Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Where Would We Have Been in New York?

Car rides to and from Defiance to visit my family give Paul and me plenty of time to talk. That's especially true when the kids are sleeping, as they largely did on the 5-hour round-trip drive this past weekend.

As we made our way to Columbus, I thought about how nervous Edith used to be to visit my parents. It took her a while to warm up to Grandma and Grandpa and leave our side. She's most definitely not like that now. She can't wait to rush into the house, and she cries when we leave for home.

Atticus has none of Edith's old reservations. Is that a byproduct of his demeanor, or is it because he saw them earlier and more often than Edith, who lived 500 miles away in New York as an infant? Of course, we'll never know for sure.

Sunday evening, on the drive home, Paul and I speculated on where we would be now if we would have stayed in New York. He thought we would have been lifelong renters. Our old Bay Ridge apartment, while significantly smaller than our current Columbus house, would have had sufficient room for our family of four. I think we would have eventually settled on a condo for a few years, anticipating that real estate would continue to go up and selling after a few years to upgrade. We agreed that New Jersey wouldn't have been out of the realm of possibility, but Staten Island almost certainly would have been.

I wonder if I would have been even more of a homebody, considering the pains of getting two kids dressed for the outdoors, descending from a third-floor walk-up and living largely without the use of a car. We probably would have started using a grocery delivery service, and maybe even gotten our laundry picked up and dropped off.

Who knows? These types of discussions make me a little sad, reminding me of the things I'm missing in New York. But recollecting all of the inconveniences of big city life (groceries, laundry, parking, SO MANY STAIRS) shines a spotlight on how good we have it in Columbus. Not to mention, of course, that our kids are growing up really knowing their Ohio grandparents. So I'm content.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Presidents Day, President Books

Another Presidents Day has rolled around, and for once I'm only mildly (instead of immensely) embarrassed about how our quest to read a biography on every U.S. president is going.

Last week I finished a book on Calvin Coolidge. It was about time. My last presidential book, on Warren G. Harding, was finished in March.

Of 2014.

It was nice to get back into the groove of this project that was started in 2009 (!!!) and has had many a long hiatus. Paused but not forgotten, I guess you could say.

Coolidge was a nice reintroduction for me, since a good chunk of the book was about how he interacted with the press and used them to connect with the American people. He wasn't a flashy head of state by any means, but he introduced or ingrained traditions we still see today.

Next up: Herbert Hoover.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Atticus Growing Up

A couple of weeks ago I visited a friend with a new baby. It wasn't until I held that newborn that I realized just how much Atticus has grown in the last 10 months. Turn your eyes for two seconds, and all of a sudden your baby is a real, live kid.

He's not only crawling and cruising, but he's standing -- look ma, no hands! -- for up to about 30 seconds at a time. Most of the time he and Edith play together quite nicely That is, until he comes over with the special intention of knocking all of Edith's carefully arranged toys onto the floor. "Baby dinosaur, ROAR!" I told Edith yesterday.

Atticus is a smiley joy with one exception: his teeth. His four front ones are in, and he likes to use them ... on me. Arm, shoulder, stomach, leg -- whatever is handy.

But my little boy is getting more and more interesting and interested every day. And his red hair gets attention practically everywhere we go! Nope, he's no longer a newborn. He's much more fun!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

New York Grocery Flashback

On Saturday I had a strange sensation of being back in Brooklyn.

The calendar still said January, but the thermometer was at about 50 degrees. I needed an ingredient -- to make a Brooklyn Blackout Cake, as chance would have it -- so Edith and I decided to walk to the grocery store. I think I had three things on my grocery list, so I brought one reusable bag.

Of course, those three items quickly became 18. Macaroni was 50 cents a box! Cans of pure pumpkin, too! My bag quickly filled, and I needed two more.

And so, just like in New York, I was left carrying home way too many heavy, awkward groceries several blocks without the use of a car. Only this time I was trying to track a toddler too.

I balanced the bags as best I could, although there's only so much you can do when you have a gallon of orange juice in the mix. Of course we made it home, and my sore hands were only slightly worse for the wear.

Yeah, it was inconvenient, but a first-world problem for sure. Besides, it's nice to know that I still have the touch -- and can accurately gauge just how many groceries my poor little arms can handle.

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