Monday, October 25, 2010

Movin' and Groovin'

The biggest adjustment to our stretched finances occurred this past week -- Alix and I moved! To a place with lower rent, that is. Instead of our cushy studio in midtown, we now live in a cozy one-bedroom on the Upper West Side whose rent is $600 less than the old apartment. It's true that paying a lower rent comes with side effects: our super speaks almost no English, cannot comprehend why two women live together in a one-bedroom (awkward looks abound whenever he sees us), and is convinced that hot water dripping steadily from our ceiling is a problem that does not require attention until three days later. We also are now the proud owners of a fridge that doesn't open all the way (because it runs into the counter), two closets that are finicky about opening and closing, and a bathroom door that won't shut because it's been painted over too many times. Thank goodness Alix and I are way past the point of needing toilet privacy. If you come to visit us, I'm sorry, but you're going to have to deal with a cracked door. We'll talk louder while you're in there, don't worry. Despite all of it, we're so much happier here, it's only sad that we didn't move sooner. We love our huge windows, high ceilings, view of the church, the fact that we have a BEDROOM (!!!), that there is room for the boys to run, our counter space...the list goes on and on. Between the lower rent and my two jobs (hooray for working 70 hours a week...literally), we're definitely going to make it. That is, if we can find someone to assume the old lease at the midtown apartment...
But it's more fun to look at pictures than think about scary things like paying two leases, right? So here you go:
First, the old apartment (whose pictures are decidedly better, as they were taken during daylight hours)
The terrace where I grew my herbs and tomatoes
Living room area
Kitchen area
Tiny kitchen

Next, the process of moving:
Eating Indian takeout on a Zappos box because we no longer had a table.
Boxes galore

And finally, the new place:

The foyer

The main room

Dining area

Kitchen area...please excuse the mess (those dishes are actually clean, just haven't been put away yet).

And just for fun - the apple pie I made today. Jealous? You should be.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Working Life

Since I'm the only one in our household of four that is currently working,* and this blog is partially about finances, I figure writing about my job is fair game. My job, as I've mentioned before, is to take care of a darling 6-month-old boy while his parents work ridiculous hours finishing their medical school residencies. This, in turn, means that I also work some pretty ridiculous hours that require me to start work at 6 AM most days and work 50 hours a week, plus overtime if I wish. In addition, my hours change weekly and a typical day could be anywhere from 6-4, 6-8 (yes, that's 14 hours), or noon-8. Knowing full well that hours like this were part of the job means I don't technically get to complain about them, but seriously, it's hard sometimes. I long for the monotony of a 9-5 workday that includes both a reliable, unchanging wake-up time and the ability to come home for dinner. Hours aside, I truly love my job. Taking care of my little dude is second nature now. I know his every expression, need, and babble. I make him laugh, I rock him to sleep, I have entire conversations with him, responding to a typical string of constant-vowel combination with things like, "Well, yes, Monkey, that's true, but I also think that the nutritional value of green beans makes them an important part of your diet."
"Gaaaahhh, bsssh, guaah. Bah."
"Mmm-hm, yes, I agree, this breast milk is top-notch. Do you want to play in your bouncy seat?"
"Alright dude, bouncy seat it is."
And so on. My job doesn't feel like work, it feels like being a mom, something I've been dying to do for, oh, about ten years now. I don't have to dress up (in fact, it is undeniably better if I don't), and I don't have to answer to a horrendous boss. Monkey's mom and I are far more like friends than we are a typical employer-employee pair. I know that sounds idyllic coming from a nanny, but it's honestly true. I've worked for other families before that I would not hesitate to compare to the parents in The Nanny Diaries, and the family I work for now is the furthest thing from it. Does it suck waking up at 4:30 AM every day especially when I have insomnia that keeps me from sleeping for more than three hours at a time? And coming home so late at night that all I can do is eat and collapse into bed, barely having a conversation with Alix? Yes, yes it does. But my buddy's smile when he sees me bright and early and the way he burrows joyfully into my shoulder as soon as I pick him up definitely make it worth it.

* * *

It would be nice if this cute little blog post could end there, but sadly, it can't. Despite my working such long hours, our sky-high rent and my medical costs are putting too much of a strain on our budget. So, I did like all poor twenty-something's do, and I got a second job. I start work tomorrow at a famous little bakery on the UWS that makes cookies so good they make you want to take your clothes off. It scares me that I'll be working upwards of 65 hours a week now, but I can't ignore the fact that going into debt was not a part of the post-college life plan. Still, I'm pumped about half-price cookies, working with people my age, and hopefully staying financially afloat.

*This is not to say that I pay for everything. Alix and I split costs exactly down the middle, it's just that she pays with the earnings from her year of working as a paralegal before she started law school. Tucker and Rupert, on the other hand, cost a lot and contribute nothing other than mad cuteness.