Sunday, January 26, 2014

Transatlantic Musings

So, I meant to post this a couple of weeks ago, when I got back from London, but of course I got sick, and then the start of semester craziness set in. There’s been an unexpected development, after I did a lot of soul-searching on my trip to London. As I was visiting old haunts, I thought a lot about my living situation. There has always been a strong pull to live in England again, although I don’t think I could do it permanently. I love New York, Keith is here, and, of course, Friends Lake is here. I have a lot of friends here too, although I do have good friends in England now. But I thought a lot about whether I could find a way to spend a few weeks there each year. And that got me to thinking about my life in New York.

When I started this blog, I talked about how I wanted to stay in New York City. And even though I knew I couldn’t afford a two-bedroom in the City, I had a plan to make a nursery at the far end of my living room, using a temporary pressure wall. But, as time has progressed and I’ve given more thought to how I want to live with my child (or children), I’ve realized that I don’t want to cram a family into a tiny apartment, just to stay in the City. As my friend Maria said, are the sacrifices I would have to make worth it for a zip code?

As I believe I also mentioned previously, I’ve been obsessed with baby furniture since I was a kid. And I realized that I don’t want to sacrifice having a proper nursery for my baby, and a proper bedroom as my child grows up. I’ve dreamed of my baby’s room for thirty years, and I want to make that dream come true. Also, since I am trying to be a stay-at-home mom, staying home in this apartment after making it smaller, essentially, would be very difficult.

It’s not just the space, of course. Back in the Fall, when I was driving back and forth from Friends Lake, I was getting frustrated with the long drive, the inevitable traffic in the City, the loading and unloading of the car with the luggage cart. Having to make multiple trips because of the dogs. You name it, it was getting to me. I started to wonder how I would manage it with a kid or kids, and the dogs, and all our stuff. I started to wonder if I wanted to stay in the City.  I thought, once I was no longer driving back and forth, that I would feel better and fall back in love with the City. I did, to an extent. But, in the last few weeks, I’ve come to understand that, while I still like living in the City, I don’t love it anymore. The novelty has worn off a bit, and I don’t know if it’s something I would want to do forever.

My lifestyle would, naturally, change as well once I have a child, and I won’t be taking advantage of the things I do now in the City. I won’t be walking home from the theatre at midnight, or buying bagels at one in the morning. Grocery shopping would be harder, and so would walking the dogs. I also would have an issue leaving the balcony door open for Cali and Brooke if that’s the baby’s room.

So, you see where this is going. I know plenty of people raise kids in the City. And plenty of people do it in small apartments, with dogs. Even single women. And they figure it out. But, there are too many sacrifices that I’m not willing to make. And that includes the financial side of things. To stay in the City would cost too much. And even if I could find a way to do it, I would be sinking all my money into an apartment and have nothing left for living. Mom used to always talk about not being “house poor.” I understood what she meant, but never fully appreciated it until now. Even if I went back to work full time (which would eliminate the possibility of being a stay-at-home mom), I would probably just manage to pay for a small two-bedroom. But I wouldn’t be able to do anything else. I want to travel with my child and take him or her to museums and Yankee games. But that would not be possible if I had to sink everything into an apartment. So, I’d be working all the time, never see my kid, and not be able to do anything with the kid when I’m not working! Not my idea of a family life.

Back in the summer, I had come up with a potential moving plan, in case I had twins. But, I’ve made the decision that I’ll move regardless, once I get pregnant. The initial plan was to move to an apartment in Riverdale. At first, that seemed like a good idea, because it would keep me near Manhattan, and I could get a bigger place for a lot less money. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that, if I’m not in the City, I don’t really want to live in an apartment. The truth is, I really want a house. But, a full house might be too much for me to take on. So, I’ve found a compromise – I’m going to look for a townhouse in Westchester. It’s the perfect compromise. I get the house feel, but if I buy in a community, they’ll take care of outdoor maintenance, etc. And, if I have dedicated parking and a garage or basement, I can save the money I’ve been spending on the garage and storage space.

Naturally, I will be looking for something that costs less than this place, so I have to see what I can afford in my price range. It’s not likely to be luxury, unless I go farther away from the City, but again, not a sacrifice I want to make – I want my kid to be able to take advantage of everything that the City has to offer, just like I did growing up in Westchester. If I can free up money from the sale of this place, I will also be able to afford to stay home, at least for a few years. Then, when the kid is school aged (or kids), I can look for teaching jobs again. I’ll probably be ready by that point anyway.

And it’s not like I’m not going to keep trying to make my name (and fortune!) as a writer. But I know I can’t depend on that. And, the funny thing is, I’m not entirely convinced that if I had all the money in the world, I would move back to the City (at least not until my kids are grown). Three’s certainly a lot of perks to growing up in the City, but I don’t know anymore if I’m willing to put up with the inconveniences – unless of course I have a staff to handle all that stuff! ;)

But that’s a decision for years from now. This decision is made, but I won’t take action until I’m actually pregnant. On that note, we did start the cycle when I got back from London. I should know more about its potential success, and be able to post an update in a few days.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year's Wishes

First, in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I hate New Year’s. Always have. As a kid it would make me very depressed. While everyone else saw it as the dawn of a new year and the promise of new beginnings, I saw it as the end of another year, and couldn’t see why people would be so happy to lose another year of their lives. That was a bit of a fixation for me as a kid, actually. Every time I blew out the candles on my birthday cake, my wish was always the same – to freeze time so that everyone I loved would stay the same forever. No one would get older and nothing would change. I always feared losing the happy childhood and family togetherness that I was privileged to enjoy as a child. Yeah, I was a real cheerful kid.

In retrospect, maybe my younger self knew something subconsciously. At any rate, I dreaded New Year’s every year, but still made a point to try and enjoy the family parties at Gilbert Place. Today, I have a much more mature attitude toward it all, but I’m still not a big fan of the holiday. My reasons are a bit different now, I suppose. I guess what troubles me these days is partly missing the parties of old. New Year’s is a lot quieter now. But I also have issues with the illusion of it all. First, everyone feels the pressure to do something amazing, and have someone to kiss at midnight (as a kid, New Year’s was about family, so I really didn’t understand this part of it). There’s a sense that you’re lacking somehow if you don’t have incredible plans.

Then there’s the whole New Year’s Resolution thing. I don’t know why people think that one day is going to change their whole lives – or why they think they are more likely to make a change today than any other day. In the end, people make all kinds of unrealistic plans for themselves, and when they fail to fulfill them, they just end up feeling bad for themselves. I think people would be a lot happier if they didn’t make New Year’s resolutions and just tried to live a good life every day.

Anyway, this is all a long-winded way of explaining why the title of this entry is “New Year’s Wishes” and not “New Year’s Resolutions.” I don’t have resolutions. Sure I need to lose wait and I need to write more and I want to find online work and to get an agent and to sell books and scripts and all kids of stuff. But I’m not going to promise myself that all of these things will happen and end up disappointed in myself. What I have for 2014 are wishes – or one wish, really. I just want to get pregnant with a healthy baby. Even the last day of 2013 brought discouraging news – bloodwork showed elevated HCG beta levels. After IVF, this is a good thing because it is a sign of pregnancy. Before IVF, not so much. So far it has belayed me being able to start the next cycle. I go for more bloodwork tomorrow, but then I leave for London the next day (Mother Nature willing!), and everything will be set back another month. And I worry it will mean that I can’t try another IVF with my own eggs. As much as I am willing to use donor eggs (I am on the waitlist, having taken the class and met with the psychologist), I still want another chance to try on my own.

So, for 2014, I wish for a baby. And I wish for only positive changes in my life and the lives of the people I love.