Pete & Nina and Jason & Paula

This is one of the better parts of our trip to the Northeast: Our weekend in NYC with Pete and Nina and Jason and Paula.

Friday, October 13: I had a wonderful night’s sleep! Our hostess Trisha also set out breakfast items for us. Amazing! I was informed that Jack said a second word, “Daddy.” I smiled, thinking, I’ll believe that when I hear it. Jack actually took a nap, and Max packed for the weekend. We discovered that we needed formula, so we went to Shaw’s… ah Shaw’s! How well I remember it. From Shaw’s, we drove onward to Boston’s South Station. Max dropped me off with Jack in the stroller. I circled the building numerous times trying to figure out what I wanted to eat. I said to Jack, “I wonder where Daddy is?” and he said, “Daddeee”.
Oh…. soooooo cute!
So yes, Jack had a second word.
Max got back as I was buying an overpriced piece of blueberry crumb cake. For whatever reason, I didn’t tell Max that I thought I might want chicken nuggets if he went to McDonald’s, so when he came back with McD’s I had to go for myself and buy them. This meant that we boarded the train somewhere near the end of the boarding calls. We settled ourselves in at a table with facing seats, only to hear the conductor holler: “This is the quiet car! No cell phones, no music, no talking above a whisper.” Then he looked directly at us, “No babies on the quiet car!” Grrrrr…. We had to move to another car, where Max had to ask people if they could move so that we might sit together. People had seats for their computers, bags, etc. and I’m sure they didn’t pay for those extra seats. We finally got some seats together. I am paranoid about leaving our bags, so I went back to the other car to get what Max left there, and then Max had to go back and get the rest. Jack was fussing because he wanted to eat. So did I! As I fed him, I got out the pricey crumbcake — and Jack knocked it down the center aisle.
The 4 hour trip seemed much, much longer with an active baby on my lap. Amtrak doesn’t have seat belts, so we couldn’t put his car seat on the seat.
We arrived in NY, and tried to get our bearings. Upstairs in Penn Station, there was the enormous sign of Amtrak departures and arrivals. I thought that was where we were to meet Pete & Nina. Just in case, I called Nina’s cell. She sounded concerned and confused. Then I looked up, and saw Pete, who had to take the phone from me and convince Nina that we were all right.
Pete said that the walk from Penn Station to his apartment was “doable.”
NYC Rule #1: NEVER believe a New Yorker when he says a walk is doable. 45 minutes later we ended up at his very nice apartment building, which thank God has an elevator.
Pete and Nina’s apartment was the size of the guest suite that we were staying in back in NH. Actually, to be honest, it may be smaller than the guest suite. My first order of business was to get Jack to sleep, which I insisted must be in the bedroom. I didn’t care who else slept in the bedroom, but Jack needed the bedroom. Nina had been out buying things and looking for a bath tub stopper (so Jack could bathe). They had a decent size sink, so I just bathed Jack in there. It took almost an hour to get Jack to sleep, after which the adults ordered dinner. It was really quite good! I had a turkey burger.
We conversed for quite some time, and then came the question of who was going to sleep where. Pete and Nina offered us the bedroom (even before Jack went to sleep in there). I’ll admit that I really did want to sleep in the bedroom with Jack, but I am also selfish, and wouldn’t necessarily offer my bed to guests, so it would serve me fine to sleep on the futon. We all equivocated until Pete insisted that Max and I take the bedroom.
New York City is loud at night. I slept fitfully, despite my Xyrem.

Saturday, October 14: It took us a looonnnggg time to get moving in the morning. Jason and Paula called and we made plans to meet them at a small park near P&N’s house. I got Jack dressed in his moose outfit: moose onesie, moose overalls, moose socks, moose hat. I was in a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. Pete dressed for jogging, and was wearing tight fitting shorts and a t-shirt. We went out, and it was fucking freezing! As we walked, I noticed that I was not getting any warmer. When we got to the park (2 blocks away) I also noticed that all of the children were dressed for blizzard conditions, and here was my California boy in short sleeves. I finally decided to go back to P&N’s for some clothes. Pete gave me his keys, and I figured out how to use the key card for the front door. Try as I might, however, I couldn’t get the key to fit into the apt. door, and had to knock and risk waking Nina (who had stayed behind to nap). Fortunately, Nina was on the phone with a friend, and I was able to grab what I needed to grab. However, I left twice before I had everything that I needed.
When I got back to the park, I saw Jason before I was even inside the gate. This made me happy. This happiness was shortlived, because a grim-faced Max presented me with a soaked Jack. Jack had leaked in a major way. I had brought a sweater and an extra onesie, but I did not have an extra pair of pants. The four of us clustered around Jack, changing him on a park bench in who knows what temperature. He was screaming. Paula asked what would calm him down. I said, “Seasons of Love.” She said, “You’re kidding!” But when we started to sing, Jack calmed down. I was impressed — mostly by our singing. I think we should form a duo. I decided to feed Jack, and sent Max back to P&N’s to get the one pair of pants we did have. Jack fell asleep after draining the bottle, and slept in the stroller, wrapped in a sweater over a short-sleeved onesie and then wrapped again in a blanket made by Trisha (our NH hostess).

Crisis averted, we spent a great deal of time talking about Paula’s pregnancy, Jack, motherhood, fatherhood, baby stuff, and just a little bit about theatre. Pregnancy becomes Paula. She remains gorgeous! (Aside: I talk about my friend Paula who’s having a baby,  and people ask if they know her – i.e. was she at the wedding? – I say yes, she was our singer’s girlfriend, and one of two black women at the wedding. People inevitably reply, “Oh her! She’s gorgeous!” So it’s not just me.)

We became hungry, so we started walking with Jack still asleep. I asked, “Hey, is there one of those cupcake places around here?” J&P think and said that there’s one in Times Square, which isn’t too far away.
Remember NYC Rule #1? Well, I sure didn’t! Many, many windblown blocks later, with Jack wrapped in another layer of Max’s shirt, while Max wore Jason’s jacket, we arrived at… a closed Crumb’s. Right next door, there was a Pret a Manger where everything was ready made. I finally dressed Jack in the pants Max brought, and tried to feed him, but he wasn’t having it. He did, however, want everything WE had. J&P spent ample time entertaining him. At one point, Jason had him looking out the window, so I went around and took a picture from the other side. I waved my hand: Hi. And he said, “HI!” This is an important developmental step. He now knows that the wave means “hi!” so perhaps he will learn that we’ve been signing “bottle” and other useful words.
From Times Square, we took a very crowded subway ride from Grand Central Station to Union Square, where we went to Babies R Us. J&P went for reconnaissance, Max went for pants, and Jack and I went to the mother’s room. The sign on the door read that no fathers were allowed in the mother’s room. However, there was no father’s room. This bothers me greatly.
Well, Jack had a lot of fun in the mother’s room. He got to eat, meet a few new babies, stand up and schooch around. He also started trying to eat the wheels on all the strollers. He’ll eat plastic and rubber, but he shuts his mouth tight against peas and chicken.  I was informed by another mother that Julianne Moore was in the store with her son. Later, I found that J&P had seen them, while Max had been oblivious. Anyway, Max picked out a cute, inexpensive outfit for Jack so that he would have something to wear on Sunday. I wandered the store looking for them, and told Jack he could choose  a toy from the developmental toy shelves. He chose a cow wearing a hula skirt. Then he abandoned that for a rattle with an elephant on it, identical to one he already has with a lion on it.
Jack began to melt down, so we tried to get a cab, but none were to be found. We ended up back on the subway, again crowded. A young-ish man offered Max, who was carrying Jack (strollers and subways do not mix), his seat. Jack fell asleep on Max almost immediately, then I said that Paula should take Jack and the seat. Paula, 30+ weeks pregnant, had been walking around the city all day, standing more often than sitting, and she did not complain at all. I wish I had her constitution!  Jack remained asleep during the transfer to Paula, and then slept for most of the way back to P&N’s. We invited J&P over to P&N’s. I gave Jack a quick dunk in the sink and then fed him and he was out. We ended up ordering pizzas, and I twisted everyone’s arms into getting some ice cream. We had a really great time conversing. I think everyone got to talk with everyone else at some point. It was nice and low-key. I finally had to excuse myself as I was so tired. I took a shower, and J&P left after that. I slept much better that night, and Jack slept in.
I am so happy that we got to see J&P! That’s another problem with living in California: We’re far away from our friends in New York.

Sunday, October 15: My goal was to take Jack out and surprise everyone with breakfast. However, P&N awoke while I was looking for the keys. Pete made pancakes, and then I made more pancakes and no one ate them. We took a cab back to Penn Station. At the cab, Nina invited us to Florida! Don’t think we’ll make it though – trips cost money, after all. Still, we would love to see P&N sooner rather than later.
Amtrak sucks. We arrived at Penn Station plenty early, but they didn’t announce the track number before boarding, so we ended up in a mad crush of people waiting to get through the turnstyles. People were cutting in front of and between and every which way. Max and I were separated. On the platform, a friendly usher told us that the only way we would get seats together was to sit in the cafe car. Jack ended up eating and falling asleep for about an hour. Then he didn’t sleep for the rest of the ride. We left Penn Station at about 3:30 and didn’t make it into South Station until almost 9. Max went to get the car. I had cotton candy ice cream and waited. Max came back, sans car.
The garage was closed on Sunday.
Our options? a) Call someone in NH and try to get a ride. b) Get a taxi. c) Get a hotel room in Boston for the night and drive home the next day. We ended up with b – which ended up being a $118 taxi ride. The driver really got a kick out of Jack. He did ask if Jack was adopted. We said, Yes. He asked, “Where’s he from?” and I said, “Missouri.” Then he asked, “But what country?” … I didn’t know what to say to that, so I said, “Kansas City.”
A financial talk  show was playing on the radio, and the host was talking about how couples had to plan their spending, budget, etc. Max said that he knew he was being punished. I reminded Max that he had a great time on Saturday, and that the trip was worth its frustrations as long as he remembered how good it was to see his  friends. On the other hand, if he decided to get depressed about the problems, I might have to kill him.
We arrived back at the Flower Girl B&B around 10:30 or so. Max put Jack to bed. We then stayed up telling “how we met” stories with Roy and Trisha. Funny stories!

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