“My wife hates moving, and she will use anything as an excuse to get out of carrying a box. Opportunity knocked in the form of a pregnancy test that had been packed inside of a slipper.”
My wife and I found out she was pregnant the day we were moving into our downtown loft. The loft was going to be our new start in Los Angeles. Yearning for something more like New York, we’d left the boring Valley and moved downtown, where there were tons of bars, restaurants, an actual subway, and about 10,000 very real heroin addicts.
My wife hates moving, and she will use anything as an excuse to get out of carrying a box. Opportunity knocked in the form of a pregnancy test that had been packed inside of a slipper. She spotted it and seized her chance to get out of lifting one end of a love seat. While she was busy committing to her excuse I went back downstairs to the truck. When I returned, drenched in sweat and hauling a sofa on my back, she was waiting in the doorway holding the pregnancy test in my face, like Gandolf.
We hugged and kissed, and eventually I nodded at the sofa blocking the hallway and asked, “Can you grab the other end?” My wife, scrambling to get out of eight seconds of lifting, said, “I’m pregnant.” “Uh, you just found out.” “Ouch, you’re hurting the baby.”
You know that old saying; “It took us one week and three local murders to realize this area wasn’t a fit for babies”? Apparently, living in downtown L.A. means listening to ambulances 24 hours a day, like you found a “Sounds of a Crisis” station on Pandora and it never switched back to Jazz. It was a lot like when people complain about living near the airport, but instead of planes it’s drug overdoses.
So we moved back to the Valley, in a railroad one-bedroom. For the first nine months our daughter slept right next to us. She’d wake up twice a night for milk, my wife would “slip a nip,” and we’d go back to sleep. All good. Then, out of nowhere, baby started losing her shit every five minutes throughout the whole night. Overnight, our apartment went from “There’s plenty of space!” to “We’re living in a panic room.”
We scoured Craig’s List, but the Valley’s inexplicable popularity meant a two-bedroom was unattainable. God knows why everyone and their mother wants to live in an area that averages 110 degrees for eight months a year. It feels like you’re living in a damned terrarium. I keep waiting for a giant hand to come out of the sky and give me a mouse.
“My wife will put on my sweatshirt, and I’ll put one of her low-cut t-shirts that dancers wear to show off their shoulders. So I look like Leroy from Fame but at least it’s cool and my tits look great.”
So, we were left thinking, Where are we going to sleep? Obviously we’d have to get real creative with the space. As a former New Yorker, I’m used to this kind of living: submarine’s quarters, Murphy bed, etc. It’s actually kind of fun. You feel like a private detective, and you have to solve a kidnapping so you can buy a fucking lamp.
But in L.A. people expect space. And with a baby you need space. You need a room for the baby to destroy as well as a place for you to be able to get away for five minutes, even if that means just standing inside your pantry staring at tuna cans.
We reached out to other parents for ideas. A few suggested putting the crib in the closet. But the closet isn’t deep enough and, oh yeah, I’m not a fuck-face. Some said we should put the crib in the living room. But then if either one of us came home after, say, 8 p.m., we’d wake her up. So like a couple of assholes, we gave her the bedroom.
For the past seven months my wife and I have been sleeping on a futon in the living room. She liked it at first (“It’s like we’re camping!”) but the enthusiasm has waned of late (“It’s like we’re homeless … in a home.”). The temperature in our non-bedroom changes as often as your average bio-dome. I like it cold. My wife likes it hot. I like the windows open, with a breeze. She likes them closed, with the heater kicking. I like to feel like an actual human. She wants to feel like a goddamn salamander. This wouldn’t be an issue except that all of our clothes are in the bedroom with the sleeping princess who must never be wakened. So in these situations we’ve taken to switching clothes. My wife will put on my sweatshirt, and I’ll put one of her low-cut t-shirts that dancers wear to show off their shoulders. So I look like Leroy from Fame but at least it’s cool and my tits look great.
The weirdest part about it is when we get in an argument and I have to sleep on the couch, because the couch and the futon are positioned as an L shape. So when I’m in trouble, we just end up sleeping with our heads touching at a 90-degree angle. All the while I’m thinking, “Maybe Chicago …”