Life in our apartment is still about stuff management. We got a large delivery of furniture from that big Swedish place, which in New York you can get to by ferry. Three bookshelves, two bookshelf height extenders, a clothes rack (of the closet substitute variety, with a bonus shoe rack at the bottom) and a nice little set of metal drawers, which I have already assembled and slid neatly alongside the pedestal sink. We may finally get to finish unpacking.
The place is really very small. It’s smaller than the last apartment I lived in alone, on the second floor of a coachouse building (which in this case just meant it was an extra building thrown up on the back of a lot; no coaches ever lived there) in Ukrainian Village. Still, it would be a nice apartment for two people. That third person makes a difference. We are constantly in each other’s way. I can barely find room to play my guitar, now that the roof is too chilly. I am covered in bruises from bumping into things. I am hoping that some storage will help, but I’m not sure it will completely solve the problem, which is that we are three people who need our space. I think we will not be here long.
Part of it, though, is that we haven’t learned to live like New Yorkers. We buy too many groceries at a time, as we’re used to being able to store things. We have large garbage bags that we fill until they no longer fit in the bins instead of hauling our trash down daily in small plastic grocery bags. We forget things and have to run up the 48 steps back to the apartment — 54 if you’ve gotten past the stoop. We don’t hang out on our stoop like our neighbors while our kid rides his scooter up and down the sidewalk. We cook at home instead of going out.
But there are other things going better than expected. We adore the park, all of us, and are constantly finding new things to explore. We love riding our bikes in the city, even though we have no idea where we’ll store them in the winter. The Y in the old Armory building is stunning. And quite unexpectedly, I love the church we’ve started attending out of deference to AJ’s school and because he’ll be taking his first communion there this spring.. The building is beautiful, the people are nice, the preaching is compeling, and the music is decent, at least in the early service we choose to attend. Although we have not yet been, the church also has a jazz Mass every other Sunday, followed by wine and cheese, if you can believe it). Is it the Blood of Christ or cocktail hour? It can be hard to tell.
Last Sunday, when the priest got up and started talking about family structures, I prepared to cringe. I’ve never heard this kind of issue handled in a way I can stomach in a Catholic church. But lo and behold, he gave me pretty much the exact opposite of what I’d been expecting. He gave me what I never thought I’d hear in any Catholic church ever. At the volunteer fair afterwards, I signed up to get more information about the choir. Maybe. I love the choir/director organist. He’s Russian with a great big Russian bass voice and a great big Russian accent. He cantors as he plays. He plays everything at lighting fast tempos. The Mass setting they use is the same one I used to sing at the last church I worked for — the same one I used in my wedding, actually. The difference is, it’s nearly twice as fast. I find this hilarious, especially as I’m inclined to try to sing along with my own (fake) Russian accent, in which I can’t help but be slow. It feels like a race to the finish. Sometimes it’s not clear who wins. I hope it’s me.