s good as it always was. Be well, stay in touch!


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