“Lost in the City”

Credit for the title of this post goes to my former co-worker Cheri. It’s perfectly accurate for my first 10 days in New York. 😉

I’m writing on this the plane headed back to NYC after being in KC for the weekend, which was definitely too short. It has been such a whirlwind these past two weeks. I’ve started my job, which I like already and am happy (and a bit relieved!) I can confidently say that. I knew when I interviewed that it felt like a really good fit, but it is still reassuring to know I am at a good company doing important work.

I’m also fortunate my boss is very understanding about how chaotic my life is right now as we prepare to move. I’ve had to leave early almost every day last week to tour child care facilities, see apartments, catch my flight, etc. It’s uncomfortable to ask for flexibility during your first weeks working at a new place, so I am very grateful she has been supportive.

Other things I’m grateful for-

1. Our families, who have been INCREDIBLY helpful watching our kids while we work in KC and NYC, packing our house, sending me documents so I can sign up for benefits, taking our dog to the vet for some mysterious skin rash (because of course that happens right now), answering questions about taxes in New York State (CPA Dad to the rescue!) sending pictures of the kids and FaceTiming with me, moving heavy items like pianos and sofas to different places, and doing a million other things for us. My parents even surprised me with a plane ticket using a ridiculous amount of Dad’s frequent flyer miles so I could come back to Kansas City again next weekend. Cue the waterworks.

2. My dear friend Hillery for letting me stay with her during my first full week of work and making me feel like I can conquer anything. From being a great listener when I was feeling all the feelings about the move and missing the fam (which was multiple times) to helping me navigate both the subway and life in NYC and sharing more than a third of her NYC-sized freezer for my breast milk, she is truly the Taj Mahal of a friend.

3. Duane Reade (Walgreens) on every corner. I’ve stopped in multiple times for items to treat my sprained ankle and restock on bandaids for my blisters. Hobbling around on a bum ankle (let it be known I am not a hiker) is not exactly how I envisioned my first week in NYC panning out, but for a ‘glass half full’ perspective, at least the compression sock has helped protect one of my feet from getting more blisters.

4. Starbucks on every corner. It’s a toss up as to whether I’ve visited Starbucks or Duane Reade more this week. I will be a little more budget-friendly with my coffee drinking when I have my actual coffee pot and devoted coffee-making husband here in NYC, but for now, overpriced lattes and flat whites get me through the day.

5. Wine, which also has gotten me through most days that have been packed with commuting, navigating the subway, getting turned around when I fail to do that successfully, apartment hunting, number crunching, analyzing housing and child care options, gathering documents for apartment applications, FaceTiming with the kids, and trying to keep it together mentally, emotionally and physically.

6. Cheap manicures and pedicures. To quote my friend Hill, ‘the only things that are less expensive in NYC are mani/pedis and flights to Europe.’ 100% accurate. Amid the chaos last week week I took an hour to get the cheapest mani/pedi I’ve ever had ($30 for both!). It was lovely.

7. Our apartment broker. We were hesitant to use one as their fee is pricey if the apartment building you sign a lease with doesn’t pay it, but I am so thankful to have professional guidance in this process from someone who knows NYC. Side note: his name is Dale, but Brett and I refer him to as “Dragon.” Anyone who has seen the movie ‘Stepbrothers’ will appreciate that.

Speaking of apartment hunting, here are a few ‘lessons learned’ this past week-

1. Getting an apartment in New York is, without a doubt, harder than buying and selling a house. I thought it was stressful to buy and sell a house when we moved 12 blocks last summer, even when we sold it to our friend JP. That pales in comparison to trying to find a good apartment, with enough space, in the right price range, close to available child care, in a good/safe neighborhood, the list goes on. Then, once you find ‘the perfect place,’ the application process is insane. I’m sure Dragon thought we were adorably naive when we met up with him with a binder full of the printed documentation we thought we needed (including personal checks- apparently only banker’s checks suffice and you don’t need that until you actually sign a lease, whoops), only to find out we had to upload everything and lease underwriters are like investigative spies trying to uncover any possible reason they shouldn’t rent you an apartment. After learning from Dragon about how stringent NYC housing requirements are, it makes sense why we felt like we were under interrogation. In fact, if I ever was to be interrogated, I’d probably just cut right to the chase and admit to the crime (guilty or not) just to avoid the questioning. Talk.about.stressful. Good news is, Dragon feels good about the application we started on a perfect 2 bedroom apartment in north Chelsea/Hudson Yards. It overlooks the Hudson and is the perfect location for us, close to a train stop and next door (literally!) to a great childcare facility that has openings for both our kids. Now it’s just the question of how frequently we can afford to send them there given tuition price is that of a private college…HA! I’ll spare you all the details now, but we’re also looking into the nanny thing. That could be a separate post in itself!

2. The LaGuardia airport might be the worst place to have a delayed flight. I have a new appreciation for our slightly outdated KCI airport after both Brett and I were delayed trying to get back to Kansas City at different times last week. The terminal for Southwest is tiny and way overcrowded, the only place to pump is the bathroom (gross), and the construction makes it a traffic nightmare. That said, please don’t let that deter any of you from coming to visit us! NYC more than makes up for one crappy airport, and there are two others you can fly into 😉

3. Reserved parking in the city is a luxury, to the tune of $600+ a month for the SUV we are keeping. Brett got 2 job offers last week (yay! Major proud wife moment!) but one of them pretty much requires him to have a car as he would need to travel to different hospitals on Long Island. He’s certainly trying to negotiate this factor in this offer after we had the sticker shock. If you don’t pay a monthly fee for reserved parking in a garage and opt to park on the street, you have to move your car once a night while they clean the streets. We definitely aren’t interested in doing that in our already busy evenings with the kids. Hopefully we can work this out if he ends up accepting- there’s never a shortage of options in NYC, that is for sure!

If you’re keeping score, the list of things I’m grateful for is still more than double the list of lessons learned, so even with all the stress, I’d say we’re still ahead. I miss my people again already, but getting to see them next weekend when I wasn’t going to originally is motivation to stay focused and positive! I cannot wait to have them all with me in this amazing city in 2 weeks. I know the time will fly. The kids’ book ‘The Little Engine that Could’ has never been more relevant for all of us right now…”I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…’

2 thoughts on ““Lost in the City”

  1. Yes you can, yes you can. Like you said to do this while Ben and Bella are young is good. They will adapt easier than you and Brett. NYC is an experience that few mid-westerners get to experience and have no concept of a city that never sleeps. So glad things are working out for you.

    Like

  2. Dragon. Classic. Please tell me he and Brett did some karate in a parking garage. And that Brett insists on being called “Nighthawk.”

    Like

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