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My advice to NASA on the Mission to Mars

March 26, 2013
Logo design by Christine Hepner

D and I get along so well, especially considering our tiny apartment and the fact that we’ve been lucky enough to have my mother around almost constantly to help out with the little guy. My husband is so easy to get along with that sleeping in the living room on our pull-out sofa during the week so that his mother-in-law can share the only bedroom with his newborn baby worked just fine for the couple of months she stayed with us.

Anyway, my friend Laura told me that in Manhattan the new “status symbol” is a third baby. Couples who really want to show the Joneses that they’ve made it go for that third baby, because it supposedly shows that they can afford an extra bedroom. With 2 children, you can still slide by with a two-bedroom apartment. But the third child bumps you up into the next stratum of real estate showy-offishness. In the suburbs, I guess it’s cars and big houses; in Manhattan, it’s having 3 kids. The rule of thumb about the number of bedrooms and the price of Manhattan apartments was something like add half a million to the price per bedroom. I don’t know if that is still the case, but I do know that a two-bedroom apartment in a no elevator, no doorman building starts at around 700K. Add another bedroom, and I don’t think you are going to find anything under 1 million.

I’m only talking about the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I have no idea what goes on in other neighborhoods as far as real estate prices. Our apartment is categorized as “pre-war.” I think that generally means pre-World War II for most buildings, but sometimes I think our building is more pre-Peloponnesian War than World War II. It’s old and not too fancy, but when D bought it (pre-Me, I should point out), it was perfect and on the roomy side for one 45-year-old guy. He just didn’t realize that within a few years, he’d be married again and a father to a son and two cats.

While I was pregnant, we decided that we were going to stay put in our tiny apartment at least until my maternity leave was over and I decided whether or not I was going back to work. We actually love our little apartment, and if not for the ridiculous amount of stairs, we probably would stay there until the Little Guy is old enough to insist on his own room. We are lucky, because we can get out of town most weekends if we want to visit at my mother’s, where we can all have our own rooms if we want.

But as long as we were staying in such a small place, we realized we have to be very selective about baby furnishings and accouterments. For example, things like a changing table and big crib were not going to fit, and we never missed them, to be honest. He slept in his porta-crib from the time we brought him home until he was a little more than a year old.

We had to eliminate things like a baby wipe warmer and baby bottle sterilizer because of counter space and lack of electrical outlets, and our little guy doesn’t seem to mind the cold wipes and the bottles that were sterilized on the stove top in boiling water. He is almost as easy-going as his dad!

So finally, here is my advice to NASA: If you send a married couple to Mars as has been reported recently, make sure the space ship has at least 100 electrical outlets. I don’t think you ever could have had enough outlets, but now with the number of devices that need constant charging, it has become a point of contention. I have become enraged when I’ve found my iPhone charger unplugged and D’s Droid charging instead. Or stumbled to the bathroom in the morning and found my electric toothbrush unplugged and the blow dryer plugged in! Or cold coffee in the electric coffee pot sitting next to the video camera that D is charging up for the weekend.

Now imagine that instead of being on Earth where you can walk off that kind of rage, you’re in a space ship heading back from Mars half way through a 3-year journey, and you find your iPod unplugged and dead next to SOMEONE’S electric shaver…I can just imagine the capsule splashing down and finding Major Tom and his wife dead, he with her iPhone charging cord wrapped tightly around his neck, and she with a fatal head wound where he bludgeoned her with his dead, uncharged electric toothbrush….

I hope NASA is proactive and avoids this sort of potential interplanetary space tragedy. Maybe the new new status symbol in Manhattan will be having 3 kids and 100 outlets!

© Copyright 2013

Next time: We leave Gotham for Mayberry

  1. Nadine permalink

    You know it’s all relative…. we felt like we’d moved into a mansion when we traded our 400 sq ft one bedroom in Manhattan, for a two brm 850 sq ft 1950’s house on the west coast. But now with a another one on the way and the crib back in our room once again, and still not enough outlets in this old place, I kinda miss our small hovel in the city. We had way less crap and life seemed a little simpler and a lot quicker to clean.


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      So TRUE Nadine, I feel like all I do in PA in the big house is walk up and down stairs and CLEAN! We move back into our tiny place on Monday and I can’t wait, although I’m going to miss my “country” friends so much!


  2. Jon permalink

    When we added an addition to our tiny pre-war house several years ago I insisted on one thing: Outlets. And not just regular outlets. I’m talking quads, too. And not just inside. I added eight outside. Keep in mind, the house still doesn’t crack 1700 square feet and sits on a seventh-acre lot. But if I want to plug something in, I can. Christmas lights? Anywhere I damn well please. Shop vac? I don’t even need an extension cord. My only regret? Not getting more outlets.

    The wife got really nice bathroom tile. I got ready access to electrical power!


    • grayhairedmom permalink

      Any thoughts on volunteering for the Mars mission?


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