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Let's Panic: The Book!

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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

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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. → 

« Tartar-sauce-loving witches will dislike me after this one. | Main | Questions, questions. »

The answers! My god, the answers!

Never let it be said that you people don’t have opinions. And my word, how much you’ve all moved. I must be unusual in my fondness for remaining in one place. If I moved to a new apartment in Brooklyn, I had to break out the smelling salts and spread myself across my fainting couch for at least the first month. But you, you adventurous types! You’re all when I lived in Tanzania I also felt some ennui and the first few months in Bangladesh were fairly tough. And here I am, living FORTY MINUTES (gasp!) from my old hometown, and weeping into my neckerchief over it.

First of all, I apologize for writing a post like that, which captured my feelings at that exact moment, feelings which changed fifteen minutes later and why don’t I wait an hour or so before posting something? It’s lovely, the way I puke all over the Internet, and all you nice people come rushing to clean me up. (Not that fifteen minutes later I decided I loved it here and we would never move—but as the day wore on, the need to GET OUT certainly felt far less desperate.)

That said, your insight was quite valuable, and you are all fine citizens of the Internet. The comments fell squarely into two camps: 1) We should give this place a year, and then reassess, and 2) We should move right now because life is too short to be miserable. Then there was the occasional “get over yourself” comment, which okay no one actually SAID, but I know some of you were thinking it. I know this because I can read your thoughts. Right now you’re thinking about dinner. You’re going to have chicken.

At first the comments that shrieked GET OUT! filled me with delight. Yes! We’re city folk! Back to the city we go! I still have my library card! And the comments that urged us to wait and weigh the pros and cons and give it time --oh, how they chafed. How tiresome, I thought. You sensible people are a total bummer.

But then this morning I re-read the comments, and the “wait it out” party all of a sudden sounded far more appealing. Because honestly? We’re not utterly miserable. We’re not surrounded by rednecks, as some of you seem to be. (And for this I am sorry.) We have nice neighbors. There’s, like, culture, and stuff. I suspect we can find ways of making ourselves feel better, here and now. (Not spending a sunny Saturday arguing in Home Depot, for instance.)

Then, of course, there’s Henry, and his school is all set for next year. Pulling him out of school a month early this spring near to killed me, and he loves his camp (which will hopefully become his school in the fall if someone pulls out and we get off the waitlist, oh please oh please), and I’m not taking that away from him.

So: we’re going to continue on this rollercoaster ride of adjustment. It’s a decidedly undramatic decision, but on the other hand it doesn’t entail buying multiple rolls of bubble wrap. Meanwhile, we’ll act as if we’re moving back, we’ll get prices on rentals, maybe we’ll even look at a few. And come spring, if we’re still feeling like Brooklyn is home, then we know what to do.

Or we’ll be just as clueless as we are now, and I’ll be back here, begging you for more advice.


Reader Comments (87)

Nope, fresh corn (teeny tiny ears, but the first of the season from the farmer's market and yummy) and tuna steaks with sliced tomato from the garden. No chicken, even in the freezer.

I'm glad we talked you down. I know how you hate a place for a while, and then tolerate it, and then hate it again. It's common. But I'm glad you're going to give it a chance. Once school starts and people are back to normal in your 'hood, you might like it better.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermargalit
Hey, you definitely need a plan. Don't mess around.

Chris (My Blog)
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterChris
Man! I totally had chicken for dinner. And I'm still thinking about it. Freaky.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSonja
Do. not. apologize. I love your mood swings. Probably because I am all about swinging from one extreme to another and ultimately deciding to act like a grown-up because I am. The grown up. Anyway, whatever advice we dish out is easier given than followed, so you gotta listen to the tick tock of your own pendulum. And please, if you ever get over yourself, you'll have to write a completely different blog that I probably would not want to read.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSue
Chicken here too! Tostadas. You can count on us to [virtually] hold your [virtual] hair while you [metaphorically] puke all over the internets. Congrats on having a plan.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Kennedy
God bless you, Mrs. Kennedy, for scratching that grammatical itch.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSuebob
Mrs. K,

It occurs to me that perhaps the slapping Pioneer Woman was hinting at the deceptiveness of happiness.

She was allusive to the illusiveness of happiness.

August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFussy-wearing Krisco
Ah, now that the crisis has abated, can I tell you how glad I am when advice goes unneeded after all? That's the BEST!

Love your blog, and glad you're feeling better about today!
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPandaWriter
I have decided to never move again. At this point, I really couldn't care less if I like where I am (although I'm starting to think I really do). The process and the adjustment are just so insane that I've decided never to even pack anything again. If we go on vacation, we take a small purse each (my husband will LOVE that) and we buy everything new there and discard it as we leave. We will also force all of our friends, relatives and favorite hangouts to follow us wherever we go. This is my plan. I'm interested to hear what yours turns out to be.
August 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKathryn, dym
I am having chicken too, and I was thinking about it just then - peas and..what? Well I suppose guessing chicken is more universal than say, salmon teriyaki. So you're not a complete psychic genius, only a literary/comedic genius...
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterClaire
Ah, bless, love. The decorating and DIY only takes another month or so and then you will have the weekend back to enjoy each others' company. Or scream at Henry for running in the road and praise God that you aren't still at that busy intersection in Brooklyn.

From someone who has lived in Scotland (2 towns, 300 miles apart), Belgium, Canada, England and Iceland. With a husband from Italy. Whom I met in France ;) And we're nipping to China this fall, then Sweden next year...
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRLJ
If you do the Home Depot runs in the wee hours of the morning (it's less crowded!) you can have breakfast at the diner (very NJ) by 9 and the rest of the day free. That way you don't feel like you spent the whole day there.

When you start making NJ friends you'll feel different.

signed,still missing Brooklyn after 9 years but not moving back until the kids are grown
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterclickmom
Add to your plan talking to an accountant about the capital gains tax issue, if you plan to move in to a rental after selling your home. It might make sense to wait two years, not one.
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth
Having a plan always makes me feel better about a situation...I hope it does you as well. I've moved around a bit in my life and it always takes me 6 months to a year to get settled after a move and to feel like I "belong" there and not just visiting. A few years ago the hubby and I were on a short stint in PA while he finished up his thesis and I hated it - now we've left there and have been gone from there for close to 6 years and every so often I'll think how lovely it was there and how it wasn't so bad - like I miss it. The hubs thinks I am crazy. Anyway, the point is, do what feels right for you and best of luck!
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaurie
I can relate you what you're experiencing. A year ago we moved, remodeled and lived in a construction zone in the house-under-remodeling. Then hubby got a different job a couple weeks ago. After lots of sou-searching, we decided he's just gonna have to commute for a while. It's too much to deal with!

I'm sure you'll do what's best. With all this advice and everything;)
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterPass the Torch
I rarely comment, but I must say this...the fact that you used smelling salts, fainting couch and neckerchief all in one post?

I have never loved you more than I do at this moment. *sniff*
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLadyBug
We don't have kids yet, but we're already getting the "But you HAVE to move to the suburbs!" talk from relatives. Having grown up in the suburbs, I completely disagree. When I whined about how much I hated the burbs (oh, teenage ennui) my mom would tell me that only boring people are bored, and that ergo, I would be bored wherever I went.

Not true, incidentally. I have found it impossible to be bored in Chicago.

The point of this ramble being, some of us are just city folk. You may be, or perhaps you'll find you've come to love where you are. But either way, it's a smart plan to give it some time. Brooklyn will still be there.

August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKelly
With the Home Depot stuff--don't try to do too much, too soon. I mean if the house is actually structurally endangered or unlivable, of course you have to go ahead. But you can step back on the aesthetic stuff, especially if it's making you crazy. Besides, sometimes after you live in place for a while you change your mind about exactly what you want to do with it, and then thank goodness you dragged your feet about that pink vinyl flooring...
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMomVee
I have a friend who refers to Home Depot as "Home Despot". I think it couldn't be a more appropriate term.
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie (aka Wee)
I also call it Home Despot -- for a reason.

And we TOTALLY had chicken for supper. You're psychic!
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterH
May I compliment you on your use of the word "ennui"?

Yes, the chitlins, they do affect the choices. We'll be headed to the 'burbs within a year because the KCMO school district is scary, scary, scary, and we don't want to do private school if we can avoid it, having many friends and relatives who are public-school teachers and wanting to be sort of supportive of that.

You could still buy the bubble wrap, though. Just because.
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterdorothy
The burden of homeownership versus dumping the problem on the landlord may be ameliorated by finding the elusive but necessary Handyperson. The person who can stop the ceiling fan from squeaking, fix the leak under the stupid sink, figure out how to replace the furnace filter, make the porch stop sagging, etc. is well worth every penny paid to them. It helps relieve the sometimes overwhelming pressure of home-owningness.

I've been at the home-owningness in the 'burbs for 4 years now and I still occasionally have the same nightmare that plagued me for months after the intial house purchase. I'll be looking for something in the house and find a room I've never been in before and EVERYTHING is wrong with it - sparks from outlets, roof leaking, water pooling on the floor, walls crumbling. I just hope I never find that room. And if I do, I'm sealing the door on it forever.

August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterOogleboogle
If I end up having chicken for dinner tonight, I'm so emailing you for lottery ticket numbers.
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea
If I end up having chicken for dinner tonight, I'm so emailing you for lottery ticket numbers.

I'm glad you have a plan. Sometimes, when I fear having made a big mistake, having a plan of action to correct that mistake is enough to calm me down. Even if I never implement the plan.
August 9, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

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