Road Trip, Day 2

I was wide awake Saturday morning at 7 a.m. after only about 5 hours of sleep. I never sleep well in hotels and besides, I was about to see New York City. I’ve only looked forward to this day since I was practically an infant. So I showered (loudly), dried my hair (more loudly- wake up people!) and put on my new sundress (could not figure out how to do that loudly although it was a little tight and a groan or two may have slipped out). Finally we were all up and ready to go. We ate breakfast and delicious chocolate chip muffins downstairs. Then we hopped on the bus, went through Lincoln Tunnel, and were dumped off at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. I was in THE CITY. THE ONE. It was awesome.

We walked around all touristy (I don’t care) taking pictures of everything. I (almost literally) ran into a wax figurine of Justin Timberlake and posed like a moron (don’t care, still. Plus, I think he was into it.) When we got to Time Square, Lisa told me it is not rude to ignore the people passing out flyers and those wearing character costumes, as they are simply out to make a buck. So we posed for a few pictures and this guy in a rooster costume laughs hysterically because he was photo bombing in at least three of them. He posed like Jesus on the Cross in his rooster costume and I was like, real funny, I’m still not paying you. But of course I was the polite Midwesterner I was raised to be and thanked him. I thanked him without money, which was surely disappointing but I wasn’t even completely sure what I was thanking him for. Thanks for ruining my pictures, maybe? So anyway…

We saw Rockefeller Center, Saks Fifth Avenue, Radio City Music Hall, and tons of other cool things they have crowded together in that area. Then we took the subway to China Town. I, being an odd mix of naive and self-righteous, was carrying my iPad on the subway. It was crowded and my husband had this weird look on his face and kept glancing at what he seemed to think was a shady character (I had been waiting for this moment) standing suspiciously close to me. When we got off the subway, I was like “what was the problem?” because I thought the guy was maybe checking out my lumps or something. Turns out, he was checking out my iPad. Bummer.

Then we went to Wo Hop! It’s a Chinese restaurant in a basement in China Town. I had the best lemon chicken ever. And egg rolls. Then we visited all of the Flight of the Conchords sites in the area. I sat on Bret and Jemaine’s stoop. I lurked in Mr. Lee’s stairwell. I saw the New Zealand consulate and Dave’s shop. It was magical. I was also getting hot because it was 90 degrees in New York City that day. I popped a few Excedrine migraines and hot-footed it to Starbucks for a Lime tea. Delicious. Also very crowded.

We walked past Yoko’s house and then to Central Park. It was beautiful. It was also hot and I was tired so we parted ways with Lisa ( who had to take care of a few things at home) and went back to the hotel for a rest. Unfortunately, I couldn’t rest but I showered again and cooled off and got ready to meet Lisa for dinner. During the bumpy bus ride back into the city, I got sicker and sicker. We walked to Hell’s Kitchen and everything I saw made me feel ill. It was also still hot and humid. There was a guy with no legs on a scooter who somehow managed to be on a corner behind us, and then reappeared on a corner ahead of us without passing us. It was messed up. I thought maybe I was hallucinating. And it was trash day, so there was trash everywhere. I could smell the entire world and its trash that night.

We went to a diner and I sat like a wet blanket while the others ate. I mentally calculated the steps it would take to get back to the hotel and whether or not I would survive. Lisa got a bag of ice from the diner owner and I held onto it just in case I needed a sick bag for the bus ride back. Luckily I didn’t..
I just made it to the hotel bathroom and then went to bed.

And that is the entirety of my NYC nightlife. It’s probably a good thing I don’t get invited to parties with JT. Some day I will tell the story of my Las Vegas trip when I was so overwhelmed I had to take a nap. But that’s a fascinating story for another time.

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Road Trip, Day One

On July 5th, my husband and I started a road trip of my own design. According to him, “I’m just along for the ride,” and although his enthusiasm was underwhelming, it did take some pressure off.

After picking up the rental car (this smooth little Eco-friendly Kia that was so quiet I tried to turn it on twice after it was already started) we hit the road. We set the GPS and spent a little while trying to figure out how it worked, which was no problem since we were going straight on I-80 for about a billion miles. We drove east across Indiana and saw nothing but grass and road. We drove east across Ohio and saw the same thing. We got to Pennsylvania and it was the same story until the mountains appeared, and let me tell you: they were a big thrill after seven or more hours of grass and road and Hardee’s service plazas. I asked my husband if they were mountains or just big hills and he wasn’t sure. Eventually we were both sure because they became huge and winding and pretty fun to drive through after going straight for hours with only intermittent road construction for entertainment.

Eventually, we stopped for dinner at a Perkins somewhere in PA. My friend Lisa was meeting us in New Jersey, so I sent her a text update which gave her virtually no information except that “the GPS says around an hour and a half more driving.” We ate fast and got back in the car. I waited for instructions from the GPS but apparently she wanted us to actually be on a road before telling us where to go. We got back on the highway. I merged when instructed (“stay left, then go right”) and we finally entered New Jersey, headed toward our hotel in Secaucus (purchased at a great bargain with a little help from William Shatner.) It was exciting to see signs pointing to New York since that was our ultimate goal. Our more immediate goal, though, was New Jersey and soon the traffic got crazy and the sun went down and since I have very poor night driving vision, I was pretty sure our adventure was going to end with us and our smooth Kia as a slick stain on the New Jersey turnpike. The GPS kept giving useless instructions like, “turn right in 30 feet,” as though I had the time or ability to calculate in my head “okay, if I’m going 75 miles per hour and there is an angry Soprano six inches from my bumper and three exits coming up within the next 50 feet, I should “exit right” when?!?”

Incredibly, I only exited wrong once and the GPS lady kindly turned me back around to the terrifying highway. Pretty soon it was darker and the lights were more glaring and the signs had large arrows pointing to lanes (I was already in!) reading “Lincoln Tunnel.” But see, I KNEW about Lincoln Tunnel, and I knew where it ended up and I also knew that after driving in New Jersey that New York City was out of the question. So I “stayed right” and “went left” until my knuckles were white and we (finally!) got off the highway and ended at our hotel. Big relieved sighs all around.

Then I realized that I promised to pick Lisa up at the bus station.

We checked in, threw the suitcase on the bed, checked to see what kind of premium movie channels were included in our cable package, and I threw myself on the bed to call Lisa and prayed that I didn’t have to go back out there.

Turned out, she was totally cool about it. In fact, there was a bus stop across the street from the hotel. So we organized a rollaway bed, greeted Lisa in the lobby, caught up a little and then slept like we had actually been killed on the highway.

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Graduation

Our youngest son graduated from high school this year and today we had an open house to celebrate. I am sitting here exhausted, but feeling so fortunate that so many of our friends and family joined us in congratulating him and wishing him a bright and joyous future.

I don’t know where the time goes, but it feels like just minutes ago that he was bravely clutching his stuffed dog before walking into Kindergarden “because on their first day, they may need someone to hold onto.”

As far as people to hold onto, I was touched to see how many care and support not only him, but our family as a whole. I was proud of how many people spoke well of how he behaves when we aren’t around. When people I’ve never met tell me that he is a wonderful young man, I know he’s someone who will do good things in the world on his own. Releasing a child into adulthood without that knowledge is a pretty scary thing, but I know he’ll do just fine.

Today I am a very proud mom. School’s out. What a ride that was.

Burn-Proof Blog

I’m going on a trip soon, and wanted to start a blog for chronicalization purposes (is that a word? I don’t have time to look it up but it’s okay- I make up words all the time.)

I have begun many blogs over the years, but always abandoned them by entry 2 or 3, usually because I forgot my user name and password whenever I had something to write down. This time will be better (… I wrote down my password this time).

Here’s the thing-I’ve always loved to write, but have never been thrilled about having people read what I’ve written. Over the last few years though, since the advent of Social Media (I’m saying this in my old woman voice), things are changing. I’m kind of an open book now, mainly because as I age, I have begun to care less about what other people think of what I think. Maybe that doesn’t make sense but…. it’s okay, I don’t care. I’m writing this for me.

My first journal was a little padded thing with a Scottie dog on the front and a high-security lock that could only be opened with a special key, or a bobby pin. If anyone were to open it (and I suspect they did, since I had two older brothers and a cosmetologically trained mother ripe with safety pins and wig-stands (I have a great wig-story, but that’s for another time)) they would have found out about my deep longing to marry Michael J. Fox and a couple of boys in my class at school. The humiliation would have been unbearable.

My room should have been off-limits, but let me tell you- there was a time when I hid my change jar and put a note in it telling my brother “YOU BETTER STAY OUT OF THIS, JERK” (because I was tired of being robbed), and he left a note back. After combing my room for my money jar, finding it, and robbing it, he left a note that said: “You’re a jerk. I’ll pay you back after allowance day.” Maybe I was, but I suspect it was the other way around. We get along fine now (in case he’s reading this).

The Scottie Dog Journal and all of my subsequent journals piled up in a cardboard box with notes from friends and letters from pen pals until one day when I was 18, and I burned them all in our fireplace. Why did I do that? Who knows. I remember watching an episode of “Coach” while I was doing it. Maybe it was something Craig T Nelson said. Maybe I didn’t want my soon-to-be-husband to read about my love for Michael J. Fox. Whatever the reason, it is one of my biggest regrets. Up in flames went the response letter I received from the Snoopy Fan Club in second grade, with a handwritten note on the bottom commending my drawing of Snoopy. I always imagined it was written Charles Schultz. Maybe it was. I hope it wasn’t.

So this is my brand-new burn-proof blog. The coolest thing about it, is that the photos are no longer cut from Teen Beat magazine and on the internets I can find as many photos of celebrities as I want- for free! This should be fun for some. Others may hate it, but the coolest thing is I don’t care anymore. You can leave your bobby pins at home.