Archive for July, 2007

New web cam

July 31, 2007

This laptop we bought has a web cam, so we experimented with it this morning. (Ed. Note: I wrote this on Sunday and I thought I published it. Just realized today, Tuesday, that it wasn’t live.) It is extremely muggy and hot in NYC, so you’ll have to excuse our wet, sweaty heads. (We’re heading to the beach later for swimming and cooling off. [Ed. note: We didn’t make it to the beach because it rained all afternoon. At least the humidity lessened.)

Here’s the video of Charlie identifying Pawpaw, Nanny and Gigi.

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Calling them by name

July 29, 2007

Charlie can say most of the grandparents’ names now! He perfected it just this week. We look at his picture book and ask, “Who is this?” Then he’ll say the name. Nanny sounds pretty normal, but Gigi sounds like “HeeHee” and Pawpaw sounds like “MawMaw.” It’s a great start.

Falling behind again

July 29, 2007

As usual, I’m still behind on everything I want to post, but I’m having a hard time catching up because we keep having issues. First the move, then two vacations in a row, and now our computer died. The day before we were to leave for Texas (we did a whirlwind tour of Dallas, Galveston and Austin), the computer refused to start. Blankness, no whirring and humming—-nothing. We bought a laptop when we got back, but we’re still struggling with our internet connection and I don’t yet know how to upload my photos. We’ll get there eventually.

If one heart attack wasn’t enough…

July 10, 2007

My little boy is sneaky, adventurous and full of mischief. (He takes after his Mama.)

The other day, we went to an NYU infant study; this one about action. CW walked along a raised platform until he reached a door. The researchers varied the size of the door to see if he would try to walk through big and small spaces (what they called “possible and impossible apertures”). He was completely curious and got happily stuck a few times trying to grab things on the other side of the door. But as the study progressed, and he got more tired, he began stepping off the edge of the platform instead of trying to squeeze through the small spaces. CW had learned that the big research guy would catch him and take him to the other side of the door—-no effort required.

I blame the NYU staff for teaching Charlie tricks.

The next day, while on the playground at Fedkids, Lisa said Charlie was climbing a small gym with some of the other one-year-olds. Two teachers were nearby to help kids get up and down and keep them from falling. Did Charlie go backwards off the side as usual? No. Did he ask Samina to help him down? No. He stood on the edge and JUMPED OFF. Lisa said it nearly gave her a heart attack, until she realized he’d landed on his feet, laughing. And I’m sure he wanted to do it again.

My little squirrel

July 10, 2007

Grandma Margaret came to visit us this past weekend and we had a blast! After a walk through Ditmas Park and a delicious brunch at The Farm on Adderley, we park-hopped all day. We trekked from the East Fourth street community garden to the Prospect Park ravine to the Empire-Fulton Ferry state park. Charlie scrambled over playgrounds, waddled through grass and gingerly tried out the sprinklers. (He’s liking them more and more each time.) And he also squirreled away too many things in his mouth.

Lately, CW has been stowing food in his cheeks. For later, maybe? I’m not sure. We’ve found grapes, blueberries, raisins and green beans. But on Saturday he combined his habit of squirreling with rocks.

We strolled along the Hudson, between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges. There was a small rocky beach and Charlie was eager to walk and sit on it, like the other kids. Then later, when he asked for a drink of water, out of his mouth came a rock. Not a little one either. The adrenaline of “HE COULD HAVE SWALLOWED THAT AND CHOKED TO DEATH” was slow to pass and all three of us watched him like hawks over supper until he fell asleep on the train.

Daddy Mama

July 9, 2007

Charlie knows the word Daddy. When we hear the keys in the door and I say, “I hear Daddy,” he lights up with a smile. When I ask, “Where’s Daddy?,” CW looks right at Jesse. But when he calls for Daddy, he says, “Mama!”

The other day, we were all in the kitchen, working on the Daddy-Mama problem. Jesse laid in the floor and I sat at the table while CW was in his high chair.

“Where’s Mama?” I’d ask. Charlie would look at me and I would do a happy dance and say, “Yes!”

“Where’s Daddy?” I’d ask. Charlie would look at Jesse who would wave his hands and say, “Yes!”

We repeated this for at least five minutes until all of us were tired of the game. Then Charlie reached his hands out for Jesse and said… “Mama!”

Springtime in the city

July 4, 2007

I’m going through old photos, trying to upload all the vacation pix Jenna so kindly sent me. As I waded through my jpegs I came across these few from spring this year.

Janelle, who is so grown-up I can’t believe it, came for a visit around Charlie’s birthday. (Is it terribly old-fashioned for me to say, “I remember when she was in diapers?” Because I do. And it feels like not so very long ago.) Here we are in Central Park.

Janelle janelle_2

Then we moved into our new place, which we painted with the help of two very special people, Heather and Andy. Without Heather’s dedicated baby-sitting and roller-brushing skills our apartment would still be all-white. And Jesse gets a special thank-you, too, since he stayed up into the wee hours rolling blue tape onto the walls for our striped entry. See how much tape he put up?

pileoftape

Finally, the Zander-Franklins—-Sofia, Zach and Molly—-came to visit us. We spent lovely, long hours in Prospect Park. The kids loved the tot lots and sand boxes and the adults loved the shade. We even got to eat at a real restaurant together in Park Slope where Molly kindly shared her mac and cheese with CW. Here’s the dads and kids. Us moms were lounging on the park bench when we remembered to take a photo.

ZachandMolly

I can’t believe NYC real estate

July 3, 2007

I got a courtesy call yesterday from a Manhattan real estate agent saying he wanted to show our apartment. I told him we didn’t live on 47th Street anymore. Since I’m still receiving calls, they must not have rented our old place, even though it’s been available for more than a month and our lease was officially up June 30th. Their lack of success might have something to do with the way they’ve advertised the place. Forgetting for a moment that the new rent is crazy ($2150! And what’s even crazier is that this is on target for the neighborhood), they listed the apartment as a spacious two bedroom with new renovations. Jesse and I laughed and laughed.

First, we rented the place for $1575 three years ago. That’s too expensive, but the pace and amount of the raises in rent is telling. The only people who can afford the area now are ones with rent-stabilized apartments, really wealthy people, or newbies who live four to an apartment while they work their way up the ladder.

Second, the place is barely a one bedroom. The loft fits a full-size bed and not much else. When we signed our lease three years ago, after they’d taken our deposit, the management company included a rider that said we were not allowed to use the loft as a bedroom, even if it had been “shown that way, advertised that way or used that way by previous tenants.” All of which had happened. Must have been a fire code thing, since there was no fire escape up there. The “second” bedroom (note the current ad doesn’t include a picture of it, probably wise on their part) is an alcove we used as a small office. When the agent showed us the apartment originally she said, “You won’t believe this closet.” As we were moving out, several people viewed the place. Everyone said, after seeing the alcove/office/closet, “So, the two bedrooms are upstairs?”

Third, when we first rented the place, the kitchen tile was cracked, the stair railing was loose, the kitchen cabinets were outdated, the bathroom tile and cabinet needed work, and the place hadn’t been painted in two years. None of this was fixed before we moved in. Even though the management company told us they would paint if the tenants didn’t (and what tenants do?), they did not. After repeated phone calls, they finally said, “The walls don’t need paint”. I guess large scuffs and black marks only count as wear-and-tear—-unless you want to take a couple hundred from the security deposit. So Jesse and I painted the place with the help of friends, in a bright, pleasing yellow. According to NYC housing law, the landlord has to paint every three years, so it’s due a good paint job before the tenant moves in. As you can see in the pictures, it hasn’t been done. And nothing else has been fixed either. I can barely make out the missing kitchen tile and the listing bathroom cabinet.

While the apartment is sunny and relatively spacious for two people who don’t mind bumping into each other, and it was the perfect cozy nest for our baby’s first home, the place is not what they’re making it out to be. The ridiculousness of NYC real estate would be more amusing if we didn’t have to deal with it. Here’s the insanely inaccurate advertisement:

$2150 / 2br – HELLS KITCHEN TRULY SPACIOUS 2 BR W/ SUNNY LIVING RM!! DUPLEX!! (Midtown West)

Reply to: hous-346887455@craigslist.org
Date: 2007-06-07, 11:40AM EDT

***** SPACIOUS DUPLEX 2 BEDROOM IN HELL’S KITCHEN – MIDTOWN WEST *****

SPACIOUS, 2 BEDROOM apartment in a very well-maintained building.
EXCELLENT LOCATION, STEPS TO TRAIN, shopping, great restaurants,
bars and more…

Spacious 2 bedrooms with new renovation and nice details.
Great size, sunny living room, perfect for your entertainment,
and relaxing time. This stunning apartment has high ceiling, polished hard wood floor,
and large windows.

*** For more information, call Ester or Declan at 917-572-2903 or 646-596-6337*
Listing # 187666

WEB ID #: 187666

Call Declan @ 646 596 6337 to view

old apt LR fireplace kitchen stairs bedroom bathroom

Nanny and Pawpaw

July 3, 2007

Even though we’re getting into the groove again, we still miss our wonderful, long week of vacation bliss. The sand, the surf, the sun–nothing but relaxation and our big family to share it with. Charlie got quite used to playing pattycake and riding around on the scooter with Pawpaw and having Nanny tuck him in. They made a real impression. The other day, Charlie, Mr. Horse,and I were playing with our book of family photos. Mr. Horse said, “Heeeey, Nanny. Heeeey, Pawpaw,” as he nodded at each of their pictures. Charlie grinned and waved at the photos. I told him Nanny and Pawpaw were waving back from Georgia.

Vacation

July 2, 2007

Gulf Shores

We returned from Gulf Shores, AL, last Sunday, but we haven’t even unpacked everything yet. Getting pix and stories online will be coming, but slowly. Gigi finished up her stint at yoga teacher’s school on Thursday, and she was here for the weekend showing Charlie the downward dog. CW and I drove up to Woodbourne, NY, to pick her up and then on Saturday the whole gang went up to Minnewaska State Park for a hike and swim in the mountain lake. Summer is here, and we’ve got plans for the floating pool at Brooklyn Bridge Park, fireworks and then more visitors before a trip to Texas. I’ll post pictures and stories as I can. I’m glad we had so much fun to return to because I sure do miss the beach, our condo and my big family sharing it with me.