Sunday, February 28, 2010

My Beautiful Girl(s)

(Pics above: At Disney, Disney and Bubbie's Place. In pick #3 notice how we covered Bubbie's "mirrored table of death" with a blanket.)

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm Disorganized With A Bad Short Term Memory

The headline pretty much says it all up top. I am disorganized, and have a bad short term memory.

I sit at my desk, with papers to the right of me, notebooks on my upper right. I am not sure what is in my various piles of paper. I always can find stuff, eventually. But sometimes eventually is a long time coming.

At work I get things done, I make lists, I execute.

At home I let projects linger, I forget to turn off the coffee pot, and it burns all day. I've done this several times. I have said I am going to stain our butcher block counter-top since I put it together, roughly a year ago. I have the stain and everything, I even have the brushes. I even have the sandpaper I asked Randi to buy because the unfinished wood has started to get stained by food. But I haven't done it.

I have promises to myself about things I would like to do, but I not sure, right now, about all of them. Because I am disorganized and have a bad short term memory. I made a list with all these things on it, but I feel like I even left some stuff off the list. In time I will probably lose the list altogether.

All this would be kind of cute, but it's making my life measurably worse. It frustrates Randi to no end, and rightfully so, because I am the master at only doing part of a task that she asks. She asked me to pick up some medication from the pharmacy, and they gave me one set of pills, but she had told me they would give me two. I had to go back and get the other once I got home. This made me late for a special dinner she had made for me for Valentine's Day. When I got home it was cold and I had to eat it by myself.

I've been late on paying our power bill, I've been late in returning library books and videos. It cost real money after a while. Folks, we live NEXT TO the library.

It's hurt my ambitions. I have found it harder and harder to make my extra-credit projects for life finished. I have sent out my book proposal to five agents, but I have six more to send it to. I have had their names for weeks.

Being disorganized with a bad short term memory means forgetting, sometimes, where you put your checkbook. Not a good thing to misplace. It mean I lost my birth certificate and had to spend two hours getting a new one. It means I haven't called the tax guy yet, though I said I would. It means forgetting to go to the super market on the way back from work, and then going once I get home anyway.

It means making my friends and family feel like they aren't as important to me as they are, because I forget things that I said I would do, or was late to do something that would have been easy to be early on. It means making life just that much harder on everyone, all the time.

It means feeling like a stereotypical doofus TV dad, only there is no laugh track. And the show never ends.

It means needing nine when the stitch in time would have been better.

It means not following through on so many things that I would like to do, and that would be worth doing.

It means making people I love feel less important to me than they really are.

It means having to apologize for things that I never should have done wrong, and fearing that some day this apology will be to my daughter. And knowing that I could undermine her trust in me.

I have finally started to realize just how dire a problem this really is. I don't know if I can improve my memory over night, but I want to take the first steps in becoming more organized. I ordered a book from Amazon about getting organized. If I am organized enough to read it I might get somewhere.

As for the memory issues, I think I have to be careful when I agree to do things to repeat the thing I agreed to do several times to myself at the point of agreement. Maybe sing it, and definitely write it down. When I make a plan write it in my day book. Then consult this same day book often. Often I write something down in the book and forget about it. Then when I read it later it's a virtual surprise to me, like a real boring version of "Memento."

But being disorganized with a bad short term memory is no joke. It's kept me from coming close to what I know is my potential: as a husband, father, writer and person.

I just have to remember to remember more.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The NYC Triangle

When you live in Brooklyn, or any borough in NYC I guess, you always have to contend with what I've come to think of as The Triangle Of Real Estate Happiness, heretofore called The Triangle.

The triangle adds up to the three conditions needed for happiness, or at least what I need for happiness. I suspect there are a lot of my NYC peeps are in a similar boat. The problem with The Triangle is that it is virtually impossible to get all three points in order at one time. It's easy to get two, but three are virtually non-existent unless you are very, very lucky.

Rich people don't have to contend with the issues raised by The Triangle, by the way.

Enough with the mystery. Here are the three points of The Triangle, as pertaining to finding a great place to live. And why this is so impossible.

1. It needs to be affordable. For our purposes this means less than $2000 a month for a nice, at least somewhat spacious and comfortable two bedroom apartment. My out of town friends will now smack their head in disbelief that I could ever spend that much. My city peeps will in turn smack their heads that I am so cheap, yet so demanding.

2. It needs to be safe. This is self-explanatory. Well, I will explain a little more. Safe, to me, means I don't worry about my wife and daughter walking around together in the daytime, and I don't worry about either my wife, or I, walking around alone at night.

3. It needs to be walking distance to cool stuff. Stuff like good bars, restaurants art, stores, the subway, all that. You know, the stuff that made you want to move into the city to begin with.

Okay, here is where the paradox of The Triangle comes into play. I have found it impossible to get all three points to align. (Or perhaps a better way to think of this is as the three legs of a stool) When two line up the other one slips away, it's like a Rubik's Cube, or something. The more you try to fix it, the more it refuses to be fixed.

Let me run through some examples:

If you live in Park Slope Brooklyn you get: safety and a good, fun neighborhood. But a comfortable, affordable apartment? Dream on Aerosmith!

If you live in Ditmas Park Brooklyn you get: safety and affordability. But you're pretty far from a lot of stuff, and it's not THAT affordable. I know my Cortelyou Road-loving readers will castigate me for this, but DP isn't dense enough with cool stuff to qualify as a happening 'nabe, at least not to me. You still have to travel pretty far for a lot of things, like going into Manhattan!

If you live in my old neighborhood in Manhattan, Hell's Kitchen you are: safe, and close to cool stuff. Affordable? No way.

Of course it's easier to get space, and even proximity, if you are not that keen on safety, but I can't make that sacrifice, especially with a child. So, Crown Heights and Lefferts Garden are not options for me. (I have a feeling I will get pilloried for this.)

Most of the places I like are basically too expensive, and I'm unwilling to give up safety. So, for me, proximity is the most easily sacrificed point of The Triangle. Where we live now, Windsor Terrace, is sweet, pleasant, with a great neighborhood vibe. But we're at least a subway ride away from any sort of real, active neighborhood--in this case including Park Slope and even the more happening parts of Windsor Terrace. Manhattan is accessible, kind of, but then you have the issues that come with schlepping a stroller-bound toddler on the subway; namely that after doing it enough it starts to break your back. Then you don't want to do it so much.

So there we are, New York. One leg short of a stool, one point short of The Triangle. If I am missing some magical mystery neighborhood that has it all--safety, affordability, and is either in or quite close to cool stuff--please let me know.