I've been away on vacation and haven't had any time to write anything until now. So far things have been, well, different. We are spending two weeks with my mother-in-law and her husband, sort of. The original plan as it was explained to me was that since her mother's apartment was too small for all of us we would simply rent the downstairs apartment from them which is unoccupied. Where she lives in Pennsylvania there are a lot of houses that have been turned into apartments. Most of them are halved and then there are upstairs and downstairs apartments on both sides. That way a two-story house now generates more rent money and it's easier to rent out apartments than it is a full house.
As I said, their plan was for us to rent the downstairs apartment for two weeks. Then we would sleep on air mattresses and do everything else in the upstairs apartment. Only, the landlord wasn't willing to do this. No landlord approval means there is a major problem in this plan. Luckily a friend of my mother-in-law lives about a block and a half away. She graciously has allowed us to take over her living room and sleep on the aforementioned air mattresses. Even more luckily she has a daughter just a little older than my son and they have become fast friends. Not so luckily it is hot in the apartment and there is a neighbor who has a penchant for blasting music all hours of the day and night. Nothing is perfect in life and I just try and accept things for how they are.
What makes it easier is the knowledge that we cannot afford a hotel room for two weeks. Still, it will be nice when I get back to my routine and don't have to worry about intruding in the lives of another family. So what have we been doing with our time? We went to the Crayola Experience which our son loves. In fact, he loves it so much that we got annual memberships and in less than a week we've been there three times. We've been to a Peruvian restaurant where we met an unbelievable number of Peruvians that my wife knew in the brief time she lived here. We went to a Lebanese festival and watched some of their cultural dancing. There's been a visit to a comic book/record store, swimming at the Y as well as visiting family members.
Friday was a day trip to New York City. Now, you have to know that my wife and I differ greatly on vacations. If it were just me visiting I would have eschewed the touristic sites and gone into Brooklyn to find record stores to cater to punk, ska, metal and other indie music. I'd find a hot dog cart and later a pizza place. Then my visit would be a success. I'd also go to Red Bank, NJ and visit Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash (Kevin Smith's comic book store). But this isn't my visit, it's my family's visit and that means my uber-tourist wife gets things done her way.
First was the Statue of Liberty where we faced long cattle like lines, overpriced food and hot weather. Next was a drawing in the park that looked nothing like my son. A short subway ride later we exited and walked a few blocks and were in Times Square. Times Square was populated by teeming masses of idiots who walked as if they were the only people around. They texted and drifted along halting and stopping at odd intervals, cutting across or just plain stopping to gawk or take photos. I include my wife in these goings on. As I said, she is the uber-tourist and she lives for taking pictures of mundane things like getting on the escalator at Toys R Us (we've got one back home but it's only one floor). I have to admit I bumped and then shoved my way through a few knots of tourists just to keep up with my family and I'm not ashamed about it.
One thing that has been made apparent is that I couldn't live in NYC without the hate coming out. I'd find myself becoming very dark, cursing out people and getting into fights. Let me rephrase that, all of that would be true if I had to exist in the tourist areas of New York City. If I could be in normal areas I'd probably have no problems. As we were making our way to the Port Authority to catch our bus home I was insulted by a stereotypically rude New Yorker for no reason and yeah, my first retort was to simply curse him out and advise him to keep walking. A few minutes late of course I was able to compose the perfect rebuttal insult that would have left him grasping for thoughts but by then it was too late. I don't know, maybe that's his thing, being the rude local to all the yokels. Good luck with that life and all the anger you invoke.
We've been to Cabelas, an outdoors type of gigantic store where I got some cool shorts (no you can't get a picture of me in them). Today we went to Hershey's Chocolate World in Hershey, Pa. It's the one place where my son didn't mind my wife making him pose for pictures. Here's a tip for you though, don't put the chocolate that you just spent a lot of money on in the trunk of the car. I already knew this but was over-ruled. Now everybody knows after it was all turned into more of a liquid than a solid. We've got even more things on the horizon. A day trip to the beach, more family visiting, a trip to the laundromat and another record store that I've found here in Easton. There'll be more though, we're not quite halfway through our visit yet. I see my feet hurting more and my wife making me pose for more pictures with things I don't care about. The things I do for love.
Written and Published by Don Leach.
May not be used without permission from the author.