Can you believe it? We’re back from vacation more than a month and I still haven’t closed out the stories!
Ready for a fast track? Here goes!
July 5: Walked the Brooklyn Bridge with the kids, then hopped over to Chinatown where Cootieboy had another meltdown in a Chinese ice cream shop. I had a taste of the dulian-flavored ice cream and it was surprisingly delicious. We then all began walking towards Little Italy but Denis quickly determined it was a "walk to nowhere" since everyone was in a pissy mood, so we opted to head downtown to wait for our entrance time for the 9/11 museum. By the time we got there, CB had calmed down, Denis had calmed down, and everyone was back to normal. We visited the Twin Tower memory pools and then headed into the museum.
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I can tell you that the museum did not disappoint in the slightest. Seeing all the pictures, videos, debris on display – it brought that day back, and I’m so grateful that my area of NYC was not under attack that day, and that we did not lose anyone in the tragedy. The kids had lots of questions, which we answered, and it was definitely time well spent.
At that point, the kids and I headed back to the apartment while Denis went to go meet up with a friend of his for drinks and catching up. The kids asked if the following day could not be so busy since they were tired, and I agreed. We’d take the morning "off" to relax, and only do our afternoon plans.
July 6: We slept in! We watching cartoons! We had a leisurely breakfast! The morning was glorious. Then we headed out to meet my friend Mare-Bear for lunch near our old office building (where she still works). We had a great time catching up with her for an hour or so, and upon parting we took the subway uptown to visit the American Museum of Natural History. We wanted to see all the pieces featured in "Night at the Museum" while we were there. But the museum was SO PACKED with people, it was insane. We did check out a show at the on-site planetarium, where Denis promptly fell asleep and started snoring, which made CootieGirl and I get the giggles. That night was another quiet night for the kids and me, while Denis went out to meet a couple of his childhood friends for drinks and catching up.
July 7 was a fun day. We drove to Coney Island where we ate Nathan’s hotdogs, CB rode the famous Cyclone wooden rollercoaster (and many other rides), and CG dipped her toes in the ocean. Then a torrential rainstorm started, so we rushed to our car and drove back to Astoria. We chilled for a bit before heading out to meet our old Kew Gardens neighbors R&T for dinner, but REALLY the event was a much-belated surprise birthday dinner for Denis. I had collaborated for a couple months with many of his friends and family to get everyone together, and it was a great success! In the end, R&T forgot to come (which is hilarious since they were my alibi), but there were a total of 10 of us who gathered to tell our favorite Denis stories and memories.
On July 8 we had planned to go to Central Park to walk all over the place, but Denis and I quickly realized that there was NO WAY the kids would be able to do it. So we instead had a low-key morning taking the free Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and grab some lunch. This was the kids could say they had been to four of the five boroughs during the trip. That night we headed to the Mets game at Citifield. Our seats were high and behind homeplate, and CootieGirl and I sat next to each other so we could entertain ourselves since we don’t care much about baseball. She and I had a great time together.
July 9 was our day to head home, but first we took a drive over to Jersey to show the kids our first house, where we brought them home as infants and where they shared a room. CB, upon seeing it, declared, "Wow – that house is SMALL!" to which I replied, "That house was perfect for us at the time." The house looked great and clearly the current owners have a pride of ownership of their home (and they should – it was a great house). We then headed to our favorite German bakery down the block to pick up some yummy pastries, and then went to the Tick Tock diner for breakfast. That was our hangout when we lived in Bloomfield and we wanted to visit. It has not changed one tiny bit. Same 1970s pink interior decor.
Then it was time to hit the road for Virginia, where we were going to drop off the kids a couple days early at my parents’ house for a week of "Camp Marmie." We were on the Rte 287 near Whippany about 30 minutes later when suddenly we heard a very loud noise, and I quickly realized that we had a flat tire. We pulled over on the side of the highway, where we pulled EVERYTHING out of the trunk, pulled out our spare tire…and discovered it was flat. Ugh. NOW WHAT?
I’ll tell you now what. In quick succession, a NJDOT truck pulled up to offer assistance (yay!), and CB opened his car door to whine, "I feel sick," and sure enough – he went over to the side rail and promptly hurled his entire breakfast on the side of the road (boo!).
With the flat tire on the car (and inflated again), the NJDOT worker told us where to find a place that might have tires so we could get a new one. We moved CB to the front seat again to settle his stomach, and promptly sought out a tire shop. About ten miles down the road we pulled into a shop where I told the mechanic our problem.
"Well, we don’t really sell tires anymore, but let me see what I’ve got in the back." Oh no. Please, dear Lord, let him have my kind of tire back there.
He came out a few minutes later and said, "I happen to have ONE TIRE in the size you need – pull your car up over there and as soon as a mechanic is available, we’ll put it on."
About an hour later we were on the road again, having spent the best $112 we could spend. A few hours later we arrived at my parents’ house in Virginia, where Denis and I spent the night before hugging the kids and heading home the following morning.
Never have I been so happy to walk into my house after a vacation.
Never have I been presented with SO MUCH DOG HAIR in my house. We had left the dogs at the house in care of a dogsitter, and apparently the stress of us being gone combined with several nights of fireworks caused Chilly the Dog to shed an entire second dog’s worth of dog hair around the house. AND he got into the area where we keep the kitty litter and SHREDDED everything. There was kitty litter everywhere.
So upon arriving home I spent 2-3 hours CLEANING THE HOUSE before I could do anything else.
But truth be told? Even with all the drama, and the heat/humidity, and the things going wrong, it was still a great trip – certainly one to remember!