Casa de Chaos

Sleepless days and sleepless nights

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Sundae reward for being so cooperative during a long day of walking and apartment hunting. We easily covered 2 miles, and he rode his scooter the whole way, no complaints. (at Bareburger)

Sundae reward for being so cooperative during a long day of walking and apartment hunting. We easily covered 2 miles, and he rode his scooter the whole way, no complaints. (at Bareburger)

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For Will Bujnik

My parents will probably read this and wonder why I’m not writing about our amazing trip to Texas. We took the kids to Austin, spent a few days, then left them with my parents as Matt and I took off with some friends to camping for a few days. We drove down through Hill Country and spent one night in Garner State Park, then down to the Mexican border and spent 2 nights out in Seminole Canyon State Park. Matt and I then drove out to Marfa, TX by ourselves, (which, by the way, is every bit as awesome and weird as you think it might be), finishing up with a drive through some of the most beautiful scenery that I’ve ever seen. Texan friends, have you ever driven through the country down around the McDonald Observatory? If so, you know what I mean.

But frankly, I’m not really in the mood to write about awesome trips to beautiful places. I was on a geographic high for a week, a high that flat-lined the morning after I returned to New York. I woke up to cold rainy weather, then got treated to a dusting of snow this morning. And then I went to see two apartments today and they both kind of sucked and yet, they both cost $3000 a month because apparently that’s what 2 bedroom apts cost in my neighborhood in 2014. (Please note, there are certainly less expensive neighborhoods in NYC. We’re looking at some of them. But I’m attached to this area, and moving miles away to Brighton Beach or Flushing or Bushwick or Astoria or Inwood lacks appeal. Those neighborhoods are far away from my friends and my community. In a non-driving city, when you move from Clinton Hill to Flushing, you might as well be moving to a different state.

So as much as I’d love to talk more about our Texas vacation, my mind is weighed down by the stress of looking for a new apartment by June 1. Let’s review our progress on this front, shall we? Follow along if you want, friends.

One small fun fact to get us started: the majority of rentals in NYC are handled by brokers. The honest ones show up, let you into the apartment, produce the lease for you to sign, run the credit check, and then, for all of that work, receive a commission fee of 15% of the annual rent! The shitty ones do that too, only with more bait and switching, lying about exact whereabouts, are late to appts, etc. These guys also receive a 15% commission. At, say, $3000 a month so $36,000 a year in rent that works out to owing your broker $5400. So when you hand over your check for first, last and security, make sure you tack on another $5400 for the broker! If you pay movers to move you, you’re looking at $15,000 just to move. Into a place you do not own.

(Apologies to those of you reading on your phone who can’t utilize the read more option.)

Read more …

Filed under Brooklyn is fucked idk michaela perth might be better

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Will, your wish is my command. Prepare to be disgusted and blown away and grow ever more smug about living in Stars Hollow.

I always thought I’d be a Brooklyn lifer, but to be honest, this search has broken my spirit a bit. It wouldn’t be so difficult if we didn’t have to factor kids/public schools into our search. Yet another way my kids have ruined my life.

bujnik replied to your post:I talked to a broker this afternoon about coming…

I’m officially begging you to document and blog about every apartment you visit and how insane the prices are. You are fascinating me right now. In my town you could rent 3 2bdrm apartments for less than that.

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I talked to a broker this afternoon about coming to see two apartments he had listed. He offered to have his associate meet me at 6:15 this evening. It’s a little on the late side, but the boys are still a bit topsy-turvy from the time zone change, so I figured it’d be fine. I told the broker 6:15 was fine, but asked that his associate to please not be late since I’d have my kids with me etc.

That’s a reasonable request, but considering that I’ll be walking there with two young children, it was perhaps a bit ridiculous. Now I feel all this pressure to make sure that I’m there right at 6:15. It’s only a 20 minute walk from here, but I feel like I should probably plan to leave 45 minutes early just to take into account last minute poops, spills and other child-related incidents requiring a change of clothes or food stops along the way. Can’t wait to climb the 4 flights of stairs carrying the toddler and half-dragging the older one!

Move to Brooklyn, you guys! It’s great! 4th floor walk-up! Only $3000 a month! But hey, it’s got like two whole feet of kitchen counter space and like two whole kitchen drawers, so it’s a gem!

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A few weeks ago, Milo attended a pirate-themed birthday party. In the favor bag was a handful of gold foil-covered chocolate coins. He asked what those were, and I lied and told him that they were just fake money. “Are you suuuuure it’s not candy?” he asked suspiciously, his treat-smarts sense tingling. “Nope, not candy!” I answered breezily. I meant to throw them away that night but forgot to do so. The next morning, Milo tested out his theory. Once he realized I’d been lying, and the coins were, in fact, gold covered chocolates, he hid them and proceeded to eat them all in secret, leaving tell-tale signs of tiny bits of gold foil scattered around the apartment.

Fast forward to yesterday. Milo and I were sitting on the couch while Zachary was napping. Milo was watching a movie while I was reading and not particularly paying any attention to him. He coughed a bit, and I looked over him. I asked if he was ok. “My neck hurts because there’s a coin in it,” he announced. I was confused for a second, thinking maybe he was making some allusion about a magic trick. I asked him to clarify. “Well,” he said calmly, “my neck hurts because there’s a coin in my throat.”

I was still confused because Milo isn’t a kid to put things in his mouth. Then my mind flashed back to the gold euro (or possibly Argentinian peso) coin I’d noticed on the couch when we sat down. I looked over and saw that it was no longer there. I tried to remain calm and keep my tone light. “Did you swallow that coin that was one the couch?” I asked calmly. He nodded. I sighed, and called the pediatrician’s office. Naturally, our practice (4 very nice doctors) is a New York stereotype in that 3 of the 4 doctors are Jewish and were off for Passover. The call center suggested that since I was unsure of the size of the coin, it might be good to take him into Urgent Care, since it might be a while before the doctor could call me back.

Off we went, angry woken-up toddler and nonchalant preschooler in tow. The Urgent Care office (upstairs from our pediatrician’s office and identical in layout and decor) prompted a screaming panic attack from Zachary (traumatized by too many painful ear infection visits) that lasted almost the entire time. Milo submitted to the X-ray bravely, admiring his bones on the picture as “very cool bones.” The doctor told me the coin had dropped into the belly, so most likely it’ll be fine, outside of a possibly uncomfortable poop in the next few days.

He’s never been a kid to put things in his mouth or up his nose. What was his motivation? And then I realized with some certainty that Milo saw a gold coin, figured it was chocolate since it didn’t look like “real” (American) money, assumed if he asked me about it I’d probably take the chocolate away from him, and proceeded to pop it into his mouth.

Moral of the story: don’t lie to your kids about candy just because you don’t want to hear them whining about not getting it. In the end, that initial whining will be way easier to handle than a two hour trip (soundtracked by a sobbing toddler) to the Urgent Care.

Filed under milestones probably not gonna bother having him take the G&T test this year

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Guess we can scratch “future doctor” off the list

Yesterday morning, Milo came running over to me with a look of panic in his eyes. “My thumb has blood!” he yelled. I looked down, and sure enough, there was a miniscule ribbon of blood trickling from a tiny cut on his knuckle. I told him not to worry, that it was just a tiny cut and we’d fix it right up. We went into the bathroom, rinsed it off, applied a little pressure, and then covered it with a band-aid. “There you go, you’re as good as new,” I told him.

I went back into the kitchen to finish making his lunch. A minute later, Milo grabbed his stomach and started moaning. “My tummy hurts!” he wailed. I asked him if he needed to poop. He said maybe, so Matt and I told him to go to the bathroom. Another minute later, he started fussing again so Matt went in to see what was the matter. He came back out and told me that Milo looked ill. I sighed and went to check on him.

Poor Milo was sitting there, stark naked, completely ashed faced, eyes closed, completely slack-mouthed. I’d never seen him look like that before. I asked him if he was ok, and he just kind of moaned at me. He seemed on the verge of fainting, so I carried him into his room, put him into bed and pulled the covers over him. I poured some OJ into a cup and coaxed him to drink a little.  It was then that Matt and I finally realized that our bouncy kid had been laid out flat by the sight of a tiny amount of blood.

Milo laid in bed for the next ten minutes or so, totally still, whisper-moaning. Fifteen minutes later, he was rosy-cheeked and in high spirits again, dressed and ready for school. Given how accident-prone he is, perhaps I should start carrying around smelling salts in my purse so we can avoid fainting spells on the playground this summer.

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Seattle followers - just in case you haven’t already seen this, keep an eye out.



This is one of my dear friends from Facebook and her daughter is missing.  I am helping to get the word out.  If you live in Seattle PLEASE keep an eye out!  Please reblog to get the word out as well.  

I cannot imagine the fear and panic my friend is going through.  Please keep her in your thoughts as well.  

Do what you do best tumblr.  REBLOG PLEASE!!! 

(via juneofthemoon)

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A trip to the Met for the Mama and Milo day out. Egyptian wing. (at Temple of Dendur)

A trip to the Met for the Mama and Milo day out. Egyptian wing. (at Temple of Dendur)

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Hanging out with Zachary is like being on the set of a stage version of “Goodnight Moon” these days. I’ve learned to incorporate a few extra minutes into every activity, room change or apartment departure so that he can get all his good-byes in properly. I can’t even get him to go from his bedroom to the living room without going through a full round of fond farewells. He starts off with the big stuff: “Bye bye doo doos (trains), bye baby, bye bye chaa (chair), bye bye dubble (table),” then moves on to the train table minutiae: “Bye bye nunnel, bye bye twa (tunnels & tracks, respectively),” and then, on especially aggravating days, moves on the pictures on the walls: “bye bye bo (boat), bye bye doo doo, bye bye woofs.”

It’s not that it’s not cute—it is!—but as anyone who has ever tried to herd small children along knows, it’s hard enough to get kids moving without having to also make sure none of the inanimate objects in the house get their feelings hurt.

(I will also add that when your toddler has been awake since 4:15am, this process particularly loses any charms it may have.)

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The call went pretty well! I think I sounded reasonably intelligent and knowledgeable about grant writing and international nonprofit development topics. The projects director is going to speak to the major gifts director when he returns from Africa next week, and in the mean time, I’m supposed to come up with a fee proposal and outline a 5 year plan.

Oh, and the baby woke up four minutes before the call was scheduled to begin. Three cheers for friends who live in the building, friend who will take your child off your hands when you call them with a note of panic in your voice!

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Also, ugh, please god don’t let the baby wake up until this phone call is finished.

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Also on the agenda today—a conference call about a potential freelance gig. I’m nervous. I’m not great on the phone. I shine in person, but I have a hard time concentrating on phone calls.

Wish me luck!

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Fashion Daze

After disdaining the jeans I’d pulled out for him this morning, Milo went through his drawer and picked out his own outfit. Deciding to channel his inner Mark Twain (or his inner Trent Lott *shudder*), he chose baby blue and white striped seersucker pants and a white button down shirt with an airplane embroidered on the pocket. He looked down at himself and proclaimed that he looked “very really handsome.” Before he left, he also donned his grey fair isle knit cardigan (“it might be chilly outside”) and also complained that his nail polish had chipped off. It was all very “goodness me, I’ve been on my sail boat all afternoon but now it’s a tad chilly let me slip on this cozy cardy” and sometimes I just can’t help but laugh at his bits of individuality that are developing.  Apparently, he got to class today and ran around showing everyone his outfit.

After Milo had left for school, Zach and I took a walk over to Marshalls so I could try to find something to wear to the Nymphomaniac premiere tomorrow night at MOMA. Zach was zero help in the dressing room, preferring instead to bash his train into the bench and cram pieces of nori into mouth instead of giving me any feedback. I kind of wished Milo was there to offer some opinions (for someone who’s not yet four, he’s got a lot to say about women’s fashions).

(And by that I mean he’ll tell you either that “it’s vewy beautiful on you” or “that’s ugly, don’t wear that mama” - surprisingly helpful!) I always need help shopping. Like, there was a navy blue dress that I thought was kind of cute, but then I also thought I might just look like a flight attendant or hotel desk clerk.

I’m just so rarely out of my mom uniform that all other clothes make me feel self-conscious. Those of you who follow me on instagram will probably be subjected to some outfit selfies as I beg you to tell what looks least matronly.

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Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here freaking out because my friend who lives on the other side of our building told me she just got her lease renewal, and they want to raise their rent $1100 a month. $1100! That isn’t a typo.

We’re due to get our lease renewal soon, and I’m totally panicking about what they’re going to do to us. I guess I’ll be spending my free time furiously searching for the next few weeks in case we need to move.

On the plus side, it’s 58 degrees and sunny today! I have the windows open for the first time in months, and I’m listening to Violeta Parra records on repeat. And Matt comes home today!

Filed under don't mind me i'll just be over here freaking out fuck nyc