I had planned on leaving Massachusetts late in the afternoon or early evening on Friday but, I found out late in the day that one of my friends had a death in her family. Her daughter died unexpectedly. She was only 48. This changed my day. I had to go visit Barbara and make sure she was okay and was going to be cared for and supported. The pastor was there giving her kind words of support.I woke the kids at 3 and left for New Jersey.
They slept as I drove.
It was 8 in the morning when we arrived at our motor lodge.
They were awake and saw the free jelly doughnuts in the lobby.
I saw the two double beds and picked the one in the corner, turned on Saturday morning cartoons, closed the curtains and begged them to be quiet so Mommy could sleep for a little while.
I think I did. I probably even snored.
By 10 we were out the door and drove into New York City to Books of Wonder.
Why would I take on such an exhausting task you may ask?
Why would I subject myself to four children in a confined space for hours on end?Because, I know what it feels like to be 3,000 miles away from family. And, my brother Troy has had this dream of being a published author for a long time. I am so proud of him and wanted to support and share in his success. Family is very important to me.
Our children are really good travelers. They are actually fun to be with (most of the time). They love road trips as much as I do. In fact, when we were heading for home on Sunday afternoon, they asked me to drive to California instead so they could see their cousins. It was tempting.We got to see my brother, "Uncle Troy", read from his new novel The Dragon of Cripple Creek. The kids were full of interest and brought a fun energy to the back of the bookstore where the five authors were. A small crowd had gathered to hear the authors read and promote their books. I was glad I was there with our little ones.
It was so special to be with my brother again,
His book is great! Go get yourself a copy and I think you'll agree.
After the book reading, question and answer time, we browsed the store and bought more books (if you are ever at our home, you'd see we have enough books to start our own store or small library). Troy signed at least 100 copies of his book and then we headed out to have a late lunch.
We ended up at a unique Thai restaurant (Qi) a few streets over. There were no children in the place. It seemed to me that everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at us. Thankfully, the waitress seated us in the back at our own cozy table. The food was delicious and the ambiance of the place was nice. In fact, ambient, trance type music was playing and the wooden ships hanging from the ceiling and the rows and rows of beaded abaci hanging on the walls gave us plenty of topics of conversation.
Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand's work. Edward Steichen's faces had moved me when I first discovered his work in High School. Then, I discovered Alfred Stieglitz's photos of hands... phenomenal! Paul Strand is an American classic photographer. No one can touch Alfred's work. It is timeless and powerful.
We used the Tom-Tom one of my friend's had loaned me to find the Met and drove around the City a number of times. We kept trying to get to the Museum but the navigational device kept steering us to some museum near the pier. Time was passing so, we parked near the Empire State Building to take the kids up to see the view.
We must be naive. Dear readers, did you know it costs a family of six approximately $100 to get to the 86th floor and an additional $15 per person to get to the 102th floor or if you want to cut to the front of the lines (the security line, the ticket line and the elevator line) you can pay an extra $26 per person more and can get to the 86th floor within 20 minutes? There is also an option to watch a short IMAX movie about the Empire State Building (this costs extra). If you want to go to the 102th floor, I think you have to wait in a line, although there may be a person willing to take you up quickly if you have the cash. You can read all about the complicated pricing and options here if you are interested.
Instead, we landed our cold bodies in a Starbucks smack dab outside the Empire State Building and I had my favorite chai tea latte. Troy had a double espresso and the children all had hot chocolates. We enjoyed looking at the Empire State Building views hanging on the wall in Starbucks. Painted by David Kleiner.
After our tasty beverages and the children exhausting their scavenger hunt for lost coins (found on the floor), we headed to Penn Station and said our "good-byes" to Uncle Troy.
The children were asleep within moments as I drove back to Jersey. I love seeing New York City at night. There is something crisp about NYC in early spring. The window dressings reflect an eagerness for warmer days.
It was good to be home in the country again.
People are sweet and it's quiet here.