I don't know where to start...
Yes, it's true, we went to NYC this past weekend. We shouldn't have. But we went anyway. I've never been to NYC, and I was terrified of the city. TERRIFIED. But I girded my loins and braved my fears of the subway, the busy streets, and the taxi drivers and went.
But we shouldn't have. Wednesday night I took Julia to the doctor's office because she was so congested. We just wanted them to check her out. Just in case. I thought she just had a cold. But nope. Ear infection. Just starting. She wasn't even running a fever. I asked the doctor if we should cancel our trip, but the doctor said that we shouldn't. That we caught it soon enough, and with the decongestant and the antibiotics, she should be fine. Ha. And again I say: HA!
Anyway... so we packed. Light. For the entire weekend we took our two purses and one backpack. I was impressed. And we got on a plane at 6 AM Saturday morning. And Julia was a champ. SO well behaved. We got comments on how good she was. And then we were getting off the plane in NYC. And then we were getting on the bus to Harlem. And here is where things started getting a bit shaky. See, the bus was crowded, and our stroller is BIG. And even though I had it folded up, it still took up a lot of space. And I was mortified that we were taking up so much space. And people were tripping on it, and kicking it, and I just wanted to curl up in a tiny little ball. But finally the luggage platform was cleared off and I was able to put the stroller out of the way and try to relax. But still, there were SO MANY PEOPLE!!! Everywhere I looked on the street was overflowing with people. And cars. And busses. So much congestion! I started to feel overwhelmed and overstimulated and far from home. I was on constant look out for pickpockets and purse thieves and baby snatchers. You know, all the evil people that live in NYC and love to pray on naive out-of-towners. Luckily we didn't meet up with anyone like that.
Anyway, eventually we reached our stop, and managed to get the ginormous stroller out of the bus and headed in the right direction and then we were in the safe haven of Shelli's place. HEAVEN! Kristin and I were nervous to be staying with internet strangers but Shelli and Narda made us feel immediately welcome. And MP3 is ADORABLE! And I was able to breathe and let my heart rate and blood pressure decline and we settled into a quite night of chatting and killing bunnies. And then Jen and Cait and Natalie arrived and there was more talking and more big eyes and finally I practically passed out from overstimulation. But that was a good thing.
But that night, Julia spiked a fever. She was so restless and uncomfortable that night and I felt so incredibly bad for subjecting her to this trip. And there was nothing more I could do for her besides dosing her up with Motrin and decongestants and her antibiotics and lots of cuddles and hugs. The poor little pumpkin. So sick and so far from home.
Saturday morning we all got up and Hope and Megan and Quinn came over and we all headed out through Central Park to go to breakfast. This was lovely. Meeting these people in smaller doses was perfect. Time to talk. Time to acclimate to seeing people in the flesh that I had only ever seen in the pixel. I'm a fairly new reader to Hope and Megan's blogs, and I don't feel like I know them as well as I know other bloggers, but it wasn't long before it felt like I'd known them forever.
After breakfast, we went back to Shelli's place and began getting ready for the big party. And here is where it gets all disjointed for me. The closer to the descent of the masses, the more panicked I got. The more panicked I got, the more I wished I could just hide in the bathroom and forget the whole thing. WHAT WAS I THINKING???? I'm the woman who had a full-fledged panick attack at Julia's birthday party surrounded only by my friends and family! Why did I think I could do this thing?
And then Brooke showed up. And I looked in her face and I recognized the same panick that I was feeling, and then I remembered that HEY! I know about this woman's ass problems! I know this woman, I can do this! And I started talking to her, and about that time someone opened some wine and I grabbed a glass and started drinking, and then things just started to smooth out. Some. They started to smooth out some. I got drunk and started chattering. I think I talked too much and too loudly. I think I rudely interrupted conversations to tell really lame and pointless and long stories. I'm sure I hugged all the wrong people (wrong meaning that I hugged people who probably didn't want to be hugged, not that I hugged people I didn't want to hug, comprende?) and didn't hug the right ones. And OH! Sophia! She came over to me to say hi!!! and all this time I never thought Sophia liked me! But she must like me, at least a little. And, people, Sophia is gorgeous! And I'm not just saying that so she'll like me more. It's absolutely true. And there were people there that I wasn't surprised to see. Not because I was expecting them, but because it just seemed that I knew them so well that they didn't feel like internet strangers, but like old college buddies that I just hadn't seen in the flesh for a while. Instant comfort. Or maybe that was the pinot grigio. I'm still not sure.
All I know, is that my pants kept falling down. It's true. I think I bought them when I was slightly bloated, and as I wasn't capable of really eating anything, and I'd already worn them for a day and kinda stretched them out, and whatever... I don't know. But I swear everytime I bent over they fell down and I was constantly hiking them up. Sorry people, I wasn't MEANING to moon you... I wasn't THAT drunk. All I can say is that I hope you either didn't notice, or that you liked the show. I started so many conversations that I wasn't able to finish... I saw so many people that I wanted to talk to more. I regained my bearings by noticing Brooke somehow managing to look like she was holding up the wall in the middle of the room and walking over and talking to her some more.
And then it was over and everyone was leaving for a bar in Union Square. Shelli and Jen and Cait had all said that it would be ok for Kristin and I to leave Julia in their care... but we wanted to get her to sleep first. So we promised to meet up with everyone as soon as she was down. But she never. went. down! An hour later and she was still up and Shelli shooed us out the door saying that there were enough mothers in the apartment to handle one cranky, overtired baby and that we should go. So, we took a cab down to the village, walked around some, and then took the subway over to Union square and couldn't find anybody! I was calling and calling, and we were walking and walking. In and out of bars looking for our peeps and nada! Nothing! I was disappointed, but it was all ok, because I got to see a subway rat (the one thing on my MUST SEE! list...) so I felt like the night accomplished something. And then Kristin and I ended up at a cool lesbian bar for the rest of the night. So that was good too. The only bad thing was that I hadn't said goodby to anyone because I thought I'd see them later... and I never did. So things feel unfinished there. Does that sound strange? I didn't hug someone goodby so now I feel like I owe them something. Weird. I am a weirdo.
ANYWAY. Julia seemed better on Sunday, but still we took it easy. Hung out in Harlem. Watched the marathon runners run by. Ate the world's best french toast at a lesbian owned restaurant... It was nice. And then it was time to go. Only with the marathon in town everything was discombobulated. We had thought we'd just take the M60 back to the airport, but it was rerouted. And though Narda walked with us to help us figure out where the bus would be picking up passengers, and though the place she finally led us was full of travellers with luggage trying to get to the airport... the bus never came. Finally all 20 (or so) of us airport seekers realized that the bus was NEVER GOING TO COME and we all tried to get cabs. And no cabs would stop for us. No cab wanted to try to get to the airport. Kristin and I walked a few blocks away from the horde and tried again... and the only cab that would stop for us was a rogue cab that haggled with us over prices, and finally agreedt to take us for all the money in Kristin's pockets. (Luckily I had a 20 hidden on my person). And thus began The Most Frightening Half Hour of My Life. This man was INSANE!!!!!! He made his own lanes. He swerved into oncoming traffic and left it to the oncoming traffic to get out of the way! He went the wrong way on one-way streets! He weaved through intersections full of traffic going all 4 directions! We were clinging to our baby in the back seat (sans carseat, by the way! because we were told that they weren't required in NYC) PRAYING to ALL THAT IS HOLY AND GOOD! While he played with our lives all while talking non-stop on his cell phone (NOT hands free!) and cursing at the people in cars who just happened to be following the traffic laws! He... he... he... got us to the airport on time. That's all I can say. He got us there, alive, but considerably frazzled.
And then... it gets worse.
When I bought our tickets a month ago there weren't any seats left sitting together. And there weren't any "bargaining seats" aka: window and aisle seats. No. There were only middle seats available. That's ok, I thought, I'll ask them to change the seats when we check in. But no. When we checked in I could see that there were open seats together. But to change them on the e-ticket check-in screen cost $30! And, frankly, I thought that was ridiculous. So, we went to the gate and I walked up to the gate agent and explained that I was travelling with a baby and that my travelling companion and I weren't seated together and was there any way they could change our seats... and she refused unless I paid more money! Now, I'm used to flying standby. And when you fly standby you accept such things. But I had paid full price for these tickets and I think that they should change your seats for free when you PAY for a ticket. But maybe that's just me. So, Kristin's in the row behind me, and we're passing Julia back and forth over the seat backs and she's fine. She's completely fine. And then the plane takes off (btw... no one wanted to trade us seats so we could sit together) and Julia starts SCREAMING. She screamed like someone was murdering her. She flung her head back and forth, she kicked and scratched. She wouldn't take her bottle of milk. She wouldn't take her sippy cup of juice. She wouldn't eat anything. She wouldn't play with anything. She just kept screaming. People were looking. Finally the plane leveled off, and though the fasten seatbelt sign wasn't off yet, I took Julia up to the lavatory and held her in my arms in the little open space there for a few minute while she SCREAMED and SCREAMED and SCREAMED. And I couldn't take everyone's eyes on me, and she was overstimulated and so I, in desperation, took her into the lavatory. And she SCREAMED and SCREAMED and SCREAMED and kicked me and pulled my hair, and pinched me, and threw her head back and it banged into the wall, and I was sure that people thought I was beating her in there. And I sung to her and I rocked her back and forth and I took her shoes and socks and pants off because she was so hot, and I hummed to her and (because I get very airsick, and I hadn't taken my dramamine and I was in a bad position rocking her in the lavatory while there was turbulence) I vomited bitter, burning stuff into the sink as she screamed, and I called her name and I kissed her and still(I'm crying right now as I type this) she screamed so long and so hard that she broke little blood vessels in her eyelids and after an hour (yes, I hogged the lavatory for over an hour on a 2 hour flight -- but even though I didn't have the door locked, NO ONE CAME IN) she stopped crying and passed out. And then I held her for another 15-20 minutes as she twitched and moaned and I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed helplessly, and tried to get control of myself. And then I came out of the bathroom and walked with my head down and my red, puffy eyes averted, back to my seat and prayed that Julia would stay asleep for the rest of the flight. And that was only the first leg of the flight.
During our layover I read the instructions on the dramamine and broke a pill into pieces and fed her some so that it would help her sleep. And the dramamine kicked in right before take off, so she slept through the second flight. Which was a good thing. Kristin and I were together on this flight, but this man who STANK to high heaven of cigarettes and alcohol was in the seat next to Kristin and passed out on her and I spent the flight nauseated from the smell and she spent it feeling violated from his touching her. And then we were home.
So. Now I just need to process. It was so wonderful meeting so many of you. I feel a deeper connection to some, and to others I just feel justified in my already deep connection to you. But, I'm afraid if y'all want to do it again, I'm going to have to insist that it be here or within driving distance of here, as I'm afraid that I'm NEVER GETTING ON A PLANE WITH MY BABY AGAIN.
How long does it take to drive to Hawaii?