Friday, November 12, 2010

A pile of bits.

I had a call last night at 11:08 PM.  I had been in bed since 9 PM since I was dog tired.  It was my friend, Cj.  I knew that she was in Pennsylvania visiting with her dad and family since her dad's health had taken a bit of a turn.  Turns out that while she was holding his hand, he started having a heart attack.  He wasn't strong enough to undergo any type of testing or anything to really help.  They gave him some morphine.  I talked with her and prayed with her. 

This morning at 7:20 AM, the phone rang.  It was Cj.  Her dad passed away at 6:00 AM.  I told her that I knew it.  I woke up then and just knew. 

As for Cj, she's holding up okay.  Daddio was an important person to her.  They were able to talk in his final hours.  He was able to make some "stuff" statements to them, as well as to tell everyone how much he loved them. 

I'm so sad for them.

While I was talking with Cj, she realized that we weren't shuttling around getting ready for school.  "Conference compensation day." 

K- was home today and we didn't leave the home front at all. There was so much running and doing that I absolutely needed to not go anywhere.  I made a crock pot of chicken vegetable alphabet noodle soup and that's what we had for dinner.   It was legal tender for Hubs and he was thrilled.

He had a rather tough day.

Hubs is a public servant.  The public is sometimes not so nice.  His day started with a lady yelling at him because the craft that was out for kids to do was lacking a few pieces.  She helped herself to their office and went scouring the place for the thing that she wanted, then was going to haul off and cut up the original.  She was mad that a pair of pointy kid Fiskers was in the basket with the blunt end scissors.  He had a man fall on the trail and smack his head.  He came in the door to get assistance, tripped over the threshold and smacked his head on the floor.  He was bleeding and Hubs attended to his needs.  EMS was called, the guy was okay and wasn't transported.  My husband was left to clean up the hazmat scene. 

Add to all that the fact that he is wiped out from the weekend and with his health issues, it takes him some time to recover. 

Tomorrow he will be setting up a rather extensive bird feeding area at one of their visitor centers only to have the area moved later in the new year to make room for a possible extension to the building.  Rrr.  He's just not going to cement anything into the ground.  They'll back fill and hope that the feeders don't heave in the winter.

A nice thing is that the city was able to come during waking hours to tend to the city leaf clean-up that they had scheduled for Tuesday.  I really dislike it when they do it in the middle of the night.  You have street sweepers, men with leaf blowers, men with rakes, a leaf scooper front end thing and a dump truck.  Each time one of the vehicles backs up, it beep-beep-beeps very loudly.  It seems almost louder at night.  So, we are THRILLED! that our sleep will not be interrupted by leaf clean-up.  That is a very good thing.

Another great thing?  It is 7:28 PM and my windows are still open.  Frankly, that is rather amazing for NE Ohio.  It was nice to clean the house today, have the windows open and have K- playing outside in a short sleeved shirt, capri's and flip flops. 

A fantastic thing to add to the list is that the NYC laundry is done.  I have to bake the back packs in the dryer, but the laundry is washed, double dried (dry, wash, dry) and almost all put away.  Sad thing?  We've encountered some shrinkage with K-'s clothing.  Considering that I did everything I could to avoid any infestation of the bed bug nasties, I'll take a little shrinkage.

After I did some housekeeping, K- and I sat down and watched Mary Poppins.  We did a bit of compare and contrast to the musical.  I may or may not have closed my eyes and watched the backside of my eye lids for a few moments or more. 

I ordered K- a great little necklace on Etsy.  It will be one of her three Christmas gifts from Santa.  In this case, Mrs. Claus will have made it for her.  ;)

Though our day started with a sad loss, we've accomplished much.  We hope that you've had as great of a day!

Smiles in my day:
-  Sprinkled in above.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The "dids" and the "learns" of NYC.

What we did:

Landed at LaGuardia at 8 AM Friday morning.  Pilot said that we "got out by the skin of our teeth."  Snow moved in and we accumulated a quickly melting inch here at the home front.

Took a cab to 49th Street and 5th Avenue.  This is what is there.  They didn't open until 10 AM and we still had about an hour.

We cruised on over to the Today Show.  They were finished with their outdoor taping "on the plaza," but we were able to watch Al Roker and Ann Curry through the window as they recorded live.  Kind of cool.

We were going to go ice skating at Rockefeller Center.  If K- would ice skate for more than 10 minutes, I would have found it to be a must-do. 

We walked around in circles while looking for Dean and Deluca for breakfast and couldn't seem to find them.  We stopped by the Magnolia Bakery at Rockefeller Center.  K- had two delightful chocolate chip cookies for breakfast and I had a fantastic lemon bar.  "Mommy, we normally don't have cookies for breakfast.  This is just a special special for New York."

We walked to Nintendo World where I thought that my husband nearly died and went to heaven right at that spot.  K- and I stood outside the door to eat our bakery before we went in.  The guard kind of giggled when we came in and I asked if it was okay for us to walk around with our back packs.  "Ma'am, there aren't any homeless people in here so I think you'll be okay."  Of course, I was meaning that I didn't want him to think that I was going to haul out with half of the store, but he understood.  He chuckled and appreciated my asking. 

Finally, the time had come that AG was open.  We walked up there, dropped our bags off at their coat check (thank you AG for such a kind service) and Hubs announced that he was going back to Nintendo World.  AG isn't his thing.  We split for an hour.  He was able to have some time to really look and it gave K- ample time to choose her purchases.  I can't find them on the website and I wonder if they were a New York thing only, but for her doll she got a coat, a set with a beret, scarf and mittens, a pair of ice skates (they are like wrestling a toddler into a newborn onesie) and a two piece bathing suit.  By the time we got to the entrance door and I was dialing Hubs, he came on through. 

We visited the Lego Store at Rockefeller Center.  It was very neat and extremely crowded. 

We decided to take a walk towards our hotel.  We were all so hungry that we couldn't see straight.  Hubs suggested that we stop here, as he saw a Starbuck's through the window glass.  It was marked "Open to the public" so in we went.  We had a lovely lunch downstairs.  While we ate, they had belly dancers.  It was a great teaching moment for me to share with K-, as she has occasionally asked if she was fat.  I told her no, then seeing the belly dancers, it gave me an opportunity to point out that they looked like K-.  They have a little bit of a Buddha baby belly just like she has but, "Look at them K-.  Aren't they just beautiful?  They are just a little squishy around the middle and look at their beautiful costumes and dancing.  I think that they are wonderful.  See, not everyone is teeny tiny but everyone has a beautiful body."  She agreed and was pretty excited to see that.

We went for a long walk through Central Park.  Just an absolutely delightful time.  We cruised past the zoo on our way through.  We enjoyed the drum guy, climbed rocks, saw Balto's statue, and since we have the stuffed Balto at the Cleveland Natural History Museum, it really meant something to K-.  Hubs got himself a little turned around and we ended up right back where we started.  I admit that I got slightly bent that we made a full loop and I was telling him that.  (I have no sense of direction, so give me a little clap for realizing that we were going the opposite direction.)  We had 45 minutes to make it to our hotel, but we counted the blocks and knew that we could make it.

We got to our hotel, dropped our bags and hauled off to our next destination.  Friday nights are free nights from Target, but you have to stand in line.  Y'all, the line was half way around an entire city block.  The line went fast and they do allow everyone to get in.  You have to get a ticket, though. 

The art was wonderful.  I had to laugh that my nieces who attend rather conservative Catholic school may be scarred.  I believe that this art museum was their first experience in frontal nudity at all.  There was much giggling going on with them.  There was much horror on the face of my sister and brother-in-law.  I shuttled the children on to the next thing.  When discussing it with Hubs, he told his sister, "Well, what did you expect?  You brought them to the Museum of MODERN Art."  I kind of chuckled. 

:insert note:  K- is the daughter of an artist.  She has been to many art museums and has seen many works involving nudity that have been done through the ages.  Please don't think that is something that she encounters at home.  She's just kind of used to that in a museum setting. 

After, we moved on to some lights and glory of NYC.  As crowded as it was, the people do keep a pretty good pace.  My nieces stopped in at the Disney Store to purchase their souvenirs. 

We hailed some cabs and Kristin called to order pizza on the way back to the hotel.  It was funny that she dialed as we were driving, then neither one of us could recall the exact location.  Hubs and Tom found it and the pizza was great! 

Saturday took us to Battery Park where we waited for this.  We had to go through an airport security style screening before entering the ferry.  When we arrived, we had to go through another airport security style screening to enter the statue.  We had pedestal tickets and we were quite thrilled.  We were able to catch a ranger tour which taught us so many fascinating things.

Of course, everything in NYC generally takes a touch longer than what you'd imagine.  We had tickets to a show and we had to get a move on.  Kristin had plans for us to haul back to the room, get changed and cruise on down.  We had to do it a bit faster than we had originally thought.  It was all good.

On the way back to the room, we passed by this.  There were no signs and nothing significant to mark the importance of the site.  I admit, we missed it when we drove past the first time.  I did catch some fly-by in a cab photos.  While driving past, Kristin told us the story of how their friend Todd Weaver died in the south tower.  He last spoke to his friend Andy and told him that the alarms had gone off, but they told them to stay.

I must tell you about the show.  Oh. my. goodness.  I admit that I'm not a musical kind of girl.  Mary Poppins is one that I do love, though.  It was so wonderful that I was in tears in the beginning.  To be in a place to and have the opportunity to see such a production was just an experience that I'm glad that K- and I could share.  My favorite part?  Where Burt was suspended from upside down on a platform above the center of the stage singing, tap dancing with arms flipping around and everything while probably about 40 - 50 feet up.  Wow.  That is some talent. 

After the show, we cruised back to the room.  I changed back into my tennis shoes and we walked our route to see Kristin run the marathon.  We made our plans and headed off to have dinner together.  We went here.  Everything is family style, so we shared meatballs, penne with a creamy tomato sauce, chicken parmesan, steamed broccoli and a mixed salad with a basket of mixed bread.  We all left rather stuffed. 

Sunday was race day.  It was great that the clock went back to standard time.  It gave Kristin an extra hour of sleep.  Following someone running a marathon is no easy task.  Somehow, 3 adults managed to miss her run past at mile 18.  After a while, we realized that we had to have missed her.  We cruised on and set off for mile 23.  Hubs ran to catch up with her.  Tom and the girls busted it to get there.  K- was busy vomiting next to a fence in Harlem and we just missed her.  She looked good, was running well and finished the race with a time of 4:08.  K- and I took the long route back through Central Park and met up with Hubs and the family at the hotel.  We ate some lunch, spent about an hour together and it was back to the airport for us. 

After being seated in the second to last row in the bitty back of the plane with a continual buzz and my claustrophobic nerves completely shot, we arrived home at 9:30 PM to our little regional airport.  Our wonderful neighbor Mike scooped us back up and deposited us back home at 10:00 PM. 

Things we learned:

-  You want to take the yellow cab only.  The others are privately owned, not regulated and they can jack up the prices. 
-  Cab drivers will sometimes refuse to take you if you have children.
-  Cab drivers will sometimes refuse to drive you to the airport.
-  I watched the Jimmy Kimmel Trick or Treat with Cousin Sal so many times on taxi TV that I could probably recite it from memory.
-  If you don't sit back in a cab and the cab driver must slam on his brakes (which they do often), you may smack your head into the plexi divider.  My niece is okay.
-  People are kind in the city.
-  It is not a smoke-free city.  Someone stood right behind K- while we were watching seals at the Central Park Zoo and light their cigarette.  They were speaking a different language.  My guess is that smoking right on top of small children in their country isn't frowned upon.
-  People don't always wear sensible shoes in NYC.
-  The subway was too confusing.
-  NYC is a completely walkable town.
-  Skating at Rockefeller Center would have been $50.00 for just me and K-.  No thank you.
-  We walked probably no less than 20 miles during our entire weekend.  No kidding.
-  I heard more languages than I've ever heard in my entire life.
-  When the bike courier crashed on the road, the cab showed no mercy.  He laid on his horn for the courier to get up. 
-  Pedicabs are $150.00 an hour.
-  Carriage rides start at $50.00, I believe.  We just kept thinking of the handsome cab on Seinfeld.  RUSTY!  We always yelled it and it never got old.
-  I found that I could quickly hail a cab all by myself. 

We learned much more than this, but I must go deal with the laundry that was generated from said trip. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hit the ground running.

I'm typically a hit the ground running kind of girl.  I don't slowly get out of bed.  Nope.  I'm off and on my way. 

We returned from NYC on Sunday evening.  We got home at about 10 PM and after I made everyone strip in front of the dryer so that I could bake the lovin' death out of our clothes and shoes before laundering them, bagged the luggage in giant ziploc bags (I have a big fear of bed bugs y'all), we all got bathed and tucked into our own beds.  (We shared one in NYC.) 

Monday morning started bright and early at 6:45 AM, we drove to school, I had a meeting at 8:45 AM and then on to work. 

I worked until 9 PM.  My precious child was asleep before I got home.  That's a good thing since she fell asleep in class earlier.  She said that the teacher "turned the light off and put plastic on this thing and my eyes just closed and I fell asleep."  "Do you mean an overhead projector?"  "Yes and I was just so tired mommy.  Don't worry!  I didn't get in trouble!"  "Well that's good.  Did Mrs. S- wake you?"  "No, she let me sleep."  Mrs. S- knew that we had a long weekend and that we got in late.  Very thoughtful of her, but we've made sure it didn't happen anymore.

Tuesday morning I dropped K- off at the breakfast line at 8 AM and went on to work.  I worked from 8:15 AM - 9 PM.  While at work, my coworker put Christmas lights on the step that she was going to deal with in a bit. 

"Julia, if you leave those on the steps, someone is going to fall and kill themselves." 

She nodded and ended up helping customers.  I kept on with my shuttling things from upstairs to downstairs.  I hit about halfway down the flight of steps and went sailing.  It felt like I stepped on marbles and my legs went out from under me.


I landed on my butt and skidded down the steps so hard that I ended up blowing the door open at the bottom of the steps with the force of my feet.   I was so afraid that someone was standing at the bottom of the steps.  I would have absolutely knocked them out.  Thankfully, there was no one there in the area of the door.  The customers looked at me and were horrified.  They came over to see if I was okay and after a quick body part inventory, we determined that I would be okay.  I limped along mumbling about the lights.  (No, I didn't swear.)  I was sore, cranked an ankle, landed on my right side and was kind of jarred, but I was okay.  Advil, a long bath and the heat therapy of an electric blanket is what kept me from stiffening up.  I'm okay, not broken and only have three bruises.  It's all good.  No, I didn't leave.  I had stuff to do. 

This morning, I dropped K- off at the breakfast line again and started up at 8:15 AM.  I was able to get so much done before everyone got there at 10 AM.  I got so much done that even though my coworkers kept finding more boxes of ornaments and decorations for me to include in my already overly packed display, I was able to leave on time for the first time this week. 

It treated myself to a nice, long, hot bath. 

I'm now contending with laundry.  I haven't been able to touch our NYC laundry.  I have the laundry from the week and the clothes that we had on our last day in NYC that I'm dealing with now.  I'll pull and bake the bags and clothes tomorrow and then wash. 

I would also like to clean my house.  It was clean.  We weren't here for three days.  Still, I haven't been on duty here for three days and it looks it.  The floor needs a dusting.  The bathroom counter needs freed of products.  Well, there's other stuff too. 

I'm glad to be home, though.  Traveling is good and you get to see great things.  My heart definitely loves home, though.

I'll fill y'all in on the NYC details tomorrow.  Must go flip some laundry. 


Smiles in my day:
-  I got to see my kid awake this evening.
-  I'm able to walk upright and I'm not as sore as I thought I would be.
-  Hubs reported that the main road that they've been working on since before Spring Break is finally opened. 

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bailey's Leaf does NYC

We've been. 

We're back.

We're tired.

We are in love.

NYC was that and more.  Truly, tales that will take many posts to tell.  Right now, I'm transferring 459 photos. 

Why were we in NYC?  My sister-in-law is a marathon runner.  She has run Chicago twice, Boston once and now NYC.  She and my brother-in-law were kind enough to haul us along on their adventure. 

The important stuff to know is that she finished with a time of 4:08.  She would have finished sooner, but she had to make a bathroom stop.  We missed her at mile 18, but the family hoofed it, Hubs was able to catch up with her and Tom and the girls were able to see them both run by.  Where were K- and I?  Well, my daughter was having a reflux moment against a fence in Harlem.  Ah, yes.  Fine moments in life.  Though she grossed some people out, she did what she needed to do and bounced right back with running.  We made it just after Kristin ran past. 


Truly though, the vital people got there. 

Hubs was pulled a quarter mile away from the finish.  He called me.  We had broken away from Tom and the girls and K- and I were on a leisurely hike through Central Park on our own.  We hiked over rocks, around fences and through the Central Park Zoo.  It took us several blocks, but I was able to hail a cab and get back to the hotel. 

Here?  It snowed while I was gone.  I am sad that I missed our very first snowfall. 

With that, I promise that there are lots and many of pictures.  I also promise that this is the week that my 12 hour days start until Christmas is fully displayed at work.  Once again, I will be a little scarce, but I promise, me and my tired body are around.

But hey, what do I have to complain about?  I didn't just run 26.2 miles.

Have a great week!