We’re Back, Part 2: So We Came Back to NYC and Joined a Commune

Our packed-full storage unit.

Cool Mum is currently reading The Story of the World, a history book for children, to Cool Boy to launch his classical homeschool education. Chapter One is titled ‘The Earliest People’, and it starts off with three questions:

Where do you live? Where do you sleep? Do you sleep in the same bed every night, or do you move into a new house every week?

At the end of our last update, CB’s answers would have been:

“Um…New York? We just made a reeeally long drive from Florida, and I’m not sure.”

“Wherever Mommy and Daddy tell me to. Right now it’s a bed in Long Island.”

“We move into a new house every day!” 

The start of Chapter One was written to contrast the normal, modern family with The First Nomads. The Cool Fam is something in between.

On Tuesday, March 5, we found out that we were approved for our new apartment. Yahoo! But the apartment wouldn’t be ready until the following Friday, March 15. Oh, Google.

At the time, we were staying in Eastern Long Island with our longtime family friends, and we could stay as long as we wanted. However, I needed to be in the city for work. We said goodbye on Saturday, March 9 and drove back to NYC to impose on more of our friends until the apartment would be ready. If we needed help, we were told to come back to Long Island.

On Saturday night, we stayed at our old place with our roommate and our sublettor. Sunday night, we occupied the home of some friends who went out of town.

We still had four nights until our Friday, March 15 move-in date, but we’d already stayed with all of our good friends who had room for us. No worries, though, because our friend Beth had already taken care of us.

Even before we went to Long Island, she told us that she’d already lined up the next week’s housing if we needed it. We had no idea she was doing this. Her good friends, who have a two-bedroom in Brooklyn Heights, were leaving town for the week, so she got them to let us crash there for the week.

And get this: Beth was about to have a baby. With a 2-year-old to care for and a new kid almost on the block, she was on a mission to ensure we always had a place to stay!

It was so easy for us, it’s almost unfair, but that’s God’s grace at work. We flew drove by the seat of our pants back to NYC, and now we were comfortably staying in one of the city’s most coveted neighborhoods up until Moving Day.

We were set! Until we weren’t.

+ + +

On Thursday, March 14, I called the landlord about picking up the key to the apartment the next day. They told me, “We don’t know why the broker told you the 15th. The apartment won’t be ready until next Friday the 22nd.” (They later remembered that they told the broker the 15th.)

I hung up the phone, but I surprisingly didn’t have the urge to smash it against the wall. First, it was my phone. Second, I felt like I saw it coming. It was just another one-liner in the comedy of errors that can be our life.

On Saturday, March 16, we cleaned our friends’ friends’ Brooklyn Heights apartment and, out of options, we started driving back to the Bronx to stay at our old place.

An explanation: Many of our friends were telling us to just stay at our old place the whole time we were waiting for our apartment. However, our stuff was in storage, so when we stayed there, we had to either

  1. Set up our two air mattresses – for the four of us – in the one empty bedroom. (And one mattress had a small hole we couldn’t locate.) OR
  2. Occupy the whole downstairs on a combination of couches and air mattresses, clogging up the living room and dining room.

I felt like it was just easier to crash with friends, like a citywide marathon slumber party, though you (or our friends) might disagree.

So, on our way back to the old place, we got a call from Alex and Beth, who had arranged our stay in Brooklyn Heights. They asked if we’d like to stay with them, and we could watch their 2-year-old when the time came to have the baby.

Our old house in the Bronx had three bedrooms, and we already felt squeezed crashing there. Cramming our two families into Alex and Beth’s one-bedroom apartment would be insane. Probably some sort of illegal, too.

+ + +

In all, we spent four nights with Alex and Beth. CM and I slept on the sectional couch in the living room, while Newbie stretched in a Pack-and-Play and Cool Boy was on a little mattress in the corner. The kitchen and bathroom were situated between the bedroom and living room, so that kept Newbie’s early morning musings from waking everyone up (I think).

During the days, Alex and I went to work, but in the evenings, we were all home. Cool Mum and the Cool Bros went to bed around 7:30, so at night, the rest of us sat in the kitchen or hallway and talked.

Our friend Sarah watches Alex and Beth’s two-year-old during the day. She ended up crashing there, too, to help out with the kids.

So, for about four days, we had five adults, three kids under the age of 5, and a baby on the way all in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. We shared meals, cleaned up toys together, and talked about what God is doing in our lives. We jokingly called ourselves a commune.

I mean, I would come home from the office and there would be leftover sauteed tofu from dinner for me to eat. That’s typical of a commune, isn’t it? And I drove Beth to a doctor’s appointment while Alex was working. Total commune action.

And this is all in a one-bedroom apartment in NYC, not acres of farmland. After this, I could totally handle living in a commune. Call me a real Commune-ist. Well, maybe you shouldn’t.

On the fifth day (March 20), we bid adieu to Alex, Beth and Sarah. The doctor said it would actually be a few more days until the baby would come. It would be good for them to have some family time before the new arrival.

We figured there was no topping our pop-up commune, so we just set up shop in our old place for the last couple of nights before Moving Day, Take 2. It still wasn’t seamless. When we called to pick up the key on Friday, the landlord said to wait one more day to let the wood floor coating completely dry.

On Saturday, we picked up the keys to our new apartment. Our nearly half a year of floating around Florida and New York City were over. The next day, my friend Brian helped me clear out our storage unit. It was like Christmas as the Cool Bros opened boxes of toys they hadn’t played with for months.

+ + +

Cool Mum and the boys flew down to Florida on October 9, 2012. On March 24, 2013, we and our stuff had a home again in NYC. It’s April 29, and even though we’re still organizing our place, it’s okay, because it’s our place.

Note: some names changed to protect the innocent and those who might not feel like having their names published.

2 notes on “We’re Back, Part 2: So We Came Back to NYC and Joined a Commune

  1. Lee Anne

    Glad you are finally settled. I just started looking at story of the world for A. Let me know how you like it. :)

  2. Cool Dad Post author

    I don’t know when CM will be around to comment, so I’ll jump in to say: They really like it! CB is pretty interested in the history, and they incorporate it during play and craft time.


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