THURSDAY – Day 2 of Boston (Part 2 of 2)

By Thursday afternoon, I had finally unpacked everything and made arrangements to meet up with two other bloggers: Serenity and Heather. Our rendezvous location was the statue of Sam Adams at Faneuil Hall. I poured over my hand-drawn map based on google.maps, all the while thinking about that crazy woman who used google.maps to take a stroll along the freeway and was struck by a car.

It was literally a ten minute walk from my hotel, even with the wrong turn I took getting there. I found a bench seat across from what I thought would be a reliable visual marker, took a picture as reference, and sent it to Serenity and Heather’s cell phones. Unfortunately, my reliable reference was anything but when a few minutes later, he got up and walked away! No matter as just moments later I saw two familiar faces scanning the crowd and waved them over. Thank goodness for Facebook and real avatar photos!

We took another short stroll to The Black Rose, a popular pub in the area. I annoyed the waitress immediately by ordering a red beer. I had to explain that no, it’s not a brand of beer, but a regular beer with a side of tomato juice and an extra glass. We ordered supper and decided to go for a walk. Off we headed to the North End, or Boston’s Little Italy.

I loved the narrow streets and the little shops and restaurants bursting at the seams with patrons even on a Thursday night. Mike’s Pastry, had people elbow to elbow jockeying for position at the counter for a chance to purchase one or a dozen of their famous cannolis, including Serenity and Heather. Not a lover of cream cheese, I decided to get the Black & White Cookie, “Look to the cookie, Elaine! Look to the cookie!” Thank goodness I didn’t try that on either Friday or Saturday night as the line extended out of the store and down the sidewalk with at least 30 to 40 would-be patrons waiting patiently in queu.

Yes, I'm aware that holding a flash camera at night doesn't result in awesome pictures.

We strolled past Paul Revere’s statue and into the little park in front of the famous North Church (“One if by land; two if by sea…”) and sat in quiet peace by the fountain to enjoy our deserts. We were soon off again for another walk. We back-tracked our way to Sam Adams and went around what has been voted the Ugliest Building in the World, and found our way into Boston’s Public Gardens. Even in the dark, they were beautiful and we hardly saw a soul. Most people were probably taking in Game 7 of the NBA Finals since the Celtics were playing.

In related sites, we walked by several large groups of city officers geared for riot prevention in case the Celtics won. They were in good spirits to those gawkers who walked by, including goofy tourists like me snapping pictures of them.

Lotion, STAT!

We did an incredible amount of walking that night, but it probably didn’t seem as much to Serenity and Heather who are each training for the triathlon. It was literally a stroll in the park whereas I was praying my arches were going to hold up when we still had yet to turn and head back towards the hotel. I can thank the Lord – literally. You see, I had on a pair of sandals with buckles that rubbed at my ankles. I had the foresight to apply Jesus to each ankle before leaving the hotel. Jesus truly does save! At least my ankles anyway.

By the time I walked back to my hotel, I was again grateful that while it was somewhere around 11:00 p.m. and I was alone, there were swarms of riot-police everywhere, especially as I closed in on my hotel only a block from TD Gardens. I was prepared to show my room key as suggested by the concierge at the hotel, but was never asked when I walked through the temporary barriers. Up in my room I wondered if I would hear the collective groan from Boston as the last few seconds of the game ticked off the clock with the Celtics unable to close the handful of points that separated them from the championship. I think I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow as I didn’t hear another sound until around 8:30 the next morning.

It was a gorgeous walk, and while I’m sure most people take it during the day, there was something quite calming and peaceful about it at night. I also didn’t realize how much ground we covered until a couple days later when my first attempt to take The T was an abysmal failure. If it hadn’t been for Serenity and Heather showing me the sites, I would have been seriously screwed. So, thanks ladies; you saved my ass! Of course, I was thrilled to just spend time with a couple of ladies who have traveled the infertility journey on-line with me from nearly the beginning. The fact I haven’t yet turned/scared them off says so much about them.

I'm gesturing over my shoulder at the couple making out on the bench.
L-R: Me, Serenity and Heather

THURSDAY – Day 2 of Boston (Part 1 of 2)

(I’m splitting this into two posts because Aitch is napping and I don’t think I’ll be able to get the whole day into a post before she wakes up. Plus the laundry? OMFG. The laundry is OUT. OF. CONTROL!)

Thursday morning I started off nursing a mild hangover. Really just a headache that probably came from not properly hydrating, flying and nerves, but a hangover makes me sounds way more interesting and fun-loving, doesn’t it?

I still hadn’t unpacked from my arrival Wednesday afternoon and because I slept in, I had only about 45 minutes from when I crawled out of bed to shower and get my buttinski down stairs to meet Nico who was picking me up at the hotel to take me and her two sons to the Museum of Science. Her boys eyed me warily from the backseat, but I think I acted goofy enough in the short drive to the museum to get a couple of smiles.

We hit the children’s discovery area and while the boys played in the Discovery Center, Nico and I kept one eye each on the boys while we talked about who knows what. I was so overwhelmed by the experience that I remembered I didn’t act like a total tool. Nico recommended this awesome place in Harvard Square to get the best cup of hot-chocolate around, but first she took the boys home after we ate some lunch and dropped me back off at my hotel. I used that time to partially unpack.

From where she parked in Harvard Square, it was a short walk to Burdick’s, a quaint little shop that entreated passers-by to enter with the aromas of coffees and chocolate wafting out the door. While Nico had the hot-chocolate, I had to have my mocha. We split a slice of lemon dessert coated with chocolate icing and slurped on our drinks.

We walked around the “block”, if you could call anything in old Boston a “block”, and I told her I had hoped to pick up some Father’s Day cards and an Anniversary card to send home. We popped into a touristy shop and found my cards, as well as a package of Jesus band-aids. I must admit the bacon band-aids came in at a close second even though I hate bacon.

On the way back to her car, we passed one of the oldest cemetaries in Boston and Nico humoured me by accompanying me inside to view and read the amazing headstones. In the short time we passed through, this was probably my favorite:

“To the Memory of

ANN ELLERY

Confort of WILLIAM ELLERY

of Newport Rhode Island Merch

and Daughter

of the late Judge REMINGTON

In every Relation of Life

She exhibited a becoming Behaviour

was

Sensible & Quick of Apprehension

Sprightly & ageable in Conversation

Hospitable Charitable Sincere & Pious

Died Sep 7 1764 AEiat : 39″

Isn’t that approximately what you would want your epitath to be like? One that can hold up to 250 years of mourners, wars, weather and tourists…?

It turned out to be a bittersweet meeting with Nico, who discovered at her 9 week appointment that her baby’s heart was no longer beating, and was just recovering from a D&C just days before. She and I both know getting out of the house after something like that to take the mind off what had happened was really the better way to heal. Thank you, Nico, for taking the time to drive into the city and introduce the boys to me. They were a delight, and so were you!

Nico's the cute one on your right.

WEDNESDAY – Day 1 in Boston

In the days that preceded my trip to Boston, I was imagining the worst: that I would never see my family again. I would die in a fiery car crash. I would die in a fiery plane crash. I would be mugged by someone wielding a fire extinguisher!…I told you: I was imagining the worst.

I was nauseous from fright. Tuesday night as we were preparing the kids for bed, Sparring Partner asked if I wanted to rock Aitch, “because it’ll be your last time,” and I nearly came unfucking-glued. Obviously he meant my last time before I left for vacation, but it didn’t help. As I rocked Aitch, I buried my nose in her hair inhaling her for what I feared really was going to be the last time. I told myself repeatedly that I was being ridiculous, but that didn’t stop me from tearing up as I put her down in the crib.

Before crawling into bed myself, I dug out the prescription bottle that had over the course of the past two years shifted to the back of my nightstand. I popped one of the two remaining expired valiums and fell into a dreamless sleep.

Wednesday morning I had actually hoped to have left the house for the drive to the airport before either of the kids would wake, but they both were up early. I had to say the good-byes yet again and it wouldn’t have taken much for me to have changed my mind even at that point and just stayed home.

It wasn’t until I landed in Chicago for my layover to Boston that I finally relaxed a smidgeon, but I was still very, very heartsick.

My cousin (CousinP) who has always seemed a bit aloof to me in the past really went out of his way to make my arrival in Boston easier. Originally he had just assured me that The T from the airport to my hotel would be a breeze, but at the last minute offered to pick me up from the airport. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that managing the public transportation of the largest city I have ever been to wouldn’t have to be the first thing I dealt with once off the plane.

During the time I waited for the carousal to deliver my one checked bag, a funny thing happened. Even funnier is that I didn’t KNOW it was happening. It wasn’t until two days later, Friday, that upon meeting Millie for the first time that she told me that she was fairly positive that we had arrived in Boston on the same flight. We were waiting for our luggage at the same time. Because she wasn’t sure it was me, she tried to speak loud enough to her husband for me to overhear, using the buzzwords “Pamplemousse!” and “L.E!” (her daughter’s name). While she managed to garner quizzical glances from her husband, I was either still suffereing from plugged ears or nerves as I confessed that she, her husband and her daughter totally didn’t register on my radar. I couldn’t believe I had missed such a serendipitous opportunity!

The view to my right when I looked out my hotel window.

Once CousinP picked me up from the airport, he offered to let me check into my hotel while he returned his car back to his home and then return on the T to take me out for supper, which I gratefully took him up on. Within an hour, we were walking on the sidewalk opposite of the TD Garden to a pub only a couple of blocks away to eat at The Fours. I nearly gave him heart failure when I picked up the tab, which I did while he had excused himself to use the restroom.

And the view to my left!

The three Absolute Citron and lemonades I threw back made it much easier for me to fall asleep that first night alone in Boston. The adventure was officially on!

The Boston Trip Outline

Things have been a bit overwhelming since my return from Boson (and truth-be-told, in the week prior), and it drives me nuts having so much to say and not being able to update. I have two addictions: white-chocolate mochas and blogging. My trip, while it prevented me from enjoying either to any great degree, it didn’t succeed in making me stay on the wagon once it was over.

Below is the outline I created to hopefully annoy the shit out of you, because I’m an ass.

Actually, today is the outline. Peruse. Study. Tomorrow (or next week) the actual posts start. Prepared to be dazzled! Or not. Either way, it’s cool.

1)       TUESDAY

           a)       Lost temp job

          b)       Retained temp job

                    i)         More on that later

          c)       Packed

          d)       Slept

          i)         Thank you, Valium!

2)       WEDNESDAY

          a)       Two hour drive to airport

          b)       Flew

                    i)         To Chicago

                    ii)       To Boston

          c)       CousinP picked me up from airport

          d)       Dinner at The Fours with CousinP

          e)       Slept

                    i)         The Onyx Hotel

3)       THURSDAY

          a)       Museum of Science

                     i)         Meet Nico from 16: “No Period Baby!” 30: “No Period – Baby?”

                              (1)     and son, Ant

                              (2)     and son, T

                   ii)       Lunch at museum

                   iii)      Return children home for time with their Grandma

          b)       Harvard Square

                    i)         With Nico!

                   ii)       Refreshments at Burdick’s

                              (1)     Succumbed to my white chocolate mocha addiction instead

          c)       Faneuil Hall Marketplace

                    i)         Met Serenity from Serenity Now

                   ii)       Met Heather from Unexplain This – The Sequel

                              (1)     Supper at The Black Rose

                              (2)     Walked to:

                                        (a)     North End

                                        (b)     Mike’s Pastry

                                                  (i)       Infamous cannolis

                                                             1    Succumbed to the Black & White Cookie instead

                                        (c)     Paul Revere’s statue

                                                   (i)       The Old North Church

                                        (d)     Return to Faneuil Hall Marketplace

                                        (e)     The Boston Public Gardens

                                                  (i)       Noshing couple by fountain

                                                 (ii)     Riot-prevention city police

                                                            1     NBA Finals

                                                 (iii)    Swan boats

                                                 (iv)   Beacon Street

                                                             1     Cheers Bar

                                        (f)      Did I mention the WALKING?!

          d)       Celtics lost

                    i)         Boo!

          e)       Slept

4)       FRIDAY

          a)       Met CousinP at Faneuil Hall Marketplace

                    i)         Walked to:

                            (1)     Boston Harbor

                                      (a)     Christopher Columbus statue

                                     (b)     Tall ships

                                     (c)     New England Aquarium

                    ii)       Lunch at Tia’s

                   iii)      Scheduled afternoon tour on Boston Duck Tour Boats

          b)       Haymarket with CousinP

          c)       CousinP drives me to Prudential Center for tour start

                    i)         Seated next to Gomer Pile’s cousin, Goober

                   ii)       Saw miscellaneous Boston landmarks

                  iii)      Charles River

                  iv)     Returned to Prudential Center

                  v)       Followed brief instructions on how to take the T back to hotel

                           (1)     T-use FAIL

                           (2)     Walked ALLLLL the way from Prudential Center back to hotel

                                     (a)     HOT

                                     (b)     Lost

                                     (c)     Message from Pamplemousse and Millie to let me know they are enjoying the Wine Happy Hour back at the air conditioned hotel while I’m still:

                                               (i)       HOT

                                              (ii)     Lost

                              (3)     Arrived back at hotel

                                         d)       Met Pamplemousse

                                                    i)         and husband, Head Banger

                                         e)       Met Millie from Green Glass Love

                                                    i)         and husband, E

                                                   ii)       and 10 month old daughter, L.E.

                                                            (1)     Freakin’ adorable!

                                         f)        Walked to North End

                                                   i)         Supper reservations at Bricco’s

                                                           (1)      Reservation FAIL

                                                   ii)        Lucca’s across the street has opening                                                     

                                        g)       Walked back to hotel (where we ALL were staying)

                                        h)       Slept

5)       SATURDAY

          a)       Met Mary Ellen from Not According to Plan

                    i)         Lunch at Legal Sea Foods

                              (1)     Pamplemousse

                              (2)     Millie

          b)       Museum of Fine Arts

                    i)         Took  the T

                              (1)     Success!

                   ii)       Met Delenn from Slaying, Blogging, Whatever…

                            (1)     and her son, Michael

                            (2)     and her daughter, Willow

          c)       Returned to hotel

          d)       Walked to Faneuil Hall Marketplace

                     i)       Met Diana from Stuck in Elmo’s World

           e)       Supper at Sel de la Terre

            f)        Walked the North End

           g)       Returned to hotel

           h)       Slept

6)       SUNDAY

          a)       Brunch with CousinP and his family for Father’s Day

          b)       Returned to hotel

          c)       Impromptu Wine Happy Hour in my room

                    i)         Pamplemousse et al

                   ii)       Millie et al

          d)       Met with Karen (retired blogger)

                    i)         Supper at Tia’s

                   ii)       After-dinner drinks at Cheers knock-off

          e)       Returned to hotel

           f)        Packed

           g)       Slept

7)       MONDAY

          a)       Completed packing

          b)       Woke the Pamplemousses

                    i)         Cuddled

          c)       Confirmed Millie as my “driver” to airport

                    i)         Drove to airport

          d)       Flew

                     i)         to LaGuardia

                    ii)       to Chicago

                   iii)      to Local airport

          e)       Drove home

                     i)         Supper at Runza!

          f)        Arrived home

                    i)         The mess!

                   ii)       Checked on kids already asleep

                  iii)      Unpacked contact solution, case and glasses only

                  iv)     Passed out from exhaustion

Slopping Pigs in the Comfort of Your Home

My friend Statia from Failure to Nap (again, no link because I’m doing this while having no direct internet connection, so deal. Or just google it.) asked me how I deal with sloppy kids. How she knows my kids are slobs is really just a wild guess on her part, but it’s a sad truth. Sparring Partner is not allowed to wear light colored clothing when we go out to eat because without fail, he will drop something either on his lap or it falls off the fork to his mouth and hits the target which is right there on his chest. The funny thing is is that his ENTIRE family is the same way! A meal out with in-laws would almost be comical as one-by-one, they each spill something on the front of their shirts. My FIL goes so far as to tuck his napkin (and by god, if you don’t give him a fucking cloth napkin, your ass is grass) into his shirt collar.

My son has inherited the chronic slob gene. And for whatever reason, even a napkin on his lap or right there at the table does not hamper his wholly annoying habit of wiping his hands on his pants or shirt. By the time he finishes breakfast, the kid looks like he’s been playing outside all day. It’s hair-pulling frustration.

Aitch has an excuse to drop things down her front. She’s barely two. However, she’s got this thing about napkins and will demand one for every meal. Plus she uses it correctly, wiping her face and hands and then digging into her whatever with her fingers until she realizes that crap is some kind of messy and she’ll use her napkin once again.

The reason I’m sharing this with you all is I actually have a wonderful tip to pass on to help keep your baby/toddler fairly clean looking. Of course, you can always use a bib. You know, that obnoxious slip of fabric that barely covers a kid’s breastbone and gets ripped off within 2.5 seconds of being put on? Or that hard, plastic-molded, feed-trough that looks as if your kid vomited in it after a meal because it prevents them from sitting up close to the table? I actually stumbled upon this item, this lunch life-saver, by accident.

By the time Aitch was old enough to start solids, I finally had the nerve to go through some of Doodicus’s packed away clothing from when he was wee little. Inside were several plain, white t-shirts, size 4-5 (or small) from Hanes. Most were stained and I thought briefly about cutting them up and turning them into rags, but then realized they would be PERFECT to protect Aitch’s clothes. They slip easily over her head, and while now half her arm is uncovered, that’s no big deal since everything else gets covered – all the way down to her lap. Sure, they don’t keep her waterproof, but big deal. Red sauces, syrup, peanut butter, etc….all dreaded by-products of feeding your kid are now no big deal. Aitch can’t yank the t-shirt off like a traditional bib and they are super comfortable with no rubbing plastic edging. I try to keep at least one in my bag for times we go out as they take up no more room than any bib.

So there you go. Go, My Children, and invest in t-shirts for your little Rug Rhinos and free yourself from the tyranny of bleach, Shout and pre-soaking. Unless you are married to Slobnourous Max, which sorry but you’re just fucked.

Counting Down

I have been avoiding packing for the weekend. 1) I don’t really know what to bring, but if I was to go by the weather fronts from this winter where a snow storm here was crazyass blizzards a week later on the east coast, I would have to go by that “logic” and guess that this coming weekend will bring monsoons to Boston; and 2) Pulling together outfits that are casual and look effortless takes a lot of fucking effort. I am digging the fact that all but one pair of the five pairs of shoes I’m bringing (see? I overpack!) are flipflop style/uberflat and take up less room in my suitcase than a pair of my granny panties!

As excited as I am to have the ultimate Girls’ Night Out, I’m a bit ashamed to admit I’m going to miss being at home, especially away from Aitch. The longest time I’ve been away from her is 12 hours. Yes, I know you are rolling your eyes at me for being so pathetic sounding, but she’s my baby and will always be. I’ve been aware of that fact the moment I found out that donor cycle, that VERY LAST cycle had resulted in a positive.

There’s much more I can add in that regard, but a post about playing favorites is one left to much more thinking and reflection than I care to do on today, a day I’m trying to pack for a trip that will take me across the country and away from my whole family for six days. One of those days being both Father’s Day and our 13th Wedding Anniversary. It’s not a time to dwell on the boo-hoohoos, but a time to anticipate the exciting and new.

I’ve Got My Hip Waders, Hand-Tied Flies, and a Pacifier

If you are a fan of the site, People of Walmart (sorry no linky-dink right now), then it should come as no surprise that the following picture was taken at WalMart. In fact, it was taken at the very WalMart in my town. By me.

I get what it’s supposed to be, but do you honestly think that THIS is the way a mongo corporation should raise awareness for premature babies?? Yes, this was their prop with a March of Dimes sign (professionally done by a 17 year old drop-out with a Sharpie marker, mind you). Oh, the mental struggle for one seeking a sugar rush with only two dollars in their pocket: Dubble Bubble or March of Dimes? Dubble Bubble or March of Dimes…?? Oh, the humanity!

That’s a cute sleeper, though.