Saturday, September 19, 2015

Summer and School Days are Cool Days

Summer officially ends in 3 days and I have no regrets on how I’ve spent the last 90 days. Well, I regret not blogging more, but I’m having a hard time keeping up with my Sentence-A-Day-Diary at this point in my life and I just need to be okay with it.  I’m really fucking busy and really fucking happy. Here’s what went down and what’s going on in as few words as possible.

Playing in the sand before swim lessons

Can we all just agree that this summer was amazing?!!! The weather was spot-on awesome; unbelievably hot and sunny, and you can bet your bikinied-bottom, I have some pitted-out work shirts to prove it.  That subway platform really does a number on us city-folk professionals…but my hanky kept me in-check and looking fresh.

Typically we spend many summer weekends at my parents little lake cabin at beautiful Bashan Lake in East Haddam, CT but this year the lake was partially-drained to clean up toxic pollution. I’m kidding!  (Can you tell I’ve been watching Wet Hot American Summer?). They needed to repair a dam. Damn! Therefore, we spent less time in CT and more time in BK. 

Ice cream, all day, everyday
As much as missed my CT family and friends and having easy access to a ski-boat/water, it was nice to stay close to home. A lot people complain about summer (weekends primarily) in the city, but that’s just because they’ve never stuck around to experience how great they can be. 

We took advantage of staying local by strapping the kids to our bikes or their stroller/scooters and heading out on “adventures”.  Sometimes these adventures were a lame, for example buying milk and bananas at the corner bodega or dropping off dry-cleaning, but so long as I called it an “adventure” the kids were thrilled and wanted in. I think I only have a few more months before they catch on.  We went on many real adventures too. We biked to swim lessons at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pop-Up Pool, went to dozens of outdoor picnics/concerts at Celebrate Brooklyn and Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and rode to Coney Island and back for a Cyclone’s game with my parents.

Travelling and saving money don’t mix. We are doing our best to save money and unfortunately, that means we can’t travel as exotically, frequently or as lavishly I we wish. But we still made a point to get in a few great trips. In June (feels like years ago), we rented a beach house with my Sister’s family and some friends in the North Fork. If you haven’t been…GO! There are too many wonderful things to say about it here, so just take my word for it and check out all the vineyards, farm stands, beaches and lack of crowds and stress for yourself. We also crashed "Grandparents' Camping Jamboree Weekend", went to Vermont, a state near and dear to me, twice, both times with new friends….hopefully the beginning of long-lived friendships and traditions. There was also that time when my parents watched the kids for the entire week in CT and Jeff and I had a no-fun, boring time (kidding, obviously).

Lovely Vermont
Kitzmans do NoFo! They better come back next year too!

Grandparents' Camping Gamboree in Paconic State Park

Kids wrestling at swanky vineyards while we sip wine,
pretending not to know whom they belong too.

These are the foundational memories that our kids will string together whenever they ride a bike, jump in a pool, eat a banana and smell the ocean from this point forward.  Really good memories of summer…we should all have that.

Marathon Update

Brooklyn Half Pre-Party

Ugh. Goo. Or should I say, Gu? Okay, bad runner’s joke.

Boo…rhymes with goo. Goo is an interjection, I use to describe how I feel about my running these days. For you non-runners out there, Gu is a flavored frosting-like substance, in a small pouch used by long-distance runners to re-fuel before, during and post runs. Neither one, is great.

I ran Hartford’s CTFastrak, 15K/9-mile course in early May and killed it. I came in 5th out of 50 in my age group with an 8:25/mile pace. Shortly following that, I ran the Brooklyn Half and did pretty well given the fact that I got like zero sleep the night before it (kids, man). I was just a few minutes shy from my PR (personal record) last year when I ran it with my Sister.  I was feeling fast, strong and 90% recovered from my injury last fall. I was excited about taking on my 3rd NYC Marathon attempt and 16-week marathon training program.

But then I did Soul Cycle. Fucking Soul Cycle. I didn’t fall off my bike or anything, but all that “tappin’ it back” was not well-received by hamstring. I tapped myself back so far that I’m in physical therapy twice a week and modifying my training the best I can to prevent further injury and race in this year’s marathon. Seriously, running the NYC Marathon has turned into a mean, long-running joke…I’m just going along for the ride and trying to keep my head up and feet steady underneath me. Stay tuned, I’m sure there will be more to come on this topic.

School Memo

1st Day of Pre-K
Colette started Pre-K. I started my MBA. She’s learning about community leaders. I’m learning about world leaders. She has like 1 minute of homework, whereas I have hours. We’re both into backpacks, highlighters and kitten folders. We agree that being a student is cool but hard.

Two years ago, Mayor Bill DeBlasio and his administrators, launched NYC’s first free, full-day Pre-K program (UPK) made available to all 4-year olds. At its inception, I had a 2-year-old and newborn, was in survival mode and didn’t think much of the program and what it would mean to our family. Fast-forward two years, and it’s all I can think about. After four years of paying for full-time childcare we were so excited to take advantage of the program and savings this fall.

The only problem with the program, is that everyone wants in, and everyone wants in on the same schools. It’s a lottery system and every eligible child is guaranteed a placement, but not guaranteed which placement.  Over 500 families applied to our first choice, our zoned elementary school PS 9, but they only have 90 Pre-K seats available. Therefore, there is a waitlist, and the Rigbys are #6 on it. In the meantime, we accepted a seat for Colette at a private school, which is part of the UPK offering.  Sunny Skies (not to be confused with the horrifying Sunny Side Day Care in Pixar’s Toy Story 3) has been good so far but definitely an adjustment (8am drop-off, uniforms, frequent vacation days, etc.) We’re still crossing our fingers, that we get off the waitlist and into PS 9…the school that all of our and Colette’s friends got into. We’ll see.


We’re happy, healthy, learning, training, going on adventures and making great memories. I’ll update you soon….I promise.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hunting for Something

Dang, y’all…time is flying by. I started writing this entry in January and I’m just getting the chance to finish it. Last time I posted I was sitting on the NYC marathon sidelines, drinking away my sorrows and I’m happy to report that I’m no longer a spectator. Not even close.

Before I fill you in on what’s happening now, let me back up a bit.

My focus over the past three and half years has been on my babies…making them, growing them, nursing them, comforting them, getting others to help me watch and love them and introducing them to their surrounding world.  Obviously, my children will always garner much of my attention, but as they get older and more independent (think walking and self ass-wiping, not driving) I’ve had a renewed sense of freedom. With that, I’ve also felt antsy, easily distracted and bored, grappling for direction and purpose.

Last summer, these feelings really came to the forefront and I asked myself “If I’m not making a baby, what hell should I be doing?”.

Thoughts on how I should quell my needs for adventure, purpose and self-improvement were all over the place and even contradictory. For example, I told Jeff we should quit our jobs (or take sabbaticals, which I’m pretty sure isn’t even an option) and travel the country in an RV with the kids. Being the kind dude that he is, his response was something like, “um, okay, Ash, we can talk about that” as he gently reminded me that I’m not the best camper, I’m not good when I’m in close quarters with my kids for long periods of time. Oh, and that both of our kids get carsick with the click of a seatbelt. Okay, scratch that.

There go the Rigbys (pretend I look like her, and pretend Jeff would rock those khaki shorts)

 Hmm. So if we aren’t going to be the adventurous type…let’s be the complete opposite and buy a house in the suburbs. Instead of exploring, let’s not and hunker down in our hometown. My house-hunting mission was underway as was Jeff’s fear and frustration. Jeff knows that once I add something to my “to-do” list, it’s getting done. This is just a guess, but think Jeff would rather me be a city-living baby-making machine, than a suburban house-hunting maniac. And to fair, Jeff thought we had put the suburban house hunt on hold for a few years, because that’s what I agreed to when we signed our two-year lease.

On August 30th, my 32nd birthday, we met with a real estate agent in West Hartford, Connecticut and looked at a dozen or so houses.  Poor Jeff. Being the supportive husband that he is and the fact that is was my birthday, Jeff went along with my roller coaster ride of emotions and ideas, shuffling his feet through open houses and feigning interest in architectural details.

There was one house that I really liked.  Jeff liked it hypothetically. I loved the 3rd floor office with a private bathroom and great natural light. I envisioned myself working there, drinking coffee, decorating it in cream and navy with artsy finds from Etsy.  Jeff asked me, what I would do about my job. Ugh. When I thought about it in more detail, the only work I would be doing in that super cute office would be on my resume. Also, it’s hard to shop without an income.

Boom! It all came into focus.

I do not want to leave my wonderful employer, Herman Miller, and I really do not want to leave them before I take advantage of their supportive education reimbursement program. I immediately stopped looking at houses and started looking at MBA programs. Jeff was ecstatic and my friends and family in West Hartford were not.

Over this long-ass winter I investigated all the Executive MBA programs within the city and surrounding areas. Over the past few weeks, I have been accepted into Fordham University’s EMBA program, the only one to which I applied and Herman Miller has agreed to pay for the entire 2-year program. WTF?!!!

I continue to house-hunt, but only as hobby. My need for adventure still bubbles to the surface, which is when I remind myself that our apartment, long and narrow, similar to an RV, is parked in one of the best places in the world. Adventure, kids, family, friends, comfort, love, personal and professional growth are swirling all around me in the best possible way and I’m so appreciative and focused.

Chilling in this amphibious camper will have to wait until retirement, or at least a few more years