Feb 20, 2010


I wouldn't go so far as to say I hate the snow, and I have been enjoying the many snow days we've had this past month. (We only had two days of school this past week, and three full days the week before).

But it is getting to be a little much. I have never seen our new apartment without it's blanket of snowfall. It's only by faith that I know there is grass in the yard surrounding our place because I've never seen it. We got slammed by our third snowstorm this winter this past week, with heavy snowfall beginning on Presidents Day and continuing through Wednesday morning. This one was probably the worst we've had so far--we had probably 12 inches of accumulation on top of the snow that was still on the ground from the last storm. Below and above are some pictures I took during one of our snow days. The majority of what you see in these pictures is the result of straight snowfall, not drifting or snowplow piles.

This is my car buried in snow.

Winter here in America is not as bad as I thought it would be, but I am looking forward to spring, when I won't have to "warm up the car" in the morning, when taking the Feller outside won't be a production, when the roads will be less hazardous, and, of course, the temperatures will be warmer.

It's a little warmer now-above freezing, that is--and some of the snow is beginning to melt. But winter isn't through with us yet. More snow is predicted for Sunday night and Monday morning.

A Table for Two

The table two for two on Valentines Day, 2010, complete with two chairs, his and hers laptops, the latest copy of Columbus Magazine featuring the best new restaurants in the city, and--serving as reminders of the ever-present new member of the Maycock family--a Cheerios snack case and a bottle of baby lotion.

It sat in a little corner of Bab's tiny second story apartment in a hundred year old house--a tall, black cafe table with matching bar chairs. I suppose in a pinch you could crowd four people around it (if you could rustle up two more bar height chairs), or use it as an hors d'oeuvvres serving table when the apartment was crammed with more people than could possibly fit around any table that could reasonably fit in that shoebox of a place. Of course, one could easily eat alone there, but when you eat alone, you're usually camped on out on the couch with the TV for company rather than a table looking across at an empty chair. No, this really was a table built for two. And that little table was there at the very beginning.

It stood a silent witness, to our early flirtations, our long and earnest conversations,our first kiss. It carried the first meals Barbara prepared for me--a fantastic chef's salad comes to mind as one of the earliest meals I ate at that table. (Even then Babs was the goddess of the greens, a mistress of remarkable salad creations.) It was storage space for wedding paraphenalia in the hectic monts before our Big Day, and on that day, it witnessed a bride and groom flushed with joy hustling past in wedding white and morning coat, and then us passing again dressed casually on the way to their honeymoon. The table served us well in our first year of marriage together. Many times we opted to eat on the couch, but for special occasions--Sabbath lunch, Sunday brunch, and special romantic meals involving candlelight and the promise of passionate dessert afterwards, only the little black table for two would do.

And then we moved to Saipan, and the little black table was dismantled, tossed into the back of moving truck, and stored in the basement of the Leen home in Springboro, OH. It's metal legs were trussed with rope and stowed on a shelf, the round tabletop was rolled into a corner. And there the table stayed, all but forgotten here in America for more than a decade.

When we returned from Saipan, we had a little boy in tow, and there was no need or desire for a table for two. We talked at length about the various types of large dining tables we'd need to buy. The size of the dining room was a vital consideration as we apartment hunted. It needed to accomodate a table that would seat six at least. But once we found that perfect apartment, financial realities set in. We'd need to save up for that perfect dark wood dining set, and in the meantime we needed somewhere to sit. We really only needed a table for two for now, as the Feller still dines in a high chair; and so it was that the little black cafe table was resurrected from it's basement grave, loaded on another moving truck and carted up to a new lease on life in Columbus.

I reassembled (more or less) the table about a week after we moved in, and on the weekend of Valentines Day, 2010, while the Feller played happily on the floor, Babs and I sat down at our table for the first time in a long time.

Once you've been married for awhile, and especially once a child comes along, the idea of table for two seems impractical at best. But I've come to believe that no matter how much life changes, no matter how much the family expands, a married couple needs a table for just the two of them. A child can easily become the center of a man and woman's world, but it's important to remember the love that created that child in the first place. Someone once said the best thing a mom and dad can do for their child is love one another. And so a table for two is not just a romantic luxury, it is a vital necessity for the emotional health of the whole family. That table might be found at a great restaurant downtown while the little one is with a sitter. It might be a picnic blanket on a summer afternoon when the kids are in daycare or off at camp. It might not be a table at all--just some pizza cradled on your laps while you cozy up in front of the TV for a movie after the Feller has gone to bed. However it manifests itself--the table, the time for two is a must.

Unfortunately, our little black table isn't doing so well. I don't think I reassembled it quite properly, and currently it's rather wobbly, the top held precariously in place by just one screw, the other ones having fallen out of the crumbly holes in the bottom of the tabletop. As soon as our budget allows, we'll purchase a proper dining table that will allow us to enterain guests, and eventually allow the Feller to sit with us. In all liklihood, the little black table will be consigned to the trash heap, though maybe, if I can find some longer screws that will stay in place and Babs is willing to endure it's out-of-fashion style, it can find a new lease on life as a patio table out on the balcony or soemthing. Still we'll use it for now, and even if the table doesn't last, I'm confident that the marriage will, as long as we keep making it a priority to find a table for the two of us to share.

Making breakfast on Valentines Day, Sunday, February 14, 2010

Enjoying a Valetines day Brunch for two.

I made Eggs Benedict for the first time. Delicious!

The Short North district in downtown Columbus, OH. On the afternoon of Valentines Day, Babs and I took the Feller over to J and Evelyn's and they watched him for several hours while we had a "date day." We at at the Press Grill on High Street, broweds the galleries and shops in the Short North, and warmed up with some hot coffee from Cup O Joe's.

We were supposed to return the favor to J and Evelyn the next day, when they would leave their son with us in the afternoon while they had a date. However, we got slammed by yet another snowstorm Monday and they decided to take a rain check (or would that be a snow check).

Babs excited to be in the Short North. It's her favorite place in Columbus. She'd live here if we could afford it.

Just the two of us then (at the Centre Meetinghouse, on our wedding day, Sunday, July 27, 1997). . .

. . .and now (at Cup O Joe's in the Short North, Sunday, February 14, 2010).

Feb 6, 2010

At Last At Home

The view from the balcony of our second story apartment in Sugar Run, New Albany, Ohio. The buildings in the distance on the right is another residential complex we looked at called The Farms at New Albany. While their apartments were gorgeous with hardwood floors and brand new stainless steel appliances, they were smaller than the one we ended up choosing, and more expensive. I sensed we were paying extra simply to be a part of their "Lifestyle Community", as they term it, which they marketed heavily. One would need, it seemed, to be willing to pay a premium simply for the privilege of living among the young, hip, and beautiful. This photo as well as the others was taken today, Sabbath, February 6, 2010. We had a big snowstorm yesterday. It was a nice day to stay at home!

In my paper and pen journal entries, I always include at the beginning of each new entry, an indication of where I am writing from. The vast majority of my entries have been labeled simply, "At Home." At varous times the location has varied for a considerable length of time--In college, the location was "dorm" or "apt". In 1994 and 1995, it read "Chuuk", and most recently for the past seven months or so I've been located variously at "the Leen's House", "J's House", or "CAA." Now at long last, I can once again report that I am simply, "At Home." Babs, the Feller, and I finally moved into our apartment, and we are very much enjoying being in our own home again.

We were blessed to find a beautiful apartment in the bedroom community of New Albany, Ohio. The two bedroom, two bath apartment in an apartment complex called Sugar Run features, an open "great room" floor plan for the kitchen/dining area/living room, 9 foot ceilings, and best of all an abundance of large windows in all the rooms letting in lots of natural light. After months of searching, on Barbara's part, we're very happy with the place we found. It has all that we need and so much of what we wanted--all at a remarkably reasonable price. I've been getting the sense from friends and colleagues that New Albany is a rather upscale community. Whenever I mention where we live, I usually get a raised eyebrow of surprise, and with some even the question--"Isn't that pretty expensive?" The fact is we found several very nice apartments in this area--most of which were considerably less than the properties in more "humble" zip codes. I like New Albany too--it feels a bit more removed from the city (even though it's only a ten minute drive from here to work or our son's daycare). They have a small shopping area about three minutes from our home, which is convenient.

We began the week at J and Evelyn Carlos' house in Blacklick, Ohio, about half an hour from the school Babs started work on Monday and also got the keys to our new place that day. However,we didn't move in until Thursday afternoon because we were waiting for the movers to bring up our bed and other furniture. J and Evelyn were kind and patient hosts this week and we deeply appreicated their hospitality--especially since Elijah kept tearing up their house. We told them they were getting a preview of what they'd experience with their young son later this year. I wish we'd thought to take pictures while we were there, but in the hectic scrum of a week of moving, I never even took the camera out of my bag.

So here we are, the final piece of our new life here in America finally put in place. Work has been difficult of late--at the end of days that can often be disheartening, it's good to come home to my family. And at the outset of what many times turns out to be a tough day, it's nice to start with breakfast with the Feller (Barbara goes to work at seven in the morning, so I'm responsible for waking our son up, feeding him, dressing him, and getting him to daycare by 8 A.M.). I can go to bed a little later now, and sleep a little longer too--the hours and miles on the freeway are finally finished. We're on our own once again, and at last, we are at home.

A lot of boxes still to unpack. Photo taken Friday afternoon, February 5, 2010

The living area as seen from the kitchen.

A shot of living, dining, and kitchen area. Our furniture right now is a mismatched hodgepodge of items from our first year of marriage in Michigan (the black bar chairs and small papa-san chair in above photo) and furntiure given to us by the Leens (the couch in the picture for example). All that we brought back from Saipan is in those dozens of the flat rate postal boxes piled in the middle of the dining area.

Music time with the Maycocks

This morning we opted to stay home from church. Babs was feeling a little under the weather, and I didn't feel like going out on the roads so quick on the heels of last night's snow storm. During the leisurely hours of Sabbath morning, we took some time to work on some music as a family. Well, mainly it was Babs on the piano, but the Feller and I joined in where we could, me working laboriously throuigh the chords for "Father, I Adore You" and Feller adding the beat on his hand drum. It was fun, and I look forward to the day when we all will truly be able to play together. Below, some photos:

A video tour of the our new apartment.