New York City
Despite all the trials and tribulations Monday had to offer, Maddie had a fantastic and magical day playing, wrestling and entertaining her cousins from Alaska. Never mind the fact that the weather gods have a mean streak about a mile long. Maddie’s cousins Porter and Catie just endured a a terrible winter season in Alaska only to come to New Jersey for some record cold weather and rain. Yet somehow, we were blissfully ignorant of this fact when we walked to breakfast this morning.
The four of us polished off our meals with great enthusiasm and were ready to catch a ferry into the city. As soon as we waltzed out of the diner, a heavy and cold rain set in. It pelted the area with a vengeance throughout the morning and our best-laid plans were torn asunder. We trudged home in the rain knowing that today’s travel plans were shot.
Maddie reasoned that her only recourse for the morning was to take a long nap and try to work things out while she was asleep. By the time her eyes popped open, it was just about time for lunch. Maddie reasoned that a bit of good company and delicious food was just the ticket to turn the day around.
Her dad packed her up in the stroller and set off in the rain while the grandparents drove the cousins to our lunch spot. Maddie feasted on fries and fruit, and made several loud crackling announcements to the lunchtime crowd. During lunch, the sun managed to peak out and Maddie thought she still might be able to treat her cousins to some pool time. However, as soon as we got to the pool about an hour later, the sun shriveled up into the clouds like a scared turtle. Maddie was more than happy to dip her feet in the water and kick around a bit, but without the sun, it was just too cold.
The baby opted for one more nap and try to pick up where she left off earlier. By the time she woke up, it was time to drive the cousins back to their grandparent’s house. About 30 miles into the trip, Maddie was treated to her very first flat tire experience. This led to an unscheduled stop at the Goodyear Tire Store off the highway. Between the rain, car trouble and unseasonably cold weather, Maddie is worried that it may be some time before her cousins dare to make their next trip back East.
It’s very rare when I actually wake up the baby. Maddie either wakes me up or I cater to her whenever she wakes up. So it was a new experience when I had to get her up this morning to go to a doctor’s appointment in the city.
Many people use the word precious very freely. Not me. It’s a word that I have rarely had any occasion to use unless I was doing a Lord of the Rings imitation of Smeagol. But Maddie’s reaction to being woken up this morning was the spot on definition of the word precious.
I softly called her name. Maddie wiggled and just barely opened her eyes to determine who was waking her up. She saw it was her father and gave me the warmest and most loving smile I have ever seen. Then she closed her eyes and went back to sleep.
I gently prompted her again, “Madddieee.”
She greeted me with that same smile before quickly falling back asleep.
Its little moments like this that makes this the best job anyone could hope for.
However, by the time we got out the door, we were in a serious time crunch. I bundled Maddie up in the stroller against the nasty wind blowing off of the Hudson River and took off.
We had 14 minutes to scamper one mile, buy a ferry ticket and board the ferry. And they’re off… Maddie and I were half speed walking and half jogging as we made our way through the streets of Jersey City.
I could see the ferry crossing the river as we steamed towards the ticket terminal. We burst through the doors with our adrenaline pumping! There was only one person in line – Niiccee!!
Maddie wheeled up behind the woman in line who was counting out $13.75 in quarters??? And the clerk was going through each one, “Nope, this quarter is Canadian – oops, so is this one.” Meanwhile, our ferry is docking right out front and the clock is ticking. “Oh, this one is American, right?”
“Hmmm, let’s see, I only need one more dollar,” said the befuddled woman. Before she could make a move I slapped down a buck and calmly said “Sold – Please print her ticket and give me one to Wall Street!” Maddie eyed me curiously as people started to board our boat.
The clerk laid down the woman’s ticket and ours came next. I snatched the ticket just as the ferryman was chaining up the entrance – “One more coming!” I announced. He lifted the chain as Maddie and I darted onto the platform. The boat lurched backwards and Maddie gave me that coy smile that said, “You can not be serious!”