Sometimes the isolation of my current season of life gets under my skin a little bit, and I kind of go off the deep end. Usually an impromptu field trip to a museum, a pilgrimage to a national shrine, or some other spontaneous excursion with the kids is exactly what I need to re-center and find my emotional middle ground again.
But lately, between the hormonal gift basket every pregnancy comes bearing, and the 24/7 amped up family closeness of the recent power outage, the isolation got deeper and deeper under my skin, and I wasn't able to shake it.
Ken could read the writing on the wall, and when I suggested that I go visit my cousin, recently returned Stateside from over a year in London, he agreed that it would do me good.
It would do me even more good, I pointed out, if I were able to go visit her without taking any kids with me.
Day passes were issued, plans were made, and on Saturday morning I found myself on the 8:29 local train into Grand Central (the stupid express train wasn't listed on the board). Erinn met me at the station, expressed deep shock that I didn't have a coat with me (I hate coats), and insisted we go to her apartment first so I could borrow one of hers. I think she may have even clucked her tongue at me once or twice.
She's going to be an awesome mom.
While waiting for the subway to get to her apartment, I saw my very first New York subway rat. It was awesome. I wanted to take a picture of it, but the train came before I could.
But I did get a shot of Erinn's apartment, which was thoroughly free of rats, clutter, and dust.
After I was bundled up enough for Erinn's liking, she showed me the building's rooftop terrace. It was gorgeous. And the view of the city was amazing:
The whole terrace was done up in a sort of California Asian deal, all wood and dark oranges. It was tremendously beautiful and extremely sophisticated.
Just being out there instantly made every picture I took look like it belonged in Unhappy Hipsters.
From Erinn's apartment, we walked to Central Park, stopping to get some pain au chocolat because any opportunity I get to eat buttery bread with a chocolate bar tucked inside is an opportunity I'm going to take.
Despite being a teensy bit chilly, the day was made to order beautiful.
We hung out in the park for a good long while, being goofy and taking pictures of things that looked like they were in Ghostbusters, because I thought the kids would like it:
All of a sudden, a red tailed hawk swooped in out of nowhere, grabbed a squirrel right out of the tree in front of us, and started eating the hell out of it. I was kind of amused, because I like hawks and hate squirrels, but Erinn was both distressed and disgusted.
Worried that someone would spook the bird, causing it to fly off and drop the dead squirrel on our heads, we wandered off, ending up in front of Belvedere Castle and where we again took the opportunity to act goofy.
See? Erinn's so tall that she's touching the top of the castle. From the ground. 'Cause it's funny.
Blah. What do you guys know from funny?
During our walk, I told Erinn about a fantastic PBS miniseries Ken and I had watched, called "Circus". Without going too much into it, because I'm tired and lazy, it was a really great show that totally changed my notions on what "circus folk" were like. The show followed members of the Big Apple Circus, which is a traveling circus stationed out of Manhattan. While babbling on about circus life waaaaay more than I'm usually comfortable doing, we left the park and sort of wandered around the city. Suddenly, we turned a corner, and look at what was set up right in front of us!
The Big Apple Circus!! They were in town, and performing out of Lincoln Center! Short of running into Paul Bettany, I don't think I could have been more excited about running into a famous "person".
We made our way to Greenwich Village where my date with falafel awaited. Erinn found a restaurant called Taim, which, we learned from a random encounter with a bike riding lady while eating said falafel, had been in an episode of "Throwdown! With Bobby Flay". I've never seen the show, but a bit of poking around the internet tells me that Mr. Flay won that particular contest. Since I can declare the Taim falafel to be the best I've ever had, I can also declare that Mr. Flay's show must have been rigged, because that's the only way anyone could beat a Taim falafel.
I got the red falafel, Erinn got the green falafel, and we were going to share. Instead, I just made sure both were safe. In my digestive system. Don't mess with a pregnant woman enjoying her first falafel in over half a decade y'all.
Ok, I did let Erinn eat some:
Then we walked to a bakery that was supposed to be super famous for cupcakes, but as an avid cupcake connoisseur, I can tell you that while the cake part was delicious, the frosting left much to be desired. And since the only reason a sane person eats a cupcake is to get lots of frosting, poor frosting means a poor cupcake.
From there, we took a taxi back to Erinn's place, watched two episodes of "Walking Dead", ate cupcakes, and just enjoyed each other's company. Then it was time to hop on the subway so I could finally see St. Patrick's.
But then the train we were on got shut down indefinitely due to a police investigation, so we made our way to Grand Central, declared the day to be the best day ever spent in New York, and promised to see each other soon. Then Erinn put me on a train and sent me home.
Still wearing her coat.
She's going to be such a great mom. And thanks to the generosity of my cousin, my husband, and my kids, I got to come home feeling calmer and happier, which makes for a better mom than the one I was when I left that morning.