Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Moving. But I Ain't Bovvered.

We're moving on Friday, but in the immortal, illustrious words of Lauren Cooper, I ain't bovvered:

Here's why.

Most of what stresses me out about moving is the packing, because inevitably I always find out that I have way more crap than I thought I did. Drawers, cabinets, closets, under the bed, aaaallll have stuff that needs to be put into boxes before I move. When I moved to New York in 1996 I came here with two suitcases; I now have a 2-bedroom apartment (and its closets) full of stuff. My stuff. My husband's stuff. My son's stuff. And some stuff that's followed us from place to place that we're not even sure is ours.

But this time around not only have we hired movers to lug everything from Old Place to New Place, but we've hired them to PACK for us. It's one of those first-world luxuries I'm not even going to pretend I'm too good for.

So we're moving four buildings down on the same block, but I ain't lifting a damn finger. Pregnant, you know.

Second, most of our furniture isn't coming with us. The people who own the condo we're moving into have high-tailed it across the Pond to Jolly Ole England, and were more than happy to sell us their furniture at deeply discounted prices. How could we say no? Our couch, our armchair, our bookcases, our dining table, hell, even our microwave will not be joining us in the New Apartment of Happiness and Joy Joy. Less stuff to move, less stuff to worry about.

Third, after the week I had last week moving is the least of my worries. Let's check off one by one the shitty things I dealt with last week:

Earthquake, check!
Hurricane, check!
UTI, check! Which my midwife won't treat until we get the results of the...
Possible parasite in my guts, check!
Two and a half hours at a clinic with my son, who threw himself on the floor in a giant tantrum and later pooped his pants, check!
A doctor and nurse who forgot to give me the paperwork for the lab so I had to go back the next day, check!
Still pregnant through all this, check!
No anti-depressants or booze to make the pain go away, check!
My therapist was on vacation, check!

Good times.

In light of all that it's no wonder moving is, like, whatever to me. Moving is the least stressful part of my life right now. Look at my face - does my face look bovvered? That's 'cause it ain't bovvered. In two days I'll be in an apartment with a built-in microwave and a dishwasher. Moving can kiss my ass.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

There's a Book For That

I have absolutely no idea how to raise my child.

It's not like they give you classes or make you pass an exam in order to have a child. One day I went to the hospital to have this 7-lb, 11-oz mass removed from my abdomen, and they handed me a baby, a total stranger, and said I had to take care of him for the next 18 or so years. WTF? How is that fair to either of us? What, I'm supposed to automatically know what to do with a PERSON I've never met before just because he came out of my body? Who designed this shenanigan?

And so, like any good clueless, but well-intentioned, mammal, every time some sort of crisis or mini-crisis or whatever has come up, I've thrown a book at the problem. Not an actual parenting book; those are for sissies, and besides, I've yet to hear of one that isn't 100% full of crap ideas that never work in real life, where they insist you try to reason with your child in some way that does not involve lollipops and/or massive time-outs. One night, when our son was having a particularly bad night terror (he gets those), I found my well-meaning LAWYER husband in our son's room trying to reason with him. With a two year old. At 2:30 in the morning. During a night terror.


Husband: "Son, calm down. You are acting like a wild person. Try to use your words and tell me what the matter is so we can talk about it."

Me: *shoving a sippy cup full of milk into my son's wide-open mouth and walking away*

Lesson: You can't lawyer away a toddler's night terror.

No, I don't believe in parenting books.

But I do believe in letting adorable cartoon animals do the heavy-lifting parenting for me. Why should I do all the work, when writers who clearly are better at imparting sage life lessons can do it for me? I don't call it lazy parenting, I call it smart parenting.

When my son started hitting, we read this.

When it was time to give up the bottle, we read this.

For potty training we read him this, this, and this.

He learned his colors by reading this.

To encourage him to give up his paci (YES I KNOW, SHUT UP), we're reading him this.

And to prepare him for his younger sibling we have this.

And today, after his nap, we're off to the big B&N to buy "Everybody Poops." Because bribes with candy and his own messes in his undies aren't working to get him to do #2 in the potty, and I'm plum out of ideas. What, like I've ever had to potty train anyone before? There are experts for that. And if the book doesn't work, maybe my husband can draw up a contract for him or something.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Post-BSG Nitpicks

Husband and I finally finished "Battlestar Galactica" last night. Overall, we liked it very much. The third season kind of mostly sucked, but in general it was a very good series. (Also: I totally called that ending. I've watched a LOT of "Twilight Zone," I know what's up.)

Now that we're done with the entire series, I have a few minor nitpicks about the ending, more loose ends that I feel weren't tied up to my satisfaction.







Nitpick # 1: Where's the rai

Even before I read this piece on the portrayal of women in "BSG," I asked my husband at one point: "So, there are NO LGBT individuals on the entire show?"

Out of the 30-50K* survivors of the Twelve Colonies, not one was a dude who dug dudes? Not one of the ships that joined the post-fall fleet had a lesbian? None of the survivors said, "You know, now's as good a time as any to free myself of the shackles of my biological birth gender?"

*Nitpick # 2: So...Daniel...???

There was this whole big, fat, storyline about # 7, aka "Daniel," that never quite got resolved. Husband and I expected the "genetic mix-up" that happened, to have changed Daniel's gender and that maybe Kara Thrace was # 7.

That would have both satisfied some of my # 1 nit, as well as...

*Nitpick # 3: Kara's a ghost? That everyone can see? And she just disappears?

Her being a Cylon would have made more sense. Hell, Starbuck turning out to be a Time Lord or a Hobbit would have made more sense than what happened in the last four episodes. I'm still scratching my head.

*Nitpick # 4: So, we're just going to assume that there were absolutely no non-rebel Cylon survivors of the Colony?

And that after 150,000 years they did not regroup, grow stronger, and hunt down the humans and rebel Cylons who they think violated the short-lived truce, when they all were just one jump away?

*Nitpick # 5: So Laura Roslin's anti-abortion law...
After an entire episode was devoted to the subject of abortion amongst the last 30-50K human survivors in the known universe, and Laura Roslin gave that tearful speech that went against all her beliefs and values, we're just never going to go back to that?

*Nitpick # 6: Galen versus Tory

After the ep in which Tory so coldly and callously killed Cally I felt cheated that there was zero investigation into Cally's death. Suicide by airlock? Seriously? No one felt the need to say, "Let me check the computers to make sure the airlock was actually opened by the controls inside the room, rather than the controls outside the room."

So when Galen found out that Tory did it, I expected...ANYTHING. OK, he snapped her neck and then sort of went catatonic. That just did not do it for me. NOT WELL DONE, BSG.

Like I said, overall this was a very good series. The writing was tight, the characters were deep and multi-dimensional, and the conflict was always much more than simple black and white. But these loose ends could have been tied up, at least some of them, at least IMHO.

*Depending on where in the storyline we are.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Odd Woman Out

Things I hate that pretty much everyone else loves (or, as my husband calls this post, "Why I'm a Loser"):

  • Bananas
They look like they're the texture of poop, they're phallic shaped, and they smell like vomit. What's to like? When my son, the Juban Princeling, got old enough to eat bananas I had to overcome a lifetime of revulsion to give them to him. Touching them made me gag. Smelling them made my eyes water. How do people eat these vile things?

(Photo credit:
Bananas, December 2006 by photographer Steve Hopson.)

Since getting pregnant again I can't have them in the house. The sight of even an unpeeled banana makes me nauseous. And the way my son eats them - taking a few bites, waving it in my face, leaving it out to stink and smell - they are absolutely out of the question right now.

  • "The Wire"
Everyone loves this show and thinks it represents the apex of mankind's genius. My husband and sister-in-law want to petition the committee in Sweden to make a Nobel Prize in Television just for "The Wire."

I think it's crap.

For a long time I avoided this show, despite everyone telling me how great it was, that it would make my hair naturally shinier and fuller, give me better orgasms, teach my child algebra, clean my house, and feed starving children. "I don't like cop shows," I'd say. "Oh," people would gasp and clutch their pearls, "it's NOT a cop show! It's so much MORE than that!" Bullshit. It's a cop show. I have this insane "Three-episode rule," where I give any new show 3 full episodes to get its act together and be good before I write it off. After one episode of "The Wire" I knew I hated it, but my husband held me to my three episode rule. That's three hours of my life I'll never get back. Not a cop show? Please. It has every cop show cliche my husband and I always make fun of. The "loose cannon," the angry, yelling chief, the corrupt higher-ups, blah blah blah. After I gave it a chance - more of a chance than it deserved, IMO - someone said, "Oh yeah, if you don't like cop shows then you probably won't like 'The Wire.'"


Not a cop show, except that it totally is one. A crappy one.

My husband and sister-in-law and brother and my friend Ronnie and her husband can all go ahead and start their new "Wire"-based religion, or whatever it is people who like this crap show do with themselves when they're not nagging me and telling me how wrong I am. I'll be off watching the entire series of "Firefly" again. Now, THAT'S a show.

  • "Saved By the Bell"
For some reason, my brother, Mr. Funny, and I never watched this show growing up, and so we have no idea what the big deal is. Why would you want to watch a show about school when it's the weekend? I don't get it. I seriously don't get this show.

  • Rome
Everyone loves Rome, and I know why: it's gorgeous and it's in Italy and there's all those fun, crazy ruins, right?

Here's the thing. I went to Rome at the tail-end of a 6-week study abroad trip to Italy, during which time:
My boyfriend back home cheated on me, twice,
I could not pick up the language to save my life, despite 3 hours of class a day by a native speaker, tutoring by his native speaking wife, and living in a town where no one spoke English,
Living on the sixth floor of a hotel with no elevator,
It being the mid-90s and therefore my only contact with friends and family (and my cheating boyfriend) back home being old fashioned postal letters and a once-a-week phone call from a crowded payphone bank in the center of town.

(Photo credit:
From Swedish wikipedia, picture taken by Andreas Ribbefjord)

By the time I got to Rome I was so OVER this whole thing. I wanted to go home. The one redeeming quality of the small town we'd stayed in up to that point was the food: we ate lunch and dinner every day at the town's one restaurant, where the chef/owner would cook us whatever inspired him that day. Rome was just...not happening for me. It was crowded and loud and people kept trying to run us down with their cars, and it seemed dirty all the time all over the city, and the food was crap compared to what we had gotten used to. And the Sistine Chapel was under scaffolding. And there was a monument to the "defeat" at Masada that disturbed me. And our hotel room had TV with cable, including MTV Europe, and we hadn't seen TV in a month and a half. And I wanted to go home.

I should probably give Rome another shot. But first, there are many, many other places in this world I need to travel to first. Rome and it's redemption will just have to wait.

  • Vodka
Maybe it's my Eastern European DNA, but vodka makes me sad. I drink it and I cry, probably in memory of all my ancestors who were terrorized by pogroms. Or something.

I don't understand the current vodka trend. If I want to drink cranberry juice, I'll drink cranberry juice. And Red Bull and vodka? What, so you can behave like a tool faster and with more energy?

Yes, please. (Photo credit: Chris huh.)

I'll drink pretty much anything else. I'll do tequila shots with you. I'll drink whisky, whiskey, bourbon, or Scotch. I enjoy a good gin and tonic in the summer, or a nice mojito. Beer. Wine. But vodka? As far as I know it is meant to be drunk mixed in with other stuff, and it's meant to blend in so well that you can't taste it. So...what's the point? I don't go out of my way to find quality single-malt Scotch because I don't want to taste it. I get it because it's delicious.

Keep your trendy vodka. Some of us have better drinks to drink.

  • Seafood
Fish are friends, not food!

No, I never had a bad experience with seafood. Yes, I grew up in Miami. No, I've never tried it. I can smell it. That's enough.

I like looking at fish. I like going to aquariums. I eat every other kind of animal. In my years on earth I've eaten reindeer, wildebeeste, various kind of deer, ostrich, quail eggs, lamb, and I've even tried crocodile.

For a while I ate fried shrimp, but after a few bad reactions I've even given up on that. While other women complain about giving up sushi during pregnancy, that's not an issue for me. So it's almost like an advantage, really. Right?

Srsly? People EAT this???
(Photo credit: Beyer at de.wikipedia)

My husband loves seafood. Since I don't eat it, I don't cook it. If he wants fish, he has to wait until we go out to eat, or cook it himself. (Oh, stop your crying. He enjoys cooking. We're modern like that.) I'm that annoying person at seafood restaurants - I don't deny that other people eat this crap - who orders chicken. Or steak. Just not fish. If it makes it's home in the sea, I won't eat it.

I'm not saying that I'm better than you people because I avoid these things like the plague. Just that...maybe I am.

Always wanted to be a patron of the arts, but you are lazier and poorer than the Medicis? Help fund Mr. Funny's animation project, "The Dangerous Wanderings of C. Philip Montgomery: A Cartoon About a Time When Earth Needed to be Explored All Over..."

About the project:
New York comedians/writers Ash Louis and Evan Morgenstern want to take you on a journey to 1909 to witness The Dangerous Wanderings of C. Philip Montgomery. This hilarious 13 minute cartoon will be the pilot for a new absurdist comedy series following early 1900's adventurer C. Philip Montgomery and his crew as they explore the world, and deal with a petty rivalry with a Russian-Accented Canadian crew, an addiction to margaritas, a lack of money, and an odd use for punchbowls." Simply click here and donate the amount of your choice, though $15 gets you an e-newsletter and $100 gets you a "sexy" calendar of the creators. I told my brother I'll pay him $100 to NOT show me that calendar, but, you know, I'm his sister. Do it. Do it for ART.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Smell A Rat

Those of us who grew up in Florida in the shadow of the mouse - you know which mouse I'm talking about - know the danger he presents. He and his company have a knack for bulldozing their way across pop culture, into our homes, through our lives to penetrate our very souls and turn us all into nonsensical zombie hyperconsumers.

Oh, I won't deny that I've had fun at the theme park - you know which theme park I'm talking about. It has a whole set of urban legends that we native Floridians took devilish glee in passing around: the girl who stood up on Space Mountain and got decapitated; Walt Disney's head being tucked away in one of the rides; a ghost follows you home from the Haunted Mansion; the jail underneath the park; they pipe the smell of fresh chocolate chips cookies to make visitors hungry; phallic symbols placed all over the park by the builders; the teenager who tried to get up and walk the tracks on the Haunted Mansion and got run over and killed. Oh, wait. That one was real because it happened on one of my trips there, and they had to shut down the ride for the rest of the day.

And I'm not going to pretend like I'm some anti-capitalist hipster, too good for American consumerism. I'm a proud American consumer. I'm typing this blog post from my MacBook Air, sitting in my apartment blasting an air conditioner from Sears, wearing my clothes from Target, while my son sits next to me in his Thomas the Tank Engine t-shirt. Yay capitalism!

My problem is with the hegemonic branding of that damn mouse. It is quite possible to live every aspect of your entire life within the mouse culture. Wake up in a bed with mouse sheets, walk across the mouse rug in your mouse pajamas, go to the kitchen and eat your mouse cereal in your mouse bowl with your mouse spoon. Then brush your teeth with your mouse toothbrush and mouse toothpaste. Get dressed in your mouse shirt and mouse pants, and even mouse underwear. The mouse has even changed our language: "mouseka-this" and "mouseka-that." On the video we're currently watching we use our "mouseka-tools" to ride the "mouseka-train," or something. Mouseka-kill me. (Me, to Princeling every time they say something like that: "That's not a real word, OK?")

It's for this reason - that once you allow the mouse a toehold into your life he'll sweep through like a hostile corporate takeover - that the Husband and I have thus far banned all things mouse-related from our household.

And for nearly 3 years now we've been successful.

Then came the day when our son, the Juban Princeling, needed some underwear. Because we can't keep him in diapers forever, nor would we want to try to do so. So, like all good American families we took a trip to our local Target, on a mission for some little boy underwear.

Except that the only underwear they had in his size (size Cuban Toushie) was mouse themed.

We bought it, figuring he probably wouldn't even notice the silly mouse on the underwear he refused to wear anyway.

But we've really been pushing the potty training this past week. And, like some sort of rule of natural law, it became inevitable that our little guy would notice the colorful, smiling mouse on the butt of his underwear.

Juban Princeling: "Who dat?"
Me: *resigned sigh* "That's Mickey Mouse."
JP: "I want watch Mickey Mouse on TV!"
Me: *Gnashing my teeth and rending my clothes* "And so it begins, mouse. AND SO IT BEGINS."

I found some mouse videos on YouTube, which the Princeling is happily zoned out to. Curse me, but the very first cartoon we found involved a train, and all you need to do to assure my son's loyalty and devotion forever and ever is give him a train. So that's it. We've lost him. The mouse won. As we knew he would, some day.

The Husband thinks that the mouse will seek his revenge for being denied for so long in our family. He says we're going to get mouska-tortured in the mouska-dungeon. The one underneath the theme park. Probably while Walt Disney's head yells mouseka-curses at us.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Juban Princeling Photo of the Week: 8/6/11

The Princeling and his mama posing in front of a radar plane on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum last Sunday.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Home (Expletive) Home

Please pardon me while I bang my head against a wall.

It's less painful and more productive than apartment hunting in New York City.

After 15 years and 7 apartments you'd think I'd have a grip on this whole thing but I don't. It never gets easier, never. I think in some episode of "Sex and the City" (tagline: "No, Really - This is Totally What Living In New York is Exactly Like!") Carrie Bradshaw says that New Yorkers are always looking for either a romantic partner, a job, or an apartment. I'm happily married and happily a stay-at-home-mom.

But I do feel like I am perpetually looking for an apartment.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. That explains why New Yorkers are so crazy! We all have to live here, and in order to live here we all have to throw ourselves into the sarlacc pit of New York City real estate, hoping to come out of it alive! What is wrong with all of us?

Some try to beat the system by stubbornly staying in the same place for years and years even in the face of changing family circumstances. I knew someone who got married and had three kids, all while living in the same studio apartment. And no, "studio apartment" in New York doesn't mean a 5-bedroom luxury condo: it means a 1-room apartment. Not one bedroom: ONE. ROOM. How do you even make more babies when you're sharing ONE ROOM with your other kid(s)?

Others, especially in our neighborhood, cram enormous families into tiny apartments. It goes something like this: four or five kids share one bedroom, five or six other kids share the second bedroom, the parents sleep in the bathtub, and the grandparents sleep in the refrigerator. Why? The school districts. And rent. Park Slope has become like the Lower East Side tenements of the early 1900s, all in the name of getting kids into P.S. 321 without paying more than $50 a month for rent because you moved into this apartment back in 1997. Or something.

And yes, rents in New York, even out here in Brooklyn - especially here in Park Slope, where a friend once emailed me, "So which school did the Princeling get into, Beansprouts or Yale?" - are really as high as you've heard about. I'm not going to say how high, because I'm embarrassed. Our yearly rent is about what some people make at part-time jobs. But we pay it, because we love living in New York City, we don't have car payments or gas prices to worry about, and because we have that advanced brain damage specific to New Yorkers who think that paying a kajillion dollars a month for a dishwasher-less rat-infested hellhole is justified by saying we get to live in New York City and we don't have to have a car.

We currently live in a nice 2-bedroom apartment with a balcony and views of the Statue of Liberty, and we love our apartment. But we're having another baby because we are idiots and masochists, and we need another bedroom. The bathtub just isn't big enough for both me and my husband. So we're stuck in the ninth circle of Hell known as apartment hunting, and so far I've only threatened suicide maybe three times. I've also decided that we are going to move to Montauk and become seafaring people; that we're going to move to London and become those funny Americans everyone teases; and that we're going to move back to South Florida to be closer to our parents. (Husband: "Every time you get a little depressed you threaten to move back to Miami.")

I've seen an apartment in a fourth-floor walkup in a building that had fist-sized holes in the hall floorboards and a cinder block holding the front door on its hinges (Me, to broker: "We have a preschooler and we're having another baby. What makes you think we want to live in a fourth-floor walkup in a condemned building?"); we've seen a very nice 3-bedroom in a very nice elevator building that happens to be located half a block from the new Atlantic Yards project and shares a street with a sports bar; and a few owner-owned very nice condos where they either wanted to charge us half our internal organs plus one of our children for rent, or they wouldn't commit to a longer lease so that we'd have to go through this all over again in a year. And then there was the duplex that looked promising, but the owner was sure she could get even more rent than she originally asked for. Last I heard it was still on the market and the landlady wouldn't come down on price.

That's what we're dealing with here, people.

Maybe we should just stay put. I'll take the bathtub and the Husband can sleep out on the balcony. He always says he wants to go camping.