Category Archives: New York

Babies R Us, Adults R Not

The manager of our Babies ‘R’ Us thinks he’s a smooth operator. I introduced myself to him a few times, and every time he’d say, “Ooh! What a cute baby! How old is she?” Well, she’s a boy and her name is K-Pants, and she’s nine-months-old, same as the last time we were here.

The Babies ‘R’ Us opened at our new mall when K-Pants was three-months-old. I’d always been a mall-hater, but in New York City, being able to walk to a shopping mall is manna from Heaven.

In this sweet glow of mall-loving, it took me a while to realize I hated the Babies ‘R’ Us.

Mike, the manager, would croon over a rotten zucchini wrapped in a blanket. His internal monologue went like this: “If I pretend to like their babies, moms will buy more. They love my manly charm.”

Turns out, some customers like it when you do your job. We also like it when you hire cashiers who wear their thongs below their pant lines.

As you fellow-parents may know, the only way to make Babies ‘R’ Us work is with coupons. And my coupons would never come in the mail, so I approached the manager.

Hi Mike! My coupons never come. I couldn’t get them online either. What can you do for me?

This was Mike’s chance to shine—to bask in the glow of his limited powers.

“No problem, sweetheart. Let me check you out right now.”

But here’s how it really went down:

Mike: Well, you need to change your printer settings online. That’s what my wife does. When you get back home, put the baby in the crib, and play with your printer settings.

Perfect, Mike. Because what I would love to do is put the sweet zucchini in his crib so I can spend my free time figuring out how to print off coupons. And then I can walk those bad boys back to the store for some half-off Earth’s Best. Mike, you’re like Mel Gibson in What Women Want. Tell me more…

Oh, Mike.

I went home and put K-Pants in his crib.

Then I looked up the corporate contact information for Babies ‘R’ Us. I wrote them a letter that included the figure for my yearly shopping budget at Babies ‘R’ Us that I would now be spending at Target. And I got a nice note back, apologizing and letting me know they would be talking with the manager.

Peace out, Mike!


Exorcism Cat

THE FERAL CATS ARE GONE! A crew of guys rolled in to the secret garden and chopped… and bagged… and ate lunch… and threw out the cats. GONE are the rotting feline thrones and the tins of Fancy Feast. And the garden is sort of lovely, despite the timeless inelegance of the chain link fence.

I’ve received text messages and emails from neighbors saying thanks for getting the place cleaned up. You got it, neighbors! No problem! (Air five!)

Now when we all come home, walking past the secret garden, we don’t feel our hearts sinking into our stomachs, thinking it’s just another day in Trashutopia.

But the cats put out a memo with a bag of fish-part bounty attached to my head. And one cat has come to claim the prize.

I don’t know what tipped them off it was me. Maybe my clandestine meeting with the Sanitation Superintendent on their sidewalk?

Most likely it was Francesca, the vixenish, ultra-sophisticated tabby belonging to my neighbors. Francesca is always outside in the hallway all up in yo’ biznez. She snuck into our house last Wednesday and spent six hours under the mattress reading New Yorkers and looking at K-Pants’s baby books.

If Francesca were human, she would have been raised in the projects but fought her way out with razor blades, learned to read at McDonald’s, snuck in to classes at Columbia, and then run a crack ring until God found her in an empty Baptist church, and now she’s clean–but a little off.

I’m sure Francesca knows the secret garden thing was me. She prides herself on knowing the neighborhood biz. And although I’m sure she’ll deny this also, she told Exorcism Cat to come over.

Ex-Cat is white with a forehead soul-patch. She has crazy eyes, and I see when I look into her soul, that 1) she knows I destroyed her crib, and b) she’s trying out for a horror flick.

She sits outside my apartment door, mewing a baleful mew, scratching a raging scratch, weeping a pitiful weep. She’s waiting for K-Pants and I to leave so she can go all Laser Cats on our tushies.

I need to do something about this before Halloween hits and she calls in her back-up. I’ve seen the previews for horror movies: I know what happens. So, if you know anyone who wants to adopt a lovely, slightly-possessed feline, please let me know.

Feral Cats: Head for the Hills

There is a herd of wild cats that runs a decrepit secret garden in a synagogue down the street (with the aid of some Fancy-Feast-buying guerilla operatives). Find out the backstory here.

I spoke with my new friend, James Collins, the Superintendent of our Sanitation District, and he did some detective work to track down the owner of the synagogue.

James’s call to the owner came during the Jewish high holidays, but Mr. Synagogue promised him that the secret garden will be cleaned out by September 27.

On the 28, I have instructions to case the joint (from a legal vantage point) and report back. Should the cats and their henchpeople still be in charge, I get to push the big red button and James Collins will start summonsing Mr. Synagogue.

We’ll see what really happens, but in the meantime, enjoy your last days of despotism, Cats.

Tightening the Belt

My wallet is giving me an ass-kicking.

I stopped working full-time earlier this year. I’m now a full-time mom with part-time aspirations: we eat well, we’re more relaxed, and K-Pants mows the house with his rock ‘n’ roll walker.

But I’m still internalizing the new budget. In this economy, I’m sure others of you have gone through this…?

Some things aren’t an issue. I never got manicures, and my sister cuts my hair. However, my previous budget had a generous wine allowance. It also let me say “yes” to almost anything. Extra appetizers? Yes. New boots? Yes. Five-star restaurant? Did you even have to ask?

Now the answer is “maybe,” if I’m lucky.

The summer was a real doozie. As family and dear friends came to town, I shook off Maybe’s constraints. Dinner out? Sure! A new pair of jeans? Oh, yes: I’ll feel so hot!

Then the credit card bill landed like a piano on our heads.

Now I’m at “no” with a chance of “maybe.”

But I recently discovered Freecycle. You probably know about it: people post things they don’t want, and you pick them up. Freecycle and I are acquaintances using each other for mutual benefit. I just got a fabulous pair of rain boots and a new (old) sun hat.

My husband is horrified. You don’t need to go to a stranger’s house to pick up things they don’t want! Buy yourself rain boots. But I enjoy the hunt on Freecycle. Also, if I pick up your once-worn rain boots, I can transfer the saved money directly into the gelato budget.


My icecreamonomics would be more successful if K-Pants weren’t lactose intolerant. I thought he would be my ideal partner in spending down our ice cream money, but it just gives him tummy ache.

However, the Pants does love the all-natural frozen yogurt at our local Juice Factory (holla!). So, if you’re in the Boogie Down anytime soon, we’ll take you there with some ice cream money we just came into via a new (old) Diaper Genie.