Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New York City With Kids

There is a local blogger who makes a living telling tales about her misadventures. Funny tales. Tales that I wonder if they are true. Tales that make me think she ought to consider staying closer to home. Except that I usually laugh a lot when she tells these tales, so I hope she keeps telling them for a long time.

Anyway, I think her spirit followed me to New York City this past weekend, and all I can say is that I am very grateful my entire family made it out alive and together, and I hope I'm not about to start that phase in my parenting where I cannot leave the house without worrying that we won't all make it back.

For quite some time now, I've wanted to go to NYC. Brilliantly, I selected Memorial Day weekend as the weekend I would travel. Because if a bazillion other people are doing it, it must be a good idea. The plan was to leave Ed's office around 2:00 on Friday. On Thursday, my last working day, the friend I was visiting updated her Facebook status to this:

Stuck with two kids and a constipated cat today. Hoping none of them ruin the long weekend!!

My reply:

Should I be scared?

Her response:

Think the cat is OK. Teo is out of sorts and has a low-grade fever. (But was jumping all over Trader Joe's!) Will let you know how things progress this pm.

We kibitzed on Friday a bit, and it seemed like Teo was on the mend, and the trip to the doctor was more of a "just to check-in" sort of trip instead of a "my son will be spending the next 48 hours in a hospital room as he recovers from pneumonia and he gets oxygen" sort of trip. As it turns out, it was the latter sort of trip. But that was discovered after we were already on the road.

Typical travel time to NYC from DC = 4.5 hours. Build in time to stop and purchase an enormous package of french fries for the little people, and the trip should be a whiz, right? Only I didn't get to Ed's office until closer to 2:30, because a lot of cars decided to cross the bridge into DC about the same time I decided to cross it. And then, those same cars decided to keep right on driving to Interstate 95, and after over an hour in the car, Baltimore was not all that close to being in our sight. At one point, Ed suggested bailing, but damn it, I was not going to let a little traffic keep me from seeing Vickie, Teo, Benjie, and their cutie Luna - who I haven't seen since she decided to take her first steps with a walker at my home quite some time ago. Plus, I don't believe in sunk costs.

Sometime around 7:00, I got word that Teo would not be coming home. Only I was about an hour away from NYC at that point, and we were not going to go home either. And luckily, Vickie is the most generous host in the entire world because she was all "don't worry. We won't be able to do the things we had planned for tomorrow, but you can still have fun!" And, lest you think that I am the biggest jerk in the world, Ed planned to go to the baseball game with his parents on Saturday, so we'd be cancelling on them, too.

We pulled up to Vickie's apartment at 8:15 PM on Friday night. That detail is important. We pulled up next to a sign that read "No parking midnight - 3 AM Monday, Wednesday, Friday". I unloaded our bags as Connor, Helen, and Ed ran to the dry cleaners next door that had a donkey out front that children could ride. Helen about burst a gasket when Connor dropped in 50 cents and the thing started moving. At just about this time, Vickie and Luna came walking up the street. Vickie and I hugged, Connor and Helen jumped for joy at seeing Vickie, the woman who they would choose as mother if they had the choice. Helen hugged Baby Luna, and then Ed pulled away to park our car on the other side of the street, which had a sign that read the same as the above sign, except the days of the week were Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Those readers that are smarter than Ed and I know what will be waiting on our window Saturday morning. HINT: days start at midnight, not 8:00 AM. But the $45 we would ultimately owe was the least of our problems.

When Ed returned from across the street, Vickie and I turned to go into the building. A quick count on my part showed I was short one child. One very small child who occasionally wanders around. So I asked "Ed, where's Helen" and he looked at me as if to say "how would I know? I've been moving the car from this perfectly legal parking spot to an illegal parking spot across the street." What I had missed in greeting Vickie was this:

But what I found a moment later was this:

Awesome. Child found. I went into Vickie's building with Connor, the cooler that held Helen's milk, the bag of stuff I packed for the car (none of which was actually used), Ed's backpack of clothing, and a few loose ends.

Ed came in a bit behind me with Helen on his shoulders.

After the excitement of seeing all the new toys died down, I went to fetch the children's pajamas. I looked around for my suitcase, and asked Ed where it was. Only, he had no idea because apparently he possesses the skill of walking right by a suitcase without picking it up.

All I can say is this. Vickie must live in a very good part of Brooklyn because when Ed went downstairs to fetch the suitcase, it was still sitting there, untouched. And I had been so careful about emptying the car! What a waste.

Meanwhile, Connor queried
"are there any toys in that suitcase?"

"No, Connor, it's just clothes."

"Oh good, because I would be really sad if we lost some toys."

"Yes, that would be sad."

"Oh Wait, Mommy! Is Daddy's rainbow shirt in there?"

"Yes Connor, you put it in there this morning."

"It has my toys in it!!!! I wrapped them up this morning. I will be so sad if they are gone."

So that was our first few hours in NYC. I'll tell you about the rest tomorrow. The preview? I believe I had my first ever panic attack and definitely had a migraine headache while Ed sat through the longest baseball game of the season.



  1. Actually, I think you guys travel with the good-vibe fairy; our part of Brooklyn is still "transitioning". It was indeed a minor miracle that the suitcase was still sitting out front!

  2. THis is going to be a great read. Sometime I will tell you about my first 24 hours in Paris, the drink limo driver, blowing out the electricity in one hotel and 2 couples being assigned the same room in a hotel and that had a bad ending.

  3. Oh my. Looking forward to the rest of the story.

    Vickie (if I may hijack Elaine's comments to talk to you), how is Teo?

  4. This was funny. Looking forward to Part II