Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Coming and Going


Sunday night I got a text from my friend Kira that said, "Hey, what are you doing tomorrow? Want to go on an adventure with me?" For all I knew she meant running to Price Chopper for salad dressing, but since she worded it that way, I was all in. I'm always up for an adventure. I live for adventure. Unfortunately, a stay at home mom in Upstate NY doesn't get that many opportunities. And any adventures I do have must occur between 8:15 and 3...
     As it turns out, we ended up going to Binghamton for the day, which is infinitely better than grocery shopping, even though Binghamton isn't exactly the most hopping city on the eastern seaboard. It was still a memorable trip and I haven't truly laughed so hard in a long time. Kira was my first friend when I moved to NY (our husbands started at KAPL the same week, our hotel rooms were next door to each other, and we both had two boys the same age--so it was kismet). We had many adventures together our first year in NY, but once the boys started school and we got busy with work and life, they've sort of petered out over time. She and I make a great team, and frequently find ourselves in the most funnily absurd situations together. They just seem to find us. We'll no doubt be the two old biddies cracking each other up in the nursing home, because we've got stories
     So as exciting as yesterday was, today was just chock filled with blah. I ran errands all morning, grocery shopped, and cleaned the kitchen. When life is that exciting, the only thing that saves my sanity is thinking about my super awesome future plans.
      Starting this weekend. My cousin (who is really like a second mother to me) is coming to NYC this weekend with her husband, and I've spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure out a way to get to the city to see her. When I was down in Asheville, I saw her briefly, and we talked about spending the weekend together in the city, but she told me the wrong dates, and I made hotel reservations (on hotwire--so no changes) for the weekend of the 30th. We haven't taken the boys to the city in a couple of years,and thought maybe we would attempt it again this year. They're old enough now to handle a kid-friendly Broadway matinee,  I think I can safely do a little shopping without a full on tantrum erupting, and since I spent Mother's Day at a fort watching muskets and cannons fire, they totally owe me. I threatened Tom with death if he even uttered the words Intrepid Air and Space Museum in their presence.
     Sadly, we have lived here 5 years in June, and have only been to the city once, and that was just to go to the Natural History Museum during the one month the boys actually cared about dinosaurs (that phase passed really quickly). I love my children and my husband, but dear god, if I have to go to one more mechanical, sciencey, testosteroney museum or location of historic significance, I am going to commit hari kari. I want to see a musical, eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner, go to the MOMA, ride around in a hokey sightseeing bus, and shop.
      Barring that, I would like to go to the city, and hang out with my cousin I never get to see, spend the day with her southern accent, and have a nice dinner. So even though we got our wires crossed,  I'm going to the city for the day to see her. It is only because she is one of my favorite people on planet Earth, that I am trekking down to NYC two weekends in a row.
     When people hear I live in NY state, they immediately think I must be bopping down to NYC every chance I get, but the truth is, I could probably get to Alaska more easily. Obviously, you don't drive into the city unless you have a death wish and a desire to pay more than your mortgage for parking. There is a bus from Albany to NYC, but the last bus returning to Albany from the city is at 5pm, so that's not ideal if you're going down for the day and want to see anything. Plus, last week when I looked up fares they were $18 each way, and now they've jumped to $78, so it's not like you can be spontaneous. I could take Amtrak, but it's more than $80 round trip. To take advantage of the cheaper fares on Metro North (approximately $20 round trip, off peak), I could drive all the way to Poughkeepsie (an hour and a half south), the northernmost stop on the line. Then it takes you to Grand Central, which is awesome if that's the area you want to be in, but sucktastic if it's not, because then you have to figure out where you want to be in the city and take the subway (which is frankly, inexplicable, unless you live in the city and someone has clued you in).
     Our last foray into the city, we took the boys to the Natural History Museum. We decided to take the subway back after hiking 20-some blocks through Central Park (it's really bigger than it looks on a map), to be confronted with a subway platform with just two signs with two options Uptown/Downtown. In Schenectady, those words are used pretty much interchangeably to describe State Street, where everything is. But not in NYC. And do you think they could say, throw us tourists a bone, and have a handy map of the subway system with a cute You Are Here graphic. Nah. That would be too helpful. We must have been there on an off day to, because in a city of a billion people, there was not a soul around to ask for help. I've taken public transportation all over the world, and navigated railroad and subway stations with signs written in languages I couldn't understand, and it was still easier to get around than the afternoon I spent on the NYC subway.
     So there's a fear, too, of spending all that money trying to get into the city to go to, say, the Bronx Zoo and winding up in Hoboken. And if you do manage to find your way around the city, and have an awesome time and decide to stay late, you still have to take the train back to Poughkeepsie and then drive, exhausted, the hour and a half it takes to get home. Not ideal. I'm tired just thinking about it.
     Today we finally nailed down some plans, and happily, Grand Central is only 4 blocks from my cousin's hotel, so this will mercifully work out in all our favors. Now I'm (masochistically) debating whether to bring one of the boys with me. A lot depends on their level of enthusiasm when I float the idea their way.
     When we told Sam about our trip, he immediately wanted to climb to the crown of the Statue of Liberty, to which Tom and I both said No, No, No, and NO! I climbed to the top of the Eiffel Tower in April in 80 degree weather, and there was at least a breeze and open staircases (I was still completely drenched in sweat by the time I got up there, and then still had to climb all the way down). There is no way in hell we're climbing inside a metal tube in 80 degree weather. You absolutely can't pay me to do it. We'll attempt it in one day in the fall, when the temperature is 30 degrees cooler.  I'm not sure Sam or John will be too revved about my NYC plans, but sometimes they surprise me. And either way, we'll be back next weekend anyway, when they won't have a choice.
    Next weekend we're taking Metro North in, and we're going to wing an overnight in the city with the boys. And did I mention we have no actual plans? With our children? The two who tried to push each other into oncoming Park Avenue traffic for fun? This ought to make for an interesting retrospective blog post. I'm sure you're already breathless with anticipation...
  

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