Last July, yes I said LAST and JULY, our terrace, our little piece of the outside world in the city, was closed for construction. There was some notice about not being up to code and the work taking approximately 4-6 weeks to complete, depending on weather. We were going on vacation when the work was supposed to start so a week beforehand we shipped our plants and grill off to my in-laws’ house, thinking we would at least have it back for part of the fall.
This was not the case. Four weeks turned into ten turned into 16. Our bedroom windows were sealed shut with plastic for three and a half months. Summer turned into fall turned into winter turned into spring. From our windows we saw other lines of apartments lose their balconies and then get them finished and reopened again and again. The weather turned warm and sunny again and still we couldn’t use our outdoor space. Our patience wore thin. It wore very, very, very thin.
We complained to management, and the super, and tenant relations. We got the runaround. Finally, I LOST it. When they were nearly finished and then stopped work on our line for an entire week I went nuts! I went down to the super sweet girl in tenant relations. I begged her to do something…ANYTHING! And then a miracle occurred and last Thursday they took down the two-by-four that was nailed across our door and removed the caution tape and we had our porch back! Just under TEN MONTHS later we have it back!
On Saturday we went to Home Depot and bought planters and flowers and seeds. Yesterday we got our grill back from the husband’s parents’ place. Today we planted petunias and grilled sliders for dinner. It may not seem like a big deal, but to us it is. And we are very, very happy to have our terrace back!
In all my excitement I forgot to take any photos! I’ll take some tomorrow and put them up I promise.
The next time I’m whining about the noise and the trucks and the construction and the dust and the concrete and the jackhammers and the blasting and just all of it, remind me that THIS is just a few blocks away.
There are times when I think that having kids is no fun. That life is all hard work and exhaustion and I can’t do anything cool anymore. Then I have a day like this past Saturday that reminds me that my life is nothing short of absolutely perfect…at least some of the time.
This Saturday started out with my sleeping in (Saturday is my day to sleep in. Parents, there is NO NEED for both of you to get up with the kids if no one is going to work. The husband and I used to do that. We were dumb. Now we take turns.) It was Brady’s first session of soccer so he and the husband headed down to the south end of Central Park for that adventure. He was so firggin adorable in his shinguards that almost made my day right there.
Declan and I headed out to get a gift for our friend who was having a 2nd bday party later in the day. We spent a little time at the bookstore, picked up a present, and then had a lunch date at Chipotle. Pretty sweet. Then we met the other boys back at home to regroup.
After a post-soccer cleanup and rest we all headed down to the Central Park Carousel for the party. On the way we bought some cool magnets, heard a few different types of live music, saw the biggest bubbles I’ve ever seen in my life, and met up with some other party-goers.
The carousel is right near some big rocks that the kids treated like a jungle gym for hours. They showed off their mountain-climbing skills and tired themselves out before enjoying some fantastic homemade red velvet cupcakes and then taking a ride on the carousel (which, btw, terrified Declan, which I found sort of hilarious, poor guy).
Then we ambled home through the park and stopped at a neighborhood place that doesn’t mind loud, messy kids and serves beer for dinner. After that it was just baths and bed and the perfect day was locked in. Yes I was exhausted, but it was a good exhausted. The kind of exhausted that reminds you of what a great time you had and assures you a good night’s sleep. So my family kind of totally rocks and everything is NOT always hard work and I definitely still get to do cool things. Oh and living in NYC is pretty awesome sometimes too. How’s that for some optimism?
You should join in on the happiness. Here’s how:
Write about something that makes you feel optimistic. Whatever it is, write from your heart.
Post on MONDAYS. Include “Project Optimism” in your title.
In Manhattan, this is unique. There are a handful of houses like this on the UES. I love seeing them among the brownstones and highrises, like a little piece of the past or the suburbs sneaking in among the rest.
I was walking past Madison Square Park on 23rd St. last night on my way to dinner with the husband and another couple. I love the way lights look in the city at night, especially when the Empire State building is involved. It’s a sight I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of.
I wasn’t sure what to do with myself after writing my ten resolutions. I at least had an idea of what to write each day for ten whole days, now I’m back to coming up with totally new ideas. How frightening! I was thinking that I should get back to writing about city living with the kiddos, but wasn’t sure what topic. Tonight I’m babysitting for a neighbor through the babysitting co-op in our building and I figured that was a pretty good thing to talk about, so here we go.
There are a bunch of moms in the building who get together sometimes. My neighbor down the hall invited to me one of the gatherings and after that I suddenly knew ALL these people who are my neighbors. That alone is pretty great. Then, not too long after I started to meet everyone, one of the other women proposed creating a babysitting co-op. We all live in the same building and all have kids and could all use some free kid-care, so it seemed like an excellent idea to me.
We laid down some basic rules and then some of us got together to hash out the details and ever since we’ve been up and running. Here’s how it works:
- to get a sitter you email the entire group with the date and time, the first person to respond accepting it gets the job
- your children must be in bed (although we know they may not be asleep) when the sitter arrives
- each family started with 10 points, each half hour of sitting costs 2 points to the family being sat for and pays 2 points to the sitter
- we keep track on a Google spreadsheet that we share through Google docs, the sitter must put in the points once they are done with a job
And that’s pretty much how it goes. We’ve used it a bunch of times and it is SO nice. We get to go out and be adults and maybe eat some nice food and have a drink or two and instead of paying someone $20/hr plus dinner and cab fare, we get to have a quick conversation with one of our neighbors and know that our kids are well taken of. I am a huge fan!