Home - Top Row


Home - Bottom Row

Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Settling in but still unsettled. | Main | Guess what he got, shortly after this. »

Hello. I live in Jersey.

We moved on Sunday, after an all-night frenzy of last-minute packing. Even though we had been packing for six weeks—and before the official packing had begun, had purged our belongings for our Open House, in order that we might fool would-be buyers into thinking that our home was clean and spacious and not inhabited by unhinged packrats—we were still up all night packing. There seems to be no way around this. Nature demands that the night before you uproot yourselves and leave your loved ones, you must also be deprived of sleep.

For the first day or two here I was positively blissful, but at some point on Tuesday I began my slow decline. It went a little like this:

Day 1: It’s so pretty here. And peaceful! This is going to be great!

Day 2: The quiet! I love it. I LOVE IT. I can’t believe I love living here! In the suburbs!

Day 3: Wow, the quiet, it sure doesn’t stop, does it? Isn’t there any noise?


Day 5: Goddamn silence makes me want to punch someone. And what’s this “I have to drive everywhere” shit?

Speaking of driving, I’ve only driven the car twice and already I’ve made at least two wildly boneheaded driving maneuvers. I err on the side of caution, as I am a 90-year-old trapped in a 37-year-old’s body. In one instance, my bony hands clutched the wheel at 10 and 2 as I came to a dead stop at an intersection because I couldn’t find the damn light (why do they hide it on the side like that?) and then wondered why everyone around me was leaning on their horns. (Even the people without cars! Kids these days! Walking around with horns!) But I’ll get used to this, right? Someone? At some point, I hope to stop sweating so hard my hands are sliding off the steering wheel.

It doesn’t help that my son has developed a car aversion, due no doubt to his delightful new tendency to vomit after relatively short car rides. (Dear relatives who want us to come visit you: will you wait until my son’s eighteen? If he’s not over this by then I’m pretty sure he could at least hold the bag over his mouth.) Today we went for a five-minute ride so that I could go to a dermatologist (because my face reacts to stress by EXPLODING. And my hair falls out! I’m breathtaking), and I thought Scott and Henry might like to check out the neighborhood library and meet me afterward, and boy what a bad idea that was! Which I realized when we told Henry we were getting into the car! “NOOOOO!” he shrieked. “GAAAAAH! I’m going to THROW UP!” he informed us. He didn’t, thankfully, and when we got there he informed us that the ride “wasn’t so bad after all,” a fact that leapt gazelle-like from his mind when it was time to get back into the car to go home. He went all boneless and wept facedown on the sidewalk while Scott and I discussed if it was okay to leave him there for the afternoon.

But enough about him; let’s get back to me. On the positive side, I have discovered my Inner Extrovert. I had thought I was on the shy side, but now that there’s no one around, I’m jonesing for the sweet stink of humanity. It’s unspeakably weird to have, instead of hundreds of people on your block, maybe eight. (It’s a small block.) While I used to sit in my apartment gritting my teeth while gaggles of morons stood directly outside my window, leaning against the security grate and discussing That Slut Chrissy Who Totally Fooled Around with Rick (for example), I now find myself standing on my porch, shrieking salutations at the 3 or 4 people foolish enough to pass by. (If you happen to be in Jersey and you spot a hairless acne-ridden hysteric perched on her weed-choked lawn, flailing her limbs, do not be afraid. That’s how I say hello!) The few brave souls I've spoken to have been lovely, even when my son tried to kiss them full on the lips. (Apparently he feels as I do, with the whole love of humanity thing.)

Also! Weeds! We have this lawn, and we have absolutely not one single clue what to do with it. We also don’t know how to take care of, oh, anything else. Our ignorance in all home ownership matters is absolutely staggering. So far our strategy has been to stare at the weeds and say, “We really should, I don’t know, rip those out?” and then go back inside and stare at the boxes and say, “Oh, god, so much to unpack.” And then we join Henry in his Quest For Galactic Dominance, in the relatively clean corner of the dining room.

So yeah, so far this is all working out just fine.

Reader Comments (103)

Readers, don't be fooled. Alice claims to be "hairless" and "acne-ridden," but I met her last week (I'm one of her lucky new neighbors! again, welcome!) and she's even prettier in person than in her photos. And that darling son of hers! He's well on his way to becoming the darling of the playground!
May 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfyb
Ah quiet life in Jersey with a lawn no less! It will get better.

Don't worry about the car trip trouble - we've used that excuse to avoid family gatherings for years! ;)
May 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJules
You may be hairless with big zits but - CHEER UP - no one is cute in the suburbs so it's OK! (I'm not only the zit filled hairless Suburban spokesperson, I'm the Club President!)
May 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY
*doing what looks suspiciously like the pee-pee dance*

You're a homeowner now! You can go to *eep* LOWES! I love Lowes! If they sold groceries I'd shop only there!

Anyway, they'll have some weed and feed stuff thingy that will take care of your lawn I'm sure. And while you're there you can drop great wodges of cash on cool home-owner-y stuff! Clay pots! Light switches! Garden hoses! Screwdrivers!(yes I sound like Weird Al)

I live way WAY out in the country and anything that even has a passing lawn-ish thought gets promptly mowed by the sheep, the goats, or the pony (or the geese!) so I'm not much help in that department.

But I bet they can help ya at Lowes!

Happy homeownering!

May 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter-Blue
The first year we moved into This Old House, I let a weed that had a pretty pinnk flower on the top grow to be three feet tall before my friend was all like, "dude, that's a weed."

We now have fourteen tons of river rock. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.
May 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDorothy
I moved from Philly to the Jersey suburbs just over a year ago and the silence is still killing me. I'd love to tell you that you'll get used to it, but you probably won't - not for a while, anyway. But, you will learn to live with it in your own way - even if it means drinking in the mornings.

Congratulations on the move, though. Your house is gorgeous. Good luck unpacking.
May 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRockStar Mommy
Oh Finslippy!

Do not go gently into that good (Jersey) nightRage, rage against the dying of the light....

May 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterViv
You'd be surprised. I bet there are quite a few sluts in those quiet homes with the nice lawns. I'm just guessing.

I'm with Mir about the weeds, the trick is to keep them mowed. Wait. You do own a lawn mower, right?...

I do believe I am going to enjoy reading about your transition to Jersey Mama. I'll enjoy the movie when it comes out, too. ;)
May 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMary
I'm sure it won't be long until you are sailing through "reddish" lights with abandon and cutting people off with a swish of your hair! YGG. Let out your Inner Demon Driver!
May 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteredj
MOVE BACK. The burbs are soul deadening. DO NOT STAY THERE. Your soul will die.Seriously-- we moved to maplewood and I cried for 2 years. we are back. thank you god.
May 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchristine
My husband's answer to lawns: concrete & astroturf. Depends on how desperate you are. Find the post office, nice grocery store, and the bank, and you'll feel right at home. Also, after you unpack everything, be sure to tell us WHAT'S MISSING. I've lost at least one item on every move, despite going through the house and opening all cupboards and noting that they are empty. WHERE'S MY STUFF????
May 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterEllen
Oh boy, do I remember that pain of transition. I distinctly recall going to shop at my local Safeway grocery store shortly after moving from Boerum Hill, Brooklyn to Scottsdale, Arizona, and wondering if the checker woman was hitting on me because she was so bizarrely friendly. There's definitely an adjustment period. You'll come out of it just fine, though.
May 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMartha
I just found you through Mel over at Actual Unretouched Photo. You're way cool.
May 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCyn
Sounds like the adjustment is going just fine. I'm suprised you didn't mention the space, because I'm sure there's much more if it than in your old apartment. Have you done anything fun with all the space yet? And how does Henry like his new room?
May 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJessie
Ok, this is the funniest thing I've read in a long time.
May 10, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLinda B
You are so funny. Good luck with the transition!
May 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersusan @ yow
Oh my goodness! I moved to Jersey from the wilds of Northern Canada several years ago. Now that was an adjustment! The driving was like something out of a nightmare. Have you discovered jughandles yet? And what's with the fact that they still use traffic circles? Is it still the 19th century? Are they stuck in a timewarp? We went the reverse direction to you and followed Jersey up with moving to Queens. I figured I couldn't just move my completely naive country-boy husband directly to NYC. He wouldn't have survived! Good luck with the lawn, get a white noise generator (or even a moderately loud fan), and here's wishing you survive the other drivers!
May 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
Since you've discover your inner extrvert, why not pop over and add your supermom trade to the mom's day salute .:)
May 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHelene
Hell, I just saw Alice in Brooklyn today. As her ex-neighbor, I've been training myself all week to stop looking for her in the hood. And damn it all if she wasn't right there across the street from jury duty. Y'all should know I yelled at her to get her ass back to New Jersey.
May 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWeeze
Welcome to New Jersey! I'm sitting right now in my not so quiet suburb right outside...well, honestly, Newark, but NYC sounds better. Dogs a barkin', birds a chirpin', cars peeling out in the street out front. I live in a State of confusion.

Since you have a lawn, however weed-choked, you're likely somewhere lovelier. This is a beautiful place to live, you'll be singing its praises sooner or later, and rolling your eyes at all of your city friends who gasp and guffaw at the mere suggestion that "they" trek all the way out to New Jersey to have dinner in your lovely home. And you feel like ringing their necks because what are you supposed to do, trek "all the way" into Manhattan? Ah, the lunacy of parochial city-dwellers (yes, I'm aware of the oxy-moron).

The lawn: all you need to do is get a tape measure and measure your yard, then buy the corresponding number of bags of Weed n' Seed (I believe it's made by Scotts lawn products). The bag will have all the instructions you need.

If this method calls for a device called a spreader or sower or something, ask your garden center if they can rent you one, and ask them how to use it.
May 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSleepless Mama
Honey - you're preaching to the choir! Listen, I moved from NYC, to Boston, to DC. I lived in apartment buildings practically all my life, and then we bought a HOUSE. OMG, it was like a whole new world! Gutters and downspouts, wet basements, lawn mowers, retaining walls. I was yelling 'where's the super!'. And I still live in an urban area, but let me tell you, this is as far as I can go. If there are no sidewalks I'm outta there. But Jersey is cool, my brother lives there and enjoys it. Good Luck!
May 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUrban-Mom
Sounds like you've landed in Camelot. Your writing is so wonderful!
May 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTanna
My friend Jen keeps a vibrator in her glove compartment for when she's in traffic. Maybe that would help with all of the driving? And maybe not...
May 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKevin Charnas
up·date ( P ) Pronunciation Key (p-dt)tr.v. up·dat·ed, up·dat·ing, up·datesTo bring up to date: update a textbook; update the files.

n. (pdt)Information that updates something.The act or an instance of bringing something up to date.An updated version of something.

No pressure or anything...
May 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>