Monday, April 27, 2009

The Units

So my folks came in last weekend. Originally, my Dad was supposed to attend some conference for law-talkin' gavel-wielders here in NYC. But that got canceled thanks to the suckwad economy. Lucky for us, they told the economy to eat it and came anyway.

Which was awesome, because A. It was great to show them around and show off, B. Bean got to learn her roots, and C. it turned out to be one of those freakishly summery 85-90 degree weekends at the end of April. Nothing makes a weekend like freakishly beautiful weather.

They got in around 5:30 on Friday, and the plan was to meet at a restaurant called Crispo at 7:30. Thanks to my less than awesome work schedule lately, that was cutting it really, really close.

So I sulked my way through my 5 o’clock meeting, scowled my way through my 6:30 meeting, and hauled ass out of there around 7:15.

When I got there, my parents were at the bar with a fried calamari appetizer. My mom, a notorious lightweight, was hammered. I think she was in vacation mode thanks to the toasty weather. It took her about a glass and a half of wine to start tellin' it like it is.

Dinner was excellent, the highlights being a drunkenly frank baby-making discussion with my parents, and my drunken dissertation on the book I stopped reading almost a month ago.

After dinner my Dad took us to all of his old haunts as a young lawyer. The first place was a beautiful, 19th century cardinal's mansion turned-bar/hotel. My Dad fired a lot of questions at the staff, mostly about the bar that used to be in the dining room. "What the hell'd you do with the old bar that used to be there?" my Dad shot at the manager. "Sir, I was born in 1986." We all chuckled three times and sighed.

Saturday morning Lou and I got up early to go for a run with the Bean, her third family run, in a desperate attempt to tire her out. As usual, it failed. My folks came by around 10:30 to shower her with gifts and affection.

After lunch at Jane, we decided to check out the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side.

The problem with going to these boutiquey museums is that you HAVE TO go in a tour group. It's the only way they sell tickets. So you have to deal with the nervous, awkward tourguide and the bovine tourgroup you're stuck with. Which is just no match for my father's attention deficit disorder.

Our tour guide, a tiny Asian nerd, made me feel like we were the final exam in a conquering your fear of public speaking class. While searching for words like "good" and "open," her brain would freeze and her eyes would bug out and she'd struggle to swallow her gluey spit. During the tour, she taught us two things.
1. Spoiled milk was a big problem in the late 19th century in New York.
2. Computers have officially made human tour guides obsolete. Nice work, humans.

Saturday night we met up at the Ritz in Battery Park City, hoping to have drinks on the top floor, only to find out that they, uh, don't do that anymore. So we had a couple drinks at the lobby bar and headed to dinner.

Dinner was at City Hall in Tribeca. Super cool place, meh food. We grabbed the check and hit the 'hood.

After dinner, we ended up stumbling into some Argentinian place Crissy and I hadn't been to before, and grabbed an outdoor table for a nightcap. About 10 minutes into our second nightcap, Shannon Doherty walked in. Nobody flinched except my Dad, who was apparently a big 90210 fan back in the day. "I loved that show. What was it called? I loved that show." It was time to go home.

Since my folks weren't leaving until late in the day on Sunday, we met them for an early dinner near the Union League Club. We had a quick, simple Italian meal, said our goodbyes, and hailed a cab for them. It was still so warm out that we decided to walk home from Midtown by the beautiful Sunday afternoon dusklight.

And when we stopped into a Starbucks to pee, the dude banging a hooker in the bathroom in front of us only took like 15 minutes.

That's what I call a good weekend.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Saturday in The Jerz

This past Saturday, Kevin, Franny and I bravely ventured beyond the friendly confines of Manhattan to the exotic and far off land called…New Jersey.

Our lovely friends, Greg and Jess Thomases, recently had their second child. And since we had just signed up for Zipcar, we couldn’t think of a better excuse to use it than to visit baby Jax and his family.

We started the day off getting dragged to the parking spot for the Zipcar by Little Miss Fran. She must have spidey-sensed that she was on her way to greener pastures. Too bad she had to ride in a car to get there. Poor girl was shivering and shaking in fear for the entire car ride. And she was doing that dog thing where they breathe with their tongues hanging out of the side of their mouths (I think it’s the canine equivalent to the human expression of “shitting your pants”).

Driver Kevin gracefully endured my usual unnecessary wincing and obnoxious backseat driving, and got us there safe and sound as always. And as soon as we pulled up to Greg & Jess’ house, I opened the car door and Fran jumped out faster than Kobayashi can eat one single hot dog.

It was 75 degrees and sunny, and we spent most of the afternoon in their awesome backyard eating lunch, chit-chatting and watching our dogs gnaw on firewood. We had negotiations with Emma (their 2.5 year old cutie) regarding her lunch menu that would have made the UN proud. We also helped continually press her Dora The Explorer Band-Aid on her hand after she got a boo-boo from falling on the concrete.
We sat in the sun while Baby Jax napped his two-week old ass off. We skyped with The Benjamins (and yes, they get a capital T as well as a capital B). And we ended the day with an unplanned (!!!) trip to Target. Kev and Fran waited in the car while I ran through the store as if I were on Supermarket Sweep. It was a fantastic day. Until the drive home, that is.

For those who are unfamiliar with Zipcar, you have a very strict start and end time. If you don’t return the car on time, you have to pay big hourly fines, most importantly because someone else could have the car reserved directly after you. So while sitting in asinine late Saturday afternoon Holland Tunnel traffic, reservation time left on our Zipcar rental ticking away, we notice a bunch of cars zoom past us on the right-hand shoulder. Simultaneously, the lightbulbs go off in each of our heads.

After about one-third of one-half of a second of not wanting to be one of “those assholes”, Driver Kev hightails it over to the shoulder with me egging him on. We go flying past everybody, skirting at least an hour’s worth of traffic. I mean, people understand, right? We have a huge sign on the car that says “ZIPCAR!!!!! WE ONLY HAVE THE CAR RESERVED FOR A CERTAIN TIME PERIOD OR ELSE WE HAVE TO PAY A BIG FINE!!!! MOVE OUT OF OUR WAY PLEASE, PLEASE?!!!!!”

After a few people shouting expletives and only one near-miss driver-side mirror swipe, we made it back to the parking spot at 4:59:59. Whew.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Impromptu Easter Action

Er, yeah. About that big fat delay...sorry.

So we headed up to Kurt’s place on Sunday for Easter. Kurt lives in Milton, NY, about two hours north of the city. Which was awesome, because we hadn’t really thought about what we were gonna do for Easter. So it was nice to be reminded that it's a good day to get together with some of the people that make you laugh the hardest.

We decided to take the train, because we found out that we could take the bean with us, sans carrier.

We got to Grand Central via insane, hair-raising cab ride (I'm starting to think "drive like a dickhead" is box you have to check on NYC cabdriver applications), and remembered that it was Easter Sunday as soon as we stepped into the train station. Complete animal show. So Crissy jumped in line for tickets while Fran and I secured seats on the fast-filling train.

The train ride was actually nice and relaxed. I read 4 pages of the massive book I’m trying to impress people by reading before falling asleep. The missus and Fran stood guard.

Kurt picked us up at the train station, and zipped us up to his house, where the mutt could run free in his backyard, complete with actual grass and actual dirt. Let me tell you, that dog freaked out like an eighth-grader on meth. That’s the nice thing about city dogs. They don't get all spoiled on “nature."

The real fun started when Kurt’s brother got there with his kids. 3 Little grubby kids + crackloads of Easter candy + 1 Methed-out puppy = crazy fun. I gotta say, it's pretty nice to be able to play with kids, get 'em all riled up, and then go home. Those little boogers wear you OUT. My nap on the train ride home was criminally good.

For lunch/dinner, Kurt whipped up some incredible barbecue, causing me to pile food so high on my plate that Kurt’s 6’5”, 240 pound brother looked at it and said, “Five bucks you don't finish that plate.” It was my manly duty to win the bet. Though I'm not proud to admit I had to sneak a chunk of steak to the missus to get it done.

After lunch/dinner, we sucked back wine and rammed strawberry shortcake and ice cream down our throats until there was food under our eyelids, and decided to hit the rails.

The train was an even worse sardine-can on the way home. I, of course, slept my ass off, next to a blacked out Franny, who dreamt she was standing open-mouthed at the end of a dirt and stick conveyer belt.

On our face-ripplingly fast cab ride back from Grand Central, Crissy gritted out the words, “sir…we’re…not…in…that big of a hurry.” To my amazement, the dude actually apologized and slowed down. Which both shocked me, and made me happier to have been alive to enjoy a damn good Easter Sunday.

Please enjoy this picture of an awkward Franny with the pet store Easter bunny. Yes, we are those people now.