Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Riverside Apartments

Remember your first home? (And I'm not talking about your parent's house when you were a kid, I'm talking about YOUR first home.)
I don't know about you, but Anthony and I had some seriously humble beginnings. Our first ever home was a teeny tiny apartment in Boise, ID near BSU called The Riverside Apartments. (Don't let that luxurious name fool you. The closest we came to "riverside" was the gutter.)

I don't think I have any pictures of the place, so I Googled it, and stole the following photos from the leasing website, but the pictures have obviously been staged for real estate purposes:

See the tulips? Must have photoshopped them in.

Look at the clear green water in the pool in the picture below:

Yeah, when we lived there, the pool only had a few inches of brown water and lots of leaves and debris. They actually reduced the rent of the apartments that overlooked the pool.

This picture (from the website) was taken from the corner of the family room, aimed at the kitchen.

It was a one bedroom, one bath, with no dishwasher, and we shared a washer and dryer with the entire floor, which was down the hall a ways (that was a selling point, by the way). It was an indoor complex, meaning all the hallways leading to the different apartments were inside. The hallway leading to our apartment on the third floor, was narrow with a low ceiling, and every time I stepped onto our floor, I anticipated the presence of a rapist/murderer. (That may have been my own paranoia, unrelated to The Riverside Apartments).

This picture (from the website) was taken from the front door, aimed toward the kitchen and family room.

Since we didn't have a dishwasher, we had to do our dishes by hand, just like the pioneers who came before us. Once, Anthony was doing the dishes and our neighbor called the cops, thinking he was beating me with pots and pans. Washing dishes by hand creates quite a ruckus. Bet you didn't know that.

Our kitchen had green counter tops (not the white pictured) with wood cabinets (not white). The cabinets were so tiny, we could only fit about half our stuff in them, even though we didn't have much kitchenware. The shelves were too shallow for our very average size plates, so we had to stack them on the counter.

Here's the floor plan (I drew it myself)

I made it look practically huge, but it was only about 350 sq ft. Our rent was $365/month (but according to the website, they have since upped the rent to $475/month). Can you imagine rent that cheap? I remember thinking it was so much money. And we were barely making it. Now, if I found $365 in my jeans pocket, I'd throw it in the wash without bothering to take it out. That's how little $365 is to me. (I'd get it out of my pocket after the drying cycle, though.)

Those were simple, simple times. Why'd things have to go and make things so complicated?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Can't Believe It... baby is 3.

Arch Homer Esplin

Homer's first name comes from Anthony's uncle Arch. We actually named him "Arch Henry Esplin" at the hospital, and called him Arch, sometimes Archie, sometimes Henry, and sometimes Hank for the first three or four months of his life, as we tried to get comfortable with one of his names. Why did we change his name to Homer? It's a long story that I don't have time to type about today, but the short version of it is that the name "Homer" started out as nickname, and we eventually got used to it and had his name legally changed to what it is today: Arch Homer Esplin. So be careful what you call your baby... that nickname could stick.

He was born here in Las Vegas, weighting in at exactly 6lbs. at birth, the second smallest of the Morgan grandchildren (second to Cord), but unlike his older brother, he grew pretty fast...

At the hospital the day he was born:

See that sly look in his eye:

He changed so much from month to month, I can barely see any resemblance in these baby pictures to what he looks like now.

Here he is at one year old:

Here he is at 2:

These are all from this past year:

We have a lot of fun with Homer. In the privacy of our own home, Anthony and I are secretly obsessed with him. If you could spy on us for an evening, this is the conversation you'd probably hear between me and Anthony: "Look at Homer." "Homer looks cute." "Did you see what Homer just did?" "Did you hear what Homer said?" "Anthony, Anthony look at him, quick. Look what he's doing." "Jenny, you missed what Homer just did! I told you to come here." Every ordinary thing he does and says is entertaining to us.

A lot of parents are like this in public and it drives me crazy, that's why we keep it to ourselves.
You're welcome.

There is a high possibility that Homer will be our last baby, so that's always in the back of our minds. It's exciting watching him grow, and we know from experience that better things are to come the older he gets. But it's still kind of sad to know that our days of having a baby crawl around our house have flown by.

Some of my favorite memories of Homer are posted on this blog, so I won't bother repeating them. I love this video of him watching Toy Story, this video of him as Yoda riding on Cord's back, this video of him singing all emo like, and this morning conversation with him. Check a few of them out if you have the time (being it's his birthday and all).

We love you Homer! Happy Birthday.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

NYC--A Night at the Museum (or two days)

Are you guys getting sick of my New York City trip pictures? Yeah, me neither.

This was the coolest museum we have ever visited:
The American Museum of Natural History

We easily could have spent a week here and not seen everything. It was huge.
(That's Teddy Roosevelt sitting on that horse.)

The museum faces Central Park:

You should know that Anthony always makes me do dumb poses when he takes my picture. He's pretty insistent, and I usually give in unless I'm really feeling lazy.

Anthony: "Jenny, make an elephant trunk with your arm."
Me: "All right."

Anthony: "That looks so awkward. You look like your wiping off your nose on your shoulder. Use your other arm, and make the elephant noise."
Me: "Just take it."
...30 second pause...
Me: "Hurry!"

Below is an actual human shrunken head. Warriors would take out the skull and boil the flesh until it shrunk and hardened. Gross, huh?

This rock either came from outer space or Boston; I can't remember, but in my estimation, they're pretty much the same place.

So, I tried to take a picture of the famous "Star of India" behind glass. I ended up with this queer picture of Anthony and I reflected onto the glass and the the Star of India reflected onto my womb. Talk about symbolism.

The sweetest planetarium. Remember that planetarium you visited when you were a kid with the glow-in-the-dark stickers on the inside of the dome in the shape of constellations? It wasn't like that.

This scale is totally broken. There's no way I weigh this much on Jupiter. For reals.

Real, giant bugs:

Anthony: "Wait, it totally looks like you're actually in a field with real deer."
Me: "Seriously? Take a picture and we'll say we made a quick stop in Montana."

Anthony: "Lift up your foot and it will look like your climbing that rock with the goats."
Me: "All right."

Did you know that the skeleton remains of only about 30 T-Rexes have ever been found. This is one of them, and the most complete of all of them. Famous. (BTW, I didn't tell Anthony to pose like this, he did that on his own.)

Anth: "Position your head behind the glass between his teeth. Higher. Left. Left. Lower. A little to the right..."
Me: "Just take it!"

The view from the top floor of the museum:

Combo of my two favorite things, turtles and taxidermy.

Anth: "Your feet hurt? Let me take a picture."

The second coolest museum we went to was the MET. Again, it was ginormous and would have taken us a week to really see everything. We had to pick and chose what we wanted to see the most, and skip the rest.

Here I am looking all cultured.

Here is just a tiny sampling of the neat things we saw inside.
(We couldn't use the flash on our camera inside)
Egyptian temple:

Babe Ruth's rookie card:

Full suits of armor spanning several centuries:

They had a huge hall of Greek and Roman statues.

They had tons of "time period" rooms, complete with authentic wallpaper, flooring, moldings, fixtures, etc. It was like you were touring an old manor house or castle.

Paintings by Picasso, Rembrandt, Monet, etc... they were all a dime a dozen at the MET.

I'll post my sweet Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island pictures tomorrow. We took a lot of pictures, so bear with me as I continue my brag fest...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Flying with Cats

On this last trip, we had some very eventful flights to and from Las Vegas, and I thought I'd share a funny story. This info might even come in handy for a few of you.

First on our flight from Las Vegas to New York, Anthony and I took our assigned seats on the plane before take-off and were getting comfortable with our books and magazines when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I look back at this young girl sitting behind me, and she leans in and asks, "Are you allergic to cats?" I'm surprised by her question, because I thought it was an odd question, AND I am in fact allergic to cats. I tell her "yes" and she says, "Oh." "Why do you ask?" I say. She says, "There's a cat under your seat." I laugh, thinking she's joking or something, and then I look under my seat and there's a cat staring back at me.

Suddenly, the people around us are alerted to the presence of a cat, and everyone starts freaking out, complaining, and demanding to be moved away from the cat. As it turned out, none of these people were allergic to cats, they just don't "like cats." Nearly everyone in and around the "cat" row were adamant about being moved. None of these people knew each other, I think they just heard one person complain about sitting by the cat, and it made them all want to move. The flight was full, so it turned into a big ordeal as the flight attendant tried to find people who were willing to sit by the cat, and I started to feel bad for Cat Girl because she kept apologizing over and over to everyone and no one was saying, "don't worry about it," or "that's OK," instead, they were all rolling their eyes and giving her dirty looks.

So, when Cat Girl very sweetly notified the flight attendant that I am in fact allergic to the cat under my chair and should probably be moved, I very sweetly replied, "That's OK. I just took a Zertec and I should be OK." (In truth, even sitting by someone who owns a cat gives me allergies, which could be any number of people on the flight, so there wasn't much point in moving--I always get allergies on planes, among other cramped public locations, and make a point of taking a Zertec in these instances). Anyway, the flight attendant (who had found new seats for all the complaining, non-allergic, passengers with such concern and politeness) turned to me with her hands on her hips and said in a very reprimanding tone, "Next time you book a flight with Jet Blue, you need to notify us that you are allergic to cats." I sort of laughed, because that was ridiculous, and I said, "I wouldn't have thought to do so--I've never seen a cat on a plane before." (I thought pets flew in some "pet area" of the plane, not under the seats of passengers) She replied in the same tone, "We don't discriminate against pets. Next time, notify us that you are allergic to cats." Then she walked away.

Now, at this point, I'm still kind-of giggly because the entire situation seemed ridiculous, so my reply was pretty much a giggle. But if I had been in a logical state of mind, I would have pointed out to the bitter flight attendant that she didn't reprimand any of the "complaining" passengers for not notifying Jet Blue that they didn't want to sit by a cat on the flight. And if I had been part of the rude, angry mob, she probably would have kissed my butt like she did theirs, but since I was polite and accommodating, she felt comfortable taking issue with the fact that I should have known a cat might be under my seat. Furthermore, nowhere on Jet Blue's website, when we were booking the flight, did it say that you might be flying with a cat, or allow you the option of selecting a hypo-allergenic seat.

Anyway, I know Cat Girl was relieved that I didn't make a scene. She even shared my giggle, and inquired after my allergenic state from time to time (which made me feel like I had to hold in my sneezes and blow my nose discretely).

As we were leaving, I did have the sense to ask the same flight attendant how I would go about notifying Jet Blue that I'm allergic to cats during the booking process. She was caught off guard by my question, and then said, "Just call them." She sounded very unsure.

Monday, June 23, 2008

NYC--Our Favorite Thing in Manhattan

Ahhh, Central Park.
843 acres of green. Grass, trees, and lakes (yes, the lakes are green).
My camera simply couldn't capture the beauty of Central Park. You have to see it in person.

Most of the park was man made, but it's so old, it seems like a natural, wild part of Manhattan island that was left untouched. Manhattan's giant, towering buildings surround the park and are part of every view. It's an odd contrast. After walking around loud, busy Time Square, Central Park was a refreshing change. We could have spent a day sitting on a rock and never get bored.

The park has had many renaissances. The conservation of Central Park is now privately funded, which is probably the reason it is now safe, well-maintained, and clean. They even strictly prohibit alcohol--they blame a lot the park's past deterioration on drunken gatherings. From episodes of Law and Order, you'd assume joggers find dead bodies in Central Park on a daily basis, but I assure you, Anthony and I jogged for quite a while and didn't find a single body.

There were tons of little pathways that led to old gazebos like this one.

The park was so huge, we eventually paid a petty cap driver to take us around the whole park. He was from Russia and won his citizenship through a lottery. This is him:

The picture below is the view we had to endure from behind the petty cap driver. Please click on it to enlarge. Yes, no underwear, and a trail of thick black hair. We rode with him for over an hour. When it was over, Anthony said, "Man, we should have gotten a picture of that guy's..." Oh, Anthony, it's me you're talking to. Of COURSE I got a picture.

Here we are in front of John Lennon's house. This is where he was shot and killed. Many other famous people live here now, but I can't remember who. We saw too many houses where so-and-so lives, I can't keep it straight. Anyway, this house faces the area of Central Park named Strawberry Fields (for obvious reasons).

Our petty cab driver tried his hardest to tell us interesting facts about the park in broken English. Our favorite fact concerned this statue below of Robert Burns, who "started that famous bookstore chain, Burns and Noble." I wanted to correct the poor guy and inform him that Mr. Burns was actually the owner of a famous nuclear power plant in Springfield, but Anthony stopped me. Instead we asked, "Where's Mr. Noble's statue?" For the rest of ride, he stopped at every statue, looking for Mr. Burns partner, Mr. Noble.
(BTW, Robert Burns is a writer; he wrote the famous song we sing at New Years, "Auld Lang Syne," among other things.)

Ah, here we are in front of that fountain from the movie Enchanted (it's in the background).


Turtle Lake is behind the fountain and it's FULL of turtles. Red Eared Sliders, to be exact.

This is Central Park from the top of the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art). The museum is actually in the park.

more to come...