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February 2007 Archives

February 1, 2007

Expectant Parent Fantasy Land Magazines

If you’re an expectant parent, corporations are very enthusiastic about your upcoming baby. Not because they actually care, but because you’re about to spend thousands of dollars on stuff every few months unless you stunt the kid’s growth. (NOTE: I am not planning on stunting the kid’s growth.)

This barrage starts with parenting magazines. They are creeping me out! The lack of Dads that actually participate in the kids’ upbringing disturbs me. Plus, the women seem to sit in white rooms wearing white clothes with exposed bellies and practice yoga.

I’ve selected many examples of weird photographs. They tend not to come with captions, so I don’t know what is going on here. Sometimes they have weird quotes from the articles from the magazine that appeared on the same page as the photos. I find the juxtaposition disturbing as well.

Anyway, enjoy.

February 3, 2007

Go To Sleep

I recently left my job for a leave of absence to take a break from long hours creating media at a private school. I wanted to start a web company, have a child, and go back to school. Doing all of these things at once isn’t really taking a break.

Complaining to everyone about how overwhelmed I feel isn’t helping. I was talking to my Mom about how I need to learn Smarty templates, PHP, MySQL, CMS and buncha other web stuff ASAP, and how pressured I felt to do all that and apply to CUNY Hunter’s Integrated Media Arts MFA Program.

“Enjoy it now! You entire life is going to change in two months in ways you can’t possibly imagine!” Which could be translated as: “Hah! Everything you ever did to me is coming back to get you!!”

Pretty much everyone delights in torturing expectant parents. If they’re not rushing forward to grab Terry’s belly, they are telling us how we won’t get any sleep when the baby comes. Enjoy the calm before the coming storm is a favorite expression.

Of course, that assumes that we’re actually sleeping now. Nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t think I’ve slept well in six months.

There is, of course, my recurring fear that I will kill the baby. Or the recurring fears that I’m not making enough money. Or the recurring fear that I can never go back to my old job and end up with a worse one. There’s also the fear that my replacement at my old job will throw out every piece of equipment I had and paint everything else.

More than enough to not sleep. But the main reason I’m not sleeping is my wife’s snoring.

Snoring is a great facilitator for thinking all kinds of new worries about your life. Sure, people tell me I will be a great Dad, but that’s required. Unless you’re a guidance counselor at a really terrible school, or unsupportive parents of a pregnant teen, people hardly ever walk up to someone and say, “Gee, you’re going to be a horrible Dad.” Try it out on your pregnant friends. “Say wow, you’re expecting? That’s a mistake!” I guarantee tears will follow. (NOTE: Do not actually try this on your friends unless you don’t want them as friends.)

I come from a long line of snorers; my grandfather actually sounded like a chain saw. You could sleep 20 feet away behind two sets of closed doors, and it would still be too much to take. Just about every girlfriend has told me that I snore like a freight train. Once my brother and chased the cat under my parent’s bed while my Mom slept. We thought the cat had a chicken bone and was growling while eating it. He didn’t. My Mom just snores like a cat eating a chicken bone. However Terry’s magical superpowers have left me snoring only occasionally.

Terry didn’t snore much until she got pregnant. With the weight of the baby, which is larger than average size for 31 weeks, crushing her lungs, kidneys, spleen, and guts, her lungs have to work overtime to get air.

The simple situation is I can’t get to sleep with Stuka Dive Bombers next to me. Or elephants trumpeting. Or creaking metal gates. Or whatever she sounds like at any given minute. If she just picked a sound and stuck with it, I might be able to adjust. But it’s different every time. It’s like an iPod of snoring recordings on random.

Recently she began to stop breathing while sleeping, a condition known as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea in pregnancy is scary because all sorts of things can affect the fetus. Things like the father freaking out because his wife sounds like she’s choking. When this happens, I sit up in bed and look to see if she’s dead. Terry then wakes up and asks “why are you staring at me?”

So, to figure out what we could do, we went to the Ear-Nose-Throat doctor (ENT). The ENT was very nice, up until she decided to put an ENT camera up Terry’s nose and down her throat. I went along to describe the sleep apnea symptoms. I also made Terry laugh during the nasal camera procedure. Dads, if you find yourself in this role, do not make your wife laugh when there’s a 2-foot camera in her nose. I quickly realized that laughter is the worst thing you can do to make someone relax when they have a camera up their nose. Then they gave us pictures. I’m sure why we got  a copy, but I thought I would scan them and tell Ronan’s grandparents that these were new shots of the fetus. Thankfully Terry stopped me before things got out of hand.

Then Terry had to go to the sleep center. They connected her to a machine that had sticky electrodes all over her face and neck, bands across her stomach and chest, and a probe on her finger. After that, they tell her to go to sleep. Try it at home: get some of your computer peripherals and glue them to your head and fingers. Try to sleep. We’ll wait. (NOTE: Do NOT actually glue anything to your head.)

The problem with this, besides it not being able to facilitate sleep in an unfamiliar environment, is that they have tethered a pregnant woman to a fixed location that is not a bathroom.

Stupidly, I assumed that in the 21st century, sleep centers would have Bluetooth or Airport or some other kind of wireless transmission of data, so that Terry wouldn’t have to plead for the nurse to unhook every time she had to pee.

What’s worse is that the nurse fell asleep. How did Terry know this? The nurse snores. (I think there’s something good about medical personnel having to go through the same ordeals as their patients. I had a girlfriend who was crazy and she became a psychiatrist. I’m undergoing vision therapy with an optometrist who also has convergence insufficiency. I know of several other doctors or nurses who went into medicine because they wanted to be a better caregiver than they had when they were sick. I digress.) So after shouting for a while, the nurse got Terry unhooked and all was well. The nurse said she wasn’t snoring; she was balancing her checkbook.

So after a restful night of not really sleeping, the nurse decided to release Terry at 5 AM, after letting her sleep in (checkout was supposed to be 4:30 AM.) Terry, a trooper with magical superpowers of recuperation, came home, took a nap, and went to work.

We will have the results shortly. Hopefully there’s nothing to worry about.

February 6, 2007

The Alien Among Us

In the Alien movies, people have things that move around in their stomachs before they gnaw through the chest and bloodily pop out. Yesterday all those gas-bladder 1979-era special effects suddenly looked really fake to me.

No, we didn't have a premature birth. Yesterday, after seven months, I felt my son move for the first time. Felt and saw him move. It looked a hell of a lot like the Alien movie, only it was real.

You would think that such an event would be a moment of bonding for my family, and yes, it was — but I was also glad my wife couldn't hear my thoughts. Becoming an expectant father wasn't what I expected — I found I had way too stereotypical expectations, that I expected instant love and affection for the baby that was soon going to join us. I had expected, perhaps demanded of myself, that I would love the baby from the first moment of its conception, if only I could pin down when that moment happened. But I didn't instantly feel love for Ronan, because the whole thing seems surreal. I'm gonna be a father? I'm sure it seemed real for Terry, with the nausea, the excitement of her husband telling everyone he met and utterly violating her privacy, and the obvious changes taking place. But I didn't have the eureka moment until I saw Terry's belly move like a tossed pizza yesterday. Holy #$%^&!@&, I'm going to be a father!

Movement is one of the signs that your baby is doing well. In fact, the doctor told Terry it would feel like mice crawling across her belly at first, just tiny twittering. I immediately wondered what hellhole the doctor lived in during her pregnancies, because I don't actually know what it's like to have mice crawl across my rather large belly (it's only recently that Terry's belly is bigger than mine.) Terry also didn't feel any mice across her belly, so out came the ultrasound machine. Immediately my crisis instincts kicked in, meaning I started to tightly grip the chair and shut up the wisecracking. After a short skipped heartbeat (mine, not Ronan's) the familiar waa-waa-waa of the fetal heat monitor kicked in, and the doctor said all was well.

After that, we got the sheets. As if pregnancy wasn't hard enough, Terry has to spend an hour of her day laying down and focusing on her belly. For 30 minutes after breakfast and dinner Terry lies down and counts movements and writes them down. The tally sheets have the scary/calm warning "If you do not feel five movements within 30 minutes, proceed to the hospital or call your doctor." Which is not panic inducing in the least. I read the sheet, which lists what counts as baby movement and what doesn't (no mice are mentioned) and pretty much any movement could be discounted under the rules. Thankfully Terry knows her own body and knows what's Ronan's, but a less informed mom might spend a lot of time on the phone with the OB/GYN.

Thankfully Terry has always felt movement, but the tally sheets don't take into account that babies sleep in the womb. So sometimes she has to gently poke him to get him to move around. Also not covered on the sheet is that pregnant woman + bed = sleep, so sometimes Terry nods off when she's supposed to be counting movements. Overall I imagine less grounded pregnant women would hate this part of the pregnancy. It's merely irritating for Terry.

Anyway, when I was lucky enough to catch the baby movement, the kid flipped over — I mean flipped over — and Terry's whole stomach moved. For a second I thought we were about to have a premature birth, but Terry said Ronan does that from time to time. It was awesome! He really moved, completely turn over. I was stunned at how Terry's stomach actually looked like he was going to crawl out her belly button.

I think it was at that moment I emotionally accepted that I'm actually going to be a father. I know that sounds stupid – intellectually I've known that I was going to be a Dad since June 2006. But here was the physical proof trying to climb out of Terry's belly. I think it's one of those life-defining moments that you never forget.

February 8, 2007

Giant Mexican Baby

My wife Terry and I have a lot in common. We think alike on politics, religion, humor, TV, film and a lot of other topics. We also have a lot not in common, which makes things interesting. She’s also very deep and complex, so there’s a lot to learn about her even though we’ve been friends for fifteen years, dating for six years, and married for two.

One of the things I’m learning is that pregnancy alters your sense of humor. And, I’m an idiot. Possibly that pregnancy transforms husbands into idiots. I’m not sure; I just know I made a joke today that bombed. Hard.


The top baby is Antonio Cruz, “Super Tonio” to his friends. Although I don’t know if you have friends when you’re that young, maybe “worldwide press” is a better term for him. Tonio was born in Cancun, Mexico this week. He weighed 14.5 pounds at birth. If you aren’t trembling in fear right now, with your face contorted into “Holy! Jebus! Crisco!” expressions of imagined pain and horror and sympathy for the poor mother, you’re either a man or a very young girl, because to anyone who has given birth, attended a sex education class, or pushed a bowling ball out of their ass, this is a giant baby. A “normal” baby is alongside to give that other poor kid a terrible inadequacy complex later in life. Apparently it’s a Mexican tradition or something to make other babies feel inadequate for not almost killing their mothers when they come out.

Tonio was the second child for mom, whose first kid was 11.4 pounds. “We haven't found any abnormality in the child, there are some signs of high blood sugar, and a slight blood infection, but that is being controlled so that the child can get on with his normal life in a few more days,” The hospital's director said on Wednesday. Yes, nothing abnormal about that. Plus, the new sterile forklift came in handy in the operating room during the C-section. Move along.

See, Ronan at seven months weighs just under four pounds, and we’re beginning to worry about additional pain during delivery. So I’ve been trying to convince Terry that there’s nothing she can do about labor pain and she should enjoy all the wonderful things about the pregnancy, like sleep apnea. I’m currently beating myself up about my first attempts to console her, which consisted of saying, “Don’t worry about it!” and “It’s all going to be fine!” which Terry’s pregnancy books said were the worst, most insensitive ways to help her with her fears. So after reading that I hugged her and earnestly apologized for trivializing her worries.

So, because I had done so well with those tactics, I decided to share Tonio’s story with Terry. I thought (and I think this is logical) that with seven or so weeks to go until Ronan is born,  there’s no possible way he can grow to 14.5 pounds, and whatever happens, Terry can say to herself that she’s better off than Tonio’s mom.

Of course, nothing is done in a logical way in our house (not really before the pregnancy, either, because my logic is flawed, as you can see.) So Terry opened the E-mail, and instead of reading about Tonio, she just saw a giant baby and thought, My God, I’m going to push a giant baby out of me. Which would have been fine for me if the Associated Press or Fox News or someone had asked her for a comment, but this was her husband sending her giant pictures of babies via E-mail. So I've been requested to not send any more images.

So, the lesson, dear dads, is DO NOT SEND PICTURES OF GIANT BABIES TO YOUR PREGNANT WIFE. Actually, as I write this, that makes a lot more sense, but at the time I really thought it would comfort her. Send hate mail to me here.

By the way, the Guiness Book of World Records and Useless Trivia, which I’ve heard some people actually pay for, told the worldwide press that the largest recorded birth was in 1955 in Italy. The kid was 22.5 pounds and came out with a BFA from Milan University. I mean, really? 22 pounds? Talk about an elastic uterus.

February 10, 2007

Picking A Lemon

My job at the Park Slope Food Coop is soup kitchen prep. That means that when I come to the coop early Saturday morning I get all the food that’s not fit for sale but still fit for human consumption, sort out all that’s fit for the compost pile, and then send it off to Christian Help in Park Slope (CHiPS). This takes about 45 minutes of my under 3 hours shift. (Unless it takes 5 hours because there’s 29 boxes of overripe strawberries. When I brought 20 boxes of quickly ripening berries to ChiPS, the first thing they said was “I hope you didn’t bring any more strawberries!”) Unlike a few members who are lucky enough to go home when their work is done, I have to stay and help out with whatever tasks need doing. That’s okay if there’s actually something to do, but since the coop is very good about having a regular job for everyone, I often end up with the dreaded task of sorting the potato chips while standing on ladder in the produce aisle. (Space is a premium at the coop, so the chips are above the vegetables. It really helps with not buying chips if you have to find a ladder to reach them.)

Once in a while I get to sort organic fruit. This means I get sweaty, moist, perfectly ripe fruit, and I have to put a sticker on it. Sounds easy enough, but multiply that by 5,000,000 and factor in that any moisture beats sticker glue, and it can be a little frustrating. When approximately 7,000 cases of lemons came in for the holidays, the coop got everybody who was free and we formed a lemon brigade. 

There were about six of us, sticking stickers on lemons. My process was to dump out the lemons, find the ones that didn’t have organic stickers and shunt them to the side, and pitch in the already-stickered into the box. Then I’d put stickers on the remaining ones, which is really annoying because of the sweat. Then I’d help the others realize that while there are 7,000 cases of lemons, lemons are not created equally and we can’t all throw our lemons into the same box. I didn’t realize this until that day, but there are different kinds of lemons for different purposes, and I’m sure some lemon connoisseur will tell us why someday soon.

Now that you’re all looking for something else to read, a captive group of people is a great thing to an expectant parent. Before I was an expectant parent, I didn’t mind people talking about their babies, and people are generally pretty happy for you unless they are jealous. So to pass the time between processing 7,000 cases of lemons, we were talking about various things. Eventually I got round to telling them that my wife was expecting. Now, these were nice coop folks, who are generally kid-oriented if not parents themselves, and several talked about their own children. Then came the surprise.

“Have you decided on a school yet?”


“Which school have you picked?”

“Ah, school? What school?”

At this time Ronan was minus four months old. I must admit that we had not decided on which school he would be attending. I had looked at the local public schools, but only because I’m not sure about returning to my old job and having to find day care for Ronan if I go back. I wanted to know that there was a good school he could attend locally if we wanted. Mostly I didn't know where they were in the neighborhood. We’ve hardly discussed which school, and I assumed I had, like, five years before I had to commit to a particular one.

But several of the parents said I needed to give schools serious consideration NOW. And by serious they meant mailing lists, visits, and possibly a blood sample. I'm not ready for that level of relationship.

“My son is two, and because I didn’t pre-register him, I can’t get him into Berkeley Carroll, Poly Prep, or the other day schools next year.” One parent said.

“Huh?” I said.

People actually move to Park Slope for the schools. Besides the private schools that are in the neighborhood, people move for P.S. 321, which is the only public elementary school  worth attending for some people. Except for the lemon-sticking mom who home schooled.

“If you don’t pre-register, you might not get into a school at all.”

“Well, there’s always public school. Some of them are quite good.”

“If you don’t register soon, you won’t even get in there either.”

So it came to this: Ronan wasn’t even born yet, and I’d already ruined his life by being so insensitive, I haven’t even picked a school. If I go back to teaching media, he’ll have free tuition through grade 12, so I wasn’t too worried about it, except that the school would not only require my soul, but possibly I would die before he was old enough to attend kindergarten. So I looked at local schools after I talked with parents.

Seriously, if you look at the New York City Board of Education’s data on Park Slope schools, there are lots of choices besides P.S. 221. Ronan can’t attend 321 anyway because we don’t live in that zone. What bothers me is that instead of making all the schools have the same high-standards curriculum and more diverse, for some reason P.S. 321 is 60% anglo and so over capacity that they had to build trailers, while the school near us is 100% black and Hispanic (and 30% under occupied). I don’t like either percentage. In an ideal world, diversity would be roughly equal for all the schools within a few blocks of each other. So I’m leaning towards P.S. 39, which is also underutilized but has a more diverse student body. Plus, I think I’m crazy for thinking about this. Damn lemons!

But who knows? Will we send Ronan away for preschool? Will the school landscape look the same in a few years? Will I go back to work, making this whole discussion moot? Will we home school? (Yeah, no, we won’t.)

Does anyone really believe that I have to pick a school before my kid’s born?

February 13, 2007

Let Me Give You Some Advice

When Terry and I got married, I was graciously allowed to use the school cafeteria where I worked for the reception. (Before you roll up your nose “Ugh! Gross!!” it’s a private school, it was cheap, it wasn’t that ugly, and there was a playground for the kids attending to run around in.) The emotional pound of flesh the school director required was an announcement to the entire faculty about my marriage during a school-wide meeting. Without consulting me, he told everyone that 1.) I was married over the summer; 2.) I had doubts about the marriage; and 3.) I consulted with elementary school children about what marriage meant. Since only #1 was true, he then read a list of Internet jokes to the assembled teachers, who laughed, thinking they were real answers to my questions. I didn’t think it was a problem at the time, until after the presentation, when a teacher came up to me. “This will be the worst year of your life.” Excuse me? Are you talking about the school year? “No. The honeymoon year is the worst year of marriage. You have nowhere to go but up from there.” 

Um, okay. I’d only been married for a few weeks at that point, so I thanked her and went about my business. What I didn’t realize is that the faculty didn’t realize that the Director was kidding. I doubt the Director ever knew this, but for weeks afterwards the faculty would stop me in the hall, come into my office, prevent the elevator doors from closing, anything to tell me what would happen in the coming years of marriage.

Now I wasn’t shy about my personal life, but it also didn’t come up regularly during staff meetings. So the teachers had never met Terry, and they felt they were doing a great service by telling me what they had learned from their marriages, whether I wanted to hear it or not. Besides being the worst year of my life, it would be the best year of the marriage, and then everything was downhill from there. I would have six or seven good years and then we wouldn’t be able to stand each other. I would have fifteen good years and then our goals would diverge and we would divorce immediately. I would hate my wife for all the years of the marriage, but never leave her because there was no place to go. One person, married for over forty years, said she wished she married her best friend and it was never too late to get married to the one you really loved, which was ironic, because I had already married the only person I have ever truly loved. The most traumatic was when a very upset woman I’d never met before made me promise never to be violently angry with my wife, because that was the worst thing she would ever experience. The silliest was when an English teacher declared her intention to destroy my marriage. I’d had it at that point and launched into a long, emotional declaration of why I would never divorce, only to be met by a titter of laughter when somebody pointed out I’d been married for only two weeks, so what do I know about marriage?

Clearly the faculty was really depressed about the state of their marriages. Complaining about the situation to friends only brought more advice about their own marriages. It was morbidly funny at first but then it was annoying.

This crash course on really bad marriages led me to realize that marriage is an extremely personal experience. Certainly certain things can be shared, but all of these stories were delivered with the certainty that whatever had happened to the storyteller was destined, predetermined, to happen to me. Well, I enjoyed my first year, it wasn’t the worst ever, and the second year was really great too. I don’t know if I can rank experiences, but I vastly prefer being married to being single, and I feel like I’ve married the most wonderful person in the world (for me) who has the most talent, the most beauty, the most compassion, the most just values, the most love (for me). Sure, there are problems and things I’d like to improve, but it’s really working out well. I wish everybody were as happy as I am.

Since I’m a proud expectant parent, I tell random people about the baby when I have an opportunity to make conversation. Now that we’re having a baby, I’m learning that many people have advice for me. A lot of this advice is very selective, like the marriage advice. A lot of it is very specific to the fact that we’re having a boy. Despite being male, I am told that the small testosterone bomb I’m about to throw into my apartment will completely surprise me.

This advice takes several forms. First, there are the people who are recommending that I approach the newborn baby as some sort of wild animal, who is cute now but soon will require chunks of red meat and a cage to control his rages and hormones. Others believe that despite the fact that I’ve had a lifelong interest in guns, but no desire to own them, I will be surprised by Ronan’s need to arm himself to the teeth. Ronan will want and collect toy guns, slingshots, pen guns, and possibly Crocodile Dundee’s largest knife. I’m not sure what these people are thinking — less confident parents would be terrified with these stories of hyper-violent boys. It’s as if these people are expecting Arnold Schwarzenegger to come out of the womb and start looking for a phase plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.  This expectation is not limited to women; many men have told me to be prepared for my son to start karate-chopping the furniture. And he may do so; it’s okay, because my wife technically owns most of the furniture, and I don’t have a job right now, so I won’t have to pay for a new couch. I wonder, though, if anyone expecting a girl has heard, “Gee, a girl! She’ll come out fully armed and try to wreck the futon!!” because while girls may seem calmer, they can experiment with fire just as well.

Because I had given up on being a Dad, I’m grateful for just having a baby, and gender was irrelevant. When Terry and I found out we were having a boy, we had a special moment where we mourned not having a girl. I think I would have mourned not having a boy if it had turned out the other way ‘round. Now that we’re having a boy, I think it’s pretty cool. For every story a parent has about bringing a gun to school, or destroying personal property in a fit of rage, or karate-chopping the couch, there’s a story of compassion, of tenderness, of care that the son has initiated. I don’t think they get written up in the press. And for every girl, there’s a story about a meltdown in the middle of the swanky restaurant or library or during that office visit.

You see what I’m getting at? There’s a double standard implied in these stereotypical stories about boisterous, aggressive boys. Sure, boys and girls may handle anger differently, but two children of the same gender will handle anger differently. It’s not a rule that boys will be boys.

It’s one of my goals as a parent to help Ronan understand how gender constructs limit boys as well as girls, by putting a lot of pressure on males to solve problems with violence. Of course, I intend to do this without using the words “gender constructs” around him until he’s old enough to understand it.

In the mean time, I look forward to six or seven years from now, when I’m told my marriage will self-destruct for no apparent reason, leaving me wondering what happened for the rest of my life.

I’m not losing sleep over that. I’m actually looking forward to the many years to come.

February 15, 2007

Babies “R” Expensive

Because of our upcoming baby shower, one of the recent things on my checklist is to figure out what the baby will need once he joins us. It’s a two-fold feeling for me; on the one hand, I’m glad I don’t have to make a rocker by hand, on the other there’s a lot of unnecessary crap that’s totally useless to raising a healthy child, like a Zanzibar window valence. Not that baby themed valences aren’t useful for some people. Since “Zanzibar” anything is the top seller at Babies “R” Us, I’m sure lots of people are buying them. My definition of baby crap is someone else’s can’t-live-without. I get that.

Babies “R” Us has lots of baby crap for sale. A lot of it, I’m assuming, comes from countries that employ babies at ridiculous wages to make the crap. They also apparently have baby experts, who make up a list of things the company thinks new parents should have. I know this because we used that list to figure out what we needed. The list is introduced thusly: “Our baby experts have developed this practical Checklist of all the must-haves for baby's first year.” Yes, practical, I’m sure. Just because I can’t identify the function of every item on the list, I’m sure it’s practical.

I happen to be picking on Babies “R” Us, but I’m sure Target or Wal-Mart or any other department store would have a baby expert to put together a list. Hell, in a few months, I will be certified as a baby expert, and I will be happy to consult with your website in developing a list of stuff to sell to your customers. For a price.

Many things on the list don’t seem to be practical to me at all. I don’t own a car, so the auto mirror is probably not necessary. However, a car seat is probably a good idea, because at least on the ride home, the kid will be in a car sometime over the next year. But what the function of a “Companion Infant Car Seat Accessory Base” is I don’t know. It looks like a car seat for the car seat, so you can remove the car seat without unstrapping the infant. Or it could be a clever way to hide the true cost of a car seat by splitting up the pieces and selling them as accessories. I also have no idea of what the point of a “Kwik Cabana II” is. It’s some kind of indoor tent. I don’t understand why this would be appropriate for a year-old baby. As a toddler plaything, maybe. But besides the bright colors, what does it have for newborns? I think it’s part of trend to make parents think they are getting the kid outside for exercise without actually going outside.

Lists like this are so generic; a lot of the items aren’t for everyone. Terry and I decided to add about half of the items to our list of things to buy.

Of course the point is to drive up sales. So I decided to see what the total cost of the list, purchased from Babies “R” Us, would be. Some of the items weren’t available, so I skipped them, only clicking on the links provided. I set some loose, easily bypassed rules for my fantasy shopping. Only the best selling item that first came up was added. Since our baby care class instructor recommended six of everything that the baby wore, I got six of all the clothes (except the winter outfit.) Everything else I got only one item, unless it made sense to get two or three, like the cloth reusable diapers, for which I ordered 30.

So here’s the list. To get this baby started, it will cost us (really Terry, because I’m broke) $4917.84, plus $505.72 in shipping for a grand total of $5423.56. It’s actually less than I thought, but it’s still about $4000 more than I think we’ll actually spend getting the room ready. However, when you add in all the gifts from the shower, it may get to be that much. That’s the real purpose of the shower – your family and friends bear some of the cost of getting ready for the baby, so that your child doesn’t inherit debt from their first year upon your death. Thank you all very much!

We have a lot of crap, probably made by babies whose entire lives will be spent in forced labor, on our registry. Like all parents, we spent a lot of time researching things on the web, asking our family and friends for recommendations and donations, and then deciding what to post on the registry. And then I got so overwhelmed trying to find links on the web to stuff we wanted to get, sometimes it was easier to just link to Amazon or Target or some other mass marketer. Yes, I’m ashamed. No, I’m probably not going to fix it. There’s a lot of stuff to do, and at some point you have to release your wish list and not keep changing it. Of course, I published our list online in a password-protected thingamabob that some folks were never able to see, so I guess in some ways it was all moot anyway. The other problem is that there’s so many choices, it’s hard to know exactly what you’re asking for until you get it out of the box. Plus, there’s always the possibility that Ronan will hate it when he uses it, and then it doesn’t matter who made it, it’s getting sent to the garage sale.

Then there’s the age gap and the geek gap and the trendy gap. These gaps are misunderstandings about preferences between baby boomers and gen Xers, and geek vs. geek, and trendy vs. don’t care about trendy parents.

For instance, my parents are freaking out reading this right now, because right now they are reading that Terry and I are planning on getting things that do not have flame retardant chemicals in them insofar as we are able. Neither of us smokes and we expect the baby to skip smoking as well, so we think it would be better to limit chemical exposure. However, for some people flame retardant chemicals and babies go together. I’m sure I’ll get comments defending flame retardant chemicals, and that’s great for you, but we’ve chosen not to use them if we can help it.

The geek gap is the implementation of technology to the parenting experience. Since we live in a smallish two-bedroom apartment, we don’t feel the need for a baby monitor, a light-up diaper wipe dispenser, or for baby alarms that tell us when the kid’s about to fall off the edge of the changing table. I know some people that swear by their tracking program in excel that covers all the baby’s poops, feedings, and sleep cycles. And that’s great; we just don’t feel the need for it.

Closely related to the geek parents are the trendy parents, who buy their stuff based on what’s the current thinking about baby stuff. Saturday Night Live satirized these parents, making up wild baby-carrying devices that swung between your legs or strapped to your feet. Because the Swedish (or Dr. whomever) recommends this program/item/toy/etc. your baby is already behind without it, so get it now. These are the parents who are using flash cards and scheduling blood tests for private schools. These parents freak out when you don’t buy into the hyper-expensive Lobot© automated butler or other cutting-edge crap that you are not buying because you hate your child.

So raising a baby is a very personal and individual experience, and if you are lucky enough to have someone to work with in raising the child, you can develop your list together and work to make it your own. I hope Terry and I have resisted the consumerism pressure to buy baby stuff we won’t actually use, but I bet something we will buy or get as a gift will go unused or unwanted because Ronan didn’t like it or in the deluge of UPS packages we put it away to be discovered on Ronan’s 18th birthday. Unless it’s your present, we got your present and it’s great!

Finally, I often find that the presents that aren’t on the experts list or even our own registry are the best ones. I’m most excited to see our friend Kizz’s gift, which I am told was handmade. Now that’s a cool present.

February 18, 2007

Food Is Love

The recent weather that socked the Northeast (and many other places) with snowstorms messed up our baby shower. My parents decided they would not drive down from Buffalo as their nine-hour drive was looking like a nineteen-hour drive.

“We’re not coming down,” my mother announced. “Should we order more food?”

And that, in a nutshell, is the dominant math in my family – food=love. The worst thing you can say in my family after a large meal is, “Wow. I really did not get enough to eat.” That will send panic through everyone as they march off to the kitchen to make even more appetizers and roast another whole turkey. While I share much of the blame for my 300-pound figure, I certainly wasn’t denied any of the treats kids love to eat. Almost every day was a special day that we could splurge on a special treat. My friends, who love to travel up to Buffalo to hang out with my parents, plan to gain a pound a day during their visit, with the restaurant lunches, the restaurant dinners and the huge brunches on weekends. It’s a fact: the McDonalds are foodies. (Note: We are not the foodie McDonalds of the fast food hamburger chain. There is no relation.)

So for the baby shower, which was at a lovely place in the neighborhood, The Old Stone House, a reconstruction of an 18th Century house occupied by the Americans during the Battle of Brooklyn. We ordered food for 50 people. At the time we placed the order we had 44 guests, so food for 50 didn’t seem like too much. But then the weather happened, our guest list dwindled, and 28 showed up.

We used Bagel Delight as our caterer, and they have really good food, and it’s cheap for New York City. But even I was unprepared for the non-stop parade of baskets of bagels, bread, rolls, Danish, muffins, four different side salads, juice, soda, fruit, and more. Everything but coffee and tea. We had planned to use the available coffee maker to heat water for tea and instant coffee, but apparently the electricity in the Old Stone House was actually installed by Ben Franklin in 1776, so the CD player and the lights blew the fuses, and the coffee pot was declared dead on arrival. So in the middle of winter, we were going to have a party without lights, music, or heat. That’s okay; we had food.

So, after encouraging my brother to consume mass quantities of lox and bagels, and reminding everyone that they could take food home, and leaving a sizeable donation of food to the Old Stone House, my friends set out in their car to Christian Help in Park Slope (CHiPS) CHiPS is a local food bank. I had called earlier in the week and was warmly greeted by the Sisters to make a donation before they closed at 2 PM.

Unfortunately my friends were greeted as if they were from Mars, and as if food banks don’t need donations. The sisters hadn’t told anyone we were coming, and they said, if forced, they would take the food, but they would just throw it out on Monday, because they really, really didn’t want to deal with this. So, thankfully, my friend knew of a women’s shelter that didn’t know we were coming, and were ecstatic to get $250 worth of breakfast foods.

All of this concern about not throwing out food (and we did chuck a small amount of food out, mostly a few slices of dried out bread that had been sitting out for three hours) got me thinking about feeding my upcoming baby.

I hate to mention Anna Nicole Smith, because she’s dead, and before being dead, she was infected with celebrity insanity, which makes people both crave and loathe media attention. I feel like I’m part of the media when I mention someone I’ve never met and don’t really know and comment on her life. But since we’re not talking about the horrible things happening in Darfur, China, or Iraq, we can talk about her nanny’s claims that Smith ordered that the newborn should be underfed, so the baby looked skinny. Clearly between TrimSpa and drug abuse Smith was worried about her weight, and if her nanny’s claims are true, Smith was on her way to passing her weight obsessions onto her baby.

As a fat man, it’s easier for me to not worry about weight, but I do have to go to the doctor. Despite a lack of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or any other negative indicator, the doctor continues to tell me that I’m one egg salad sandwich away from having ten years to live. When you’re single tyou shrug it off with a live-fast die-young hubris, but get married and have a kid and suddenly I’m exercising, eating green salad every day and trying to lose weight.

I’ve made a mental note to not do two things my parents did to me: steal food off my plate, which made me eat faster, and requiring me to eat everything on my plate. I also have really bad problems with portion control, but that’s probably mostly my fault, but I’m going to try to teach Ronan about portion control anyway. Also, when I’m upset or tired or overworked, I eat lots of food that tastes good to make myself feel better. In other words, I eat comfort food for fun, instead of for nutrition.

I don’t think underfeeding a newborn is a good way to learn portion control, in fact, while I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, underfeeding a newborn sounds like a really bad idea. It could lead to a condition known as failure to thrive, where a baby doesn’t gain weight or actually loses weight. I’m not sure what Anna Nichole Smith was thinking on that one, because, again, I didn’t know her, and you can’t really comment on people you don’t really know. I’m planning on feeding my baby just the right amount of food, but I’m also not going to step out of my house and have ten million paparazzi taking pictures of Ronan, unless I start making out with Cameron Diaz. (Note to Terry: I do not plan on making out with Cameron Diaz. I don’t even know Cameron Diaz.)

Let’s talk about another celebrity, pretty much diametrically opposed to Anna Nicole Smith, Roy Walford. He’s not as famous as Smith, but he developed a diet where you eat less calories than is currently recommended – under 1500 calories per day for women and under 1900 calories per day for men – but you focus those calories into really high density nutritional value. He believed he could live to be 125 years old by eating this diet. He’s dead now, at age 79, of Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is not ironic in the least. Walford developed the diet while living for months in Biosphere 2. When they ran out of enough food for the crew and they had to cut rations, he found that the crew’s health improved and they had more energy. His later experiments showed that mice that ate less were more active and lived longer lives. Continuing his work is his daughter, Lisa, who has trimmed her calories to 1300 per day, and looks really, really healthy in a scary way, and not at all like she’s about to eat your brains. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; since I don’t know Lisa Walford, she might actually look alive in real life. Perhaps it’s the lighting in the photo that makes her look like an extra from Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

So this is why the pioneers were so thin and short, they worked out like fiends and ate nothing. Since I don’t want to look like a walking corpse, and I really like butter, ice cream, and other foods that you can’t eat on a calorie reduction diet, and I want bond with Ronan over a bowl of ice cream, I have to find some way of balancing the food-is-love diet of my parents with healthy eating, without resorting to drug use to just forget the whole thing and leave it to the nanny I can’t afford to hire.

I’ve pretty much given up on talking to my parents about spoiling Ronan, as any discussion of limits with grandparents is probably doomed to failure. (Hi, Dad! How are you enjoying the blog so far?) So the kid will gorge on food the two or three weeks a year he’s with the grandparents. And while I’m a great candidate for calorie reduction, I’m not sure that it’s a good idea for children. So, I’m searching for a middle ground.

As a parent, you also have to consider the forbidden fruit factor. If you ban junk food and sweets, your kid will eat them like they were about to die of starvation. If you don’t restrict sweets, they won’t crave them. However, you have to find a balance and not let them have too many sweets. Michael Lewis over at slate.com blogged about eating dessert in front of his misbehaving children (who had been grounded and denied sweets) and enjoying it because he was tired of dealing with them. So sometimes you have to be human and fail to set a good example just to keep your sanity.

The whole question I have is, how can I, as a very fat man (on the side of jolly old elf, I hope) set a positive example for my son? Hopefully the realization before he’s born that I have a lot of work to do on myself will help me to show him the way. Terry, who excels at all things, will be my partner in this and will probably kick my ass if I don’t control my appetite and show Ronan a healthy approach to food. Plus, I’ve got a few years before he discovers I’m fat, and he’ll probably find it extremely funny in the way toddlers realize that their parents are flawed.

By the way, Terry and I won the “Best Karma Couple” category from the Old Stone House’s employees for not throwing a fit when the house lost electricity. I was in a carbohydrate coma at the time, so I kind of cheated. There are upsides to enjoying eating.

February 21, 2007

Baby Proofing

Realistically, we have about a year before we have to seriously baby-proof the house. But next Saturday we’re doing the big move to make space for the upcoming baby, and it’s gotten me thinking about creative ways to organize. Because stapling the baby to the ceiling isn’t an option. (I’m pretty sure we’d get in trouble for that.)

When contemplating our two-bedroom Park Slope apartment, I keep coming back to the fact that we set it up for our own use two years ago when we moved in together. We have one bedroom as our office, and the master bedroom as the master bedroom. We didn’t really set it up with the idea that we would have a child in the future. So that staple gun looks pretty good, because no matter how I add it up, we’re going to have to lose furniture somewhere. We’re going to merge the office and our bedroom and give the baby the master bedroom, with various parent-oriented furniture surrounding the crib, so that the baby feels secure with our stuff near it. Or, really, because we don’t have any other place to put it. If we kept all the furniture, Ronan could build himself a really nice fort. Or we could build a pedestal for the crib so we could climb up like Ronan was on top of a mountain.

We have a nice apartment. It’s not large enough for my parents, who live in a five-bedroom house by themselves, but it’s nice for us. And with Park Slope real estate costing more than the GNP of small nations, it’s going to be our home until the depression comes or the kid is large enough to start tantrums demanding his own room, whichever comes first.

When we moved in together, I left a lot of furniture in my old place and just brought a desk and a chair and an exercise bike. We bought a buncha furniture from Ikea and Terry had some really nice furniture from places that don’t kill centuries-old trees to make stuff. We have a really nice apartment set up for two people. Unlike me, Terry actually has furniture that matches the décor of the room.

Which is great but all pointless, because we either have to staple the baby to the ceiling or get rid of furniture. (I contemplated stapling the furniture to the ceiling, but the calculations show the staples won’t hold.)

Our plan for determining what to get rid of has consisted of lounging around on the futon and repeatedly saying “We have to get rid of stuff.” This went on for about six months, and then we decided we could wait because the baby wasn’t due yet. So we continued to ignore the problem.

Now, Ronan is due in about a month, and we can’t ignore the space problem any longer. Terry began by dispensing with her vinyl record collection. Terry didn’t have a large vinyl collection, but she did have a really, really good vinyl collection. So that was had to see, because she gave away so many really cool records. She’s also decided on giving away her stereo system, since I have one also in the living room. Plus I have to get busy putting her various possessions up for sale on ebay.

This, of course, sucks. Because now I have to step up and start getting rid of my stuff. I have to come forward and part with my books and DVDs and T-shirts and clear out room on the shelves to store baby stuff.

This leads me to wonder: What did my parents give up when I was born? What did they throw out or give away or sacrifice that I didn’t even know about? The answer? Not much. Mom and Dad lived in a rented furnished apartment and couldn’t throw out the furniture, and then they moved in with my grandmother shortly after I was born, and she had more space and a basement. So they were able to keep everything.

We don’t have a basement and Mom and Dad are too far away to move in with, so we have to cut down on our possessions. Ronan will probably never know (at least until he’s old enough to read this blog) how much we had to move around to make space for him. Perhaps this fact will make up for the fact that his bedroom will be the space under the bathroom sink unless we move to a bigger apartment.

We have to be tolerant and creative. I’m a night owl, so having my work computer next to my sleeping wife who wakes up if I stare at her too long is kinda scary, because right now the computer is in the other room and the fans still keep her up. Plus I have to get my office chair oiled so that doesn’t squeak and wake her up. All my mementos – the photos, the candles, the toys, things people gave me as a gift – are going in a box in my closet. The space will be used to store baby stuff.

One of my many cherished myths about parenting was that parents who felt like they were losing their identities when the child came must be nuts or lack self-confidence. I don’t feel like Ronan is taking over our lives, but now I can see how parents could feel like that. Right now, since we just had a baby shower (thanks, everyone!) and we haven’t reorganized the apartment, I sleep surrounded by baby clothes, accessories, toys, and boxes containing clothes, accessories and toys. It’s the physical evidence of the transformation in our lives. I think it’s pretty cool, but I’m already tired just looking at all of it.

We’ve got to find a place for it somewhere. Perhaps I can throw out my taxes? Are they important?

February 23, 2007

When Cats Attack


This is not my baby. My baby isn't born yet.

There’s an old wives tale that cats and newborn babies go together like oil and water. The myth is that cats, attracted to the milk scent of the babies’ breath, sucks the air out of the baby, causing it to suffocate. Or they are jealous and try to kill the baby so that the owners’ attention is refocused back on them.

The opposing myth is that cats have a sixth sense about baby distress and alert the owner just in time to save the baby from certain death. (“What’s that Fluffy? You say baby has fallen down a well?”) This myth has inspired movies like Sleepwalkers, where kitties defended virgins from soul-sucking vampires. That Stephen King — he is sooo original.

Neither myth is particularly true, but having a cat around a newborn baby can do two things: increase your baby’s resistance to allergies, and increase the amount of poo and pee in your home. Since we’re about to bring home a pee/poo machine from the hospital, I can’t say I’m excited about getting a cat. But I’m married to a cat owner, and there’s lots of beneficial effects for us adults (besides dealing with the litter box, which sounds really exciting, about as exciting as changing diapers.) Besides, at some point, Ronan will love the cat, I’m sure.

I was completely unprepared for my father’s reaction to getting cat. This is a man who is a college professor. He has a Master’s from one of the top colleges in the United States.

“We’re getting a cat after the baby’s born.” I said.

“What?” My father said.

“We’re getting a cat.” I repeated.

“It’ll suck the baby’s breath.” He said.

At the time, I had not heard of the killer cat myth. I had heard of the 1730s Great Cat Massacre in Paris; I had watched Tom and Jerry cartoons; and I’m an even bigger fan of Sylvester. But in considering everything that could kill my child, I hadn’t really considered cats. So I responded with, “Huh?”

“They climb up and suck the baby’s breath. The cat will smother the baby.”

Now, my knee-jerk reaction was “Why would a cat care about a baby? If they liked to suck breath, why didn’t more people die in their sleep, with cats sucking out their breath?” My wife’s cat, who recently died of thyroid problems, used to sleep on her hair, but never on her face.  It reminded me of one night when I went to sleep after enjoying a tunafish sandwich. Being a teenager, I went to sleep with the dirty plate with tuna left on it on the table at the head of my bed. Living in a New York apartment, it was a small room and I woke up to find my brother’s cat sitting on my face while it ate the tuna. It was the easiest place to reach the plate. Now, like all McDonalds, Frisky was overweight, so he covered my entire head and his fat rolled over my face. Waking up to find slightly smelly fur everywhere I turned was a traumatic experience. But the fact is that the cat went for the tuna on the plate and not the tuna on my breath.

I digress. My Dad was very concerned about the cats attacking his future only grandchild. I E-mailed him the Snopes article about the myth, and he E-mailed back, “Why take the chance?”

In researching this myth, I considered the physics of how cats could do this. I’ve known several cats that don’t like anything near their face. If you came anywhere near Frisky’s face, he would start backing up as fast as he could go. Plus there’s the need for suction. In my CPR course we had to get a good seal on the rescue dummy’s mouth in order to inflate her lungs properly. So if the cat is going to suck baby’s breath, it would have to seal the baby’s mouth. Would it clamp on, opening its own mouth to cover the baby’s? Or would it stick its snout into the baby’s mouth? Either scenario seems unlikely.

Perhaps Dad will read this blog and get psyched about the cats protecting Ronan from disease, or even better, he could drop the cats-suck-breath myth and adopt the cats-as-heroes myth. He could sleep soundly, knowing that two tabbies were on patrol to scare the living hell out of whomever came near the baby. (Actually, they’ll probably scare me. I’m not really fond of small animals. A toy buffalo that fell behind my desk scared me today. I thought the plastic buffalo was a dead mouse.)

Why take the chance? It’s another one of those conundrums that you have to consider as parents. Getting a kitty may help Ronan avoid allergies and have a better life later on. Or it may sit on his chest and suck his breath. It’s your call as a parent.

Dad, if we get a cat, we just won’t tell you. Don’t worry about it.

February 26, 2007

IKEA Märäthön

Royal Institute of Stockholm

The Royal Institute of Stockholm, where Terry got her degree in Swedish Wardrobes

I’ve always liked IKEA, the Swedish furniture and home furnishings store. Yes, I’ve finished assembling a piece only to realize at the last step that the very first thing I did was inserted backwards, and I have to take the whole thing apart and start again. It’s the only company that teaches mechanical engineering besides the value of low prices.

But IKEA is inexpensive, good quality, and they don’t slash and burn the Amazonian rainforests to get wood. So we went there yesterday and got a crib, some more media shelves for our DVDs/CDs/miniDVs and the largest wardrobe made in Europe for Ronan’s nursery.

I never know what the IKEA names mean in Swedish. DRAMMEN could mean “stupid Americans lining the pockets of Swedish industrialists” and HAKADAL could mean “Ha! Ha! This is large and imposing Swedish design” for all I know. We got the PAX wardrobe, which comes in 13 boxes and may transform into a panic room in an emergency. (Okay, I made that part up. But it’s very large.) I think it’s called PAX because PAX means peace in Latin, and bringing this monster thing home settles all arguments.

Terry originally wanted the 92-inch high version, which I was sorta okay with once I inquired whether it would fit in our 94-inch high ceilings. The answer: yeah, sorta. So I volunteered to build the thing standing up, instead of lying on the ground like most IKEA stuff. Thankfully we got the 74-inch high version, which I could build on the ground and then set up straight. It’s still a question whether we will have to dismantle PAX if and when we move.

I don’t know about your IKEA habits, but our trips work like this: Terry pours over the IKEA catalog, measures the room, measures the room again, an then we go to IKEA and throw out all her hard work when we see what the piece actually looks like and buy something that looks better and is cheaper and/or more functional. Then we measure all the new stuff in the store with their handy IKEA measuring tapes and recalculate all the needed things that will fit in the space.

For those of you who don’t live in New York City, IKEA is in Elizabeth, New Jersey, a lovely town of statuesque, lovely homes with trees and gardens. Or rather I wish it were. Visiting Elizabeth, New Jersey makes me wonder if it is the trucking capital of the world. Containers, trucks, container ships, and truck, ship and container parts are in every direction.  In the middle of the most industrialized area around, sits IKEA, looking like a multicolor oasis in the middle of New Jersey’s rust belt. There’s no reason for anyone who isn’t a teamster to go to Elizabeth except to shop at IKEA.

To get there from New York City, you take the free shuttle bus. Now, everyone knows the best time to shop at IKEA is during the week when those damn city dwellers can’t get there, and you can actually shop without taking your life into your hands. One of the things that Ronan will only appreciate when he is older is the organized chaos of IKEA on a Saturday afternoon. Hordes of people come there and eat Swedish meatballs and buy stuff that they can’t always identify and then get on the bus and go home.

To even get to the bus, we have to take the subway from our native Brooklyn to Port Authority, which was a difficult trip that particular day because the MTA decided the city didn’t really need to get to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, or to Queens, so those trains weren’t running. On the way to Port Authority, the conductor constantly reminded us that we would have to run – run, mind you – to catch the only train heading to the West Side, which could be located by running down two flights, under the tracks, and then up two flights to the downtown train, which would be heading uptown. Which wasn’t confusing at all. So when we reached the jump-off point, New Yorkers were more nervous than paratroopers about to land on D-Day. It didn’t help that the conductor yelled out as the doors opened, “Passengers! That is your train heading uptown on the downtown track!!” The doors opened, and all of us ran for the train, which helped us by repeatedly banging its doors shut on every hapless straggler.

Once we got to Port Authority, we then had to run to Gate 5 to catch the IKEA shuttle, which took us to Elizabeth. Terry and I had to sit separately because the bus was so crowded and we were running late and the last people on board. That ride wasn’t so bad, because unlike on the way back, the travelers do not have bags and bags of Swedish furnishings stuffed into every nook and cranny of the bus, so that you are sitting on your NÖRDVSK with your head in your BENNØ wishing for a quick death should the bus crash.

I made the cardinal mistake of city living on the way to IKEA. I struck up a conversation with my seatmate, which in New York is the cultural equivalent of spitting on someone. If you talk to your seatmate in New York, they immediately think you’re trying to steal their wallet. So after my first attempt to talk to him, I resorted to shouting diagonally across two rows to discuss IKEA specifications with my wife.

Once we got to IKEA, we joined all the other people in wandering around the maze known as the showroom looking for what we wanted. This is on purpose to increase impulse buying, and also to trap you in IKEA until you give up and send up a flare with your magic wand to get out of the wizard’s competition. I think IKEA sells the children lost in the showroom in Aisle 3, bin 25.

We quickly found a crib we liked, the media towers, and entered the PAX display showroom and set up base camp. The PAX wardrobe has about 1.5 million options, and Terry was going to research them all. We quickly realized there was a PAX sale and the short interior shelves were marked down from $24 to $9, which meant all our measurements for the other shelves we were thinking of were thrown out the window. Terry also scrapped the exterior drawers, and we decided in the presence of the giant PAX god that the shorter 74” wardrobe would do just fine. After about two hours, we made our first excursion to get some Swedish food, and then returned to continue our scholarship in Swedish wardrobe design. Terry has a master’s degree from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm after our visit.

If you haven’t been to IKEA, they have two areas to pick up your furniture. The self-serve area has 50-foot tall shelves of boxes. You find your aisle and bin number and then get your items. But the PAX wardrobe is so large, and so imposing, and so able to cause hernias, that IKEA co-workers get the boxes for you. So we were able to take our media towers and our rug and our clothes rod and head over to delivery. We were able to ship everything but the clothes rod and the rug for $100.

So, with our Swedish clothes rod and rug, we boarded the bus back. I was relieved (I’ve carried stuff back from IKEA all the way to Brooklyn and didn’t like it) that the wardrobe would be delivered, especially after listening to the guy in the next seat try to arrange a van for his purchases. 80 bucks for a one-hour van rental! It’s cheaper to rent a car from Enterprise right there at IKEA. I bet it’s even a Saab! (NOTE: It’s not a Saab.)

Jauntily twirling my clothes rod as we headed for the still-running Q train, we walked, not ran, to catch the train. I fell asleep on the train on the way back, exhausted by our IKEA marathon.

This Wednesday the wardrobe, the crib and the media towers arrive. I will then get up close and personal with an IKEA S-wrench. Terry has saved every IKEA wrench she’s ever gotten. They are damn handy to have when you have three or four people working on building Europe’s greatest wardrobe.

Of course, this PAX furniture is so amazing it may assemble itself. It’s that well made! (NOTE: The furniture will not assemble itself.)

About February 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Freaks & Geeks Parenting in February 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2007 is the previous archive.

March 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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