New not-yet Norms

Apparently I have a subconscious desire for making several major life changes all at once. Three years ago I got married, became Mrs., moved to New York (which also meant moving in with my husband), and started seminary all in the same week. And now, over the span of 6 weeks, I graduated seminary, was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Church, became the Rev., moved from Chelsea to West Harlem and started my first clergy call at Trinity Wall Street.

The new norms are numerous, and not quite normal yet. Here are the top three:

1. Groceries. One of the selling points (or in our case, renting points) to our new place is that it’s across the street from a grocery store. Awesome! And said grocery happens to have the best craft beer selection in all of NYC. Even awesomer (you heard me). But we are Trader Joe junkies. We love TJ products, and we love that they cost the same in NYC that they cost in CLT.  And now the closest TJ’s is 50 blocks away… so we’re torn about whether we should somehow schedule weekly/bi-monthly trips to TJ’s, or just cut it out of our routine all together and accept the reality of expensive groceries in The City. Booo. Also, the Harlem Fairway does not deliver for free like it does in Chelsea. Double boo. Gluten-free Jay will have to adjust his shopping habits twice over.

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Panoramic View of Thunderstorms from our Patio

2. Pepper. People in our building know who Pepper is whether they have met her or not. Why? Because we made the mistake of leaving her alone for 3hrs on her very first day in a new space to attend a great birthday party in Brooklyn. Going to the party was not a mistake… underestimating Pepper’s shock to the system was. We came home to the sound of Pepper barking at the elevator door. Note that we heard her barking on the 1st floor, but we live on the 8th. Noise carries down those elevator shafts! So we left an apology note in the elevator, “Hello new neighbors! Sorry for the three hours of barking you may have put up with today… Pepper is normally quiet, promise!” And then I left Jay’s number for complaints (hehe). Instead we got a nice “Thanks for being so courteous, and welcome!” note on our note. WIN! But any time we meet new neighbors, they say, “This must be Pepper…” Yep. She’s doing much better now, though the fireworks and thunder aren’t helping much.

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First day of work (but also: YAY real refrigerator!)

3. Clergy Collar. It appears I am allergic to my collar–or the collar studs at least. I’ve always had a metal allergy, but I can’t remember the last time I had to mess with it. Today I ordered new collar studs and less-tight collars in hopes that this new clergy getup won’t feel like an itchy noose around my neck. It’s hard enough to come up with professional-not-frumpy-female clergy outfits… and it’s hard enough to get used to the implications of wearing a collar in a world where it can signify a range of things for an even broader range of people. It may sound silly, but I try to be sure I never have a scowl on my face. I mean, really! It’s a serious adjustment, though “lauren laughs” isn’t much of a scowler.

There are a gazillion other little things like… Do I keep my personal cell phone and carry two around or migrate everything to my work phone? Relearning Microsoft and all it’s hangups. Not being able to crowd source my peers for wisdom and insight on church dorkdom. Not knowing everyone in my building or neighborhood. Commuting. But figuring out how to navigate “our daily bread,” caring for our fur baby, and acclimating to my new uniform (with snazzy accents on a good day) and all it represents… those are every-day adjustments that will def take some time to normalize.

Lord help us, and thank you Jesus.

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