Monday, February 3, 2014

Brooklyn Beginnings: Thoughts on the First Few Days in Our New Home

[I try not to double publish in two places and I put this up over at Belles and Beaux, but I really wanted to share the start of our adventure here, too.]

Well, we are HERE. We got here Friday and it's now Monday. And we're getting adjusted (or trying to). I'm trying to really go with the flow, but our stuff from the moving cubes won't be here until Wednesday (just two more full days after today). I think for me, one of the hardest things in the world is feeling "unsettled". I just feel like there's not a lot I can even start to do and the poor children had fun running around a basically empty apartment yesterday, but it's quickly loosing its novelty. Anyway, a few things:

The Good:sz

- We are HERE. Our whole family is together again. Praise the Lord. And Peyton is being really kind and patient, despite that we're both really tired and easily frustrated.
Friday morning alarms. So not what I'm used to, but we made our seven AM flight. 

- The kids have been so happy to see Peyton and vice versa. Sadly, he's working a lot right at first and I know that's really hard, especially for Annie.

- Speaking of the children, the flight went so smoothly.

- In fact, I was sweating and shaking, but we made our TWENTY FIVE MINUTE connection.

- Also Graves and Annie have really adjusted to their new environment a lot already. Kids are so resilient.

- It's a small step to making the place feel like home, but our Ikea delivery came and Peyton is going to assemble everything soon. We actually started (and finished!) the sofa bed between midnight and two last night (the bad is that poor Peyton had to get up at six to work; the kids and I slept in).

-The apartment is really nice and spacious and I think we'll love it. Here's a little sneak peak (incidentally, Friday was my first peak at the inside of the apartment with the exception of one picture I had seen).

- I did my first several loads of laundry at the co-op laundry room. It's in a different building, but we are SO thankful to have one on the property!

(This was Peyton's laundry from the past month, ha!)

- We got our first big snow! Apparently, precipitation is precipitation and I have a weather headache, but our "yard" looks so beautiful I hardly even care.

The Bad:
- Our huge bag with all our clothes in it got lost. We stood around waiting a long time at baggage claim and then had to file a report and all that. All was fine, though, and I got it the next day. The good is that it was only a minor inconvenience that had me stressed for a little while.

- Things that are really tiny have been so frustrating to me lately. I thought I had also left my make-up bag on the plane. Honestly, I mostly wear stuff from the drugstore and one of the two quality things I had in there was almost totally out. So not a big deal. For some reason, I beat myself up so much about it. I just had been SO proud of myself for keeping up with everything and making our connection. I know that's so silly, but I just let myself get worked up over several things I felt like I did "wrong". Graves had just colored on the wall at the apartment and I felt like I was not holding things together well at all. One thing that is really hard about this state of transition is that things aren't "toddler proofed" at all yet. For example, at home Graves is not allowed to have crayons anywhere but in his booster seat. The day before I got irrationally upset because I felt like the security guard here at the apartment thought I was stupid (I couldn't remember the name of our building and it took me forever to think to just tell him our address, then I couldn't get my door locked or unlocked very quickly or easily and he just seemed frustrated and put out). The good here is that I'm learning a lot about giving myself grace.

- One drawback of the co-op is the lighting situation. There's no overhead lights except in the hallway, bathroom, and kitchen. And Peyton has been and will be working long shifts for a bit, so we haven't had time to get any lamps. For now, after dark, we've been playing in the hall!

- Lastly, I totally thought we had lost Darth when the Ikea stuff was delivered. The good is that we found her!
The kids and I walked up two different sets of thirteen flights of stairs looking for her. I was so heartbroken. She's such a nervous soul and I knew she was terrified wherever she was. 

This was the worst part. Peyton told me to tell her she could look out the window to see if she could spot Darth in the courtyard. I think it is making her feel better. She's been saying thins like "We'll just have to stay forever and look all over this whole city for her" and "I have an idea of something we can do every day- we'll walk around and look for our kitty and then...WE'LL FIND HER!"

She was in a closet. That I had looked in five times. Peyton said I could just say he found her. I said "no, I'll tell whoever". He said "You're so okay with looking like an ass". I said sure. He said he wished he was more that way. I said it was harder for a man, I thought. He said that was true but not good. I agreed. Another Herrington mini convo analyzing gender and perception and intelligence and personality. Missed him so bad.

The Ugly:
- Our apartment was not cleaned the way we were told it would be. Not even close. I'm not the most cleanly person ever, but this was pretty far below my standards. The kids feet were BLACK from the floors. Yuck. We've cleaned some, but there's still more to do. The good is that, despite a few flaws, our land lady and her husband are friendly people who love children and are supportive of our family, unlike some previous places we looked. Which means much more to me than a clean apartment.

- The kids got the stomach bug the first day we were here and we ran out of diapers. I wasn't just going to put them in the stroller and walk around looking for them, especially since I didn't have a DIAPER for Graves. We made do and he wore 4T panties and somehow I didn't have TOO many messes to clean up. The good (the VERY good) in this situation is that it didn't happen on the plane.

The Truth: 
Changing cat liter, paying bills, calling about a terminated life insurance policy...things I've never had to do myself before. And this week I flew on a plane without another adult with me for the third time in my life (the other two were the second leg of a trip to California in which my dad paid for Peyton to fly with me to Atlanta to get me on my connecting flight and the first leg of the return trip in which Daddy again paid for Peyton to go receive me in Atlanta and safely escort me back to Jackson). It was Ann Peyton's second flight (she doesn't remember her first) and Graves's first. This adventure is making a grown up out of me in a way that nothing, save having my own children, ever has.

- I'm still a little amazed that I flew with the guy in the bear hat below (and his sister, but she's pretty even keel with this sort of thing) on a plane by myself. Honestly? The last time I was this proud of a personal accomplishment was almost three years ago when I pushed his near eight pound body out without the first drop of medicinal aid. Both involved a lot of fear and now both have given me a new sense of confidence in myself and what I'm capable of. If I gain nothing else from this year, it will be a stronger faith in a God who empowers and a deeper sense of what He can do through me if I listen to Him instead of the voices that tell me I'm not strong enough for this.
If he doesn't look ready for an adventure, I don't even know....

- A little order seems to go a long way with me. Today I worked really hard at cleaning the apartment; it took about an hour but I got the filthy bathroom and ONE closet cleaned. Now, I just need to figure out what to do about this floor that's turning the kids feet BLACK. We've used a squirt and scrub mop twice. So naive. Pretty sure I'm about to either get a legit mop or better yet some cheap towels so I can scrub all 800ish square feet of this wonderful little place. I organized what I could and I put things on shelves. I stacked diapers and cleaning supplies and unpacked things I could unpack without hangers and dressers. I also tried to be intentional about observing small blessings around me. 

One of my favorite things so far is this kitchen window right by the stove. I wanted so badly to live in a brownstone, but this feels so "New York" to me-- being able to see the dozens of windows that dozens of other families are living behind.

Another fun perk is that the water out if the tap is freezing cold (I assume because of the climate). And yes, not having any dishes has brought recycling to a whole new level. 

- While it obviously entails a lot more effort here, getting outside today lifted mine and the kids spirits and improved attitudes all around, I think. 

We walked up and down the main street in our area this afternoon. I'm still not brave enough to try to get us to a church by myself! 

This was a pretty nice bonus, too. We may be strolling every day until his room is set up and gated (I tried for an hour yesterday to get him to lay down and rest. It was very frustrating for both if us.)

The one negative thing about our walk was that a lady at the co-op fussed at me as we were coming back because I didn't have on a jacket (I took it off because I was sweating pushing the stroller and was sweating) and because Graves's legs were "exposed". I think I need to make it a goal in 2014 to let things like that roll off my back. I will say that because I was feeling more refreshed and more alive, her comments didn't bother me the way the security guard's attitude had. 

- I guess this post is kind of coming full circle, but the main thing is that I'm just thrilled to all be together and to be starting this journey finally! 

1 comment:

Annie said...

I'm so excited for y'all! As the bad and the ugly continue, I want to remind you: you moved! With two small children! Halfway across the country! Which is quite an accomplishment. I'm impressed! I hope your things arrive soon and the kids get better quickly! And I'm glad to hear about all the aspects of travel that went well!