“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…’

Mixed emotions

It’s hard to believe July is already here. I start my job in 3 days and have so many things I should be doing (sleeping, for one), but here I am.

We knew this move would be hard, but right now ‘hard’ feels like the understatement of the year. June has been an incredibly emotional month- filled with lots of ‘see you later’s’, hugs, tears, planning, stress, and more tears. Coordinating a move is a full time job, which makes it tricky to do when we both have/had full time jobs (I left mine just over a week ago- that in itself brought a whirlwind of emotions after 10 years!) not to mention the whole parenting a 3 year old and 8.5 month old thing. We.are.exhausted. But the show goes on, and July isn’t going to be any easier.

The good news- we found tenants for our home in Kansas City and feel confident we are leaving our house in good hands. Brett’s job search is looking promising with additional leads and interviews, and we have several good prospective apartments to look at this weekend. Amid all this chaos I still have to stop and pinch myself reading that last sentence- we are really looking at apartments in New York City this weekend?! Is this real life?

Then the not so fun, reality- check sets in- mostly due to all the ‘unknown’ factors we are grappling with like where we are going to live (fingers crossed we check this off in a few days!), where Brett will work, what we are doing for childcare, all the logistics involved in pumping breast milk while commuting and starting a new job, and all the mixed emotions that go along with making big life changes and decisions. ‘See you later’s,’ while not long-term ‘goodbyes,’ are still really hard, and the stress involved in facilitating a move is tough on everyone. We are so fortunate to have amazing families willing to help- from pitching in with child care during this transition to physically hauling our stuff to NYC and helping us move in. It brings tears to my eyes when I think about how lucky we are.

Speaking of tears, the toughest thing weighing on this mama’s heart right now is having to be away from my babies for 2 long periods of time this month. Pray for me, friends. Just a week ago I vented on Facebook about how tough it is to parent a 3 year old (I still stand by that btw, he nearly flooded our kitchen yesterday) but last night I couldn’t even hold the tears back when he said ‘I love you mama.’ I held our youngest during both of her afternoon naps this past weekend because I couldn’t bear to put her down. The struggle is so real you guys. I’m very excited to start my new job and I know it is where I am supposed to be, but this month can’t be over soon enough so we can all be together again. We just have to keep telling ourselves it’s temporary, it will go by fast, and (hopefully) it will all be worth it!

“I want to be a part of it”

‘That’s the incredible part about your dreams. Nobody gets to tell you how big they can be.’- Rachel Hollis, author of “Girl, Wash Your Face.”

I recently started reading Rachel’s book and it could not be more timely. I know it is wildly popular, but I swear she wrote it just for me. Rachel is the kind of person who inspires you to live your best life, embrace your failures as much as your successes, and never take ‘no’ for an answer, at least when it comes to pursuing your dreams. Her book has become my life mantra as my family and I prepare to uproot our lives in the Midwest and head to the Big Apple.

A handful of our closest friends and a few family members know it has been a long time dream of mine and Brett’s to live in New York City. We’ve talked about it since we got married in 2010. It’s somewhat rare that we share this dream, since living in NYC can be such a thrill to some and a complete nightmare for others, even within a couple. Brett and I both have this inexplicable love for the city that never sleeps. Maybe it’s the energy, maybe it’s the challenge of it being so different than any place we’ve ever lived, or maybe we’ve just watched too many Romcom scenes filmed in Central Park, but regardless, we have always wanted to ‘be a part of it’ (pun intended- hence the blog title). We also knew this dream may never happen when we had our first child in 2015, but we still kept up our casual job pursuit alive whenever we found opportunities that interested us. When we found out we were expecting our second child in February, 2017, Brett said to me ‘we can’t let having another kid make us give up on our NYC dream, even if it goes on hold’ (this, of course, was after the initial shock and excitement of being 2nd time parents wore off a bit).  I remember thinking, ‘Sure, babe, I’ll go along with that but I doubt this is ever going to happen now.’ I think we both kind of felt that way because we moved on with our perfectly fine life in Kansas City.

Fast forward to today. It has been a year since we sold our bungalow and bought a bigger house in the Brookside area of KC that we love. We now have a 3 year old, an 8 month old (what!) and a pup who finally has a yard to run around in. And what are we doing? Going back to living in a small space with no yard, AND an additional tiny human.  I know, we must be crazy. We always said we would not move to NYC unless it was the right opportunity though, and now that opportunity has come. I have the chance to grow my career while our family gets to have the experience of a life time. Brett has some great job prospects too. That said, we adore Kansas City and we know we will be back.

Naturally, some family and friends can’t understand this dream of ours and have asked ‘why now?’ To us, however, the question is ‘why not?’ Our kids are not yet school age and will be able to adjust to a new place, living with less space, and a new lifestyle more easily now than they would be when they are older. When I got the job offer, we made the Pros and Cons list of going to NYC. One simple con of not going outweighed all others- the WHAT IF question. We could not get over the fact that 20 years from now we knew in our hearts we would still wonder ‘what if we had lived in NYC when we had the chance while the kids were young?’ After days and nights of analyzing, talking, and praying, and then analyzing, talking and praying some more, we knew we had to take this leap of faith.
So here we are, in a whirlwind of emotions as we quit our jobs, move away from our family and many friends (thankfully we have some in NYC too!) sell one of our cars and prepare for this crazy ride. It’s exciting and terrifying. We don’t have all the answers but are figuring them out together. Brett and I are fortunate to have our parents as examples of unconditional love and support for when Ben and Bella grow up and tell us they are pursuing their dreams that may make us go, ‘you are doing what?!’

We look forward to posting more about our adventure if you care to follow along. Please let us know if you are in the NYC area or want to come visit! For you KC folks, the BBQ doesn’t hold a candle to what you are used to, but the pizza doesn’t disappoint.

Cheers!