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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Getting Ready for Baby

With about two months to go (give or take... that's up to Baby Girl), we've been finalizing our new apartment layout. Thankfully she won't be walking until she's AT LEAST 7 months, so we don't have to worry about childproofing every room just yet.

We've started, naturally, with the nursery... formerly known as, depending on who you ask, "The Office," "The Second Bedroom" or "The Tortoise's Room." Before giving the tortoise the boot out to the living room/dining room/den, I have to move my stuff out. Ah yes, that was the fourth name for the room: "The Room For the My Stuff, Including Clothing." (Don't get me wrong, I would set fire to my clothes if that was needed to make room for Baby Girl... but then I would look pretty silly in the delivery room as the only other naked human.)

Sunday was a very productive day for us, with stops by Lowe's, IKEA and Fairway being completed by 2PM. This was done in one clockwise swoop around northern South Brooklyn, only a few miles, really. We were amazing with how much we managed to get into our new Honda Fit, and it felt a bit like a car commercial.

The biggest purchase was a massive unit called the Expedit, from IKEA. The idea was to place this our bedroom and move all of my clothes into it. I think it will work out, but putting together IKEA pieces can be an interesting experience. I did manage to put this thing together myself even though the directions strongly warn against it (with a drawing of a guy by himself an an X through him). Yet there is no mention of how much easier it would be to have a mallet or a power drill. Happily, I had both a mallet and a power drill. I'm sure a hammer would have worked just as well as a mallet, but mallet's are much funnier.

So the new massive bookcase/dresser/organizer is now in the bedroom. The evacuation in anticipation of Hurricane Baby Girl continues...


and I can't wait.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our New Car - 2009 Honda Fit

My friends and family know me as someone who strongly dislikes cars. Not to the point of randyhate, but I certainly randyhate lots of things that come along with cars:

  • Car alarms
  • Drivers that pass on the right when there's a lane free to your left
  • Tailgaters
  • Responsehonks
Still, with a little one on the way and virtually all of our family living just outside of the city, we needed something that we could use to shuttle around our new, little family every now and then. And so the search began. Extensive research led me to two options: a used, certified Honda Civic or a new Honda Fit. The cost is pretty much the same.

I made my first trip to Bay Ridge Honda here in Brooklyn expecting to leave with a used Civic - probably a 2005 or so. I was surprised to find that the salesmen weren't really working the prices down at all, so I left by subway. This could have something to do with a communication issues: working the used lot was a Russian guy, a Chinese Guy, an Indian guy and an old-school Brooklyner. None of them could understand each other.

This gave me a bit more time to do some extra research, and that's when I started leaning towards the Fit.
  • Both cars score exceptionally well when it comes to fuel efficiency and emissions, though I had read that proper use of the Fit yields phenomenal results. (This is true, more on that later.)
  • Both cars score very, very well in safety ratings. There are so many airbags, these things could be deployed to Mars a la "Red Planet" and land safely.
  • Despite being smaller (four inches longer than a Mini Cooper), it has almost twice as much cargo space as a Civic, even with the back seats upright. (Cargo space matters when kids are involved, I'm told.) 
  • Thanks to the fact that it's smaller, the Fit would be easier to park here on the street in Brooklyn.
  • If, for some reason, we had to sell the car in a few years, we'd be selling an excellent few-year-old car rather than a four-plus-few-years-old car.
  • Finally, the Fit has 11 cup holders. That was the deal-maker.
We've had the Fit for a week... and while we have not used it much, we're really happy with it. So far we have parked in spots that would have been too small for a Civic. On Sunday, we drove from here in Brooklyn, New York, out to Middlesex, New Jersey, and back. The average MPG for the trip was 40. It drove well. It's a good Fit.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I Did Not Run The NYC Marathon

But I did watch some of it. The New York City Marathon hit the city this past Sunday. The runners spent at least some time in each of the five boroughs: starting in Staten Island (Richmond County), through Brooklyn (Kings County), up into Queens (knows as Queens County for some reason), over into Manhattan (New York County) and then a swing into the Bronx (Bronx County) before returning to Manhattan to finish up in Central Park. Marathoners started right at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island. I guess this served two purposes: they got off to a good start heading right into Brooklyn, and they started off fast to leave Staten Island behind them as quickly as possible.

Quite a bit of the Brooklyn stretch is on 4th Avenue, right at the corner of our apartment building. The Mrs and I went down around 9 to check out the early starters. One guy was running on two prosthetic legs... impressive. After a little while the motorcade approached, followed by a low-flying helicopter. Obviously the elite runners were approaching. Sure enough, the elites were right there in front of us. They're not nearly as bad as everyone makes them out to be. Not one of them was munching on arugula, sipping pinot noir or appeasing Europe. I managed to get a shot of the female leaders as well as the males. The winners - Marílson Gomes dos Santos and Paula Radcliffe - are visible, as is Kara Goucher, a Queens native who came in third in this, her first ever marathon.
The neighborhood was really rocking, with local bands and DJs blasting music, Brooklynites and tourists cheering everyone on. And I mean everyone... but doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? This is a race, right? So shouldn't we have been booing at least half of the runners? Better yet, each spectator, whether or not they know someone running in the race, should pick one runner, sincerely cheer him or her on, and put as much or more energy into deflating the rest of the masses. I think this would make for a very interesting scene.

Later on in the morning and after noon, the runners gave way to "runners," and more spectators were drinking beer as they cheered. By the time the "sweep bus" was rolling down 4th Ave, crunching over millions of discarded paper cups and picking up marathoners who needed some assistance after mile 7, revelers in front of the bar Pacific Standard were enthusiastically cheering for the three ambulances that took up the rear. And a full day of NFL was still ahead.

More pictures here on Facebook or here on Picasa.