New York City, Part I

Can you guess where I was last week?

I mean, without reading the title of this entry, can you guess where I was?



I suppose I screwed that all up.

Alright. Let’s start again.


Last week, my hubby and I spent two glorious days in Gotham! The Big Apple! The City That Never Sleeps! We gamboled down The Great White Way! Hiked through Hell’s Kitchen! Meandered down Madison Avenue! We uhhhh….sauntered!…through Central Park!

Actually, we walked just about everywhere.

I think I put more miles on my Wal-Mart sneakers in two days than I have all year. Yesterday I woke up and seriously, I am not kidding you, it felt as if my calves had been chewed-off by weasels or some other sharp-toothed rodent. Just pure pain…not even the good kind of “whooo-whee, have I been exercising and don’t my gams look all ripped and vascular, I sure do deserve a new pair of high heel flip-flops” pain.

No, this was all “damn, can you really hurt yourself just walking? That’s so pathetic. I didn‘t even fall down. Much.”

So let me back-up.

What, in tarnation, was I doing in New York City?

Well, it goes this way:

One night at work, I was looking particularly glum. Not just, “ho hum, I haven’t had enough caffeine today” glum. But rather an “if I have to endure another day of laundry, cleaning-up cat-pee-soaked rugs, calling plumbers, and handing over obscene amounts of money to Dude Man at the body shop to fix a busted fender (another story for another day), I swear to Flying Spaghetti Monster I’m going to rip a page out of The Purpose Driven Life and slit my wrists with it” kind of glum.

The kind of glum that can’t be hidden or ignored or fixed with a few loverly, fresh cucumber slices covering your baggy, saggy eye bags.

The kind of glum that makes passers-by look on you with pity and ask whether you might not need a few bucks, because, you know, you look like you definitely need fancy anti-sad drugs and fast to get you out of that kind of glum.

You will be happy to know that it didn’t take pharmaceuticals to get me out of my funk. Not even vitamin D in mass quantities (which never works for me anyway.)

What did pull me out of glumsville was an offer by a very dear friend (he wasn’t a very dear friend at the time, but anyone who helps you out of glum becomes a very dear friend very quickly) to use his apartment in New York City for a few days. Just go. Have fun. Take the kids or leave them home. There’s a parking space included and a doorman and a long, high view of the Hudson River from the 27th floor. Go. You look like you need a break. Just read. Or walk around town. Or heck, just take a nice long nap in the enormous, comfy bed. Go. Have a nice time. Bring lots of cucumber slices.

Say what?

Could this be for real?

Is this man whom I hardly know - and who isn’t in return asking for photos of me wearing nothing but tap shoes and Saran Wrap - really offering me his apartment…?

Well, to be honest, I didn’t pursue that line of thinking for very long. I mean, I know people say things like “come up and see me sometime” all the time, and that they’re just being polite and such, and in extending the offer really have no expectation of your saying “Boy, Howdy! How about next week?”

But screw that.

Life’s too short to wonder whether someone you hardly know is being sincere - or potentially perverted - when there is so much glum-busting at stake.

So “Boy, Howdy! How about next week?”

And so, a brief journal of my big adventure in rejuvenation via Manhattan.


What to wear, what to wear…

I haven’t been to NYC in more than a few years, and last time I was there I sure do remember all the fine folks of Manhattan wearing a lot of black. But it wasn’t summer then. Do people in NYC wear black in the summer, too? Or just the people who work at bookstores and coffee shops?

I don’t have a whole lot of summer black, but let’s see…there’s a black T-shirt and here’s a black skirt from a Halloween outfit, and I own one or two black bras, although maybe they’re more grey…

But wait a minute!

Who am I, anyway? I am a suburban housewife! I used to be hip and cool and "all that" on a pita, but now let’s face it…the last time I went shopping for clothes, capris were OUT and no one who didn’t also have a marijuana leaf tattoo on her neck would be caught dead in a peasant skirt.

Now, the Olson twins wear peasant skirts. (Well…at least the real skinny one does.)

Which leads me to face another painful fact…if my first thought is “wear black to NYC”, well then that little piece of fashion dope must be wrong just on principle; that principle being the following: suburban moms from PoDunk Pennsylvania who last shopped for clothes in a proper clothing store in 1998 (“clothes” meaning “maternity tents“) just don’t by definition have their fingers on the pulse of what’s cool. And as further testament, I bet the really cool people don’t even use the word “cool.” I am so giving myself away. No one will ever believe I’m not a tourist. Or a rube. And if I’m going to New York City, then Gosh Dangit, I want to go with a bit of panache, flair, style, elan...

(No idea what elan means. It came up in the thesaurus….but I wanted to be it, anyway.)

So, we’re back to “what to wear“. At least now I know I shouldn’t wear black because that’s what I think I should wear ipso facto I should not wear it.

And so, I chose a lot of shiny stuff that I bought on sale last summer at the Good Will.

I very rarely wear any of my shiny clothes. You just can’t wear shiny clothes in PoDunk PA without people thinking you are not acting your age and/or possibly trying to steal their husband. Or, perhaps even that you're a “cocktail waitress” at a truck stop.

But didn’t I just see a photo of Paris Hilton walking out of some Fifth Avenue fashion dig wearing a super shiny outfit? And didn't the accompanying article praise her oh-so-to-the minute fashion fancy as redhot je ne sais quoi? And wasn’t she on some show where she tried to be a country bumpkin but failed miserably because all her shiny stuff kept scaring the pigs?

Hmmmmm...a conumdrum.

Well, if it’s good enough for an heiress/porn star, it’s good enough for me.

Packing List: 2 shiny shirts, one pair of shiny silver sneakers, a shiny dress, two pair of satiny pants (just to give everyone’s pupils a break), and a slightly shiny pair of jeans. Perfect.

No one will ever guess I’m from out of town.

And not a hooker.

Driving To New York

After trying to decide whether to vacate solo or with hubby or with hubby and kids, I figured it might be nice, after all, to bring along only my darling spouse. We hadn’t had a “Mommy Daddy Date” in a long time, and surely a trip together sans children would give us a long overdue chance to relax, destress, and bond over something other than an argument about who is suffering more at the adorable hands of our sweet, intelligent, conniving children. (I of course love my children dearly, and my referring to them as “conniving” is meant in the best way possible…the Little Dears.)

So, after ditching our kids with my mom (with the instruction to allow them to sit in one place and watch as much television as they wanted as long as it kept them from any falling/jumping/dog wrestling/blood-spurting/lots of stitches emergencies which would cut short our trip), my hubby pushed the minivan into overdrive and headed across I-80 toward The Big Easy (oh wait…that’s New Orleans) The Big…New York.

Why I-80, you ask, and not I-78 which would bring you right to the Lincoln Tunnel and almost directly to the front door of the apartment? Why would you instead cross the George Washington Bridge almost 120 blocks out of your way?


Did you know that the Lincoln Tunnel is, despite its name, a big, long tunnel?

And not only that, but that it’s a big, long tunnel under a lot of water?

And that if you’re driving through terroists the Lincoln Tunnel and for some reason terrorists it decides to stop being a tunnel terrorists and instead wants to try life as, say, a big swimming pool terrorists, that drowning to death in a minivan is pretty much one of the most cosmically absurd ways to die and that in your next life you automatically arrive wearing a gerbil shirt that you must never take off?

Never mind the “Holy Shit! Here comes a lot of water!” terrorists factor.

And if that still seems like a pitiful and ridiculous reason for not driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, and if you’re right now pointing your finger at me snickering “The terrorists have already won, you freedom-hater", let me just say one more thing:

The Stand, by Stephen King.

Yeah. That’s right.

Now that you’re thinking about climbing over three-thousand rogue-virus infested rotting corpses in a long, dark, hot tunnel (under a lot of water) it ain’t so ridiculous.

Or maybe it still is.

But the view from the George Washington was just grand. You just don’t get the view from a long, dark, hot tunnel under water.

Although, I did get a little edgy driving past those giant LED signs on the bridge, blinking


I just shieled my baggy eyes with my super big sunglasses and rubbed a corner of my shiny shirt against my upper lip, like I used to when I was five.

Ohhhhhhh...soft, shiny shirt....

I was feeling relaxed and less glum already.


anne said...

I hear ya about The Stand - it was all I could think of driving through the tunnel. However, my fear of being lost in NYC while driving seriously outweighed the tunnel fear and I just braved my way through.
I can't wait to hear the exciting conclusion. I hope you made it back with your car...

Unknown said...

So, how did the shiny stuff work out for you?

I love that city and cannot *wait* to go back. Sounds like you had a great time... looking forward to part II!

Anonymous said...

Weasels are carnivores, not rodents. Either would have pretty sharp teeth, though. said...

Weasels. Rodents. That's good to know.

Right now, I'm thinking about a somewhat larger variety of weasel, and calling him a rodent would be an insult to rodents. And weasels.

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