Jude and I have now been in New York visiting the in-laws for three days. It's been the usual blend of the mundane and the extraordinary. I will try to fill you all in, utilizing bullet points.
- Monday. Arrived at JFK via American Airlines. Uneventful flight. Upon arrival, I called Mommy on the cellphone, and was informed that instead of having Pop, Aunt Grace and Pop's BFF John pick us up at the airport in John's minivan as usual, John would be coming by himself and picking us up in a stretch limousine. Why you ask? Well, John works part time as a limo driver for a funeral home, and that morning he had driven a bereaved family from a funeral on Long Island to a burial in the Catskills, and still had the limo. I must say, I enjoyed having my limo pull up in front of me at the airport and being able to say "Good afternoon, John" and hand the driver my bags. Like he was our family chauffeur.
- Monday, early evening. Arrived at the House of Mommy and Pop. Much, much, MUCH screaming and kissing and oooing and aahing over Jude.
OH MY GOD YOU'RE SO BIG!!!!
Oh my God. He's so big!!! He's like a little man!!!
Look at the size of youze!
A LITTLE MAN!!!! AND LOOK AT THAT BLOND HAIR!!!!
That's some hair on you, Mister.
It's like spun gold.
SPUN GOLD! IT'S SO BEAU-TI-FUL!!! AND LOOK AT THAT TAN!!!!
He's so tan!!
He's a regular California beach bum! That tan is so even!
SO EVEN ALL OVER!!
- Monday, night. I discovered that thanks to my sister-in-law Niki (and myself), the much discussed (and whined and griped) sleeping situation at Mommy's has been improved tremendously. For Christmas, we (and by "we" I mean that we all paid for it, but Niki did all the work) bought Pop a new, excellent foam mattress pad, which has been placed upon the Tilt-o-Slab (for the history of the guest beds, which I christened The Slab and The Tilt-o-Whirl, and how they were then consolidated into the fearsome Tilt-o-Slab, please go HERE) rendering it almost, dare I say...comfortable! The bed still tilts drastically to the south when you roll over during the night, but it's not nearly as bad.
- Tuesday, morning. Brother-in-law Tony came over, loaded with breakfast for everyone - eggs, ham, fruit, bagels, rolls, doughnuts. Jude ate a kaiser roll the size of his head and a massive jelly doughnut filled with raspberry jam. Mommy was beside herself with excitement over the boy's "hearty appetite" and how "good for him" it was. I shook my head sadly over the mass quantities of sugar and refined white flour my child had consumed, but like a good daughter-in-law, I said nothing.
- Tuesday. Spent most of the first day of my "vacation" grocery shopping and cooking. Made a solo journey to the Trader Joe's for provisions.The Trader Joe's is in Smithtown, which is on the North Shore of Long Island, and even though it's just a 30 minute drive, to Mommy and Pop, I might as well have been driving to New Jersey for groceries. They are baffled, but enjoy the delicious treats I hunt and gather in the far north and bring home to them. I actually love driving around the North Shore. It's very refined and New Englandy - streets with names like Parsnip Pond Road and Old Joshua's Path, like something in a Beatrix Potter book.
- Tuesday. Jude spent the afternoon at the home of our friends Ray and Jenny, swimming in their pool with their daughter Mia. Ray/Jenny/Mia are our little oasis up the street where we escape and hide when the in-laws start to be too much for us. And Jude loves swimming in their pool. He was down there swimming for 3 hours, but latter that night, Mommy tells Niki that he was "Gone all day. I barely saw him." Sigh...
- Tuesday, evening. I made dinner for the family. Chicken Piccata. Roasted potatoes (Pop's favorite, which Mommy can't make because it's "American food" and confuses her). Nice family dinner. Afterwards, Pop decided that he and Jude would watch one of his movies. Pop has an insane collection of classic movies on DVD and video tapes. Jude selects...prepare yourself...Cool Hand Luke, which Pop deems an excellent choice. Jude watched, rapt, for the entire movie. I must say, the boy has good taste in classic films. And he now does a mean "What we've got here is failure to communicate."
- Wednesday. Jimmy's cousin Aurelia and her new husband Peter came to visit. Peter has been around for about 5 years now, but will always be referred to, no matter if they're together for the next 30 years, as Aurelia's "new" husband. We spent the afternoon catching up, then go out for an excellent dinner at Francesco's, their favorite local restaurant. The old ones had been talking for days about Francesco's Orange Roughy Oreganata. It seems that Francesco doesn't always make the Orange Roughy Oreganata, so when he has it, you've got to go for it. I did, and damn if it wasn't the best damn fish I've ever had in my life. I swear. I'm gonna be dreaming about it. Mommy was delighted when Jude eats - 4 pieces of Italian bread, a plate of fried calamari, 3 mozzarella sticks, an entire cheese pizza and a bowl of chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce.
- Thursday, morning. The plan was for Pop to take us all to the Oconee Diner (our favorite neighborhood diner) for breakfast. Then all hell broke loose. Aurelia got a call from her son, Christopher, who said that his fiance had called off their wedding. Much hysteria. I mean, really, MUCH hysteria. Mommy and Aunt Grace were mourning and freaking out (Mommy decided it was too early for her usual medicinal blackberry brandy), even though they'd only met this fiance girl once. So we couldn't go to the Oconee. "How could we eat at a time like this?!!" And while I absolutely understand how upset Aurelia must have been, and how sad for her son she must have felt, I have to say that she did pretty well with eating the bagels and such that Pop went out and got for us, and I think we could probably have made the Oconee. When I pointed this out to the much calmer Pop (his reaction to the whole thing was "Eh, sounds like he dodged a bullet with this one.") he comforted me by saying that he would take the money he saved by not going to the Oconee, and he would buy me an extra Whiskey Sour at Hoy Mings, where we were going that evening for Chinese food. Which he did, and I very much enjoyed.
So that's it thus far. A ridiculously long post for such a small amount of time and activity. More to follow...