How to Test Your Marriage in Brooklyn

I mentioned recently that we now own a minivan. Some moms have admitted to me that they fought the whole “minivan thing” as long as possible, but I embraced it right off the bat. When we needed a car, I knew I wanted a safe vehicle that carries a lot of people and a lot of stuff. Thus Odysseus, aka Frankie, came into our lives.

 

Once we move to New Jersey, I will be the primary driver. The (perhaps not entirely articulated, but mutually understood) plan for our last few months in New York was that when we needed to drive in or to Brooklyn, John would be behind the wheel. I’ve never driven in the city and I had zero desire to do so. In fact, driving in the city—minivan or otherwise—was on my list of things I thought I would never do. Would you like to know what else was on that list?

 

– Study abroad.

– Live in Manhattan.

– Finish a novel.

– Run for fun.

 

Fun list, huh?

 

Now, Frankie is a great car. Anyone I know who has an Odyssey loves it, and I’m totally on the bandwagon. But you know what I don’t love? Parking Frankie.

 

We are not among the few fortunate folks in this city who have a dedicated parking spot to go along with an apartment lease. We are also not willing to pay for garage parking unless absolutely necessary. This means that John and I now have newly developed brain wrinkles—lots of them—devoted to parking strategies.

 

Turns out, it doesn’t really make sense for him to move the car in the evenings after work. Everyone else is home, too, which means most spots are taken. It also means that he loses an evening at home with the boys and me.

 

The better solution—though I fought it at first—is for me to move Frankie during the day with the kiddos. Jacob will do just about anything to go in the “big tar” and I can time it so Henry naps while we go. But even with a stockpile of fruit snacks (for Jacob and for me) and Jacob happily singing in the backseat about looking for a new spot, parking can be a frustrating task.

 

The problem isn’t just finding a spot, it’s finding the right spot: one that’s big enough and one whose street sweeping schedule is as far off in the future as possible. Every week, I move the car once or twice, and each time it takes between forty-five minutes and two hours. The first time I did it, I seriously considered driving out to New Jersey, since I knew I could park outside my parents’ house or John’s parents’ house. Sounds ridiculous, but you try driving around your neighborhood for that long with two kids in the car. If you’ve never thanked the Good Lord for your driveway, now is the time.

 

There’s always a silver lining, though, right? Now I know I can drive in the city. I can park in the city. And I can stay happily married through it all.

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2 Responses to How to Test Your Marriage in Brooklyn

  1. Oh my goodness. This is what I miss absolute least about living in NYC. The freaking street sweep schedule. We used to pack up in the car a few minutes before tickets started getting handed out and just CAMP. Sometimes for hours. The minute someone came with a ticket or the blessed sweeper showed up, we’d do a quick loop around the block and then just repark in the same space. Weekly ritual. I rationalized that the cost of the ticket became my measured stay-at-home “salary” for those particular hours of the week.

  2. Ha! Love it. Miss you!

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