19 March 2011

Best laid plans go awry

looking at the slate of activities for today got me really excited, unfortunately, things didnt exactly go as planned...

we woke up in the morning and had about an hour of peace while X slept in until 9a. bliss! i cracked open the window shade at some point and saw the sun shining. i stared out at the tall buildings of manhattan and found the new frank gehry designed apartment building. cool. today could be epic. i was ready to get downstairs and see everyone.


(the luxury of sleeping in; morning story time)

soon everyone was up and ready to go and we chose the tasty deli again just to get a fast, cheap, big breakfast in our bellies. for about $5 i got a stack of pancakes, eggs, and crispy bacon. nothing fancy but i was able to start the day feeling full, which is always good. unfortunately this time it was dave who wasnt able to get a good meal. he was in charge of X and she wasnt having any part of sitting and being quiet in a little restaurant. :(

after breakfast, X and dave rejoined the group only long enough to see that her fussing seemed to indicate that she was already in need of her first nap. so i nursed her to sleep and dave stayed with her in the room while the rest of us headed out for a walk in the green-wood cemetery to kill time until she woke up. we had seen (yesterday) that the artist jean-michel basquiat was buried here. on the map, his gravestone was waaaaay in the back of this 478 acre cemetery. i was skeptical and weary of walking all that way with my limited energy level.

i have been starting my day lately feeling about a quarter-tank-full, so i have to choose my activities sparingly if im not going to get to nap with X to recharge. unfortunately not only did the walk zap most of my energy stores for the day, but it was also kind of a bust. basquiats gravestone was extremely plain jane ordinary. not what i was expecting. but on the up side, the cemetery was beautiful, it was sunny (though pretty windy and chilly), and i was able to talk with my friends. always a good thing. :)


(the anti-climactic gravestone)

dragging ass back to the hotel i found X awake, but she had taken a nap for the entire time we were gone. tired kid! anyway, we regrouped and headed to the prospect park area of brooklyn. we had yelped a few food options near the subway stop and had the possibility of walking in the park, doing the botanical gardens, or hitting up a museum nearby after lunch.

on the subway ride to the park, X became mesmerized by a basketball that a guy had brought on with him. it helped keep her happy during the ride, and thankfully, the guy holding the ball was hamming it up for her. he spun it around, made silly faces, and then, when he knew she was entranced, he walked it behind his back. at this point most of the people in our car were staring at this scene. as we pulled in to our station and as the ball came back in to view X started crying. everyone on the train went "awwwwwww" at the same time just before the doors opened. it felt like a scene in a movie. even though she had burst into tears it was a pretty cute moment.

once out of the subway we walked over to our lunch choice, "the islands." this place is easily ignored by someone who isnt looking for it. its on a block bordering prospect park but it is literally a hole in the wall. there are two sets of french doors next to each other. both were open. i could see a counter from the side walk and a place to stand. i saw the sandwich board sign for the restaurant but i couldnt tell where exactly i was supposed to enter. and even if it was the correct place, where were we going to eat? someone in our group asked...and they did have seating "upstairs." lol.

step off the sidewalk up a tiny, narrow, steep (think like 85 degree slant) set of industrial stairs into...an attic? loft? it felt like a low ceilinged ship quarters. easily the strangest place ive ever chosen to order food from. my friends sat at one table (in the front of the "ship") and dave, X, and i sat at another in the "back" and mary ann and megan sat at another table next to us. there was only one other table in the space that we didnt occupy. we could all practically hold hands, it was that small. this place has to be seen to be believed. and i didnt even attempt the bathroom. the door to it was laughably small.


(the steep stairs up; my friends at their table. the photo was taken from the other end of the room)

but enough about the appearance. this place was run by real jamaicans. and they operated on island time. meaning, they took their sweet ass time mah-n. it took about 30 minutes for handmade lemonade to arrive (it was wonderfully refreshing though!), and then another 45 minutes for the food to come. by then X had eaten all of her lunch and cashed out for another nap. which was fine for me because i could actually enjoy my food hot for once.


(X zonked out while i got to clean my plate)

i had ordered the curried chicken and dave had ordered the jerk chicken (my friends shared several dishes including jerk chicken, curried goat, and shrimp). the food was fantastic. the chicken had amazing flavor and the rice and beans were totally rockin. the addition of golden raisins put me over the edge. i shoveled and shoveled that stuff in my mouth. so, so good. and i think everyone else felt that way too, which is a good thing because we had to survive the wait on hungry stomachs.

after we paid and left we wanted something sweet. jody pulled out her iphone and yelped a nearby ice cream place. we walked into blue marble and were instantly semi-detached guests at some kind of kids birthday party that was going on in the back. definitely the trendiest ice cream parlor party ive ever seen. anyway, i couldnt partake in the ice cream so i grabbed two gooey brownies made by "baked" (apparently a bakery in the red hook area of brooklyn). soooo very yummy.

out on the street everyone was shivering in the chilly windy late afternoon air eating...ice cream. we hit the edge of prospect park and the entrance to the botanical gardens and were not interested in being outside anymore. we decided on the brooklyn museum for our activity of the day.

they were closing at 6p, so we had a little more than an hour to see the place. they had a neat norman rockwell exhibit that the pre-X me would have spent a lot more time perusing and pondering, but at least i got to do a walk by. it wasnt just a showcase of his iconic americana art, it was a "behind the scenes" of how he would stage different photographs of real people posing in the way he wanted to paint them. there would be one photo that provided the bulk of the image and/or backdrop of the scene he wanted to paint, but he would take a facial expression he liked from another photo and edit that in, or he would embellish something in the foreground or background of the scene. it was neat to see the original painting and the numerous photos and props that went in to creating the seemingly natural and every-day images he created.

but, as i say, i didnt really spend much time absorbing that. after that gallery everyone split up and spent the last of the time at the museum viewing the parts that they had interest in. for me, that meant a visit to the gift shop (always!) and hanging out with X wherever she liked. they had a beautiful exhibit in a large airy room with some ethereal cloth mushrooms. oh. so beautiful. and serene. i was just fine hanging out there. right before closing time we ran up to the contemporary gallery just to have a look around. nothing terribly exciting for me, but X noted that she could hear an echo in the gallery and proceeded to make silly noises.


(snuggles under the mushroom caps. of note, X and i are wearing "mommy and me" shirts [same colored jcrew shirts]. lol; X and dave in the contemporary gallery)

and then it was time to go. we were shooed out of the museum and we trudged to the subway. sooo tired. it was 6p and i felt like a senior citizen looking for my early bird special dinner and a nurse to tuck me in to bed with my tv remote. but its not like that was an option for me...

back at the hotel X seemed to be having a bad time of it. she had been cranky all day and now there just didnt seem to be anything to appease her, despite all the rest she had gotten. we had hoped she would have fun and interact with people, but instead she wouldnt let anyone near her really. i felt bad, like we hadnt figured out the right formula for traveling, visiting, and keeping her happy. she was such a different kid at home and this just wasnt much fun for anyone. we took her up for a nap to see if that would cut down on some of her displeasure.

she woke up from her nap pissed and red cheeked. we figured it was extreme teething pain and gave her some advil. only then did we think to take her temperature...and it was 101F! where the hell did that come from? she has never had a fever. thankfully the advil took her temperature right back down to normal but we were definitely in for the evening. we werent too freaked about the fever because it was able to be controlled by medicine, and i thought maybe it was a teething fever and that she would finally be getting some more teeth. we did also have our travel health insurance cards with us in case things got scary. actually, the worst part was that we only had one dose of advil in the bottle we had brought. so now, on a saturday night in an area we hadnt really seen too many drug stores, we were going to need to go looking for some infant advil. great.


(story time after the advil kicked in)

as our friends headed out to noodle pudding for dinner (megan and mary ann had also broken off and gone to see the broadway show "memphis"), we headed down to a nearby bodega called "on the corner" for some dinner and advil. they only had the vivid purple childrens advil (colored medicine freaks me out) but it was better than nothing and they actually made a shockingly rad sandwich. warm, quality meat, decent bread, a good amount for the price, and they were thoughtful in their sandwich creation (helping me modify a sandwich to be non-dairy, double-checking to see if i wanted it cut, asking us if we wanted napkins). totally hit the spot and was a bright light on an otherwise gloomy evening.

i was so ready when bedtime rolled around. i was mentally and physically tired. exhausted in fact. actually, i had been extremely frustrated all day by my mental failings. i couldnt tell if i had been so bad recently in halifax too or if the travel had zapped me more than normal, or if being around friends meant my brain was poking a part of itself that had so severely atrophied that it almost no longer remembered how to function. whatever it was i felt like a frog in a game of frogger. i wanted to jump in to conversations but the cars were rushing by too fast. by the time i had a thought to add, the topic had usually long since died. and there was an element of dementia going on for me as well. it was scary. i couldnt remember things that had just escaped peoples lips. sometimes i would stare blankly, waiting for my brain to fire up and kick out words. my responses usually embarrassed or bewildered me. i knew this wasnt the best i had to offer but i couldnt tap into the ability to feel "with it."

so, when all i had wanted was a day to absorb the lovely energy and comfort given off by my friends, i instead felt pretty bummed. i was let down by my body. the weather turned out to be crap-ish. and X had been grumpy and then sick. everyone had been really great though, really positive about making the best of the day and i was really grateful for that. it took the edge off of the things that we couldnt control. whenever i want to be negative-focused these people are always there to show me that its possible to make the best out of a not-so-rad situation. thanks guys. :)

1 comment:

Susan said...

Ah motherhood!! It brings the greatest joys and the greatest woes. Your life will never be as it used to be!! Your mind does become a lot more fragmented. But, it's all good.